Thursday, October 31, 2013

Service in Tamboril
Wednesday, October 30 - Week 10

Hey family! How are you? Are you excited for Halloween? It´s weird because it doesn´t feel like Halloween for me. No one decorates or anything. Just a bunch of Christmas decorations everywhere. Well it´s been a great week! Ruben and Esther got the money to get married!!! Thanks for your prayers! They will be getting married on the 8th and Esther will be baptized on the 9th! I am so excited for them! We have several others that still need to be married but I hope one day they can. I´m not sure you can pay for their marriages dad. That is super sweet though! I think it is somewhere around 5,000 pesos so thats like a little over 100 dollars I think. Haha I don´t know. I can´t do the math in my head. But yeah that´s the hard thing. When people want to be baptized and can´t. But we will keep teaching them and hope for miracles. We contacted this couple a couple days ago and the man, Julio, is a member but inactive. I guess he really wants to go to church and has a huge testimony, but he doesn´t want to go without his wife. So he was basically pleading us to teach her and baptize her so they can go together. It was so cute! I will love teaching them. So I got your package!! Thank you so much!! You didn´t have to send me another one! I am so grateful though! It has been so nice to have a pillow and a fitted sheet! And all those green things because I am a greenie! That was so cute!! Thank you so much!!! You guys are the best!! So yeah I teach my first English class on Saturday! It´s actually not for the members. Well the members can come, but we are mostly inviting our investigators. I think it will help them a lot and our relationship with them will be much better. I hope a lot of people come. Unfortunately it is during our proselyting time, but I think we can get new contacts out of it if people bring their friends. My talk went super well! I had to read most of it, but it was good. I used part of my farewell talk and changed a few things to better meet the needs of my branch. Then I had Elder Sotelo fix the things that I didn´t translate correctly. Everyone was coming up to me after sacrament meeting and telling me I did a great job. It was awesome. Also we had a ton of investigators at church! It was the best feeling ever! Last week it broke my heart that not many came after they said they would. A lot of people don´t follow through with their commitments. But this week we got 3 investigators, an inactive, and a recent convert to come! It was awesome! So I´m not sure about the package from Sarah´s friend.. I need to ask about that. It may be possible. Thanks for the recipe! I think I´ll make that a lot! Haha. That´s exciting about Drama Daze! I´m sure you´ll be glad when it´s over! That´s cool about the missionaries meeting with the youth! We only have like 4 or 5 youth in our branch I think. Haha. It´s super small. But we are getting references from them to teach their friends. That is great that you guys took that marriage class! It sounds like it was very helpful. You guys have such a great relationship. I´m not sure you needed it. But maybe you needed to be there to remind everyone else how it should be. So our area is HUGE! We barely even cover a tiny bit of it. There are just so many people. So we walked to the farthest part of our area the other day to see what it was like. It took us like an hour and a half to walk there. Maybe we will spend a day out there and try to contact new people. Oh Mom can you go on my facebook and accept Maria Guadalupe Mendez? She is a member in my ward and I want her to tag me in a photo that was taken of me and my zone doing service in my area. So last week we got to have a new missionaries meeting so I got to see all of my friends in the Santiago Mission! It was great! We have another one in 2 weeks! Anyways... Things are just great! I love to hear from you each week! I love you all so much! You are amazing! Talk to you next week!

