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!

Sincerely,
Sister Taguba

Think to thank!

Aloha Everyone!

So...The winter cold has come! It snowed last week!!! I enjoyed watching big snowflakes that looked like silver butterflies, falling from the sky! It was funny cuz the members here were worried about me and my companion. We got lots of text offering us a ride! Loved it! One day, my companion told me that we should try biking and then.... you probably know what happened to us next. :p We didn't make a good decision to ride our bikes on snow! It was fun though. 








The gloomy days and the cold weather never stopped us to walk and work hard last week! 
We've got some referrals and contacted them as soon as we got them. We've met one of them and she was really nice. We set another appointment and will start teaching lessons this week. Yesterday, we got another referral and we were told that she wanted us to teach her already. I love how the Lord keeps us busy every day. :)

My week has been great so far! Both of the wards we are serving have been good in supporting and helping us reach out to less active members, recent converts and our investigators. We did some services for members and one of them was helping a member's kids to build snowman. (picture attached: snow missionaries) (oh well that was just for fun), we actually helped the mom make some sponges/scrubbies. We also helped a member make some costumes for kids. It was so much fun!

Aside from strengthening less active and recent converts and finding investigators, we are also making sure to help members share the gospel. We started doing a little activity with the members we had dinner with. We asked them what they were grateful for. They were touched by what their children said and remembered how blessed they are having the gospel in their lives. They were very thankful for the activity. 

We also tried making goals each week so we can strengthen our companionship and help each other grow more spiritually.

I know that as we strive to live the gospel, we will be able to feel the enabling power of the atonement. I know that Jesus lives and that He loves us. I would like to end my email with a quote from President Monson: "'Thank You' frequently expressed will cheer your spirit, broaden your friendships and lift your lives to a higher pathway as you journey towards perfection." 

I have so many things to be thankful for! Here are a few of them: I am grateful for the gospel in my life. I am grateful for my family for their support and for their love for me. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve in Twin Falls. People here are just amazing! I am grateful for my nice companion. I am grateful for Jesus' atonement and for Heavenly Father's tender mercy and love for me. I am grateful for the Holy Ghost in my life. I am grateful for all of you. 


PS:
Funny moments from last week: 

We had splits last Saturday and because of miscommunication, I was left alone in the house we were staying at for like 15 minutes. The family who owned the house went to watch football at BYU so no one was there when I got dropped off. I thought my companion was waiting for me in the house but she wasn't so yup It was a long story and i felt really weird. 

We couldn't run around the temple anymore since it was just super cold outside so we tried doing kickboxing. hahaha we're trying to exercise as much as possible since we get fed a lot! :p

Love you all! Hope everything is going well for all of you!

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Love,
Sister Taguba

Forever grateful!

Aloha!

My last week was pretty good and challenging. I've been here for almost a month now and I think I'm getting used to biking on streets at night time. It was hard to bike at past 6 pm here but it was a fun experience. I feel like I already memorized most of the songs in the hymn book since I've been singing them every night while riding my bike. I feel protected and calm every time I sing LDS songs. 

We had our New Missionary Training last Wednesday. It went well. We got to talk and tell our concerns to our mission president. I was strengthened by the topics and the testimonies shared by my mission president and other missionaries.

We also had exchanges on Friday and I went with Sister Davidson. We covered the college ward and the 6th ward. I had fun! I love Sister Davidson. I learned many things from her. And plus she has a car so I loved it! I learned how to teach the gospel simply. That day I prayed sooo much. It was awesome! I also met Filipinas from the 6th ward and other wards. They came to see me at a member's house. I was super excited to speak in Tagalog with them. haha And yeah I also met people here who served their missions in the Philippines. They said they love Filipinos. They're awesome!

I am very thankful for the constant power of the Holy Ghost to inspire me and help me develop Christlike attributes. I always witness how the Savior pours his blessings upon missionaries by sending them the Holy Ghost to guide them in their every teaching appointment. Yesterday, we got to teach Amiah, my first investigator. Just a quick introduction for Amiah: We committed her to get baptized on our first discussion and she said "yes" and last week we set a baptismal date for her. She's gonna get baptized on the 26th of this month (yay!!). Her parents are both less actives but when they found out that Amiah was ready to get baptized, they were surprised and was very happy for her. Her grandma exclaimed that Amiah has just been waiting for a Filipina and Tongan to teach her. This young woman has been thinking about getting baptized for many years but rejected past missionary discussions and told them she wasn't ready. She attended church with her mom yesterday and she stayed for 3 hours. Love it!

