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

Rancho Cucamonga, California -August 19, 2013

Sister Pollard and Sister Woodward

Hey Family.

Well I am sure you have been just dying to get this email.  You all want to know where I am now living and who my greenie is.  Well I got transferred to Rancho Cucamonga.  I actually border my last area, so I really didn't move to far.  And I live in my last area as well.  It is weird to drive through and see all the houses I used to go to, and not being able to go any more. 

My new companion is Sister Pollard.  She is from Syracuse, Utah.  Big surprise huh?  Everyone out here is from Utah.  It's just where they send us all.  She is twenty.  The cool thing about her is that her family adopted her from Romania when she was three and a half.  She is great and super excited to be out here and to be serving. 

So there is a guy in my new ward named Brother McBeth and come to find out, he trained Uncle Scott on the mission.  Small world huh?  He told me how he served with a Woodward in Norway.  And I thought well maybe I am related.  Then he said he was from Preston, and his dad raised chickens.  I thought well I am definitely related.  Then he told me that he was working in Minnesota.  I asked if it was Scott and Brother McBeth told me that was his name.  Cool huh?

So this week we went to dinner and the family had a little girl who is nine and she is deaf! She reminds me so much of Gislene.  She has so many of the same facial expressions and she makes all the weird noises that nobody understands.  She is just another little Gislene.  So cute.

Well I followed Elders into this ward again.  But instead of leaving a mess in the apartment, they left a mess in the ward.  Within the first day, we already had the leadership of the ward not liking us very much. There have been some not so good elders in this ward before so the ward doesn't trust or like missionaries very much.  The bishop also doesn't let us ask members for referrals.  So the work here is going to be different from the other wards I have worked in.  I have lots to figure out and learn how to do. 

Training, new ward, new area and a ward where they don't like us gives us quite a lot on our plates.  And with both of us so new, it doesn't help them trust us anymore.   I was getting a little stressed.  Sister Haupt called me up 2 nights ago and could tell on the phone.  So Sister Haupt and her new companion Sister Ott came over last night to talk.  I went on a little walk and talked to Sister Haupt for quite a while.  She gave me some wonderful advice that should hopefully help with everything that's going on.  I just love Sister Haupt so much and I can't wait til you guys get to meet her one day. 

Well other than that, not much is going on.  We are just trying to figure out the ward and the members and get everything sorted.  Hopefully by next week I will have more to talk to you guys about.  It has been a really really slow week.  I feel like it has been months since I last emailed home.  I can't believe it has only been a week.  I hope time picks up again soon. 

Congrats to the girls getting first place! That's amazing!! And a great way to go into the La Roca game this weekend! Hopefully they can kick some La Roca butt!!

Well have a good week. I will talk to you next week.

Love you all tons
Sister Woodward

Upland, California -August 12, 2013

Well I just got Cameron's letter and read over it.  That is exciting.  It sounds like things are really going well in his area.  Its really funny that he is in Woodward.  We were all hoping for that when he left.  There is an area in my mission that is call Wrightwood, and even though it is spelt different, I think it would be funny if I ended up there....Yep that's right. I am getting transfered tomorrow.  I don't know where I will be going until tomorrow, but I will no longer be in the Upland 5th ward.  I am also going to be training, which I was expecting.  So that wasn't as surprising. 
There is just something about the Woodward family and not keeping us in areas very long.  I feel like I better just get used to moving and being changed around.  Not gonna stay in places long, just like Cameron.  Next week I will let you know who my new companion is and where we are assigned. I feel like it might be up in the desert though, either Apple Valley, Hesperia, or Victorville....So we shall see.
Sound like you had quite the fun week.  I am glad that school is finally starting up again, so mom can have a little more peace and quiet.  And Gislene finally learned to ride her bike?  Well that is exciting.  I figured she wouldn't keep riding that little bike anymore, and she loves riding her bike, so she had to figure it out sooner or later.  I am not sure if it is a good thing though, since she just takes off.  Just another thing mom has to worry about.  Good Luck. :)

That is really cool that Darcy got to go to the temple and do baptisms for the first time! How did she like it? I bet she just loved it! It is so great.  I can't believe she is that old.  The zone I am in right now gets to go to the temple next week, and I was hoping I would get to stay so that I would be able to go, but no such luck.  I haven't been since the MTC and I am really wanting to go back.
Who is going to Colorado?  Another soccer tournament.  I feel like your life is soccer soccer soccer.  Is Ky on our team now since she got cut from La Roca?  And that kinda really stinks that you have to play them twice in the fall.  At least you are in the top division.  Well let me know how the tournament goes and how the girls do.
This was good.  It has been bitter sweet.  We really started working with the ward members recently and we have been blessed with more people to teach.  A few weeks ago I mentioned Beth and Tyler who came up to us in church and wanted to take the lessons.  We met with them this week and it was amazing.  We were able to get Beth to open up and tell us her concerns last time she met with the missionaries.  We told her what our intentions were and what we expected of her.  She is really excited and looking forward to meeting with missionaries again because this time it is going to be a lot different because Sister Haupt is holding her to a higher commitment level and she loves that.  Beth also has four kids who are all older than 8.  So there are five people that Sister Haupt gets to continue to teach.  Tyler is an excommunicated member because he chose to remove his name.  He is wanted to rejoin and wants Beth and her kids to as well.
We also had a lesson with Sheri Lowen.  I don't know if I have mentioned her yet or not.  She was taught by not so good Elders a few years back.  We decided to go see if she was interested.  This was our second lesson with her.  The first one was a bit rough.  We were on exchanges that day and didn't have Sister Haupt with us.  Sheri is quite the talker and it was hard to get a word in.  This last lesson went much better though.  We told her our expectations and how it was going to work this time around with us.  The spirit was definitely there and guided the lesson.  At the end, Sheri told us that we were telling her the exact things she needed to hear at the time.  She is going to meet with Sister Haupt and her new companion next week. 
So the work in this area is really picking up, and I am leaving.  That is just how it was in my last area when I left.  I think Sister Morgan baptized someone we started working with this last weekend.  I help get the work moving, and then I leave the area.  I feel like that was Camerons calling at the beginning of his mission too. It sad to be leaving when the work is really picking up, but I am needed somewhere else so off I go. 
Well I hope this letter was good and detailed.  We don't have much time this week because we have to clean and pack.  Lots to do today.  I did get your pictures.  Thank you so so much! That made my week and my companions and Sister Winerts week.  I love that I have pictures of you guys now. 
Have a great week.  Hope to hear from you all soon.  Love you tons!!
Sister Woodward

