Last Set of Pictures from Pilar (before transfers)

last baptism before i left pilar
Rice Fields of Pilar

SO MANY LEFTOVERS from christmas
this is how we buy our meat) I cleaned that this morning haha

still missing the rice fields of pilar

two of our great investigators i'm missing right now


So, ya.  I got transferred.  

Transfers are the worst.  I never want to transfer again.

isn't it the cutest cat EEEVr!
(haha it's not dead I promise)
Okay, so it's not the end of the world.  But the Beatles song is so right, it was time to say all my goodbyes in Pilar and move on to meet another world of Filipinos in Mandama.  I was pretty sure I was transferring, 6 months in one area is about as long as missionaries can serve in one area but I didn't think about it until Tuesday night when we got the transfer text as we were walking home from my last appointment with the Barecante family.  I packed, wrote all my goodbyes, got a couple hours of sleep and then rode a bus about an hour to my new area.  Haha I still have P-day in the same city as before.

of course, they have a day to celebrate rice!!!
I never thought I would be homesick on my mission, but now all the stories I've had to deal with about homesick missionaries TOTALLY MAKE SENSE.  I am so homesick for Pilar.  It's so hard to leave your best friends, family, companion that I love, for everything that is entirely new and completely different.  And trust me, Mandama is about as different as it gets. 

I left Pilar, one of the smallest branches in the mission, an almost open area (and a super loud area close to a city), leaders that were so amazing, and hard headed people.  I left my first friends I made in the Philippines and all the problems I didn't want to deal with:)  

BUT Mandama rocks.  I'm slowly coming to love it too.  I'm in the middle of a small town that is completely silent, you walk EVERYWHERE for transportation, it's the only stake in the whole mission (THERE ARE SO MANY PEEEEOPLE), the members rock, every single person is so nice (which I am so not used to...) and I have to meet people for the first time again.  I'll let you know more about what it's like here when I figure it out for myself...

My new companion-Sister Villaviles
(on the right of me)
I'm training.  Again.  But my companion is the cutest.  And the quietest.  Just a couple random facts about her (she is filled with random facts):
  • SHe's from Cebu, a part that got hit by Yolanda.  She left for her mission the week after the storm.  She told me a couple stories about having to get through everything, but I think it's just really hard to describe.  
  • She's 5 ft. tall HA
  • like every other companion I've had, she hates pancakes and banana ketchup.  But I'm the only one who know's how to cook in our apartment.... The Filipinos don't know how to cook.  THat is so backwards.
  • good ole' transportation in the philippines
  • She had to get baptized twice, once when she was 8 and then again when she was 12 because they lost her membership record (is that awful that that's pretty normal here?!).  Does that count as double salvation?  
I always have the cool companions:)

Leaving Pilar and coming to my second area made me realize how hard Pilar was.  I thought is was normal to have people leave as you were talking to them and there being such thing as mean Filipinos.  Last week before I left, we had one of our investigators tell us she hated the mormon's, gave "the American foreigner" a stuffed animal as a "souvenir" with some candy, and excused us out the door. Here in Mandama we have it SO MUCH EASIER.  Everyone loves to talk and visit with the missionaries, people actually always come to church and are nice!  Meeting people is easy!  Mandama is just a happy place to be.  And probably once I get used to it all, I'll probably be really happy here too.  
one of our investigators taking
one of our presents
across the river

Right now, I just miss crossing the rivers, laughing about all the mean people, and working with all the youth, that were my friends.

Funny Story:  So the week before I left Pilar, I found out our bathroom door has a lock on the outside:)  You know I can't resist a good joke:):).  So I spent every morning locking my companion and roommates in the bathroom when they went to shower in the morning.  The best part is no matter how many time I locked them in, they didn't realize what was happening. HAHAaaa  it is soo funny to leave filipinos is a bathroom and listen to their reaction.  Thankfully my roommates took it all well too.

Reading this over, my email sounds like an end of the world, see you in the next life kind of email.  The mission still rocks, I still don't know if I'm going to come home after this is all over, and I've always got a smile:)

But all I have to say is transfer day better not happen again:)

First Transfer

Philippine Olongapo Mission
Km. 140 National Highway, Manga-Vaca
2209 Subic Zambales
15 January 2014                                                                       

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

Dear Brother and Sister Taylor,

I am very pleased to inform you that your daughter, Sister Sarah Rebecca Taylor, has been assigned to a new area. Her new area will be in Madama 2 Area, which belongs to the Mandama, Orani Zone and she will be serving with her companion, Sister Merian Huerte Villaviles, who is also an outstanding missionary. You can be assured that your daughter will be in good hands and will learn much from her companion. We express our confidence that the two of them will enjoy the companionship of each other and will support each other as they prayerfully strive to do the Lord’s work. We encourage you to be a part of her missionary effort by praying always for their success.

