Monday, November 17, 2014

The Last's the Best of All the Game (IN THE MISSION FIELD)


Well, that was it. And I am so happy because this last week was seriously one of the greatest. Before I go any further, this keyboard is seriously messed up, so if this email is ugly, just correct the mistakes with punctuation. The stories and stuff will remain the same though. :) This week started out hilarious. We had exchanges which I wasn't thrilled about because everywhere we went this whole week was kinda like a last time. And it is of course better to be with your real companion, but it ended up going well. I told our STL that i should get a certificate of achievement for graduating exchanges hahaha anways, We went out to our far area, and went and taught that old lady I wrote about in a previous email. The kinda crazy one haha. She has this weird attachment to me. We taught her and then when we were done she just started balling. Like it was so sad, but so weird and awkward at the same time! I DIDN"T KNOW what to do! THEN WE GOT up to leave and she grabs me and wouldn't let go and says "HALIKAN MO AKO!" KISS ME! I WAS JUST LIKE UHHH HECK NO> I AM NOT KISSING YOU> I JUST KINDLY TOLD HER NO< WE ARE MISSIONARIES AND Can't do that hahaha. She just kept saying it and i just kept walking towards the door with her grabbing me and her head basically in my armpit cause that is about how tall they are to me. That day, 2 nanays cried that I was leaving and 3 of them said they are gooing to blow up my picture and put it in their home. Some of them are nuts, but I am going to miss them a lot. There is another nanay in our ward named Nanay Pineda. The one that made me the blanket. Haha oh my lanta. This week she surprised me with even more crocheted goodies. But one of them is a hand woven blanket that HER MOTHER MADE IN nineteen twenty FIVE. THE KEYBOARD WON'T LET ME TYPE NUMBERS. SORRY. NONE OF THE WORDS ON THIS EMAIL SHOULD BE CAPitalized. So Yeah she gave me this blanket made my her mother named Crispina Venture. I GUESS YO UCAN"T FIND A BLANKET MADE LIKE THe one she gave me anymore because the way they were made were so unique. They said it will last forever. It just needs a good scrubbin when I get home. This nanay also told me that I SHOULD DEFINITELY HAVE FIFTEEN CHILDREN if god permits and we can support them. Hahaha I was laughing so hard. And, her closing prayer was just praying the life of my future husband and I. I love this woman.
I knkow that I have said before that sometimes on a mission the week starts out good and then when sunday comes around it is sometimes a let down. Well this week was one of those that was just a pure HIGH and no let downs, no lows. We had a few FHEs with our investigators. Like the gabriel family. You can see the pictures. It was one of the funnest nights ever. Because there were so many people there! Ahhh it was the happiest thing. I think my favorite part of the whole night though was when we got there early and I sat down by elorde and norah and just asked them... "How is the word of wisdom?" And both of them looked at me and said, "I haven't drank." "I haven't had coffee." WE TAUGHT THAT THIS WEEK< AND i for sure thought it was going to be a problem. I think I may have starting screaming because I was so happy. SISTER JUST KEPT SAYING< THE MISSIONARIES SAY IT ISN"T GOOD FOR ME< SO WE WILL STOP> HOLY CRAP LADY YOUR FAITH IS THROUGH THE ROOF! THEY HAVE BLESSED MY LIFE SO MUCH AND REality set in when we left their house and I knew i wouldn't be going back... I was so sad. Man. That's all I can say to describe it. Before I left their house I pulled out the picture of the manila philippines temple that we use to teach. I put it up onthere wall and told them that when they go here, I will come back to the Philippines to do it with them. Sister looked at me in shock like REALLY? I said, I promise. And I WILL BE THERE WHEN THAT FAMILY GETS SEALED IN THE TEMPLE< BECAUSE THEY DEFINITELY WILL BE> There was just so much love there in that home with all the members, and the 2 investigator families there. Nanay Pineda even joined us and told me that she is going to write the prophet and thank him for sending me here!!!! Hahaha. Yesterday at church we had 10 INVESTIGATORS THERE... IT WAS SUCH AN AMAZING DAY. CHURCH STARTED LATE, SO WE DIDN'T EVEN GET TO GIVE THE TALKS THAT WE PREPARED.. SO WE JUST BORE OUR TESTIMONY. IT WAS GOOD. IT WAS SPIRITUAL. NO I DIDN'T CRY. :) WE HAVE A TOTAL OF 7 PROGRESSING INVESTIGATORS NOW. DECEMBER IS GOING TO BE AN AMAZING MONTH WITH BAPTISMS. I AM SO GRATEFUL THAT i got to be apart of these people's lives. i coudln't have asked for a better ending week of my mission. it literally was the best. i feel confident in  the way the area is being left. we couldn't have done without god's help. 
So along with the crazy awesome week, we also had interviews. It was a fun day. Us missionaries did the cooking... and when I say us, I mean the other missionaries, and I monitored them hahahaha. It turned out good. President met with each companionship and then each individually. We sit down there as a companionship and start telling him about the gabriel family, and stuff and then he says, "don't worry sister wood, we will send you the picture of their baptism, and then in return we will get your wedding invitation." And then he BURSTS out LAUGHING. President loves his own jokes. He couldn't contain himself. Anyways, that is about the jist of my interview as well. THe APs did  a health training thing since sister barrientos wasn't there and lets just say it was hilarious, and sister would have DIED if she would have been there. 
OF COURSE THIS WEEK HAS BEEN FULL OF SO many emotions. As I have been packing up my stuff thsi week I have been able to go through a lot of my stuff. One of them being all the emails that I have gotten from home. I read one from my mom the other day when she was saying that I ony have 129more days! (SHE has been counting since i left her arms at the mtc) haha, and now, i will see them all in 3 days. I have asked myself somanytimes, where has the time gone? Then I read my favorite email from my dad a while ago where at the end instead of putting love dad or something, ,he just put TAO PO. Haha if you understand tagalog you understand that it is so random and dumb hahaha! I also wanted to express my gratitude to all of you for the continuous support that you have given me while i have been here. i got a letter from a family that is a close neighbor to us and i was just overwhelmed with how amazing the people are in my life. I couldn't have done it without all of you. Thank you so much. 
Last but not least, on november 13 was 8 months for my miller. i wish he was here so i could tell him in person how much i owe him for the help and strength he has been in my life. i think he already knows though. :) i think about him often. i talk about him always. everyone here knows about him. my best friend. he is on the center of my last planner. i see him always! i can just imagine the things and advice and love he would be writing to me right now as i am preparing to go home. but it is okay, because i can certainly feel it. he is carrying on the work. and he has been with me the whole time as well. his name tag on the back of mine. :) he is the first boy to teach me what it truly means to love. he loved with all he had. miller, i love you. we did it. you helped me every step of the way. 
Sister Wood's name badge (front)