Upland, California -August 5, 2013

Hello Woodward Family,
So the Redlands temple isn't in my mission.  I don't know if we will get permission to go, and if we do, how often we will be able to go.  Before the mission split, the missionaries could go about every 3 months.  I have been out for over 3 months and there is no talk about a trip any time soon. So I don't know what President Hobbs will do.
I am glad that you finally had good weather for the swim day.  I am glad that for the most part, the week went well.  How are Kelsey and Kendall doing?  I haven't heard anything about him yet and I am still waiting to hear about this boy.  You will also have to tell me all about Ians week at EFY.  I am sure he will just love it!
My new mission President and his wife are just absolutely amazing and I love them so much.  The other day, Sister Hobbs called me up and told me there was an article in the July Ensign that she read and thought it would be good for me.  Then on Thursday we had our Stake Coordination, and both President and Sister Hobbs were there.  President came and asked me how I was doing.  As President was leaving the room, he looked at me and winked. haa He emails me every week to make sure things are still okay.  They definitely care so much about me and I love it.  They are going to do some wonderful things with this mission!
Also, I think I had a revelation this week.  I was talking to my companions about why I have such a bumpy skull.  And they asked if I had any pictures of me after surgery...and I thought and thought and thought.  And I came to realize that I don't think I have actually ever seen any pictures of my self after surgery or even within about the first year and a half of my life.  I have seen pictures as a toddler and before my surgery but nothing in between.  So now I am wondering, was I a super ugly baby? Were you ashamed of me and didn't want to take any pictures of me?  I feel like I was just ugly and you wanted to hide me from everyone and not take pictures in hope that you would forget all about my deformities.  I was probably the baby that when people asked to see, they gasped and then lied about how cute I was and they were really thinking, oh poor mom for having such an ugly baby!!  Anyway...
Well we got a new investigator this week.  Her name is Sheri Lowen.  She is a former.  She took lessons quite a few years ago.  She has some issues with things we believe.  She can't really let go of the things she was taught as she was growing up.  So we have got to work with her on that.  We are going to meet with her this Friday. 
Beth and Tyler were at church yesterday.  They were the ones that came up to us and asked us to teach them.  They set up an appointment this Thursday, so we are excited to go and meet with them.  It is going to be fun.  They are both super nice.  Beth also has 4 kids so we are excited for this family and Tyler.  They aren't married, but are not living together.  So hopefully that helps with stuff.  Tyler was raised in the church, but excommunicated.  So he does know our standards and stuff.  His parents just got back from a mission in Pennsylvania. 
Other than that, the work is really slow.  We have a lot of good potential in the area, but no one we are really working with.  Hopefully we can meet with them all soon and start teaching them.  Most of our efforts are going to helping the ward members.  This ward is struggling big time.  They aren't going to be able to help new converts if they can't help themselves.  So that is our focus right now.  There is a recent convert family of about 3 months, and they are already on the verge on inactivitiy.  They ward just has so many of its own struggles that they don't notice or help anyone else out.  We came to the realization that even though missionaries want to baptize, it is pointless if the ward is not able to help out and keep those converts strong, so we need to focus on the ward.  It is different to be working will all members basically, but at least they all love us :) haha  It is definitely a learning experience. 
Well by next week you will know whether I am getting transferred or not.  I will 99.9% be training though.  So you will get to hear all about that next week.  Be excited :) I sure am  But I am also sad because I won't be with Sister Haupt anymore.  :(
Well have a good week.  You guys are awesome. Love you all
Sister Woodward

Upland, California -July 29, 2013

Hello there
First off, I totally called that Ian was the ward organist, and I literally laughed out loud when I read it.  That is really funny, and that is the exact reason that I refused to learn how to play the organ.  I never ever wanted that calling, and I will never ever want that calling.  So sorry you have Ian.
Well I am glad to hear that most of your days have been filled with fun.  I can't believe that you got so many kids to go and move chickens.  That is a miracle in it self.  So mom got stuck home with Zander and Gislene then? Lucky her.  My talk went pretty well.  I am so glad that I got that stuff about William Woodward.  We ran out of time to go to the library to look some stuff up, so Sunday mornings we were writing out talks...sounds normal right? But it went well.  I was able to fill up my time and time missionary work into pioneers and faith just fine.  We got a whole lot of compliments afterwards on them.  So that made me feel better about it.  Luckily I got to go first, which is my favorite.  hah That made it better.
I have not had anything too interesting to eat here...honestly everyone just feeds us tacos and hamburgers , and since beef is my favorite, I am just loving it.  But truthfully I am learning to like hamburgers...something I never thought I would say.  The worst thing I have had out here is a moldy hamburger bun.  That is as awful as it gets.  Nothing to odd or weird.  If I come across something yummy, I will get the receipe to you
My first day in the field Zach Tyler came up to me and introduced himself.  His brother was marrying a friend of mine and they told him to find me.  That was the last time I have seen him though.  I will keep an eye out for him. 
This week has been interesting.  The work was still slow, but some pretty cool things have happened.  I know I haven't really told you, but I have been going through some hard times.  Satan has been working really hard on me.  I didn't really tell anyone. I just kept praying and tried to deal with it myself.  Last week, in the library, the icing on the cake happened and I started to cry.  Luckily, the other missionaries were on a hike and no one saw.  I emailed a sister that I was in the MTC with and told her though.  The next day, she happened to be going on exchanges with my companion.  I forgot to mention to her not to tell Sister Haupt and so my companion found out.  She called me up that night and talked to me on the phone for a while.  The next night, she basically cornered me in my apartment and forced me to tell her what was going on.  I broke down and told her everything.  She was very inspired and told me some wonderful things. 
The next day Sister Haupt called the mission presidents wife and set up an appointment for me to go in and get a blessing.  We  went in just a few hours later.  The mission president and his wife (both who I love so much) were there along with my companions.  I told Pres Hobbs what was going on and he talked to me for about half an hour.  Then he gave me a blessing.  Sister Haupt wrote it all down for me.  Afterwards Sister Haupt asked to speak to me alone. The two of us were sitting in the presidents office and she told me about how she had a hard time at the beginning of her mission.  She had gotten a priesthood blessing from her zone leaders and in it it said that there were people here that she knew in the pre exsistence that she promised she would help through mortality and that she would meet them on her mission.  She told me that the night before, she had been praying and had received revelation that I was one of them.  She had known me in the pre existance and promised to help me through life.  How cool is that? She said she thought it was weird that we clicked so fast and so easily, and now we know why.  We were buddies before we came here.  Sister Haupt is just amazing and I am so glad she is my companion.  I really hate that I only have two more weeks with her.  I hope that before she goes home, I will be able to be her companion again.
Since I have asked people for help, and gotten a blessing, things are much much better for me.  Life is going lots more smoothly these days.  I can feel the Lord helping me through.  I know that my prayers as well as the prayers in my behalf are being answered and that things will be better.  I just had to have a few rough weeks and things are going back up now and I am very grateful for that.  I am so glad that I have Sister Haupt and that she can help me so much.
On Sunday, we went to Gospel Principals and there was a guy and his girlfriend in there.  He acted as if he were a member.  They both commented a lot and he was even quoting scriptures.  Afterwards we decided to talk to them.  Neither of them are members.  He was raised a member, but was ex communicated.  She has never been a member.  He told us he was going to call us to set up an appointment for the next week because they both want to be baptized.  She has taken the lessons before.  So we are excited to see where things will go with them.  It was a pretty awesome miracle!!
So this week there are lots of good things that have happened. It has been good and bad.  We are going to have a nerf gun war for zone sports so we will see how that goes...haha we do some crazy things in this zone.  I am loving it.  This transfer has gone by so quickly.  I can't believe it is basically over.  If it weren't for the extra week this transfer, this would be our last transfer.  I am very grateful we have another week. 
Interesting tid bit...every single night at Disneyland, they pull up all the flowers and plant new ones in there. Crazy huh? Who woulda guessed.  Lots goes on behind the scenes there.
Well I hope things are going well at home.  Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.  Thanks for everything, and I am still anxiously awaiting those pictures, along with many other missionaries :) haha
Sister Woodward

Upland, California -July 22, 2013

I don't have as much time today so my email probably will be shorter than most weeks.  I am glad that the week has gone so well for you guys.  That is amazing for Darcy!! Tell her congrats for me.  She is going to go pro one day! How exciting!!
Well guess what?? My companion is also from Cebu!! What a small world right?? They both will speak the same language and everything!!  How cool.
I am not too surprised that Tyler came over.  I am glad that you got to see him.  It is too bad that he didn't get more time to talk to.  That always stinks.  You would think that for a homecoming, they would schedule extra time for the missionary....but whatever.
Surprisingly enough, they do celebrate the 24th of July.  My last ward was having a huge carnival and this stake had a run and pancake breakfast in the morning.  We were able to go to the breakfast.  It was fun.  All the missionaries in my zone were there.
This week we went on lots of exchanges.  That is going to continue to the end of this transfer. Twice a week we have a different sister with us.  It is weird because on those days I am basically the senior companion and I am making the decisions and planning and running it all.  It is weird because I am not used to it at all and I hate making decisions, but if I don't, then nobody does.  So I am learning how :)  It is about time.
Our Bishop and Ward Mission Leader both came back into town this week after both being gone for over 3 months.  Hopefully having them back will really help the mission work move on a little.  It has been really slow.  We are still getting used to the area and the members, and without any help from the bishop or ward mission leader, it is hard and slow.  So I am glad we finally have them back. 
The Presidents wife, Sister Hobbs, came out with us this week.  She came to a few less active appointments that we had.  It was wonderful.  She was so natural and knew just what to say at the right time.  She was so kind and friendly.  I loved working with her so much.  She taught be so much in just the few hours I was with her.  She wants to come back out with us again soon.  Hopefully we will be ablet to set something up.
We don't have any new investigators.  Still just working with Joey Shafer and his dad. Hopefully that will change soon and we can find some more people to work with.  We have just been focusing all our efforts on less active members and have been able to meet with quite a few of them.  I enjoy working with them.  They are all so nice to us.  We are also have dinner every night.  Coming in after Elders isn't all bad because the members are so willing to feed us since we don't eat as much as Elders.  The ward is really loving having sisters here.  They treat us so well.  They have never had sisters in this ward so they are loving it and so are we :)
Well my time is about up.  I will talk to you next week.  you guys are the best.  Love you bunches
Sister Woodward

