Aki Number Three!

Saturday night we heard about transfers…. Sister Ril is getting transferred and I’m training AGAIN haha. This will be my third aki (child) in the mission! I still feel nervous even though I’m a lot more experienced and I’m not opening an area this time… but it should be good. I’m pretty excited though because I really do love training. But I figured that out of all of my 11 transfers in the field, 8 of them will be in training (2 for my own training and 6 for my children). And since the other 2 transfers have technically been in follow up training, so far I have never really experienced just being in a totally normal companionship (although this transfer was pretty much normal because Sister Ril is was great and I didn’t really feel like her follow up trainer). So I’ll most likely be here in Pamplona for the next 2 transfers and then my last transfer… Don’t know if I’ll stay or go to a new area so this could be my last area of my mission! (Total of 3 areas for my whole mission if that’s true haha).

 

So this week was GREAT!!! We had to drop some of our investigators which was kind of a bummer but we have some new great potentials that I’m excited to continue teaching. Allan finally went to church! He actually knew a lot of people and he kept telling us how happy he was. He answered in Sunday School Class that we need to repent and endure to the end haha. Then a few hours after church we visited him and he was so happy about church and he just went on and on about how much he liked it and how he’s going to go every week from now on. He is really preparing now for his baptism on April 19. So excited!

 

Yesterday though hearing Allan talk about how much he enjoyed church and things just made me realize how important church really is. My whole life I have gone pretty much every single Sunday except for being sick and one time at college when I slept in (Ryan probably remembers that haha). But I think a lot of times I haven’t realized how important it really is. Church every single Sunday, all three hours, is so key to enduring to the end. We need to renew our covenants every week with our Heavenly Father through partaking of the sacrament. Church also strengthens our faith as we hear other members testimonies and as we teach our selves. Relationships with other members are strengthened and hopefully our relationship with God is strengthened every week. I love going to church!

 

So other things this week… There are so many missionaries in this area! One time this week when we were riding a bus, there was a sister missionary from a different religion preaching on the bus! She had a speaker thing and everything! Weird to hear a different missionary teach. So much religious contention here and so lots of new people we’ve taught have talked about how what we’re sharing is good but that it’s just the same as everyone else. Well sadly, they are wrong! The message of the restored gospel is either true or not and anyone can know it’s true through reading the Book of Mormon. (Haha this whole email is sounding really Preach my Gospelish… but it’s true!) That is the most effective way to know if this really is the true Church of Jesus Christ. As we read the Book of Mormon with a true desire, the Holy Ghost will testify to us that it is the word of God. The Book of Mormon was written by ancient prophets who received direct revelation from our Heavenly Father. No other church has that proof. I have seen the power of the Book of Mormon on my mission as investigators have read to really find out for themselves. It is so true everyone!

 

So related to that, this week when we got to Nanay Erlinda’s she was reading her Book of Mormon! She just got new reading glasses so she was so excited to be able to read for herself instead of us reading for her. And after teaching a new investigator, Brother Ramon, he started reading right after we left! We teach him and Sister Maricris outside under this little hut thing so we saw him a few minutes later still reading as we walked by. Best thing when investigators read!

 

And another story about the Book of Mormon… So there are lots of fiestas here in the Philippines. They are always some sort of Catholic thing and there is always lots and lots of alcohol. Well Brother Allan told us this week that he just wants to avoid the fiesta altogether because even at his house he knows his friends will try to get him to drink. So he told us he just wants to take some food, bring his Book of Mormon and just read in the middle of a rice field until the fiesta is done haha. Not sure what he’ll actually do but we so proud of him for wanted to be obedient!

 

So Sunday morning we woke up to no power… which here means no water haha. Luckily they have a water pump outside the house so I really felt like a Filipino pumping my own water for my bucket shower haha for church.

 

Alright lots of random things as always. Sister Ril and I had a really good transfer and I’m excited to see who my new aki is! The other two sisters are staying together so only Sister Ril is leaving. Excited for SM this week!!! Hopefully I’ll have time to buy some Pizza Hut or something. I really eat rice for almost every meal here (although I usually have my own breakfast of bananas and peanut butter or something in the morning). Okay well everyone have a super great week! Love you!

 

Sister Taylor

 

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Crossing a bridge.

 

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Monday night laundry…always a party!

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Dinner under the stars…gotta love it when the power goes out.

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Okay…is this the strangest looking cat or what?!

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The beautiful church, only 4-5 years old.

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Alan went to church!!! New shirt & shoes! So happy he came!

 

 

ilovephilippines!

