Monday, December 30, 2013

Seeing The Stars In Our Lives


Christmas Day in the Philippines with the Javier Family
 
Sista's

Sister Fuch's and Sister Wood

Christmas Day!!

Cow's usually pull these
 
Ouch!!!
 
 

I will just start out by saying that the elders told me the other day that an old lady that lives across from the basketball asked them a question. They were talking about how we all play basketball in the morning there and she noticed that there were girls there too. She asked them, "Is that tall one a tomboy?" Tomboy here means lesbian. She went on to say because only girls who are good at basketball are tomboys. So that was a big diss/compliment at the same time haha. Anyways, mornings are my favorite. Kind of a little getaway. We balled this morning too, and other Filipinos joined in too! My companion wasn't too happy that I made her wake up at 5:45 am on a P-Day, but I didn't feel too bad haha. Oh and in case you were wondering. Only girls can guard girls. So we guard each other every time haha.  
I feel like we have kind of hit a bump in the road with our area and the work. We have people coming to church, and people we teach, but no one really really committed to a certain date that they are working towards. The Javier Family is still ready, and they came to church, but we are waiting on her husband to be ready. Which I am happy that she wants to wait. They came to church together yesterday, and I hope they continue to have good experiences. The whole family is reading the Book Of Mormon and it makes me so happy. There truly is power in the Book of Mormon. It changes people's lives. No wonder why they are wanting us to flood the earth with the Book of Mormon. Haha so this week in La Paz we sat down to teach some ladies, there ends up being like 30-40 people that gather in to listen to our message. It went really well, but before we started, just for kicks and giggles, I told Sister Fuchs we were going to sing for them hahaha. Don't ask why I did this, because neither of us like singing. I just thought it would be hilarious. Because Filipinos like music. Haha we sang families can be together forever. Surprisingly it turned out pretty decent, and everyone was silent, so you could feel the Spirit. So just to everyone out there, even when you have a bad voice, the spirit can be felt through singing! haha. I am so grateful for our Heavenly Father because now when we teach, or when I specifically testify and bear my testimony, I can feel the Spirit. Even though it is in a different language. When I first got here it was really hard for me because when I bore my repetitious simple testimony in tagalog, i just didn't feel the same as when I did it in english. But it wasn't fair, because the people didn't understand it in english! As little time has gone by, I can feel the spirit as I bear testimony of our savior, and I know they can too. 

Christmas was absolutely fabulous here. Definitely the most different things in my whole life. But the simplicity of it was amazing. On Christmas Eve we visited all of the less active families. Of course for a bit I got distracted with some kids playing basketball, so I asked if we could join them. So yes, we played a game for about 20 minutes in our skirts haha. By far the most fun thing we did that day. All of the young little girls were sitting on the side watching, because here, girls don't play sports haha. Haha the other team didn't score a point. They were younger boys so literally half my size. No advantage there or anything haha! The next day when we walked passed the same court, there were girls out shooting the basketball. I mean I don't know if it was cause they saw us playing, but I hope they know girls can do anything boys can. :) Christmas was the best because it was a time where we got to know the people so much better and be one of them! We shared the same message with everyone we visited and I want to share a bit with you too! Stars, as I have talked about a lot, have become something big for sister fuchs and I! We love them so much. So we wanted to talk to the people about how the star was the sign of christ's birth. We talked about that and then told them about when we go out to La Paz, there are no lights out there. Wala ilau. So when you look up at the sky there are so many stars! So bright! Maraming maliwanag bituin! These represent all of the many blessings we have in our lives because of our savior jesus christ. As we walk closer and closer to centro, wala sa sky!! Why? Because there are so many other lights! Or, worldly lights. This could be things that are distracting us from being able to see the many things we have been given, but are focusing on the things that don't matter. But as we step outside of those lights, 'into the bukid,' we see all of the many stars and blessings that we have because of our loving father in heaven and savior jesus christ. I know that this is true. As I have been a missionary, I see all of the things that distracted me from the true blessings of the gospel. So many things that occupied my time that weren't important. I know that if we focus on things that truly matter, those stars will always be in our lives, even when the storms roll in. I am grateful to be a missionary. This work is hard. It was never meant to be easy, but I am thankful for who I am becoming. Thank you for all of your continued love and support!

