Sunday, August 15, 2010

A baptism! (Monday, August 9)

Dear Family and Friends,

We have had a fantastic week in Lund! I am loving the area I am serving in and Sister Sumner and I are having a great time doing the work. We laugh a lot together...and although I think I am going crazy sometimes...we are really enjoying the work of the Lord.

The highlight of this week was definitely Denzil's baptism. We had everything organized and everything went smoothly from filling the font, to everybody showing up...especially Denzil. :) It was a really nice baptismal service, and there were several ward members there to support him. Sister Sumner talked, and I sang "I Feel My Savior's Love". The Bishop presided and conducted the meeting and one of Denzil's fellowshippers performed the baptism.

On Sunday, Denzil was confirmed a member of the church. He is married and has 3 kids in Sri Lanka, and he has asked Sis. Sumner and I to put together some lessons about the church so that he can teach his children the gospel! It's so amazing. He really was prepared and has gladly accepted the gospel in his life. It will definitely affect him into eternity. So awesome!

We also have a couple of other positive investigators here...Anna...a 30 Swedish woman who is really searching for happiness. She has been baptized before...which we are helping her to understand why she needs to be baptized again, and she has a lot more faith to build. She is really open and is keeping her commitments to read in the Book of Mormon and continues to meet with us.

Other than that, we have been trying to find those prepared people here in Lund, and I'm doing everything I can to focus on the work and give it everything I've got. know there are prepared people here...or else we wouldn't be serving we are out trying to find them.

I love Lund's ward...there are about 150 people in the ward...which reminds me a little bit more of Stockholm. There are many people willing to help us with teaches and it's fun to be in a big ward again. We are also doing a lot of work with Less-Active Members here...and we met and have been teaching one member named Lena...who has been inactive for several years. When we first met her, she didn't want to be a member anymore...but by the end of our conversation, we had another time decided that we would come back, and she asked us what her homework was. It was awesome!

I'm looking forward to the center starting up's been pretty slow with that will be great in a couple of weeks. Zone Conference is next week...and time is just flying by. I hope all of you are doing well. School must be starting means fall is on it's way. Have a great week. Stay close to the Spirit. We can truly know God's will for us if we look for the influence of His Spirit in our lives.

Sister Suzanne Wood

Monday, August 2, 2010

Lund is AMAZING!!

Dear Family and Friends,

These first few days in Lund have been wonderful! I am so glad to be here. I have a wonderful companion...who works hard and has a great desire to do the work, and I'm in an awesome little city.

I will begin by talking about the trip down here to Lund. I wouldn't bother to talk about it if it were a normal train ride down the country, but in our was an adventure to be shared. :)

First of all, I was on the train headed for Malmö with 3 other Elders. We got on the train ok, and even got started ok on our 4-5 hour trek down the country of Sweden. Well, about 45 min. into our trip, we came to a halt. The train instructor told us that there had been some computer problems, so that it would just take a few minutes to re-start the computer and then we would be on our way again. Well, as you can imagine...20 minutes later he said they were still working on things...and then an hour later...there started to be personnel people walking down the train telling us that they were not going to send busses to pick us up because the train wouldn't work at all. Well, needless to say, we had been waiting over 2 and a half hours when they came back through and told us that there was now another train that was going to come and pick us up in about an hour. So, we sat there in this little, middle-of-nowhere place called Skebokvarn. A couple of funny things happened while we were waiting. The personnel of the train actually asked all the Elders I was with to officially guard the doors so that nobody would fall or get hurt. They must have asked because the Elders look so official in their white shirts and ties. :) Then, I was entertaining little kids and getting to know several of the passengers on the we did not have so much to do. It was pouring rain the whole time, and I was amazed that the people stayed as patient as they did the whole time...they realized there was really nothing they could do about it...but wait.

Eventually, the other train came. Then the real fun began. As it was pouring rain, and there were man people and bags to move from one train to the other, we all started pitching in to get things off the one train and on to the other. I was helping Elder Arko move our bags and the other Elders were helping to move all the other passengers things...they were officially the helpers. ;) They had ladders for people to climb down and up and it was amazing to see so many people changing trains in the rain in the middle of nowhere. Well, we got on the other train and got going FINALLY. But wait...about twenty minutes after we started moving again...we pulled to a little place called Flen...not Flem....even though it would have fit the place. hehehe...well anyway, they told us they needed to change drivers there. So, after another 40 minutes of sitting there and waiting, we were finally on our way. Eventually they came on the loud speaker as said that we would arrive 4 hours later than our anticipated time of arrival. It was crazy! We pulled into Lund Central at 12:00am...(the latest I've been up during my whole mission) and got ourselves home and settled in.

