Happy New Year!

Best Filipino Christmas ever!!! So Christmas Eve, Sister Richmond and I had the great idea of handing our Christmas cards to everyone! We just printed a little business size card out with our picture, a Christmas scripture and the time our church and mormon.org. Then we handed out about 100 cards to just random people all over centro and told them Merry Christmas! Hopefully something good will come of it.

So Christmas, in the morning Sister Richmond Skyped and then in the afternoon we had our ward Christmas party! It was super fun. Just lots of performances and of course some food. Jenavie, Jessielou and Ronal all went with their kids. Yay! All of us missionaries did do the cup performance (Sister Richmond has a video which I’ll get from her someday) and we sang a few Christmas songs. We were all matching though so everyone look at how cute we were! Ha Sister Richmond has the pictures I think on her Skydrive. So after, we had the brilliant idea of doing a Christmas service project. So we told the elders we should all the clean the church so the members could go home. Well they were hungry so we made a deal that the sisters would cook and that they would clean. We ended up having a very nice Christmas meal, catered by us sisters! in the church parking lot haha.

Day after Christmas, SKYPE!!!! Sooooo good to talk to you guys! Love you guys! Definitely the highlight of the week. And the big news with that is…. SIDNEY IS ENGAGED!!!! Everyone, my little sister is getting married in May!!! How crazy is that!!! Oh my goodness I am so happy for her and her fiance, Cody. He proposed to her Christmas Eve… Awww. They’re super cute and I am so happy for them. (Yes I will miss the wedding but the deal is they can get married before I get back only if they take a million pictures for me to see. And take me to get yummy food when I get back… Right Sid & Cody? 😉 )

So random Christmas traditions in the Philippines… Firework type things are always going off! And it’s like 8 or 9 year old little boys always shooting them off with no parental supervision. The only thing is most of the time, there isn’t like lights or anything coming from the fireworks, it just is a loud pop or boom! So Sister Richmond and I this past week have felt like we’re in a war zone cuz it always sounds like gun shots or cannons are going off haha. Caroling is huge here! But they do it differently. Little kids mostly do it and they accept money afterwards haha. Sometimes though they all dress up and have matching dresses or something like that so they can get more money. Maybe I’ll try that in America 😉 Probably won’t make too much. So Christmas ‘time’ in the Philippines is actually Midnight. So we missed most of the celebrating because we were sleeping! But apparently that’s when the Christmas celebrating and eating is. Lots of Filipino spaghetti, pancit, rice is eaten though.

Funny story: We were yelling ‘tao po’ at the door of one of our less actives houses who happens to have like 4 geese outside just free. Well for some reason they were in a bad mood and one of them starting charging! So I’m not sure if Sister Richmond was just acting out of panic, but she decided to kind of use me as a shield! So the goose was charging me and I couldn’t move! Ha well I was blessed and was kept safe and got away some how but it was pretty funny.

Yesterday Sister Richmond and I were both asked to give talks right before sacrament meeting. First just Sister Richmond was asked and so I just went up on the stand to sit with her for support and help her quickly write a couple Tagalog words down for her talk, but then they asked me too since I was already up on the stand! Weird though cuz I felt like it was almost the best talk I’ve given since I’ve been here. I just talked about the Atonement, sacrament and things like that but I feel like it went well. I used Grandma Hansen’s analogy though of the 3 levels of Christmas. The first being just the level of presents, gifts, parties and things like that. Second is the birth of Jesus Christ and the Third is more about the actual life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Sorry Grandma if that isn’t totally right. I just kind of took the idea and meaning and talked about it:) ). But anyways that was fun. I actually almost enjoy talking in sacrament meeting now.

Well I think that might be about it! Not too much to report about investigators except for Jessilou and Ronal will be Manila for two weeks so that’s a bummer we won’t be able to see or teach them for a while. Jessilou did text us though and asked what time and where the churches were there so hopefully they went to church! She also said they brought their Book of Mormons so hopefully they’ll keep progressing even though we’re not teaching them. Jenavie is doing great! Just a few problems with her husband so please pray for her. She already has an amazing testimony. Expecting some real miracles this transfer! Which btw… We’re both not getting transferred! Wasn’t expecting to but such good news. Sister Richmond would be happy if we were companions the rest of my mission! Well I am so thankful for the birth, life and atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. Remember Him and try to come even closer to Him this new year 2014!