Sister Wood's name badge (back) Miller has been with her and close to her heart for the past 8 months

Everyone, this has been the best time for my life. I can honestly say that i can't think of what my life would be like without the experiences i have had. I truly am a completely refine version of myself. I know who I am. I know who God wants me to be. I am nervous to come home. But I am even more excited to apply and live all of the things I have learned here in the mission. I have learned to love. I love the philippines. I love the people. THEY have changed my life. 
This is my last email from the philippines. Thanks to all of those who have been with me along this journey and have read these crazy emails faithfully. I can't wait for my life ahead of me. We all have a purpose here on this earth. Lets find it. :) It's all on the field.
Sister Courtnee Wood
PS: I will post something on my blog when I get home about all the stuff I brought home. THERE ARE SOME things i am aboslutely thrilled about. Stay tuned. :) 
Reppin the Coug's
The cake we made for FHE with the Gabriel Family
FHE with the Gabriel family


Sister Wood entitled this picture. Me texting the ZL's wondering where the heck everyone is since we have interviews at 8 and no one is here. I'm so glad my Mom instilled the importance of being on time in me.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Laoag --> Manila --> Laoag --> Manila --> Laoag

Thanks for the fake Ray Ban's from the members :)
Manila Temple
Manila Temple


Alright people, first things first. SURPRISE! We went to Manila this week!!! Again. Hahaha right? We were as shocked as you were. It was super random. So I got a call from President on Tuesday and he said you are going to Manila again tomorrow so pack your stuff cause you will be staying over night again! I will admit after being in the same routine everyday for so long, when something comes up that you aren't expecting, it kind of puts a cramp in things, but we had no choice. My companion had to work around it with planning days with a different companion, but i think they did good! Haha oh my gosh Manila was really fun. Better than last time. Our fingerprinting only took like 3 hours. And while we were at fingerprinting we say other missionaries and one of them was the blonde kid named elder martin who i owned in basketball in the mtc. He felll out of a truck and broke his arm haha! Kinda fun to see familiar faces! So yeah as you can see, we definitely got to go to the temple. Not just go there, but got to do a session there! Ahhhhhhh! :) It was so amazing. So peaceful. So comforting. Exactly where we all needed to be. We were so blessed that we were able to go. Perfect timing, perfect everything. The area over by the temple is so nice. We enjoyed it a ton. We had lunch at Starbucks. :) I bought some cute mugs. Couldn't resist. We didn't get back to Laoag until Thursday night so we went back to our area on Friday. Then on Friday we had ZTM which should have been Thursday, but since our ZL was with us in Manila we had to push it back. It was a good meeting. And yeah I gave my departing testimony, but even then it doesn't feel real that we are going home. We didn't get to go out and work at all on Friday because after ZTM we had to do weekly planning! So it was a pretty interesting week to say the least. :)
We are teaching a part member family and the boy we are teaching is about 1`0 years old and loves basketball. He was sad that we made him stop playing so that we could teach him so we told him that after we would play a little game with him. So yeah we ended up playing barefoot on their "new" court. My companion and I against 3 little tiny filipino boys. Yeah we lost. Let me repeat myself. WE LOST. I think it did worse for our companionship than building it hahaha. Well you know me. I mean it was way dark outside and gotta give them credit they were good. But still, no excuses. Our feet were raw on the bottoms from it but it was worth it. We had a crowd cheering us on. 
I can't even begin to explain to you all the progression of our investigators this week! So we are teaching the 2 families. Medel and Gabriel. Both of them came to church this week. Not only that but we had some FABULOUS lessons this week with them. Brother Elorde was on fire this week.... with the Spirit! Except for when he drank. Which happened like once or twice this week. You can see the photo I put of Christ in their bahay kubo where he usually drinks!
He told us this week he wants to bear his testimony like the other members did last week that he is so grateful for the missionaries that shared with him about joseph smtih because now he knows about the true church of Jesus Christ. You can imagine our grins from ear to ear. They are such an amazing family. Right now we have 7 progressing investigators. Just gotta keep them progressing! We are being so blessed right now. 
