Monday, February 24, 2014

Canadian eh?

Zone Activity - Sister Wood is so competitive! She was NOT happy with bringing home a bronze medal. Heaven help the poor missionaries in her zone that have to play sports with her.  This picture is of the tallest sister 6"0 and the tallest elder 6'9 in the mission

The Aparri Zone - She was so proud of these sweet jerseys - reppin #13 in honor of TSwift.
Canada canada canada... that one definitely never crossed my mind! I am thrilled though. That will be the perfect place for you big baloogy. It only took me 30 minutes to finally get to watch the video, but I died when I heard it. Congrats to you. Your sister is so happy for you. :)
Well, we just got back from a zone activity. It was a lot of fun. We did the zone olympics and played sports and a bunch of different games. Man, I just can't handle games because I am way too competitive! We played all of these games and our district lost every one of them. I was so angry! All of the games we totally should have won too. I mean I know its just all for fun and games, but it really bothered me! We came home with the bronze medal, so that's what I am wearing right now. Yeah not cool. And it was one of those things where we got these legit legit jerseys, and didn't even rep them! So it made us look even worse. Haha sorry I am just venting about how we lost and I was mad. Lets just say it is a good thing that zone activities happen only once a transfer :)
The weather. I can't send an email without talking about the weather. This week I figured out the perfect description of the weather right now. So you know when you go up to Causey during the summer time and it is hot during the day, and then at night it is chilly? Well the temperature of that is exactly how it is right now in Aparri. And at night time in our apartment feels like you are in a tent or a trailer with the windows open. Because, none of the windows in our apartment are sealed. They are this weird panel things that is hard to explain, but the wind has been cold the last few nights, so no joke that is exactly what it feels like. I wear socks to bed, use sheet and blanket, wear pajamas, with sweater over it! It is cozy :)
We had interviews this week! It went really good. They did it a little bit different though. President met with each companionship instead. Gave us advice and talked about what we should be doing in our areas to improve them. Then we met with each of the AP's and they each went over with our companionship about a specific principle.hIt was super helpful! I liked it because that day is just spent with the other missionaries, and lots of socializing haha. But we left and went home before the other companionships were done meeting with pres and then they called us back because he said he wasn't done with us and wanted to have personal ones with us too! It was so great. I was really glad. It is just the best being able to have one on one conversations with president. He is so awesome and inspired! My very favorite thing that was said that day was from Sister Barrientos. Haha she just got back from the USA spending time with her dad. She came into our district meeting and then she got up to leave. She tried to open the door and the door knob was kind of jammed and broken. She finally got it open and she says, "The doorknobs are not like that in the United States...." Hahahaha I just bust up laughing. It was hilarious! Anyways, just random but I loved it. Because I mean there are definitely broken door knobs in the US haha.
The work is going on! We had Mitch May's baptism this saturday and it was so good. It went so smoothly and was as perfect as it could be! We had her grandma speak at it, and it was the first time that she had every gotten up in front of people. She bore her testimony and you could really feel the spirit. Even though they were little kids, i know they could feel it too. And even though I didn't understand a word of ilocano she spoke, i could feel it too! She got baptized with her cousins, and it was such a cool thing for her mom Jocelyn who is an investigator. I watched her, and she teared up the whole time. I know that she knows this is what her family needs. We gave her a baptismal date this week, so hopefully she will be entering the waters of baptism like her daughter did on March 22nd. After they were baptized they came in and bore their testimonies. I have never heard a more sweet testimony from little 9 year old Mitch may. She just cried and cried and it made everyone else cry! It was the greatest thing in the world. I love teaching those kids, and am so happy for them. There are so many blessings in store for her and her family.
Mitch May's baptism

