Monday, September 30, 2013

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

Happy Holidays?? - Sister Wood told us that the Filipino people start playing Christmas music and preparing for Christmas at the beginning of the .....ber months. September, October, November December.

Sister Wood's first baptism - Joey
 
BREAKING NEWS!!!
The Philippines LAOAG mission SAVED 101 souls in the month of September ALONE! I don't know about you, but that is pretty sweet. Don't you think? 101 more souls that have the chance to live with our Heavenly Father again! I am pretty happy about it. Makes us 1 step closer to reaching 1000 souls by the end of the year!
And, HAPPY HOLIDAYS from the Philippines! Is it not Christmas there? Because here we are already singing Christmas songs in sacrament meeting hahaha. How cool is that? I mean people already have Christmas lights up and everything! All I am going to say is Christmas here is going to be a celebration like never before. Haha.
So we got a new Sister in our apartment and she is Filipino, and she is so so so cool. And speaks the language so good. Well duh, she is from here, but for me is awesome. BECAUSE my tagalog is progressing. I told her to only talk to me in tagalog. And if by the end of the month I can have complete normal conversation all in tagalog then I will buy her a halo-halo. Hahaha! Hey I need help okay.
This week we also finally got to have Brother Joey's baptism! Ah what a special day it was. My heart was so happy seeing him get baptized. He bore the most solid testimony in the world after it as well. No, I didn't understand it because it was in ilocano, but I felt it. And everyone was so impressed! He actually has already fellowshipped with us before he was even baptized! He is that good. I know that he will be such an amazing member of the church. Oh my heavens I almost forgot, my kasama and I sang at it........ haha no this is not a joke, this is real. We sang I feel my savior's love and When I am baptized. It went........... Okay. I don't like singing. So that's that. BUT the SPIRIT was felt as we sang so that is all that matters. We were so proud of Joey. He will help so many people! Not to mention that so many people from the ward came out to support him which made it even better. 
Joey's Baptism Day

Joey kept telling the Sister's that he is a white belt in Karate - haha
 
 
Dad you asked how we contact people, and we try and get referrals, but we mostly contact on the street! It has been working pretty well, and we can kind of discern who really would be interested. Yes it is scary at first, but I have gotten better at it!
The Lord is blessing us with such amazing people to teach that have so much faith. Even though we are teaching them, they are strengthening me! What a blessing. Our attendance from investigators and less active is increasing and it makes me the absolute happiest. 
This place is amazing.
Have an awesome week!
- Sister Wood
P.S. My companion told me my personality/chillness is like a guy. Best compliment I have every received. :) 
Sister Wood and Sister Brewer from St. George - They live in the same apartment and Courtnee loves her!
 
A market in Laoag that Sister Wood jogs past every morning
 
Laoag!!
 Sister Wood representing BYU. WCC Champions t-shirt and BYU backpack :)
 
video
I was so excited to see that Courtnee sent a video - Her caption said, " hahaha, this is all you get to see of me"
She thinks she is so funny!!
 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Life in Laoag Part 2

Sister Wood with their investigator Joey, his Nanay and cousin - Look at that cute tiny lady next to Courtnee
Welll what do ya know... it is P-Day again! So I am sure a lot of you heard about the typhoon that went through here. It was actually a pretty big storm. Pretty impressive mother nature is! BUT the sad thing is, because of it, we couldn't have our baptism. So we are shooting for next week! Kinda lame, but that's okay!
The power just randomly goes out here so you've always got to be ready especially at night time. Last night I was out talking to Sister Brewer (they are our neighbors) and all of a sudden the lights go out and it is pitch dark EVERYWHERE. So yeah, that was a tough one finding my way back inside. I am starting to have dreams in tagalog. Which is a pretty good sign. I need all the help I can get... so at least I am hearing the language even when I sleep! 
This week we had zone conference, and it was AWESOME! We learned so much. I loved it. Plus, we got to see tons of people, so I got to see my peeps from the MTC! Made me so happy. :) 
Zone Conference - Sister Wood was so excited to run into her MTC companion, Sister Ulu'ave
 
