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.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"This is God's mission, but the result is yours."

Hi all! This is Sister Wood's mom. I will preface this post by saying that Sister Wood's area was hit by the 2nd typhoon in a week. This last one was called, "Mario". She said it was really bad, but once again she was kept safe.
Sister Wood and Sister Shrack

Typhoon Mario
No Electricity = Study by candlelight

Magandang araw po!
I am so happy right now! Happy the fact that this part of San Nicolas has electricity. So I am sure you all heard about Super Mario that passed through here this last weekend. The funny thing is that we didn't get any warnings about it! Haha maybe since last typhoon nothing even happened. So Saturday morning we woke up at 5am to texts from our leaders saying don't go outside, cancel all your appointments and that there is a typhoon. Yeah we could definitely hear it outside, and my bed was drenched because of the leak haha. We stayed home all day Saturday. We had no electricity and funny enough, we still don't! It was the strangest day ever, but the storm was really bad. Water was coming under our door and in our windows because none of the stuff is sealed. Kinda hard to explain. We were all fine though! It started raining friday night way hard and didn't stop until last night. I couldn't believe that that much water could come out of the sky. Lots of trees got torn up and plants ruined. We were all just fine though! I think there was a set of elders more in the south though where their apartment was full of water up to their chest! All missionaries are safe! It wasn't super ideal timing though because we didn't get to visit any investigators on saturday and the weather was bad, so hardly anyone was at church! Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers.
So this morning we had a zone activity. We just got back from it. And funny enough, the sun came out right in time for it and it was so hot! I am so sun burnt. We did a bunch of things, but mostly I stayed outside playing basketball and frisbee. Us white people are fried. But it was a blast. It was combined again so there were a lot of missionaries there. It was the last zone activity for all the missionaries that are going home in October. Man it is coming quick. I am going to miss them so much! Hope you enjoyed all the photos. :) I am on a photo spree. 
We also had zone conference this last week! I don't think I mentioned that. My last zone conference. :( It was so much fun though! President and Sister Barrientos were pretty hilarious and we all had a good time. We heard Elder Tate and Elder Dizon give their last training. That was kind of weird. All of the missionaries who are going home in October gave their testimonies and it was seriously amazing! That is what I wanted to kind of share with you all today was something that one of my favorite missionaries shared in his testimony. He shared a beautiful testimony and then said, "this is God's mission, but the result is yours." That phrase has been stuck with me since that conference. You know how everyone is always saying, "On MY mission," "Oh MY mission..." "I loved MY mission.." But, like this elder said, it isn't OUR mission.. It is His. This is HIS work. We made the commitment and choice to give up OUR life, to serve him and do HIS work. And it is hard. It is really hard, but then the thing that amazes me is that even though it is HIS work, it is HIS mission, we, his children, are the ones that receive the blessings. Isn't that incredible? Does that not show you how much Heavenly Father loves us? I don't know, that one saying, had a huge impact on me and made me really think about this mission. HIS mission. I am grateful that I have been given the opportunity to serve among such faithful servants that live so close to the Spirit. Testimonies of other missionaries strengthen mine so much. 
The work here is still going strong. We are working pretty hard to find the less active people in our area! You know how I told you about how it is like a hunt and I would love to go on a mission to just find the less active people? Well that is still the same. :) We found so many this week! It is so great finding them, but at the same time it is really hard. You know why? Because we find these people that have gone astray. That need to come back to their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Here is an example. We found this lady this week that we had heard of from a member. I was angry that we hadn't heard about her earlier haha. Anyways, it was a lady that had been the relief society president a long time ago. She has gone to the temple, but she is still single. I kid you not our lesson with her this last week was probably the most heart wrenching lesson in the world. I was seriously just so sad. To hear her story of why she turned away from the church. And, she told us herself that the bottom line of the reason she left was because of money. Ahhhh. I seriously felt sorrow for her. That something so worldly could take her away from the Gospel! We are going to do EVERYTHING we possibly can to help her come back. I told her we are not going to give up on her. Even though she said she has lost her testimony and that she doesn't want to come back. I told her we will go there every week because we are not giving up on someone who has made sacred covenants with Heavenly Father. I walked out of that lesson and told my companion that I learned so many things in that lesson. Teaching lessons I swear teaches you more than the learner.
We are continuing to work with the families that we have found. We actually found a new one! I love families! I love my family! :) My companion and I are doing really well. I know that President is inspired when it comes to choosing companions. I have learned so much from my companion. This weekend especially we had lots of time to sit and talk about life and kind of where we came from and why we are the way we are. Sister Servancia is so solid. Has an amazing life that has blessed mine! 
Well, I want you all to know that we are doing great here! Time is still flying and it is scaring me! Haha. There are 20 new missionaries coming in this next transfer and I am praying that I get to train again for the last transfer of my mission. :) We will see. Whatever the Lord wants. I love you all. I love HIS mission. Thanks for all the emails and letters and loves. :) 
Sister Wood.
PS Just a random side note, the water we showered with (or dumped over our heads to bathe) haha was the color of brown pond water and you could literally see specks in it. Hey its life. 
Zone Activity

