Monday, May 25, 2009

A Great and Marvelous Work!!

Min Käre Familj,

I can't believe it's already been a week since I wrote my last email. Time is definitely going. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the emails. It has made my day, my week, to know what is going on at home, and to have your words of encouragement. I look forward to hearing from all of you every week. The work of the Lord is moving forward here in Sweden. I won't lie and say the it isn't hard. Some days it's really hard to be motivated to have 99% of the people in Sweden say, "Inte Intereserad..." BUT, the work is moving, and we will find those who are prepared and teach them with the Spirit so they can be converted by Him.

This week has been really good. We continued to try and get a hold of the investigators the Elders before us had, but to no avail. It's interesting how people so easily put aside God, and the importance of Him in their lives. Anyway, so we have been tracting a lot this week, and calling past investigators to find those who are ready for the gospel. We have also made appts. with several less active members in the ward here, that we hope we can show our love to, and also help them to feel the Spirit so they can again have the desire to come to church and receive all the blessings the Lord has promised them if they will follow Him.

We did have a really cool experience this week. We were tracting in an area called Marielund. This area of town has many apartment buildings, and has many Muslim people. I guess you could say it is a lower-class area of Norrköping. So we were knocking, and we had gone through an entire building of names with not one person who was even willing to listen at all. Well, as we were going to leave the building, there was one more door left on the right side of us. We saw that the name was Svensk, so we thought, well let's give it a try. To our astonishment, a man came to the door, and he listened. He listened intently, and it was obvious that as we testified that the things we told him about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that he could feel the Spirit. He would describe it to us, he said he felt nervous, but in a good way, and that the feelings he was feeling just then, were "heftigt" or "awesome." Since we met Harri, we have taught him the 1st lesson, and he has had many good questions, and sincerely wants to know the truth and we had our Ward Mission Leader and his wife with us at the teach, and their testimonies added so much to the lesson. We will teach him again this week and hope that he will be able to come to church. If you remember, pray for him, that he will continue to have the desire to read, and pray and to earnestly seek the truth.

We have also taught Violetta again, she is really our only other "progressing investigator" right now. We have finding to do, but anyway...the lesson with her went well. It's really sad, she doesn't feel anything when she reads the Book of Mormon. We focused on faith in the lesson, and how we have to have a desire to learn and once we let that faith in and plant the in Alma 32, that it can then begin to grow and take place within us. She understood, and I think she has a desire to know, but her past perceptions of God, or her un-belief that there is a God, it making it harder for her to accept that the Book of Mormon is His word. Pray for her also.

Other than that, this area of Sweden is beautiful! There are places we have gone to tract that are right next to a lake, and all of Norrköping has a river running through it. It's just gorgeous. It is also very clean here. The roads and everything are well taken care of, and it's nice to be in such a clean place.

The other night, we went to a ritzy part of town, or a little outside of the city to tract. On our way, the weather was wonderful, and we were ready to go. Then, we got off the bus, and it started to downpour. So, there we were, with only one umbrella, in the rain, and we went and knocked as many doors as we could with the time we had. We didn't find anybody who was interested, but one thing occured to me. At some doors, when people would be rude, I would be a little discouraged when we would walk away, but then as we went on, I realized that for all the doors that would say no, I would find someone, sometime who would listen. I look at tracting now as an opportunity to pull the weeds, so I can see the flowers....oh what a cheesy analogy....but it works anyway. Hahaha.

We will continue to look here, and we will find more who are prepared to receive the fulness of the gospel. I know that to be true. My testimony grows every time I testify, and I know that my work here, no matter how fruitful is not in vain, but that I will bless the lives of all the people I come in contact with, no matter when that may be.

Ok, now for some more practical information about things here. We walk or take the busses here wherever we go. We live in a part of town called Hageby. We are right next to a grocery store and some other shops. It is very convenient. Our apartment is nice, but it is obvious that there have not been any sisters in that apartment for 14 years. Did I mention that before??? We are the first sisters to come into this area for like 15 years!!! Crazy business I tell you...So for the first week, I slept with some sketched artwork done by an Elder of Donatello, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle....Elders I tell you. Hehehe.