We had exchanges this week and I got to go with Sister Porter. It was a blast!!! And she helped enlighten my mind and understand how tagalog works! YAY LOVE HER. Since she went to BYU we just got to talk about life and whatever. They are starting the family history workshops here in Aparri and Sister Porter told me that the family history center in salt lake is the coolest thing ever. So she is taking me there when we get home. I am excited.
Well, we are moving this week, and there is a lot of work to do! So we will be moving on friday to our new beautiful apartment... pictures to come next week. Can you tell i am excited? haha! There are a lot of people to teach so we really need to dig down and work our butts off! This work is tiring and hard, but it pays off. Thanks for all your love!
Sister Wood
PS sorry for not really finishing my letter last week haha i guess i forgot haha i don't know what i was thinking.
P.S.S. Funny thing.... This week a man asked me where I was from, I said the USA, he said, oh why aren't you black like your president? Hahahahaha okay laugh.
Sister Wood pulling water from the well

Washing a pot with a flip flop and sand
Riding on top of the bus!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Glamorous Life In Aparri

The Sisters in Courtnee's apartment - Sister Richards (on the left) went to Layton High and played soccer with Courtnee on the high school team and now they share an apartment in the Philippines.
Happy February 16th Everyone and 8 months for me! Haha I can’t really believe it, but that’s okay. It has been quite an eventful week it seems like. Sometimes I have to really think about what i should write home about, but then I realize there is so much.
So the update on the creatures in our apartment... For a couple of nights we would wake up to rat poo in the bathroom! It really grossed me out and made me not even want to step foot in there... more than I already didn’t want to! Thankfully that stopped and hasn’t happened for the last few days. So the sticky stuff we have been using to catch mice actually caught one of the geckos... so he has been laying on his back in the sticky stuff for the whole week and is still breathing. Not quite sure what we will do with him. But the dang mice have figured it out, so they just jump over the stuff. Yes I sit and watch them do it. There is this big one that I have to get and I need to go by more powerful stuff hahaha.
This week I randomly got super sick in the middle of the night. So I woke up at 1:44 am and had this stomach ache that was hurting SO BAD!!! I was dying. So I just layed there for a while dying and literally groaning, and then decides I should go to the bathroom. Well then I thought of the rats that could possibly be in there so I didn’t dare. I waited a while and then just though k whatever I am doing it. So I went.... there were no rats thankfully. Then I went back to my room and layed there for a long while just dying and groaning and then I fell asleep. All in all I lost about 3-4 hours of sleep. But when I woke up I was great and have been perfect since! Oh wait other than I think I am allergic to egg plant. I ate a lot of it for the first time, and the next day my throat was messed up and it was all red and it hurt way bad to swallow. I am okay now though! Just no egg plant for me haha.
I got to help some people with english this week. Because for all of them if they want to go abroad and work, they have to have an interview in english with the manager! So I just help them with the basics and pretend I am interviewing them and ask them questions. It is actually pretty fun being the one that knows how to speak the language haha. Its a fun way to do service! This week we also got to help a lady do laundry. These people never want us to help them but finally we got Sister alcantara to let us. We went and pumped water for her and carried it to her house and then we actually washed with her! Needless to say I felt pressured because I don’t know how to wash clothes by hand well, and they needed to be good of course. But no i realized i probably washed a little bit too hard, because my skin is now raw! Okay though, it was a good experience for me haha.
We have a baptism coming up this weekend for Sister Mitch May. She will be getting baptized with her cousins and it is going to be great. We will continue working with her this week and helping her gain a strong testimony.  We have some pretty good investigators right now. One of them is named Ismael and he is in his early 20’s. He has a baptismal date for April 5th and when we extended it, he asked why it was so far ahead, he wanted it sooner! I think it is a good date for him, and it will give him enough time to fully prepare! He has come to church the last two weeks. Speaking of church, we had 6 investigators at church! Such a blessing. Sister Mitch May’s mom even came with her. It would be so great if we could get her baptized as well so that mitch may not only has support from her grandma, but her mom  as well. We are hoping to extend baptism to her this week. The work is going good. I feel like i am learning just as much as we teach these people!
It has been a blast living with Sister Richards haha.  It is fun to talk to someone about BYU and all of the things back home. So between me and her, we should have the update on everything that is goin on in Layton!
And last but not least I AM SO EXCITED TO HEAR WHERE YOU ARE GOING STETSON! I was going to say just be patient with your call, but to know it has already been assigned, I mean nevermind haha. I wanted to tell you that my companion waited 1 year to get her call, and there is a kid in this ward that has been waiting 5 months! If you ask me it is a little ridiculous and they should figure something out, but hey they are faithful and really want to serve the lord, so we should be able to wait whatever amount of time! But thanks for the letter loogy! I sent off a sweet surprise for you!
Well, we have interviews with President tomorrow! I feel like we just did, but i guess it has been 3 months! He is a hoot. It will be fun to see familiar faces that we never get to see out here in Cagayan! I am happy. Though this is the hardest thing in the world. I am happy.
Sister Wood's district