The next couple of days I was a bit tired...but that's pretty normal these days, and I just so happen to LOVE this it was worth the wait to get here.

I also want to write a little about my awesome companion Sis. Sumner. She is from Stafford, Virginia and has been studying Public Health at BYU. She is from a family of 4 kids and she is a super missionary! She has been here in Sweden for 4 months with Sis. Coleman and was really excited that I came down to spend my last weeks with her. :) She likes volleyball, and reading classic novels...don't worry I'm not trying to advertise her. ;) She has a great desire to work hard, and I'm grateful for the fact that she is motivated and will help me to stay motivated until the end. I'm expecting a lot of success this transfer.

We have a baptism here in Lund on Saturday! He is a man named Denzil from Sri Lanka. He had come in cotact with the missionaries first through Swedish Class here in Lund and was not at all interested in the gospel then...but recently, he showed up at the Institute Center and was asked by the Center Senior Couple missionaries to go see a baptism with them. He said he would, and then from then on out, he let the Sisters know that he wanted to be baptized. This was about a week and a half we are teaching him everyday in order to get him ready for baptism. He's been in church several times and is loving the gospel. He reads the scriptures everyday and talks about how good it feels to him when he reads, or when he is in church. He's awesome! I'mm be excited to write about the baptism next week!

Other than that, I am just getting to know the area. We have some other positive investigators...some of which are on semester (vacation) right now but that I am excited to meet when they get back. I'm doing well. I'm happy and healthy. I love this work! I know the Lord leads His work and that He leads us to those who are prepared for the gospel as we show our obedience and faith. I continue to learn from the scriptures daily. Make sure you read in the scriptures!!! It's so important that we continue to nourish our testimonies with the words of Christ! I love you all and hope that you all have a great week!

Much Love,
Sister Suzanne Wood

TRANSFER INFO.!!!!! (Wed., July 28)

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has gone by SO fast! I can't believe it's transfers tomorrow. I have my last transfer beginning...and I will be moving...and to my great astonishment...I will be moving for the first time in a year...out of the Stockholm District. Any guesses where I'm going?? Anybody?? Oh don't know what my options are. Well, I'll just tell you all where I'm going:


You may all be wondering where that is...or why I am so excited about the change. For those of you who have been following my mission, I have spent the vast majority of it in the Stockholm area. And now, I am moving to the lowest part of Sweden that Sister missionaries can go. Lund is in an area called Skåne. It is just a ferry ride away from Denmark! I will have the opportunity to learn a new's called Skånska. Let me explain. It is not the Swedish I have been speaking for the last 16 months. This is a CRAZY version of it that has tons of Danish influence. I am probably going to feel like a greenie contacting the people in this area of Sweden. I'll have to say...what was that??? like 5 times before I understand what they are saying. It will be awesome!

I will be serving in Lund with Sister Sumner. She has been in Lund for the last 4 months with Sister companion from the MTC. I am really excited to serve with her. Lund is also a University there is a YSA Center there...similar to the one I was working with in Stockholm, and many University students to talk to. I'm totally excited. Not to mention I will have the opportunity to see a different landscape and see how it is on the south side. :)

I have to admit, that even though I am very excited to move and see some new things, and meet new, wonderful people, that I am sad to leave Uppsala. I love this city! The ward I have been working with is made up of the quirkiest, best people, and I will miss them terribly. There are also a couple of new converts that I have been working a lot with and will miss as well. Philippe and Sam. They are great!

We had the opportunity to have 8 BYU exchange students here in Uppsala the last couple of weeks. They have been here learning Swedish, so we've had good sized Sunday School classes, and great FHE activities with them. It was really fun to have some visitors here in Uppsala. Everything is still going well with Solomon...he will be getting baptized in 2 long as he can get to church. He often works on Sundays, so we are trying to get that figured out. I've loved working with Sis. Virkamäki!!!! She is awesome! We have had a lot of fun together this transfer, and I have really grown to love her, and will miss her very much.

I hope that all of you are doing well! I hope that the summer is warm...for those of you in the south...hope it's not TOO warm! ;) I know that this is the Lord's work. I feel confidence that I am needed in Lund to help the work move forward there. I know that the Leaders of the Church make their decisions under the direction of the Spirit and that we can trust in their counsel!

