Sunday, September 28, 2014


Dear Family,
How are all of you? I had a good week this week. A much better week. Key indicator-wise. Companion-wise. Member-missionary-work-wise. Study-wise. Just everything. It was a good week. By the way everyone, in the Philippines, Christmas music starts playing when the "BER" months MERRY CHRISTMAS. Also, on Sept. 23 will be 100 days until Christmas. Just so you all know. Also, transfer week is this week. Either I'm staying here and it will all be the same, or everything is going to get flipped upside-down for my LAST 6 WEEKS. Stay tuned. haha
Well, some great things happened this week. I want to tell you about some great people...
Glenn is awesome. We are now BFFs. jk. We spent some time with him last Monday night, and he even treated us to the fancy-pants Steakhouse right by our house that I hadn't tried yet. He didn't come to church, the stinker, but now we have a friendship with him it can only go up from here. We found out he is a really skilled Civil Engineer and he even designed our way nami apartment (I'll show you all pictures of the San Jose apartment when I'm home). And we were able to build a little trust with another LA Melchizedek Priesthood holder, Allan, we spent an hour talking with him about his Bonsai tree collection, because he doesn't really want us to teach him...YET.
Nikkie is Kinkin's mom. (By the way, Kiara will have her heart surgery this Wednesday. She just had some checkups and things for the last week. She'll be back by their birthday on Oct. 9.) Nikkie worked with us last Wednesday. She is also our new BFF. We went jogging-jogging and tsika-tsika (chatting) with her at the Binirayan track this morning. Then she treated us to a little tinapay (bread) snack at Bread&Butter. She is really cool, and so faithful through all these trials. Her son just died of cancer and her daughter is going to have heart surgery...I'm pretty sure I'd be freaking out, but she is so happy man gihapon. She is surely anchored in Christ.
Rene is Brother Kiko's cousin. He will be baptized on Oct 18. He is kind of a shy one, but he opened up a little more to us this week. Repentance is going to be a big part of his baptism prep. But I know that as he relies on the Savior, he will become a new person gid. I am excited to see his testimony grow.
Kitkit is still doing well. I messaged her mom on facebook (Merry Chris), and her mom is planning on staying here for good once her contract in Kuwait ends in 2 years. She has plans to open a store or something. I am excited for that, because I know her family needs her. Who ever thought going abroad to work was a good idea was crazy...but some people here are that desperate. I just hope she'll see that by putting her family and their salvation first, the Lord will really take care of all the rest. Just TRUST Him. Kitkit will also be baptized on Oct. 18.
Andrea is doing well. She is reading the Book of Mormon consistently and excited to share with us what she learned every time we teach her. She was pretty sick over the weekend, so she couldn't come to church. But she is preparing to be baptized and so excited. She read 2 Nephi 31 and learned so much this week. She's only 12, but her testimony is really developing so much. I am excited to see her progress and maybe even serve a mission one day. Who knows.
Sister Condes is like our mom here in San Jose. She fed us on Saturday night. Beef Pepper-steak--Yum. She is so funny. She is one of those people that never ever stop talkin-talkin-talking... but I have learned so much about life by listening to her tell about her life. (She works in the prosector's office...I'll have to tell you about the joke: "Who stab you?!") She is so generous and selfless. Her son is serving a mission in Quezon City. She has been working with us every week this month, and she gave us the most nami referral this week. Nerisa is the mother of Francis and 6 other kids. We only taught Nerisa and Francis, but they are so prepared. Francis is 26 and told us that he made sure to get Sundays off already so he could go to church. According to Sister Condes, he told his mom he wants to become a Mormon. :) Yay!
Hernie is doing great. Last-last week we taught him Plan of Salvation. Or he taught us... We left them with the little picture cut-outs so Chonna could explain it to him without us, because he only has a little bit of time that we can teach him. But they talked about it all, and Chonna told us he practiced setting up the pictures in the right order every night. haha. When he showed us, he was nervous and hesitating, but he did great. Like it was a test or something. haha. We were able to teach him about the doctrines, and he is so excited to be baptized. They are consistent with their daily prayer and scripture study as a family. Yay! We are still waiting on paperwork for them to be able to get married, but I'm pretty sure they have all the money saved up they will need.
My companion is doing a lot better with waking up on time and other things. Exchanges with the STLs and a good Companionship Inventory helped a lot. It always does. :) We are a lot more open and unified than we were. And obedient. It is the best. :) The hymn "Lord, I would follow thee," hymnbook page 220 helped me a lot this week.

