Fully Converted

Alright so not a whole lot happened this week! Just normal missionary things mostly. Tuesday we had the new missionary workshop for all the trainers and trainees (feels like I was just there for me with my trainer, Sister Simbol!). That was pretty fun. Sister Prakash and I practice taught one of the AP’s and he told her that ‘rumors were true,’ that she was good at Tagalog! So yeah she’s doing great in the language and she’s still working hard.

Wednesday we had exchanges so I worked in Goa and Sister Pal and I were able to teach 8 lessons! That’s a good teaching day. Wish we could get that in our area! But we’re working towards it.

We had some good lessons this week and we really felt like we were gonna have a church attendance turn out but unfortunately, none of our investigators made it to church. Random excuses and things came up but that’s always a little hard. We were blessed though to have some less actives go that haven’t gone to church at least since we’ve been here. And since the ward was officially split, two of our less actives were given callings in the bishopric and as the Elders Quorum President so that’s exciting since it should push them to be active!

Goa won the zone activity! We actually tied with another zone so sadly we didn’t get President and Sister Reeder which is always fun, but it was still good. My batteries died though so I think I only got like one picture! But Sister Prakash took some and Sister Simbol so I’ll get them to you. Anyways we went to the beach, played games and ate food so fun! Philippines is the best! I still have only been up to my ankle in ocean water though so after my mission I’m going swimming in the ocean!

Well… the week went by super fast but the progression in our area feels a little slow. Hopefully as we keep working hard, being patient and exercising faith we’ll see some great things happen in our area. The 17 kids are still excited to listen but haven’t been keeping commitments as well as we wish they would be but we’ll keep working on them!

I did learn a lot this week though about becoming fully converted in the gospel. It is so important as missionaries to be converted and as we understand the process of conversion, we can more fully help others undergo that. I really like what it says in D&C 112:13 about after temptations and tribulation and if we don’t turn away from the Lord, we become fully converted. Trials and temptations are key for all of us to be converted in the gospel and for all of us to become ready to face our Heavenly Father after this life. I am just a little bit more thankful for the trials and hard things in my life which have helped strengthened and solidify my foundation in the gospel. I hope that I can help those we teach realize that hardships are key to our life on earth. It doesn’t really matter what things we have to deal with but how we deal with them. I love teaching this Gospel to the people here in the Philippines and even though I’m not perfect, I know Heavenly Father through me will help touch those we teach. Everyone keep praying, reading your Book of Mormon and going to church!!! And if you have time, write me a letter cuz those are the best.

 

Sister Taylor

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This is a bridge they have to cross in Goa.

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Sister Taylor holding a dove. Aah, she’s so cute!

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This is a family Jaycee is working with to try to get them to the temple! Cute family!

 

Kids!

So the miracle this week was getting 19 new investigators! Yeahhh… 17 of them are ages 10 to 18. But still!!! We’re not really sure what’s going to happen with them because none of their parents are members and so getting the support needed to actually be baptized will be quite difficult. But our plan this week is to try to start teaching the parents if we can. So we found them because we were looking for a less active 16 or so year old boy. Well we talked to his mom and he doesn’t live there or something but she said that we could teach the ‘kids’. I wasn’t really sure what she meant but I think it was just an excuse for her to get out of us teaching her. Well anyways, kids kept walking up and so we asked if they wanted to hear our message and they said yes so we set up an appointment.

Well Wednesday we went and there were about 11 kids there that all wanted to listen. So… we started teaching lesson 1 about the Restoration. They seemed pretty interested and actually had some pretty good questions that showed they were understanding it pretty well. They have a lot of religious background and have been taught lots of different things so we were kind of clearing up some things for them. After the lesson they kept asking tons of questions about us. They loved my water bottle with my family picture and most of the boys have a crush on Claire (they’re too young for Sid and Mikelle) and there is this one girl that seriously has a crush on Jacob haha. She thought it was so cool he plays tennis ;).

