Safe Arrival


Philippines Olongapo Mission
Km. 140 National Highway, Mangan-Vaca
2209, Subic, Zambales

31 July 2013

Mr. and Mrs. Tim Jack Taylor
5101 Lucky Clover Ln
Murray, UT 84123
United States

 Dear Brother and Sister Taylor;

We were delighted with the safe arrival of your daughter, Sister Sarah Rebecca Taylor here in the Olongapo Mission. She is excited about her mission and enthusiastic about entering the Lord's service in this area.  She has had an orientation session and is now serving in her first assignment with her companion.

Sister Taylor has been assigned to Pillar 3 Area, Pillar District in the Orion Zone. Her companion is Sister Susanna Fa’amata Tanielu.  The enclosed map will help you to locate this area and enable you to follow each future transfer.

We urge you to write your daughter each week.  Please include encouraging news of family events and achievements, spiritual experiences and other matters which will bring joy and deeper commitment.  Family problems or other matters which she does not need to know can only bring worry or concern. In emergency cases or special situations you can send a letter to me and I will inform the missionary.

All mail should be sent to the address listed above.  Packages sent through the Postal Service should be sent to the same address. Pouch is available in the United States.  If you need address for pouch or how to do it, please contact me by email. Please do not use Fed Ex or any other mail service because it is expensive to receive the packages.  Be aware that packages sent containing foodstuffs will be attacked by rodents during shipping.  Pack accordingly.  Enclosing your package completely with tape is recommended.

This is a wonderful mission and your daughter is in for one of the greatest experiences of her life.  With your support and encouragement she will mature and progress beyond your expectations. She will develop a great love for her fellow missionaries as they strive to teach a better way of life, and the principles of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

We appreciate the opportunity to work with your daughter.  We assure you that we will do all we can do to see that she has a fulfilling mission.  Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you or your daughter.  We love your missionary and want this mission to be a great experience for your entire family.

May the Lord's blessings be with you.

Roberto Bayobo Querido
Philippines Olongapo Mission                                                    
Mission President


God Be With You Till We Meet Again...

Sarah's district a week before leaving the MTC.  
They got to sing this in Sacrament Meeting on July 28th.


Kumusta pamiliya mo,

This is it.  Goodbye America!  Next time you see me, I will be a full-fledged Filipino.  Hopefully I even forget my English:)  So quick highlights from the week:
  • I got to host the new missionaries on Wednesday, help them with their bags and take them all over the place as newbies.  And help them to not break down and want to go home.  There were not even close to as many sisters as there were elders that came.  There were only probably around 60 or so sisters out of 700 people, and our zone got no new sisters, just elders.  I wonder how the numbers will start changing at the MTC now that the excitement has died down over the age change.  Hopefully not by much.
  • On Wednesday, my kasama and I also got to do a teaching demonstration at night for all the new missionaries.  We had a fake investigator and sat on the stage and allllll the missionaries watched us and we taught the "how to begin teaching" lesson, and they were probably just waiting for us to make a mistake.  But ha joke'lang, they don't even know how to teach yet.  Even though there were so many people watching, it went really well and there were a lot of the new missionaries who told us that it helped them a lot.  I felt cool.
  • The two investigators we have been teaching while being here at the MTC both committed to be baptized!  That was probably the most fulfilling part of the week!  They were hard, but Heavenly Father helped us out.

And now for the spiritual, full-blown missionary part of my letter.   I feel like so much has happened since I became a missionary and learned how to be a good missionary.  I have to remind myself that it's only been 6 weeks and that there is still so much I have to do and learn.  Like the language.  But I figured it would be fun to put together a list of the most important lessons I've learned from being a missionary and from being here in the MTC. 

1. MY PURPOSE: The purpose of every missionary is "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them to receive the restored gospel..."  Every single part of that statement in PMG is so true and SO important.  I work to help Heavenly Father bring back His children and I am a missionary because He has called me to share His restored gospel.  Nothing else matter while I'm here unless I fulfill that purpose.  Everything I do while a missionary revolves around that statement.    I know that as I work towards that purpose, always revolving everything I do around it, everything else I need as a missionary will fall into place- obedience, charity, humility, etc. When my mission is hard, when there are things that don't go how I want them to, or as I look to how I can be my own best missionary, it comes down to this basic principle.   