I had some great study this week that I want to share with all of you. I found a hidden treasure in our was a special edition copy of the Liahona from October 2011 all about the Book of Mormon (see link below). Right now as a mission we are studying the Book of Mormon, so I was excited to learn more. I suggest you all read the whole thing, but of course, not everyone has an hour of personal study built into their schedule every day, so at least read/watch the talk by President Ezra Taft Benson (see link below). You will never be the same. I learned so much about the power of testimony and how it is gained. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon. It is so much more precious and valuable than we realize most of the time. I know it is the way to gaining a sure and steadfast testimony that Jesus Christ is our Savior and this church is His kingdom on the earth today. Ponder just for a moment all the effort put into the book you can hold in your hands and take anywhere you want... So simple, but it makes all the difference for us that are converted to the truth. Be consistent in your study of the Book of Mormon. 
Elder Richard G. Scott said:“What does the Book of Mormon mean to you? Has it been a source of inspiration and power in your life? Will it continue to be? If you have not yet drunk deeply from this fountain of pure truth, with all of my soul I encourage you to do so now. Don’t let the consistent study of the Book of Mormon be one of the things that you intend to do but never quite accomplish. Begin today.” Immerse yourselves in the Book of Mormon, and the Lord will make your life beautiful.

BOM talk by Pres. Benson 1986: 
Liahona Oct. 2011: 

I love you all so much. Have a great week. Thanks always for the emails and encouragement and support and thoughts and prayers. You are all the best. Share with me what you learn in your study of the Book of Mormon. Replace your fears with faith in Jesus Christ. Halong pirmi.
Love, Sister Winward

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Dear Family,
How are all of you? I am doing great...a little sick, but Sister Ribelin gave me some essential oils and it's working like a charm. If anyone can guess what "Keyk" is I'll give them a prize. Guys, you won't even believe it, a "joe" is sitting next to me in the internet cafe. It is so weird to see other Americans. haha...I'm gonna have the WORST culture shock. Just sayin.'
So this week has been good. Ups and downs. As usual. haha. Mission life is so unexpected and so routine at the same time. I love it!
On Monday we had a cool lesson with Kitkit and the Tupas family. It is hard to get little kids to pay attention, right? So we were going to teach them the Plan of Salvation one piece at a time, and without planning this beforehand, Sister Domingo and I had an idea to take them on a little "tour." So we had all the little kids (ages 6 to 14) close their eyes, we pulled out our flashlights and shined it on their faces, and told to them use their imaginations as we toured them through our time in the Premortal Life. It was really cool. Then we did it again on Saturday night when we taught them about the Creation, Adam and Eve, and the Atonement. Elder Ortiz the AP was working with us that day, and it was cool to share that idea with him. We just narrated it all and then the kids thought it was so cool. Narrating the Atonement brought the spirit so strong. I know even thought they're young, they felt it.
Kinkin's funeral was on Thursday. It was a really nice service. We got to sing "A Child's Prayer" with the primary kids. He is buried in a nice, private cemetery more like the ones we have in America. Kinkin's uncle, Glenn, spoke and gave Kinkin's biography. Glenn has been less-active forever and a half...Sister Viliami and I tried to track him down before, but he is usually AWOL. Because of the funeral and Kinkin's passing, we were finally able to meet Glenn, and we have an appointment with him tonight. Yay! We are going to focus on just gaining his trust and building a friendship with him. And Kinkin's mother, Niki, is planning to come work with us this Wednesday. She is so strong. Also, Kinkin's younger sisters are twins, Kyla and Kiara. Kiara has a heart problem and will be going to get a long-awaited surgery this Tuesday. They are so blessed to have someone sponsoring the surgery. Even out of their heart-breaking loss, this family is already experiencing blessings.
I've had an interesting time with Sister Domingo this week.  The Lord taught me that effectively correcting people will never come in yelling at them, but speaking boldly and lovingly. Giving them time, understanding, and patience. And eternal second chances.  I love her a ton. She drives me nuts on a daily basis. Hay nako! I have never had anyone test my patience so much. But I know Heavenly Father has great plans for her. I decided she is like a nice layer cake...not like an onion. (Shrek, balahaw?) There is a lot beneath the surface.
A FISHY STORY: Once upon a time, Sister Ribelin and Sister Dotillos went out to proselyte in the pouring rain on Saturday morning. (It has been a signal 1 or 2 typhoon here and there is a bad one up in Manila...that just means it is raining really hard here, nothing dangerous. I still have never walked in a flood.) Then these two crazy sisters saw a fish swimming down the road and through the mud. So they tried to catch it with a little plastic bag. They finally got it into Sister Dotillos' umbrella, and asked a man to get it into the bag. Apparently the fish had dangerous spikes on its' head, which the kind man removed. Then they brought it home so excited about their catch and decided to cook it up. But they were too squeamish to kill it. They transferred it into a jar....which it then leaped out of and onto our countertop. YUCK! Luckily for them, we had texted the water guys to deliver our drinking water. So we asked them to kill the fish. He did it and gutted it and was laughing at us. ;) EW! Sister Ribelin and Sister Domingo cut it a little ... and then it started wiggling on the cutting board...AAAAHHHHHH!....They were screaming their heads off. And then, when they put it into hot oil in the frying was still wiggling! So. Gross. haha. I think they gave it to one of their investigators to eat once it was good and dead and cooked. We are so buang!
The best part of my week was our Zone Training Meeting on Tuesday and exchanges with Sister Ribelin on Wednesday. She is so awesome. The Zone Training really gave me that boost I needed to kick it up a notch in my missionary work. They talked all about "Raising the Bar." Shoot for the moon. Believe you can fly...and make it happen. That is really what faith is all about. Rely on the Lord, and do your very best and miracles will happen in your life. Live your life with purpose. ACT! We don't make goals for nothing....We make them to achieve them, then to raise the bar higher. Anyone can do it, and everyone should do it. Make your short time here on earth worth every second. Be men and women of purpose.
I love you all and I am grateful for your support. Have a great week!

