Sunday, December 29, 2013


HELLO TO MY FAVORITE PEOPLE ALL AROUND THE WORLD. Hard to believe another week has passed. I have been here now for 12 weeks! CRAZY. I can't really believe it at all. We have transfers tomorrow, and I will be staying here! Sister Alabanza will be leaving to open a new area a few hours away. I AM SO HAPPY I AM STAYING HERE!!!!! I love this place and I am obsessed with everyone. Sige so it was kind of a slow teaching week because of Christmas pero I will fill you in on the good times :)

Sige let's start with Christmas Eve. So, that morning bright and early Sister Alabanza and I did some service for a few grandmothers. One is a less active member and one is an investigator. What service did we do you ask? We washed their clothes. By hand. For like 3 hours. One of the hours I volunteered to do the water pump......yeah don't really know why I volunteered haha it looked like fun at first. Then after like 5 minutes my arms were hurting. But I was determined so I just kept pumping minding my own business. And then all of the sudden I look up and I had attracted a crowd...hahaha like half of the village was circled around me watching me pump the water. So they started lining up buckets and I just kept pumping away. So basically that day I provided the village water haha. People are very amused by a white American Sister Missionary willing to pump their water and everyone was just staring. Haha then this group of boys came up and screamed in super broken English so it makes it even better, "Who made dat white Sister pump all the water?" Hahaha. These guys are crazy. Let me explain...the village we did the service project in is where most of our less active and investigators live so we are there almost every day. Every night when we are walking through that area we see this group of boys smoking and drinking. Probably around 8 of them and they are all around 15 or 16. Well,while I was pumping they stayed to watch the show too hahaha so I started talking to them. Jokingly I kept inviting them to church knowing that they were probably drunk haha. Two of them are inactive members, 2 are investigators we have taught so they are familiar with our church. The inactives haven't been to church in over 3 years though so we have been trying to teach them but they still don't come to church. Anyways, I got them to help us with washing the clothes though so it was good.. Since that day we kept seeing those boys drinking and drinking literally every night. Haha but I made friends with them so every time we walk through that village now, they all scream my name so it's awesome. All I say back is "magsimba tayo!" Like "Let's go to church!" Hahaha. But guys wait for the best part of the story. So Sunday we are waiting by those church doors, not even remembering this big group of boys. At exactly 1 all the sudden I see 8 boys walking up to the doors.......okay I was hitting Sister Alabanza haha I really couldn't believe it. Happy happy moment :) I was asked to bear my testimony in church on Sunday so I was glad I could testify to them of the importance of coming to church haha and I was staring at them the whole time and they were just nodding their heads so let's hope the message got across :)

So this week, with Christmas and everything, we were invited to lots of family home evenings. Family home evening here in the Philippines = food, food, and more food. Hahaha but I love it. The support of our branch is crazy amazing. We got a new Branch President a few weeks ago because our old one is now District/Stake President. Our Branch President is a returned missionary and he is super involved with the work. He even comes and works with us whenever he has time. And his counselors are super good and supportive. We had a family home evening at each of their houses this week with all of our investigators. We are very VERY grateful for their support! We had a branch Christmas party this week as well. Since everything is better and more fun here in the Philippines, it was super fun of course :) Each group in the church did a performance so it was fun. The Primary one was super cute and guess who the star of it was...Jorel! Hahaha he sang a Christmas song for like 5 minutes straight while the others danced. Want to hear a funny story? At the end, the announcer said there was someone that wanted to do a solo. Hahaha, I look up and guess who is dancing for everyone? JEROME. HAHAHA we were laughing so hard. Don't worry everyone, there is a picture on my Skydrive to prove it :) SO AWESOME. Speaking of Jerome, we taught him a few times this week like always :) He is progressing so much. He keeps asking when he can be baptized which is sad because we can't really answer him. We have talked to President and he is trying to figure out what to do in our unique situation since we don't have any parental consent or information or anything about him. We continue to teach him though and the Branch is doing a good job of making him feel like a member :) This week we gave him a Book of Mormon story book and he almost cried because he was so happy to receive a Christmas gift :) SO STINKING CUTE. So the next day he went around begging for money all day and guess what he bought? Candy for Sister Alabanza and I! Seriously this boy is my inspiration. We are not teaching him, HE IS TEACHING US! I have learned so much from him.

Okay my thought for the week. I've been studying about Christ a little bit extra this week because of Christmas. Never have I appreciated this holiday as much as I did this year. Which is surprising because I am so far away from home and everything I used to know. But I have learned, like really learned, that that's not what it's about. It's all about THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST. It's about making Him a reality in our lives. And when we make Him a reality in our lives, we don't do the "right" thing because we feel like we have to. It's about gaining the DESIRE. The desire to be Christlike. It's the desire to do what he wants me to do because I want to. Because His way has become what I am striving for. His way is THE WAY. We should want to do what He would do. Responding as He would in the effort to bring MY life in harmony with HIS. In a book I was reading this week called "Our Search for Happiness" I read this quote that I LOVED: "If you really concentrate on trying to walk the way He walked - loving, caring, serving, and obeying each step of the way - one day you'll look up and discover that His path has led you directly to the throne of God. For that is and ever has been His great purpose and mission: to lead us to our Heavenly Father so we can dwell with Him in His heavenly home." YES. This is what it's all about!!!! It's bringing our life in line with His. It's through HIM, ONLY HIM, that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father again. How great is the blessing? And all they ask of us is to follow what they tell us! And when you think about it, it shouldn't be too hard. Because our Heavenly Father knows everything. He knows what's best for us. And I know that He is ALWAYS there for us. Through our happy times and hard times, He is there. Waiting for us to trust in Him and His great plan. Because His plan is far better than anything we could imagine for ourselves. 

Well I will say it again and again, I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK!!! I love this Christmas season, even if it is STILL hot and sweaty. Missions are awesome. I love being a missionary. It is such a great blessing that I treasure so much. I am trying my best to represent our Savior Jesus Christ with everything I've got and then more. Because I know that with Him by my side, all things are possible. That through trusting in Him, I know that He WILL work HIS miracles in these people's lives in whatever way HE chooses. Not always in my way but in HIS WAY. And I know without a doubt His plan is far better than anything I could imagine.


Mahal kita,

Sister Reategui

Here are some pictures, from the service project on the beach and from one of our family home evenings.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Hello everyone!!! Merry Christmas!! How are all of you? I hope you are doing well!!! Let me just say that I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK!!! It's the best ever. I love the Christmas season! I love being HIS representative. I love wearing HIS name right next to mine. I love the Christmas Spirit. Even though it is still hot and sweaty here hahaha. I love it!! I love these people! I JUST REALLY LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!

Sige so this week we had the baptism of Alfred!!!!! Ask me if it was super awesome because yes, it was super awesome. He has such a strong testimony already. His grandfather, our recent convert Alfredo, was the one who baptized him. His sister Apple, our recent convert, was one of the speakers. Their family is progressing SO much already and I love being able to be a little part of their conversion! I feel so blessed to be an instrument in the Lord's hands here in the Philippines. It was a special baptism for me because it's my first that I have taught since day one! And...I have failed to mention that Sister Fonua and I have a tradition of singing at all of our baptisms. For some reason people here think I have a good voice haha probably just because I'm white but I just go with it :) So this week we sang Savior, Redeemer of My Soul. AKA the prettiest song ever so look it up. It's a Hymn but we sang a different version. Mom, it was inspired from the Vocal Point CD that you sent me that we listen to ALL the time so thank you!!!! Anyways yeah I'm a singer now. No big deal. Everywhere I go people assume I can sing and they call me up to do a special musical number. Like they call me up straight from the pulpit right before they want me to sing. But don't worry, I'm a missionary and ALWAYS prepared for anything! Because if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear :) Oh and Jorel, one of our other recent converts who is 9, (and happens to be progressing SO MUCH TOO) gave the closing prayer. It was the cutest thing. He said "Heavenly Father thank you for the prophets because without the prophets we wouldn't have the Book of Mormon or the true church here on the earth or missionaries like Sister Reategui and Sister Alabanza" hahaha can you say PRECIOUS??? Like who taught him that? Him and his sister are the only members in their family. He is such a good example to them! 

