HeavenlyCheese

This is the story of a couple of Woods and their wild adventures sharing the gospel in Wisconsin.

Warm and Muggy

Elder Wood meeting people by Fox River

Elder Wood meeting people by Fox River

Well we went from cold to warm and muggy.  I guess last August we arrived at the tail end of the warm and muggy season so now we are told we will go from warm and muggy to hot and muggy and then back to wonderful cool fall but we’re up for it.  The only thing I truly hope we don’t have to experience is a tornado.  Last night there were tornado watches for Ripon and Princeton, two small towns about 40 miles west of us but no tornadoes developed thank goodness.  We visit members in those towns all the time.

We went out street contacting this last weekend, that was interesting.  We drove around and found the greatest concentration of people hanging out in small parks along the Fox River.  So we would walk along and stop and talk to many of them.  They were all very nice but most of them were only interested in only talking about the warm weather or fishing but we (That is mostly Elder Wood) was able to get a good conversation going with about four different groups of people.  One lady was so glad to meet “Latter-day Saints” again.  That was a surprise!  She told us how a few years back she got herself into trouble and ended up having to serve time in jail.  She was desperate to move her belongings out of her apartment or else she would lose them.  She told us no church or individuals would help her.  Then she met two Mormon Missionaries and they moved her belonging into storage for her and taught her a little about the gospel.  They told her Heavenly Father wants to bless her and has a plan of happiness that will help her when she was ready to make changes in her life.

Road Bridge lifted for boat.

Road Bridge lifted for boat.

Traffic stopped to raise bridges for boats.

Traffic stopped to raise bridges for boats.

Well I don’t know if she is really ready even now to totally change her life.  Her husband was with her and he was polite but not interested in our message.  She told us she would come to the Oshkosh Ward soon.  She did take a pass a long card and a Book of Mormon.  I don’t know how that will work out but it was great to hear good things being said about the “Mormons.”

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Warm and Cold

Appleton Zone

Appleton Zone

Green Bay Zone

Green Bay Zone

I guess spring by its very nature is a time of change.  We had four very wonderful warm days and then two days of rain when it cooled down a little bit then on Mother’s Day is was just plain cold.  High of about 42 but with the strong north wind the chill factor made it feel like we were in the 30’s and overnight temperatures were between 27 and 32. But they are forecasting warmer weather by Wednesday.

Last Friday we drove seventy odd miles north and east to Mantiwoc, which is right on Lake Michigan.  The Appleton Zone and the Green Bay Zone met together.  The conference was amazing.  The spirit was so strong and we truly felt as if our lamps were filled to overflowing with oil that day.  The work is progressing so fast.  Elder Wood and I spent most of last week inspectin

g missionary apartments and cars because the missionaries in the mission office are overwhelmed with finding apartments and furniture and vehicles for all the new missionaries coming out to our mission.  We are averaging about 30 more missionaries each month.  We love helping whoever and whenever we can.  It has been a wonderful week.

On Sunday I received emails or talked to all my children,  We are so blessed to have such a wonderful family we love them so much and pray for them every single day.  All the talks at church on Mother’s Day were so well thought out and so well prepared  we loved each of them.

Sunday evening Bishop Rhodes invited us over for dinner.  He made every thing (except the salad)  himself so his wife did not have to prepare dinner.  We had BBQ grilled pork, cheesy potatoes, vegetable salad, and parfait of yogurt with fresh pineapple and blueberries, he prepared a great dinner.

I don’t think I will ever be able to fully express in words the love I have for the members of both the Oshkosh Ward and the Winnebago Branch.  They are so wonderful and I truly look forward to seeing and meeting with them each week.  I know the Lord knew what a blessing these people would have in our lives as much as how we could help and serve them.

Sister Rhodes

Sister Rhodes

Bishop Rhodes

Bishop Rhodes

Bitter/Sweet Week

Last snow drift at Lake Winnebago

Last snow drift at Lake Winnebago

Elder Wood by snow drift.

Elder Wood by snow drift.

