Monday, August 24, 2009

Stockholm Pics

Here are some pics that Suz sent of the Stockholm architecture and area today. The first is a pic of her with her two comps, Sister Swenson and Sister Pierce. She called them the "Three Musketeers."

Love One Another

Dear Family and Friends,

It has been another exciting and wonderful week in Sweden. Fall is coming. It is starting to cool down...thank goodness because the Swedish women are starting to have a little more clothing on them...some of the time. Stockholm is beautiful still. We have been commuting back and forth between Stockholm and Södertälje this week, and all has gone well with the load we have of both of the areas we are working in. I am happy, healthy and ready for another week of work.

There have been a couple of really awesome experiences I have had this week that I will tell all of you about. The first awesome thing was Tuesday...or Wednesday. We had met a man and were meeting with him at the church for our second teach with him. He has been to many different churches and really wants to know what we believe and how we do everything in our church. Well, the first time we had met with him, we gave him The Book of Mormon to read. As we sat down with him at our second lesson, we asked him if he had time to read at all in the B of M. He proceeded to tell us that he had read 160 pages of it already. "Really?" We all said to him after that. It was awesome. He wants to read the whole book, but it was just really awesome that he is serious enough to know if it is true that he actually read in the B of M. We had a wonderful teach with him and will meet him again this week. His name is Faical by the way.

The other really cool experience we had was on our way to the church in Södertälje on Friday. We ended up leaving an hour earlier than we had planned to get to Södertälje on time. As we were on the bus with a couple of Elders who were with us, one of the Elders...Elder Ahola who is actually Finnish....started talking to a young man on the bus. Then, as we got off the bus, I contacted a man who said he would be interested to learn more and gave us his well as Sis. Pierce and Sis. Swenson talked to another lady who said she would like to meet and gave them her number. I would have never guessed that there were so many prepared people on the same bus. It is so true that the Lord leads us to the people who are prepared...even when we don't know it. It was totally awesome to have that happen.

We also have a new investigator in Stockholm named James. He is totally awesome. He has sort of crazy scientist hair and he is Swedish....we really don't teach very many "Swedes." We met him one day and have met with him two other times already. He is super open and accepting of the gospel. He has read in Book of Mormon, and we are going to invite him to be baptized when we meet him!!! I'm so excited for that teach. There is a really awesome newly returned missionary from Sweden who just got home from Greece who is coming to all of the teaches with James, and it makes such a huge difference!! I'm so grateful for the members and all they do to help us.

As for everything else this week....all 3 of our investigators who are going to be baptized in 3 weeks in Södertälje are doing really well. Jallah, Moses, and Dilly are all progressing, and doing very well. They are accepting of the Gospel, and they are commited to be baptized and live the gospel throughout their lives. We went to church down there yesterday and the ward in Södertälje is awesome also. They really reach out to the investigators and help the missionaries however they can. It's awesome!

I feel like this email is a little scatter-brained. I have so many things I'm thinking about, and so much going on that it's hard to write everything down, and explain it in a comprehensible way. I think the most important point of this email is to let you all know that the work of the Lord is still going forward here in Stockholm/Södertälje. We are busy again this week, and I am always trying to be a better missionary. I have so much to learn to be all the Lord wants me to be. I am grateful for the opportunity he has given me to come out here and be his tool here in Sweden...even with all of my shortcomings.

Our threesome is doing well. I love both Sister Pierce and Sister Swenson. We are enjoying teaching together and we have a lot of fun together as well. We all three love to sing...and we sound pretty good as a trio. Tonight we are teaching Family Home Evening at the Institute and we have decided to teach the Restoration of the Gospel through music. It's going to be awesome. We sing everywhere we go, and I feel so blessed to have two VERY talented companions around me all the time.

I really do enjoy the work, and I look forward to the things that are still ahead of me on my mission. I hope all of you are doing well. I hope that for all in school...that school has started well, and that you remember the Lord...even in your studies. I hope that the weather has been nice...wherever you are. I hope you know I think of all of you often, and pray that the Lord will help you all in everything. Remember to pray, and know that the Lord is aware of all we do, and will do whatever He can to help us. I look forward to hearing from all of you every week. Thanks for the support and love!

Sister Suzanne Wood

P. S. This week's Swedish word of the week is provided by Sister is....TUNGOMÅLSGÅVAN.....that would be THE GIFT OF TONGUES. I think it's her favorite because we all know that we have been given that gift to communicate with the people here. Oh, by the way, I'm pretty good with Swedish now. I still have a lot to learn, but I understand a lot, and can say....a lot....just like in English....poor Swedes....with talkative Sis. Wood...what will they do???