Love you all and be safe!

Sister Taylor

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Jaycee doing her Skype call to us for Christmas!

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Christmas gifts!

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Members leaving for Manila soon. Jaycee just looks so cute in this picture so I had to post it.

Merry Christmas!

Yay! Almost Christmas and it’s hot enough to sweat outside. That’s a first for me. It has gotten a little bit cold actually this week but definitely not enough for a winter coat! Yeah you can be jealous right now. But don’t forget I’ll be sweating buckets by March ;).

So! This week was so fun and so great but unfortunately not a whole ton of teaching because we went to Naga for two days! So Wednesday we rode the bus down pretty early to do some shopping and then go to the New Missionary Workshop (the third one I’ve been to now). That was pretty normal but it was fun being there with Sister Prakash and her companion cuz we were both just there two transfers ago. After that we went to SM (if you forgot since I haven’t been in Naga in a while, it’ the huge mall that was so luckily in my first area) to get Sister Richmond a bag and a few other things. Then we went out and worked with some sisters close to Naga. I worked with Sister Simbol! And… it was her very super last day of teaching as a missionary. So that was pretty neat to be able to go teach with my Nanay in the mission. We stayed that night at her apartment and then Thursday was the Christmas Mission Conference! That was the first and probably the last time for me where it’ll be the whole mission together. We actually watched a movie! Jonny Lingo which isn’t really a church movie but I think it was made by the church or something but it was still pretty fun. Then we had a talent show (I sang with all the other sisters in our zone), President and Sister Reeder talked to us and then pictures and then home. So fun! Oh but Sister Christensen, Sister Viola and Sister Simbol are now home! Ahhh going to miss them.

Friday and Saturday we were just busy trying to see as many people as we could because we didn’t have as many work days and then yesterday… was alright. Jenavie came again with her kids but Jessilou and Ronal weren’t able to make it. They’ve been facing so many trials lately so please pray for them because I love them so much and they are so amazing! This morning at 5:30, all of the missionaries in Tigaon practiced our performance for the Ward Christmas Party. Sister Richmond and I kind of put ourselves in charge and it should be sweet! We’ll make sure to get some videos so you can see it.

Well I wish I had some more stories to tell but we just didn’t have too much proselyting time. BUT Merry Christmas to everyone! Enjoy every moment. Be extra loving, giving, thankful and remember the reason for Christmas. It’s so neat being in a different country being able to celebrate Christmas but the message is still the same here. Christ lived a perfect life, suffered perfectly for our sins and He lives now as a perfect example for all of us. He is the Christ, our Redeemer and our Savior.

So excited to talk to you guys on Christmas!!! (Well your Christmas day.)

Sister Taylor

P.S. Send me letters and emails! I’m now at the point in my mission where people start forgetting about ya 😉 Just kidding mom you and the family are great but everyone else… send some letters!

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Batchmates! All together again…

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Alexa’s birthday!

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A few more pictures

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This is another picture of Balut…the delicacy that is a partially developed duck embryo that you eat the entire thing! Yummy! Jaycee tried this once…and then decided that once was enough. But other girls in her apartment did. 

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Jaycee and her companion did a handwriting text to compare…wow, look at how similar their handwriting is! That’s amazing!

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Here’s the investigators! Please pray for them to progress towards baptism!

 

They’re Getting Hitched

Alright well hopefully they will be! Well first of all we found out that Jessielou and Ronal aren’t married! Ha so we found that out on Tuesday and Jessielou just kept telling us how much she didn’t want to get married. Not even sure why but she is just super funny and just kept saying ayaw ko (which means I don’t want). Well… we taught her again with her husband on Saturday, and she for some reason just changed her mind and said that they wanted to. Also Ronal has said he wants to be baptized too! So hopefully!!! Sister Richmond and I will be planning a wedding soon! And soon after that, a baptism 🙂 Ronal has a few word of wisdom issues but hopefully that won’t be too much of a problem.

