Monday, April 29, 2013

Philipians 4:4

So this week wasn't the best week ever, but it definitely had it's highlights. On Tuesday we had exchanges with the 1st ward elders. I was with Elder HXXXXX in their area. Which is just across the street from our area so it didn't feel like much of a change. But anyways, that day it was freezing cold and wet. We were biking around all day and I came down with the stomach flu. It was awful. I was sick the whole next day and now I'm finally close to feeling 100%. So It was a rough few days after that.

On Thursday we had District Meeting, and “Train the Trainer.” Train the Trainer is when President SXXXXX goes around the mission and meets with all the Trainers. Our Train the Trainer meeting consisted of maybe 15 companionships from a couple surrounding zones. It was so awesome. It was so sweet to hear from President. Every time he speaks to the missionaries I get so motivated and inspired. I've never felt the spirit stronger in a talk than when President SXXXXX speaks.

His message was awesome. He talked about the mission statement of the doctrine of Christ and the ministerial statement. His mission was to perform the Atonement. To pay the price for us. To be our advocate with the Father. No one could accomplish this mission but Him. His ministerial statement is "come follow me.”  Christ invites all men to repent and come unto Him. This is something we can all do. We do this through Faith, Repentance, Baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. This is how we access the Atonement. The Atonement of Christ is available for everyone. The healing, the peace, the happiness is there for us all. All we have to do is put forth our hand, and take hold of his.

XXXXX's baptism was on Saturday. That was so awesome. Every single part of that program was youth led. The prayers, the musical numbers, the talks, even the actual ordinance was done by XXXXX’s friend XXXXX, a priest. It really was an amazing experience. It is such a testimony builder for me to see kids, 17 and 18 year old kids, exercising so much faith in building the kingdom of God. This Gospel is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that the Atonement is real because I am a witness of it's divine power in the lives of real people. Prayer works. God listens. God answers. I love being a servant of the Lord.

Hebrews 4:5

April 22, 2013

Hey family! :)

This week was pretty sweet. Elder KXXXX is so awesome. He's already such a good missionary. It's so funny because he's always so impressed by gospel knowledge I have. I don't think I know that much about the gospel. I really don't. I just know how to talk to strangers about it. That’s what being a missionary is all about. Talking with people. Trying to leave them better off than you found them. And the best way to do that is through talking about the gospel. I love this area of the country. I never thought I would fall in love with Missouri and Arkansas. The people here a so awesome.

This week we had a couple funny interactions. On Wednesday we knocked on the door of a Jehovah's Witness. That’s always an interesting conversation. You have to be careful because it can get pretty heated, pretty quick. Then the next day we knocked on another Witnesses door. Same deal. All you can do in that situation is be friendly and bear testimony. They aren't receptive to anything. Which makes me sad. Elder KXXXXX did really well. He held is own haha.

I guess this area has been getting like around 8 or 9 lessons a week on average. This week we got 16. We tracted so much. My companion loves tracting. It's so awesome! I love it too. It's so fun just getting to talk with people. I love learning about the lives of others and doing my best to share what I know with them.

This weekend we have an investigator named XXXXX getting baptized. The Elders here before us taught him and invited him to be baptized and set a date with him. So all we did was come in, finish teaching him, and set up the baptism. He's such a cool guy. He grey up pretty much atheist but as soon as the missionaries taught him about the gospel and he tried living it, he became so much happier. Last week he bore is testimony in sacrament meeting. It was so sweet. He's such a good kid and he will be such a great member. He's already wanting to go on exchanges with the missionaries haha!

Our investigator pool is pretty thin right now. We are doing our best to find more and teach as much as we can! I know now more than ever that this gospel brings so much happiness to the lives of those who choose to live it faithfully. I know that we have a Father in Heaven who actually knows us! Who actually cares about us! Who really loves us! I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, Brother, and Friend. I love being a missionary. And I love you guys! :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mosiah 4:27

Mosiah 4:27
Hey! Good morning Arkansas. So last week was a pretty sad week. Tuesday and Wednesday I said goodbye to everyone. I spent exactly 1/4 of my mission in Stockton Missouri. I feel like I grew up there. It was almost like leaving home again. It was so hard. But Bentonville is SO SWEET. It’s literally the exact opposite of Stockton though. It’s about the size of like Walnut Creek, maybe a little bigger. It IS the Walmart Capital of the world.

It is a full bike area. Meaning we don't have a car at all. But our whole area is pretty small. We are in the Bentonville 2nd ward. The area is only a few miles long and wide. The ward is so awesome. They are so missionary minded. I've heard Bentonville called Little Provo before. I guess Walmart recruits from BYU so there are a ton of members here and they are all returned missionaries so all they do is missionary work. It’s so sweet. The ward mission plan is run like a business. So organized so perfect. I love it.

