Monday, November 10, 2014

Chino, California -November 10, 2014

Hey Mom, Dad, and the kids (whose names I may or may not have forgotten after being gone for so long)

Well I have now stared at this empty email for quite a few minutes now.  I am just not sure what to write for my last email to you as a missionary.  That is kind of weird to think about.  For that last eighteen months I have emailed you every week and that will be a change to not do that anymore.  But I will be with you in person so it will be all the better.  

I guess I could start with one big detail I left out from my email last week.  I am not the driver!! Don't you worry.  It is my companion that has ruined all the mission cars, not me.  :)  So you don't need to worry for my driving when I get back home.  I have been a good safe driver the whole time I have been out.

Not a lot of significant events happened this week for us.  It was stake conference.  That was fun.  So I will have one week off and then another stake conference.  Great huh?  We knocked doors.  We had partial exchanges.  We didn't go on normal ones all transfer because of all the crazy stuff that has happened this transfer with our companionship.  So on Saturday we just exchanged for a couple of hours.  Nothing too great about it.  

I did have my departing interview with President.  That was just weird because it was so different from any other interview I have ever had with him.  Instead of missionary work and companions we talked about stuff after the mission.  Just didn't feel normal haha.

I am including part of my email to Presidents about my mission:  It has been a good mission. I have quite enjoyed all of it. There were definitely some hard times, but I have learned and grown a lot during it. I have made some life long friends and met many people that have changed my life forever. I am very grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve God these last 18 months of my life and there is nothing else I would have wanted to do with them. They have been wonderful and I bet lots of good things will continue to come from these last 18 months for the rest of my life.

I just want to say that I am so grateful to both mom and dad for encouraging me my whole life to go on a mission. If it weren't for your examples, I don't know if I would have chosen to serve and because of that my life has been forever changed.  I love this gospel.  I love that I have been able to represent Jesus Christ for 18 months and share the wonderful news of the restored gospel with every one.  I love our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ. I am often in wonder at how much They both do for each one of us every day of our lives.  They really do know each of us personally and want what is best for us.  As Sister Hobbs said in stake conference, "God just wants us home"  That is His purpose and His plan.  He just wants all of us to return back to Him again.  I am so grateful that I have been able to help people start on the path back to Him again.  This has been a wonderful adventure that I am beyond grateful for.  

Well I think that is all for now.  I am going to finish the rest of my p-day and I will see you all very soon.  Have a wonderful week and start feeling better mom! And don't forget to bring Maggie to the airport!!

Love you all,
Sister Woodward

Hindu Temple

Carving pumpkins

Carving pumpkins

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Chino, California -November 3, 2014

Hey family,

Yeah only two more weeks to hear that title.  Kinda crazy.  I bet Cameron is still not used to going by Cameron...well maybe by now, it has been two weeks.  And it sounds like they all had fun at Halloween.  I super hope mom is doing better and is starting to heal.  That really stinks.  But the riding lessons sound fun. I hope she was enjoying them until she got bucked off.  

Well this is my second to last email for the week.  I hope you enjoy it because it has been quite the week.  I hope you are ready for the craziness that has happened this week.

Monday: I lost my planner and still haven't found it.  I got a new one but it is boring and empty.  We also carved pumpkins as a zone.  Sister Cromwell and I both had super good looking pumpkins.  Pictures to follow.  
We also went to the doctor in Rancho and Sister Cromwell got a magnesium boost.  It was supposed to clear her headaches for about 8 hours and only worked for about 30 minutes...We fear there might actually be a problem in her head.  Not good.

Tuesday:  Our ward had our trunk-or-treat in the evening.  It was lots of fun.  We combined with another ward in Chino for it.  Everyone decorated the trunks and there was a costume contest, chili contest, pumpkin contest and car decorating contest.  We as missionaries and supposedly impartial got to judge the costumes and the cars.  The Elders in the other ward did the other two.  It was fun.  We even decorated our car! It looked good. Pictures to hopefully follow.

Wednesday: I got my departing devotional invitations and in the evening when Sister Cromwell's head was too bad to work, I started addressing those.  Nothing much else happened that day.

Thursday:  Sister Cromwell was super bad.  We spent most of the day inside.  Headaches and weird dilated pupils.  Lots of board games and sleep.  Ha We were also able to deliver thank you cards to our members since we had time to write them all.

Friday - Well this is where the fun begins! Our car started having some serious issues with the steering and the traction control.  It wouldn't go up any hills and our area has some serious hills.  So we had to get our car towed and that was fun. How are you supposed to cover a canyon without a car? you don't!  Sister Cromwell is banned from bikes and since my ankles are still healing, I am banned from walking long distances.  So we were once again inside. But we made the most of it by playing several games of skip-bo, making delicious halloween treats, and defrosting a fridge that went wacko with a blow dryer.  During the making of halloween treats, I possible burnt my finger on some boiling caramel when mixing it with popcorn.  It will leave a nice scar I am thinking.   haha the joys of being a missionary.  

