Wednesday, July 23, 2014

His Hand

As I have pondered on what to write about this week I looked through my personal journal and saw all of the tender mercies that have been happening.

To me my mission is sacred.  I KNOW that every area and every companionship I am in is inspired of God;  therefore I look for the small things that testify to me that I'm where I need to be.

This last week we did a "park your car" day...  meaning you only use your car to drive to appointments but other than that you need to be walking and talking with people. So, it was about 103 to105 degrees outside (I swear) and we walked about 5 miles that day contacting people that we came across. Someone gave me a drink and I put it in my backpack and it must have had a small hole in it and it leaked and got onto my scriptures so now they look like legit missionary scriptures... all messed up!  ha  Anyways, we were supposed to meet with the Bishop at 4pm and were walking to his house.  Then he texted and said he will be home in 15 more min so we decided to stop by a less-active's house. On our way we came across two ladies and three kids picking plums.  One of the ladies was pregnant and is up on the ladder picking the fruit. I told her to get off and I jumped on the ladder and started picking.  We were just talking to them about random things and then when I was done we told them we do service for people and if they ever needed help to give us a call!  Well, they were grateful and we said we also teach people the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  One of them just opened up and said her daughter passed away recently and that it is hard for her.  We immediately gave her a pamphlet about the Plan of Salvation and said we will come by again to talk to her about where her daughter is and that they can be together forever!  We felt SO guided to her; if our bishop wouldnt' have been late we wouldn't have met her ... someone who REALLY needed us. 

The next day was Sunday and that night we taught a famly who had lost a husband/ father about 2 months ago... really sad story, and they are best friends with some members in the ward. They started taking the missionary lessons and we have only taught them like twice before Sunday. We talked about the plan of salvation and how it applies to them. They had a lot of questions, but at the end I was able to bare my testimony on the plan of salvation. I told them that I wanted to share with them something I don't tell a lot of people and that I hold personal and that is the passing of my mother before my mission. I then bore witness of how this plan is so sacred to me...  that I LIVE it everyday to help me get through. That I KNOW my mom lives; I've felt her and I know that we will all be together again forever! I said that I feel another reason why I was sent to this area was to bear my witness of this so that you guys will see how this Gospel helps people through losing a loved one.  I said that I felt prompted to tell them that I believe that my mother is teaching their father or husband in the spirit world; that she's a part of that process and that we are all working to help them be an eternal family. As i looked into thier eyes I saw tears; not tears of anger or sadness but tears of joy! I told them that the veil thins often;  that when we feel this Spirit so strong like we do now that it is God telling us this is true and that we truly are His children and that there is life after death. No one could deny the Spirit of God manifest in that room.  I felt the veil thinned.  I'm sure that both our loved ones who have passed were there! I know that this family will be baptized someday soon and that they will recieve the comfort and blessings that this church brings.

I testify that HIS hand is in our lives everyday.  I know it. We are put in people's paths always for a reason.  We can touch people's lives everywhere we go; just open your eyes and look around you. See the hand of God in your life, and you will feel the burning in you saying this is not my home... I'm just mearly preparing myself to go back home to be with my Father in Heaven, my Savior and all those that I love. 

May you all this week see His hand in your lives and remember He loves and has a plan for YOU.

Love always,
Elder Taylor

Me and my comp at a member's house

On exchanges with my MTC companion, we taught a lesson to someone at the temple. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Personal Ministry

Hey everyone!  I have much joy in writing this email because it gives me so much to look back on in my life and to thank God for all of those experiences.

I have had one of the busiest weeks of my mission and I love that...  I love being busy and growing and progressing because that is what we are here to do while in this life. 

So, I want to just tell you the day I had on Sunday but before I tell you that I have to explain something that happened on Saturday. Some sisters asked for us to come unlock the church for them.  Well, we did and then they were talking about how one is playing the piano in sacrament and the other is singing.  Well, the non-member who was going to sing with her canceled  We were all looking in the hymn book for a cool song they can perform for their sacrament meeting the next day but she was stressed because there was no one to sing with her. Well, I was joking around about songs to sing and singing all funny then she asked if i had ever sang before.  I said, "No.. I'm not a singer at all.  The only experience I have is in the shower!"  ha  She said to just try it. Everyone else egged me on to do it, so I did with their promise not to make fun of me. At the end of it they said I need to do it, and to try it with this sister as a duet and see how it goes.  Well it went pretty good in their book and so they begged that I sing with her in their ward. Feeling bad and guilt-tripped into this I said that I would! So we practiced and BOY is singing hard! ha  All of the breathing and timing and holding notes...  man, I felt like I played 5 basketball games at the end of it. 

