Sunday, July 27, 2014

WEEK 47-WEEK 48: God looks out for His children.

HELLO TO ALL!!! It's been the craziest past few weeks. Words can't even
begin to describe the things that have taken place but I am grateful to
report that I am safe, and those in my area are now safe as well. I
haven't been able to email because the power was out and I am now in an
area with power and internet.

Let me try and begin to explain the things that have happened...I'll
just start with the last time I emailed, last Monday....but I will say
sorry in advance because I don't have much time and didn't bring my
journal, but here it goes..

Monday, July 14th - We heard from our neighbor in the morning that
there was a typhoon coming the next day. We texted our zone leaders
right away and they contacted the AP's. From there, news spread that
there was a typhoon coming and we all prepared for the worst. They
said it was supposed to be a signal 4 and it would hit that night
until the rest of the day. We prepared and returned back to our
apartment around 4 pm. Rain started to fall but not too hard. We
stayed in our apartment for the rest of the day. They said so far, the
storm was only at signal 1 out of 5, so everything was okay.

Tuesday, July 15th - They kept us updated with the news of the storm.
Wind and rain started to get really hard around the afternoon. We
stayed in our apartments and watched the damage for the rest of the
night. Around 6 the typhoon hit our area at a signal 4 out of 5. It
stayed for what felt like ages. Words can't describe really the
feeling of sitting there in our house with nothing to do. I knew that
we would be okay because our house is strong, but my heart really
ached for those in our area that I knew had very weak houses. I have
never prayed harder in my life than I did that day, multiple times. We
watched the storm as it COMPLETELY destroyed everything around our
house. The wind was hitting so hard that it broke the glass windows
all around us. Water started coming through and all the sudden it got
REALLY REAL. All I remember hearing was a sister screaming at us "grab
everything you need downstairs and come back up as quick as you
can!!!" It's like when people ask you that question "If your house was
on fire, what would be the first things you would grab?" Yes I lived
that but typhoon style. It was a scary feeling and I am thankful that
the storm wasn't bad enough that it flooded, but there was a time we
thought it was going to.
Around 7 again the storm hit really hard. This storm was pretty unique
because it came through and hit hard twice, usually it only happens
once. The damage was horrible. We watched as the three houses behind
our house completely collapsed and fell through. Luckily a lot of the
people had evacuated from their houses to local safe spots. There
weren't any deaths that I heard of, but everything in the path of
typhoon Glenda was destroyed. That night it was hard to sleep because
water was coming in everywhere and I just couldn't focus on anything
but those in our areas. I started reading my scriptures and opened to
a verse in D&C 6, and verse 36 immediately caught my eye. It says
"Look unto me in every thought, doubt not, fear not." OKAY those were
words coming STRAIGHT from the Lord for me in that specific time. I
desperately needed to feel that comfort knowing that He is in control of these people's lives, no matter how scary this storm was for them.
After many prayers and a little bit of sleep, we woke up the next
morning to clean up the mess.

Wednesday, July 16th - We woke up at around 4 and started cleaning and
cleaning and cleaning. Everything everywhere we looked was destroyed.
The trees were destroyed, along with windows, houses...everything. We hurried and
cleaned in our area and went straight out to our other areas to visit
our investigators and members. To see the horrible damage to their
houses and everything was just so heart breaking. To hear their own
personal stories of what happened brought tears to my eyes every time
for one reason: their faith. All told us stories of how scary it was
for them, but as they cried to us about this trial in their life, as
their houses were gone and their clothes and everything was destroyed,
they praised and thanked the Lord that He kept them safe. Goodness I
learn so much from these people every day that I'm here.

Well, for the rest of the week we went area to area all day cleaning
and washing clothes and helping them in any way that we could. I have
really learned the true meaning of service being here amongst these
incredible people. I have seen these strong members, even though their
houses are completely destroyed, go out and serve others FIRST. Again,
words can't describe the things that I have learned from this

Sunday came around and I don't know why...but there was something about
this Sunday that I'll never forget. I watched as all of these people
came up to the church, just going through one of the strongest storms
in a while, when they could have so much to complain about and so much
they needed to do in their own homes...all come gather together and
give thanks to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. In the middle of
Sacrament meeting, we all stood as we sang "Because I Have Been Given
Much." Those words to that song will forever remind me of the people in
the Philippines and just how giving they are. I may or may not have
cried through every single word I sang, as I really felt the truth of
each and every word in that song. Goodness I could go on and on about
these people and how much I've learned from them.

