Monday, November 10, 2014

Chino, California -November 10, 2014

Hey Mom, Dad, and the kids (whose names I may or may not have forgotten after being gone for so long)

Well I have now stared at this empty email for quite a few minutes now.  I am just not sure what to write for my last email to you as a missionary.  That is kind of weird to think about.  For that last eighteen months I have emailed you every week and that will be a change to not do that anymore.  But I will be with you in person so it will be all the better.  

I guess I could start with one big detail I left out from my email last week.  I am not the driver!! Don't you worry.  It is my companion that has ruined all the mission cars, not me.  :)  So you don't need to worry for my driving when I get back home.  I have been a good safe driver the whole time I have been out.

Not a lot of significant events happened this week for us.  It was stake conference.  That was fun.  So I will have one week off and then another stake conference.  Great huh?  We knocked doors.  We had partial exchanges.  We didn't go on normal ones all transfer because of all the crazy stuff that has happened this transfer with our companionship.  So on Saturday we just exchanged for a couple of hours.  Nothing too great about it.  

I did have my departing interview with President.  That was just weird because it was so different from any other interview I have ever had with him.  Instead of missionary work and companions we talked about stuff after the mission.  Just didn't feel normal haha.

I am including part of my email to Presidents about my mission:  It has been a good mission. I have quite enjoyed all of it. There were definitely some hard times, but I have learned and grown a lot during it. I have made some life long friends and met many people that have changed my life forever. I am very grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve God these last 18 months of my life and there is nothing else I would have wanted to do with them. They have been wonderful and I bet lots of good things will continue to come from these last 18 months for the rest of my life.

I just want to say that I am so grateful to both mom and dad for encouraging me my whole life to go on a mission. If it weren't for your examples, I don't know if I would have chosen to serve and because of that my life has been forever changed.  I love this gospel.  I love that I have been able to represent Jesus Christ for 18 months and share the wonderful news of the restored gospel with every one.  I love our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ. I am often in wonder at how much They both do for each one of us every day of our lives.  They really do know each of us personally and want what is best for us.  As Sister Hobbs said in stake conference, "God just wants us home"  That is His purpose and His plan.  He just wants all of us to return back to Him again.  I am so grateful that I have been able to help people start on the path back to Him again.  This has been a wonderful adventure that I am beyond grateful for.  

Well I think that is all for now.  I am going to finish the rest of my p-day and I will see you all very soon.  Have a wonderful week and start feeling better mom! And don't forget to bring Maggie to the airport!!

Love you all,
Sister Woodward

Hindu Temple

Carving pumpkins

Carving pumpkins

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Chino, California -November 3, 2014

Hey family,

Yeah only two more weeks to hear that title.  Kinda crazy.  I bet Cameron is still not used to going by Cameron...well maybe by now, it has been two weeks.  And it sounds like they all had fun at Halloween.  I super hope mom is doing better and is starting to heal.  That really stinks.  But the riding lessons sound fun. I hope she was enjoying them until she got bucked off.  

Well this is my second to last email for the week.  I hope you enjoy it because it has been quite the week.  I hope you are ready for the craziness that has happened this week.

Monday: I lost my planner and still haven't found it.  I got a new one but it is boring and empty.  We also carved pumpkins as a zone.  Sister Cromwell and I both had super good looking pumpkins.  Pictures to follow.  
We also went to the doctor in Rancho and Sister Cromwell got a magnesium boost.  It was supposed to clear her headaches for about 8 hours and only worked for about 30 minutes...We fear there might actually be a problem in her head.  Not good.

Tuesday:  Our ward had our trunk-or-treat in the evening.  It was lots of fun.  We combined with another ward in Chino for it.  Everyone decorated the trunks and there was a costume contest, chili contest, pumpkin contest and car decorating contest.  We as missionaries and supposedly impartial got to judge the costumes and the cars.  The Elders in the other ward did the other two.  It was fun.  We even decorated our car! It looked good. Pictures to hopefully follow.

Wednesday: I got my departing devotional invitations and in the evening when Sister Cromwell's head was too bad to work, I started addressing those.  Nothing much else happened that day.

Thursday:  Sister Cromwell was super bad.  We spent most of the day inside.  Headaches and weird dilated pupils.  Lots of board games and sleep.  Ha We were also able to deliver thank you cards to our members since we had time to write them all.

Friday - Well this is where the fun begins! Our car started having some serious issues with the steering and the traction control.  It wouldn't go up any hills and our area has some serious hills.  So we had to get our car towed and that was fun. How are you supposed to cover a canyon without a car? you don't!  Sister Cromwell is banned from bikes and since my ankles are still healing, I am banned from walking long distances.  So we were once again inside. But we made the most of it by playing several games of skip-bo, making delicious halloween treats, and defrosting a fridge that went wacko with a blow dryer.  During the making of halloween treats, I possible burnt my finger on some boiling caramel when mixing it with popcorn.  It will leave a nice scar I am thinking.   haha the joys of being a missionary.  

Saturday - Drove to Rancho to get the only spare car at the mission office.  Yay! (don't worry that won't last long.) We had a super good lesson with one our recent converts all about the temple and taking out his endowments! It will be super good day when he actually does so! 

Sunday - Actually kinda a normal day. We had a good day at church and got one of our less-actives to come! YAY! We also out of neglect because everything else happen may have weened out of Sister Barnard that we had room inspections that day so we had to rush home and speed clean our bedroom so that we didn't get in trouble by the apartment inspectors! 

