Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New Pics

Here are Suz's most recent pictures from Sweden.

Drottningholm...the palace where the King and Queen of Sweden actually live!

Pretty view of the palace.

Elder Edmunds in a log on the palace grounds...

Elder Edmunds coming out of the log! :)

German Pancakes for Sis. Maxwell's birthday

Sis. Maxwell on her birthday in her new, adorable shirt!

Sister Maxwell's Birthday Cake!

My first time eating Ceviche at a Chilean deli in good!

Summer Days (Monday, May 17)

Dear Family and Friends,

I've had a great week here in Jakobsberg. The sun has decided to grace us with it's presence these last few days, and it's been absolutely beautiful around our area. The trees are finally looking green, the tulips are in bloom and it's a little bit warm outside! We are always happy when the suns out and it's warm! I hope that all of you are enjoying warm weather as well. We have had a great week doing the work here.

One of the things that we were able to do last week which was wonderful is work with a lot of less-active members of the church. Those who haven't been to church for a long time...for whatever reason. We taught a man named Carlos and his wife Empertice. When we stopped by to visit them, they let us in and as we visited, the Spirit became very strong. Carlos served a mission in Chile many years ago, but has been inactive here in Sweden for several years. He still has a testimony of the gospel, he read the conference talks online from last conference, but he and his wife have been to church only 1 time since I have been here....and that was the only time in many years. As we taught them, I continued to think about the simple commandment it is for us to attend church every sunday. I thought about how easy it has been for Carlos to get out of the habit...and now it's proving to be very challenging for him to come back. We as human beings can come up with thousands of reasons why we can't be in church, or why we can't read our scriptures every day, or why it's easy to forget to pray...or whatever it is for us personally. But, I'm really learning that excuses don't change our consequences when it comes to what our Heavenly Father has asked us to do. Carlos is missing the blessings because he is choosing to excuse himself from God's commandments. I don't mean this to be harsh...but I just understand better how important it is to be obedient to the commandments. We receive our blessings based on our obedience.

We also met with several other people last week with the same scenario. Our ward here would be quadruple in size if all that had a testimony of the truth came to church. We will continue to work with these wonderful people and hopefully help them to make it back. I have such a strong testimony of continuing in makes all the difference.

We also taught swedish class last week, and continue to help people here learn the language better. Everything with Yvonne is going well. She has many difficulties she is trying to overcome and we are doing what we can to help her to be prepared for baptism again.

A man we met with for the first time last week named Matts was a member of the church in the 80's. He is no longer a member by his own choice, but has continued to have a testimony of the gospel. As we visited him, we asked if he had read and prayed about the Book of Moroni exhorts us to do. He said that he had never done that...even when he was a member the first time. Our commitment to him was to read, and pray about that specifically to receive an answer for himself. He is very positive and we hope to help him gain a true, personal testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel...not just a liking of us, or the people at church. We all need our own witnesses of the truth.

I feel a little preachy in this letter. I don't mean to be, but I hope that all of you continue to remember how important it is to hold on to your testimonies. Continue to live the gospel. Our Heavenly Father loves us each so much...He wants us to come back to Him. He wants us to be obedient so he can bless us. I know that to be true and continue to see the love Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus Christ have for each of us...and also clearly for the people of Sweden...and all mankind. Please take care of yourselves! Have a great week. I'm in good health, and I'm happy doing the work of the Lord.

Sister Suzanne Wood

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Great Day! (Monday, May 10)

Dear Family and Friends,

It was so good to get to talk to all...well most of you yesterday. I am sad I didn't to talk to Tay and Derek...I hope you both know I love you! It was good to hear your voices and to know that everything is going well in your lives. I've thought about what to write today...because I reported quite a bit over the phone yesterday...but there were a few things I heard at Stake Conference here in Stockholm yesterday that I think I will pass along.

We were able to hear from Elder Texeira and his wife yesterday at Stake Conference. His wife talked about the Plan of Salvation and families. Her comments were wonderful. She had a great spirit about her and was very sincere in what she said. She talked about the importance of families and how husbands and wives need to cleave to one another and provide the environment for an eternally progressing family. As I listened I thought about the blessing that I feel to have such a wonderful family. I am grateful for all that I have learned and continue to learn from all of you. It has been impressed more on me all the time the eternal nature that our families can have here. What an amazing blessing our Heavenly Father has given to be sealed together for time and all eternity. We can have the reassurance that we will all be together after this life as long as we do our best to follow the Savior here. I just really felt the importance of that as she spoke yesterday and have a strong testimony of the plan of salvation. I know it's for all of us. I know that it's for our happiness.

