This is the little boy that calls Jaycee “Sister Wow!”
Here is the sister that got baptized!!!
So this week of course was great because I had my first baptism! Sobra mesaya! (Super happy!) So Sister Simbol and I tried really hard to make sure everything would go smoothly because the two baptisms the elders have had (the zone leaders/elders that share our ward) started an hour late! So we made the programs, set up the musical number and got the baptismal clothes figured out earlier in the week (which is actually not supposed to be done by missionaries but we wanted to make sure it got done.) Then we got there an hour early to still make sure everything was good. Well when we got there, our ward mission leader told us that no one had drained the baptismal font so he had just been waiting for the water to drain. He didn’t start filling the font till 5:30 and it usually takes 2 hours minimum for it fill! So anyways he and the elders ended up carrying buckets of water to get it filled faster haha. It ended up only taking an hour thank goodness so it only started 30 minutes late so not too bad. But once it started everything was great! Sister Exxx spoke and then a YSA from the ward who’s preparing to go on a mission, Sister Mxxx spoke. And then when she was actually baptized, the Spirit was so incredibly strong. When Brother Kxxx was saying the baptismal prayer, he started crying and could hardly say the whole thing. It was so cute. Sister Simbol and I got a journal for everyone to write their testimonies in so hopefully she liked that. And then for the musical number, Sister Simbol, the girls in the Exxx family and a few other sisters from the ward sang, “I Feel my Savior’s Love.” So very neat experience and I was so happy the whole time! (I think I said a lot of that in my last email so sorry for the repeat!)
Last Monday we had a fun FHE with the Ixxx family (less active). I drew this Armor of God dude a couple weeks ago so we used that and read from D&C 27. Then we played, “Huwag Kain Si Pedro!” … Or “Don’t Eat Pete!” Haha. The kids loved it and it was funny cuz the dad’s name is Pedro so they kept joking around about not eating Tatay (dad).
A few days ago we were teaching this less active member, Sister Cxxx and I almost started laughing during the lesson, woops. But it was so funny because she started quoting scripture saying, “Unless a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” And then she said… “John 3:16.” Haha it was just so funny to hear her say it so seriously but to be quoting the wrong verse. Anyways bless her heart. She’s gone to church two Sundays in a row now so hopefully she’ll keep it up!
Sister Mxxx still doesn’t have a new baptismal date but we’ll keep working on her. Sister Kxxx finally came to church yesterday so that was super good. Sister Kxxx is slowly progressing but she’s in a hard situation with her parents and with the father of the little boy she watches so we’ll see what happens. Oh we have a new investigator, Brother Fxxx! He went to church two Sundays ago to a different ward because he was curious so he went with a friend. Sister Simbol and I tried to see him earlier this week but he wasn’t home so we just dropped off our number. Well he actually did text us so we set up an appointment to teach him. The morning of the apt. though, he called and canceled but while he was talking to Sister Simbol on the phone, he asked if he could be baptized even though he had only gone to church once… haha sweet! She explained that he could be baptized after we had taught him and after he had made the necessary changes in his life. So we set up the another appointment for after the baptism and invited him to come. So he came early to the baptism, waited for it to start, and then we taught him after with Sister Qxxx at the church. He told us he had already started reading the Book of Mormon and that he already feels like the church has answered a lot of his questions. He is committed for baptism August 17 so we’ll see how teaching goes!
Hopefully my emails aren’t getting too boring now that I don’t have any weird cultural things to talk about because everything just seems normal to me now. But the work is good and the time is going so fast!
So in D&C 75:2-5 it talks about if we “labor with your might, lifting up your voices as with the sounds of a trump, proclaiming the truth according to the revelations and commandments which I have given you” then “ye shall be laden with many sheaves and crowned with honor, and glory, and immortality, and eternal life.” I really like that obviously as a missionary because if we continue in diligence, then we are promised so many blessing. But hopefully all of you can apply this too as member missionaries.
