Week #12 – “How great shall be your joy!” – March 23rd, 2015

TJ Skyline

HEY!!!!

Another amazing week in the service of the Lord. Wow, it was a tough week, but such a satisfying week. We had a lot of success and have been feeling the spirit!

I want to start off by sharing a scripture! It’s the scripture on my missionary plaque and one of my favorites; Alma 29:9-10:

“I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.”

“And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly  penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember how merciful his arm is which he has extended towards me.”

This is such and awesome scripture. I love the part where it says, “I glory in the work.” I glory in this work so much and am grateful to answer the call of a mission. I pray every night that I can be a better instrument in the Lords hands. When you see that our message is working, it is the best feeling I have had in my whole life!!!!I am so grateful to be sharing this gospel!!

This week we are going to have our first baptism in this sector!! Finally! Damion and his Mom came to church yesterday and we are baptizing him this Thursday!! So exciting! His cousin Fernando is still hesitant but we are working with him each week. Damion’s Mom has started taking lessons from us as well and is looking up to Damion for making the choice to be baptized.

We have a ton of investigators that I haven’t mentioned because they were just starting out, but we have a ton with baptism dates and we have been teaching a bunch. We are teaching an older couple named Manuel and Anna Luisa. They are awesome and really feel the spirit in our lessons. They didn’t come to church this week because they were both sick but we are looking forward to continuing to teach them.

Another investigator is named Judid. She is awesome!! She told us she knows the Book of Mormon is true and asked us to give her a blessing. I will tell you, giving a blessing in Spanish is a humbling experience. I realize how little I know and how much I need the Lords help everyday.

Another investigator is a man named Jesus. We’re really struggling with him. Two weeks in a row he told us he would come to church but Sunday morning he calls and bails out. It was funny as he had told us he was going out-of-town, but we were teaching a lesson outside yesterday and we saw him. Pretty funny.

This week I had the amazing opportunity to do interchanges with my District Leader. He is a stud! He taught me so much. We did a contact and helped this lady carry in some groceries, we ended up teaching her and setting a Baptism date like 15 minutes later. He had an awesome quote, “Even though the members don’t give us references, God always is willing to give us references.”

We definitely received an answer to a prayer last night. We found a couple who is so excited about the Church. Last night was our first lesson with them and they loved the message. We were teaching them about the Book of Mormon and they asked where they could buy one! We told them we had two for them and they were so happy. They asked when they could be baptized and when General Conference is so they could hear the prophet speak.

We are the Gospel Essentials teachers at Church. Our ward really is struggling because there are only ten active Priesthood holders. Is a great opportunity we have to teach the members how the Church runs effectively.

I’m feeling better and still on the medicine. I go and see the Doctor again today.

I ate some pretty crazy things this week. I ate cactus, a cockroach, and probably the best fish tacos I will ever eat in my life! Of course I also ate lots and lots of chili’s! Crazy stories. I almost got hit by a car this week, almost got robbed but that’s pretty normal and dealt with a lot of drunk people. This week for some reason a ton of people tried to give us money. It’s weird because there are people who want to rob us and then there are people who want to give us money….so it kind of all levels out!

It was a great week! I hope and pray that you guys have an awesome week!!!!

Love and miss you so much,

Elder Woods

Week #9 – Building The Kingdom! – March 16th, 2015

Carter SmileCarter Preach Carter GonzalezCarter Westside

HELLO!!!!

I hope everything is going well!!! I had such an awesome week!!!

It started out kind of rough unfortunately. So I haven’t wanted to say anything, but I have been pretty sick. Last Monday I went to see the Mission Doctor and I guess I have a stomach infection. I didn’t really catch all of the details as the Doctor didn’t speak any English. I’ve been put on a special diet (basically I cant’ eat all the foods missionaries eat) and have been on some heavy biotic’s. I take 8 pills every day. I’m getting better though. Being sick was not an excuse not to work though!!! We hit it so hard this week!!!

My week flew by, like literally in the blink of an eye. We had over forty lessons this week and set ten baptism dates!!! We actually set a baptism date every day this week, all for April. Unfortunately we didn’t get anyone to church on Sunday, so all of their baptism dates fell by a week. Getting people to church five times before the baptism is challenging and such a trial of faith, but I know the Lord is helping us out. We added ten new investigators this week and I don’t’ have enough time to explain them all but they ALL have been prepared by the Lord to hear our message. It’s so awesome teaching people like that. They all love the gospel and are prepared. 

It was super tough to bring people to church this week because it was Stake Conference. I think the Lord put Stake Conference right there on purpose because two weeks ago it was so hard to get people to our own chapel, and now we realized how much easier it is for us to get people to our own chapel as it takes three different bus rides to get to the Stake Center! Hopefully this next Sunday we will have some people come to Church. We teach a ton!! I love teaching… especially the first lesson!!

