Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!! (Monday, Dec. 7)

Dear Family and Friends,

It has been another wonderful week here in Stockholm, Sweden. I can't believe I am here sometimes. It's mind boggling to think that on Friday of this week I will be half way done with this mission the Lord has entrusted to me. I have so much left to do here, and I am so very grateful for the opportunity I have to serve. I am blessed every day with the Lord's tender mercies, with health, with joy and with a strong testimony that what I am doing right now is blessing the lives of many of the Lord's children here. I also hope it is blessing all of you.

I have had a wonderful first week of December. We weren't as busy this last week as we have been in the past, but everything we did was very worthwhile! We were able to teach Kristoffer and Niklas again this week, both teaches went very well. We are putting our faith and prayers toward knowing how to invite Kristoffer to be baptized. We want to make sure that it is right and that the Spirit will be the one that invites him to act.

On Thursday, after District Meeting, we went out in the middle of the city to a place called Hötorget and we did some Christmas singing and playing while we contacted people there. We all sang a couple of songs together, and then others went out and contacted while I sang Jul Sånger (Christmas Songs) for those walking past. It was such a wonderful opportunity to share my voice with so many. There were many who stopped to listen and it gave many opportunities for Sis. Swenson and the others who were there to talk to them about Christmas. I hope we get the opportunity to do that again. :)

On Friday, we had Jul Bord (Traditional Christmas Dinner) at the new YSA Center. It was really great. We had about 15 minutes before we were going to meet Kristoffer and we went out contacting down a random street. As we walked, we met a young man named Reese. As we got talking to Reese, I realized he was not quite all there. The more he talked, the more interesting he thoughts were to tell him we needed to go and give him a pamphlet on the way. The next thing I know, Sis. Swenson asked him what he was doing and if he wanted to come to the dinner with us. He said, "Why not?!" So off we went to meet Kristoffer. Through the night we were very stressed out. We had 4 YSA investigators who came to the dinner and we wanted them all to have a good time. Luckily, the Elders kept an eye on Reese for us so we could make sure everybody else was doing ok. Well, the night ended, and we said good-bye to Reese.

The story continues.....we get to church yesterday and about half way through Sacrament Meeting...who would walk in the chapel but Reese....but not alone. Reese brought his dad to church with him. Now, this is where I know that the Spirit really does inspire us. When I saw them, I remembered that Reese had told us that his dad grew up a member of the church but hasn't been active for many years. It just so happens that the night we met Reese, he had run away from the mental institution where he has been staying. He had been wandering around Stockholm for a day or two and then we talked to him. After he went to the dinner with us, he decided it was time to go back "home." I think back now about how I had so quickly judged him...and he really did need our help. The Lord put us in his path and I'm so very grateful now that we were able to help him...even if it was just a little bit.

Now, I want to skip back to Saturday. We taught Swedish Class on Saturday and then we went out to Lidingö. Brother Koch, our Ward Mission Leader invited us to an old folks home to sing and play with his family who went last year to do a little Christmas music for the people living in this old folks community. I just have to express my gratitude that we were able to go and sing for them. It's amazing the joy that I could see in their faces as we sang Swedish and American Carols. I got to thinking about those who are old, and don't have family close...or who don't have family to come visit them and it reminded me of Pres. Monson's talk in Conference where he talked about how lonely it gets to be old. I hope that all of you find an opportunity to visit with somebody who might need a visit during this Christmas Season. I shook their hands after we had finished performing for them, and they were so glad and thankful for the little bit of time we had taken to come and entertain them. This time really is about service....service like the Savior would do.

Sister Swenson and I were talking about the Christmas Season and how wonderful it is to be missionaries right now. There is so much we are grateful for, and so much service for us to do here. We talked about how as missionaries it really gives us a different outlook of Christmas. We don't have family here with us to focus on, we don't have money to buy presents with, and we have the opportunity to serve all the time. The thing that has been most impressive to me has been the opportunity we have to focus on the Savior at this time of year. Along with all the other good and wonderful things that come at this time of is the Birth of our Redeemer Jesus Christ that we have real reason to celebrate. It is His coming to the earth that makes it possible for us to return back to our Father in Heaven some day.

I am so very grateful for the fact that I can focus on the "Reason for the Season." I know that I will be sad in moments when I wish I was home singing, playing, visiting and being with all of you, but I know that I am serving the Savior, and that is something I find great joy in. I hope you all have a wonderful week. I'm sure all the decorations are beautiful, and the lights are shining, and I hope that you all continue to give and help others feel the Spirit of Christmas! Love you all very much!!!

Sister Suzanne Wood

P.S. Svenska ord för denna vecka är BARNKRUBBA....which means MANGER. Its the place where Christ was born. :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Let the Holiday Season Begin!!! (Monday, Nov. 30)

Dear Family and Friends,

I will start with an update of my last week on the mission. It was wonderful. We didn't have as many teaches last week, but we had memorable times, and we were able to have some really good teaches with our investigators.

I'll start with Wednesday. It was a busy day! We started out Wednesday morning at Kathy Hsieh's house. She is the 50 year old Taiwanese woman who served a mission 30 years ago and then became less active. Let me know if I haven't told her story and I'll explain more about her next week. The important thing is that we went over there and taught her about the Word of Wisdom. She is always accepting of the doctrines we teach her, but what was really awesome is that when the teach was done, she got on Skype with a man in Taiwan who she taught to baptism. The crazy and cool thing is that he and his entire family are now active members in the church. He is a patriarch, his wife is the Relief Society Pres. and his daughter just got done serving a mission and is going to go to BYU in the fall. It is so amazing to see that what Kathy did 30 years ago has had a tremendous effect on so many lives.

Right after Kathy, we were able to teach Charles. He's the man from Gambia who I sent the conversion story of a couple of weeks ago. We taught him from Conference....Elder Bednar's talk about being more diligent and concerned at home. Charles has a twelve year old daughter who he is raising on his own. The teach went really well, and then...every time we meet with Charles we sing for him before we end. We sang a Swedish song called, "Blott en dag." It's very popular here and I'll be sure to sing it for all of you when I get home. :)

After Charles, we went directly to Niklas. He is the friend and co-worker of David and Kristoffer. Kristoffer...the investigator I often talk about. We talked to Niklas about the Restoration of the gospel. He has been taught by the missionaries before, but it wasn't right then. During our teach he said many times, "Oh I see. It makes sense to me now. Maybe it's the right time for me now." Just what we all want to hear as missionaries! He was sincere and humble, and we left feeling like things went pretty well and we set up a time for another teach. Then, David called us later that evening. He let us know that Niklas had talked to him after the teach and that he really feels like what we told him is true. He sat right down and read what we had asked him to read from the Book of Mormon and said that he would give prayer a try before we meet him again. Wow!!! Totally awesome!!!

Then, after Niklas, we went directly to Qi. Her mom has come from China and is Christian but not a member of our church. We have been spending time with them lately and on Wed. evening they fed us some authentic Chinese food for dinner and we were able to leave not only Qi and her mom with a thought, but also Qi's non-religious boyfriend. It was awesome!! We talked about how we know through the Spirits that are in us that we are the children of God. It went really well. The Lord really is preparing people all the time to at some point be in a situation and place where they can accept the Gospel if they choose to.

Now to THANKSGIVING!!! On Thursday morning, we got up and made our assignments for Thanksgiving Dinner. We made a Green Bean Casserole and a fresh homemade apple pie. Sister Swenson got the apples cut and ready for me....then I did the crust and put the pie together. It was my first time baking a pie on my own. turned out beautifully!!! I'll be sure to send a pic. of it when I can....don't know if I will get to it today. But...the pie was perfect!! The casserole also turned out well. We then headed to Täby where we had a joint district meeting with all of the missionaries in the Stockholm area and then got ready for Thanksgiving Dinner. It was really nice to have a nice dinner and have all the traditional favorites. One of the Secretaries in the office was in charge of the turkey and stuffing and he did a great job. We had all the fixings and a great afternoon. We then went on splits and did some finding work. I went out contacting with Sis. of the newer missionaries in the field. She is awesome and really anxious to learn. We had a great time together. better way to end the day but knocking on some
in some university housing. We had a great day on Thursday!