Hermana Woolf

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - Week 9

Hey there family! How are things going? This week has been so much better! Its still hard, but getting easier every day. Sorry I was such a downer last week. I wasnt having a great day so it came out in my email. But things are great! So we had a baptism planned for this week (her name is esther), but it fell through. She and Ruben were going to get married this week before the baptism but they dont have the money like they thought they would. But they should in the next few weeks so im crossing my fingers that it still happens. They are so great though! They come to church every week and are such a wonderful family. Since Im new it is my responsibility to invite people to baptism. I have invited a few people and they have said yes so I hope it works out! There are so many people that accept the gospel here, but so many baptisms fall through too. We really have to work hard to make them happen. So I have been asked to do a ton of things... I am giving a 12 min talk on missionary work on Sunday... in spanish... yeah that is going to be rough. And Ive been asked to participate in the choir which is us 4 missionaries in tamboril and the branch president and his wife. Haha. We will sing every week and it will be christmas songs. They love Christmas! Then Ive also been asked to start and teach an english class. Everyone here wants to learn english so they can get better jobs but there isnt anyone to teach them. So this will be good practice for being a teacher! Theyve also asked me to teach an english class in my district meetings. Haha. There is so much to do but I love to serve as much as i can. Although my district leader asked me to play O Holy Night in church next week and thats where I drew the line. Haha. I need way more than a week to learn a song especially since I havent played in forever. And Im a missionary... there is just no time to practice. So remember how I told you about Elder Hamilton going home? Well hes back and in my district!!! I am so excited! We get to see each other more than once a week! So we had 2 weeks interviews with the mission president this week! It was great. He is a wonderful mission president. I also had intercombios this week! Oh sorry thats splits. It was with the leaders of the sisters so I got to be with an english speaker for a day which was great! So everyone here LOVES platanos. They look like bananas but they arent. I really dont like that but I have to eat them a ton with the members. I hope I learn to love them soon! Haha. So the transportation here is called gua guas. They are small little buses but they pack everyone in those things! We fit 27 people in it once and it should have only fit 15 people. It is crazy! I am getting closer to people than I ever wanted to be. :) Oh and someone asked me if I was 14 this week. That was fun. Haha. Anyways... so I tried making pizza but it didnt work out so great. Can you send me our recipe? Or maybe the one for pan bread if its easier to make? I have like flour, yeast, salt, water... idk what else i need but im sure i could find it somewhere. So we cant go out until 3 because well first of all I am in training so the mornings need to be spent studying. And then 12 to 3 is siesta so its like disrespectful to go out during that time. But we work hard to get a lot of appointments in during our short time. Things are good with my comp. We have a few differences but just because we are from different cultures. We are working through them. She is very patient with me. That is so cool about the lady Aunt Sarah knows. If its too big of a hassle she doesnt need to send me anything!! But that is so nice. I guess a mosquito net would be nice, if not for now, im sure i will need it later. I currently have over 30 mosquito bites. Haha. Jamie, you are already quitting your job? I guess thats for the best with how busy you are! Do you still work at CIMA though? Im jealous I cant watch biggest loser with you! I hope i can catch up on that when I get home. Thank you for all the prayers! Wow that is a ton of prayers every day for me! I really really appreciate it! And thank you for your kind words Dad. I dont think I have all of those qualities but Im trying to develop them more to be a better missionary. I cant believe you are doing so much repair to the house! You have squirrels again? What happened? And wow so many other things too! Could you pray for Esther and Ruben, Jose and Miriam, and Anthony and Miriam? All 3 couples are trying to get married before they can be baptized but need to get the money first. Thank you so much! I love you all soooooo much! And I miss you!
Hermana Woolf