Yeahhh!!!! I LOVE the Philippines!!! I’m seriously in the best mission. The craziest weirdest funniest things happen here that are just the best. For example, yesterday we were just walking down the road and we saw a rat walking on a power line above our heads. You’ve never seen that in America right?! Also this week we were riding in a jeepney like normal and it almost crashed! So thanks for all your prayers cuz I’m being protected! It’s pretty amazing that accidents don’t happen all the time here though cuz like I mentioned when I first got here, the driving is nuts. I’m sure gonna miss that though cuz it’s always an adventure here.

So this week I hit my ONE YEAR MARK in the mission. Ahhh I’m getting old in the mish! Doesn’t always feel like that but wow time has gone fast. So this week was neat to think about the many things I’ve learned and the different ways I’ve been able to grow. I read a lot of my MTC notes from a year ago… Haha I had NO idea what my mission was going to be like or even what the Fillipines… Philipeans…. Philippines was. So yep I’ve learned lots of different culture things and yeah I can speak another language now, but it’s amazing how much my testimony of the gospel has been strengthened in just a year. I knew that I was doing the right thing and that my message was true before I left, but I don’t think I really understood that I would be sharing something that is of eternal worth. The gospel is more important than our jobs, schooling, what food we eat, what clothes we wear, if we have a lot of friends, if we have the newest cell phone…. whatever! We have so many things on this earth to enjoy and that make us happy. But I know that we can only find true and eternal happiness through the gospel. I know that because the people here that I teach, don’t have hardly anything of worldly worth. But the ones that have found the joy of gospel are so happy! So anyways… I know I’m not a great writer or anything haha sorry if these emails get boring at times, but just know that I love missionary work and I know that the things I am sharing are true!

Alright so back to email stuff… We had exchanges this week! Sister Barlow and I had fun getting to know each other better. She goes home the same time as me and she’s going back to BYU too! Haha we accidentally tracted in the wrong area though. People don’t really have maps here cuz there aren’t really streets here so sometimes the boundaries are sometimes confusing. “Doon sa amin at doon sa inyo” is how we have determined the boundaries here (over there is you and over there is ours haha).

But we have had some success with our tracting this week! (Yep doing more and more of that in this area..). So we’ve found lots of potentials which is exciting. Some that are not so great and some that are golden.

Not so great: Arnel. Haha so he is some big guy with tatoos that lives alone, seemed kind of nice but a little creepy. Well we went back when we had another sister with us so we could teach him. First lesson we extended the baptismal invitation and he answered in English, “I’ll be there, what time?” Haha so we invited him to come to church and he said he’d go but… we’re not too sure if he’s more interested in having sisters come visit or actually in the gospel so we gave him to the elders. He didn’t go to church so we’ll see if he’s really interested when the elders go back.

Golden: Jose and Josephine… So nice when we tracted into them cuz they let us in right away and gave us bananas. When we went back with some branch missionaries (they’re awesome! we almost always have a member working with us) Jose was home alone so we taught him and invited him to church. Well he and his mom, Josephine ended up coming! Ahh so excited! Good cuz Allan didn’t go to church… again :/. But we visited Allan last night and he’s doing great still and he invited two friends to come listen. Well next Sunday is either Sister Ril or my last Sunday so he promised to go haha. We’ll see!

Sister Ril and I worked extremely hard this week though! It’s amazing how many blessings come from obedience and diligence. But we taught 34 lessons this week which is a record for my mission! We did have splits when the sister training leaders came so we had 2 companionships working our area for a day but it still was a really great week. I think we’ll see a lot of growth in this area over the next few months. Pamplona zone I think is the fastest growing zone in the mission right now so exciting to be apart of everything here.

This morning we had another district meeting and went to the beach again! Whoo! Always fun. Alright well this is getting really long and I don’t have too much time today so that’s it this week! But everyone have a super wonderful great week and try to serve at least one person this week! Love you all!

Sister Taylor

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Family Home Evening

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It is so pretty here!

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Lunch after district meeting.

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Crazy bridge we had to cross!

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Hanging out at the beach for a disctrict activity.

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At least there’s always Brother Allan!

So some weeks on missions are just not too eventful. This week was one of those. But it was still a good week because I’m a missionary so of course it was a good week! I’m serving the Lord and helping others come closer to Christ! There were a few little harder days this week cuz it hasn’t felt like our investigators are progressing too much but that’s fine cuz I just kept telling myself ‘at least there’s always Brother Allan!’

