Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - Week 27
Hey Fam! Wow I only have 1 year left as of yesterday! I´ll be back in 364 days! Haha. Okay that´s a lot of time, but it feels like I just got here! Pretty sure I only have 4 weeks left here in Tamboril. It´s pretty set that I´ll be leaving this next transfer. It´s kinda sad to think about. I really love the people here. But I´m also ready for a change. And the last transfer of my mission I can go back to visit all my areas I was in. There are definitely some people I will never forget here. So first, yes that is a dead frog on my stick. Haha. I had to take a picture (it was not easy to get the stick in his mouth). I´m glad you finally got my letters! Wow that took forever. I´m going to have to start sending letters 2 months before I actually want them to arrive. Okay is anyone going to tell me what track Jamie got?? Fall and what? That will be fun to room with Rachel. That´s so fun that you´ll be visiting Scott and Maureah! What are you going to do? How long is spring break? Wow the laurels are singing Jamie´s song!? What an honor! That will be so special. Ok so I just said I have 4 more hours to teach on Sundays because we´re not going to teach the woman that lives an hour and a half away anymore. We were using 4 hours of our Sundays to visit her. I haven´t bought my scripture cases yet. I´m trying to get a good deal. There are 2 guys that sell them and 1 is much cheaper, but his work isn´t as good. But the other guy is trying to rip me off. My zone leader (latin) bought his for 2000 pesos with pictures on both sides of the cases and a case for his hymn book. And the guy is asking 2700 pesos for mine with only 1 pic on each side and the hymn book case. I´m gonna have to find a latino to buy them for me to get the price I want. I can´t wait to hear about Melissa´s ultrasound! Don´t forget to tell me! Haha. I still get some mosquito bites. It´s impossible to not get any. But it´s during the day. Everyone tells me that the repellent doesn´t work and I should use vanilla? This random lady came up to me one day and rubbed a bunch of vanilla all over my legs and said I wouldn´t get anymore. Haha. I´ll have to try it. What foods am I missing?... haha too many to mention. We literally only eat yuca, platanos, salami, rice, and beans. Nothing else. Ok pizza sometimes if we go out. But I miss the good pizza. lol. Sometimes I just crave Texas Roadhouse. But mostly just eating different things each day. I don´t know how they do it. It´s not really possible to eat healthy here... First of all, the members/investigators ALWAYS feed us. If you could only see the size of portions we get. Man, I leave feeling like I´m gonna throw up. Also, the only place to buy the fruits and vegetables you want is in Santiago. And we can only go to Santiago when we have zone meetings, once a month. I can buy bananas and apples though in my supermarket. That´s about it. Really the only way I´ll continue to lose weight is eating less and walking and doing exercise in the morning. I think I´m going to buy a scale if I get a chance. There´s no way I can check how I´m doing. But no you don´t need to put money into my account to buy healthy food. We can´t anyway. The only way I´ll be able to go to the temple again during my mission is if one of my families goes to be sealed and invites me. For example, Ruben and Esther have a goal to go November 9 (1 year exactly from Esther´s baptism) so if everything goes as planned, I can go with them. Every member has a cell phone, but like 3 maybe have a car. Everyone here uses motorcycles. Almost every member has one. What have I enjoyed most about my mission so far... wow that´s a really hard question. I love it all. But I guess the feeling when one of your investigators is baptized. I´ve never felt that kind of joy before. Still don´t know when Rubi will be baptized. I need to talk with our branch president. We´ve been teaching her the lessons though and she learns really quick. So we had a really awesome experience this week!! Okay so Esther´s cousin Francisco moved to Tamboril a couple weeks ago. She invited him to church and he came. So we got the reference and visited him the next day. We taught only the first couple points of lesson 1, that God is our loving Heavenly Father and that the Gospel blesses our families. That´s it. Nothing about Joseph Smith, the church being restored, the Book of Mormon, nothing. We planned another lesson for the following week (this past Monday). Well he came to church again on Sunday. When we went to have our lesson, there wasn´t much time but we asked if he had read his pamphlet about the Restoration (no one ever reads). He said "yeah I´ve read it twice already and I´m going to start it again!" He also said he has prayed and knows it´s true and asked when he can be baptized! SOO cool! There really are people ready to accept the Gospel. We set a date for March 22! Things with Oliver are going pretty good. His baptism is March 15. We had a lesson yesterday with the elders and his whole family, and it wasn´t super good. He is really different when there are a lot of people, especially his dad. I don´t know why. His dad recognized this too and told us that we should just teach him alone to have more success. We agreed. But I think he will be ready. He´s reading his Book of Mormon, praying, and coming to church, everything we are asking him to do. He has this attitude like he´s too cool for everything which makes it hard to know what he´s really feeling. But I´ve known people like him before. It´s just a way to hide his feelings. And he has told us that he knows it´s true and wants to be baptized so we´re praying he will be ready. We had a FHE with a family in our branch this week and they invited over 10 inactives/investigators!! It was so awesome! We shared a message and everyone in the family shared their testimonies. It was great. So our English class is going well. We have like 6 regulars. We started last week to only speak in English so they can learn faster and we do little scenarios to help them practice. Last week was going to the movie theater. :) Tomorrow is the Independence Day of the DR! Our branch is having an activity to celebrate! We are going to play basketball and volleyball, watch movies, have a barbeque. It will be great! We have invited lots of people to come. Well that´s about it for this week. Haha. Okay that was a lot. But I love you all and see ya in a year!! :)

