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