Sunday, July 28, 2013

Forget Yourself

Sister Wood's Last E-mail from the MTC - She Leaves Monday Morning for the Philippines

Sister Wood and Sister Ulu'ave - Sister Wood has loved her Kasama (companion)

KUMUSTA for the last time from the MTC!
So yeah, this is my last e-mail from good old Provo, Utah!  I seriously can't believe it, but that's okay because I don't need to! It has been such a good week to end our stay here.
On Wednesday we got to host the new missionaries that came in. I had been looking forward to that day since the day I got here! As new missionaries started pulling up, and families began saying goodbye, I begun to change my mind about the whole concept of hosting. I HAVE BEEN HERE FOR 6 WEEKS AND I WAS THE ONE TEARING UP AND CRYING!!! Seeing these moms just latch on to their sons like they were never letting go just ripped my heart out haha. It was the most sad thing in the world. And on top of that it reminded me of when my family dropped me off at the MTC and I was the biggest ball baby ever. I got to host a girl from Samoa! It was so sweet! We help them get their books, badge, new room, and new classroom. She was an international missionary so I had to show her all of these different places. All in all though, hosting was a great time, and a good way to spend 3 hours of our day!
This whole week I spent my time in the gym-gym playing basketball with the elders. LOVED IT okay. Obviously there has to be at least one other sister playing, so don't think it was me and a bunch of guys. although if we weren't in the MTC that is how it would be haha. So we played lightning some more and I am not saying this to brag, but I was literally RAINING from the 3 point line. I won like 3 games in a row and all the elders were getting so mad! When the elders are mad, that's when you know you've done your job. :) Anyways, we started playing 3 v. 3 instead of lightning and sisters have to guard sisters and elders guard elders. So it was me and two guys vs. two other guys and the girl guarding me. I just can't handle it because I GET TOO COMPETITIVE! Most the time, an elder drives passed another and are going to the basket....what do they expect me to do? Step away out of bounds and get an easy lay-up? Uh no, not happening! So that was the only time I guarded the guys, (or got in the way.) But then as we kept playing, I am sure that Heavenly Father was not happy that I would sometimes guard the Elders because I hurt my back way bad playing, and could hardly get out of bed the next morning! Hahaha. Haha but don't worry, I am okay now! :)
So funny MTC story. My kasama and I were walking back to class directly behind these two elders. There was traffic coming the other way as well, and one of the elders that was passing reaches around and taps the elder on the butt that was right in front of me! I just chuckled cause it was funny. (stupid stuff is funny here). Well the elder in front of me turned around and gave me this indescribable look. I looked at him like, okay why are you looking at me like that? He was like ummm... I was like what? I told him THAT WAS NOT ME! And he said "oh I was just about to tell you how inappropriate that is for a sister to do". He thought it was me who did it! Gee wiz!  But it is kind of funny because the kid that actually hit him was named Elder Woods hahaha.
I have learned the extreme importance of LAUGHTER here at the MTC. Or anywhere for that matter. Isn't laughing the greatest thing ever? I could do it all day, all the time. My kasama and I laugh all the time and it is the best! Being able to laugh about how dumb I am sometimes, or how weird she is sometimes, it makes everything better! Another reason why I love Polynesian people so much is because they make me laugh!!! And when they laugh, I laugh! Everything is just a funny joke. :) My fave.
On a more serious note, last Sunday we got to watch the talk the Character of Christ given by David A. Bednar. I think it is only shown in the MTC because he gave it at a Christmas devotional a while back. I absolutely loved the promises he made to us in the talk as well as the doctrine he gave. He promised that if we become CONVERTED in the Lord, we will never fall away from the Gospel. I think that is an incredible promise. He said that there will come a point when just a testimony of the church won't be enough. We have to become converted in the Lord, so we will never fall! He also mentioned a point that really hit me and that I will never forget throughout my whole mission. He blatently and boldly said "GET OVER YOURSELF! Your mission isn't about you!" Christ gave us the perfect example of turning outward to the people and forgetting himself. As we get over ourselves and turn outward as Christ has done, "You will truly find yourself, but you won't be looking for it." I just thought that was so cool, and so true. That will always be in my mind. He also challenged everyone when we have a question about something, to go buy a cheap regular Book of Mormon. Read the whole thing through, and as you do it, mark up the whole thing with stuff pertaining to what you want to know. And afterwards, go through and find your answer. I decided to try this, so I went to the book store and bought a little mini Book of Mormon. I want to know more about the true character of Christ, so that is what I am focusing on as I read it! I love it, because as I read it, I have a purpose and goal on what to find out, so I read it in a different way if that makes sense haha. So if you feel like this could help you I encourage you to give it a try!
The Character of Christ - David A. Bednar
Yesterday, we had In-Field Orientation. OKAY REALITY IS SETTING IN! The guy who was in charge of it was saying that next Sunday we will be in our mission (Philippines) in a ward having to get up and introduce ourselves in sacrament meeting! OH MY LANDS. I joked and said that I better start preparing my shpeel right now haha. But really! How cool is that? I am super nervous, perro sobrang excited! The next e-mail that will be sent will be from the Philippines! In all honesty, I know I am not fully prepared to go out into the field, but I am so ready. And with the Lord's help, I will be able to do what I don't think I can do now. I kow that because I am ready and anxious, God will help me as I am obedient, diligent, and turn to him for help!
Well, I think that is my week in a nutshell! Everyone pray for me that my luggage makes it under the 50lb. weight limit!
Lots and lots of love,
Sister Wood



