Marami Biyaya (Lots of Blessings)

(I, mom, am taking out the names because I am not sure she got permission to have me post that.)

Wow the Philippines is ESTIG!! (Cool). Best week yet! So I really want to focus this email on some neat things that happened that show how Heavenly Father really has a hand in this work and that He really does prepare people to hear this message of the gospel. I’m just going to go in order of how they happened in the week.

So Sister XXX! An 18 year-old referral from this incredible, all convert family. She is dating one of the 17 year-old sons who is preparing to go on a mission. Sister Simbol and I really pushed to get a referral from the XXX family and they finally wrote her name down when we passed around the referral sheet a couple weeks ago. So we were finally able to teach her on Tuesday and it went SO good. So Monday, we stopped by the XXX’s and assigned parts for them to teach and testify about. Then the lesson went great. Even though my Tagalog was still pretty bad, I was confident in my teaching and the Spirit can teach to the hearts of the people. So by the end, I invited her to be baptized and not only did she say yes, but she committed to June 22!! We’re gonna have to work really hard to get her taught by then but hopefully we can keep that date for her. She started crying when she said yes and most of the family, including her boyfriend, were also crying. The spirit was so strong and it was such a great experience for Sophie and for the family. We have another appointment with her Tuesday!

So last week, this lady randomly came up to Sister Simbol and me and started asking about foster care or something. We found out she is a single mother of three and she has been really struggling. Sister Simbol told her we couldn’t help with foster care or anything but that our message could bless her life. She agreed to let us come by and so she finally was available this week. First of all she is a sweetheart and she kept telling me how pretty I was (not! at least here as a missionary haha). But we taught her part of lesson one and she started crying when we were talking about families. I think partly because she feels really lonely being a single mother but she kept saying that she could feel something in her heart and that she couldn’t describe it. Well no secret there that she was feeling the spirit. She asked us to go visit her sick mother so a referral (unfortunately she isn’t in our area), she asked US if she could go to church (again unfortunately she wasn’t able to go because she had to sell coal that day, she doesn’t have a job and is sooo poor but hopefully next Sunday!) and she agreed to read the Book Mormon and start praying. Of course she still has her free agency to either accept or to not, but I know she has been prepared. And the best part is, she just walked into our hands! So neat.

A couple weeks ago, we were walking to go visit a backup backup plan because we had gotten punted so much and I felt like I needed to talk to this lady. So we stopped and I started talking to Sister XXX. She didn’t seem interested but Sister Simbol asked if she knew any Mormons. She said that she did and it was someone that we had never heard of. It turned out that this family moved from Manila but has been inactive and I don’t think anyone knew about them. So after a few tries, we finally go in to teach them the other night. The father and grandma were offended and so no one else has been baptized. Well we ended up teaching the grandma, Sister XXX and the granddaughter, Sister XXX. And actually like 7 other girls ages 1 to probably 15 who were hanging around. Well when we first met the grandma, I saw Sister XXX in the back and I felt strongly that she was the reason we were there. After teaching, I still feel that way even though the grandma actually agreed to let us come back so maybe we can reactivate her. Anyways, we didn’t teach a whole ton but the little that we did teach went so good. The spirit was so strong and all of those girls just loved hearing my terrible Tagalog testimony. They have dirt floors and you can tell that life has been hard for all of them. But after teaching them, Sister Simbol asked how there were feeling and they all responded, “Masaya po!” (Happy!) Sister Maricar always has the biggest smile and I love all those girls so much. Can’t wait to teach them again and see how things go!

The XXX family has never been to the temple and they’ve been inactive. So Sister Simbol and I have been teaching them and have been trying to focus on getting them to the temple. The wife is sick and she really wants to sealed as a family but they’ve had lots of trials so life has just been hard. Well we have committed them to pray as a family a couple times and they haven’t been doing it until this week. Well before we even asked if they had been praying, Sister XXX and Brother XXX brought it up. Brother XXX was so excited to tell us that they’d been doing it and that their little son now goes up to him and says, “Daddy, we need to pray!” Total difference in how happy they seemed and that was just from saying family prayer. Mahalaga ang manalangin bilang pamilia. (Important to pray as a family!)

Sister XXX has been taught by the missionaries for a while and she really has been progressing, but every time Sister Simbol and I try to commit her to baptism, she would say that she wasn’t ready. Well she finally committed to June 22!! And she really does her commitments so I really think she’ll actually get baptized on that date.

So another referral we got the from sign up sheet is Sister XXX who we haven’t been able to teach. Well yesterday she wasn’t home, but her 22 year-old daughter, Sister XXX was home so we decided to teach her. Again just another great first lesson and she’s going to start reading the Book of Mormon.

So lots of great things happened this week! I’m sure this might be normal for more experienced missionaries but for me still being pretty green, it was such an exciting week. We only had 1 investigator, Sister XXX, come to church so that was hard, but hopefully we’ll get more to commit this week. Lots of them just had things comes up that they had to do.

So I get better and better every week at Tagalog but this week I understood a TON more! Just figuring out words like “parang” (their equivalent word to the english filler “like”) helps so much. But now since I understand lots more, Sister Simbol has of course been doing her job, and has started to push me even more and isn’t as much of a translator crutch anymore. Oh but we had a trainers/trainees meeting this Wednesday, (so fun cuz I got to see half of my batchmates) and after I practiced teaching one of the AP’s he told me that my Tagalog was the best out of anyone he’s heard in my batch! So, definitely not getting prideful or anything cuz I know it’s not me, but that was exciting to hear!

So I’m proud to report that I killed two cockroaches this week. They are so huge and so gross and when you set up on them, guts go everywhere. So anyways after I killed the second, I was feeling pretty proud of myself for not freaking out at all. So then as I went to clean it up, it somehow was still alive enough to crawl away. I freaked out haha. Ewwww. But I’m getting lots better.

I made pasta this week! With mushrooms (just canned), chicken, basil, tomatoes, onions, garlic, spinach, little peppers and a kind of cream sauce from powered milk. Not too bad!

I love the mission more and more everyday. Oh and today we got to go see a waterfall for our district activity! Things still are so hard sometimes but the good times are so rewarding. We have a lot of new investigators so hopefully we can get them to be progressing investigators and then members!

Love everyone and am so grateful for all the support!

Sister Jaycee Taylor


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