Transferring and Training! What!

Alright so lots of big stuff happened this week that made it hard to title this email but I figured this was probably the biggest news. I am being transferred and training! This means I will be opening a new area, with a brand new missionary, and I’m not sure if you remember from my previous email, but there are no Filipina sisters coming which means I’ll be with a brand new missionary that can’t speak Tagalog (well MTC level which isn’t a whole lot haha) and might not be able to speak English. Haha WOW! Yes… I’m a little nervous but for some reason I am like way super excited to take on this challenge. It’s gonna be so fun!!! I’m gonna be a nanay and I’m gonna have an anak! (Mom and a child… mission terms for when you’re training). But everyone please keep praying for me cuz I’m gonna need it! Sister Gerrard isn’t training and she’s staying in the area but she will almost for sure be a follow up trainer. Our mission is soooooo young (not many going home and lots coming) so lots of missionaries will be in training. I’m gonna miss my area soooooo much though.

Alright so back up though to the beginning of the week… Tuesday we got fed three times! It really depends on the day and week but sometimes we get fed a lot and sometimes not for weeks. Sister Joy, our ward mission leader and the Bishop fed us. Sad though because we were supposed to teach Sister Kristine at the Bishop’s and then we’d eat dinner but apparently she had a family problem come up which made her quit and move back home with her parents. I wasn’t able to say goodbye and Bishop isn’t sure if she’s going to be baptized :/. So sad because I really love and care about her.

Wednesday Sister Casilda was finally baptized! Yay! It started an hour late but things still went good. Another little girl was baptized too who just turned 8. For every baptism I’ve had, I’ve been able to buy a journal thing and have some people (of course including me) write testimonies in it. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep doing that in my new area.

Then Wednesday night… I ate BALUT!!! Yes finally did it. Sister Willard actually thought about doing it so they bought the Balut and Sister Gerrard and I bought Jolly Bee for after (a super popular fast food chain. Those and McDonald’s and 7 Elevens are everywhere). I have pictures but I’m sure you could find some gross pictures on Google. It actually didn’t taste too bad but the texture was terrible and I guess just the thought was just bad too. Ours were pretty developed and it has some feathers and I think I ate some bones. Yes I have a stomach of steel and can eat everything. You can be proud of me Mama!

The rest of the week was just a blur. I had my last district meeting in the Panganiban District. Sister Willard has been sick almost all transfer and so she went and stayed at the mission home this weekend. Sister Viola came out and worked with us a couple times so she could still work her area a bit.

We caught another rat! It was even bigger and grosser. But now I think we have gotten rid of almost all of the rats and mice. In just one transfer we caught 2 rats and 8 mice… Pretty good huh!

Yesterday was my last Sunday in Naga 2nd ward so it was sad but it was also fun. After church everyone would run up and say “Picture tayo! Picture tayo!” So I guess they’re gonna miss me too ūüôā ¬†I bore my testimony and talked about the importance of Charity and love. Oh also like 5 primary girls wrote me notes…so cute! I took a picture of my favorite note.

So yes I will miss the baptism of Sister Mxxx, Sxxx and Sxxx on Saturday (Sxxx is 8 so not considered an investigator but we taught him with Sxxx.) Then in September I’ll miss Fxxx and Vxxx and hopefully lots more to follow that have baptism dates. Of course I’m sad but I’m also so thankful I had the opportunity to teach and get to know such amazing wonderful people. I love everyone so much. But I know I’ll meet more amazing people in my next area so my love will just keep growing for everyone I meet!

The reason I talked about Charity and Love to the ward is just because it is so extremely important in missionary work. I really try to love the people, pray for them and teach to their specific needs. I love Moroni 7:48 which talks about praying with all the energy of your heart. I’m going to work on that even more this week as I start meeting people in my new area. Remember to love those around you and always remember the love our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for you.

Get excited for next weeks pictures of me and my anak and my new area!

Sister TaylorImage

Naga City Jay cee’s ha ha. “Naga City is mine!”