Saturday - Drove to Rancho to get the only spare car at the mission office.  Yay! (don't worry that won't last long.) We had a super good lesson with one our recent converts all about the temple and taking out his endowments! It will be super good day when he actually does so! 

Sunday - Actually kinda a normal day. We had a good day at church and got one of our less-actives to come! YAY! We also out of neglect because everything else happen may have weened out of Sister Barnard that we had room inspections that day so we had to rush home and speed clean our bedroom so that we didn't get in trouble by the apartment inspectors! 

Then there is today:  So this morning we were going to the Hindu Temple for a tour-ironic that mormon missionaries are going to the Hindu Temple.  Well we were driving down the freeway and all of a sudden there was a weed whacker in the middle of our lane (Who puts a weed whacker in the middle of a freeway?!!? Seriously!!)  with a semi on the left and a cement wall on the right and a semi right behind us.  So all we could do was hit the stupid thing.  Well we drove about 2 more minutes to the temple and realized that there was a giant hole in the transmission fluid thingy.  Great huh?  So there goes another car that got towed.  Once again in a Canyon ward (way worse then Smithfield Canyon) and no car, with another doctors appointment in Rancho in less then an hour! Thank goodness for good members!!  

So that was our week.  Sister Cromwell has an MRI tomorrow at 8:30 p.m.  Don't think we will be making our curfew that night.  We will let you know how it goes.  It could be a pretty crazy week for us again.  

Love you all and I hope you have a good week.  I hope Maggie is well and I will see  you in two weeks

Love Sister Woodward

Sister Cromwell and Sister Woodward

Sister Cromwell and Sister Woodward

Carving pumpkins

Carving pumpkins

Trunk or Treat
Trunk or Treat

Hindu Temple

Hindu Temple

Monday, October 27, 2014

Chino, California -October 27, 2014

Sister Woodward, Sister Riley and the Chamberlins

Sister Baker, Sister Woodward, and Sister Riley

Hey family,

The two good newses of the week.

First, as you saw from the pictures already, ERIKA AND TALON GOT BAPTIZED!!!! And I got to go back to it since I am only about thirty minutes from Rancho!!  We got there about 2 minutes late and it had started so I didn't get a picture of them in white, but I got one after.  And the miracle of it all, is they all still remembered me! I think Talon gave me about 18 hugs.  I was so happy to see them all again.  

It was also wonderful because even though the Chamberlins are now in the Redhill ward in Rancho due to boundary changes, many of my favorite members from the Hillside ward were there to support! So I got to see lots of them again! It was such a good day! I did send a picture with Sister Baker! It was good to see them all again.

Second, our ward mission leader is a chiropractor and unknown to me they can adjust ankles.  So he looked at my ankle and found out that I didn't sprain or strain my ankle, but instead I moved all the bones out of place.  So he popped them all back into place and I am good to go! I have no more problems.  No brace or crutch! Super happy for that.  

Bad news-Sister Cromwell's insurance is being stinky and won't approve the MRI so it actually hasn't happened yet.  She is getting worse not better so today we are going back to Rancho and she is getting a magnesium treatment.  I am not sure what that is or what it does, but it is happening.  It takes about 2 hours so we will party it up in the doctors office.  It is a good thing I like this companion or that would be 2 hours of torture on my pday.

As for missionary work, we are still trying but it is hard with all of our health problems.  Hopefully soon.  We did handout a ton of invitations for our trunk or treat tomorrow though.  Oh and I spoke in church yesterday.  I got the wonderful topic of member missionary work-big surprise huh?  Well I think it went okay. Definitely not the best talk I have written, and probably not the worst either so I would say okay.  I talk about Marina and the Chamberlins and Monica and all of the good things from them.  It was filled with success stories, so at least I kept them entertained!!

Well I hope you have a good week.  I hope Maggie is still alive.  I can't wait to see you all in three weeks.  My companion can't wait for me to go home either.  She is not one that is comfortable with crying and that is quickly becoming a daily routine for me...haha end of missions are hard.  Just ask Cameron.  He will agree (hopefully)

Love you all
Sister Woodward

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Chino, California -October 20, 2014

Hey Mom Dad and the kiddies,

I am glad that all went well with Cameron going home.  I know that their will be two other missionary families when I fly in as well.  One will be my favorite Sister Cook's family.  You can talk to them! The other one, I don't know at all. His name is Elder Iverson.  He is spanish speaking.  But it should be just as fun.  And I hope you find something to do to stand out, because we really do blend in a lot.  Most people don't notice our family when we go someone.  So I really might miss you.