Another week passed and we continued to do more and more service.
Saturday came around and it was announced that I would be
transferred. This is the part of missionary work that isn't fun. To
leave these people that I have learned so much from and that I love so
much....may sakit talaga. But, that is life as a missionary. I am
grateful for the opportunity to serve in Tabaco and especially for the
amazing people I met there. I will never forget them or the
experiences I had. It will always be my home away from home :) I will
write more about transferring next week, and send some pictures :)

I hope you all are well. Thank you all so much for the prayers, during
this experience especially I felt your love and safety. I wish I could
explain and write more, but time is short. Just wait in about 7 months
and I will tell you all the stories and experiences of a life time in
person :)

I am now in my new area, Ligao. I arrived here this afternoon and we
were given permission to email since I hadn't emailed in a few weeks.
My companion is Sister Lesa, she is from Utah and is Samoan. We
actually got here in the mission at the same time so we already knew
each other pretty well. It will be a fun transfer and I know I have a
lot to learn from her.

I LOVE YOU ALL! Sorry this email is kind of all over the place. I will
do better next week but just wanted to update you all real quick.

Sister Reategui

Monday, July 21, 2014

A message from Sister Reategui

I received a text from Sister Reategui this morning at 3:35 a.m. She was not able to e-mail, but did get permission to send a text to her family. Here it is:

Hello Friends and Family,

How are you all? Sorry I didn't e-mail, there will not be electricity here for at least a month. There is so much I want to tell you, this past week I have seen and learned so much. The storm hit pretty hard here and we are slowly rebuilding and cleaning everything up. I will write you all, snail mail for now, please write (LOTS) and keep me updated! Read D&C 6:36. I LOVE YOU ALL!! Don't worry about me. Let everyone know that I am okay. You're all always in my prayers! LOVE YOU ALL!

-Sister Reategui

Monday, July 14, 2014


We were able to talk with Sister Reategui this morning! She received permission from her mission president to call and tell us that she is safe. Typhoon Glenda had wreaked havoc on her area all night long, but her and her companion and roommates are all safe. According to Sister Reategui, mostly everyone was prepared and ready for the storm, and there were not any serious injuries or fatalities that she was aware of. When she spoke with us it was 10:30 p.m. and the missionaries in the area  spent the day cleaning and re-building the area. She was exhausted, but happy and grateful. She let us know that she would most likely be without electricity and running water for at least a month. Which means that she may not be able to e-mail very often if at all. It was fun hearing her speak Tagalog to her companion and those around her while she was on the phone with me. She sounds completely fluid, and almost more comfortable speaking Tagalog than English. It was great to hear from her, we had been worried about her safety.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

WEEK 46: Speechless.

HELLO SA INYONG LAHAT!!! I am on a little early today, because there is a typhoon coming in tonight and tomorrow and we have a lot to do in preparation.

This week went super fast and there's always so much I want to report on and no time. But let's get started!

Tuesday - Power 
Yeah we again went to all our appointments, and no one was we went to another area and taught some of our less active families that morning. In the afternoon, we taught Cindy and her family. Since she is a new member, we are just finishing up her new member lessons. We reviewed lesson 3, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And what I mean by we reviewed it is that Vincent reviewed it himself...hahaha he is the brother of Cindy and SO SMART. He studies the Book of Mormon like crazy and is always at seminary...and he's only been a member for barely a month. I love seeing how fast he's progressing and how much he loves learning more about the gospel. More about them on the other days...
We also taught a few other less actives and recent converts too. That night we taught the Arabia family, who I have talked about before. We have really been focusing on Sister Arabia, because she is struggling with a few things right now in her life. Usually she doesn't read her scriptures, but this week she totally did and told us all about it!! It was awesome. She told us about how she prayed before she read that she would learn something from what she read. Well she said she just opened the book and read the first verse she saw. She said she read a verse that said something about how it's bad to keep committing the same sin after you know that it's a sin. She told us that was her answer to all her prayers. It was just a simple verse, but it was what she needed to hear straight from the Lord. That is the power of the Book of Mormon!!! Heavenly Father knows us and knows what we need to hear from Him.