Love, 

Sister Courtnee Wood

xoxox

 
 
Sister Wood's Zone

Missionaries in the Laoag Philippines Mission

Flower wreath - Sister Wood getting crafty

F. Family - Sister Wood gave all the boys ties for Christmas
 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Missionary - Someone who leaves their family for a time, so others can be with theirs forever. (however that goes)

First and Last Filipino Ward Christmas Party

Sister Wood and her Bishop
 
Sister Wood entitled this picture - All of My Favorite Things: Sunset, La Paz, Favorite Star
 
Merry Christmas! I hope it is white Christmas at home, just for the sake of my sanity, because it sure isn't here. :) haha. But I wouldn't want to be anywhere else! This will be my first and last Christmas here in the Philippines, and I can't even begin to describe how weird it feels. We had our ward Christmas party and that was a hoot. You can see pictures! And here in the Philippines, at Christmas time there are so many carolers! SO MANY! Except.........they come and sing and expect money. So it is hard! Because you feel so bad, but we just end up taking out a Resoration pamphlet and tell them this will make you a lot more happy than money! I just need to soak in all of these things because i won't get it again! 
Every morning this week we went and played basketball with the elders. Besides the day I had too bad of ingrown toenails to play. But don't worry, I worked the "soak them and work the skin" method my dad always told us, and it surprisingly worked. Anyways, basketball was a blast. Of course even at 6 in the morning kids would come out and watch us giant americans try and play basketball. I accidentally broke my companions glasses when we were playing, so that wasn't very cool of me. Good thing she is tough! haha. 
Oh my heavens, so this week we were teaching a less active family out far away from centro. We were sitting on this really low couch, so my skirt was on the ground. As we were teaching I looked from the corner of my eye on the ground I saw something moving, but I couldn't figure out what it was. I thought maybe a lizard, so no big deal, but then I actually looked at it and was like ANO YON SISTER!!!!!! It was the size of a lizard (so pretty small), couldn't see any eyes, dark color, and white whiskers, and moving very slowly. It started crawling next to my skirt and then they said BAO (rat). So yeah it was a tiny newly born rat that had crawled in and was touching my skirt. They just put it in a bag and threw it outside. So that's that story. 
At our ward Christmas party this week the missionaries had to put on a little presentation and so we decided to use the skit that one zone used to "The Hardest thing I have ever Loved to do." We pulled it off. With 6 people. I was the mom, and it turned out SO GOOD! We made it a spritual thing and everyone loved it. Besides the fact that I think since it was english, the filipinos didn't payattention to the words, and just the actions. So they thought that I was the Elders girlfriend. But filipinos are all over that type of stuff, so whatever haha! Everyone did such a good job of acting it out and it was just perfect. I have it on video, so you can see it when i get home! 
The Gospel is an amazing thing. The Spirit is an amazing thing. Teaching a lady out in La Paz this week named Glenda. Cool cool lady. We were teaching her about the book of mormon and at the end of the lesson she began to tell us how we were one of the signs she has been given that this is what her family needs right now. She needed a change. There was just something about this situation that as she told us her experience I looked around. We were in this tiny little shack with banana leaf roof, blazing hot, goats running around, and the smell was horrid. Yet the Spirit was there testifying to this sister that this is what she needed. The goose bumps on her beautiful dark skin in the heat of the day. It truly testified to me that this is the Lord's work. The Spirit is what converts these people, and can touch the hearts of the people no matter what the conditions. 
At this time of year the one thing a lot of missionaries would say is, "I miss my family." And I would be right there with them. But as I stop and think about it for a second, we need to be here. The statement about a missionary, "someone who leaves theirfamily for a time, so others can be with theirs forever, has always stuck with me. I want to share a little story about an elder here in our mission from the Philippines. He was in our district, and his experience was shared at Christmas conference. He was a convert to the church. When it began time to start preparing for him to go on a mission, his dad told him that if he went on a mission he would have no family when he got home. He is now here on a mission. Helping families have the oppportunity to be with each other forever, even at the price of giving up his own family. He hasn't received one email or letter from any of them his whole mission. When I heard this story about this elder I just choked up because I have a loving family that I get to go home to. He doesn't. This time spent here is nothing in the scheme of eternity. The story of this elder has taught me so many things. But I just want to say, as a missionary, how amazing it feels to be working in the Lord's army with soldiers that are strong enough to give up everything, even their family, to serve God. I am so grateful that to be able to help the families we have taught come close to our savior jesus christ. Through all of the hardships and frustrations, it doesn't matter. What matters is helping other families receive the restored gospel. I know that all of us are God's children, so we are all family. As we help our family members, brothers and sisters, receive the same gift we have, that is where we will find our greatest joy. I want to say how grateful I am for my earthly family, back home in Utah right now. Being half way across the world you realize how much your family means to you. I know why they are the central unit of the gospel, and why they are ordained of God. I love them so much. I am so lucky. Yes, I am sad I can't be with them at this time, but we have an eternity together. :) 
I want you all to know that I have an ever strong testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ. I am so grateful that God sent his son to atone for the sins of all mankind. As we testify of him every day, it gives us missionaries strength. I know that he is walking right beside us. I know that he has endured every thing that we are going through and truly wants us to turn to him so he can lift our burdens. I hope that we can all remember him this Christmas. Cause we all know that we just have to drop the last syllables, and we have the Spirit of Christ. Merry Christmas! :)
Love, 
Sister Wood
xoxox
P.S. Just to show you how funny tagalog is: 
womb = bahay bata (direct translation is house of the child. bahay = house bata = child)
Hahaha I love this language. 
 