I finished my 6th journal of my mission. Started my 7th and final journal! :) My goal is to have it about full by the time I get home. Takes a lot of writing, but I will do it. I am racking up the coolest things to bring home. :) One of the things I had made got almost finished this last week and I was screaming like a girl when I saw it! But you will see it when I get home. :) 
This week we have exchanges. We have interviews, and we are speaking in church. Kinda a busy last week of the mission, but I wouldn't have it any other way! We go to Laoag next monday, so this is technically my last real P-day. Whoa. But yet for some reason it still doesn't feel real that I will see my family next week. We will be working until the end! 
Love you all.
Sister Wood
All the missionaries that are departing the Philippines are required to get a chest x-ray. These are my results. No one ever saw the actual x-ray. haha

This is my "Go stand in the middle of the rice field for halloween" picture

Velvet Flowers that I love!


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sacrifice Brings Forth the Blessings of Heaven

These feet have served her well
Just clearing the way that the computers here just put a virus on both my memory cards so I don't have any pictures this week! And I had some way good ones to show you... :( It's alright. Next week na lang! It has been a pretty good and regular week. But good good good stuff has happened!
First off I will tell you a funny story. So you know the painting/picture of elders kneeling at their bed but they had fallen asleep in their prayers still dressed? Well, I feel like that photo is so graceful and picture perfect. Now I will share what happened to me! We were going to bed. (I am exhausted every night). I was saying my usual individual prayer and when I began praying I felt good and like I could stay awake hahaha. I began the prayer, and that is all I remember! I started praying at 10:20pm and next thing I know... and a dream later, I somehow closed my prayer and woke up at 11:20pm still on my knees at my bed hahaha. I was looking around like what is going on? Haha I looked at my watch and it said 11:20pm. My knees were throbbing because of the grooves in the wood floor and my back was killing too from just being in that position for an hour! I kinda got up and I knocked into the metal part of our bed and it made a noise, and then I went to swing my legs up on to my bed and I kicked the electric fan so hard the main part of it came unscrewed and was just smacking against the part that was spinning and it WAS SO LOUD! Haha please just imagine all of this happening. My companion was asleep. And didn't even wake up! I had to get up and turn the fan off so it would stop screaming  and then all I remember is me climbing into bed and thinking to myself, dang, I broke one of the mission's fans. Good thing we have extras here. Haha I AM SO WEIRD! That was my graceful story. Of me falling asleep praying. Oh and just so you know, last night I went to climb in bed and it was covered in ants. So I sprayed it all in permethrin and I was just super upset about it.
The best news I have this week is that the whole Gabriel family came to church. The dad came. The mom came. And I wish I had a picture to show you. I have never been so happy. You will just have to wait and see. We all walked a way long ways together to catch our ride. But it was the greatest thing. Just like walking with your family to church! Not only did they go to church, Brother Elorde LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He said he felt like he was in heaven! And then he said they are coming back next week and he cant' even imagine what he is going to feel like. He said he will feel higher than heaven! This is the first time on my mission that I have had a FAMILY at church. Like legit. It was such an amazing sunday. We will probably re extend a baptismal date to them. So that they can all be baptized together.
Last night I was sitting at the table and I thought to myself, what if there is an earthquake? And then I went and sat at my desk and writing in my journal and the floor started shaking under my feet. CRAZY RIGHT? That was nuts.
Also, last night we went to a special broadcast that Dallin H. Oaks did for the philippines. We went to Laoag and it was really good and really fun cause I got to see so many missionaries that I probably wont' get to see before I go home!
I am trying to try every fruit here before I go home. That is just a random goal of mine. And I am wrapping up on the souveneir shopping. If anyone wants something speicifc, just let me know! I may or may not have already started packing up my suit cases. I have been getting rid of a lot of stuff! Feels refreshing.
Well, everyone life and the work and everything here is super good! Sorry this is the most random email in the entire world. I am super happy! In case you can't tell. :) We have ztm this week for the last time and I will give my "departing testimony." :( Weird. Have an awesome week.
Sister Wood