Orani is a wonderful place, the people are loving and kind, and you will also find the people to be hospitable and teachable. The members there are supportive with regards to missionary work and they are always excited to work with the Missionaries and involve themselves to the work.

We encourage you to write your daughter each week and please include encouraging news of family events, achievements, spiritual experiences and other matters which will bring joy and deeper commitment. We also encourage you to be a part of your daughter’s missionary service by writing to your daughter’s investigators and new converts, and express your love and your testimony of the Gospel.

Sister Taylor  is a great missionary.  She does what is expected of her as a full-time missionary.  You can be very pleased with your daughter. We thank you for raising a wonderful daughter and we appreciate the opportunity to work with her. We assure you that we will do all we can do to see that she will have a fulfilling mission. We love your missionary and want this mission to be the greatest experience for her and for your family.  May God bless you always.


PRBQ signature
Roberto Bayobo Querido
Philippines Olongapo Mission                                                                           
Mission President




hanging up the christmas
decorations you sent
making your fudge you sent
in the rice cooker on the stove
So last week when I said I was still busy partying, I meant that I was still working really really hard and not focusing on all the parties.....:)

Christmas here rocks.  New Year rocks too.  All the celebrating is pretty different, but none the less, it was definitely a party.  They party more on New Years (Christmas is just normal) and even though they don't really give gifts, they eat lots of food and throw lots of parties.  All the parties started about 2 weeks before Christmas.  
 We had a party in Subic Bay for our mission (which is a long, funny story in itself), and a party for the company of our branch president.  There was a Samson Christmas party and a Dejesus Christmas party.  Our branch Christmas party (on my birthday) was definitely one of the best.  We were in charge of games, wore matching basketball jerseys that we had made (pictures next week, my card reader is broken:/), and I SANG.  Well, we sang.  In Tagalog:).  
I STILL love christmas,
even in the PHILIPPINES

new year (the one on the end
is the district pres wife,
i love her haha)
Christmas Eve we came home at 6pm because all the people are drunk and won't listen to us:)  So we got to celebrate Christmas Eve with the Samson's.  Thanks to you, drunk, crazy people!  Then came the Christmas lunch appointments.  WOwww.  This was my planner that day.

8- Samson's breakfast appointment
12- What was supposed to be a missionary correlation meeting turned into eating and games instead
1:30- Eating at Emily Jimenez (that wasn't actually supposed to happen)
3:00- Hernandez family food appointment
4:00- Emily and Solidad food appointment
6:00- President Banzon food appointment
8- Samson's dinner appointment

Christmas Day
I took a picture of all the food the people sent home with us.  Some of it is still in the fridge.  Which might probably will just stay there until it goes bad and we can throw it away (which is an awful way to think...).  Every. single. food appointment had spaghetti, rice cakes, and purple yams.  Try eating that 5 times in a row (I still can't figure out why these people love those three things when there's a party).  Filipino spaghetti is sweet and has hot dogs and corned beef in it.  It was good the first time. When I come home, I probably definitely won't ask you mom to make spaghetti:)

We opened your Christmas presents for us that morning.  Thanks family:) You guys are the cutest.  Sister Peneranda was way excited too.  You know all that orbit gum you sent her?  She spent the first two days smelling it during personal study and then the third day put it in her closet as an air freshener.  She still hasn't eaten it because she's waiting for the smell to be permanent in her closet:)  Haha Filipinos.
our awesome jersey's
we had made for christmas

our christmas eve party
(the sisters in the next area over
got to come too)
Oh by the way, the music you sent for my birthday won't work because it's in the wrong format (it needs to be MP3) and it was still copyrighted.  When you send a package again, can you resend the music (it's probably best to send it on a flashdrive)?  Shaaaaanks!

Our New Year's was the same, lots of food, parties.  And then we all got sick with colds, coughs, and the flu.  Haha I would almost call it a missionary hangover.  

We're all still doing awesome.  Our area is still awesome, turns out looking for an apartment is A LOT harder than I thought it would be when apartments don't exsist in Alauli, so we're not sure if it going to become an open area, but pray that is does:)!

ALICEEEEEEEE!!!  You looked absolutely amazing for your baptism!  I can't believe you are sooo old now...  And Nate got to baptize you, how cute!  Being a missionary here made it different to realize my cute little sister is baptized now.

Christmas present from Josephine
 and her family
(also we pretty much spent Christmas

 at this bus/waiting stop)
Funny Story:  So one of our "stop by to say hello" appointments turned into a lunch appointment after she practically dragged us into her house to eat.  She wouldn't listen to our pleadings and begging for her not to feed us and is heeping spaghetti onto two giant plates as we are begging her not to.  Wahhhh, my poor stomach.  Sister Penaranda and I are just looking at each other, trying not to laugh and cry at the same time because there is no way we can eat again.  No way possible.  We panicked a little bit more when she brought out the sticky rice and purple yams and fruit coconut salad.  You don't say no to food in the Philippines and you eat everything they give you.  No question.  We start eating the spaghetti one noodle at a time as she watched us eat and then the minute she went back to the kitchen to get more food, we start frantically searching for a plastic bag, shove our spaghetti in the plastic bag and hide it in our missionary bag just as she comes back and sits down.  But we still pretend to chew because that's a lot of spaghetti to eat it the 5 minutes she was gone.  But I don't think she thought about that hehe.  