This week we also went to Legazpi for our mission Christmas Conference! President loves us and we were able to have a conference with the WHOLE mission AKA.....I GOT TO SEE ELDER TATUM NIELSEN!!!! May or may not have been one of the best reunions of my entire life. SO good to see him! He is like a legend basically so it was cool to see him in real life hahaha. The conference was super good, President is awesome and inspiring as always! There is so much work to be done here in the Philippines and I feel lucky to be a part of it! The work is really progressing! This week it felt like we were traveling to and from Legazpi most of the time so it was kind of a slow week. Pero syempre I will fill you in on some of my favorites :)

So about Jerome. He sounds like a crowd pleaser because all of you ask about him all the time haha. To answer your questions, he is doing well! Hanging in there. After we found out about him getting kicked out of his temporary little home, we didn't see him for a few days. He was no where to be found. Actually we couldn't even look for him because as you all know, he has no permanent home. So we just have to depend on him going to the Perez home. But one morning Sister Alabanza and I all the sudden thought to go to the Perez home. Kind of weird because we usually go there in the afternoon because that's when Jerome is there. We walked in and suddenly a boy jumped into our arms!!! YES. IT WAS JEROME!!! Okay it's a miracle he was even there!!! AH The Lord is really really helping us out in this work. Not even kidding this was such a big blessing to see Jerome. SUCH A MIRACLE!!! So we talked with him and found out where he was. I can't really share many specific details of the story but long story short, he was taken to a clinic to get some special shot, and the owners there heard about his story. Now they want to adopt him. But the people that want to adopt him live in Manila. So it's kind of really really sad pero happy that he will be taken care of :) We don't know when this will even happen or if it's for sure going to happen or not. He deserves someone good to take care of him though! And until then, we will continue to teach him :) This week in the middle of teaching him, he just said....these are his exact translated words... "Sister Ring, (yes he calls me sister Ring hahaha he can't pronounce my name...) after your mission where are you going?" Haha and I told him back to America, and he said "Will you take me with you to America?" Hahaha we all started busting out laughing. AH HES THE CUTEST! I told him yes. He asked when I will be leaving and I told him February 2015 and then he said "Excited ako!" "I'm excited!" Hahaha we were all just laughing so hard. So basically when I come back don't be surprised if I have a little boy with me :)  

Well everyone the work is working. I LOVE being a missionary!!! I love the Christmas season. I love these people coming together to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. They don't need fancy clothes or gifts or food to really celebrate Christmas. Because it is all about CHRIST. And the happiness His gospel can bring us. The peace that He gives us. One of my favorite scriptures that I have been sharing a lot recently is D&C 50:40-44. It says: "Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me; And none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost." He has overcome the world, FOR US! That we may feel of His grace. Of His peace. We don't need to fear because He has set the way for us. He lived a PERFECT life. Atoned for OUR sins. May we remember our Savior at all times, and during this Christmas season, may we celebrate the TRUE meaning of Christmas.

I LOVE YOU ALL!!!! I am so so so grateful for all of the love and support and prayers that I feel every single day. I really have the best friends and family in the entire world!! Thanks for everything. Oh and PS shout out to the Manning family, I hope you are reading this! Thank you SO MUCH for the package!!! Made my entire week! You guys are the best and I appreciate it so much!!! And thank you for the yummy American goodies :) I am working on writing a letter back to you all! :)

Mahal kita,
--Sister Reategui
here are some pictures, i don't know what order haha but one is an awk pic with Elder Nielsen haha so far away from each other because we are missionaries now...hahaha and one with JonJon and Janzzen (and friends) and the bracelets my AWESOME sisters and cousins made and sent to me to give out here, THANK YOU FOR THOSE BY THE WAY!!!! The kids LOVE them!!! and a picture at Alfred's baptism of course :)

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Hello hello hello to all my beloved family and friends all around the world!! How are all of you? I hope you are doing well!
Another great week here in the Pines. I can't believe it's week 10 already. Time flies when you're having fun and working hard! :) Have I mentioned how much I love this place? Because I will continue to tell you how great it is. I LOVE THESE PEOPLE! And I absolutely LOVE being a missionary. How great is this calling!
Sige so last week I told you about how I got lice. Well the day after I got rid of the lice, I got the flu. Yes, I know, terrible. Satan is really trying to get at me and my positivity hahaha. I was super sick for the whole week. Pero there is still work to do so don't worry! I was determined to not let this get to me. It was still a great week!
This week we continued to teach Alfred. Let me tell you, this boy is SO prepared. Just like the rest of his family. Each time we teach him, there is a special Spirit felt. Whenever we are done with lessons with him, I often look back and wonder how in the world I said half of the things I did. Haha the Spirit is really so so amazing. Super powerful when we teach him. I know that he has been prepared :) Everytime we go he has new tabs on his scriptures from reading assignments we have given him haha so awesome. And when we teach him its basically like a review because he studies the pamphlets and scriptures like crazy! It's awesome. His baptism is this Saturday and we are all VERY excited!
JonJon and Janzzen (yes that is the real spelling of his name hahaha) are continuing to progress as well :) They are the cutest ever. This week we taught them about Joseph Smith again and the Book of Mormon. We teach them 3 times a week, and since they are super young review the lessons a lot so they can really understand the simple doctrines. When we taught them later on in the week, I asked little Janzzen about his prayer about Joseph Smith, and he said to me....(these are his exact translated words...) "I asked God if He really showed Himself and His Son Jesus Christ to Joseph Smith and He told me He did." OKAY WHAT. He's 10 years old. Hahaha all we asked him to do was to pray that Joseph Smith is a true prophet. Can you say progressing? YES. Progressing so much!!!! I love those little boys :) This week as I was walking down the street, Janzzen came running to me saying "Siter Ratgee I have a gift for you!!" Hahaha and he made me close my eyes and put out my hand...and the next thing i knew, he was putting a ring on my finger!!!! Hahahahaha I laughed so hard. He's the best EVER! And cute little Jorel is his little bff and they are just so awesome. Jorel is only 9 but has such a strong testimony already! The other Sisters in our Branch had a baptism this weekend and Jorel came with us. During the baptism we were sitting with Jorel and he said he felt sick. So we told him to pray. So he did. Like seriously a 10 minute prayer. Then he put his head up and said "Sisters! Someone was talking to me!" Hahaha and we asked him what they said and he said "I was praying and then a voice told me that as long as I follow the commandments, I will always be okay and healthy." And then he said "all I said was yes. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen" Hahahaha. We testified to him that that was the Holy Ghost. And he said "well of course." Hahahaha. These little boys are my inspiration.

