Friday, January 2, 2015

29 Dec 2014 - "Be hopeful, Walk in Christ's Light"

Happy New Year! Happy New Beginnings! 

Kamusta? Como estas? How are you?  We had a wonderful week. I enjoyed talking to my family on Christmas eve (Philippine time). I so miss my family and I was happy to see them on skype! I'm grateful for the technology! :) 

I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas with their families and loved ones! December has been a very good month for us missionaries since most people we talked to were just very receptive to the Spirit. We have also seen some progress in reactivating some less actives. Some of them started returning to Church again after many years of absence. 

Our companionship is going pretty good. I think one of the strengths we have as companions last week was to be able to study well before our appointments. And also I'm still learning the culture here so my companion is helping me with that too.

Yesterday, I had an opportunity with my companion to speak in the sacrament meeting for the 15th ward. I talked about the "importance of hope in the wicked world." When we got a text from our bishop asking us to speak, I already thought of "hope" as my topic and surprisingly he gave that as one of the choices. So I would like to share some of the highlights that I shared in our sacrament meeting yesterday. 

For me, Hope is easy to define in our everyday language but it's hard to understand and apply its principles especially in this world where wickedness and darkness exist. I love how hope is defined in "True to the Faith." It is defined as "sure, unwavering and active." The Hope that everyone must have is this HOPE in the LIGHT OF CHRIST.

 In my talk I shared a personal story of how my family survived the heavy flood we had a few years ago after a super typhoon hit the Philippines. And I told them that it was our hope (which is sure and unwavering) that helped us overcome our despair during those challenging moments. I shared that it was really hard to swim in a dirty water and it was harder to evacuate our house but I was impressed of how my parents handled our situation. I love how Filipinos stand up again every after a storm. 

I know that the darkness I experienced during the typhoon is a metaphor of life. Part of our life is to feel as though we are surrounded by darkness such as trials, unrighteous influences, fears, sickness, natural disasters, doubts and many more. But we have to remember that we are sons and daughters of our kind and loving Heavenly Father. We have great potentials. WE CAN DO HARD THINGS! There is a need to be hopeful every day, even after we fall, because of the atonement of Jesus Christ. He made it possible for us to be forgiven if we repent and if we turn our lives unto Him. We should follow Jesus Christ who said "I am the light of the world. He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). 

I know that one of the best ways we can understand the principle of hope is to accept that darkness (trials, fears, wickedness, etc) exist but we should not dwell there. We must remember that there is also light that comes from Jesus Christ and WE SHOULD dwell there. And as we walk in His light, we can be able to cross safely the storms of life. 

I am grateful for the opportunity to speak yesterday to the congregation. I am grateful for the Spirit that everyone felt when my companion and I shared our experiences and our testimonies. Our mission president and his wife were also there with us and were very happy to hear us speak. It was an amazing experience. A lot of people came to us after the sacrament and told us that they cried and felt the Spirit. Some people called us after and thanked us. I know that I was not able to touch the hearts of these people without the spiritual strength I got from my loving Heavenly Father. I'm grateful for the Holy Ghost in my life and for the perfect love I continuously receive from Jesus Christ.  

This New Year's I invite you to always look forward for the blessings that Heavenly Father has stored for each of you. As you do so, you also have to strive to walk in the light of Christ and share the gospel's blessings to your neighbors. I know that the Heavens are open to everyone. We need to seek those who have strayed away from the gospel and those who are still searching for truth.

Thank you for all your Christmas cards and letters! I received soooo much gifts and letters this Christmas! Like our room was filled with gifts on Christmas day. I'm blessed to receive so much love from the people here in Twin Falls! 

Love you all!

