Monday, July 28, 2014

Ontario, California -July 28, 2014

Hey family,

Our week was crazy.  Be ready for quite the email.  I will see what I can get in, in the time I have left.  

Monday: P-day nothing too out of the ordinary

Tuesday:  District meeting then zone lunch afterwards. We made pancakes.  That was a lot of fun.  In the evening we had a lesson with the Zunigas family.  Just as a reminder, we are teaching the mom, Ceci, two sons, Oscar and Evay (no idea how to spell that one) and a daughter, Brianna.  We had Brother and Sister Doddridge join us for their lesson.  When we got there Oscar had hurt his knee and was down stairs.  He didn't think he could walk up the stairs for the pain.  Brother Doddridge offered to give him a blessing.  He then talked about the Priesthood-where it came from, what it is, what it does, who can hold it ect.  Ceci's nephew was there as well.  He was the first one to be baptized in their family.  He is the one that introduced Ceci and her sons to the church.  He bore his testimony on the Priesthood and the blessings he has received since he got it a few years ago.  It was a wonderful lesson.  Then we dragged Oscar upstairs and Brother Doddridge gave a blessing to Oscar.  It was great.

Wednesday:  In the morning, the Elders in our ward and Sister Manumua and I went to a single lady's home in our ward.  Her husband passed away recently and she was trying to get her yard work under control.  She asked us to weed against her back wall.  Sister Manumua and I got straight to work while the Elders did whatever elders do-I still can't figure that out.  We weeded probably a section that was 3 feet wide and maybe 35 feet long (not exaggerating) in the time the elders did a section 4 feet by 5 feet-maybe.  It was ridiculous.  Sister Shelby (the member) came to us and told us we put the elders to shame by a lot.

After that we went to the food bank and gave some service there. We helped fill orders and restock shelves.  There is this program coming out by the church called Just Serve.  They want us to serve, imagine that. So us and four elders from our district go every week there.  It is fun.  

Thursday:  There is a less active lady in our ward named Angela.  She said she needed some help in the morning.  We went over and she said she had a bunch of family coming into town and needed help putting together tamales.  So that is what we did.  We learned how to put them together (can I just say, way too much work for such little food!)  She then gave us a dozen doughnuts for helping.  Well we sure weren't going to eat a dozen doughnuts so what do you think we did with them?  That's right.  We found Elders.  They loved it.  

Friday: We did our weekly planning with the zone leaders...Fun stuff.  It wasn't too bad. Just long.  Then Sister Shelby wanted to take Sister Manumua and I out to dinner.  We went to her house and then headed to Upland (don't worry we got permission).  And guess who we picked up there? SISTER RILEY and her new companion! It was so much fun! We were all so excited.  So we went and had a lovely dinner together! Loved it

Saturday: (here we go)  So we didn't finish Sister Shelby's yard on Wednesday so we came back Saturday.  We brought our zone leaders though so we would actually get some work done.  And luckily the elders in our ward were on exchanges and the one that we are pretty positive has never seen a weed before in his life, was gone.  We had to go back over the Elders area from Wednesday because they really didn't do anything. Then we planted a bunch of trees and vines and bushes were we weeded the other day.  We mowed the lawn and trimmed bushes and we started weeding a whole other section as well.  Didn't get done with that in time so we are going back once more.  It should all get finished this week.

Next we had a lesson with our zone leaders and someone they had tracted into in our area.  They are in the Tongan ward so they cover all of Ontario.  We went over there.  The mom, Monica is a less active and when the elders came by she asked them to come back later and give her a blessing.  They had us come with them since we are the missionaries in her ward.  She had told us that there have been quite a few times that she has thought about returning to church and something happens-once the missionaries came and left a card on her door.  She got home from work and found it (That just happened to be Sister Respecia)  Another time, she was driving thinking about it and Elders rode by on her bikes.  Another time she was at work, Payless, and two sister missionaries walked it.  Well can you guess which Sisters those happened to be?  Let me tell you a story:

About a year ago while serving in Rancho Cucamonga with Sister Pollard, we were meeting a member at one of her favorite stores called Fashion Rush on a pday.  We got there a few minutes early and decided to go look at payless next door. So we walked in and the cashier was super nice and overly friendly.  We figured she had to be a member.  As we got talking she said she was a less active member from Ontario and told us the same things that she told us in this lesson about the missionaries coming at the right times over and over again.

