Monday, December 30, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -December 30, 2013

Hey family

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you all
Sister Woodward

Monday, December 23, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -December 23, 2013

Hi Family,

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -December 16, 2013

Hey family!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you,
Sister Woodward

Monday, December 9, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -December 9, 2013

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

Monday, December 2, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga, California -December 2, 2013

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