I also read this week in Mosiah 17. Verses 9-10, 20 are so powerful because of the strong testimony of Abinadi before he was killed. “Having sealed the truth of his words by his death.” There are have been so many, including the prophet, Joseph Smith, that have sealed their testimonies with their lives. Luckily we don’t have to worry about that now in our day. We have the freedom to worship how we want and can even share the gospel with anyone who will listen! So I want to challenge all of you, to share just a short testimony with at least one nonmember this week. (Yes, I’m extending a commitment… I’m a true missionary 😉 ). I’ll try to do that too! (Haha obviously.) Remember, no one can argue with a sincere testimony that you know these things are true. I for sure know that the church is true and I can even say that in Tagalog.
Wasn’t sure what to title this but since I’m just so happy serving I thought that worked. The mission is awesome! Yes it takes some getting used to, but now that I feel totally adjusted to life in the Philippines, I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else right now. I can already tell that I am going to miss things terribly when I go home.
So I set the goal to work hard on my Tagalog this week and… well I did and I’m fluent!!! No just kidding. Not quite yet but wow it is coming. I can teach so much more that I want to and being able to somewhat understand what is being said before and after lessons, during church and just random conversations is such a blessing. I can understand almost everything Sister Simbol says unless she says a word I don’t know (which I try to ask her and then I try to write it down in my language book) and understanding others… I’m getting better ha. I’m around Sister Simbol so much (well, all the time) so understanding her is a lot easier. But it is nice to not have to use so much brain power during lessons to try to understand what people are saying back to me. I’ve found myself lots, thinking in Tagalog and trying to speak straight English is actually kind of hard now. There are these little girls in a different ward that have learned only English (it’s more like Filipino English because their parents are native Tagalog speakers) and so I really have to think before I start speaking to them. Some of the best practice I get in though, is when all of us sisters get home at night and we share stories and things that happened that day after planning. Sister Horst has really been trying to speak Tagalog more too so we usually try to speak to each other in Tagalog. So anyways, not fluent or still not really close but I’ve seen lots of improvement lately! And the members and those we teach have noticed and have been commenting on my Tagalog so that’s pretty cool too. 🙂 BUT, I know that it isn’t because of my own skills. I have seriously had so much divine help in learning Tagalog.
Okay… so that saddest thing that happened this week (wish I didn’t have any bad news) was Sister Mxxx postponed her baptism. We’re not sure what’s been going on, but she told us she’s been having problems and it was just too much. She also said in her text that she didn’t want us to teach her for now. That really freaked Sister Simbol and I out, but we prayed about it and the day after, we still stopped by to just check up on her. She seemed okay and then she actually came to church yesterday, so things should be good. We just have to help her realize that especially right before baptism, Satan will work his hardest because it is the right thing for her to do. Please pray that she will be able to commit to a new date this week.
Sister Sxxx is right on track! We asked the Estrada family to sing for the baptism as a surprise for Sxxx so the girls and a few others from the ward are going to sing, “I Feel my Savior’s Love.” I’m making the program because… well I can’t stand to have an ugly program at the baptism haha. Oh and Sister Simbol and I are planning on buying some sort of journal thing for her today that we can have people write their testimonies in it and then we’ll give it to Sxxx. Hopefully that works out! So as you can tell, SUPER excited for Saturday. My first baptism and it’s been really neat because I’ve been able to teach her from the very beginning. She really was prepared to hear the gospel and has had no problem making the necessary changes in her life to be able to be baptized.
I had dried squid this week. Not a whole lot of flavor but I’ve gotta make sure I report on any weird stuff I eat.
Umm… Okay this was neat! So the other night when Sister Simbol and I were riding the jeepney home, I felt like I should talk to this guy. And usually most people don’t talk on jeepneys but I did. Well he was sitting across from me and next to Sister Simbol so she kind of took over and started explaining more about the church and wrote down his information and things like that. Well while she was doing that, a new guy came and sat by me. He asked what Sister Simbol was holding and so I figured that that meant I had to start explaining who we were and things. So I got out a pamphlet and started talking to him all by myself! I wasn’t able to understand everything but I was able to hold on a conversation, give him a pamphlet about the Plan of Salvation, and then I was able get his phone number and name so we can contact him. We still need to text them and I’m not sure if they’re in our area, but they both had friends that were LDS and they actually seemed pretty interested! I’m not sure what will happen but it was neat to see how my mouth was filled when I opened it!