- Sister Taguba

Recap from last week:

1. We had a white Christmas! My prayers were answered! :) (picture attached)
2. I get to spend Christmas with some family members. Got to make ginger bread house and play as a shepherd during the nativity scene as part of their family traditions. (picture attached)
3. Went to see Christmas lights around Twin with some members; made caramel apple and pie crest. (picture attached)

22 Dec. 2014- Keep Christ in Christmas and be Joyful

I'm really excited this week! First, it's Christmas and I JUST LOVE it! I really hope we'll have a white Christmas! Second I'll get to skype with my family and I'm really looking forward to that! :))))))

How are y'all? Last week was a pretty good week! We did great in reactivating less active members and yesterday most of our investigators and less actives went to church. It was all good. We were so happy to see them there and plus we felt loved cuz most of them actually came to see us sing in the choir. They're awesome!

Some of our challenges last week were finding some investigators and less actives in their homes, headaches, gloomy weather and not having enough time to plan well. I learning to be more humble every day. Yesterday, my companion were very moody and didn't want to talk and I was annoyed for a bit but then I tried to understand her. I just didn't know how to approach sometimes, that's one thing I need to learn. But yeah both of us are trying ourselves to become a bigger person by being humble and understanding.

I'm grateful to have a nice and caring companion. Last Wednesday & Thursday were pretty CRAZYYYY. I had a pretty bad headache on Wednesday but still went to visit less actives with some ward members. We went Caroling that night and when we went home, my eyes were swollen. I freaked out (it's funny) when I saw myself in the mirror cuz I never had that before. So we believed I had an allergic reaction to something. On Thursday morning, it got worse and my companion called the nurse so yup I was advised to stay indoors the whole day. I was so bored cuz all I did was to put ice packs on my eyes and stay in bed. A lot of members called us and brought some food and medicines. There are a lot of great people here! I feel loved every day especially this month. We got tons of gifts from different members in the wards we're serving in. They're awesome!

I'm thankful to be able to feel the Savior's love for me every day. I'm grateful for this special season when we commemorate His birth and His love for us. The greatest thing we can give this Christmas is Christlike LOVE by cultivating the principle of kindness and gratitude to the Lord and to those around us. As we do this, the Christmas spirit will be ours. There's always reason to rejoice and one great reason is because we have a merciful Heavenly Father who have a great Plan of Happiness for us (Alma 26:35). 

We are so blessed to have known His great plan. As we strive to share that to everyone we meet, we will surely be blessed and be able to bless the lives of others as well.

Thank you all for all your letters and cards. I enjoyed reading all of them! Love y'all! I hope you have a MERRYYYYYYYY CHRISTMASSSSSS! Enjoy your time with your families and loved ones! :)

Sister Taguba

With my sweet companion Sister Pohahau

15 Dec. 2014 - "Come let us adore Him"

Aloha Family and Friends!

Last week was awesome! I had a chance to go to the temple with my District, our Zone leaders and our  AP's. It was my first time in the Twin Falls Temple and I had an amazing experience there. The Spirit was really strong. I was really excited since we only get to come every after three months in the mission. I live so close to the temple yet I can't come in there often so I'm grateful for that experience.

Last Thursday, we had a Christmas Conference. It's when all the missionaries in Twin Falls gather together and have devotional, talent shows and Christmas get together. I was a little bit overwhelmed since I haven't met 3/4 of those missionaries till that day. But I was happy to get to know some of them. One of the Area Seventy, Elder Allan, came and spoke at our devotional. During our dinner, he came up to me and asked about my the recent typhoon and how my family is doing. I replied that my family's doing great and my area wasn't hit by the typhoon. He smiled and we talked for a while. It was good to speak with him. It's always great to talk to a servant of the Lord. That day, I sang Silent Night in Tagalog with a Filipina missionary. Her family moved to Texas a few years ago so she can still speak Tagalog fluently. My companion and a Tongan sister sang Silent Night in Tongan as well. A lot of people liked it so I think it went good. ;)

I love being a missionary. Yesterday, I read a talk about "Becoming a Consecrated Missionary" by Elder Callister of the Seventy and it helped me to know more about myself and my work. These past few days, I was evaluating myself and I learned that sometimes I would work or act nice because I feel I just "have to" and that's a "no, no" according to the article. I learned that becoming a consecrated missionary is your willingness to "change your nature" not just changing your behavior. In order to be successful I have to like what I do each day. And slowly but surely I'm getting at that point.