Sister Wood and the local herd

Meat market in Aparri

Monday, February 10, 2014

Life in Aparrrrrri​. The Place of Shrimp. MY FAVORITE


Sister Wood in a windstorm
Sister Wood's apartment and desk
Happy Valentines everyone! It is almost my 2nd favorite holiday! Wow time is going quick. Aparri is doing wonderfully... its nice. I am starting to get used to it all so that's good! It has already been a good day. We got up at 5:30 and went and played basketball with the elders at church. It was fun I guess, not as fun as it used to be haha cause the sisters who play don't even like sports so its just like okay pass it to me, no one is guarding me basically and i make a lay-up. No really that is exactly how it goes. Then we went over to the market to buy stuff for the week. There is meat hanging all over the place and then the fish section is sweet. There were squid and sharks and shrimps (its almost shrimp season) and all this exotic cool fish that you rarely see at home! I will send pictures next week. So you know those mice i said we were gonna get? Well we got two of them. And we burned one of them. HAHAHA. I have no mercy towards creatures of that sort haha.

The weather has been a lot nicer this week and we have been going to the beach every morning and it is way cool because you can see the islands above the philippines on a good morning. I will try and get photos of that too. But Its just the most relaxing prettiest place to exercise. Besides the dead piglet we saw in the sand.... but that's all haha.
The ocean in Aparri

I love walking down the streets here because I listen to all of the people sit and guess my height.
All of the members here are so great. They are all willing to work with us and help in the missionary work. We even have a recent convert named Cesaria who was so excited to come and work with us for the first time. We went and picked her up and she was in her sundays best and loooked all ready to go. We looked at each other and was like wow she looks 10x better than us and we are the missionaries! I am grateful that the ward is so willing to help out.
Some of our investigators can't see. It is a big issue haha. They can't read the book of mormon because they can't see the little print! So my companion and I have started re-writing the important scriptures so that they can read them! So far it is a success. We will do whatever we need to to help them read the book of mormon!
Writing the Book of Mormon so their investigators can see it
The little girl who is getting baptized on the 22nd didn't come to church on sunday because she was swimming in the ocean! Unless she starts keeping all of her commitments I don't think that we will let her get baptized... its not worth it. We need to make sure she has a testimony so she doesn't go less active like a lot of the other recent converts!
Every day I am being more and more humbled... We can't be humbled enough! In every aspect. With the language, and the teaching.... but mostly the language hahaha.... I do know for a fact that I needed this in my life and it is helping me grow so much.
I have failed to mention how proud I am of my Brother! My Baloogy! The past few weeks have been some important ones, and I want to congratulate him on committing to weber state to play football! I am so happy for you stet. I know that all your hard work has paid off! Even though blue is still better. HAHA. Also, with you submitting your mission papers.... I think you are going to go to the midwestern united state haha. THat is my guess.I have this little obsession with your mission pictures and stuff and have them hanging on my desk. Sometimes my companion catches me just staring at them and I really loved what she said the other day. She said, "Sister Wood, if you are this excited for your brother to be serving a mission, think of how excited Heavenly Father is..." I really loved it. But it is true. I know that our Heavenly Father is way more excited than me, (which is already a lot) for you to serve. I can't wait for you to join me in the Lord's Army. I love you Stet.
Stetson and Courtnee

