Monday, November 26, 2012

Almost Two Months :)


First of all that’s so awesome to hear about Reid and Ginny's mission calls. Salt Lake City, I'm way jealous. I hear those missionaries teach 30 lessons a week. I'm way excited for both of them and can't wait to hear about their experiences. 

Yes, I got both of the packages and I'm was SOOO happy to get them. The pumpkin bread warms my soul. And thank you for the obscene amount of tissues, I actually have a cold right now so it must have been revelation given to you to send me those tissues and antibacterial hand wipes ;). 

The scripture I'd like to share with you this week is (click on Mosiah to read) Mosiah 15:4-9. To me it is the most comforting scripture ever. My companion put it this way: Think of a person. The one person who you would want to be your advocate. A person that you know loves you more than anything, and would stand up for you and protect you in any situation. Now think of the Savior, and multiply that love infinitely. And imagine him standing between you and justice, between you and spiritual death, against all opposition and him saying "Well done thou good and faithful servant... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." I can't think of anything more comforting than that. 

Alright let me tell you about my thanksgiving's. Thanksgiving day we went to Sister XXXXX's for breakfast. She is a member in the ward and she makes suuuucchhhh good food. We had a HUGE delicious breakfast with her. Then we went to the XXXXX's for dinner later that day. Where we again had soooo much good food. I really am so grateful to be in this area right now. It could not be better than this. I'm a brand new missionary living with the greatest family ever, during the holiday season. I am being so well taken care of and I love it so much. I'm so grateful to them and the love they have for us missionaries. Then on Friday we had another thanksgiving dinner with the XXXXX family all 10,000 of them. So we stuffed ourselves again on Friday. Then on Saturday we had yet another dinner with another family of about 20,000 (these fundamentalist families are exceedingly large). So needless to say, I'm ok with Thanksgiving being a whole year away. 

Ok so now for favorite two experiences this week. On Friday night we taught a lesson to XXXXX. A young man who has been attending church for a while and approached us asking if he could take the lessons. We taught him the Restoration and we invited him to be baptized and he accepted! My first baptismal commitment. I am so happy for him. 

Ok this next story is completely true. I kid you not. Saturday morning we are just doing our companionship study, discussing some pretty deep doctrinal stuff about faith and intelligence and light, when we hear a knock knock knock on our door. We both bolt for the door because this never happens. A visitor to our quaint trailer? couldn't be. So we answer the door and a woman probably in her late 50's introduces herself to us and says she is here to share a message about Jesus. We introduced ourselves as Elder XXXXX and Elder Sherwood. The best part is we were going to do service later that morning so we were just dressed in normal clothes, no nametags, nothing. She continued talking about God and gave us a small pamphlet on the subject. This went on for several minutes at which point she asked us if we had any religion in our life. At which point WE clarified our names. "I don't know if you heard us, my name is ELDER XXXXX" "and my name is ELDER Sherwood. We are missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." We had a very good discussion about God and Christ and the Holy Ghost, much of which we agreed about. Sadly, her church lacked many of the precious gifts we hold dearly such as personal revelation, or the correct concept of grace and the Atonement. After much discussion about her religion, we proceeded to teach her.... The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, from Christ's earthly ministry all the way to Joseph Smith. We offered her a Book of Mormon and invited her to read it and pray about it. She politely declined and stated "Well we're very strong in our beliefs and you're very strong in your beliefs so it's best for us to just be friends". I promise, you will never hear those words come out of the mouth of a true Servant of Christ. We then shook hands and wished each other well as she departed. We went back in to our trailer, beaming with excitement at the fact that we had just taught a Jehovah's Witness. #nbd. 

I'm gonna send another email with some other requests and stuff :)

Alright so here's just a list of stuff I wrote down during the week to ask/tell you about.

mom- could you please send me my AWE boots (make sure there’s not spiders in them) 
Also I'm freezing out here! Could you send my down jacket, ya know the Mountain Hardwear one.
and I would really like some sweaters ASAP :) thanks!

On Sunday I gave a talk about gaining a personal testimony of the Savior! It was so sweet I'll make some copies of it and send it home for you all to read :) 

I finally finished the Book of Mormon!! WOOO! Now I'm reading the New Testament and the Book of Mormon again. 

Is this time going by really fast for you all as well? I can't believe it's almost been two months already. It feels like it's been one week. Makes me kinda sad actually. I love being a missionary, it's the greatest thing I've ever been a part of. I love sharing what I know, this amazing gift I have in my life. It truly makes me sad when people don't want to accept or understand what we have to share. 

I hope and pray that all is well in work and school for all of you! 

Thank you for the love a support you give to me! I love you all so much! I pray for you all every day! 