This week is transfer week. Which means for me, I have 6 weeks to prepare myself to be able to train since that is what I will be doing in November! I am way excited, I can't lie. 
I love being a missionary. It is the greatest thing in the world, but there come some frustrations with it as well. The power of the Spirit is an incredible thing. And I love when our investigators feel it. The other day we were teaching the sweetest young single mom named Pronaline who is so smart. We were teaching the restoration, and it was super powerful. After we shared the Restoration and first vision, she told us that she had goose bumps and knew it was the spirit. Yet, she still said she didn't believe it. WHAT IN THE WORLD? SERIOUSLY? I wanted to go crazy! Because she felt the Spirit so strong!!! Don't worry, we will work on her. She will realize sooner or later :) 
So I made it a goal to read the whole book of mormon this transfer. I started it when I got here and finished it a couple of days ago. I want everyone to know that I have a testimony of that book. I know it is the most correct book on the earth. I love the power of the book of mormon, and the role it plays in my life. Whenever I read it, I always feel strength. And as a missionary, I need that strength more than ever. I know for a fact that it contains all of the things we need to know to live with our heavenly father again. 
Well, I am so sorry this letter is short! Haha I cant even concentrate. THis computer shop is playing Ed Sheeran.....enough said. Have an amazing week! I would love to hear from everyone. :) 
- Sister Wood
PS: GOOD LUCK IN YOUR GAMES COUGS!!! 
 
 
Sister Wood on an early morning jog - stopped to take another random cow picture
 
Sister Wood's favorite Filipino dessert - halo halo

People doing their laba (laundry) in the nearby river
 
 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Life in Laoag



Sister Wood with her kasama Sister Rico

Hey all! this is Sister Wood's mom. I feel like I need to explain something she talks about in her email. She mentions her companion telling her to wipe the food off her face. I died laughing at this. Ever since Courtnee was little she couldn't eat anything without getting it all over her face. You would think as she got older this would change and maybe she would feel the food on her face, but NO. Even as a teenager she would eat ice cream and honestly she looked like a 3 year old. In fact, in high school, the soccer team had an end of year banquet and the seniors gave each girl a "gag" gift. They gave Courtnee a Barbie doll and they had drawn brown all over the mouth of it, like she had chocolate ice cream all over her mouth. I'm glad she hasn't changed! These are the little things that make her who she is.


Kumusta mga tao!
Life is great. It really is. Sorry about my last letter, my thoughts were all over the place and I didn't put anything that was even important in that! I know one thing... that I haven't changed one bit! As my companion and I are proselyting... I am telling her to wipe the extra make up off her face and she is telling me to wipe the food off my face! Sorry mom, I am still the same
September 11th was this week, and no I did not forget! We sang patriotic hymns all day and I even wore my patriotic get-up. I was happy! I really am proud to be an american, and since being here I realize how blessed we are for the freedoms we enjoy in the US of A! 

I'm guessing this is the "Patriotic Get-Up" that she is referring to - God Bless America
 
So we were going to visit an LA (less active) this week out away from the city and it reminded me of walking in the mountains. We get to their house and I look around and see that all types of birds are all over and there are big cages for them... reminded me of someone else I know.. (cough cough DAD.) We walked over and I told my companion, "We have to be interested in his animals to gain his trust and stuff, just trust me, I know how these guys think!" So I walked in and started talking to him about all of his different birds and his face just lit up! He took me around and showed me all the different birds he had and was seriously so happy! He was so attentive in our lesson and I know it was because I acted interested in what he liked! His favorite animal is the turkey. Haha. Hey you do what you gotta do. Dad thank you for being a crazy bird/animal man so that I had experience!
 
