Friday, May 31, 2013

MTC week 3

Hey Family!
How are you doing? I love you all!! Thank you for the notes and dearelder. Thanks for the packages mom. The cardigans and pants are perfect. You are the best! Thanks for saying "The Lord is fluent in Hiligaynon." That was awesome! I love it and I needed that.
How is the stake float coming? You should send me pictures (in the mail), that sounds like fun.  When is the last day of school? What are you all planning to do in the summer? Tell me all about the end of year dance, okay? :) Sorry I can't come see your dances! 

Happy Birthday Mommy!!! Happy Birthday Daddy!!! Happy Birthday Grandpa Winward!!!

It has been a great week! I can't believe how fast it went by. So, big things are happening. Our whole zone except for our district is leaving for the field next Monday, so we will be the only district left and then 54 new missionaries are going to be coming into our zone on Wednesday. Crazy right? That doesn't mean a ton for our day-to-day stuff. Two of the elders in my zone were called as Zone Leaders and my companion was called as a Sister Training Leader. Mostly we just have to help the new ones with some orientation kind of things and help them get adjusted. I will probably be tagging along with Sister Foster while she does STL things until another STL gets called. It is exciting, but weird that some of the familiar faces will be leaving.
My enthusiasm for the work is growing. The language is good, we are all struggling together so it is fine. haha. I memorized the purpose in Hiligaynon, so that is good, and it helped me learn some new words and sentence structure. :)
My district is so great! I love all of them so much. It's kind of sad that they are all going to Bacolod though, Sister Foster and I won't get to see them in the field.
On Sunday night, the devotional was by the managing director of the missionary department. Stephen B. Allen. It was really cool because he got up and said that he had prepared this great talk that was going to be really funny, but then he heard that we were going to watch Sister Monson's funeral for our Sunday night film he realized that we probably needed to hear something else. So he totally threw out his notes and spoke entirely by the Spirit at it was wonderful. He said exactly what we needed to hear to encourage us and set a reverent mood for watching the funeral. He was involved in the creation of Preach my Gospel, so he shared some about that and the revelation that went into it. Sundays are my favorite. We watch Music and the Spoken word in the morning then we have a massive relief society meeting (there are 1200+ Sisters now). Music brings the Spirit so well.
Tuesday night we had a devotional review like we always do, and it was wonderful. basically like a district testimony meeting and we talk about what we learned from the general authority devotional. I'll share one neat thing from that. So, there is an elder in my district whose mom passed away when he was young. He has been praying to feel nearer to her. On Sunday, during Bro. Allen's talk he showed a video clip called "Splash" about a special needs little girl that finished every race she entered (it's cute, look it up). Elder S said that during that clip for some reason his heart was burning and he just started bawling. Then on Tuesday, Elder W. Craig Zwick and his wife spoke and they shared a story about their special needs son and his participation in Special Olympics, and Elder S said that the same thing happened. He just felt something so strong during their story. So then, during Devo review I mentioned how I have worked with Special needs kids so I really connected with that story and went on to bear my testimony, etc. When Elder S got up, he said that since I mentioned special needs kids, he was finally able to make a connection and understand why he had felt the Spirit so strong during both of the devotionals. His mom had been a Special Ed teacher when she was alive. He was able to feel closer to her. Isn't that so neat? The Spirit is undeniable here. I am slowly learning what it really means to teach and speak and act by the Spirit. I am learning to better recognize and act on promptings.
I am really so excited to go to the Philippines. It will be so amazing. Brother Hong tells us about some of the Filipino traditions and quirks. It is going to be so different. And I am excited to get immersed in the language. Both of our teachers learned Tagalog in the MTC, so I am super grateful that we are actually learning the language we will be using in the field. Even just having a Hiligaynon Book of Mormon is such a blessing because that didn't exist a few years ago.
I love you all so very much! I hope you have a great week. Write to me! I want to know how you are doing and what you are up to! Remember to keep building your faith every day. Pray always. I love you family!!!!
Love, Cassie

