Monday, October 28, 2013

A Day in the Life...

Hey Family! 

How are you? I am doing lovely. It's kind of chilly today. And by chilly I mean it is still 80 degrees. Haha. You poor freezing Utah people. (That is AWESOME that Tyler is going on a mission.  Woohoo! Arizona is lucky to have him.) We're still just chugging along... trying to find people who are interested and willing to act. Mae and Rose are still making progress. They're the best. So, without further ado, I decided to share with you how a normal day goes for me. Friday was a really great day, so I'll share about that. 

6:00am hitting snooze. Another great day of being a missionary! Wooo! We pray as companions then pray individually, then exercise. I jog around our little yard thing a couple times and call it good, stretch, crunches, whatever else. Hit the shower for a speedy cold bucket shower. Get into my lovely proselyting clothes and clip on my super-awesome nametag. 

8:00am ~Personal Study
9:00am ~Companionship Study (we have 2 hours so we can do 12 week program, since I am training Sister Nonu)
11:00am ~Lunch, Sister Peralta cooked us these delicious eggplant and egg torte things. YUM. 
12:00pm ~ Language Study
1:30pm ~Teach Rose! We got to see her cute baby again. We follow up on her scripture reading and she says she never has time because of the new baby. Which is understandable. But not ok. So we throw our lesson plan out the window, and decide to read 3 Nephi 11 with her. Which was awesome. The first time I have done just a reading-based lesson. But the Spirit was so strong. We help her understand the chapter, what it means and what it means for her. We testify of Christ. We help her understand what the word "doktrina" means. We tell her the BOM is absolutely central to knowing whether the Church is true. She is very grateful because she was able to understand it all. That is what I love about Rose, she is a sincere truth seeker and she will reread a chapter until she understands. She just is having a hard time doing that with the new baby. The Spirit was the best teacher. It was so strong. 
3:00pm ~Teach Edna. She is less active. We taught her about Family History. She has work on Sunday and she's not very willing to change that. Kind of a bummer. One day...
4:00pm ~Teach Albert. Crazy Albert...aka The Commander...aka the chain smoker that has a crush on me. Just because I'm white. Ahem, well, always an adventure with Albert. We try to teach him how to pray and what prayer is. He yells at us about gospel stuff and military stuff. He's great though...because he is our ONLY investigator who came to the Church Tour the branch did on Saturday and the only one who came to church. D&C 18:10 people. That's just it. He's funny, we sang "The Spirit of God" and busted up laughing because it talks about the "armies of heaven." He is always going on about how we are heavenly soldiers and stuff about missiles. Idk. But I was quizzing him about his past, he used to do Marijuana. Don't do drugs people, you'll end up like Albert! 
5:30pm ~Teach Mae, Melan, and Salving. I love them. Melan was hiding from us, but now she's back and she is interested and she read 3 Nephi 11. Kian is being a bummer...he is addicted to the computer. We went to get him for the lesson from the computer shop TWICE...and he still would not join the lesson. Grrr. Anyway, we teach them about The Creation, Adam and Eve, Our purpose on earth, and the Atonement. They were so engaged, had great additions and questions. Like... Do people come from monkeys? or are they made from ash? So we use 2 Nephi 2 about how Adam and Eve are our first  parents. I am excited about them. Melan wants to finish the Book of Mormon. The Spirit was fabulous. 
7:00pm ~Teach Brother N. He is also less active. He is an alcoholic and smokes. He has the biggest desire to change, and he was sooo sorry and felt so bad for doing it, but he has the hardest time. He is a sikad driver and the other sikad drivers always tempt him to drink and pick on him for being LDS. Peer pressure still exists when you are 50. We taught him about Repentance. He might've been a little drunk while we were teaching him. I'm not so sure. 
8:30pm ~Home again. Daily Planning = missionary's bread and butter. Update the Area Book. So exhausted. Eat a PB&J (my fave).
10:00pm ~Get ready for bed. 
10:30pm ~Lights out. Pray and sleep. 

It was the best day. That's about average...which means when there are no other meetings. Fun Stuff. Sometimes the routine is boring, other times it is the best. I never have to wonder what to do next, because we plan EVERYTHING. It is awesome. 