The next day, Sunday, we met up early at almost 8 o'clock to practice for 15 min; then my companion and I ran to ward council.  Then we had correlation meeting, another correlation meeting with the ward missionaries, then we had our sacrament in which our awesome mission president spoke about missionary work, then we met with another gentleman from the high council and had to print and discuss some things, and then I went into Cibolas ward sacrament and sang the song [which was hymn number 97 (1st and 3rd verse) then sang right into hymn 98 (one verse) ... Lead, Kindly Light and I Need Thee Every Hour)] and it was tight!  The sisters said that everyone asked for us to do it again and that it sounded awesome.  Then the sisters told them that I just learned how to do like legit-real-singing less than 24 hours prior to that and they said they were shocked.  I told the sisters that it was my one time ever doing that and to ask someone else next time!! haha  Then we had to meet with a counselor in the mission presidency, then we went to another big meeting after, then we went out teaching people for a little bit, then we had dinner at the bishop's house, and then we were off to a Ward Mission Conference (that we and a high counselor hosted to help ward mission leaders, ward missionaries and bishops know how to work together with the missionaries and our roles). It was really great and our mission president spoke again and said something I really loved and that is, "The full-time missionaries are just part-time missionaries really and when we go home we will be full-time missionaries. Members are full-time missionaries sharing the Gospel with friends and finding those families who are prepared for the Gospel."  Also, he spoke on our personal ministry and that impacted me.
A few months ago I wrote my personal ministry and I wish to share a few things I wrote in it:   "I want to be a man of God;  always looking for those who are in need of help. I want to dedicate myself to the Lord's work and to continue to be a disciple of Christ in all things. As I've already in a small-fraction surrendered myself to the Lord I've felt almost as if a veil has been lifted; I've seen things I could never before see. I commune with the Father and plead for strength;  every time I do receive the necessary strength, peace and energy . My strongest testimony is that people can change BACK. I say "back" because this is who I am supposed to be; who I really was and am.  The person who I was before my mission was just lost."                 

 Those words that I wrote on December 26, 2013 still drive me to be better and to improve. 
I know that our Father in Heaven has a plan just for me and I have my own personal ministry on earth.  I know that as i pray about it and read the scriptures and, like what our president says, look for spiritual gifts you have... you will come to know who YOU are and what your ministry is.  I testify of that and invite you all to come to know who YOU are and what our wonderful and loving Father in heaven expects of you! 

As for me, I'm trying to do things that will give me more experiences and learning opportunities and I want you all to know that the ONLY reason why I just out-of-the-blue committed to sing last Sunday was because of my mom and dad; because they both sing great and I know it would make them proud that I'd try it one time in my life!  Also, I know my mom was with me up there as I was shaking and nervous, and she did comfort me and listen to me and that's the ONLY way I was able to do it...even something as small as that I know was part of my ministry in my life was to try it. 

Keep making good choices you all and helping EVERYONE in need around you :)

Love always,
Elder Taylor   

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Priesthood

Hey everyone!! 

I'M SO SORRY that again I don't have too much time to write. There is a lot of missionaries wanting to use my computer so I don't want to be selfish, but this week I learned a lot about the priesthood.

Our mission is now teaching the laws and ordinances of the Gospel before people's baptisms to help them understand better everything that is important for us to know in this life.

I really learned a lot about the priesthood. That truly we need the keys, not just the power of the priesthood. If I were to try to open up a door, even if I had power (faith and worthiness) I couldn't do it unless I had the keys to unlock it.  Same as it is for us ... we need keys to do ordinances and permission to open the door to eternal life.

As much as people claim to have the power, we are the ONLY ones who have the keys to actually unlock the blessings from heaven...  which are all done through the priesthood! 

Love you all,
Elder Taylor 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

New everything

Hey everyone!   As I'm sure most of you know I'm in the Bandelier Ward in the Albuquerque West stake. My companion's name is Elder Espinoza and everything is going good. My new comp is super tight ... we get along great and are pretty much exactly the same on a lot of stuff.

