Happy Easter!

Had such a great week! Kay email time goes so fast but so much happened! But sorry in advance if the length of this email gets… well lengthy haha.

We had exchanges again this week. So fun! I was with Sister Barlow again. Since Sister Saua is so new here and so new in the mission, we had her go visit all of our investigators in one day and so Sister Barlow and I pretty much had a full day of tracting. Well we were able to contact a lot of our OYM (open your mouth) and then it was just lots of talking to new people and tracting. It was pretty good and we ended up getting in 5 lessons so hopefully when we go back we’ll have some new investigators. So funny though! We were riding the jeepney at this one spot in the highway where they’ve been doing construction on a bridge ever since I got here (Filipino construction is so funny… lots of guys in shorts and flip flops digging around with some shovels.) Anyways the traffic was SUPER backed up. Such a long line of cars both ways waiting to cross the temporary, one lane bridge. Well our jeepney driver wasn’t gonna have any of that so he just starts driving off the side of the road on the left side, sees that there isn’t room on that side so he crosses traffic and starts driving off the road on the right side. So he just passed the whole line of cars and cut in line at the front haha. Everyone loves cutting in line here. Anyways, so I got to go off roading in a jeepney! And just a repeat of last exchanges, the power was out again! Luckily it wasn’t hot this time though cuz we had no power the whole night, which means no electric fan the whole night…

So it is totally normal here to leave your front door wide open. Easy to tell if people are home or not just because their door is open. Just in this apartment we too usually open our door cuz it’s really hot inside so especially at night we have it open until we go to sleep. Always fun to see what new bugs will enter while we’re planning or studying. Anyways we have this cat that always tries to get inside our apartment. So the other night I was changing in our room and I hear this meow, turn around and the cat was just chillin inside our room! And then he wouldn’t get out! We’re exactly obedient but sometimes the no pets rule gets broken here in the Philippines.

Branch swimming activity! Us missionaries didn’t swim of course but it was super fun to just relax, talk to the members and eat lots of food! (Except I tried to not eat too much cuz I’m still doing some sort of diet thing.) Well I think at the activity there were 6 or 7 investigators that went between all of us missionaries. Allan went and said that he had a great time so it’s good that he’s making more friends and getting closer to the members.

The Assistants texted me randomly the other night and asked if I could design some sort of card for them that would be officially signed by the president with their picture and a scripture or something. Not really sure what it’s for but being able to design something… uh yes!!! So we’re still trying to figure out how I’m gonna be able to use a computer that has photoshop or some sort of design program but hopefully I’ll be able to help them out and design it for them. Miss my adobe programs!

Easter Sunday was so great! I got to wear my new Easter dress! And of course it was a really great day to remember my Savior and His sacrifice for me. I had a really great personal study as I read about Christ’s suffering, crucifixion and death and then His glorious resurrection. Then during sacrament meeting I was reminded of one of my favorite scriptures about the Atonement in D&C 19:15-18. His suffering was so much greater than any of us can even imagine. And all we have to do is follow Him and repent. The gospel is so simple! It just takes effort, faith and diligence and we can all become like the Savior and receive mercy so that we can return back to our Father in Heaven. Alright so I don’t have too much time for the good ol missionary talk but just know that I know Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and I am so deeply grateful for His sacrifice for me and for all of us.

Sister Saua and I worked so hard! 30 lessons even though we had a whole day spent at the branch swimming activity. Our goal: work even harder next week! But of course it’s not all about numbers so here’s some updates on investigators:

Allan: I know you probably get tired of hearing updates on him every week but I just am amazed every week at his pure desire to do better and to be better. His prayers are just so sincere and he wants to be completely ready for his baptism. Right now it’s set for May 3 so we’re really trying to work towards that. And we finally we able to teach his 2 youngest kids, Lance and Claire. (Yes Claire! I’m teaching a girl named Claire!) Oh but yesterday Allan asked for scriptures about baptism that would help him prepare and know what to do. Golden! So I gave him a pretty good list, including my favorite chapter about preparing for baptism, Mosiah 5.

Ramon: Committed to a baptismal date finally! I wasn’t there cuz it was during exchanges but he’s doing great. He didn’t go to church yesterday though so we’ve gotta work on getting him to go every week.