My bed is pretty comfortable, nothing to complain about there. I think that I could have come on my mission with no back problems, and still have soreness every night. We carry our back-packs around with us everywhere we go with books and pamphlets, but we both try to keep them relatively light. My back is ok. The Lord has truly blessed me to be able to be here and do this work. We have the same table to eat and study at. Pretty funny. I will send some pictures of our apartment home next week. Steph said to compare it to a room in mom and dad's house....lets see....our entire apartment is probably the size of the living room. or maybe just a little bigger. We do have a bathroom...with a door, and the kitchen is seperated a little bit, but other than that, it's just one big room. It's comfortable, and we are glad every night that we have a place to lay our heads.

I think I've gone on for some time here now....I think I'm becoming a vegetarian. I eat very little meat since my companion is a vegetarian. But, I'm pretty sure that as I hear about you all having BBQ's during the summer months, and Grandma's roast, etc...that I will still be ok to eat meat. Sister Väätti and I get along really well. We laugh a lot. It is amazing to me how the most simple things make us laugh, and it is good. We need to stay positive with all the negativity that surrounds us.

I know that church is true. I know that what I help people to learn is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that I have come closer to Him on my mission that I have ever been before in my life. I think of Him in all I do and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve Him. You are all in my prayers. I think of you often and love you all. I will try to write some letters today in response to emails, and just know that if I don't reply right away, that I will reply, and that I appreciate very much your emails. I will say that I would love to get a written letter pressure, but it's fun to have that kind of thing now and again.

I love you all. Please take care of yourselves, and know that I am doing well. I am happy, healthy, and trying to be of service to the people here in Sweden. Never forget how blessed you are to have the Gospel in your lives, and to have the knowledge that God lives, and His son lives, and they love you!

Sister Suzanne Wood

By the way, if you have any other questions you want to know about the area, or the people, or anything, ask me, and I will include answers in my next seems like when I sit down to write, I forget most of what I was going to say.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Min Kära Familj!!!

I am so excited about being here in Sweden. There has been tons that has happened in the last week, that is just crazy. Time is going by so quickly. I'll have been here for a week tomorrow. Wow! I am 8 hours ahead of you and it will be next week before I get an email because you didn't know what day my P-Day was. It is Mondays. So please write me an email, or send me a letter soon so I can hear from you. I miss you all. It's hard to be away, but so good to be here.

Where to begin. Well, after I talked to all of you last week from the Airport in Atlanta, I got on the plane and came the 10 hours away to Stockholm. There, we were picked up by Pres. and Sister Anderson, and the AP's, help us get all of our things to the Mission Home. Over the next couple of days, we got ourselves aquainted with the Andersons, took care of our Swedish "social security" number...which does NOT mean secure here...everybody knows it...and some other things we needed to learn for the remainder of our mission. We then had some training last Thursday morning and in came Pres. with letters for each of us as to where we would be serving in Sweden, who our trainers would be and District Leaders, etc.

So when I got my letter, I opened it up, and now, I am serving in the Norrköping Ward, in the South Stockholm Stake. I am about an hour and a half away from Stockholm. You should check it out on a map, or google it or something. Oh, by the way, as you can all see, I am using a account. Please have all my friends and all the fam. write me on this account. In Sweden they can't always access the, so they have asked us to create a mission account. Anyway....back to all this excitement.

So, I was excited to hear about where I am serving. It is beautiful here. It's incredibly green, and not so warm, but not really super cold either. We usually wear our sweaters because the wind blows almost everyday. Other than that, it's beautiful. I haven't had bad jet lag either...I don't think anyway. I can't tell if it's jet lag, or just extreme exhaustion everyday....probably a little bit of both.

Oh yeah, my companion!!! Syster Väätti is my companion. My trainer...she is awesome. She is from Finland, and this is the last transfer of her mission. She speaks very good Swedish, and pretty good English as well...not to mention the crazy Finnish she will pull out when we meet anybody who speaks Finnish. She is going home in July, and she likes to paint and draw. Before her mission she was going into nursing. She was converted to the church 4 years ago, so whenever we talk with people, she has a really awesome background for people who don't have faith in God, or don't believe in Him...because she was there too.