Then there is today:  So this morning we were going to the Hindu Temple for a tour-ironic that mormon missionaries are going to the Hindu Temple.  Well we were driving down the freeway and all of a sudden there was a weed whacker in the middle of our lane (Who puts a weed whacker in the middle of a freeway?!!? Seriously!!)  with a semi on the left and a cement wall on the right and a semi right behind us.  So all we could do was hit the stupid thing.  Well we drove about 2 more minutes to the temple and realized that there was a giant hole in the transmission fluid thingy.  Great huh?  So there goes another car that got towed.  Once again in a Canyon ward (way worse then Smithfield Canyon) and no car, with another doctors appointment in Rancho in less then an hour! Thank goodness for good members!!  

So that was our week.  Sister Cromwell has an MRI tomorrow at 8:30 p.m.  Don't think we will be making our curfew that night.  We will let you know how it goes.  It could be a pretty crazy week for us again.  

Love you all and I hope you have a good week.  I hope Maggie is well and I will see  you in two weeks

Love Sister Woodward

Sister Cromwell and Sister Woodward

Sister Cromwell and Sister Woodward

Carving pumpkins

Carving pumpkins

Trunk or Treat
Trunk or Treat

Hindu Temple

Hindu Temple

Monday, October 27, 2014

Chino, California -October 27, 2014

Sister Woodward, Sister Riley and the Chamberlins

Sister Baker, Sister Woodward, and Sister Riley

Hey family,

The two good newses of the week.

First, as you saw from the pictures already, ERIKA AND TALON GOT BAPTIZED!!!! And I got to go back to it since I am only about thirty minutes from Rancho!!  We got there about 2 minutes late and it had started so I didn't get a picture of them in white, but I got one after.  And the miracle of it all, is they all still remembered me! I think Talon gave me about 18 hugs.  I was so happy to see them all again.  

It was also wonderful because even though the Chamberlins are now in the Redhill ward in Rancho due to boundary changes, many of my favorite members from the Hillside ward were there to support! So I got to see lots of them again! It was such a good day! I did send a picture with Sister Baker! It was good to see them all again.

Second, our ward mission leader is a chiropractor and unknown to me they can adjust ankles.  So he looked at my ankle and found out that I didn't sprain or strain my ankle, but instead I moved all the bones out of place.  So he popped them all back into place and I am good to go! I have no more problems.  No brace or crutch! Super happy for that.  

Bad news-Sister Cromwell's insurance is being stinky and won't approve the MRI so it actually hasn't happened yet.  She is getting worse not better so today we are going back to Rancho and she is getting a magnesium treatment.  I am not sure what that is or what it does, but it is happening.  It takes about 2 hours so we will party it up in the doctors office.  It is a good thing I like this companion or that would be 2 hours of torture on my pday.

As for missionary work, we are still trying but it is hard with all of our health problems.  Hopefully soon.  We did handout a ton of invitations for our trunk or treat tomorrow though.  Oh and I spoke in church yesterday.  I got the wonderful topic of member missionary work-big surprise huh?  Well I think it went okay. Definitely not the best talk I have written, and probably not the worst either so I would say okay.  I talk about Marina and the Chamberlins and Monica and all of the good things from them.  It was filled with success stories, so at least I kept them entertained!!

Well I hope you have a good week.  I hope Maggie is still alive.  I can't wait to see you all in three weeks.  My companion can't wait for me to go home either.  She is not one that is comfortable with crying and that is quickly becoming a daily routine for me...haha end of missions are hard.  Just ask Cameron.  He will agree (hopefully)

Love you all
Sister Woodward

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Chino, California -October 20, 2014

Hey Mom Dad and the kiddies,

I am glad that all went well with Cameron going home.  I know that their will be two other missionary families when I fly in as well.  One will be my favorite Sister Cook's family.  You can talk to them! The other one, I don't know at all. His name is Elder Iverson.  He is spanish speaking.  But it should be just as fun.  And I hope you find something to do to stand out, because we really do blend in a lot.  Most people don't notice our family when we go someone.  So I really might miss you.

Well that sounds like fun about the soccer games.  I bet the girls loved playing on such a nice field.  I bet it was a good experience.  Now they just need to make it to the olympics in a few years! Tell them to keep practicing super hard!

Sister Cromwell and I get along really well.  I just love this lady! She gets home 9 months after I do and is on the same track at BYU I as I am on.  So then we will can room together which would be a party! We are working on getting healthy.  I am still on crutches, and Sister Cromwell may have hit her head again which is making it lots worse.  She does have an MRI for Wednesday so maybe that will give us some answers as to why her head is still so bad a month after getting the concussion....kinda crazy!

Well with her head, and my foot, it was a slow week for us.  Here is the rundown of the week: 

Monday... I sprained my ankle...:( I was playing basketball and just stepped sorta funky and it rolled all terrible.

Tuesday... Zone meeting, emailing, confined to apartment... Sister Deputy's orders. 

Wednesday... Still inside.... Board games!!! Yay! I totally keep kicking Sister Cromwell’s trash J

Thursday... Still inside... More board games!! Yay! Still a winner!! 

Friday... Weekly Planning.... Sister Cromwell may or may not have hit her head again and made her concussion lots lots lots worse..

