Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Elder Brandon Wallis - Albuquerque, New Mexico


Elder Brandon Wallis

Elder Brandon Wallis went on his mission 2 months before our family moved into the Stone Creek Ward.  We wish you all could've gotten to know him before he left.  He is serving in the New Mexico, Albuquerque mission, English speaking.  He served in the Rio Rancho area, near Albuquerque, for a few months before reopening the Los Alamos area, north of Albuquerque, around a month ago. His letters are positive and exciting. He has been able to reach people by finding common interests such as motorcycles, cars or even swimming. He enjoys meeting people and seeing where the conversation leads... with guidance, to the Gospel.  Here are excerpts from his last 2 letters.
Elder Wallis and his first companion
"With the help of the Holy Ghost, we've taken this area from well under 10 lessons a week (lowest in the entire Zone) to 37 lessons this last week!  Everyone is excited about missionary work.  We have people calling US to see if they can come out with us!  We have people introducing us to their non-member friends.  It's taken a bit, but it's awesome to see where we were at to where we are now.  We found 10 new investigators this week!  We almost doubled every single one of our goals!"

"Los Alamos is starting to explode! If you know the history of the place, it's one of the few sites for the Manhattan Project where they made the Atomic Bomb. Thankfully it's not literally exploding but the Missionary work here sure is! We have several investigators that are looking very promising. A few of them we're planning on inviting to baptism here pretty soon. The members up here are helping out a lot, and are getting more and more excited about Missionary work. Ferman and his wife Denice are two of our investigators that we're very excited about. We can tell that they have definitely been prepared to receive the Gospel. We also have some ancient investigators... Bob is 85, Bill is 89! Both of them are super nice and love having us over. Bob is reading and praying to know if he should be baptized. We have several other investigators that we're still getting to know and are trying to schedule times where we can teach them again. I testify that the field is white and ready to harvest. Not just in foreign countries or just here in New Mexico. Missionary work is happening everywhere! Including Utah! Every member a Missionary. That phrase has been told to the members of the Church for a few decades now. If you're wondering how you can help the Missionary effort, be a friend to a non-member. Invite them to hear the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ! Do it out of love, not out of duty. The primary characteristic of Love, is Loyalty. Jesus Christ is the head of this Church and He has inspired Prophets in these latter days to call His people to The Work. I know this Gospel is true. I know that it is the only way to find TRUE HAPPINESS in this life, and ETERNAL JOY in the life to come. Share the message of the Gospel and the blessings that come with it because you love your fellow brothers and sisters. I have found this to be the best motivating force in Missionary work. Love. I love this Gospel, I love my Family, I love my spiritual Brothers and Sisters. I want to do my best to help them find the blessings and joy that come from the knowledge of the Restoration. I leave my testimony and witness with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

Elder Zach Taylor - July 31, 2013


Elder Taylor
So this past week has been pretty darn great. I mean, nothing THAT exciting has happened, but I guess you'll just have to hear about it anyway. 