Upland, California -July 15, 2013

Hey family,

Well this week has been fun.  We went on more exchanges.  Exchanges are fun.  I love getting to know all the other girls in the mission.  There are so many amazing sisters out here.  These week we have decided to start finding in a different way then normal.  Since all three of us are new in the ward and we don't know anybody, and we are having no luck, we decided to start meeting all the active members of the ward.  We have started with the leadership, and then we will just work down the ward list.  We need to gain their trust as well as get to know them so we can figure out who good fellowshippers are.  So this week, that is what we have been doing.  And we are continuing to do that for the next little bit as well.  When we don't have appointments set up, then we will do tracting or other things like that, but for now, since we have no one to work with, we need the members help and are basically hunting them down til we find them.  It is crazy, but hopefully it will be worth it. 
Well that is about my week.  We still don't really have anyone we are working with. It is rough and challenging, but hopefully we will be able to find some people soon.  This is a good area.
I really am enjoying being a missionary.  I really love all the people I am getting to know.  The ward members and the people we meet on the street as well as all the other missionaries.  I love the friendships I am making with everyone.  So many people out here, I am becoming really good friends with, and I never would have met them if I didn't decide to come out on a mission.  It is hard work, but it is totally worth it.  I love it so much. 
Also there are many a people, including myself that are dying to see pictures of the family.  So while you send that other stuff off for my talk, you should also send some pictures, because I don't have any at all and I really would love some. :) thanks
I hope everyone else has a good week as well.  I hope Kelsey has had fun in Guatamala and that she comes home safely.  I hope Kendal is excited to see her as well.  haha tell both grandmas hi for me as well as Maggie.  And give Maggie lots of hugs for me.  Keep her safe.
Oh I had dinner with a family yesterday that used to live in Centerville.  Uncle Cliff was their bishop.  They wanted me to tell Cliff and Lila as well as Gary and Kristy hi for them.  So will you please tell those 4 that the Lovells say hi.  Thank you :)
Have a good week.  I look forward to your email next week. Love you all lots
Sister Woodward

Upland, California -July 8, 2013

Sister Recipcia, Sister Haupt, and Sister Woodward

Hey family :)

I don't quite know where to start today.  This has been one crazy week.  First off, it sounds like your week was crazy but fun.  I am surpised that you didn't go to the fireworks though.  That is a tradition!!  But I am glad that dad got to finally ski a little bit.  That is great.  GO DARCY!! that's amazing.  I am not surprised at all that she did so well her first time though.  She has always be a natural at snow skiing.  How fun.  I am glad she finally tried it. 

I hope Kelsey is enjoying Guatamala.  I can't wait to hear all about it.  I bet she is going to love it.  You better make sure that she tells me all about it when she gets home in 8 days.  I can't believe you are letting her go for that long!! What is mom going to do without all of her wonderful help she so willingly gives everyday?? haha 

This next week should be fun for mom though.  You get to get rid of most of the kids this week.  That should be fun.  Too bad you still have Gislene and Rolando. And I hope Ian enjoys going on the business trip.  That should be exciting for him.  He is lucky.  No one else except mom has been able to go on one yet.  Spoiled bum.

So San Bernardino, Rialto, and Fontana ended up in the other mission, so my old area and zone are all in the Redlans mission.  So my trainer and all the people I knew are in the other mission as well.  From my MTC district, three of the Elders went to the Redlands mission, and one of them (Elder Beus) stayed in Rancho.  One of the sister went to Rancho and the other five of us stayed in Rancho.  So it wasn't split too evenly.  We got a few more here.  We feel bad for Sister McHood because she is the only sister in the other mission.
I got to meet President Hobbs and his wife last Tuesday.  It was just a zone conference.  After we had our district meeting that morning, we all went to the mission office and met Sister and President Hobbs.  They are definitely different then President Godwin, but I think they will bring a lot of good and needed changes to this mission.  I am excited to see what will happen.  They are great people and I am excited to be able to work with them and get to know them a little bit more.

So this week was crazy.  Tuesday we met President, and that evening we went on exchanges.  Sister Haupt went to the desert and Sister Coleman (who was from my MTC district) came with us. We were able to vist a few less active families and got a new investigator, Jim.  He and his wife are a referral from a family in the ward.  We haven't met Jim's wife, Merlyn, yet though.  We are hoping this week we will be able to.  Merlyn lived in Hyde Park for a while and graduated from Sky View though.  I am excited to talk to her about it. 
We have one other investigator name Joey Shafer. He is 16 and really golden.  He is already planning on a mission.  His only hold back right now is that he wants his less active dad to baptize him who has a major word of wisdom problem so he is not worthy.  The bishop doesn't want the dad to baptize til he has quit smoking for a whole month...kinda overwhelming for the dad.  We haven't met with the dad yet.  He always comes and says hi, but never stays for the lesson.  Hopefully we will be able to meet with him this week.  We are excited for Joey though.

We also had transfers on Saturday.  Sister Cobabe from Centerville came with Sister Respecia and me.  She graduated with Paul so she kinda knows him.  We had a fun time with her.  Most of this week we had lessons with the recent converts in the ward and with the less active members.  Then we met with Jim and with Joey. 

This is a good area.  It is a lot more safe then my last area.  The ward members are so excited to have sisters.  After having Elders forever, they love us.  We are getting fed basically every night.  The ward is also very missionary oriented and are trying their best to be member missionaries.  I am excited for this area.  

Have a great week.  I hope everything goes well. 

Love you all
Sister Woodward

Rancho Cucamonga, California Mission! -July 1, 2013


Your email this week was just great.  I was laughing out loud in the library...thats right a library.  Why is that you may ask? Let me tell you, I got transferred. Yep that's right.  I moved to a whole new mission this last week.  But I will get to that later.

The weather there is so hot!! I can't believe you are already hitting the hundreds! I thought it was just Cali that was having a heat wave, but nope.  All the way up to Utah.  The weather here has been super hot.  And of course we have been tracting a lot.  But we have decided to make a game out of tracting in hot weather so that it is a little more fun.  There are a lot of great people down here that offer us water.  And the water out of the tap tastes like dirt and smells like it too.  So I refuse to drink it.  So we decided that everytime we get offered water, we had to accept it and we would see how many bottles we could get in a day.  We even set a goal to reach.  On Saturday we got a grand total of.......18 waterbottles.  So now we are set for a few days and I can stay hydrated.  It definitely makes us laugh.

Well I am bet you are dying to know what happened in transfer meetings on Tuesday.  I had to be there at 7 in the morning because Sister Morgan had to go to a Train the Trainer meeting.  So we were up at 445.  I then was able to visit with my favorite, Sister Cook, who was my MTC companion, because she was being split from her trainer, so her trainer was also at this meeting. 