Sister Wood and her district with their Branch President
Sister Wood gave all the girls in her district these "Armor of God" necklaces
Sister Wood and Sister Ulu'ave hosting the new missionaries as they came to the MTC

Sister Wood and BYU soccer fan - he asked Sister Wood for a poster to take to Italy with him
Sister Wood and good friend from Layton High School - Elder Jaden Trujillo
She was so excited to see him before she left for the Philippines

Saturday, July 20, 2013

We Go Forth Enlisted with Helaman's Army

Sister Wood - Sister Barlow and Elder Fulivai.....and mystery photo bomber

Yet another week has passed here at the MTC. Don't ask me where the time has gone dahil hindi ko alam. (because I don't know). I have to really think about what all has happened this week dahil it just flies by.
First, I just want to make a note that EVERYONE sings here. All. The. Time. You know singing is just not my thing, so yeah I have had to get used to that. BUT more than anyone, the sisters sing. And their favorite place is in the shower. It gets a little loud and screechy, but patience is somthing that I am working on here, so they just need to keep belting it out! JUST KEEP GOING, IT DOESN'T EVEN PHASE ME! :)
Anyways, another load of missionaries came on Wednesday and I have seen a few people I know. We get to do the hosting this Wednesday, so it will be fun to do right before we leave! So if your are coming in this Wednesday I want to know!
I sent some pictures of the gym at 2M. Do you want to hear something funny? Actually there are two funny things. The first one is, everyone here thinks I am so strong.... hilarious right? I don't know if it is just cause I am the only girl that lifts weights, or... yeah I don't know why. I just make sure they know that I was literally the weakest one on the soccer team, and if they want to see strong, they should see my teammates. Now the other thing was, I went to the normal gym yesterday where the basketball courts are and some elders were playing lighting (basketball) and I wanted to hop in and play. On a side note real quick, there are a lot of girls here that I have played against whether it be in soccer or basketball, and you can kind of feel the "mind tension" between us haha. So one other girl was playing with these guys too, and she was behind me in line. That game is the worst if someone gets you out, and next thing I know... (just so I don't disclose names) a girl who was on the basketball team that we played when we were both undefeated, shoots after me and makes it first.... I was so angry!!! AH! But then we played another round, and I did the same thing to her, so yes payback (felt good). Then, not to sound stupid or anything, but the guys were getting so mad because between me and her we were destroying them... (remember the email about all guys being athletic haha). I figured out that I had to make my shot first time, because we all know my weakness..... layups..... they still haunt me to this day haha.
We had to say goodbye to our teacher that we have had the whole time on Thursday. It was kind of sad. He had helped us get to where we were, and you can see the photos we took that I sent!
Kasama ko and I taught some SWEET lessons this week. Everyone take a moment and clap for us BECAUSE WE COMMITTED OUR FIRST INVESTIGATOR OF OUR MISSION TO BAPTISM!!! YAY! Honestly, even though they are "fake" investigators, it was the coolest thing in the world. It felt so real! I really am a real missionary! WHAT! We worked hard to prepare this baptism lesson and it really had me stressed out because we weren't sure if he would, but finally we just said okay we just have to have faith! I wanted the invitation to be baptized to be perfect, because it isn't good when it is all broken up and their are a bunch of pauses. It makes you sound less confident. So I practiced the invitation that is straight out of Preach My Gospel because the wording of it is perfect....except in tagalog it is forever long. But I am never going to forget it now because it will be so useful! So we didn't have a special room to go in like we usually do to teach. We had to go right outside our class in the hallway. Which was super