Shooting Hoops

Zone Conference with Sister Shrack

According to Sister Wood, Everything gets dumped in the Philippines...Vintage BYU

Mom's Birthday

The Gabriel Family

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Hey everyone!
Okay before I say anything else, I just want to inform you all that we are OKAY. Us as missionaries have no idea what the media and stuff is saying about these storms, so we are always surprised when we get on email and hear about it! But yeah, we were warned about the typhoon that was coming through. We didn't work Saturday afternoon and we didn't work all day yesterday. We had to prepare and be ready for it. But.... literally nothing even happened. There was a little bit of rain (it rains harder when there is no storm) haha and the wind was blowing, but it felt more good than anything! So, I am way sorry that there was a big scare over there. Maybe it hit worse in other parts of the mission. I am not quite sure, we haven't heard anything! All of us in San Nicolas are happy though because we get to have P-day and email. :) 
It was another great week. The Spirit was felt lots. I just wanted to hurry and tell you that we went so far out this week and we ran into this man who had a USA army emblem on the front of his house. Of course that interests me. We talked to them and he was a retired army guy. It was the day after September 11th and so I wrote him a not thanking him for the service of our country and put it inside of a book of mormon and gave it to them. I have met other men like that here in the Philippines as well, and it just amazes me. I was overwhelmed with gratitude because these filipino men sacrifice their life for the USA and then they just come back and live in the Philippines. I will be forever be grateful for the men and women who put their lives on the line for our country!
The next thing I wanted to tell you all about was the family that we found last week! So the Gabriel family. The ones who went to church last week. Remember? Okay, so we hadn't even taught them the Restoration. We went back on saturday to teach the whole family again. This time we took a couple fellowshipper. It was one of the coolest lessons in the world. Man you can just feel the power when you are teaching a husband and wife and their kids. I had never felt anything like it! They are super receptive, but I was in charge of teaching the Restoration portion of it. The story about Joseph Smith. Sometimes I get really impatient because little kids are running around and being loud and stuff. We just continued though because the parents were really listening. So like the climax of this lesson is obviously always the first vision. And I finally have it completely memorized in tagalog so I can just literally say it right to them. I begin saying it while holding the picture and brother can't take his eyes off of the picture, but the kids started being loud. Inside I was just freaking out because I didn't want them to ruin this moment! I just kept going without stopping for silence haha. It was all good. Then my companion asked them a question about if they have any doubts that this really happened. The mom said, I don't have one doubt in my mind that he saw them. Then brother said, "no, i have no doubts! I am looking at the picture right now! He really did see them!" This dad is amazing. He just said, "Just like James 1:5 says! I believe if one of us went out into the bukid, the same thing could happen with us!" The things he was saying was what any missionary would die to hear after teaching the restoration. You should have seen the smiles on our faces! So after that we obviously planned to extend baptism to them. So we showed them a picture of Christ being baptized and invited them when they came to know this church was true, if they would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized. Without hesitation they nodded their heads, and then we extended the date ofNovember 15th. Brother went on to tell us that he wants to change, and if it was God wants him to do, he will do it. He opened up that he has a drinking problem and he gambles, but he wants to stop it. And then he went on to tell us how grateful they are that we came and found them because now they know about this. And then he said that they can feel the difference when we are there. I have never had anyone ever tell us that my whole mission! I mean that is obviously our goal as missionaries, but no investigator has ever expressed it to me or my companionship my whole mission. It was like perfect. This is a special family. And I am sad because I don't have a picture of them, but next week I will. So this family is scheduled to be baptized on November 15th, 2014. The weekend before I go home... :) I love them. Haha they even look like a mormon family! Even though they don't have anything, they fed us a simple lunch and we all ate with our hands. It was just pure joy. I seriously can't wait to keep teaching them. Brother makes baskets out of bamboo and I am trying to figure out a souveneir her can make me to take home! We are so blessed right now in the work! I am sure I will have a lot more to say about them next week!
My companion and I are doing great! We had an awesome talk about giving it literally our all. We evaluated ourselves on how we are doing and we both know even though our work is great right now, it could be better! Gonna step it up a knotch. :)
And a little happy birthday shout out to my loovely mother this friday. :) It is writeen all over my planner. I have not and will not forget! I LOVE YOU!
Don't count the days, make the days count. :)
Sister Wood

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Another Week In the Office of The Lord