Hermana Woolf

Thursday, February 20, 2014

               What does she have on a stick? It looks like a dead frog!
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - Week 26
Hey Fam! Wow seems like the weeks just get shorter and shorter! The time is flying. Next week I´ll have 6 months! Only 1 year left! So crazy. I got your valentine Mom! So sweet! Thank you! :) So we had a good week. 10 investigators/inactives in church! We´re having a lot of success. It´s really quite interesting. The people we think we come, don´t come, but people we didn´t expect to come, do! It just teaches us to have faith and work hard, even with the people we don´t think will progress. Many of the people we are teaching have problems that are keeping them from being baptized, which is hard. Sometimes it´s hard to recognize that you are making a difference when you can´t see the results. But we really are helping these people progress. Jason and Wanda are coming to church every week and are reading their scriptures and having family prayer, all of which they weren´t doing before we starting teaching them. Jason does not want to get married, but he is making progress. They haven´t set a date yet, but they want to wait to find out if Wanda´s dad, who is in prison, (really long story) can come or not. He was sentenced for 20 years, but they are going to reduce his time. If it´s reduced to like 1 year, they are going to wait to be married then, but if it´s like 5 years, they will get married soon. So we´ll find out later. Ricardo also doesn´t want to get married, but he´s been praying, and fasted, and has decided to get married in May! Still 3 months away, but at least he has a goal now! I´m really happy for him. On Sunday we went for the third time to Chafa´s house, the one that lives in the mountains, and she just isn´t progressing like we want, so we are going to give her some time. Thankfully we have 4 more hours in our Sundays now to teach more people. But we got to have some adventures on the way back from her house! This country is so beautiful! So we have a new zone now. It´s so small. :( But I´m still with a lot of my friends so that´s good. I talked with a guy about buying scripture cases today. There are two guys that sell them, so we tried to work down the one we were with. He´s asking for about $70 for two cases with pictures, and my names and a case for my hymn book. It´s a pretty good deal. The other guy will charge me like $50, but it´s not as good of quality. So I´ll think I´ll go with the more expensive one. So if you see a ton of money taken out of my account, that´s why. But yeah, not much new. Working hard and receiving miracles. That will be fun mom to be in a quilt block group. That´s something you´re really good at. Wow Dad sounds like you´re super busy with seminary! That´s great that you´re making breakfast for all of them! Thanks for the family history story mom! I loved reading it! She sounds like an awesome great grandma! Well I love you all! So good to hear from you! Talk to you next week!!