Thank you so much everyone for all of your continued support. I am so lucky.
Sister Wood.
P.s. Happy valentines day! HOpefully you guys all go and do all the cute valentinesy stuff and be thinking of the missionaries who do wala! (nothing).
P.S.s if you got a valentine from me, you should feel extra special :) haha.

The cockroach that Sister Wood found in her bed :(

Aparri - the area Courtnee is currently serving. Very humble

Investigators watching NBA

Courtnee washed her sheets and hung them out to dry. Makes me smile

Sister Wood's current bathroom

Almost in the ocean, but not quite
The mouse burning

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

New Area, New People and Ancient Computers

Wow I am typing this email on an ancient computer with slow internet, so I am of course really happy! J It has been a long week actually! I mean with the whole transfer and stuff. But really good. It has definitely been the most humbling week of my mission so far. Which is a good thing! Its been a week of a lot of learning. I was too used to things in Laoag, and thought I could do it all! Haha then that is when you are cut down and start from the ground again! The thing I have thought about this week is the Mormon message about the farmer pruning the bush. Haha that is exactly how I have felt. Right when I was growing and thought I was good at tagalog and at teaching and basically everything, I need to get cut down and grow again. I know that God has to cut us down or prune us so that we can grow up again into the person he wants us to be! It is such a humbling experience, but I know that going through it will help me become a better missionary and be the person he wants me to be! So my new companion is so great. Her name is Sister Bacalla from the southern Philippines. We get along so well, and she is helping me out so much with the language, and basically everything. Our area is Aparri, which is right along the ocean. So yeah it is pretty sweet. It is a VERY poor area. But I already love it. It definitely feels like I am in a whole new country though haha. 
My companion goes out to the beach with me in the morning and we exercise. Yes, it is awesome. Our apartment is not what I expected it to be, but it isn’t bad! It is just old. It doesn’t look nearly how it is from the outside. But I will tell you that in 10 minutes we saw two mice run across the floor, killed 1 large spider, and 1 giant cockroach. Not to mention that yesterday morning I woke up and rolled out of bed to pray, and there lays a dead  big cockroach in my bed.  Yeah I am sure you can guess my reaction. I couldn’t believe it. It had been in there when I was sleeping!!!!!!!!!! Don’t ask how, cause I don’t know. But I had even sprayed my sheets with permethrin!!! Today we are buying mouse traps and all sorts of stuff. On the flip side, we will be moving at the beginning of march! To a brand new apartment that is so cute! Basically just like the one in laoag! Has a spiral staircase too J So that is something to look forward to amongst all the grossness haha! I don’t know how I get so lucky with these brand new apartments! I will send photos of our “bathroom” next week.  The work up here is going good. It is so different, but the people are so great! SO SO GREAT. There are some great potential baptisms coming I just know it. Haha this week we worked so hard to invite as many  people to church as we could. Well as you can see in the picture that the only people who cam e to church were  children that we hadn’t even formally invited hahaha. So yeah sacrament meeting was basically babysitting! Its okay though, I love the kids here.
We have a baptism on February 22 for a young girl named mitch may. It was her that was the one that brough all of her young friends to church! She is so cute. I love talking to the kids because they are the only ones I can understand and can talk to haha! I am so grateful for all of the things I am learning in this area. With my awesome companion. We just started a new planner, so that is my 5th or 6th I think and for February I am writing in it in all red. Nothing else.  J Happy February! My almost favorite holiday is soon! I know that this church is true, I know that this is God’s work, and I am so lucky to be able to serve him. 
love sister wood!
Locals Drying Fish