Let's see.....of course I will update you all on Jerome. Pero I apologize ahead of time because I have sad news. Let me start at the beginning of the week with the good news though! We found out he has been staying with an older lady that lives near the beach. Some nights he stays there and she feeds him when he needs food. She doesn't have much money herself, so it is hard for her and he doesn't stay there every night. But when he has no where else, that's where he stays. As he told us about her his face lit up. How grateful he is for the little necessities in life we all take for granted! So, we had a family home evening with the Perez family this week which was super awesome because we had 2 investigators there, Jerome, and Queenie, who is related to the Perez family as well so we are in their home a lot. Jorel also came so it was a full house. Even Sister Perez's husband who is the only non member of the family came so it was good :) We taught about the importance of family unity. Before the lesson while we were waiting for everyone to get there, the kids were asking about my family. So of course, being the proud daughter and sister that I am, I hurried and pulled out a picture. I showed each person in my family. Then Jerome hurried and grabbed the picture. He just stared at it and then just said "wow." Most people are confused when they see my family picture because my mom is blonde and I'm not blonde. They are always confused because they think all Americans should be blonde hahaha. Anyways, Jerome was being super quiet with his head down staring at the picture so someone just asked him what was wrong, and then he looked up at me with tears in his eyes and said "your family is complete and happy." I think those were the saddest, most sincere words I had ever heard. I felt like a knife went straight into my heart. How selfish I was for bragging about my cute happy family that I am so blessed to have. How much he wished and hoped just to see his mom or siblings or dad again. The room was silent. No one talked for what felt like an hour. Jerome taught me so much in such a simple way. Something that I have always taken for granted and hoped would always be there. In that short moment I gained the most appreciation for my family that I have ever felt before. How lucky I am to have them. I will never take that for granted for another second of my life. So a few days after the family home evening, we found out that Jerome was kicked out of the house he had been staying at. The lady found out that missionaries had been teaching him about our church and told him he needed to stop listening to us. In the most proud voice I have ever heard, he said to us "I told her I want to learn more about Jesus Christ from you." Then he told us he doesn't stay at her house anymore. He chose the gospel, that he knows is true, over the basic necessities that he NEEDS. He is acting on his faith in the most bold way I can ever imagine. He is such a good example to me! He is again left without a home and food, but he knows the power of this gospel. He has such a strong testimony. Simple, but so powerful. This little boy has changed my life.

I LOVE THIS WORK. I LOVE being a missionary! Of course there are a lot of hard times. Satan likes to get at me and tries to make me realize all the hard things in life. But this work brings me too much happiness to let anything get me down! One thing I have learned here is that even though I can't pick and choose what trials I have or hard times I have, I can choose my ATTITUDE. And I shouldn't let anything, no matter how hard, get to that. Because I have learned that the mercy of God is enough. The hope of God's Son, Jesus Christ, is enough. When I give my absolute all, and then give more, He makes up for the rest. Part of this life is enduring the hard times with patience and a good attitude. The least I can do is show my happiness and gratitude for all He does for me. For the great calling I have to be a missionary. For the great opportunity I have to see my brothers and sisters here in the Philippines changing their lives. Right before my eyes. Gaining that real desire to learn more about the gospel. Because it is true. God's love is here for us no matter what. It is here when we are going through hard times, and it is here when we are going through the best of times. It is just always here. He is waiting for us to call upon Him. To fully rely and trust in Him with everything that we have. I have realized this more than ever. I have realized that I am nothing without Him. ESPECIALLY as a missionary. I am nothing without His Spirit to truly convert those I teach. That even though I can't speak the language as perfectly as I wish, these people will feel something different about the message I share. Because it is about Him. And His Son, Jesus Christ. And in this Christmas season, how important it is to remember that. The Spirit of Christ can bring hope. When all things are crazy and confusing in life, Christ's love is enough. That as we are striving to remember Him, and emulate His attributes, that is when we really discover our true selves. When we lose ourselves in the service of others, that is when we really find ourselves.

The Spirit of Christ is being selfless. It is giving without any intention or thought of receiving anything. It is relying on that peace that can only come through Him. It is learning more of Him and sharing it with those around us. It is really really striving our best to show charity to those around us. Christmas time is a time of charity. The PURE LOVE OF CHRIST. How great is His love and His mercy He shows to us always! May we always live in the Spirit of Christ, no matter what season it is.
I LOVE YOU ALL! I pray for you all. I really do hope you are doing well. Keep me updated with your lives :)
Mahal kita,
Sister Reategui
ps- here is a picture from the FHE with the Perez family :)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

WEEK 15: Becoming more and more Filipino as the weeks pass...

Hello all of my favorite people! How are you all? I hope everything is well wherever you are in the world!

Well, another great week here in the Pines. I really really love it here. I am becoming more and more Filipino as the days pass. Especially since yesterday I got lice. Hahaha some might think of this as a horrible thing but I'm going to stay positive and think of it as just another way I am becoming more and more Filipino. Lice is super common here, especially with the little village kids that we teach so often. I guess it is probably my fault because I always play with the little kids haha but it's just another part of the adventure! People are starting to tell me I am looking more and more like a Filipino every day (maybe they saw the lice... hahaha jokelang) because I'm getting super tan and my speaking is getting...better haha so basically life is really REALLY good.

Sige let's see....this week was a really good one. Last week I talked about Jerome. Basically my little inspiration. We got to teach him 3 times this week in the Perez home :) Somehow he was there for every time! Every day when we walked in we were so surprised. He is the best ever. So this week we bought him a notebook and little school kit. Words can't even describe how happy this little boy was just to have his own notebook and pencils. So precious. So we first started with the Alphabet. Once he got the hang of the letters and sounds we started teaching him how to read. Then we showed him a picture of Jesus Christ and asked him who He was. Every time we show him a picture of Christ Jerome just smiles and smiles. Then he said "sobrang mabait" "so nice" and his eyes started getting watery. Seriously we teach him super basic little lessons but the Spirit is SO strong as we teach him. He just soaks everything up and loves it. The next two visits we taught him about Heavenly Father and about prophets. Still super basic. As we teach him, we have him practice spelling and reading. I am surprised every time we teach him because we ask him if he remembers what we had taught him before and he always remembers perfectly! His desire to learn is so so strong. Every time he prays, we are all in tears by the end. Simple prayers but so powerful. He prays for his family. He prays that they are safe. Seriously this little boy is such a good example to me. He is praying for these people that left him with NOTHING. And he is here praying that hopefully they are safe and that he can see them soon. He prays for me and Sister Alabanza and our safety, when he is the one without a home. In his prayers he constantly (by constantly I mean at least 6 times throughout the prayer :) expresses his thanks for the mabait (nice) missionaries that teach him. He is so so great!!! We want to extend baptism to him so badly, pero since he has no permanent home or guardian, we have no one to fill out the consent forms or the information for his church record. We are working with President though so I will keep you all informed :)

We have also been teaching our referrals from our little recent convert Jorel, JonJon and Jansen. They are 10 and 11 years old and seriously so prepared. Last week we gave them the Book of Mormon Tagalog picture books. They were so excited and ran home to read. Then, later that week, we saw them in a big group with their friends. We walked over to say hi and saw that all their friends were gathered around the Book of Mormon story book as Jansen was reading it to them! Hahaha such a good little investigator! This week one of the lessons we taught was about Joseph Smith. When I started the lesson and told them we would be talking about Joseph Smith, Jansen hurried and went to the page about Joseph Smith in his story book. He looked at me and just said "I am going to pray like Joseph Smith to know the true church." Okay like why am I even teaching him hahaha he knows everything already! Jansen has become my little buddy. We even have a secret handshake. Every time I see him, He grabs my hand and with a little puppy dog face, says "Sister Ratgee, I will pray all night that I see you tomorrow" HAHAHA seriously I laugh so hard every time. He is the sweetest. 

We also have been teaching Alfred Nares this week. He is awesome and progressing so much! :) We are very excited for his baptism on the 21st. He is SO ready! And he will be baptized by his grandfather, Aflredo like his siblings were. It will be a very happy day!

Well missionary work is the greatest. It is hard but so rewarding. Still, one of my favorite things is standing at those church doors greeting our branch before church. This week we had 23 investigators and less actives attend sacrament meeting. Seriously I can't describe to you all how happy I get every time I see our investigators and less actives walk up to the chapel. We had 2 different inactives that we teach come to church this week that I hadn't seen come in my whole 9 weeks here. The work is working. How blessed I feel to be a missionary here in the Philippines! I love the people. I absolutely love EVERYTHING about it. 

I hope you all are doing well!! 