2. DEDICATION: I will get out of my mission what I am willing to put into it.  I need to work in every aspect of my life to do the best I can at every moment.  Only after I show commitment and dedication to this work that Heavenly Father with do the rest.  He will help me learn Tagalog, he will put words into my mouth to say, and He will guide everything I do.  It is easy at the MTC to slack off and to only to the minimum because it is hard.  But being dedicated to this work qualifies me for His blessings.  I know that He can work miracles, especially in my life as a missionary.  But I know it starts with putting forth my part.

3. TURNING OUTWARD:  Okay, this Character of Christ thing gets its' own bullet point.  I have learned so much about how important it is to turn outward and look for opportunities to serve and help other people.  Turn outward in Christlike attributes when the natural man turns inward.  I have learned how important it is to find someone who needs a friends or help and how much joy serving others brings.  I am trying always to be selfless and forget myself in this work, because it is not about me.  I do not expect blessings from what I do, but I do it because I love Heavenly Father and I want to become more like Him.

4. LOVE:  Love my companion, love my fake investigators like real people, love my teachers, love all the people in the Philippines, there is just so much love that is involved with this work!  And the best way to learn love is though serving them

5. THE ROLE OF THE HOLY GHOST:  I could not do this if I did not have the Holy Ghost with me always.  Lessons we teach will not go well unless taught and guided by the Spirit, I can't speak Tagalog at all unless I have the Spirit, and I can't find true meaning in missionary work unless I can rely on the Holy Ghost.  I studied this cool little dude like it was my only thing to do.  It was so awesome to learn about how the Holy Ghost speaks and touches me and how powerful it can be in conversion- mine and the people we teach.  The Holy Ghost is awesome!!

6. HUMILITY: Like I always have said, this is not my work.  It will not be my success and it will not be my mission.  This is 100% Heavenly Father's work and His children, and His success.  I can't really do much on my own and I have to rely on what Heavenly Father wants.  And that's hard.  I want to be able to rely on my strength and my skills.  But I've realized I can't just do this by myself.  Alma 32:9-10 forever!

Funny story for the week:  Apparently I am really good at sleep talking.  Well, I guess I already knew that.  But now it is definitely a reality.  On Tuesday, my roommates woke up to me sleep talking in Tagalog and none of them could figure out what I was saying.  But it was full on sentences and apparently it was fast.  If only I could do that when I was awake too... because that would help a lot.  Ha and then on Wednesday, me and my kasama had a full conversation with each other while asleep.  Everyone was complaining the next day because we were talking so loud and they just thought that we had stayed up late talking.  Nope, because neither of us remembered anything.  Seriously, this whole thing might be a problem.

Well, farewell for another week.  As always, thank you thank you thank you for all the support and love I have at home and all over the place!  I am so grateful to have you!!




Flight Plans!

Leaving for the Philippines next Monday! 

MTC Pranks...

so all the sisters decided to put a prank on me tuesday night i think and so sis wagner sat in my bed- like shown below- and turned off all the lights so that when i came into the room and went to my bed, i almost peed my pants.  But the best part was the sis wagner and her companion sis souter were laughing so hard they actaully peed their pants:)


AHHHFHAS;KLJSDOIPUIOFSADNKL;XDLKSEHJKALSOIPUQRWE I only have a week left!!!!!!!!!!  So anyway, another week at the MTC.  My summery is as follows.

Our Clasroom-we are here 16 hours a day!
We started off Sunday with protesters outside the MTC on our way to the temple in the afternoon.  They were big, dirty guys holding big, white crosses who yelled scriptures about hell and damnation at us as we walked to the temple.  Interesting people for sure.  I thought it was funny that they would choose to protest against the missionaries, I waved to them on the way up.  They didn't like that.  Ya, definitely interesting.  That night I decided to cut my bangs, so really late, while talking to my companion I just cut them.  Usually I'm pretty good at it but I wasn't looking when I cut them and so they are super short now.  They look kind of funny now:) It's a good thing it doesn't matter what I look like...  I laughed for awhile about it, and it's become the district joke:)  Someone has to make the MTC interesting I guess:)

 Tuesday a couple of us took a 2 hour nap for gym time but we didn't realize it was 5pm and right before dinner so when we woke up it was pretty much time for bed again and we were not tired.  At all.  We all layed in bed that night for about an hour at the end of the day and decided that sleeping wasn't going to happen.  So we went outside our residence and played ninja all night and made bets about if we would get locked out if we stayed out really really late.  It was the most rebellious thing I've done since being a missionary, it was kind of pathetic because we thought we were so cool.  Dork alert.  But ninja was fun, and I won a couple times!  That day we also had choir and the devotional that we sang in.  It's super cool because the MTC here has started to record all the Tuesday devotionals and then send them to all the foreign MTC's to watch the next week.  So when we sang in the choir we were on the screen for a good 10 seconds!!!  And now the world will see it!!!  And me (jokelang)!!!!!  I bet if you look it up, you can watch it.  Elder Richard Hinckley spoke to us that night and we sang at the beginning.  Cool stuff, right?

