Life in the Philippines!

Just kind of random stories this week. First of all, right after email last pday, we went to a ‘grocery’ store and they had a talk show or something playing in the background. I could tell they were talking about religion but I wasn’t listening too closely until I heard “Mormons” and “Joseph Smith.” Well some LDS guy talked about how we believe in a living prophet and how the church has been restored and things. He talked for probably about 3 minutes and then for like the next 15 minutes, there was another guy who was totally against the church just talking about how it was all wrong. He had scriptures from D&C and all sorts of stuff. It was kind of awkward cuz lots of workers were just standing around listening, looking at us and then realizing that we were Mormon missionaries haha. I took it as an opportunity though to invite them to listen to missionaries and invited some of them to church. Anyways later that day during my personal study I read in 2 Nephi 28:4-5 and Mormon 9:7-8. It talks about how they will teach with learning and deny the Holy Ghost. It was so obvious hearing that guy speak about how he thought that Mormons were wrong, that Satan is working so hard to stop the work from moving forward. It was also so obvious that the prophesies in the Book of Mormon are happening right now. It was a good testimony builder for me though because I have felt the power of the Holy Ghost testify to me that this church is the true and restored Church of Jesus Christ. I cannot deny the power of the Holy Ghost and I know that through that power, anyone can know and feel that this is all true. I know it is!

Prom was this week! Well at least at some schools. I never saw any girls in dresses but I saw some buklas (gay guys that dress up like girls. There are SO many here haha) doing makeup and then we could hear the music from the school close to our house. Didn’t know they had prom here!

Sister Ril and I taught district meeting and primary this week. We found out the night before about district meeting but we still were able to make handouts for all the missionaries ;). First district meeting I’ve been to with handouts haha.

Saturday night we had our branch missionary coordination meeting. President Cedron is seriously so involved in the work! Ahh so excited to have such a strong leader. Anyways after the meeting we were waiting for a jeepney for a while until one finally came but it was SO full. So only in this area have I seen jeepneys with stools so that people can have a place to sit in the middle/aisle so you can cram in more people. Well there was really no room but we needed to get home so Sister Ril and I shared a stool and Sister Viau (pronounced like meow but with a V… Sister Meow is her nickname) sat on my lap! Hard to explain over email and to people that haven’t been in a jeepney before but it was funny.

Investigators! So we thought we found our family this week! They live seriously in the forest. You have to hike about 20 minutes to their house in the forest and mountains but we’ll sacrifice anything to teach! So Sister Maritez was a referral and so Clarise went with us to show us where their house was. So her husband, Jose is actually a member! He’s been inactive for a long time now but he said he wants to try and come back to church! So we were really excited after our first lesson but then Saturday, we were on our way to his house for our second appointment and we saw him drinking with some friends. He canceled and said they weren’t sure if they were going to be able to come to church. So not sure what’s going to happen with them but we’ll keep working on them. They kept talking about the mountains though and how probably it’s so different for me climbing through mountains. Yes the mountains are different but hey I’m from Colorado! I know mountains.

Allen is a new investigator though who seems really interested to find out for himself. So we’re excited for him! Sad though cuz 4 years ago his wife left to go work abroad and then stopped communicating with him and their child and Allen doesn’t know if she’ll come back :/. Well he’s really liked what he’s heard so far about the church so hopefully he’ll find happiness through the gospel:)

Yep. That’s about it for this week. Missionary work is HARD! But it is so rewarding and I know that I’m making a difference. I know this gospel can bless lives! I hope more people will realize that as we talk to them this week. Hope everyone has a good week! Love you all!

Sister Taylor

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Here is a picture of some of the missionaries that helped do a service project this week. But she forgot to mention that in her email.

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Sister & President Cedron! Jaycee says that he is an amazing branch president and she is super excited to have someone so excited about missionary work like she is.

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This is the front of her house. A family lives downstairs and she and three other sisters live upstairs.

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Fresh coconut milk! (Better with sugar and ice!)

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These are definitely not like Colorado mountains! But still a hike!

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District handouts! “How long is your line in the water?” Read at the end of chapter 8 in Preach my Gospe to understand.