All of the members here are really cool with the missionaries and are trying to find people to teach for us. The area is struggling because we have one of the smallest areas in the mission and it is all just a ton of houses and stuff.
I'm not going to lie...  I'm still in "culture shock"!  haha  Not used to the "big city" yet and there are a lot more white people here and cars and actual shopping!
I know deep in my heart that there is a reason for why I'm here and serving here with these people. There is another lesson that I need to learn and develop and if I'm humble I know the Lord will direct my path.
Truly I miss Alamo, Magdalena and Socorro with all of my heart. I was there for SO LONG and came to love the people more than I ever thought was possible.  Truly they are part of my family and I will always feel that way. I thank my Father in Heaven for blessing me with such an amazing mission with the greatest people that I know.
I long for the day in the next life when I'm reunited with all of those that have impacted me and we all together will have the fullest joy and love.
Sorry again everyone... I don't have any lessons to write about this week but I will share a crazy thing that happened:
My companion and I were visiting a set of Elders in the zone that are in Laguna (on the Pueblo reservation) and wanted to check up on them and see how they are doing. Well, on the way back we were coming up on this hill and there was a guy waving in the middle of the freeway with his truck going across the lanes. My companion slammed on the brakes, and the minivan behind us almost hit us... I saw them skidding.  We both jumped out and went to help the guy.  We started trying to push the truck but it wouldn't budge... then we all at the same time pushed as hard as we could and moved it off to the side. The brakes were locked in the front and there was no way we three could have moved it on our own... there had to have been heavenly help. My comp and I had our backs still to the road as we pushed it and there were semi-trucks and cars passing about 2 feet from behind us. Truly it is amazing to be in the right place at the right time to help people.  The Lord always protects us!!
Love,
Elder Taylor


PICS FROM SOCORRO ....




Monday, June 23, 2014

LEAVING

Hey everyone!  I'm sorry I don’t have time to send pictures or write a message for this week because I'm being transferred tomorrow morning. Been running around this morning trying to pack up and send stuff home and figure all of these things out.

It's bittersweet to me; saying bye to people that I've really gotten to know well over these past months. I have been in this county for 7 transfers; I know basically everyone within a 60 mile radius. Saying bye to people I met the 1st of September last year is really hard; they feel like family to me.  I've gotten to know them so well, but I thank my Father in Heaven for putting them in my life.

Truly I will never forget Alamo, Magdalena and Socorro and all of the wonderful people I have come to love more than life itself.  All I desire is for all of them to continue in righteousness and to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I look forward to the day I return and see all of the people who have helped change me into the man I am today!

New chapter of my mission starts tomorrow...  which means a new adventure that I can't wait to start!

Love to you all!

I'll tell you all where I am at soon!

Elder Taylor

Aquishi ( Laters

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Our Life On Earth

It's been a great week!  I've learned so much; from spiritual knowledge to secular knowledge.  We had zone conference, which was an awesome and stressful day, but it was great to be spiritually fed there with many missionaries and our mission president. I woke up first out of my companions and it was at 4:15 in the morning.  Then I drove us all up there, which was a hour and a half drive, to be there at 7 am. Then I went on exchanges with Elder Lish and the next morning we woke up at 5:45am to play tennis with some other missionaries.  Yea, lets just say I was really tired last weekend.

I saw baby goats or “ kids” that were like 1 hour old and saw them trying to survive and how that worked.  I learned how to garden, dig up and collect garlic.  I also learned how to drive in and put up dry wall on the ceiling of a trailer, and more about farming.


So, to the spiritual stuff … Like I said last week I want to write about what we need to do to receive the eternal blessings and happiness that we want.  For this analogy I'm using an "A grade" in the class.

Now, I taught this to a group of missionaries right on the spot.  I didn’t plan it but it just came out this way so I'm going to change a few things up to better apply to you all.