Gilbert: We only taught once! But even though we only taught once he still came to church, all alone even. Of course hopefully May will go again next week but he’s doing great and he said that he’s been reading in the Book of Mormon.

Ernesto and Virgie: New family! And they actually seem really interested. They have the two cutest little kids, Eric and Erika and they’re SOOO sweet. Yesterday was our second visit with both of them there and they read the Book of Mormon together as a couple! Then read even farther than we asked them to. Haha so funny cuz they asked me right when we got there if I was related to John Taylor, the third President of the church. “Uhh…. I wish but how do you know who John Taylor is?” Hah I guess they looked up ‘Taylor’ in the index of the Book of Mormon and his name is there.  Oh and Ernesto was wearing a BYU shirt! We took pictures at the end so you could see this cute family and see his shirt.

Maricon: Clarise’s Mom (she’s one of the two sisters in the branch preparing to serve a mission.) We’ve been teaching her just every once in a while since I first got here. Well these past few weeks we’ve really tried to focus on her and she’s slowly progressing! According to her teaching record, the first time the missionaries tried to teach her, well they didn’t teach because she didn’t want to listen. Well just this past week she now told us that she believes that the Book of Mormon is true, that the church is true and she pretty much said that she wants to be baptized. The problem is her husband works in Saudi and doesn’t get home till October 2015. She said that she doesn’t want to do it without him because she wants it to be her whole family. So we’ve trying to figure out how to solve that but she’s made lots of progress from where she started being so against the church.

Alright so I think I got everything in. I’ve actually had more typing time than I planned because I can’t get any of my email or onedrive stuff to work so sorry if I don’t respond to personal emails this week! I think we might have to search out a new computer shop next week. Well I love everyone! I love missionary so much, it really is just pure joy when you are able to help others come closer to Christ and gain stronger testimonies of Him. Have a great week everyone! Sorry I’ve been so terrible at shout outs in my emails for like my whole mission but shout out to Sidney! She just turned 19 this week!

Love ya!

Sister Taylor

(And sorry there aren’t any pictures to post since she was having such difficulty with her computer. 😦 )

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2 Hours! And Share the Love <3!

Alright so the big news this week besides all the great things I learned at General Conference and Zone Conference is… My email time has been cut permanently. Yeahhh I know that probably most missionaries only get one hour for email but I just think that I’ve been blessed to have 3 hours for most of my mission to keep my fan base happy back at home… Whoowhoo! Haha but President decided to cut out time down to 2 hours. Still more probably than most missionaries but still… One hour gone! That’s alright though cuz I’ve figured out some tricks to try to make my email time for efficient. Don’t except the best emails everyone though cuz I’m on a race for time now!

Okay so in order to make this faster, I’m gonna do my email a bit differently by just getting to the point so sorry if it seems spazy!

Investigators: Allen is still doing sooo great but… he decided on Saturday when he was interviewed that he needs more time to prepare. It was pretty much his choice but he told us last night that he just really wants to make sure he’s completely repented of past things so that he can feel totally ready for his baptism. So kind of a bummer he won’t be getting baptized on April 19 but! I would so much rather have him be ready than not. Baptism is a sacred ordinance and I’m so happy that he’s realized how important this is. We taught a really great lesson last night to him though as we tried to help him know how to repent and prepare. We read from one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon in Alma 36 and he just really seemed to understand what repentance is, how to do it and why it is important. I’ve learned a lot from teaching him. So even though he tells us how grateful he is all the time, I really am the one that is grateful for him! Such a golden investigator.

Ramon! Don’t know if I’ve told you about him but we’ve been teaching him and his neighbor, Maricris. Ramon is in his 50s, has one child that works away from home and his wife also works in a different town (but she came home for a month so we were able to teach her too last night! She’s pretty against it so far but people can change so let’s hope we can make a difference before she goes back to work!) So Ramon is pretty religious, likes to comment about how no one in this world seems to know God and he’s been slowing changing as we’ve taught him. Maricris too but she has trouble with her 1 year old son so she doesn’t want to go to church with him. Well Ramon promised he would go to church this week (as many of our investigators do) and he actually went! So perfect because what was this week at church?? Well it was a week delayed than all of you but we had General Conference this week! So Ramon and Allan both said that they really liked all the messages they heard. Perfect for them to actually hear from the living prophet that we testify of all the time.

