Monday, December 30, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -December 30, 2013

Hey family

It was really good to talk to you all on Christmas. Once it was over I felt like it never happened though.  But it was good.  Next time we will set it up so that we are NOT calling at the same time.  That should help on everyone's side.  I loved seeing you all and being able to talk to you though.  Five months til the next time and then after that I will be home!! Kinda crazy.  Just over a month and I am half way done!

My Christmas was really good.  The members sure take good care of you when you are on a mission.  So many people got us gifts and fed us.  It was so wonderful.  I love this ward.  They really watch over the missionaries.

Well the weather here is still warm, sunny and nice.  I am enjoying it quite a bit.  I never thought I'd say this, but the Californians are converting me.  I don't think I would mind living here later in live.  I really like it.  Too bad it is SO expensive to live here. I will just have to marry someone with a good paying job. 

Well for New Years we actually have to be home by 6.  No parties for us.  Too many crazies come out so we have to go home early.  I think we are going to dye my companions hair for fun though :) I will see if I learned anything from Kelsey.  We actually have a Sally's around the corner so we will go there and get some good quality hair dye.  Not just the cheap wal mart stuff (don't worry Kelsey)

Well we didn't get much missionary work down this week.  As you saw, most of my ward is pretty rich so most people left for the holidays.  It was hard to visit with people.  But we made it through and this week will be better.  We are going to go on exchanges with the sister training leaders on wednesday.  They are sister ott and sister cook (not my MTC comp but a different sister cook)  So that should be fun.  New years day!! starting off the year right! haha

On Monday we had a white elephant gift exchange with our zone.  I got the most dumb gift ever and gave a real good one.  So it turned out lame. haha.  Tuesday Sister Hudrlik (senior missionary) fed all the missionaries in my zone breakfast at her house.  That was really fun. 

For Christmas eve, we went to the Becks house.  The parents are in our ward, and their son and daughter who are both married with their own kids.  So they were all at the sons house plus a few other family members.  We had a good dinner, where I spilt Dr. Pepper everywhere because I wasn't paying attention when I was opening the bottle.  And I wasn't even getting it for myself.  I was being nice to Sister Riley.  Then we played Christmas Bingo with them.  I was about the last person to win, which is normal for me.  I did win eventually though and I got a cinderella pez dispenser and ninja turtle legos.  So it was sweet.

Christmas we woke up at 6:30, blew off studies (don't tell anyone) and opened our presents.  Then we went to the Merkleys house.  The Spanish sisters didn't' have anyone in their ward who was willing to let them call home, so we helped them out.  So as they were skyping at the merkleys, we visitied and played a couple games with them.  Then we went to the bishops and skyped with you guys.  Then we had dinner.

We went to the Bevaccos for their Christmas party after that.  We visited a few other people and ended up with three dinners that day.  The last was a mexican one with Janet and her family.
The rest of the week we just tried to visit people and see how they were doing.

We actually talked in church this week.  My talk was on if Mormons are Christian.  Sister Riley spoke first about prayer and conversion.  She was nice to me and spoke for about 15 minutes instead of 2 like my last companion.  So it was good.  And there was a third speaker this time, so that helped.  I actaully was able to give a normal length talk, unlike last time.  After I was finished I heard the Bishop say to a counselor, "that was beautiful."  So I guess my bishop liked it.  Lots of people told us we did really good talks.  Our bishop called us rock stars! haha.  So that was fun. It was interesting.  We had a lot of extra little kids there visiting with family.  When Sister Riley and Sister Rasmussen spoke, it was really loud and crazy, but for some reason when I spoke the chapel was silent.  I asked Sister Riley if I just didn't notice it was loud, and she said it was quiet.  I don't know what that means, but it was interesting and cool at the same time.  Just thought I'd share.  
Well that was my week.  Love you all.  Talk to you next week

Love you all
Sister Woodward

Monday, December 23, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -December 23, 2013

Hi Family,

Well I don't think my email today will be as long as normal.  I will talk to you guys in just  TWO DAYS!! So I will try to keep it short.

It sounds like your vacation was lots of fun! Didn't you just enjoy the wondeful weather?? It is so nice down here most of the time.  I just love it.  I am not missing the snow one bit.  I am glad that every had so much fun at Disneyland.  

I handed lots of the eggs.  I gave them to the senior couples in the mission office, President and Sister Hobbs and a few other missionaries (one did happen to be Elder Savage.  You can tell Aunt Lila.  She will be happy to hear it I think.  He was just in the mission office and I was giving out eggs, so it made sense to hand a dozen to him as well haha)  I also gave one to my Bishop and his wife.  She said it was the coolest gift she was getting this year.  She thought it was so great.  So thanks for the eggs.  I just gained a couple points in her book.

Well I think that is all for now.  We were both sick this week, so not much actually got done.  Don't have much to report.  But we are better and healthy now. 

Talk to you in two days :)
Love you all
Sister Woodward

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -December 16, 2013

Hey family!!

Well I am sure enjoying Christmas out here.  It is a lot of fun.  It doesn't feel too much like Christmas since there is no snow, but we are making do. 

I am glad that you got to see the Bakers.  Aren't they the best?  We just love them.  They showed me the pictures they took of you guys and she told me she showed you the pictures of the Chamberlins baptism as well.  She is so sweet and will help us with anything.  We are hoping that her husband becomes our ward mission leader (yes that is right.  We still don't have one.  We found out why though...)  I got my suitcase and my presents and the eggs.  And I did assume they were to hand out to people. So I will definitely be doing that. I will keep one dozen and hand out the other 10 dozen to I don't know who, but someone that needs them :)

A lot of ward in Cali are getting small for that very reason.  So many people are moving.  That is why we don't have a ward mission leader yet.  Our ward is a good size (One of the biggest in the stake) But the boundaries are changing next month and so our bishop is waiting to see who he will end up with before he calls one.  We don't know what will happen, and our bishop doesn't know that we know what is going on, but we, as missionaries, have our connections :)  So we are just patiently waiting.

Well for transfer news, both of us are staying in our area together!! So we are happy.  And our district leader changed from the awkward little boy to the normal-er Spanish elder.  So we are happy about that change.  District meetings were rough last transfer.  But we survived and poor Elder Jarvis sure tried.  :)  So things worked out well for transfers.

So lets see...what happened this week.  Well obviously the Chamberlins got baptized!! YAY!!! We were a little worried.  Things weren't coming together very smoothly at first.  We thought maybe that was a sign.  But in the end we got the help we needed and had a really good baptism.  There were probably over 50 people that came.  Lots from the ward and lots from the Chamberlin's family as well.  So it was good.
It went really well. Erika brought her mom who is a catholic.  Richard did a great job.  The girls were so happy and cute. At church for their confirmation, Erika brought her mom and grandma as well.  They only speak Spanish, but you could still feel the spirit.  The Bishop did the confirmations.  It was so interesting to hear the differences between the two blessings.  The blessing were so different but fit both the girls personalities so well.  It was a cool experience. 

On Friday we had our Mission Christmas devotional/party.  We had lunch and watched a slideshow of a bunch of pictures of missionaries. Then we had the musical numbers (which we were in) And all the foreign missionaries spoke about the traditions from their countries for Christmas.  It was cool.  Then we went and got little Christmas packages from our President and Sister Hobbs-that contained our cute Christmas card as well.  After that we went to the stake center and had the baptism.  So Friday was a good day.

Then on Saturday we went to the church to help decorate for our Christmas party.  The Relief Society was in charge of decorating. We thought it would maybe be in hour and a half.  When we got there, there were only about 3 people that showed up.  They also realized they didn't have enough table cloths, so we volunteered to go get some since we were probably the least helpful out of the people there. 

We ended up going to Bed, Bath and Beyond, Kohl's, and Target, and none of them had the table cloths we needed (round, white ones).  So we ended up going to a party store and getting plastic ones.  That was our last option.  That took about an hour.  We got back to the church (shortly after you left the Bakers)  and they still had a lot of work to do.  We ended up being there until 5 (we got there at 1:30).  We did a little bit of work to invite people, then went back for the party.

It was a really good turn out.  We had set up 18 tables with 8 chairs each and almost every chair was filled.  We had a super good dinner then games, skits and talents (where we played).  Then we did a white elephant gift exchange.  It was a fun.

