Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Midsommar Pics

Sister Virkamäki and me with Pres. and Sister Anderson at Midsommar

The majstång (May Pole) everybody danced around during the Midsommar celebration.

Me with the majstång...

Sister Virkamäki with the majstång.

Sis. Virkamäki and me before the festivities...we played frisbee :) and soccer!!

Sis. Virkamäki and me in front of one of the university's buildings.

Almost July! (Monday, June 28)

Kära Familj och Vänner,

Hej på er! Hoppas allt är bra överallt och med allting. Arbetet här i Uppsala går jätte bra! Jag älskar den här staden och har haft en underbar vecka!

We've had a great week here in Uppsala! We have had a busy week with Zone Conference last Tuesday, and Midsommar festivities on Friday. We have been busy, and I'm loving the warm summer weather. We have bikes that work...I am discovering that I LOVE to ride bikes. There are awesome trails and bike lanes everywhere here. It's great!

As for our week in the work...everything is going well. We were able to meet with a couple of our investigators during the week, and we are helping everybody to make and keep commitments. The work has been slower here in Uppsala during the last couple weeks, but we are continuing to find people to teach. The Lord truly blesses us with miracles as we do His work.

One miracle this week, was that on Saturday afternoon we were on our way to eat dinner at Sister Rivera's house. She lives a train ride away, so we left and had about 15 minutes to contact people before we needed to head to the station. We met a girl named Cecilia. We asked her if she had thought about why she was here on the earth...she said she didn't really know. Sis. V asked her then, "Do you believe in anything?" The girl replied that she didn't really believe, but that she wanted to. She said that life is meaningless without something to believe in. We gave her a Book of Mormon and were able to get her phone number to make an appointment to meet sometime this week. There are not many Swedish people I have met who say that they WANT to have something to believe in. It was a miracle! The Lord knows where we are as His servants...and He is also aware of His children who are searching for the truth.

Yesterday, Marcus came to church. Every week he has been there, I've noticed that he is wearing nicer and nicer clothing everytime he comes to church. He has been coming to Sunday School and Sacrament meeting. We want to meet him this week and invite him to be baptized. We hold Sunday School in the classroom that is right next to the baptismal font. Yesterday he asked what it was...I got the opportunity to explain a little about our beliefs of baptism. I'm looking forward to teaching him about the way he can prepare to be baptized and receive all the blessings that come from following the Savior. We also had another investigator come to church yesterday...Christer! It was a great day at church.

Everything else is going well with me. I'm in good health...and continue to be happy to do the work of the Lord. I won't say that the work isn't hard...it has it's challenges, but as I continue to serve with all my heart, the Lord makes up for my shortcomings and helps people to change through their acceptance of the gospel.

I've started reading The Book of Mormon again...this time making a commentary in my own words of what is happening. It has really helped me to see the teachings in a different way. It is so very true that every time we read in the Book of Mormon, there is something new we can learn. I am so grateful for revelation that we can receive through the Spirit. It's what makes the difference when we study the scriptures, when we study for school, when we are looking for answers to our questions...the Holy Ghost can witness of the truth about EVERYTHING. What a great promise. I look forward to my studies everyday!

I hope all of you have a great week. We are headed to Stockholm tonight for a Sisters' Training Conference. It will be great I'm sure. We will be staying in the Mission Home tonight and tomorrow night and have training all day tomorrow and a temple session for all of us Sisters in the evening. I'm looking very much forward to that. We also will meet with Hans and Anette this week. We pray that they have read and prayed. The gospel really blesses everybody! Everybody needs it. It's the key to eternal salvation. I'm so glad I have the opportunity to share it with the people of Sweden. Time is going by all too quickly. I'm trying my best to make it count!

Love you all! Take care!

Sister Suzanne Wood

Suz's Birthday Pics

St. Marias Kyrka....built in the 14th century.

Sister Swenson, Sister Maxwell, Sister Virkamäki and I at the old ruins in Sigtuna.

The kyrkogård outside of the St. Marias Kyrka.

The Princess tårta that Jakobsberg Sisters made me for my birthday!

