Monday, July 27, 2015

This is how you toss the shoe


Been around lots of Hispanics this week :D

What great week it was! For starters, we got to do a session at the Orlando temple Friday morning and ahh words cannot DESCRIBE how amazing it was and how much I miss going to the temple! It was gorgeous and so peaceful and I felt so close to my Savior and my Heavenly Father at that time. When we had to leave all I could think was how much I didn't want to leave. It was so great to see all these wonderful missionaries I work with in the temple as well :) Seriously guys, the temple is the greatest place to be and LITERALLY the house of the Lord. Eek! This gospel is so true. I'm excited to work as hard as I can these next 6 months before we go to temple again :)

So last Tuesday we spent most of our day out in the boonies of Ocklawaha, the tip of our mission. We almost got lost ha. We went to see a referral who of course wasn't home. Alas! We knocked on his neighbors' door. Funny, his neighbor had a huge gate with a sign that said No Trespassing and Beware of Dog. But, fearless as we are, I opened the gate and whistled for a dog (none came) then went in and the guy was so nice! Told him a bit of what we do and gave him a Book of Mormon which he said he most definitely will read :) 

On Thursday Betty came up and took us to lunch! Aww what an amazing thing to see her again :)

Saturday afternoon we went to our Spanish Returning members to teach them and their Recent Convert son with a Spanish couple from the Stake. Well, we showed up and apparently we were teaching the nonmember husband! Soo we started to roughly teach and the couple translated... then it turned into a priesthood lesson and the husband took over in Spanish and then the Less Active aunt took over and taught the whole Restoration in Spanish while sister Fairbanks and I just sat there trying to follow along and showing pictures occasionally. haha. It was an eternally long lesson as well. Not to mention a storm came in and we had a flat tire so we stayed for dinner.... well, he came to church the next day and we're super excited to start teaching him! Well, teaching the translator :) church was stressful as we were figuring out translation and I was a wreck haha but ended up happy of course.

We gave our Recent Convert Cece a temple timeline- she's going to do baptisms for the first time next month! Leroy said he'd like to go one day. :)  Everyone keeps asking him when he's getting baptized, he seriously is a dry Mormon. ah. patience is what we're learning with him. 

Last night we had dinner with an amazing family in the ward. Cece and Leroy came as well. We had Brazilian pancakes and tres leches chocolate cake which was to die for. Once we finished, there was a knock at the door and 2 families of kids from the ward came in with cookies for the family we were with (these teens are awesome). They stayed and ate the leftovers and then we played "This is how you toss the shoe" which, is a fun game where you have to figure out the secret of tossing a shoe. We turned it into a gospel lesson and shared the message from the First Presidency in this month's Ensign about being a light to the world. Ah, so powerful! Go read it :) 

I LOVE being a missionary and having these amazing experiences. We have this commission to spread Christ's gospel to the world and be representatives of Him. How honored I am to do this great work. 

Thank you all so much for the support and emails and love. It definitely makes a huge difference. We're looking forward to this weeks' success and continue to find strength in all of your prayers. It means a lot. 

Keep on keeping on! The Lord loves each of you!

Sister Woolley

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Rep that name tag with joy

Hello hello!

How are all of my beautiful friends and family? Thank you for all of the support and prayers, it is much needed and appreciated!

Well, first week of this new transfer completed! My new companion is Sister Fairbanks and guess where she's from - Valencia, CA! So close to home! She's awesome. She's been out about 9 months so it's been nice to be with someone who's been out around the same amount of time. :) she actually already graduated from BYU in food science! So that's fun. Anywho, we've had some great times and lots more to come! Within our district, half of the companionships have trainees! So many greenies and I LOVE it :) weird though, 'cause I still feel brand new.

Having been in this area only two weeks longer than she has... This has been a stressful week of figuring out where things are! Did I mention this area is huge? Annnnd they cut back the miles we can drive from 1300 to 905 a month.. Meaning because it's the middle of the month we only had approximately 8 miles to use each day. That's NOTHING. Freaked out? Yes. So we got members to drive us Saturday and part of Sunday but then we called the APs and they gave us some back phew! But THAT was insanely stressful (as if missionary work isn't already haha).