This last week has been kind of bitter/sweet.  The bitter, on Sunday President Hale, Branch President of the Young Single Adult Branch was released.  It was a very difficult time for many of our young adults because they have so much love and respect for him.  President Hale is such an influence for good and put his whole heart and soul into his calling.  He was not afraid to counsel with firmness, love and concern when he felt things were being said or the branch was not progressing in gospel truth.  He knows the gospel so well and is an excellent speaker on all most any gospel subject.  He was truly called by the Lord and blessed the lives so many young adults.  But as we know in the Church our callings are for a period of time set by the Lord and then we move on to other callings and we grow and develop in our new callings.  I do not know what President Hale will be called to do next but I am sure he will be anxiously engaged in the Lord’s service very soon.

Now for the sweet, President Nathan Munson, is the new Branch President, for the Winnebago Young Single Adult Branch.  He is so kind, very organized, and a very talented and a truly spiritual man.  He loves the Lord and I know he is called by the Lord to serve as the Branch President at this time.  He has been serving as the High Counsel Representative assigned to our branch.  His wife and his young family (If I counted right they have 5 young children) were there and I think they plan to attend as many church meetings together as a family as they can.  They will set a wonderful example for the young single members.  With all the young members in the Branch I am sure Sister Munson will have all the help she needs.

When we first arrived in Oshkosh, the mission office personnel had contacted a cancer center in Green Bay for me to receive my monthly treatment.  We were not looking forward to traveling north 60 or 70 miles to Green Bay each month, specially in the winter months on bad roads.  We could see, as Elder Wood and I were getting to know the Oshkosh area, that there were plenty of hospitals and some cancer treatment centers. (Oshkosh is a town of a little over 66,000 people.)  When talking with President Hale’s wife, Karen, she told me she knew the very person I needed to talk to, her home teacher.  President Munson is a cancer doctor, his specialty is radiation treatment for cancer.  The next night I received a call from a very wonderful concerned doctor, Brother, and home teacher.  We talked for a few moments about my cancer and then he told me he knew of a cancer doctor that he was sure would see me for the 18 months we would be on our mission and he is only a few minutes away from our apartment.  He told me I could use his name as a referral and said if I was not pleased with this doctor or he could not see me as a patient at this time to call him back and he would make sure he found someone to see me.  It was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I knew the Lord was watching over Elder Wood and myself and we would have those special people we needed to meet our needs as we dedicated our time in serving Him.  So as you can see from personal experience I know President Munson will truly be an asset to the Winnebago Branch he doesn’t just speak the words over the pulpit he lives by the words he speaks.  Elder Wood and I look forward to serving with President Munson.

Well spring has finally come to Wisconsin.  It has been beautiful for the last four days.  In one of the pictures Elder Wood is standing by some of the last snow in Oshkosh, this is next to Lake Winnebago.  Our work is going well and we are still very happy to be serving this mission.  There will many changes in the next few months with a new Mission President and many, many new missionaries but we are so blessed to be serving the Lord at this time and in this beautiful place.

Time Fly’s

I can’t believe it has been two weeks since I posted something on my blog.  It seems just like yesterday.  Time sure does fly by quickly especially when your busy and having a good time.  Well as all of you know general Conference was wonderful and inspiring and makes you want to do more and be better than you are now.  That is a good thing.  Can you believe all the missionaries that have answered the call to serve Heavenly Father?   It is amazing.  We are getting so many new missionaries that the office workers are working super hard just trying to find apartments and supplies for all the new Elders and Sisters.  We just got like 21 new missionaries and next month we get 13 new sisters and 11 new Elders and the following month I think the Mission President told us about 26 new missionaries.  WOW!  They now have two sets of missionaries assigned to every ward and  branch and are opening up new areas of service.  It is a very exciting time to be a part of this great work.

