Tall Sister Wood and her investigators, he is standing on his tippy toes! (we only get partially downloaded pictures, but its still great to see her happy face)
Friday, August 23, 2013
Alright, guys, something amazing happened today... I got my travel plans to Argentina!!!!! I'm allowed to e-mail you today and tell you! So.. I'll be leaving from Salt Lake on Tuesday. We will travel to Asuncion, Paraguay. We'll be there Wednesday morning at 6:45 am their time. I understand once we get there, we'll find out how we're getting to Argentina. I'm so excited!!! One of the elders in my district will be in my travel group too, so it'll be good to know someone. Ahhhh man I can't believe I'm actually going straight down there! A week from now I'll be in another country... so crazy! I'm way excited but so nervous but even more excited.. Well... that's my exciting news for the day! I'm so happy
Thursday, August 22, 2013
|Elder Taylor - Cool picture|
This week...I don't really know what to say. It's been really good but kinda sad at the same time. I'll start with last Friday. One of our really great teachers, Hermano Miller, decided to go on vacation to Hawaii this week, so Friday was the last day that we got to see him. We had a really cool last talk that day though that I'll just share a few things about. We went outside and sat at a table by one of the residence buildings and we had a bunch of food because this one elder that left last week decided to just dump all of his extra stuff in our room.. it's pretty ridiculous but it made for a good snack while we were talking. Anyway, he showed us a bunch of pictures from his mission in Columbia which got me way excited to go serve. We also had a really cool talk about what we do after we die. We talked about how it's pretty much just a bunch of missionary work and we'll be looking after our posterity on this earth. Something I had never thought about before he brought this up was that like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost is an actual being and can't be everywhere at once. However, his presence can be felt everywhere. It's a cool idea that we talked about... he told us that he thinks that the holy ghost's presence is felt through the angels of our ancestors that come and whisper to us what we need. "Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost". It made sense to me, and I wouldn't doubt that that's what we'll be doing.
As if it wasn't enough for Hermano Miller to leave, Hermana Christensen left this week too. She's going to teach in the Mexico MTC, so we had our last class with her yesterday. She too showed us pictures of her mission in San Diego and told us a few stories that got me way excited. She also told us that she thinks that we've been called to learn Spanish not only for these two years, but as a tool throughout our lives as well which I thought was really cool. We still had some leftover snacks, so we had those while we talked outside in the same spot as Hermano Miller. I can't really explain it, but it was a lot sadder to leave our teachers than I thought it would be. We took a final district picture with her and said goodbye.. it was hard! That was the first time I really wanted to hug a girl while on my mission! haha Both our teachers have been such a good influence on us. I wish I could explain it, but it's just something you have to experience.
Another thing, I did receive notice that I would be reassigned because my visa hasn't come yet. However, this week the three elders in my district going to Buenos Aires got 90 day tourist visas to Argentina. I'm guessing they just hope that our actual visas will come before those 90 days are up. I'm pretty sure they're doing that for all the Argentina missionaries now instead of reassigning us, however, my mission is the only one that hasn't received anything yet... so where I'll be in a week from now is kind of up in the air at this point.
Something cool we got to do this week was teach a lesson to a member over skype. My companion and I taught a lesson to a guy that lives in Columbia. He was really nice and we enjoyed sharing a message with him. It was cool because since that's where my teacher went, I was used to hearing his accent so it wasn't too hard to understand.
We got a new district last week, and something kind of random but cool was that one of the new Elders told my companion and I that we are the biggest example to him since he's gotten here. A lot of the other elders like to goof off a bit too much at times.. it was cool to hear him say that to us.
On Sunday, a former BYU and NFL player, Vai Sikahema spoke to us. He was so interesting to listen to and really funny. I don't remember all that he said, but he just talked a lot about his mission and it got me really excited to go!
Well, that's about it for this week. Hope you're all doing well!
One thing hermano miller told us that I forgot to say was that, while you are still good friends with everyone at home, there's a certain bond that comes between those you serve with and meet on your mission. something about sharing those moments where you testify of the gospel to someone just bonds you in a way that nothing else can. We taught our investigator that Hermana Christensen was acting as yesterday for the last time. Even though she wasn't real, it was so hard to have that last visit with her. I can't imagine what it's like for real. Also, when she said the closing prayer for class, she started to tear up a little... it was so sad! She's been such a great teacher and has given me so much confidence as I go out. She told us that she loves us and knows we'll be great missionaries several times, which makes me feel good about leaving.
Well, I guess that's it! hasta luego!
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Elder Stilson with Maryangela who was recently baptized
Hey everyone! Well it is my first week here in Brazil Vitoria mission! My first area is in the city of Sao Matues. It is at the very top of our mission. A 5 hour bus ride from the main city of Vitoria! But it is great. I love the people here and our mission President is awesome! He is the nicest man you could ever meet in your life!