Yesterday at church, we got a text from one of the office missionaries who asked us if we could play Called to Serve and God Be With You Til We Meet Again.  I can play God Be With You and Sister Riley could kinda play Called to Serve.  So we told her yes.  Well with that answer, we got roped into playing the opening and closing hymns for the departing missionary devotional last night.  There were six elders going home and everyone they worked with since they have been out were invited to come.  So it was quite a lot of people.  It was fun though.  Missionaries usually are not allowed to go to those unless they are leaving.  So it was cool to be able to go.  We were lucky.  But now our secret is out.  I have kept is quite for 8 months, and now people know.  I have a feeling we will get asked to play at a lot more now.  We aren't too excited about that.  Ian, look forward to always playing on your mission!!

Sister Baro came up to us at the baptism and said that her ex-husband gave permission for her girls to take the lessons and be baptized.  So we have a lesson set up for tomorrow. Pray that it will go through.  We have been trying to work with them for six weeks now!! Our prayers are being answered we just had to learn a little patience. 

Well I think that is about all for me! It should be a good transfer.  I hope you have fun in California.  

Love you,
Sister Woodward

Monday, December 9, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -December 9, 2013

Hi Family,
This week was a really good week. We had a lot of fun.  Things are crazy around here. The first crazy thing is the weather.  Who thought it actually would get cold in California in the winter?   It has been super cold down here.  I didn't think it got cold down here.  We have been in the mid 40s with rain and cold, strong winds all week long.  We even hit the 30s for a bit.  Cars actually get frost on them and people have to scrap them.  Crazy huh?  Who knew? Definitely not me or I would have brought warmer clothes.
But this week has been fun.  This week we bought a little Christmas tree, decorated a gingerbread house, made a paper chain count down til Christmas, got stockings, and a family got us a real 5 foot Christmas tree. (We were SO excited).  We also went and saw some lights (a street where every house goes all out for Christmas.  It has been in the news because it is so cool.  It is called Thoroughbred) for family home evening  (members are great!!!). We went to the Crèche (I think that is how it is spelt) Festival. They had over 1,000 different Nativities set up all over the gym in a church as well as different groups from the community singing Christmas songs. We also went to a Live Nativity. They recreated a street in Bethlehem and had actors dressed up as towns people. You could walk down the street and talk with them. And then every 45 minutes they had a 15 minute presentation that was them acting out the birth of Christ. It was so good. They also had a shepherds field, which was just a petting zoo with lots of different animals. So we did a lot of fun Christmas things this week. We helped a few people decorate their trees, and we will do some more of that this week. So we have been having a lot of fun.  Christmas is fun :)
That was the fun stuff for this week.  On to the missionary stuff.  So we had a baptism for Saturday the 14th right?  Well we went to ward council on Sunday to find out that there was a girl in the stake, who was walking home from school and got hit by a car.  Her funeral got set up for the exact same time as our baptism.  So we got booted.  Richard had family coming into town for the baptism and they were already scheduled so we couldn't move it too much.  So we asked around and have re scheduled it for Friday evening at 7:00.  So it is still going to happen this week.  We got worried because we both wanted to be here for it and with transfers next week, we weren't really sure.  So that was good.
We were supposed to start teaching the Baro girls this week, but Sister Baro text us one morning to inform us that the girls dad requested to speak with the girls before we could meet with them.  We don't know how that meeting went.  The girls are scared of their dad, so if he told them no, then they are not going to go against that.  It is kinda sad.  We were really bummed. 
Other then that, not much happened.  The work is not the quickest here in Rancho.  We do have our Mission Christmas Devotional on Friday for a few hours.  And we have our Ward Christmas party on Saturday evening.  So that should be fun.  I am excited.
And on Saturday we get transfer calls.  We both really want to stay together and in this area.  So hopefully we won't get moved.  That would be a bummer.  I would cry.  I love this area.  It is definitely my favorite ward.  So hopefully we will stay.  Especially after how decorated our apartment is.  That would be sad if we couldn't stay.  So I will let you know next week what happened with transfers. 
Have a good week. Drive safe.  Oh and if we stay in this area I will be able to Skype you guys.  We will be doing it from the bishops house and it will probably be around early afternoon or so.  I will let you know for sure when I figure out if I am staying or not.
Love you all!
Sister Woodward

Monday, December 2, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -December 2, 2013

Hey Woodward Family,
It definitely does not feel like December down here.  It is about 70s or 80s everyday.  We got a tiny bit of rain the other day.  Basically it feels like we are forever stuck in September.  It is kinda weird.  My body doesn't know what to do with itself.  I think it is used to gearing up for the cold at this time of year and I am hot ALL the time.  We will have it about 66 in our apartment and it is too hot for me.  It is awful. haha  When I come home next year, I am going to freeze!!
Our transfers are still going to be in the 16th of December.  So the same week as Camerons, just not the same day.  So I will definitely be in this area for the Chamberlins baptism.  I am glad we got it during this transfer :)
I am glad that you got to help grandma put up her tree.  That is one thing that people will let us do out here.  We have been and will continue to help people put up Christmas decorations.  It helps us remember it is actually the Holidays and they are happening.  Sometimes it just seems like everyone else is having holidays, and we as missionaries don't get to enjoy them (which is kinda true) but it is still fun.  Today Sister Riley went out and bought a little 2 foot Christmas tree and some lights.  We made a paper chain count down til Christmas, and we are going to decorate a Ginger bread house if we have time.  So we are trying to get a little Christmas into our lives.
I hit my 7 month mark yesterday! I have been gone for seven whole months now.  Crazy huh? Time is just flying by.  January First and I will be half way through.  So more then one reason to celebrate that day :)  You better have a big party!!
Well onto missionary work.  The Chamberlins are getting baptized on the 14th.  It is all set.  We are working on getting the program together.  It should be good.  Everything is falling into place.  I don't think that the mom will be baptized then, but she will eventually.  She has stopped going to the catholic church.   She signed up to get a R.S. manual for next year.  She is volunteering to bring food to the Living Nativity and also to the Ward Christmas Party.  She has even started taking the Sacrament, which at first she wouldn't because she didn't feel comfortable or like she could.  So she is making progress.  We are excited for her.
We finally met with Sister Baro yesterday.  She has her girls for the next two weeks and so in those 2 weeks we are going to teach them as many lessons as we can (most likely all of them) and after that they will be getting baptized as well.  From what she said, the dad was okay with it and was planning on being at the baptism.  So permission shouldn't be too hard to get.  So we will have those two girls being baptized shortly as well.  We had tried for 4 weeks to meet with them, and now we are finally able to!! We are so excited.  It made our day.
Thanksgiving was really good.  We did end up only having one thanksgiving dinner.  We ate with the best cook in the ward-still nothing compared to grandmas or moms thanksgiving, but it was really good.  She had 6 of her seven kids there and two son in laws and her parents.  So it was a bigger thanksgiving then you had.  We had a lot of fun.  It was weird to only have 3 pies (Apple, Pumpkin, and Pecan).  It seemed like so few.  Sister Riley and I made a banana cream pie, but of course it was just with the jello mix and not very good.  So I am so happy that I will be home for thanksgiving next year.
I don't know what will happen for Christmas.  The bishops family is having us for dinner.  They have a son on a mission though and I don't know when he will be calling or if they are wanting us to call from their house.  If you want, I could probably even Skype with you guys.  I will just need Kelsey Skype thingy.  I probably won't set up a time or anything until after transfers.  I have been in this area for 3 transfers now and I could end up moving-I hope not.  But just to be safe I won't set anything up til after and I know where I will be.  So the Monday before Christmas we will figure it all out. 
Well I think that is about all for this week.  I hope you are loving the long emails :)  I don't see them getting much shorter in the future.
Love you all
Sister Woodward

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -November 25, 2013

Hey Family,

Well it just so happens that the Chamberlins are getting baptized on the 14th of December.  We have reserved the building and are working on getting their clothes.  For the last four weeks we haven't had a ward mission leader (ours got taken to be the bishop in the ysa ward) and planning a baptism without one is quite difficult.  Normally they help with most of it.  So we haven't known who to contact or anything.  Luckily we are baptizing kids, and so we have enlisted our primary president.  She has helped us out loads.  She has giving us all the numbers we need and told us what to do.  So we are getting that all worked out.  Isabella and Bianca will be baptized for sure.  We are still working with Erika.  We are hoping she will get baptized with them.  I think she wants to, but it is just not set in stone yet.