Then at 1030 tranfer meeting started.  The 28 new missionaries arrived (well most of them) and President and Sister Godwin got up and said their little goodbye speeches.  They also called a new AP...which you may have heard about from Camille and Adam...if not, just ask them.  Then they started in with transfers. 
They say the zone, then the zone leaders then got through each district.  They got to the San B zone and started off with my old district.  Everyone was the exact same.  Elder Urry as the district leader with Elder Bell.  Elder McNees (also from Logan) still training Elder Shapcott and in the Hallmark ward, Sister Morgan with her new companion Sister Wells (maybe??)  and then he moved on and my name was not said.  I was in complete and utter shock.  Then President said, oh wait a moment...and I thought oh now he will say my name...but he didn't.  "Sister Morgan your new companion got left at the Salt Lake airport because the flight was overbooked.  She will arrive at about 3 this afternoon."  And right there in the middle of transfer meeting, with the entire mission, I started crying.  Mostly out of shock, but I was also sad.  I was leaving my greenie area and my trainer who I absolutely loved. 

Now the San B zone was one of the first zones that was annouced.  So the next couple of minutes were tourture because I had no idea where I was going or who I was going to be with.  Then President got to the Upland zone and he said that Sister Haupt was called as the new Sister Training Leader and her companions will be Sister Recipcia (from the Philippines) and Sister Woodward.  So I am still in the three some.  I am in Upland. I went from Muscoy in San B to upland.  The ghetto of the ghetto to the ritzy of the ritzy.  Quite a big difference. 

Also, Elders were in this ward right before us.  They have always had Elders in this ward.  We are the first sisters ever so we are changing things up quite a bit.  The ward is now starting to adjust to having sisters instead of elders.  That also means that we moved into the apartment that the elders left.  And for elders, it was pretty clean.  I will give them that, but for sisters, it was and still is absolutely disgusting!!! I am so glad that today is pday so that I can do some serious deep cleaning!! you don't even know how nasty I feel everytime I walk into my apartment.  And it smells like aftershave...I guess it could smell worse, but still not my first choice of how I would like my apartment to smell....

Sister Haupt is amazing.  She acutally went to SUU!!! Can you believe that? probably not  My first companion was from Logan and my second is from SUU.  So weird.  My third comp will have to be from Logan and from SUU or she just won't be good enough for me haha.  And sister Haupt was there the same 2 years that I was there.  She is also 21.  She is from Richfield Utah. She is a bit taller than me.  She has been out for 9 months now, so she is half way down with her mission.  She is extremely sarcastic and so we get along just wonderfully.  She is so excited to be a missionary is always going and happy and talking to everyone. She is a great missionary and I am so excited to be able to work with her. 

Her new calling makes our companionship a little different.  Normally, the 2 sister training leaders are companions and go on exchanges with the sisters throughout the mission.  But because there are so many sisters that are still being trained, they split the 2 STLs up and put them in trios with sisters that needed training.  So twice a week I get to help with exchanges.  Sister Haupt will go with one sister, and we get her companion.  It is an interesting situation because now I am basically the sister training leader assistant. 
I get to meet and work with all the sisters throughout the mission now.  I will stay in my area to work with Sister Recipcia and whoever is on exchanges with us.  I will have things that I will need to do with the sister I am working with to best help her companionship out.  I will have to ask questions and dig a little because the sisters we are exchanging with will usually be having problems so I get to figure out what those problems are and then try to help fix them...and I have only been out 6 weeks!!!

Sister Haupt says that the pres and aps chose 4 sisters (Me, sister Recipcia, sister Cook and Sister Morones (Sister Cook and Sister Morones are with the other STL and all 4 of us came out 6 weeks ago)) who they thought they could trust to not really have trainers for the next six weeks.  Ones they knew would be able to handle the missionary work in their areas while their trainers/senior companions would be out of the area and doing other stuff all the time.  We are missionaries who will be able to mainly get along with any sister we are partnered with.  So being out 6 weeks and I am basically the sister training leader assistant.  Kinda a big responsibility in my part.  Kinda overwhelming actually.  And after this transfer, I will have to start training.
But since I am in the Rancho mission, I get to be with 4 of the 5 sisters I came out with in the MTC.  The other sister, we already did exchanges with before the mission split and I got to spend all day Saturday with her.  It was great.  I am excited to get to know the other sisters in the mission. 

Well Aunt Lila guessed right.  I am going to be in the Rancho Cucamonga mission.  You will have to let her know and get her a prize for winning. haha

This week has been a little crazy.  Sister Respicia was with her last companion for this week because there were a few mix ups.  Sister Haas (Sister R's trainer) was going to get a new sister.  But that new sister was not 19 yet so they wouldn't let her leave the MTC yet.  So she had to stay another week so sister R had to stay with sister Haas til the new sister comes.  So sister R has not been with us this week.  We will get her tomorrow.

Sister Haupt has been gone a lot to trainings and to the temple and doing other important things to figure this whole new calling out since our mission has never had any before.  So since I don't have my other companion, I have been going with Sister Cook and Sister Moronoes quite a few times this week.  I have really enjoyed it because Sister Cook is my favorite still.

Also, the things we are doing as new missionaries is crazy.  We are having to work with STLs and training after 3 months.  This work is crazy.  In just a few months, the new missionaries coming out will have leveled off and things will have settled down.  Those missionaries coming out at the end of this year, will have no idea what the missionaries before them (the ones out now) had to do so that the foundation for all these new missionaries could be lain.  It is taking a lot of effort of everyone out here to deal and adjust and figure out how everything is going to work.  Once everything settles down and things start flowing, the new missionaries will be coming out and they will have no idea what we have gone through so their missions could run smoothly and so the foundation of this new work could be lain. 

So even though I was extremely shocked and sad that I got transferred, It was totally an answer to my prayers, said and unsaid.  I was really sad that I would never get to be with a sister that had been out for very long.  I knew right when I finished training, I would have to start training. 

I was also kinda praying that I would be sent to a new area.  I kinda wanted to, but kinda not.  I just wanted to be sent to a new area where I could start over.  Where I could become a better missionary and where nobody new who I was and I could have a fresh start.  From my first transfer, I found out quickly that the missonary I was being, was not the missionary I wanted to be. I wanted to be better and different and I knew that I needed to become better.  I know that with Sister Haupt and my new responsibilities, I will hopefully become more like the missionary I want to become.

Most of what has happened to me this week is exactly what I wanted to happen, but I didn't think it would so I didn't pray for it.  But I know that Heavenly Father knew what I wanted and what I needed and he helped me out a lot.  He answered my said and unsaid prayers and I know he is constantly watching over me and helping me become a better person and missionary.  I love this work and am so glad to be out here. 

Well I think that is pretty much it.  Tell Kelsey she needs to have fun in Guatamala and also that she needs to tell me about Kendall...I am dying to know!!

Have a good week.  I will talk to you next week.
Love you all
Sister Woodward

Devore, California -June 24, 2013

Sister Adam-who Sister Woodward and Sister Morgan live with.
Hey family,

Well, the week sounds pretty much crazy back at home and on your trip.  I am kinda glad that I was not home to help in that craziness.  Does not sound fun in the slightest.  Dad's week sounds fun, but mom's does not.  I am glad that Megan was there and was able to help out a bit.  That was probably wonderful for mom. 

Dad, the email cracked me up.  This week we are emailing in a library instead of at Sister Adams house and I was literally laughing out loud at the stuff you wrote in there.  So funny.  It sounds like you had a great trip though.  And I love that there was a 70 year old lady going down the river by herself.  She is an epic lady.  ha That would be a funny sight to see I imagine. 

I am not quite sure all the logistics about what will happen with us being able to use internet and facebook and giving church tours quite yet.  Elder Perry made it sound like it will get to most missions within the next year.  So I don't know when it will happen for my mission, but we will see.  I am super excited though because those morning hours are the most unproductive hours ever.  We can't get any members to come to appointments with us because they are all working and going tracking is awful because we could go for 4 hours and have 2 people open their doors.  So I am really excited for this change.  I am going to enjoy it a lot. When I find out more about it, I will let you know for sure.

So big news for Sister Morgan and I.  As you know, transfers is tomorrow.  They still aren't telling us whether we are getting transferred or not, but we got a call from Elder Crozer (an AP) yesterday evening and he had some news for us.  Right now, I am half way through my training and as of tomorrow, there will be a greenie with us.  So there will be my trainer who has been out 4 and a half months who will be training me (out a month and a half) and a new sister that hasn't been out at all. 