Wonderful work! (Monday, June 21)

Kära Familj och Vänner,

It's been a great week here in Uppsala. We've had wonderful teaches, flat tires on bikes, a surprise investigator in church, and many other ups and downs. So basically, it has been another adventure filled week in my life as a missionary in Sweden.

I don't have a ton to write about today. I feel that as time continues to go on, I continue to have many uplifting experiences...but I feel like I have probably written about something similar in another letter...several months ago. I thought I would do something a little bit different today. I will highlight the week...with just a few points of excitement, and then share with all of you a little bit of what I've learned over the last couple of weeks...t

Highlights of the week:

1. We were able to teach Hans and Anette again. This time, the boys came in before we left...and we told them they were invited to be with us next time we come over. We explained that we will be playing a game...and then we laughed and joked...and talked about how we all love pizza. :) It was awesome. We are sincerely praying that Anette will read in the Book of Mormon...we talked about how it answers the questions of our souls, and she and Hans accepted our challenge to pick a question they have, and then read in the B of M to find some answers. We are going to visit on Wednesday...with a not yet created....fantastic game to include the whole family. I am SO grateful that I have the opportunity to help this family be stronger together. The gospel really does bless families!

2. I had a fantastic birthday!!! We went with the Jakobsberg sisters to an old village that is between our two areas and we went and checked out the old ruins, and had a great time together. Later on that evening, we had FHE with the YSA's and one of our investigators was able to come. It was awesome. They sang to me...in English...how thoughtful.

3. We were out contacting on Saturday...and often there are other young people that are out selling things on the streets in the cities around here during the summer. Well, one of them contacted me and said, "Can I ask you a question?" I then replied, "Yeah, if you let me ask you a question also." Well, she asked her question...and I explained that we don't have control over our bills...we wouldn't be able to use the service she was offering...then I asked my question, "What do you think is the meaning of life?" She was kind of taken back, but started really to think about it. We visited for a minute, told her about the Book of Mormon and she gave us her number so that we can meet and give her a Book of Mormon and tell her more about how she can find answers to life's questions. It was awesome!!!

The work continues to be rewarding for me. I love the people I have the opportunity to work with. I love my companion and have already learned a lot from her. I'm continually learning patience...with myself, with others, with bikes, with everything. I am especially learning to have patience with the Lord's timing. I got the opportunity to read Pres. Uchtdorf's talk on patience from the Priesthood Meeting last conference...and boy has it opened my eyes to the important nature of patience. I'll never forget the talk I gave in Sacrament Meeting before I was supposed to go into the MTC October of 2008...of course the topic being "Patience". I know we continue to learn patience throughout life, in order to be truly refined and willing to accept the Lord's timing.

I continue to learn a lot in my study. I love to study the gospel. I understand many things better than I did before my mission. What a blessing it is for all of us to be able to read in the scriptures, and read the words of the latter-day prophets, and learn and grow continually in our knowledge of the mysteries of God. I hope you have all taken advantage of the fact that there is so much for us to study and learn...to become the sons and daughters our Heavenly Father wants us to be...His Sons...and His daughters. We can all do that by continuing to get to know Him better...and of course getting to know The Savior better. They are truly one.

Love you all! Hope you all have a great week and that everything is going well during the summer!

Sister Suzanne Wood

Happy Birthday to me!!!! (Monday, June 14)

Dearest Family and Friends,

Yes...I know...I'm so very selfish to wish myself a happy birthday...but I turned 25 today. I had better live it up. I'm a quarter of a century old. All the Elders coming into the mission were born in the 90's...and let's be honest...I'm getting old!!!! (Don't worry dad...I know you still got me by a long shot...in years...and in wisdom!!!)

This week in the work, we've seen the small successes the Lord gives to His servants. Here in Uppsala, we continue to face what I have now coined, "The Swedish Summer Phenomenon". It's the idea that every summer in the beautiful, green, warm land of Sweden, that NOBODY stays in their place of "rest of the year" residence. All the students go home for the summer, and all the other citizens go to their summer cottages, or travel to exotic places all over the world. This phenomenon continues to be present, but does not stop the work going forward.