We haven't started working with the Baros yet, but this week....hopefully

Then we have the Verons.  The dad is ex-communicated.  The mom is not a member and they have at least three kids.  The dad has wanted to come back for a while, but they haven't been married so it hasn't happened it.  The Elders have been working with them for a while now.  They came to church yesterday!! On their own!! They have plans for December 30th to get married.  They have reserved a place and everything.  So once that happens, then they can all get baptized.  We are excited for that!

We also got a new investigator this week.  Her name is Jessica.  She is black.  Her brother lives in texas and recently got baptized.  He changed his whole life around and wanted the same for her.  He called Jessica and asked if it would be okay if he sent the missionaries to her.  So he did.  We went over.  She has a five year old son and says that if this church helped her brother out so much, she was interested in it.  She says she also has a friend that she wants us to meet with.  So we are hoping for that soon too. 

Other then that, not much is happening.  We are working on finding and working with less actives.  We have the living nativity coming up.  It is supposed to be really cool.  We have live actors and they recreate a street in Bethlehem.  They actors walk around and you can go and talk to them.  Then every 45 minutes they act out Jesus's birth.  We  are really excited.  We told Jessica about it and she was so happy and wants to bring her son!! So yay!!

We went on a hike as a district today.  I am SO out of shape it is not even funny.  I am going to be so sore.  It was a pretty hike though.  We hiked to a water fall.  Those are always nice. 

Well that is about all I have to say this week.  I hope you all have a great thanksgiving.  I am going to a lady in the wards house.  She never got married, but was a social worker and ended up adopting 7 kids.  She is amazing and an inspiration!! We are excited to eat with her.

Well now that I have given a really long email, I hope you have a good week and a good thanksgiving. tell all the family hi for me.

Love you all
Sister Woodward

Monday, November 18, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -November 18, 2013

So guess what today is??? Yep that's right! My one year til I come home date!!! I fly home in exactly one year!! 365 days left!! Kinda crazy huh?  After this we are just counting down.  I made it through the first 6 months and have 12 more to go.  Piece of cake :)  Save the date now :)
Well it is good to hear that Cameron already has a few offers for thanksgiving.  We are still working on finding someone to feed us.  We have Christmas covered (granted we are still in this area by then)  But not thanksgiving.  So hopefully we will get that soon.
This week has been pretty good for us.  We met with the Chamberlins twice.  They didn't make it to church because Erika (the mom) had a really bad ear infection and had to go to the doctors.  We have three appointment set up this week though.  Their baptismal date is for the 14th of December.  The same day as our Ward Christmas party.  So it is going to be quite the busy day for us and our Bishopric. 
We have taught them all the lessons.  On Friday we went over the things we have taught them so we know the things that need a little reviewing before baptism.  They remembered quite a lot of it.  So for the next 4ish weeks, we will just review the lessons and make sure that everything runs smoothly for their baptism.  Isabella and Bianca are golden.  We are still going with Erika though.  She likes the idea of getting baptized as a family and going to church as a family, but I don't think she realizes the level of commitment it is as well as her needing to take the lessons with us before and have an interview.  She can't just jump in the water if she feels like it on the 14th.  So we are going to see if we can work with her this week.  She usually isn't there for the lessons, so we don't know quite how she feels yet.
We haven't started working with the Baros yet.  Hopefully this week.  We are meeting the dad tonight for a couple of minutes.  We are eating with them on Wednesday as well.  So hopefully we can set up a baptismal date with their two girls. We have figured out what we need to do so we can get the dads permission. Once he signs the paper, then we are good to go and no turning back, we just need him to be in a good mood when we give him the paper :) So that is the only challenge with getting them baptized. 
Other than that, nothing much happened this week.  Sister Riley and I still really get along.  No mice in our apartment.  We are working with lots of less actives, which I am loving.  We are still out of a ward mission leader, but have 7 ward missionaries.  The bishop wants us to do splits three times a week with them, but it is hard to coordinate it all with out a leader.  So after three weeks of not having one, we are praying that this next Sunday one finally gets called.  We need one.
Have a good week.  I love you all. 
 Sister Woodward

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -November 12, 2013

Hey family,
Well this week has been so great! I am so excited for this transfer and so glad that I got to stay in this ward.  Things with the ward did get better.  The bishop actually called Sister Pollard and I rock stars one night.  They ward really trusts us and we love them.
President and Sister Hobbs came to church with us one Sunday and after Relief Society, Sister Hobbs whispered to me how much she could feel the love the ward members had for us missionaries, and in most wards you can't feel it that strongly.
We recently got six ward missionaries.  They are all ladies in the ward who have sons on missions.  So we are excited to start working with them and going on splits.  We haven't had any until now, so we haven't had as much help from the ward. We are happy they got around to calling some more for us.
Our ward mission leader got called as the bishop in the YSA ward, so we are currently out of a ward mission leader.  I am pretty bummed about that because Brother Taylor was the best one I have had on my mission.  But he will do a wonderful job as a bishop and the YSA people are going to love him.  I just hope that one day I get called to that YSA ward.  That would be a lot of fun.
So on Tuesday, Sister Riley and I went to a family's home to drop off a thank you card for bringing dinner to us one night.  As we were talking with the wife (which she is rarely ever home at the time we stopped by) She told us that her two girls had never been baptized because of her ex-husband.  We answered a bunch of her questions about what happens with convert baptisms (how many lessons, where the lessons are, who goes to the baptisms, when and where they can be held ect.) After we did that, she said that we had calmed a lot of her worries and she felt really good about getting them baptized.  They recently moved into our ward, so no one knew the girls hadn't been baptized.  We are planning on starting to work with them next week since they are out of town this week.  So we were so excited to hear that and to see that miracle happen.  We love it.
We had a wonderful lesson on Sunday in Gospel Principles.  We just started up the class for the Chamberlins, and last week was really rough. (don't worry-it wasn't us teaching) The bishop heard about it and decided to teach it himself this week.  He did the first part of the plan of salvation, and did a wonderful job.  After church, Richard text us and told us they wanted to set a baptismal date for the 8th of December.  We told him that worked and he replied with, "Erika is really liking the idea of the whole family getting baptized together, her included"  I saw that text and ran to Sister Riley (who was in the other room in our apartment) and told her.  We were both so excited.  Up to this point, we had slowly been working with Erika, but she had told us that the lessons, visits, coming to church was just for her kids and not for her.  So that made our day!! We were so excited.
Other then that, it was a pretty normal week.  We visited with lots of less actives and just helped Sister Riley get used to the area and the ward.  I think every dinner we had last week had something weird happening in it.  She was a little worried that all dinners were going to be that way.  On Monday, we had a family that was just crazy and all on something.  Tuesday, the family had a little boy (about 2) whose diaper exploded and was running out of the bottom of his pants and all over the floor. We left without sharing a message because they had quite the mess to clean up.  Thursday we had dinner with Janet and her two sons, Nico and Julian, and man they are crazy boys.  They keep us entertained.  On Friday, I thought it was going to be normal but they lady who we ate with invited another older lady in the ward over.  Lollie is about 90 and widowed.  She started talking about adultery and how she wasn't planning on committing that anytime soon.  Then she said, Well I guess I don't have a husband, so it would just be fornication.  Every day was just crazy. Yesterday was the first semi normal dinner we had.
Thanks for  all the pictures you have sent recently.  That is a lot of fun.  I love seeing the family.  I hope you have a great week.  You are all amazing.  Sorry I didn't write you yesterday. They wanted us to email only family on Tuesday.  So I obeyed the rules and did friends yesterday at our apartments, and family today
Love ya all
Sister Woodward

Monday, November 4, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -November 4, 2013

Hey there family

Well for transfer news....I did not get transferred.  I am staying in Rancho Cucamonga, which I am 100 % okay with because I love this ward and I love the people we are working with.  I didn't want to leave.  But Sister Pollard did end up leaving.  She is over in Chino with a girl who came out the same time as me.  They will be good together.  I am actually excited for them because I know that Sister Price will be able to help Sister Pollard a lot more then I was able to.