Saturday... Service... crutched for two miles... AWFUL!!! Our zone leaders didn't quite explain the service we were going to.  We got there and realized it was a GIANT fall festival with over 60,000 people there. So we had to park about a mile away and then crutch all the way over there and then they put us working in the corn maze and making sure little kids didn't get lost from their family! Try doing a corn maze on crutches....Sister Cromwell piggy backed me for part of it.  Then we went more then a mile back to the car.  Sister Cromwell had a Major headache!!! actually thought she was going to die, but it's okay cause she has a super fantastic companion that will play with her hair (IDK why but it helps, bit it does) for three straight hours:) and she wrote her talk for Sunday.  I get to speak this next week! I will let you know how it goes

Sunday... I  was incredibly sore and Sister Cromwell’s head was pounding but she still gave a super fantastic, bold, powerful, marvelous boss of a talk!  All about member missionary work. .We then came home and crashed HARD!!! But since then her headaches have been so much better! Then we finally got to go be missionaries last night! It was great! 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Chino, California -October 14, 2014

Hey family!

I just realized this morning that this would be the last email addressed to both of us.  Kinda crazy and then you pointed it out too.  That is exciting that you will all get to see Cameron this week! I bet you are excited.  It should be good.

I guess I am not actually serving in Chino, but up in Chino Hills.  It is the rich part and the dialect is just a little different then Chino.  Instead of Chinoese they speak Chino Hillese.  It is much more proper...Seriously dad.

Sister Cromwell is so great! I love her.  I don't think I have laughed so much with a companin and we have only been together a week. We are living with members.  It is Sister Barnard and her 13 yr old daughter named Emma who loves soccer.  They are thinking of moving to Utah and are looking at soccer teams...I told them to watch out for La Roca and to not join them ever! Don't worry! I am doing my job down here in Chino Hills!

They are fun though.  Recently (a few weeks ago) Sister Cromwell got her third concussion and is experiencing problems from that.  More recently (yesterday) I was playing basketball and did something dumb to my foot, not ankle and now I have a brace and crutches.  I think it will be find in a few days so I won't waste the money going to the doctor.  I got a blessing today, so the priesthood will heal me up. Just thought I would let you know before our mission nurse calls and tells you.  I am not sure she will, but it is possible.  I think I strained the ligaments in my foot...I dunno.

This last week we walked a whole ton.  There really is no one investigating in our area so we do a lot of finding.  We do live in Chino Hills, so it really is all hills.  I did a lot of hiking I should say.  Then Sister Cromwell's head got worse and I hurt my foot, and so we haven't left the house much.  Luckily Sister Barnard works for a cancer foundation and we get to do lots of service at her house with that.  So we are still trying to do something!!  Hopefully next week I will have more to report on.

Well I hope you have a good week.  I hope Cameron has a good flight home.  Party hard!  Can't wait to see you all in 5 weeks!  Love you all
Sister Woodward

Monday, October 6, 2014

Chino, California -October 6, 2014

Hey family,

Well you will have to go and watch the rest of conference because it was really good.  There were so many good talks and it was fun because 4 speakers spoke in their native languages.  That was cool.  The talks were simple but so good and really just talked about the basics and fundamentals of the church.  

Well I bet you are dying to know what happened with me for my last transfer of my mission.  I am sure that you all guessed that I would be staying in Ontario and either staying with Sister Manumua or getting a new companion.  Well surprise! I got transferred for my last six weeks. I am now serving in a place we will call Chino (because that is what it is called) with a companion who we will call Sister Cromwell (because that is her name).  So the unexpected happened AGAIN.  Kinda crazy.  Who would have thought that I would move my last transfer.  Not me.  I don't know why I have moved so much on my mission.  I can't figure it out.  7 areas and 9 companions in only 13 transfers.  Sister Manumua is staying in Ontario.  She has already been there 6 months and has at least 1.5 more to go.  

Sister Cromwell is from Idaho and has been out for just over 7 months.  She was actually trained in Ontario in the YSA branch.  Her last companion went home in the middle of the transfer, so she has only been partly working in the area while partnered up with Sisters Soleta and Shaw.  There are no elders in the ward, just us.  So missionary work for the last six week has been a little crazy.  It will be fun to work with the members and get it going again.  

This last week consisted of watching conference, saying goodbyes and packing.  Well I guess that was all in the weekend.  During the week, we helped paint part of a house and helped someone else move.  So we cleaned and packed and painted a lot this week.  That is really all that happened.  Nothing else too exciting.  

It was Sister Manumua's birthday on Saturday.  Since we have a million Tongans in our ward the the Tongan ward right next to us, they all celebrated her birthday both days.  There were cakes and singing and taking us out to lunch.  It was crazy.  Her family is in Tonga and they weren't able to send her anything because of costs, and so it was really good for her to be with all the tongans in Ontario.  This way she had someone celebrate with us.

Well I think that is all the updating for today.  Nothing much else going on besides moving.  I was super sad to leave Ontario because so many of the really good friends I have made on my mission were all in Ontario.  And they all stayed and I left. But it should be good.  I am excited for this change.  I don't like change so I think that Heavenly Father is making me get used to it.  Kinda crazy.  

Well I hope you have a good week.  I hope all goes well at home.  Try to keep Gislene out of trouble.  Give Maggie a hug for me.  And I will see you all in 6 weeks!

