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