Just Two Americans Again Braving the Philippines

Yeah!!! So new aki/companion is… Sister Richmond!!! She is awesome! Oh my goodness we’re gonna have a total blast together. She’s from San Diego, California, she went to BYU!! for her freshman year before her mission and we totally just feel like friends already. She told me her biggest fears are spiders, big storms (including lightening) and gross food haha. So she was surprised to see Philippines on her call instead of Salt Lake City or something. But! I’ve really been trying to help her adjust and get used to everything. She seems to be doing okay expect for food but she’s doing better cuz she tried tuna the other night. I think our goal is for her to eat Balut by the end of these two transfers/end of her training.

But training is pretty different this time just because Provo missionaries and Manila missionaries learn a little bit differently in the MTC. I teach almost everything but that is totally fine because she’s already ahead I think than I was when I first got here (yeah starting to realize how much Sister Simbol had to do when I first got here.) But I think (well at least hope!) I’m helping her adjust alright because I’ve been through it and know exactly what it’s like. I’ve been trying to spend any extra time we have, teaching her Tagalog or just about missionary work in general. We’re pretty much always talking about something though because we have a lot more similar backgrounds than my other companions.

I can speak Tagalog!!!!! I know people say they had like their ‘mark’ in their mission where they felt like they could speak and honestly I could communicate at least decently with people during my transfer with Sister Gerrard after training. But just recently, I have really felt like I can actually speak this language. I still and probably will never be able to understand everything mostly just because there’s Bicol and even different dialects of Bicol that make things kind of difficult, but I think I can speak Tagalog. I’ve been translating a lot for Sister Richmond and it’s so weird to think that I used to not be able to understand things! She’ll learn it so fast though and my goal is to get her better in Tagalog and just become a better teacher than I was at the end of my training.

So before I picked up my new companion, I got to work in my old area with my old companion, Sister Gerrard and her companion!! It was so fun! We didn’t get to see everyone obviously because we had to see the people they had scheduled, but those we did see were pretty happy to see me and even one family that just met me once remembered me before they even saw my tag! So that was super rewarding. I have to come back to the Philippines after my mission.

Our district is HUGE! We have I think 7 companionships? Which is a lot bigger than usual but it’s fun. Sister Prakash and her aki (Sister Roquillo, a Filipina) are in our same ward and district and we’re all still in the same house. So we’re just a big happy family. Pretty fun!

Well… I’m not sure if I’ll ever have a Filipina companion again! Haha but it’s fun to be two American’s out teaching the wonderful people here in Tigaon. Oh! I am NOT opening the area! Sister Prakash and her companion are taking over the elder’s old area (still considered an open area because they both new to it), the elders are in a completely new area and part of my old area has been taken away, but I’m still in the same area! I’m pretty happy because that means I can keep working it hard and hopefully get to see some of the results! I love being a missionary so much and I almost want time to slow down because it’s going by so fast! Mary Jane is our most progressing investigator and she’s set to really be baptized on her birthday, January 30. I know our Savior lives, I think this is His restored Church on the earth today. I know our Heavenly Father loves us so never forget that!

Sister Taylor

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Sister Taylor and Sister Richmond

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Sister Taylor holding an investigator’s pet mouse. She said it pooped on her while she was holding it. Gross!

 

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Yep! Training Again!

So the big news this week is that I’m training again! Whew.. guess that means I didn’t totally fail my first time 😉 In fact… My anak (Sister Prakash) turned out so good that she is training too! What’s even more crazy is that we both aren’t getting transferred. How does that work? Well… of course, they’re opening another area! So many missionaries coming and so few going home. So there’s a good chance it’ll be me, opening an area and training again and I know for sure it’ll be a sister who doesn’t speak Tagalog… again. Haha well at least this is all round two for me so hopefully I’ll do an even better job. But yeah my new anak is coming for the Provo MTC and so she’s either American or Polynesian but either way, she won’t know Tagalog. Excited!!! Good thing I can speak Tagalog and can understand Bicol. Well not quite Bicol yet but I’m getting there! Hopefully I’ll do a good job though at helping my new greenie focus on Tagalog instead of confusing her with Bicol. But yeah it’ll be a party in our apartment with all of 4 of us. I’ll be the ‘oldest’ and ‘wisest’ of them all! Well not really haha but the oldest in the mission in our apartment. Sister Prakash will make a great nanay though. Excited for her.

So besides that… we had a great last week together! In fact we had almost our hardest working week ever. We’ve been lots better about having members in our lessons which has been helping and we were just able to teach a good amount of lessons.

