Monday, February 24, 2014

Jaro is the BEST

Dear Family, 

How are all of you? It has been a wonderful week! Yesterday I tasted jackfruit for the first time. It is delicious. And yesterday was Stake Conference, and Elder Ardern of the 70 was there. And yesterday 5 of our investigators came to conference! And I got to sign to the ZLs investigator. And the work is HASTENING. In a nutshell, bala? 

Once upon a time, this area was not that progressive. But now it definitely is getting there. Sister Marchant and I have been able to find some amazingly prepared investigators in the last few weeks. Halimbawa (for example): Yesterday we went back to contact a man named Cesar who we had OYM'd, and his daughter Annabel was there. She is 20 and a math ed. major. She received the message so well. Wow. We taught all of the Restoration, and she was able to answer Cesar's questions. Cesar said that the priesthood of the Catholic church is just the pare (priests), but Annabel replied that they just went for school for that, they were not chosen by God like a prophet. She is really Catholic too, but she understood so well. I am excited about her. And then there is Tata. She was raised as a Jehovah's Witness/Catholic and now she is married to a member of Iglesia ni Cristo. But she doesn't really claim any of them and she has a lot of great questions. Last time we explained about the Apostasy, and I am excited to go back to her and share about the Restoration. The Spirit has definitely been leading us to the elect.

Leoandra and her son John Leo came to church. We taught Leoandra about the Word of Wisdom this week, and she accepted it with so much faith. She basically said that she already knows coffee is bad because she has seen how her father is addicted to it, so she will just switch to Milo (like hot chocolate) from now on. Faith gid. And she is so committed to come to church now. Jenny, one of Leoandra's neighbors also came. She is so funny.   

The members made yesterday possible. The Daquero family brought Angela with them. Mickey brought his asawa ("wife"), Rose, with him for the 4th Sunday in a row. And Sister Darlene picked up Leoandra in her car. The members are central to the success of this work. Converts to the gospel must endure to the end, and the members are key to that. 

Noemie is the ZLs investigator. They don't really know how to sign, so I'm gonna help them out tomorrow. But I got to refresh my sign language yesterday. It has been a while. She is really cute and it was fun to make a new friend. 

Well, people, I'm out of time. I love you all dearly. I know the Church is true. Being a missionary is the Best. I love this work and I love it even more when faith is shown by fellowshipping. Yes! 

Love, Sister Winward

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sipon/Ubo (cold/cough)

Hello my dearest family, 

How are all of you doing? I hope it has been a fantastic week and that Valentine's was fun. This was a sweet week!  I've been a little sick this week, and Sister Marchant has been medicating me with some herb thingy and cayenne pepper (yes, it burns) in a little potion. But anyway, I'm fine. I just have a cough right now. Why do I even mention this at all, you ask? Because this is the first time in my whole mission I've even been sick. And I've still been working every day. And it is funny because before my mission I was terrified that I would catch a parasite or get some fatal disease. No such luck. hahaha. The Lord is protecting me. :) 

Anyway, on to the good stuff. :) So! Angela (12 y/o) and Clarice (12 y/o) are two of the investigators we had at church this week. Mickey's girlfriend, Rose, also came. Yay! Leoandra didn't come. :( But, the good news is that we went right after church to find out why, and it was because she had to do some laundry and her kids were being sabad (naughty). I was surprised it was such a silly we taught her about the Sabbath Day and about the Holy Ghost and now she is committed gid to come every week. And to just do her laundry on Saturday. Guess what is AWESOME? We now have 3 investigators with a Baptismal Goal date, Cheryan, Angela, and Leoandra are all on date for March 29. Yesssss!!!!! We've been extending and extending and extending and extending BGDs for months, and these are the first ones to accept since the Vicente guy who was in love with us. Even though she did not come to church, I know she has a lot of real intent and she will definitely keep moving forward. 