Some times you serve and try your best to encourage others to come back to church and you wonder if you are making any headway.  Are your efforts ever going to bear results?   You testify that Heavenly Father loves them and desires to bless them and wants them to return and live with Him someday.  You let them know the Lord’s plan of happiness will bless their lives and the lives of their family members and can bring lasting joy and peace into their hearts.   But the advisary and long formed habits make it so hard for some of these wonderful people to truly commit to change. They find it easier to just follow the world and be acted upon instead of acting for themselves.  But every once in a while you have a success story and it is at that time you know the work and love and patience is worth it.

Sister Hoffman has not been out to church in thirteen and one half years.  She was very reluctant to have us in her home but with patience and lots and lots of prayer we have been able to establish a relationship with her.  She has two sons who are not baptized members of the church, they are twelve and fourteen years old.  Her husband is not interested but is not opposed to the family chosing what they want to do.  I was finally able to get Sister Hoffman to attend a Relief Society Birthday Party at the ward.  She was so warmly welcomed and accepted and she was feeling great but after she got back home those old doubts began to come back and she was not sure what she wanted to do.  Twice she told us she would attend church on Sunday and she did not come.  This last week she was very hard to contact and seemed to be avoiding us but on Sunday morning she called me and told me she felt she needed to be at church.  She came and was again warmly welcomed and accepted, it was great!  Do I believe that everything will go smoothly from this point on?  Of course not, but I do know that President Jones has told and testified to us that getting investigators or inactive’s back to church is one of the greatest obstacles.  I know Sister Hoffman will be blessed for the decision she made and hopefully we can continue to meet with her and her family and they will allow the gospel of Jesus Christ to bless their lives.  I also know the Lord has blessed us because we were patient and diligent.

Oh, and by the way we finally made it up to 50 degees today.  Happy Day!  I know spring can not be to far behind.  We had and ice storm last week.   The trees and bushes were so beautiful but the ice inflicted lots of damage to the trees.

Bush outside our apt. with the frozen rain drops.

Bush outside our apt.
with the frozen rain drops.

 

Tree covered with frozen rain drops.

Winter hangs on.

On the news this last weekend we were told that the Fox Valleys of Wisconsin are experiencing the coldest March in 35 years.  We are sooooo blessed! The forecasters tell us by the end of this week we will be in the forties.  We will just have to wait and see how that goes because we have heard that story before.

This was a good week, much better than last week although last week had its highlights.  And there were moments when the spirit confirmed strong spiritual truths were being taught.

We love serving with the young single adults in the Winnebago Branch.  Here is a picture of just a few of the sisters.  They scattered into groups after the lesson so I only got this picture.  I will have to take one before the lesson begins so I can get a picture of more sisters on my blog.  This last Sunday we talked a lot about missionary work at the branch and they are trying to set goals to open their mouths and invite others to explore what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is all about.  We hope they will follow through, because if they do we know the Lord will bless them.   Elder Wood and I are reviewing the missionary lessons with Kyle, he is the newest member of our Branch, and he is so happy to be a member and he truly realizes how blessed he is.  Kyle was baptized just last Saturday and confirmed Sunday.  Tom spoke at his baptism and he is the one on the left and Kyle on the right.  We have already had one meeting with Kyle and are looking forward to next week.

Tom and Kyle our newest member in the Branch

Tom and Kyle our newest member in the Branch

Relief Society Sisters

Relief Society Sisters

And this to shall pass!

Sister Stewart and Sister Ipson

Sister Stewart and Sister Ipson

What a title for a blog post.  But we have been told there must be opposition in all things.  Well Elder Wood and I think this last week has sort of been the opposite of the previous few weeks.  We have had cancellations, no shows, can’t meet this week, call again, and no one at home.  It could become discouraging if we did not keep focused on the big picture and realize this is just for a short moment and we then if we continue to study, fast, pray and persevere, then THIS TO SHALL PASS.  So all is well!  Time just goes so slowly when you have too much time on your hands.  We did teach couple of lessons and visited one other sister who has committed to us she will attend church the week after General Conference.  She fell and bruised her hip and back and she thinks she will be better by then.  I have made contact with some of the sisters in the ward who know her and ask them to fellowship her as she tries to come back into activity.