Well they wanted us to go back the next day so Thursday we taught them again. We decided to watch the Restoration video so they really got the importance of Joseph Smith and things. Sadly it was English cuz we couldn’t find the remote but the Spirit was there and that’s all that matters. So Friday night, we went back again and they were just still super excited! They had all decided to make name tags to help Sister Prakash and I learn all their names. They all have a Book of Mormon and most of them have actually been reading it! Some new ones snuck in on Friday and some weren’t able to go so we started taking ‘role’ to keep track of which lessons everyone has been taught. But they all just love listening and learning about the gospel! We invited them to be baptized and some want to and others aren’t sure. One asked if that meant he would be a Mormon and we told him and yes and he said, “but I’m Catholic!” Haha so hopefully as we teach them they’ll really understand the importance of baptism and really hopefully their parents will be okay with it! Pray for miracles to happen because they’re all such great kids. And remember, Joseph Smith was only 14 years old when Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him. These kids have faith and they want to do what is right.

We also had interviews on Tuesday so it was super fun to see President and Sister Reeder. Love them so much.

Random note but since I left Naga there’s been 4 convert baptisms! The ward goal is 17 convert baptisms from July 2013 to July 2014 and everyone thought that was so high when we first set it. But faith is being exercised and it really seems like that is so achievable. Hopefully the work will continue to move forward there.

Here in Tigaon… the work is also moving forward because we just found out last night that the ward is SPLITTING! I was just thinking yesterday during church how the priesthood here is sooooo low (the old young men’s president is leaving for a mission cuz he’s only 19 so they just called the new one who I’m pretty sure is only 17 or 18 years old.) And we don’t have a ward mission leader or ward missionaries and sometimes the elders have to bless the sacrament BUT I think this is going to be great. This might be the push that all the less actives need to come to church. Of course my role as a missionary is super important as we can really help in trying to reactive members so lots of work to do! There over 800 names of members in Tigaon and so it’s been approved by the First Presidency to split the ward. The zone leaders will go to Tigaon 2 and go to church in the afternoon, and us and the other 2 elders will be Tigaon 1 in the morning.

Sister Porcia sadly though is going to be in the other ward. She is the relief society president and has been a huge help to us sisters. Yesterday she went out to work with us (even though it was her birthday) and we taught Victoria for the second time. Victoria asked Sister Porcia why she decided to become Mormon (she was Catholic before) and she bore a strong testimony of the fullness the Restored Gospel. She also told a few stories about some of the trials they faced right before they got baptized. Sister Porcia was a young mother with young kids and for about a week they didn’t have food. But they continued to pray, read the scriptures and even sing Hymns during this hard week. She said that although her little kids were hungry, they didn’t cry or complain. And after that they were blessed with lots of food that they were able to sell to get money to buy food for themselves. Amazing! So Sister Victoria I think really felt the Spirit and although she said no to being baptized right now, she seems very committed to read the Book of Mormon and to find out for herself if it is true. She also loved the concept of Eternal Families so yep I’m super excited for her.

Well there goes another long email but another great week! Thanks for those who do read my emails even if they’re forever long. Thanks for the prays that go my way. Prayer and faith are powerful and remember that Heavenly Father works according to our faith. I really try to remember that through me, Heavenly Father can work miracles. And they’ve been happening! Love being a missionary because I get to share the best message in the world. That Jesus Christ lives, and because of Him and His Restored Gospel, we can return to live with our loving Heavenly Father again, even as Eternal Families.

 

Sister Taylor

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The top is Tagalog and the bottom is Bicol, so you can see how different they are. So she is really learning two languages!

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Trudging through Rice Fields, Climbing the Hills!

Alright so the line, “trudging through rice fields, climbing the hills” is from our Naga mission song and it is so true! Especially in Tigaon, we climb lots of muddy hills and trudge through many rice fields so it’s great! And our area is actually the most developed cuz we’re in “centro” and the elders areas are farther away but we still have lots of adventures.