Elder Texeira talked about "Follow the Prophet" which was the theme for conference yesterday. He said some things that were addressed to the youth in Sweden that I think apply to all of us...and would like to share. As he said he would talk about following the prophet, he asked if anybody in the audience follows the prophet. I was surprised about where he went from there. He told us of the website which is a site where there are periodic updates about where the prophet is, what he is doing, etc. He said it's also easy to follow the prophet from facebook. He then went on to encourage the youth to not be afraid to share the gospel through the social networking sites that so many are a part of. He also encouraged them to have the same standards on the web as they do in real life. I thought about the nature of his comments and how the generation that is growing up now is absolutely a technology generation. There can be so much good influence passed on through the internet. He of course also talked about how important it is to listen to the prophet's voice and heed his counsel. He is the voice of the Lord here on the earth. I'm so grateful for my testimony of the Prophet Thomas S. Monson. I know he is a man who has been called of God. I know that he teaches us the things the Lord wants us to know.

The rest of the week went well. We are working on finding new investigators. We have had some investigators disappear and really want to help some more people to come closer to Christ. We have two weeks left in the transfer. It's gone by so fast. Sis. Maxwell's birthday is on Wednesday, so we'll do a little celebrating somehow...maybe I'll have some random people sing to her with me and then ask them if they are interested to know more about the gospel. :)

I'm looking forward to this week. We have some less-active members who we haven't been able to meet with yet that we are going to meet with this week. We also have a couple of new people to teach. It'll be a great week. Again, it was so good to get to talk to you all! I hope that this week is wonderful. Take care of yourselves! I love you!

Sister Suzanne Wood

Valborg!!! (Monday, May 3)

Dear Family and Friends,

Everything in Sweden has been great this last week. The sun has been out...for the most part and the work is continuing to move forward. We have had a few less teaches this last week because a couple of our investigators have gone MIA...but we continue to work hard and the Lord continues to bless us in our efforts.

There is not a whole lot to report from last week, but that we had a couple of cool experiences. One, was a swedish tradition which was Friday evening. We were able to go out and celebrate what is called Valborg. It's the last day of April every year. It's a celebration of the change between winter and spring. In all the different communities they gather huge piles of wood that need to be burned. Then, they invite everybody to come and it is kind of a ceremony where the "scouts" here come with their torches lit and get the fire going. It was a pretty awesome sight when it really started to burn. It was maybe a 25-30 ft. flame. We went down and were with our Zone Leaders and a couple of other missionaries in Handen...a community close to the temple. It is neat to be able to be a part of the traditions of the country.

We were also able to meet again with Zebedee and George from the Congo. They are still really positive and had many questions about the Plan of Salvation. One of Zebedee's sons joined us when we taught him and we continue to invite the rest of the family to come and also learn the gospel. We have also continued to meet with Yvonne, and Lawal is still doing well. We talked to him about the temple last week and he is excited to get to go there.

We are looking forward to this week. We will be having a Mission Tour with Elder Texeira from the Europe Area Presidency. He actually gave a talk in General Conference in April of 2009 and related the Spirit to a GPS system...if any of you remember that. We are all looking forward to the conference! Sis. Maxwell and I have been asked to do a musical number...which will be really fun to do. :)

Other than that, everything is going well here. I'm enjoying the work, I enjoy having so many opportunities to work with the members here and strengthen them. I'm continually grateful for our wonderful ward here in Jakobsberg. I can't believe we only have 3 weeks left in the transfer. Time continues to fly. I love the gospel so much. I continue to have the confirmation that this is Christ's church. I know that Pres. Monson leads the church through revelation and I am continually grateful that I know that God still reveals truth to each one of us. Continue strong in the gospel. The blessings Heavenly Father has for each one of us is worth the effort to live in accordance with the commandments. I love the work. I love each of you. Have a great week!

Sister Suzanne Wood

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Almost May! (Mon., April 26)

Dear Family and Friends,

I can't explain how quickly time is going by. It truly feels like yesterday that I was the library....writing my email to all of you about the happenings here in Jakobsberg. Everyday goes by more quickly. We stay busy and I'm amazed at how quickly time goes by.

We have had a great week this last week! One of the highlights was Music Night last night. We had many people come and listen to the music, not to mention the program was not too shabby. Sis. Maxwell played the flute...wonderfully I might add, I different combinations and a solo....and we had a visiting Russian Choir come and join our program. The ward really enjoyed the evening and it was enjoyable for us also to put such an evening together. One of the men named Thomas that comes to our Swedish class came last night and brought his wife. It was the first opportunity we had to meet her. They enjoyed the concert...and are actually they really appreciated the choir. Also, one of our members Malin...her parents came...who are not members. It was great to have them there as well.

