Thursday, September 26, 2013

Thursday, September 26 - Week 5
Hey! So good to hear from you! I am sooo sorry about the package. I still haven't gotten it. The President is trying really hard to find it so I hope it gets to me eventually. They don't know who this person is that signed for it so it might be kind of tricky. I really really appreciate you sending it though! President Freestone is so great. There's only about 70 of us missionaries here so he gets to know all of us pretty well. And especially when there were only 4 sisters, we talked to him a lot. It's been a great week. Not much new to tell since our weeks are basically the same but I'll try to pick out a few things. We went contacting again last Friday and it was great! We talked to this one girl (who happened to know English) for like 40 minutes. She was so interested. And we saw that same guy again this week that we taught the week before! We asked if he had called the missionaries yet and he said he hadn't but was going to and he's been reading the book of mormon we gave to him. And I think he thought that our temple was a church building because he said he wanted to go to our church but was talking about the Temple. Haha. Hopefully the guards at the temple led him to the right place! I hope he gets a hold of the missionaries though! On Sunday me and the other 3 sisters did a musical number in church, I know that my reedemer lives, but in spanish of course. It was good. We received 18 new missionaries yesterday! They are all spanish speakers so will only be here for 2 weeks and go out with us. 3 of the sisters are english speaking though going to Jamaica and the West Indies. It's so funny because everyone tries to talk to them in spanish but they don't speak spanish at all and won't be learning spanish. Haha. But we love them! I'm trying to comunicate with the other sisters, but they just talk so fast! Lol. I try my best though. Right when I think I'm really starting to catch onto the language, I talk to them and realize I'm not even close. But I've definitely made great progress. If I were talking to them about the gospel, I would be awesome. :) So our investigator that didn't believe in God when we started, we're committing her to baptism tomorrow! She's told us that she's prayed and knows God is there and she knows the church is true. I can't wait until this is a real experience. We are going on splits tomorrow!! AH! I'm pretty nervous but so excited too! I probably won't have any idea what anyone is saying, but I'll just bear testimony and the Spirit will be there anyways. I heard from some of my friends this week that were with my in the CCM and just went out into the field 2 weeks ago and they say it's so different, but one of them has 3 baptisms this week and one next week! Crazy! All of the teachers here from Santiago say there is a ton of success. Sounds like everything is going great at home! I love hearing about what's going on in your lives. Any updates on news in the world or anything? I feel so out of the loop. LOL. I am SO excited for General Conference!! It will be before we leave the CCM so we'll get to hear it in English thankfully. I think I'll get much more out of it that way. :) We'll hear the general relief society broadcast along with conference so don't tell what is said! Haha. Is this your last year to do Drama Daze Mom? Sounds like a lot of hard work! Those kids love it though! Thanks for sending that picture of the piano. I bet Maureah loved that! Way to go Scott on getting the perfect present! That's great that they can go to Idaho for Christmas. I'm sure the Raymonds are missing them! Hopefully they can come for thanksgiving too. Thanks for sharing your lesson with me Dad! And thanks for sharing your interpretations too! :) I learned a lot from it. The work is progressing in so many parts of the world. Even though the world may be getting worse and worse, every day there are more and more people coming unto Christ. I love you all so much! I pray for you every day. I miss you so much! Thank you for all your love and support!
Hermana Woolf