A typical home in the Philippines

It has been a beautiful week. The only reason it has been so beautiful is because of the pure amazing missionary work that has happened, and the love that we have been able to feel from Heavenly Father. That's it. Simple as that! So, I will tell you about this beauty.
At the beginning of this week I learned a really valuable lesson. Well, I should say that the Spirit taught me a very valuable lesson. We were out in our far area again and we had a fellowshipper with us from the relief society.We went to find a lady and end up finding this man, her relative. He was nice, and we asked if we could share with him and he was fine with it. He just made it clear to us that he was Baptist. He had respect for us though, and of course we had the same. We began to give him an overview of Lesson 1. So for me, I have had this tendency to kind of raise my voice and talk really loud when I know I am right and I need to win an argument or something. Some of you probably have noticed that about me haha. Anyways, towards the end of the lesson I invited this man to accept a Book of Mormon, and he said no. I think I was talking in a normal tone of voice or maybe a louder tone. Then, our fellowshipper began testifying and was talking so loud and going into really deep things that weren't super necessary for a first visit, let alone a man who is a leader in the Baptist church. AFter she got done with her thing she invited him again to accept the Book of Mormon, he said no. A calmness came over me after that and the Spirit told me, a loud voice is not going to get this guy to accept a Book of Mormon, but a gentle and eloquent voice with a simple testimony. I grabbed the Book of Mormon from my companion and held it in my hands and bore the most simple and calm testimony I ever have about the Book of Mormon. I told him that it will bless his life. It will change his life. And then I asked him, Brother will you take this Book of Mormon and read it? And he nodded his head, and said yeah. I will. The Spirit was really strong. It was a miracle! My testimony was strengthened so much. Heavenly Father really does work through his missionaries. Probably the coolest thing about being a missionary. But lesson learned for me that the Spirit is not loud. It doesn't scream. It is not felt when you are raising your voice, or trying to persuade someone with force. But it is felt in the most simple ways, and the most simple words. Seriously amazing.
As I said last week, we have been praying for families to teach. There hasn't really been any full families! Just individuals. This week we found 3 families. THREE! Do you understand how rare that is? So a family consists of at least a mother and father. One of them is the Bumanglag family. They are from far away in Sarrat. In fact, all of the families are from Sarrat! Even more of a blessing. Bumanglag family is amazing. They are so receptive. Our goal for them is to create a better atmosphere for them to feel the Spirit because whenever we teach it is always really loud outside and the kids are crazy. The mom and dad didn't go to church this week because they had something to do, but they brought all of their kids. Keep in mind that we just found them last week. It is pretty sweet that they are already starting to come. We want to extend a baptismal date to them this week. The next family is the Gabriel family. We seriously just found them on Saturday morning. Taught the mom and the dad with their daughter. They were so kind. As a missionary there is kind of a feeling you get when you teach certain people where you can tell if there is a connection with them and if they are really interested. I felt that way with them. Aaaaaand...... what do you know.... They came to church on Sunday. We met them one day, they came to church the next. The only problem was that the dad wasn't there. And it was cause he went somewhere, but said he would go next week. This is like the biggest miracle in the world. We are so excited to keep teaching them!!! It made it a great and happy and stressful Sunday! But totally worth it. Our testimony of fasting also grew. Heavenly Father is so mindful of us.The attendance at church was 157. Which is the highest it has been since I got here. It was out of this world! 
One of the photos is of an old Nanay named Maxima that we found. She is 78 and had a stroke, so it is hard for her to walk. She told us to come into her house and we sang some hymns and shared a message with her, and gave her a Book of Mormon. She asked us if there is a fee for it. Because a lot of other missionaries from other religions charge money for the things they give out. But we told her no nanay of course not! This is God's work, there is no fee! She told us that when she can walk, she will come to church. She is a remarkable woman. We are praying and praying that she will be able to walk again so that she can receive the blessings of the gospel. 
We went on exchanges this week again. Haha they are always a lot of fun. Sister Shrack and I were together. And it was the first time that there have been 2 american sisters together in this area. It was hilarious! We taught this less-active guy who only speaks english and ilocano. So of course, we spoke english to him. It was about the Word of Wisdom. So I had to explain to one of filipino sisters that us foreigners didn't get trained on how to preach the gospel in english. Haha we were only taught in Tagalog! So when we teach in english, yeah there are times it is good and spiritual, but others where it is just awkward! Only because we don't know the right wording and stuff. Plus after speaking a different language for a long time, you lose your vocabulary. (which I apologize if I use words wrong in my emails). So in this lesson with the less active, sister shrack and I were just a mess with the language. Especially when you have never taught the Word of Wisdom in english. Like one of the phrases that came out of my mouth was "We have to obey the word of wisdom or our bodies will break." I looked at sister shrack like what in the world am I saying? Haha because in tagalog, that is the direct translation to english, and it makes sense here, but not in english. Such a struggle. We laughed so hard. It was an enjoyable day. :)
Things are going great here. As you can see. I am ready for another week in the office of the Lord! 
Sister Wood
Sister Wood's sweet companion working on her ingrown toenail. Court's foot is as big as Sister Servancia's leg. haha