The weekend was just as great. On Friday, we taught Carina...another member who is the only member in her family and needs some support once in a while. She is awesome. We taught her about the Atonement from Heavenly Father's perspective and how he must have felt to watch the Savior go through what He did. It was really something I've thought about quite a bit and the Spirit was very strong during the lesson. It's interesting to think that Heavenly Father would have left the Savior alone....but he did so in order for there to be no feeling in the world the Savior had not that He could help us, even when we feel entirely and completely alone.

After Carina, we taught Marc. He is completely positive. We invited one of the YSA's who just came home from his mission to come. We talked about commandments, and why we have them. The teach went really well, and I'm continually praying that we will see Marc be baptized. He has a big test he's taking on Friday and is busy until then, so we'll wait a little bit to bring up a date to be baptized. I do know that he is truly humble and seeking for the truth. It's wonderful to have so many positive investigators.

Friday evening and Saturday, we helped move all of the stuff from the old church building to the new Center for Young Adults. The new place is awesome. We have a missionary room where we will be able to do all of our teaches. It will be wonderful to get completely moved over there.

Yesterday, we had a completely wonderful 1st Advent day. First of all, we went to church and Sis. Swenson and Elder Hanes played their violin and viola for church and I played the piano for them. We did "Silent Night", and some other song...that I don't know the name of in English. It's "Härlig är jorden" in Swedish. Ok, Sis. Swenson looked it up and it's "Beautiful Savior" from the Children's Song Book. It went really well. The Spirit was brought to the meeting by the music.

Then after church we went to the mission home to the Open House. It was a little feeling of being at home. There was good food, many wonderful people to visit with and we were asked by Sis. Anderson to be in charge of the music for the night. Sis. Swenson and I had checked out some Christmas Music books from the library and we played some duets, she and the other elders who play instruments played, we had sing along with many of the people who were there, and it was just plain wonderful. We had a great evening and there were many people there who are not members of the church who also had a great time. It was a pleasure to go and help with the evening!

Last week was really wonderful. Even though we didn't have as many teaches....our teaches went really well and I truly hope we were able to help somebody come closer to the Savior over that last week. I know that the Lord blesses us with what we need, and I am comtinually thankful for my blessings and the opportunity I have to be here serving the people in this beautiful country. As far as health goes...I'm doing just fine. My back is only hurting a little bit. It's not hindering the work in any way and I'm so grateful for that.

I will say that I did miss home on Thanksgiving. We had a really nice day...but there's nothing like being home with the whole family. I love you all. I miss you all. We have many things planned for December through the Holidays and that will help to keep the Spirit of Christmas with us....and hopefully not have too many thoughts of home. :) I hope all of you have a wonderful week and that the season of Christmas is with you throughout the week.

Sister Suzanne Wood

P.S. Swedish word of the week is BETLEHEMSTJÄRNA......that
would be BETHLEHEM'S is a tradition here in Sweden to hang a star in the window with a light in it....representing the star that was seen when Christ was born. I'll try to take pics. of some of them. It helps to see all the lights in the windows when it is so dark all the time.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Glad Thanksgiving!! (Monday, Nov. 23)

Dear Family and Friends,

It feels like only a few days since I wrote last. I guess it wasn't so long ago. The rest of this last week went really well. We had a teach with our investigator Marc on Thursday. We taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he told us he wants to get baptized!!!! We didn't set up a date for him to work towards yet, but we will do that this week. He is so very ready to accept the fulness of the gospel on the Earth, and it is completely awesome to get to be a part of that. He was sick on Sunday so he didn't come to Stake Conference but we hope to meet with him this week and set up a date for his baptism.

Kristoffer continues to progress. On Saturday evening, the friend that introduced Kristoffer to us called to thank us for what we are doing to help Kristoffer. David just wanted to express how much change he has seen in Kristoffer and that he knows he is going to come to the decision on his own that this is the right thing for him. That was really nice to hear from someone very close to Kristoffer that he is changing and spiritually growing through the knowledge we are helping him learn. I know very well that it is the Spirit that is teaching him. Kristoffer and David are also reading 10 pages every day in the Book of Mormon together!!! It's incredible.

With Tina, we are going to teach her about Baptism in a couple of days. We feel strongly that we need to teach her about what baptism is and help her to see the benefit it will be in her life. Last time we went, we talked about faith and repentance, and it was hard for to understand that God would forgive her after all that she has done. I assured her that God helps us through anything, and will forgive us of anything as long as we are willing to go through the process of repenting....and then forgiving ourselves of those things we do. I see a great change in Tina all the time as well. She has read a couple of Conference talks and loves them...she continues to progress, we just need her in church. She wants to come as well. We will continue to pray for her health to get better.

Other things happening here in Stockholm are as follows:

1. We will be having a Thanksgiving Dinner with Pres. and Sis. Anderson, The Wright's and all the other missionaries in the immediate Stockholm area. It will be really nice. We will be making green bean casserole and an apple pie for the occasion. We will have a combined District Meeting as well on that Thurs. Sweden doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving at we'll just have our dinner and get to work. :)

2. This weekend is the 1st Advent into the Christmas season. It is the weekend where everybody lights the 1st candle of the Advent. There are 4 weeks to Advent leading to Christmas. Every weekend they light another candle so on until all four are lit the week of Christmas. We will be spending next Sunday at the Mission Home for an Open House they are having. Sis. Swenson and I have been put in charge of singing Christmas Carols with people and visiting with people who come to the open house. It will be wonderful I'm sure.

3. Yesterday, one of our new members called us on the phone.....first of all she speaks english....second of all I'm Syster Wood. Now despite all of that information....I answered the phone and said, " Hej! Det här är Syster Swenson." "Hi! This is Sister Swenson." thing of all is that I didn't even realize I had referred to myself as my companion until she started busting up and told me. Yes, after 4 months together...I am ACTUALLY starting to think that I AM my companion.

4. We are very excited for the Christmas Season in our apt. We already have a little tree put up, and lights. We know it's early...but we think it's ok since we are away from home.

5. My back is getting better. I still have some issues, but it is getting better. I am sure all of the prayers have helped. Thank you. I keep praying to be able to keep going, and that Lord keeps blessing me with the strength I need. I know this is the Lord's work and that He needs me here. I am doing all I can to work hard and help the work to go forward.

Those are the updates from this week. We have good things planned for this week, and we are excited to have our first full week of the transfer. This transfer is going to be awesome with Christmas. I think we will be doing lots of Christmas caroling and such. It will be wonderful. I hope all of you have a great week. I am so excited about Juliette. She is beautiful. I hope that all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Remember all the things we have to be grateful and don't forget to thank Heavenly Father for the blessings He gives us. I am truly grateful for all of family and friends...for the support you give me and the joy of knowing that you love me and care. I miss you, and I pray for you often. I always look forward to hearing from all of you. Have a fantastic week!

Sister Suzanne Wood

P. S. Swedish words of the week are......KALKON......which is TURKEY.....and POTATISMOS...which is MASHED POTATOES.....yay for thanksgiving. Too bad they don't have green jello here dad. I'd totally make it like we do at home. :) With almonds! ;)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Here are some pics that Suz sent today. She included some captions this time.

Sis. Swenson and me on the bus.

Me and Stockholm at night!!

Sis. Swenson and me with Marcus awesome return missionary YSA who helps us often.

Sis. Swenson and me with Elder and Sister Wright...they are the couple who work in the Center with us. They are wonderful and so very helpful!

Sis. Swenson and me with of our investigators.

Us with Bro. Koch, the Ward Mission Leader, and his adorable daughter Audrey.

My district with Bro. and Sis. Cordova in our ward. Awesome member missionaries!

Us with Lindsey Tanner....another awesome YSA.

The rest of these are shoe pictures. They show how bad my shoes got when I had mom send me new ones...all everybody needs to know is that my feet got wet sometimes. :) I threw them away you can see.

Staying in Stockholm!!!

Dear Family and Friends,

As you can see...I'm staying in Stockholm for the next transfer....with Sister Swenson. I am really excited to get to stay here over Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not to mention....we have AWESOME investigators and we really feel like we have a lot of work to do here. I had felt a little bit last week like I might be moving....but really didn't want to. Sis. Swenson and I get along really well, and there is so much work to be done that we feel grateful to get to be here and do it.