Sooooo…. he didn’t go to church :/ Bummer! But he told us last night that he wants to buy shoes and have the right clothes before he goes. We told him he didn’t need to but I guess it’s a good thing because it shows that he knows it’s an important thing and he wants to be dressed the right way. But yes the progress on him is just that he is so ready to learn and accept the gospel! He asked us this week how much time we have for him each lesson because he noticed we don’t spend too much time just talking and talking haha (good when people ask you why you walk so fast or something like that. I just always tell them it’s because our message is so important and there’s so many people that need to hear about it!) Well anyways, he’s reading the Book of Mormon like crazy.. He looks for his answers there and he applies the things he learns to his life! He told us that he’s been more humble and patient since we started teaching him. So he has a baptismal date for April 12! If he goes to church this next Sunday.. So hopefully hopefully he’ll go!! He kept saying last night that maybe he would learn lots and things if he went to church.. uh yes! So now I am really sure that he’ll go next Sunday haha.

So our lesson with brother Allan last night though was really funny because we had planned to teach him Word of Wisdom to start preparing him for baptism and so that he knows that his choice to stop drinking is the right thing… But he also had tons of questions about repentance and the Atonement. So lesson three is the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Atonement, faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost and enduring to the end). So while he was talking and asking questions at the beginning, Sister Ril and I were sign languaging the whole time what we were going to teaching.. L3… no wait… WOW… No L3… Okay yeah yeah Lesson three! It was a really great lesson though just because he has so much faith and real intent.

We cleaned the church on Saturday with the Branch (about 5 members showed up) haha. So that was something this week…. Oh yeah so there are so many more missionaries here from other religions than my past areas! I think I saw maybe one other missionary in Naga and that was it, but here we see Jehovah Witnesses all over the place! Weird cuz we’re in the middle of no where. Well anyways.. awkward when your teaching a lesson and some Jehovah Saski’s (witness in Tagalog) come to that house and are standing outside the door…. Haha. After they left though our investigator (Annalisa) told us that she usually hides from them. So that’s good she doesn’t hide from us! Hopefully her and her husband keep listening!

Well yep that’s it this week. Sister Ril and I have been learning so much from each other. My Tagalog is still improving TONS but I’ve also learned lots from her about teaching. I know this work is the best thing I could be doing right now and I’m so thankful Heavenly Father gave this opportunity to me to serve Him and to teach the Gospel. I love reading my scriptures everyone! Do that everyday because everyday, we are either progressing or digressing . We need our spiritual food EVERYDAY so that we are progressing and becoming just a little bit better every single day of our lives. Being perfect is still a long ways away for me but I know that little by little and through the Atonement, I can one day be perfect after this life! So that’s our goal! We’re becoming perfect! Love you all!

Sister Taylor

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This is how a lot of the Fillipino’s cook. Be thankful for your ovens!

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All four Sister Missionaries in Jaycee’s apartment wanted to wear white, so three of the white shirts in this picture are Jaycee’s.

 

Golden Investigator Refers Golden Referrals!

Alright first of all… I am SOOO excited right now because Mikelle got into BYU!!!! Go Mikelle! So excited for BYU with my two sisters! Sidney is still busy planning the wedding so everyone get excited for that! Love you girls!

And I’m also just excited because it was a pretty great week! We worked pretty hard this week and huge big miracles haven’t been happening too much, but lots and tons of little ones have been and it’s amazing how many blessings and miracles happen in this work. During weekly planning this week, Sister Ril and I just realized how many investigators we now have! When I got here it really was like one 10 year old girl. Not tooooo many are progressing right now but there’s a lot of potential for all these people. It’s amazing how the Lord leads missionaries to people that are prepared.

Sometimes though some of the most rewarding times on a mission are when you can see how you’ve affected companions! Hopefully I’ve been able to help my companions a little bit and I’ve definitely learned lots from them. But this week Sister Ril told me that she’s so happy we’ve been exactly obedient and she really believes that that’s the reason we have so many investigators now. Mom, she loves the quote I still have hung up in my room, “Obedience brings blessings, exact obedience brings miracles.” True!

Random story: We’ve been teaching this older couple (60s) and when we teach the tatay (the brother) I almost start laughing every time! He really really loves to read which is great. But whenever we ask him to read a verse, he’ll read it and just keep going and going and going and going… And we’ll try to stop him but he’ll start just reading in his head. Haha yes we need to read the Book of Mormon but hopefully he’ll be better this week about listening to our teaching too. I invited him like 3 times to be baptized but I’m not sure if he really got what I was asking him because he was reading. Yay Tatay Domingo!