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Here she is trying the delicacy, Balut. They are chicken eggs that have started to develop. That’s why in her letter she said hers had feathers and bones.¬†

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Here she is with Sister Joy, and her mom who is scheduled for baptism in September.

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Lunch at the mission home! Happy to be in aircon!

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Jaycee straightened her hair since she was in aircon, but then as soon as she stepped outside, I guess it went frizzy, ha ha.

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Saying goodbye to Naga 2nd ward!

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Wait for Me Dragon!

Alright so I have so many super random stories this week and I don’t have too much time so I’m just gonna go as fast as I can typing it all. Alright so first with the title; since we have 3 Americans in our apartment which isn’t super common, we’ve had fun. But lately this last week, we started teaching Sister Viola American phrases. There are so many that we just say without realizing it’s not even funny (example right there). But anyways we taught her to say, “See you later¬†crocodile,” and then, “in a while¬†alligator.” So she had been practicing all night and then the next day, she was with Sister Willard and she was getting off the jeepney after her and she said, “wait for me dragon!” I’m sure all the Filipinos on the jeepney and Sister Willard were super confused haha. Oh and we did have Sister Viola convinced for a while that “pick up the pigs” was an American saying. Now we say it all the time so it could be some day haha. And when we finally told her we were kidding we said, “we’re just pulling your leg” which of course she didn’t get either so we had to explain what that meant.

So superstitions are huge here in the Philippines. There is this one that if you greet someone when you’re hungry, it’s bad luck. So to get rid of it, you have to lick their arm. Well we greeted this lady and she was saying something but I wasn’t really getting what she was trying to get me to do and she just kept saying how she was hungry. Finally I got it and I had to lick my finger and then wipe it on her arm since she was hungry haha. Another one I’ve heard is that it is bad to sweep at night cuz you’ll sweep all the good luck out. Some Filipinos really believe so just never joke around with ghosts with them.

Sister Gerrard and I were walking the other day and this like 24 year old passed us riding a bike and said, “hi ladies.” We just kind of laughed and started talking about how elders don’t have to deal with men yelling stuff at them. Well he turned around and came back and started talking to us in English (I replied in Tagalog and this is how our conversation went.) He asked if we had a night life and if being a missionary was¬†strict¬†haha. If you call planning at 9 and lights out at 10:30 a night life, then sure! Well anyways I made it very clear that we didn’t and that we were missionaries all the time and that if he was interested, we could visit him and his family. He then told us he was single and then asked for our numbers. Of course we told him no and luckily he left us alone after that but it was funny.

Sister Vxxx gave us pedicures! She has been like insisting for a week. She does it for work sometimes but she wanted to do our toes for free:) So sweet! She still is progressing like crazy. She told us this week she’s read the Book of Mormon everyday since we gave it to her. She also will ask us questions about people and things that really show that she is understanding and paying attention to what she reads. Love her!

I ate a chicken leg and a chicken head this week! Not too bad except for the eye ball… it popped in my mouth! But yeah that’s cool.

I gained weight. I seriously gasped when I stepped on the scale. I weigh 112 now which is the most I have ever weighed. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me too much though since Sister Gerrard and I buy ice cream at least every other day. I think one time though, we had some sort of ice cream treat three times in one day! That’s what you get with two Americans in the Philippines.

So every Saturday or Sunday morning, we always send out a text to less actives and investigators to remind them about church. Well Sunday I sent, “Dalahin po ang mga payo ninyo sa simbahan!” I thought I was saying, “bring your umbrellas to church!” since it had been raining that morning. Well I guess umbrella is payong and payo means ‘head’ in Bicol haha. So I told everyone to bring their ‘heads’ to church. I guess that’s important too. Oh and speaking of Bicol, I totally want to learn it! I’m gonna try and get a Book of Mormon in Bicol and start studying. It really is so different than Tagalog, but gift of¬†discernment¬†is real and last night some one was talking in pure Bicol and I understood almost everything (it was gospel conversation which is way easier, but still!)

