a district Philippines North broadcast
Things here are pretty much back to normal, it's cool to see how fast Filipinos can bounce back from a storm and fix everything right up!  They're like little ants... haha.

We've gone back to working, teaching, being rejected, and preparing for baptisms this week and next week.  I love seeing an area start to progress, and this one is finally getting to that point too!  And just like all the other times my area finally starts to progress, I'm probably going to be transferred next week.

Even the Filipinos are going back to the normal.  We went to one of our investigators last night, and she had gone right back to her habit of picking the little rocks out of the rice before it gets cooked.  6 hours, a couple kilos of rice, and an old lady with a strange (but calming) habit.  It is definitely back to the normal here.  If that's really normal...

As for the exciting parts.  I've changed my favorite color to white.  I LOVE WHITE!  Maybe it's because I rarely see something actually that color here or maybe because white means clean (which I also rarely see) but, I really have just gained an odd obsession for white.  All the clothes I've bought the last month have been white and black.  Nothing catches my attention until I see that oh so classy combination of black and white.  I don't know if that's what's cool in America, if it's not, I'm making it cool.  WHITE.  
sister gonzales

And then, we were walking down a street with a little market on the side.  And a couple shirts caught my eye.  But they weren't white.  Or black.  Or white and black.  I just happened to see t-shirts with the giant faces of SPONGEBOB AND PATRICK.  Their big, smiling faces were printed onto t-shirts that just called the Taylor family name.  Maybe it was nostalgic or something that got me, but I bought them.  hehe:)

I wanted to send one to Nate, but unfortunately, he just doesn't fit in filipino clothes.  So I just kept them and put them in a little spot in my suitcase to save for when I come home:)  

I really need to stop buying things...

I got to go on exchanges too with the other sisters in our zone, and they ride bikes!  I don't know if that's a normal thing in the states, but here it's not.  Needless to say, I got to spend a day riding bikes in their area.  I forgot how to ride a bike for probably the first 5 minutes.  It was a little embarrassing.  But then we got going and rode through forests (of palm trees), pineapple farms, along a river, and fell in a couple giant puddles along the way:)  It was pouring rain the whole day and we came home soaking. wet.  And with the Biggest smiles ever.  
standing on a pile of dirt... and a pretty view)

Funny Story: We got a pet too this week, a giant spider the size of my hand that refused to leave from his web above our kitchen sink.  He stayed there all week, until Saturday when we woke up and he was gone.  Which I think is even more scary because he could Pop out anywhere now...  But he did leave the skin he shed (didn't know spiders did that?).  We put the skin (it looked just like the spider) on one of the sisters desk (we used a mop handle to move it there) to scare the sister when she got home:)  A good, good reaction followed:):)  But now we don't know what to do next with the spider skin, so it's in a container on our microwave.  YUM:)




the old nametag finally gave up the ghost.
The church name was worn off and they
told me I couldn't wear it anymore...
I realized that people keep asking me about how our investigators are doing, and I never really mention them.  I promise, they do exist.  And they all are pretty awesome. 

Not that we got to go visit them very much this week...

We had a couple typhoons hit our little side of the island this week, and they have the cutest names!  Glenda and Henry:)  I could definitely give my kids names like that.  The Weather Forecasting Center picks very classy typhoon names.

Monday night after our P-day, we started getting all sorts of texts from the mission about being safe, 72 hr. kits, and the whatnot.  Last typhoon season, no one made a very big deal about any of the storms or sent us texts about hiding under tables if anything gets really bad.  So, I was a little worried.  Tuesday, Glenda came and knocked out our electricity, water, and part of our roof.  There wasn't a lot of rain (but I guess that's all relative here...), but the winds came full force for the entire day and we found out that wind does a lot of damage.  I've lived without running water here, I've lived without electricity for even a couple days here, but this week was the first time we lost it all.  Haha 

The power actually just came back on on Saturday (just in time for church!) so we didn't have much work this week, especially at night.  The entire city was closed down too for a couple days, no one came outside and the clouds hung over us, staying a kind of deep greyish, greenish color.  
Sister Taylor and Sister Snow
The whole no water thing was a little harder, we aren't allowed to drink anything here but bottled water or filtered water from our apartment.  Also, the whole showering, toilet, doing laundry thing was kind of hard too haha.  The times that we did have water for a little bit, we filled up all the washing bins, buckets, and bowls we had.  And then the times we had no water, we left all those buckets outside to catch the rain.  Thankfully we had stocked up drinking water and didn't die of thirst this week.  

Sounds a little dramatic, right?:)

I 100% love all these storms that come, getting to experience all sorts of things like this that would never, ever happen in America. I get to just laugh at times that we're not sure if our apartment is going to make it or play cards in our apartment with candlelight, taking bets on when the power will come back.   

The days after the typhoons came were a little bit harder though.  Almost all we did was visit members and check up on them, their food supplies, and homes.  There wasn't any clean drinking water, and people were starting to get sick.  Most of the members we went to had lost part of their houses but weren't able to do anything yet to fix it.  My heart hurt so bad for them, I thought those things only happened in movies, things that I only saw in pictures.  It's just different to actually be a part of things like this.  It changes your life.  

one of our areas here in guagua
But typhoon or not, our investigators still came to church!  And the GARCIA FAMILY!!! Back to the whole 'talking about investigators,' we actually have people to teach right now!  I got here, and usually all we did all day was walk around letting people reject us.  But we found the people willing to let us in, and it includes a drunk man, a college student, and 2 entire families!  