Last week we did our first service project here at the MTC, which was cleaning up the main administration building. My companion volunteered us for the fun job of wiping down the stalls in the bathroom. What a party. It actually wasn't too bad, but lets be honest, there are a lot of more enjoyable ways to do service. 
The Spanish has been coming along pretty well this week. Last week I memorized the missionary purpose, the first vision, and D&C 4 in Spanish. I feel pretty cool when we recite it in class and me and the teacher are the only ones to not have to pull out our scriptures. 
Another thing that happened was that we got a new teacher. He was actually our previous "investigator", which was cool. But we had all heard from the other districts that that would happen, so it kinda ruined the surprise... oh well. His real name is Hermano Miller. He's such a good teacher, and really fluent in Spanish. I have a hard time believing he didn't know it at one point. On Monday, he taught us a really good lesson about why we need the Atonement. He asked us if God is all powerful, why couldn't he just forgive us of our sins without having to sacrifice his son? Was it really necessary? We read in Alma 42:13-15 and it was amazing what is there that I had never noticed before. I'm excited to have him as one of our teachers for the next few weeks.
One of my other teachers, Hermana Christiensen, has been teaching us a lot about the meaning of our purpose as missionaries. She's really a great teacher and has gotten me SO pumped to go teach in Argentina.
I have another teacher whose name is Hermano Larson. He's crazy. He's supposed to be our language councilor or something like that.. but he's fluent in 6 languages!!! It's pretty crazy. I think they were Spanish, English, Mayan, French, Italian, Portugese.. and i think German. I could be wrong, but it's still pretty crazy! And he doesn't just know a little bit, he's FLUENT in all 6 languages.. it's so cool!
I saw that Jacob's companion got to say the prayer in the devo last night, so that was awesome to see Jacob and him sitting up on the stand. Random, I know, but cool. The devotional was really good, actually. The speaker talked about how our missionary work is not going to be easy, but we need to prepare ourselves for those moments when we find someone who will accept the gospel. He shared a quote by Winston Churchill, "What a tragedy it would be if that moment should find him unprepared or unqualified for the work which would be his finest hour." I'm definitely not going to be unprepared for that moment. 
Well, that's pretty much all I have to say for this week. Not a lot of funny or entertaining stories, but it's been good! I've seriously never felt closer to Heavenly Father for such a long period of time in my whole life. It's great! Well, nos vemos!
Elder Taylor
I didn't answer your question... my companion is from Sandy, Utah. 
 I do feel like the Spanish is coming along too! My classes go until 9:30.. well actually that's just personal study time. We can't go back to our dorms until 9:30. The actual classes end at 5:15. I feel like I understand pretty well.. my teachers speak pretty quickly, but I'm sure it'll be faster in Argentina. Here's my testimony in Spanish (excuse the accents):
Yo se que el Evangelio es verdadero y que el servir un mision va a ser un bendicion en mi vida. Yo se que mi mision va a ser dificil, pero con Dios, yo se que puedo hacer todas las cosas. Yo se que le idioma va a llegar a ser mas facil como yo practicarlo y usarlo cada dia, y que Dios puede ayudarme. Yo se que estan personas en Argentina que estan buscando por el Evangelio, y yo tengo que ser el persona que traerlo a ellos. Digo estas cosas en el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen. 
I know it's not long, but it's pretty cool to be able to speak Spanish so much! this is great.. haha I'm loving it!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Elder Christian Tanner - Halmstad Sweden


Elder Christian Tanner in Halmstad
"Friday was probably the best day I have had here in Sweden yet. We got back from Växjö about 11:30, so we went to the apartment and had lunch. After lunch we came to the library to see if we could get the number of the university here in town so that we could talk to them about setting up classes or something like that. I dont really know. But anyway, we were walking out of the library and this HOBO looking guy shouts at us "Hey! You! I know Mormons when I see them! Follow me, I want to talk to you." I was like... scary. But okay. So next to the library is a little field (which is also next to a river) and we sat down in the field and started talking to him a bit. He was VERY hard to talk to. He wanted to talk about all his opinions and we could not even say a sentence without him saying his opinion. But as we were sitting there, a group of about 10 kids just walks up and sits down next to us. At first, it was really weird. But we started asking them their names and if they believe in God. They all started participating in our conversation. It was so fun to talk to them. They all believe in God and are quite religious. One girl in particular is very very interested. (oh and they are all about 15 years old)  She really wants to go to church with us, and wants to find out more about what we believe. She has some very hard times in here life too, yet she is so positive. Its quite amazing actually. Usually when people go through what she has, they are really depressed and have no self esteem at all. So we are looking forward to working with her, as well as all those kids. One of the kids I talked to seems to think that God and Satan are the same person. He explained why he thinks that (which made NO sense to me.). He said "Its like good and bad weather. In order for us to know what good weather is, like a sunny day, we have to have bad weather with rain and snow. That's how God is. He wants to give us trials and make our lives hard and tempt us, so that he can love us." Well, I explained to him about our life before here on earth and how God and Satan were two separate spirits. I said in my remarks "So basically, you're telling me that the sun makes good and bad weather. That the sun makes it rain? What gives us good and bad weather are two separate things, just like God and Satan" HAHA. He responded by saying "Okay, you have a really good point there." So, pretty much I think he will listen to our lessons now. :)

After we talked to these kids for about 2 hours or more, they wanted to so us their church. So we went with them to the church. It was a very nice church, too. We also climbed all the way up to the top of the bell tower. I have some pictures for you, too. It is WAY up there! Haha. That was super fun! So I think me and my companion are going to hang out with them a little bit and get to know them and be their friends. Then they would probably be more likely to listen to us and trust that what we know is true.