So yesterday, I was not informed by my companion to teach Amiah the first few commandments (obedience, prayer, following the prophet, tithing, fasting, word of wisdom, keeping the Sabath day Holy and the law of chastity). And so I wasn't able to study before our discussion. To my surprise I was frustrated that I was not told about the lesson and that I relied on my own knowledge to tell and testify to Amiah the things I know about these commandments. I felt the Spirit telling me that Amiah still needs to know the correct steps to pray. But because I was frustrated and that we didn't plan on our lesson, I didn't talk about it. So I let my companion talk about prayer. After our discussion, I told my companion the feelings I had. Last night, while watching the District, I felt that I needed to talk to Sister Pahahau and tell her that I was not happy on what I felt during our discussion. She said we discussed about it before but I told her I was pretty sure she didn't tell me about our meeting with Amiah and that she's done that a few times. So I felt lost on some discussions. We talked and learned from each other. Hopefully we'll be able to work that out.

I know that though I didn't act on the promptings of the Spirit yesterday, the Savior still loves me and that He is always willing to send the Holy Ghost to help me even though at that moment, I wasn't prepared or that I wasn't able to read the lessons. I was humbled to ask for forgiveness to my companion on the way I acted and also to understand and forgive her in her weaknesses. I love my companion and that I am learning a lot from the mission field. I know that Amiah and other investigators I will meet in the future are precious souls in God's kingdom and that Heavenly Father loves them. I know that I need to focus on them and not be frustrated because of simple misunderstandings or simple mistakes we make as companions. 

Fun things I did last week: Cooked for my companion when she was sick. She liked what I made for her. :) We talked on having a "Luao" here to strengthen members, recent converts and less actives and to get investigators to know about the gospel. We planned on encouraging ward members and our zone to participate. Not sure yet if it will happen since they never did it before. Planning about having a Luao made me MISS HAWAII! :) Scraped ice on Sister Davidson's car. It was fun! We were told that the temperature is gonna drop to 20 degrees this week. Lovely! Gotta get ready for that! I love the gospel! :)

Love you all! I am grateful for you all you. Pardon me if you can't understand my email. I am writing this as fast as I can. Hope everything is going well for all of you!

Love,
Sister Taguba

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Oct. 27, 2014

Aloha everyone!

It's been two weeks since I got here in Idaho. This past week we've been trying to focus on less active members. We found out that these less actives have some family members that are not yet members of the church. We've been working on helping them know the gospel. 

We cover 2 wards (1st and 15th). Members in each ward are just awesome! They're having hard time saying my surname and so they'd always ask me to say it for them. It's really funny cuz my companion's name is just as hard to pronounce as mine..

Sister Pohahau and I have been busy and tired riding our bikes. I'm still struggling with riding my bike. We have a large area but we are not allowed to use car cuz we are assigned in a biking area mission. Oh well I guess I just need to try a little harder till I get used to it. 

Last week, I was just not motivated to ride my bike and was really home sick so the elders in our district gave me a blessing. I felt better after that. I talked to my mission president as well and he gave me some good advice. The changes and transitions here in the mission field are making me crazy but I know that I have to make effort to get used to these changes.

The weather here is making me crazy as well. Every day, sister Pohahau checks the weather and last week, she'd been saying "it's ugly outside" and I kept saying "at least we're beautiful" :) One day while studying I opened our window and saw the sun rising. It was beautiful. I showed my companion the sunrise. Though sunrise is barely seen here in Twin, I always hope to see the sun every morning. I hated the sun when I was in the Philippines but now I missed the it. 

We had baptism last Saturday. The new member's name is Lucas. He's 19 and he's a really nice man. My companion said he has been struggling with many things but decided to improve his life. I felt like I didn't really teach him. It was my companion and her ex companion who taught him the first few lessons. I got to teach him the last one. The baptism was a spiritual one. We all felt the Spirit and Luke's testimony was short but very powerful. He was confirmed yesterday and I was glad to see his bright smiles. I'm happy to witness how the gospel of Jesus Christ has changed this young man's life.

This week, I've also been studying the doctrine of Christ and been focusing on the atonement. I read the scriptures and preach my gospel. While studying, I realized that I didn't really know the meaning of the atonement. Or maybe I knew the literal meaning of Christ's sacrifice, but didn't really apply it in my life. I learned that as a missionary, I can't teach people this principle and other principles if I don't really understand them. So I thought of applying first the things I learned before really teaching them.

Though last week was hard for me, I learned to stretch to strengthen my testimony of the Savior. I learned to take corrections and face my weaknesses humbly. I love being a missionary. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be able to share my love and the love of God to the people in Idaho. I know the Savior lives. 