My new companion is Sister Riley.  She has been out for three months.  She used to be in Upland.  She is from Elkridge Utah.  She is 20 years old and her twin sister is on a mission in Minnesota, Minneapolis.  Pretty cool.  She seems great.  She is blonde and tall.  She is quiet but not really shy.  I am really excited actually.  I think we are going to work well together :) Lots of good things happened this transfer.  I am so excited for it all.

I went and visited a family in the ward this week, who was Uncle Scotts trainer in the mission.  He found some old photos of Uncle Scott and gave me a couple copies.  I will have to find a way to send them to you.  They are quite fun to look at. One of the pictures, he kinda looks like dad.  It is great.

So for other news in the area, we met with the Chamberlins twice this week.  They were at church again!! By the end of this transfer the dad will be ready to baptize them.  So we will just continue working with them until then.  The mom is moving along, but  very slowly.  But I think by the time the dad is ready, she will also be ready.  I did get pictures with them, but I forgot my camera today, so next week for sure.

It sounds like Halloween was fun for you guys.  I loved seeing the costumes.  That was fun.  They are all so cute.  Love the colored wigs.  Those just look so great on the black kids.  Also did Ian and Rolando not dress up?? That is sad and boring!!  But I guess they are getting pretty old.  That makes sense.

Well I hope things are good at home.  Sorry this is shorter.  I don't really have much to talk about this week.  Slower week for us.  I am really glad I am staying though.  I really do love this ward a lot.

Sad news...Our ward mission leader (who really is the best ever) just got called to be the bishop for the YSA ward and so we lost him.  I am not too excited.  But we will get someone else and it will be okay.  So for now we don't have a ward mission leader.

Also, Can I just say that I love the mission!! It really is the hardest thing I have ever done.  It is so challenging and it definitely works you to the edge, but man is it amazing!! I am so glad that I decided to come out here.  I can't even describe how wonderful it is.  I love it.  I love the people I meet and get to become such great friends with.  I love having a hard time because it teaches me to lean on and trust the Lord.  I would not come home early or go back and change my mind for anything!! This is the best choice I have ever made!!

Have a great week :) Love you all
Sister Woodward

Monday, October 28, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -October 28, 2013

Hi family,
Well another week has gone by, and another transfer is coming to an end.  Well not to disappoint you or anything, but I don't go home until November 18th I do believe, so it is still a little more then a year.  I am excited that Ian and Rolando can both go soon after we get back.  You are just going to be paying for missions for ever!!! lucky!! Good thing there are blessings attached to that.
Well for mission news lets see.  On Saturday we had our wards Harvest Festival-ya know, the Halloween party but it cant' be called that because well who knows why.  It was combined with another ward.  We had a really good turn out.  They had chili, hot dogs, nachos, pies and a bunch of little carnival games.  They also had a trunk or treat afterwards.  It was good.  We went all week and just invited everyone we saw to it.  We got a few less active families out.
On Saturday we saw a group of boys (about 8-11 years old) and asked them if they wanted to come.  We gave them a few flyers that we made.  When we showed up at the festival, they had come!! It was so cool.  They brought their parents and had a group of about 15 of them.  Our bishop called us rock stars.  Plus he really liked us that night because the elders in the other ward were not being the best of missionaries, so we looked great compared to them.  That helped with our ward trust. 
The Chamberlins also came to that.  They were all dressed up and had a fun time.  They have made friends with other kids in the ward and were running around with them all the time.  I loved it.  We talked with Erica (mom) and she told us that she just loves how friendly people in our church is.   She can't believe that we actually make an effort to get to know other people we are going to church with.  She is really coming along.  Richard (dad) talked to the bishop and he should be ready to baptize his family by the end of next transfer.  Middle of December.  By then, hopefully things will be good with Erica.  She is the only one that is not fully on board yet, but since her kids are, she will come eventually.
We had a lesson with them on Friday and Shelby Baker came again.  She has been coming to all the lessons with us.  We taught about keeping the Sabbath day holy and following the prophet.  It has been fun.  We have another lesson on this Friday and they actually invited us over for dinner tomorrow!! So that is good.  We will get to see them twice this week.  I am excited.  The kids just love church.  If they have to go to their mom's church (catholic) they complain, but they jump for joy when they get to got to dads church (us) So that is good that the kids love us so much better.  I think that will make a big difference for Erica.  I am excited for this family.  They are so great.  I just love them.  I will get a picture this week with them for sure and send it off soon.
They didn't make it to Sacrament though, but they came to the last two hours.  I think they had people over at their house from Saturday (they had friends come to the harvest festival....funny story.  Their friends didn't realized it was a Mormon event they went to.  So they thought that Sister Pollard and I were just dressed up like Mormons haha)  But they made it to primary.  That actually happened to our other investigator, Brittney.  So no one at Sacrament, but still at church. which I am okay with.  At least they were there for part of it. 
That was about it this week.  It was a good week for most of it.  I enjoyed it.
I love you all.  Happy Halloween!! Send me some pictures of the costumes :)
Sister Woodward

Monday, October 21, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -October 21, 2013

Hello again family,
Another week has gone by.  Only two more weeks in this transfer.  Time is just flying out here.  I am glad that everyone is still doing so well at home and everyone is still alive.  That is a good thing.  I would love some dehydrated apples, if you have any left over.
Well onto this last week.  Elder Robbins came for a few days.  On Tuesday night he had a devotional for any recent converts, less active members or investigators.  We were able to get Bill and Nancy Bevacco there.  It was really good and we enjoyed it.  He talked about how the Book of Mormon really is the key to knowing and even if you don't feel ready, it is okay.  None of us are perfect and we are all still working on becoming better, so it is time to just take that step and trust the Lord. 
On Wednesday, we met at the mission office at 10 in the morning and didn't get back until 830 at night.  We got bused up to Apple Valley and met with the two zones there for the zone conference with Elder Robbins.  We got our flu shots and took care of a few other things.  We then listened to Elder Robbins from 130 til 530.  He spoke along with Sister Robbins and President and Sister Hobbs.  It was really good.  Elder Robbins talked about planning and how helpful it is and things like that.  He also talked about hope and striving to develop that Christlike attribute.  He took about an hour and a half to do a question and answer session.  He only answered about three questions because he really answered everyone.  He didn't leave a loose string in any of those answers.
After we left, the car I was in went out to dinner.  I was with three elders and two sisters who are not my companion.  We had six sisters going and they had to split us up 3 and 3 so Sister Pollard and I split.  Which I am okay with because Sister Beagly, who is one of the sisters I got put with is a hoot.  She is so funny.  We were basically laughing all day long.  We had a fun time together, and Sister Hudrlick, who was the one that drove us, is also super great and everyone just loves her.  If you ever see Sister Schiess (spelling??) around, you should ask her about Sister Hudrlick (it is pronounce hurdlick though...weird spelling)  On Wednesday Sister Hudrlick was actually talking about Sister Schiess.  So I know they know each other.
Yesterday at church, the Chamberlins came.  They stayed for all three hours again.  This time the mom, Erica, actually came and stayed too.  Richard, the dad was telling us how much the three kids loved church last week and couldn't wait to come back again.  Erica was listening to them, threw her arms up in the air and said, "Well I guess we are going to be Mormon then."  So that was great.
Saturday all five of them came to the church to practice for the program and then they all came to church.  We sat front and center with Richard and Erica.  It was so cool to see Isabella, Bianca, and Talon up there with the rest of the kids participating just like they had always been there.  The teachers made sure that Talon was in front (because he is little for his age).  It was amazing to see them singing along and speaking and making friends with all the other kids.  I think that will really help Erica as well.  I think having her see how welcomed we made the kids feel and how we just took them in and let them do everything all the other kids were doing will really help. 
They love the primary president, who is amazing and promised her that they were coming next week to church and Erica said she would be there too.  I am really excited to see where this will go.  They are planning on going to activity days on Wednesday as well.  I told Darcy I would get a picture of them and send it to you guys soon.  Hopefully I will remember to do that.
Well that is about the most of what happened here this week.  The weather is just beautiful and pretty and nice :) I hope you are all jealous.  I hope you have a good week and I will talk to you next week
Sister Woodward

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -October 15, 2013

Hey family,

Sorry I didn't get to you yesterday....Columbus day.  It ruins my life.