So for those of you that now read my blog and Sister Richmond’s blog, sorry if there are repeat stories! Her stories might sound funnier so maybe read her blog if you don’t laugh at my stories when I tell them. So one story from this week, we were riding a padyak (like we do almost everyday) and the driver we had, just thought it was the coolest thing to be driving us around. So like the whole way to the church, he kept yelling at everyone, “beautiful girls in my sidecar! I have beautiful girls in my sidecar!” Haha just a little bit more obvious than the almost daily, “oh wow, so beautiful” or all the comments we get as being two Americans.

Alright so definitely the best day this week was again Sunday. Phillip and Miles didn’t go again, but Jessielou and Jenavie and all of their kids went again! And it was so perfect because we randomly had the area president come visit our ward! He did such a good job and talked all about missionary work! He even had all six of us missionaries in the ward stand up and he kept emphasizing how we needed the ward’s help. Perfect! Well they announced at the beginning of sacrament meeting that in Goa, they were going to be playing the recording from the Christmas Devotional last week, later that night. Jessielou and Jenavie both wanted to go! So we walked to their house to ‘pick them up’ and Jessielou told us her husband wanted to go too. Psh! Yes please come! So we waited by the side of the road for Bishop to come pick us up and we went to Goa. (Sister Richmond has pictures that I don’t have so check her skydrive again!) Well we ended up being an hour early which we were kind of worried at first, but it actually was a really great time for our investigators to talk to some of the other missionaries and members. In fact, Jessielou must have felt super happy or something, because she seriously went on for like 10 minutes about how grateful she was for me and Sister Richmond and about how she wants to get married and baptized before we leave. She also talked about the church and just went on and on about how happy and grateful she was! It was almost funny how much she kept talking about it. We haven’t even taught her that much and we still have a good amount left to learn! Well Jenavie then started telling me how grateful she was too and that she was so happy we were here and how if we weren’t here, she wouldn’t have found the church and she wouldn’t be here or know us or anything. Yep, I’m supposed to be here!

Well during the devotional, Jessielou was seriously on the edge of her seat and they loved listening to the music and the speakers (even though they couldn’t understand too much) and they especially loved seeing the prophet. Well afterwards, I guess all the bishops and stake president had a meeting so we had to wait for bishop to drive us back in his jeepney. We (our investigators and all the Tigaon members that went) ended up waiting for 2 1/2 hours! We were late for curfew haha but president knew and the zone leaders were there. So again, could have been bad for the investigators but luckily the members talked to them lots and we played some games and it ended up not being too terrible. But that was the first time I’ve ever done planning outside, sitting on cement outside the church!

Totally have been blessed with some goldens! So please pray for them that any obstacles or whatever will be resolved so that they all will be able to be baptized! Loving Tigaon and our investigators and the missionary work! I know this Church is true and that it really can bless lives. Try extra hard to remember our Savior this week because this is the time that is all about Christ. He is the reason! Love everyone and send some letters when you get time!

Sister Taylor

P.S. sorry I’m not as cool as Sister Richmond and have a top 10 list haha. Probably too far into my mission to start that up 😉 Have a great week!

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A family had Jaycee and her companion over for FHE and dinner. They made such a nice dinner and they didn’t even know it was Jaycee’s birthday!

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Sister Taylor and Sister Richmond bought ice cream and brought to the dinner. They said that they usually only have ice cream once a year, so it was a real treat for everyone.

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This is Jaycee and her birthday cake for her 21st birthday. Okay, well Zingers that I mailed her from home. 

Best Birthday Present Ever…Miracles!!!

Yay! I’m officially 21. Wow so old. So even though I can’t really just take the day off (although it is P-day which is pretty nice!), Sister Richmond and I were seriously blessed with so many miracles yesterday and this whole week. Best birthday present I could ever get.

So sorry to bore you with some things that happened before yesterday but my actually past week was pretty good! Sister Richmond and I have been getting creative with the food. I’ve made homemade salsa, fajitas, chicken tacos and Sister Prakash showed us how to make home tortillas (but they call it roti in Fiji).

A huge bug almost killed Sister Richmond. Haha well not really but it was so funny because she had gone to bed early and I was just writing in my journal when this nasty gross bug flew in on the floor. Well I went in the kitchen to grab the spray and came back and it was gone! So the thought came to me, ‘if it goes on Sister Richmond, she will die!’ So I checked her, looked around and didn’t see it anywhere. So I sat back down to start writing in my journal again and had the thought to check her one more time and looked over and it was crawling on her shoulder going right towards her face!! So I started screaming at her to get up which was probably the worst way to wake up haha but I saved her and we got it killed.