Our area is just the whole city of Sao Matues and I really wish I could tell you all about our investigators and everything but I do not know Portuguese and so it is hard haha. I was able to teach in English in Colorado and loved it so much! But out here I know nothing and it is hard trying to even understand what little kids are trying to talk about... But what can ya do. It is hard not knowing how the investigators I left in Colorado are doing. It was hard leaving them. Where as if I still were in Colorado and got transferred, I could have called them all and talked to them for a few seconds! But here I can’t call and have no clue about what is going on so it is hard. But everything else is ok! After the morning is over, we go out to see people. I forget all about what is going on and I can focus even though I cannot understand haha. But Brazil is awesome and the people here are amazing! Every home is concrete and everyone is very worried about security here! That is why there are bars on everything haha even in the richer areas! Also, there is a lot of garbage on the street. Every night after 6 everyone puts the garbage on the curb and they have people whose job it is to sweep the streets by hand. Around noon they look clean again!:) We have already had 2 baptisms and 2 marriages this week. It was really cool because on Saturday Cleder was baptized and then Sunday he baptized his daughter Maryangela!! That was an amazing thing to experience!!! It is different here in Brazil. You don’t have to teach them all of the lessons before they can be baptized! If you meet someone on the street on Saturday and they come to church on Sunday and want to be baptized, it will happen right after sacrament meeting! That is really hard to grasp but it is whatever haha. My first comp is Elder Torres. He is a great guy and is a Brazilian from Sao Paulo. He is about 6.5 and a big dude. We share an apartment with another companionship as well. It is cool because Elder Crapo, from my district in the MTC, lives with us. We all get along really well! Some of the things I have already seen are awesome! There are parrots everywhere and they are beautiful! I also saw a cobra for the first time! It actually came out of one of the members homes and went right next to my foot! So for the next 30 mins we were all with long steel poles trying to find this big snake, but we never did find it! It buried itself in a pile of junk so he won. But we are all still alive ;) haha Our church house is in the middle of a street and I am going to get some pictures of it this week to show everyone. It is a dinky little thing but hey at least it is something no? The members have asked to get a chapel there and they finally got permission to!! They just need to get permission on a place in the area so that we can start to build it. Hopefully it will happen really soon!:) Well, there really isn’t much more to talk about due to the fact that we spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday traveling and then Thursday shopping and cleaning so we only had the three days but it is all good! Well I love you all and hope to hear from you soon!!!
Eu amo Voces!
Elder Stilson and his Zone Leader
Brazilian Home Security System
Monday, August 19, 2013
|Sister Wood in Rainy Laoag|
Well that was the fastest week of my life!
It has been raining so much the last few days. Actually it has never stopped. I think I finally got my feel for the Philippines when we were wading through puddles up to our calves this week! Haha awesome right? Well with water comes loads of frogs. Like loads. They are all over the roads, most splatted and guts all over the place from being run over, but yes lots of cool frogs. I tried catching some in my umbrella (taking after my dad). But with rain comes cool weather so it is the best thing in the world! Gosh I am not complaining! I would rather be wet and cool then sweating hot!
We found some friends in our apartment this week, I mean not super bad, but there were 2 ginormous cockroaches and then we found A MOUSE in our SHOWER BUCKET!!! Yeah that really grossed me out. I refuse to use it haha. I will get over it sooner or later.
We spoke in sacrament this week. All 6 of us sister missionaries, because yes we got a new set in our ward! Yay! But the funniest thing was that one of the conpanionships had a baptism this week so we all went to it. We go and they have us down for a musical number. So 4 of us (yes that includes me) goes up and sings a song that we picked right on the spot. Nearer my God to thee I think. Hahaha yeah it was great.....