Gilbert… haven’t been able to teach this week. But we have taught his daughter May who went to church with him last week and she’s great. For only being 15 she is pretty mature and she really wants to find out for herself if everything is true. She was telling me though what happened to her mother who passed away 2 years ago and I guess she had cancer. Her mother was sick almost ever since May can remember but her mom continued to work and even have kids! So when she passed away, she left Gilbert with 7 kids and the youngest being only a few months old… So sad, such a hard life. The oldest, just left to go find a job in Manila and then hopefully start providing more for them. He’s 17 years old. Anyways, I was so touched by her story I am determined to help them feel the power of the Atonement and see how the Gospel can bless their lives. Hopefully really hopefully we’ll be able to teach Gilbert this week. Still haven’t even taught him the Restoration.

Zone Conference. Amazing! Wow learned so much. It was all about receiving revelation and I know that the things I learned will help me throughout my whole life. President Reeder is an amazing teacher. We watched such a neat Mormon Message! With technology here a little behind the times, I hardly ever get to watch the new Mormon Messages. So we watched the one about Joseph Smith… Well it wasn’t about him but it was a girl who wanted to find out the truth and they used Joseph Smith’s words for it. Find it and watch it if you can! I was called to bear my testimony… did it in English so President and Sister Reeder could understand. Wow, love bearing my testimony! Then we also watched a CES Fireside by Tad R. Callister about the blueprint of Christ’s Church back when he was on the earth, is exactly the blueprint of His Church today, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Not sure when he spoke but that was really great too. I know that this really is Christ’s restored Church on the earth today! Oh and during the conference, President Reeder told us that every single mission in the Philippines is going up in baptisms. Of course they all should be because every mission has had an increase of missionaries! But he said they figured if there were more baptisms per companionship and only 4 missions have gone up in efficiency. Philippines Naga Mission is one of those missions! So not being prideful, humbly stating here that Philippines Naga Mission is the best in all the land! (Sounds really cheesy but that’s our mission saying haha.)

Sharing the love! So General Conference was AMAZING!!! Who’s with me?! Yay! So great. I know that the prophet’s can’t really be your favorite because he’s the prophet but President Monson’s talk was really one of my favorites. This isn’t quote for quote but he said how every day we are given opportunities to show love and to serve others. Every day! Do we look for those opportunities every day? We should! And then he said that blame opens wounds and forgiveness heals. And that every morning we should determine to respond in love. So simple but I feel like I can do better at sharing the love and forgiving others. So to everyone… If I’ve ever done anything or said anything to you that wasn’t Christlike, I’m sorry! And I’ll try to be better.

Okay and as far as the other talks go… I wrote down just a few highlights of what I liked… It ended up being a lot but I learned so much! Jeffrey R. Holland said, “Christlike love is the greatest need for this planet.” Neil L. Anderson talked about fighting Satan’s whirlwinds which actually makes us stronger. Henry B. Eyring said that when he accept calls to serve, it shows our faith… I accepted this call which was out of faith because I had no idea what I was getting myself into haha. He also said to let Christ be the leader of your family and all things will work out. (These are quotes or even all the main themes of their talk, just things I liked and wrote down.) Russell M. Nelson talked about religion being our tie to God. So we need to ask ourselves, who are we tied to? And we need to let our faith show. Claudio D. Zivic talked about piano! So I liked the comparison of how there comes a point in piano lessons, where you actually learn to love it and no one has to force you (Mom, I did end up getting to that point haha.) He said we need to get to that point in our conversion. Dieter F. Uchtdorf told us to be thankful IN our circumstances. No matter what we’re going through, we need to be thankful! M. Russell Ballard followed up on his commitment to all of us to invite someone to learn about the gospel before last Christmas… Always a great teacher when you follow up. And of course loved his talk cuz it was about missionary work! So I would love to start hearing about all the things you’ve learning in Preach My Gospel… Love that book! Gary E. Stephenson talked about how life is our 4 minute race. I also thought that worked well for my mission right now because it is such a short time, but I’ll the rest of my life to think about it, and well even the rest of eternity. My 4 minute race is now! David A. Bednar did a great job talking about how the Atonement is for everything and how Christ will make our burdens light. So even for those righteous followers of Christ, we can and need to use the power of the Atonement in our lives. L. Tom Perry taught about the Holy Ghost leading and guiding our lives. Lorence E. Corbridge pretty much lesson 1… The first lesson we teach as missionaries haha so that was neat to listen to. Michael John U. Teh talked about the Philippines! So of course I loved that… But it is so important that we lay our treasures in heaven, not here on earth because we won’t have our earthly possessions forever! And good story about the 70 year-old lady washing clothes… Sadly but that’s the life of many hear. It is so neat though that she found the gospel and even in her circumstances, she was still grateful for the many blessings of the temple and the gospel in her life.