So today we went to Beehive Clothing.  When we were in there, there was a lady with the last name Facer, who just so happens to be the sister in law to Lin, and Lloyd Facer in Smithfield.  Crazy huh?  And another lady in there is from Franklin and says that is was her family that put the Rite in Ritewood eggs. What a small world huh?  Her son and daughter are both expecting their mission calls this week some time. 

Well for mission work this week...We had another lesson with Isabella and Bianca Chamberlin.  We just have the commandments to teach them.  The whole family (minus the wife) came to church for all three hours and the kids thought it was so fun!! The were practicing for the primary program.  They are planning on going to the ice cream party/practice for the program again on Saturday and then be in the program Sunday at church.  I was so happy that they loved church.  The dad, Richard, who is less active, wants to baptize his two girls, so he is meeting  with the Bishop to figure that stuff out.  So once that is figured out, we will be able to set a baptismal date with the family for them to work towards.  I am excited to see where things go with them.  We have a lesson on Friday with them.

Yesterday, Janet Hernandez, (who is Nico, our investigators mother) wanted to take Sister Pollard and I shopping.  She is just my favorite and I love her to death.  So since we had a little more open of a day because we couldn't email, we met her for a bit during her lunch break.  I got a couple of shirts at Ross and two pairs of shoes.  One is for p-days because it is either running shoes or my church shoes with pants when we do activities and neither are my favorite and then just a red pair of flats.  So it was good. We had a lot of fun with her.  I was in need of a couple new shirts.  Wearing these clothes all day every day while sweating and moving around so much, really wears them out so fast.  It is crazy!

This week, Elder Robbins from the seventy is visiting our mission.  Tonight there is a fireside for all investigators, less actives and recent converts with in the last three years.  So we have invited a few people out to that and that is what we will be doing for the rest of the day.  Hopefully we can get a good turnout.  It is mission wide so there are probably going to be a lot of people.  I am excited.  We are only allowed to go if we bring someone so we are trying our best to find people.

Tomorrow we are being bused up to Apple Valley for a zone conference to hear Elder Robbins speak some more.  This one will be focused on missionaries though.  It will be from 130 to 530, so quite long.  Then the drive there is an hour so we will be gone from probably 12 to 7.  So most of our day will be at that.  It will be super good.  I am excited for it.

But that is about all that is going on down here in Rancho Cucamonga.  Three weeks til transfers!! Half way through!! Woot woo!! We are still going strong. Still pushing through

Love you all
Sister Woodward

Monday, October 7, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -October 7, 2013

Hey there family
Well Mission life is mission life.  Things are crazy out here.  But conference was just great and I loved being able to watch it.  And we actually watched it with some of our investigators which made it even better.  I really liked Elder Holland's talk, and I am sure that is one that some people at home enjoyed, or at least needed to hear as well.
In a few weeks we have a general authority coming to our mission.  We are going to have a few mission wide conferences then and I am so excited.  It is going to be so great. I don't remember who is coming, but when I do, I will let you know.  It is in two weeks and he will be here for three or four days.
This week went pretty well.  We have four different investigators right now and had lessons with all of them.  The first was Brittney Vignali.  I think I have mentioned her.  She is moving really slowly, but we ate with her family on Tuesday and had a good lesson afterwards.  She has a long way to go.  A lot of words that we use, like faith or hope, she has twisted perception of what they mean, so we have a lot to teach her and help her realize before she will get baptized.
Our second one is Isabella.  She is 10 and her sister Bianca is 8.  Their dad stopped the Elders in the Tongan ward to get them baptized.  We went over this week and taught them for the second time. We took chalk and drew the plan of salvation on the road.  We found out that two members of the ward live just a few doors down on both sides, which was pretty cool.  And the lady that we brought to the lesson with us, just happens to be the activity day leader for all the girls 8-11.  We had no idea when we invited her to come, and she turned out to be the perfect person to bring.  So now they are going to start going to activity days with the other girls their age.
The third one is Bill.  His wife Nancy is a less active member.  Nancy's mom just died. We weren't planning on going to the luncheon after the funeral but a lady in the ward needed us to drop some food off because she couldn't make it.  We showed up at just the right time.  Our Relief Society President was just getting there and needed a lot of help because the funeral and burial was a lot shorter then planned so they were running out of time.  We were able to help out a lot and talk to people at the luncheon, which is always a great way to find people.  So that was a great unexpected service opportunity.
They also invited us to watch conference with them.  As we showed up Saturday afternoon, Bill had been watching golf and went to turn the channel and the t.v. just went black.  The sound was still on, but no picture.  We messed with it for a while trying to figure out what was going on.  After about fifteen minutes and working with the t.v. and lots of prayers, it came back on and we were able to watch conference.  Talk about Satan working hard to get us to not watch it with them.  So we missed the first bit but I think that is normally just the sustainings, so it is all good.
Our last lesson was with Nico.  He is nine.  His family is less active but he really wants to be baptized.  He told his dad (who wants him to be baptized in a Christian church) that he is Mormon and is going to be baptized in the Mormon church.  Early this week, we were supposed to have a lesson, but as we got there we found out that their little dog had got hit by a car and died earlier in the day.  So we just talked and comforted them.  Then last night we went back for the lesson.  We taught the Restoration.
A family friend was over and he decided to sit in on the lesson.  He knows members and has read up a bit on the church.  At the end of the lesson, Sister Pollard started talking just very briefly about the atonement and the friend, Mario, started to cry and was speechless.  It was such a cool experience.  He had no words.  He lives in Rancho, but not in our area.  We are hoping to get some other missionaries over to him soon.  He told us, out of all the religions he has looked into, this is the one that intrigues him the most.  So one day Mario is going to join...hopefully one day soon.
We have Janet, Nico's mom, coming to the additional relief society night on Wednesday, then dinner with them on Thursday and a lesson on Friday.  So we have lots set up.  That is how she wanted to do it.  We are excited for this week with them.
We went on exchanges this week as well.  Sister Ott came to my area and Sister Pollard went to my old area in Upland with Sister Haas.  It was just fun to work with someone else and see how they do things and to be able to have just someone different with you for a day.  I loved it.  Sister Ott is amazing. 
While we were on exchanges, we were able to do some service for a less active lady in the ward.  She started coming back, but then recently she has gone through an ugly divorce and was getting kicked out of her home.  So we went over to help her sort some things up.  She had just a few days to get everything out, and she tends to be a bit of a hoarder.  So that was fun.  The next day, Sister Pollard and I went back and helped her move the stuff she was going to keep into a storage unit.  So this week was filled with lots of hours of service.  It was good.
So over all it was a good week for us.  We had some good lessons and are finally making progress with our investigators.  There is a little more with the missionary side to this email.  Hopefully things will keep getting better, but seeing how things have worked with me in the past, four weeks from now I am going to be transferred out.  Now that the ward has work, I will be leaving. 
Well the weather down here today is in the high 80's. Definitely far from snowflakes down here.  It is supposed to get all the way to the 60's this week, which is about as cold as it will get down here all winter, so that will be nice :) I am excited for that.
Also, that story about Gislene cracked me up!! Oh my word.  That sounds just like her.  She hasn't changed a bit in five months.  She has also loved having the dogs with her, but of course she is not all there enough to think to take them out.  Oh poor mom....Life sounds like fun :)  But at least she is learning Spanish.  She is setting the standard high for the rest of you.  I guess it is time to pick it up!! haha
Well for things with Sister Pollard and I, they are getting better.  We had interviews with President Hobbs this week, (it is just that time) And he offered a blessing.  I didn't feel like I needed one but if he was asking, I thought maybe I needed it more then I realized.  So he gave me a blessing.  It was so amazing.  I know that it came from God and told me things I needed to hear that President Hobbs didn't even know I was dealing with.  So that was good
Well for now that is all I can think of to tell you about.  It was a good week.  I love you all lots
Sister Woodward

Monday, September 30, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -September 30, 2013