I hope all of you are doing well. I love you sooo much! CTR! or in Filipino...PAT (Pili Ang Tsakto)

Love, Sister Winward

Monday, October 21, 2013

Earthquake, Albert, and Igbaras Adventure!

Hey Family! 

How are all of you this fine week? I love you all soooo much! Life is good here in the Philippines! 

So first of all, there was an earthquake on Tuesday. Yes, we felt the earthquake that hit Cebu so badly. It was a magnitude 5 here. We were in district meeting, and then we all started to get dizzy and noticed the room was moving, so then we hurried outside. It wasn't bad enough to make things fall down, but it just felt like being on a boat. Pretty crazy. I know we (and all the missionaries in Cebu) were protected. All the missionaries here were in district meetings in well-built church buildings, which is definitely the safest place. The Lord is looking out for us, I know it. :) 

So, haha, I don't know officially yet, but I am 99% sure I am not getting transferred. Psych! Pres. Aquino was just dropping hints for nothing. That's one of the most exciting things in mission life...seeing how the mission president will shake up the work every six weeks. That's what missionaries gossip about...transfers. 

Earlier today we went for an adventure! We had a zone activity in Igbaras that was a lot more adventurous than we bargained for. We were just expecting a jaunt through the jungle to see a pretty waterfall, but nope, we hiked up through slick mud and rocks and a river to get to a waterfall. Not to mention one really sketchy bamboo bridge. We're all alive and well, no worries. haha. Jokes. It really was pretty. Pictures can't even do it justice. And the drive out to the hike spot was a beautiful, too. Bright green rice fields, bordered by palm trees, and interspersed with cute bamboo huts and friendly Filipino people. It's more fun in the Philippines! You wish you were here, eh? :) Actually, on the way back I was thinking of all these gospel parallels to our journey today...I'll have to journal that and share it later. 

We (finally) started teaching this crazy man named Albert on Friday. We affectionately call him "The Commander." Once upon a time, he got in the jeepney with us and started yelling at me (just me) in broken English. He always wears camouflage and wanders around by the church, he thinks he's some kind of military commander or something. But anyway. He has been coming to church every week for the last two months, he just wanders in for sacrament then leaves during Sunday school, and he even came with the Elders to general conference. He also writes out these notes to each of us Oton missionaries, just like a twisted military-meets-religion rant kind of a thing. But, he lives in our area, so we finally decided to give it a go teaching him. Fun times. I know God loves him all the same. He is just...interesting. Maybe you have to know him. I'll mail some of his notes home so you can at least understand a little. haha. His main issue is that he is a chain smoker (also the reason he is a little nuts is because he used to do heavy drugs). He told us that he also goes to Catholic mass every Sunday early in the morning too. A very committed, religious man. 

Don't worry, we also have plenty of sane new investigators too...he just makes the best story. :P 

And last but not least....
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR EMILYYYYYYYYYY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!! Whoa, how is my gorgeous little Sis 14 already? Eat some delicious cake for me, sige? The cake here is just not the same. I hope it is wonderful! 

I love you all so much! I hope you all have a wonderful week. Stay safe, healthy, and happy. "Never suppress a generous thought." That goes for sharing the gospel as well. Rain or shine keep enduring to the end.

Love, Sister Winward

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Missionary Fun

Hello Family!

Kamusta kamo tanan? Palangga ko kamo! Sooooo, this week was General Conference for us here in the Philippines. We went to the Stake Center and watched it and learned sooo much. I love conference. What were your favorite talks? What did you learn? I noticed there was a recurring theme of how important it is to study the gospel, Enduring to the End, and making and keeping our sacred covenants. My favorite quote from conference: "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." from Pres. Uchtdorf. That is a key to conversion for me, not letting doubtful questions shake what you know is true.

One highlight for me was that Mae and two of her neighbors, Salving and Melan, came to Conference for the Sunday morning session. Yayyyy!!! 3 investigators came! Mae is being a total missionary. 

In other news, Rose had her baby on October 10. Her name is Hannah Marti. Marti is short for the dad's name, Martin. We haven't met her yet, but we are planning to go teach Rose on Wednesday. Excited ako! We haven't seen Rose since last Sunday since she needed to have the baby and recover and all, but I am looking forward to seeing how she is doing and how having this little piece of heaven in her life will help motivate her to take the steps to have an eternal family. 