Something that was SO sweet this week though, is that I truly saw how kind Heavenly Father is :) seriously. We're both really new here and our first day together EVERYONE we talked to was super friendly. He's certainly watching out for us :)

CooL little update about Leesburg! (I do miss Leesburg). Betty (my recent convert, I hope ya'll remember her!) is preparing to do baptisms at the temple! And the two kids in the Murray family got baptized last Sunday. Wish I could have been, but I saw pictures! Yay!

We found some really neat investigators this week and actually got a new referral we're hoping to see tomorrow. Praying for some progress! Just going to double our efforts and keep the faith strong, I know God will bless this area with success. The Ward is working hard and we've seen some sweet success with members being missionaries :) after talking about the needs of the people we're teaching, one of the Ward missionaries took it to heart and went and fellowshipped our 'gator at church. We've been looking for a good member friend for him and it looks like we found it :)

Thursday night we had a stake missionary meeting and my lovely MTC comp sister Guynn was there! She's training- how awesome!

This morning we sang at yet another funeral. Ayaiyai. Too many out here, it's sad but amazing to see the support the church gives to these people.

Funny story!
The member who drove us around a bit on Saturday made us lunch at her house afterwards and then a huge storm came in so we helped a little with her family history work. Side note, earlier I had mentioned how I really need a haircut. Well, while looking at the computer she started playing with my hair and I thought nothing of it. Then I saw her grab scissors and I freaked out and she cut off about half an inch! Ahh! I was SHOCKED. It wasn't much and you can't tell but I about died laughing after. Never tell an older woman you need a haircut. Ever.

Well, that's about it for this week. Friday we get to do a session at the temple early in the morning and I'm STOKED. can't wait. :)

Lately we've been talking about happiness. You'll notice in Nephi he says, 2 Nephi 5:27 "And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness" It doesn't say they were always happy. By no means would traveling in the wilderness with your family splitting up be a happy time, yet they searched for happiness. Always remember, happiness is a CHOICE. I hope this week we can all strive to have the mindset of being happier than we were before :)

I love you all!
Sister Woolley

Pictures: the temple trip with Leroy, Cece, and Tom
The elders and sisters in the ward! (before transfers)  

 The temple trip with Leory, Cece, and Tom
 The Elders and Sisters in the ward before transfers
New companion Sister Fairbanks! 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

"Oh look! Three drowned rats!"

Hello my wonderful family and friends!! This week was amazing, flew by yet was so long at the same time... Tomorrow sister Taylor goes home and I get a new companion! As always, slightly nervous but excited.

First off with a lovely story from Friday! So we decided to have a temple tour with Leroy, Ceaira, and Tom on Friday. We invited them all to fast about their questions and we were fasting too. Talk about spiritually awesome. Friday morning was also sister Taylor's departing temple trip so we went down super early and did our studies while she went in. Then two recent converts in this Ward were going to do baptisms for the first time so we got to go in with them! (New rule yay). It was SO wonderful being in the temple :) all smiles! So then we had to plan for our next week (which, if I haven't told ya, takes 5-6 hours). Two and a half of those hours was spent trying to find a ride for Leroy, Cece, and Tom because our member bailed last minute! No one could come. Fasting, stressed, and defeated we may have sat for 15 minutes praying and crying. And then Leroy decided he could drive down! Woo! The temple tour ended up being a huge success and they loved it. In Tom's words "I felt the vibes (spirit) from the parking lot". Aww yay. :)

Earlier this week we were supposed to meet someone at the bowling alley in the Villages. We couldn't find him... Cause all oldies look alike :) so we walked around like craziness and attempted talking to people, probably one of my more awkward experiences.