Well that sounds like fun about the soccer games.  I bet the girls loved playing on such a nice field.  I bet it was a good experience.  Now they just need to make it to the olympics in a few years! Tell them to keep practicing super hard!

Sister Cromwell and I get along really well.  I just love this lady! She gets home 9 months after I do and is on the same track at BYU I as I am on.  So then we will can room together which would be a party! We are working on getting healthy.  I am still on crutches, and Sister Cromwell may have hit her head again which is making it lots worse.  She does have an MRI for Wednesday so maybe that will give us some answers as to why her head is still so bad a month after getting the concussion....kinda crazy!

Well with her head, and my foot, it was a slow week for us.  Here is the rundown of the week: 

Monday... I sprained my ankle...:( I was playing basketball and just stepped sorta funky and it rolled all terrible.

Tuesday... Zone meeting, emailing, confined to apartment... Sister Deputy's orders. 

Wednesday... Still inside.... Board games!!! Yay! I totally keep kicking Sister Cromwell’s trash J

Thursday... Still inside... More board games!! Yay! Still a winner!! 

Friday... Weekly Planning.... Sister Cromwell may or may not have hit her head again and made her concussion lots lots lots worse..

Saturday... Service... crutched for two miles... AWFUL!!! Our zone leaders didn't quite explain the service we were going to.  We got there and realized it was a GIANT fall festival with over 60,000 people there. So we had to park about a mile away and then crutch all the way over there and then they put us working in the corn maze and making sure little kids didn't get lost from their family! Try doing a corn maze on crutches....Sister Cromwell piggy backed me for part of it.  Then we went more then a mile back to the car.  Sister Cromwell had a Major headache!!! actually thought she was going to die, but it's okay cause she has a super fantastic companion that will play with her hair (IDK why but it helps, bit it does) for three straight hours:) and she wrote her talk for Sunday.  I get to speak this next week! I will let you know how it goes

Sunday... I  was incredibly sore and Sister Cromwell’s head was pounding but she still gave a super fantastic, bold, powerful, marvelous boss of a talk!  All about member missionary work. .We then came home and crashed HARD!!! But since then her headaches have been so much better! Then we finally got to go be missionaries last night! It was great! 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Chino, California -October 14, 2014

Hey family!

I just realized this morning that this would be the last email addressed to both of us.  Kinda crazy and then you pointed it out too.  That is exciting that you will all get to see Cameron this week! I bet you are excited.  It should be good.

I guess I am not actually serving in Chino, but up in Chino Hills.  It is the rich part and the dialect is just a little different then Chino.  Instead of Chinoese they speak Chino Hillese.  It is much more proper...Seriously dad.

Sister Cromwell is so great! I love her.  I don't think I have laughed so much with a companin and we have only been together a week. We are living with members.  It is Sister Barnard and her 13 yr old daughter named Emma who loves soccer.  They are thinking of moving to Utah and are looking at soccer teams...I told them to watch out for La Roca and to not join them ever! Don't worry! I am doing my job down here in Chino Hills!

They are fun though.  Recently (a few weeks ago) Sister Cromwell got her third concussion and is experiencing problems from that.  More recently (yesterday) I was playing basketball and did something dumb to my foot, not ankle and now I have a brace and crutches.  I think it will be find in a few days so I won't waste the money going to the doctor.  I got a blessing today, so the priesthood will heal me up. Just thought I would let you know before our mission nurse calls and tells you.  I am not sure she will, but it is possible.  I think I strained the ligaments in my foot...I dunno.

This last week we walked a whole ton.  There really is no one investigating in our area so we do a lot of finding.  We do live in Chino Hills, so it really is all hills.  I did a lot of hiking I should say.  Then Sister Cromwell's head got worse and I hurt my foot, and so we haven't left the house much.  Luckily Sister Barnard works for a cancer foundation and we get to do lots of service at her house with that.  So we are still trying to do something!!  Hopefully next week I will have more to report on.

Well I hope you have a good week.  I hope Cameron has a good flight home.  Party hard!  Can't wait to see you all in 5 weeks!  Love you all
Sister Woodward

Monday, October 6, 2014

Chino, California -October 6, 2014

Hey family,

Well you will have to go and watch the rest of conference because it was really good.  There were so many good talks and it was fun because 4 speakers spoke in their native languages.  That was cool.  The talks were simple but so good and really just talked about the basics and fundamentals of the church.  

Well I bet you are dying to know what happened with me for my last transfer of my mission.  I am sure that you all guessed that I would be staying in Ontario and either staying with Sister Manumua or getting a new companion.  Well surprise! I got transferred for my last six weeks. I am now serving in a place we will call Chino (because that is what it is called) with a companion who we will call Sister Cromwell (because that is her name).  So the unexpected happened AGAIN.  Kinda crazy.  Who would have thought that I would move my last transfer.  Not me.  I don't know why I have moved so much on my mission.  I can't figure it out.  7 areas and 9 companions in only 13 transfers.  Sister Manumua is staying in Ontario.  She has already been there 6 months and has at least 1.5 more to go.  