On Thursday we had our district meeting but after we had like a 4 hour exchange with Sister Simbol and Sister Pal. They wanted to help us in our finding less actives efforts so yeah it was super nice and helpful of them. We finally got a list of all the names we have for people that live in our area so I organized them all into barungays (like a neighborhood) and so now we have so much to do! Plus we have 4 new investigators just from this week. Hopefully we can get some of them progressing though cuz we only kind of have one progressing investigator.

Friday was my 6 MONTH MARK! Soooo crazy how fast it’s gone. It also feels like I’ve been a missionary forever but it also has just flown by. I’m one third of the way done and I’ve learned and grown so much! I can’t wait for these next 6 months.

So I’ve heard a lot of missionaries say that 6 months is usually like the mark for feeling confident in the language. So I’ve kind of been expecting to feel like this sort of fluent feeling sometime around now and… well I still don’t feel fluent! I know I’ve been blessed with the gift of tongues and I’m doing really well with the language but there is just sooooo much to learn when it comes to learning a language! And I don’t want to sound American when I speak and I want my grammar to be right so I think I just have high expectations for myself but I’ll just keep working hard and keep being thankful that I don’t have to learn Japanese like Court! I’ve been learning a good amount of Bicol lately which helps a ton with understanding. But that’d be sweet if I could be pretty good at Tagalog and be alright at Bicol when I go home! Oh but someone did ask if I was born in the Philippines or if I was at least part Filipino cuz I could speak to them in Bicol/Tagalog so that was cool! But I know I still do have an American accent that I might not ever be able to get rid of.

Random things: I wore a jacket for the first time since I’ve been here! I still had my fan on but I was just a little chilly with my fan so I put on a jacket and it was like the best feeling ever. I almost miss feeling cold but I know once I go home and after it snows I’ll be wishing I was back here in the Philippines. I spoke in church yesterday on missionary work so great topic! I actually had a few days warning so that was nice to be able to prepare. I think it went okay except I still haven’t been able to break my “ummm” habit! You’d think the Tagalog would help but so far I say “umm” even in a different language.

Neat story! So I think on Friday we went to this pretty far area to try to find some less actives. Well the Lord really leads missionaries to those who are prepared because this sister named Victoria, saw us and asked who we were trying to find but then had us come sit down outside on this bench. She was really curious and started asking all these questions about baptism and if babies get baptized and things like that and it was so great. We didn’t teach very much to her cuz the mother of the less active we were trying to find, walked by and started talking to us. She has met lots of elders in the past cuz they taught and baptized her son (he actually moved) but she said it’d be fine if we came and started just visiting her so that’s super good. Well before we left we gave Sister Victoria a pamphlet and a Book of Mormon. Well there were other neighbors just kind of around and she liked what we told her so far so she asked for more pamphlets and started handing them out to like everyone! She kept telling everyone to even read about it cuz it was about Jesus and I was just super thankful I had just loaded up by bag a couple days before with more pamphlets than I usually carry around. Oh she also said that maybe the reason we were there was not for the less active but maybe for her to hear our message. Yes! I think so! Super excited to see if that goes somewhere.

Well that’s about it for things that happened. Our area is really started to grow and I decided I really like opening an area. Even though it’s hard at first, you really do get to start seeing the fruits of your labors (although we’re having a hard time getting people to actually come to church.) But yes we have so much work to do and Heavenly Father has been blessing us so much, we’ll just keep working hard and striving to be exactly obedient! This Gospel is true and it has blessed me in so many ways. I love our Heavenly Father, I love His son, Jesus Christ, I love this Gospel, I love the people here, I love the Philippines, I love my family and I love being a missionary!

 

Sister Taylor

Life in Tigaon!