Moral family! Well… we hiked the mountains again (this time with a branch missionary brother because we were told we needed a guy to go with us). Well Brother Jose wasn’t toooo happy we came because he was embarrassed we caught him drinking. He told us he doesn’t think he can avoid the temptation and that he’ll loose all his friends if he stops drinking with them. Well he cooled down a bit to let us teach and he ended up committing to read the Book of Mormon. Sister Maritez read and she committed to baptism! We’re really trying though to focus a lot on Jose so he’ll be a good support for her and so that the whole family will be active! They didn’t go to church yesterday :/ Clarise and Tessa (the branch missionaries) are amazing though! They hiked up there before church to help them with all their kids and then they ended up telling them, “next time na lang” or just next time. So hopefully next week they really will go! But we really appreciate all the amazing work by Clarise and Tessa. We had a member working with us almost everyday this week!

We went tracting this week! Yes I’m a missionary.. I should probably be doing that a lot.. Well idk but just in all my areas we usually have a place to go and a back up for every hour of the day. I’ve hardly ever scheduled tracting time. There are lots of missionaries that do here but idk maybe it’s just how I do missionary work. Well this week we decided to go tracting close to the church so that if we found some investigators, they wouldn’t have a problem about not having money to get to church. We talked to some people and didn’t have too much success. So we started talking to these 3 guys and slowly two of them left until it was just John John. Well he wasn’t too interested too. When we finished talking to him though, he walked on this path back to where a bunch of houses were so we started following him. We weren’t really trying to follow him but he probably thought we were so creepy haha. Well he went one way and we went the other and we told him we weren’t trying to follow him. So we walked a few houses down and there was this lady outside with a baby. We started talking to her and she was nice and let us come in and teach her the first part of lesson one. Well during the lesson, she said, “oh, here comes my son! He’s the one that just got married.” So we turned around and it was John John! Haha so Sister Ril said, “Hello po Brother John John!” Hahaha soooo funny. Probably funnier if you were there but the nanay and John John started laughing too. Later though Sister Ril and I decided that we were like a scary nightmare that wouldn’t go away. Maybe he’ll take it as a sign though and listen to us next time;).

Interviews were this week! So fun to see Sister and President Reeder. And of course, we got a chocolate chip cookie! Those things taste 20 times better when you’re in the Philippines and you never get them. I also got some mail!!! So fun to get cards and letters so thank you everyone! But oh my goodness Sister Richmond is the BEST!!! I took a picture of it, but she made this cute book of remembrance thing and she bought me a garlic press!!! Haha so thoughtful! And she just emailed me and told me that Tigaon is booming! She’s working SO hard (33 lessons) and they have some investigators on track to be baptized!

Okay so our investigators here in Pamplona! Like I said, we don’t have too many progressing investigators… But we do have one golden! Brother Allan! I think I mentioned him last email but wow he is amazing! He still hasn’t gone to church but I’m almost sure he’ll go next week. Pray that he’ll go! He really wants to but sometimes it’s just hard to get them to go the first time. Well he told us yesterday that he used to drink once a week with his friends but that after our first lesson with him, he just decided to stop! We still haven’t taught him word of wisdom but he said that now he decided he’d rather read the Book of Mormon. Uhhh BEST choice! He also told us he wants to finish the Book of Mormon and that he just really wants to learn a lot. Well when we first got there last night, there was another guy there. Apparently Allan has been trying to get all of his friends to listen to us and so he got his friend, Ronnell to come listen:) He’s a father of 4 children, works except for on Sundays and he might come to church with Allan next week! That would be amazing, but you never know with church. Hopefully someday. Well anyways Allan is so on fire and he is referring really great people to teach! There is a huge need for priesthood in this area so this is an answer to prayers! We’re praying that things will keep moving forward:).

So yes such a great week! Can’t believe how fast the weeks go sometimes. I love being a missionary! I love being a white American who can speak Tagalog (and now a good amount of Bicol.. but I still nose bleed when someone speaks a lot of Bicol.. Shoot you guys don’t know nose bleed. Ask someone that’s been to the Philippines haha.) And I love this amazing Gospel of Jesus Christ. Heavenly Father has a plan for all of us and He will help us to be happy and prepare to return to Him if we do the things were supposed to… So everyone follow the commandments because I promise you, you’ll be truly happy no matter what hard things you experience. The gospel is about hope and I love being able to share that with some many people that need that here. Love you all too!!! Thanks to everyone who reads my ridiculously long emails. You’re the best!

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Gotta love chocolate chip cookies…the best ever!

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Yes! Mail!

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From Sister Richmond! I love her!!!

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From Jaycee’s mom: So I heard that if you put a picture of Jesus or Mary on the cards that the missionaries will have a better chance of getting their mail. So I printed one out and put it on the back. I guess the elders from the office notice something I did not…Jesus is not holding a lamb but a dinosaur! I am so embarassed. I guess all of the elders in the office took a picture of it because they thought it was so funny and thought I did it on purpose. 

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