Monday, October 27, 2014


Red Team Champs!!! Because Sister Wood's competitiveness would not let her be on a losing team! Gotta love that about her
Team Wood Champs!!
"Hahaha so yeah that was our team name and whenever we won all the elders chanted 24 days hahaha"

Helllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllo everyone. :)
Yeah the number 24. Jersey number, days left... pretty crazy! How's life treating everyone. It is craziness all the joy that is being felt here. So I told you all that we were going to Manila. Yeah we did, it was fun! But really quick. Everyone calls it the trunky trip, because it is like a fake out. You get on a plane and leave Laoag, but then you go back the next day! haha. It was a blast though!!!! And then something pretty cool happened on the way home. I sat next to 1 of the 2 other white people on the plane that weren't missionaries haha and he happened to be from Scotland. We had the best conversation ever! Talked about our families and I showed him pictures of mine and stuff .He was going to do business here. Worked for FedEx. He started asking questions about the church. Like all the basic awesome questions you would want people to ask. I had just happpened to bring English Restoration pamphlets, so that was perfect and I whipped one out and told him he should read this! I was feelings so good like it was all going in the right direction! And then I asked him if I could write his name down and have the missionaries visit him in Singapore, and instantly his guard went up and he said no and that he is happy with his life right now. Gosh my heart shattered into a million pieces in that second... Just took a gulp and respected his agency haha. But guess what, after that, he read the entire pamphlet there on the plane in like 5 minutes! I just kept kinda watching him as he was reading. I was so happy cause usually our investigators take like 2 weeks to finish reading those things! After we landed he asked if he could keep the pamphlet. Of course. At least a seed was planted in this kind mans heart! :) It was sweet.
Work here is still going strong. Our investigators didn't progress this week. Only a couple of them came to church. Such a bummer, but we had so many less active lessons this week, and that was the reward at church! so many of them came back! I know I have already talked about the happiness that comes from less actives returning to church. It is the best. We had a fun FHE at the Mamaclay's house this week a less active family, and they came to church. It was so great. We have a lot of work to do with investigators because their baptismal dates are coming up. One of our young investigators will be having her interview this saturday. That is the baptism that we have coming up. 
During a lesson this week hahaha I opened my mouth to start talking and a bug flew inside of it and I basically choked on it and was coughing there for a bit and had to take a drink of water. Kinda just put that fact behind me that I swallowed a foreign bug haha. 
We had a zone activity this morning that was pretty fun. Probably the most spiritual one of my whole mission! Meaning it was all revolved around scriptures and stuff. My team won and we got the best scene acted out when I was Podifers wife (sorry if wrong spelling)... it was hilarious. And pretty sad at the same time because that was my last zone activity of my whole entire life. Wow. Take that one in. 
Well. we are headed to Laoag right now to get an x ray of my chest? I guess that is what you would call it? Not sure haha. All of us have to get it who are going home just to make sure we don't have some crazy disease. 
I love you all. I love my family. I love the gospel. 
Sister Wood
Hahaha we had to act out the nativity scene.

Mini vacay to Manila

Clean beds and air conditioning - Manila

Monday, October 20, 2014

Long time, no see.

I am going to preface this post by saying that I think Sister Wood must be pretty much fluent in Tagalog because she is definitely struggling with her English. I usually proof-read these and fix mistakes, but I just love that she is using Tagalog in her e-mail's home. (even though I have no idea what it all means).

Mga Bata and Sister Wood - This is an older picture but one of my favorites.