This last week was really good. We taught 19 lessons to investigators, less active members, dinners with members, etc. It was awesome. Our goal as a mission has been changed from 15 lessons a week as a goal to 20. We are almost there. We continue to work to stretch ourselves and meet the goals that we have for the mission. I feel incredibly blessed for the success we have had in our area. I see how things have changed over the last 4 months...and I am completely excited to see what other miracles the Lord will provide us with as we do our hard.

We taught Tina twice last week...which was so great. She is still struggling with her health, but doing better all the time. She told us about her experience with she felt a wonderful releasing of all of her weaknesses and challenges in her life as she prayed to Heavenly Father and actually talked with Him. I truly know that she is repenting and coming closer to Heavenly Father all the time. It is amazing to see someones life change right before my eyes. It's amazing.

We are still meeting with Kristoffer also at least once a week and the Spirit is always strong when we teach him. We still need to help him understand why there are commandments the Lord gives us...and keep helping him progress toward baptism, but I also see a change in him all the time. He comes to church almost every week, and always tells us of the Spiritual Experiences he has when reading the Book of Mormon and praying. Amazing!

Marc, another Swedish investigator we have is also progressing and really listens when we teach him. He is eager to meet with us, and willing to come to church. He wants to understand better the origin of the Book of Mormon, and as he reads and learns more, I know his testimony will increase of the truthfulness of that book.

We feel truly blessed to be teaching the Swedish people in their own language. I know the Lord is helping me to be able to speak the language to help them understand. Often in the mission, most of the investigators are not Swedish. We have 3 wonderful Swedish investigators....which is wonderful....and a miracle, and a complete blessing from the Lord.

Other than that, I am doing pretty well. On Sunday, I woke up and my back started to really bother me. I must have done something to irritate the they've bulged and caused quite a bit of pain the last couple of days. I am grateful to Sis. Swenson for being patient with her temporarily gimpy companion. The Lord still continues to bless me. I can walk just fine, and still do what needs to be done for the work to continue to progress.

I see the Lord's hand every day here. I couldn't do the work otherwise. I know that as frustrated as I get with myself and my weaknesses...the Lord is helping me to be better, and making up the difference so that I am still able to help His children return to Him someday. We have many things going on this week. We have Stake Conference on Sunday and Swedish Mormon Musical that will be on Saturday night. Our church will no longer be meeting at the building Stockholms Ward has been in for the last 15 years. It's a leased area of a building in the middle of the city and the lease is out in December. We will be meeing in the church building in Gubbängen starting the week after Stake Conference. It will take us about an hour to get to church every week...and for some of the members an hour and fifteen minutes. We are a little worried about the response of the members...but we pray that there faith will keep them coming to church...even though it will take a while to get there. I think about areas of the world where people have to travel for hours to get to church every Sunday...but they still go.

Along with a new place where we will meet for church, there is also a New Center for Young Adults we will be moving into December 1st. It is going to be really awesome and we will be able to do teaches there, and use it to teach Swedish Class...and invite as many YSA's as possible to come and join in the activities we have going on there. We are also looking forward to that in the next couple of weeks.

Other than that, all is well in Sweden. The temperature is cold. It's between 0 and 5 most of the time...and there were a couple days last week in the negatives....yay.....ok....not really yay....but I am staying warm, and we stay so busy the dark and cold doesn't usually bother me. I hope all of you have a great week. I can't believe next week is Thanksgiving. It's crazy! Katie is getting married....Steph had a baby.....lots of things are happening, and I am still grateful to be here doing the Lord's work. I love all of you very much. I miss you. It's sometimes hard to be away...I hope you all know I truly miss you. BUT...know that I am happy and know that what I'm doing now is so important for Heavenly Father's plan. Have a great week!!!

Sister Suzanne Wood

P.S. Here is a Swedish word for the week....DRAKE....said like means DRAGON. Super funny...because my District Leader...Elder Drake....Äldste Drake in Swedish means the oldest dragon in English. We joke around A LOT about that. Oh, and we have one change with our Elders in the district. Elder Takahashi is leaving us....bummer...but Elder Hanes is coming to Stockholm...he was in my group at the MTC. It will be a great time!!

What I've learned... (Monday, Nov. 9)

Dear Family and Friends,

It has been another wonderful week in the mission field here in Sweden. I have had some really cool realizations for myself and also for our investigators this week. We have stayed busy and all that we are doing to help those around us come to Christ is truly rewarding for me.

This last week I have thought a lot about obedience to the commandments....what it means to be obedient...why we need to be obedient, and how we can see the blessings of obedience in our lives and recognize that God has given us commandments for our benefit. Our investigator Kristoffer...who is AWESOME by the way....told us that he isn't ready to be baptized. As he explained his reason for not needing to be baptized, I realized a lot of his concern had to do with "not wanting to need rules in order to do what God wants him to." I have thought and studied much about why we have commandments, and my testimony has grown SO much in the knowledge that God gives us commandments to keep us safe from harm. He wants us to follow His commandments so He can bless us. It has nothing to do with rules God makes us follow...just so that He can be in charge and give us rules...but it has everything to do with Him wanting us to show our faith in Him, follow Him, do what He has asked us to do so that He can bless us. Every commandment we have been given has a blessing attached. There is no negative consequence to following the commandments. I just will say that as we teach Kristoffer the commandments, the promises received from following them, and that it is not a negative thing....I hope the Spirit will testify to him as it has to me that commandments are for our safety and benefit.

We have not been able to teach Tina for the last couple of weeks, but we pray that she will be in good health enough for us to teach her tomorrow. I know she is prepared for the gospel, it just will take time to be able to teach her and see her progress to baptism.

We also have two new investigators that I will just mention. The first is another Swedish man named Marc. We met him on the street one day and taught him the Restoration of the gospel last week, and will teach him again tomorrow. He came to church yesterday and had many questions. He is really positive and we will continue to help him learn about the fulness of the gospel. He actually believes in God. (It doesn't happen very often that we meet a Swede who believes in God.)

The other new investigator we have is a man named Manuel. He is from Brazil and has been living in Sweden for 6 years. He is really positive as well and the last time we taught him, one of his friends showed up and we ended up teaching him too. There really is success we are seeing in Stockholm. I have really mixed feelings about transfers!

Otherwise, everything went well during the week. Every time we pay our fast offerings...the next week we are blessed with several meals with members. It's such a blessing from the Lord. We have been busy, and we are continuing to invite those we meet to learn more about the gospel.

I am happy, and healthy. It's crazy that it's dark most of the time now, but we have so much to do it doesn't really even phase me. The weather is cold...but not too bad yet. We will get calls about transfers next Tuesday and then have our P-Day on Wednesday instead of Monday. We then transfer on Thursday. Like I said...I have really mixed feelings about transfers. Part of me really wants to stay here for Christmas...and see the progress of the investigators I care so much about. Another part of me feels the need for change as well. I know that President will be directed by the Lord as to where I need to be. Sis. Swenson and I get along really it wouldn't be bad to stay together for another transfer either...I guess we'll see. Transfers are pretty exciting!

I hope all of you are doing well. I pray often that all of you....min nära och kära are doing well. That you are having whatever you are doing. I love all of you very much. My mission has been such a blessing thus far and I know that support from you has really helped me in the work I am doing for the Lord.

I know that we are God's children. I know He loves us very much. He loves us in such infinite amounts that He sent His Son to the earth and redeem us from all that we would do here if we turn to Him. I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I know He is our Savior. He wants us to come to Him and truly "be perfected in Him." I am grateful for the testimony that I have. It continues to grow and be strengthened.

Take care of yourselves! Have a great week. I'll write again next Wednesday.

Sister Suzanne Wood

Svenska ord för denna vecka.......MOSTER.......Jag är moster igen till en ny lite flicka.....Juliette Nguyen......yay for being an aunt again. I'm so excited. By the way...moster is mom's sister....or aunt as we would say. They split up family by the mom or dad's side. So I am Bry and Meliss's kids FASTER and Steph's kids MOSTER. Exciting right??? I'll explain more when I get home. ;)

Monday, November 2, 2009

New Pics

Good...but hard week...

