Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Week 34

Hello everyone! 

First of all, shout out to my lovely, darling, sassy, gangsta, Lady Gaga grandmother who celebrated her 83rd birthday yesterday!!!! :))) Seriously, whose grandma wants to go to a Lady Gaga concert?? And ends up liking it?! You are the best, Grammy! I love you to the stars and back. :) 

Also, a shoutout to my wonderful sister, Ashley who located an On the Border mexican restaurant in Korea! Oh man, am I ever envious! Attention: anyone who would like to air-lift me a Cafe Rio salad is more than welcome to do so. :) 
(Sister Cutler makes Cafe Rio salads for missionary leadership council (MLC) so if I am ever a sister training leader I will get to partake :P)

I had a pleasant week this week. We were able to see some investigators that we haven't seen in a while, which was neat. I don't have a whole lot to report on, actually. My companion and I are catching a cold so I have been downing lots of vitamin C. I will not get sick, I won't! :P I'm trying not to be Sister Hacking Cough but hey, sometimes it just sneaks up on you. We may have to start exercising inside soon because it is getting cold! Also, some craziness has happened with one of the families we are teaching. This is one of those stories that will have to wait 10 months when I get home, but let's just say I am basically an unpaid social worker on my mission! :P  

This week I also had the wonderful opportunity to create a fun lesson about the Holy Ghost using the Ghost Blitz game my wonderful brother, Kyle, gave me. :) It was fun! I found scriptures to describe the various roles of the Holy Ghost (Moses 6:61) as it pertains to the various objects in the game: a chair ( The "comforter" John 14:26), a book (Joseph Smith History 1:11-12 "if any man lack wisdom" ), and a green bottle (Mosiah 18:10, the spirit can be "poured out"). Then we got to play the game with the Paredes family and it got a little crazy but it was lots of fun! :) I share the scriptures because I had it written in my planner which is conveniently right next to me. 

One thing I really enjoy doing each week is helping out at the Salvation Army. We get to help make the food and serve it, which makes me feel like a lunch lady. I may have discovered a secret talent for displaying desserts. And making spanish rice. They have been successful. Marcus, the nice guy in charge, has told me he thinks his job is in danger. Ha! It was fun this week. We had a Mexican food theme and we get to have some too, of course. :) 

I also got to see Meet the Mormons this week! Our mission president and his wife brought it with them to zone training and we got to watch it. (Our mission is divided into zones of missionaries. Ours is the Appleton 2 Zone. Every transfer of 6 weeks we have a "training" by the leaders. The zone leaders get trained by the mission president who gets trained by the members of the 70 who are leaders of the church :)) I really enjoyed the movie! I especially enjoyed the clip from the Simpsons at the beginning. Homer opens the door and sees two aliens and says "Oh, great. Mormons." Bahaha. I thought it was very well-done and no, not preachy in the slightest. It has a broad appeal. In fact, it has been so successful that it has been shown in Green Bay AND Appleton and I have heard that it was ranked #9 out of all the movies in theaters right now. Exciting! :) 

Whenever missionaries get trained we are given lots of comittments, much like we would give to investigators (reading the scriptures, praying, come to church, etc.). Well, at zone training, they committed us to record one reason why we love the Book of Mormon each day and share it with someone. So, I want to share a few of those with you. There are many but I will share a few today. :)

 (I actually finished the Book of Mormon this week because I was already almost done with it before we started over again as a mission. It was amazing! I had gone through and highlighted all the references to Christ in one color, all his actions in another color and all his attributes in another and underlined when He speaks. It was amazing to see that almost every single page was full of colors because it is all about Christ. I have learned much about Christ from doing this!) As I mentioned before, this time we are highlighting references on Christ's nature and how to access power from His atonement. I have read this book I don't know how many times but it is always so cool to read looking for something specific. :) 

I love the Book of Mormon because it provides so many great reasons to be happy! (see 2 Nephi 1:15 and 2 Nephi 11:5, "My soul delighteth in his grace and in his justice and power, and mercy in the great and eternal plan of deliverance") Truly these are some great reasons! :)  I have found it interesting just how much the Lord wants us to be happy. He says it over and over again, so it must be pretty important. We are instructed to "not hang down our heads" (2 Nephi 10:20), "let our hearts rejoice" (2 Nephi 9:52), "cheer up [our] hearts and remember that [we] are free to act for [our]selves- to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life " (2 Nephi 10:23). There are many more examples! The word of God has a great tendency to invite happiness. :) I know it lifts me when I feel down. Let us remember to rejoice and be happy! 