Mahal kita,

--Sister Reategui
Here is a picture of me with some of my favorites: Jerome, Jorel (in a girl's Christmas costume...hahahah) and his brother Junel. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013


Hello my beloved family and friends all around the world! Another great week here in the Philippines. Have I mentioned that I am obsessed with it here? Okay yes I AM OBSESSED WITH IT HERE! It has become my home away from home.
Sige where do I begin? Let me start with my favorite part of this week. Our cute little NEW INVESTIGATOR Jarome. So, last week I briefly told you all about him and all that we knew. This week we were determined to find him. We asked everyone that we taught if they knew him every single appointment we had. When we were by the Pier, we would ask everyone we could find if they knew who he was. He has a nickname here which is “Iglot” haha I have no idea what it means or anything but we went around asking if anyone knew him. Some people knew of him but all they could tell us is that he roams around a lot so they didn’t know where he was in that moment. Let me just tell you it was SO FRUSTRATING! We just want to help this little boy and we can’t even find him. I just wanted to give him a meal for the day or help him find somewhere to sleep that night, and we couldn’t even find him. Frustrating, yes. The days went through the week and we still hadn’t found him. Then Sunday came and we were greeting people for church. It was District Conference so we had many many people and missionaries there, so I was constantly talking with people and welcoming people in. Then all the sudden a little boy literally jumped into my arms and squealed “SISTER!!!” I looked down and guess who it was? YES. To my great surprise it was Jarome!!! There in my arms was the boy we were looking everywhere for. Words cannot adequately explain my happiness when I saw him. Apparently he had known a family in the ward, the Perez family, went to their house Sunday morning because he wanted to come to church again. And there he was, at church! So we talked with the Perez family and they had more information on him. Basically all that we knew was that his parents left him and his siblings and they all are no where to be found. As we talked with her we found out that he roams around a lot. Some times he sleeps on the beach and sometimes he can find houses to stay at for a little bit. He usually moves around a lot because kids pick on him. Since he was abandoned by his family, he has developed some mental problems and social problems so lots of kids bully him and pick on him. He literally only has the clothes on his back because when he goes to sleep, anything he has with him gets stolen. Even a mat that the Perez family bought him to sleep on was stolen right from under him while he was sleeping. So sad, but he doesn’t let it get him down. Sister Perez even told us one time she saw him begging for money at the LCC, the supermarket here. She said she was watching him, and he got money from someone, went and bought some food with that money, and then here is the most touching part….he turned around and gave away the food to other street kids. These kids that  pick on him all day long…and he is giving them the food he begs and begs for all day long. He has no food and is giving away anything he gets. I was just balling as she was telling us these stories. This little boy is barely 12 years old and has lived a hard, sad life. But he is one of the happiest and loving people I’ve ever met. He is such a good example to me and to all of us! So anyways, after church we talked with him after church and he told us he wanted us to teach him. So, we told him to go to the Perez home later that day because we were going to teach Sister Perez’s son, who is a recent convert. We went there and didn’t really expect Jarome to show up. But then in the middle of our lesson, he came running in! So excited to learn. I almost cried when I saw him come in!!! Ah just so exciting. So we taught him. It was rough because since he has had no schooling, he doesn’t really understand Tagalog. For most people here, their first language is the local dialect Bicol. So it was key to have the Perez family there to help us translate. Long story short, somehow we were able to teach him. Somehow through the Spirit he was able to learn. We taught about Jesus Christ with pictures and with hand motions. Although it was a simple short lesson, the Spirit felt was so powerful. More powerful than words could ever describe. We also taught him how to pray. He is so so super smart and so eager to learn. It is sad he has these disabilities, but he doesn’t let it get him down. He was so receptive! So we taught him how to pray very simply. Then, at the end of the lesson, we asked him to offer the closing prayer. He was so so nervous but then all the sudden he just knelt down and gave the most sincere, heartfelt prayer I have ever heard in my life. It was in Bicol, so I only understood a little bit of it. But in his prayer he just said a few short simple phrases. He said that he was grateful for the Perez family for giving him food. He said he was grateful to the missionaries for finding him and still teaching him. Then, so innocently, he said “please bless my mom and family that they are safe and know that I love them.” He was crying. We were all crying. The Spirit was so strong. This little boy has been abandoned by everything and everyone that he knows, and he is praying for those that left him. Those that left him with no food, no place to live, no money, left him with absolutely nothing, and this amazing little boy is praying for them and their safety. WOW. Seriously. He is my inspiration. We asked him how he felt after he prayed and he was crying and he said that he felt God’s love for him. It is amazing to witness the Spirit working through this little boy. He has so many problems in his life, but he knows this gospel is true. And he has so much faith already! So we will be teaching him this week. We are teaching him how to read, and are using the pamphlets and scriptures to do so :) How happy I am to be a little part of this boy’s life! :)
So really I could end this email there and that would be good haha because it was really THAT amazing. But, I will fill you in on everything else J We extended baptism to two more of our investigators this week, Queenie who is 9 and her family aren’t members but her grandmother is a recent convert, and we extended to Alfred, the sibling of the 5 Nares kids that were baptized a few weeks ago. We had a really powerful lesson with Alfred yesterday about the Doctrine of Christ. We extended baptism to him awhile ago, but we are working on him to get an answer to his prayers because he feels as though he has not. So for 3 lessons now we have taught him about the Holy Ghost, and have been teaching about 2 Nephi 31. He has a really strong testimony already and I think he really does know that baptism is the right thing for him but we are just giving him time. We were able to testify to him about the importance of finding answers to our prayers. It was a really powerful lesson and somehow I was able to testify to him of things I didn’t even know I could testify of. The gift of tongues is real people. I always know when these people really need to hear something from our Heavenly Father when He gives me the words to say something that I didn’t know I could. So I really poured out my Tagalog heart to him about just how powerful prayer can be. I told him of my personal experience of praying to know if I should go on a mission or finish school sooner and was just balling and told him that I knew he would get his answer. Especially since being on a mission, I have learned that prayers are answered in the Lord’s time, according to how He best sees fit for us. I told Alfred that a mission, just like baptism, is a good thing and sometimes it’s frustrating not getting answer right away. But the Lord will ALWAYS answer our prayers. I know without a doubt that He is there. He listens to us. He has a plan for us. He knows us and knows what we need at all times. How grateful I am for Him and for His constant love and support He shows to me, especially as a missionary. Because at the end of the day when I have really given it all my best, and then given more, I know that He will make up for the rest. That through my hard work and obedience, He will show me miracles because He already has!
Well everyone, missionary work is amazing. I see miracles everyday. It is so incredible and rewarding to see the Spirit work through these amazing people. Being a missionary is amazing. I love it more and more each day. Thank you all for your support and love you continue to show me! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!
Mahal kita,
Sister Reategui
PS- here is a picture at the baptism of Sister Fonua and Sister Papica in the other half of the branch, my Thanksgiving feast,and a picture of us with Jarome who is to my left in the picture :) 

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Hello to all my favorite people!! How are all of you?? I hope you are doing well! Things continue to stay amazing here in the Philippines!

Let me just start with saying what a great great blessing it is to be a missionary!! I cherish this calling more than anything in the world. HOW GREAT IS THIS GOSPEL!

Okay so this week was super super busy but not much to report on haha. Lots of teaching all day long. Most days we don't get home until just a few minutes before we have to be home. I love being busy because it means we have people to teach!!

So I'm sure you all are wondering about how our village is. Hahaha well if you aren't wondering, I'm still going to tell you so HA. So let me just start off by saying the village refers to me as "Miss Universe" hahaha and my companion corrects them and makes them call me sister so they call me "Sister Universe." It's so great. I LOVE THESE PEOPLE!!! So this week, we decided to split them up by families or separately so we could focus on them individually and their needs. It was difficult to really focus on them and what we needed to teach them to best help them when they were in a huge group. So that's probably why we were so busy all the time this week, teaching them separately. We taught the 4 different families 3 times during the week. So 12 visits to the village just this past week! They always ask us to teach them everyday haha but 3 times is the most we can teach investigators a week. But we visit them a lot! They are progressing a lot and really have a strong desire to learn more. They believe it's true, they just need to act on their faith haha. None of them attended church this week. We went to the village before church yesterday and reminded them, they said they would come, and then they didn't come. We went after church and talked with them and found out they didn't come because they were ashamed they didn't have any "decent" clothes to wear. So I'm going to take them some of my clothes this week and hope that we can get them to church! Their desire is strong!