I forgot to tell you all a cool thing that happened last Sunday, the 9th of February. So, we went to contact the mother of this little kid that we OYM'ed a few weeks ago. We gave JR, this little 8 year old, a pamphlet, and ever since he has been reminding us to go talk to his mom. So then we finally did. Her name is Shara, and we were surprised to discover that she is a former investigator who used to live in Iloilo city proper in 2012. When we showed up at her door, she went and grabbed her old Ang Libro ni Mormon and introduced us to her neighbor, Jeralyn, so we could share with her too. She wants to be baptized really bad, but she and her husband need to get married first, which is what held them back before. So, we are going to help them get that figured out and reteach everything, because she has forgotten a lot. It was an amazing finding experience. 

On Saturday, we did exchanges. Sister Orkin came with me, and Sister Marchant went to Jaro 2. Sister Orkin is a Filipina from Palawan. It was great to work with her. I was really humbled and made grateful for all that I have. When the Lord says "ye shall prosper in the land" all throughout the scriptures, He really means Sister Winward's life. We went to teach an investigator who lives in a falling apart bamboo house, and Sister Orkin said it reminded her of home. She lives near the beach on a little island and her dad is a fisherman and her mom is a maid. She worked as a maid for all 5 years of high school, living in someone else's home, away from her family. I know the sacrifice she must have made to be out on her mission is enormous. I was grateful for the opportunity to get to know her and to help her develop her English skills. She asked me a question I thought was really funny, she said she had only heard it before and didn't believe it, but I know she was really wondering if it was true or not. She asked if there is a tradition in America where one day every year we throw away everything in our house and buy all new things...refrigerator, TV, laundry baskets, dishes, everything. Whoa. I think we may have a reputation for being wasteful. Yikes. (I'm still proud to be an American, but I am definitely learning a lot from these Filipinos, that's for sure.) 

Something funny last Tuesday, We were riding a jeep with Leoandra and her kids on the way to the ward Valentine's party. We met Madeleine, and her mom, Ana, from the UK. Madeleine is on an 8 month volunteer trip here to work in a school up north. It was cool and a little weird to have an English conversation on a jeepney. It is always entertaining to run into another white person. haha. 

I hope you are all doing well. I found a verse I reeeeally like in my OT reading the other day, Deut. 8:2. We may not always understand why the Lord is testing us, but He does. And in the end we will be stronger and we will be thankful for the experience even if it is hard at the present. Even if it takes 40 years for us to understand why. 

I love you all soooo much. Thank you for your prayers. Halong pirmi! 

Love, Sister Winward

Sister Cassie Winward

Monday, February 10, 2014

What LOVE means to a missionary

Dear Family, 

How are you all doing? I hope WONDERFUL. Thanks for the Valentine's package. It brought a smile to my face. Happy Valentine's Day! 

Yesterday, our area made some great progress! 7 investigators came to church, and two WHOLE Less Active families came as well. The investigators were Rose, Leoandra, 3 of Leoandra's kids, and her niece, and our investigator/neighbor girl, Clarice (the one who showed us around the muddy rice fields a few weeks ago). Yayyyyy!!!! 

A little about LeoAndra, She has 6 kids (age 14 to 2). We have been teaching her since I transferred here. She is amat-amat reading the BoM. Her husband is super receptive, but he is ALWAYS at work, so we've only ever taught him once. She is really cute. Her house has lots of pink in it. She has an 8 year old daughter named Cassandra. Yeah! 