The ward here is really struggling. All the members want to see the ward become bigger and stronger and more together, but no one is willing to step up and make it happen. This Sunday me and my companion are teaching the Sunday School lesson about how members are just as important to missionary work as the missionaries are. Hopefully we can get a spark going. During ward counsel, everyone has their own ideas on how to go about solving the problem. Its SO frustrating. Even me, I dont understand much of what they are saying, but I know they aren't on the same page. Its like, come on! We can only try one thing at a time! So yesterday the bishop had us over for dinner and we talked about what the 3 of us alone can do to get everyone on the same page. Home teaching is NEVER done either. So we have got to get that going. The ward has so many problems. We are working on it though. Hopefully in a couple months time we can at least be on the same page. No wonder there hasn't been any success here until recently. The bishop is amazing though. He carries everything on his back. We are going to try to take some of that off of him. The previous missionaries didn't do that, so I think he is super happy we are here."
Elder Tanner and Elder Millsap
Elder Tanner and Sister Wood - MTC

Elder Zach Taylor - First e-mail

Elder Taylor - with friends Elder Matthew Thompson and Elder Brian Carter

My companion is Elder Andrew Merkley, and he's not tall like me. He's kind of a hippie, or at least he was. In his drivers license picture, he has long curly hair. He only eats fruits and salad for every meal, so we nicknamed him conejito. (I think that's how you spell it). I got like 4 or 5 letters in the first couple days, so my district nicknamed me el hefito. haha it's pretty funny. Three of the guys in our district got transferred yesterday to the intermediate spanish class... it was kind of sad, since I got along really well with two of them. They were Elders Murphy, Rincon, and King. Murphy and Rincon were the ones I got along well with. 

In class, we focus on teaching the gospel, but we just do it in a different language. It's kinda weird, but it's effective. I've found that praying in Spanish helps a lot. We just finished teaching our first investigator yesterday, whose name was Josue. I found that I could understand him surprisingly well, but I just couldn't speak to him very well. It's harder to think of the right words to say and getting all the grammar right. Whenever I'm bearing my testimony or praying, the words seem to come a lot easier, which is cool and a testimony of how the Lord can bless us with the gift of tongues.

I did get to see Jacob quite a bit actually (Zach's cousin)! I've seen him like 3 or 4 times since last week! I did see Matthew Thompson as well, and we took a picture together. But I guess you already heard about that.

Our district leaders are really cool. They're both really friendly and nice and I've gotten to know them pretty well. Our branch presidency is amazing as well, and our branch president speaks spanish, so that's cool. We have our whole Sacrament meeting in Spanish on Sundays. It's pretty great. We have to write talks every week just in case we get called on to speak. No one knows who'll get called on. We don't have any sisters in our  district. There are actually only 4 or 5 in our whole zone. It kinda stinks, but kinda not. haha Everyone in our district is either going to the DR santiago mission or Argentina Buenos Aires south, or my mission. There are two others going to Posadas, so that was cool to finally find someone going to the same place as me. Oh I did receive a pretty much permanent calling to play piano in sacrament meeting, so yes I have had the chance to do that. It's been really great. I haven't had the chance to play just songs I like to play, but maybe I will today. 

I found out about Brian Carter when I was walking to my room. I just saw him sitting there. He's in my zone, so we have p-day on the same day. It's awesome. My companion seems to think he's pretty funny too, so that's a plus.

The food here is good, not great. It's better than at school, but not as good as at home. Oh well, what can you do? 

 Dad, we did have priesthood, but no Sunday School (thank goodness ;) ) Sunday was great! Saturdays are just like any other day, but P-day has been great so far. Time is starting to go by quickly again, so that's good! The first week was really slow, but once Sunday hit, it got better. 

I don't know if you guys have ever heard Elder Bednar's talk about the Character of Christ, but it was one of our Sunday night options, and I listened to it, and it was one of the most amazing talks I've ever heard. He talked about how in every instance of trial in Christ's life, he would always turn outward instead of inward. It really made me think about how Dad told me to just love people, and good things will come of it. We talked a lot about it last night after the devotional too. Love for your companion and love for those you teach will help you teach people, not lessons, and be a much more effective missionary. I don't know if you can listen to it outside of the MTC, but if you can you should. It was seriously so amazing, like I don't know if I've heard a better talk about Christ. haha Sunday's are great.

