It has been a great week! It flew by, like most weeks do. Today is another freezing day in Marquette. I know you're all surprised, right??! Ha! Well, it's -30 today (with windchill) so that means they cancelled school. That's one perk of being a Uper, I suppose. :) Built-in breaks all the time!
Not too much is going on, just THE WORK IS HASTENING. No big deal. :)
I turn a year old on Thursday! I'm so old. I really don't want to come home from my mission. I'm told that normal life is much more boring. I think I can remember what that was like? :) I don't really want to.
Well, our microwave is still broken! We should be getting a new one, soon.
We were visiting this one guy and I asked him who his favorite superhero is. He was showing us a room that was full of superhero things, after all! So he said: "Oh, God!!" Me: "Well He's pretty great!! I think He is mine, too." Bahahah XD #donttakethelordsnameinvain
Have I mentioned that there is a town in Michigan called Christmas? Well, there is! We have to do lots of driving here. It's pretty awesome. We spend a lot of time in our truck jamming to Gospel rock. Anyway, it's true, and I will need to send pictures! There are Santas everywhere, naturally. Perhaps I will see a reindeer in the woods! #sisterwoodsinthewoods.
I might be getting a cello this week! I will have to see what it will be like to rent one. :D
I have never seen a bigger dog. It was crazy and jumping all over us. We were following up with a lady who has a giant mastiff! It's "Masstive!!" :P
So Aubrey went to church with us yesterday!! She is really hilarious. She tells everyone: "So I'm told I am an 'investigator' but I didn't get a spy hat, a looking glass or anything!" She is working on determining what her motivations are for learning about the church. BUT I know the Gospel will bless her life so much as she experiments with it. She really enjoyed church, said she was actually able to pay attention and even learned things (compared to her experience in Mass)! Hooray! Plus there was a potluck after church so that's always a winning event. ;) I have to say, people going to church makes me very, very happy as a missionary! Jack also showed up! He loved church and he's doing so great at learning to understand the Book of Mormon. It's slow process but every time we read with him we are able to point out to him that he applies it to his own life, which is great! I'm excited for the progress he's making.
Another small gem of happiness that happened this week. We were teaching a grumpy lady and she was the happiest she's ever been this time. Perhaps my goofiness cheered her up. xD
Oh, and our district is tiny. We are the only set of sisters!
Get this. President wants the Elders to refer all the young, single girls they are teaching (2 of them were at church yesterday!!!) to us. We can't have cute elders converting all the girls! #scandalous. This means we have suddenly acquired so many wonderful prepared people to teach!!!! I couldn't be more excited. Okay, maybe I could but that's because we are being visited by an apostle next month and probably getting ipads. :) So I already am that excited! The Powerpuff girls I mentioned last week are so great. One of them loves to go out teaching with us, like all day every day, which has been really fun. I guess my driving doesn't terrify her TOO much. And they keep making our teaching pool grow! So great. We are already on our way to having a new powerpuff girl join forces with them. That's the elders' investigator that we will now be teaching. The other one plays the double bass, violin, and viola, so I'm sure that will be great when I get my cello. :) I'm so excited!!!!!!
Miracles are happening. I love this work and I know that our Heavenly Father loves us! If we trust in Him, and in our Savior, all will work together for our good.
I have a feeling this is going to be one of my longer emails. There is so much to tell!
So, after a long drive, like an hour to Green Bay and another 4 hours in the truck with Sister Dunlap, I made it to Marquette!! Look out, drivers of Michigan, here comes Sister Woods!