Thursday, May 23, 2013

MTC week 2

Hey Family!!
I love you! Palangga ko kamo! Sorry I'm not tech-savvy enough to send pictures. I'll have the New Zealand Elder help me figure it out next week. :)
This has been a pretty good week! Good and bad... I'm having a hard time learning the language, it is tough to understand concepts and remember how to use everything. Plus there are so many words to learn. But it will come. I just need to study. There is so much to study and so little time! Sister Foster is awesome. She has a very deep understanding of the gospel and she is very focused. She is a good example to me. On Monday we got a new "investigator." Her name is Juralyn. We did not feel very prepared to teach her, and the companionship who went before us said their lesson went very bad, so we were worried. But the Spirit was there very strong. We told her that we knew God loved her and would help her to find a job. We read Moroni 7:41 with her. She had tears in her eyes by the end of our little lesson. We also began teaching "Julius." That lesson went terribly, but it was a good learning experience. Our investigator "Marioneta Mancha" became our teacher last Thursday--Brother Hong is really good at explaining the grammar so it makes sense. He is also really funny. He has told us a bunch about his experiences in the Philippines and about some of the customs and superstitions. I am so excited! Also, it sounds like a lot of the work in the Philippines is with inactive or less active members and helping them to learn more and come back to church.
Sister Foster and I are in a room with 3 bunkbeds. 3 of the other Sisters left for Peru a few days ago, there is one left and she is going to be reassigned until her visa comes.
 Thank you all so much for the notes, packages, and emails! :)
That is cool that Grandpa could tell how Elder Winward and I are related, I'll have to let him know. A few days ago, he was excited because he got a package slip, but then his companion pointed out that "sister" was underlined on it and burst his bubble. It was funny.
 Yeah, we kind of are on like a fast track. My teacher Bro Oldroyd said he didn't teach an "investigator" until his 2nd or 3rd week either. I guess they just kicked it up a notch since we aren't here as long. 
Sunday is really different here--RS is in a big auditorium in the morning and Sacrament is just our branch of 60 people in the afternoon. Plus we have a lot of study time in between everything.
We study so hard every day. I am so exhausted by the time I go to bed. I'm just glad I don't have to learn Russian or Chinese... It is so good though! We have been learning more about addressing the needs of the investigators, about our purpose, and about how everything in the gospel points back to Christ.
It is kind of weird that we don't hear about any news here. When you do hear news from the "outside world" it is kind of strange I guess. That was really sad to hear about the passing of Sister Monson.
Sorry, this email is kind of scatter-brained. Mostly we study a lot and pray a lot and and learn about being missionaries and try to learn the language.
The Australian and New Zealand Elders think we Americans are funny. They like to mimic our Utahn accents--it is hilarious. And they say that food is a lot sweeter here.
I love you all sooooo much! I hope you have a great week! Remember that God loves you. Read your scriptures and pray! Be nice to and patient with each other. Focus on Christ. You are the best family in the whole world. I love you!
Love, Cassie

Friday, May 17, 2013

MTC week one!

Dear Pamiliya ko (my family),
Kumusta from the MTC!!! I love you all so much and I hope you are having a fantastic day! I know I am. So, I know you are dying for information about how awesome this place here goes. :)
My companion's name is Sister  Foster. She is from Orem, UT. She is the youngest of 11 children. She is 20, just finished her sophomore year at BYU studying biology. She is very athletic. We are getting along really well. She's great!
My district is the BEST. Okay, everyone says that, but that's because it is no accident we all got put into a district together. So far, there is great camaraderie. There are 13 of us (quite large for an MTC district). 7 Sisters: Sisters Dixon, Nielsen, Smoot, Van Slooten, Livingston, Foster, and me. 6 Elders: Elder Morgan (from Australia), Templeton (from New Zealand), Manu (from Tonga), Schow, Busselberg, and (drumroll please) the district leader is Elder WINWARD. Whoa! I dunno if we're related. His great-grandpa's name is Peter Winward...maybe Grandpa W could find out. On the first day, someone asked us if we were married, but they realized how dumb that sounded right after they said it. Clearly, we're not senior missionaries. haha. But, anyway. So far we have had two meetings where we bore our testimonies with each other. These Elders and Sisters I'm with are so amazing. They have very strong testimonies. We are all focused on our purpose (PMG pg 1). Elder Manu has said that Elder Schow and the rest of us look very familiar to him, like he has met us before.
My teacher is Brother Oldroyd. He served in the Iloilo mission right when it opened in 2010. He learned Tagalog in the MTC, then when he arrived in Bacolod, they split the mission the next week. Hiligaynon (Hee-lee-GUY-known) is not usually a written language, so the books they have given us to learn the language in the MTC are the only ones in the world really. The language is coming along. It is hard work, but I've learned way more than I ever thought I could in a week. A few words are Salamat (Thank you), Kaupod ko (my companion), Pasensya (Sorry), Wala kaso (You're welcome), and Maayo (good). In the first 4 days, we learned how to say simple prayers and simple testimonies. The grammar structure is simple, but still weird to get used to. The words are a mix of crazy Hiligaynon, phonetically-spelled Spanish, and phonetically-spelled English. The last two days we have been learning about why it is so important to extend the baptism invitation on the first visit, but to make sure they are converted to the Lord before they are baptized.
We have already taught our first (fake) investigator. We try to treat it as real as possible. We have taught Marioneto Mancha four times. We just found out yesterday that we are not going to be teaching him anymore, but we will get a new "progressing investigator" next Monday I think. We teach in the language, so it is hard because we can't really say what we want to because our language is so limited right now. We have PMG in Hiligaynon, so that is helpful. But it is not as good of a lesson if we just read from textbooks all the time. So we try to speak "Ilonggish" Ilonggo/English mixed together, and get our message across. It's just funny.