Alright, alright, I know I failed. No letter last week! I am SORRY! I don't even have a good excuse. We will just put it behind us. Forgive and forget. :) THANK YOU! Haha how was your week? Did anyone get told they weren't a child of God? Haha I did! By a less-active old woman. There is never a dull lesson with this nanay. She was baptized here then went and lived in Seattle for 20+yeasrs and while she was there, started going to JW. Plus she is old now, and is taking way too much medication, so she is a bit interesting at times. Anyways, we were teaching here and she stoppped us and asked if we will be able to go to heaven, and we of course we responded we have the chance to! That lead into a huge thing of her saying if we believe we are going to heaven we are not children of God. And then she went on about how in the bible it says only 44000 people will go to heaven. Some things are even worth arguing about haha we just say what is true. And then like a snap of a finer at the end of the lesson she is telling me how mabait I am and how I am a child of God. Oh i love people. But it's cool, she hooked us up with some Top Ramen from the US. Oh and then on Saturday we went there again to teach and I asked if she wanted to sing a christmas song, away in a manger, and that opened us another can about how there is no Christmas for her because it doesn't say it in the bible, and so i just said okay we will sing a song about jesus. Then just sang away in a manger haha. She is nuts! But we still love her. 
Another funny story, this week we were on our way to Paoay for general conference, which was outstanding. We were sitting on the jeep across from a special boy who is named michael that is 14 years old. He was with his grandma. Michael would not stop starting and me! I kept waving and smiling, and finally got a conversation going. All he was saying was "ang ganda ganda mo ma'am!" Haha it was so cute. Other than that he was only speaking ilocano so i did what I could. Then he goes, "Adda picture mo?" Or, Can I have a pictuer of you? Haha keep in mind that his grandma is sitting there egging him on to do this. So good thing I had photos with me! I gave him one of my family. Haha after I gave it to him, he was so pumped and giving his grandma high fives. He had game, just cut straight to the chase! Then, on monday, I was sitting by elder castillo in the salon at robinson's and outside the glass doors I see the same boy, but now with his WHOLE family. He somehow spotted me and started making the gestures of picture picture! The people with him immediated started digging tyhrough their bags trying to find their cameras haha. They opened the doors and all filed in and came and sat all around elder castillo and I. Hahaha I was laughing so hard. Of course Michael sat right next to me, like we are talking he couldn't have been sitting any closer to me without sitting on me haha. There were probably about 8-10 filipinos around us. When they were about to take the photo, Michael through his arms around me and his face was touching mine hahaha. I was just doing my nervous, "I can't do anything about this" laugh hahaha. I wish I could have seen the photos. They are probably all over someone's facebook now. Oh the little things like that that make me way happy. 
Now about happiness. The word happy takes on a whole new meaning for me now being a missionary, and it will throughout the rest of my life. As I have been serving the Lord I have been blessed to take even the smallest taste of what heaven will actually feel like. Even though it still doesn't even compare. Through the spirit and through living the gospel of jesus christ is how you will fully understand the hapiness God wants us to feel in our lives here on earth. Sometimes I feel like we cut oursevles short of the joy we can actually feel lin this life. Here, we are constantly telling people that we understand that they don't have money, or we know they are really struggling, but we know that if they live the teachings of the gospel, you will be happy. Because when we live the gospel, we feel the spirit. When we feel the spirit, we are happy. The last couple weeks it seems for me that the theme has been all about the spirit. Something I have been able to learn a lot from. I have come to know that happiness and the Spirit are fully linked. I read forever ago in the bible dictionary under the word Earnest about the Holy SPirit. It has stuck with me. It says, "The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit in this life as a foretaste of the joy of eternal life." Alright. How cool is that? I know for a fact that through the Spirit and living the gospel, we can feel real happiness that you can't get from score a goal or making the winning basket. (don't get me wrong that feels good too.) ButGod loves us enough to give us the chance to fretaste here on earth what it iwll be like to live with him and our families eternally. It is our choice to make if we are going to partake of those fruits or not. That's my spiritual thought for you all haha.