There was a big boxing show thing on TV yesterday so church attendance suffered big time. But, our little investigator, Jonsen, he is 10, came to church!! He is the friend of Jorel, our recent convert aka our inspiration haha. We extended baptism to Jonsen and his brother JonJon this week and they accepted! Before I could even finish the baptismal invitation, they hurried and said yes and had the biggest smiles on their faces and said they were so excited! :) I love them!! We have lots of baptisms coming up in December, it's going to be a good month!!  

Yesterday at church, we met a little boy named Jarome. He came up and just gave me the biggest hug! He is 10 and the cutest thing. We noticed that he wasn't with anyone so we started talking to him. We asked who he was with and he said he came by himself. We asked where he lived and he said "Pier Uno" which is the beach. We found out through talking with him that his parents left him a few years ago and they went to Manila. He lives on the beach by himself. He goes house to house asking for food from people. All he has is the clothes on his back. But he found out what time church was and came! He just kept telling us "I really want to go to school and learn." Ah so so sad. He doesn't know how to read. So we told him we would try to find him this week and teach him how to read and he was SO HAPPY! We keep asking around to find out more about him but that is all we know so far. I will keep you all updated :)

Well anyways, I don't have much time today but MISSIONARY WORK IS AMAZING! I love being a missionary so much already. It is a time so special that I will really cherish for the rest of my life. What an amazing thing it is to get to witness this gospel changing lives right before my very eyes. I have witnessed the Spirit working through people. I have met people that were and are SO PREPARED for this gospel. They are all around us. We don't know who they are but there are so many so ready. So ready for the hope that this gospel is. When they have no money, no food, no house, when this is the only thing they have, it's okay. Because this is all they need. It is all any of us need! How grateful I am to be missionary!! I love this gospel. And I love all of you!!! I hope you all are doing well!!!! 

Mahal kita,
--Sister Reategui

Sunday, November 17, 2013

WEEK 12: Converting the Philippines: One Village at a Time

HELLO TO MY GRAND FAMILY AND FRIENDS!!!! Another good week here in the best place in the world. Ah, it was such a great week. Words cannot express my love for this work and for the people here. How grateful I am to be a missionary!!!

So I have an announcement…..Sister Alabanza and I totally fulfilled one of my mission dreams. WE TAUGHT AN ENTIRE VILLAGE. Yes. You read that right. An entire village. All eyes on us as we taught them. Let me start at the beginning of this grand story:
So, Sunday morning we were making our usual rounds before church to our investigators to invite them to church. We decided to try to find one of our potential investigators named Harry. He is usually super hard to find because he doesn’t have a permanent home. He’s 21 years old, and he has attended church but we hadn’t had the chance to teach him yet. So, we go to the general area of where we thought he would be. Here, you basically just start asking around and people point you in different directions and just say “doon!” “there!” until you can find who you’re looking for. So we kept asking and looking, and finally we were pointed to a village right on the beach. So we walked over to the village and spoke with a few people to find out exactly where Harry was. They had no idea and hadn’t seen him in a few days. This was over a span of a solid hour. By now we were getting kind of discouraged and losing hope. But, I was prompted to walk over to a certain little shack and introduce myself and ask where Harry was. Out of no where, I was suddenly given a little hope that just grew from there. So I started talking to this lady. Her name is Bella. She is about 40 years old and has a family of 5 children. I shared with her a Tagalog pass along card about eternal families. I told her, in my broken Tagalog that families can be together forever through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Guys the gift of tongues is real!!! I had only practiced explaining the pass along card a few times before and I was able to really explain it to her. In just these short few minutes, Bella noticed something different about my message. She just stared at me as I kept repeating that families are forever. The Spirit was so strong. Then, all the sudden she started asking me questions!! So that’s when I just looked at Sister Alabanza hahaha. She was asking when we could come back to teach her more because she wanted this gospel for her family. WOW. So then we were done talking with her, and I look around, and then all the sudden the whole village is there! Kids, mothers, fathers, grandparents, families….seriously. Everyone in the village. They all were asking when we were going to come back to teach them!! So we set an appointment for the next day, TO TEACH THE ENTIRE VILLAGE. The next day we show up and they are all waiting. Really, words can't describe how happy I am when I walk down to the village and they are all chanting "the Amerikana! Sister Ratgee!" and running to me to shake my hand. Just imagine 20 kids screaming your name and chanting your name. It is possibly one of the best feelings in the entire world. So anyways, they gather up any others, and search for 2 chairs for Sister Alabanza and I. I’m pretty sure they were the only 2 chairs in the entire village and they just gave them up so willingly for us. That is how the people are here. Willing to give up literally everything they have for others. So incredible. Anyways, back to teaching the village. So, we taught them God is our loving Heavenly Father and that the gospel blesses families. The Spirit was so strong. One of the most incredible experiences so far of my mission. I was so nervous to open my mouth and teach all of these people. Just try to picture a whole village sitting around me with a good 30 people. Once it is my turn to speak, ALL eyes are on the Amerikana trying to speak Tagalog to them. I was so nervous! They desperately need to hear the hope this gospel can bring. I wish I could just pour out my heart to them but I felt so inadequate because my Tagalog is so limited. But, I opened my mouth and suddenly I was filled with words. I just poured out everything I’ve got to these incredible people and testified that families can be together forever through this gospel. How incredibly blessed we are to have eternal families! It is something that is so special to me and I wanted them to feel that too. I said phrases and words I had never even practiced before. THE GIFT OF TONGUES IS REAL! These people needed to hear the gospel. How lucky I am to be trusted to be the mouthpiece to bring this gospel to them. When I was done, we asked if they had any questions. Then, Jayson, a 28 year old man that was amidst the village, raised his hand. And I heard the most surprising, amazing words come out of his mouth. He asked, so innocently, “How can I become a member of your church?” OKAY MY FILIPINO WORLD STOPPED. I looked at Sister Alabanza and she just pulled out her scriptures and turned to 2 Nephi 31. Doctrine of Christ. So, we taught the doctrine of Christ to the village. She was about half way through and then just looked at me. UM OKAY I BARELY KNEW WHAT WAS GOING ON. Possibly the scariest moment of my life. So I taught the rest and testified about following the example of Jesus Christ, and then I extended baptism to him!!! And somehow he knew what I was saying (through the Spirit of course) AND HE SAID YES!!! Actually his exact response was “Yes I really want to” UM HELLO HE IS SO PREPARED!!! So incredible. So we finished, and then Bella asked “When can me and my family be baptized into your church?” UM HELLO I REALLY DIDN’T THINK IT WAS REAL LIFE. I wanted to cry/scream and hug her. These people were so prepared. The whole village was so prepared!!!! So we extended baptism to her as well, both for the 21st!!!! YAY really words can’t describe how amazing it was. The Spirit felt was something I have really never experienced before. The words were really put into my mouth. SO SO SO AMAZING. Hahah as we were walking away, my cute little companion just said, "I feel like Jesus Christ teaching a huge group of people!" Hahah. But it is true to a sense. We are real representatives of Christ. Entrusted to do what He would do and say what He would say. What a great calling! So, we taught them 2 more times that week. GREAT THINGS ARE INSTORE FOR OUR VILLAGE!