My companion is awesome. His name is Elder XXXXX. He is actually from Pleasanton! That was pretty sweet when I found out about that. He just recently moved there after I was already out here though. So anyways, He is such a good missionary. All he wants to do is work hard. I love his attitude. He's so eager and willing to do whatever it takes. Which is so necessary in a full bike area.

We live really close to the rest of our district so we see them all the time. The YSA elders drive by us in their car all the time. It lifts your spirits so much just to see other missionaries out working. Finally we have something to do on Preparation day now! I think today we might go to this sweet museum called Crystal Bridges. The first few days were crazy. We didn't know where anything was or where anyone lived. It was pretty overwhelming at first coming from Stockton. But I love it here so far. I'm so excited to work here and get to know the people. Hopefully I will love the people and the area as much as I loved Stockton.

Anyways I am so stoked to be here. I love my companion. And I love being a missionary.

Ok I gotta go! I love you all so much! Have a good week! :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mosiah 7:30

So Saturday night was transfer calls. I awaited the phone call from my Zone leaders not so patiently. When the call came, I answered and they told me this. I will be shotgun training in Bentonville Arkansas! When you shotgun an area, that means that both you and your companion are new to the area. So you both have to get to know the area and the people. Training (obviously) means I will be training a brand new missionary! In Bentonville Arkansas! The Wal-Mart Headquarters haha! I'm SO STOKED!!

I am really, really excited to shotgun, and train, and be in a big city, but I am very sad to be leaving Stockton. I have grown to love this area and the people here. This little town has brought such a big change in me.
(Elder Sherwood to Mandy - Can you believe that!! SHOTGUN TRAINING! I"M SO SCARED HAHA!!!!! Just kidding, I'm really excited. and kinda scared haha.  Mandy - You will be great!!!!!  Elder Sherwood - haha thank you! :) I really hope so. I'm ready. I am nervous. But I have more faith in the Lord than ever before. And I need it.)

Conference was awesome. It was the first conference where I was really able to get anything out of it. Finally I have a good understanding of the gospel. It was so awesome to hear from the leaders of our church. It's funny how all I heard from that conference was about missionary work. Funny how your situation affects so much what you learn or hear. Jeffrey R. Holland on Sunday was my favorite talk. He's so awesome. I love hearing the testimonies of the Apostles. They aren't called Special Witnesses of Jesus Christ for nothing.

Dad- As I sat in the chapel on Saturday night watching the Priesthood session. My thoughts brought me back to all those years sitting right next to you every Priesthood session. Thank you for being so diligent. You are such an amazing example to me in my life.  (Don to Elder Sherwood - Believe me I was thinking of you Saturday night too.  I missed seeing you draw!  Elder Sherwood - Haha ya I missed you bringing random candy like jelly beans or little chocolates haha!)

Alright some cool things that happened this week:
We helped this member skin and gut some rabbits. I was able to skin a whole rabbit. We had rabbit chow mein last night. It's really good.
I also ate a squid at this Chinese buffet in Springfield. That was not really good. It was horrific actually.

Ya I'm really excited to shotgun. I HOPE they have a mission plan.

I love you all so much! And miss you all!!! :) Endure to every end, and enjoy the journey.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Alma 37:35

Alma 37:35    O, remember, my son, and alearn bwisdom in thy cyouth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.

Sweet quote I found:
"Only a life lived for others, is a life worthwhile"
                                             ~Albert Einstein

First of all, April 9th is my companion's birthday! Just sayin ;)

Also, thank you so much for the Easter basket! I love getting stuff like that from home. I love you guys :)

Also, how is my rock wall? Did the holds ever get taken down? That would be much appreciated if that could happen.

This week we had an awesome experience with one of our investigators. We have these two investigators out in XXXXX (45 minutes away, still part of our area), we went to teach them one day and this other lady, XXXXX, was there. I guess she is living with them now. Anyways, XXXXX is a former investigator, and is sober for pretty much the first time in her life. She has had an incredibly tough life, colorful background full of bad decisions. But she is really turning her life around. Anyways, after we taught the lesson, Lynn told us that when we walked in, she thought about bolting out the back door. She didn't run. She stayed. She listened. She learned and now she wants to be baptized. I am a witness of the real power that the message of the Gospel has in the lives of those who are willing to listen. XXXXX still has some roadblocks, but they are nothing that I know she can't overcome. Please keep her in your prayers.

Transfer calls are this Saturday! I've been here for almost 5 months! I love Stockton. I love the people. I love the work here. It would be so hard to leave here. Never have I been so frustrated, so happy, so lost, and so blessed. Missionary work is so incredibly challenging. I know that it is not my strength or my own abilities that carry this work forward. All I try to do is be in the right place, with the right attitude, with the right spirit, at the right time. And the Lord does the rest.