I Think I’m Actually Making a Difference!

Alright so this week we had our Mission Tour! Elder Arden and his wife (a Quorum of the Seventy) came to the Naga Mission to tour the mission and speak to us. So half of the mission was on Wednesday, and my half was on Thursday. We had to get up at 3 in the morning to get ready and ride an hour and a half jeepney ride to Naga but it was still great. So we got there an hour early cuz the leadership positions had a meeting. Well while I was waiting… Sister Joy Javier came and surprised me!! AHHHHHH!! I started to cry I was so happy to see her. I love her so much. Well she heard I was coming to Naga and so she came to see me and give me this super good pili nut jam stuff. Well anyways she and her mother, Victoria, just seem to be doing awesome in the church. She loves her calling and she is just growing in the Gospel!

Well then we had the Mission Tour and it was so incredibly uplifting and motivating. Elder Arden and his wife are from New Zealand, he served a mission in France and they have been in the Philippines for 3 years and will continue to work here until they get a call from Salt Lake telling them where they’ll go next. They sacrifice lots like being away from their kids and grandchildren, but they are so faithful in the church and I learned so much from them.

Here are just a few things I learned from them and also from President and Sister Reeder’s talks. First of all, Sister Reeder read 2 Nephi 25:26 which I have always liked. But she said that we, as missionaries, especially need to be always testifying of Jesus Christ. So I know I do sometimes in my emails but I’m going to try to testify of Him every week now in my emails. It might get a little old but I just want everyone to know that I have no doubts that Christ lives, that He suffered for us, and that only because of Him, can we return to our Heavenly Father. So last year in the Philippines, there were about 2450 missionaries. Now there are 4100 missionaries! Yeah the work is being Hastened! One thing that I thought would be good for all of you to hear is that ‘every soul is great in the sight of God’ (D&C 18:10). Now as members we hear that scripture many tons of times. But Elder Arden said that we should think to ourselves about everyone, ‘well there goes someone of great worth.’ EVERYONE! So for me and for you, we need to remember that everyone we interact with, talk to and see are children of God. They need the Gospel just as much as we do and so please everyone, continue to pray for your own, personal missionary moments. Never be afraid to share what you know. Elder Arden told us the story of when he was called to be in the first Quorum of the Seventy and it really stuck out to me that even he felt at times, unqualified and nervous! I had the opportunity this week to read through some of my older journal entries and there were so many times where I felt nervous and unqualified to be a missionary, even a representative of our Savior, Jesus Christ. But it is so true that the Lord qualifies who He calls. I have felt so much power, strength and growth as I have been striving to rely on my Savior and become the missionary He has called me to be. I have grown so much and I know that by the end of my mission, I’ll look back where I am right now and feel the same way. I will always strive my hardest to change my life to become a better disciple of Jesus Christ.

Well there was so much that I learned and I have so many new goals and things I am working on but I think those were the main things I felt I should share. So after the conference, an Elder (Elder Simmons actually that knows Morgan Sanford I guess) came up to me and thanked me for my hard work in Naga! He’s now in Naga second and he said that he was able to talk to Francis (who has now invited friends to listen to the missionaries who are supposed to be baptized in December!) and Sister Casilda and he said that he could just really tell how much they appreciated me. Awww! He said that Francis said that he always knew that I cared. I love all my investigators!! So even though my Tagalog was absolutely terrible when I first got to Naga and a lot of times I wondered if my efforts were even doing anything, it was neat to see this week how I did make a difference in Naga and how much the work is moving forward in that ward!

So Wednesday we had exchanges! I was with Sister Viola (I lived with her for two transfers in Naga) and it was so fun! I learned a lot from her example. She goes home in 1 1/2 transfers as does Sister Simbol!! Soooo weird but it is just incredible how fast missions are. She really doesn’t want to go home. But she was so sweet because she told me how much she has appreciated my example to her and she cried a little bit because we’re not sure when or if we’ll get to see each other after she goes home.

 So if this week wasn’t good enough, I had a neat experience of being led to a less active. On Thursday we were kind of having a rough day with a lot of punts and it didn’t feel too successful. Well I told Sister Prakash that if we just kept working hard and doing the best we could that day, that the blessings would come. So like 10 minutes later we were walking down a street and of course there were lots of people outside staring at us and yelling stuff at us (I don’t think I’m gonna miss the attention when I go back home… Sometimes I just wish I could fit in! haha) but anyways we started to walk past this older lady who was working her ukay ukay (clothing stores outside, almost looks like a garage sell but that’s how you get most clothes here). Well I said, “Maray na Hapon po” (good afternoon in Bicol) like I usually do and I felt like we should stop. So I blessed her (wow lots of little cultural notes I have to stick in here so you can understand… you bless the elderly here by putting their hand to your forehead.) I was just gonna bless her to show respect but then I felt prompted to talk to her. I started talking to her and Sister Prakash started talking to a younger lady that was also outside. Well I found out she was less active! We have no records of her anywhere so I have no idea how else we would have found her. And then the other lady Sister Prakash was talking to was okay with us coming back so now we have a potential investigator. Neat!