This week is a week full of new investigators! We have our village, and we also started teaching two of Jorel’s friends. Jorel is the 9 year old that was baptized a few weeks ago. Already such a good missionary!!! He always brings friends to church and shares the gospel with others and HE IS ONLY 9!!! At 9 years old, I did not have the strong testimony he has. This week we went and got lunch with him. This little boy was probably starving because there are a lot of kids in his family and he is always telling us that he’s hungry. He inhaled his food….but I looked over and he had saved exactly half of it. I asked why he had saved it and he said “you taught me to always share what we have so I will save it for my brothers and sisters.” OKAY CAN YOU SAY PRECIOUS?? He is progressing so much. Then, he told us how this week his school teacher was drinking coffee. He told her that it was bad and that she shouldn’t drink it. She told him that it is okay and that he just shouldn’t drink it since he is little. He then said to her, and these are his exact translated words “Coffee is bad for you and it is a commandment of God not to drink coffee. I don’t drink coffee because my body is a temple.” OKAY HE IS SO GREAT. Oh how I love that boy!!!

Let’s see….nothing really beats that for this week. Haha but, besides teching the village, lots of other great things happened as well. Tuesday we had a workshop with President and the AP’s for the new missionaries and their trainers, so of course it was great to see all my old district mates! And President Guanzon is amazing and always teaches me so much. Also this week I had exchanges with the Sister Training Leader in our zone, Sister Papica who is Sister Fonua’s companion. She is an amazing missionary and I really learned a lot from her! And on Friday, we had a Family Home Evening with the newly baptized Nares siblings at Tatay Alfredo’s house. We had a super good turn out with lots of the Branch Presidency and lots of members there so it was awesome. He is so nice to us and prepared dinner for us all! Really I can’t express in words how amazing these people of the Philippines are. They are so selfless and so giving. They teach me so much every day, as a missionary and as a person. How lucky I am to be here for a short while.

Here is the funny story for the week....
So, today I am walking through the market just like normal. These markets are crazy and there are tons of people everywhere selling anything you can think of. Then, I walked through the middle, a point where most of the market is open so you can see basically the whole thing. I am just minding my business, following Sister Alabanza, when a man calls out "Sister! The Amerikan sister!" And next thing you know, ALL the people in the market, in unison, chant "SISTER! THE AMERIKAN SISTER!" And calling me "attay" which means sister in slang Tagalog. Hahaha serioulsy like a good 30 or 40 people chanting at me and wanting to touch my light skin. I was laughing so hard! I LOVE THESE PEOPLE AND I LOVE THAT THEY LOVE ME. Hahaha

Well, THE WORK IS WORKING. Missionary work is real work. Hard work. But the blessings and happiness I receive from it are far greater than anything I could have ever imagined. I love this gospel. I love that I get to share the hope that this gospel can bring to these people that are facing so many trials in their lives. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!! And I love all of you!!! Have a great week!!!!!

Mahal Kita,
-Sister Reategui

PS- Pasensya (sorry) but the pictures aren't working this week!!! I will send some next week hopefully :)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Typhoon Yolanda

Dear Parents and Relatives of Missionaries,

We are so happy to tell you that all missionaries in the Philippines Legazpi Mission are accounted for and were in safe situations during and after the typhoon we have experienced. We had strong winds and some rains but the storm did not affect us severely. We will advise all missionaries to email you on Monday and inform you about their safety status during the storm and currently. We thank you all for your love and prayers for your missionaries and the whole mission as well.

Elder Quinto

Travel and Mission Secretary

Philippines Legazpi Mission

WEEK 11: Noticing the miracles

KUMUSTA FRIENDS AND FAMILY!!! Yes. To answer you all yes, I am alive and I have survived the typhoon this week. Let me just start by saying a huge thank you for your prayers and your concerns. I have felt of your faith and your comfort!! Not once have I felt unsafe here, which is kind of crazy seeing the crazy things that have happened here. Miracle for sure. I am convinced it is because I have so much support from home and I am forever grateful for that! You do not go unnoticed.

So yes, typhoon Yolanda hit here this week on Friday. We were on lock down and not allowed to leave our apartment from Thursday night to Saturday morning. It was said to be a signal 4 and a very high tide, so we were advised to move everything in our apartment to the top of the bunk beds just in case the water got really high. It is a miracle that it wasn't as bad in our area as expected. But, we were prepared for the worst, which is a blessing. We prepared our 72 hour kits and had many extra buckets of water. For the next few days we stayed in the sister's apartment above us with all 6 sisters in our area. Have I told you all how amazing the members are here? Through and after the storm, our members and investigators were calling and texting us to make sure WE were okay. So SELFLESS. And then they were even asking specifically about me, since I had never been in a typhoon before. These people who literally had to rebuild their houses after the storm were concerned about ME and my safety. Ah. They are so amazing. I have so much to learn here!! Anyways, the worst we got of the storm was a "brown out" for about 4 days and no water. And I currently have 103 bug bites on my legs and arms from sleeping with the windows open. Haha but, we are definitely counting our blessings AND miracles. Many, many people were affected by this crazy storm so please keep them in your prayers. Some members of our branch have family in other areas of the Philippines and they haven't heard anything from them. Please PLEASE keep them in your prayers.

Amid the craziness, it was an incredible week. We had the baptisms of the Nares family!!! Ah. What an amazing baptism to witness. First let me just try to explain the miracle that we were even able to have this baptism this week. So we get to the church, and of course there is no power. No lights or fans or air conditioning. We look in the baptismal font and there was no water of course. Then, we try to find baptismal clothes and we can only find 3 jumpsuits. The rest had huge holes in them and weren't usable. But, somehow in jut less than an hour, we were able to get water into the font. I still don't even know how that happened. MIRACLE. And, we randomly found a bag of baptismal clothes in the library of the church. So many miracles to make this baptism happen through the craziness this storm brought!! So yes, five Nares children were all baptized on Saturday by their grandfather Alfredo. Like I have mentioned, Alfredo is a recent convert of just a few months. He is so so so amazing and progressing so much!! And he is such a good missionary. He gave us the referral of his grandchildren who were baptized. Words really cannot express how grateful I am for the opportunity to be just a little part of these incredible people's lives. What a blessing they are to me!!! And what an incredible opportunity I had to witness them enter the waters of baptism. One of my favorite parts of baptisms are their testimonies they get to share right after. Okay the second the first one stood up I just started crying and crying. I'm such a cry baby here its slightly embarrassing but it's okay because I'm a sister missionary and I'm allowed to cry. So, the oldest Nares sibling got up. She is 18 and she has such a strong testimony already. She is such a good example to me!! So, she got up and shared her testimony and thanking the missionaries for teaching her. Then, IN ENGLISH, she looked at me and said "Sister Reategui, my family and I want to thank you because even though you can't speak fluent Tagalog yet, you are teaching us so much. We really so much appreciate you for coming all the way here to teach this gospel to us.You have been an important part of our baptism. I will mark this day as one of the greatest and best days of my life." ASK ME IF I WAS BALLING. Yes. Yes I was balling. And my tears were falling straight down because I was sweating so much. Hahaha AH. HOW GRATEFUL I AM TO BE A MISSIONARY!!!!

Well, crazy week. I am noticing the hand of The Lord in my life now more than ever. This is His work. His gospel I am so very blessed to share with these people. This gospel is a gospel of change. It gives us hope in something bigger than ourselves because we can't survive this on our own! This gospel gives us a hope that we can change each and every day. How amazing is it for me as a missionary to witness the change in these people. On Sunday, Tattay Alfredo blessed the sacrament. Can you say progressing? SO INCREDIBLE. Then, his 5 grandchildren were confirmed. The three Nares boys that were old enough, were given the Priesthood. This is huge for this branch!!! Lives are changing right before my eyes and it is so amazing!!

Well, I love you all so much and I am so grateful for your prayers and love to me!!! You guys are the best. Thanks for everything and I hope you all have a great week!