So I will admit that it has been kinda rough combining our areas. Only because there are so many people that need to be taught and so little time. At first it was hard because our attitudes were more on our OWN areas. Like, no we need to go to my area for this person, no my area." It wasn't that bad, but you could kind of feel that it was like that. But we went thought and sorted though everyone and pic ked out the people that are really ready for the gospel. I guess it is good cause there has not been americans in this area of the other sisters for a long time, so now we got some white blood and people are more than willing to talk to us as they look me up and down haha. (according to my companion they weren't like that before.)I was super overwhlmed with the amount of people and things that needed to be done in the time given, but i found that god will help you with the time as long as you are prepared and have planned. Everyday we have a lesson planned every 30 minutes. We don't stop! :) We are still teaching the Gabriel famiy and the mom and kids are oging to church. The dad has a drinking problems and doesn't want to go until it is resolved. We are teaching 2 progressing families now! :)
As far as how my companion and I are doing, we're doing good. I have never experienced only living with my companion on my mission until now. It was super weird at first cause our apartment/house is pretty big for just 2 people. I t was way quieet and empty but now we are used to it and it is the greatest thing ever. Neither of us cook so we are just living super simply haha. Because there is only 2 of us, our cleaning takes longer on p-days. You would think that  only 2 people  it wouldn't be that big of a mess, but you'd be surprised. Maybe it is just me that is the mess though. My  companion is really cool. I am grateful for her. Haha I alway s wondered who my last companion would be and always felt bad for whoever it'd be because they will have to help me get all my stuff together and ready to go. Sister arancis is awesome. Nothing is ever uptight. We are chill and we work. Plus I drag her running with me every morning at 6. she is a trooper. I thank her ever day when we get home from jogging cause i really am so grateful she goes with me. I told her i would hellp her buy a pair of running shoes too. :) 
I was going to tell a story about soccer, but i will waiyt til next week. But needless to say, i miss it and i will leave it at that! MALAPIT NA! 
Well, I can't believe that it is already october 20. Somtimes I look at my watch and I think the date is wrong. Time is going bny so fast. Maybe someday someone will come up with a word to describe the feeling of a missionary whose time is ticking down. But as for now, there isn't one. I am excvited. I am nervous. I am overwhelmed. I am hopeful. I am anxious. All of the above. And that's just now. Pero, matagal pa. Lots of time for those feelings to change. But if you're wonder, no it has not set in that I am coming Home. At all. I only really realize it when the other missionaries ask how I am feelings. And I alway s respond it's not real yet. My batch going home is all going to manila later today at 1. To go to  the immigration office for our visas. We have to do finger printing. We will fly there and stay for 1 night and then come home tomorrow. I am excited for am ini vacation. Not quite sure exactly what we'll do there, but it will at least be a change of scenery! Sorry again for no email last week. Haha it won't happen again the next 4 weeks. I will leav eit all on the field and my emails haha! I love you all for even reading this. See you soon!
Love, Sister Wood
PS: I have miller's lips. :) I am trying to think of a good way to preserve all of his letters. Let me know if anyone has a good idea.
Miller's lips - Can you see them? me neither. This is one of hundreds of letters that I'm sure she has tucked away for safe keeping.