I had exchanges with Sister Bigelow, our sister training leader and my companion's trainer, last week and it was awesome! I had fun and I learned a lot from her. I led the area and at first I was pretty nervous but her encouragement and her trust in me made me do the work confidently. She complimented me for being great at the end of the day and I was humbled by that experience. 

Our areas are doing great. We make sure to challenge members to share their testimonies to their non member friends. And some of them asked some pass along "He is the Gift" cards from us to give them to their neighbors who are not of our faith. It was awesome to see them work through our encouragement. Building a great relationship with the members in both of the wards we are serving is an amazing opportunity for me and my companion. I love working in Twin Falls North. We also got new investigators and we're gonna start contacting and teaching them this week.

I love that the Lord loves me of who I am and that he understands my struggles and weaknesses every single day but He knows my effo

rts and I know that He loves me for that. I'm grateful for the Savior. I know the He's always standing beside every missionary (full time or even members) when they share the gospel to other people. We should not fear to stand up and share what we believe to be true (Isaiah 41:13).

Thanks for everything you do!Love you all! Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! :)

8 Dec 2014 Lovin' my mission more

I had a wonderful week last week. We didn't meet a lot of people, like how we planned to, but we were able to do FHEs with some less active families and were able to get referrals from some members we had dinner with. I love how some members took to us to some expensive restaurants for dinners and I love how some of them made their secret recipes just for us missionaries. 

Yesterday, I got a chance to bear my testimony during the 1st and 15th ward's sacrament meeting. I also enjoyed listening to others' testimonies. One of the things you learn here in the field is to open your mouth. I don't like talking especially in front of the crowd but I love how the Spirit directs and guides me every time I share the gospel or my testimony to others. 

What I really enjoyed yesterday was bearing my testimony to all the residents who attended the sacrament meeting at Bridge view (nursing home). It was a very meaningful Sabbath day for me. It broke my heart to see the residents' conditions but I was uplifted at the same time when I see how faithful they are despite their circumstances. Some of them aren't LDS so we talked to them about the gospel. They were adorable and were receptive to the Spirit.

Two things that I learned from last week were being humble by relying upon the Lord in all things and to love others by openly communicating with them. I committed myself to always pray to Heavenly Father with a grateful heart and acknowledge the goodness and mercy of the Savior each day. Doing that, I felt closer to the Lord and felt the presence of the Spirit in all our appointments.

I am grateful for the opportunity to serve here in Twin Falls. It's hard not to think about my family sometimes, especially yesterday I just heard from some members that recently, another typhoon hit the Philippines again. I was at Bridge view when they told me about it and was very worried. Then I came home and the family we are staying with showed me an update of the typhoon, Ruby/Hagupit. Found out that it didn't hit my area but I still felt bad for those who got affected. I know the Lord is always there to bless my family just like how He blesses me on my mission. 

Please pray for the Philippines. I think the typhoon is heading to Vietnam so please pray for it as well. 

How are you doing? Did you get to watch the Christmas devotional last night? It was beautiful! We watched it with a member family. I enjoyed all the messages especially Sister Oscarson's talk. I like her story of miraculous dime, emphasizing that the greatest Christmas gift we can share is love. 

I am grateful for Christ's infinite atonement. I know that we are all precious children of our Heavenly Father and that we are all part of His plan of happiness. I am grateful for the temple and very blessed to be living a block away from temple here. I am excited to be in the temple tomorrow! We get to go in every 3 months so I'm very excited for tomorrow. Hope you all are doing great! Advanced happy graduation day to all my friends who are graduating from BYU Hawaii this semester. I'm so proud of you!!!!