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Just on our way to email on pday! Definitely needed to email home this week. Sure helps to have my family support me.

Welcome to the Middle of NOWHERE!

Okay when I was transferred to Tigaon I thought it was the smallest tinest town. Well Tigaon had I think 5 decent sized grocery stores (probably about a tenth than a Walmart though haha). My new area, Pamplona, has ONE grocery store and no centro and yeah I’m pretty much just in the middle of nowhere. I remember before my mission looking at my mission on Google maps and all I could see was rice fields and I wondered if there were actually people there. Well there are lots of people… Just not cities or anything haha. Lots and lots of tindahans so I’ve already bought a good amount of food from the tindahans. They have a lot more than I realized. Sister Richmond taught me a lot about shopping so I’ve gotten better about finding stuff in unfamiliar places. I miss Target though ;).

Alright to back up though, my last night in Tigaon was good but of course sad. We did a family home evening and I said some last goodbyes. Then Tuesday we packed up and left for Naga! Oh funny though, on the bus there was this guy that had his ‘selfie’ camera on his phone and for like 5 minutes, he took pictures of me and Sister Richmond cuz we were sitting behind him. Haha he didn’t even turn around or do anything when we started waving back at him and taking pictures of him taking pictures of us. Funny. Anyways so we went to SM!!! Ate Pizza Hut, printed some pictures and bought a few things.

Then this transfer announcement was the biggest one yet! So many missionaries got transferred. So my new companion is Sister Ril! She’s from Manila, she’s 20 years old and she’s so fun! She has super really great Tagalog and so I’ve learned more Tagalog this week than probably the last two months haha. I miss Sister Richmond! But things are great with Sister Ril and I think we’ll have a great transfer together.

So my area is Pamplona B. The other two sisters that we live with and the Zone Leaders are in our branch. We just got a new branch president and he is AMAZING! He just moved here like a month ago and they immediately called him as the new president. Already the church attendance has improved and there are more people going to church here than in Tigaon 1st Ward! There seems to be a lot more solid members in this area and I’m really excited to get the work moving forward even more! There’s quite a few new recent converts in my area (all kids or teenagers) so this past week, we tried to focus on teaching their families and finding new investigators since we really don’t have any progressing. Lots to be done but Sister Ril and I teach well together and we’ve been trying to talk to everyone!

My district here is amazing! Wow there are some really hard working missionaries here which is exciting. I actually felt like I learned a lot during district meeting and everyone seems really supportive. And Elder Hodge is in my district! He was in my district in the MTC so that’s fun.

The new apartment… definitely different but I’m getting used to it. Kind of a bummer though cuz when the power goes out (pretty common everywhere here) the water goes too! So Thursday I think it was, we didn’t have power or water for pretty much the whole day. But I’ve been trying to look at the bright side and so a few great things about my new apartment; we have the best view! You can walk out on this roof area and enjoy the smoky fresh air haha. Also the water is way warmer here! My last apartment had FREEZING cold water so bucket showers were always fun. This one is actually more lukewarm. And the weather here seems almost a bit cooler cuz there’s always usually wind.

Valentine’s Day… Lots of people celebrate that here! People actually bought flowers and there were all kinds of parties and dances going on so fun!

So letters… If anyone has sent me a letter and I never replied or said anything about it, either I forgot and so sorry! Or it got lost… I know in the past I said something about sending me letters but now I’m afraid they’ll get lost! So just email!

Alright so it was a little longer week just cuz I had to adjust to so many new things but it was good! We’re working really hard and we’re really trying to focus on teaching families! This week my testimony of the Atonement was strengthened even more. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is for everyone and it is so powerful. I know that anything we face in life is possible to overcome if we rely on our Savior. And I know that even with all the hard things we face, we can still find so much peace and happiness through living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Clariss and Tessa are two young single adult sisters in the branch and they’re preparing to serve missions. They are both converts but they have such strong testimonies. They have been through so much but they are probably some of the happiest people I know. We can be so happy if we sacrifice just a little to follow the commandments of God. It is worth it! Everyone be strong! Be active! Be happy! Be faithful! Be loving! Be Christlike! I love you and am thankful for all the prayers and support that goes my way and for all the people I teach. Continue to pray for them! Have a great week everyone!