We are in class either studying, preparing a lesson, or being taught the language or about being a missionary for most of the day. It is a lot of sitting. The food is good. Yes, dad, I had Cap'n Crunch just for you on Sunday. :) There are yummy wraps, biscuits and gravy some mornings, ice cream some days. Good stuff. And vegetables too, don't worry. :) We get 30 minutes to 1 hour to exercise every day. On Tuesday, Sister Foster was basically my personal trainer while we went for a run. Like I said, she is so athletic...and I'm not. haha. It's all good though. They have two gyms and a huge field, so there are lots of options. It'll never get boring.
Thursday we met our Branch President, Pres. Capik, and had a district introduce yourself/bear your testimony. Like I said before, these people are fantastic. Such strong testimonies. I have a lot to learn from them.
Sunday, for RS, we met in a huge gym and Janice Kapp Perry spoke to us. The spirit was so overwhelmingly strong in that meeting because of music. Music is so powerful! (We have a little hymn book in Hiligaynon, it is my favorite to sing hymns in the language!) During her talk, she had us sing a brand new, never before heard song called "The Sisters of Zion." It was a mix of a few songs including "As sisters in zion," and "helaman's army." It was beautiful! 
On Monday, Sister Foster and I escaped. Okay, just kidding. She had a cold, so after being checked by the MTC health clinic, we went down the street to the BYU student health clinic to pick up her prescription. It was weird to be out of the MTC "bubble," even if it was only like 30 minutes. No worries, she is fine, and so am I. Never better. :) 
On Tuesday, we had a devotional! Elder Russell M. Nelson spoke. Yes, THE APOSTLE HIMSELF. It was so cool! He talked about missionary work and how conversion is the most important part and baptism should never be taken lightly. My favorite verse of the week came from his talk: D&C 136:32.
I've noticed that time is weird here. On the one hand, class sometimes drags on forever, but usually time passes so quickly that I don't even know what happened. At the end of the day, as I'm writing in my journal, I'm surprised that it has already been another day. They keep us busy. All of our time is scheduled and we spend it studying the language and the word of God as diligently as we can. BOOM, one week down. I'm working hard. I'm doing all I can to make the Lord's time count. I'm studying hard and learning so many new things every day! I really like "True to the Faith." It explains things so clearly. I read the entry about "Conversion" today and it made so much more sense.
I love you all so much! Don't miss me, okay? I am where I need to be. I love it here! It is a spiritual powerhouse everyday. Thank you so much for the cute notes and dearelders. Keep 'em coming!!! Mail time is one of my favorite bits of every day. :) Read your scriptures! Pray every morning and night! Listen to uplifting music! I LOVE YOU!!!
Love, Sister Cassie Winward
P.S. Please write me more letters! I love them. Thank you so much.  :) Love ya!

Monday, May 13, 2013


Wed., 5/8/13

Dear Awesomest Family EVER,

Kamusta? (How are you? - they don't say "hi") I am doing great! Today was awesome; first we met in our classroom and started learning Hiligaynon!  My companion is Sister F. She is 20, went to BYU, studying biology (she wants to become a Marine Biologist). She is so great!  I'll send you a picture soon. My p-day is on Thursday (starting on the 16th) so no panicking since you won't hear from me for a few days.

So, in our class the teacher cannot speak English.  It is total Hiligaynon immersion - so we have to learn it fast!  Right off the bat we were introducing ourselves and asking each other questions in Hiligaynon (using a language book, of course)! Then we had dinner (kind of meh...) and went to a "teaching experience" which was like a massive role play with an actor investigator and 50 of us chiming in with questions, suggestions, answers, scriputures, stories and testimonies.  It was interesting.

The spirit is definitely strong here.  The "teaching experience" was awesome because the discussion went right where it needed to.  Everyone is so great!  So friendly.  The sisters are all so enthusiastic and smiling.  My "sister training leaders" are Sister B. (also an Aggie!) and Sister P. (going to Hong Kong).