We have a new investigator who is amazing! Mary Jane we taught for the first time last Sunday and we’ve already taught her 5 times I think? She doesn’t have a baptism date yet cuz she’s worried about her catholic mother but things are going great. Her husband and his family are all less active so it’s really good cuz we’re trying to reactive them and get Mary Jane and the youngest of the family, Aileen baptized. She had a lot of doubts the first lesson but she just really wanted to know which church is true. She always thought some things were weird in the Catholic church but she once we taught her about Joseph Smith, things have been going great! She reads more that what we assign her in the Book of Mormon and she is just totally grasping onto what we teach her about the gospel. I feel that she and her husband and their 2 year-old boy could go to the temple someday. Ahhh! I might be moved to the other area though so bummer if I can’t teach her anymore.

I taught in English for the first time! Mahirap! (Hard!) I mean I can still mostly speak in English just fine, but anything gospel related I feel like I just have to speak in Tagalog. Well I guess once I finally got my brain to switched fully to English, I think the lesson went pretty well and wow it was pretty nice to say everything exactly how I want to say it. So last Sunday we were looking for a 16 year-old less active guy and we randomly ran into his mom and her new Australian husband at centro.

So she mostly understands English and Phillip doesn’t understand hardly any Tagalog at all, so we taught in English. Sometimes I wish I was called English speaking but… I think I’m finally getting this language down and I guess it’s pretty cool. At least I can say “Tagalog” right in stead of “Tag-a-log” ;).

So this week we’ve heard LOTS about Tacloban. I guess there was a little destruction down by the beach here but I have still been saying prayers of gratitude for being safe during the typhoon. Wow those people down there lost everything and those missionaries are incredible. Please continue to pray for them!

Well I’m most likely going to be in Tigaon for 6 months or more so it’s good! Can’t wait to find out if I really am opening an area again and who my companion will be:) President is always full of surprises for me. But it’s great! Best time to be a sister missionary. I love this Gospel and I love God and Jesus Christ. If any of you ever have any doubts about this Gospel, read the Book of Mormon. And don’t just read it half heartily or just to read, but read it looking for real answers and help for you personally. I just finished the Book of Mormon again this morning and it is amazing how meaningful it has become in my life. If you want to gain a stronger testimony of this Gospel, find comfort, receive answers, strengthen your relationships with others and really come to know who our Savior is, and what He did for us, read the Book of Mormon by the guidance of the Holy Ghost. I know that it is the Word of God and I have no doubt of it’s truthfulness.

Have a great week everyone! Keep praying for me and for those poor people down in Tacloban. So thankful Lindsey is safe. 🙂

Sister Taylor… Lola! (Grandma)

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Bagyo! Typhoon Yolando!

So apparently you guys have been hearing and seeing pretty bad stuff from the news but the good news is that the whole Naga Mission is safe! In fact, we were barely hit from the storm. Friday we weren’t allowed to go out and work but it was just a bad rain and wind storm. Almost no damage here and life has already resumed back to normal. We’re saying prayers of gratitude though because we know it could have easily turned and come up more North. But where it did hit, it sounds like it was pretty bad so everyone please keep praying for Lindsey Estes (this was Jaycee’s friend and roommate her last semester at BYU…there is a picture I posted on Facebook of the two of them holding up their mission calls) and all of the missionaries and wonderful people down in the Tacloban area. (And just an update, we found out yesterday that Lindsey was accounted for and is safe.) 

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were pretty normal except we were told to make sure we had everything in our 72-hour kits. Sister Prakash and I went and bought a little extra food and then filled almost everything we could think of with water to be extra prepared. Friday we didn’t have power for most of the day but we just spent the day inside. Saturday we went out to work and there must have still been part of the storm because it was sooo windy and rainy! But luckily mom and dad, you guys bought me the best umbrella and it survived and kept me somewhat dry. But the area we happened to be when the worst hit, was super muddy so we got pretty dirty. It was fun though.

 Friday we were supposed to have Zone Training, Saturday and Sunday were supposed to be Stake Conference so that all got postponed. Sunday we pretty much just had a normal day at church.