Dear Family,

This last week definitely had it's ups and downs. We had to drop two of our investigators which is the hardest thing I have done thus far on my mission. We went and taught Fan and Haiyu on Thursday evening. We read in Alma 32 about experimenting on the word...and we both knew that they needed to decide they would experiment with faith in God before they would receive a witness of it, and toward the end of the lesson I felt impressed to bear my testimony to them of God's love, His existence, and His hope for all of us to return back to His presence some day. I can honestly say that the Spirit was the one testifying. The Spirit was in the room, and we invited them to really pray and act to find out for themselves that God is there. Then...they told us they didn't think they could believe in God, or in Christ and that He had atoned for our sins. They asked if we could just come and chat about other things...and be friends with them...and we had to let them know that as missionaries we spend all of our time inviting people to come to Christ.

As we rode the bus home, I was really bummed. Not at all about myself...or how we had taught them, but about their choice to not learn more about our Heavenly Father and His Son who have done so much for us. I was sad for them. I really am starting to understand what it means to believe Christ. To believe that He is God's Son, and that He did go through the Atonement for us so that we could be whole. I am incredibly grateful for the fact that I have grown up with that knowledge. I see how hard it is for people to accept it later in life, and I know that we have been so blessed....simply in the fact that we know that God lives, and loves us.

We were not able to teach Tina last week, and we invited Kristoffer to prepare to be baptized, and he is not ready for that. He is so open, and said he still wants to continue to meet with us and learn more, but that he isn't willing to get baptized. We will continue to teach him as long as he keeps his commitments, and I know that the more he understands, the more opportunity the Spirit will have to testify of the truthfulness of the Gospel to him.

We have met several new people that we are going to teach for the first time this week. It's getting cold out, and it's harder to get people to visit with us on the street, but there are those who want to talk. We are excited for the possibilities we have of some new investigators this week.

The work with our ward is going well. We met with the Relief Society Presidency yesterday and talked about the need to do Visiting Teaching. I think that if the ward can figure out how to be more successful with Visiting and Home teaching...then activation in the ward will start to increase. I know that feeling like a part of the ward...that feeling important is one of the most important things people need. We are really going to do all we can to help the ward members help all of the new members in the ward to feel accepted and like a part of the family.

We had the YSA Halloween Party which was really fun on Friday....and we also had a ward party on Saturday afternoon. Both activities were really fun. We didn't dress up...but there was good company, entertainment and some good food as well. I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween. I can't believe it's November. I'm just watching time fly by, and yet I know that everyday I am doing worthwhile things to help Gods' children here in Stockholm to come to Him.

Transfers are in a little over two weeks. November 19th is Transfer Day. I don't know what I want to happen. I love Stockholm, I know the ward, I love being with Sister Swenson, the work is progressing here...but if the Lord needs me to be somewhere else then I will go wherever He sends me. Tomorrow is Sharpening...where we will interview with Pres. Anderson and have a review from what we did at Zone Conference. I look forward to that, and to all that we have to do this week.

That's pretty much the update. As for me, I am happy and healthy. My back is still doing just fine. I don't have anything to complain about....except a little sore throat and runny nose. I refuse to get that's as bad as it's going to get. We have had a great week. The Sisters that were staying with us got to go home and be in their apt. again, Sister Swenson made a delicious Vegetable Soup we got to eat all week, and I love the work I am doing. I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween. I am sure there was lots of Trick-Or-Treating and costumes. Halloween is starting to spill over here...but not very much so the day was pretty normal for us. The temperature here is starting about -2 degrees celcius in the morning which is about 28 degrees farenheit...and usually gets up to about 6 celcius or 40 degress farenheit during the day. It's really not too bad...yet. The worst is when it is windy. It feels lots colder when the wind is blowing. The colors have been beautiful all fall and now everything is dying and it's starting to become really dark. I am not sure if I have mentioned that we changed to Winter Time here...which is where we set our clocks back an hour so it is lighter in the morning. The crazy thing is that the sun is starting to set around 4:00pm in the afternoon. It's pretty crazy. We have lots to do, so that is helping us not to feel like we're out in the dark all the time. I also realize that it is only getting to get worse...the dark and the cold, so I'm being grateful that it is not colder yet.

Anyway, there's a little trivia about life in Sweden right now. I hope you all have a great week. I love you all. I pray for you, and I hope that you all know how much I appreciate the support I receive. Take care and have a wonderful week!!!

Sister Suzanne Wood

Monday, October 26, 2009

Almost Halloween!!

Dear Family,

This week has been really good. We have had many teaches, the weather has been cold...but not too cold yet, and we are now 4 people staying in our apartment. Being the Stockholm sisters....has really been exciting. There are two sisters in Jakobsberg which is just outside of Stockholm who last week realized that they have a huge mold problem in their apt. So, they have been staying with us this whole last week. We are crowded, but really enjoy being around each other. We also had Norrköping sisters stay with us Sat. just imagine 6 girls in a one bedroom apt. There was NO floor space. :) We had a blast being together.

As far as the work goes, the work is going really well here. We are seeing real success with both Kristoffer and Tina. We went to visit with Tina last week, and we took the time to really talk about something that she had brought us...and that was that she feels like God has left her alone. She has felt like the things that have happened to her in her life have some connection with God's love for her, and that He must not love her for her to go through so many trials. We read a couple of scriptures that really help us to understand why we feel that way sometimes. It was amazing. After we had her read one of them, she said, "That was just for me. I feel like that is exactly how I have been feeling...and now I understand why I have had the trials in my life, so I could learn from them and become better." It was awesome. She is progressing really well. She is reading in the scriptures, and enjoys our visits. We are praying that she will be healthy enough to come to church soon. That is one of the only things that we are worried her coming to church. It's just really hard for her....with Borelia (she got bit by a tick during the summer and nobody checked for that all summer, so now it's become really bad) and Fibromyalgia...which gives her a lot of trouble also. So we just keep praying that she keeps getting better so we can see her in church. We'll go again tomorrow to visit her. :)

Things with Kristoffer are also going really well. We have taught him the first two lessons of the gospel and he came to church again yesterday. We are seeing the ward really reach out to him. He is making progress, and we pray that he continues to think and ponder on what we have taught him to know for himself that it's true. He really likes the Book of Mormon, but didn't read what we had asked him to from last time. I know that reading and praying is the only way he can begin to develop a testimony of the things we teach. Our words will not get him a testimony. He needs to be converted by the Spirit...which I know he has felt. We look forward to our teaches with him and see that he has a great potential. We're meeting with him on Wednesday and talking more about Joseph Smith. Without a testimony of Joseph Smith...the Book of Mormon....and the church cease to be true.

We also meet with several new members every week. There is a member named Wan, she is wonderful. There is another girl named Qi....also wonderful. They are both from China, and have come a long way from when they started learning about the Gospel, but there is so much to learn, and so much to understand that I am grateful for the opportunity we have every week to see them grow in their knowledge and their testimony of all the things they are learning about. I love new members of the church. They have such a desire to learn, and are so willing to try and be better. It has reminded me that I too should have the attitude of a new member...always willing to learn more, and to always strive to be better.

Otherwise, the week went well. We have found several new people that we are going to try and get together with this week and teach. We are always busy. We teach Swedish class twice a week which has been going well, we try to stop by and get a hold of less active members, and we talk to people and invite them to learn about the gospel all the time. The work is going really well. We want to teach more people, and we are really trying to work well with the ward, because we know how vital that is to everything in the work.

I hope you have all had a wonderful week. I am sure Halloween will be fun. We will be having a Halloween Party at the YSA Center on Friday, so that will be fun. I am healthy and happy. I know the Lord is pleased with my decision to serve, and I pray and hope that I am continuing to show Him that I will do all I can to invite others to come unto Him. I hope all is well wherever you are. Time is flying by. We'll be seeing another transfer a couple of weeks, and who knows what will happen then. I love you all. I pray for you and hope that all things you need...the Lord is providing. Remember to be thankful. All that we have comes from our Heavenly Father...because He loves us and wants us to be happy.

Sister Suzanne Wood

P. S. Here's a Swedish idium....två flygor med en smäll. It literally means two flys with one smack....but is equivalent to our....two birds with one stone. Pretty fun to use these....makes me sound like I know the language. :P Swedish really is going pretty well for me. ;)

A little inspiration...

This is a story of a man we met when we were working with Sister Pierce in Södertälje. I have met Charles...have gotten to know him, and know that the Lord is aware of all of us, and really does reveal what we need to continue in our journey back to him.