Alright! So idk how I’ve typed so much… You probably now think I’m lying about my time cut short haha. So I really have to go look at pictures from my amazing fam and put my pictures up and respond to other emails and write President Reeder but there ya go for this week! Love the mission and love the gospel!

Sister Taylor

P.S. I got mail! A card from Grandma Sanford, another cute pouch from Sister Richmond haha, and a dress from Grandma Jefferies! SO cute. Thanks Grandma and Mom… great taste. Love you all!

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Here is the dress from Granda Jefferies! She is saving it to wear on Easter Sunday. 🙂

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Sister Rhea

Sprint to the Finish Line!

Sprint to the finish line! That’s my analogy for the rest of my mission. Soj ust like a long distance race, you start out and it’s usually kind of hard cuz you have to adjust and find your pace. Then you pace yourself, push through the middle and then as you get closer and closer to the end, you go faster and faster until you see the finish line and then you SPRINT! So I’m not quite yet at the finish line, but that is my moto so that my last few transfers and weeks will be my very hardest working weeks of my mission. Sprint!

So this week was good… super fast! We did a family home evening in the sister’s area and the elders went too. Then Tuesday we did a service project in their area which took a good amount of our time but that’s alright cuz we were able to help a less active out and it was super fun. Kind of hard to explain but here, people don’t have yards, they have areas of dirt with usually plants lining the outside. So the lady needed her ‘yard’ cleaned up so we swept the earth cuz it was covered in leaves and things and then we burned all of it. Love the different kinds of service projects here. Sweeping dirt and washing clothes by hand!

Alright so we didn’t do too much teaching this week but we did find some great potentials! We’re really focused on finding right now because a lot of our investigators are actually in other missionaries areas! The boundaries have never really been clear since I got here so finally I think we got the boundaries all figured out so hopefully we won’t go tracting in other areas anymore. I guess we were just trying to be charitable though and help the elders and sisters out ;). And for those of you who remember Jose and Josephine a couple weeks ago, they’re actually in the elders area so we won’t be teaching them anymore :/.

Brother Allan is still doing great (luckily he really lived in our area) and right on track to be baptized April 19! He said yesterday he feels lucky to have met us because his life it changed. He said that he really likes how it seems like we never forget God. Before he wouldn’t really think about God or religion but now, we teach him about 3 times a week, he goes to church, and he said that sometimes if he feels like he’s forgotten a bit about God then he’ll like see us walking by or riding on a jeepney or something haha. So he’s the best!

 Time is so important on a mission. This week there was one night where it was a questionable time where we could just go home or we could try to teach one more lesson close to our house since there probably weren’t that many more jeepneys that night. So of course we decided to go out and teach! It was our third visit to this family and our first visit, a family member, Gilbert was there who listened too. Well we haven’t been able to go to Gilbert’s house yet because we haven’t had a sister work with us in that area and his wife past away two years ago so there aren’t any other women except for his kids. Well this third visit, he was there again and he seemed more interested than the others. So of course we invited him to church and so on our way to church yesterday, he was on that jeepney with two of his kids, headed to church! So even though we’ve only taught him twice, he seems really golden. He knows a ton about the bible and religion so hopefully he’ll soon realize that this is the restored church.