Sister Wood's Church/Scripture Bag - Made from a banana tree
 
 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Courtnee's part in the Christmas program was the part of a TREE - hahahaha, tall people probs.
 
Sister Wood loves Giraffe's. This is a necklace that her Grandparents sent to her for Christmas from England. She was so excited about it.
 
video
Sister Wood's brief flower video. I must say that it is beautiful!

Hi everyone. :) Life in Laoag is going great and I am loving it here. Soooo.... there are so many little things that happened this week so I will just go right in order from where they happened! It has been a fun week that's for sure. We did so many things that the only issue is is that we didn't get to teach very much. So that's the down side of it! But don't worry, next week we are going to get at it! I want to say Happy Birthday to Dawsy Bear my Nephew and also my girl Taylor Swift for their birthdays this week! I did not forget. Thank you for being in my life. :)
My mom will be proud, but I made a filipino dish this week and it was delicious! It is just called sopas or soup! And it is super easy: just sautee some onions and garlic in oil and then add oil and then brown growned beef inside and then fill it about half with water and then put like that chicken boolion stuff and then put carrots and potatos and cabbage and noodles inside and let them soften and then put a can of evaporated milk. it is delicious!
Sopas - Soup
 
Oh my heavens so funny... okay so we went up to La Paz on Tuesday and I mean the ride is pretty long and there are hills and stuff. We took a tricey just how we normally do and I sat on the back and Sister Fuchs sat inside. Keep in mind this is what we do every time. Well the rule here for triceys is that whoever sees you and honks first to pick you up gets to take you. So this guy picks us up on the road and I tell him where to go. I for some reason always notice the type of motorcycles the men are driving, maybe cause stetson is obsessed, i don't know! But the brand of this one was Euro. That's it. haha so we head up there and it doesn't sound like the others and we get to the hills part and it was just like putt putt up the hill so slow haha. Anyways we were laughing our heads off and the guy kept saying bigat kayo! You two are heavy! But it made it up the one hill so no worries. Too bad there was still one more big one right before you get there. He got up speed but there was no way it was making it. We almost got to the top and it just died. Wouldn't even turn on again. I WAS DYING LAUGHING SO HARD! This poor filipino man and his euro motorcycle. Us sister missionaries had to help him push it up the hill. Haha I bet it was the funniest site in the wordl. Sister Fuchs said it best... "Pretty sure that motorcycle was built in a Toy Shop." We just told the poor man we would walk the rest of the way, so we apologized, paid him then left hahaha. Anyways, HILARIOUS. 
Next thing, CHRISTMAS CONFERENCE! It was such a fun day, but we all know... time flies when you are having fun! We had a really good devotional on Wednesday with the entire mission! We all squished into the Chapel at our church and President and the AP's and Sister Barrientos gave us a training. It was awesome. Hahaha this is a funny thing: Elder Tate got up and had everyone stand up who had investigators. So everyone stood. He then said okay if you left a boyfriend or girlfriend before your mission stay standing. A lot sit down. But still a lot up too. And then he said okay if you have been dear johned sit down. So basically it was just to see who has been Dear Johned and dumped on their mission. So horrible, but so funny at the same time.
Elder Tate
 