Love, Sister Winward

P.S. Keyk is just the Hiligaynon spelling of Cake. haha :)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Patience pa gid

Dear Family, 

Kumusta kamo tanan? How are you all? I am doing great! My companion is feeling much better and I am ready for a rockin' week. Yeah! 

The first half of the week was pretty lame...because my comp was sick. It is hard to not be able to get out and work. But it did teach me some more patience. We were able to go on splits for just a few hours. It is a terrible feeling as a missionary to feel like you are neglecting your investigators. But it was a good opportunity to serve my companion. And I got to watch Ephraim's Rescue. So that's a plus. haha. Sister Domingo is doing much better now. 

Wednesday and Thursday we had our much awaited, top-secret, Sisters' Conference at the GoDucate center in San Miguel, Iloilo. It was really fun. We did a bunch of indoor team-building and unity activities. My favorite parts were probably seeing Sister Marchant and Sister Viliami again (I miss them soooo much) and spending some time in the fish spa!!! In the states they charge big bucks for fish spas. There it was free. You just stick your feet in the pond and the fish eat the dead skin off your feet. It really tickles, but you have to hold still or the fish will swim away. haha. (It's More Fun in the Philippines!) We had a really nice devotional back at the mission office afterward, in which President Aquino told all of us sisters that we have no more than 5 years to find a Man of God and get married in the temple. Families are central to Heavenly Father's plan...and Satan is trying really hard to distract people from that in today's world. 

Sister Ribelin bought a set of Loom bands last P-day and we have all been getting into that this week. haha. I think it takes about a year for things to get popular here that were first popular in the states. Including music. 

When we got home on Thursday evening, we went out to teach, and after being punted from our plan A, the spirit led us to go back and teach Hernie and Chonna again. We haven't seen Hernie in a month because he is so busy with work. It was a cool feeling though, I think that is the strongest I have felt the spirit push me to go somewhere. We just started walking there, even though it was dark and we were far from our apartment, and it felt so right. I said a little prayer in my heart that Hernie would be there this time, even though we didn't have an appointment, and that we would still be able to catch a tricycle home afterward. Both prayers were answered. We had a good lesson with Hernie on the Plan of Salvation, and the best part was that he shared that he has prayed and knows that Joseph Smith is definitely a true prophet and the church has been restored. I am so excited for him. :) 

Our Antique District Conference was yesterday, and the most impressive part was when the leader asked Culasi group to raise their hands and see how many were in attendance.....there were at least 40 of them there, probably more. Culasi group just opened up in April, after being closed for a time after Typhoon Yolanda. There are 4 Elders up there now, and it is really thriving. They had to travel 3 hours just to get to San Jose for the Dist. Conference. FAITH!!! 