Even though it has been hard to meet with our investigators, we have continued to have success in our area. I am always SO grateful for the Lord's continued awareness of us, and His children everywhere. Here's a couple of the miracles we saw during the week!

First: I'm sure that all the World Cup soccer has been fun for all you boys our there...and for the girls also....but shopping is WAY better! :) Anyway...we actually went tracting on Saturday night..when there was a World Cup game on...and everybody was pretty edgy with us...we had no idea there would be a game on...until one lady said to us..."It's not so wise for you to be out talking about the meaning of life when there's a World Cup game on!!!" We laughed, figured out that must be why everybody was SO frustrated in their "Not interested" responses...and despite all the negative responses...we ended up finding someone to teach on the last door we knocked on who wanted a Book of Mormon and was interested in knowing more about the gospel. The Lord's work keeps going...even when the World Cup is on!! :)

Second: We have been working with a less active family...the Bywanders. Actually...just the dad is a member of the church. He has a sambo (live in wife figure...even though they are not married) and 3 boys. we went to visit them last week, and found out that Annette...the woman who has been atheist...has actually been praying!!! Woohoo!!! And then, Hans...the dad...promised us he would come to church...and he came. We did our part with fasting and prayer, but we saw the hand of the Lord in that family more than once this last week.

Third: An investigator named Christer...who we don't really teach right now because he has not been progressing...actually called us yesterday to tell us that he read in the Book of Mormon! He called us just to tell us that....we had a few minutes, stopped by and invited him to continue reading in the B of M...and to come to church next week. I have been so grateful during the whole week to see these little miracles...

It makes the difference in the work for me to know that as long as I continue to be diligent in the work, and show my faith by my obedience, that I will continue to see successes in the mission...no matter how small they may be. We are continuing to look for the prepared who are ready for baptism...and I know that we will find those who are prepared...even during the summer. ;) I love this work! I'm grateful to be a servant of the Lord, and I'm looking forward to this week. It's going to be a good one! Hope all is well with all of you! You all remain in my prayers! Take care, and have a great week!

Sister Suzanne Wood

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Last Pics of Stockholm

One of the last sunsets I saw in Stockholm...love the hot air balloon...beautiful!

A cool shot of the pendeltåg and the sunset...the commuter trains I took often in Stockholm.

Yvonne and me...one of the wonderful investigators I was working with my entire time in Jakobsberg!

Jenny Kempler and me my last day in Jakobsberg. She is an awesome member!

Sandra Miranda...my official "duet girl" from Jakobsberg's ward.

Sis. Maxwell and me on Transfer Day at "The Ring" in Stockholm Central

Sis. Virkamäki and me on our first day as companions. :)

Gotta Love the Work! (Monday, June 7)

Family and Friends,

This week in Uppsala has been great! We have had many challenges this week, but I'm glad to say that I'm still happy and enjoying the work. It's amazing to me that things are not always what they seem to be. I was in a way hoping that the 3 people who had decided to be baptized with Sis. Swenson and Sis. Virkamäki would be easy to meet with and totally ready to be baptized on the dates they had set. I also was hoping with all my heart that all the people we have been able to talk to, get their phone number...and who seemed quite interested in the gospel would be immediately willing to meet with us, learn the restored gospel and after learning of the Restoration of the gospel....want to set up a baptismal date and work to be baptized in Christ's church. I know some of you must assume that I see the world through rose colored glasses...and I'm sure that a lot of the time I do...but...I continue to learn along the way that sometimes we are faced with challenges to help us grow and to learn patience, to submit to the Lord's timing, etc.,etc., etc.

Not to disclose all the details of our week, I will just say that it was challenging. Things did not go as we had planned, and we continually needed to re-plan, use our backup plans, and then backup our backup plans. One day I was reading in the book of Mormon about the sons of Mosiah and thier missionary work. As many of you know...they were faced with all sorts of trials in their labors among the Lamanites. A couple of verses came to mind...and really helped me get through the week. First, was when the Lord's Spirit comes the them and says: "Be comforted. And they were comforted. And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth amongst thy brethren, and establish my word; yet be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls." Then, later, the same amazing missionaries had some hard times and they said the following, "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success."