My district and one of my teachers (white tag)
On Wednesday, our district all wears pink.  Pink ties, pink skirts, whatever.  Coolest idea ever.  Please tell me that someone gets that reference????!!!  I think we are genius:)  FUNNNNYYYYYY  Oh and guess who came to the MTC this Wednesday and is in our zone??!  Chris Rueben from swimming!!  I saw him in the classroom next to ours the first day, and I was like "whhhhaaaattt?  What are you doing here?!!"  I totally forgot he was going to the Philippines and it was so fun to see a familiar face and for him to be in our zone! 

AND TO THE BEST PART OF THE WEEK!!!!!  FLLLLLLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHT PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPLLLLLLLLLLLLLLAAAAAAANS!!!!!!!  I sent a picture of them, but I'll explain just for funnsies!  We got them Friday afternoon and there are about 15 people in our flight group.  We fly out Monday morning at 11am, and we'll be at the airport around 8am.  We get to take frontrunner up to Salt Lake too!   Oh and plan on me calling the home phone sometime around 8am!!!!!!!! I only have about 45 min and so you have to pick up the phone fast!  I only have time to call in Salt Lake too, so that's all.  So we fly from Salt Lake to SAN FRANCISCO and the TO JAPAN, TOKYO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I'm GOING TO JAPAN!!!!!!!!!!  We have about a 2 hour layover in Japan so I will definitely have some fun there!  And take lots of pictures!  And get something really awesome in Chinese for Nate!  Our flight to Tokyo is 16 hours and overnight, and then the next day we fly from Japan to Philippines, Manilla!!! We'll stay in the Manilla mission home overnight and then it's a bus over to Olongapo!  All of the girls are flying together, the elders in our district are flying to Portland but then we are all on the same flight from Japan to the Philippines.  I'm so excited to fly all together!  ;lksadlknfvZ<>XC vnASkljrwelhtj!!!!!!!!  It's definitely real now!  I'm for sure going half way around the world, and definitely am going to be speaking another language... that I realized this week that I actually don't know very well. 

My district and my other teacher (white tag)
This will be my last time in America.  My last real shower, my last chocolate ice cream, my last Tuesday night devotional with really awesome speakers, the last air conditioned room I will be in, last time teaching our investigators!  It's crazy for me to think about that.  i have been so grateful to have learned so much in the MTC and am forever grateful for the lifelong friends I've made, the amazing teachers I've been blessed with, and all the blessings that Heavenly Father gave me since being a missionary!  I get to email one more Saturday before leaving, and I would love letters from pamiliya mo to take with me on the plane!  They just have to be fun letters!  Love you all, so grateful for you too! 
Funny story for the week:  So your first day at the MTC, you all get to wear a bright orange sticker on your nametag telling everyone that you're new.  After my first day, I kept that sticker and put it on the back of my nametag to remember it:)  But then this Wednesday, I was realllllly bored and I put the orange sticker back on my nametag and pretended to be new again with my companion as my "host".  It was soooo funny because everyone would be welcoming me and I would forget that I was answering them back in Tagalog instead and they would all be so confused!  haha always spicing things up at the MTC
Naligayang Pasko!!!!!!!!!  <-------  that one is funny:)



So another week down!  This week we get our travel plans!!!!!!!  Say what?!  Ya, I'm excited.  BUT more on that when I actually have them and know that I'm really leaving.  At this point, I feel like my mission is the MTC.  The Philippines doesn't even seem like a really place.  Life in the MTC foreverrrrrrr...