After the devotional we all ate lunch together and then went and changed to play sports. It was a blast. I played soccer for half the time and then basketball with the elders and president for half too. Elder Egan that was in my math class in high school played with us and we scored a sweet goal. Haha so happy to have the kid who helped me in math class all the time in the same mission as me haha! Such a small world. I could've played all day. Nothing has changed with my lay ups though. Extremely embarrassing haha. Then we went and changed and had dinner at the church again and that is where we had the skits and dances. Haha everyone was so creative and for the most part so out of their element. I think our dance was the worst though. Sadly. Haha it was not too hot. But ours was cool because the polys in our zone put a twist to it at the end and ended it with this polynesian dance that involved president! So that was cool. And then our skit was pretty funny. It was a cool twist on the Christmas Carol. And yes my part in it was a tree. Hahahaha. I am still laughing about it. One zone did a skit to the song "The Hardest thing I have ever had to do." If you are a part of the "MISSIONARY MOMS" don't listen to it, you will bawl your eyes out haha. It was really sweet though. Then we did a gift exchange with everyone and that was fun too! We got home at 11:15 that night though and of course woke up at 6:30 am the next morning! :) It was a fun day that went too fast.
This week is transfer week! Nope I am not leaving! So I will be going on 6 1/2 months here in Laoag! I love it so much. But we will get a new apartment mate this week and she is filipino! Not only filipino, but ilocana! So I may be touching up on tagalog and ilocano. :) We are all excited! So many new different transfers this one. It will be a fun change!
On Saturday we had a stake primary activity that we spent the day at. It was specifically for the special needs kids and it was so fun. There were also so many people there which was even better. They need things like that here to get everyone involved. Such great missionary opportunities as well.
Yesterday all 6 missionaries had to speak in sacrament meeting. I spoke on the talk by Elaine S. Dalton, Be Not Moved. It was my goal to have it completely in Tagalog. It turned out being really good and I was super nervous haha. I don't know why! But I actually did it and even added in parts that were in ilocano! Yes, the whole congregation died hahaha it was so funny to see the reactions! I loved that talk by Sister Dalton. It is so important that we are constantly standing as witnesses of god at all times. As members of this church, there are always people watching us and we need to always stand as a witness of our savior and be not moved!
Also yesterday we got a text from President saying we had to go on exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders right then. We didn't know why but we found out Sister Diamond was sick and Sister Pamittan had to go out and work so Sister Fuchs went with her and I stayed back at the apartment with Sister Diamond. So we really really did not get any time to work! haha. But it is okay because to end the night we got to watch the First Presidency Christmas devotional. I loved every second of it and seeing the video of temple square with all the christmas lights. :) felt like home! They all gave amazing talks about our Savior. It was such a good boost. 
It has been an awesome week, but we are ready to go hard this next week! People to teach, souls to save! haha. Thanks for all of the love and support everyone. You're the best
Love,
Sister Wood
Brother Barruga
 
Classic

A stove that everyone uses to cook on

Christmas in Laoag
 

 
Missionary feet!
 
 

Monday, December 9, 2013

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

 
Drinking Coconut Water.....She loves it!


So this week I wrote down a few of my favorite things about the Philippines. Of course there are many, but these are my really really favorite. #1 The Stars. I don't know if I have mentioned them in previous emails, but the night time is the best time here because of them. I am telling you, they light up the sky. You know that movie theater in the Clark Planetarium that is just a sky that you look up at? Well it is exactly like that. Because there are no bright lights here like at home, so every star is visible. I have a favorite star that is brighter than the rest, it kind of follows the moon, and I look at it every night. :) The greatest thing though is riding on the back of the tricey on our way home from far out in La Paz,  and all there is is the night sky and the cool wind in your face. :) #2 Floating Lights. Speaking of La Paz, brings me to my second favorite thing. The lights they put out on the River. They literally put lights in bottles and they float. I think I sent a picture last week. They use these to mark the fish nets they have on the ilog (river). So siyempre, at night time, they are all you can see! I wish I could take a good photo of it, because it is so MAGANDA. #3 Coconuts. Right now people are getting the coconuts off the trees and we always happen to go to someones house right when they are breaking them. They are SO masarap (delicious). We drink the coconut water and then scrape the meat right out of the inside and eat it. Just a natural beauty of the Philippines. We also use them to make delicious coconut shakes. My favorite. #4 Legendary Mangos. Enough said. They are so incredibly good there is kind of no way to describe them. All I can say is after I cut in to it, it is gone pretty quick. Everyone always talked about the mangos here, but i didn't really care to believe them or anything. Definitely my favorite treat here. I wish they were easier to get and they weren't so darn expensive. Hopefully the price will go down when they get in season. #5 Letters from people! Joklang. :) but they are nice haha. So those are some of the beauties of this place. Wish I could share them with you all!
This week was pretty sweet. We went on exchanges and it was a good time. It is always a really good learning experience. For some reason my tagalog was so bangit and I felt like a trainee again hahaha. Oh well! Life goes on. That day I also got asked if I was 6'7. I mean yeah, I agree that I am tall, but not that tall. If these filipinos actually saw someone who was 6'7 they wouldn't know what to do haha. That day with Sister Pamittan we went to find someone who we wanted to teach and the only person there was this old Nanay. She had cataracts and couldn't see. Well we went in and asked her how she was and said we were missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints and asked if we could share a message with her and she just started to cry and cry. It was such a powerful lesson. She told us how her life is so hard because she can't see and told us she had been waiting for missionaries. She had two siblings who were members of the church, and she wanted to be baptized. WOW. How cool. I can't wait to hear about her baptism. 
We have been working harder than ever this week to hit standard and meet all of our goals. My testimony has grown so much from working to achieve these. Goals are such an important part of missionary work. It is how we learn to stretch ourselves and improve. We set the goal of hitting over standard in our lessons and WE DID IT! Not only did we just meet our goals, but the blessings that poured in because of it were amazing. We saw some incredible changes of heart in our investigators and a much more strong desire for them to follow our Savior. The Javier family from La Paz that we have been teaching has made some huge steps. Sister Joan has always been so interested in our message and been willing to come to church. She reads the Book of Mormon and prays always. She is living the Word of Wisdom, and everything we commit her too. She told us this week that she loves everything that we teach her, but she just hasn't known FOR SURE, that it is true. That it is the church she needs to join. I guess this week she was outside doing her laundry by herself and she began thinking about the church and stuff. Out of nowhere she heard a small little voice tell her that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. She now knows that it is the church she needs to jon and it is what Heavenly Father wants her to do. Man. Miracles are happening every day and its a blessings to be able to see. Not only that, but at church this week we had a couple less active families that once again have not come forever. People we were never even planning on coming back anytime soon. They showed up at church and our jaws dropped to the floor. Out of joy of course haha. Just these little blessings that the Lord is giving us, AND them. Makes me happier than ever. 
We have Christmas Conference this week and it should be pretty darn awesome. The whole mission is coming in to Laoag for it. All two hundred and something missionaries. We are having a devtional, doing skits, doing our folk dance, and singing in tagalog. Basically everything I can't do. I guess that's what happens on missions right? But we do get to play sports on Wednesday and president keeps telling me we are playing soccer. The real quesiton I asked him is if HE is playing haha. And like nothing, transfer calls will happen again this weekend! I don't think I will be transferred, but just the thought of it is crazy.
Well I think that calls it a week! It feels as much like Christmas as it possibly can in our apartment, and I hope that you and your families are enjoying this Holiday Season as well! 
Masipag tayo palagi! 
xoxo
Sister Wood 
P.S. if anyone knows what to do if your hair is getting thinner LET ME KNOW. 
 