Thank you for your love and support. I'm grateful for all of you! :)

-Sister Taguba










Oct 2,2014

Aloha!
I don't know how to start but I just want to say that I'm doing well. I finally arrived at the Provo MTC  2 days ago, Oct. 1st. Bro and sis. Cox (My friend's parents) dropped me off at 6 am in the morning. I arrived in Salt Lake City on Sept. 30th and stayed at a hotel for a night with bro. and sis Cox. 

I'm freezing here!!!! Super cold!!!!! BUt I got some more good winter coats from the MTC so I'll be fine I guess! haha
Funny experiences: My luggages arrived at the MTC before I did. Well this is the story behind that: I flew from Philippines to Nagoya Japan then to Detroit then finally to Salt Lake City (travelled more than 24 hours CRAZY huh). When I had to check out my baggages at the Salt Lake City airport, I found out that they still had them in DEtroit. We asked the travel officer to mail it to the MTC as soon as they got them. So Bro and Sis. Cox took me to Walmart and brought some clothes for me. Ughhh I was really lucky to have them!!! :)
Spiritual experience: The MTC is a very wonderful place! I feel great to be here! Full of very spiritual young men and young women, I'd say. When I arrived on Wednesday, they asked me to go to class immediately and did English language exam. So if you're a new missionary here at the MTC they put an orange dot on your name tag. I like it cuz when missionaries see us, they'll say "Welcome to the MTC" lol I took it off yesterday but I kinda wanna put it again on Wednesdays! haha

I also  got a  green dot on the first day ( this is for international students learning a new language) THey took off my green dot after testing my English. Because I can already speak English they put me in doctrine classes where I can have an actual demonstration of how to teach investigators. It's really hard! I thought I was ready to preach then when I came here, I found out I still have a little knowledge of the Church doctrines. We had some real non members came up and asked questions about the Church and our beliefs. Ughhh it's was tough but I survived!

One great experience I had was when we met with an investigator from Japan. He is now living in Utah with his wife. He questioned about the existence of God and according to him if God is a loving God then why does God allowed people to suffer and lose their love ones. He was referring to what happened in Japan when earthquake struck it. I couldn't believe he was really firm in his beliefs. Some elders answered his questions. I was touched when one elder stood up and courageously shared his experience when he lost his brother. Before we end the discussion, an elder asked all of us to kneel together and the investigator to pray. It was such an amazing experience for me. The Spirit was super strong.

Companion: My companion is Sister Seo (pronounced as "Saw"). Guess what? She also went to BYU Hawaii!!!!! haha We haven't met there but I thought I knew her before. lol She's really nice and is very patient with me (I'm not used to wearing my name tag yet so I often forget it. One time when I forgot my name tag, we have to walk all the way to our unit again to get it.) Companions should always be together so we should learn to be understanding and patient with each other. 

I met some Filipinos here. Two sisters and elders from the Philipinnes got called to serve in Hawaii.. Their names are Elder Manalo, Elder Valdez, Sister Camo and sister Soriao. They're really fun to be with. We were told not to speak our native language here so it was awkward at first for us to speak only English with each other. Haha 


So yeah, I only have five minutes more to email you guys! Thanks for all your support. I love you all! Missionary work is great. I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve the Lord. I know Jesus lives. :)


I'll email again next week again!


-Sister Taguba

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Aloha family and friends!!
It's been a week and 2 days now since I got here at the MTC! wOW! Can't believe I'm already leaving next week Tuesday and be in the real mission field! I'm soo excited to meet my mission president and his wife, my new companion and the people in Idaho! haha