It rains almost every day and one day it came down hard and the Lightning was super close haha. So we ran through it to someone's house, they weren't interested but let us hang out on their porch for a while, then drove to Tom's, dashed out into the rain again and onto his porch. He opened the door and jumped, "Oh look! Three drowned rats!" Oh boy. He's a hoot :) he is doing so well! Still trying to get him to come to church, keep praying for him!

On Saturday we attended a funeral and were asked to sing. The songs? We had to include I Am a Child of God and If You Could High To Kolab.... Woah. So we did a super cool combination of the two with the elders and it was legit! Sing  If You Could High To Kolab at a funeral in front of non members? Challenge accepted. Mission accomplished.

More next week! Hopefully I'll get some pictures sent :) love you all! Thanks for everything you all do. I love my mission more than anything, these people are amazing and I feel so blessed.

Sister Woolley

 Tom, her "gator" at a temple tour
The district! Two elders have reached 18 months so they burned skirts... and sister Taylor is going home so she did too! 
"This is what weekly planning looks like. Gum, because we're fasting. Tissues from the tears"

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

July 6

Hello all! Hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July! 

President Berry gave us all permission to extend curfew from 9 to 10pm on Saturday night so we got to watch the fireworks! We had a dinner with some members and had SO much food. Then there was a ward get-together after that which our investigator was attending so we went and they made us eat even MORE food. So in total I don't believe I've ever been more full in my LIFE haha. But it was quite fun to be with the ward :) We didn't think there'd be fireworks but last minute we found some community ones! The place was packed so we talked to a few people before they started. Sat right underneath and the pieces were basically raining on us and it sounded like bombs going off... 'Tis the Star Spangled Banner for sure! 

So last Monday we got to teach FHE to the oldies and our investigator, Leroy, and his granddaughter Ceaira (recent convert). We decided to teach "Moving Forward with Faith" and used Nephi's story of moving into the wilderness and going back to get the plates -- see 1 Nephi 4:6 :) So, at dinner with our bishop they gave us costumes to dress up as legit Nephites and it was AWESOME! We made headbands for all the members too which they just loved. 

I should probably tell you a little about my companions! I'm with the STLs (Sister Training Leaders), not sure if I mentioned it last week. But! Being with them means I get to see what the life of an STL is like and yikes... haha. We had exchanges on Tuesday and Wednesday which meant waking up at 5am to drive down there woo! Back to my comps: Sister Lokotui is from Australia and is awesome. She is so amazing. She's applying for BYU for Winter Semester and we're hoping she'll get in! Sister Taylor is from Bountiful, Utah and goes home next week.. which everyone just keeps reminding her about! She's so great and also attends BYU! Gotta love Provo. 

We are working with so AMAZING people here in Belleview. Leroy is our main guy. He struggles with a lot of doubts but is SO close! We're taking him on a temple tour this Friday and we know he'll feel the spirit so strongly there. We're excited! He's so funny too. They feed us almost everytime we're there, even though we tell 'em not to! He's so sweet.

Then there's Tom. Oh Tom is a character. Everything he says just makes us laugh! He's roommates with a recent convert. We're just really working on getting him to church, but just yesterday he says he is an honest seeker for truth which is great! he just needs to put that into practice, which he committed to! 

Please pray for these amazing people. I love them so much! 

This week I've been super obsessed with this "letter" called "Elder Riccardi's Letter" and it is the greatest thing a missionary could read. Not sure where you can find it, but if you do tell everyone about it! Basically, it's about this missionary who is such a fantastic missionary and how to apply these things to our work. Not sure if that made any sense. There's two parts I love: 1. the greatest conversion of your mission is YOU. It's not about the numbers, it's not about the baptisms. It's about bringing others to Christ. And if you are the only one who becomes converted, that's all that Heavenly Father asks of us missionaries. That's why we're here at such a young age. 
2. "If you want to punch Satan in the mouth, open your mouth and preach". Yes. need I say more? Just do it. 

I love you all so much! I love my mission so much and can see how much I've already changed. Thank you for all the support and love, it means a ton.