Monday, October 6, 2014

If you are thinking about NOT reading this, you should probably think again!

Hi all!! This is Courtnee's mom. I just wanted to preface this post by saying how much I loved this weeks pictures. Sister Wood looks so happy right now. She loves her mission and loves the Filipino people and it shows on her face and her big bright smile. 

Sister Wood love the Filipino children

Family Home Evening on exchanges

Playing with the local boys

I love this picture - Sister Wood entitled it, "Imperfect Beauty"

So if you are reading this, that means that you took my advice in the title, and I am super happy about that. You won't regret it promise. But let me just hurry and say that today marks the day of the start of the last transfer here in the Philippines. It hasn't even set in yet. Okay I will just get the stories of transfers out of the way. So this is what happened! Of course we just assumed that Sister Servancia was going to get transferred because it just would be weird if she didn't and I did. And so this weekend we had been taking photos of her with people and she was saying goodbye and stuff. Well on Sunday we went out to work and were waiting for the transfer text. We were at a less active families and we got a text, and on it said SISTER WOOD WILL BE TRANSFERRED! I screamed. I couldn't believe it. I was so sad. Because I hadn't said bye to ANYONE! It was so sudden because it was opposite of what we thought. Anyways, so we hurry and went and said bye to some of our investigators and got some pictures. Then listen, on our way back to our apartment, we got another text saying that Sister Servancia was going to be transferred too! WE WERE SO CONFUSED! Then we were like uhhh we are getting pulled out? Like why didn't we know about this? But then we called the AP's because it was all so confusing and they told us that it really was Sister Servancia transferring and our area was going to be dissolved because the lack of missionaries since so many are going home. So if you are paying attention, it just went back and forth and back and forth with who was transferring. So they texted me the transfer thing because I am being transferred to San Nicolas 2b with sister arancia the other filiipino in our apartment. So I am just switching areas basically. Anyways, so that is the story of our transfer. There will only be 4 missionaries in our ward now. And our areas will just get bigger. So yeah, I will end this mission in San Nicolas! Weirdness.
Anyways, so now lets get to the thing that will blow your socks off. So do you recall the story that I shared last week of that couple that got married then separated in the same day? Do you recall how I said that things couldn't get worse then they were? Well, brothers and sisters, I am here to tell you that this week, they got worse haha. On Tuesday afternoon, ARNEL GOT SHOT!!! Yeah, he got shot. We were dying and couldn't believe it. We findally got the story and it was a robbery. He works for an Indian guy who lends money so he carries a lot of it with him when he is going to all the different houses to collect the debt, someone started shooting at him. They were definitely trying to kill him because they shot at him 8 times. Luckily he was only hit above his butt. Which tells us that whoever it was has no experience with guns! Horrible aim. Anyways, stories were all over the place saying it was the girl who arranged it and stuff, but that wasn't true. So then a couple days later, us and the elders got permission to go to the hospital in Laoag to visit him. Since he is our recent convert, and the elders had just baptized the dad. Oh my gosh. So the visiting hours were from 3:30pm-7:00pm, but the only time we could go was at 11:30am after district meeting. We contemplated going, but then decided hey we will give it a try. We just need to put on our greatest americanness ever haha. So Elder Sablan is from america, but brown, and then elder whitrod is australian but white, and then me and my companion who is filipino. Haha so we got to the hospital. Just gave me a pit in my stomach seeing what the hospital looked like. It is called the Provincial hospital so it is funded by the government and the reason people go there is because it is the cheapest compared to the private hospitals. Anyways, so i lead the way. I way rocking my very american get up that day, plus i am way tall and white, so that was the plan. Another part of the plan was that we were not going to speak one word of tagalog. Straight english. No matter what. Haha we had to get into this hospital! So we go up to the first guard, I say, "Hi brother, I need to find the room of Arnel River. Could you please show me where it is?" Hahaha his mouth starts to quiver with nervousness and he cracks out the two words in english ... "There.......inside....... you ask...." Hahaha it was hilarious, but i felt really bad because I could have spoken tagalog, and stuff, but we didn't. None of us did! I was dying. We went to a bunch of different parts of the hospital until someone finally told us the right place to go. The issue wasn't getting in, it was where to go! Even though it was not visiting hours, the first guard I talked to just lets us right in. We walked into the main parts of the hospital and I was just sick to my stomach. I couldn't believe it. There are 2 things that came to my head walking to the designated area. You know those haunted hospitals you hear about or see in the movies? Okay that was one. Second, a world war 2 hospital or something. The nurses dressed in the old fashioned dresses and head wear things, the ceilings high and pure concrete. The beds you could see int he hallways just ripping and straight foam that have probably been used for 30+ years with no sheets. An old lady walking down the hall with a cart selling gross cafeteria food, ahh just the whole thing made me quiver. We find the place where Arnel was and it was the Mens Surgical wing. It was a large room with 10 beds, yes, 10 beds, no dividers or anything, all full of men waiting to have surgery. I almost lost it. So that brings me to the other thing. You would think that when you are shot, you gotta get the bullet out ASAP right? Well the doctors didn't. THey didn't do it quick enough so it started swelling and stuff. So still right now, a week after it happened, he still doesn't have the bullet out and he is just at home now. Anyways while we were in this room i was just observing everything haha i should have been visiting with arnel, but the elders were on top of it. The celing and lights were climbing with cob webs and nothing was clean. You have to take your own bed sheets to put on the foam things and your own electric fan if you want air. I wanted to get out of there so bad. I felt so dirty and like i was going to get some disease haha. I know that is so bad to say, but even the people here say that the longer you stay in that hospital the more likely you are to die if you are a patient there haha. That was our adventure to the hospital. And we coated ourselves in hand sanitizer afterwards. I don't even think you could find any in the hospital haha. But I am glad I got to experience what some people are facing right now. And just will hurry and mention that all the patients were wondering how we got in there, but no one even asked us 1 question about it. HAHA.
The work is going good here. We will be working way hard as we combine our areas. Some of our investigators are amazing. One of them even asked us this week what she can do better as a person and as an investigator. Haha first time I have ever heard that one! Well, I think that about covers it, thank you for taking the time to read this email! We have to always remember all of the blessings we have. Gosh I am so blessed. To have all of the things I do. I am ready to make the most of the next 6 weeks! It's all I got, so I will give it all I got left! 
Mahal ko kayo.
Sister Wood
PS: Thank you president, because my new companion likes sports. :) 

A few of her very favorite people 

The best Atis Sister Wood has ever eaten

Cherry's home

Cherry's family

The Gabriel Family

The Gabriel Family

Monday, September 29, 2014


The baptism of Papa Rivera

The Happy Couple??