Elder Zach Taylor

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sister Wood - Forget Yourself

Sister Wood and Sister Ulu'ave hosting new missionaries
KUMUSTA for the last time from the MTC!
So yeah, this is my last e-mail from good old Provo, Utah! Haha I seriously can't believe it, but that's okay because I don't need to! It has been such a good week to end our stay here.
On Wednesday we got to host the new missionaries that came in. I had been looking forward to that day since the day I got here! As new missionaries started pulling up, and families began saying goodbye, I begun to change my mind about the whole concept of hosting. I HAVE BEEN HERE FOR 6 WEEKS AND I WAS THE ONE TEARING UP AND CRYING!!! Seeing these moms just latch on to their sons like they were never letting go just ripped my heart out haha. It was the most sad thing in the world. And on top of that it reminded me of when my family dropped me off at the MTC and I was the biggest ball baby ever. I got to host a girl from Samoa! It was so sweet! We help them get their books, badge, new room, and new classroom. She was an international missionary so I had to show her all of these different places. All in all though, hosting was a great time, and a good way to spend 3 hours of our day!
...........I have learned the extreme importance of LAUGHTER here at the MTC. Or anywhere for that matter. Isn't laughing the greatest thing ever? I could do it all day, all the time. My kasama and I laugh all the time and it is the best! Being able to laugh about how dumb I am sometimes, or how weird she is sometimes, it makes everything better! Another reason why I love Polynesian people so much is because they make me laugh!!! And when they laugh, I laugh! Everything is just a funny joke. :) My fave..
On a more serious note, last Sunday we got to watch the talk the Character of Christ given by David A. Bednar. I think it is only shown in the MTC because he gave it at a Christmas devotional a while back. I absolutely loved the promises he made to us in the talk as well as the doctrine he gave. He promised that if we become CONVERTED in the Lord, we will never fall away from the Gospel. I think that is an incredible promise. He said that there will come a point when just a testimony of the church won't be enough. We have to become converted in the Lord, so we will never fall! He also mentioned a point that really hit me and that I will never forget throughout my whole mission. He  boldly said "GET OVER YOURSELF! Your mission isn't about you!" Christ gave us the perfect example of turning outward to the people and forgetting himself. As we get over ourselves and turn outward as Christ has done, "You will truly find yourself, but you won't be looking for it." I just thought that was so cool, and so true. That will always be in my mind. He also challenged everyone when we have a question about something, to go buy a cheap regular Book of Mormon. Read the whole thing through, and as you do it, mark up the whole thing with stuff pertaining to what you want to know. And afterwards, go through and find your answer. I decided to try this, so I went to the book store and bought a little mini Book of Mormon. I want to know more about the true character of Christ, so that is what I am focusing on as I read it! I love it, because as I read it, I have a purpose and goal on what to find out, so I read it in a different way if that makes sense haha. So if you feel like this could help you I encourage you to give it a try!
Yesterday, we had In-Field Orientation. OKAY REALITY IS SETTING IN! The guy who was in charge of it was saying that next Sunday we will be in our mission (Philippines) in a ward there having to get up and introduce ourselves in sacrament! OH MY LANDS. I joked and said that I better start preparing my shpeel right now haha. But really! How cool is that? I am super nervous, perro sobrang excited! The next e-mail that will be sent will be from the Philippines! In all honesty, I know I am not fully prepared to go out into the field, but I am so ready. And with the Lord's help, I will be able to do what I don't think I can do now. I know that because I am ready and anxious, God will help me as I am obedient, diligent, and turn to him for help!
Well, I think that is my week in a nutshell! Everyone pray for me that my luggage makes it under the 50lb. weight limit!
Lots and lots of love,
Sister Wood
The District wearing their Armor of God necklaces

The District and Branch President
BYU Soccer fan (Elder)  asked Sister Wood for posters to take to Italy with him
Sister Wood and Elder Trujillo - Her really good friend from Layton High
She was so excited to see him. She said it was the Happiest, Greatest, Best day!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sister Rebecca Packer - California, Rancho Cucamonga Mission