Friday, September 20, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013 - Week 4
Hola familia! How are you all? I got a letter from everyone in our family this week!!! Thank you everyone! I love hearing from you! I got 11 emails and 3 dear elders today so I am feeling SUPER loved! :) Well this has been kind of a crazy week! Really good but crazy. I went contacting at the University last week! I can't tell you how scared I was going into it. The Spanish we learn and Dominican Spanish are way different. They talk so fast and drop all their S's and slur all their words together so it's very difficult to understand. But it was SO GOOD! I loved it! We talked to 7 people, handed out 3 Book of Mormons (That's all we were given) and 7 pamphlets with the missionaries' phone numbers on them. I couldn't believe I knew what they were saying and especially that I could speak so much! It was incredible. There was this one guy that we talked to that already knew about Joseph Smith and Christ coming to the Americas. We taught him a little about the Book of Mormon and he asked us for the number of the missionaries so he could contact them. It was so neat! We're going out again tomorrow for contacting! So we got all of our new missionaries here now. There were 38 elders and 2 sisters. We are slowly getting to know them. We're teaching this investigator (fake) right now that didn't believe in God or think anyone loved her. She even tried to take her life before. We are really getting through to her though. We testify and testify of what we know about God and how much he loves us and constantly ask how she's feeling about what we're teaching and she always feels the spirit. It is so cool. It feels so real. So my companions and I were asked to be the leaders over the sisters while we're here! It basically means we look after the sisters and go to the leadership meetings with the President, District Leaders, and APs every week. It's a cool responsibility. I feel so much closer to the other sisters because I'm trying to look out for them. So on Sunday I was randomly selected to give a talk on the Restoration in Spanish. Haha. It was pretty scary. I got to prepare it beforehand though and luckily all the new missionaries didn't even know what I was saying. Lol. Then I gave our district meeting Sunday School lesson the next hour on having patience and diligence in our missions. And with only 5 sisters, I participated a lot in Relief Society too. I think I've participated more in Sunday this week than the whole last month of church before I left. Haha. It's so good though. I'm learning really fast. So one of the sisters that came, Hermana Ali, has been really sick the past year and a couple days ago she passed out in our room. She passed out like 20 times over the last couple days. It was really scary. We've been taking good care of her though. It was the sweetest thing. The first time she passed out, when she came back to conscienceness she said, "Yo se que Jesucristo es el Salvador". She had no idea she said that but it was so cool. She didn't even know Spanish. Anyways, she was sent home this morning because there is no way she can serve in this condition. She felt really bad to leave just after a week but I think she came here just to meet us and touch our lives. She is amazing.

So I still haven't gotten your package. I know it said it was delivered, but the mail is really bad here. There are missionaries that had parents send them letters before they even left home and they haven't gotten here yet. I'm sure it will come soon. And the letters haven't gotten here yet either. Really the best way to reach me is through Dear Elder. It comes every week, usually Wednesday or Thursday. Thanks for telling everyone my email address and giving me the addresses of everyone in the fam! So my shoes are really fine. I'm not too worried about it. I've heard they let us wear sandles in Santiago so maybe I'll just get some there later. My health is good. They feed us a lot here, but I only eat like 1/3 of what they give me usually. Mostly because the meat is mystery meat. Haha. But we have gym time every day that we usually go outside and play volleyball or something. And we have to climb 4 flights of stairs about 10 times a day so when I get back I'm gonna be able to climb more than Dad! Haha. I think I've actually lost a little weight. But everyone says when you get out in the field you lose like 20 pounds in 3 weeks. I'm not too worried about it. So spanish is coming very fast. I understand much more than I can speak but I still am amazed how much I know so far. Thanks for sending me that story Dad! I loved it! And thanks for the DearElder letter too! Well I'm sorry I couldn't write the rest of the fam this week! Hopefully I can write more next week! I love you all so much!! You are the world to me!

Hermana Woolf

Friday, September 13, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013 - Week 3
Hola! How is everyone?? Things sound great in Texas! I've had such a great week this week! Every day here is pretty similiar so the days start to blur together but I'll try to remember as much as I can. So we had been teaching this investigator, Cleira, for awhile and things were moving along great and we were going to commit her to baptism soon, but then she told us she was moving and so we had to end it. Even though it's just a teacher pretending to be an investigator, it still feels so real and you really get attached to this person so it was hard to end it. But we did a visualization in class the next day where we all closed our eyes and our teacher asked us to imagine Cleira being baptized and going into the water and coming out with a huge smile on her face and then coming up to us and giving us the biggest hug and thank you. It was such an incredible experience for me. It felt so real. I can't wait to have that experience with someone. We have 3 more investigators now. We teach one every morning and one every night and then we teach a couple on Mondays. It is awesome. I love it. Even though our spanish isn't amazing yet, when we get into that lesson, the Spirit is there and the words come to our mouths. I feel like I'm really helping them.