So it was actually me that ran into her at work when she had been thinking about going back to church and now I am teaching her.

So we invited her and her three kids, Isaiah 15, Victoria 12 and Tatiana 11 to come to church the next day.  Monica explained that it was Isaiah's 15th birthday and he wasn't sure if he wanted to go to church.  We told him we would bring him ice cream for his birthday if they came.  The Elders talked about the priesthood, gave Monica an amazing blessing (so cool the things that were promised-family being together for eternity)  and we left

We then went to our other investigators home.  Her name is Sabrina and she is addicted to pain killers and once she can kick that addiction she is going to get baptized.  We had a super powerful lesson with her about the plan of salvation and then I told her of things I had learned when teaching Sam back in San Bernardino.  I had seen how when he read the Book of Mormon daily, he had added strength to overcome his addiction to coffee.  I promised her the same power, strength and blessings.  It was wonderful.  God has it all figured out.  I realized I had to be in San B. teaching Sam for a transfer so that I could come and teach Sabrina a year later and help her! AHH so cool.

Sunday: Sister Manumua and I were standing at the door of the church waiting for the Zunigas family to come it.  Church was about to start and we went to our seats.  As we sat down, a few rows in front of us, we saw the bishops wife talking to Monica and her kids! WHAT??? I guess Sister Freeman knew Monica because their kids went to the same school.  They were friends.  So they stayed through Sacrement then Sister Freeman grabbed them and gave them a tour of the church.  She showed them where their classes were and wouldn't let them leave.  Tatiana is super out going so she was fine going to primary.  Monica went to gospel essentials with Sister Freeman and we went to class with Isaiah and Victoria because they were super nervous.

After that hour we got them all to their third hour.  Sister Freeman was going into Primary.  We took Monica to Relief Sociey.  We got our ward mission leader to take care of Isaiah and found a young women who was 12 to sit with Victoria.  It was great.  After church we all met up with them. Tatiana came running from Primary saying "I love this! Can we do this all the time?"  Isaiah came out from priesthood with a ride all set up for mutual on Tuesday for him and his sister.  Victoria came out with handfuls of cookies and said she loved young womens! Oh it was so good.  We were so happy. And it made Monica a little less worried since she had seen how much fun her kids had.  It was great.

We noticed that Isaiah was really interested in the priesthood.  During Sunday School, there was a picture of Peter James and John giving the Priesthood to Joseph Smith.  It is the same one in the Restoration pamphlet we had left the day before. He grabbed the picture and was reading about it on the back.  We realized it was necessary for the Elders to find Monica so that Isaiah could see the priesthood and have that connection.  It wasn't until the blessing that Isaiah really opened up.  

We said something to Elder Fernando about that and he told us this: After the blessing he was talking to Isaiah.  Isaiah was looking at the same picture in the pamphlet.  Isaiah said that during the blessing he had seen two of the men in that picture actually standing there giving the blessing instead of Elder Fernando and Elder Ercanbrack.  "The two men in white robes" is how he described it. How cool is that.  This family has been being prepared for quite some time now and Sister Manumua and I are so grateful and humbled that we are two of the missionaries that get to help them out.  Amazing family!  They are something special! And we love them already!

Well that was my week.  I hope you have a good week and get through everything okay.  I love you all
Sister Woodward

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ontario, California -July 21, 2014

Hey family,

My new area is good.  It is SO GREEN compared to the desert.  It is pretty close to Rancho and Upland.  It is not at hot, but a little more humid.  It cools down a lot in the evenings and I love that because Apple Valley didn't do that.  My new companion is good.  You pronounce her name Mawn a moo a  That took me a bit of time to get down.  She is fun.  Her english is still coming along.  She is having a hard time explaining things going on here so it will take a bit to get a hold of everything here.  It definitely won't be a piece of cake, but Sister Manumua is super chill and easy going so I think we will get along just fine.