Love you!  Next week!  Good luck with school again!



Well, it's been a great month to remember, one that definitely goes in the Sister Taylor history books as one of the best Christmas's and best time so far on the mission.  I'm not quite done partying it up for Christmas and New Year's, so I'll fill you in on all that next week.  

Crossing the river with the youth that worked with us
 (kids of sister dejesus)
But I did get to CELEBRATE MY BIRTHDAY this week and we'll just say, Filipinos definitely know how to PARTY.  I work up at6:30 in the morning to a whole bunch of the branch members (the Dejesus family planned it all) outside our gate singing happy birthday (of course in the cute high pitched filipino way), holding a giant painted sign and a real live, CHOCOLATE cake.  ahhhhhhhh chocolate!  It was the cutest and most thoughtful way to start my birthday, even if I had just woken up and didn't realize understand what was happening at first:).  We then opened all my birthday presents from my package (THANK YOU) and decorated.  But it doesn't even stop there (I'm not kidding you, I picked the best day to be born).  After we spent a couple hours out teaching, we got to go our branch Christmas PARTY/birthday PARTY.  And here again I repeat, Filipinos know how to PARTY. 

My first week as a now semi-old missionary was spent looking for an apartment...  Ya, I didn't realize that that was one of the qualifications when you become a missionary, but apparently, it became one as soon as I decided I wanted to open an area.  President came down last week to Pilar for interviews and we talked forever about making Alauli an open area and then talked with the branch president about opening a branch, and even building a chapel.  It was my greatest dream come true.  They're going to make a NEW BRANCH here after we open Alauli for the new missionaries.  Now, here's the problem.  We have to find an apartment for them first.  And do you know how hard it is to find an open apartment for missionaries in the middle of the rice field?  SO HARD.  We're still in the looking process.  But all this stuff that I've talked about for months and months is actually going to happen!  ...as long as I don't get transferred... (cough cough president querido)

I bought a giant pan to cook
Filipino foods when i come home!!!!!!
Alauli is still the baby and pride and joy of my mission so far.  We've got a bunch of baptism's out there this month (hopefully).  My favorite and first investigator we found the very first time we went to Alauli was the Hernandez family.  Best miracle of my life finding them.  We accidentally walked in on the funeral of their baby one day when it was pouring rain outside.  We were walking down the main street of Alauli for the first time and there absolutely noooo people outside.  People here just sleep when it rains.  We stopped to buy some snacks from a tindahan and all the sudden this old guy runs out from the house behind and starts asking us what ward we're from, who's our bishop, where the chapel is in Pilar.  Long story short, he came to Pilar for a day for the funeral of his daughter in law (who turned out to be the Hernandez family) and is a bishop in the San Pablo misison.  He invited us to the funeral and introduced us to all 30 members of his family (where none of them are members) that were there for the funeral and lived in Alauli.  All of those people are progressing investigators now.  The Hernandez family will be baptized this month and we have gone through so much together.  Death of their kids, no work, their aunt disowning them because they were listening to the mormons, and finally gaining a testimony enough to choose to be baptized.  I love this family so much and love seeing what they are doing to be able to be baptized.  Also their kids are adooooooorable.

Yesterday I ended up talking in sacrament meeting (and was informed as the branch president was reading off the program from the pupit...), taught gospel doctrines class (try teaching the gathering of the 12 tribes of israel in the last days to a whole bunch of non member investigators....yaaa), and then lead music in the rest of the classes.  Being in a branch when no one comes to church rocks when your'e a missionary.

Funny story: We were at the church on Saturday waiting for our baptism to start and there was a cute little gecko running across the floor of the chapel (is it weird that that is so normal here?) and I wanted to catch it and take a picture for WIll and Ben.  So I'm running around our tiny little chapel chasing a gecko and got the brilliant idea to stop it with a hymnbook so it wouldn't run.  While I was running around (these geckos are way fast), I accidentally dropped the hymnbook right on the gecko's head and beheaded the poor little guy mid-run.  So just so you know Ben and Will, I tried really hard to get a picture of a gecko but all I got was gecko guts of my skirt and another funny story for the week:)

Amazed that the year is already over, sad to see it go but excited for the next one.  We had a week full of baptism's, meetings, and celebrating.  I'm definitely going out of 2013 and into 2014 with a bang.  Missionary style.