Here's his story:

Charles is a convert of about a year who is from Gambia (a country in West Africa). Charles was a main general for the army there during the war a few years ago, and he worked directly with the President of the Country. Through some happenings at the time that I would call "secret combinations" Charles was decieved and ended up being charged with treason. He fled from the country with his daughter, and they came to Sweden. While he was here in Sweden, he met the missionaries, who taught him and helped him make many changes in his life. He was baptized and he met with the bishop every week thereafter to continue to work through things.

You see, Charles has been through many things in his life. Things that as he explained them to me, left me in awe that anyone could have such a hard life. There are many experiences that he has had that continue to haunt him today. After some time, Charles recieved a phone call from his mother in Gambia who told him that he needed to come back to the country and to sign some papers or their family would be "picked up." Charles had no idea what to do because he knew that in going back, he would be killed, but he didn't want his family to be in danger. He counseled with the bishop for quite some time and they came up with plans of how they were going to get Charles and Meri safely back to Sweden.

First off, Charles said he needed to take a gun back with him-he's been in the army, he knew how things were done and thought he would surely need it. The bishop told him that he felt so strongly that Charles shouldn't take a gun back with him and not trusting Charles, the Bishop made him stay in his house the day before he left, took him to the airport himself to make sure. The bishop also role played with Charles about what he would say if the President asked him specific questions. Charles has a bit of a temper, so he helped him come up with answers so he would be prepared and not fly off the handle. Also, the night before he left, the bishop felt very strongly that he needed to give Charles the Aaronic Priesthood, so he did, and then he printed out a line of authority for him to put in his wallet.

Okay, so Charles and his daughter were on their way home-Charles explained it as the longest flight of his life, and being in the army, he knew there would be soldiers there waiting for him when he got off the plane. He didn't trust in the bishop and the Lord and he doubted that anything would work out. As they arrived in the country, there were no officials to take him away. He walked past numerous checkpoints and to his total disbelief he made it to his home without anyone taking him away. No sooner had he and his daughter hugged the rest of his family, and sat down, there was a knock at their door. They had come for Charles. At least his daughter was safe in the hands of his parents. Then they took him away.

So Charles was "picked up" and put in a cell for a few days. They then took Charles and brought him to the President, who began to ask Charles a bunch of questions, all of which he was prepared to answer. Charles knew the President and he knew that he was a crazy guy-calm one minute and flying off the handle the next, so he had to do everything so carefully. The Bishop preparing Charles was absolutely inspired-He knew how to react calmly and say the things he needed to. He knew exactly how to answer each question and by the end, the President offered Charles his old position back. Charles did not want his job back. He had left his life behind him and didn't want to be that kind of person again, so he told the President that he couldn't take his job back because he was now a Priest in his church. The President didn't believe his explanation, so he took out his line of Priesthood which had been given him the night before he left by the bishop. Somehow, So, they brought some papers in front of Charles and gave him his release. Through all this Charles was completely stunned. They let him go and he and his daughter made it back to Sweden in safety. The journey back to Africa was an absolute miracle. What an inspired bishop, who gave Chales all of the tools he needed to accomplish this and what great faith Charles had in following the counsel of the bishop!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Always good times... (Monday, Oct. 19)

Dear Family,

I have realized that every week I write very spiritual and uplifting experiences...which I won't cease to include in this email, but I read a line from dad that said, "I hope you still have your humor" this morning, and thought you should all be aware that I laugh all the time. As a missionary there are all sorts of crazy experiences we have. I will try to include them so that you all know that I too....Sister Wood...have a good a missionary way. :)

So, here's a little funny story for this week: We have these two investigators to the church. They are Fan and Huiayu. We have been teaching them now for quite sometime. Well, we went to their house to teach them last week, and Huiayu came to the door before we even knocked and said "We are having a problem with the cat." We of course asked what is wrong...and he replied, "Well we are trying to potty train her, and it's just not working. She just pees all over the floor in the bathroom." In a little bit of confusion, we looked into the bathroom. As we peeked in, there we saw kitty litter in a weird toilet bowl cover thing with just a little whole in the middle. What we didn't realize when he was telling us they they were having a hard time potty training, is that they meant literally to have the cat go on the toilet. Haha. Super funny. That's not even what was the most funny to us. We have known them and the cat for some time, and no joke...the cat's name is Pe Pe. So, Pe Pe won't go pee pee in the potty. What a laugh we had over that. I hope it gets a giggle from all of you. :)

Now, other things that have happened this last week. We had the most teaches this last week that we have had here in Stockholm, and that I have had during my entire mission. It's amazing what happens when we plan well, and then everything goes through that we have planned. We visited many less active members, we had 3 dinner appointments with members (rarely happens) and we were able to teach all of our investigators this last week as well. We were literally running from one appt. to the next, and it was thrilling for both Sis. Swenson and I.

Things are going well with Tina. She is still pretty sick, but we went and taught her God's Plan for us. She was so open, and asked really good questions. She feels like she can make better decisions since she has met us and we have taught her about the Spirit and that it can be with us and help us to choose the right things to do. We will go and visit her tomorrow and pray that she will continue to progress. The hardest thing will be getting her to church because of her poor health. She has come already such a long way...and her friend Susanne...who is a member but has been inactive said that she would start coming to the teaches we have with Tina. It's amazing...the blessings we are seeing and the change that is taking place in this wonderful woman's life.

We did teach Kristoffer last Friday. The teach went really well. He was very open and accepting to the things we taught him. He is a very deep person and it's interesting to teach him. We gave him the challenge to read and pray, and he accepted that. We then invited him to the baptism we had on Saturday, and he came to that as well. We are excited to see him reach his potential.

On Saturday, there was a baptism of a man named Thommas Takhashi. The Elders have been teaching him for about a month now. He is about 20, and his story is interesting in that he grew up in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and actually went to church there because a lot of his extended family are members in Brazil. When he moved to Sweden 11 yrs. ago with his non-member mother, he lost contact with the church. As it would happen, he is a sales person for a phone company who's head guy is actually a member of the church here. They ended up discussing religion at length one day, and it's all history from there. This member gave the referral to the office, and Thommas was contacted by the Elders only a month ago. He could remember singing " am Child of God"in Primary when he was young. What a preparation for him. What a knowledge and testimony to me that the Lord knows us personally. He knows where we are. He knows what we are doing, and He know's who we need in our lives to help us to progress. The baptism was wonderful, the Spirit was of course very strong throughout the meeting, and I'm so grateful I got to be part of it.

I really have had a wonderful week. We were busy, we were able to visit with and help many people. There are some really wonderful members in our ward who just need some support, so we were able to visit them last week, and uplift them from the words of God. That really is an honor to me, and everyday I have the opportunity to help someone see the blessings of God in life, and the miracles that have happen, and that I see happening come because of faith in the Savior Jesus Christ and all that He stands for.

It's getting colder here all the time...but not too bad. I hear the worst is January and February...we'll see. :) I hope that Fall is treating all of you well. I love when the weather cools down and the leaves are changing color. I hope school, work, and everything else is going well for all of you. I miss you all, I love you all, and I hope that you continue to look for opportunities to serve those around you. It's really wonderful to know that you are all being blessed as I serve the Lord. Have a wonderful week!!

Sister Suzanne Wood

P.S. Swedish word of the day is.....actually two THANKS.....and SNÄLLA is PLEASE. I think you should all be able to be polite på svenska när jag åker hem.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wonderful blessings! (Monday, Oct. 12)

Dear Family,

We have had a great week here in Stockholm. There have of course been trials, but there have been many more blessings than trials...when we look for the hand of the Lord in His work. I am always so grateful and amazed when I take the time to see what the Lord does for each of us...even on a daily basis. I think it's when we forget to notice the miracles, or small blessings that we become discouraged of think that the Lord has forgotten us. There is so much to be said for counting our blessings. Speaking of which, we sang that yesterday in Relief Society...and I started to all know me....big baby...well there is a wonderful sister named Louise Gleissman who was leading the song, and as we sang she looked at me and teared up to. It was such a wonderful spiritual reminder to always look for the blessings the Lord provides for us.