So every Sunday we have Sacrament meeting, district meeting, relief society, a doctrinal class from President Freestone, a missionary MTC devotional, and we get to watch a church movie. I love Sundays. On Tuesday we got to go to the store for the first time! It was the first time we were allowed to leave the gates of the MTC/Temple so that was really exciting! Things are definitely different here. The traffic is really scary. They don't enforce any speed limits so people just go as fast as they want, zipping around people. And there are a ton of people walking on the streets. It's pretty cool. It was good to get out for a little bit. We tried to find some American food at the store since all we eat is rice and meat, but there wasn't much. Pretty much just like oreos, m&ms and doritos. I'm kinda starting to miss eating a variety of food. But I got some notecards there cuz we definitely need those a lot for practicing Spanish. I've had a chance to go to the Temple twice now and it is so great! The first time I went last week there were a lot of people that couldn't speak English in our session so we all had to get headphones for translation. But today there were only a few of us so we did it in English.

When we first got here there were 78 missionaries, but 61 of them left on Tuesday so for 2 days there were only 17 of us. It was very strange. We made some really good friends our first 2 weeks so it was hard to see them go. But we just got 40 new missionaries today! Only 2 of them were sisters. So we have a total of 5 sisters and like 52 elders. Haha. We're a little out numbered. It's good though. Everyone seems to think that the elders and the sisters should have equal opportunities to pray, bear testimony, speak, etc. even though there are way more elders than sisters, so they call on us A LOT. haha. Luckily we love to participate though. :) Tomorrow we're going out contacting at the University here!! I'm pretty nervous, but excited too! Hopefully I can understand them. Everyone here speaks SO fast and they drop all of their S's.

I got a DearElder from Allie last week! That was so fun! I haven't gotten your package yet Mom. Like I said, the mail doesn't come very often. It may take a few weeks to get to me. Thanks in advance for it though! It's exciting to get mail! By the way, could you give my email address out to people? I know what you're thinking, you don't want to because I won't have time to write you, but I promise to write you first before I write anyone else. We get an hour for emailing and it only takes me about 30-40 minutes to write you. If I have to, I'll wait to write my friends until I have a P-day with more time. But especially because we don't get mail here, I won't be able to hear from anyone for awhile. Could you also post it as a status on my Facebook though as well and say I'd love to hear from everyone? Like I said though, you are my top priority and I will always write you first. :)

Anyways, to answer some of your questions: We actually don't even study Spanish that much during the day. Maybe an hour at most. They just speak to us in only Spanish all day long so we learn from what they say. And then we have to try to find time to study it on our own as well. We mostly learn how to teach and practice a lot and prepare for lessons with investigators. That is so cool that Scott is the 11 year old scout leader! haha. He will be great at that. And of course Maureah got called as a pianist. :) That is one talent she will never escape sharing. And counselor in the sunday school presidency sounds perfect for Ryan!

I'm glad Amy won SYTYCD. She deserved it. The craziest thing is that I don't even miss tv or movies at all. I bet you can't believe it. LOL. I'm glad Tanya's party went great! I wish I could have been there! That is so awesome that she could have so much family with her on that day.  

So I realized that I wrote down everyone's home addresses to write them, but I don't have anyone's email address. Like everyone in the family other than Mom and Dad. Could you send those to me? Actually I have Christina's because she wrote me, but I need everyone else's. Thanks! I love you all so much! And miss you tons! Thank you for all of your prayers! I can feel them from way over here. :) Love you!

Hermana Woolf

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Thursday, September 5, 2013 - Week 2

                                          Hermana Woolf on Day 1

                      President and Sister Freestone w/Hermana Woolf

From Left to Right Back Row: Elder Thompson, Elder Morgan, Elder Quesenberry, Elder Anderton, Elder Hamilton, Elder Grigg - From Left to Right Front Row: Hermana Woolf, Hermana DeSpain, Hermana Winger