Now, I know that I signed up for this gig. I knew from the very beginning of my mission that there would be challenges, hard days, even sometimes hard weeks...but I also know that the Lord never leaves us alone in our trials, our afflictions, or with out weaknesses. I have continued to be amazed that the words of the prophets in the scriptures can truly help us to find strength, comfort and joy even during hard times. I have such an incredible greatfulness for the scriptures of the ancient prophets and the words of our latter-day prophet and apostles. Reading and applying their teachings helps me to be happy...and to face my challenges with courage...that the Lord will give unto me success.

I know this is the work of the Lord. I look forward to this week...the successes it will bring, the challenges it will bring...and most of all that I get to go out and bear my testimony that I know the truth...and that truth gives me incredible strength during this mortal life. I hope all of you have a wonderful week. I hope you are all healthy and happy...and of course that summer is treating you all well. I LOVE SWEDISH SUMMER!!!!!! It's SO beautiful here. I feel lucky to go outside every day and enjoy this amazing place! Please take care of yourselves and know that I continue to pray for you.

Much love,
Sister Suzanne Wood

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Uppsala (Monday, May 31)

Kära Familj och vänner,

Det har varit en underbar vecka här i Uppsala. Allt gick bra med förflyttningen och vi har en stor lägenhet här...mycket större än lägenheten i Stockholm. Oh...sorry I fogot I need to write this in english...oops! Let me start again. It's been a wonderful week here in Uppsala. Everything went well with the transfer and we have a big apartment here...much bigger than the apartment in Stockholm. Most important thing is not the size of the apartment. I was just used to living in a one room apt. in the city and now we have 2 rooms, a living room, a separate kitchen, etc. It's quite the luxury I am living in here. ;)

I am companions with Sister Virkamäki from Finland. She is a wonderful person and a great missionary. We are getting to know eachother and I'm sure we will continue to be better friends as the transfer goes on. She is very quirky. She loves to read, and loves music as well. We have a lot in common and work hard together. This transfer is going to be one of the best I've had on my mission!

One of the things about Uppsala that is really cool is that it is a University town. There are tons of students to talk to all over the place. The last couple of transfers have really shown a lot of fruits in this area. Right now, we have 15 investigators and between 30-40 potential investigators. There are many people who are interested in learning about the gospel here and we will continue to find more people to teach and help those who are ready to accept the gospel and be baptized. Also, we have 3 people who have been taught and who we are preparing for baptism...Moses, Sulayman, and Elias. We actually committed Elias to baptism my first day here. Awesome!!! Our goal for this week is to teach them all twice and have them all in church next sunday.

We also have a great YSA here. We receive a lot of help from them with teaches, and they have a very strong desire to do missionary work and to help however they can. A few of them are moving home for the summer, so there will only be a few here...but I'm sure it will be great with those that stay. We have a Senior couple here also...the Larson's. They are wonderful people. They will return home in July so we are looking forward to working with them these next couple of months.

The miracle for this week was an utställning (exhibit) we did here in Uppsala on Saturday. It started long before I got here...that the ward wanted to do an exhibit in the city to have people find out more about the church. Then, the YSA's decided that they wanted to help and be a part of it. So, from there the plans were made, a permit paid for, fasting done, and many prayers for us to find someone at that utställning to be baptized that is a YSA. We saw that the weather was not looking very good on Friday evening...so we prayed that the weather would be better on Saturday. Well, Saturday morning came and the weather was not much better. There was rain coming down and no sun came shining. We continued to pray that the sun would come out, that it would warm up...etc. so we would have lots of people to talk to.

10:00am rolled around and it was raining, a little chilly and we were wondering if there would be anybody to talk with out on such a bad day. I know you might all think that what the miracle was...that the sun came out and we talked to 100's of people all morning, etc. Well...that's not quite how it went. Through the entire time, the sun never came out, BUT...there were people to talk to. We talked to those who were out and we met many people who were interested in receiving a Book of Mormon and learning more. We had much success at the exhibit. We have at least 2 potential investigators who are YSA age who are willing to meet and learn more about what we believe.