Elder Sherwood

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Week in the Life of a Missionary


How is everyone doing!! This week went by so fast. SO FAST.

Can you believe I've already been out for over a MONTH! I can't believe it. Only 23 months left! So sad.

Well you all asked a lot of questions this time and I thought that I should answer them.

How's eating going?
Fantastic. I'm so good at grocery shopping. You would be so proud mom. I get lots of fruit, bread, eggs, ya know healthy stuff. I actually think I'm losing weight.

Do you eat at members houses?
Yep. Almost every single night. Its awesome because I love being with the members and there's a TON of awesome little kids in the ward. Being a coach has given me a soft spot in my heart for kids where I think most people just get annoyed haha. Anyways, yes we eat at member’s houses a lot, which is good.
Is there anything you need?
PUMPKIN BREAD! I'm craving it.
How's riding your bike?
Since we are living literally on a farm miles from town and other houses we don't ride bikes here. It's just too impractical. So sadly I haven't had a chance to ride my beloved bicycle :(   (we thought he was on his bike in this area!)

Where do you go to check/send e-mails?
We go to the local library.  I'm typing on a dinosaur right now.

What are your plans for thanksgiving?
We are going to Sister XXXXXX for thanksgiving breakfast. She's a member, and she makes suuuuch good food. Then we are eating dinner with the XXXXX family. Then Friday we are eating Thanksgiving dinner with the XXXX family, all 6,000 of them, then a couple hours later we are eating again with the Ward Mission leader's family. Then Saturday we have ANOTHER Thanksgiving dinner with one of our Investigators and his family. 4 dinners. So. Stoked.

you know those signs that have a picture of  bicycle and say share the road?
Here, it's a picture of a horse and buggy. #Amish

Scriptures:  (I've added the text of the scriptures Elder Sherwood mentions because I know some of you may not have access. They can also be found on
Mormon 9: 20-21
 20 And the reason why he ceaseth to do amiracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should btrust.
 21 Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, awhatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this bpromise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.

Ether 6:3
And thus the Lord caused stones to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children, that they might not cross the great waters in darkness.

 - i love this one because I was about to teach a lesson on the Holy Ghost one evening, and in my morning personal study I was reading the Book of Mormon and I came across this scripture. Read this scripture and ponder how the Holy Ghost is one of our most precious gifts in this life.

We went on exchanges again this week. I was down in XXXXX, MO for a day with one of our Zone Leaders, Elder XXXX. He is a really really nice guy. He's got the best Spirit about him. Super helpful. We went to teach this woman who is investigating the Church. We were planning on teaching her the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost). When we got there she started telling us about her week… It was a sad and painful story to hear about her experience and the pain she had been going through. The lesson was amazing. The Spirit guided the lesson to fit her needs perfectly…she told us that us coming and teaching her had brought light back in to her life. It was so cool.

The Gospel is so amazing. It brings people from the dark to the light. From pain and sorrow to joy and happiness. I keep seeing it over and over again in my life. I love being a servant in this great cause.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Teaching in Missouri


Here is what I have to say about the election:
Helaman 5:2
Mosiah 29: 26-27

So on Tuesday we went to go teach XXXXX about the Plan of Salvation, we brought a member with us and everything. We get to his house and when he answers the door he tells us that he doesn't want us
to teach him anymore :(. But that’s ok! Because he still wants us to drop by and say Hello every once in a while. So we visited him yesterday and talked for a little bit, got to know him a little better, we invited him to church, and to read the Book of Mormon and we left him with a prayer. Please continue keeping him in your prayers, he is a really good guy and he's having a hard time finding a job right now.

On Wednesday we had exchanges. I went down to XXXXX for the day with Elder XXXXX our District Leader. He is a really cool guy and great missionary. We went tracting and taught one lesson to this guy who
is having a hard time. I shared with him Ether 12:27 which is one of my favorite scriptures. It talks about how after all we can do on our own, through grace, our Heavenly Father will carry us the rest of the way and make our weaknesses become strengths.

This week we didn't get to teach a whole lot. It's getting me really bummed. It’s so hard to find people to teach. I knew it would be hard but I didn't know that would be the hardest part. The ward here is
really great, it’s an awesome ward with awesome people.

I'm so happy to hear about Alex's volleyball team!! NCS WOOO!!!! How did they do!!?!?!

I'm also so happy to hear about work mom!!! That’s so awesome!!

Dad - Could you please send me our ward mission plan!!!!!!! ASAP!!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

First e-mail from Oklahoma, actually Missouri!


I finally made it!! We left the MTC at 3 am on Wednesday morning. I'm sorry our phone call was short and probably not as in depth as you all would have liked. But I realized that sooo much has happened and it’s hard to get it all out in a short amount of time. Also as I talked to you, I started getting kinda sad because I miss you all. But it's ok!! I miss you but remember "missionaries are people who leave their families for a little while, so that other people can be with their families for eternity". 