I love you all! Take care, and have a great week!!!

Sister Suzanne Wood

Can it get any hotter around here? (Monday, July 19)

Kära Familj och Vänner,

This week has been wonderful here in Uppsala. We have had the opportunity to visit several less-active members, and meet with our investigators as well. I am doing well. I'm continuing to work hard, and try my best to help others however come to the gospel. I start my last transfer of the mission next Thursday...which I have very mixed feelings about. I have no idea what will happen...but I'm sure that wherever I am, whoever I serve with..there is still much of the Lord's work to do. It has been incredibly warm in Sweden these last couple of weeks. We have gotten about 10 min. of rain total in the last weeks here...and it has been aroune 30 degrees celcius...I think it's about 85 degrees Farenheit. I know...I know..."not so bad" you say...but remember I am in a country with no air conditioning...and busses with no windows. Ok, I'm done complaining...I know far too many of you who served in South America...and probably didn't have A/C...or heat...I take back all the complaints. :) It's been a beautiful summer here. I love the green everywhere. It's truly a beautiful land.

We have an investigator named Solomon. I don't know if I have mentioned anything about him here's a short background of how we started teaching him. We were doing email a few weeks ago here in the library and he called us...we didn't recognize the when we left the library we called the number back. Solomon told us that he was contacted in Stockholm by two young men, and that they gave him our number in Uppsala because that's where he lives. We have now taught him the basic doctrine of the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ...and he is going to be baptized in August!! He is a sincere, humble man from Kenya who has mentioned on more than one occasion that this is "his church". We will do everything we can to help him and prepare him to make that covenant with the Lord. I'm so very grateful that I have met so many that are willing and prepared to hear and accept the gospel.

One thing that Solomon said during our teach last week really made an impact on me, and my views of things. He mentioned that we are pretty small in numbers in the church meetings we have in Uppsala. He then continued to express how many people might come to the church once...but that they see all that is required of the members of the church...and then they don't want to come back. He said there are lots of commandments in this church...and that there aren't many who are willing to follow the commandments. As I listened to him say these things...I had all sorts of things come to mind....but it was in pondering after the lesson that I really came to appreciate that there are so many willing, active members in the church...who keep the commandments. The organization of the dependent upon the faithfulness of the members. Imagine if most of the members of the church just showed up and left without taking care of their 1 calling...well, to put it wouldn't happen. We each make the commitment to do our callings...and in part...we are each helping to keep the kingdom of God running smoothly every day, week, month and year...not to mention that we build His kingdom when we do our part. I have just really come to realize how important every member matter the calling...that we all contribute to the ward/branch in which we serve is vital to it's function. We are few...and we know that "many are called but few are chosen".

We also had another miracle the same day we invited Solomon to be baptized. We had about 20 minutes before he would be at the church, so we decided we needed to go out and contact before he came. We were a little skeptical of the success we would have on a Friday night in the middle of Summer in a college town...well we went out anyway. :) As we walked, we stopped a woman who was walking slowly down the sidewalk with her bike. (Traditionally those who have bikes that work...ride them, not walk them.) We stopped her and I asked her if she had ever asked herself any of life's questions. She began by explaining that she was on her way home to an empty house, with not much to do, and that she had been out to get herself some fill up part of the empty space she feels in her life right now because of the contemplation she's been doing about the meaning of her life. I think my jaw probably dropped more and more with every word she said testifying to me that she was in desperate need of the gospel. We visited for several more minutes about why we are here...and were able to assure her that there is life after this life. It was amazing. We will be teaching Elisabeth Strand on Thursday to teach her about our loving Heavenly Father, and His plan for each of us.

I am so grateful for the gospel. I have been unbelievably blessed in my life because of it. I know that obedience brings us promised matter the situation we are in. One thing that I said to Sis. Virkamäki yesterday as we were discussing books we are that there are stereo-types out there about every culture, race, clique, etc. in the world. I know that none of those stereo-types applies to everybody in a particular category...but I do know that there is one thing that applies to everybody...and that is God. His commandments...His word, and His gospel all apply to all of us. Continue in faith! I love you all. I know this is the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth. I'm grateful for your examples and love.

Next week, I won't write until Wednesday because of Transfers on Thursday. Have a great week!

Much Love,
Sister Suzanne Wood