Sister Woodward

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ontario, California -September 29, 2014

Sister Woodward, Brother Broadbent, Manuel, Sister Manumua

Sister Woodward, Bailey, Sister Manumua
Sister Crowley and Sister Woodward
Sisters at the Redlands Temple

Sister Woodward and Sister Manumua
Hey mom, dad, and the monsters! 

Sounds like soccer is keeping everyone pretty busy at home.  How do you have time for anything else? Does Dad even make it up to the farm?  

Jill is really enjoying having Amber home.  She emails me every few weeks and she loves it.  I am sure Amber likes being back with Jill again.  Such a nice sister Jill is.  She didn't get married while Amber was gone and they can actually hang out together without dumb boys getting in the way....(maybe don't show that part to Kelsey)

Well as you have seen in the pictures, Manuel really did get baptized! We were so happy.  It was crazy though.  Our church building is super old and the font is really little.  As you can see, Manuel isn't the smallest of guys.  The guy conducting was convinced that the font was going to overflow because the ward before us filled it too high (it would have been fine).  So when Manuel and Brother Broadbent got in the font, Brother Broadbent pulled the plug so it could start draining.  The only problem is that this font drains like there is no tomorrow.  So Manuel went down and his arm stuck up.  Then he went down again and I guess his head didn't go all the way under.  

By this point, the font was half empty.  Brother Broadbent then tried to put the plug back in to stop the water.  He couldn't get it to stay.  After a few minutes of trying, and even more water draining, he gave up and tried once again to baptize Manuel completely.  He successfully got Manuel under on the third time. Manuel later told us that he was laying all the way on the floor of the font.  Super crazy!  Bet you haven't experienced a baptism like that before.  I don't know how they even had enough water.  I think that was a miracle.  

This week we get to have a special zone conference and watch the new movie Meet the Mormons.  It should be fun.  We are all excited!  All the missionaries in the Valley watch it on Wednesday and all the missionaries in the High desert watch it on Thursday.  So we get to see it before it is out in theaters.  I will let you know how it is.

We are also excited for conference this weekend.  I think Monica is most excited because to her it is a sunday off church! Stinkin Monica.  She is still trying to get back in, but her kids are doing great.  If they can't go to mutual they are so sad.  They hide from Monica at church so they can stay all three hours when she wants to leave after Sacrament meeting.  What teenage kids are like that? Only the best ones!  One day you will get to meet them all.

On Friday Sister Hobbs came out with Sister Manumua and me.  We went to Chick-Fil-A for lunch and then went to find lost less actives.  We knocked on a few doors and found a pretty solid potential. His name is Brandon. He is probably in his mid 20s.  He might end up going to the YSA branch (like 10 people).  We have an appointment with him this Friday.  We will let you know how it goes.

Well as you may or may not know, this is the last week of the transfers, so by next Monday I will have transfer news for you! I will let you know what happens.  We are thinking there will be a change, but not sure what it will be yet.  

Love you all
Sister Woodward

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ontario, California -September 24, 2014

Hey family,

I wish the weather was going to start dropping, but it isn't going to anytime soon.  They say not til November will it start cooling down.  It is pretty close to 100 degrees today.  So hot!  

There is a lady in my ward whose name is Naomi Reale.  Her maiden name is Low.  I guess she is a big soccer player.  In fact she is being inducted (is that the right word) into the hall of fame next year-so like a big soccer player.  I thought Darcy and Emmie would like that fact.  

Speaking of Naomi, we have actually been teaching Naomi's daughter.  Her daughter, Bailey, just turned eight and was baptized this last Saturday.  We went and got pictures but I forgot the cord to my camera so I can't send it to you.  But that was fun! Another person we taught got baptized, even though she wasn't counted as a convert.

Speaking about baptisms! Guess who is getting baptized this Saturday?   MANUEL!! He had his interview with our district leader yesterday and is doing really well and he passed! So everything is falling into place for that! We are super excited and so is Manuel.  And luckily this time, we don't have to work with Elders to plan it because it is all ours!  Happy for that.  In fact, I think everything is already planned and it has been less than 24 hours! No procrastination here! Be proud!  So in just a few days I will get some more pictures off to you!

Speaking of not procrastinating, we saw Sister Shaw this week with her companion.  They came over to just see how Sister Manumua and I are doing. I was good to see Sister Shaw.  She is so great.  I love her.  I wish we could be companions.  She is just always happy no matter what is going on in her life.  We need to hook her and Cameron up when they both get home! It will be perfect :) haha 

Speaking of marriage, we got to go to the temple this morning! Not for a wedding though.  That was so wonderful.  Our great Relief Society president took us and the sisters in the YSA branch.  We had a good sessions, then went to Mimi's Cafe for lunch.  I just love Sister Broadbent.  She is a great lady, but she told us she is getting released on Sunday.  I am super sad. I also love Sister Crowley! She is one of the sisters in the YSA branch and has helped me SO much these past 10 weeks.  She is going to BYU-Idaho and I am excited for that.  I am trying to talk Sister Shaw into going up there.  I think she is going to go to Snow though. haha

Well I hope all is well at home.  I hope you have a good week.  I will talk to you in a few days.  Oh and dad! I never told you, but the hotel you were at when you were down here, Doubletree, is less then .3 miles from where I live.  It is just across the street and down a little bit.  Probably less then 10 minutes walking.  Close to 5 I'd say.  Kinda crazy how close you were all day.  