Hey everyone! So, the title of this is just one of my favorite phrases that I read this week in Jesus The Christ. Just thought I would share it with you. These are some of the questions that my mom wanted me to answer so I just figures I would include it in my email so that all of you could read it in case you have wondered some of these too! Here ya go.
*What time do you leave your apartment? 8:00 am SHARP
*Do you ever proselyte on the street or in shops? Yes, on the streets, but not in the shops. There are none in our area!
*What time do you eat lunch? 12:00pm SHARP
*How long is your lunch? 1 Hour
*Do you eat lunch at your apartment or out? In the apartment unless it is P-Day.
*Do you share your groceries with your comp? Us 4 in our apartment all share.
*Do you get a drink or snack every day from the little stores around? No not that often. I usually bring a snack with me.
*What are the Sister's names in your district? Sister Rodrigo, Sister Arancis, Sister Ieremia, Sister Diolata, Sister Servancia.
*Where are they from? They are all from the Philippines and Sister Ieremia is from Citabus or however you spell it.
*When you have baptisms, who does the baptizing? On Saturdays unless there is a special circumstance. The person being baptized can choose or else just a worthy member. 
*What is the craziest thing you have done on your mission? Man, I can't pick just one. Every day here is the craziest thing I have done haha.  
*What time do you exercise? 6:20am-7:00am and if there is time, 9:30pm-10:00pm.
*What time do you have to be in your apartment at night? The time is 8:00pm, but president gives us until 9:00 pm to be home. We are always home at 8:00pm though.
*What time do you go to bed? 10:30pm SHARP. No earlier, no later.
*Is it easy or hard to fall asleep? So easy. Ah i love it.
*What time do you leave your apartment on P-Days? 12:00 pm
*What time is P-Day over? 5:00pm
*How often do you go on splits and who do you go with? We never go on splits, we only go on exchanges and that is with the STLs once a transfer.
*What do you do on your P-Day's besides laundry and email? We clean really good, go to the market, write letters, go to Robinson's and eat and talk with the other amazing missionaries, and print photos, and do whatever. We never go on any adventures or any tourists places. No time.
*What is the hardest thing you have done on your mission? Being patient with companions and speaking Tagalog!
*When have you felt the spirit the strongest? When the Spirit is working through us. :)
*What strengthens you when you feel down? The pictures I have of my family and the picture I have of Christ walking with the little black girl holding a teddy. 
*What are the top ten moments on your mission? I will answer this when I get home.
*What are the top ten ways that you have grown spiritually or changed on your mission? I will answer this later too. :)
Let me know if there are any other questions that you would like answered!
It has been a bit of an interesting week in our area... like big things happened that were really good and big things happened that were not good haha. I will only give you the briefs of things though because it would take WAY TOO LONG to write all the details. So I will start just in order of how things went. So on Wednesday it was the baptism of Neil Rivera. The father of the Rivera family. So they are almost complete now, and just have one more child to get baptized for them to be full members in that house! They are going to be getting sealed next year. Ahhh, it was super special and all us missionaries are saying he is going to be bishop. It has been a bit crazy this week for them because they have been planning the wedding for their son (rc) and another girl (she is pregnant, and that is another story.) (rc). Yeah both of them are recent converts. That also happened this week. We got to go to it. You can see the photo. It was at the church, and it was just a traditional wedding. So they got married and stuff, and then we went there later that day to drop by the reception, and basically everything had blown up all over $$$$ and they separated/broke it off the same day. Of course there is a lot more to the story that we probably don't even know about. So yes, they were married and separated all in 1 day. It has been a disaster, and super hard for us missionaries because both of them are our responsibility! Ahhh still right now I have no idea what we are going to do or what will happen. It has been rough. Also because us as missionaries can't get involved in stuff like that. We are here to teach the Gospel. It is just not an ideal situation. Because we don't want either of them to turn their back on the church because of this. We as missionaries sure have learned a lot though. Especially me. Man, your perspective changes so much and you realize really what is important. Even though this situation couldn't get any worse, it will figure itself out if they align everything on the teachings of the Gospel. Yeah so that is what happened. Anyways, I just said hey all that matter is Papa was baptized. :) 
We had 4 investigators at church this week. The one in that picture, and then part of the Gabriel family again! Still no brother... ugh. That is our ultimate goal this week. We got a couple new baptismal dates this week so things are looking up! We didn't teach as many lessons this week, but we evaluated and were okay with it because all of our lessons were quality. So, at this point, we have done tons of finding and have the investigators now, so we need to just help them progress. Through quality teaching. Quality vs. quantity now. It goes along with one of the focuses of our zone conference that we had. About being awesome teachers. It was good for me to kinda think about if i am a good teacher or not. We have been practicting asking good quesitons, because that is my struggle. More the fact that I have uestions in my head, but the way they come out in tagalog isnt super pretty. I am still working on it. :) 
I think that is our week in a nut shell. Sorry if this isnt the prettiest email in the world. Transfer calls will happen on Sunday. Can you believe that? I will let you know what happens. It is kind of a mystery to me. I am just expecting to stay here. And like i said, train. :) Hahaha that is my dream. We will see!!! 
Sister Wood
P.S. My companion is going jogging with me in the mornings. :) I am changing filipinos one at a time. ;) hahaha

Sister Wood entitled the next few pictures, The Life of Charlie:

We chose him....

His life quickly came to an end....

His feathers were easy to pluck.....

We started out holding him in our arms, and then holding him in a plastic bag.

And then Sister Servancia cooked him up nice and well.
We would have killed him ourselves because it is more cheap to buy them live, but we kinda thought about it and didn't think it is very missionary appropriate.