First of all, my new companion, Sister Dunlap, is awesome!!!! She just finished being trained but she is an amazing missionary already! We have so much in common! Including, our boots!!! And the same shoe size, too. That was the first thing we noticed. :D She is from Reno, Nevada (another Nevadan!). She's 19, (just over a year younger), she's a twin, and she plays the saxophone!!! We both love music. And she wants to learn to play the cello! Her sister is a music ed major and is learning it right now so she's very curious. I told her that I would teach her if she will teach me about martial arts. Haha! She may look sweet and innocent, but oh no, she is pretty much a ninja warrior. She carries daggers and a pen around with her that can definitely kill a person. I definitely feel safe walking around with her! :D She wants to be in the marines one day. She's flown a plane and has done all sorts of amazing things. We are both allergic to cashews!!!! Blue is both of our favorite color. My favorite things are froyo, cellos and the Gospel. Hers are identical except with the saxophone instead of the cello! She's very sweet and I really like her!!! This is what she said: "I'm like a browner version of you!!!!" xD Bahaha. She's half Phillipino. It's really true, though. We have similar personalities, I think. There are more similarities but that's all I can think of for right now. Oh, and we are both terrible cooks. XD
I may be "greenie breaking" her but she is Wisconsin-breaking me! Okay, I've never seen this much snow in my entire life!!!! We have a truck, by the way, which is HIGHLY necessary! It snows here. Then it snows some more. And some more, and oh, ALL THE TIME!!!! If I were to accumulate all the snow I've ever seen in my entire life, there would still be a WHOLE LOT more here! So driving. I can't see where the lanes are. This is Sister Dunlap: "You're on the median!!" " You're in a turn lane!!" "Don't slow down or we'll die!!!" haha! She can't drive because she doesn't have her license with her anymore. I have no idea how to drive in snow! I'm a desert girl! I've never driven in 4 wheel drive. And, most of the roads are unpaved here. It's like a crazy Indiana Jones-type experience. :) and it's TERRIFYING because the snow is so bad you can't even see a thing in front of you. Seriously, it was like a blinding white sheet is placed in front of my eyes!! #jesustakethewheel. xD
We weren't able to go outside at all on Saturday because there was a blizzard!! We weren't allowed to drive at all! All the freeways closed. Except before that, we did go to the Elder's baptism. It was a great turnout, all things considered. The Elders have lots and lots of college students to teach and we have a nice handful as well. There are these 3 Powerpuff girls that are awesome! (that is what I've decided to call them). They have discovered my blog so they can totally read this right now! So these girls are freshman in college and they all three decided to get baptized recently! Like, a couple months ago. And they've been on fire ever since, inviting their friends to church and meet the missionaries. Did I mention that two of them play the cello? (I need to get a hold of one of those...) They are really fun and they rock! One wants to serve a mission. Tanner, the one the Elder's baptized, was one of those friends. :) We get to go to institute here!!!
Anyway, we weren't allowed to drive anywhere but we were able to zero in on our area book and do some hard-core scouring. We came up with a giant "go and see" list of part-member families, potentials and formers. We definitely need to find more people to teach! The problem is that we have a ginormous area here and not many members. We spend most of our day in the truck driving. We don't have the miles to see all our investigators regularly. The houses are all super far apart and there is a mountain of snow between each one. We only get to see a couple people and teach a couple lessons each day because of this. Oh, and there are tons and tons of little churches here (including JW's). So, Marquette is very, very different from the other areas I've served! It's a fun challenge, though. :)
Next, is our apartment. So normally we would live with members but since Sis. Dunlap is allergic to cats, we live in the Elders stinky apartment. That's right, it smells like cigarette smoke and weed! haha. But it's alright, I guess. I'm not complaining or anything, it's been a great adventure but there have been many challenges this week! One of which is that we didn't have any food. So we had some interesting meal experiences. We may or may not have been starving and eaten an entire pizza! Bahaha. I also lost my name tag in the snow (not to worry I have another one.) All our appointments cancelled. We forgot about a few things and had a bit of craziness with scheduling one of the days (I'm not used to being in charge of everything and she isn't super comfortable with the area yet!!) I'm not phased by any of it, though. I've learned over the course of my mission that with the Lord's help I can and will handle anything and everything that comes my way. So can we all! :) #allthingsthruchrist. Our lesson was about being happy amidst trials, ironically!
I really love the people here. Both of us are pretty new here so I will need to work extra hard to form relationships with them but overall, in spite of all these challenges, it has been a pretty smooth transition!! I feel very happy and comfortable here, although if Heavenly Father wanted to make it 60 degrees warmer I'd be okay with that. :P
Oh, we had to teach Relief Society on Sunday! We found out the morning of and we didn't get to look over the lesson until 5 minutes before. #welcometotheward! :P It was a great church, actually. Only half of the usual 80 showed up because of the crazy blizzard. Our ward actually includes the Germfasc area as well (sacrament meeting gets broadcast to them over the TV). Anyway, the lesson actually went quite well, considering how impromptu it was! It was totally chill. I'm so thankful for the Spirit who helps me know what to say when I have no idea what to say!! He somehow supplied us with enough to talk about for the entire time. Sister Dunlap and I have great unity!! #tacoboutjesus. Did I mention what an awesome missionary she is?? We make a great team!!!
And now for my favorite part of Marquette. Free froyo. That's right! The Bishop is a doctor (cool!) and owns a frozen yogurt place called "Yoophoria." It's really fancy! And, missionaries get free froyo on p-days! I was so freaking excited when I heard about that! I feel like I was destined to serve here!!!