We got to Norrköping on Thursday late afternoon, early evening, and got ourselves situated in our apartment. It's basically one big room with a kitchen off of it, and a bathroom. We have desks to study/eat at, and beds to sleep in...what more does anybody need??? So on Thursday, we got settled, then of Friday, we did our weekly planning session....which takes FOREVER when it is a new area for both of us...Did I mention that?? Norrköping has been an area with Elders for YEARS!! We are "white washing" the area as sisters, so we had no idea what to expect from this place, or the ward, or any of it. So we started to go through the Area Book, and spent lots of time on Friday figuring out where to tract, who to contact, and getting our bearings in this very new place.

Then Saturday, it was off to work. We were supposed to teach an investigator from the Elders who had been here before us, but he canceled, then we had a couple of other teaches fall through, so we hit the road. We study every morning, and right now we take an hour for personal study, an hour for companion study and and an hour and a half for language study...that would be for my benefit. I still have much to learn about the Swedish language. After that, we went out tracting, we called (well Syster Väätti called...I'm still not quite ready to talk to people on the phone) and we contacted in the city. It's quite the experience trying to understand what anybody is saying to me. Let alone for me to know what to respond. I am giving it an honest effort, and I have started being the initial contact at the door, and talking to people on the street. We met a couple of really cool people in of our tracting areas. One or two want us to call them and come to teach them. It's true that the Lord has prepared people everywhere to be taught the gospel.

Then yesterday, we went to church for the first time. It was funny, we were excited to go, so we could meet some "people who like us" as Sister Väätti said yesterday morning. The ward has about 30 active members, and a list of about 70. We have some work ahead of us, and we'll see if we can help some of the less active members come to church. We also have a lot of work to do with the active members in the ward, to have them help us with the missionary work in the area. So all of them were really nice, we introduced ourselves in Sacrament Meeting and I was a little nervous, but it went ok. After the first meeting, the Bishop's wife came up to me and told me that my Swedish was really good, having only been in the country for a few days, then she told me that she served her mission in Scotland, and that she saw a lot of her in me. That was cool...her very next sentence was, "I won't speak English with you, because then you won't learn." I thanked her and told her I didn't want to speak English. Other than that, I was so exhausted last night after trying to understand all the Swedish at church.

After that, we went tracting close to where we live and met a man named Niko, who told us we could call him and set up an appt. The cool thing about that, is that I was the one who talked to him. I was all over the place, because when he didn't shut the door in my face, I didn't know what to say to him...haha. Anyway, we also taught a woman named Violetta yesterday. She was taught once before by the Elders before us, and she has some interesting views of God, and we'll see what happens there. I was able to teach some and bear my testimony in Swedish, and it all came out pretty well. I honestly do understand that I have SO much more to learn, but it is refreshing to me and I don't feel completely overwhelmed by the language. I have been incredibly blessed to pick it up rather quickly and continue to learn everyday. So, we will meet Violetta next Sunday again. She said she has read some in the Book of Mormon, and that she has prayed, but that she didn't feel anything when she prayed. We can only pray that she will be sincere about receiving an answer, and that when we visit with her next Sunday, that she will be receptive to the Spirit while we teach.

It's nice to have a P-Day today, we desperately need food. We went on Thursday Evening, and picked up a few things, but not enough to last very long, so we will go food shopping here in a little bit, and write some letters, and do laundry, and just try and re-group for the week. Oh, by the way, Sister Väätti is that is super cool and interesting. I had Soy marinara pasta the other day, and I'm willing to try other things too. We go out every morning and exercise, and I'm trying to make decent eating choices. We have a couple appts. at members houses set up for this week, so that will be fun, since I haven't really had "official" Swedish food yet.

That I think is all for right now. I am excited to hear about the happenings at home. If you could all make sure that you either write me an email, or a letter on Sundays, I can get them during my P-day...I guess it has to be early on Sunday, so it for sure gets to me before I check my email. Anyway, I hope all is well at home. I hope you are all healthy and happy. Know that I love you, and I know that this church is true. I am excited to start to see the changes that can and will happen in peoples lives as they choose to follow their Heavenly Father and His plan for them. Remember that I pray for you everyday, and hope that you are doing well.

By the way, my back has been a little sore, probably from all the travel on trains...lifting my 150 lbs. of luggage, etc. Please keep my health in your prayers. It's nothing to worry over, I'm doing very well, I just don't want it to become a problem. I love you all and miss you!!