Love you
Sister Woodward

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ontario, California -September 15, 2014

Monica, Tatiana, Sister Woodward, Victoria, Sister Manumua, and Isaiah
Volunteering at Mount Baldy
Sister Woodward and Sister Respecia
Sister Woodward and the Ebmeyers

Sister Woodward and Grandpa Newman
Sister Woodward and Maddie

Apple Valley, California

Hey family!

Well it is wonderful to hear that everyone is having such pleasant weather, except for me.  Today at 830 in the morning, we were already to 90 degrees.  This whole week we have been close to 107.  At 9:00 at night, it is still 90 degrees.  I think someone said it cooled to a whole 75 degrees by 4 in the morning....Ridiculous! I am so tired of the weather!  The cool season can't come soon enough.  And so yep we are always running the air conditioner because if we don't it gets to 100 degrees in our house.  But we have it at 80 while we are gone.  Kinda crazy!

Well as you have seen, the Costa's got baptized!! So great! It was a wonderful day, but quite a week leading up to it, ending with me not liking the elders in our ward very much.

So here we go again: So last Sunday the Costa's all passed their interviews and we started planning their baptism.  We set 11 on Saturday at our building aside from that.  We then got a text from our elders on Wednesday saying that they were hoping to have a baptism at the same time.  We figured, well a combined one, that is fine.  Come to find out, they thought ours was at 12 and wanted to do theirs an hour before.  Well in so many ways that would have screwed us over.  First, we already had everyone invited to the 11 oclock one.  Second, there is no way the water would stay warm for the hour in between and there wasn't enough time to empty and refill the font either.  So I don't know what they were expecting us to do.  Whatever

Later I was talking to our ward mission leader planning the baptism and he said that Keith (the elders investigator) hadn't even had an interview yet.  He probably wasn't go to get baptized.  So we started planning the whole thing.  The elders were convinced he was getting baptized.  So I asked the elders to find someone to give one prayer. ONE PRAYER!!! That way Keith knew someone involved in the program.  You would think they could find one person to give a prayer! ONE!  So on Friday, I text them to see if Keith was for sure getting baptized and if he was, if they had found a prayer yet.  They told us he was getting baptized and then for us to find someone to prayer.  

Oh I was annoyed at them.  I had done EVERYTHING else so far, while they did nothing and I gave them one small job to do.  So I text back and said No.  We have found everything else down to the refreshments, you can find a prayer.  So they said  Oh we tried, but nonmembers can't give prayers at baptismal services!  Well duh they can't elders!  Just like with sacrament.  A sacred ordinance is being preformed.  Plus I knew at least 40 people coming to the service, so how hard did they really try? Not very hard.  In the end, one of the elders just gave the prayer because they couldn't find anyone else.  Okay. Done with that.

So Saturday morning, we showed up to the church.  Brother Santamaria was there filling the font.  We told Monica and her kids to get there at 10:30 so typical mormons, they showed up at 11:05.  So we started a few minutes late but it all went really well.  The spirit was there and it was a good service.  Tatiana had to go under three times because her legs kept popping up.  

The confirmations were great too.  We had three different guys from the ward confirm.  It was the first time confirming for one of the guys.  The spirit was super strong.  Monica was crying through it all.  We were crying through it all.  It was good.  Then Sister Manumua and I both were speaking yesterday.  Thanks to the confirmations, our talks didn't have to be too long.  They went well.  Mine was on strengthening the home. 

Manuel came to church yesterday.  He is still doing well.  One day soon he is going to be baptized as well.  We are still working with him and encouraging him.  He is a good guy.

Well I think that is the highlight of the week.  We did go to a full on tongan party last night.  One of the girls in the tongan ward just got home from a mission in Texas.  They invited us. Holy cow! Talk about a TON of food.  And not my favorite type of food.  Lots of fish, mostly raw, and octopus...that was interesting!

Well have a great week! Love you all
Sister Woodward

Monday, September 8, 2014

Ontario, California -September 8, 2014

Hey family,

Well our week was pretty good!  The best part was that the three Costa kids (whose last names aren't even Costa....) all passed their  baptismal interviews!!!!!!! Yay! We are so excited.  So they are all going to be getting baptized this Saturday!  I am so happy.  It was crazy though...So here in Ontario, the church does the really STUPID thing for convert baptisms.

Remember when the girls where getting baptized and the missionaries told them that what ever day and time they chose worked because it was their baptism?  So I thought that is how it was everywhere. Every ward I have served in it has been that way.  Here in Ontario, the stake presidency wants to come to all convert baptisms, so they have told us all that EVERY convert baptism has to be either the first or second saturday of the month at 3.  The child of record baptism get the 3 and 4 saturdays-so weird that they have two and it isn't the first one of the month.  So all the baptisms that are supposed to happen for all the missionaries in ontario have to do it at that time at the stake center.  So our ward was supposed to have 5 this saturday.  For all 5 of those converts, the morning worked better for them.  There was stuff in the afternoon so it was super inconvient. Well you would think that because all of them could do it earlier rather then later, they would be okay with that. NO! not at all.  We had to call Monica and Manuel during ward council.  Monica was not happy because well this is her kids baptism, not the stake presidency and this does not work for them.  