annoying because people were being loud out there, so it gave me doubts about how it would go. We started the lesson and it was going smoothly. I said my last phrase and was supposed to start inviting him. Then my kasama nudged me and wanted to bear her testimony before. The moment she began everything around us went quiet. I kid you not it was as if we were the only ones in the whole building. She got emotional and the Spirit was so strong it was like wow. So my heart started pounding and I was fighting back tears because I had to give this invite and I wanted it to flow perfectly! She finishes and I stay composed and start saying:
Susundan mo ba ang halimbawa ni Jesucristo sa pamamagitan ng pagpapabinyag sa isang taong maytaglay ng awtoridad ng priesthood ng Diyos? Magdaraos kami ng serbiyso ng binyag sa Augusto una. Ihahanda mo ba ang sarili ng magbinyag sa petsang iyon.
Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God? We will be holding a baptismal service on August 1st. Will you prepare to be baptized on that date? 
He agreed to be baptized and it was the coolest experience thus far! I can't when those are actually real people in the Philippines. AND missionary work isn't a competition at all, but we may or may not have been the only companionship to commit this specific investigator to baptism... Hahaha.
For Relief Society last Sunday, Carole Mikita from KSL News came and spoke to us and it was by far my favorite devotional. She told of experiences she has had while traveling the world getting news on the church and it was so cool. LOVED it. I also wanted to share a piece of a song we sing every week. They have made a song called As Sisters Of Zion that is specific for sister missionaries. I may have already talked about it, but this line stuck out to me this week: "We go forth enlisted with Helaman's army, in numbers much greater than every before." I just loved it because we really are enlisted with "Helaman's Army" or the Elders. Both of us combined make this army that is really just unstoppable. Especially in the numbers we have now. It is honestly incredible.
WE GOT OUR TRAVEL PLANS! IN A WEEK AND HALF I WILL BE IN THE PHILIPPINES! We get to fly to San Fran then to Tokyo then to Manila. The only issue I am thinking about is that our flight from Manila we can only have A TOTAL of 55 lbs. Hahahaha like seriously? So sorry mom I am going to have to pay 28 cents per pound I am over.
To end, my mom wanted to know how I am doing without social media/music. The music is what has been killing me. But strangely enough my mind is now trained to hum church songs all the time haha. Every once in a while I will go on a Taylor Swift singing spree, but not very much.. surprise I know. So yeah, the music is what I miss the most. When I go work out in 2M though, I just listen to my church music, so at least it is something! But the social media? I don't miss one bit. Dang... life is so nice without it! As much as missionaries sometimes don't like being cut off from the world, it is something that I think we LOVE too. We have one focus, and one goal. Help others come unto Christ. We don't need any type of social network to interfere! And I am actually so happy that I won't be getting a missionary Facebook since I will be in the Philippines haha. I just wouldn't like it. So it all worked out perfectly.
We are going in to our last week here. What in the world? I have tried to stay as focused as I can because I need all the help I can get before going to the Philippines. But I am so excited I can't even contain myself. Well, I feel like this e-mail is longer than it needs to be haha. Salamat to all of the people that have wrote/emailed me! I appreciate it so much!
1 more P-Day at the MTC!
Mahal Kita!
- Sister Wood
Sister Wood and friend from BYU - Ben Patch
While on her temple walk this little girl came up to Sister Wood and wanted her picture taken with her. Apparently she is a huge BYU women's soccer fan.
"The Jessica Ringwood Man" (not sure what this means exactly but this is what she said) Apparently he recognized Sister Wood and talked BYU soccer with her for a good 15 minutes. Crazy good fans - Even at the MTC  
Hot temple walk