Love you all!

Sister Taguba

Funny moments: 
1. Sister Pohahau: Sister Taguba you got a mail!!!!! 
Me: Oh yeah?? From who? (Excited)
Sister P: From you friend... in Virginia?
Me: Cool!!!!!....Wait from where?????
Sister: Virginiaaaaaaa...
Me: I don't think I have a friend from Virginia... 
Sister P: Oooppsss, awkward.. lol well you have a friend from there now. What did he say??? 

So yup, it's funny how I get a letter or email from someone I don't know. And it's cool to get a letter from people I just met here too. I love being a missionary cuz everybody encourage you to become better each day! 

2. While walking...
Sister P: Hey we've been hearing reggae music. What's going on? Is today a reggae world?
Me: Oh yeah..we heard a lot today! hmnnn.. I don't know.. 
.....A car passed by playing some reggae music....
Sister P: See!!!?? There goes the reggae again.
....A man in the car looked at us and yelled, "You are beautiful!!!!" 
Sister P: Thanks! You wanna learn about Jesus?????!! 

hahaha.. my companion is really funny! We both like reggae so we enjoyed that day! A family took us to SLICE, an Italian restaurant and they played another reggae. haha

Hohoho,"most beautiful time of the year" is almost here

Holy Cow! It's almost Christmas! I'm excited to decorate a lil Christmas tree I have with my companion.. haha... How are y'all folks doing?

I had a great week! We spent Thanksgiving day with some members in one of the wards we are serving in. I enjoyed it a lot. Amiah's finally baptized last Wednesday, on Thanksgiving eve!! (picture attached). A lot of people came. It was so wonderful to see all her families there (though most of them are inactive) supporting her for a very special day. 

We went to Amiah's house on Thanksgiving and entertained her mom and grandma by dancing a Tahitian dance (picture attached). I showed some videos on youtube where I danced Filipino, Hawaiian, Cook Island and Tongan's traditional dances at BYUH's culture night 2014 and 2011 and my companion showed them some videos of her dancing Samoan, Tahitian and Tongan at her school in California. They were sooo entertained and they loved it that they asked us to dance for them. I was wearing a long but not a flowy skirt so it was hard for me to shake. It was fun! Then the mom taught us how to dance salsa. Ohhh my companion and I were soo in love with it! I missed BYUH and my friends there while watching the videos and it made me really sad but I was still happy to share my talents with some members in our ward.

The transitions in the mission are still kinda tough for me. And last week, I felt like I was not working hard. Sometimes I miss my family or my friends, just my old world. Early this morning, a family member took us to Starbucks. I told my companion I was having a headache but we could still go with them. We had a nice little chat and suddenly the mom broke down and told us how she's very grateful for having us in the ward. She said she's been struggling to help her family come back to church. She's active but her entire family is not. She said that it's a blessing to have us and that she's happy because we are staying. I sat there just listening to her stories and I thought, I was really selfish because all I've been thinking for the past couple weeks was myself: how I can survive every day, how I can teach well, how I can make myself busy for me not think about my family, my friends,my old life, wishing that time will fly by faster, etc. I sat there thinking that this family needs the gospel in their lives and that this woman needs me (us) to help her family to experience Christ's love and light again. My whole aura changed after listening to her. She opened my eyes and my mind of my sacred calling as a representative of Jesus Christ. I sat there embarassed of myself. This woman saw my abilities as a missionary and treated me as part of her family. She asked us if we could do FHE with them tonight and we said yes with a big smile. I love this family so much. I love how the Lord helps me realized of my purpose, of why I put my papers in the first place and of why I was sent to this specific area. Slowly but surely, I can see why I am here. I am grateful for the eye opener the Lord has sent me. I know that I'm here in the mission not only to survive but to thrive. 