We also had a really cool experience on Saturday. One of our investigators named George...told us about his friend who he lives with that wanted us to visit him sometime. We went there on Saturday and met George's friend Zebedee. We decided to teach the Restoration to them...and watch the Restoration Movie in French...their first language. (They are both from the Congo....French side.) After the movie...Zebedee wanted to explain something to us in Swahili...also a language they speak and have George translate into English. As George explained to us...we found out that Zebedee was in a high security prison in the Congo for six years. He explained that we are not the first Mormons he has met. When he was in jail there was a man who was a mormon. Everybody in the jail tried to be like him...but they didn't understand why he acted differently. As the story continued Zebedee went on to explain that he has had the same kind of miraculous experience like Joseph Smith had. We didn't get the entire story...but somehow Zebedee was able to escape from prison and make his way to Europe. He had received revelation through his prayers that he would end up in Europe. I just think about the fact that he would have never been able to hear about the gospel in the situation he was in. He was a prisoner of war...with a death sentence...and now he has no problem accepting who Joseph Smith was and what he saw. The Spirit was very strong as we talked with them, and we will be visiting them again this week. He has a wife and 4 children who are here with him. Amazing stuff I tell ya!

Otherwise, everything is good here. I'm enjoying riding bikes, the weather has been beautiful here and we are looking forward to another great week. We rode our bikes last week to one of our areas and discovered a nature reserve we are going to ride to today and take some pics. at.

I don't have much else to say this week. I hope you all have a great week, and that everything going on is going well. I know that school is just about winding down, and that summer is on it's way! Love you all! I pray that Heavenly Father will watch over all of you!

Sister Suzanne Wood

Äntligen Vår! (Wed., April 19)

My dear family and friends,

It's finally springtime around here! There are little green buds everywhere and some flowers are starting to bloom! It will still be a little while until everything starts to grow and Stockholm will become a wonderful green place....but it's beginning...and that's a good place to start. Sis. Maxwell and I have had a great week this last week.

We had Zone Conference last Tuesday which was really uplifting. It's always great to meet with other missionaries in the area and hear their experiences and be reminded of the things that will help us continue to be better missionaries. The Sisters in Örebro called me and asked if I would play the piano for them to sing. They sang, "Abide with Me" and did a nice job. Our message from President was much needed. He talked about how there are fewer missionaries in Sweden right now than there have been and yet how we need to continue to work hard and not have that show in the work here. I'm really grateful for conferences we have and the boost that it gives to the work.

We continue to meet with George, Michael, and Yvonne. They are all three doing well. Michael went with us to the Abril's on Thursday night with Lawal also. It was great! We ate and then talked about the Restoration all together. It's great that all of our members are so willing to help with the work here.

We also started riding bikes here last week. So funny story...last Monday...during our P-Day...we wanted to take out our bikes so that I could get comfortable before we started riding around our entire area. We took the bikes out...which was great until Sis. Maxwell totally biffed it...when we had been out about 10 minutes. She was a little upset about the fall...but no real serious damage was done. I think the Lord really is protecting me from myself on the mission. That totally would have been me if my back was normal...etc. :) I'm really enjoying riding bikes...even though my rear end is sore all the time from the "skinny man" seat that I am riding on. We bought a "cushier woman" today...we'll see if that makes the riding a little more comfortable. :)

Other than that, we are excited for this week. We are having our Music Evening on Sunday...with a Russian Choir singing, Lawal (our new member) playing the African drums...and Sis. Maxwell playing a flute solo or two. I love that she is a musician. It's awesome to be able to involve her in the Music Night. We will have dinner before again that we can invite all of our investigators to. Our ward loves to be involved with it. It's great!

I started studying Preach My Gospel...again...with a proselyting Book of Mormon...I'm taking each chapter and going through, reading, studying, and pondering all of the scriptures it suggests for using when teaching. It's been really awesome! I'm amazed that even though I've read Preach My Gospel at least 3 times on my mission...that I can continue to study from it, and learn more, and gain a deeper understanding of the gospel. I still love my study time and appreciate it.

The work is going well. I'm healthy...happy...det är härligt ute....and we are going into Stockholm today to check out some of the sights. I hope you all have a great week this week. I know this is the work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know that when we rely on Him, we are happy and can some day return to live with Heavenly Father. I am so grateful for all of you...your examples and the things that you have each taught me. I know God lives, and that He loves us!

Sister Suzanne Wood