Elder Tili - Straight from Samoa

3rd week of MTC choir - But in a letter earlier this week Sister Wood expressed how much she does NOT enjoy being in the choir.

Travel plans - Sister Wood leaves for the Philippines on Monday July 29th

I thought this was such a cool pic. Tagalog Book of Mormon, Giraffe (her fave) and Young Womanhood recognition award
I have to admit, Sister Wood ROCKS at writing letters!

Apparently this is a common occurrence - getting locked out
Pretty sweet gym at the MTC
Free Weights - she's lifting everyday - Josh the trainer would be proud
Sister Wood's view from the computer lab - look close, perfect view of the "Y"


Saturday, July 13, 2013

True Conversion Comes Through the Power of the Spirit

Sister Wood - having to much fun

Kumusta Everybody!
I hope you are all doing fabulous!
And I thought last week went by fast... anyways, MTC life is going great. The last few days have been rainy you know, and it has been awesome here! I don't know why it makes the days more fun, it just does!
The gym at 2M has been heaven to me the last week! It is what I look forward to most in the day. And geez for being at the MTC it is pretty nice. They have a cardio theater things going on with like 5 flat screens and different shows on them all. But the real plus is that it is the only place that you can wear headphones on the the whole MTC campus! So yeah its is the greatest and a time for a little getaway from everything! They also have free weights, so Josh would be really proud of me because though I do not like lifting, I have been doing some of his arm workouts. :)
The food here is gradually getting better, or maybe I am just getting used to it haha. They have a really good and fresh salad/wrap bar that I go to for every meal besides breakfast.
Typical day meals:
 Breakfast - oatmeal & peaches
Lunch - Salad/Soup
Dinner - Salad/Wrap/Soup/Pasta (depends)
So yeah, I shouldn't complain, because in a couple weeks I will be praying for the MTC food again!
A girl in my district and I were talking and realized that going on a mission could be one of the biggest preps for marriage haha! No, but really. On a mission there are so many things you have to learn about dealing with people. Like companions and such. Getting along with them and accepting their differences, because you are with them 24/7! It has taken so much patience, but I think I am getting better. I never thought I could handle being with girls all day and all night, but LOOK I am doing it, and it is actually not to bad. :)
The Tagalog is coming even more along! I actually know a lot more than I give myself credit for. Like when my teacher tells me to start teaching my kasama about the importance of going to simbahan (church) and I stare at her like what in the world? You really think I can do that right off the top of my head? So she let me do it in English, then the next time around, it just started flowing and I was able to explain it with what I knew! It was pretty cool. They have a lot of faith in us and expect a lot, which is what we need. 
The teaching this week has been incredible. We taught our investigator Tommy (our teacher pretending to be a real investigator) 3 times, and each time we came out, our teacher told us that was the best lesson so far. SO WE ARE IMPROVING! AND WE ARE FEELING LIKE REAL MISSIONARIES! In each of our lessons, the Spirit was so strong, and no joke, the Holy Ghost inspired us to teach the lessons a certain way, and it was exactly what he needed! You have no idea how exciting it was. We have taught him about The Book of Mormon, how to feel the spirit, and about life after death since he had questions about it. I know for a fact that it is the Spirit that teaches the people though. We are just God's mouthpiece. Gosh I can't imagine what it will be like out in the field! 
Speaking of the field, the next group leaves on Monday, then GUESS WHO IS NEXT?! Me. Cool huh?
2 Sundays Left
2 P-days left
2 weeks left
I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 22!!! Sorry, not appropriate, I have just been deprived. :)
But after tomorrow, we will only have one more Sunday here, because we leave on Sunday the 28th. Now when you think like that, it is scary. We get our travel plans on Friday, so I will let you know what they are when I find out! I think I am ready to go, but in reality, I need to learn as much as possible in the next 2 weeks.
Also EVERYONE, my mom is the best and got me some sweet stickers, so if you want one, you have to write me a letter! Hope that's an incentive... :)
Mahal Kita. <3
- Sister Wood
The District - 3 weeks out (halfway)

