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