Sunday, June 30, 2013

Yep, I CAN do this!

y dearest family! 

Kumusta kamo? How are all of you? I hope you are not melting into puddles with the heat wave there. Stay cool! 

It has been a good week. The first week was definitely rough--culture shock, adjusting to everything, homesickness. But now I am great. The language is still hard, but I do what I can to use what I know, and I know it will improve with time and study. I am able to understand, or at least get the gist of, most of what I hear, so that is good. In the lessons, my companion mostly teaches, but I can explain a scripture and testify and pray, so it is good. Many people know some English, so sometimes people say "It is okay Sister, we can understand, English." haha, I usually just keep trying with the Hiligaynon though cuz the gospel will be preached in every tongue, right? ;) My companion is great. She is silly and sweet, and she is a great example of sharing the gospel with everyone and having charity for everyone. 
So, I don't have an address for where I live, honestly I don't think they really have specific addresses here, just streets (so make sure you put the name of the mission on every letter you send). But I live in a little compound type thing. There are three little houses that share a pretty yard all surrounded by a concrete wall. For your Google mapping, my neighborhood (barangay) is called "Cagbang". Our house is pretty nice. I live with the Sister Training Leaders for our Zone, Sister Butler and Sister McClellan. We study a lot, then go out in the afternoon to teach. We are working with a handful of investigators, but a lot of the time we go teach less-active members (there are a ton in the Philppines). We are constantly inviting people back to church, they have so many excuses, but little by little I am sure they will return. There is once recent convert, Arnold, who still needs to be confirmed. He has been late to sacrament for a few weeks, hopefully he will come on time so he can finally receive the Holy Ghost! I surely love the Philippines lack of time management.... It is a blessing and a curse. 

So, most of the places we go are city-ish, but there is one barangay called Lumbayao that is so pretty. It is the jungle I expected the Philippines to be. There are bamboo homes and bamboo bridges and rice fields. I don't have any good pictures of it yet, but I will soon. :) I love the Filipino children. They are so cute! They can be super distracting in lessons--I am trying so hard to listen and understand what is going on (which is extra hard because everyone speaks very softly, and there is a lot of background noise)--but I still love it when they are there. On Saturday, there was a youth activity about mission preparation. After it, two of the Young Women, ages 17 and 13, came with us to teach some less-active members. They were so great. It is one thing for a missionary to invite someone to church, but it is so wonderful when a member invites them. We got to watch the MTC broadcast last night. Wasn't it so wonderful? I love the MTC. I am so glad to be in the heart of missionary work right now. I loved the broadcast because I really hope everyone takes it to heart. Members are so powerful in building up the church where they live. I definitely did not really realize that before my mission, but I know my work will not end when I go home. If anything, this is just preparation for the rest of my life as a missionary. 
 So this week I particularly enjoyed studying from Alma 5 and 7. Alma is an awesome missionary! He is a great example of humility and diligence. 

President and Sister Aquino arrived yesterday!! It was good to meet them, I think they were a little overwhelmed and tired from their flight, but I know they will be great. Also, they said they stayed with someone in West Jordan while they were being trained at the MTC. Cool, huh? President said: "I think it was 3200 West, there are so many chapels there!" haha, so true!

I love you all so much! I hope you have a great week. Pray for missionary experiences and think of the people you know who need the gospel or need a friend to help them come back. Thank you for the emails. I think it takes like 3 or 4 weeks for letters to get here, so sorry that it will take so long. haha

Love, Sister Winward

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Hey family! I love you!
So I arrived safe and alive in the Philippines Iloilo Mission on Wed 19 June 2013 at about 10:30 am. It has been the craziest few days of my life. Truly, that is the only way to describe it. Crazy...
I am doing well. I think I am adjusting well to the time difference, I only felt a little jetlagged the first day or two. The humidity is a little different to get used to, I am just glad it is the rainy season so it is not unbearably hot. Travel was good, a little wild, but this wonderful Filipinia woman named Victoria was seriously an angel. We sat next to her on the plane from LA to Manila, and she made sure we got through customs and to our next gate. 