We won a zone activity! So at the end of every transfer, you have either a district or zone activity. One zone wins every transfer and it is based off of cleaning checks. So… we won! We went to some sort of¬†resort¬†place with President and Sister Reeder. We took pictures, played games, talked, had snacks and President gave a short message. It was fun!

So two different wards that go to a different chapel had an open house on Saturday! The work is really starting to be more coordinated with the leaders. Our ward is talking about maybe doing one in September. But it was a huge success for the other two wards and I think they had over 100 new referrals. Crazy!

Saturday Sister Reeder worked with Sister Gerrard and me! That was the first time she’s worked with missionaries. She was nervous but she did totally fine riding the tricey, riding the jeepney, riding the padjak, walking, helping sing songs during our ‘Family Home Morning’ with the Rxxx family and just being great. And then after she took us to Mexicali for lunch.

Sister Cxxx should be baptized this Wednesday! Finally. Oh side note about Brother Fxxx, he takes notes during our lessons. Haha he’s so cool. We should hopefully have 3 or maybe even 4 investigators baptized August 31, the Saturday after transfers! Ahhh I totally might be transferred but we’ll just have to see.

The actual work this week was good. Not too many ups or downs, just working hard. But this week I did study obedience. I really like what it says in Deut. 30:20, “That thou mayest love the Lord they God and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is the thy life, and the length of thy days; that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto they fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” Obviously obedience is great because of all the promised blessing from our Heavenly Father. But we should also follow God’s commandments because we love him as our Father in Heaven. I want to get to the point where my motivation to be obedient is based off of my love for God and Jesus Christ. I strive to be exactly obedient but I have so many things I can do better! There is a huge difference though when you really try to do all you can. As missionaries, we have a few more rules and things we have to follow. But when we follow them, Heavenly Father’s hand in this work becomes so much more apparent. I know that as I trust in Him and do the things I’m supposed to, the work will go according to His plan and I will be guided to those ready to hear the gospel. I am learning and growing so much and am so happy! Can’t believe I’ve been out for more than 5 months. Have a good week everyone. Say extra thanks in your prayers tonight for all you’ve been given and blessed with. There’s so much to be thankful for.

 

Sister Taylor

ImageEnjoying some ice cream! That sounds like a nice treat since it is so hot there.

ImageA package from home. I guess she is lunging for joy!

ImageJaycee has to walk through this tall grass stuff. It is taller than she is!

ImagePresident & Sister Reeder at the Zone Conference reward activity. 

ImageAt the resort zone conference activity. Looks like having the cleanest apartments for the transfer really paid off. This place seems like it was a lot of fun for them. 

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ImageBeautiful flowers!

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Be Humble & Forgive

I apologize that this post is so late. This is Jaycee’s email from last week, but I was in Utah and didn’t have passwords with me to be able to login to her blog and update it. So here we are with some news, and then you’ll get another update in a day or two.

Teresha (Jaycee’s mom)

From Jaycee:

So of course serving a mission you learn lots of lessons. But one thing that I’ve been able to really learn over these past couple weeks has been the importance of forgiveness. Especially in my “young” and inexperienced companionship, we’ve felt a lot of judgement from others. Sometimes it is from mistakes we’ve made just because of being so inexperienced, but other times it has been more of just judging without really understanding or knowing. Some things happened with Sister Cxxx yesterday and I was afraid she wasn’t even going to be baptized at all. Just a testimony of how hard Satan works when something good is about to happen. Well anyways in this case, instead of feeling offended or hurt because of being wrongly judged, I’ve still been able to feel love for her and I’ve been able to put it all behind me. I want her to be baptized so bad! And she hopefully should be on Saturday. Before my mission if some of these things happened to me before, I know I would have taken offense and it would have been harder to get over. To be able to do this, I’ve mostly just tried to think about how the Savior would handle such situations. I’ve tried to just put anything that could be offensive behind me, press forward, try to learn from past situations and still try to show my love for those we serve. Trying to be more Christlike makes forgiveness so much more easier and things really aren’t that hard! The key is just being humble and trusting that the Lord will help in any situation.