We have had several wonderful experiences this week, but I am going to focus from about Friday until yesterday. Sister Swenson and I have spent much time over the last week really trying to do the will of the Lord. We have prayed much to be led in what we need to do here in Stockholm. We had a couple of hard days before Friday, so as we did our Weekly Planning, we focused very much on what we can do to help the people we are working with and the ward members in Stockholm. Planning went really well, and we felt like we had some wonderful inspiration as to what we need to do. So, we went on with our day...and everything seemed to go down hill from there. Our appts. cancelled for Friday night, and we ended up having nothing solid planned for most of the day on Saturday.

Well, we tried to stay positive on Saturday, having lots of time to contact people in the city, and look for those people who are looking for the truth, and it seemed the longer we went, the more people were not exactly kind, and our Spirits were getting down. We continued to work hard though, knowing that the Lord always needs us to prove our faith in order to give us the blessings, and so we continued to work hard. We went home, ate dinner, and then went back our on Saturday evening to find a few less-active members we did not have phone numbers for. It was freezing, and we were not having much success. Well, as we walked, we got a phone call from a member in a ward called Gubbängen. His name was David. He called to tell us that he has a friend that he would be bringing to our ward yesterday. We couldn't really hear what he was saying, but just that one phone call made the rest of our night look SO much better.

We had started our fast Saturday evening, and when yesterday came, we were excited for the possibility of someone who might be interested in learning the gospel brought by a member to our ward. Well, as it goes, along with fast sunday, we also have testimony meeting. Well, during the testimony meeting, David (the member who brought the friend) stood up and bore his testimony, which was wonderful. Then, no sooner had he sat down....that his friend Kristoffer stood up in a congregation of people he did not know, in a church he knew not very much about, and he told us about the things that he knows are true. I can not even describe the Spirit that was in the room when this before Atheist man stood up at the pulpit and expressed to us the gratitude for the feelings he had in the meeting and for the experience he has had finding God. It was absolutely amazing.

After Sacrament Meeting, we all went to Sunday School and we talked about our Heavenly Family. The realization came to me during class that we really do have a Heavenly Father who knows us infinitely well. He gave us our personalities, our talents, and we had a very clear picture of what we were agreeing to when we decided to come to the earth. I sat there, and thought about my love for music. It hit me...I loved music before, I learned about it before. Heavenly Father gave me those talents of music before I came to the earth, and wanted me to come here so that I could bless the lives of others with what He gave me before.

I don't say this to express my "talent in music" but to point out that no matter what it is we are good at, our strengths, our talents, our personality traits, we had them before. We are all God's children, and I am so grateful for the knowledge I have that God loves each of us enough to give us those things we love, that we can improve and bless others with, and that we can have as a testimony that we were given so much before we came to the earth.

The rest of church was wonderful. I felt the Spirit strong the entire block of meetings, which I really needed. I felt so close to the promptings of the Spirit. After church, we invited Kristoffer to meet with us and learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He said, "Of course!" We will meet with him this week, and pray that his heart will remain open to accept the simple, beautiful, eternal truths that are the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We have lots of plans for this week. We are excited about all we have to do, and the new investigators we have. We are continuing to see success here, and even though some days it's just the very smallest somebody who is not interested in the Gospel being kind in their rejection...but the blessings are everyday, and everywhere if we look for them.

I am grateful to all of you for your support and love toward me. I am grateful for all I am learning in this amazing time to serve the Lord. I love Sweden. I love the people here. I am understanding the Atonement more all the time and that Christ really did atone for all of us. Those who accept Him and those who don't. It really was an infinite Atonement. I am grateful for the knowledge I have that we can be together forever if we strive to live the Gospel. I love you all very much, and I miss you too!

Take care and have a wonderful week!!!

Sister Suzanne Wood

P. S. Swedish word for the day is BRÖ you can all guess what that's BREAD. I had to do that one because we have started to make this homemade a bag...that is delicious and super easy. We are becoming professional bread designers besides the servants the Lord needs us to be.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Always love Conference!! (Tuesday, Oct. 6)

Dear Family,

This last week has been very good. We have had success in the area, and are glad we are here. It has been an interesting week of work because the last few days have not been traditional missionary work. On both Saturday and Sunday, we were able to watch conference. We got to watch a couple of the sessions at the same time as all of you watched them. That made it a little better knowing we were all watching at the same time. I love General Conference. It always helps us to know exactly what we need to do to improve ourselves. It is such a blessing that every 6 months we get to hear from the Prophet and Apostles and other leaders of the church and receive the guidance and direction we need to keep progressing and becoming better.

The concept of revelation is something that I am so grateful. We are always trying to listen to and heed the revelation of the Spirit...and after conference, where they talked a lot about promptings of the Spirit, I see even more how important it is.

I loved watching and listening over the weekend. It was a much needed boost I needed. I was a little discouraged last week. We have not gotten any more new investigators and are really having a hard time to know what to focus on in the area. So, I was SO grateful for conference and the much needed guidance I received.

I have a much better outlook this week. We also had Zone Conference yesterday, which was fantastic!! We had a visiting member of one of the quorums of the 70. It was Elder Paya from France. The conference was also much needed for the work we are trying to accomplish here in Sweden. He talked about our mind set being a lot of what we will be able to accomplish. As he talked, it was so obvious that he had something else prepared, but followed the Spirit and told us what we needed. He reminded us that the reason we are out in the mission field is to find people who are ready to receive the Gospel and be baptized. It was so good to hear the success stories, and have a boost of confidence in what we are doing.

We also taught Tina again last week, and took a member of our ward with us. Irene and Tina had a great time together. They are similar in age, and just had a lot in common. Tina continues to be sincere in her desire to learn and understand and we continue to pray that she will progress and take the steps needed to be baptized. We love to teach her, and can see the change that is taking place in her as she realizes that God really does love her and will never forget her.

Sister Swenson and I have decided that we want to...and need to be more unified in our goals for the rest of the transfer and that we both need to set aside what we think is the best thing for the area and really take it to the Lord and do what He wants us to do. We are growing together more all the time....and realizing why we have been called to serve together in the wonderful and incredibly potential area of the world. We want to have success, and we want it to be the Lord's will we accomplish. We are both excited about this week, and the rest of the transfer. We have been encouraged by Pres. Anderson that he feels like every companionship can have a baptism this transfer. We are looking forward to that....and know we have a lot of work to do on our end to see that amazing blessing happen.

I'm trying to have an increase of faith in the work. I know that by faith in the Lord...we can do anything. I also know that when we don't show our faith, and act in the Lord's name, that there can be no miracle. My goal is to accept the miracle this week. I know as we work hard, the Savior will provide the miracle for us and show us success in His work.

I know I am doing the Lord's work. I know that the Savior Jesus Christ leads this church. I know that through the Prophet and Apostles that He communicates with us. I learned so much during conference. I am grateful for all that I learned and all that I have to imrove on. I love all of you very much. I hope that the Fall is beautiful, and that you all know how much I appreciate all you do for me.

I hope that this week is wonderful...full of good experiences!

Sister Suzanne Wood

P.S. Let's see, I am trying to think of a word that would be about HÅRKLIPPNING...A HAIR CUT.....Sister Swenson cut my hair this morning. Don't be scared...she happens to good at everything. :) Plus it's more healthy...even if it's uneven. Love you!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Oh what a week... (Monday, Sept. 21)

Hejsan min familj!

Well, this week has been crazy. It has been challenging for me here in Sweden this week. There have been many unexpected things that made it a challenge.

After I emailed you all last Wednesday, we had a good rest of our P-Day. Then, we found out at the end of the day...after we had gotten Sister Pierce all ready to go back to Södertälje on Thursday for transfers...that she would be staying with us in Stockholm another week. It was not a problem that she would be with us one more week, but because we had thought that she would return to Södertälje after Wednesday, we both filled up our schedules for this entire week in Stockholm and Södertälje. It proved to make things difficult. We ended up doing splits twice this week. Once on Friday and then again on Sunday to get everything covered. I am grateful that we had so much to do, but it was really stressful to try and plan and change plans and not be in my companionship so much last week.

Suz and Sister Pierce

The Stockholm Missionaries

Otherwise, everything is going well here in Stockholm. Sis. Pierce is going to go to Södertälje on Wednesday with her companion Sis. Robinson...who is in my group from the MTC. They will do well there and we are looking forward to our little mini transfer for things to get back to normal so that we can have more focus in the work here in Stockholm. We are all still getting along really well. I have to say it's really sad that none of you will get the opportunity to hear us sing together. It has been so fun to sing with these two awesome sisters!