It is going to be so weird to adjust to another sister with us.  We will figure out how to work in lessons and meetings and figure out how to get ready in the morning and fit another girl in our room and bathroom....lots of changes.  And we might move as well, which would cause a lot of changes and some stress on our companionship.  I just hope whoever we get is good and doesn't put stress on mine and Sister Morgan's companionship because we get along SO well.  I love Sister Morgan to death.  And I hope and I can learn to love our new companion just as much.  It will be interesting and hopefully super fun :)

So this morning we went bowling with most of our zone.  There were about 5 companionships out of 13 that didn't come.  The mountain district is too far away to ever come to anything.  It was really fun.  I love my zone and my district so much and I can't believe that it will be changing tomorrow.  It makes me so sad.  They are all such wonderful missionaries and I have loved getting to know them all. But I guess I will just get to know even more when things  get switched up.  And I got 3 whole strikes today!! Yeah that's right.  Be proud :)

This week was interesting.  We had some good things happen and some not so good things happen.  We got an investigator at church and her son as well.  They stayed all three hours and really enjoyed it.  We were supposed to have about 7 investigators there that wasn't as good.  There was also a baptism tomorrow night for some other Elders.  We were supposed to have four investigators come to that, and not one of them showed up.  That was super sad. 

But the baptism was amazing.  The girl that was getting baptized was only 18 years old and so stinkin cute.  She came to Sam's baptism a few weeks ago.  She got up and bore her testimony and it was so cute!! I was crying during it.  She is so ready for this gospel.  She is going to the temple Saturday to do baptisms for her grandma and other ancestors.  Krissa (the one that got baptized) also said the closing prayer and it was beautiful and so heart felt.  Both Sister Morgan and I cried during her prayer!! Such a good baptism.  I just wish my investigators would have been there to see it.  It would have helped so much in their conversion. 

So that's about my week.  We had a few good lessons.  We also made cakes for  of our investigators.  The elders said that it was a guarantee what to get people to church.  You bake a cake and put a little note in the middle saying that you couldn't wait to see them at church on Sunday.  So that's what we did.  It was fun.  It took a lot longer time to make then we realized so next time we will know we need to start first thing in the morning and work on it during our studies a little bit. 

That was about the week.  We spent a while going over former investigators and potential investigators and contacting as many as those we could.  That was a lot more productive than going tracting.  So I enjoyed that.  I feel like the work in this area is on the brink of exploding.  We are so close to having a ton of investigators and lots of work to do.  I don't know if I will be transferred or not but I hope I stay because the work is going to be good within the next few weeks I feel... I guess we will just see what happens tomorrow.  I will make sure to let you all know next week.

Have a good week and be happy and nice :)

Devore, California -June 18, 2013

Hey Family :)

First off, HAPPY FATHERS DAY!!! I hope you had a great day dad! It sounds like a you had a pretty good day and got some good presents.  I hope you enjoyed my card.  It reminded me of you and your dumb sense of humor that I love.  You are the best!! I love you so much!!

Well honestly I am glad that your water fun was not too great.  Now I am not too jealous.  The members we lived with last week, the Ashtons, had this great pool in their backyard with a slide and diving board, and we couldn't swim, so it was a little sad, but that's alright. 
Those members were amazing.  They were so funny.  They made us laugh all the time.  They are about your ages, and have no kids left at home (hahaha unlike you guys) Sister Ashton wouldn't let us buy any food.  She always had treats made for us when we came home at night.  She was so cute.  She like loved having someone to take care of. 

So the Ashtons have a granddaughter who is about 7 months old and has been in the hospital for seizures for the last few weeks.  Their son and his wife and son, needed to come stay with the Ashtons with the baby girl who has been sick.  Of course it ended up being the same week that we were staying with them.  They had already told us it was okay for us to stay with them before they found out their son was coming as well.  Since their son was there, we couldn't sleep in the house anymore.  Brother Ashtons suggested that they could get a hotel room for us, and of couse were were like um no.  We can find something else.  Anyway, what ended up happening was that Brother Ashton brought his trailer home, and we slept in the trailer in the front of the house in San B.  haha It made us laugh so hard.  Not many missionaries get the opportunities to sleep in a trailer on their mission.  It was so great.

So our first night in the trailer, we were a little nervous. Middle of the night we woke up because we heard 2 kids crying out side the trailer.  One you could tell was a little boy and he was saying that he didn't want to go.  And the other was a girl who was just crying.  We were trying to figure out what was going on.  At first Sister Morgan and I thought that kids were getting kidnapped and we were going to have to go rescue them.  Kinda scared us a bit and got our adrenaline going.  We looked out the window and realized that it was just the 2 grandkids and the parents taking the girl to the hospital.  That made  us feel a little better.  No one was getting kidnapped.  But got us scared for a moment. 

So for transfers next week, everyone in the entire mission has to pack everything up and take all their stuff to transfers.  We have to act as if we are moving out and actually being transferred.  So it is going to be crazy.  It will be a super long transfer meeting as well because they will have to go over the entire mission instead of just the areas being transferred.  And after the meeting finishes, the president is giving us an hour and a half to say our goodbyes since this will be the last time we see some of these people ever.  It is kinda sad that the mission is splitting.  It is exciting, but sad.

Sister Morgan and I are guessing, that because I am training, we will stay in the same area with each other.  Chances are, nothing will change, but we could be wrong.  We could move, or get another sister, and split up and both have new companions, or who knows what.  We are unsure still.  We really don't know.  We will just wait and see.  I don't even know what mission I will end up in, but chances are that I will be in the Redlands.

So for the mission being split, this is what I have heard.  For the Redlands mission, we will be taking some from the Riverside mission, and then three stakes from the San Bernardino mission, The San B stake, Fontana, and Rialto (I believe). For the Rancho Mission, it will basically be whats left of the San Bernardino mission, except they will gain a stake from the Arcadia mission.  

Oh I am excited that Mom will be able to go to the meeting and know everything that will be changing with missionary work the same time we do.  You better take good notes.  It is going to be crazy cool.  Our mission is SO excited for it.  As you can probably tell from my letters. And if they are taking all the missionaries out of the field for it, as well as canceling church meetings, it is going to be a big deal.  Our WML has kinda hinted it might have to do with lots of member work, but he is crazy (literally) so I don't know how much he really knows. haha.

So for missionary work this week.  It was rough.  We had tons of canceled appoinments.  We did find a new investigator who was taught my missionaries a few years ago, and found a few potentials as well.  It was completely bad, but our numbers did not look good at all.  It was horrible to report them to our DL.  But had least we found some good people that we will be able to start working with. 

We got a whole family of less active members at church yesterday.  We have been working with Teresa every week for a while, and yesterday, Teresa, her husband and daughter and dad were all at church.  So that was exciting.  I was glad they came.  I think part of it was because it was Father's Day, but they came and that is all that matters :) haha. 

We had our final lesson with Sam.  We gave him one of the new member lessons.  He is moving to Salt Lake today though, so we won't get so see him again.  He did get the priesthood yesterday though.  We were able to go while he got it.  That was fun.  So cool to see him change and see this all take place.  Such a cool experience.  I love it. 
Well I think that is it for now.  Happy Fathers day again.  I love you all and miss you guys too!!
Sister Woodward

Devore, California -June 10, 2013

Hey Family,

So I will try my best to have this email be as good as the ones I have sent in the past, but no promises.  As I mentioned, Sister Morgan and I are being kicked out of our home for the next five days due to a family reunion.  So we are moving to another member's house today until Saturday.  It should be fun, but it is cutting down on our emailing time.  But we will manage.  