I mostly want to share with you all an experience we had this week right out of my journal:
" We made an appointment to teach Mervina and her daughter. We went there to teach and she let us in and invited all the young workers (that we had previously taughty) to stay and join. So they did, probably just cause they felt forced. They are troopers! Anyway, we were planning to teach about the BOM. All the workers were there, and then Mervina got up and left and they said she had visitors. So we didn't think anything of it. We began and prayed, and sister Rico started introducing the BOM. Then finally in walks Mervina with some people. They went over to her kitchen table, so we just proceeded. As we started teaching about the BOM we could tell the people at the table were listenbing in. Then an older man walks over and sets a stool down to be part of it. Right then he began arguing against all the things we were teaching about the BOM. Come to find out, he is a pastor for Mervina's church and they had set up and made an appointment with their pastor at the same time. Don't worry though, nothing was going to stop us. There was a reason that Sister Rosell had chose to work with us (sister rico's trainer) cause she is fluent in Tagalog and used to be their religion Until she read the BOM. She did most the talking. And even though the pastor was literally shouting and arguing with us, and saying things I won't write, the spirit never left the room. It was as if the spirit was screaming at them as we spoke with pure boldness. Sister Rosell bore the most incredible testimony about Joseph smith and the first vision. We never rose our voices, just spoke truths that were so bold. The spirit was so dense and I know the people felt it there. It was the most incredible experience for my faith and testimony. It strenghtened my whole being. When we finally got some silence from the pastor, we each bore our testimonies about the BOM. I bore mine last, and the spirit was so strong my heart was pounding. The spirit guided me on what to say, and I really don't recall what I said, all I know is I got emotional because of the spirit (which I haven't done the whole time being here)) AND THE FACT THAT i WANTED ALL OF THESE PEOPLE TO OPEN THEIR HEARTS TO THE MESSAGE OF THE RESTORE GOSPEL. I have never wanted something so bad. The whole appointment I was saying a prayer in my heart that they would be open minded. By the end of our testimonioes, the spirit was so strong and I know they all felt it. We just did the only thing we could and challeneged them to read and pray like said in Moroni 10:3-5. Sister Rosell asked if I would pray to close, so we kneeled to pray and everyone refused to kneel. They just stood, so I began my prayer. All I can say is my prayer was completely guided by the spirit. The pastor and someone else began mocking the things I said as I prayed and I heard him and the things he said for a split second, but as I continued praying my heart out it felt like us 3 were the only people in the room. After the prayer we shook all their hands, left a BOM on the chair and left. That experience has already changed my whole mission."
I wrote a lot more about that experience, but because of time I just want everyone to know that I know the Book of Mormon is true, and the Gospel of Jesus christ is the only true church on the earth. I am so honored to be able to represent him and wear his name everyday.
Thank you all for all of the continued support.
- Sister Wood
PS: Filipino children are reading this letter over my shoulder as we speak. Yay for no personal space. :)
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Monday, August 5, 2013
Sister Wood arrived in Laoag on Wednesday July 31st. She has been assigned to the Laoag Stake which is near the mission home. Her companion/trainer is Sister Rico from California. We were so excited to get her first e-mail from the Philippines.
KUMUSTA ANG LAHAT MGA TAO!
KUMUSTA ANG LAHAT MGA TAO!
I SEE THAT IT IS ONLY APPROPRIATE THAT I WROTE THIS EMAIL IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE I MEAN REALLY, I AM HERE IN THE PHILIPPINES.
SINCE I GOT OFF THE PLANE I HAVEN'T STOPPED SWEATING. SO YEAH, THAT'S THAT. AND WON'T STOP UNTIL MY PLANE LANDS BACK AT HOME NEXT DECEMBER! I AM DRIPPING SWEAT AS I TYPE THIS EMAIL!
AS WE HAVE BEGUN WORKING, I HAVE ALREADY BEEN SO HUMBLED BY THE CIRCUMSTANCES HERE. IT IS ALMOST UNDESCRIABLE THE LIVING CONDITIONS HERE. I KNOW I WAS SENT HERE FOR A REASON THOUGH, AND I AM ALREADY GETTING A TASTE FOR THAT REASON. THE LOVE I ALREADY HAVE FOR THESE PEOPLE IS INCREDIBLE. HAHA I DIDNT THINK I COULD LOVE SO MANY PEOPLE IN SUCH SHORT TIME. IT MAKES MISSIONARY WORK EVEN BETTER.
SO FOR THE LITTLE DETAILS HAHA, I SLEEP ON TOP OF MY BED AND THAT IS ALL. NO COVERS OR ANYTHING, WITH THE WINDOW OPEN AND FAN BLOWING ON ME!!! THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS I HAVE TO GET USED TO, AND ONE OF THOSE IS THE FOOD. I MEAN IT IS NOT HORRIBLE, PERRO I JUST GOTTA GET USED TO THE WAY IT IS. I NEVER REALIZED HOW MUCH OF A CLEAN FREAK I WAS (BUT I REALLY AM NOT) SINCE I GOT HERE. MESS JUST DRIVES ME NUTS!!!! I DO MY BEST TO KEEP MY STUFF TIDY.
|Tricycle - Sister Wood's method of transportation|
OUR FORM OF TRANSPORTATION IS LITTLE TRIKES, AND I DO NOT FIT IN THEM SO I HAVE TO BE ALL HUNCHED OVER AND EVERYONE JUST LAUGHS! AT THEIR LITTLE SHOPS THEY GIVE US GLASS BOTTLES FOR DRINKS, BUT THEN THEY TAKE THE BOTTLE AND DUMP THE DRINK INTO A LITTLE BAGGIE! AND WE DRINK IT OUT WITH A STRAW HAHA HOW AWESOME RIGHT?