I also love it because I've found that I'm able to gain constructive insights specific for the challenges I face and that people I teach are facing. When I read I feel like parts of it were written specifically for me at this time in my life. Anyone can do this. You just have to read with a specific purpose in the back of your mind as you read. And praying for guidance, of course. I have learned that makes all the difference in having meaningful scripture study. Anyway, I had never been much of a fan of Isaiah, for it can be hard to understand, but 2 Nephi 7 and 8 (in which the prophet Nephi quotes from Isaiah) are amazing! I came across scriptures that have become near and dear to me as I've been on my mission (2 Nephi 7:6-8 and basically the whole chapter!, 1 Nephi 21: 3-5). I also love 2 Nephi 8:7 because when we have these truths written in our hearts, when we allow God to write them there, we need never fear. I apologize for being long-winded here, this won't happen every email, ( I certainly don't write blog posts like Kyle! No competition there :)) but I thoroughly enjoyed reading 2 Nephi 9 as well. Here we are reminded that "to be spiritually-minded is life eternal" (2 Nephi 9:39), to "shake off the chains" in our lives and "come unto that God who is the rock of your salvation" (2 Nephi 9:45), and that "the righteous...love the truth and are not shaken" (2 Nephi 9:40). There is some great counsel in here. Also, shoutout to 2 Nephi 9:49, I think it is awesome. :)

Okay, phew, just a bit of missionary excitement there. I love what I'm doing out here. I know that this work is true! I love you, and hope you have a happy and exciting week! :)


Sister Lacey Woods 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Week 33

Hello, family!

Hello!!! I love you all and miss you. :)  This will be a shorter email, by the way. (Well, I usually say that but end up writing a longer one so... yeah right! :P ) Basically the Elders thought we had a key to the church when we didn't and we were locked out. So we had to meet them at Buffalo Wild Wings, but then the Ricks insisted that we join them for dinner! :) So, being good missionaries, we had to comply, and consequently this took up lots of our p-day time.  

I hope you all don't mind, but I would just like to take a brief moment to share a few of my feelings. These are personal, but I want to express how much I am loving this time in my life. I can confidently say that I know that I am doing what the Lord wants me to do at this time in my life. It has been a steep uphill climb and I am far from perfect but I know He knows I am doing my best. He has blessed me greatly. I know that the Savior loves me and all people! The Atonement is real. So is prayer. I have grown closer to Him than ever before. I have felt His love rescue me from my all-time lowest of lows, have felt His peace and His acceptance as I have learned to rely on Him when I couldn't rely on anyone else. I increasingly feel of His love for others. A new dawn has broken in my life (perhaps like Breaking Dawn, (Twilight reference intended!) ;)). I still yearn for more growth, more knowledge, more confidence. But one things is for sure. I do know that I am confident in Him.  I've been studying about hope lately and it has become a part of me, part of my outlook on life. Hope makes everything better, all my efforts.  I don't really want to go home. Nope! The Gospel truths have sunk in deep within me. I know I will never depart from them. I absolutely love being a missionary. Small things that used to seem impossible have become possible. It's hard to believe I am almost halfway done with my mission!!!  When they say time goes by quickly, turns out they weren't kidding! :o

I love the Book of Mormon! :) Increasingly so. Our mission is doing a Book of Mormon challenge right now. We are all reading the same chapters on the same day and are going to finish by Christmas as a sort of Christmas gift to the Savior and to unify our mission and companionships. I have been enjoying it immensely! We are reading about 7 pages a day, which requires some additional study, but hey, I am all about that! :) I do love studies. Anyway, we are highlighting all the references to the nature of Christ and His Atonement in red and all the references to how we can access the power of the Atonement in green. I have found so many green references! So has Sister Wilson. She is a smartical companion and it is fun to share with each other the things we discover. :) 

I get to see Meet the Mormons on Wednesday! That is exciting. :) 

By the way, we have had a lot of breakups this week. What that means in Wisconsin is that people tie the Book of Mormon we give them in a bag from their door with a note that says "Sorry, not interested" when we come back for a return appointment. Whenever I see a bag hanging from  a door I'm always like, "NOOO!" :) We always make them keep it though. It's just funny. We also had to break up with Quintesa this week. Talk about awkward! I've never had to break up with anyone in my life! It was difficult but necessary. Real-world preparation I suppose. :P 