Mahal kita,
Sister Reategui

here is a picture from right before the worst of the storm hit, of course still working hahaha rain or shine!! and a picture from the baptism!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

WEEK 10: But at least I can love the people...:)

HELLO MY LOVELY FRIENDS AND FAMILY!!! It's been another great week here in the best place in the world. This week I think something changed. All the sudden all of this is becoming very real and NORMAL. Like when I wake up, I don't think anything is different. I don't wonder where I am or how I got here haha. This is becoming the normal, AND I LOVE IT. This place is so great. Seeing these people grow in the gospel is such a privilege that I already cherish so much. I can't wait for the day I can actually communicate everything I want to. Some days it's really frustrating, but I just have to remember that I'm here for a reason. Some how in some way I can help these people. For now, hopefully just loving them is enough. Ah I love these people so much already! They make my job as a missionary sobrang easy. I so so wish I could communicate better with them, but at least I can love them, and maybe, just maybe, that will be enough for now.
So this week was a rough one. It has been elections here, so a lot of people are constantly busy and so it was hard for us to teach them. Plus, we were given curfews on a few nights for our safety, which definitely ended up affecting the amount of teaching we could do. Elections here are crazy and seem like they last forever. They have campaigns around every corner of every village and it gets super intense. I don't even know if I can call it a campaign because it is like half campaign half huge dance party. But everything is a party in the Philippines so it's just totally normal. They LOVE karaoke here and so as we are walking down the street, usually we hear a few different people belting out their souls to their karaoke machines. And usually it is English music which it just makes it so much funnier to hear. This week, as I was walking down the street, a man (at least in his 60's) was singing karaoke in his front yard and then turned to me and pointed and just belted out "YOU ARE MY DESTINYYYYYYY!" Hahaha and another person sang to me this week "YEW ARE SO BOOOOTIFUL, TO ME!" They just spit out any English songs they know to me. Hahahahaha I AM SO OBSESSED WITH THESE PEOPLE!!!! Oh, and I forgot to mention the passion these people have for Christmas. They celebrate in all the "ber" months, so September, October, November, and December. Hahaha so often times we hear them singing Christmas karaoke. I LOVE IT HERE.
Also, this week was "All Saints Day" which is when everyone goes to the cemetery and visits their ancestors. They take it very seriously here and many people were gone with their families for the whole day, so it really affected our teaching as well. Pero, it was really cool to see how much they respect their ancestors. The culture here is very family oriented, and I love it. It is especially helpful as missionaries, because they second we mention that through the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can live with our families forever, they are totally hooked. I absolutely love sharing the hope that this gospel can bring. And I LOVE that these people are so receptive! They are being so prepared. I LOVE IT.
Pero, even though a lot of people were busy, it was a really good week! We got to teach our lovely recent converts, Jorel who is 9 and Jovelyn who is 13. I love them so much!! Their faith and diligence to this gospel is such a good example to me. Jorel gave me this necklace this week with a heart on it hahahahah and his friends keep pointing to me and calling me "crushko" hahaha which means "my crush" so that's awesome. Haha we are also teaching the rest of their family, and just committed one of his brothers, Junel, to baptism. Jorel is the youngest but such a good example to them all! He has so much potential and I keep telling him he is going to be an amazing missionary one day! I will pray that he gets called to America so you all can meet him. :) We also taught some of my other favorites, the Nares family. Okay, they are so golden. They are getting baptized THIS SATURDAY!!! Ah I just can't wait. There are 5 kids in this family, and they are the grandchildren of Tattay Alfredo, who was just baptized about a month ago. He will be the one to baptize them. Alfredo is in his 60's I believe, and we are lucky to get to teach him every week as well since he is a recent convert. They all understand English so of course I love them already because of that hahaha. This week he told me I am looking more like a Filipino and my skin is getting darker AND he said my Tagalog is magaling, which means skilled, so aka basically the best compliment in the whole world! AH I am SO SO SO excited or this family. Great things are happening here in San Vicente.
So today, we had a zone activity! In our mission, every month, a zone gets to have a zone activity. President picks the key indicator, and then counts up for that month our numbers and the winner gets to have a zone activity! This month they key indicator was investigators attending sacrament meeting AND WE WON! Our zone is the smallest in the mission, so this was a big achievement for us! Super exciting. So, for the activity, we went to Bulusan Lake, right by the volcano in our area. Basically the prettiest lake I have ever seen! It was super awesome. We played some games as a zone and also had a devotional from President Guanzon. Super awesome and it was cool to be rewarded for our hard work!
Well everyone, it is amazing here. THE WORK IS WORKING! I witness miracles everyday. It is truly amazing to see how the gospel blesses us all. It is such a privilege to witness the Spirit working through people and really changing lives. The work is working. Missionary work is amazing and so so rewarding.

I hope you all are doing well!!! Please always remember I am praying for you all. And, almost everyone we teach prays for the missionaries and their families and friends all around the world. You are prayed for by many many people. Including me :) And my prayers are ALWAYS answered :) Hahaha I love you all!!!
Mahal kita,
Sister Reategui
PS: here are some pictures from the zone activity. Also, I would like to take this time to publicly wish my beautiful sister ADRIEN A HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!! I love you so much and wish you the best!!! I will attach one of the pictures I took on here because it just explains the randomness of the Philippines. The little animal licking my shoe is not a dog. IT IS A PIG. Yes. A pig on the beach. I LOVE THE PHILIPPINES. That is all I have to say. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ADRIEN I LOVE YOU!!!

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Hello everyone!!! I have survived yet another week. Life is so so great here in the Philippines!! I am obsessed with it. Ah, the people here are amazing. Missionary work is amazing. I just really really love it all and feel so lucky to be here!! Here are some highlights of the week:

So this week, one of our recent converts, Brother Rudy, had a referral for us! He came up to me and said “Sister, I told my friend he needs to hear about the only true church on the earth, and I told him I have a beautiful American to teach it to him.” Hahaha okay he’s my favorite Filipino old man ever. So on Monday, we went to teach his friend Antonio. We show up and Brother Rudy is already there, and he had given him all of the pamphlets and a Book of Mormon. Hahaha love that man. So, we taught him the restoration, and tied it in with the Doctrine of Christ, and invited him to be baptized! AND he accepted!!! Yay. So exciting. In the middle of the lesson, Rudy all the sudden says, “Antonio, you need to get baptized because this is the only true church, and this beautiful American came all the way across the seas, leaving her family for 18 months to teach you.” Hahahaha. And then he tapped me on the shoulder and just said “Sister, why would you come all the way here so far away from your family? That must be a big sacrifice.” Ah I didn’t even know what to say to him! So I just said, “I came to serve the Lord!” But later thinking about it, it made me realize something. It made me realize that although it is so far away from everything I have ever known, and sometimes it is hard being in such a different country, it is so great. Because I have this great responsibility and calling to be a representative of Christ. To do what He would do and say what He would say. To teach with His Spirit and to love His children like I know He would. So that is what I’m here to do! And even though I’m so far from my home and everything is so different, it is so worth it!!!

So this week I HAD MY FIRST BAPTISM!!!! Jorel and Jovelyn were baptized. Let me just say that it may have been the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me. Ah. It is amazing to see these people I have grown to love so much, make covenants with the Lord. I am so grateful to be a little part of these amazing people’s lives. I can’t say it enough! After Jorel and Jovelyn’s baptism, they bore their testimonies along with the 5 others that were baptized the same day. Cute little Jorel, he is 9, got up there and just poured his heart out. He said “When I stepped into the font, I heard a voice. It said to me, ‘Do you want to change?’ And I said yes. Then I was baptized. When I came out of the water, I heard the voice again, and it said ‘Your sins are gone.’ I am grateful for Sister Alabanza and Sister Reategui teaching me about the only true church because I can be a good boy.” OKAY I WAS BALLING. This boy gets it. He is so golden. Ah I just really love him so much! We will be walking on the streets, and boys will call at me of course because everyone loves the American hahaha and Jorel will turn around and sush them and get so mad at them. Haha I’ve got myself a little Filipino body guard. Oh, and everytime we go to teach them, he has a little drawing ready to give me. He’s like my new BFF. He’s the best.