So Sister Gerrard and I taught over Skype! We taught Sister Joy’s boyfriend, Phillip. He works in Saudi Arabia and because of Joy, he is willing to listen. Not sure how interested he really is but of course at least listening is good. But we totally did it! It was kind of hard because we have to share a set of headphones but I think it went fine. Oh except for my bad language mistake!! In stead of saying, “we need to ask…” I said, “we need to pee…” haha luckily I don’t think he heard me or understood me but Sister Joy did and she just started cracking up.

Well anyways, Sister Joy’s mom, Sister Vxxx, is doing great! Oh my goodness. So we taught the Plan of Salvation first which you don’t usually do. But since that was her main interest, we did an overview, left a pamphlet and Book of Mormon with her and then did more details in the following lesson. Well when we followed up in that next lesson, she had read her reading assignment in Alma 40, the whole Plan of Salvation Pamphlet, started reading the Book of Mormon introduction and more, AND answered all these study questions in the back of the pamphlet which includes looking up additional scriptures and studying those. I have never seen someone so hungry to know everything about the gospel. So in just one week, we have taught almost all of the first three lessons which is pretty much unheard of because it usually takes a lot longer to teach so much. Our lessons are pretty long with her so we can make sure we cover everything but she just soaks up everything we teach her so we just keep moving on! I love her so much already. And since Sister Joy hasn’t referred enough people to the missionaries lately, she brought a friend to church yesterday who seems really interested! Unfortunately it’s not our area so we have to refer to different missionaries.

Saturday we had our ward 1 Day Mission where single adults came, we did a short training and then they went out to find less actives in the ward while trying to find people on the way. Good success cuz now we have even more people we have to teach! Lately our problem has not been not having people to visit, it has been not having time to visit all the people we need to visit! Hopefully we can get even better with our time though so we can have more lessons.

Yesterday we had the fireside after church all about preparing referrals for us! The missionaries! President Reeder was there and was the concluding speaker. Sister Gerrard and I and then the Elders did simple reenactments of how to invite people to church activities or to invite to listen to the missionaries. Then all of us spoke too. I hardly get nervous anymore speaking and it’s even in a different language. Sweet! But it went good and the ward really seems to be excited about the work.

Gxxx came to church with three of his kids yesterday so that was neat! We found out this last week though that someone always has to be home because they have a piggery? I’m not sure why the pigs have to be watched 24/7 but we’ll still work on getting Sister Jxxx to church too. With Sxxx and Misses… our lesson this last week was terrible. I’m not even close to a perfect missionary and sometimes you just have bad lessons. Well they didn’t go to church so we’ll have to follow up with them.

I just found out a couple days ago that there are 10 sisters coming next transfer and none of them are Filipina! Which means ALL will be learning Tagalog. Only 2 are American and the rest are from Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Pakistan and a few other places I think. So if I really do train next transfer, it will be crazy but fun!

We got sticky traps this week and so we finally started catching mice! We caught 6 mice in 24 hours but then one got away. And… we haven’t caught any since and we still have seen some which means they got smarter! We’re not sure how to get the rest of them but it kind of has been scaring me to find out how many mice have actually been in our apartment. Maraming!

Alright well not too much else to report on but it’s been another great week. Learning lots, growing lots and loving lots! Miss you all!

Sister Taylor

 

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Black and white day ūüôā

ImageJaycee attempting to kill a cockroach….yucky!

ImageEating at a restaurant…she seems pretty happy huh!¬†

ImageHere are 2 of the 6 mice caught in 24 hours. Those sneaky mice to still be running around. Scary to think that they caught so many and yet they were still so many left…how many do you think were in her apartment?

ImageJoy and Sister Taylor. Aren’t they adorable!¬†

 

 

 

Climbing Walls, Sliding Down Hills, Just the Norm!