So I sent you a letter on Thursday but I'm not sure if you've gotten it yet. You might get it today. My companion’s name is Elder A! He's a really nice guy. He is from Montana. In about 3 days he will hit the one year mark. He comes from a HUGE family. He has a background in the FLDS church (fundamentalists). Don't worry, you will hear about them in a second. He is a convert to the church when he was about 16. 

I was called to the xxxx, Missouri area. Look it up. You won't find it. The population of this town is 1,819. And I kid you not probably half of the people here are cousins. There is this place called "xxxxxx". It is an FLDS community, where everyone knows everyone and everyone is family. Including my companion. He has cousins, aunts, and uncles that live on "xxxxxx". It's literally a ranch in the middle of the woods, with dirt roads that wind endlessly through miles and miles of a thick forested area. My apartment is a trailer home on the property of a member in the ward. Literally a trailer home. They are doing construction on the bridge you take to get to the house, so we take these dirt and gravel back roads that take us on a 20 minute journey through the wilderness to get home. It's awesome. 

The family who lives in the house next door to us and owns the trailer we live in, is the P….family. They are really really really awesome. They are so cool. 

We teach fundamentalist families all the time. Many of which are related to my companion. And this is what I have realized:

They do not teach you this stuff in the MTC. There's no section on how to teach someone who already believes everything you believe, has a stronger testimony of more principles and doctrine, has more knowledge on the subject, and lives Plural Marriage. 

I'm having a hard time teaching right now because of this: When we go to teach a fundamentalist, their knowledge already surpasses mine. I don't have any doctrine or principles that they don't know or have a testimony of. The thing is, the Spirit testifies of the truth. And the FLDS church is 95% true! So I'm not really getting the experience of going in to a lesson with a person who doesn't know the restoration or plan of salvation. So I’m not really getting better at teaching those lessons. When we visit a fundamentalist it's usually a discussion or question and answer session on things that I am just not well versed in. So I find myself thinking of more questions about what is being discussed, than helpful insights or points to make myself. I feel rather ineffective in those situations. But I will NOT let it get me down. I know that if I can get good at this, I will be SO prepared for the rest of my mission. I'm looking at this trial, as a blessing. So, Dad, if you have any advice on this matter, it would be MUCH appreciated. 

My first night here, we went to teach the A…family (my companions cousins) and we taught them the doctrine of Christ form 2 Nephi 31-33. We ate dinner with them as well. Deer meatloaf that one of the cousins hunted and killed with A BOW AND ARROW. HOW COOL IS THAT! First day of my mission and I had freshly killed venison meatloaf. Awesome. So awesome. 

Ok so a couple days later we were knocking on the doors of some potential investigators and former investigators and we knocked on the door of D S. He is this little old fisherman, who has this super high voice. He's one of the nicest people I've ever met. We talked with D on his doorstep for a few minutes and then he invited us in and we taught him the restoration!!! It was SO COOL!! My first time actually teaching a REAL person in their home. Ah it was so sweet. We left him with a Book of Mormon and invited him to read it. I was so nervous at fist to start talking, but it's so true, if you are obedient, have faith and have treasured up the words of life in your mind continually, all you have to do is open your mouth. It was a really awesome experience. We visited him the next day and answered some questions he had about the introduction to the BofM. We have an appointment with him tomorrow! I'm so excited!

My most recent favorite scripture is Alma 57: 19-21 
I will stand firm and undaunted and I will obey with exactness, because my mom taught me that way. Brother S a member of the branch presidency in the MTC always said, "your mothers didn't raise you to be average missionaries. They are back home telling people about Elder Sherwood, the exceptional missionary".

I promise, I'm doing all I can to be an exceptional missionary. Because that's how you raised me. Thank you :)

I know that it might sound like my concerns and struggles are getting me down, and they kind of are. But regardless, I am absolutely LOVING this. I love being a servant of the Lord. I love teaching. I love having a very specific purpose, and I am very happy :) 

here is some of my favorite scriptures from recently: 
2 Nephi 31: 20
Luke 9: 62
Alma 55: 6
Alma 56: 44-45
Isaiah 52: 1-7
John 15
Helaman 3: 26-30

I have finally finished ALMA and I am in chapter 6 of Helaman. The homestretch!! I'm going to try to finish the whole Book Of Mormon by the next time I email you. Pray for my success please :) I would also ask you to please pray for D S, We are going to invite him to be baptized in our next lesson. I can't wait! 

Well that’s pretty much everything. I love you All SO MUCH!! 

Elder Sherwood