There are 6 sisters in my dorm room - the other 4 are headed to Peru in 2 weeks.  Yeah, there are a lot of people, but so far it only seemed crowded in the cafeteria.  I guess I'll see how long the shower line is tomorrow morning.  

I love you! You are the best family ever. Thank you for all of your help getting me ready the last few weeks & months (my whole life, really.)

Love,  Sister Cassie Winward

Friday, May 3, 2013

MTC Address and Something Funny...

Hey, so mostly I am sharing the second part because it is hilarious, but also because I would really appreciate it if you fabulous people would write to me! I will be leaving the MTC for the Philippines on Tuesday, June 18, 2013.

My MTC address is: 

Sister Cassandra Winward
MTC Mailbox # 24
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793


The First Epistle of the Elders to the Dead Letter Writers:

1. In the beginning was the mailbox and the mailbox was void of letters.
2. And the missionaries said, Let the mailbox be filled and the box was not filled.
3. And the missionaries beheld the continuing void and were not pleased.
4. And lo, it was the first day of the week and there was no mail delivered, but this was good.
5. But on the second day mail was delivered, yet the mailbox remained empty.
6. Yea, even from the second day unto the seventh was the mail delivered.
7. Even so the box retained its void.
8. And yea, great mists of darkness spread forth from the void and enshrouded the Missionaries. Yea and did bring much sadness to their otherwise cheery days.
9. Even the long hours of fruitless tracting, being chased by the fowls of the air, and being pursued by the beast of the field were not as disheartening as the lack of sacred objects known as letters.
10. Yet they persisted.

1. And, lo, on the second day of the second week the mists still encircled the sacred mailbox.
2. And on the third day, from within the depths of the void was a single postcard.
3. And this postcard put forth a single ray of light which did pierce the darkness and did overcome the mists.
4. And the Missionaries were well pleased and there was much rejoicing.
5. But, alas, their joy was not to last. For the mailbeast had made a mistake and the postcard was for someone else.
6. But if their joy was so exceedingly great over someone else's mail, how great would be their joy at partaking of their own mail.

1. And we give unto you the parable of the Two Letter Writers.
2. At the hour of noon a certain scribe sat down to write a letter.
3. And the scribe did think of many things to write, but, he spent so much time thinking that he did not write.
4. Nevertheless he felt good because he had great intentions.
5. At that same hour a publican sat down and wrote a few words as he ate.
6. Yet he felt guilty at not writing enough.
7. And, lo, the 24 months passed and the Missionary returned home and passed by the scribes' house.
8. Yea, he went even unto the house of the publican and did visit the publican.
9. Verily a letter is like unto a prize in a Cheerios box; the which if a man knows it is in there he selleth all that he has that he may buy a case of Cheerios that he may obtain it.

1. Even more blessed than the Missionary receiving mail is a friend or relative writing letters.
2. And if you should spend 5 minutes writing one letter how great shall be your joy.
3. And if your joy be great with one letter, how great shall it be with many letters in the mailbox of a missionary.
4. Else why do they build Post Offices if letters are written not at all; why then do they build Post Offices.
5. Yea, though I speak with the tongue of men and angels, and write not letters, I am nothing.
6. Letters never faileth; But if there be good thoughts they shall fail; whether there be unsent mail it shall vanish.
7. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child.
8. Even as I have put away my childish things, ye must replace them with unchildish mail.
9. And now abideth thoughts, intentions, mail; These three. But the greatest of these is mail.
10. Yea, if thou lovest me, write me letters.

1. But some will say, a letter, a letter. We have already written a letter. We have no need to write anymore letters.
2. Know ye not that there are more days than one. And more events than one in a day. Why think ye that these events need not to be reported.
3. Yea, and ye need not worry that your letter will go unanswered.
4. But you should say, I will go and write the letter that a missionary requests. For I know he giveth no request except he be prepared to respond.
5. And we give unto you the Parable of the self addressed envelopes.
6. When the missionary departed into the far off land he gave a certain number of self-addressed stamped envelopes to his friends.
7. Unto one he gave 5, unto another he gave 2, and unto the third he gave 1.
8. And while he was gone he that was given the 5 envelopes wrote 5 letters then in his zeal wrote 5 letters more.
9. The same with him that had 2 envelopes; he wrote 2 letters and then 2 letters more.
10. He that was given the self-addressed envelope became slothful and careless. And he lost the envelope, even that which he was given.
11. When the missionary came home he went unto his friends. And he that had written 10 letters was warmly greeted.
12. The same with him that had written 4.
13. But he that had written none at all was given nothing more than a Fishy-Whimp like handshake.