So during Sunday school, our bishop called monica into the office to talk to her about doing it at three since we HAVE to do it then (which none of the missionaries like, or the ward mission leaders, or even people on the high council)  Monica told the bishop she had work in the afternoon and couldn't do it (really doesn't have work, but having other family plans on saturday afternoon isn't a good enough excuse)  So now the baptism is going to be at 11.  It was quite a process and made a lot of us stressed and unhappy.  yes we should follow the council of our leaders, but when all of the investigators couldn't do it in the afternoon and they wouldn't change it, they were about to lose 5 baptisms! 

Manuel was sick yesterday so he couldn't come to church or have  his interview.  We have to try and set that up soon to see if he is good getting baptized this week as well.  So I guess you will know next week what happens.  I will definitely have some pictures for you though!  

I got to go on exchanges on Saturday! That was definitely heaven sent.  And I got to go with my favorite SISTER SHAW!!!! Oh it was so good.  I just love that woman and she helped me out so much!! You don't even know.  She just sat and listened to me for hours (literally) Tell her everything that is going on.  And she told me about the things she was struggling with as well-many were the same.  It was so good.  I just love her and things are so much better for me now!  

That is about all that happened this last week.  Well obviously, lots more, but not much worth mentioning.  We had lessons with Manuel and the Costas.  We went to less actives.  We talked to people on the street.  We tracted a few doors.  It was a  good week.  We have a dinner appointment with a lady who used to be mormon but is now 7th day adventists.  That should be fun! She was so super nice.  We are excited for that!

Well I hope you have a good week.  Love ya lots!!
Sister Woodward

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Ontario, California -September 2, 2014

Hey family!

Well I would assume that dad was writing that last email because there was some of his sense of humor in there.  It made me laugh.  And I did laugh when I heard that story about Elder Nelson, so I thought I would share it with you.  I am glad you enjoyed it too!  

Well I am pretty sure that Doubletree is actually in my area.  I cover most of the hotels right around the airport.  And we do like our air conditioning here in California.  No one likes the heat I have come to find out.  I don't know why so many people live here.  Everyone that has air keeps it cold.  Lots of people in Ontario live in older homes so they don't have air...those are not my favorite homes to visit.  So now twice on my mission, you have been in my area.  And how many times for Cameron?  Oh yeah thats right. None.  So that means I must be the favorite missionary :)

Well on to our week.  Things are going okay here.  Manuel came to church on Sunday! That was good.  Four weeks in a row for him.  He had an interview with President Hobbs right after church so see if he was good with baptism.  Normally our investigators just meet with our district leader, but because Manuel has been to jail a few times, he had to meet with President.  So we were a little afraid to see how that interview was going to go.  

It was about a half an hour interview and at the end, President Hobbs called us into the room with him and Manuel-never a good sign.  So we went in.  Manuel is still struggling with an addiction to smoking.  He has cut down from about a pack a day to 3 or 4 cigarettes, but isn't completely off them.  President told us that he didn't want Manuel to feel rushed and so he wanted to give him just a week or two more before his baptism.  President did say that everything else from the past is good and taken care of though. So as soon as Manuel quits smoking, he is ready for baptism! We are super excited about that.  Everything went fairly well.

Our bishop and President then gave Manuel a blessing to help he over come the addiction.  We walked out of the room and Manuel turned to us and told us he felt like he was glowing! We were so happy! I thought maybe he would feel discouraged or sad, but he didn't! He could feel the spirit! And strong too! We are so excited for him!  We can't wait.  I will keep you updated! :)

We also taught Isaiah, Victoria and Tatiana this week.  They have a baptismal date for the 13th of September!  We taught the Word of Wisdom and tithing and fasting.  It all went over pretty well. Isaiah said he had no problems with any of it.  Tatiana said she would try to remember.  She is 11 so understandable but she understood and said she would try her best.  Victoria on the other hand (12!!) told us she couldn't give up coffee or tea....are you kidding me? haha She is twelve.  So we are going to keep working with her.  I don't know if she will be ready for baptism.  We are hoping if she won't give it up, then at her family's baptism, she will realize it is what she wants as well, and then give it up.  So I will let you know how that goes.  We have 2 lessons set up with them this week.

We weren't able to meet with the Zunigas family.  They didn't come to church either.  So that is 7 weeks without being at church and 2 weeks without lessons.  (they cancelled yesterday)  We are thinking it might be time to drop them or at least put them on the back burner until they are willing to start keeping commitments, which is sad, but they aren't doing their part.  We can't do it all for them.  

Well I hope you have a good week.  Be smart and safe. 
Love you all
Sister Woodward

Sister Woodward and Sister Manumu'a

Monday, August 25, 2014

Ontario, California -August 25, 2014

Hey family,

Well first off, I am sure you are all wanting to know about the transfers.  I am  staying in the Mountain View ward with Sister Manumua.  It will be another six weeks...

I am glad that everyone is off to school again. Mom is probably super happy.  It also sounds like Camille and Adam are having quite an adventure in Iowa.  I can't believe that Ian and Rolando are seniors!! That is insane.  Holy cow.  In just a few months, they will have their mission calls, and be on their way.  

It is so weird that Amber is home.  I have been emailing her her whole mission and now she is home! No more stories or pictures.  I bet she did a great job though.  I just love Amber.  She is amazing.  