 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy Holidays!!

I should preface this weeks pictures by telling you all that Sister Wood has been very sick with Dengue fever this week. But bless her heart, she never mentioned it once in her letter. She is my hero!!


Happy Birthday Sister Wood!!! - So Sicky :(
 
Birthday dinner on the balcony

Royal Strong and True - Always reppin BYU
 
 
Happy December everyone! I can't believe it is December already either. I hope that you all had a Happy Thanksgiving. We had district meeting that day and  we all forgot that it was a holiday! We went and ate at KFC, so I guess that was our Thanksgiving dinner. This week was magical because it was literally 70-75 degrees on some days. It felt so incredibly amazing. Haha all the kids were in sweatshirts and beanies. All the filipinos were freezing! So I guess that's as cold as it will get. I don't know! 
Thank you all so much who took part in the little birthday suprise that mymom put together! I loved it more than words can describe! Haha the birthday was just another day in the mission field! Nothing special! BEsides the sweet sisters made me dinneron the balcony, so of course that was a awesome. 
Yesterday we were walking on the street and out of nowhere  a big monkey jumps up on the fence next to us. IT SCARED US SO BAD! I swear I have seen more monkeys here... gosh. And it wasn't on a leash or anything! Don't ask what it was doing cause I have no idea. 
So you know the Javier family from La Paz that we have been teaching. Oh how amazing they are. We have continued teaching them and they are on and off magsimba (going to church). But this last week we taught Word of Wisdom and they immediately committed to quit drinking coffee. These people have so much faith! So they asked us when church was again this week and said they were going. They show up to church and we have gospel principles class. The topic was Eternal Families, which was so perfect for them! Well an RM in our ward decided to come in the class and was just going in to all of this deep doctrine stuff that did not need to be talked about with investigators there. They didn't really talk to us after church and just left. So I hope and pray that they were able to feel the Spirit there. There are a lot of times like that at church where we don't have control over things and all we can do is pray that the Spirit touches their hearts. I think that they have the faith, so it will be okay, it is just hard sometimes when we work to get people to church and then something unnecessary happens like that. But its alright! We also have another investigator, someone that Joey referred us to, and he has come to church twice, so he can probably be baptized this month! He is 18 years old and his name is John Eric. We have called him Jenerick this whole time though. They never correct us when we say their names wrong! 
Well I am so sorry this email is all over the place. So many little things happened this week and I can't keep them straight! I hope you all have an amazing December and remember the true meaning of Christmas. I was reading in 2 Nephi earlier today and it was about the Savior. All I want to do is become like Him. Too bad it is the hardest thing ever. There are so many Christlike attributes I need to develop more, but slowly and surely Heavenly Father is helping me. I am so grateful for our Savior Jesus Christ and his atonement. We are nothing without it. Thank you so much for all of the thoughts and prayers.I am so grateful.
- Sister Wood 
Tired, worn out, dirty feet

Sister Wood's creation out of plastic sacks. She wanted me to put this pic on pinterest. hahaha
 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!