But hey! We had a great lesson with Lynette this week, and she came to church!!! And loved it! It was an unusually good church. It's interesting how the Lords helps us out with that. ;) We are SO excited about her. She just needs to work on the Word of Wisdom. I bet you anything she will get baptized, but how soon I am not sure. I just love how wonderful the members in Oshkosh are. They are great at fellowshipping our investigators! :)  

I borrowed a hymn book from the church and Sister Wilson and I have been having fun with that. She sings and I accompany her on the cello! And sometimes I can sing and play at the same time, which is crazy. I've never done that before. :) Nor have I really played hymns out of the hymn book. Hey, maybe that ridiculous Aural Skills class actually came in handy! :) (since it forced me to learn to read treble cleff well). Do re mi! :) 

I love you!!!!

Sister Woods

P.S. Mom, I made your famous cornbread this week and it rocked!!! :) Thanks so much! The Elders enjoyed it too. :) 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Week 32

Hello Everyone!!!

Sorry, I don't have lots of time today so this will be a shorter email I think. Forgive the randomness in organization. :)

General Conference was amazing!!!! I can't think of a more highly-anticipated event as a missionary. It rocked!! My favorite talk was, by far and away, the one by Elder Klebingat about spiritual confidence. That one really spoke to me. I also loved Elder Uchtdorf's talk and Elder Scott's.  And Elder Ballard's. And Elder Godoy's. I liked what he said about patriarchal blessings. Okay, so I loved them all! :P There was definitely  a theme of prophets and personal revelation, and the sacrament. And prayer! I was very much inspired by conference and am eager to apply the personal inspiration I received.  

Another benefit of conference is that now we get to switch to having an hour of workout time instead of a half hour. Wahoo! :) This means more running! :) I think they want us to get extra endorphins now that winter is coming and we won't be getting much sun. This winter is supposed to be fiercely cold!! Equal to if not worse than last year. Hello, 50 below! I will be chastened for sure! :)

P.S. So Elder Hamula is the general authority that visited our house when Ashley and I dangled that hairbrush from rubber bands from the balcony?? Haha, I tell all my companions that story. :P 

I had to give the cello back this week... :( But the good news is I still have the electric one and I am going to play "Come Thou Fount" with Sister Moffit (who plays the violin) in November! :)

One of our investigators, Lynette, watched all 5 sessions of conference!!!! That was awesome. She is awesome. :) I am excited about her. 

We were able to watch one session with Quintesa and Dominique. Fortunately, we had conference bingo to help occupy Dominique during conference. It worked... sort of not really.But hey, he is three years old. 

We also got to watch the Sunday Morning session with the Vasquez's. They are a returning less-active family, and they haven't ever seen conference before. Albert, who is 9, and Anna, who is 8, were in for a big surprise. they weren't into it, but we were glad Anna stayed for most of the session. (Hey, I wasn't into conference at that age, either). Needless to say, conference bingo was a must. And I've figured out that Sour Patch Kid gum works quite nicely for helping these kids be attentive. :P  Psht, I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner! I have so much of that stuff.  It was actually quite funny, the kids were ravenous for more sour patch kid gum at the end of conference but since they weren't very attentive, quite rambunctious actually,  I decided they hadn't held up their end of the bargain to earn the extra piece. As I walked out the door they all screamed behind me, "SISTER WOODS!!!!!!!!". Ahh! It was seriously terrifying. :P 

Cool experience! During Elder Nelson's talk about prophets, Brother Vasquez was like "Wow!! I was just about to ask you a question but he just answered it!!!" That was neat. Yep, those conference talks are inspired!  I had never really written down questions for conference before, but I did this time and it was neat to see  all of them answered. 

Here is a quote about fasting I discovered recently and really liked: "Fasting, coupled with mighty prayer is powerful. It can fill our minds with the revelation of the spirit. It can strengthen us against times of temptation. Fasting and prayer can help develop within us courage and confidence. It can strengthen our character and build self-restraint and discipline. Often when we fast our righteous prayers and petitions have greater power. Testimonies grow. We mature spiritually and emotionally and sanctify our souls. Each time we fast we gain a little more control over our worldly appetites and passions" - Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin. 

Unfortunately I'm all out of time! I hope you all have a great week! :) Write to me if you feel so inclined! Missionaries love letters. :) 


Sister Woods