This last week has been crazy.  Our A.C. decided to leak water.  We didn't catch it until the tile in the ceiling broke and all the water came with it.  If we don't turn our air on it gets over 85 degrees.  We went to talk to the office and they told us there was no maintenance until today so we have just been dealing with it.  We keep the air off all day and turn it on at night.  We stuck our garbage can under the part that is leaking and it has been catching all the water.  That has been fun.

On Saturday night, at about 1 in the morning our fire alarmed decided to malfunction. It went off, but only for a few seconds then it was quiet.  Then a couple seconds later, it did it again, and again and again.  It was only the one in our bedroom and not in the rest of the house.  There was no fire and our Carbon Monoxide wasn't going off either.  I got sick of it and took the battery out after about 10 minutes.  I kept hoping it would stop and never did so I took matters into my own hands haha

There is definitely a lot of work in this area.  We have a family right now that we are teaching.  They are the Zunigas. They are hispanic.  There is the mom 2 teenage boys and a 10 year old daughter.  We taught the Restoration this last week and the week before they taught the Plan of Salvation.  They go to church every week and mutual and activity days. They all love it and are excited and on fire.  They have a baptismal date set for September 13th right now.  They will probably be ready before then.  They have family that are members and are very familiar with the church. They just need to take the lessons.

You will be surprised to know that I have learned to like fish on  my mission.  So I would be okay if you saved some for me when I get back.  My stomach has been doing a lot better.  It must have been something I was eating in the desert because I haven't had any problems down here.  It is good.  

I hope all is well at home. Have a good week. Love you all
Sister Woodward

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ontario, California -July 14, 2014

Hey there,

So here is the news-I have been transferred-again!! I am now back down the hill (a little cooler, but more humid)  and I actually am following Sister Riley into an area.  My companion is Sister Maunamua (maybe) and she is from Tonga.  She has been out for three months and seems super cool.  She is a world class athlete in track and field and is probably going to go to the olympics one day.  I think she gave up going to the olympics for a mission actually.  So pretty cool.  Oh and I am in Ontario.  A new area for me.  I haven't been here yet so it will be an adventure. I know most of the missionaries in my zone-fun.

I didn't think I was going to get moved, but I guess I did, and I cried.  The members I lived with were so amazing and I am going to miss them more then anything or anyone else.  When I told Sister Ebmeyer, she started crying, which made me cry.  They are so great.  They told me to come back and visit and bring the whole family, and if I didn't bring the whole family and if we didn't ALL STAY at her house, she would be offended (and trust me she wasn't kidding).  So plan on meeting her one day when I get home.

The last week in Apple Valley was good.  I have been having weird stomach problems.  Every day at about 3 I got super bad stomach pains and I would have to go home and just cry.  So most of the middle of the days, we didn't do anything.  It was a little slow.  I said my goodbyes and packed.  I cleaned and took some pictures (my camera was packed and I haven't unpacked yet, so next week)  It was a slow week for missionary work.  Sister Riley told me in the last 3 months they have found 22 new investigators, so there is definitely a lot of work in this area and I am super excited and I finally have another companion not from Utah!!

Well the new library only gives us an hour to email instead of three at the least one so my emails might be getting shorter.  I hope you have a fun week.  You are all wonderful.  Love ya bunches.

Sister Woodward

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Apple Valley, California -July 7, 2014

Hey Family

Well it sounds like quite the week you have had at home. I am glad you got cable so that the tv could help keep the kids attention while mom left for two weeks.  That is good.  And who doesn't want to watch the world cup?  Well lots of Americans, but other than that, no one!!  My guess for the world cup is going to my Argentina.  I think they will win.  And I bet Germany will beat Brazil.  Then Argentina will be Germany in the finale.