Sister Taylor

P. S. Addition to my email… I’m the follow up trainer for Sister Ril! Ha I forgot to mention that. So she’s batchmates with Sister Richmond even though they went to different MTCs. They both got here the same time. 

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Here is Sister Taylor and Sister Richmond…about to eat Balut! Jaycee has had it before but she and Sister Richmond promised they would have it together before they were transferred. Jaycee said it was even worse this time around. Balut=half developed duck embryo.

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All packed up and ready to go!

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One last goodbye, sniff, sniff. These two companions sure got along well, and I am sure they will be friends forever!

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Here is the picture of the guy taking their picutre! So funny that he never turned around. 

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Jaycee with her new companion Sister Ril who is from Maniila. 🙂

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Sister Jaycee Taylor in Pamplona!

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Pamplona District wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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These are the two sisters in her new branch that are preparing to serve missions.

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The new apartment…study area/desks.

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Jaycee is on the top bunk.

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She said that these stairs are not the same height/size and that they are very steep.

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Not so clean.

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Hanging out on the roof. This is one of the other sister missionaries in her apartment. There are four of them living here.

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A baptism of someone the sisters had been teaching.

Bye Bye Tigaon

I pretty much knew there was like 0 chance that I would stay with Sister Richmond or that I would stay in Tigaon… So I’m getting TRANSFERRED! (Sister Richmond and I have tried to feed ideas to President about us staying together haha but I guess he didn’t take it.) Only my second time being transferred so I’m kind of nervous just because I have NO idea what I’ll be doing or where (not training again.) Sister Prakash is getting transferred too and training again! She’s so great. I’ll have another apo then! (Grandchild).

So there isn’t too much to talk about this week. But I did have a great last week with Sister Richmond. We’ll miss each other lots! We worked super hard of course and we’re getting some more solid investigators.

Monday we had Family Home Evening with Jeanavie and her family. We tried to get her husband to participate but he only came for pictures and then left. We also have tried to teach him every single night this week but he seems to try to be gone when we come or likes excuses… Jeanavie wants him to be baptized so bad! We taught her a great lesson about temples and I gave her a picture of the Manila temple (thanks Mom!). She loved it and she just kept saying how she wants to go there. Jeanavie has so much faith and I really think she could get her family there! I am going to miss her sooooo much. She’s teared up almost every time I saw her this week and has just been saying how much she’s going to miss me. She’ll be okay! But we’ll forever try to keep in touch. Oh but anyways, for FHE we talked about letting your light shine and we gave all the kids glow sticks. They LOVED it. Mom you’re the best. After we left they were throwing them around running around the street.

Random gross story: We were teaching outside on this bench with a palm tree leaf roof type thing. Well we were right in the middle of teaching about the restoration and the Book of Mormon when I felt a drop on my hand. I looked up and didn’t see anything so I ignored it and kept teaching. Well then lots more drops came and Victoria started cracking up…. There are these little lizards that are everywhere here and it pooped on my hand and on the Book of Mormon I was holding! Ewww!

So my apartment here has had a pretty good amount of spiders. I know I’ve already taken pictures of them so you know how big they are and what they look like but Sister Richmond and I really got freaked out this week by one! So we woke up at 6 again to go running and I was in the bathroom when Sister Richmond started screaming! So I hurried and came out to find a spider on the ceiling crawling towards the bathroom door. Ahh! So I’ve gotten pretty good about just grabbing the spray and drowning them in it but since we have such high ceilings, we weren’t sure how to spray it. So we were trying to plan and strategize how we were going to kill it when it starting coming down from the ceiling! The other sisters were still asleep but we ran in our room (screaming of course), closed the door, and laid on the top bunk till the other sisters went out to make sure we were clear. We found it few hours later dead but it was so scary when it started doing its spider thing and came down!