Alright, so we have a place in our area called La Paz, and it is beautiful. But we found out it is a lot bigger than we thought, and have had no foreigners there haha. We started walking where we had never been before and literally it was like a parade was going on. Us being the stars of it. Everyone was out on their balconies waving at us and it was just crazy! So we of course waved back, and yeah, felt like a parade. As we walked further, a herd of about 20 children follwed us everywhere. Even into the house of our lesson! The whole time they were touching my skin and touching the moles on my face and arms! Haha and then as we were leaving the little town, I had 3 kids on each side of me holding my arms/hands! Okay, I was so happy and I was in heaven. I love the children here. They are so so so so cute! I love being a missionary. 
Sister Wood and the "herd" of children. I'm not gonna lie, Courtnee's choice of words kills me. I laugh hysterically at her e-mails. She loves the Filipino children.
 
 
We have a baptism on Saturday and I can't wait! His name is Joey and he is 19 years old. He is so ready to be baptized and I know he will be a great leader in the church.
MOTHER, I got your package this week. It made me so happy. You are the best, and you know me way too well! 
There are miracles that happen every week here and I am so blessed and grateful. 
Oh yeah, we had a zone activity today. We played sports and stuff. My new favorite game though is rugby! AHHH IT WAS SO FUN! I got to play with the elders and a couple sisters. Besides the fact that my feet are raw/sore from playing it on the track. Hey the WIN was worth it. It was much
needed. :)
Have an amazing week everyone!
Mahal Kita.
- Sister Wood

 
After the Zone Rugby match - It frightens me that she has taken up Rugby. Sister Wood is far to competitive for this sport. Those poor 5'3 Filipino Elders don't stand a chance. The thought of it just makes me smile.

Zoomed in so I could see her big smile
 
 
Laoag

Laoag
 

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Hey everyone! Yesterday in the mail we received an envelope from Sister Wood with several pictures in it. What a treat!! It was so good to see her bright smiling face and get a glimpse of what her world looks like in Laoag.
Sister Wood and Sister Ulu'ave - MTC companions and both serving in Laoag


Sister Wood and Sister Rico taught these children before they left to go back home to Aruba
 
Some things never change - SpongeBob on her daily planner! fun to see her pictures in the background. Her team is always close to her,

Yes, this is my Courtnee hand washing her clothes in a bucket. This picture made me laugh and cry. Laugh, because anyone that knows Courtnee would've never thought they would see the day that she would be squatting over a tub of water washing her clothes by hand. I cried because I know she is truly happy doing this and it is experiences like this that will change and shape the rest of her life.

Sister Wood has been teaching a lady that owns this Dragon Fruit orchard. She said in a letter that  Dragon fruit is her new favorite. She loves it. I guess I better give it a try.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Life in the Pines....



Sister Wood holding what I think may be some sort of fish? Maybe someone out there can enlighten me on what exactly this is. I'm just glad that I'm not eating it. Courtnee however, will try anything. I mean, her Dad once had her eating a pigeon.
 
P-Day again... what in the world. Where is this time going? I am seriously going on my 6th week? I don't believe it.
I heard MY COUGS won this week, so I am going to start by saying that we were on a run one morning and I looked over and some random filipino was wearing a  BYU Quest football t-shirt! Hahaha it made my whole day. I love love loved it.
Last P-day my companion and I went and shopped around the centro, and usually we just get random cheap stuff we can use through out the week and we left that day and I went home with a Converse UK t shirt and a soccer ball. So I mean nothing much has really changed. Hahaha!
This week was a big milestone week because I had (for the first time) a filipino tell me I was MAGALING at TAGALOG!!! Which means I was good at Tagalog. I don't think I have ever smiled so big in my life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hey, it meant a lot. (even if she was just trying to be nice.) Because speaking of the language, we were in a lesson, and as I was talking, I started using SPANISH!!! Do not ask how spanish even came into my vocabulary hahaha. I was always so bad in spanish class too! But hey, it is what it is. Good thing they understood.
The animal situation here is crazy. The dogs and cats and chickens and what not. Like I said, they are everywhere. Not only that, but there are mixes that should not be mixes! For example, hound dogs with a wiener dogs body. I die laughing everytime. As well as the eyebrows that people paint on the stray dogs! Who does that?!?! Haha. And the other day we watched people pluck a chicken after killing it and then roast the whole body. I was freaked out by it, BUT. Why would I be freaked out by that? I would sit and pluck geese with my dad and watch him cut them open! And I still can remember how it smelled! How nasty is that hahaha. Oh I love you dad. :)
We haven't had water for 3 days and never did I understand how hard it would be without it! Gee wiz! But it is okay. Thank heaven we bought jug of water earlier this week. Gosh, how blessed are we back home? I think about it every day.
And MOM, when I was reading your letter from last week........lets just say I was walking around in the middle of the centro crying my eyes out! I love you and I love our family. :) The Lord has helped me get through so many of the hard and different things here. I don't know what I would do without his help. I owe it all to him.
Have an awesome week!
Love,
Sister Wood