I couldn’t ask for a better mission. Of course I have my times where I wish I could just have a little taste from home being in such a different world, but goodness the Philippines is sweet! So to start this off related to the title, Wednesday Sister Gerrard and I planned to go find a house of someone we OYMed to (open your mouth, I might have already mentioned what that is). So I’m not even sure if I told you beginning of this story but probably like 2 weeks ago, Sister Gerrard and I got punted (like usual from this family) and there aren’t any other members around so we decided to go check out the area a little bit more. We walked down this road and there weren’t any houses really and we only saw and talked to one person which went no where. After getting to a dead end, we turned around to head back. Well totally randomly there was this padyak driver driving towards us (seriously no other people around so I still have no idea why he was driving all the way out there). So Sister Gerrard and I looked at each other and decided to padyak! So as we was biking us back (hopefully you’ve Googled by now pictures of a padyak so you know what I’m talking about) we started asking him about his family which of course we lead into the church. So when he dropped us off, we gave him a pass-a-long card, wrote down his address and invited him to church. So now back to Wednesday: we went to go find his house because he actually did seem pretty interested (getting an address here in the Philippines is pretty much telling someone you live in a huge neighborhood, “Zone 4 Triangulo” or “Zone 3 Conception Grande,” I have no idea how anyone gets mail here.) So we decided to walk down that same road again and we happened to see a random padyak parked by this stone wall. So we walked up to it and there was a picture of Sxxx on his padyak license! So we look over the wall and yell “Tao po!” (that’s how you knock) and Sxxx pokes his head out of his house that was down this pretty steep hill. Luckily his wife was home so we could teach! So Sister Gerrard and I, in our skirts, climbed over the wall, down this little ladder and pretty much just slid down a muddy hill to get to his house which is pretty much a bamboo platform on stilts with a palm tree roof. Well Sxxx and Misses (her name is so hard to say so I usually just call her sister) were super receptive and sooooo sweet. They told us that there were actually planning on coming to church last Sunday but it was too hard because it was raining so hard. So we got to know them a little, taught a part of lesson one and again invited them to church. Well yesterday during Gospel Principles, a sister called for me to go out in the hall and there they were with their two little boys! They missed Sacrament Meeting (nobody’s on time in the Philippines) but they stayed for the rest of church and even stayed after a little bit talking to members! We’re supposed to teach them on Wednesday so hopefully things go well! And hopefully we can handle the mud hill again cuz wow it’s an adventure going down and up that thing.

So Tuesday we had exchanges. I was with Sister Christensen who is so super fun and cute. She’s been out for about a year and she’s from Utah. She was the only American sister in the Naga mission for like 5 months when she first got here! Anyways it was super fun to work with her and learn from how she teaches. And also neat to see how I can one day be with my Tagalog! Since there were six of us in the apartment for exchanges, lunch for Wednesday we decided to buy take out from Mexicali, a burrito place! Oh my goodness that tiny little taco bell like burrito tasted so good. Definitely miss my Mexican.

¬†Thursday we had Zone Conference and there was no power the whole time! But it was good. We got to watch the Missionary Broadcast again which of course was great. Okay super funny though cuz the missionary from China, Elder Zou had to give kind of like a spiritual thought at the beginning. So he did it all in his super heavy accented English and he said this, “A mission is like a box of popcorn. At the beginning of the movie you think ‘how can I finish this whole thing?’ but then the movie starts and soon you realize the popcorn is all gone!” So yes, a mission is like a box of popcorn because it is just flying by and sometimes I wonder how can I actually finish, but then I realize I’m eating faster than I thought and soon my popcorn is going to be all gone! So I just liked that ;).

More miracles. Wednesday after the Sammy thing, we got punted a bunch so we decided to try Sister Joy, our recent convert. So pretty much right as she saw us, she started whispering telling us she wanted us to teach her mom. So she brought a chair in and her mother and we start just talking to her. We talked just about her family and things but then we found out that her dad just passed away like 2 days ago (from Wednesday). So we decided to share about Eternal families and things and right when we started teaching, I kept getting this prompting to invite her to be baptized. I was a little worried because this was the first time we had ever taught her and it wasn’t even about the Restoration or anything. So Sister Joy actually brought up baptisms for the dead and she asked if her mother was a member, could she be baptized for her dad. So we said “of course!” I knew I for sure had to ask her then so I started saying, “will you follow the example of Jesus Christ” and even before I got the word baptism, she was saying yes. Wow! Well then we went to set a date and she wants to be baptized on her birthday on September 14 so we are going to have to teach her a lot before then but she really wants to do it! We also were able to teach her Friday night. We did a brief review of the Plan of Salvation. She is just so anxious to know everything that it was a little hard to teach almost haha. I told Sister Gerrard I feel like she’s just wanting to jump in the water right now! But anyways Sister Vxxx came to church yesterday and we’re going to teach her later today.