We attended a Young Single Adult dinner and panel discussion at the Appleton 2nd Ward last night.  Four very different people from four very different walks of life told the young people how they came to be members of the church, how they gained their testimonies of the gospel and the Savior, what struggles they have gone through that has let them know why a testimony is so important to them and what they are now doing to keep their testimonies growing strong.  One has doctorate in history and she teaches at one of the University’s in Green Bay.  She also teaches institute at 6:30 A.M. and has for the six and a half years.  She expressed how having a calling in the church has blessed her with a strong testimony.  She tells of her unlikely journey into the LDS faith when she was nineteen and at a crossroad in her life and how prayer was her life line to the Lord. One came from a little farm town in Pennsylvania, he is a factory worker and he tells how fellowshipping by the branch members helped him want to stay a member and how that testimony help him with the decision to serve a mission in England and how the wonderful family values of the church are so dear to his heart.  One was originally from Utah from a good Mormon family but because of problems and decisions she has been divorced twice and married three times.  Her testimony came later in her middle years.  Her testimony was up and down for a long time and finally became firm and steadfast as she realized the road she was taking and how she was not going to end up where she wanted to be.  She decided to try living the gospel and she found the Lord was there for her.  She has been to the temple with her husband and family and is now enjoying the journey.   She works for LDS  Social Services as a counselor for alcohol and drug abuse.  She also works at a hospital in Appleton in the same capacity.  The final panel participant was a cancer radiologists medical doctor.  He is originally from California and was reared in the church and has remained faithful his whole life.  He tells how diligent faithful testimony has blessed his life, helped him while serving a mission,  helped him find an eternal companion and now blesses their family.  There was something for every young person who attended.  Somewhere in their stories and testimonies there was an answer to the questions and problems the young members are experiencing.  There were investigators who attended the fireside, there were relatively new members, and also life long members some who are struggling with their testimonies.  I know the Spirit was there in abundance.   It was a wonderful evening.

Sister Ipson and Sister Stewart are part of our district.  They are so loving and kind and are very successful missionaries.  They work hard and are filled with love.  Sister Ipson is to be transferred soon and we will miss her so much.  Elder Larrson want to be in this picture also.

 

Branch President’s Brithday

Becky Anderson and Ben Perez for YSA Branch

Sister Anderson and Brother Perez from YSA Branch

President Hale

President Hale

As you can tell by the pictures a group, but not all, of the Young Single Adults we serve with in the Winnebago Branch went to President Hale’s home to wish him Happy Birthday.  We love working with the young adults they have so much energy and talent and strong testimonies of the gospel.   I know the Lord has saved them to come to the earth at this time to help further his work.  They are lead by wonderful men called of God to teach, guide, and help keep them focused on their Savior and the blessing that come through being faithful at all times.  There is a push on right now to reach out to those who are becoming inactive in YSA Branch.  We know the Lord will bless both the members and the leaders in their efforts to love and rescue those that have strayed.

Things are going well, the last two weeks we have had more appointments and more member participation.  We were told once the members got to know us and learned they could trust us and knew we would work diligently with them they would be there to help us and it looks like that is true and now our hard work is beginning to bear fruit.  We take every assignment and request seriously and even though we may not bring every soul back they are contacted and given the opportunity to come home.

On the left hand side of the picture below are Elders, Larrson (Sweden) and Simmons (Utah) (The Oshkosh Elders)  We work with them in the Oshkosh Ward.  They are very good elders, they are within a few months of going home and so they have had lots of experience and are truly an asset to the ward.   Elder Warren (Calif.) serving in Neenah is also in the picture.  He is so kind he and he does not hesitate to share the gospel with everyone her meets,  Elder Wood loves working  with him.  He is about to be transferred and we will truly miss him

Elder's Larrson, Simmons and Elder Warren

Elder’s Larrson, Simmons and Elder Warren

I know, I know, I am late this week!

Sorry to be so late this week but we have been very busy and I was always going to take the time to update the blog but I just never got around to doing it.  As I will be writing in just a few days I am just going to share a couple of pictures with you.