THE BIGGEST THING IS EVERYONE STARES AT ME. EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE. THEY DON'T CARE EITHER!!!! LIKE I THINK THEY THINK I AM AN ALIEN AND DON'T SEE PEOPLE LOOKING AT ME, BUT I AM HUMAN, LITTLE DO THEY KNOW HAHA. GOOD THING I COULD CARE LESS, SO IT DOESN'T MATTER. BUT ESPECIALLY WHEN GUYS ARE PLAYING BBALL THEY LOOK AT ME LIKE I SHOULD BE OUT THERE PLAYING! (WHICH I SHOULD). PLUS WHEN WE WALK PASSED GUYS THEY THINK I AM BEAUTIFUL JUST CAUSE I AM AMERICAN, AND HALF THE TIME WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE SAYING TO US OR ABOUT US, SO THAT'S GOOD. MY COMPANION IS SISTER RICO FROM CALIFORNIA. WE GET ALONG SUPER WELL.
WE WERE IN A LESSON WITH THE MOST ADORABLE FAMILY AND ALL OF A SUDDEN, OUTSIDE, SOMEONE STARTS BLASTING TAYLOR SWIFT. I LOOKED AT MY KASAMA LIKE HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO FOCUS AND TEACH WHEN THIS IS PLAYING?!?!?! HAHA BUT I LOVED IT. I LOVE THE ELEGADO FAMILY.... AND THEY LOOKED AT THE PICTURES OF MY FAMILY AND LOVED IT.
THE MOST "PHILIPPINE EXPERIENCE" LESSON WE HAD WAS LAST WEEK WHEN WE WERE TEACHING A LESS ACTIVE LADY. THEIR HOMES ARE HARDLY ANYTHING, SO WE WALKED INTO WHAT WAS THEIR HOUSE AND SIT DOWN AND BEGIN SHARING OUR MESSAGE. WE SAT THEIR AT GAVE HER THE LESSON WHILE HER KIDS WERE RUNNING AROUND WITH THEIR UNDERWEAR ON, THEIR GOATS WERE NEXT TO US EATING THEIR BANANAS THAT THEY HAVE BEEN SAVING TO EAT, AND ANTS WERE CRAWLING ON ME!!!! I GOT A LITTLE FREAKED OUT. BUT ITS OKAY ITS OKAY. THE SPIRIT WAS STILL THERE AND THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS HAHA.
I HAVE LEARNED SO MUCH ALREADY FROM BEING HERE. I AM SO BLESSED FOR ALL OF THE THINGS I HAVE.
EVERYWHERE I GO I GET CALLED ON BY THE PEOPLE TO GIVE THE OPENING PRAYER. I FIND IT HILARIOUS. IN RELIEF SOCIETY AND EVERY SINGLE LESSON HAHA! IT WAS FAST SUNDAY AND I HADN'T GOT UP AND BORE MY TESTIOMONY IN SACRAMENT, AND THE BISHOPRIC LITERALLY CUED TO ME FROM THE STAND THAT I NEED TO GO UP HAHA I THOUGHT IT WAS HILARIOUS. THE WHOLE SACRAMANET IS LIKE A ZOO OF LOUDNESS AND THEN WHEN THE TALL AMERICAN GIRL THAT HAD TO LIFT UP THE MICROPHONE TALL GOT UP, THE WHOLE PLACE WHEN QUIET. :) I LIKED IT.
THE TAGALOG IS COMING SLOWLY BUT SURELY HAHA. THE LORD HAS BLESSED ME WITH THE POWER TO BEAR AN EXTREAMELY STRONG TESTIMONY IN ENGLISH, SO FOR THAT I AM GRATEFUL. THEY UNDERSTAND ENGLISH, THEY JUST CAN'T SPEAK. THE LORD HAS BLESSED ME IN COUNTLESS WAYS ALREADY SINCE BEING HERE IN THE PHILIPPINES.
THOUGH I KNOW THAT THIS IS GOING TO BE THE HARDEST THING I DO IN MY LIFE, IT IS GOING TO BE WORTH IT, AND I REALLY AM HAPPY HERE, AND EVERYDAY IS BETTER AN BETTER!!! :) I KNOW THAT THE WORK WE ARE DOING OUT HERE IS REAL, AND IT IS A BLESSING. MY TESTIMONY IS STRENGTHENED EVERYDAY.
SALAMAT FOR ALL OF THE SUPPORT I HAVE RECEIVED IT MEANS THE WORLD TO ME.
- SISTER KAHOY (WOOD)
PS CHURCH IS NOW MY FAVORITE THING EVER. AIR CONDITIONING. I SIT RIGHT IN FRONT OF IT IN EVERY MEETING.