Well Hello family,
Thank you for the letter again this week.  I did get to go to the conference on Saturday and it was great.  And that was not the first time I went to it.  When I was at SUU I was a good little girl and I actually went (and I was also in the Relief Society presidency, so I kinda had to)
Right before the conference all the Sisters in the mission got together for a Sisters conference.  There are over 50 of us now in the mission.  It was so great. I was able to see all my old friends and companions and spend a few hours with them.  I loved it.  It was amazing to see so many sisters out here serving.  And more are gonna keep coming.  We are going to keep getting sisters for the next few transfers and we don't have any going home, unless they leave early. By the end of the year, we should have about 80 sisters in our mission out of 200 missionaries.  So almost half!! I love it.
At first I thought I was totally going to hate having that many sisters out, but it is the best.  I had so many sisters coming up and hugging me and tell me they had been thinking about me and was so excited to see me again.  There were some that said they had been praying for me, and even one that said she had put my name in the temple because she had heard I was having a hard time.  It was amazing to see how much support I have from the sisters in this mission.  So many of them are becoming such good friends of mine.  I love how many cool people I have been able to meet and gain eternal friendships with.
And some of these girls I probably wouldn't have been friends with back at home, but because our lives are so similar now and we are all going through the same things, we are just bonded in a way you can't explain.  So many of them I feel like I really did know before now.  I really have connections with some of them that you can't explain.  It is weird but I love it.
So we had a few trainings and speakers, then we watched the conference with the Rancho stake.  We had dessert and talked after and some people took some pictures.  I didn't have my camera when they took a group photo though.  Sorry...Next time?  Sister Hobbs wants to try and do another one in December for Christmas.  I hope it can happen.  It was just so powerful to have us all together.
Well I can't believe that Tanner is almost married and Tiffani is not far behind him.  It is going to be so weird to come home and no matter what is going on, Tiffani will have a guy with her, which wasn't the case before.  That will take adjusting for me.  You will have to have a cut out of me for her wedding so I can be in the pictures.  It is sad that I am missing it.  I am super bummed.  But I wouldn't change this experience for anything. 
I am glad that they animals are doing well. I hope Maggie is behaving some what.  Sorry she is not  the best dog ever.  haha 
This week our car was having problems, so we took that in and sat in the place for almost three hours.  All they needed to do was to change the oil.  And we were there for three hours!! Oh I wasn't happy.  And then our whole Saturday was gone with the conferences, so we didn't get much work done. 
This week, our investigators mother in law died, so we have been helping with that a little bit.  And our other investigator, Nico's dog just got hit by a car and died today.  We are going over to see them tonight.  Sunny was the cutest dog.  I am so sad.  He was so friendly and always so happy to see us.  It was sad when Sister Pollard and I heard the news. 
We did get a new investigator this week though!!! Her name is Isabella and she is 11.  Her dad is a less active member because of work.  He was driving and saw the elders who are working in the Tongan ward and stopped them to ask how he could get his children baptized.  They referred him to us and we have started teaching.  The mom is a Catholic, but has problems with the Catholic church.  They have three kids.  Isabella, 11, Bianca, 8, and a boy who I forgot his name, 7.  So Isabella is the only one that we can count, but we are teaching all of them.  I am excited to see what happens there.
But that is about all for the missionary work part of it.  Still working with less actives and a few investigators now.  It is fun.  And now since the work is progressing, I will be moving.  I just feel it coming.  Yes I have five weeks I know, but that is how it has been in my last two wards.  Once the ward starts to have work and investigators, I get moved.
I hope things are all well at home! I love you all. Have a good week
Sister Woodward

Monday, September 23, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -September 23, 2013

Hey there family. 
Well I have survived another week.  It has been hard, let me tell you.  Neither my companion or I got transferred and so we are still together in this area for another six weeks at least.  
I did get a package from Megan though, so that made it better.  It came the exact same time that we heard that we were staying together, so that helped :)  Perfect timing.  So thanks Megan!!
I will hopefully get some pictures to you soon.  Maybe later today if I can.  Every week I think about sending some and then I either run out of time or else I forget my camera (that was this week).  I will try to get some off to you because it has been a while since I have.  Sorry.
Well as for my week....I don't know what really happened.  I got to go on an exchange with two Sisters in my district.  Sister Bingham has been having really really bad migraines and so she can't do too much work. It has been killing Sister Wood because there is not much getting done.  So they got permission to switch with us.  I stayed with Sister Bingham and Sister Pollard went with Sister Wood.  It was so great.  I love Sister Bingham.  She was in my last zone and now is in my district.  She is a hoot and I was really glad that I got to spend some time with her.  She is considering going home because it is so bad though.  She has only been out for 2 transfers now.  She is just starting her third one.  It is really sad.
And another Sister just went home this week as well.  Her name is Sister Morones and she came out the same time as me.  She is a convert of only a little bit of time and was just so happy all the time.  She got Pylori H in her stomach, and it wouldn't get any better, so after about 2 months of dealing with it, she decided to go home.  It is the hardest thing to see people go home because of illness that they can't control.  I just feel so bad for them.
Well there is a girl from the ward I am working in now who goes into the MTC on Wednesday!! Her name is Mckenzy Taylor and she is going to the Salt Lake Temple Square mission! How cool is that.  She has been telling us about it and it actually sounds really fun.  It is an all girls mission.  It covers temple square, the conference center, the beehive house, the joseph smith building and maybe a few other places like that.  So they get to give tours and work there for most of their mission.  Then for about 2 or 3 transfers they go to surrounding missions and do a regular proselyting mission.  She is really excited and she will do such a good job.  It fits her so well.  So if you ever go down that way and see a Sister Taylor, see if she is from Rancho!
We went to her house on Saturday and helped her mom make garlic bread and cake.  Then on Sunday we were invited to the luncheon.  Basically the entire ward was there.  They made eleven lasagnas and only had one left over!! Can you believe it? It was crazy busy. 
We spent most of our time this week working with less active members.  We had about seven or eight lessons with less active families, and about half of them actually came to church yesterday.  It was so neat to see them all there.  I love seeing them come out to church.
Well the bad news for the week. Sister Winert, who went home six weeks ago just found out she has a brain tumor.  They are trying to figure out what stage of cancer it is right now.  I have been emailing her every week since she went home.  When she was out here, she was battling with migraines all the time and now she knows why.  I am so sad.  I feel so bad for her.  She is just so great.  But we all have hard times and things we have to deal with.  But cancer is not one I would ever wish upon anyone. 
That was about my week though.  Just making it through one day at a time.  Remembering to breath and keep going.  On Saturday we are having a women's conference.  All the Sisters in the mission are getting together for a few hours, and then we will be watching the Relief Society broadcast.  I am excited.  It should be really fun.  And I know that next week, I will be able to go on exchanges with Sister Ott and Sister Haas, the two Sister Training leaders in the valley.  Sister Haupt got moved to the desert to help the Sisters up there.  So that should also be good and very needed.  I am excited.  I love them both.  I just love so many of the sisters out here.  They are all so great.   Definitely becoming some of my best friends. 
Well that's all for this week.  I hope you all have a wonderful week.  Love you all.
Sister Woodward 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -September 16, 2013

Hello there

ARE YOU KIDDING ME????? Oh my word I want to swear just thinking about the LaRoca people.  I can't believe that.  That is so ridiculous.  I don't even know what to say.  WHAT THE #^&%!@&$.....okay okay, I'm a missionary...but still.  That is awful and I want to say that I can't believe they would be that awful, but at the same time, I am not surprised in the slightest.  I am so glad that Mom got after them.  Oooh I would probably have gotten after them as well....lets just say this mission has changed me in more way than one.

And thank you thank you a million times over for the package.  It was totally unexpected and it made my week :) It was so wonderful and you sure put some good candies and other things that I do need.  So thank you a bunch :) You are wonderful. 

Well on to my week.....Miracles and Hell.  Let's just say that next Saturday I want to receive a call saying that I am being transferred. Oh how I have absolutely HATED this transfer and want nothing more than for it to end and for things to change.  And I hate change, but this change will only be for the better.

So first off.   The week did start with a miracle.  We have been working with Brittney Vignali.  Her family got baptized a year ago, but she didn't.  We have been having to move really slowly.  Her dad Luis, opened up to us and told us that she did not like us. She sees missionaries as rich snobby kids that are out here because they have loads of money and their parents are paying for them and so on and so forth.  So she was never very friendly with us.  We tried out best to relate to her and be friendly but we were getting no where.  So this is where it gets cool.