We had Zone Training again this week which was good. They talked about needing to be a proactive missionary. I’m going to try to be more diligent this week! It was nice though because.. I’m not the newest anymore! I was able to talk to this foreign sister who just got here at the beginning of the transfer and I am just so happy that my first few weeks are over. I can’t wait to train actually! Hopefully not for a while but I think that would be fun (of course hard but fun too.)
We had 6 investigators come to church yesterday! Not all of ours with baptismal dates have been coming though so we’ve got to work on that, but still good! Oh and 15 less active/recent converts came to church too:).
Oh I got a package from the Masons!!!! It was sooooo nice and so fun to open so I’m super grateful for that.
Anyways, it’s been another great week and this next week should be even better! D&C 18 really is so true though that our happiness is so great when we bring souls back to the Kingdom of God. I love this gospel, I love our Heavenly Father and I love all the people we teach. Remember to pray always. Prayer can be so powerful if you do it faithfully and sincerely.
Here is Jaycee’s district on a pday going to a waterfall, Malabsay Falls.
Goofy district posing for a picture, framed and all.
This is what a typical street of houses looks like.
Here is a family Jaycee is working with.
And one night after it had rained, Jaycee and her roommates woke up to 11 dead cockroaches. At least they were dead! Gross!
Jaycee originally titled this email “Another Week” but after reading this, I think you’ll see why I changed the title to Sister Wow.
Well hello America!
Things are great. The work is coming! So Sister Viola is Sister Horst’s new companion and she’s great! She doesn’t know a whole ton of English so Sister Horst is really trying to speak more Tagalog which is totally going to help her. And that’s made me want to speak more Tagalog all the time so Sister Simbol and I both are going to push ME! Fluent in 6 weeks! That was a “goal” for last transfer too so we’ll see how that goes ;). But to help my Tagalog, I have actually started trying to learn more Bicol. Just learning more Bicol words has really helped my understanding, especially in church, so I think I might try to start learning Bicol too. It’s amazing to feel my Tagalog just getting better and better. Definitely a slow process but the Gift of Tongues is so real. My Tagalog is best when I teach by the power of the Spirit.
And speaking of speaking in Tagalog, I had to speak in Sacrament meeting yesterday! Of course with only a 5 minute warning. Actually I’ve been pretty lucky cuz I’ve heard of most missionaries having to do their first talk in the first few weeks. So I still am not really sure what my topic was, but I read from Mosiah 5 and Alma 5:12 and mostly just talked about after baptism, we still need to continue to follow Christ’s example. Sister Simbol of course said it was good haha. I think it was okay but it was mostly all in Tagalog! I love being able to understand and speak more. I’m going to really push myself this week with the language though.
Investigators!: Sister Kxxx has a baptismal date! We’ve been trying to commit her for so long and she finally accepted to prepare for July 27. The main thing that’s been holding her back is her family not being interested in the church. She really wants her family to get baptized too but we told her she can set the example. She’s already sharing the gospel with all her friends and family though so she’ll be a great member missionary!
Sister Sxxx we taught FIVE days in a row. I bought her pandecoco on the fourth day for a reward ;). But her and her boyfriend, Brother Kenneth, have been meeting us at the church and that’s where we’ve been doing the lessons. It has been incredible to see her testimony grow so much in such a short time! Most of her conversion has been happening when we’re not there, which is what’s supposed to happen! As she’s been reading the Book of Mormon, praying and talking with the Exxx family, she has really come to know for herself that these things are true. We’ve been working really hard so she can be baptized June 22 and it looks like things are going to work out!
Sister Kxxx we haven’t been able to teach too much this week cuz she’s been busy/sick but the one lesson we did have with her was good. So cute though cuz the little boy she nanny’s for is probably like 1, 1 1/2, he always calls me “Wow!” They’ll try to get him to call other people wow and he won’t. And so they’ll say, “Who is wow?” And he always points at me ;).