Hi family! I am totally loving the CCM! That first day was soooo long. I didn't think I could go on after that day and do this for 18 months. But after that day, things have FLOWN by. I can't believe it's been over a week already. Our schedule pretty much goes as follows: eat, study, eat, study, exercise, study, eat, study, sleep. Repeat. It is a lot of studying, but so good. The Spirit is always so strong here. My district is AMAZING. I love them. I'll send you a picture of them. It's weird because they are all like 18 except one (elder hamilton) who is 21. But they all seem my age. Very mature. We have a testimony meeting every night together as a district in Spanish which is so cool. The Spanish is coming along. I kinda think in Spanglish right now, so I apologize if there are some random Spanish words in my emails. Haha. They expect you to progress very fast here so it's a little frustrating, but I'm learning so much faster than I thought I would. I learned how to pray and bear my testimony in Spanish by day 3. And we've been teaching an investigator (our teacher) in Spanish every night since Saturday. It is amazing that it's even possible. We teach for like 30 min and none of it is in English. There is an Elder in our district who is struggling a little to learn the language. He can't say very much and doesn't understand much either. But it was one of the most amazing things I have ever witnessed. Our 2nd day, he got up and gave his whole testimony in Spanish. It was incredible. The words just came to his mouth. There are so many experiences like that happening. Miracles truly happen when we have faith. On the 3rd day we all kind of had a melt down because we felt like we couldn't speak any Spanish (3rd day. I know. Obviously it takes longer than 3 days to perfect a language.) but we were already starting our lessons with the investigator and it was very difficult the first time. But it was great. It was an awesome bonding experience for our district. We all cried and then bore testimony of our purpose here and it was just amazing. I love being here so much and am so uplifted by the wonderful missionaries I'm with. So I met a missionary last night that has been out for 17 months and he was trained by Jacob Irrizzary! So cool! The food here is pretty great. We really do have rice for every meal. Haha. Well not breakfast. We get pancakes and eggs and bacon for breakfast. They are feeding us really good. It's weird to have rice every day, but they always make it different so it's good. Sunday night is pizza night!! :) And we get ice cream too! It's a good change. So on Sundays President Freestone asks us to prepare 3-5 min talks each week and then he just calls on people to come up and speak! It's kind of scary, but it will be a good experience. My teachers are amazing! My teacher in the mornings is Hermana Escobores and she is so nice! She's like a mom to me here. She's always coming up to me and giving me hugs and telling me I can do it. In the afternoon we have Hermano Nuñez and he is hilarious! Probably the funnest teacher here. At night we have Hermana Loriano and she is strict, but so kind as well. She is the one we are teaching as our investigator right now. The first day we taught her about the Book of Mormon and how God loves her and the next day we taught her about families being together forever and the ordinances we make in the Temple. Our next lesson is on chastity. Yikes! Kinda scared for that. Haha. But it will be good. We're very prepared for it and we know she needs to hear it. So we have 78 missionaries in total at the CCM. But like 50 of them are leaving on Tuesday. All of the other Americans and the Latinos all go out into the field. But we'll get new ones on Wednesday. It's just crazy that I'm already gonna be one of the oldest by week 2! We've made a ton of friends in the group before us so it will be sad to see them go. We get to take Temple walks almost every day which is great. I can't believe how beautiful it is. I get to go through an endowment session and do sealings after this! I'm so excited! Pdays are going to be wonderful! I get to talk to you guys, go through the Temple, relax and do whatever I want until 6 and then teach my investigator again. Next week we are going to have another investigator and a couple investigator so we'll be teaching 3 lessons some days. It's great! I am so happy here. So the mail is not so good. It goes to Puerto Rico and then someone has to go get it and bring it here so it doesn't come very often. They say I probably won't get any while I'm in the CCM. But it might go to the mission office and I can get it later. So in the DR, they have siesta which is like rest time between 12 and 2 every day so we can't go out and proselyte during that time. They say we just don't even go out until 2 every day when we're in the field and we have to come in at 8 because at night it gets kinda sketchy here and dangerous. We're really going to have to make good use of our time. And we can't eat at anyone's house ever because we don't know how they prepare their food and it could make us sick. So at least everything I eat will be something I like! :) Oreos are HUGE here. They love them. They eat them as much as possible. Oh so next week we get to go contacting at the University! I'm so excited! Hopefully they can understand my Spanish though. Haha. So enough about me. How are you guys? You got a job Jamie!? That was quick! You weren't even looking when I left! How are the glasses Dad? Are you getting used to them? And how is your job? That's awesome that Brother Solomon got called as a counselor. He'll be great! Well I love you so much! I'm praying for each of you each day too! Until next Thursday.

 Hermana Woolf