Green Bay/ Appleton Zone Meeting

We love all the missionaries and President and Sister Jones.

Lot's of Snow

Lot’s of Snow

This winter to date we have had 17 inches more snow than a normal winter season and 23 inches more snow than last winter season.  February just ended and of 28 days in the month we had 4 days with sun all the rest were overcast.  Elder Wood just loves it.  I don’t mind as long as the roads are clear.  The road crews do a pretty good job we have only got stuck twice.

Every Member a Missionary!

As we know every member of the church should be a missionary.  So do you know the missionary purpose?  It is “Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.” 

All missionaries should know this purpose and so as all my children are members of the church they should always be missionaries in example, word and deed.  So to my children and grandchildren please memorize this purpose and when we get home we will all repeat this together and be united as a wonderful, faithful, committed family.   What?  You expected to sit home and do nothing while we are out here serving?  Yes, this means my daughter and son in-laws as they are our children too. (Oh if only you would have known before you became a member of this family what would be expected of you.)

We love our Mission President, President Jones and  his wife Sister Jones.  They truly love the Lord and they love each and every missionary out here even us senior missionaries.  They labor unceasingly in service to the Lord.  They are on the go almost all the time, the mission area is quite large and they are always keeping in contact with the missionaries to assist, help, teach, inspire, and uplift them in any way they can.  I feel a little bit sorry for those in other missions because I am just sure we have the best (at least they are trying very hard to become the very best) missionaries in the whole church and they serve under the direction of one of the most humble, loving, and committed Mission President & Wife I have met.   They have truly touched each missionary’s life for good.

President Jones and Sister Jones

President Jones and Sister Jones

I want you to know…The message is true, the labor is sweet, the Lord extends His tender mercies, the Spirit is strong, the people are wonderful and life is good.

 

Ice Spear Fishing On Lake Winnebago

Ice Fishing on Lake Winnebago

Ice Fishing on Lake Winnebago

Elder Wood loves to watch all the fisherman drive their big trucks and snowmobiles and ice fishing huts out on the Lake.  I think he would love to be out there with them but he is involved in a different kind of fishing right now.  I am happy just to watch from the shore and think I certainly wouldn’t drive my nice truck out there but then standing out on the ice is not one of the things I would look forward to doing.

Things are going well and we love the work, we have been assigned another 12 to 14 new people to visit and encourage them to come back to Christ.  We are keeping busy and that is when we love our mission the most, when we are busy.

Every now and again we make appointments and are all excited to teach what we have been inspired to prepare and then no one is at home or they leave a note telling us to reschedule.  There are many times as missionaries we have had super highs but we can also have few emotional lows.  I know that having the lows make us appreciate the highs more but we still we feel a little let down .  So all you faithful members back home if you set an appointment with the missionaries keep  it.  It will make their day. We feed the Elders who serve in our area on a regular basis, what a blessing that has been and it is difficult to lose our sons as they are transferred to other areas.   We are excited to be welcoming 23 new missionaries to our mission next Wednesday.  We have three who are departing and we will miss them but  they are moving forward in their lives and I am sure there will be some great new missionaries coming here who will bless the people of Wisconsin with their love of the Lord and the sharing of truths of His gospel.

We had another Senior Couple Missionary Meeting and it was wonderful to meet our friends we are serving with and of course as always we were spiritually fed as we met together.   It is wonderful to see what the other senior couples are doing in their areas and how they go about accomplishing the Lords work and we receive new ideas that will help us improve our own service.  Isn’t it great how there is alway love,  support, help and encouragment at every turn.  We just love this church and this gospel and serving our Savior.  We love our mission President and his wonderful wife they are truly inspired.

We have a new program for members help in missionary work so we are also visiting active members.Of course when we visit these families Sister Wood loves to involve the children and they love having their picture taken.  We even had to take a picture of Hazel the Guniea Pig.

Hazel the Guniea Pig

Hazel the Guniea Pig

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