The moral of the story is...we don't always get answers to our prayers in the way we want them. It's all too often that we pray for the sunshine...when the answer comes that we need to pray for people to talk to no matter the weather. The Lord is aware of us and our needs. He knew who to have out in Stor Torget on Saturday so we could talk to them. He knew that we would still go around and talk to people in the rain. I just have such a strong testimony of the Lord's hand in everything. He answers our prayers...not always in the way we think is best, but we receive what we need.

I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve here. I am looking very much forward to the next weeks of the transfer. We have a lot to do here and many people to touch. I hope all of you have a Wonderful Memorial Day and that all is well wherever you are. Take care and have a great week!

Sister Suzanne Wood

Address Change

Hey! One more thing I forgot....they have changed it so that all the mail that is sent to us needs to be sent to the Mission Office address..which is the package address from now on. The address is:

Sister Suzanne Wood
Enebybergsvägen 38
SE-182 46 Enebyberg

I wanted to make it a nice big size...so that everybody knows the address...and maybe uses it sometime. ;);)

Love you all!
Sister Wood

Transfer Information!!! (Wed., May 26)

Dear Family and Friends,

Well it's official. I am leaving the boundaries of the Greater Stockholm Area!!! We received our transfer phone call yesterday right before personal study in which conversation President Anderson let us know that I will be moving to Uppsala and serving with Sister Virkamäki and that Sister Maxwell with be staying here and Sister Swenson will be coming to Jakobsberg to serve with her. :) It's very exciting! I am moving out of Stockholm but I will still be in the Stockholm District and come to Stockholm once a week for District Meetings. I am still a "Stockholm" girl. I am excited about the changes for next transfer. We actually had District Meeting in Uppsala about a week ago, so I was able to go up there and check out the city a little, while we did some contacting there. It's a beautiful place. It's a college town, and they are trying to get a Young Single Adult Center started in Uppsala, so I am very excited about that.

I will miss Jakobsberg! This place has become very dear to me. I'll miss the ward members, our investigators and of course Sister Maxwell. We have had a great transfer together. She is a great missionary and we have had a lot of fun doing the work together. The Music Concerts we have had have been really fun for me, and we had another great showing on last Sunday evening at the concert. We had all of our Swedish Class students come, and a couple of other non-members, and the music was wonderful. It's been really great to be able to sing a little bit. I sang a song from a musical in Swedish called, "Du måste finnas" which means you must exist. It's all about the fact that God needs to exist, or nothing matters, and everything is a big mess...that's of course my very rough translation. It's a beautiful song and I will definitely need to sing it for all of you when I get back. Sandra Miranda and I sang "When you Believe" again...which was awesome and Elder White who plays the guitar, arranged "Homeward Bound" for me to sing with. It's the song the Tabernacle Choir sings...it was also wonderful. Sister Maxwell played the flute, we sang a duet...in short, it was just a wonderful program. I'll miss music night!

The work continues to go well here. We have had a great week. We are going to go to one more activity with the youth tonight, and then head home and I need to get the rest of my stuff packed up...we'll see if it all fits. ;) I love the work here in Sweden. We have as a mission been trying to accomplish a "May Miracle" which is to have our baptismal dates actually get baptized. We have been working really hard to know what we can do to help those who are planning to be baptized make it. I know that I have seen so many little miracles as we have been trying to see the success happen here. The Lord is with us. We are doing His work. I'm so grateful for the blessing it is to serve everyday. I love the gospel. I gain new insights all the time. I know that the Plan of Salvation is real. Every time we teach the plan to people, I have a greater appreciation, and a very real confirmation that it is true. I have been really sensitive the last couple of days when I have born my testimony during teaches. It becomes more important to me all the time that those I teach understand the importance...the eternal significance of what we are teaching. What an honor it is to be a witness of the Savior in this wonderful land.

I am doing well. I had a cold most of the week, but was blessed to be able to sing Sunday night through the power of a Priesthood blessing. I am feeling much better today, and know that the Lord is blessing me to continue in the work. My back is just fine. I love what I am doing everyday, and am excited to experience a new city, and help many more people come to the gospel. I hope all of you have a great week!

Sister Suzanne Wood