Also last week, I've been reading the gospel of Matthew and I love it so much! I love how Jesus taught the people with parables and I admire His kindness and compassion even to those who hated and persecuted Him. I love how perfect Jesus is. With the Christmas season approaching, I want you to visit and watch the video "He is the Gift." It's a short clip to remind us of God's love for his children by sending His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to suffer for our pains and afflictions. Jesus Christ is the first gift. He is Christmas.  

Thank you so much for all your emails and letters! I enjoyed reading them! Love y'all! Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Transfer week, I am staying!

Aloha everyone!

It's transfer week and we found out that me and my companion are both staying in Twin Falls North Zone! We thought they'd transfer one of us since our district leader were very tricky when they called us. It was funny! But we're glad we're staying together for the holidays. We're losing some of elders and sisters in our zone but we're excited to meet the new ones. It's been a month since I got here. The first day I got here, I was like.."ughh time goes by so slow" but actually time flies by so fast. I felt like I just got here yesterday.:p

We had a good week! We went on splits this week with the 15th ward sisters and we met with some less actives and part member families. Some of them were just very busy and have work on Sundays that's why they couldn't come to church. But they were really nice. We will never give up on them. Hopefully they'll come to church someday.

Last week, we went to the Bridge view, a home for special and disabled people and met a very sweet lady. She was a referral from a member. She said she wanted to have discussions with us. It was really nice to meet with her. I was touched by her determination to know more about Jesus Christ though it was hard for her to speak. 

We also met with an old man. He's kinda less active. He had a desire to get sealed with his wives in the temple but had a hard time forgiving himself of his past mistakes. I was surprised when he told me his life story. He's such a nice man. We talked about the atonement and how he should allow himself to be healed. We also talked about the importance of preparing oneself to enter the house of the Lord. We are still planning on some ways to help this man.

Thanksgiving is coming up! We got invitations from many members. I think we got invited by less than 10 families. We're excited for this day because we're just gonna member hop and aren't gonna proselyte. My companion and I planned to eat at just one house and mingle with the members at some houses. I hope it'll work out. haha 

For our companionship, we are doing well. We made a goal to always be open with each other. Our companionship study every morning helped us a lot to learn from each other and work hard. We still tried riding our bikes though it was super cold but the blessing for that was a lot of members saw us in the streets and they offered us rides back home. I feel that I work so hard when I usually ride my bike and it's a good workout too. haha we were really busy last week. every night we would be like "ohh my back hurts" or my companion would say "i need a kyra practor." :p

Slowly, I'm adjusting to the weather and the way of life here in Idaho. I love looking at those wide fields we pass by every day because they remind me of my home town. I miss home but I know I am blessed to serve in Twin. People here, though most of them are rich, are very humble. 

Serving a mission is tough and sometimes I feel like I want to quit. But I know great blessings will come by serving the Lord. One of the blessings that I got was that my grandma (a very devoted Catholic) is now taking missionary discussions and came to church last Sunday, according to my sister and brother. Awesome right!!?? Before I left on my mission, I was hoping that she'd take discussions and be baptized. The Lord heard my prayers. 

I meet challenges everyday but with the help of the Lord I can overcome them move forward. I am grateful for the blessings I receive each day. I am grateful for the people here in Twin because though I came from a different culture, I feel belonged. 

Funny moments from last week:

- In one of our dinner appointments, I was asked to give a prayer in my native tongue. I was excited then.. surprisingly, I couldn't find the rights words to say in Tagalog. I was soo embarassed and conscious of my grammar in Tagalog then I thought they couldn't even understand what I was saying. haha.. I'd pray so much in English that I think I'm losing some Tagalog words..

- Elderly people like to share their stories and that they talk soooo long. In one of our appointments, I was half asleep while listening to one of the less actives, who talked for like an hour long. It was embarassing cuz my companion noticed it and just laughed. haha

Thank you so much for all your love and support! Love ya all! Have a great week folks!

Sister Taguba