Wednesday - Binyag sa...upuan?
Hahahaha oh my goodness. Another funny day. First we started with our CSP (see the pictures I sent) We totally washed all the clothes for a whole hand. Hahaha and even got to use the awesome well in their village. The service was awesome because literally EVERYONE in the village came out to watch us (me an American) hand washing clothes haha and they kept asking why we were washing clothes. We told them because we wanted to help out, and started talking with all of them and got a bunch of return appointments!! They were so surprised that we would do something like that and everyone in the village was talking about it. They kept saying "oh that's how those Mormons are!" And they were so excited haha. We started teaching a lot of them later on in the week!!!! 
That afternoon we taught lots of our investigators!!!! One being the crazy kids I talked about last week...the ones I just love so much. Well we taught about The Gospel of Jesus Christ and focused on baptism. We used pictures and I was telling them that there's two parts of baptism, baptism by water....and I showed them the picture...and then I showed the next picture and I was about to say baptism by Holy Ghost, but I showed the picture and before I could say that, they yelled "BAPTISM SA UPUAN??" Which means "baptism by chair???" Hahaha because in the picture of the boy receiving the Holy Ghost he's sitting in a chair. Haahahahaa we were all laughing so hard. You had to be there....
The rest of the night we taught less active families. That is one of our focuses here in our mission, so half our time is spent with less actives. About 4/5th of the members here are less active so we really work with them too. Well, we finished all our lessons and it was only 8:45 and we still had a little time left. Something told me that we needed to visit a certain less active family, but I was a little confused because the last time we went there, they said they didn't want any more visits from members or anyone from church. Well I knew that this was a prompting from the Holy Ghost that I needed to follow, because Heavenly Father knows His children better than I do. So we went there, and they actually let us in!!!!! GUYS. If you knew this family, you would know that this is a huge miracle. They hadn't let any missionaries into their house in at least a year. We were able to share with them and the Spirit was strong. I was grateful for the Holy Ghost and that prompting I received. 

Thursday - Speechless.
Ah today was a great day. We went to a lot of appointments but I want to share about our appointment/testimony meeting with Vincent and Cindy and their family. I say testimony meeting because we get there..and they had prepared their favorite scriptures from their reading to share with us. Even their mom who isn't a member. TALK ABOUT SPEECHLESS. They are so amazing. They really have nothing, they work SO hard just to eat a meal or so a day. Their mom is a single parent, and she does her all to provide the temporal needs that her children need. She has shown them what is important in life, which is the gospel. She really is my inspiration. Some days she even has to work in the junk shop next to their house, standing in the sun ALL day (7 am to 5 pm)  washing bottles with a chemical solution that burns her skin, just so her kids eat some rice that day. Well, she shared with us a verse in Alma 39, verse 14 which says "Seek not after riches nor the vain things of this world; for behold, you cannot carry them with you." Okay. She is the best example of this verse that I have met here. I am grateful to learn from these amazing people!!! She shared, then her kids both shared, and then sister Leonardo and I shared. I was just so overwhelmed with the Spirit the whole time we were in their house. I have literally seen their progression, since the first time I stepped foot into their little humble home, they have been so receptive. I am blessed to have seen them since the very first time missionaries entered into their home just a few short months ago, and to see them Even though there are SO many trials and hard things in their lives, they are so strong in their faith and they know what's important. I was really speechless. I feel just so blessed to see their growth. 
We ended that day with a family home evening at the home of our Relief Society President. (see pic attached)

Friday-Saturday....relax ka lang.
These days Sister Leonardo was a little sick because of eye work ended early when she blacked out for a few seconds in our lesson. Haha she is doing a little better now though so don't worry too much. We were able to still teach lots of lessons and have a good time. But the title came from something sister Leonardo and I always say....just relax. Even if everything is going wrong...relax and trust in the Lord. There is a solution for everything!

Sunday - Happiness.
This happens to be the title a lot of times in my emails....because if there's one thing I've learned in my mission, it is that this life is meant to be HAPPY!!! Even though there are a lot of hard things that happen, we are really wasting our time if we are not happy all the time. There are so many great things about this life that we take for granted every day. 
We had a family home evening today at the house of Sister Venus, Vincent, and Cindy. One word to describe....HAPPINESS. Oh my goodness. I just wanted to stare at Sister Venus (their mom) the whole time because she was SO extremely happy. She had requested that we have family home evening so she can experience it with their family. We started spreading the word. I am so grateful for this amazing Tabaco Branch because they are AWESOME and never let me down. I will send some pictures of the family home evening. We had over 20 people there!!!! Ah it was so great and so happy. We had some fun games....and here when you lose in the games you get lipstick on your face,...awesome. Hahaha and sister Venus even prepared a soup for all of us. It was so sweet of her because she had worked just specifically to provide that for us so she could show her gratitude. AH I LOVE THE PEOPLE HERE. I never want to leave!!!!
Goodness. There is so much more I want to share but that will have to do for now since I'm almost out of time. 