Sister Simbol and Sister Gerrard taught Brother Fxxx on Tuesday (Sister Simbol is a Sister Training Leader too by the way so she was here for exchanges) and I guess it went super good! They taught tithing and according to them, Francis said that he read somewhere in Genesis about tithing and wasn’t exactly sure how to pay it. So he had been setting aside 10% of his income because he wanted to pay tithing, but then he would end up just using it because he didn’t know what to do with it! What! Haha he’s crazy. But we did run into a problem with the Word of Wisdom. Unfortunately his smokes just a little bit. And really unfortunately because Sister Gerrard and I being so new, didn’t realize that baptismal candidates have to live the Word of Wisdom for 4 weeks before being baptized. His baptismal date was August 17 but we had to move it to August 31 because we didn’t teach this soon enough for him to even know that he had to live it. We told him last night and luckily he sees it as a great time to become totally prepared and ready for baptism so hopefully we won’t have any more problems with him. But I’m super scared I’m gonna get transferred on August 27 so I’ll be super sad if I miss his baptism! But that’s mission life.

So Sister Kxxx actually moved home a couple weeks ago so Sister Gerrard and I thought she was gone. But this week, the moved back into our area to be a new nanny for the Bishop’s family! So she is back and she should be baptized on August 31 if things keep going good with her.

Yesterday we had a member teach her friend, Sister Jess, also about the Plan of Salvation and so there’s another new investigator.

Alright so soooooo many investigators! During weekly planning this week, Sister Gerrard and I realized just how many people we are preparing for baptism and I feel stressed just thinking about it! So including all the people I’ve already mentioned, we also have Dxxx & Axxx, Mxxx and Sxxx and then a few others that aren’t really progressing. We are just sooooo busy! We have to be super good with our time this week so we can see all of them and then hopefully we’ll still be able to fit in some less active member lessons.

We have been working so hard and so Heavenly Father is just pouring out the blessings! But of course, Satan has had a little influence on our work. Sister Cxxx was supposed to be baptized today but we found out two days ago that her husband doesn’t know. Supposedly he isn’t against it but she just didn’t want to bother telling him really. So we talked to her today and she wants some time to be able to tell him at the right time with the right approach. She said next Monday probably so that’s good that she doesn’t want longer than that. So hopefully next Monday we’ll have a baptism!

¬†Our Bishop is so estig! (Cool, neat, something like that.) Yesterday we were invited to Ward Council and it was all focused on missionary work. In fact there’s this neighborhood type area in the Elder’s area that has a lot of members but because it’s far away, a lot of them don’t go to church. So they’re going to start having their own church meeting over there every Sunday except for fast Sunday. So a member of each presidency each week, has to have at least one representative go every Sunday and then come back and go to our ward, 6 hours of church! I think they’re hoping to get a branch started over there so that is exciting.

Wow my emails are so long and I really hope they aren’t too boring but just so much happens! I love my mission so much and oh my goodness I love the people. I was just riding a jeepney the other day and I almost got teary eyed just thinking about all these people that I have to share the gospel with because this message is just so important. I hope this transfer slows down a bit because I just want to keep working forever in the Naga 2nd ward! (Hopefully that doesn’t jinx it haha).

Well anyways I have such a strong testimony of this Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. This week especially I really realized how great the Plan of Salvation is and how lucky we all are to have that knowledge. So many people do actually wonder where we came from, why we are here and where are we going. I am so not a perfect teacher and my Tagalog is still pretty rough at times, but the Spirit is such a powerful tool and I get so happy when I can feel that power touch other people.

Mahal kita!

 

Sister Taylor