I asked what it would take for a “student” to receive an “A” in the class.  Here is a list of some things they said: Study, do the homework, pay attention, tutors, search text book, talk with the teacher, do the experiments,  review old tests, complete all assignments, etc.
After this list I had them ponder on how, as missionaries, this is the type of people that have a true desire to follow Christ and to join His church.  Well, to apply it to you all, how do WE do these things to get an “A” in the class I like to call "OUR LIFE ON EARTH?"   It is simply by doing all of those steps that I listed before. I'd like to add to those things even deeper and suggest the “spiritual” things we can do for our class of "OUR LIFE ON EARTH."  Here is what we came up with: 

- Do the homework (pray, read scriptures, help our family);  

- Pay Attention (Listen in church, listen to the spirit, watch and pay attention to general conference);  

- See Tutors  (Ask for help from leaders in the church, parents, the Holy Ghost for help and guidance)

- Look for answers in the Text Book (Use the scriptures, LDS.org, Ensign magazines)

- Extra Credit (Tithing and fast offerings, Using the Atonement ... think about that one)

- Doing the Experiments (Trials in mortality, hands-on experiments) 

- Review Old Tests (Lessons from your family history of mistakes your great-great grandparents made that you can learn from, stories in the scriptures)

- Complete All Assignements: (Magnify our church calling, keep covenants, try our best).

After we came up with these and saw how important all of them are then it came to me that if we took ALL of those things and broke it down to ONE statement what would it be what?   THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.  If a teacher ever said in a class, "Hey guys, all that I've taught is great and is super important but if all you know and do is this one simple thing:  Remember these 5 steps and the rest will come later."  How much more would we all pay attention to what he said and actually do it?!

In our spiritual class of "OUR LIFE ON EARTH" our teacher, Jesus Christ told us to just follow His teaching or Gospel (which is Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End)  and that if we did that and remembered it and obeyed it the best we could then we would pass the class.  We would get an "A" and everthing else He taught would only be appendages to it.  The Savior didn’t say it exactly that way but He has countlessly mentioned similar to this all throughout holy writ. It is essential that we do all we can to pass the class with an "A" and remember the simple foundation that has been laid out to us.

I hope you all recommit to doing better on something;  either completing your assignments, listening to the tutor better or doing the homework.  Or most important: listening to the teacher and taking sacrifices and steps to accomplish to goal we all have... eternal life.


Yours truly ,
Elder Justin Taylor 







Tuesday, June 10, 2014

What you put in ... you get back

Hello!  Hope you all are having a great day and great start of a new week.

I'm grateful for those of you who are still supporting me while I'm out here and still sending stuff in the mail.  Its much appreciated and sorry if I'm not the best at writing back ... I get busy at times.

So, this past week has been full of ups and downs. Experiences need to be learned and asking to Lord for the purpose of some is important. This whole transfer is about patience for me, and I'm thankful I'm able to work on it.

I was able to have the opportunity to go back to Alamo on exchanges and boy was it so wonderful.  Guys, I can't even put into words how much love and joy I felt seeing some people I haven’t seen in just a short time.  I LOVE THEM so much.  Everyone told me "welcome home" and I called it home too.  I told them I'm just back home for a day then I'm back off to Socorro.  Even people I didn’t truly feel connected with expressed their love to me and how much they missed me and spoke often of me... I was truly humbled. Alamo will forever have a special place in my heart; everyone wants me to live with them after my mission and go back home to the rez! haha

My dear brothers and sisters who are reading this... I want you to know one simple thing that has been so ingrained in my mind lately and that is:  Everything you put in this life , you get back.  So its all up to you how much you put in.

This isn’t a gamble; you don’t go “all” in and have a good chance of losing everything. You go “all” in or you can  give your all to the Lord, put His will over your will, and don’t be selfish. This is truth!  I just heard that anytime there is a temple or church built that once it is  dedicated it then becomes the Lord's... not the president's but the Lord's.  It's His.  So, if we dedicate our lives to Him, to helping others and being Christ-like... then we are His. Therefore we must put our “all” in and He promises it all back and much, much more. I hope you all are putting everything you have into different aspects in your life and remember the more you put in the more you get back.

I have a new urgency in putting more effort and less sleep and less selfish desires because I am the Lord's and I will get as much out of it as I want but it is my will to achieve that level I'm seeking.

Have a great week everyone. Next week I'll have a lot better blog on how hard it is to receive eternal life and the tools we can use to achieve it.

Love ,
Elder Taylor 


Picture of me with Alice when i got to go back to the Alamo :)

Elder Zrimc and I with " matching " nike shirts

Elder Fenner and I with, who i like to call "OLD MCDONALD" or "Brother Paine" haha