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - Week 8
Hey family!! It is so good to hear from you every week! It is the thing I look forward to most about Wednesdays! Well this week has been super hard. Much harder than I thought it would be. I am struggling a lot with the language barrier between my companion and I. Half the time I dont know what shes saying so I dont know what we are doing or where we are going. She doesnt understand much english at all and she cant speak it except a few words. Its very frustrating for me. But Im trying to have patience and keep reminding myself that this is only a temporary challenge. But its pretty lonely. I cant talk to anyone. Ive been feeling pretty homesick this week. But we’ve had some pretty awesome things happen too. We are visiting this family where the father is an inactive and the mother is not a member. She cant get baptized until they get married so they are getting married on October 25 and she is getting baptized on October 26! It is super exciting. We also have another man named Ricardo that will be baptized in a few weeks and a family that will be baptized next month. The success is amazing! Im not even exaggerating, every single person lets  us in their home. They all are so humble. So every appointment we have, we ask our investigator who they would like to say the prayer and guess who they pick? Me. Every. Single. Time. Haha. They love to have me say the prayers because they dont think I can speak Spanish and they think its funny. But I love to prove them wrong. :) Also everyone calls me rubia (which means blondie) because Im American. It doesnt even matter that Im not blonde. Im white and thats all that matters. It must be rare to see an american because I have yet to see one in my area. I saw a couple today when I was in the city but not in Tamboril. There is so much to tell you about! There is no way I can say everything but I will try. Sorry if this is all over the place. So every sunday we eat lunch at a members home. Well they eat a ton. Like A TON. They serve your food for you and they mound it SO high. We had rice and chicken and this dominican thing for lunch and I couldnt believe my companion could eat it all. Like it was more than I could eat in an entire day. Well the people here are very offended if you dont eat everything on your plate. So I feel really bad because I didnt even come close to eating all of it. It looked like I hadnt even touched it and I thought I would throw up if I had another bite. And I had even been fasting before then. Its so crazy. So I dont know what Im supposed to do. I guess learn to put it down. So its not super hot here. Like probably 90 every day. But it rains every single day so that cools it down. But even when it isnt hot, it is super humid. I sweat so much. I only feel clean for about 15 minutes a day- when Im in the shower. Haha. We walk a lot here. We are by the mountains so a lot of the people live up in the mountains. Plus our area is super big so we go everywhere. Probably 5 or 6 miles a day at least. Okay so here is our schedule: wake up 6:30. Exercise outside (walk and run) for 30 minutes. Eat breakfast and shower. Personal study. Companionship study. Language study. Lunch. 12 weeks (my training). Then we go out to teach. Its a rule here that we cant go out until 3 pm! Its so weird! But we dont come back for dinner so we stay out from 3 to 9 and then plan, eat dinner, and go to bed. Its good though. Oh and there are dogs EVERYWHERE. Like sometimes I will pass a pack of 9 or 10 of them together. But they are all very calm. None of them would ever bite me. Haha. So on Monday we had a zone meeting so I got to see a few of my friends from the CCM! It was so good to speak english! And then today for pday we got to meet up with our zone again to play soccer. It was really fun. My area doesnt have a ward, just a branch so not a ton of people. And Tamboril only has 4 missionaries, us and 2 elders. I love the elders in our district though! One is from Mexico and one is from Argentina- Dad he wanted me to ask you if you ever had mata. I tried it. It is pretty different but good. They both know a little english so it has been good to talk to them sometimes. We see them at least once a day. Okay now to answer your questions: it is super beautiful here. Everything is really green. But the houses are not nice. Everyone is very poor. We do have light and electricity which Im so greatful for! But I do wish I had brought a fitted sheet and a pillow. I thought they would have one there but they dont. I will have to try to find one. Im doing okay with the food. We got to go to a bigger store today in the city so I have a few more things. Im going to try to make pizza. I actually dont need a mosquito net because I guess dengae isnt a problem here. But i have a ton of mosquito bites even though I put on bug spray every day. They gave me a really nice fan that I keep on at night and I wake up cold. Its great! We get water from a store and they come in like a big jug that we can transport to our water bottles to take with us. Im not really sure about letters. I think send them to the mission address. Sounds like everyone is doing great and doing exciting things! Thanks for the pictures! And keep praying for me. I will need it this week. I love you all sooo much! and miss you every day! You are the world to me. Until next week.