One of our branch missionaries, Sister  Lim left for the MTC on Friday. I am so excited for her to serve. Yay! 

We started teaching Jonas V (a less active member) and his family last week, and now this week we were able to get his 3 teenage kids start investigating. They all want to be baptized, but the mom is Catholic and doesn't approve, so that is going to be a little challenge. We are hoping to be able to teach her too.'s the rumor. I might transfer. Oh boy. Even though I would not finish training Sister Nonu, it might happen. Crazier has happened before. President keeps dropping hints to us that we need to be ready. Plus out of the 6 of us in Oton Branch (4 sisters, 2 elders) I have been here in Oton the longest. "I'll go where you want me to go dear Lord, I'll do what you want me to do." We'll see. Stay tuned. hahaha

I hope conference motivated all of you to do your part in missionary work. I can't remember his name, the member of the 70 that kept yelling about exclamation points, anyway, his simple personal mission plan that he outlined was genius. Satan wants us to think missionary work is so much more hard and scary and complicated than it really is. Missionary work is just so many simple things. Praying for Missionary opportunities. Meeting the full-time missionaries who have stewardship over your area. Making a new friend. Sharing your testimony of the truth that you have been blessed with. Inviting people to join in fun, gospel-centered activities.  Simple as that. And by those small things, you can help change someone's life for eternity. I love the gospel so much and I love this opportunity to share it with this little slice of the world. God's plan is so much greater than I can even grasp and I know He does not forget any of His children. He knows you, He is aware of you, and He knows perfectly how to meet your individual needs. I have experienced this for myself so many times. Just like the apostles testified of in conference, God's love is just always there no matter what. Feel it for yourself and share it with others. 

I love you all so much. I hope you all grow closer to Christ each day. If something is holding you back, start now to change it. Don't delay. Have a wonderful day! Enjoy that beautiful Utah weather. Yay...Autumn! You lucky ducks! ;) Palangga ko kamo nga walay katapusan! I love you all forever! 

Love, Sister Winward

Monday, October 7, 2013

I Love General Conference!

Hey Family!! 

How are all of you? I am doing great! I looove being a missionary. Seriously. I am so blessed to be able to experience the Lord's greatest work, 24/7 for 18 Months. I can't even believe it has been 5 months already. Whoa. Time flies when you're having fun. Missionary fun. The really crazy thing, is that just one year ago the missionary age change announcement was made. That was only a year ago? So much has happened. It's funny how I thought I had the next few years of my life figured out and planned, and the Lord gave me something so much better that I never ever would have imagined possible. But now I am here! I am so grateful for the incredible blessings I have experienced every single day of the last year. What a journey! 

Fun fact about life in the Philippines: Church and everything in it is done in English (or Ilonggish at least, not everyone is good at English.) So, General Conference is in English and all the manuals and everything else is English. The pamphlets we use are Tagalog, and we teach in Hiligaynon, but the other stuff is all in English. 

It has been a good week. We did STL exchanges on Saturday, so I was with Sister Pologa in my area for the day, it was so fun. It is always a great opportunity to learn from a way more experienced missionary. Two awesome things happened this week...Rose came to church! Woohoo! She is ready to have her baby any day now, I was honestly surprised to see her there, but she came! She has awesome faith. Just goes to show, no one else should have any excuses. The other thing is that we finally were able to contact Jonas, a less active member. We've tried their house a few times, but he hasn't been home, but Saturday he was. And his daughter too. He is the only member in his family, so I am excited to help the rest of his family join the church too! He is great, no vices and no real reasons to not come to church, he is just shy because he has been inactive for however many years. So we get to help him endure to the end! Yeah! He's even still reading his Book of Mormon and praying. He just needs to come to church! It really takes a lot of courage for less actives to come back. That is why it is so important to be a friend to them! So, the awesome is that one of his daughters was there, a 13-year-old named M., and she accepted a baptism goal date. Yeah! Nov. 9. Hopefully I won't get transferred before then. 

I love you all sooo much! Thanks for all your prayers, love, and support. I know life has so many challenges, but I just hope you all remember the promise in 2 Nephi 31:20. Press forward and you will have so many blessings in this life and eternal life in the next. Keep the Faith. 

Love, Sister Winward