I would love to go see dad at the airport on Wednesday.  More then you know right now, but I would probably get in trouble for that, so I guess I better not. I guess the worst is they could send me home 12 weeks early.  At least I would be close to a full mission.  But I would like to keep those three months.  

On Saturday we had our mission conference.  Elder Russell M Nelson had a great grand kid born the day before and was down visiting the family.  He knows President and Sister Hobbs and asked them if he could come talk to the mission. So we all got together.  He also brought Elder Ketcher (the is probably spelled wrong) from the 70.  I think he just got called last conference.  It was really good.  Elder Nelson is just a funny old man.  Our bishop told us a story about him in Med school.  Elder Nelson and another kid had been asked to go to a summer class and then come back and teach all students the things they learned.  So one day they had a cadaver and were doing something with the lungs.  They decided to take a foot pump and connect it to the trachea from behind so no one could see.  As soon as the class got close to look, they stepped on the pump and made the lungs inflate.  He said there was one little nurse who got extra close and when it happened she ran out of the room and never came back! hahah so funny! Who would have thought Elder Nelson used to pull pranks like that?

It was good.  He talked about obedience and a few other things and then opened it up to a question and answer.  There were lots of good questions asked.  One of my favorite things he said was in response to a question about those little sins we all hold on to and even though we try, we just keep going back to them and how we can have faith and hope when we keep making the same mistakes over and over again.  His response was, "Once you stop making mistakes, you're dead"  Then he went on and explained that throughout our entire lives, we are all going to make mistakes.  Some will be bigger then others, but all make them none the less.  As long as we have a desire to change and are on the path up and not down, then you will be good.  Stop fretting over little things and thinking you aren't good enough to make it to the Celestial kingdom.  Keep trying and keep going.  It was really good.

We went back up to Mt Baldy this weekend.  We went from 9 to 4 on Friday so it was a full day! We were definitely tired by the end.  We just shoveled a whole lot more dirt, mud and rocks.  All day. But it was good and we all really loved helping out.  The people that live in Mt Baldy were very appreciative.  

That is about all that happened.  It was a slow week.  We met with monica and her kids this week and they all came to church.  We have a lesson with them today! yay!  Manuel also came to church this week.  We have a lesson with him today as well.  And the Zunigas family didn't come to church, but we have a lesson with them today.  Hopefully we can figure out what their hold up is an help them out.  It has been 6 weeks since they have come to church....AHHH

Well have a good week.  I will talk to you next week.  Have a good week.  Be safe.  Have fun here in Ontario dad!! It is the place to be! haha

Love you all
Sister Woodward

Monday, August 18, 2014

Ontario, California -August 18, 2014

Hello Family,

My trainer Sister Morgan flew home today.  And Amber goes home on Thursday! So crazy.  It was during Amber's farewell that I decided to go on my mission and now she is coming home.  I can't believe how fast time has gone since then.  Less then three months til I am home and less then 2 til Cameron is home.  Does he know what he is doing for school?  Has he even thought about it yet?  Does he realize he is running out of time??

Well this was a good week for us.  We were finally able to have a lesson with the Zunigas family.  They told us they weren't sure if they would be ready for baptism on September 13th and they haven't come to church in 5 weeks, so they are probably right. We have a lesson with them tonight and are going to talk to them about that again.  Hopefully we will set a date that they will feel okay reaching.  

We had a lesson with Monica and her kids this week as well.  They all came to church and loved it again.  They are doing well and are planning on being baptized on September 13th.  Monica has a few issues with the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity, so those lesson could be interesting.  She doesn't agree with them.  So I am not sure how she will react during the lesson as we teach them to her kids.  Hopefully she will be on board, but I am afraid she will raise some objections.  

Manuel came to church as well.  He stayed all three hours and we had a lesson with him after church.  He has a date for September 6th and is excited for that.  He will need to have an interview with President Hobbs instead of just our district leader.  We will see how that goes.  We are trying our best to fit all the lesson in the next two weeks which is going to be a struggle.

We get to go back up to Mount Baldy this Friday.  We are excited to go and help up there again.  Our bishop announced it in Sacrament and that was the first we heard of us going up.  So that was a surprise.  But the whole Ontario stake has been asked to go up and help that day.  There should be a lot of people.

Elder Nelson is coming this weekend to Upland, so he is having a conference with our whole mission.  Not with Redlands this time though.  We are all excited for that.  It should be fun. He seems like a cool guy but also quite intimidating.  Also transfers next Monday so I will let you know what happens.  Crazy that it is already here again.  So look forward to that next Monday!!

Love you all and have a good week
Sister Woodward

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ontario, California -August 11, 2014

Hi guys,

Last Monday our zone went hiking up in Mount Baldy.  Well we drove to trail head, walked for maybe 15 minutes and drove home.  There was a sister in the group that was complaining and demanding that we had to be home by 10 so she could get to the rest of her p-day.  So by the time we got there and the time we had to drive home, we didn't really hike.  It was kind of ridiculous.

As we were up there, a lot of people had been telling us that the trails we had been hiking on were all flooded the night before.  We thought, oh cool. what a nice story, but nothing else of it.  Monday night we got a text from our zone leaders saying that on Sunday night because of the rain, Mount Baldy had flash floods, and mudslides.  A few people were even killed and so all day Tuesday we were going up to help with the clean up.