Hermana Woolf


Monday, February 17, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - Week 25

Hey everyone! Happy Valentine´s Day! Okay I wrote myself like 3 notes to make sure I made valentines and sent them to you guys, but I literally have no time! Not even on pdays. We´re always out doing something. :( But I´m going to try my very hardest to do them this week and send them even though they´ll be really late. You send me so many letters and packages and I barely send anything. I promise to try harder! So... we had transfers today. How did you know that Mom? Haha. I´m....... drumroll please......staying in Tamboril again. lol. I´ll have 6 months here after this transfer! I love it here but I am ready for a change. I hope I get sent somewhere new in March. But we have a few baptisms planned for March before I leave that I really want to be here for. We are teaching this family- Rafael, Andrea, and their 2 kids. They have SOOOO many questions. Like a ridculous amount. But they just want to know more and it shows me they´re really interested. They live pretty far away so we have to dedicate like 2 hours for them, but it´s worth it. They are progressing really fast, but they haven´t come to church yet. Rafael is ready to start attending, but doesn´t want to go without Andrea. Andrea has a lot of doubts and is scared because her Mom is really Catholic and wants her to stay in their religion so she doesn´t want to offend her mom. It´s kind of a hard situation. But we are going to work really hard with them. I really want to be here for their baptisms. We set their date for March 22. We are also teaching a guy named Oliver. He is a son of a family in our branch. He has been living with his mom somewhere else and just moved in with his dad to work in his business so we started to teach him. He´s been taught by the missionaries before and has a lot of knowledge about the gospel because of his family. He told us this week that he has a testimony and wants to be baptized so we´ve set his date for March 15. With the Nuñez family... well I don´t think Viviana will be baptized this week, but she´s making progress. We´ve decided to put the same goal for their whole family. April 5. It´s been really hard with Jason and Wanda. Wanda is completely ready to be married and baptized, but Jason doesn´t want to get married. We were reading his past history with other missionaries and he´s had this same problem for 4 years. But... we are seeing changes in him so we hope he will change his mind. He´s been attending church just about every week since we started teaching them and he´s starting to read his Book of Mormon. There are some things in the mission that are really hard that you don´t even think about before you leave. I thought my challenges would be people not accepting the gospel, the weather, etc. I did not think about situations like these where someone that wants to get baptized, can´t because their partner doesn´t want to get married. It´s so hard. All we can do is pray for them. But anyways all of them will have the same date and hopefully that will help them help each other. We´ve started teaching this woman Sudeyvid. She is like Katherine. She learns super fast and reads everything we ask her to. She has prayed and has a testimony of the church already. But... always a but. But she can´t attend church because of her job. She is looking for a new one though so we´re hoping in the future she can come. This week we had plans to visit a family we´re teaching with a couple in our branch, but they weren´t home. So we were trying to figure out who to visit and the brother thought of an inactive that we could try. She moved to the capitol several years ago and just moved back here last year. Well we went and had an awesome lesson and she has a desire to come back to church. She came on Sunday! The Spirit really can direct us in our paths. What a difference it is when God has prepared someone for us. We continue to have lots of investigators and inactives in church. God is really blessing us. So Rubi couldn´t be baptized last week. She had an interview with our branch president and he decided she wasn´t ready. She didn´t know the name of the prophet. So we are going to start teaching her the lessons in really simple terms and hopefully she can be baptized soon. Anyways, sounds like you had a great time with Melissa and Jaden!! So exciting their big news!! It will be so fun to come home and see a new neice or nephew! Well thanks for all your letters and love! I love you all so much!! Have a great week!