Not much happnened this week.  I'm to the point where it's the same thing every day, going to bed at night just seems like a little nap before we start learning again, and I've done pretty much everyhing that's cool to do here.  But this place still rocks my sock (if I wore socks...).  The few fun, different, and non-learning related things that happened this week:  I found out our district is reaaaaaaally competitive.  We were playing language review games on teams, and pretty much if you didn't win, you are now shunned for life.  We take bragging rights to the extreme.  Of course my team won:)  Glad to know that my competitive side is still allowed here.  Now that I have officially tried everything to eat for meals, I now have granola for breakfast and lunch.  IT HAS CINNAMON ALMONDS!!!!  And that's about as exciting as life gets. And sometimes I have a couple ice cream bars to balance it all out:)  We are now the oldest district in our zone, and the next ones to leave.  All the people that came in after us seem really really little.  Actually out of 25 people, there are only 2 elders that are over 18.  So I guess they really are young.  I have to rememeber to be Christlike with them ususally.  I don't deal with immature people:)  Good thing I'm a missionary and have to, and want to a little more.

Here's a journal entry I wrote from this week.  "Sometimes the MTC will tear me down to my core, until pretty much all I know I have is my testimony.  That is when this becomes hard work.  But then, Heavenly Father uses that to His advantage to build me up to much more than I was before and so much more than I could have ever become on my own.  He is turning me into His missionary, preparing me to do His work, and I love knowing that He cares enough about me to take the time to teach me all of this."  When our investigators won't pray when we ask them to or when I can't for the life of me remember how to say anything in Tagalog, I remember that without the hard times, I wouldn't be able to know and understand the joys of missionary work.  Without tearing me down, He could not build me up.

Funny story for the week:  I started giving the elders in our district one of my princess stickers when they did something awesome.  For example, Elder Johnston ate 6 ice cream bars in 10 minutes after dinner.  Elder Ranada keeps fixing my lanyard that holds my card every time I break it.  Elder Thayne learns a new joke every day to tell the sisters.  They thought it was literally the coolest thing ever to have a princess sticker to put on the back of their tag.  I just thought it was hilarious that they would do this kind of stuff for a sticker. Now, all the elders in our zone beg me for a princess sticker for their nametag.  It's become that right of passage to let everyone know that they've done something super super cool:)  Something that I thought was a dumb way to make things fun has now turned into a zone-wide competition where all the elders see what they can do to get a sticker from me:)  There are elders that will take my food to the trash, elders that are always talking to me, elders that try and learn really awesome tricks (and usually fail), etc.  FOR A PRINCESS STICKER:)  I love it. 

Well, I apoligize that I don't have anything too witty or life-changing this week.  Maybe next week, but until then, I love you guys. Thanks so much for everything you do for me, and supporting me so much with this work! 

Piling ang Tama,


The Days I Feel Like a Real Missionary

My Favorite Sisters Ever-The Girls of Our District
Looking back at this week, there are so many times where I stop and think, "goodness, I am such a missionary."  It's kind of ridiculous, pathetic, and totally awesome at the same time:). 
  • I get hymns stuck in my head ALL day, my favorite is Count Your Blessings (SO ANNOYING)
  • watching 17 miracles in the gym for the fourth of July was THE BEST SUPRISE EVER and make my whole week.  I never say that about church movies.
  • I cry.
  • I cringe when people touch me.  I think it's just the automatic missionary response
  • I use my free time to memorize the first vision in Tagalog while on the bikes in the gym... 
  • I get all the missionary jokes now.  They're all true
  • Our whole district got freaked out when we saw a couple holding hands inside the MTC.  I didn't even know how to handle myself.  WHAT DO I DO WITH MY HANDS???!! 
Okay, well maybe I convinced you now that I will most likely come home as one of THOSE awkward missionaries.  I don't doubt that anymore...  NOOOOOOOO

Our Apartment at the MTC
So, this week.  Pretty much my mind was spiritually blown.  Just blown to pieces (another reason I'm a missionary is that now all I want to write home about is spiritual things I learned).  First, the beginning of the week I took a step back and kind of thought to myself, "What if this whole thing is a waste, what if I'm really not supposed to be on a mission, what if the prophet decides to tell everyone the church isn't true anymore..." And on and on.  It was pathetic and awful.  That night though I told Heavenly Father that I wasn't going to worry about any of that.  I was going to give 100% and have as much faith as I could because I do know that this what I should be doing.  And I know this church is true.  I promised Heavenly Father that I would trust him and always follow Him.  Then on Sunday, every single devotional, meeting, and talk was on relying on the Spirit, remembering to be converted daily, and true conversion.  I know Heavenly Father answered my prayers and erased any doubts I had.  My favorite was the RS devotional Sunday morning.  Sheri Dew spoke, NO BIG DEAL!!  She's my new hero, she's not married, the president of Deseret Book, on the US women's board, the list goes on and on.  She rocks my world.  So, she talked about true and daily conversion.  Some of my notes:
  • The Lord will not force you to learn.  You must authorize the Spirit to teach you.  You authorize teaching by doing the basics.  Pray, scriptures, and going to the temple
  • Questions are good as long as they are asked in an environment of faith
  • Conversion to the gospel requires immersion in the spirit, the words of the prophets (best done on a mission, greatest opportunity)
  • 4 things to learn while on a mission: Who you are (D&C 138; Abraham 3), understand who the Savior is and learn all spectrums of the atonement, learn how to recieve revelation, learn God's power and the keys of the priesthood
It seriously was the fastest, most complete answer to my prayers ever.  But I know that that answer came after faith, after committing to Heavenly Father.