Our Bishop just happened to get sick last weekend.  Sister Pollard just happened to go to hair school and be AWFUL at it and give some real bad hair cuts.  We just happened to plan that for any lesson we would give last Monday to Less Active members, it would be  Mormon Message called "Moments that Matter Most."  President Hobbs called us and I just happened to pull over on the road right next to where the Vignalis live to talk to him.  Everything else we had planned had just happened to fall through.  Our dinner happened to get pushed back by half an hour so now we just happened to have a full hour of openness.

So we pulled over and after we finished talking with President, Sister Pollard thought of going to the Vignali's.  I told her that I felt like we annoyed them when we just dropped in and so we decided to call.  They told us to come right over.  We went over there and man was the situation tense.  The step mom and Brittney do NOT get a long.  They were crying and looking over financial records (Both Luis and Debbie and Brittney are having money problems).  So Sister Pollard and I just took a seat on the couch and started talking to each other.  We didn't want them to feel like we were listening or judging.  So the Debbie (the step mom) left for a bit and Brittney came over with Luis.  Luis was nice and started talking to us.  Brittney was just in the back.  Sister Pollard asked Brittney if she got a new job yet. 

We found out that Brittney got a job to clean at a barber shop.  We told her if she worked there long enough she might learn how to cut hair.  And it went off from there.  Brittney told us how she recently gave her son an awful hair cut and Sister Pollard was able to relate.  Then we went into bad hair styles, and clothes and the 90's and big bangs in the 80's and so on.  Brittney finally was herself around us. She was laughing and talking and being so friendly.  We were able to tie what we were talking with her about right into the lesson we had planned for the day.  Then at the end of the lesson, Brittney gave us both a hug!!!! Normally she gives us this awful distant handshake, but this time it was a hug!! We were so excited!!

Debbie came back in at one point and was so surprised at how relaxed we all were and how much fun we were having together.  She followed us out as we left.  Debbie told us to tell the Bishop thank you.  We asked what for and she asked if the Bishop told us to come over.  We told her no.  I guess the Vignalis were all about to rip each others throats out so they called the bishop for help.  He was sick and couldn't make it.  They didn't know what to do and at that same moment, we just happened to call.  We came over and were able to completely calm everyone down.  So many many things played into helping that all work out and helping Brittney be friendly with us.  Coincidence? I think not!!  It was a pure miracle!!!

Then that night, President and Sister Hobbs came over to see how we did our nightly planning.  At the end of planning each night, we share miracles with each other so we can share them with the ward each day.  So we shared the Brittney miracle with them.  At the end as they were leaving, President Hobbs shook my hand and said, "Good Job.  You did it"  Then Sister Hobbs gave me a hug and pulled me in close and said, "You really helped Sister Pollard out.  She needed you.  Good Job"  It was so wonderful to hear that from them. I needed to hear them say that to me and recognize me for the crap I have gone through this transfer.

So now on the the Hell part of the week....So first off, we knew the members of this ward don't really trust missionaries.  So for the last 5 weeks we have done everything we can to gain their trust. Since Sister Pollard cuts hair, a couple of the Elders called and asked her to give them a hair cut.  She said yes.  They told us a day they wanted it.  Now it should always be on a p-day, but since we didn't have p-day last week, I figured they got permission for it to be a different day.  Now we tried out best to not break any rules.  We went during lunch so we didn't use proselyting time.  We went to the church when we knew people would be there so we weren't at each other's apartments and we weren't alone inside.  So we tried hard. 

Well it just so happens that a member of our bishopric saw us there and got a bad idea of what was going on.  He didn't come to us though. No. Talking to us would have been way too hard He went to the other counselor and the Bishop, who then went to our zone leaders and president Hobbs.  We had no idea and thought nothing of it.  Until our zone leaders showed up at our door on Thursday.  They then explained that the Elders didn't have permission and they understood we had good intentions but to someone who didn't know, it looked really bad and that as missionaries we need to be aware of that.  We told them we understood and told them we would apologize to our Bishop and Brother Evans (the one that saw us)  Also last Sunday we ate with Brother Evans.  He asked what we had been doing after church and we told him we had been doing studies because we don't have time before chruch.

So for the next few days, we tried to get ahold of Bishop and Brother Evans.  We finally met with the Bishop and explained our side of the story and let him know why it all happened and that we were sorry.  The Bishop understood and gave us the same talk our zone leaders had.  Then he brought up our for both my transfers before this, with 3 different companions, this is how it worked. Personal study before church, ward council, church, lunch, and companion study then out the door to work.  Well the bishop decided he didn't like that.  He didn't like that on Sundays we were not out working much.  He then told us that we couldn't come to ward council because we needed to be doing our studies.  We told him we understood his point and we would fix our schedule.  We thought that was the end of that...not with our ward.

So then the next night, we get a text from our district leader saying that we should be doing our studies instead of ward council if that is what our bishop wants.  And I got a little mad.  We had talked to the bishop and told him we would fix it, and before the next sunday, he called our zone leaders AGAIN, who talked to our district leader who talked to us.  So basically no matter what we do in this ward, we are doing something wrong.  And instead of just talking to us about it, they have to go to everyone else because talking to just us is not good enough for them.

So the trust that we have worked for, for five weeks now is GONE.  Chuch was extremely awkward and this ward is dramatic.  We talked to our ward mission leader about it (He is just a boss. SO COOL) And he was completely one hundred percent on our side.  He didn't understand why they hadn't just talked to us and when they did, why they didn't just leave it at that.  He didn't understand why they were so into our business and tearing down on us.  We have been getting so many less actives to church, you can't find a place to sit, and yet everything we do is wrong.  I HATE IT.

Any way, done with that.  So I am sure you are wondering how our talks went last Sunday....well let me tell you...AWFUL!!!!  yeah thats right.  So first was a youth speaker.  He spoke for about a whole minute.  Then it was Sister Pollards turn.  So she has this idea that missionaries can't use any notes because they are missionaries. So this talkative never shut up girl got up there and froze and refused to look at her notes. It came out a little sloppy and she spoke for about a total of five whole minutes instead of 15.  yeah so that left me....that's right FOURTY MINUTES to fill.  FOURTY!!! Like are you kidding me??? I was not a happy person.  I can talk for fifteen if I have it in front of me and I know what I am going to say, but fourty minutes.  No one wants to listen to anyone talk, let alone me and being unprepared for it.  So I was able to stretch my 15 minute talk in to a 30 minute talk and then we got out of sacrament 10 minutes early. At 30 minutes I was out of time.  I had nothing else I could possibly say.  The only thing that saved me was my topic was the third lesson we teach so I was able to stretch that quite a bit. 

I did have quite a few people tell me that I did great and that my knowledge is amazing and that they haven't been to a better sacrement in quite sometime (including the bishops wife) Of course that was the sunday the bishop was sick though.  So I guess it wasn't to bad but I wasn't too happy with it all. 

So that was the middle of this awful week  and then of course it ended with a miracle, because if it didn't, I would have probably died.  We were in talking with a few people after sacrament and a less active sister waved us over.  We went over to Sister Zimmer (who we have gotten to church for a few weeks now) and she was with a lady we didn't know.  As Sister Zimmer was walking into church, she saw this other lady.  They started talking.  Norma (other lady) had heard about our church and wanted to see what it was like.  And even better, she lives in our area!! So we are going to start teaching her soon. She is quite busy, but we have an appointment for next week.  I love the people that just come into church :) They make my day. 

So that is life in the mission field.  I am hoping this transfer ends the same as the rest of mine so far.  That is my prayer and my hope.  I will let you know what happens next week. 