The highlight of these last several days has been church yesterday. I was at church in Stockholm with the Sister missionaries who serve in an outlying Stockholm area. They came to church with me and it was awesome! We had three investigators tell us on Saturday that they would be able to make it to church on Sunday. We prayed they would actually come....and they did!!! We have been teaching a man named Viktor who is here in Sweden to get a job. He went to school in Scotland, and is really accepting of the gospel. He came to sacrament meeting. Then, a young guy named Habitamu from Ethiopia came with his friend who we hadn't met yet. It was awesome! The only problem was that the headsets weren't working for the english translation, so I ended up translating Sacrament Meeting into English for our investigators. It was pretty crazy. I keep joking with my companions that I feel like I really did make up part of it. Come on, I've only been here for four months. My Swedish is proficient for me to understand, but for me to process it that quickly was pretty challenging. Still, I was blessed and could really translate the meeting for them. They both thanked me after and said they really enjoyed the meeting.

So, we had three people actually come to church!! Then, another miracle happened. Another young man we have been trying to get a hold of to teach...Andy, came during sunday school with a friend of his we had never met before! It was awesome. We taught them about the Restoration of the Gospel and gave them both a copy of the Book of Mormon for them to read. The Spirit was really strong, and I felt so blessed that they came and that we could share that wonderful message with them.

I really have to say, that even though the week was hard, the Lord provided us with many miracles and that we have so much more to look forward to here. I really do know that the Lord leads His work here.

I hope you all know the blessings you have been in my life. Continue to do the best you can. We all have weaknesses that the Lord has given us so that we can understand and realize the importance of Him in our lives so he can help them become strengths. I have seen that many times over already on my mission. There are many things I am trying to become better at here, and I know I am being helped all along the way.

Hope you have all had a wonderful week. I hope the fall weather is nice. I love it here. It's cooling down and the leaves are starting to change. This is a beautiful country. Our Heavenly Father really did create this earth for us to come here to live. I really am in one of the most beautiful places on earth. I miss you all, and love you all. Thank you for the letters. I am glad that everything is going so well back home. I pray for all of you often, and hope that things continue to be well!

Sister Suzanne Wood

P. S. Svenska ord för i dag måste vara LÖN...det betyder REWARD på engelska. I hope you are all picking up a little Swedish here and there. Have a great week!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Here are some pics from Suz's last couple of weeks.

Us with Moses and Jallah before they got baptized.

Us with Dele and Papa Sandy before Dele got baptized.

The three of us at Dele's baptism.

Us with Shaw...who has a baptismal date!!!

Us with Moses on our last night in Södertälje.

Charles...a super cool Gambian and me wearing his glasses.

Sister Swenson trying to be Bob the Builder...

What a week...

Dear Family,

This week has been really good. Thank you all for the emails today. I know you all love me and support me very much. I hope you know how much I love all of you as well. I am so glad to know that all of you are healthy and happy, and that everything is going so well at home while I am here doing the work of the Lord in Sweden! It's been another great week here. We have been in Södertälje and in Stockholm this last week.

President Anderson called us yesterday while we were in a teach, so we had to wait a while to hear about transfers. Well, I'm staying in Stockholm for this transfer with Sister Swenson. It seems that all the sisters have been rotated around us and that we are staying strong here in the capital city. We are both excited to stay here. I am excited to be able to have enough consistency in an area to really know what I'm doing and see the work go forward here. We have a lot of ideas for the transfer as well as a lot of opportunities that have come with the school starting and a lot more people around to contact. We have found many places to tract in the city and are really going to try to build relationships with the YSA's (Young Single Adults) and have them help us a lot with the work. I have the feeling that they are the key to success in this area. I'm very excited about this new transfer.

The highlights of last week were that we had another baptism on Sunday in Södertälje. His name is Dele. The baptism went well...we sang another trio together and the Spirit is always SO strong during baptismal services.

The thing that has really meant a lot to me this week is a man named Shaw. I have to tell the whole story....well maybe I've already told part of it....I'll tell it again anyway. One day in Södertälje, we were getting off the bus at the church, and I had seen this guy on the bus, and kept thinking I needed to talk to him. When we had stepped off the bus, I took the opportunity to talk to him a little bit. As we talked, he told me he was Muslim, but went to a Catholic school growing up and has become a Christian. I gave him a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and got his number to call him. We have now met with Shaw three times, the first time he came, he had read the pamphlet and wanted to know more. We taught him about the Restoration of the Gospel. We taught him the Plan the next time, and just two days ago, our last night in Södertälje, we taught him The Gospel of Jesus Christ and invited him to be baptized! Before Sis. Pierce could even finish asking the question, he said yes!!! It is incredible to me the miracles I have seen already on my mission. I am so grateful that I opened my mouth to talk to him that day getting off the bus. The Spirit prompts us, and helps us to do what we need to, to stay on the path, and be happy in this life. I'm grateful for all that I am learning about the Spirit.

The best part of the work in Stockholm was the three Swedish girls who showed up in church on Sunday for a school project. They stayed and listened to sacrament meeting, and then had some questions they wanted to ask us about the church. We of course were willing to talk to them more. As a little background, Kimberly has been an atheist all of her life. Sofi and Josefine are believers but not in any organized religion. So, as we started to ask them questions, they became SO curious about the church. We talked about the Restoration and that there is a prophet on the earth to lead and guide us. Kimberly was the one who said, "That is so cool. It makes so much sense to have one person leading the church." Then we taught the Plan of our Heavenly Father...same responses from all three of the girls. To make a long story short, we talked to these three 18 year old Swedish girls for 3 hours about the gospel. The Spirit was incredibly strong. I could see how they were feeling something different about what we said to them. They have never been taught about Chastity, or the Word of Wisdom, or Tithing, but as we all made sense to them. The Gospel is something we have heard before. It is something they heard before they came here, and it was so cool to see how they could make sense of what we were telling if it was a reminder. That was an unbelievably awesome experience for me. I hope we see them again. I may not see them again. But, I know that they understand better who they really are. We are all of such infinite worth to our Father in Heaven. He wants us all to return back to Him someday.

The week has gone by so fast. Everyday, we have many people to teach, and find, and members to visit. We are very busy here. It's wonderful. My health is good. My back is holding up just fine. I have been so blessed, and will continue to be blessed as I am obedient and trying to help the work of the Lord go forward. I know that I am being led by the Spirit with what I do. I know that I will talk to the people I need to as I listen to the promptings of the Spirit.

I hope all of you are well. I pray all the time that everything will continue to be good at home...and wherever you all may be. I am grateful for the Gospel, and that we have the opportunity to help those around us to feel the love of the Lord. Don't forget to serve all those around you. The Lord is so pleased when we serve others!

Sister Suzanne Wood

P.S. Svenska ord för veckan......så vi se här.....det ska vara HALSDUK.......which would be SCARF......Jag tycker om att vi ha på oss halsdukar hela tiden här under hösten!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Baptisms!!! (Monday, Sept. 7)

Dear Family,

I have had a wonderful week. I think one of the highest points of my mission has been during this last week. I have also had a challenging week. Don't worry....for those of you who figured that I must only be having success with my emails, rest assured, I have challenging days. I think that's really how we grow. I'm growing all the time. We can put it that way. :) I'll just say that this week turned out to be one of the best!!

I wrote you all last Tuesday, so I'll fill you in as to what has happened since then. After we had our P-Day, we went to Södertälje for Moses and Jallah to have their baptismal interviews. They interviewed and were both qualified to be baptized. Yay!! So that was a great start to the week.

We had several new investigators scheduled to teach on Wednesday afternoon, and they all came. Amazing! That never happens. Two of them became new investigators of the church. Totally awesome. We had to give them both to the missionaries in the areas where they live, but we got to teach them once, and the Spirit was there, and they have copies of the Book of Mormon, so it's great.

We went tracting on Thursday out in Lidingö before we met with a member out there. As we knocked on doors, it became apparent that we all really enjoy tracting. The thing never know who's going to come out. One door in particular was really classic. We knock on the door, and it takes a minute, but to our enjoyment....there stands a Swedish women with bread dough covering both of her hands. She says she is baking....obviously and....something about people and stools....she was talking REALLY fast. Then all of a sudden a little girl starts screaming in the background. The poor lady goes with her doughy fingers and picks up the little girl. She comes back to the door and at this point we had all said many times that we would be glad to come back some other time. She said we were welcome back. As soon as she shut the door, we all started to laugh at what had just happened. Oh the joys of tracting.