Had exchanges and interviews with President this week! Seriously so fun to go out with Sister Horst. The first time we worked together, I was just finishing up training and she was finishing up her follow up. So it was so neat to go out and see how much we’ve learning and progressing in the language and just as missionaries. I think we both learned lots from each other. And at interviews I got my birthday Snickers bar! Yay chocolate!

Alright so about yesterday… Pretty much miracle Sunday. So we went early to the church for our meeting we never ended up having. So while we were waiting for church to start, I started practicing piano for the Primary Program later that day. Well in walked Miles and Phillip and her little daughter! They came to church!! So we took Miles to Relief Society and right then Bishop asked me to teach again. So another miracle, I can now teach pretty decently in another language with no minute warning! I’ve done it before lots but yesterday I just felt like it went really well and that the Spirit was there. Well while I was teaching, I saw Jessielou with her 2 kids coming to church! (From the Relief Society room you can see all the people walking up to the entrance doors of the church.) So Sister Richmond went to go greet her and welcome her. Well so I just kept teaching and then I saw our new investigator from this week, Jenavie and her 4 kids walking to the doors! Ahhhh!!!!! Plus we had like so many less actives come that haven’t come in a while. Anyways, we ended up having SEVEN investigators come to church! 3 of them are kids of members that were never baptized when they were 8, but still. Sister Richmond and I were just totally shocked. Phillip, Miles, Jessielou and Jenavie all came to church. Oh and a less active that hasn’t come since I’ve been here came and brought his friend to church.

Kay but it doesn’t stop there. So then the Primary Program was of course during sacrament meeting and I didn’t totally mess up! I still made mistakes but I think I ended up playing pretty decently. It was super cute cuz all the girls had pink headband things and the boys wore them as ties. And it was such a great Sunday to have investigators there with kids to see how the Gospel really does bless and help families.

I found out after church that Jenavie (we have only taught her one lesson which wasn’t too much) but she wants to be baptized but her husband is against it. So we’ll be working with her lots and I’m going to pray for a miracle so that he will at least be okay with her getting baptized. Well she wanted to go to church so bad that she walked with all four of her kids (including a baby).

Jessielou is amazing. Miracle with her really fast, during our lesson with her Saturday, she told us that after our visit with her on Tuesday, she prayed a lot that her son would get better because he had been sick for a day with a fever. She said that if they bought medicine for him, they wouldn’t have food. She also said that usually when her kids get a fever they are usually sick for a couple weeks. Well anyways after praying, he got better the next day! She said herself that it was a miracle and she said that she knows God won’t give her a trial that she can’t face. Even though I’m pretty sure she’s gone through more than I probably will in my whole life. Amazing. Well her husband has been reading the Book of Mormon with her but he had to ride his padyak on Sunday so he wasn’t able to go to church. We’ll work with getting him to go too though because they would be such an amazing family in the church!

Alright more miracles… So after church we had an appointment to teach one of our referrals. Well we ended up teaching her and another mother that wanted to listen to us. Again, so many trials in their lives but I think they really understood the benefit and importance of the Gospel. Right after that we taught an OYM that lived close and she didn’t commit to baptism but she said that she would be baptized if she was ready!

So I know numbers aren’t the most important thing but for me, all the numbers we reported last night showed a week of miracles and the progress of people that I love and care for. So we found 6 new investigators this week (standard of excellence is 3 and President wants us to find 5 a week), we taught 21 lessons (last week we taught 23 but still!), we had 7 investigators at church and 18 returning less actives at church and we have 9 progressing investigators! So even though we have been working HARD, this also means that we have to work even harder this week because we have to keep all of them progressing and we have to still contact lots of potential investigators. I’m pretty sure this has been one of the best weeks of my mission. Love missionary work so much and I’m actually getting better at doing it!