So the McDonald's museum:  That is the biggest news of course.  It was awesome!! Ha so ghetto.  The original McDonald's  Is just a few miles from our house.  It is in our DLs area and so last pday our district got together and went.  It was really cool.  I got some good pictures of the Hamburgler just for Braeden.  I will send another email with a few pictures from this week.  The museum was great.  It had cases and cases of all the toys they have given out with happy meals, and all the different happy meal boxes  They had all the old shirts that have been used for uniforms.  They had big giant statues of the hamburgler and of Ronald and other characters.  There were some crazy cool stuff.  We had so much fun looking at all of it.  There is a float outside that they probably use to drive in parades and so the elders got up there and were dancing and we got some funny pictures of that.  It was a fun day.  
McDonald's Museum
McDonald's Museum
Next big news: SAM'S BAPTISM!!!  Oh it was so great.  The spirit was so strong.  The pipes in the building are super old and rusty.  So when you turn the hot water on, the water comes out orange.  Super gross.  So to get hot water in the font, you have to go about 4 hours early and carry hot water in buckets over.  We didn't know that before hand. It was either cold and clear water, or warm and orange. So we ended up filling the font with cold water.   We warned Lee Bailey (who was baptizing Sam) about the cold water, but didn't mention it to Sam.  

So Sam got in the water and was just shaking and shaking.  As Lee went to put Sam under, Sam totally froze and up and Lee almost dropped him.  He didn't end up going under all the way, so they had to do it again.  The second time, Lee shoved Sam so far under that Lees face got covered in water.  You could tell they just wanted to be out of there.  So other than the cold water, it went really well.  We had some absolutely wonderful talks and it was just a great day :)
Sister Morgan and Sister Woodward at Sam's baptism
 As I mentioned, we were supposed to get a two week missionary.  They called up and asked us to take one, then we told them about our housing complications and they said they would get back to us.  On Tuesday, they called and asked us to take one.  So we were going to go to Rancho to the housing office on Thursday for the transfer meeting and get our 2 weeker.  On Wednesday, the APs called back and said they had some cancellations and they thought it would be easier if we didn't have one.  So in the end, we did not have a 2 week missionary with us this week.  They do have another group coming up in a few weeks and we will get on then.  

So transfer meeting on the 25th of June is going to be crazy.  Since that is the last transfer before the mission president leaves and the mission splits, they want all the missionaries there.  Every single missionary in the field will be at this meeting.  They also aren't going to tell anyone who is getting transferred.  Everyone has to basically move out of their apartment.  We all have to pack everything up and clean our apartments.  We have to clean our cars and have them filled with gas.  We all have to write white wash notes just in case we get white washed out of our area.  It is crazy.  So who knows what will happen.  

We also have about 13 sisters coming in during the next transfer, and all but 2 sisters are training right now.  So there will be a couple that will finish the 12 week training program by then, but not enough for all the new sisters coming in.  So they will either be making a couple trios or having sisters train that have only been here for 6 weeks.  So that will be interesting.  And we won't even know what will happen until the 25th.  So my letter after that could be interesting.

Also the World Wide Leadership Training on the 23rd!!! That is when it is all going down.  I think about 2 weeks ago I mentioned something about the changes to missionary work and how it is going to just be a warm up to what is about to happen.  Any way, all those changes are going to take place on the 23rd.  As you probably know, they want all the full time missionaries there, and to take every missionary out of work for a few hours for this meeting is a huge deal.  And it is all about missionary work and conversion!! Oh so much is going to happen.   I can't wait for this meeting.  Things are changing quickly.

We found a few new investigators this week.  So we are going to start working with them in the coming weeks.  It should be good.  I am just excited to see where things are going to go.  The work in this area is really picking up.  It has been slow for a couple of months.  Back in January they had about 8 solid investigators who all dropped in a weeks time.  And since then, the work has slowly be going back up.  So I am excited to be here while things are picking up pace again.  

Well I will attach a few pictures in another email.  I hope you all have a great week.       Keep me updated!! Love you all bunches and will write you again next week :)

Love, Sister Woodward

Devore, California -June 3, 2013

Hey there family.

So things are a little different today for P-day.  Sister Morgan and I decided not to go to zone sports.  Later today we are going with our distric to the McDonalds Museum. haha So that should be exciting.  We are doing that about 3 and have dinner at 6 so we will also just do our shopping later as well.  That is why you are getting my letter so early.  A nice surprise for mom :)

So this week....has been rough.  Not my best week out here.  We went to the pet cemetery and there were some real funny headstones.  Oh my.  We got some good pictures.  The 2 best ones...are you ready?  "Debs Dead Cats" and....."the urinator" hahah We were dying!  Good thing it is in the middle of no where, and no one was around!!  It made our day!
At the Pet Cemetery
So this week we had about 5 appointments with less actives that ALL fell through.  We got a bunch of referrals, and not one of them was interested in learning more.  We had about 10 lessons, that ALL fell through.  And worst of all, our super solid investigator, Nicole, dropped us.  Her family is super anti, and her mom found a website that said Joseph Smith changed the bible a ton and added on to it and in Revelations, it says that we aren't supposed to change or add on to the book of revelations, but every thinks it means the bible.  And that just hit home for her because she loves the bible.  So even though she got an answer from God about the Book of Mormon being true, she doesn't believe it.  She doesn't want us to clarify or help her understand what her mom read.  She just wants to be finished with the church for now.  I know that one day she will get baptized and that it is just not her time right now.  She is completely dependant on her family and could not survive with out them, literally and she needs their support.  One day it will happen, but just not now. We were supposed to have 2 familys at church as well as 2 other investigators yesterday, and Sam was the only one that showed up.  It was not good. 

But funny story from church yesterday: This guy gets up to say his testimony in church. He is a recent convert and super western. Not cute cowboy but like old western movies western. Super funny. He is also a story just imagine :) So he gets up and was talking about Albert Einstein. He said that Einstein believed in an intelligent power that controlled the universe, but not in a personal God. So then he said, (with the power and authority that he has given himself) I testify in the name of Jesus Christ that Albert Einstein was WRONG!! (bahahahah) and then to make it even better, he just sat down. That is how he ended it. My comp and I were cracking up.  It made us laugh pretty hard.  Not in church of course, because he was sitting next to us, but after.  Just imagine :)

We got kicked out an apartment complex this week.  That was fun.  We had dinner with a member in there one night, so before we were just going door to door.  Lots of people were answering and they were super nice.  So the next day, we decided to go back. We probable went to about 20 doors and then a guy came up to us and asked us to go to the leasing office.  I guess that going door to door is against the rules and so they asked us to leave.  Even better, we had 2 referrals we recieve later in the week that lived there.  So we kept going back, and the guy that asked us to go to the front office, saw us every time. 

So down here, the kids that just graduated high school, have the option to go on 2 week missions.  They get all the stuff, then get put with a companionship for 2 weeks.  They will stay in the San Bernardino mission, but not around the area they live.  We got a call yesterday from one of the APs saying that we were lucky enough to get assigned with one of them. 

Here is the situation though.  The lady we live with has a family reunion from June 10th to the 15th, so we are getting kicked out of the house.  We don't know where we will be staying for that week.  So we told the AP that.  I don't know if we will still get  to have 2 week missionary or not.  Elder Crozer (AP) said that if they decided to not give us one because of our situation, there is another 2 week mission coming up in a few weeks and we will get one then.    When we called our mission president about the housing, he told us that he remembers a fields with a couple tents in in close to our area and that he was sure it would be okay if we just slept there....Haha oh funny guy. 

Sam, our only investigator, is getting baptized on Saturday!!!!  YAY we are super excited.  It has been so great to just see all the changes he has made and see how far he has come just in these last three weeks!! it is so exciting!! So I guess this week wasn't all bad.  We had some great lessons with Sam.  He is so funny.  By the end of our lessons, with out fail, Sister Morgan, Lee Bailey (fellowshipper) and I are crying we have been laughing so hard at the things that Sam says during the lesson.  They are wonderful.  Sam is actually moving to Salt Lake on the 17th.  So about a week after he gets baptized, he is moving up your way.