When we were teaching Quintana this week, her grandma (she’s in her eighties which is really old for a Filipino) decided to come sit in. Well she is suuuuper Catholic but she wanted to listen which was fine. The only problem was she looooves to talk. She started talking so much. It was so funny though because she spoke in mixed Tagalog and English and every time she said “holy word” it sounded like “hollywood” haha. “Thank you for spreading the ‘hollywood.'” and “My daughter is also spreading the ‘hollywood.'” Haha.

So yesterday was my last Sunday in Tigaon. It was pretty good! I taught Relief Society again last minute but at least the President came so she conducted. Then me, Sister Prakash and Elder Lam Chaung are the ones being transferred so we all bore testimony one last time. I’ll miss Tigaon!

Alright! Lots of random stories this week. So tomorrow Sister Richmond and I head to Naga to get our new companions and then I’ll be going to my new area! No idea where! So exciting but also nervous! It’ll be fun though. Well I love you all! I love spreading the hollywood and I love being a missionary! Everybody! Work hard, play hard, pray hard! I know this Gospel is so true. 🙂

Sister Taylor

P.S. Happy Valentine’s Day!! The day of love! So everyone be especially loving and caring! ❤

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Sister Bolalin

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I hear there is a “story behind this” but Jaycee didn’t say what. I am super curious as to what they were doing! Goofy girls!

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Jeanavie and her husband. The two girls they are holding are their children. Pray that her husband will decide to join the church so they can go to the temple someday!

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Rizza Torres Bongat & Baby Rio.

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Love kids! (I think they love her too!!)

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The Tigaon Missionaries…

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A typical meal…and now Jaycee uses garlic salt to help season things.

Jeanavie Got Baptized!

Thank you for all your prayers but yes Jeanavie got baptized on Saturday and confirmed yesterday during sacrament meeting. Soooooo Happy!!! Kind of funny how things worked out because we had hardly anyone there from the ward and Sister Richmond and I ended up giving the two talks last minute on the spot… But! It still seemed to go okay. The few members that did show up signed our journal we got for her with all our testimonies and some pictures. Us 6 Tigaon missionaries sang for the musical number and Elder VJ (I can’t say or spell his name) baptized her. She was kind of sad that none of her friends or family ended up coming but hopefully we can get her more comfortable with the members of the ward and still try to teach others that live with her.

Besides that… we had a hard working week again even with being really busy with the baptism. We love working so hard! Sister Richmond and I have just been praying that President we see how hard working we can be and decide to keep us together for just another transfer! Ha almost impossible that that will happen but we can pray for it! 😉 No I’m excited for what ever is next but I sure will miss Sister Richmond. April 2015!

Umm… we got a new Relief Society president! She’s struggled a little bit with inactivity too but she seemed very excited yesterday and we’re hoping that will really help strengthen the sisters here. The past couple months, us sister missionaries have been the teachers for Relief Society haha.

This morning we had district activity and we went to the beach again! Whoo whoo! So fun. It was super hot and the water would have been so nice to swim in… but of course we didn’t. Coming back to the Philippines to visit some day!

So we still get yelled at and hollered at wherever we go but the other night we had seriously like 20 teenage boys cheering as we walked by! Yay missionary work! Don’t think they were necessarily cheering for what we are actually doing as missionaries, probably just because we’re two Amerikanas walking around the streets, but our message is important and I think everyone should cheer!

Alright well that’s about it… Thanks everyone for so much love and support! Hope you’re all remembering to count your blessings, say your prayers and read your scriptures. I love this Gospel so much! I love our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and I love being able to represent Him every day. I get to wear a missionary tag with His name every day and I think about Him and His sacrifice every day. Everyone BE HAPPY! Love you!

Sister Taylor

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Jeanavie at her baptism! We love her so much!

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Sisters in the gospel that love each other!

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The sisters in the Tigaon ward all have these fanny packs. I thought this picture was so funny. Jaycee wouldn’t ever been caught wearing this if she were at BYU haha.

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I love how tropical it looks in this picture!

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Matching shirts! Sister Richmond worked at Mitch’s Surf Shop in high school and before her mission.

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Our reward for a clean apartment…beach activity!

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Sister Taylor serving in the Philippines!