So a little update on the two young men we were going to baptize this week. We needed permission from the parents first so we asked both of there Mom’s, one said yes one said no. So this week we were only going to baptize Damion but he didn’t come to church (three bus rides) so we have to push it one more week. With the Lords help we will be filling up the font next week!! 

Our ward here is really, really tough. It makes me realize how blessed our wards are in the United States. Our ward doesn’t have a Young Men’s program, or even a Young Men’s President. There are about three YM in our ward. We need to build this ward up so it can be one of the stronger wards here in TJ!!

Stake conference was awesome! The San Diego Temple President came and spoke to us, in english, which was cool! He talked a lot about baptism’s for the Dead and how important it is because they need us so badly. 

I felt the spirit the most this week on Sunday night with an inactive member. He had a lot of questions about tithing so we prepared a great lesson. The lesson went awesome, and he saw the light and said he was going to start coming back to church. At the end of the lesson I bore my testimony about how amazing of an opportunity it is to help the Lord construct his kingdom here on earth in preparation for the second coming. I felt the Spirit so strong, and it’s in those moments where I get the thoughts “this church is true.”

I love this Gospel and can’t wait to work as hard as I can for the Lord!!!!

HAVE AN AWESOME WEEK!!!

Love Elder Woods 

 

Week #8 – Obedience, blessings and a little bit of soccer! March 9th, 2015

Week 3

WOW!!! The work here is so awesome!! Things here are starting to get a lot better in my Sector. We have been working hard these past few weeks to add a lot of contacts. We’ve been knocking doors and this week we started to get results!! We had a lot of appointments this week which make the days go so fast. Everyone has been a lot nicer to us as well! I think that’s totally representative about how obedient me and my companion are. When we obey every rule TO A “T” things happen!! When we aren’t exactly obedient, we don’t have as much success.

This week we had the amazing opportunity to set SIX baptismal dates with investigators!!!!! Most are during our teaching lessons. During two appointments this week the Spirit was sooo strong that we asked them to be baptized right there and they said yes!!! I can’t even describe how powerful the Spirit is in those moments. I was contacting someone on the street and I just started crying talking to this person. It is so amazing. 

The family “RS” that we were teaching last week has been avoiding us. We don’t know why but we are going to keep trying. The lady who asked us which Church is true called us Monday night and told us that she was going to move to San Diego and wanted us to stop coming by. We didn’t visit her all week as she told us she would be in California. We didn’t even think about going over to her house, but yesterday some appointments fall through and we were trying to figure out what to do. My companion got the stong impression to go knock on her door even though she told us to stop coming. So we went and knocked and she was there!! She was having a super rough time. We taught her a lesson and ended up giving her a Priesthood blessing. That was the neatest experience for me this week. Priesthood blessings are so powerful and bring so much peace. 

This week was my first Zone Conference and opportunity I had to do exchanges with another set of Elders. I went to another District with another missionary who has only been out two weeks, just like me! It was an awesome day. We taught a few lessons and contacted some solid people for his District. I guess the Zone Leaders and Mission President trust us enough to put two trainees together!

We teach a ton of lessons every day which is so awesome. At first I didn’t like teaching because it was tough and really challenging for me. Now it’s the opposite, I love teaching!! 

So here in Mexico an investigator has to attend Church five times before they are baptized. Everyone here works on Sundays so a lot of our baptism dates fall off or take forever to get done. Luckily this week three of our investigators came to church!! It was awesome sitting with them in Sacrament meeting and teaching them in Gospel Principals class. It’s such a cool experience having investigators at church!

Two of the people who came to church are kids that we are teaching. One is Damian age twelve and the other is Fernando age ten. Like every kid here in Mexico, they love soccer! We were teaching them and we were having difficulty getting them to pay attention. Explaining the blessings of Eternal Life to a twelve and ten-year old is difficult. So mid-lesson we took a break and I asked them to go get a soccer ball. I showed them a few tricks and all of a sudden my acreditación went way up! We made a deal with them that we would play soccer with them today on our P-Day if they came to Church……so we are meeting up with them later! hahah, so awesome!!

 Well the work here is progressing!!! I love it here. The blessings and happiness that have come from serving the Lord everyday are crazy. I can’t wait for the week to come!!

 Love and miss you guys!!

Elder Woods

Week #7 – Wow, that was HOT! March 2nd, 2015

Sombrero VIEW TJ

HEY!!!!!!

Wow the weeks FLY! I say that every week but seriously they do. This week was fantastic but super tough. 