I am so grateful for my mission. 18 months sometimes seems long and sometimes seems short, but I know it is not enough to repay what my Savior has done for me. I love this gospel. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and for the wisdom the Lord will impart to us if we just take the time to seek Him. Palangga ta kamo!!! Halong! 

Love, Sister Winward

P.S. A great article I read this morning about how to reach out and SHARE the gospel...  

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Mission Miracles

My dearest Family, 

How are all of you doing? I hope you all survived your first week of school. :) Yay! We've had a very interesting week. Mostly good things, but a few sad ones too. Do you want the sad news or the good news first? 

The sad news.
There is a little boy in the branch named Axl Kin (or Kinkin is is nickname). He just turned 7 on August 21. He has been battling with Leukemia since January, and he passed away on Saturday morning. The Elders went to the hospital to give him one last blessing, and a few seconds after they removed their hands from Kinkin's head, he took his last breath. Heavenly Father has released him from his calling in this life. The family is doing well. Still smiling through it all. They have strong testimonies of the gospel, and I know Kinkin will be their motivation to make it to the Celestial Kingdom. We spent Saturday evening with the family. They live right next to our apartment, so we see them often. The doctors told them Kinkin wouldn't make it to his birthday, so they are just grateful he was given a little bit longer. I am grateful I got to meet him, and I know he is rejoicing right now to be free from pain. 

The good news. 
We haven't been able to teach Angelica for a few weeks. Which is killing me because she is so golden. Her father does not want her to be baptized. He is extra protective of Angelica because she is the youngest. I got to talk to Angelica's older sister, Jen, yesterday, and she told me that probably we will just have to wait a few months for the father to calm down, then we can teach her again, and they will just keep it on the downlow so the father doesn't get angry again. Angelica wants it so bad. Jen said Angelica treats her Aklat ni Mormon and scripture reading chart like a treasure and has been reading every day. I know it will all work out in the Lord's timing. 

A few weeks ago, Sister Viliami and I OYM'd a lady in a tricycle. Joy. She asked us when we could come visit, so we referred her to the STLs because she lives in their area...and she is doing really well. Joy came to church last week. It is so cool how just a little conversation can start the huge chain of events that lead to one soul's conversion to Jesus Christ. 

We were working with one of the Branch Missionaries, Kiko, the other day, when he oh-so-casually mentioned that one of his nonmember cousins has been coming to church for the last month. What? Sweet! We met Rene yesterday and taught him for the first time. We also taught Celyne. They've both been to church a bunch of times before. Rene is 16 and Celyne is 20. They already have good support because they live with an active family. Yay!!! They will be baptized October 4.

We were waiting at the barangay (neighborhood) hall the other night, and I asked Sister Domingo to OYM the Tanod (like a neighborhood watchman) while I texted around and tried to find someone to give a blessing to our sick less active. The Tanod, Brother Lozada, agreed to let us visit his family. He is the father of 5 daughters and a son, all now adults. We've met about half of the family, and they are so receptive. And the greatest tender mercy happened...we don't have any BOMs left in our apartment to give out...but Brother Lozada already has a triple combination he cleaned out of an old house! Sweet! His grandson destroys every book he finds, except the triple. He carries it around like his own personal treasure. I am excited to see them progress. 

Sister Domingo had a rough week. I think she is struggling with her desire. I keep trying to remember what it was like when I was only 6 months in the field. I still didn't understand back then what I was doing or why I came out. But somewhere between Jaro and Leganes, I lost myself. President Hinckley's father was absolutely right when he advised the young Elder Hinckley to, "Forget yourself and go to work." I know that is the only way to have true happiness as a missionary, no matter the visible results of the work you do. I know I won't get to see the end of a lot of the things I have done on my mission. This work is so much greater than any of us can imagine. Every little effort counts, and only Heavenly Father can see it all come together for the eternal good of His children. Matthew 10:39 says: He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. Now, looking back, I believe that has happened for me. I just want to work! Having a day away from the people we are teaching kills me. Because I know just a little bit of good makes the difference. I want to help Sister Domingo get to that point. She's not quite there yet. But amat-amat she will be. :) 

I love you all so much. Have a great week!

Love, Sister Winward