Transfers!! (Monday, August 17)

Dear Family and Friends,

So I'm sure all of you might be wondering why I would make something like transfers my title for this email. Well, I am getting very used to change on my mission. This last Tuesday, I got a phone call from Pres. Anderson letting me know that we would have a new companion coming to serve with us in Stockholm, and that we would also be working in her area Södertälje. I of course was more than glad to accept the call, but it has meant adjustment and a lot more travel this last week. The reason for the switch is that Sister new companion has been in Södertälje with a short-time missionary who is a native Swede. She could only stay for a month, so Sis. Pierce was left without a companion. We are so glad to have her with us. She has 3 Baptismal Candidates in Södertälje and so until the end of the transfer we will be spending two or three days a week in Södertälje and the rest of the time in Stockholm. We all know that this was meant to be for all of us to be together right now. Sis. Pierce's dad is really sick, and she has a lot going on back home, and it would have been difficult for her to be training another short-time missionary and dealing with all that is going on otherwise. We really enjoy eachother and we are figuring out the logistics of having 3 together. It really is kind of tricky, but we are trying new things and ways to make it less awkward when we contact people, etc.

Other than that big change that has taken place, this week has been pretty good. We are still looking for positive investigators in Stockholm. We are finding people to teach, and that is wonderful, because every little bit they learn can help them to have a better life, but we are still looking for those who are prepared to accept the entire gospel of Jesus Christ...find those who are searching for the truth, and don't feel like they have been able to find it from anywhere else.

I am not sure I have explained very well my special assignment at the Center for Young Adults here in Stockholm. The Center is a church run center where young adults between 18-30 can come and they have activities, institute, and all sorts of different things going on at the center. We as "Center" missionaries are trying to focus our efforts on those who are in that age group. We contact EVERYBODY, but we have the center as a resource for those young people to come and enjoy the friendships, good atmosphere, etc. that come from the center. We are all excited for school to start at Stockholm University, and other higher education schools so we can go and contact people there. These Centers are all over Sweden and all over Europe, and it all started when Elder Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles made a statement about having a dream...or a revelation that the future growth of the church in all of Europe would come from those 18-30 years in age. I love this call! We are going to be working closely with the YSA (Young Single Adult) council, and doing a lot of missionary work through them. We are looking forward to the possibilities as we try to magnify this call to find those prepared.

One really cool experience from this last week was when we were in Södertälje on Saturday for a big ward activity. We took 2 investigators from there, and one of them...Jallah had a baptismal date, and Moses has been associated with the church for a long time, but never commited to be baptized. We had gotten off the bus, and were waiting for some ward members to pick us up from the stop, and I started to talk to Moses about different things. He and Jallah are both from Liberia. Eventually I played the "don't know you very well and can ask you anything" card and asked him why he hadn't been baptized. He said that he would be eventually, before he goes back to Africa. As we talked Sis. Pierce said, "Why don't you get baptized with Jallah in 3 weeks?" He then replied, "That sounds good." AWESOME!!! So we set a date for his baptism into the church. It was really cool to see that later, as we were leaving the activity Moses again brought it up, and asked me if we could really help him to get ready to be baptized, and of course I told him we could. It's amazing what a little time does, and the right person can do to influence somebody for good.

We also taught a man named Marco down in Södertälje last week. The Spirit was strong, and he is one who has been searching for the truth. We taught him about the need for a restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then we showed him The Restoration DVD. After the movie, we talked about the Book of Mormon, and our testimonies of it. I told him that I had been a member of this church my whole life, and that I was taught all of these things when I was little, but that there was a point in my life when I needed to find out for myself and have it confirmed to my heart that the Book of Mormon is true, and that the teachings of the church come from God. I testified to him that I read the Book of Mormon, and I prayed to God about it to know that it was His word, and I could never deny the answer that came one night when I was praying...the feeling of peace that came to my heart and the ever so small voice that whispered that it was true. After I bore my testimony to Marco, he really had felt something....the Spirit. He began to tell us that he really felt like he needed to read the book. He had motivation. He really wanted to try for himself. Wow. It was such a testimony of the Spirit to me...and the ability the Spirit has to touch our hearts, to change our hearts.

I feel so blessed to be here and share the gospel with the people in Sweden. I'm amazed how much I learning all the time. I am reading the New Testament right now, and I know that Christ really did come to the Earth. He really did teach the people what they needed to return to Heavenly Father. He is the light of the world. He is the bread of life. Them that believe on Him shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life. We have the knowledge that we can repent to Our Savior, and become clean through Him. As I see people changing their lives here, I realize that we can all go through that conversion daily, and try to be better in whatever way we need to. I know that life is hard. I know we have trials, but more than anything else I know that we can receive guidance, help, comfort, and whatever else we need from Him who gave us life, the one who gave us the opportunity to come and show our faith and that we would try to be better to make it back to Him one day. I hope you know I love you all. I pray for all of you. I appreciate so much the support and love you all show me. Take care of yourselves and have a wonderful week!