More fiestas this week! So especially in this area, Catholic fiestas are the thing! Party party! Not the best though for missionary work. People are always busy and drunk. But we did get fed twice though on Saturday. Speaking of Saturday… that was supposed to be the General Women’s Broadcast. I was SOO excited for it all week. Well I guess you can never expect things to go smoothly here in the Philippines haha. So we got there and it looked like it was all set up. At 1 the sound started but there wasn’t any video! And even though it wasn’t live, it still was a live feed to the church satellite and so we couldn’t like pause it till we fixed the problem. Well I have more computer knowledge than probably most Filipinos so me, another American sister, a couple members and President Cedron tried to get the video to work for like 30 minutes. Still couldn’t get it to work so we just decided to listen and try to get as much out of it as we could. So the video that you talked about, Mom, we only listened to it! So if I get time today I’m gonna try to go and watch at least the video from the broadcast. I hoping and praying that we won’t have problems this weekend as we watch conference!

Okay… That’s about it this week! I know Thomas S. Monson is the true prophet on the earth today and that he has been called of God. Hopefully all of you learned lots and enjoyed conference. Try to apply those things that you learned to your life! Love conference! So excited for this weekend! Love you all!

Sister Taylor

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A dance put on by one of the branches in the district. 

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Beautiful Philippines!

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Service project!

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Here is here motto for the rest of her mission…Sprint to the finish line!

5 Star Hotel!

Ahh email isn’t working too well and I have so much to email so hopefully  I’ll have time to get this all in. Alright so yes this week was amazing! Of course going to Naga is always a highlight but it was just a good week. So Tuesday morning Sister Ril and I left on a bus for Naga (stood the whole time cuz there weren’t seats haha). We went to SM! I ate McDonald’s and Sister Ril got rice somewhere (can’t live without the rice). Then we went to the church for transfer announcements! I think it was the biggest transfer so far because over half of the mission was there so that was fun to see a lot of other missionaries. Sister Ril got transferred to Naga! I’m sure she’s been enjoying the city life since she came from the middle of absolutely no where (yep that’s my area! Haha love it though).

Some exciting things at transfers… I saw Francis! Ahhh! I haven’t seen him since I left Naga in August and he is just doing amazing. Wow so solid. That’s always rewarding. And then Tigaon was made into its own zone! Tigaon Zone! I think there’s even more missionaries there now and yep the work is just moving forward!

So then I was put with two other sisters were are also training and we worked together the rest of Tuesday and then went to the mission home together on Wednesday. We stayed the night in the Naga sister’s apartment (a new apartment) and it was SO nice! I felt like I was staying in a 5 star hotel! Haha. Anyways so Sister Rosenburg was one of the sisters in our temporary companionship and it was SOOO fun to get to know her. Partly because she reminded me a ton of Haley! She’s from Australia though so she was like an Australian version of Haley.

Anyways, she has been through so many incredible difficult things. I won’t go into too many details, but her dad got cancer when she was 11, her parents got divorced pretty soon after that, her mom left her and her siblings (she’s the youngest) when she was 14 and she’s been supporting herself (as in paying for everything!) since she was 11 years old. Life is hard here but Australia is pretty similar to America and idk it just sounds like she has been through SO much. So she met the missionaries I think when she was around 16 and she didn’t really like what they had to share haha. One of the first sisters that taught her, was about to drop her as an investigator but then she finished her mission and new sisters started teaching her. Well anyways, some amazing things happened where she gave everything a chance. She decided to find out for herself and see if God really did love her even though she had been given such a hard life. Well she felt His love, felt the power of the Atonement and joined the church. Incredible. Well even more incredible is after she decided to serve a mission, one time going to the Provo Temple while training at the MTC, and she saw that sister that almost dropped her and left before she saw her start progressing! The sister missionary started to just cry when she saw her. Can you imagine seeing an investigator that you taught, almost dropped, didn’t hear anything after that and then saw them in the temple! And they were from a different country! I told Sister Rosenburg she needs an ‘I’m a Mormon’ video made about her. So anyways, I’ve learned so much from my mission but sometimes it’s even been from other missionaries and their examples.