So yep I’m considering that my birthday present. Couldn’t be happier. I heard this a lot in the MTC that my mission would be some of the saddest and hardest times, but also the happiest times. I really felt that this week. It wasn’t perfect because we still had our trials and tests of faith, but Sister Richmond and I are working hard to exercise our faith, be diligent, patient through the hard times and obedient and in return Heavenly Father has been blessing us so much. There is no greater joy than this work and so I want everyone to make an extra effort to have a missionary moment this week. Share your testimony with just one person that needs to hear it. Even if that person is already a member. Those who are lost and those who still need to be found can benefit from your testimony. My testimony is centered on Jesus Christ, my Savior. I love Him and our Heavenly Father more than anything and I will continue to strive to be a dedicated missionary to please them.

Sorry my emails are so long but I hope you find some inspiration from the things I share and I hope you can find some of the joy I’ve found in missionary work. We are all missionaries! I love you and thanks for all the birthday wishes!

Sister Taylor

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Here are the investigators at church!

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Another investigator. And Jaycee and her companion bought these “grandma” dresses for about $3! They couldn’t pass up the bargain!

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What a beautiful country she is living in. 

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About to open her birthday gifts!

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Jaycee in her cute new outfit. Isn’t it nice to have a change since she has the same clothes day after day. And it looks like she is wearing her new earrings too!

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving

Yay! So Thanksgiving was this week. Well… there really is no Thanksgiving here but being two Americans, we decided to make a delicious chicken dinner. Alright, it definitely was not as good as any dinner you all got, but we ate chicken cooked almost American style and mashed potatoes with gravy! I’m not sure how it would compare to Mom’s gravy, but I was pretty proud of myself for being able to make gravy here that was decent. Sister Richmond and I loved it! The other sisters… thought it was alright and still ate rice haha. But that was the extent of our celebrating. 

But we did have a really great week! We taught more lessons that Sister Prakash and I ever taught together and we even lost part of our area this transfer. I’m not even sure how we did that because it seems like we still have a small teaching pool, but I guess we were just blessed with lots of teaching opportunities because we’ve been working hard and trying to be exactly obedient! It’s a blast with Sister Richmond though. I know she’s gonna be a great missionary. 

So some of our blessings in teaching this week: we got 5 referrals in one day this week! Some weeks we don’t even get any! Seriously just a blessing. We’ve still have to contact 3 I think cuz we got them late in the week but we’ll see where that goes. Then our Australian investigator, Phillip and his Filipina wife, Miles, invited us over to their one-year-old’s birthday party on Friday. Well we figured we might stop by and trying to use it as a finding activity. Well it was crazy! So much food and super loud karaoke, and even a little alcohol. So we were trying to just leave really fast when our drunk investigator, Phillip, started talking to us. Well he apologized for the party because he knew that two sister missionaries shouldn’t be in a situation like that and then he told us to not give up on him! He said that he knows we don’t just go to people’e houses to visit and that we’re trying to ‘convert people to our Mormonism.’ But he said that he didn’t want us to give up on him and that he wanted us to keep coming back! So even though he didn’t remember that conversation the next time we talked to him, we are not giving up on Phillip! Him and Miles could really use the Gospel in their lives. Well we also had the blessing of finding/teaching Jessielou! She has a sister who is a member and a couple weeks ago we talked to her but I forgot to write down her name and things. Well after getting punted a bunch, we decided to go try her and she was great! Missionaries had tried to teach her before but she never wanted to listen. So we went back the next day and she had read in the Book of Mormon, said that she felt really good when she read it and she committed to baptism! We’re supposed to start teaching her husband who is interested too next Saturday so I’m super excited about that family! Their kids are all little but that would be great if both of them got baptized.

Sister Richmond and I started running! Ahhh it is so good. We get up at 6 almost everyday to either run or do laundry. Hopefully I’ll be in somewhat good shape by the end of our transfer together. I’m playing piano for the Primary Program next Sunday. We had practice yesterday which was a little rough because I had to sight read a bunch of songs but hopefully I’ll get to practice a bit before next Sunday.

Anyways, I feel like I say a lot of the same things every week like, ‘I love being a missionary!’ or ‘another great week!’ and things like that… but it’s true! I have hard days and it definitely is not easy to be a missionary, but I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else right now and I am so glad that I have this opportunity to share what I know about our Savior and about this Gospel and God’s plan for all of us. I hope all of you really do have a great week and that you try even harder to know our Savior better this week because he suffered for you and for me and for all of us individually. Love you all!

 

Sister Taylor

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