First Day in the MTC with my Companion Sister Hess
Then every Sunday night, all the missionaries get to go pick a movie of past MTC devotionals to watch.  We went to Characters of Christ by David A. Bednar (which everyone said will change you lives), and it has completely changed my life.  If there is anything you do this week, watch that devotional.  DO IT!  Also, mom can you send me a copy of it????  Please please please?  Elder Bednar talks about how Christ always turned outward instead of inward, to help people instead of himself.  He says very bluntly, that this mission is not about us.  It is not about the letters we get each week, how we learn the language compared to everyone else, or how we feel every day.  This mission is not my mission.  I am just a servant of the Lord's, helping Him find His children and bring them back to Him.  The lessons we teach to our investigators are His lessons.  THIS IS HIS WORK.  When things are hard or we might have a situation to complain about, turn outward to help others.  When Jesus was suffering for the sins of the whole world, for every sin ever committed, the hardest thing a human has ever gone though, he came out to his apostles sleeping.  He was not angry, upset, maybe disappointed, but compassionate.  Not only did this happen 3 times, but the same night, he had His apostle betray Him.  After all of this, he turned outward.  He healed a guard's ear.  He prayed for the people mocking Him while He was on the cross, He took care of his mother right before He died.  It goes on and on.  I really can't explain how awesome this devotional is, please please read it.  And also send me a copy so I don't have to go every Sunday to hear it.

A little more detail about this week.  We got two investigators, Joseph and Mary Ann.  Joseph is just one of the those stubborn, hard investigators that I try to love.  Mary Ann is a mom whose husband works and is never home.  I love her like I love our family.  I want so badly for her to have the knowledge that I have about eternal familes.  I want her to understand that Heavenly Father loves her.  I think of you, mom, every time we teach her.  I am so excited to love the people of the Philippines (also because they'll actually be real investigators). 

Sister Hellewell and 
Sister Waldrom from my Letter
Two districts in our zone left on Monday for the Philippines.  Shout out to Sister Waldrom and Sister Hellewell.  They were the best friends, biggest allies, and greatest teachers to me while they were here.  I miss them and their disctricts so much.  The funny part is that Sis Waldrom and I had two classes at BYU togther but never really hung out outside of class but I guess Heavenly Father knew how good of friends we would be and gave us a second change here at the MTC.  Also Sister Hellewell is the most christlike person I have ever met.  The first night and for the next week until she left, she spent every night in our room talking to us, giving me advice, and sharing ridiculously awesome stories.  It's been hard this week without them.  It amazing who Heavenly Father puts in your life and how He knows what will help you the most.  Sister Hellewell and I are going to try to be in the same ward/building/apartment when we both get back (it's gettin serious in 'ere).  I miss them.  Also we have the best zone in the MTC.  Most of them are Tongan.  And really loud.  We rock dis MTC hard core.
Temple Day!

Funny story for the week:  Sister Hess and I were taking a nap on Wednesday.  The lights were out, we had just finished our lesson and were exhausted.  Five minutes into our nap, I sat up really quickly and alarmed.  "Sister Hess, we forgot to commit our investigor to read the Book of Mormon today!!!!"  Yep, I wake up from naps scared now because I forgot to ask MaryAnn to read the BoM for next time.  Intense missionary status achieved.

Oh and since I haven't done this yet (and it seems like the cliche thing to do), my testimony-

Alam ko po na totoo ng Ang Simbahan ni Jesucristo ng mga Banal sa mga Huling Araw.  Alam ko po na nagbayad-sala ang Jesucristo para sa amin at nagmamahal any Diyos at si Jesucristo ng amin.  Alam ko po na sobrang mahalaga ng Ang aklat ni Mormon.  May propeta ngayon sa Thomas S. Monson at alam ko po na gumagabay ang siya simbahan.

Mahal Kita!!!!!