Sister Cromwell is from Idaho and has been out for just over 7 months.  She was actually trained in Ontario in the YSA branch.  Her last companion went home in the middle of the transfer, so she has only been partly working in the area while partnered up with Sisters Soleta and Shaw.  There are no elders in the ward, just us.  So missionary work for the last six week has been a little crazy.  It will be fun to work with the members and get it going again.  

This last week consisted of watching conference, saying goodbyes and packing.  Well I guess that was all in the weekend.  During the week, we helped paint part of a house and helped someone else move.  So we cleaned and packed and painted a lot this week.  That is really all that happened.  Nothing else too exciting.  

It was Sister Manumua's birthday on Saturday.  Since we have a million Tongans in our ward the the Tongan ward right next to us, they all celebrated her birthday both days.  There were cakes and singing and taking us out to lunch.  It was crazy.  Her family is in Tonga and they weren't able to send her anything because of costs, and so it was really good for her to be with all the tongans in Ontario.  This way she had someone celebrate with us.

Well I think that is all the updating for today.  Nothing much else going on besides moving.  I was super sad to leave Ontario because so many of the really good friends I have made on my mission were all in Ontario.  And they all stayed and I left. But it should be good.  I am excited for this change.  I don't like change so I think that Heavenly Father is making me get used to it.  Kinda crazy.  

Well I hope you have a good week.  I hope all goes well at home.  Try to keep Gislene out of trouble.  Give Maggie a hug for me.  And I will see you all in 6 weeks!

Sister Woodward

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ontario, California -September 29, 2014

Sister Woodward, Brother Broadbent, Manuel, Sister Manumua

Sister Woodward, Bailey, Sister Manumua
Sister Crowley and Sister Woodward
Sisters at the Redlands Temple

Sister Woodward and Sister Manumua
Hey mom, dad, and the monsters! 

Sounds like soccer is keeping everyone pretty busy at home.  How do you have time for anything else? Does Dad even make it up to the farm?  

Jill is really enjoying having Amber home.  She emails me every few weeks and she loves it.  I am sure Amber likes being back with Jill again.  Such a nice sister Jill is.  She didn't get married while Amber was gone and they can actually hang out together without dumb boys getting in the way....(maybe don't show that part to Kelsey)

Well as you have seen in the pictures, Manuel really did get baptized! We were so happy.  It was crazy though.  Our church building is super old and the font is really little.  As you can see, Manuel isn't the smallest of guys.  The guy conducting was convinced that the font was going to overflow because the ward before us filled it too high (it would have been fine).  So when Manuel and Brother Broadbent got in the font, Brother Broadbent pulled the plug so it could start draining.  The only problem is that this font drains like there is no tomorrow.  So Manuel went down and his arm stuck up.  Then he went down again and I guess his head didn't go all the way under.  

By this point, the font was half empty.  Brother Broadbent then tried to put the plug back in to stop the water.  He couldn't get it to stay.  After a few minutes of trying, and even more water draining, he gave up and tried once again to baptize Manuel completely.  He successfully got Manuel under on the third time. Manuel later told us that he was laying all the way on the floor of the font.  Super crazy!  Bet you haven't experienced a baptism like that before.  I don't know how they even had enough water.  I think that was a miracle.  

This week we get to have a special zone conference and watch the new movie Meet the Mormons.  It should be fun.  We are all excited!  All the missionaries in the Valley watch it on Wednesday and all the missionaries in the High desert watch it on Thursday.  So we get to see it before it is out in theaters.  I will let you know how it is.

We are also excited for conference this weekend.  I think Monica is most excited because to her it is a sunday off church! Stinkin Monica.  She is still trying to get back in, but her kids are doing great.  If they can't go to mutual they are so sad.  They hide from Monica at church so they can stay all three hours when she wants to leave after Sacrament meeting.  What teenage kids are like that? Only the best ones!  One day you will get to meet them all.

On Friday Sister Hobbs came out with Sister Manumua and me.  We went to Chick-Fil-A for lunch and then went to find lost less actives.  We knocked on a few doors and found a pretty solid potential. His name is Brandon. He is probably in his mid 20s.  He might end up going to the YSA branch (like 10 people).  We have an appointment with him this Friday.  We will let you know how it goes.

Well as you may or may not know, this is the last week of the transfers, so by next Monday I will have transfer news for you! I will let you know what happens.  We are thinking there will be a change, but not sure what it will be yet.  

Love you all
Sister Woodward