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 week...one 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 fall...like 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 talked...it 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 them....as 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 is...you 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 Hadorph...one 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 6.....it 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 words....it 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 happened...it 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 visst...in 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 people...no matter who teaches them....it'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, school....you 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.

Wow...now 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 is......my 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!