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

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