We taught Cheryan again this week (we try her all the time, but she is hardly home.) But she is diligently reading and praying. She agreed to come to church again on Feb. 16. Yes! Guess what is super impressive? We gave her the Word of Wisdom pamphlet as her assignment last week, and she read the whole thing (she even looked up the scripture references in the back), and she tried to quit coffee on her own just to test it out. She said she didn't drink coffee for 2 days, but then she felt really weak, so she gave in. Impressive though right? She did all that on her own, we haven't even taught her WOW yet. Boo-yah! She's still trying to get an answer about if this really is the true church, but she is doing her part, so I know the answer will come. :) 

So, before my mission I always heard that Obedience and Hard Work are the most important things. While those are very important, I think one thing definitely trumps them both. Love. More specifically, Christlike love. Because if you Love the people, you will then want to be the best missionary you can for them, which means you will be obedient and you will work hard so that miracles can happen. Love is the reason why it kills me when people don't come to church to partake of the blessings from church attendance. And Love is the reason why I was overjoyed yesterday to have our investigators and the other area's Recent Converts, and the LA families there at church. Yes!!! I love the Lord, Jesus Christ, and I want so badly for people to accept Him and His complete gospel and His Atonement into their lives. And because He loves us, He never ever gives up on us. He will keep helping us live His gospel and keep His commandments and put one foot in front of the other on the path to eternal life forever. I am so thankful for that knowledge. That is why all the challenges are worth it. Love. 

I love you all so much! Happy Valentine's Day! 

LOVE, Sister Winward

Monday, February 3, 2014


Dear Family, 

How are all of you? I am doing well. This email is called "tunga" because that means half or between. It is utterly terrifying that this is my halfway in the mission week. Seriously. I miss you all and stuff, but I'm pretty sure I never want my mission to end. EVER. You can all just move here if you want to see me again. ;) joke-lang. 

Last Wednesday, we did exchanges, Sister Daroy came and worked with me. She is fairly new, Sister Rappleye is training her. We had a good day and it was fun to get to know her more. She's from Pangasinan, PH, nearby where Sister Mendez is from. 

Last Monday, right after I emailed, Sister Marchant and I had an interesting grocery shopping experience. So, we're going through the supermart as usual, and this dirty little kid comes up out of no where and starts pushing our cart around for us. At first it was weird, but he was persistent, so we just let him help us around the store. His name is Carjun and he is 10 years old. I'm sure it looked bad, a poor little Filipino kid being the shopping assistant of two 'rich' 'kana. But we just went with it. We bought him some apples and biscuits. It was just one of those moments when reality hit me (for the umpteenth time) about how poor a lot of the people are here. As we got onto the jeepney with our bags of groceries, we saw him quickly eating the biscuits. I'm pretty sure he was starving. I just wanted to take him home and give him a bath and a safe place to rest. Sometimes I forget to be grateful for the smallest things. Like a clean glass of water or a bit of food. Or a soft pillow. Or screens on the windows. 

This morning (and last Monday too) we went for an early morning jog. Not just anything would get us out of bed at that dark hour to go for a jog. Brother and Sister Flores prepared us breakfast. YUM! And we had the chance to get to know some of the YSAs better too. We had curry last week (Yes, for breakfast). Rice is a breakfast, lunch, and dinner thing around here. We had spaghetti and squash soup this morning. They are such generous people. I'm glad I get to meet Brother Flores, because he is at sea most months out of the year. 

We found out this week that Cheryan has been studying with the Baptists for 3 years and she is planning on being baptized Baptist next month. Um, how about, NO? She is still doing well reading and praying for the truth, so we will continue to guide her to it. I don't know if I mentioned her 12 year old neighbor, Angela in my email last week. Angela also went to church with Cheryan, and she is making good progress too. She has been studying with the baptists too, but she asked her parents if she can be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-Day Saints, and we got to meet with them and teach them for the first time on Sunday. It was good, they are receptive. I am excited for Angela and her family. :) 

This week was a little challenging, but I find that it is refining me and humbling me to have to rely on my Savior more. This is truly His work, and He will not let us fail. I am so grateful for that knowlege. And for a knowledge of the fullness gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it is true! I love to study it and live it and share it with others. Being a representative of Jesus Christ is the BEST. 

I love you all! Have an amazing week!

Love, Sister Winward

Sister Cassie Winward
Philippines Iloilo Mission