 WE just had our in field orientation. It was a great activity. My companion was not feeling well so we were not able to attend some of the activities.But it was fine. My companion's health is more important. :)
Okay...I felt like i've been here at the MTC for forever. haha I'm learning so much. I love my MTC instructors, Bro. Gardner and sister Matthews, They just got back from their missions like 2-3 years ago. They're awesome! So our instructors here act us our investigators and haha they're super nice to me and my companion. WE consider them as our golden investigators. haha
WE had TRC this week where we get to meet real or acting investigators and share with them the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our investigator was supposed to be sister Lawanna. She's going through chemotherapy so we didn't get to meet with her. Two days ago I was prompted to write her a letter. I told my companion, Sis. Seo, that our investigator needs words of comfort and encouragement. We were not able to teach her but we hope she gets our letter. Last night though, we taught our instructor, Bro. Gardner. haha He's really funny. The class loves him. He loves the word "awesome" so we tease him every class.
How are you? How was the conference??? I love General conference. Especially Elder Bednar's talk. It's one of my favorites. It's because his talk was not only for us, members and missionaries, but specifically it was for non members. He said that our desire to share the gospel is based on how important the gospel is for us. We already know the truth we should help our friends or families who haven't received yet the gospel I know we have all the responsibility to share the joy we had already experienced. Let our non member friends know about how they can have a better lives as they live the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We also had two devotionals this week, Sunday and Tuesday! Ahhhh, I loved it. Brother Vai Sikahema was the speaker on Sunday. He's a Tongan but grew up in Arizona. Sometimes I fall asleep during devotionals but I was awake the whole time when this man spoke. He shared many experiences of him sharing the gospel to everyone. He said we should not be afraid to open our mouth. We have many opportunities to share and serve. ALL we need to do is open our mouth. It was a very powerful talk.
Last Tuesday, Elder Brent Nielson of the Seventy was our speaker. He shared what he learned on his mission. He gave us 10 points to remember while on the mission field. Two of those points are very important to me. 1. Your companion is on your team. Before I applied for my mission, this was maybe one of my worries. I had RM friends who said that they had bad companions and this made their missions miserable. Learning from elder Nielson, I learned that I should embrace my companion and our differences. Here at the MTC, I learned to be patient and be humble. I'm glad Elder Nielson brought this up. 2. We must treasure up D&C 84:85 as missionaries, we teach people not lessons. I experienced this many times. Before I came here, I studied the Preach My Gospel and I thought I knew many things and ready to teach. When I taught my first investigator, I forgot what I memorized. And I felt that the Spirit taught me what to say. I learned that I need to listen to people and know their needs. IT's the Spirit of the LOrd that teaches our investigators. I am just an instrument of the LOrd to invite people, commit them to follow Jesus Christ and follow up with them. 

Today I also got a chance to go to Salt Lake City Temple. They give international missionaries here a tour to Salt Lake Temple before they leave. Ahhhh I loved this temple so much. It's my favorite! the Spirit was super strong. Dream come true! :)

For my non member friends who are getting this email. I want you to know that I love you. Heavenly Father loves you. IF you haven't met yet with the missionaries, let them share the message with you. Look for them around. I promise it will change your lives.
THank you for all your letters and emails.  I love reading them!! I'm sorry if I didn't get to reply to all of you but I'll find a time next week.! SEnd me your addresses so I can write you letters too. :)
THis will be my new address next week.

LOve you all!
Sister Maria Visitacion Otero Taguba
Idaho Twin Falls Mission
421 Maurice St N
Twin Falls, ID 83301-4932
USA

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Hurrah for Israel

Tic tac tic tac! I leave on the 30th of September to serve as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was supposed to leave on August 19th but because the Missionary Travel needed more time to prepare my visa documents, my report date date was moved to 30th. I waited for quite a long time but those waits really paid off cuz I got to see my brother whom I haven't seen for almost 5 years. He just got back from his mission in Cagayan de Oro on the 25th. So we have 5 days to hang out before I leave for my mission also.

 I couldn't explain the joy I am feeling right now. It's hard to leave my family for 18 months without communicating with them more often (LDS missionaries are allowed to email family members/friends once a week during their 'Preparaion Day' and are allowed to call their moms on 'Mother's Day' and their families on 'Christmas Day'). But I know it's the Lord's work I will be doing and it's His name I am representing.

 I am grateful for the countless blessings I received from my Heavenly Father. I know that Jesus Christ lives. He atoned for our sins and my mission as a missionary is to "invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end." I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve the Lord as a full time missionary.

 I am excited to serve the people of Idaho. It might be hard for me to adjust for a while since Idaho is an icy place and I come from a really tropical country but I know the Lord called me there for a purpose. I know there will be people there who are ready and are just waiting for me to teach them the correct principles and doctrines of the true Church of Christ. I am very grateful for Jesus' atoning sacrifice. I know Heavenly Father loves each one of us and that we are very important to Him because we are His sons and daughters (Doctrine and Covenants 18:10 "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God").

I hope to see you all in 18 months. It'll be really a short time! haha.. You can email me at maria.taguba@myldsmail.net. I will be at the Provo MTC for 2 weeks and will be moving to Idaho for the rest of my mission. :)

Here's my MTC address:

Sister Maria Visitacion Otero Taguba
Idaho Twin Falls Mission
Provo Missionary Training Center
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604
United States

Here's my address in Idaho:

Sister Ma. Visitacion Otero Taguba
Idaho Twin Falls Mission
421 Maurice St N
Twin Falls, ID 83301-4932
United States


I hope to receive your emails and letters!!! Love you and see you all in 18 months!

Mahalo nui loa! God bless!