I didn’t give a lot of information last week about my area. I’m in Las Huertas. It is a TOUGH area with not a lot of success. We have about 40-50 people in church on Sunday’s. There are about 300 in the ward so there is a TON OF INACTIVES!!! A lot different from in the States. The missionaries before us had our ward and another ward and they spent most of their time in the other ward so we were left with little to nothing in terms of people to teach. We had to really start from scratch as we are both new to the area. It’s been really tough but we are working hard and scrapping to find some more people to teach!! We teach about 10-12 people a day (mission standard is 10 a day) and knock about 12 doors (mission standard is 6 per day.)

So Tuesday was a packed day! I had the devotional for our District Meeting and taught about the Christ like attributes of diligence and how if we are diligent it will show in our success. We taught a bunch of in-actives Tuesday, and I got the opportunity to anoint for a blessing. The lady we blessed has a lot of struggles and has a daughter that is 14 and she reminded me a ton of my little sister. We then taught one of our new families that we have found. They are a family of six with four small children. This is the familia “RS”. We found them last week and have taught them three discussions. They didn’t come to church yesterday because its been really cold (like 60) and so all of their kids are sick.

Funny story, Tuesday night we were knocking doors and four like “super gangster bros” answered. I was scared and told my companion we should leave because I was really nervous. He didn’t listen and asked if we could come inside and teach them. Surprisingly they said yes, Ha!! When it came time to do my part of the lesson I totally choked because I was nervous and didn’t want to show these guys how “gringo” my spanish was. The night ended teaching a man named Alejandro. Alejandro is awesome!!!!  He has been to Church twice and that night I got the opportunity to ask him to be baptized and he accepted!!! So awesome!!!!!!!

 

Thursday was super tough. A ton of doors and a ton of contacts and a ton of hardcore Catholics which means rejection!! On Thursdays though they have an event called, “dia del barrio” its like Mutual but for the whole ward. That night they had a huge fiesta and it was so fun! Dancing, eating, and spending time with the members. It was funny though because they played a mixture of songs that ranged between classic Mexican music, and then Bruno Mars songs and American music. There was actually one song that was from the USA that they played that had a bit of profanity but no one really knew what the song was saying so they just kept dancing!

Elder Hernandez and I call Friday’s the “Day of the doors.” We knocked so many doors and got rejected so much. Super tough day, but still good!! I just wish people would accept this Gospel!!!!

There is a talk by Elder Holland and he says something like “…why cant’ the only problem missionaries have is getting pneumonia from standing in the water of a baptismal font all day and night.” I WANT PNEUMONIA!!

During one lesson this week the people we were teaching talked SUPER FAST so I couldn’t understand a thing. I have found that when you don’t understand anything you go through some phases. There is the fake listening phase, then the stop trying and start thinking about how you can try to get involved phase, then the check out, phase and when this happens you start to get super sleepy!!! So when my companion was teaching this active family I just kinda fell asleep for a couple of seconds!! Ha! I felt so bad and tried so hard not to. Luckily it was only for a few seconds then my companion kneed me. 

We ate at the bishops street taco stand again on Friday. This time we got soup. Funny story. They had this Chili Sauce on the table and it looked pretty good so I put quite a bit in my soup……worst decision I have made on my mission yet!! I took the first bite and about died. SOOOOOOOO HOT. But obviously I couldn’t just not eat my entire lunch, especially as a missionary. So I had to just man up and down it. I drank like a gallon of water with it. My lips, tongue, stomach, fingers, everything just hurt. I have had a stomach ache ever since!

 We have gotten a few new investigators this week through contacting and one we are super excited about. She had the question, “There’s a million church’s which one is true?” WOW! Obviously that is perfect for us as missionaries. We taught her and she loved it and we have set a Baptism date with her. Saturday, most of our lessons and investigators cancelled, so we had a lot of member lessons and contacting. That night we were walking by this soccer field and the ball got kicked out, so I thought this was my chance to show this group of local kids how Americans can play soccer. So I did a little rainbow move and went to kick it back to them but I totally kicked it the wrong way down the hill and lost the ball!! They were so mad, I can’t even tell you. I felt horrible. I just told them I was American and had never played soccer in my life!!

Sunday was good, lots of meetings and we had a training with the ward missionary. None of our investigators or less actives showed up. It’s very hard for people to come to Church because they can’t afford the bus, and the hills make it super tough to walk. It’s been raining a lot too so the streets are like rivers. It’s pretty fun. When we were driving back from Church with a family that I have become super good friends with them and their two little boys (even though I have no clue what they say to me) we have somehow become friends. When we were in the car one of the little boys kissed me on the cheek. Haha! His mom got super mad at him.

 All in all it was another great week! I am loving it and it gets better everyday. I love this Gospel and love serving people. That is honestly my favorite part, just the opportunity I get to help people out everyday. There is no better feeling. I miss everyone back home!!!! I hope you all have an awesome week!!!!

Love Elder Woods