I love you all. 
Sister Woodward

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -September 6, 2013

Well Hello again family,
I know this is a surprise email and you definitely weren't expecting one today.  On Wednesday we found out that we had a temple trip booked for today.  So instead of this coming Monday being our P-day, it is today.  So it is a little weird and I don't have much to say at this time since I emailed you just a few days ago.  I won't be emailing again for a week and a half.  So don't expect an email on Monday.
Well since I talked to you last, not much has happened.  Sister Pollard had her new missionary meeting on Wednesday.  I got partnered up with Sisters Sears and Clark.  They are both Spanish speaking sisters working in the desert right now.  So while all our greenies were at the meeting, we worked together in my area.  They were pretty fun.  Sister Haupt actually trained them right before she came to be.  So they have been out for two transfers more than I have. 
Today we went to the temple.  It was so good.  I was so glad that I finally got to go.  I thought it would still be a while til I got to go, but President wanted all the missionaries to go before the end of the transfer.  So this weekend and next weekend, they have squished us all in.  It was SOOOOO full today. It was a stake temple day, plus our zone was there (which has about 23 missionaries) plus Riverside mission was coming today.  They didn't have enough seats for everyone and so they kicked people out of the session.
We get to talk in church this Sunday.  My topic is the Doctrine of Christ, which is basically the third lesson we teach.  So that will be interesting.  I feel like it might end up more as a lesson than a talk since that is how I am used to explaining that topic.  Sister Pollard has to speak on how the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ.  You may think, oh well that is easy, but it is so broad, that it makes that a really hard topic.  I am so glad that is her topic and not mine.  She is having a hard time with it.  Her talk right now is about three minutes long and she is about out of ideas.  I am speaking second so I am basically going to write a 20 minute talk and just know what I can cut out if I need to.  I feel like I will have a lot of time to fill.  Wish us luck!! 
Well other than that, not much has happened.  There is a little store not far from where we live called Ensign Book.  I go in there about once a transfer and get a few things.  Today I got two cds from Nashville Tribute.  My first companion gave me The Work by them.  And it was really good, so I got Joseph Smith and Trek by them.  They are totally country, but it is allowed on the mission, so I still getting my country music fix. haha  I knew I would find a way :)
Sorry this is shorter than normal.  I don't have much more to say.  We haven't done too much this week besides knock on doors that nobody ever answers.  That is our life.  Day in and day out.  Sister Pollard hates it.  Not even less actives will let us in.  So that is why I never really report on the missionary life.  Not too much to say.  haha
Well I hope things are going well at home!! I hope you are having a fun time!! Maybe I will get some pictures to you...if my camera is in the car.  I will have to go check.  Have a good week and a half and I will talk to you all soon!!
Love ya
Sister Woodward

Monday, September 2, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -September 2, 2013

Hey there,

So I am lucky enough that I get to email today even though it is a holiday.  So here is a nice surprise for you back at home :)

This week has been slow.  I forgot to tell you about the best experience that happened last week.  I got to meet spiderman!!!! Yeah that's right.  Be as jealous as you want.  There was a kid named Jacob in my last ward who had some rare form of cancer and had to have a few bone marrow transplants.  So Make a Wish Foundation came in and Jacobs wish was to meet spiderman and help him save villians for a day.  I moved areas and turns out that Jacobs grandpa is my ward mission leader.  He had two extra tickets to the event and since there were lots of non members there, we got permission from President Hobbs to go.  And it was AMAZING!!!  They had fire trucks, police men, the swat team, helicoptors, and tanks all driving to the scene with their sirens and lights going.  They had Spiderman climb down the wall of a building.  Then inside, they had all these little scenes set up where they would catch villians.  It was so cool.  Then they gave Jacob the City's bravery away and the whole police department and fire department saluted him. It was really neat experience.  And then we got pictures with spiderman and Jacob after.  I will have to send them to you next week if I remember.
Spiderman with Make a Wish Foundation

So that was my cool experience.  This week, I got to meet one of the actors off of Dumb and Dumber.  If you have ever seen it, it was the blind kid that they sell the bird to.  They are making a second one and they asked him to come back on again.  He is totally a member and we ate at his house yesterday for dinner.
We also had two dinner appointments yesterday.  Talk about eating TONS because we didn't want to offend anyone.  That was hard.  We ate and ate and ate.  And they both had dessert and sent it home with us.  It was really rough but so great.  I love food and I love members who feed us:)  

Other than that, work is really really really slow.  All our appointments fell through.  Even some of our less actives.  We are mainly just working with the members because we need to gain their trust.  We met with one of the missionaries that was here right before us.  He came in after the really really bad elders and helped get things going again. He told us some things that worked for them and helped us get a better idea of things we  should do to help this ward out.  Hopefully by next week things will be better for us in this ward. 

So one of the sisters that went home three weeks ago, Sister Winert, who was the other Sister Training Leader with Sister Haupt emailed me today and this is a bit of what she said: Training is tough. But I know you are an awesome trainer. I was in plenty of meetings where President, the APs, the ZLs, Haupt and I, talked about how amazing you are. You really are. I wanted to be your friend the moment I met you. You have a fun, friendly, awesome personality. You work hard, you're obedient, and you love the people you serve. You are every mission president's dream sister missionary. And sometimes that means you get hard situations.

Well that is a little intimidating.  It makes me want to work even harder to be the missionary they all think that I am.  I definitely don't want to let them down since they think I am so great.  But it was cool to hear that from her.  She was such a great sister and I am so sad that she went home.  I wish I would have got to know her better. She is the one that came from a family of 25 kids.   

Is Ian really a junior now?  I was thinking about that yesterday and couldn't believe it was true...kinda crazy weird.  I can't believe little Ian is that old. 

Well that is about all I have to share this week.  I hope things keep getting better and I look forward to your email next week...p.s. I think I will be able to get on the computers tomorrow as well :) just so you know.

Love Sister Woodward

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -August 26, 2013

Hey family :)
WAHHOOOO Go girls!! That is so great that we beat La Roca and kicked them out of first in the state!! We rock!! That is the best news ever!!!

Life is a little rough down here.  As you probably can tell, I am in a rough ward.  It is hard when I am still so new to the mission field, and training and in a new area and I can't even do missionary work that I have been trained to do it.  It makes things a little harder.  Things are getting better with the ward though.  I think we are gaining their trust a little more.  But I think that President Hobbs knows that I am with a difficult companion and in a difficult ward.  I realized the other day that I am with Sister Pollard because of these orphange behaviors and I am used to them and know more how to deal with them then other people would.  I know that is the reason why I am with her. 
But anyway.  Last Monday night, at about ten o'clock Sister Pollard and I were sitting in the living room just talking.  We got a knock at our door.  When we opened it up, it was our zone leaders, Elder Heath and Elder Olsen, and the Assistants, Elder Savage and Elder Norton.  They asked if they could come in for a moment.  They all came in and talked to us for a minute.  Then Elder Heath said, "Well I am sure you are wondering why we are here at this time.  We were talking about you sisters and we felt inspired that Sister Woodward needed a Priesthood blessing. Is that alright?"  Of course I said yes.
I told Elder Heath that he could give it to me.  It was such an amazing blessing.  The things that were said in that blessing were exactly what I needed to hear.  I will share a few lines with you:
You were born to lead
You are meant to lead a celestial life.
Be open with you companion and together you will work miracles in this ward
You will never recieve more comfort in life then you will from the Holy Ghost
You are one of Heavenly Father's choicest spirits
And it went on and on like that.  Right after the blessing I wrote down as much as I could remember.  I asked Sister Pollard and we got quite a good list.  It was a long blessing and very much needed.  I am sure that President has told my zone leaders to keep an eye on me.  And I know that President Hobbs is keeping an eye on me.  I know he knows that I have a hard greenie and a hard area, but I guess both President and the Lord trust me enough and know that I can do it.  It was a very humbling experience to know that the Lord is watching so carefully over me, as well as the Elders and President.  It was such a great experience.
That was about all the happened this week.  We are visiting a lot of inactive ladies in the ward right now.  The elders never really visited them because it was too hard because they are guys.  So that is where our efforts are focused.  It is going well.  We are getting a lot of these ladies to open their doors for us.  But other than that, it is still slow in this area. 
The stake I am in right now had a "Becoming a Missionary" Conference on Friday and Saturday.  It is basically a two day event for girls and boys over the age of 16 who are thinking about a mission.  They had us missionaries go so they could ask us questions and some speakers and workshops for them.  President and Sister Hobbs were speaking on Friday night and they asked specifically for Sister Pollard and I to be there to hear them talk.  They shared some wonderful stuff.  Just another little instance where I know the Lord and President are watching over me and helping me out day by day. 
Over all the week wasn't too bad.  We don't have too much planned for the week yet.  On Friday we have a six hour zone conference.  So that should be exciting.  That basically takes up out entire Friday.  But it sounds like it will be a good one.  So I am excited for it.
Anyone.  I hope you all have the most wonderful week and I can't wait to hear back from you next week....and sorry this letter came later than normal.  We had our zone sports earlier this morning instead of in the afternoon like normal.
Well I love you all
Sister Woodward