Edgar: He's the drunk man that we found one day, about ready to pass out he was so drunk, all by himself on the side of the street.  But we taught him (although he was drunk half the time), he read the Book of Mormon, and is now a former drunk man. Every time we went to him, he would have been drinking and I was about ready to give up because all we were doing was teaching a brick wall.  Then we had a lesson with him about the Holy Ghost.  He said he wanted to finally change his life, we promised it would happen if he would be baptized, and then that Sunday was the first time he came to church (and there have been many more).

Garcia Family: I like to call them my miracle family.  They are the biggest, bestest miracle so far on my mission.  There are 10 of them.  They are the first families we've found and all of them are going to be baptized on August 9.  They had no problem accepting everything we taught them, the sons stopped doing drugs and drinking the week we taught them the word of wisdom.  Every lesson is a spiritual bomb with them.  When I get home, they will be the first family I tell you about.  Their stories could fill an entire book.  Their favorite part this week was when we gave them a hymn book so we could sing before we taught.

reunited with one of my children on the mission!
Clarence:  She is actually getting baptized this week!  She waited ever since she was in primary to be baptized and this month she finally turned 18!  I just got so lucky to be here and to be able to teach her.  The first lesson, the first thing she told us was that she knew the church was true before she met the missionaries.  WhaAT?  Her aunts and uncles are members but because her grandma wouldn't let here be baptized, she had to wait until now.  But it's finally going to happen!!!!

Those are the best of our investigators right now.  The other's stories aren't quite as awesome as that.  More times than usually, we end up dropping our investigators, the drop us, or they just won't do the things we ask them to do.  Most people here are stubborn, and their time isn't here yet.  But we've found the ones that are ready.  

Funny story: We had FHE with a recent convert and her son on Monday and watched Finding Faith in Christ.  I love a good ole' church movie, it always reminds me of when I was little and that's all that was allowed to watch on Sundays.  We get to the part of the movie when Jesus is carrying his cross, and then all the sudden I see Uncle Marshall in the background!  I couldn't control myself, and told them in the middle of the movie that that guy was my uncle.  They think I'm pretty famous now.  So, shout out to him this week:)

(the still very alive) SISTER TAYLOR



MONDAY: So just as an update on the whole ukulele thing, I printed out the pictures you sent of different kinds of ukuleles.  The guy who owns the computer shop was printing all my stuff out and asked me what I was going to do with pictures of ukuleles.  We had a cool conversation about how he played the guitar and that I could probably pick it up in just a couple months.  I thought he was a pretty cool guy.  And then earlier, we came back to email again, and he had brought his guitar.  As I sat down, he came and sat down in the chair next to me and serenaded me, with his guitar and in Tagalog.  Dude, trust totally broken.  

TUESDAY: We had a teaching appointment with a less active member.  We had to teach him outside because his wife won't let "the mormon missionaries" inside her house.  So there we were sitting on a mold covered, wooden bench, holding our umbrella so we won't get wet as we're teaching him.  There have been worse situations though.  
And then I hear this mumbling coming from their (now locked) door, and it gets louder and louder until I realized that his wife was praying the Catholic prayers while we were teaching. As in, candles, hail mary's, and some kind of bumping against the door.  Got to love the Catholics here:)

WEDNESDAY: I took a break of all the craziness happening (mind you, we are still only on Wednesday) and bought 5 bags of my favorite snack, Loaded.  It's too yummy to even try to explain.  But I tried sending it to you in the mail earlier...  And then I took a deep breath and geared up for what might happen on Thursday.

THURSDAY: We lost all power and water in our apartment.  We got home at night, and there was Nothing.  The best part, is we had no water to use to flush the toilets (there's no such thing as flushing, we use buckets to flush the toilet here).  Sister Larkin couldn't hold it anymore, and so we just found a dark, hidden spot with a bush outside our apartment.  We'll just say, it was her first time having to pee outside:)  

FRIDAY: My favorite part of the week is when we have the chance to teach Raymart, who was baptized two week ago.  His favorite hymn is the Star Spangled Banner.  It's become routine that every Friday at 2pm becomes a little bit more American for me and my companion.  He wanted to sing it as the opening hymn for his baptism but got shy last minute and decided not to.  Now we just sing it as the opening hymn every time we teach him.  Currently, he's making me memorize it on the piano.

SATURDAY: It was my day to cook breakfast.  I was making eggs in the wok and all the sudden I have a cute little maggot run across my foot.  A couple seconds later, another one wiggled onto my toe.  I look down to find a trail of them wiggling in from the back door, where we keep all the trash.  Just imagine in your minds me that morning, cooking eggs with one hand, leaving the stove every couple of minutes to try and wash the maggots out from our house and into the drain.  "...come on little maggots, just wiggle down the stupid drain!"

SUNDAY: I was talking to the cutest lady after church got out.  We were talking about something really interesting (I don't remember what it was, but I remember it was cool), and I was trying really hard to be a good listener.  But then I got distracted as her teeth started to move as she was talking.  And then the front part of her teeth started coming out!  But she just pushed it back in, and kept on talking like this was an everyday occurrence.  I smiled, and just tried to look at her eyes instead of her mouth.  Which is really hard, if you've ever experienced anything like that.  

I don't know why I managed to collect enough funny stories this week to last my whole mission, but to say the least, it's been quite the week.  

I got way nervous reading about all the things Nate is doing to get ready to leave to the MTC, it made me remember all too well what I felt that week right before I left to go on the greatest adventure so far in the life of Sister Taylor.  He will love the MTC, and probably grow a lot, and learn to do things on his own.  I want a copy of his sacrament talk, since I won't be able to be there.  And I need his addresses, I'm going to become the most awesome letter writing sister ever!