I read this scripture that I LOVE in Matthew 6:21 that says "For where you treasure is, there will your heart be also." That is definitely something I've learned here on my mission. Where are our hearts?? Are they placed on things of the world or things of importance?? Are the centered on Jesus Christ or on things that are worldly? Let's make sure that our hearts are always centered on things of importance that we can carry onto the next life :)

--tuesday: a dog took my shoe during a lesson. he ran across the little canal and it took us 10 minutes to find my shoe. but it was still intact.
--wednesday: a different dog in a different area took my shoe. i found it after our appointment and the strap was gone. awesome
--here in the philippines we are already singing Christmas Hymns
--every soap here you buy at the store has skin whitening in it. like i just want to get tan....(its considered ugly here if you're dark)
--our investigator spelling her name "a" as in "egg" "q" as in "cute"
--shout out to my mom....i can actually cook really well now and i cook with vegetables..this week i cooked with green beans. YAY for a change of heart haha vegetables are masarap!!!
--the power went out on sunday...aka we went through the whole 3 hours in darkness lathered in sweat
--i recently found out that the hotdogs here are made of worms. awesome

Well, life is good, I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!! This is the greatest and happiest time of my life. 

Thank you all for the support and love, and please keep the people of the Philippines (me included) in your prayers this week through the typhoon. It's supposed to hit us pretty badly.

Sister Reategui

Sunday, July 6, 2014

WEEK 45: Savior, Redeemer of My Soul

HELLO HELLO HELLO!!!!!! How are you all doing??? Oh man. Time goes by too fast. It feels like I was just here yesterday emailing you all. But another week has passed and there is more to report on so let's get started!

Monday - How did he get a family? Okay. Another interesting lesson with our little investigators. Hahaha they are the grandkids of the District (like stake but smaller) second counselor. One is 9 and one is 7 so we teach them both because the 9 year old hasn't been baptized yet. Well we taught them about Joseph Smith and invited them to pray if he was a real prophet. So we decided to pray right there with make sure that they actually did it. They are the craziest kids I've ever met and I love them so much. But they always have the WEIRDEST questions. Anyways, let me just tell you about her prayer when we asked her to pray about Joseph Smith. Remember...she is 7 years old and very chubby because she loves to eat. Hahaha this was her prayer...."Heavenly Father, we are thankful that the sisters are here. We ask Thee for more food. And we want to know how Joseph Smith got a family. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. Hahahahahaa okay it was supposed to be a really spiritual moment....and we all busted out laughing. Even their family that was there, we were all laughing so hard. She asked for food and how Joseph Smith got his family...what? The first thing that her aunt said was "Mae, you will never get skinny" hahahahaaha we were laughing so hard. So like I always say, it is very happy times here in the mission. We had dinner with them also. They have another house that has a bunch of trees of pretty much every kind of fruit you can find in the Philippines.....yes. Needless to say, it was a good day!

Tuesday - Naglakad at naglakad at naglakad.
Naglakad = walked. Today...hahaha we walked through our area about 10 times....back and forth and back and forth. Everyone was busy and said to come back later....hahaha awesome. We were able to do some tracting and found a super receptive family so that ended up being good!!!

Wednesday - Tracting....for the other sisters.
Hahaha so funny the morning we walked and walked and walked everywhere.....and no one is home. Awesome. We tracted again and found some new potentials. Later that day...we went to all of our appointments for the day and no one was home...hahah so we tracted again. Well we were just walking and trying to explore our area since there are a lot of places we haven't seen, and we asked a member that lived close if a certain area was still in our area. (confusing,sorry) Well anyways she said yes and we were SUPER excited because it was a super maganda (beautiful) area with huge rice fields and native houses. We hurried and walked through the rice fields because the member had said that missionaries had never been over there before. We went to a man that was working in the rice field with a huge carabao (a cow type of thing) and he hurried and stopped (he was  harvesting the rice and SO MUDDY) and he ran over and asked us to teach his family.....#k. We can do that. We started teaching his family and his family was so receptive!!! Him on the other hand....well at first he told us he is very religious. So we were asking him if he is familiar with the Bible and he said "I don't believe in the Bible because Jesus Christ Himself visits us here all the time, so He just speaks His words right to us." #k. Like what do you say to that??? Then he took us and showed us the place where Christ visited him....right in the middle of his rice field. Hahaha it was an interesting lesson to say the least....but his grandkids and their parents were super receptive so we just kept going and talking to them haha. Well he went out to finish his work, and we finished the lesson up with them and they immediately asked when we would come back!!!!! We set a date and asked what purok it was (which is the addresses here) and they said their area.....hahaha and it wasn't even our area. AWESOME. We totally tracted the whole day for the other sisters in THEIR area. Hahaha whoops. At least we found an awesome family for them!!!! Don't worry guys I got a picture at the rice field with the man and his carabao in the backround....