 Alright just a few more things, I taught primary yesterday and spoke in Sacrament meeting again with just a few minutes warning. It’s baranggay elections right now (a branggay is like a big neighborhood here and they always elect captains and things like that) and so lots of people didn’t end up going to church. Luckily though I had my Plan of Salvation with me for the primary kids and I think both ended up going pretty well.

 Alright! A really long email but there was just so much that happened this week that I wanted to share. Hopefully I have some things to tell you guys about when I get home since I seem to put so much of it in my emails haha. The Philippines Naga Mission is absolutely the best mission in the world. At least it is for me and should be for all of the missionaries here 🙂 I love it here and am so happy. Gotta keep being just a little more diligent, obedient and loving but I’ll work on it. Thanks for all the prayers and support! Write me letters when you can!

Sister Taylor

(Sorry no pictures from this week. She couldn’t get the computer to upload any.)

Yung Email Ko!

That just means this is my email haha. But yeah… not too much happened this week. Probably one of the coolest things was the lesson we were able to teach Monday night. I hope all missionaries realize how important ALL proselyting hours are. I know sometimes it’s hard to get lessons taught on Monday because it’s P-day but I’ve had some of the best lessons on Monday and it’s always a good way to start the week when you use all your proselyting hours as a missionary. Don’t waste that time! So anyways it was Ruth’s 21st Birthday (her and her family are all converts but lately they’ve been less active, lots of incredibly hard trials they’ve had to deal with.) Anyways we decided to go by and I decided to bring a glow stick for Ruth and talk about 3 Nephi 12 and letting your ‘light so shine.’ They don’t have glow sticks here! So she though it was the neatest thing and she started to cry. Being able to help people feel Heavenly Father’s love for them is such a rewarding thing as a missionary.

I ate this dish that is pork blood and intestine. Actually not too bad! Lots of flavor. One of our zone leaders told me to eat it thinking I wouldn’t, but of course I did.

So anytime someone dies here in the Philippines, for some reason it means party! So someone passed away just two houses away from us and so for this entire week, there have been people drinking and partying right by our house. Pretty normal to see that but the worst was the last night when they got a karaoke machine and seriously sang the ENTIRE night! I woke up a couple times and they were still singing and then when I woke up they were still singing until about 7 am. Haha they love karaoke so much.

I learned the Haka from Sister Prakash! It is the Polynesian dance that almost all islanders know. It’s probably weird having some skinny white girl do it though. 😉

Okay that really was about all that happened this week so I think this might be almost a normal length email. Facing some struggles but still trying to work hard and I’m growing more than ever. I know that this Gospel is true and that even with sacrifices, it is more than worth sharing. There is nothing that can bring more comfort and peace into our lives as we completely embrace the Gospel and rely on our Savior Jesus Christ. Have a good week!

 

Sister Taylor

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The kids love the stickers!

Miracles Happen

Just a quick side note: The earthquake that hit the Philippines isn’t hear Jaycee. So although we haven’t heard from her since it happened, we are pretty confident that she is fine.

Also, her birthday is December 9th, so if you wanted to send her a card in the regular mail, you may want to do that now so that it for sure gets there in time. 🙂

So the neatest story of this week is about Sister Maricar. So I know I’ve talked about all the kids we teach and so we were just walking through the houses and I saw one of the kids in a house and there was a lady washing clothes inside too. I thought there was a chance it could be his mom or something and since we still haven’t really been able to start teaching any of the parents, I figured we could try talking to her and see if we could teach her. Well she actually wasn’t the mom of any of the kids we’ve been teaching but she does have 4 kids (3 boys and 1 baby girl), her husband works in Manila and she seemed totally okay with us teaching her. Well we went back two days later and taught her in the morning. We didn’t even teach very much but the Spirit was there and she just liked everything we taught. So I invited her to be baptized and she accepted! That was neat but you never really know how serious someone is until they start keep commitments. So our next lesson, she had read where she was supposed to in the pamphlet and she said she liked everything and thought it would help her family. We committed her to read the Introduction to the Book of Mormon and to keep praying. Next lesson, she the Introduction and went on! That’s always a good sign because it means they’re pretty serious. Well she also told us that she had gone to church a long time ago with a friend that was LDS and she has known members and it seems like it’s always been positive. That was a real testimony for me on the importance of just always having positive contact with people, either as a missionary or just as a member. All of us may not ever know all the effects of our kindness and good works but we never know what will come from it. Anyways so then we talked to her about going to conference and no problem she said she would go!