I can't believe Amber is already coming home! It was during her farewell that I decided to go on a mission and now she is on her way home and I only have 4 months left.  I wish I could be at Amber's homecoming, but I guess I won't have that much luck.  

On to what happened to us this week.  We had about 4 lessons set up with potential investigators.  We also had about 5 other potential investigators we were going to try.  We met with all of them, taught a few lessons and none of them told us to come back.  They all said they were comfortable where they were.  They like their church.  Their parents hated mormons-lots of reasons.  So we weren't able to find anyone this last week. But hey we have one more week in the transfer and lots of time to go and find!!  Miracles happen!

On Wednesday we had a lesson with the Borse family.  They are less active and have 7 kids.  The 2 oldest don't want anything to do with the church.  Usually the mom and the other five are there for out lessons.  This week was girls camp so we were missing the next two oldest.  The mom text us on Tuesday night and asked if we could teach a lesson about borrowing without asking.  So we came up with the idea to take a bunch of the kids things without them knowing.  We warned the mom.  So we got to the lesson and told the kids we had never seen their rooms or their favorite toys.  They proceeded to take us to their rooms and show us everything.  As soon as they put down a toy, either Sister Ellis or I would grab it and stick it in our bags.  We then went back out to the family room and taught the 10 commandments to them.  We told them we were going to focus on stealing though because recently one of the daughters bikes got stolen.

We started to pull out all of their toys from our bags giving different scenarios  for each toy we took.  We asked them out they felt when they found out we had it.  We asked them what they thought other people feel when they get things taken from them.  It was a really good lesson and we had a lot of fun with it.  The mom enjoyed it and I think we got her point across.  

Friday was a great day.  We had to do our weekly planning with our zone leaders-that was fun. haha That took about 2.5 hours.  We went home at about 5:45 because it was the holiday and we need to be in at 6 on holidays.  Sister and Brother Ebmeyer had dinner ready. Sister Ebmeyers dad was there and so was their grandson in law.  We had dinner and then decided to play a game of UNO.  Josh (grandson) and Grandpa Newman both wanted to leave but we talked them into staying for just one game.  This was the craziest game of UNO I have ever played!! It went on for an hour and a half-not exaggerating.  SO LONG.  All of us at one point got down to 1 card and then everyone would team up against them and with in just a few turns we would be at 15 cards.  It was crazy, but so much fun.

Then we went outside and played badminton for a bit.  That was fun.  It was like 830 the weather was in the high 80s and we enjoyed it.  We went inside to plan, but heard fireworks.  We went out side but couldn't see any.  So sadly we went back to our bedroom.  A few seconds later Sister Ebmeyer came running to our room and told us she saw fire works. the three of us all ran outside to the back and found some fireworks.  We pulled their tramp to a good spot and sat and watched them for about half an hour.  Then the three of us just laid on the tramp and looked at the stars for another 20 minutes or so.  We just talked and had such a good time.  We saw a few shooting stars.  It was so fun.

Saturday we had an awesome lesson with a less active.  She is 14 and her name is Maddie.  We watched Joseph Smith the Prophet of the Restoration with her.  She asked so many questions.  She has been reading her scriptures and marking them like crazy.  Every time she has questions she texts us or calls us.  We meet with her twice a week.  She has come so far since we came here.

No other missionaries have ever been able to get in their house.  We were the first.  The first time we met Maddie she was mouthy and mean and back talked everyone.  She said she didn't have any believes and would barely come out of her room to say hi. We kept bugging her (knocking on her bedroom door, calling her, leaving things outside her window) and finally she opened up to us.  She just needed that attention.  She know is super sweet. She has made such a change and she even commented on it the other day.  She is happier and her whole family situation has changed.  She has asked us how she can have the spirit with her more and how to repent.  Her younger brother just got the priesthood and that has made a huge difference as well.  Just have the presence of the priesthood in the home makes a difference even though it is just the Aaronic priesthood and we have now witnessed that.  It was amazing.

Well that is about all for this week.  I hope you all have a good week.  I love you lots.  Keep Maggie safe for another 4.5 months.  Have fun in Canada

Love Sister Woodward