Sister Rebecca Packer

Sister Rebecca Packer is in Ontario, CA in the Rancho Cucamonga Mission.  She arrived in CA one month ago and has loved every day of her experience.  She is with Sister Ott, the sister in the 1 month picture.  They had a baptism nearly the first day she got there, not that she had anything to do with it, but it was a wonderful start of her experience.  When she feels she is slacking, she sits herself down and gives herself a good talking to and then gets up and goes to work.  She has realized that when things aren't going as they should, she has learned what to do. Well, here it is in her own words (part of it anyway).... 
I am so grateful to be out here in California! My goal this last week has been to be EXACTLY obedient, because we needed the blessing. We had nobody to teach and I didn't know what to do. So I obeyed EVERY rule! ....literally, down to the tiniest little rules! Of course I am not perfect but God can definitely see my efforts and as you can see by our 3 new investigators the lord has blessed us immensely! :)  Obedience really does work! It is so important!
Finally I want to challenge you all with something. There is a talk in the July 1980 Ensign by Elder Groberg called "Life is a mission". It is the coolest little message ever and is not very long and I want you ALL to read it. This is what we have been sharing with our members and dinner appointment lately and the spirit is so strong every time we share it. So will you all commit?! ha-ha  :) I am just going to pretend you all said "yes" now you have too!   Sister Packer

Sister Courtnee Wood - Sister Rebecca Packer

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Zach Taylor - MTC

The Taylor Family


Zach entered the MTC last Wednesday! It was one of the hardest things we have ever done! We haven't received a letter from him yet, but we've heard some great things from other sources that he is doing well and that his P-Day will be coming up on Wednesday! We heard on Sunday that his room is right next to a good friend from the Bridgecreek ward, Brian Carter! We were so excited to hear that he got to see a friendly face and is right next to him. They are both going to Argentina. We also heard that he was told that most likely he will be reassigned a mission in the U.S. while he waits for his visa because the visas are taking so long in Argentina. We heard that he likes his companion and he is happy to be there and can hardly wait to get out in the mission field to serve. I got an email from another great friend from the Bridgecreek ward, Matthew Thompson (who leaves the MTC tomorrow morning at 4:30am for the Birmingham, Alabama mission), and he said that he has seen Zach several times and that Zach, Brian and Matthew all took a picture together. Hopefully we'll get to see that soon! We'll share more updates when we get a letter from him, but we were pretty excited to get a little bit of good news!





Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Elder Christian Richards

Elder Richards

Christian Richards was just recently called to the Singapore Mission.  This mission is English speaking even though half of the population speaks Chinese at home.  Christian is hoping that the Chinese classes he took in school will still come in handy.  Part of his mission also comprises the island of Malaysia. 
Christian has been serving in the military for the last 3 years and just finished a deployment in Afghanistan.  Leaving home is nothing new for Christian but he is very excited to be leaving this time to serve the Lord.  He will enter the Provo MTC on October 9th.

Sister Courtnee Wood - True Conversion Comes Through the Power of the Spirit


Sister Wood still singing in the MTC choir - Miracles happen in the MTC :)


Kumusta Everybody!
I hope you are all doing fabulous!
And I thought last week went by fast... anyways, MTC life is going great. The last few days have been rainy you know, and it has been awesome here! I don't know why it makes the days more fun, it just does!
The gym at 2M has been heaven to me the last week! It is what I look forward to most in the day. And geez for being at the MTC it is pretty nice. They have a cardio theater things going on with like 5 flat screens and different shows on them all. But the real plus is that it is the only place that you can wear headphones on the the whole MTC campus! So yeah its is the greatest and a time for a little getaway from everything! They also have free weights, so Josh would be really proud of me because though I do not like lifting, I have been doing some of his arm workouts. :)
The food here is gradually getting better, or maybe I am just getting used to it haha. They have a really good and fresh salad/wrap bar that I go to for every meal besides breakfast.
Typical day meals:
 Breakfast - oatmeal & peaches
Lunch - Salad/Soup
Dinner - Salad/Wrap/Soup/Pasta (depends)
So yeah, I shouldn't complain, because in a couple weeks I will be praying for the MTC food again!
 The Tagalog is coming even more along! I actually know a lot more than I give myself credit for. Like when my teacher tells me to start teaching my kasama about the importance of going to simbahan (church) and I stare at her like what in the world? You really think I can do that right off the top of my head? So she let me do it in English, then the next time around, it just started flowing and I was able to explain it with what I knew! It was pretty cool. They have a lot of faith in us and expect a lot, which is what we need. 
The teaching this week has been incredible. We taught our investigator Tommy (our teacher pretending to be a real investigator) 3 times, and each time we came out, our teacher told us that was the best lesson so far. SO WE ARE IMPROVING! AND WE ARE FEELING LIKE REAL MISSIONARIES! In each of our lessons, the Spirit was so strong, and no joke, the Holy Ghost inspired us to teach the lessons a certain way, and it was exactly what he needed! You have no idea how exciting it was. We have taught him about The Book of Mormon, how to feel the spirit, and about life after death since he had questions about it. I know for a fact that it is the Spirit that teaches the people though. We are just God's mouthpiece. Gosh I can't imagine what it will be like out in the field! 
 Speaking of the field, the next group leaves on Monday, then GUESS WHO IS NEXT?! Me. Cool huh?
2 Sundays Left
2 P-days left
2 weeks left
I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 22!!! Sorry, not appropriate, I have just been deprived. :)
But after tomorrow, we will only have one more Sunday here, because we leave on Sunday the 28th. Now when you think like that, it is scary. We get our travel plans on Friday, so I will let you know what they are when I find out! I think I am ready to go, but in reality, I need to learn as much as possible in the next 2 weeks.
Mahal Kita. <3
- Sister Wood