Oh and I don't know if you saw, but I got a package from cameron.  He decorated a missionary planner cover for me.  It is super sweet.  I haven't got around to doing one for this transfer, but I have the best one ever for next transfer.  Just a missionary thing.  It is cool.  I will have to show it to you when I get back if you didn't see it.  I love it.  So thanks Cam bud.
Well I love you all.

Sister Woodward

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Devore, California -May 27, 2013

Hey family,

I hope you enjoyed my long email last week.  They won't all be like that, but I figured for the first one, mom definitely would want to know EVERYTHING, so I included it all :)

Well since I live with a member, we have permission to use her computer, so we can email today even though it is a holiday.  We are about the only ones in our mission that get to though.  Everyone else just has to wait til next week, or find some where that is open.  So be glad that I am here where I can email you today :)

Sister Morgan told me her mom said something about her calling you guys in her email.  I cracked up.  It made both of us laugh just a little.  So funny that she did that.  It is way fun having a companion from Cache Valley.  I love being about to tell stories, and she knows where I am talking about.  And sometimes she even knows that people.  And it will be so easy to see her when we are both home as well.  I love it.

This week...well where do I start.  The Lord is definitely testing us and forcing us to learn to be effective missionaries quickly.  We started the week with it being really open.  We set a really high contacting goal since we had no lessons and we are still working really hard on finding so we can reach our mission goal.  Normally you might get 1 or 2 referrals in a week.  We got 8 last week.  So all of a sudden, our super open week, become busy.  On top of all the referrals, we got about 4 less active families that people wanted us to visit.  

We were also still teaching Sam and Nicole.  They now both have baptismal dates.  Sam for the 8th and Nicole for the 15th.  We met with Sam twice and Nicole only once this week.  They are both progressing very well.  I am excited for both of them.  They both came  to church on Sunday again.  That was really fun!    

Since we are working on finding for our goal, we have been trying to get ahold of former investigators.  That was hard this week.  So many of them, we couldn't even find their addresses.  It was like their house didn't exist.  The ones we could find, weren't interested and never really were.  They just thought the missionaries were nice and wanted to visit and for just informative reasons find out more about the church.  So we didn't get any new investigators that way this week.  

We had 3 lessons fall through this week.  1 was a less active lady.  She has been super flaky recently.  Yesterday we were supposed to meet with a 14 year old boy name Malik, and when we got there, he said it wasn't a good time.  A few minutes later, as we were driving somewhere else, we same him crossing a road going to Ralphs I think.  The other lesson was a couple who the Spanish Elders have been meeting with.  They want to come to the English ward though.  The couple speak both English and Spanish.  We went just to meet them, with the Spanish Elders and do a trade of, and they weren't home.  

We do have some good leads from all of our referrals though.  There is a boy about 14 named Geo.  He was being taught by some other elders and was super golden, and then he moved into our area.  The problem is, we can't find him.  He just disappeared and nobody knows where they moved to or how to get a hold of him.  There is a girl about 20 named Desirae.  She was about to get baptized in January and about 2 days before, her baby died so she didn't.  We finally found out where she moved to, and went to her house, but she wasn't home.  We will keep trying though.  There is a lady named Dawn as well.  She met with the missionaries about 8 years ago.  She has three kids.  She ran into them again and wants to be baptized.  She has a date for June 22 I think.  The only problem is that she moves out of our mission on the 31st of this month though.  We will have to make sure the missionaries know to go find her.  I think that about covers any potentials we have.

There is also kennedy that I kinda mentioned last week.  She is 16 and has had quite a rough life.  Our ward mission leader had us for dinner on Saturday.  We invited kennedy to come with us.  She told us more about her life and what she is going through and has gone through and we were like, "Holy cow."  we had no idea it had been so rough for her.  I won't really go into details, but she has had a hard hard life.  and She is only 16.  She really wants to change and become better, but because of her living situation, it is going to be hard for her to do that right now.  And she can't get away from it because she is a minor.  We are going to keep working with her, but it will be a process.  I just want to help her out and get her to a place where she is more happy with her life.  She is not happy at all.  

Even if she doesn't get baptized now, I hope we can plant a seed and get some good habits going, like prayer.  Maybe down the road, when she is away from her mom, she will be able to get baptized.  I just want to give her some hope and let her know that everything will eventually work out for her.  

We had a super great lesson last night.  The family that had us over for dinner invited a non member family as well.  Part of them spoke english and the other part spoke spanish.  So both us and the spanish elders were there.  We taught the first half of the restoration in english and they taught the second half in Spanish.  It was so cool.  I couldn't understand a word they were saying, but right when the first vision started, I knew it.  The spirit in the room was so strong.  You could just feel it right at the first vision.  It was amazing.  We gave the family a couple book of mormons.  There was a mom and dad and three sons.  The dad and the oldest son were really interested.  The dad was even almost tearing up.  I have high hopes for them.  I hope we will be able to continue to meet with them in the future.  It was a really good lessons.  And for having four missionaries there, it just flowed so well.  The spirit really helped.  I can just tell you that I know that God's hand was in that lesson.  It should not have gone as well as it it.  It was amazing.  

So since today is memorial day, my companion and I are celebrating it well :)  We are going to a bbq with a family in the ward.  (the mom has a super strong english accent) and then we are going to cemetery!! haha how awesome is that.  Who knew they even existed.  We are so excited.  There are headstones and everything!! I am so excited!! It will be great.  I will take some good pictures and hopefully get them to you guys.

Also, we have the creepiest ice cream trucks in the world here.  They seriously look like something from a murder show.  They have bars on the windows and everything.  I will have to send you a picture.  I feel like if I ever went up to one, I would be kidnapped! It is crazy.  And they are every where.  We see at least 3 or 4 every single day!!  It cracks us up. 

The other day, we were sitting at a park during our companion study and in the background you could hear the sirens going on, and the creepy ice cream truck music.  It made us laugh.  I seriously felt like it was the scene from a scary movie.

Here are some funny quotes from the people we meet contacting every day.  These ones were all from the same day.  This is just so you have an idea of the people we get to work with:
"Are you guys twins? You look exactly alike.  Wow thats weird"
"When I was younger, I wanted to be a mormon"
"You guys are like the model sisters.  I am serious.  You look like the sisters they would put in a pamphlet.  Are you sure they aren't recording this right now.  You look too cute to be normal missionaries."
and the best one, from a black kid who was probably about 16 or 17.  First he asked if we were in high school then said, "not to be racist, but is your pastor white?"  "I hear you guys going to that building with the gold statue of the guy playing the trump and you guys are always praying so loud. Whats up with that"  He said some other super funny things, but I can't remember.  All of these things just cracked us up.  We are constantly laughing at our experiences.  They are so funny.

So it has been a crazy week.  We have stayed pretty busy.  We had our goals, and our plans, but the Lord decided to throw us a curve ball.  Hopefully we adjusted well enough to it.  Missions are crazy things.  There are some funny stories we have heard from other missionaries down here as well.  it will be an interesting year and a half,  let me tell ya.

Well stay safe.  Be happy. I can't wait to hear from you next week.  I love your letters.  I hope you are enjoying mine.  I hope they are enough detailed for you mom.  I keep all my other emails super short and un detailed so this one to you, can get everything.  You better feel super special.  

Love ya all lots
Sister Woodward

P.S. and this is crazy.  Get this.  So we were talking to our ZLs the other day about the white handbook and how there was so much about it that needed to be changed and updated.  And they said that its going to be happening soon, as well as Preach My Gospel.  They said that one of the general authorities, I don't remember which one, said that missionary work is about to change.  In the next few months, (which was said a few months ago) things are going to be very different with missionary work, and this is just the warm up for what is about to come!! 

Crazy right.  And it is all happening the same time as the mission split and new presidents and everything.  It is going to be crazy.  We can just feel good things coming.  We know this work is going to shoot up so quickly and miracles will be happening like crazy.  Good things are coming.  This is such an exciting time to be a missionary!  I can't believe how lucky I am to be out here while this is all happening.  It is an exciting time.

