Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Week 17

Hello Everyone!

I'm running short on time this week so I'll keep things brief. I got a haircut this week! As you can see from the pictures, we found a turtle! It was quite exciting. Bryan has been keeping a snapping turtle in his bathtub! Talk about terrifying. 

We have been running low on miles this month so we have been walking A LOT. We also don't have very many people to teach right now.  And, not to sound complainy, but we keep inviting the members to come to lessons with us, like all the time, and they don't really want to. We haven't had a member at our lessons for quite a long time. I didn't realize that it is possible for the branch to be much more helpful than it is! Sis. Peterson said her last two areas were much, much different (better) in this regard, and the members were much nicer, friendlier, and more helpful. This is my first area, so I don't know these things. All I know is, when I get home from my mission, I want to help the missionaries! Poor missionaries! Help them out, will you? :) But that's okay! Such is life. We have been working really, really hard and we even found some new investigators this week. Haha, it was so funny.  We went tracting in these apartment buildings where you have to ring the doorbell and then they have to come downstairs to answer it. It was rather awkward, but clearly the missionaries before us didn't tract there because we found like 5 new people there. There was a super attractive guy not wearing a shirt who answered and it was hilarious because it was so distracting to talk to him and keep our eyes focused,haha. 

Our investigator, Lucas, came to church yesterday! This was only the second time I've had an investigator at church, so it was quite awesome. It is amazing how much more amazing church becomes when you have someone there experiencing it for the first time.  It is also amazing how every talk and lesson given seems to be just what they needed to hear! Lucas is a very quiet and studious guy, so it was hard to tell exactly what he was thinking. But Brother Somers, who drove him, says he really liked it. :) Hooray! He is the only person we are teaching right now.  But that's okay, he's doing great!

We met this guy named Pauly out on the street. Our lesson with John cancelled again so SIster Peterson and I go up to this guy playing a guitar and start talking to him. Sister Peterson is like, "hey, will you teach me how to play your guitar?" So he did, and then he let us teach him about the Gospel. It's crazy how the Lord puts people in our path. We are going back to teach him again! He is a cool guy. 

This is less important, but we got to play basketball in our missionary clothes after our branch barbeque. Nothing too exciting, but it was fun. :)

Well, that's all for this week! I love the Gospel and I know it's true! It's still exciting. I'm learning lots out here. :D 

And... my prediction for Abby's mission call is... Greece!! (so she can be Sister Abethus, of course!!) And if it's stateside then I choose Montana. Or Florida. Hm, tough choice. I'm so excited to find out next week! :)


Sister Woods

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Brother Martz

Brother Martz--a former trombone professor!

Week 16

Hello everyone!

I hope you have had a good week and that there have been significantly fewer mosquitoes for you!

It has been a typical week for us, but still challenging as usual. I am no longer the designated driver.  We figured that out a week ago, haha.

My ankle has been acting up, perhaps from running funny or I bruised it somehow.  Also, the mosquitoes have had a biting fest on my feet, even though we've been wearing bug spray, since we've been outside so much. It itches quite a bit. I'm pretty sure mosquitoes are horrible, horrible creatures!

A funny story: my companion asks me, "who is that attractive man in that picture over there?" I didn't have my contacts in. I'm so blind! I thought she was pointing to a different picture, and so I'm like, "Oh, that's Jesus!" Hahaha.

We had zone training up in Wausau on Tuesday, which was great! I love missionary meetings. I was happy to see Sister Pearson again. We almost went to Texas Roadhouse so I could use my gift card, but it was closed until dinner time... so we went to Olive Garden instead! It was awesome, nothing wrong with that! :)  

We have been doing lots of contacting and tracting again this week. We were able to set 2 baptism dates with Lucas and Rose, who we met tracting. We are still trying really hard to find more people to teach. But, we've seen lotso f progress. We even found a less-active who was off the radar. She wants to meet with us again! Awesome. I've found that talking to people is becoming less and less horrible for me, haha. :P We've been talking to and meeting more strangers than I've had to in the past and I've found that it's getting easier. It's almost like a game. It's funny because when we introduce ourselves to people they say "Hi, I'm catholic." Haha, well, nice to meet you, Catholic! :P It doesn't make any sense to me why they think that's an excuse to end a conversation that hasn't even started.  It's also very funny when people with very Polish last names correct you five or so times about during the prayer.

We also had a return missionary, Alicia Goede, come tracting with us. She is awesome!!! You can tell her mission really changed her and she loved it so much. She also went with us to a lesson with Sister Zimmerman, a less-active, who ended up going to church yesterday to see her give her homecoming talk! It was a miracle. Anyway, she's been home for a month now and was telling us lots of great advice and how hard the adjustment has been. It was hard enough to adjust and I know leaving will be even harder! When I come home I will want to bring a box of missionary planners, haha. :) I can't imagine giving up this structured lifestyle! I will be super bored. Her talk focused on how her mission taught her life lessons, and caused her to rely on the Atonement.  She talked about how whenever she wanted to give up and go home she would remember that the Savior never gave up.  I know that's true! The Savior knows exactly what it means to have a hard day on a mission, to feel rejected by the people, lonely, disappointed, even despised, and yet He never surrendered. I've felt closer to Him than I ever have before on my mission thus far. Because of Him, I will never give up!