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Elder Almen Thorpe

Elder Thorpe
Almen Thorpe has been called to serve in the Auckland, New Zealand mission. His mission also includes The Cook Islands and Niue. These islands are about 1,500 miles north of New Zealand. Almen was born and lived on Majuro, Marshall Islands until age six. That island is about another 1,500 miles north of Tonga and Samoa. He is very excited to serve the people of these islands and will feel very much at home.

Almen reports to the New Zealand MTC on Nov. 7, 2013.

Elder Zach Taylor

Elder Taylor

 Zach Taylor has been called to serve in the Posadas, Argentina mission. This is a brand new mission that was just opened on July 1st. It's on the northern part of Argentina by the Iguazu Falls. Part of his mission is also in Paraguay. He will be teaching in Spanish. His farewell is Sunday, July 14th, and he enters the Provo MTC on July 17th and should be there for 6 weeks. He is excited to go serve! 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Elder Tanner Nelson

Elder Nelson

Tanner has been called to serve in the New Jersey Morristown mission - Spanish speaking.  He'll be headed to the MEXICO MTC on Sept. 4.  Fun for him to have a little 'foreign' experience before coming back to the states.....although, we keep hearing that New Jersey is so different from Utah, it just might seem like a foreign mission!

His farewell is August 25, and he is super excited to head out!


Monday, July 8, 2013

Elder Xavier Stilson

Elder Stilson

Elder  Xavier Stilson is serving in the Alameda Branch in Lakewood Colorado  while he continues to wait for his visa to Vitoria Brazil.  Even though he is anxious to serve in Brazil  he is really enjoying his time and the people he has met in Colorado.  He has been very busy teaching people in  several nursing and assisted living homes and also in the local Insane Asylum.  At first he found this very discouraging but  has grown to love the people in the homes.   He has had two deaths since he has been there.  I was very confused when he emailed home the eulogy  of a Brother who had just passed and it wasn’t until I finished reading that I  realized that it was written by Elder Stilson.   What a humbling experience for not only him but for his proud  parents.  I don’t know many people who  could write such amazing words about a man he had only known for such a short  while.  I have received emails from the  Ward mission leader that Elder Stilson and his companion have broken several  teaching records and in their branch they have doubled their highest  stats.  He was so excited for his first baptism  June 23rd.  Since Elder  Stilson has been out, a change has been made that a certain amount of time each  week should be spent on serving people in his community.  He has enjoyed that so much, especially a day  where they were able to take a group of disabled people to a carnival.  Last week were transfers and Elder Stilson  prayed that he would be allowed to stay in the same area until his visa is  approved.  To his surprise, not only was  he able to remain in his current area but he was also given another missionary  to their companionship.  Hopefully, this  means his visa is coming soon.  He loves  what he is doing and is working very diligently.




Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sister Courtnee Wood

Class on the 4th of July

Teach People - Not Lessons

The fact that another week has passed just blows my mind! I don't even know what to talk about. I hope you all had a fabulous 4th of July! The 4th of July was a little bit different here in the MTC. Matter of fact it didn't even feel like a holiday! Besides the fact that I looked like a walking flag  and that no mail came, so I didn't get your package mom! Yes, I was upset. Anyways, I am starting to get the feeling that I am the freak show here at the MTC. In a bad or good way, I don't know. A girl came up to me on the 4th and said she couldn't wait to see what I would wear that day haha! As I walked around in my patriotic outfit, I couldn't help but notice everyone's heads turn and stare. I already get looks since I am  taller than every other girl, but it was like 10x worse. 
 So for the celebration that night we were all pleasantly surprised and they let us watch 17 Miracles! It was the best!!! Then we went outside and had ice cream and got to watch the fireworks from the stadium of fire. It was legit and super fun!
This week we taught a few lessons. We taught Tommy and Nenneth. The lessons with Tommy were amazing! But Nenneth was a struggle. As we taught Tommy, the spirit was so strong and it felt so real. My companion and I were able to teach a whole lesson, and trust me, it was all because of the spirit. I found myself being able to say things I never thought I could and I WAS ACTUALLY SPEAKING TAGALOG! It felt so good. We walked out of the room and were screaming and hugging each other out of excitement. Can't imagine what it will feel like out in the field! We taught Nenneth and it was completely opposite. She wasn't talking very much and we both started freezing up and didn't know what to say. IT WAS AWKWARD and we hated it, and we decided we are never having a lesson like that again! A big thing we learned this week was to teach people not lessons. We have to turn our lessons in to things that fit the needs of who we are teaching. It makes such a big difference. We had a devotional on Tuesday and the guy spoke about how there can be good days and bad, and he shared with us entries from him journal that were just UP then DOWN. And that really is how it is here. It feels so good to have good days, and then when you have a bad one with teaching or whatever, you have to get back up!
It has been an amazing week spiritually. As I sit in our classroom and we are learning this insane amount of information, I sat there one day and I literally could feel that there was someone else there helping me do it. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are there to help us ALL THE TIME! When we want it. And the last couple weeks that is all I have wanted, because I know that I can't do any of this without their help! I know for a fact also that scriptures speak to us. They are tools to give us answers and we can know the truths of these things through the Spirit! It is so comforting knowing that we can always turn to God for help. Gosh I love it! Praying has taken on a whole new meaning to me while being here, and I don't know what I would do without it. I am so blessed to be able to have my own personal relationship with our Father in heaven!
Thank you everyone for all the love and support! We get our travel plans not this friday, but the next! So that tells you how fast time is flying! Only 3 more P-Days here in the MTC! CRAZY! EXCITING!
Mahal Kita. :)
- Sister Wood
After Devotional

Sister Wood makes her MTC choir debut ( this is a big step for any Wood :)

Sister Wood and Sister Ulu'ave in class

I think Sister Wood is trying to tell us something!


Friday, July 5, 2013

Sister Rebecca Packer

Sister Rebecca Packer

Sister Rebecca Packer has loved her mission experience from the Start of her preparation.  Attending the temple often, usually twice a week was the biggest blessing and preparation she could have made prior to entering the MTC.  She entered the MTC on June 12th and the mission field on June 25th.  She is now serving in the CA, Rancho Cucamonga Mission (English Speaking).  She was originally called to CA, San Bernardino Mission, but the map in her call said, effective July 1st, CA, Redlands Mission.  Three days prior to leaving the MTC, she and several others were given new assignments, and she was assigned to serve in the CA, Rancho Cucamonga Mission.  She proved to be faithful, fearless and accepting.  Pres. Jensen said this was happening a lot!  Prepare:)  The MTC experience was a fabulous one for her and  she fell in love with all the sisters she worked with (that's Becca).  She felt the same way with her new companion, Sister Ott, from St. George and they have been anxiously engaged in the midst of 114 heat, but feeling the Lord blessing them to bear it well.  She has never worked so diligently on such a great cause and loves every part of her experience serving.  Her testimony is a blessing to all who hear it, especially her family. 

Sister Rebecca Packer is our 5th and last missionary of 8 children.  She is the only female that has served.  Best to all of you missionaries serving and soon to serve.  Best to all you mothers, especially if this is your first time, the blessings far out way anything they can ever do in this life.  It brings me to my knees with gratitude. 

S.M.I.L.E.  To be Spiritually Minded is Life Eternal!   2 Nephi 9:39   This is what we put at the end of our missionaries letters.  Such a greater reminder.                        

Renee Packer