I was reading a quote from Pres Hinckley the other day about why they age for girl missionaries was higher.  He said that they held it higher to keep the amount going small.  And all of a sudden, they changed it and it is the same time that all these other changes are happening for missionary work. He wants as many missionaries as he can get right now.  He needs us all to help Him prepare the world for the second coming. It is coming soon and this missionary work is a big indicator of that.  This is like the final battle.  The last big push to get as many people on His side as He can.  I don't even know what else to say.  I don't know if you guys will think this is as big of a deal as I do, but it is just blowing me away.  

Crazy cool.  I am so excited to see what is going to take place with in the next few months.  These are truly the last days.  This is the 4th quarter of the final game and God is pulling out his best plays and players.  So exciting.  I am so excited to be a missionary right now and to be in God's army and fighting for him.  We are truly moving swiftly across the land, and there is nothing that is going to stop or even hinder it for a moment.

Well just thought I would let you all know my feelings on that.  I am out of time...well 5 minutes over so I gotta go.

Devore, California -May 20, 2013

Sister Morgan and Sister Woodward
Hello there Family.

So this is probably about the time my emails will be coming most days.  If not 430ish.  Don't expect them early in the morning like Cameron.  We get up, get ready and have studies til 10.  Then we meet with our zone for some activity (today was ultimate frisbee and gatorball) then we go shopping.  My companion was nice and let me email first today, next week she will go first, so my email will be later.  Sorry.  Hope that doesn't kill you mom.

So my companions name is Sister Morgan.  And guess where she is from? Millville. Crazy huh?  She is also 21.  She is only 2 months older then me.  She is super little as well.  She is a little taller but so skinny. haha She has only been out for three months.  She just finished her training last week right before I got here.  So she is still learning how things go as well.  It is fun.  I get along super well with her.  It's way nice.  I have really enjoyed working with her so far.

We are lucky and get to live with Sister Adams.  She is a cute old lady about 81 years old.  She is hilarious.  She is a widow.  Her husband used to be a bishop, stake president and mission president in both Spain and Guatemala.  Crazy huh?  So she knows what's going on.  You can't slip anything by her.  She makes homemade bread for us and also buys milk and eggs so we don't have lots of gallons in the fridge.  So that is nice.  I love having her bread.  So yummy.  And this will just make you laugh....So we get gophers around here a lot.  And sister Adams doesn't like them getting into her garden, so she gets our her bbgun and shoots em.  Doesn't she sound just like grandma Zelma?  It is crazy.  She cracks me up. hahah  She mows her own lawn, takes care of the house and yard.  She is still going strong.  haha It is great.  I love living her.  And a lot safer with her than other areas around here :)

So our investigators: Right now we have 2.  The first is Nicole.  She is 31 and divorced.  She has 3 boys.  The boys live in Idaho with their dad and stepmom until the summer then they will be down here.  Sister Morgan and her last comp Sister Folsom, found her tracting.  She met with the missionaries about 4 years ago.  Her mom and grandma (who she lives with) are anti mormon and that's why she stopped seeing the missionaries before.  She loves the Book of Mormon though.  She started reading it about 2 weeks ago and is halfway through Mosiah already.  She definitely feels the spirit a lot.  She is able to find so many answers to questions she has had in the BoM.  It is wonderful.  Even some questions her mom has had, she has found the answer to in the BoM.  She calls those moments "holy coincidences" haha she is super funny.  Because of her family, we didn't actually start teaching her lessons until this week.  So on Wednesday, we taught her the Restoration lesson.  She says she wants to be baptized.  We are going to set a date this week with her.  She is also trying to quit coffee even before we have taught the Word of Wisdom to her.  She was at church yesterday as well! yay! and LOVED it

Our other one is Sam.  Oh Sam. Sam is about 37 and is going to Cal State San Bernardino. So Sam just walked into church one day on his own.  He said he heard the Mo Tab online once and it really touched him so he looked into the church and came.  He has come about 4 times now.  He joined the ward choir the first day.  We taught him on Friday the Plan of Salvation and he really liked it.  He said that it all just makes sense and he it feels like he already knew it, but he has never been taught it before.   Sam is also trying to quit coffee before we taught him that lesson too.  It is great.  He has a baptismal date for June 8th then he is moving to SLC about a week and a half later. 

Both Sam and Nicole came to a baptism on Saturday.  Our Zone Leaders are over a YSA ward, and had a baptism so we were able to take Sam and Nicole to it.  They loved it so much.  They loved how personal it is and how all the focus is on the one getting baptized.  They loved the people there.  They both could feel the spirit so strongly.  Sam was even tearing up a bit.  It was wonderful! haha so great.  I was so happy that they both made it :)

We also have a lot of potentials.  Most have been referrals that we have not been able to get a hold of yet.  We have been trying to get a hold of all of them, but not much luck.  We found a girl named Kennedy though that the Spanish elders told us about.  They were just walking by her house and she ran out and wanted to meet with them.  When she was 13 she met with missionaries.  She is 16 now.  She comes from a rough home though.  She has been in and out of foster care.  She has lots of potential and you can see that she really wants to change and be in a better place in her life.  We have high hopes for her.

So cars...This is interesting.  About 2/3s of our mission actually get cars.  The church buys the cars brand new. They want the best cars for us.  Once the cars hit 50,000 miles, the church sells them.  We only have the best new cars out here.  Crazy.  I didn't realize that. 

The ward is wonderful.  They are all so friendly and nice and welcoming.  We get dinner every night.  And the ward members complain because they don't get to feed us as often as they like too.  They are all so willing to hlep up out.  There is actually a couple in the ward, that is going to Logan to get sealed on the 28th.  Super cool.

So the last few days at the MTC were wonderful.  On Sunday we had a temple walk and I ran into quite a few friends.  I did see Brenna so we have a picture of us outside the temple! It is wonderful. Love it.  That was a lot of fun.

The plane ride was good.  It wasn't very long so I enjoyed that.  It was a super small plane though.  Like smaller than the planes to Haiti.  That was interesting.  And there were 28 missionaries coming in the day I got there, so we didn't really spend too much time with the mission pres and his wife.  We met our trainers and they told us the areas, even  though none of it made any sense to me haha.  and we had lots of orientation meetings.  Then if we lived close enough to the mission office, we went back to our places for the night, and if not, then we would buddy up with another companionship and sleep with them.  Most of wednesday morning was more meeting with all the new missionaries and their trainers.

So our mission has a goal of getting 350  baptisms by the first of July.  They set this goal at the end of last year.  Right now, we are around 210 so we have a long way to go.  So most of our efforts are on finding people.  We have done so much tracting this last weekish and plan to do so much more in the coming week.  We really need to be able to find people this week because they have to attend church 3 times before they can be baptized.  So this week is all about finding more people to teach!! ahhh

So my area...and yes I saved this for the end so that I could drive mom just a little more nuts ;) haha. So I work in the Hallmark ward.  I am living in a little town called Devore.  It is almost up in the mountains.  Our area covers Devore down to Muscoy and over to Devil's Canyon.  We cover campus, but the ZLs have the YSA ward, so we don't go there much cause most of the people we would find, we would have to turn over to the ZLs.  Mom, I know you are going to do this anyway, but you should definitely google earth Muscoy.  You will love the area so much!! haha It is great ;).  We are just on the outskirts of San Bernardino.  We will most likely be in the Redlands mission.  That is not set in stone though because we do have one transfer before the split.  And with so many missionaries coming in right before, things are going to get switched up.  So even though this is my training area, I might still get moved.

So every night we fall asleep to the sound of crickets and wake up to the birdies singing.  There are gophers, lizards, horses, bunnies and snakes everywhere.  Snakes are often crossing the road up by our house.  Emmie would love it here.  There has actually been a bear sighting recently by our neighbors house, and there was a coyote in our neighbors yard just the other day.  So it is an interesting area with lots of animals.  Kinda fun.  The different little towns in our area differ so much.  It is crazy.
Alrighty I will email you next week! Have a good week everyone! I love you all tons and miss you like crazy!! Keep track of the good country songs coming out and the good movies as well.  and as always....Keep Maggie safe and give her lots of love from me!!!

Sister Woodward :)