Long story short, our zone leaders complicated everything with the rides because they are 18 year old boys and dont know how to organize anything!!!! but we got up there.  It was crazy.  I don't know how we missed it the day before.  Sister Manumua and I got assigned to a house where the mud had broken in the back door and was at least 4 feet deep.  It was thick, heavy and filled with boulders.  It was a lot of work and in the time we were there, we barely made a dent.  There is so much to do.  All the other missionaries in our zone were assigned to different homes.  They had camera crews, newspaper reporters, bulldozers and other heavy equipment trying to help.  If you google the local paper here, there might be pictures and a few missionaries quoted in there.  I think we are going back up this week to help again.  President is switching off each day which missionaries are going up.

Thursday we had exchanges.  I stayed in my area with Sister Soleta.  She is from the Philippines.  We had a fun day.  It was good.  We had so much set up that we didn't even have time for lunch.  That happens quite often in this area.  

This last week we had 2 lessons with Monica and her kids.  They are all excited to get baptized.  We have another lesson with them this week. One of our lessons we taught the plan of salvation.  I wasn't sure how much they even understood.  They didn't say much during the lesson.  Later that day, our zone leaders text us and told us they ran into Isaiah when he was out walking their dog (Imagine that.  a 15 year old boy walking the dog)  They said that Isaiah had told them we had a lesson earlier with them.  He then went through the whole plan of salvation.  They said he got it all right.  So I guess he did understand it all.  Pretty cool.

Saturday night the Sisters in the YSA branch text us and asked if we could find a ride for an investigator they had found who should be in our ward because he is almost 31.  We had our RS Pres and her husband pick him up.  His name is Manuel.  He came to sacrament meeting and loved it.  Both speakers did a really good job.  We then went with the YSA sisters to his house for a lesson at 4.  He read part of the book of mormon since he last lesson.  I guess he took the lessons a few years ago and was all ready to get baptized.  He then got in trouble with the law and couldn't be baptized.  He decided to completely clean up his life and take care of everything before he found the missionaries again.  So he is all good now and a few weeks ago, he saw Sisters Crowley and Buck on the street and asked them to teach him the lessons.  So we set a date with him for the 6th of September.  We are excited.  He is too.  It is going to be good and he is so ready!  He can't wait.

So it was a good week overall.  We had fun and even found someone new to teach! YAY! I love this area and I sure don't want to leave in 2 weeks. I hope President lets me stay. 

Well thanks for everything.  I hope you have a good week.

Love you all
Sister Woodward

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Ontario, California -August 4, 2014

Hey family,

Well it sounds like it has been quite a busy week at home.  I am glad that everyone got to Iowa and back safely and that Darcy's ankle is healing up well.  Good good.  We can't have her out for the Sparta game.  

And school is all starting soon.  That is quite fun.  I bet mom is the most excited, or maybe Gislene.  It is probably a close call.  Speaking of school, I think I have made my decision about school....drumroll please... I think I am going to move all the way up to Rexburg, Idaho and go to BYU-I.  (okay mom, stop with the marriage jokes).  I have a super good friend in the mission, Sister Havens, who I am going to room with, if we get on the same track, so we are praying for that.  I wanted to go to USU but God is telling me otherwise and so I figure it would be smart to listen to Him.  Just though I would let you all know. 

Well this week has been good for us.  It has been interesting.  Not the normal week for missionaries.  We did have a lesson with both Ceci Zunigas and her family, as well as Monica Costa and her family.  Both lessons went really well.  We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ to both families.  Monica and her kids came to church and enjoyed it again.  We talked to them about a baptismal date and they want to do it for September 13th-yeah I know the same day as the Zunigas family.  So that would be 7 baptisms in one day, which might be a little much.  Monica wants to maybe do it a week or two earlier (August 30th) but one of her daughters likes the number 13 and wants to do it then.  So we will see what happens.

We also went back to Sister Shelby's house and finished her yard.  That was another 3 hours of work.  Right after that, we heard of a new couple that was moving into our ward.  Sister Manumua headed over to help.  They just moved from Odgen and some of her sisters went to Sky View and live in southern Cache valley right now.  That was cool.  We also went to the food pantry to help again.  

Sister Manumua got sick, so we were out for 2 days with that.  She was having super bad stomach problems.  Then yesterday at church, my face and eye lids were super itchy, but I didn't think anything of it.  When I got home, I washed my face and my face and eyes were all swollen.  I don't know what it was because I didn't eat anything (fast Sunday) and I haven't changed anything with my make up.  So that was fun.  I took some allergy medicine and was asleep for the rest of the evening and night.  So we weren't able to do as much proselyting this week as normal, but it was still a good week.  

We have zone meeting this week, zone conference combined with upland next week and then a mission conference with Elder Nelson  the next week.  So these next three weeks are going to be crazy.  And then right after that it is time for transfers again! Crazy how fast time goes.  

I get home on November 17th actually.  So about a month exactly after Cameron.  Our mission flies the missionaries out on Monday.  So just a few days earlier then mom thought, but I guess I can wait an extra Sunday.  That would have been cool and so much easier to do a combined homecoming, but I guess that isn't going to happen.  But I can plan on the 30th.  It doesn't really make a difference to me.  

Well I think that is all.  I hope you kick some sparta butt!  Go girls go! have a fun week.  105 days left! better start the countdown chain! haha

Love you all
Sister Woodward