A letter and 7-11 wrapper from her brother Stetson who is serving in Edmonton Canada. It's safe to say that all the employees at the 7-11 in Kaysville knew Stetson and Courtnee. They were in there almost daily buying their usual Coke slurpees and steak and jack taquito's.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

It's Beginning to Sound a Lot Like Christmas

I love this picture of Sister Wood and this cute little old lady

No, it is not too early to think about Christmas, because I am in the Philippines, and Christmas starts the first day of September. :) Okay yeah, it is a little ridiculous, but we just gotta deal with it alright? Haha. We were in a recent converts home this week and the Christmas music was just a blasting! Ahhh they just thrive to have it be Christmas time. 
Oh and I said it is beginning to sound a lot like Christmas because here, it never looks like Christmas haha. But I will let you know when we start to see Christmas lights! So, Merry Christmas everyone. 

Alright, so lets talk about this week. But wait, before I do that, I completely spaced to talk about transfers last week! Yeah, I am still here and there was no changes in our apartment with companions or anything.... so that was simple enough. Except, I know I always talk about elder castillo cause he has been my leader my whole mission, but he got transferred, so that marks the end of the year he was my leader. Yeah as you can imagine I was sad. But I was over it after 30 seconds. Haha I am just going to come out straightway and say that I am really tired of my clothes. I think this last week was the last set of combinations I could make with my shirts and skirts haha. I am sure a lot of you laugh at some of the outfits I have put together. I am thinking and pondering about doing what some of the other sisters have done and get rid of all your clothes with like 1 month left of your mission and live off of 3 outfits and wash them everyday. We will see, I say that I could do it, but I don't know if I really could. Hey it might be an adventure to try though. Haha so I don't know if you have noticed, but we look different when we are out proselyting verses at church or a meeting. One of the recent converts made it clear this week that I only look pretty on Sundays. You learn to just take the blows hahaha.

So, lots of good happened this week out in our far area of Sarrat! I will start by saying that we went to another big house and a lady was there. I pulled out the same "Romero" name and with no coincidence again, their name was Romero. Yeah I am not kidding. They wouldn't let us teach them then, but said that we could go back this week. There is obviously some Romero family that needs to be baptized. We will keep finding. The next thing, which I hope you saw the photos of those kids with 6 fingers and 6 toes. We found this family on Saturday. I was BLOWN AWAY by this. l got videos and stuff of it because I couldn't believe it. I had never seen anything like it in my life. We were so excited though because we found that family and they were amazing. We taught the mom and dad, and they were so great! SO receptive, and said they could go to church next week. We had been praying for a family to teach and Heavenly Father blessed us with one! We are excited to go back and teach them again. These people are all from way far away. But, one of our most progressing investigators is named Monica Ramos. She is a tomboy. But we have seen some amazing changes in her as she has come to church. She refused to wear a skirt, but she says in her own time she will try it again. She has a baptismal date for November 1st. It is far away, because it is going to take some time for her to prepare. When we started teaching her she always had to wear her glasses to read, but now she doesn't need them anymore, and she recognizes that as a blessing from Heavenly Father for keeping his commandments! :) All of the baptismal dates we have are really far away. We have really been focusing on the recent converts like I have said before. Haha out in this far away area we walked back more to "civilization" and my companion realized the perks of having an american companion! Haha we found a woman and wanted to ask if we could buy some papaya (we noticed they had a lot on their trees), but she ended up giving us tons of papaya and then took us back into her huge garden and we left her house with 2 huge bags full of vegetables hahaha. We didn't even teach the lady! My companion said that would have never happened if there were just two filipinos. Yeah so we are blessed with the gulay. With all of the vegetables here, it has kind of put me on this kick of wanting to plant a garden when I get home. I am going to try and buy some seeds here and grown them inside. But we will see if they make it through customs first. I don't know if that is allowed or not. We are missing out on some amazing vegetables! On the mission you realize a lot of things that you want to do in life and you want to do when you get home that you never did before. Gardening was one of those things I hated to do, but I have realized how reliant it is! I mean why not? Alrighty, life is going good here. We have exchanges on Wednesday and I get to go with Sister Shrack again. :) In my area this time. I am excited. Make sure everyone stays safe! 
Lots of love,
Sister Wood

Sister Wood loves this fruit. She said it tastes like sweet cake. It's called Atis

Eating vegetables. You see food....I see Sister Wood's feet 

The "nice" supermarket

The Philippines is a beautiful place