"What? I know these people!" This made Sister Wood so happy!!

Sister Wood and a small cow. Oh how I love her randomness!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Rains Came Down and the Floods Came Up


Sister Courtnee Wood's e-mail address: courtnee.wood@myldsmail.net
 

Sister Wood standing outside her apartment - She wanted me to point out that her hair is getting long. The missionaries are encouraged to take a lot of vitamins so their hair doesn't fall out. It looks like those vitamins are doing their job.

 
KUMUSTA once again!
Life in Laoag is going fabuloso. (throwing in some spanish, why not)
Like expected during the rainy season, it is RAINING CATS AND DOGS!!! Haha I like that phrase, because here in the Philippines, it rains so hard that it could be cats and dogs, but at the same time, there are so many cats and dogs that you would actually think it rained them. Anyways, one day we put our huge laundry tubs outside and they filled to the very top in only 3 hours. Just from rain. So yeah, loads of rain. MALAKAS ULAN! But.... with rain comes floods, with floods comes homes underwater. Literally. On Tuesday we went and helped a recent convert family in our ward because the water was up past their waist in their house. Not to mention they have 6 kids, all under about 15. We got there and weren't allowed to go in the water so we felt so helpless. We seriously watched the water rise and go into a house that was free from water earlier. I will never forget that experience though because as I watched the father of this family he moved all their stuff and carried their children through this dangerous water with nothing but a smile on his face. Gosh seeing it made me want to burst into tears. So yeah, the water here is crazy.
The other day we walked into a house and I sit down and look up and there is A LIVE FROG HANGING FROM THE CEILING! It was hooked like when you catch a fish by a thick wire. IT WAS STILL BREATHING AND EVERYTHING! Oh my lanta it was the saddest thing ever. And they were just talking about how delicious it is. I couldn't even concentrate!
Oh okay, but now the other day the office elders came and asked if we had permethrin to kill a huge spider. We went to the other apartment and this thing was MASSIVE!!! It was all hair and probably the size of my hand. GAVE ME THE HEEBY JEEBYS!  Don't worry they killed it.
This week we had a big zone conference and had interviews with President! It was so fun. Our zone is awesome possum. We had a training and then we made food for a long time. (Okay I didn't really make any of the food). But I stood there as moral support for the cooks haha! We found a giant bug at that too. Like the one on Bug's Life. The big huge blue beetle one! Now the funny thing is, all the elders here told me that before they came on their mission they swore that they would never go to BYU. Ever. BUT all the ones that thought that admitted that they want to go there now after their mission BOO YA! Haha of course I supported it. Made me laugh.
We have been going running on all of our days that it is not raining, but this week I got to the point where I had to play soccer. I got my basketball and spent my exercise time juggling my basketball outside. Hey, it is better than nothing. I was working on my form of my kicks inside in between studies practicing my form hahaha I am so lame. I just miss soccer okay. Speaking of soccer. SHOUT OUT TO MY TEAM! I LOVE YOU GUYS!!! Now just write me. Thank you. :) Haha.
Well, I think that about concludes my week! Life is good. Missionary life is good.
Mahal Kita :)
- Sister Wood
Sister Wood on a bridge
 
 
Sister Wood and her Kasama Sister Rico - walking and walking and walking
 

Sister Wood's desk in her apartment. This was fun for me (her Mom) to see. These are her "treasures" as she put it. She LOVES pictures, so if you get a chance, email her a picture.