Hermana Woolf

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - Week 7
Hola! How are you? It has been quite a week for me! I went on splits again on Friday in Santo Domingo which was good. There was one person we contacted though that was not the nicest. He spent the whole time yelling at us and saying God does not exist and stuff. It was not very fun. But the second person we talked to was an inactive who said she wanted to go to the temple for the first time and said she would set up an appointment with her bishop! It was so cool. And then of course we got to watch conference Saturday and Sunday which was so amazing! It was a different experience watching as a missionary. The talks on missionary work were actually directed toward me. There were so many that I loved, but a few were President Uchtdorf, Elder Oaks, and Elder Ballard. Being the last week of the CCM, we were all pretty emotional. We had a testimony meeting our last day on Monday with everyone we came in with. It was great, but one of the Elders in my District, Elder Hamilton, told us then that he had to go home because he got a really bad root canal. Everyone started bawling. I wish you knew this Elder. He is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. He is so dedicated to the work. He studies his scriptures in every free moment he has, even during meals. And he is so kind. He would be the best missionary ever. We are hopeful that it is a minor problem and that he can return in a few weeks to start his mission, but there is a possibility that it will take longer and he will have to be reassigned to a new place. It is so sad. But things will all work out for the best. So Tuesday was a long day. The sisters who live next to us in the CCM had to leave at 3:30 in the morning for Jamaica and they came and woke us up to say goodbye. Then we had to get up at 5:30 to leave and we took a 2 hour bus ride to Santiago. We came to the mission home where the President and his wife live and had orientation for a while and then they sent us right into the field. We were told that we needed to give away a Book of Mormon before we could come back for dinner. Haha. It was no problem at all. I gave away both of the books we had. The people here are just so humble. It isn’t like the United States where it’s hard to give away a Book of Mormon.  We get into so many houses a day. I think we taught like 6 unplanned lessons in that 3 hours. Then we came back and had more orientation, had interviews with the mission president, and found out our companions and areas. I am in an area called Tamboril. It is in Santiago Este so pretty close to the capital. My new companion and trainer is Hermana Monegro. She is from the Dominican Republic. She is super nice and very patient which I am so grateful for, but I can tell it is going to be a long 12 weeks or longer. The language barrier will definitely be a challenge. It is very hard to communicate. But I see this as a blessing because I am going to know Spanish so fast! I am already learning so much just from being with her for one day. As I am sure you have guessed, Wednesday is our P-day. Oh and when I got to Santiago I got your package and 3 letters! 2 of the letters were from you Mom. One was a handwritten letter and one was a dearelder. I guess they were from the first week but were just sent to Santiago instead of the CCM. The third was one from Christina from the first week too. Thank you SOOOO much for all the mail and especially the package!! You were so sweet to send me all of my favorite things! I loved it! My apartment is way nicer than I thought it would be. We don’t have any light, but who needs it during the day anyways. We have plumbing and a shower and our own washing machine so I am super happy about that! So the food here is not quite what I expected. We nearest grocery store only has a very, very limited selection of food. We went today to buy food and this is what I left with: rice, beans, tortillas, bread, peanut butter, cereal, and milk. Not very healthy right? Well that is the best I could do. They have nothing there! We actually had to go to this other store for the bread because they didn’t even have it there. So I’m not sure I can even use the recipes you sent me. It’s going to be an interesting next few months... I’m pretty sure you just send any mail to the mission home address through the Miami address. Then they get it to us. I forgot that Halloween was coming up! They don’t celebrate that here. But you know what’s crazy? They celebrate Christmas during October and December! Haha. I’ve gone into so many houses that had Christmas trees up and decorations. It’s so funny. They just like to celebrate more. Anyways, let me know how you all are doing! I love you all so much! Until next week.

Hermana Woolf

Friday, October 4, 2013

Pics received October 3, 2013 while still in the MTC
            Sister Woolf and comps with mock investigators, the Despains

                                                 Found a coconut!

                                       Sister Woolf with her district

                                             Study room at the MTC

                                    View out bedroom window (temple)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thursday, October 3, 2013 - Week 6