 Oh but one of our zone leaders, Elder Parohinog, is from right where the typhoon hit. He luckily was able to contact his family, but his whole house and almost all of their possessions are gone. He hasn’t heard anything from his brother and his family so Elder Parohinog isn’t even sure if they’re okay or not. Besides all of that, he still was pretty much his normal self at district activity this morning. He said that no matter what happens, it’s always “ayos lang” or just great. So whenever we have trials and personal typhoons in our lives, we need to always remember that it will always be “ayos lang” as long as we continue to live the gospel and serve the Lord. Helaman 5:12 talks about building our rock on our Redeemer, Jesus Christ so that when the storm comes, it will have no power over us. In the Tagalog translation, the word for storm is actually “bagyo” which is typhoon in Tagalog. So literally when we have those typhoons and even sometimes super typhoons in our lives, we can always rely on our Rock, our Savior as our foundation. But before those typhoons hit though, it is so important that we prepare. So spiritual preparation is key for the trials and hardships we face in our life. Continue praying sincerely to our loving Heavenly Father, reading and applying the principles taught in the scriptures, and renewing our covenants as we attend church and remember the greatest sacrifice of our Savior. I know that He lives and I know that anything you are facing, or anything the people down in Tacloban are going through, can be overcome because of the power of the Atonement.

Have a good week everyone and say a prayer of gratitude for the many blessings you have!

Sister Taylor

P.S. Two members told us this week that we are “masipag!” Or hard working.. yay! We’re trying!

(And the computer wasn’t working so she didn’t send any pictures this week.)

Jaycee is safe!

Ok, so I will post her email tomorrow, but we heard from Jaycee and she is safe. We had gotten a short email from the mission president’s wife on Friday, but it was nice to get Jaycee’s email and know that she was fine. Although, her friend and BYU roommate, Lindsay, is serving in the Tacloban and according to Lindsay’s facebook page, is still one of the 80 “unaccounted for” missionaries. The church hasn’t posted an update since Saturday night at 9:00 pm MST, so hopefully by now they have heard from that mission and that Lindsay is fine. But still, they are without food and water in that part so they really all need your prayers. 

Araw Ng Mga Patay!

Guess what that means… Day of the dead! Haha so yes there’s no Halloween here so they celebrate the dead pretty much… in a respectful manner. It’s actually pretty neat because everyone goes to the cemetery and remembers all their loved ones. But we had an early curfew for two nights because there are usually so many people outside and it can get pretty crazy.

So some weeks I just have loads and loads to talk about, and others not as much. Kind of switches off and on so this week… not too much! But it was a good week. A couple rough days but missionaries have got to have those to grow and become better.

It didn’t feel like too great of a week but we reached or exceeded almost all of our goals (like number of lessons we teach and people that go to church… things like that.) So that was super great. Sometimes it feels like our area is barely progressing and other times it feels like it’s just rolling. We just gotta keep working hard!

I taught relief society yesterday cuz there wasn’t a teacher. Hard to do with no warning and not having even read the chapter in the manual but I pulled it together and hopefully it went okay.

We had a brown out Saturday night for a few hours so we had to cook and do studies by flash light haha. That was fun. But before we went home though we were out in the storm with Ruth and Rebecca (some young single adult girls) and that was super fun with the four of us in skirts and flats and walking in some pretty deep water and even muddy areas. Always new adventures.

We have a new, pretty interested investigator! A couple weeks ago we were asking for directions to a less active and so I started talking to this lady who owns a tindahan (just in case you forgot, it’s a small store). She said we could come visit her and so when we went back, she said that there was an older man that overheard us talking and that he said he wanted to listen to us. So we taught him on Sunday with Ruth and Rebecca and I think it went pretty good. He has lots of real intent to know and it seems like he’s researched a lot of other religions looking for the truth. He talks a lot so we can’t teach too much but I’m excited to start teaching him!

Maricar is doing alright. She said she is still reading but every time I ask her what she learned or anything specific about her reading she kind of changes the subject so I’m not sure if she really has been. She only went to church that first Sunday even though she’s promised to go the other Sundays. Ahh she needs to go to church! But she said she’s excited to get baptized and supposedly, she’s been following the word of wisdom and she was supposed to fast yesterday (although not sure if she did since she didn’t even go to church.) Anyways, gotta keep working with her.

Random but I get mosquito bites now!!! Ahhhh!!!! My whole life I have never gotten mosquito bites and even this whole time I’ve been here I haven’t gotten them. Well at least I’m pretty sure I do cuz they were little red dots that itched. Although they always go away by the time I’m home so at least they’re still not too bad. Still pretty lucky to be sour.

Well things are going great. I am so lucky and blessed to be a missionary. Because our Savior sacrificed for us, I’m sacrificing this short time for Him and for the people here in the Philippines. I know that Jesus Christ loves every one of us and I really do feel His love for me as I served and hopefully help others feel of His love.

Have a great week!

 

Sister Taylor