I know it's so important to have faith in the Lord's will, whatever it is.  Faith is something I've had to work on a lot lately.  But it makes such a huge difference.If you have faith in the Lord's will then you will always win, no matter what.  I also have been able to see that prayer really, really works! If you ever want to talk to someone, I've seen that the best person to talk with is the Lord. Go to Him first! I've had a few epic prayer experiences this week, where I've poured out my heart, unloaded all my concerns and I was able to see those prayers answered, feel refreshed, and observe the Lord's hand in my life.  So yes, sincere prayer makes everything better!  Missionary life is great and I'm loving it! :)

Well, I'm running a bit short on email time, so I'll end here.

I love you!


Sister Woods  

Photos from Sis. Woods--June 16, 2014

Last Days with Sis. Pearson Before Transfers

The Taplins

The Nations family
Besties for life!!

My New Companion!!

My new companion, Sis. Peterson
(she is from Morgan, Utah)

Photos from Sis. Woods--June 9, 2014

Check out this Packers fan's stuff . . . now that's a true fan!!

What a beautiful "cheesehead!"

Various pictures around Stevens Point, WI 

It's birthday time for Sis. Woods!  
(May 28, 2014)

Sis. Woods opening one of her gift boxes from Mom

Birthday dinner at the Thompsons
(Notice the candle in the hamburger)

"Mom, you shouldn't have . . . but I am so glad that you did!"
(Shari's Berries--yummy chocolate covered strawberries)

Our District
(As of 6/9/14)

Daily Running!!

Lacey absolutely loves being able to go running with her companion in this beautiful place . . . so lush, green and wooded

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Week 15

Hello Everyone!

Good news, the Taplins were at FHE last Monday, which is quite a significant step for them.  They haven't been in a long time, since they were offended. that was a miracle! :)

Also, Brother Somers took us and the elders out to Chili's last Monday and guess what? This guy walks up to us, says he's a member of our church from Texas, and throws down $100!!! He bought us dinner. :) So nice! I thought that type of thing happened only in Utah. Oh, the perks of being a missionary... :P 

Then transfers happened and I was sad to leave my trainer, my first real Sister Mom!  We've had some amazing times together.  I'm not going to lie, it's been rough for me because, let's face it, I'm a Woods and I don't like change! :P It was a whirlwind of emotions and challenges for me because all of a sudden I had to drive, remember things, make all the plans, calls and decisions. And introduce Sister Peterson to everyone. She made me do pretty much all the talking. Remembering details, names, places, and leading conversations. Hm, does that sound very much like me? Nope! :P Haha. And because we all of a sudden don't have anyone to teach, it was lots and lots and LOTS of tracting and driving around, without much success. Such a struggle. But hey, it was good for me! If I don't learn patience by the end of my mission I want a refund! :P Seriously. 

But on the other hand this week was great.  We've been able to work really, really hard and break my personal records in how many people we taught. And she hasn't even been here a week! :) Sharing the Gospel is great! When people will listen to you and you can share your testimony. But when they don't, it gets very discouraging. So on Saturday we were tracting and roaming about all day long, with no success at all.  It was horrible! It was finally 8 pm, and I was on the brink of despair, wanting to go home, eat ice cream,  curl into a ball and cry, when somehow we pushed forward anyway and tracted a few more doors.  We did, and all of a sudden, in about a half hour, we acquired 4 new investigators and met all our rather lofty goals for the day.  Miraculous! :) Work is the key to success as a missionary.  They tell us that all of the time, that it solves all your problems. Well, I have definitely found that to be true this week! This was my roughest week yet, but these experiences strengthened my faith to persevere. I know that the Lord is merciful. He sees us working hard, and will lead us to those who are prepared! I love missionary work even though it's hard!! There were still tender mercies scattered throughout.  One of those is that we got to finally teach Olivia on Friday. Overall, I'm still very happy and glad  I'm out here. 

Oh, I got offered alcohol for the first time ever yesterday! Go figure that it was on my mission, haha! 