Sister Suzanne Wood

P.S. Swedish word of the week would have to be......KONSTIG.....the word coming from Sis. Swenson this week as one of her means STRANGE. I think she must be referring to me as strange all the time...that's why she likes that word best. I like to keep her on her know.

More Holiness Give Me (Monday, August 10)

Dearest Family,

As I sit and write my letter for this week, I am filled with gratitude for the fact that I have the gospel in my life. I know that it has blessed my life more than any other thing in the world could do. I am grateful for the examples I have in all of you of strong testimonies of our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son Jesus Christ. Thank you for the letters, the thoughts and I'm sure the prayers that you all send up in my behalf.

As I sit here and write this letter, I am also a little saddened. One of the investigators we have been meeting with, and who has come to church 3 times already called us just a little while ago this morning and told us that he has decided he doesn't want to meet with us anymore, and doesn't want to become a member of the church. What has been so interesting to me, is that I don't feel bad for myself. I don't feel discouraged about the fact that we will have one more hour open every week. What I am so sad about is that he has chosen not to accept the most important thing in life...the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As I said already, it has blessed me more than I can describe, and for him to choose not to want to know more, and accept it. I just hope that at some point, he meets again with missionaries, and is more ready to accept the gospel. There is timing in everything. I hope all of you have thought about in the last little while what a blessing it has been....for most of me, to be born in the gospel. We didn't have to search for it, we were blessed to be born into the blessings of the gospel, and grow us with a knowledge of the Plan that God has for us, and everything else. It's worth thinking about...that we are so incredibly blessed.

Otherwise, on a much different note, my week has been wonderful. We were really busy this week. We have taught several Less-Active members, had Zone Conference, met with new investigators, gotten a Baptismal Date....which I'll talk a little more about in a minute...and we have just had a really great week in the work.

One of the highlights of this week was Zone Conference. On Thursday, we went to the Stake Center in Gubbängen, just a little ways outside of Stockholm to meet with not only the Stockholm Zone, but also Stockholm South and Norrland Zones. It was awesome! The entire day we focused on the First Vision, and Joseph Smith History. It was amazing. What is so awesome about the fact that we believe that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son in the grove is that there lies the absolute necessary knowledge of the beginning of the Restoration of the Gospel. Before we went to conference, we wrote down some of the thoughts we had about Joseph and what is written in his history. One thing I noticed more when I studied it thoroughly is that Joseph was genuinely confused. He had really thought about which church was right, he wanted to know, so he talked to everybody of authority in different sects to ask them for the answer he genuinely wanted. He was absolutely lost when it came to knowing what church was right. More than that, he was willing to do anything it would take to find an answer. Even go through years of persecution after the vision, and being murdered because he had only told the truth about what he had seen, and followed the commandments of God to bring the Book of Mormon to the earth, and receive again the priesthood authority on the earth. I guess my point is, Joseph was a man of God. I know without a doubt that he did see God and Jesus Christ, and even though it may sound crazy as I testify of that to people on the streets here in Sweden, I know it's true. I have had it confirmed to me by the power of the Holy Ghost many times that Joseph was a prophet. The best part of telling people that is that I always can tell them that they can find out for themselves...they don't have to believe me. That is why this church is true. We don't have to convince people it's true...they can find out for themselves.

Another really awesome thing that happened this week was a young man named Walter, who Sister Swenson met at Odenplan...the place where we do our utställning (an exhibit like thing) who said he would meet with us. We taught him one lesson, and invited him to a baptism that was held on Friday night. At the baptism, he said, "I want to become a member of your church." AWESOME!! So then, as we talked a little more on Saturday, he decided that he wants to get baptized in 3 weeks. Yahoo!! The only tragic part of this story is that we found out that Walter doesn't live in our area, so the Zone Leaders in Gubbängen will be teaching him and getting him ready for baptism. None the less, he is awesome, and it goes to show that there are people ready to accept the gospel!

On another note, I am doing well. Sister Swenson is doing well. We are keeping busy, talking to a lot of people all the time. We are continuing to search for those people who have been prepared for us, and we love the work. My health is good. I am happy. It sounds like everything is going well at home, and I hope that those of you I don't hear from often are doing well, and happy as well!!

I hope that you all have a wonderful week. I look forward to hearing from everybody every week, and I know that the Lord will bless us all as we are obedient to the commandments, and try our best to become who we were sent here to become. I am so far from perfect...that I am always seeing ways I can be better. Keep trying in whatever ways you can to become more like the Savior. He is the perfect example for us.