Here's a little bit about the people we're teaching. There's Sophia who is a college student. She's a writing major and is taking a religious writing class. She requested to meet with missionaries because she wants to discover her spirituality. So, she asked us to present to her a profile of Jesus Christ. Of course, He is our favorite to talk about, so we leapt for joy and grabbed all our favorite Jesus pics and went to town with this lesson. It was so much fun talking about His amazing attributes and character. We told her that, of course, the best and ultimate way to get to know Christ is by reading the Book of Mormon! She really wanted to come to church this week but the crazy freeway-closing blizzard prevented that. I really think they need to change the Standard of Truth. "Persecutions may rage, SNOW may combine, blizzards may assemble, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly and independent..." Haha!
We are also teaching a girl named Aubrey. Also a college student. She is a business major, very, very smart. She has friends that have encouraged her to meet with missionaries. I used the marvelous Plan of Salvation kit my wise mother sent me and it was a smashing success! I think it was among the best lessons I've ever had on my mission. The Spirit was strong. We were bold. Aubrey asked great questions, and really enjoyed the visual. It was my understanding that she was very all over the place, asking crazy questions to throw us off, that type of thing. Well, this lesson she was very focused and attentive and really seemed to enjoy it! It answered lots of her questions and she agreed to baptism, which she hasn't before. Cool!!
There's one more person. Then after that, everyone else is too far away and I don't know them yet. :) So there's Jack. He is older, a recent convert, but he's struggling with some addictions (smoking and coffee.) He is the nicest guy and has been teaching us the "Uper language." Haha! It is a totally different culture up here. Kind of crazy. Anyway, we had a great lesson with him. I don't know if any changes will be happening with him anytime soon. Missionaries have been working with him since forever ago but he wants to quit these things. Anyway I had a marvelous experience because it was one of those occasions where I'm sitting in a lesson and have no idea what to say or contribute. But then I felt the Spirit prompt me to testify of the power of the word of God (D&C 6:2) and how it is far more powerful than the lures of the adversary, than any craving known to man. So I did! It was awesome. Sis. Dunlap and I were both super bold in inviting him to immerse himself in the scriptures and come to church. anyway, he later texted us that night and told us that he really likes me and that we teach well together and that "Sister Woods sure brought the spirit tonight. It was so strong and I felt it!" It was very nice of him to say but I'm here to tell you that wasn't my thought! It was all the Spirit. :P
One more thing. There is an Indian reservation here!!! So cool. I thought that that would include Tee-pees but it doesn't!!! Bahaha. xD
I will include more pictures when I can get a hold of them!
In conclusion I want to say that I know that the challenges we face are meant to refine us! I have seen that so much in my life and I know that we need never face our challenges alone!! Christ stands ready to strengthen and uplift us through our trials and if we endure them well and give Him our will, that with His help, they will shape us into the people we need to become!
So, I just wanted to let you all know that I didn't die! I just had a slight malfunction with my email server and last week's email didn't send. But that's okay! In my shock and excitement this email will probably be rather scattered. :)
Lots of things happened this week but I can't really remember them all. I found out I'm being transferred to Marquette, Michigan! I don't know a lot about it but I do know that it's the most north area that sisters can go in our mission! It will be FREEZING. As I suspected, the Lord has seen fit to chasten me. ;) I'm excited though. I will get to be companions with a Sister Dunlap who just got finished being trained. This will make me a "greenie breaker." I'm excited for the new adventure!!!
With that being said, I'm a bit sad to leave Oshkosh. I have absolutely loved serving here. I love the ward members and I will miss them all!! Sister Peel and I got to perform a musical number in church this week. We played "Lead Kindly Light" and SIster Peel sang! Haha, so now she is famous in the ward and will be asked to play many solos in the future!! (much to her dismay). Oh, and she is training a new missionary! I was sad that the stake leaders took forever talking about family history so I didn't get to bear my testimony but that's okay. I'm excited for the future of Oshkosh. I don't know for sure if I made much of a difference (some might say so, maybe it was just my smile. I'm told I'm mysteriously always happy, laughing or smiling!), but I know that Oshkosh had a profound influence on me. It will always hold a special place in my heart! Oh, and Sister Peel and I were told this week by the Young Women that we are under a high obligation to find and baptize hot guys and bring them into the ward. We responded affirmatively and said we would do our best! ;)
We had to stop teaching Vere this week. He just doesn't want to join the church right now. I am really sad for him, yet I know that the Spirit was strong and that I said absolutely everything clearly and in exactly the way that the Lord wanted me to say it. That's a good feeling. :) And, who knows? He said that someday he might surprise us. :)
We did lots of tracting this week. Lots and lots! Oh and it was interesting because we talked to an atheist lady. She was very nice and allowed us to come inside and talk with her. She has lots of complaints against God. Why would He let these horrible things happen? I'm so grateful for the knowledge we have of agency and the Plan of Salvation. It was interesting to hear her perspective on things. I just felt sad for her that she doesn't have any hope or have any idea how much God loves her. I think she was worried she would mar our faith, but I explained to her that our faith has reached a point where it can't be broken down! Not unless I will it to be so. :) Faith can be tried and it can be harvested. I'm grateful that mine has reached that point.