My new companion, Sister Peterson, is an awesome,bold, rockstar missionary!! She had 6 baptisms just in her last area, in the last 6 months! She's had 8 overall and she's been a Sister Training Leader for 6 months and has been a trainer twice. Amazing, right?  I'm learning lots already and I like her!  She has been out over a year and is very sweet and nice. Yep, you guessed it, she's from Utah! Near Morgan. Poor Sister, she already had to give a big talk her first week here. We also have an amazing new elder and district leader, Elder Stewart! Good things are going to be happening in this area soon! He was nice and made us a coat hanger to use to unplug the shower drain. You see, I was all content with taking a rainforest shower. But Sister Peterson was not!  You can tell she is super bold because she went where no sister that has lived in our apartment has ever gone before... yep, she unclogged what I'm pretty sure is 5 companionships worth of hair!!!! I was there to provide moral support, uproarious laughter, and make a video. It was NASTY!!!!! It was like the Chamber of Secrets was opened and a gnarly basilisk of grimy hair climbed out! It was neverending nastiness. XD  

Well, that's all for this week! 

I love you all!


Sister Woods

Monday, June 2, 2014

Week 14

Hello Everyone!

I hope you have all had a wonderful week.  I only have 30 minutes to write this so I'll try to include as much as I can, for it has truly been a CRAZY week! 

A story from last week I forgot to mention.  We met this old guy named Charles in front of his house.  He called us over and we talked with him. But, turns out this guy was a total creeper!!!! He kept trying to invite us into his house to look at his creepy, (unclothed) life-sized dolls! I was like "No way, Jose!" and was getting ready to go into self-defense mode! And, he kept saying he wanted kiss us and ended up giving us a side hug!!! Needless to say he wasn't very interested in learning about the church.  When we were leaving he was like "wait you forgot to give me your number!" to which we said, "No we didn't!!" Creepy! xD 

I had an amazing birthday!!! The weather was PERFECT. We went running and then my companion made me pancakes! The really good Great Harvest kind. She also made me some cupcakes.  Then I opened my giant, epic birthday box from my family, which was full of delightful, wonderful things!!! Thanks, family!!! :D We went out to get some Mexican Food (fajitas) before District Meeting. They made me a card and got me a gift. So nice! It was such an amazing day!! I had so much fun.I really wasn't expecting anything. I mean, how fun can a birthday be on your mission? The answer is pretty darn amazing!  Sister Cutler called me and so did the AP's, who sang to me. Also, we had dinner at the Thompson's. They offered to  make me a birthday treat, but I said no thanks because I've been all caked out!!! So, they put a candle in my hamburger and sang. Bryan took us out to get Belts ice cream after dinner. I was very spoiled that day!!! Needless to say, I have been given WAY too much food and won't need any more for a long, long time! xD

Then we found out about transfers. Ok, so we found out in the morning that Sister Pearson was being transferred (via text) but then later that day, President Cutler called us!!! Now, that is a scary, terrifying thing because it means that something extra special is happening. He would only call us if one of us were training, or being made a sister training leader. My heart was pounding so hard, it was TERRIFYING. I was like, oh no, I can't be a trainer yet!! I would literally die! (and so would she! xD) But, as I was predicting, Sister Pearson was made a sister training leader... in Wausau!! (companions with Sister Smith) That means she will still be in my zone and I will get to see her all the time at zone conferences and on exchanges. And I can call her whenever. So, in many ways, this is great news!!! :) I have learned so much from her and will really miss her. 

I found out like an hour ago that my new companion will be Sister Peterson! She is really, really awesome, I hear, and used to be a Sister Training Leader.  That's all I know so far! I will need a good companion for this area because all the people we were teaching have dropped us! This tends to happen around transfer season. We were able to find a couple more, but not really any promising prospects. 

Sad news!!! Tim was doing so well. But then, he went to see his counselor who told him that members of our church are too judgmental.  His issue is the dress code!! We told him he can wear his camouflage to church, but he just doesn't understand. Perhaps he found issue with the fact that we as missionaries wear nice clothes all the time? (well of course, we are missionaries!) For whatever reason, (namely Satan!) his mind has changed and he doesn't want to be told what to do right now. Now he doesn't think the Book of Mormon is true. Even though he told us last week he was giving up smoking and drinking right then and there! We even had the Branch President with us, who was wearing overalls, and is the most down-to-earth guy ever, but he still told all of us to get off his property. Sad face!!!! Maybe one day his heart will soften, but that time is not right now. :( 

Transfers are really sad, stressful, and nerviting all at once. Change is necessary, but so difficult!  I'm super terrified at having to be in charge of things. BUT, I know the Lord will help me have the strength to meet these new challenges.It will be good for me. I felt lots of peace as I was fasting yesterday. 

Well, we finally got to talk with Trish again! She's going out of town but still wants to be baptized.

Things seem to be improving with the Tapplins. We were able to touch on the major issues that are preventing Brother Tapplin from coming back to church. Hopefully we can help him come back soon! 

We have definitely had a challenging week. But, the spirit is strong and I know that the Lord will strengthen me and lead us to those who are prepared. I discovered an awesome scripture this week: 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10. I love how it says that when we are weak, then we are made strong!! I know the Lord strengthens us in our weaknesses. I rely on His strength every day out here!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!!


Sister Woods