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