Service definitely helps missionary work! So this week Sister Simbol and I washed dishes for Sister Gxxx to help soften her heart. She was really happy when we did but then when we went back she told us some more lies sooo we’ll keep working on her. The Ixxx family is this great inactive family. They haven’t been to church in over a year. We always commit them to church but they never go. So this week when we stopped by to teach, Sister Axxx was doing laundry. So Sister Simbol and I insisted on helping. While we were washing, we asked how her Book of Mormon reading assignment was and she said she hadn’t read. So she snuck back inside the house and read haha. Deal, we’ll wash while she reads. Afterwards we were able to teach her and her husband and commit them to church. Sister Axxx didn’t end up coming yesterday because she got caught on a phone call but Brother Pxxx came with his daughter! We’ll keep working on them to get the whole family to come.
School started this week! Well for most schools. Summer break here is from March to April. And for most schools, the kids have to wear uniforms so now we see kids in uniforms all over the place. Oh and in the Philippines, you graduate from high school when you’re 16. That means most people graduate from college when they’re 20! It actually was just changed to where they’ll be 18 when they graduate high school, but that’s how it’s always been.
I ate quail eggs this week. They deep fry them in this really orange colored batter but it was good! There are these barbecue stands all over the place, mostly at night, and they grill anything from pork blood, chicken intestines and chicken feet. So it smells pretty different than an american barbecue. Haven’t tried any of that stuff… yet. Pretty sure I will sometime.
I think I’ve mentioned Filipino spaghetti before, but I don’t think I talked about what it actually tastes like. So Filipinos love having sweet food. Not like sweets, but like they’re dinner foods sweet. So to make Filipino style spaghetti, you literally put sugar in the sauce. So Sister Simbol and I bought what we thought was American style spaghetti and it was still sweet! Oh well.
It has started to cool down a tiny tiny bit, depending on if it rains or not, so that’s been nice! But I asked Sister Simbol when she was the coldest in her life. She said, “Well this one time it got cold enough that we turned off the fans.” Haha… alright it never will be cold here. Oh and it supposedly is supposed to be rainy season but so far it just rains like three times a week. Apparently global warming really messes with the seasons here? Not really sure how the seasons work here but I guess I’ll just always except it to be hot and rainy!
Anyways, I am so glad I have this wonderful opportunity to serve! Things are still really hard sometimes, but everything is so much better when I don’t think about myself. This year and a half is just a short amount of time I can dedicate to serving the Lord and inviting people to come unto Christ. Church is true!
Sister Taylor AKA Sister Wow 😉
Done with my first transfer in the Philippines! Which also means I’m half way done with my training. So what usually happens with training, is you’re with your trainer for two transfers, and then you get a follow up trainer and stay in the same area. So I will most likely be in Naga for a total of 4 and a half months which means I have about 3 months left. But that is totally just the norm and you can never know what will happen. So Sister Simbol and I are still together and I’m staying here but… Sister Horst is now done with her training so she gets a follow up trainer. Sister Bersola is getting transferred and training again so she’ll have to lead a new area and train! (Usually with transfers they try to keep one missionary in the same area so that at least one missionary knows the area. When you’re the one that’s been there already, they say that you’re leading the area which means I’ll have to lead the area when my follow up trainer comes most likely.) So anyways, we get a new I guess roommate? Not sure what to call her but that’ll be exciting. Sister Simbol and I made notes and breakfast for the sisters this morning since Sister Bersola is leaving.