So here’s the story on conference. It was great! Well the two sessions I was able to really watch haha. So Saturday, Sister Prakash and I rode to Goa and watched the two sessions no problem (it was mostly just missionaries and a few members out of the whole stake). Well Sunday the bishop offered to drive his jeepney for free to all the members and investigators. So Sister Prakash and I went to Sister Maricar’s and met her and all of the 11 kids that wanted to go (8 of them are some of our “investigators” that we’ve been teaching.) Well we went to the side of the road to wait for the jeepney and it was taking forever! Apparently so many people showed up for the free ride that they filled up the first jeepney, then another, and then with us and a few more people we picked up, three jeepneys! So many people! And Americans don’t understand what “filling up a jeepney” is like. In the Philippines you fit as many people as you possible can on any sort of transportation. So with a jeepney, all the seats are filled, kids sitting on laps, people sitting of the floor of the jeepney, boys hanging off on the back and people hanging onto bars up top. So that was fun. I ended up sitting on the floor.

Since it took such a long time though, we ended up being about 45 minutes late for the first session. Then the ward provided lunch and then we watched the second session. Well, I guess I should have thought about this sooner, but trying to have 11 kids who don’t really understand English listen to conference is almost impossible. I brought crayons and a coloring book (thanks mom) but that just got out of hand and it was almost impossible to listen to any of the second session. So right now I’m trying to download the sessions so I watch them again but I might just have to wait till we get the Ensign and read them :/. But Saturday was really good and of course I loved all the talks on missionary work! Specifically for me as a missionary, I need to talk to more people so I’m going to try to be better about that. But the sessions I did really listen to, I got lots of notes but more importantly, specific things that I feel like Heavenly Father was trying to get me to learn. A lot of times I just had thoughts about things to write and it wasn’t really exactly what they were saying but I felt like it was more directed towards me so that was neat.

So we ended up having 11 investigators go to Goa for conference! So good but I’m not sure how many actually listened (which how can you blame them when it’s in a different language). But Sister Maricar did go and I know she felt the Spirit of conference. 🙂

Other random news… I killed an ant colony! Sooooo many ants but I sprayed and killed them all that were living in our apartment. Lots of unusual accomplishments as a missionary in the Philippines.

But it was a good week and I just have felt like I’ve been learning and growing so much. I just hope I can someday become the missionary I want to be though because I still have so much growing and learning to do! So everyone remember that as members, you’ve been asked to prepare a referral by Christmas and keep up the member missionary effort! Have a good week! Love you!

 Sister Taylor

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Jaycee modeling her new outfit I sent her in the mail. She’s so cute!

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The group of people waiting for the jeepney ride to the church to listen to conference!

 

One Year Since My Life Was Changed FOREVER

So yesterday for me (October 6) was the one year mark since President Thomas S. Monson announced that boys could serve missions at 18 instead of 19, and girls at 19 instead of 21. Those short few minutes seemed exciting but I don’t think I realized the impact that was going to have on ME. I had no idea that a year from then, I’d be in the Philippines, doing things and experiencing things there’s no way I would have done otherwise. I’m not even half way done, but this week I really tried to evaluate how I was doing and if I was on the road to becoming the missionary I want to someday be, and the missionary God wants me to be. I am not even close to being perfect but I am amazed at how much I’ve been able to grow and learn. I make lots of mistakes, I get tired and I sometimes want to just take a break and see my family. But I’m not here for me, even though I end up being the one that receives many blessings. I am here for the people I meet every day. I hope to influence as many people as I can during my short time to come closer to our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ.

So we have three girls (Kriscel 12, Clarissa 11 and Jamie 10) that haven’t really been progressing until this week. Even though they’re young, they’ve been trying to read and understand the Book of Mormon and pray. I love these girls so much!

And then all of the kids! So we decided that about 3 are progressing right now but there are about 7 or 8 that usually listen consistently. There’s a difference in some of the kids and I do feel that even if it’s hard to get them all to focus on the lesson and hard to keep track of so many of them, that some great things can happen with the Lord’s help!

Christmas has officially started! I saw my first Christmas lights at the beginning of August but this week it really started. Christmas songs (even in church), lights and everything is all starting here so I’ll get lots of Christmas celebrating in this year.

So since Sister Prakash is from Fiji, I decided to learn some of her culture so during walking one day, I learned the Haka! (The Polynesian dance.) It probably looks silly cuz I’m this little white girl but whatevs… it’s cool.

We had zone training again this week. I just can’t believe how fast the months are going.

Other things I’ve been experiencing this week but I’ll share those when I get home:) Love everyone and hope you enjoyed conference! I’ll listen to it next weekend so I’m super excited for that. (Sister Prakash thinks I’m too excited but you can never be too excited for the Prophet!) Keep praying for me!

 

Sister Taylor

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Here are some of the kids that Jaycee is teaching. So sweet!

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Here are some visual aids Jaycee made to help teach the kids.