Friday we were in Södertälje and taught Dele and Papa Sandy. We practiced and prepared for the baptism and everything went really well down there.

Saturday, we taught another new investigator. His name is Habitamu. He is from Ethiopia and is really accepting of the Gospel. I need to make sure I write down where all the people I teach come from. I feel like I am on an international mission sometimes. :) The thing about Habitamu is that English is his second language and he doesn't speak Swedish so that makes it challenging to teach him. We teach everything very simply for him and he understands. It has been really good for me to simplify the gospel for him. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not complicated, but I think as we grow in knowledge of the scriptures and gather more information that it is easy to make it complicated. It's easy to add more information than is necessary. So, I'm grateful for the opportunity to teach Habitamu the things that really are important and the basic principles of the gospel without teaching him EVERYTHING I know.

Ok, and for the definite highlight of my week. We felt like we needed to be in Stockholm and Södertälje for church yesterday. So, we got permission from President Anderson to ask one of the members of our ward to be my companion through church and then to ride with me to Södertälje for the baptism. We called Yasmin of the coolest Swedish converts to the church I've met to come on splits with us. She was SO excited to get to be a missionary for a day. So we went to church in Stockholm and Sis. Pierce and Sis. Swenson went to church in Södertälje. While in Relief Society yesterday, there was a little bit of time left for testimony bearing. Before time ran out, I had the opportunity to bear my testimony to the sisters in Relief Society. It was one of the most strong testimonies I have born. This last week I have really realized the love the Savior has for us, and I'm continually feeling that love more and more for the people around me. I saw many women sitting in front of me who are converts to the church, and their faith and decision to completely change their lives totally impresses me. I will just say that not very many people in the room had dry eyes after I bore that testimony. The Spirit was there. I am so grateful for the witness of the Spirit anytime we are doing something Heavenly Father wants us to do. I am grateful I can share my testimony all the time with people here in Sweden. I can't express enough how much I needed that experience yesterday. The Lord knows our needs, is aware of us and will give us those things we need at the time we need them.

After church, Yasmin and I travelled to Södertälje. There we got ready for the baptisms of Jallah and Moses. Now I need to say that I really felt like I have been a part of their conversion process. I didn't find them, but I helped in teaching them the gospel and helping them to accept and keep the commitments that would qualify them to be baptized. We had their baptism at 7:00pm. It was scheduled for was hard to baptize them...without them there...AST....African Standard Time. So, we got things started and the Spirit was already strong in the room before anything started. We three sisters sang Nearer My God, to Thee a cappella and then Jallah and Moses got baptized. The Spirit was with us. I felt the love Heavenly Father has for those two men who chose to follow the path of the Savior. It was awesome. We then had a couple of talks and refreshments at the end. I won't ever forget the looks on their faces after they were baptized. They both also bore their testimonies of the church, and that was awesome. They have both had a witness that this church is true. It's amazing how the Spirit teaches us.

I am so grateful to be here. I'm learning so much. I am happy. I'm healthy. Transfers are next week, so we'll see what happens. I'll have my P-Day on Wednesday instead of Monday next week. I think I'll be in Stockholm for a while.....I guess it's not really a good idea for me to guess what's going to happen. I have already seen how it has nothing to do with what I think or what I want to have happen. This is the work of the Lord. I will be where I need to be to find those people he has prepared for me to teach. I am grateful to all of you for your support and love. Continue to live your lives in a way that our Heavenly Father can bless you. I know that He loves all of you and wants us all to be happy, and return to live with Him someday.

Sister Suzanne Wood

P. S. Swedish word of the day.........ÄLSKAR VARANDRA....ok, I know it's two means LOVE ONE ANOTHER. It's become one of my favorite songs to sing på svenska.

Already September... (Tuesday, Sept. 1)

Dear Family,

This week has been really awesome. There of course have been many things that have never ceases to amaze me how many wonderful experiences I have each week. I'm so sorry I didn't write to tell you last week that I have P-Day today instead of yesterday. We had Sharpening and Interviews with President Anderson, so our P-Day was switched to today. I am also having trouble logging in to my sistersuzannewood email address today, so that is why I am emailing you from my old email address. The stresses of working in two areas has been a bit obvious this week, but as we have done our best to take care of both areas well, we have been doubly blessed.

There is one really exciting thing that happened last week that I better tell all of you first. We have our first baptismal date in the Stockholm area that Sister Swenson and I found. His name is James. He is actually Swedish!!! He is very positive and when we invited him to be baptized, he had a huge smile and said, "Yeah, I really want to do that." It's actually Ja Swedish. It was so awesome!!! The Spirit was so strong as we explained the covenant we make with our Heavenly Father when we are baptized and we are really excited about the future for him. We hope that all continues to go well as we teach him the other laws and principles of the gospel. So, our week last week started out with a bang.

We have been continuing to find new investigators who actually live in our area as well. One of the frustrating things about Innerstan...or the Inner City, where we work is that there are SO many people who come in from all over the surrounding areas of Stockholm to work, or shop, or whatever...the hard thing is that we contact many interested people, who we then give to the missionaries who are working in that area. It has been really cool to see the success that has come from people we have initially contacted. Actually, a man named Walter was baptized on Sunday, a young African guy who was ready to accept the gospel. We contacted him on the street in Stockholm. We are always trying to find people, and hopefully we can figure out where to go to contact those who we will have the opportunity to teach. I have to say, it is a privilege to find prepared matter who teaches's about them finding the truth and getting the opportunity to learn about the gospel.

We have found an area where many University students live that is in our area. One thing that has been really interesting to me is what kinds of things have happened when we have planned to go to this area called Kungshamra. Each time we have planned to tract this awesome area, we have all three either felt physically sick, or really tempted not to go for some other reason. It has really been bothering me that it was so hard to go out there. Last night, the three of us were talking as we headed home from Kungshamra. It became obvious to all of us that Satan really didn't want us to go there. We have had great success all the times we have been in that area, and he knows that. It really just helped me to see how important it is, no matter what kind of challenges come up to stick to our plans and follow the Spirit. We have found 6 or seven positive contacts in just the couple of times we have been there. It's amazing. I also see that in my own life. Anytime we are going to do something good, Satan tries to distract us, he trys to deceive us into thinking we can't do it, we shouldn't do it, or that we're just not good enough to do it. What a bunch of bologne!!! I have a new, greater resolve to fight even the slightest feelings of negativity. I know the Lord will help us to do what will help us to be the most happy in our lives. Never forget that. When we're trying to do something good....baptism, marriage, mission, name it, there will be opposition. Fight it! Do the thing the Lord wants us to do, and we will step by step qualify ourselves to return to Him someday. that I'm off my soap-box (hehe)...everything else is going really well. We have two of the three baptismal candidates scheduled to get baptized on Sunday in Södertälje. They are prepared and have accepted all of the laws of the gospel. We hope we have taught them the importance of what they are doing. We continue to stay really busy as our threesome in two area, and all is well in that way. We love to be with eachother, and we are finding joy in the work. We have our hard times....don't get me wrong, but we are doing our best to help people come to Christ.

I am still healthy and happy. I feel like I still have many things to learn to be the missionary the Savior needs me to be. I am making improvements all the time...and as soon as I feel like I've improved one thing, I see another thing I want to improve in. I'm seeing the Refiner's Fire in a very real way out here on my mission. Stockholm is starting to really cool down, and the sun is starting to disappear earlier. I love the area in which I serve, and I love the people I am getting the opportunity to meet. I am so grateful to have such a wonderful family and wonderful friends who are supporting me on my mission. I know you are all praying for me, and I appreciate that so much. I pray for you, and I think of you all often and hope the Lord will bless you with those things that are needed. Have a great week!

Sister Suzanne Wood

P.S. Swedish word of the week pick this week.....let's see.....I think it will be HÄRLIG......sounds a little like hairy in english, but it means......WONDERFUL. Det är härligt att ha så finnt familj och vänner hem. Jag tycker att jag är så välsignad!