Sister Suzanne Wood

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I leave for Sweden in FIVE days!!! (Wed., May 6)

Dear Family,
I can't even believe that I am packing my bags to leave for Sweden. I have flight plans, and more stuff than I came with (20 lbs. of books, etc.) and I am leaving the MTC. I am so excited to get there and teach the people that news that God loves them and has a plan for them to return to him.

This week has been very eventful. There have been many things that have happened, so I will try to remember everything to fill you all in.

First of all, last Thursday we got our flight plans, that was very exciting for our district. We are flying out of Salt Lake to Atlanta and then straight to Stockholm from Atlanta. We then will have a two-night stay in the mission home there to get ourselves a little grounded before we take off into the field. Mom, I will write you a letter with more details so you know when I will call. It will be sometime in the late afternoon, early evening.

That same day, Sister Coleman and I got invitations to perfrom at Mission Conference for the entire MTC this last Sunday. They asked Sis. Coleman to sing, "Be Still My Soul" and I played for her. It was wonderful. She has an amazing voice and I'm glad she got the opportunity to sing. I am not sure that I will have the chance to sing before we leave, but getting to perform at all was a wonderful opportunity. I played pretty well. :)

Also on Thursday of last week, as mom you know, I ended up taking a filed trip out of the MTC for a blood spot on my eye. It was only a broken blood vessel that had somehow come through so it was very gross to look at. It made me nrevous, but all is well. It has cleared up for the very most part and is really nothing to worry about.

We also did our last TRC visit in Monday teaching about the Plan of Salvation and the Law of Tithing in Swedish. It went very well. I am still learning the language and will continue to learn my whole mission. I feel comfortable with the very basics of the language and realize that I have tons more rules and practice, and prayers to give about learning the language. I know that it is only through the Holy Ghost that I have learned as much as I have. I know that I can learn this language to teach the people, as I am obedient and reliant on the Lord.

Then, last night, we had the opportunity to hear from Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve. He gave a fantastic talk on the importance of desire in this work. It was just what I needed to boost me up one more time before we go into Sweden. He said at least a couple times, "If you have desire in your hearts to find, teach, and baptize people, you will see miracles happen no matter where you serve your mission." He also bestowed an Apostalic blessing upon us and that was SO cool. I have been so blessed to hear from 3 apostles while I have been here at the MTC. I have been so spiritually fed every week, and I am so ready to serve the people of Sweden.

My time here has been great. I am grateful for the lessons I've learned, the language, the spiritual upliftment that happens every day, the comfort from the Holy Ghost that I receive on a daily basis, and all the other wonderful things that come from serving a mission for the Lord.
Mom, I did get both of the packages you sent this last week. Everything is perfect. The shirts, skirts, watch, shade shirts, nylons....on and on are all just exactly what I need. I feel completely prepared to go, and thank you so much for taking care of those things for me. I appreciate it SO much!

Melissa, thanks for the care package. It was so good to hear from you and the kids. The cookies were DELICIOUS!! I shared with the other sisters in my branch and we all enjoyed them. You are so thoughtful, and thanks for all you do.

From here on out, emailing me is going to be the best way to communicate with me. I would love to get emails from anybody who has time to send me a little note. I just need to have the mailing address on it so I can reply. I can receive emails from everybody and that is allowed, but I can only reply to family over email, so friends...put your addresses on the bottom of the email so I can write you back...because I will write back and want to.

Mom, I will write you a little email later today with the specific time I will call from the airport, so everybody can be around. I'd love to chat with everybody. I forgot my flight plans in my room, so I will write a quick note on my way to the temple.

I love and miss you all very much. It was SO nice to see pictures of Taylor's graduation and all of you look healthy and happy and I am so very glad. Tay, you look great buddy! Take care of yourself. I miss you and want all of you to know that one of the things I have come to the best realization of is that God loves all of his children. He loves you and wants you all to be happy, and to be obedient to Him so He can bless you. I know the scriptures better, I know Swedish better...obviously then when I first came, but most of all and most importantly of all I know my Savior better. I know He cares for you, and that He wants us to return to live with Him.

Take care of yourselves! I'm glad to hear about Paul and Kristen's house, and that Greg Brown is the new bishop. He is awesome. I'm glad all is well at home. I'll talk to you all later this week!

Sister Suzanne Wood

Friday, May 1, 2009

MTC Pictures

Sisters Coleman-MTC companion

Pictures of the Elders and Sisters in Suz's district and branch

Living quarters at the MTC