So, of course Sunday was also a highlight of the week. I don’t think I will ever get over how much I absolutely love Sunday’s here. I love being able to stand at the church doors and welcome in everyone! And to see our investigators and less actives come to church is the greatest feeling in the world!!! This week we had 17 less active members and investigators at church! Ah. It all pays off seeing them come to church. Such an amazing feeling. Sunday was also the ward primary program, so of course that was so much fun to see! They all have parts in English, so it’s quite impressive to hear! Our Branch is so great and I love the members here!!

So something that was funny this week: I was walking along the streets like normal and all the sudden I saw a man in his 60’s just staring at me haha so I smiled. Then, out of no where, he points to me and starts singing in his best English, “When I see you smile, the whole world stops and stares for awhile…” Hahahahaa Sister Alabanza and I just laughed. So so funny. I love these people here!!!They make me feel like a million bucks.

Well, life is so so good here. Sweaty and rainy, but so good! I feel lucky to be a little part of these amazing people’s lives. They are changing my life day by day! And it is amazing. I hope you all are doing well! Always remember that little me in the Philippines is thinking of you all!
Mahal kita,
Sister Reategui 

Sunday, October 20, 2013



I am happy to report that I have survived another week in this great country. AH I AM OBSESSED WITH IT HERE! I can’t say it enough. The people here are amazing and I have so so so much respect for them already. Ah I don’t even know where to begin!

It is crazy different here.I keep saying that I will be invincible when I come home. I kill like 100 ants every like 5 minutes and spiders and mosquitoes and everything you can think of. So, the main transportation are tricycles, which are bikes attached to a little seat carriage thing that fits like 2 normal people aka like usually 6 Filipinos. Everyone here is in love with Americans. They all want to touch my light skin and pointy nose. Haha. Like as soon as I turn a corner to walk down a new street somehow within like 5 seconds the whole street knows there is an American out and they all just stare and scream any English phrases they know. Sometimes it’s “happy birthday sister beautiful!” or “happy new year!” or my favorite, “thou art so beautiful!” Hahaha these people know how to boost my confidence when I’m my sweatiest and smelliest I’ve ever been. Haha okay now onto the highlights of the week:

Ah okay let’s start with Monday. After we emailed, we visited a recent convert, Rudy. I know I say this about everyone but he really is one of my favorites. Hahaha he is 70 I believe. I met him at church the week before, and he found out I didn’t speak good Tagalog yet so he went home and translated a prayer in English so he could pray the next week in English for me so I would understand. Hahha even though the English prayer didn’t really make sense, it was so cute. Sweetest man in the world. This week he saved me a spot by him in gospel principles class. Hahaha he’s the best.
On Tuesday, we had community service project, which was at a school and we just cleaned it up a little. The members here are so nice and treat us missionaries so well, everywhere we go there is food and some kind of fruit drink. Ah I love everyone here. Okay, also on Tuesday we taught our new investigator Jake for the first time! He’s 11 and crazy and so much fun. It’s hard to get him to calm down for our lessons haha but when he does he is pretty serious about it. It’s so amazing to see how the Spirit works through people. We see so much potential in him and I can’t wait to keep teaching him. He also came to church this week for the second week in a row yay! Oh yeah and on Tuesday there was an earthquake here! We felt it a little but not too bad. We met with an older lady later on in the week, and she was talking about the earthquake. She said a whole Catholic church collapsed and she just said “well obviously because it isn’t the true church” with the most serious face. Filipinos have the funniest sense of humor hahaha they keep me laughing allllll the time. Tuesday we also taught the Concina family. Another one of my favorites (hehe okay everyone is my favorite but still) Jovelyn and Jorel Concina are getting baptized THIS SATURDAY!!!!! It may or may not be the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me. They are the cutest ever and are so excited to be baptized! They are the first in their family, we are working with the others. There is so much potential in this family and I love teaching them! Last week, I taught them the Law of Tithing and they just stared at me when I was done and all started laughing! Hahaha apparently they were surprised with my Tagalog and they decided to laugh at me. At first I thought they were making fun of me so I laughed too haha because I thought I said something wrong, but my companion said that a lot of Filipinos react in that way. They are literally always happy and laughing here I love it. And, my ability to speak has grown so much being so immerged into this amazing country. THE GIFT OF TONGUES IS SO REAL! God is so mindful of us. I could never do any of this without Him!

Wednesday morning we taught Melanie, a less active. We taught one of my favorite scriptures, Mosiah 24:13-16. It is about how God is mindful of us and He visits us in our afflictions. She was balling as I (tried to) read it to her and as I testified to her I was balling and balling. God really does visit us in our afflictions. I have learned that here more than ever. It was so hard at first being in a crazy country that is so different than anything I’m used to, but I found SO MUCH comfort in the fact that He knows me and He knows what I’m going through, and HE WILL HELP ME THROUGH IT! Because without Him I am literally nothing. Sister Melanie was crying and I was crying and I doubt she could understand anything I was saying but the Spirit was strong. These people have so many trials in their lives. I have seen people get kicked out of their houses and forced to live on the streets with no money and no food for their children and it is so sad. I wish I could just give them everything I own but I can’t. But I can share the gospel with them. I can try my best to testify to them that God is so aware of them and knows them by name. He knows what we are going through is so hard but He has a plan for us. This verse hit home for Sister Melanie and for me as well. I am so grateful for that experience and I am so grateful to know that this gospel can bring so much hope to all! On Wednesday we also taught one of our other new investigators, Miraflor. We taught about the Book of Mormon and it’s importance in our lives. I love these people so much. They are all going through such hard trials in their lives but their faith is so strong. I love being able to share the hope this gospels brings to people! It is an amazing thing.

The next few days we taught the Naris kids, Alfredo’s grandchildren who will all be baptized by him in November. Ah I love them so much already and their excitement about the gospel inspires me. And they understand English so that is totally a plus. Haha exciting things are in store for San Vicente and I love it and I LOVE my opportunity to be a part of it!

Sunday was my first real church experience here since my first week was Conference. Okay, seriously probably my favorite thing so far is seeing these amazing people come together to attend church. Our branch is a good size. Lots of less actives, so Sister Alabanza and I have been getting to know them pretty well. We had about 20 less active and investigators at church this week. TALK ABOUT BLESSINGS!! Ah. So amazing. Like I think there was a smile plastered on my face for the whole day because of that. The members here are so faithful and have such strong testimonies. Words can’t even begin to describe how happy it made me seeing all of them attend church. We had visited two different less active men from the ward this past week and shared a message with them. They both hadn’t attended church in over 3 years. To see them both walk up to the church in their nicest white shirt and tie almost brought tears to my face! Ah. I have become such a cry baby here but it’s okay. I bore my testimony in church since I am a new missionary in the ward and I just cried the whole time and they probably think I’m crazy and they don’t even know what I’m saying because my Tagalog is so broken and slow hahaha but I just love everyone here so much!

The work here is amazing. I can’t say it enough. There is so much work to be done and I love every second of it. These people have far more to teach me than I could ever teach them. They make my job as a missionary so SO easy because I just want to love every single one of them. There is a little 8 year old boy cousins to an investigator we are teaching, his name is Jansen. Every time I am anywhere close to his house all the sudden he comes out of no where and says “Sister Ratgee you so bootiful” Hahahaha like I just never want to leave here ever!!!! It’s amazing. It’s so humbling but the only thing I would want to be doing right now. I am obsessed with it here. I hope you are all doing amazing and know that I am praying for each one of you! I have the best family and friends in the world. I love you all!!!!!

Mahal kita,
Sister Reategui

PS- here are some pictures, one is with the Naris family, one with another family we teach and the crazy one is with the Concina family.Ignore the sweat dripping down my face in every picture. Hahaha