Sister Wood dined on frog legs instead of turkey legs this Thanksgiving

Hi everyone!
Sadly we won't be celebrating Thanksgiving here in the Philippines, and I will be missing the apple pie and stuffing, but that's okay. The missionary work goes on! :) 
This week we had interviews with president, and a training from sister barrientos. It was the best! Mom and Dad and the funniest people in the world. My interview with Dad consisted of laughing and joking the whole time. So of course I enjoyed it. Man I love people with a sense of humor. :) Speaking of humor, it is humorous to say that I ate frog the other day! Our ward mission leader fed it to us. It tastes just like chicken. But gosh, the thought of eating a frog is just too weird. Enjoy the pics! Oh yeah another funny thing. Remember the story of the screaming kid and all the naked kids swimming last week? Well this week we were in La Paz again and taught people close to the same place. All the little kids saw us there and immediately ran and took their clothes off and jumped in the water. Started climbing on rocks and jumping off them and yelling "AMERICANA AMERICANA!" They wanted us to take pictures of them hahaha. We didn't, but I was laughing so hard. 
The highlight of the week though was Nanay Batugal's baptism. Let me just tell you all htat we had been looking forward to this day for the longest time. Since I got here pretty much. We got to the church and she wasn't there yet. Her and Joey finally rolled up in a tricy, and we immediately took her to put her white clothes on. When she walked out of the bathroom in her little white jumpsuit I about died. Yes that is a youth size jumpsuit and the bottoms still had to be rolled up a ton. So cute. Little Louie who is in the ward also was getting baptized, he is 8 years old. The program begun and the Spirit was so strong. The other sister missionaries sang kailangan ko kayo, and then a sister mae joy who is preparing for a misson gave a talk on baptism. The Spirit was more strong at this baptism than in any other that I had been to here. After the program we went downstairs to the baptismal font. Joey (her grandson) was baptizing her. Nanay is so old and fragile, so she had so much faith. They got in the water and Joey baptized her, and it was absolutely perfect. After she came up from the water, she hugged and held on to joey tighter than anyone I have seen. It was the most tender moment EVER! The Spirit was so strong, and of course I shed a tear or two. Joey baptized little Louie as well. He did such an amazing job. We were so proud of him and we know Heavenly Father was too! It was an amazing baptism. How happy I am to be able to be the instrument in the Lord's hands and help Nanay come closer to our savior. 
Nanay Batugal's baptism - Look how tiny she is!

Joey and Nanay Batugal - Joey is a recent convert and was able to baptize his Grandma
 
One of my favorite lessons we taught this week was to Tatay Fermin and his son Brian (20). Their family isn't yet sealed in the temple so we taught about eternal marriage. It was such a powerful lesson. There is just so much power in the temple! We talked with them about why you need to get married in the temple, and showed them a bunch of pictures of the temple and pictures of our siblings that have been married in the temple. You could feel the Spirit so strong during it. Showed them how happy they are because of it. They have a goal to go to the temple and I want to help them get there so bad. I know that if we always keep our sight on the temple, we will be able to go there. I am so excited for one day to be able to go to the temple and be married there. Definitely will be like the greatest day of my life. :) 

 
We got a referral a while ago for a less active family in La Paz. Other missionaries had run in to them in the Centro or something and had written their name down. We had it for a while until the other day i remembered it, so while we were in la paz we went looking for them. Somehow we happened to find someone who were family with this Agacir family, so they led us right there. When we were walking up to their house, they came outside. I have never seen a family so happy to see us missionaries in my life!!! They kept saying pasok pasok (come in, come in!) over and over. So yes of course we went inside. We sat down and they preceeded to tell us that they had been waiting for us. They had been waiting for the missionaries to come because they wanted to go back to church so badlly. SUpposedly they moved to La Paz from san nicholas so didn't really know the wards or anything. (i mean that is no excuse). But We were an answer to their prayers! We found out that the mom and dad are members, and they have 4 kids all over the age of 9 that aren't members. So we are so excited to start teaching the whole family. After finding the Agacir family it just made me think of all of the other people who are just waiting to be found and rescued. Whether they are less active, or not members yet. I just want to encourage you all to find a less active memeber. Find someone who needs the gospel. And friendship them and invite them to go back to church. Heavenly Father wants all of His children back in the fold of the Gospel, and it is our job to help Him. I know that your life will be blessed, but most importantly the lives of the people you touch!
I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving! It's the greatest time of the year! :) 
Love,
Sister Wood 
P.S. Will someone PLEASE keep me updated on the NCAA tournament? It's not like my team is playing in it or anything... :) haha. 
P.S.S. it is so funny because in tagalog you can change any noun or anything into a verb. I was laughing so hard the other day when i heard someone used "freak." Magfrfreak siya. She will freak out. Hahaha. Life is more fun in Tagalog, i promise! 
Sister Wood's favorite food!!
 