 My companion is Sister Mendez. she is from a town on Luzon island (the big northern one, where Manila is). So she is a Filipina, she only knew Tagalog before, but she is already good at the language even though she just finished her training--so she has only been here for 3 months. I am assigned to Oton (area A), just near Iloilo City.
I live in a balay (house) with another companionship of American Sisters. We travel by jeepney (like one of those ugly cube cars but longer with 2 bench seats on the inside), tricycle (motorcycle with a sidecar), and sikad (bmx type bicycle with a sidecar) those (I'll send pictures next week maybe). They are quite the wild ride. On our way to church yesterday we had 8 adults and 7 children on 1 tricycle. They later that day I think I counted 10 adults on a tricycle. It is madness. And there aren't really traffic rules, just stay on the right side of the road, but even that is ignored if they want to pass. It is really funny to be white here because people stare at me as I ride past...I just smile and wave at them.
It is really noisy here...all the time. Roosters crow all the time (I think I found out where they got the sounds for Angry Birds from), dogs bark all the time, old men sing kareoke all the time, jeepneys blast music, the rain is loud, the wind is loud, etc. It's just a noisy place. But it's all good, I kind of just tune a lot of it out. It is a noisy, dirty city. Everything smells weird too. Fish, jeepney pollution, cigarettes, chickens, other mysterious smells. Including myself--Thank you humidity. To get to the jeepney stop from our balay, we walk past a market where they sell fish. Truly delightful smells right there, haha. It is definitely Asia. haha
The work is good. Every one is soooo poor. For real. My area is mostly made up of slums/squatter areas. Look that up too--Oton squatter areas. They have nothing. Their homes are bamboo and tin and concrete and other random stuff like street signs and junk all made into a makeshift house. The rooms are separated by a bookshelf or curtains. They are so poor, yet most of them have a TV. haha. One neighborhood is right on the beach, I don't know how those houses are even still standing, the wind blows very hard off of the ocean. The people are tiny, many are malnourished. I have seen elderly men who look like pictures from the Holocaust. They have nothing. But they are very happy people. They are very receptive to our message, but it is hard to tell if they really want to listen and become converted or if they are too kind to say they don't care. The church is very young here. But people know who the Mormons are and recognize our badges. Our branch is tiny and there aren't very many priesthood holders. Less than 10 probably.
I am reminded many times a day how blessed I am to have all I have--to have been born in the church and have a strong testimony and a strong ward and pioneer ancestors. I have a nice, huge home. Clean water, lots of food. Traffic laws. The FDA. haha. I am very grateful.
I don't know that I love it here yet, I am still adjusting, but I love the people we are teaching. I know I'll come to love it. It is certainly a fun adventure. I love the kids. They are adorable. I went through a pack of Juicy Fruit Gum yesterday (thanks to Matt & Britnee and family--Thanks for the package!) Also thanks mom and Grandma for the packages. Thanks everyone for all the letters so far, it might take a while, but I will try to write all of you back.

I love you all and I am so grateful for you. Please write letters and emails and DEARELDERS!! I love to hear from you!
Love, Cassie

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Sister Winward is on an airplane flying to the Philippines right now! Here are some pictures she sent during her stay at the MTC...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

MTC week 5

Hey Family!!!
Kumusta? I am doing so great! I am very excited to fly to the Philippines on Monday!
Thank you Grandma Winward for fixing my dress--it is perfect! I wore it on Sunday and it looks great! Thank you Mom for the yummy cookies! That postcard is hilarious! So true too, you should see how much the Elders scarf down for every meal. Thank you Grandma Allred for the cookies and the "Greenie" package! So cute!
Happy Anniversary to both Gma and Gpa Winward and Gma and Gpa Allred. Wow!!! I have the BEST grandparents in the whole wide world! Thank you for all of your love and support, and for all of your examples of faith and diligence! I love you!
So, it has been a FANTASTIC week! The language has been going much better lately. The gift of tongues is REAL! I am so excited to learn more from the Filipinos! I think most of my communication problems just come down to lack of vocabulary. But it is truly amazing to reflect and think that the first lesson we gave to "Brother Mancha" was only about 5 minutes long and we had scripted it all and all we could say was "Kumusta" and ask him to read a verse. Now we have a hard time keeping our lessons short enough because there is so much we want to say, and we don't need our notes anymore. Yesterday, we taught "Julius" about baptism and committed him to a date. He asked about the baptismal covenant in Mosiah 18:8-10 so we were able to explain it a little bit. Teaching is getting a lot better! I have learned a lot about keeping the message simple so it is easy to understand. This week we have been learning about commitments and how important they are to discerning the investigators' conversion to Christ. It is great! One of the teachers, Brother Speiser, served in Iloilo for about 5 months, but he got sick and was sent home, so he later finished his mission in Boise. He can speak the language though! He was giving us advice about learning it, and he said that it is super important to pray in the language. I had been doing that a little, but now I always do. It is cool because we are able to learn with the Lord as we struggle to find the words we want to say as we pray. Prayers have to be more simple, but it is really good practice.
We had our last lesson with "Juralyn" on Monday, and it went really well. We had a "member" sit in on it (really Sister Van Slooten), and invite her to come to church. I got to be the "member" and do the same thing for Sister VS and Sister Livingston last Thursday night. It was really cool. I came up with it on the fly...I said I was "Sister Aquino" and that I had converted to the church when I was 18. I testified about how I feel the Spirit at church, and invited "Juralyn" to come with me so she would feel comfortable and welcome there. Basically, we've just tried to meet the "key indicators" as best we can within the role play situation.
Sister Foster and I have been studying PMG ch. 10 and have been learning and applying a lot in our teaching skills. It is important that investigators learn all they can, but it is even more important that we help them to come unto Christ. Teach people, not lessons!
I hope Rachel is having so much fun in DC! I loved it there! It was amazing!
I saw Elder Vuyk when I was hosting on Wednesday.
They moved us to the Marriot Center for Tuesday devotionals. It was so cool to see the wave of missionaries as we left the stadium. And it was even more cool when we all started singing hymns as we returned to the MTC. I love it here! The devotional was really cool. One thing I learned was to always picture the people I talk to "all in white." They all have the potential to return to our Heavenly Father, and it is my job to invite them to take the steps to eternal life.
I am so excited to go to the Philippines! It will be amazing! I love all of you so much and I hope you all have a great week!
Philippians 4:13
Love, Cassie