Sister Wood - Still in the choir! Miracles happen in the MTC

Sister Wood and her Kasama at language study in the computer lab

District Brownies
Ummm - Not sure. Her letter said they were attacked with cinnamon rolls
Sister Wood with Elder Alex Kuresa - friend from BYU
Sister Wood with Elder Dallin Johnson - High school friend
Sister Wood in her 1D t-shirt - Disclaimer: she did not actually wear this outfit in the MTC. She's just a dork!


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Teach People - Not Lessons

Class on the 4th of July
And she wonders why people were staring and calling her Miss America. God bless America Courtnee!
The fact that another week has passed just blows my mind! I don't even know what to talk about. I hope you all had a fabulous 4th of July! The 4th of July was a little bit different here in the MTC. Matter of fact it didn't even feel like a holiday! Besides the fact that I looked like a walking flag and that no mail came, so I didn't get your package mom! Yes, I was upset. Anyways, I am starting to get the feeling that I am the freak show here at the MTC. In a bad or good way, I don't know. A girl came up to me on the 4th and said she couldn't wait to see what I would wear that day haha! As I walked around in my patriotic outfit, I couldn't help but notice everyone's heads turn and stare. I already get looks since I am taller than every other girl, but it was like 10x worse.
 So for the celebration that night we were all pleasantly surprised and they let us watch 17 Miracles! It was the best!!! Then we went outside and had ice cream and got to watch the fireworks from the stadium of fire. It was legit and super fun!
This week we taught a few lessons. We taught Tommy and Nenneth. The lessons with Tommy were amazing! But Nenneth was a struggle. As we taught Tommy, the spirit was so strong and it felt so real. My companion and I were able to teach a whole lesson, and trust me, it was all because of the spirit. I found myself being able to say things I never thought I could and I WAS ACTUALLY SPEAKING TAGALOG! It felt so good. We walked out of the room and were screaming and hugging each other out of excitement. Can't imagine what it will feel like out in the field! We taught Nenneth and it was completely opposite. She wasn't talking very much and we both started freezing up and didn't know what to say. IT WAS AWKWARD and we hated it, and we decided we are never having a lesson like that again! A big thing we learned this week was to teach people, not lessons. We have to turn our lessons in to things that fit the needs of who we are teaching. It makes such a big difference. We had a devotional on Tuesday and the guy spoke about how there can be good days and bad, and he shared with us entries from him journal that were just UP then DOWN. And that really is how it is here. It feels so good to have good days, and then when you have a bad one with teaching or whatever, you have to get back up!
It has been an amazing week spiritually. As I sit in our classroom and we are learning this insane amount of information, I sat there one day and I literally could feel that there was someone else there helping me do it. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are there to help us ALL THE TIME! When we want it. And the last couple weeks that is all I have wanted, because I know that I can't do any of this without their help! I know for a fact also that scriptures speak to us. They are tools to give us answers and we can know the truths of these things through the Spirit! It is so comforting knowing that we can always turn to God for help. Gosh I love it! Praying has taken on a whole new meaning to me while being here, and I don't know what I would do without it. I am so blessed to be able to have my own personal relationship with our Father in heaven!
Thank you everyone for all the love and support! We get our travel plans not this friday, but the next! So that tells you how fast time is flying! Only 3 more P-Days here in the MTC! CRAZY! EXCITING!
Mahal Kita. :)
- Sister Wood

After Devotional

Sister Wood making her MTC choir debut 

Sister Wood and Sister Ulu'Ave - Regular class day

Temple walk in 105 degrees isn't very fun

She wore the dog skirt - hahahaha!!

I think she's trying to tell us something!