Monday, November 18, 2013

YOSO pt. 2 - You Only Serve Once Part 2

 

Sister Fuchs and Sister Wood

 
 
Today was pretty sweet. We had a zone activity and we went sand boarding. Just basically sledding/snowbarding, but on sand. It was pretty legit. The hill we were on had an ocean view so it was cool. So while you are at home in the snow, we are here in the Philippines sledding on the sand. :)
Zone Activity

So we are so blessed with the apartments we have to live in. They are incredible. The only thing is, the ANTS. I have never encountered so many ants in my life. While we are studying at our desks it is literally like playing wack-a mole and smashing them with our fingers. The other day we also found them all over inside our toilet and around it. Like so many ants. And then, Tom and Liza are the greatest and sent me tootsie pops. Which I loved so much thank you. And there happened to be literally a little sliver of a hole in the bag, and when i opened it, it was swirming with ants. But don't worry i just brushed them off, put them in the fridge, and still ate them. I guess I have been in the Philippines long enough. :) 
I have decided that all of the funny things that happen to us happen while we are in La Paz. This week we found a couple of ladies whose dad was a member of the church, but lived in a America. So we decided they would be good to teach. Well we started teaching them and of course like a crowd of 20 kids come and gather around. We continue the lesson and I asked her "Sister, gusto mo ba and walang hanggang pamilya?" Do you want and eternal family? She responded, "Hindi!" No. I sat there like wait what? I looked at our fellowshippers and was like did she say no? They nodded, and then come to find out, she thought I asked her if she wanted NO family. I was SO confused. So obviously there is room for improvement in my tagalog. It kind of made the whole mood of the lesson leave though, so I guess I just need to be better haha. Next thing, so as you have seen La Paz is along the big river here. Well we were walking along the riverside and come to this little lagoon where all the little kids are swimming and jumping off rocks. Super cool/sweet. I had to take a picture of them because they were so cute. So I walked over there to take a picture of these 4 kids and right as I was about to take it, this little kid who was swimming, but was away from us on the side (not the one i was taking a photo of) starts SCREAMING! BALLING! CRYING! Louder than I have ever heard in my life. I didn't know what was going on. I turned around and he had jumped in the water and started swimming to the shore (still crying). By this time, since it is La Paz, there are probably about 50 people watching this. All of the people are laughing at this little kid. He is probably 4 or 5. He gets to the shore, grabs his clothes (cause he was naked) and starts running. I did not know what was going on at this point. I told my companion we gotta go find that kid! So we start walking up the the walkway and i remembered i have some tootsie pops in my bag. Perfect. We look over, and the little boy is hiding behind the waiting shade. We could see his little legs there. I start walking towards him with a sucker and he starts screaming bloody murder haha. He was legitimitally scared haha. He starts running up the side of the houses and all i wanted to do was give him a  sucker because I didn't know why he was so sad! AFter he ran away there were about 30 people around me. I asked them ANO NANGYARI! What happened! They told me he was scared of me. HE WAS SCARED OF ME! I have never felt so bad in my life! hahaha. I couldn't believe it. This little kid was scared out of his mind. Anyway, I had to find this kid and give him a  tootsie pop. We walked up to the main road and there he was. At his house, on the balcony with his mother, just calming himself down from crying so hard. Probably because he knew I wouldn't be able to get him or something hahaha. I don't know, but I at least finally got to give it to him. :) I never thought of myself as scary, but I guess I am wrong! haha. 
I have amazing news. NANAY BATUGAL passed her interview and will be getting baptized this Saturday. It is going to be the most incredible day ever. This woman has so much faith. We taught her about modesty a little bit ago because being an old nanay she always just wears these little tank tops. Well we came back later that night after teaching her for some reason and we saw that she had changed her shirt to a modest one. I love the woman! She only speaks ilocano, but somehow we find a way to communicate. :) Not to mention the coolest news that Joey WILL be baptizing her. It is going to be such an amazing experience I can't wait. I hope we can make it the most memorable day for nanay. 
I just love this picture. Its Sister Wood's hand and Nanay's hand.
 