Hermana Woolf

Friday, February 7, 2014

Stephanie and Rubi's birthday!
              Katherine's baptism


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - Week 24

Hey Fam!! Wow I got a TON of emails this week! Thanks for all wishing me a happy birthday! I´ll have to respond to everyone next week. So this has been a fantastic week so prepare for a long email! Lol. So on Saturday we had Katherine´s baptism! It was so amazing. She was really nervous but was so happy. Her Dad came! He was sitting in his car outside the chapel when we were going to start, so my companion and I went out there and told him to come in. He was really embarrassed because he was wearing jeans and a t-shirt and everyone else was in church clothes. I told him we weren´t starting without him though and he gave in. Haha. It was so great for Katherine to have him there. Her neighbor came too! The members have all been so welcoming to her. The relief society president got her a skirt because she didn´t own one. We invited Viviana to be baptized on Feb 14 this week. I don´t think she will that soon, but at least she is starting to prepare. She came to church on Sunday on her own which was great! Wanda came too and she even bore her testimony!!! I was so happy! On Sunday we had quite the adventure. We had received a reference a few weeks ago and went to contact her. Well she had told us that she lived in Canca in front of the gas station. So we walked to Canca which is pretty far, a good 30 min walk, and called her. She said ok now you need to walk about a mile or so to this street. So we started walking. It was definitely more than a mile. We got to the street and then she said we need to go on this street until we got to her house.  I´m not kidding. We climbed a mountain. Completely straight up. We walked for almost 2 hours to get to her house! Then we had the lesson and walked 2 hours back. We pretty much have to give our entire day to her when we visit her. We got some sweet pictures though!! So my birthday was AMAZING!! First I opened your package. You guys know me so well! You put everything I would have asked for in it! I love the 2 shirts! And I love that they fit me being 2 sizes smaller than when I left. lol. I needed another tank top and pens and a photo album so that was perfect! I love giving toys to kids so I´m so excited about that! And chocolate of course I love that! We put up the banner and balloons which made it really feel like my birthday. And the little puzzle was so cute! :) And thanks for sending the testimonies from the fam. That was really special to read and brought back memories from my own experiences. And thanks for the letters too! You are so sweet! I loved everything! I also got letters from Ryan, Melissa, and Jaden! And candy from the mission president´s wife! So after I opened my package, my companion made me breakfast- platanos, salami, and eggs. It´s crazy but that´s what I crave now. Haha. She also gave me some m&ms. Then we had our personal and companionship study and she decorated the house with balloons. Then we made an awesome cake to celebrate with Rubi and then I was really tired and took a nap. Haha. While I was sleeping my companion put a trail of packages of oreos from our room to the living room with cute notes on each one (in english! she worked hard) and they led to a pan of brownies! It was so cute! Then we went to the church to celebrate with the elders and eat the brownies. The elders got me my fav soda, a package of oreos, 2 packages of m&ms, snickers, and skittles! Man I´m gonna have to eat all this stuff over the course of a long time to not gain weight. lol. But we had fun and then we went to Rubi´s house and she had all her little friends there and we ate cake. Then we went out proselyting and afterward went to eat pizza! (thanks Dad! I took the money out of my card. It was like 10 bucks). But it was an awesome day! Everyone spoiled me way too much! I feel super old now though. lol. Today we had another great day! We went to Santiago to their monument and got to go to the top to see the whole city. It was so cool! Then we went to Calle De Sol where you can buy lots of tourist stuff. You really have to bargain with them. But I got a huge DR flag, DR dominoes, and DR playing cards all for like 12 dollars! It was a great deal! (I took the money off my card. Mom can you just keep a list of my purchases and I´ll pay you back for everything when I get home. That way I don´t have to tell you everytime I spend money. Thanks!). Then we went to PriceSmart and ate lunch and talked with other missionaries. It was a great day! Anyways, that was my week! Very eventful and fun! Thanks Mom for Brandon´s address! I need to write him. So on most pdays we just play sports with our zone or hang out with the elders in Tamboril. Nothing too exciting. Haha. So I think Ruben will be able to baptize Rubi on Saturday, but not sure yet. Rubi had her interview yesterday and I think Ruben will have his today? So I´ll let you know if he does or not. Wow Maureah got in an accident!? 6 cars!? That´s crazy! I´m glad she´s alright! Let me know what you do with Melissa and Jaden this week! That will be so fun to be with them! That´s crazy Brock is coming home! It feels like it went really fast! I actually saw the score of the superbowl in like the third quarter on Monday. I knew the seahawks would win when they were up by like 35 points. Haha. That´s great that Jamie made the one act!! Wish I could be there to see it! That´s great that you guys are all eating healthy! My comp and I are putting goals too to eat heathier. It´s hard here but we can shop in Santiago to get fruits and vegetables. And sounds like a great new challenge to do family history work! Maybe you could send me a story in your email next week. Thanks for all your love and support. I can feel it from very far away! I love you all so much!!! Talk to you next week! 

Hermana Woolf