Thursday - A little bit of planning (aka 3 hours...)
Every week we have a 3 hour planning session for the next week...awesome. We taught lots of lessons afterwards, found out some big concerns of our investigators which is always good that they trust us a lot. Makes me feel like I am doing my job since they haven't told any missionaries for about 2 years. We have really been working with our investigators and focusing on baptism, so they know our purpose and so they understand why we are there to teach them, because we love them and want them to make those sacred covenants with our Heavenly Father. Everyday I am just reminded how important this work is and how blessed I am to be here!

Friday - If you're sick...just make some smores.
Today Sister Leonardo and I were both that was fun. We did go to our Zone Training in the morning and then went home to plan but weren't able to leave and work again because Sister Leonardo was super sick. We did make smores though on a little candle light. We made the best of a bad day!

Saturday - Saturday is a special day.....
WAHOOO WE HAD A BAPTISM!!!! Cindy was baptized, the sister of Vincent. It was glorious. We also tracted and found some pretty receptive people too. We went back to the loko mga bata (crazy kids) that I secretly love so much because they remind me of my siblings...and we taught about Joseph Smith AGAIN and taught about the Book of Mormon. We also taught (again) about how Jesus Christ established his church when He was here on the earth and at first I had just said "when Jesus Christ was here.." and before I could say here on earth the little girl jumped and screamed "PAPA, JESUS WAS HERE IN OUR HOUSE????? EEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!" Hahahahaha I was laughing SO hard. Oh my goodness. We had to tell her that He didn't come here to her house....and she was disappointed. Hahahaha oh my goodness. They fed us again and even prepared my favorite Filipino dish and had all my favorite Filipino fruits!!! WAHOO no complaints from me...

Sunday - A greater appreciation of Christ.
Sunday's are always good days...especially when we get to take the sacrament. This week I really tried to focus my studies on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I'll get to that later... :)
Today was another good day, our recent convert, Jaylyn, worked with us!!! She is awesome and basically taught all of our lessons. It was a good end to a good week!

So like I said, I focused a lot of my studies on the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Do we realize that He sacrificed for each of us? All because of His love for us. I was reading this week in 1 Nephi 19 and verse 9 really struck me. It says:
And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.

 I was really just overcome with Christ's love and was almost brought to tears. My goodness, the gospel is so perfect. Christ sacrificed for us, He felt what we are going through in our lives every day. It reminds me of one of my favorite hymns, Savior, Redeemer of My Soul. If you havent heard it, listen to it NOW. Here are the lyrics....

 Savior, Redeemer of my soul,
Whose mighty hand hath made me whole,
Whose wondrous pow'r hath raised me up
And filled with sweet my bitter cup!
What tongue my gratitude can tell,
O gracious God of Israel.
Never can I repay thee, Lord,
But I can love thee. Thy pure word,
Hath it not been my one delight,
My joy by day, my dream by night?
Then let my lips proclaim it still,
And all my life reflect thy will.
 O'errule mine acts to serve thine ends.
Change frowning foes to smiling friends.
Chasten my soul till I shall be
In perfect harmony with thee.
Make me more worthy of thy love,
And fit me for the life above.

Every time I hear the words of that song I just want to cry. The love of Christ is so overwhelming. Can we just take a second, at least every week during the sacrament, to really think of Him and His Atonement for us. It makes us WHOLE. I put some of my favorite lines in the song in red..I especially love "never can I repay thee Lord, but I can love thee, Thy pure word." There are no significant words I can say to adequately express my love and gratitude for my Savior. How grateful I am for my mission, which I have been the one truly converted to His gospel. I know without a doubt in my mind that this gospel is true. Christ died for us, that we all might be able to return to Him again. He is a part of our loving Heavenly Fathers plan, that we can never repay. But we can love Him till the end of our lives. May we all do a little better to show our love for Him in all that we do!

I love you ALL and I LOVE my mission. I am grateful to have this opportunity to come closer to my Savior and better understand how to represent Him.

Sister Reategui

PS----THANK YOU TO ALL THAT HAD A PART OF MY BIRTHDAY PRESENT!!! I GOT IT THIS WEEK. The pictures of everyone literally brought me to tears!!!! I felt so special that you all would take the time to do that for me. Especially to my family and friends that live far and sent them to my family, THANK YOU!!!!!!! I love you all so much.


 Pictures from Cindy's baptism:


this is the amazing sister rances that i love so much!!!! she worked with us again :)

  the house to the left is the one we tracted......hahaha look closely for the man...he is the one like on the carabao..