You know what, in the short time that I have been a trainer, I have realized how imperfect of a missionary I am. There are so many things that I could be better at. So many christlike attributes I need to better develop, just the WHOLE enchilada. But I do know one thing. That Heavenly Father has been with us in our work. As we do our very best as a companionship to have the Spirit with us, all of the flaws I have, and the ones she has as well, will become strengths. God sends the weak to do His work, and I have realized how weak I really am, but I am grateful for Him because I know that if I do what I am asked of, he will make up the rest. Every day I am shown the happiness that the gospel brings. Being able to look people in the eyes and bear my testimony to them about the joy they will have if they accept the gospel is a feeling that you can't describe. I am so so so grateful for this opportunity. 
Trust me, I know there are a lot of things I am missing out on right now back home, like the NCAA tournament, the holidays, all the things i love back home. But the Lord's work is what really matters right now. He is hastening his work, and I will be eternallly grateful that I get to take part in it. Have an amazing week everyone. :) 
xoxox
Love,
Sister Wood
P.S. Oh yeah, just FYI, our zone is doing a Filipino folk dance for the Christmas conference. Bahahaha enough said. 
HALO HALO

Sunset in La Paz

Elder eating Balut -  a developing duck embryo that is boiled alive and eaten in the shell. It is commonly sold as street food in the Philippines
 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hindi ko alam tungkol sa inyo, perro naramdaman ako dalawam pt dalawa!

Hi all, this is Kim, Sister Wood's mom. Courtnee has definitely maintained her sense of humor and quirky, randomness. I laughed when I google translated the subject of her email. Just know that she is a huge Taylor Swift fan and it will make much more sense......
 


Hi Everyone,
I had to make that the subject of this email in honor of her. So you can put it in to google translate and figure out what it says if you want. :)
Obviously it was a big week because of transfers and training, and everything else that went on! But I will start with the days that Sister Brewer and I got to be companions! Greatest days ever. Everything just went perfectly. We got to teach so many lessons, and the people, yes i repeat, they understood us the whole time! Heavenly Father was really watching out for us haha. But yeah it was awesome.
Sister Wood and Sister Brewer before their new trainees arrived!
 
This was the big week that we got our new companions! After the days of anxiously waiting, my new companion is Sister Fuchs from West Valley, Utah!  I love her. She is so funny. She is shy/quiet, but then out of nowhere cracks the funniest jokes. I love it haha. And she is so extremely chill. We make a good pair. And she likes soccer! So woohoo! I am excited for the next couple of months. Plus,being a trainer is super fun everyone. I love it! I am pretty sure that God gives trainers of missionaries the power to somehow understand the language more, and be able to commmunicate. Because somehow everyone seems to get what we are saying through our broken tagalog haha. The language is definitely improving rapidly though. :) 
Sister Wood and her new Trainee Sister Fuchs - I dare say that Sister Fuchs is in for the time of her life with Sister Wood as her trainer.

Sister Wood with her new trainee Sister Fuchs from West Valley and President and Sister Barrientos
 
So regarding the people we are teaching. I hate to say it, but the J. family we have been teaching from La Paz and who have come to church, they don't want a baptismal date anymore. They told us to just wait until they were ready. So we are hoping that they keep progressing, but i will keep you updated on that. Nanay B. will be getting baptized on the 23rd. We are SO INCREDIBLY excited for her. She is too. So enthusiastic. We are going to see if Brother Joey (RC) and her grandson will baptize her. It would be such a cool experience. 
With the transfers that happened, we got 2 new elders in our ward with us. So there are 4 sisters, 2 elders. I think it will be a good addition! 
None of us here were affected by the Typhoon. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those missionaries and people that are in Tacloban. There are many missionaries here who are from that area, so we are praying that they are all okay. 
Have an amazing week! :) 
xoxo
Sister Wood
PS, I am a giant here, we all know that, but the comments, they make to me make me laugh so hard. A 10 year old girl asked me the other day, "Apay malaking ka?" Why are you so big? I told her I was born this way. They thought it was hilarious. Anyways, gotta have tough skin here hahaha. :)

1D Lovin

 
Missionary Feet!  It looks like those big feet are getting a lot of miles put on them.


Dragon Fruit - Sister Wood's favorite!
 
 
Farmer Courtnee
 
 
The "Bird Man" - Sister Wood must be drawn to this man because he reminds her of her Dad. Lynn just might be the "Bird Man" of Layton.