Thursday, June 6, 2013

MTC week 4

Dear Best Family in this universe,
Hello!! Kumusta! How are you? Thank you so much for the notes and emails! I love to hear from you! Thank you Mom and Gma W for the package, the dress looks great!!! I am excited to wear it on Sunday! I really like that shirt, Mom, and the headband is really cute! Thanks for everything!
So, here we go people, I get my travel plans tomorrow!!!! I'll let you know what they are next week. Yay!!! Whoa!!! Only like 10 days left!! Sweet!
This has certainly been an eventful few days. My companion is really busy with here STL duties because we got 55ish new missionaries in our branch!! Crazy! It's a good thing we have such a large district because we were able to divide and conquer teaching all the newbies the rules and taking them on a tour of the MTC. There are now 40 Sisters and about 30 Elders in our branch. Yesterday I was a host for the new arrivals.  It was really fun actually. I helped 4 Sisters get processed and to their classes. It was a great experience--It was sad to see them say goodbye to their families though. One of the sisters had two little brothers that reminded me of Blake and I almost started to cry. I love you all so much! But anyway, it was really fun!! We made history, there were 966 new arrivals yesterday, that is the most incoming missionaries the MTC has ever had in 1 day. I can't believe how much luggage some people bring. Some hosts had like 4 suitcases they were trying to haul. No one needs that much stuff. Haha. Sister Foster and I also got new roommates finally!!! The 4 Hermanas are going to Cuzco Peru. This is going to be a fun week meeting all of these new cute Sisters! Makes me feel all "old" though because I have been here for a month already! Haha. A couple of Sisters from Samoa started calling Sister Foster and I "mommy" since we were telling them all the directions and rules. haha.
Elder Callister spoke at our devotional on Tuesday. It was very deep doctrine, he talked about how the New Testament is the blueprint of our church, and new revelation is like a "change order" for the blueprint. Ours is the only church that fits the blueprint of the New Testament. Ted Gibbons spoke/acted for our devotional on Sunday. He kind of reenacted Willard Richard's life story and testimony of Joseph Smith. It was really neat. Joseph Smith truly was a prophet. Read JSH and D&C 121, 122, 123 and gain a testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith! I am so grateful for this church and for this gospel and for my Savior. Thank you Mom and Dad for being "goodly parents" and teaching me the gospel from when I was little. I know for myself that this is the only completely true church on the earth today.
Just because I know this will be posted on the blog... :)
Shoutout to the River 6th Ward and to my huge family! I hope you all know that I love you and care about all of you so much! Help the missionaries by giving them referrals and befriending every investigator and lost sheep! Be a Rescuer! :) I am so excited for all the missionaries leaving from our ward too!! This is so exciting! Also, Preach my Gospel is not just for missionaries. The Brethren were very involved in its creation and it is considered doctrine. Study it for yourselves. :)
So this morning as I was studying, I read D&C 50:24 (see the footnotes) and D&C 88:49, and the talk "Revelation" by David A Bednar. I know I am gaining so much light and knowledge everyday. But it takes time and diligence. Testimonies and true conversion to Christ come a little teeny bit at a time.
So, a lot of what we practice is role playing. We get turns to be the investigators and the missionaries.  It is really amazing!  We have been assigned to teach another companionship.  The main idea, other than learning how to teach, is to really understand the needs of the investigator.  
I hope this email even makes sense. Sorry if it is a little crazy. :) It has been a good week though! I hope you are all doing well! Tonight we have TRC which is where we get to teach member volunteers, most of whom are RMs from Iloilo and Bacolod. It will be fun! Sister Foster has to do orientation with all of the new districts, so I am going to tag along with Sister Van Slooten and Sister Livingston for the evening! I am excited. I am going to role play as a local ward member during their lesson.
I love you all so very much! Heavenly Father loves you too! Study the scriptures and PMG and laugh and smile and pray always! I love you! Have a wonderful week!! Be Happy!
Love, Cassie