1. And it has been said; Blessed are the letter writers for they shall receive mail in return.
2. Blessed are they that keep in touch with a missionary for they shall know all that happens to him.
3. Ye and your letters are the light of a missionaries' day.
4. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
5. Neither do men write letters and put them in a desk but in an envelope that it giveth light unto all that are around the missionary.
6. Let your letters so be read by missionaries that they may see your good works and show an increased love to you.
7. And we give unto you the Parable of the Prodigal Letter Writer.
8. A missionary had two friends while he was laboring in the field.
9. One was faithful and wrote every week to the missionary.
10. Meanwhile, the other friend spent his stamp money on riotous living and wrote no letters.
11. But after 23 1/2 months he felt deep sorrow and did write a letter unto the missionary.
12. Who when he received it did go and kill the fatted Macaroni and Cheese box and did feast and was merry.
13. For it was meet that he should make merry for the letter writer which was lost was now found.

1. Unto you is given some stationary, and some paper, and some envelopes, and some pens and pencils.
2. For the writing of the letters, for the cheering up of the missionary, for the improving of your English skills.
3. Till the missionary return home, till we all come to be together again in the bond of friendship.
4. To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose.
5. A time to contemplate writing and a time to write.
6. A time to put letters in the envelopes and a time to stamp the envelopes.
7. A time to mail the letters and a time to start the whole process over again.
8. Now we beseech you brethren concerning the coming home of our missionary and our gathering together to meet him.
9. That you be not soon shaken in mind or be troubled neither by word nor by any letter from us that the return missionary is at hand.
10. Let no one deceive you by any means for that day shall not come unless there first be an abundance of letters; and the man of mail be revealed, a true friend.

1. And the missionary said unto his friend, Lovest thou me?
2. And the friend said, of course I love thee.
3. He saith a second time, friend, Lovest thou me? and the friend said, Thou knowest that I love thee. He then said, Feed my mailbox.
4. He then spake a third time saying, Lovest thou me? and the friend said, Thou knowest all things, thou knowest I love thee.
5. Then the missionary said, Stuffest my mailbox.
6. And the vision is become unto all as the words of a letter which is sealed in the envelope that the men deliver to one who is not serving a mission saying, read this, I pray thee; and he saith I cannot for it is not mine.
7. And the letter is delivered to him that is serving a mission saying, read this I pray thee; and he saith, why sure.
8. Therefore you should proceed to do a marvelous work among a missionary, even a marvelous work and a wonder by writing a letter.

1. And the word of the Missionary came unto his friend saying,
2. Moreover, thou friend of mine, take thee one piece of paper and write it for a Missionary and for the House of the Mexico City North Mission, his companions; and then take an envelope and write upon it for a missionary and for the House of the Mexico City North Mission, his companions.
3. And join them one to another into a letter and they shall become one in the hand of the mailman.
4. For what doth it profit a man if he say he hath thought, but write no letter? Can thoughts save him?
5. If a brother or sister have a birthday,
6. And you say unto him, Happy Birthday, notwithstanding you give them not a cake with candles upon it. What doth it profit?
7. Even so, thoughts without letters are dead, being alone.
8. But if we say we have no thoughts, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
9. Therefore, since ye have thoughts, write ye letters.

1. And now we wish to tell you the story of the Anti-letter-writer.
2. And there dwelt in the land at the time a certain Anti-letter-writer who went about convincing the people that there was no need to write letters.
3. Indeed so persuasive were his arguments that many people did cease to write letters to Missionaries.
4. Then a returned missionary did confront the Anti-letter-writer and didst dispute his arguments.
5. Then it came to pass that the Anti-letter-writer did ask for a sign that letters should be sent, then would he believe.
6. Then the returned missionary said, just as assuredly as letters are to be sent so wilt thou be struck down.
7. And at that moment the Anti-letter-writer was run over by a mail truck and was dragged even unto the Post Office, where he was subsequently mailed to Zimbabwe.
8. Now when the general public saw this they were pricked in their hearts and said, Men and brethren what shall we do?
9. Then the Returned Missionary said: Repent, every one of you and write ten letters unto each Missionary that he may forgive thee of thy thoughtlessness.
10. So now we leave you. Be of good cheer, and remember this last vision.
11. For I saw the dead, small and great stand before the judgment bar, and another book was opened which was the book of letters; and the dead were judged by the letters (or lack thereof) that they had written to the Missionaries.
12. So now we ask, What manner of men ought ye to be? Ye ought to be LETTER WRITERS!!!!!