Alright yeah not too much happened this week. We had zone conference on Friday which was fun to see who’s in our zone. One of the days we went out with a member to an area called Mabka, pretty far away, but we met a lot of old investigators that were all planning on getting baptized. Either the missionaries didn’t follow up after transfers or something cuz they never got baptized and they all still seemed pretty interested. So that’ll be fun to work the area. They did talk a lot though about how the missionaries used to buy them things and pay for them to go to church or something which we’re not really supposed to do. So hopefully we can build their testimonies without buying them things!

Saturday there was this huge reception at the church. Like 10 years ago, an elder served in the Philippines Naga mission and well he came back and married a Filipina. So some of his family from Utah came out which was pretty fun cuz I got to talk to them all. His sisters are all married and have kids and things but it was funny to talk to them about how culture shocked they felt. I hope they can still enjoy the Philippines even though it is pretty shocking. I love it here!!!

Random but there is no laundry shop in Tigaon. So I have to do all my laundry by HAND! It will be a good experience. I washed a lot this last week and it isn’t too bad except for sometimes my knuckles would get kind of sore. But I’ll probably have to start doing a little laundry almost everyday so I don’t get behind. Everyone be thankful for you washing machines!

Alright so everyone speaks a TON more Bicol here than in Naga. And the Bicol here is just a little different than in Naga, so even more different words! So I’ve been trying to learn more Bicol which really helps my understanding. I’m getting to where I can understand a good amount of Bicol though which is good. Well…. depending on what they’re talking about. I still can’t even understand everything in Tagalog because if they use words I don’t know, they I can’t understand! Such a long process to learn a language. So just to give you an example of how Bicol is different, in the Philippines a common phrase people will ask is, “where are you going?” In America it might be weird to ask that but here it’s pretty normal for starting a conversation. So in Tagalog its, “Saan po kayo pupunta?” In Bicol its, “Sain po kamo maduman?” So yes Bicol is similar to Tagalog, but if you don’t know the words, they you pretty much won’t understand what people are saying. I try not to speak in too much Bicol though cuz people will answer back to me in Bicol, but if I know some of the words, I can understand lots more. Poor Sister Prakash cuz she’s just trying to learn Tagalog so hard to do with so much Bicol! They even do the sacrament prayer at church in Bicol. (In Naga it was just in English.)

Oh for P-day today, I had to get my fingerprints taken to renew my visa as a missionary. So we had to come down to Naga and so I feel like I’m back in my old area:) I even saw one of the families from my ward at SM so that was fun.

Well anyways yeah not too much happened this week. I’m starting to really love Tigaon and I bet soon I’ll love it just as much as I love Naga. I absolutely love being a missionary and am really so happy and blessed I have this time to serve. Everyone should serve missions! I am SOOO blessed to be serving in the Philippines. Oh and Courtney talked about her mission president and his wife being the best, but I’ve gotta say, mine have got to be about a tie. They’re amazing! President Reeder texted me the other day and asked how Sister Prakash and I were doing and then Sister Reeder texted me earlier to check up on us too. 🙂 You can really tell how much they really love all of us and they do so much for all the missionaries here. Thanks for all the prayers and support. Keep up the member missionary work! Sobra masaya ang missionary work!!

 

Sister Taylor

ImageImageThis is Jaycee’s new district. And her first mission field companion, Sister Simbol, is in her district. She was excited about that!

 

Pictures from Naga & Tigaon

Having a hard time getting photos to load.

ImageSorry these pictures aren’t with the post, but I couldn’t get them to load. Jaycee was able to take a lot of pictures before she left Naga city. I thought this one was super cute!

ImageHere is Jaycee’s new companion that she is training, fresh from the Manila MTC. Her name is Sister Prakash from Fiji!

ImageImageThese pictures are of her new apartment in the bedroom and the kitchen. She loves the color of the kitchen, her favorite color, ha ha. So that’s fun. It is pretty large especially for just two sisters. But hopefully they won’t have mice and rats. Although she did say there are a lot of spiders in this apartment.

ImageHere she is sporting the new bag she got. She says it is a lot better on her back. So cute!