Sister Suzanne Wood

P.S. Instead of one Swedish word this week, I'm going to write a little something på Svenska...Jag är helt övertygad att Gud älskar oss. Jag har ingen tvivel om att vi ska återvända till vår himmelske Fader nå'n dag. Jag vet att Jesus Kristus vill att ve följa honom och försöker att bli bättre. Jag vet att den här kyrkan är sann. :)

Some pics of Stockholm

Here are some pics Suz sent this week of the Stockholm architecture and area. The first is a pic of her with her comps, Sister Swenson and Sister Pierce. She called them the "Three Musketeers."

Monday, August 3, 2009

New Pictures

Suz sent these this morning. She apologized that she didn't have time to write little captions, but it looks like the pictures are probably her zone, , her new comp Sister Swenson, the sister missionaries, and the last pics with Sister Vaatti.


Teach Me to Walk in the Light

Dear Family and Friends,

Well....what can I say??? It's already August. I won't even get into how it feels to have already been out on my mission.....oh never mind. I am doing SO well! I love this work, I love the people here, I love my companion, and I love everything about my mission. It's so amazing to me that I am learning to love a culture, a part of the world, and so many people I might only meet once, so much that I can't even explain it. Stockholm is wonderful. The ward we work with here is awesome. They have already had 5 baptisms this year in the ward, and one scheduled on Friday. They are willing to come to teaches with us, feed us, let us practice our Swedish with them, and I feel very blessed to be here. I am more comfortable with my call as a Senior Companion all the time. I am not worried about the fact that there are many things I don't know...because I know the Lord knows and will help me as I ask and pray to know what we need to do. I am relying on the Lord all the time, and we are having success here.

There are many less-active members in the ward we are working with. Kathy, the woman from Thailand, is getting stronger in her faith all the time. We continue to meet with her, and although she had to work yesterday and couldn't come to church, she is really trying to gain her testimony back. I love teaching her. She is the very model of Mosiah 3:19...which talks about being as a child...meek, submissive, patient, etc. She is all of those things, and is so accepting of the commitments we are helping her to make. Her ultimate goal is to go to the temple. We are always thinking about how to help her get there.

We have many scheduled times with other less-active members for this week, and hope to strengthen them as well. There are so many, who just need some support, and someone to invite them to activities, to church, and to have the love and fellowship of someone in the church. I am learning very quickly that it is much more likely that they are not active because they don't feel like a part of things...than that they are not active because they do not have a testimony of the gospel. To me, these wonderful people I am helping to stay and become active again are some of the most important people to me...they have already entered into covenants with the vital is it that they keep them??? Anyway, I am meeting and having the opportunity to strengthen many people here.

We have also been teaching Rong, and Baska....both newly baptized members of the church. They are so wonderful! Their desire to learn and understand everything better is amazing. We will continue to meet with them, and help them to become independent in their testimony of the gospel and confident to continue to learn and grow all the time.

I am very glad to say that Janos...whose name I spelled wrong last week is doing very well. He came to church again yesterday and really enjoyed the testimonies that he heard. He stayed again for Sunday School and we will meet him again on Wednesday. He is so earnest to be better, and has questions, and I have to say that the lesson we taught him went really well. Sister Swenson is still working on her Swedish, and at the end of the lesson she was really straightforward with Janos and asked him if he found out that what we told him was true if he would become a member....he said, sure why not!!! Woohoo!!! He is awesome, and so prepared to accept the fulness of the gospel. I would have never thought that he would be one to be ready. It goes to show that it is out of my hands who is ready for the gospel, but that I need to give everybody the opportunity to accept it.

We also taught yesterday a young man named Nashwan for the first time and gave him a Book of we testified of the truthfulness of it, and how he can pray to know that it is true, and how much it has helped me in my life, he said, "I'll read it, I want to read it." We will be meeting with him again this week as well.

I feel so blessed right now. My companion is wonderful. We try different ideas everyday. I am letting her take more responsibility all the time. She is confident, enthusiastic, and really is trying so hard to become the best missionary she can. We work hard together. Other than that, I am doing well. I am healthy and happy. I don't think I've been so happy ever before...and I think it's mostly because I've never been less worried about myself. I know the Lord will provide for I am trying to provide for those people here whom I have been sent to serve.

I love you all. I really hope you know that I pray for you often. I hope you have a wonderful week, and that you remember to stay close to the Savior. Let Him direct your paths and you will be blessed beyond what you can imagine. Have a great week!!


Sister Suzanne Wood

P. S. Swedish word for the week is going to have to this may seem crazy, but you all know I play the FRENCH HORN....well I found out what it is in Swedish....pretty exciting if I do say so myself...ok...maybe not as exciting to all of you...but none the less I'm glad I know now.