So even though it was my third time doing the trainers training, I still learned things! It was the third time I’ve watched one of the talks that Elder Holland gave to missionaries at the MTC in 2011 but I still felt inspired to do an even better job. One thing that stood out to me was the question that Christ asked Peter after Christ’s death and resurrection. He asked him, “Do you love me?” I think we all need to ask ourselves that. Do we love Christ? Do we love Him enough to give anything for Him? Do we serve Him? Do we try to be like Him? If we do, then we need to act. We need to follow Him forever. In Christ’s Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we do not just follow Him by being baptized and then we are done. We promise to follow Him forever. So I know that even after my mission, I will still stand as a witness of Jesus Christ, I will serve Him and I will follow him forever, to the end. This Gospel is true and it is the only way to true happiness, peace and joy in our lives. I also loved what President Reeder said to all of us trainers and trainees. He said that there are 3 things that make a good missionary, a great missionary. First, we need to love God with all our heart, might, mind and strength. Kind of what I liked from Elder Holland’s talk. Then we need to be exactly obedient. He said that sometimes missionaries think that we cannot be exactly obedient. He said to get that out of our minds and just do it. And the third thing was we need to work hard and be diligent. So I have really tried my whole mission to be obedient and hard working but it was good to be motivated to do an even better job. I’m still trying to become that great missionary!

So my new companion! Sister Saua! She’s from Samoa… sweet! So I’m training foreigner number three haha. I forgot how much work training is in the beginning! But it’s been good. She has a great attitude and she’s always happy. And she hasn’t had any problem adjusting at all… Haha guess it’s just us Americans. She’s even taught me a little bit of Samoan and Tongan. Haha SO funny. I’m afraid to say please and thank you in Tongan… Look it up for those of you who have Google access and you’ll see what I mean.

So… Hopefully I’m doing an even better job training this time but one thing I haven’t been good at so far is feeding my aki! So we didn’t go buy food when she got here because, well, there just isn’t any place to! Plus we didn’t have too much money haha. But luckily we actually got fed a few times! Saturday we got little muffin things in the morning, got fed lunch and then got fed a snack of this sweet sticky rice stuff (my favorite called sinoman in Bicol) and juice. But on Sunday we really didn’t have food so we had to break out the 72-hour kit haha. Lots of canned tuna and canned corn beef in this area though. Haha doesn’t that sound good mom! Filipinos just don’t understand what food is like in America. Had another Filipino say to me this week that Americans just eat bread. Not true! Oh well. I’m just really looking forward to food in a few months.

I almost got kidnapped this week! Haha well not reeeeally… I’m safe and fine but it was just kind of weird. So all four of us sisters were waiting for either a jeepney or tricey and after a while a tricey finally came. So the guy pulled over, I was the first to get in and usually the drivers wait for everyone to get in. Well after I got in, he just took off! Haha so I started telling him that all of us were riding so he slowed down a bit, but then started again! I was really thinking about just jumping out because I wasn’t going without my companion but then I guess all the screaming sisters behind us and the guys watching from across the street made him finally stop. He said sorry and said he was just confused but… I’m not sure exactly what he was thinking haha. I’m safe though and fine so don’t worry!

I got two cards from my wonderful Mother this week! And a package from Grandma Jefferies! Thank you so much! Sorry I’m not very good about the shout outs in the emails but maybe you’ll feel extra special this week cuz I actually put that in this week. Such a long email! So if you’ve made it this far, then you are my true friend! Haha love you all. Hope you have another wonderful week and make sure to count your blessings, say your prayers, read your scriptures and go to church!

Sister Taylor

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The “5 star hotel” AKA the nicest apartment she has gotten to sleep in, sadly for just a short time.

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They even had a washing machine that they are trying out to see if they should get these for the sisters or not. But if they do, by then Jaycee will probably already be home. She spends a lot of time each week washing all of her clothes by hand.

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Sister Taylor’s new companion, Sister Saua from Samoa. Training once again!

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Sister Saua loving being able to teach in the Philippines!

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Package from Grandma Jefferies! Yahoo, Cadbury eggs are the best! Thanks Grandma!