So this week… not as much to report on as last week but it was good! Probably the most exciting news is about Sxxx and a new investigator Kxxx. (And yes mom, most people go by only their first names. So I’m still Sister Taylor cuz I’m a missionary but almost everyone they call by their first names, except for like the Bishop and I think most of the time during Sacrament meeting they say either the last or first and last name. Idk, I just know Sister Simbol and I call most people by the first name with sister or brother before.) Anyways, so Sister Sxxx… had some more great lessons with her this week and she’s progressing! But since her baptismal date is so close, Sister Simbol and I realized yesterday that we have a ton of teaching to do before June 22. So we figured we can fit everything in about 9 lessons before then, but 7 have to be within two weeks before her interview. So we talked to her yesterday and told her the deal with having to teach her so much and to prepare her and she was just like “okay”. Sweet! I was afraid she might want to try to move her date but she was fine with just being taught more. So this week we’re planning her teaching her Tuesday through Friday because that works best for her. Everyday! So hopefully she will continue to progress and be prepared for her baptismal date.
Sister Kxxx is a new nanny for a family in the ward. She came to church two weeks ago and we asked if we could talk to her about teaching her but the family wanted to talk to her about it first. So this last week, we went to talk to the family about going with us for a different teaching appointment, and they said they couldn’t come but they said we could teach Kristine! So we taught a great lesson, she came to church yesterday and we taught her again last night. She is so cute and already feels everything is true. Soooo…. yesterday I invited her to be baptized and she accepted! She is 17 though so she will have to get permission from her family and she’s a little worried about that. Hopefully hopefully she will have no problems there though. But yesterday she was already asking about when we’d be leaving the area and she was already sad that I’ll probably be transferred in Septemberish. Sweet!
Mxxx family is still doing great. They didn’t come to church yesterday though so we’ll have to follow up with that. But we’re planning on doing an FHE with them tonight so that’ll be fun.
Mxxx and Gxxx… very interesting. So the grandma, Gxxx, has (we’re pretty sure) been lying to us about Sister Mxxx’s roundabouts. So haven’t been able to teach Mxxx again, but we did teach kind of Gxxx and like 5 younger girls again. Mxxx has already told us she wants to be taught but the grandma seems pretty against it. So not sure how we’re going to be able to teach her but hopefully we can get something worked out!
Dxxx… I probably got too excited too fast with her haha. We’ve tried to see her several times this week and she’s always gone or busy. She texted us about helping her get a job and we told her we couldn’t help with that but then we started doing some teaching through texting haha. I really hope we’ll be able to teach her again but so far, we haven’t had a second lesson.
Sister Mxxx is still on track for baptism. Good! Sister Jxxx… I don’t think I’ve mentioned her but she is awesome. Oh she’s the one who gave me a shirt! So anyways she is so sweet but she has some issues with getting baptized. She almost got baptized in December but because of this problem, she wasn’t able to. So the Philippines is the ONLY country in the world that doesn’t allow divorce. Which obviously we want families to stay together, but this has created some issues with people getting baptized. You can’t get divorced but you can get what’s called an enrollment which costs lots of money and then you can’t get married again. So I’m not going to go into details with Sister Jxxx, but she has to be interviewed by the mission president before baptism. She’s totally fine and ready for baptism, but this has caused problems. Anyways, she has a new date for July 22 (her birthday) and she is really striving to be fully prepared by then.
This week we taught 28 lessons! The standard of excellence is 30 so we are close. But…. our member present lessons were really low so we’re going to try to work on that. Hard to get members present but it really does make a difference. The Exxx family has a huge role as to why Sxxx has been progressing so fast. We had 6 investigators come to church:) (and remember, we only have half of the ward.) Not many less active members came but we had some good lessons with some of the families so we’re praying for a better Sunday next week!
Not too many stories this week but things are good:) I did want to talk about the Book of Mormon though. My testimony of the Book of Mormon has been strengthened so much on my mission and I’m sure it will continue to be strengthened. It is so amazing that the Book of Mormon has such a powerful role in converting so many people, in so many different places and at so many different times. It was true in the 1800s and it is true today. It affects lives in the United States and it definitely affects lives in the Philippines. It converts new converts to the gospel, and it provides a strengthening converting power to those who were already born into the church. I know that through very sincere and faithful prayer, anyone can know that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God, that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, that Jesus Christ is the Christ and that His gospel has been restored again on the earth. I know that our Heavenly Father, yet so powerful, wants to hear from each of us individually and that He loves us more than we can understand. The Church is true!