I finished reading Our Heritage this week. I am absolutely amazed at all the sacrifice and faith that the early church members exhibited!!! It's amazing to know that even from the very beginning, this was destined to be a worldwide church. Truly "the truth will go forth boldly, nobly and independent till it has penetrated every continent, visited every climb and swept every country and sounded in every ear. Till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah shall say, "the work is done!!!" Truly these amazing men and women knew that this was the truth of God and stopped at nothing to ensure its progression and delivery to all the world! :)
Oh, we are experiencing an exciting turn in our mission. In preparation for our big mission meeting with the apostle next month, we are doing a "40 day fast" created by President Cutler. Now, this is an acronym of course! When I first heard this I was a bit worried, wondering if I could, in fact, fast that long. But hey. #AllthingsthroughChrist! :P F stands for feasting on the Book of Mormon each day. A stands for act in obedience to the Lord. S stands for sanctify ourselves by preparing to partake of the sacrament worthily. T stands for testify with our feet by doing all we can to teach 2 sit-down lessons each day. Each of these letters has a breakdown of goals, including memorizing a paragraph of our patriarchal blessings. But there is a great promised blessing that each area, if this is done properly, will obtain a progressing investigator and receive revelation at the big missionary meeting, for that progressing investigator. Cool! I'm excited. :)
On Wednesday we had SO MANY. Appointments!!!! Seriously. We had one at 12, then one at 1:30, 3:00, 4:00, 5:00, 7:00. Oh, and we had members at all but one. Now I know how those Provo missionaries feel! Wiped out exhausted!!! :) It was awesome but seriously, it was a little much and I'm glad we don't days like that every day! Once in a while is JUST fine by me. ;)
Paige got baptized!!!! Ahh it was so great. She told us she felt the Spirit (it felt like the chills) right before she was baptized and it made her tear up! It was so cute, Andy couldn't stop looking at her. :) Her mom was also at the baptism which was a great thing. She is so excited to start anew the rest of her life!!! Ahh I'm so excited for her. And then, though she felt a little nervous being confirmed (received the gift of the Holy Ghost) in front of everyone at church, she received the most beautiful blessing I've ever heard! She said she felt love surround her, coming from every single person in the room. It was truly remarkable! Paige: "I've grabbed hold of the iron rod and I'm NEVER letting go!!!" :D
Also, I have to say that Satan likes to create opposition before an incredible event such as this. It is so true! (He even cast lots of tears this weekend. This means lots of SNOW!!!) We went tracting for hours and hours in the cold before the baptism, trying to find more people to teach. Absolutely no one wanted to talk to us! It was rough. BUT, try though he might, there is absolutely nothing he could have done to mar the amazingness of that day!!!
PLUS that same day we found out something very exciting!!!! So there is going to be a mission conference on March 21. Yep, that's right, I'm thinking it's iPads!!!! We know there will be a training of some sort. Ahhhhhhhhhh so excited! Also, a member of the 70 will be there and an Apostle, and a general authority. :)
I also had the opportunity to take the elders to Olive Garden today, per the request of my Dad. The "starving" elders were very appreciative! It was really fun. #notadate. It was pretty funny actually. They gave us a "kiss" at the restaurant. The totally appropriate chocolate kind, of course! :P #notscandalous
Other than that there aren't really any other happenings to report. We've just been doing lots of tracting, working hard and loving the mission life! :) I feel so happy!!!!! I've never felt more alive, particularly as I've been learning more about the relationship between faith and confidence (they are the same! Look in the Bible dictionary. I've observed that when we have faith in God we are therefore confident in everything else).
I know that the Savior lives, that His Atonement is real, His church has been restored, and that miracles happen as we increase our faith.