Hola Familia! Cómo Están? Things here are so great! I can't believe I'm leaving the CCM in just a few days! I'll be leaving on Tuesday at 6 AM. It seems like the time has flown by! I feel like the other missionaries here are my family now. I feel so close to them. Especially my District. I love them all so much. Luckily most of them will be going to Santiago with me so I'll get to see them every once in a while. So we went on splits on Friday! It was so good! It kinda feels like we're trapped in this little box and can't ever leave so it was fun to be able to walk around the area for a day. I went out with a sister that was super nice and tried to help me feel really comfortable. I was a little unlucky though just because our appointments she had set up were on opposite sides of the area so probably 3/4 of our day was walking. Which is totally fine because I need the exercise, but I just wish I could have spent more of the day teaching the people. Our first appointment was good. She had already been taught a few times so we just talked about the importance of prayer. I actually could understand most of what was being said and could contribute to the lesson! But our next appointment was super difficult. We were actually supposed to meet with the daughter of a woman that had just been baptized a month ago, but she wasn't available so we just met with the mother and shared our favorite scriptures and things. But this woman spoke SO FAST and it was not the spanish I've been learning. It was Dominican spanish. They drop so many of their letters. I didn't understand very much. But I could tell she loved the gospel already. Our last appointment fell through as well so we went contacting for a little bit. It was definitely an awesome experience. My companion for the day bought me some dulce de leche which was super good! I'll go out with her again tomorrow so hopefully I have even more stories to tell next week! Well today was my last day at the Temple for a year and a half. :( It was soo good today though. I love this temple here. It's so beautiful. So every week we get to watch 2 devotionals, one on Sunday and one on Tuesday. They are always by an apostle and directed to missionaries. On Sunday we got to watch one by Elder Ballard and guess who was the musical number? David Archuletta! Haha. It was from when he was in the MTC last year so he did a solo and it was amazing! You could tell he was happy to be serving a mission at this time in his life. On Tuesday we got to hear from your favorite mom, Elder Scott. It was super good and of course he talked about Jeanine a lot. It was so sweet. I can't wait for Conference this weekend! It will be really special for me this time being a missionary. I can't wait to be uplifted. So something really funny here, some of the Elders aren't quite sure what the rules are when it comes to the Sisters so they are totally afraid of us. Hahaha. They don't even think they can talk to us. If we're trying to get by them and say "excuse me", they jump out of the way. Literally. It is so funny. We try to explain that it's okay to talk to us but they are just so afraid of getting in trouble. :) Oh another funny thing. One of my companion's grandmas is kinda crazy and every time she has missionaries in Arizona over to her house, she makes them write letters to my companion even though they have no idea who they are. She got a package with 7 of them last week and we had so much fun reading them! People are funny when they are writing someone that they've never met. But anyways, things are pretty much the same here. It's our last time to teach our investigators today and tomorrow and we're challenging them both to baptism so I hope it goes well! OH I ALMOST FORGOT!!! THEY FOUND THE PACKAGE!! It was sent to Santiago instead of here! My CCM President worked really hard to find it. I am so thankful for him! And I'm so glad I'll be able to open it soon! I felt so bad when I thought it didn't make it. Thank you so much!! :)

That's so cool about Cameron's mission call! I'm jealous he gets to go to your same mission Dad! Sounds like things in the news are crazy! I heard some kind of natual disaster hit the Phillipines recently? I haven't heard much about it though. So yeah we aren't allowed to eat at members' homes in the field. They don't make things healthy to eat here so we'll just go home for every meal. We will be taught more about that on Monday and Tuesday. I would actually love if you sent me some recipes mom! Nothing too complicated though because I don't know how much of the food is the same or cheap and everything. Maybe some recipes with meat and rice? That is such a great idea of Kale, Riley and Brock for the monthly challenge! I'll try to participate some days. :) Thanks for sending some pics! I love to get pics! I'll send some to you today. Well people have been telling me that by Christmas my Spanish will be pretty good so I'm hopeful! It's going to take some getting used to to learn the Dominican spanish but I'm sure it will come fast when I'm out there every day. I've been to Patrizio's before Dad! It is super good! I'm glad you guys are going on dates! :) And don't feel bad about telling me about food! Haha. Our food has been pretty good! Except today... pretty sure they served us octopus... it was gross. And mystery soup day. That day is not fun. But other than that I've loved everything! Well I love you all soooo much!! I think about you every day! I hope everything is going great! You all are amazing! Love you!

Hermana Woolf