Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hey everyone!

Hey everyone!  Another super-busy day. Didn't have time to type up something good and I'm so sorry about that.  I have a lot of pics to send so I'm going to buy a cord for my camera because I lost my other one.

Know that this Gospel is true, and that the times you truly feel the Spirit you need to record that somewhere and when times of trials come and doubt you can reflect back on those experiences that are recorded to remember how merciful our Father in Heaven is and that He lives and is REALLY wanting you to return to Him! 

Love you all,
Elder Taylor

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Craziest week

Hello Everyone -

I don't think I have enough time or enough words to quite express all the things I want to.  I  hope some of this email makes sense to you all.

Transfers was this last Tuesday.  I had to say bye to 2 of my best friends in the mission. Not gonna lie - it's tough seeing people you love so much go home, people that you have grown with. On top of that saying bye to the Bandelier Ward and going into the West Mesa YSA branch was another new experience too. We have had like 4 meetings last week and have been meeting with our branch president and branch mission leader trying to get things figured out. Honestly I can't even begin to tell you how busy every second of every day was last week, and always something comes up with a member or a missionary at the worst timing haha.
 
The branch is now splitting. It used to cover 2 stakes and now they are splitting off so we had a meeting Sunday for that and the Spirit was very strong. The missionary spirit was there and the stake presidents and mission president spoke and in each of their talks, of course, they spoke about missionary work and this great force in the Church. It really took me back and made me ponder on my mission, that right now is my time to work my hardest for the salvation of men. Now is the only time I can fully focus on the work like this and the only time that everyone's so focused on me and my calling... I came to realize that it will end sometime, that this attention from members and spiritual feasts all the time and long days wearing these clothes and name tag will end - my heart was filled with emotions. Am I truly stepping up to the plate, am I truly letting myself be molded into who God wants me to be? Our mission president said that we will be accountable for the people in our stewardship. Am I truly helping them come to Christ and giving them Christlike love? These questions are stirring  up inside me and motivates me more. I have taken a deep breath at the end of this last week and have truly prayed long prayers and pondered much on my life, my future and if I am reaching my highest potential. I can testify that our loving Father in Heaven will let us know when He wants to push us a little more and make us stretch and I'm eternally grateful for that! 

All those who read this I just want to say that this world brings NO true hapiness. I experienced one of the craziest things and scariest things of my entire life this last week and I don't think I have the right to disclose that information and speak of it. But what I will say is that it has changed my life, has made me grow up a lot more and see how horrible things can flip in people's life and how much the Lord protects His missionaries from danger and His saints who follow the commandments. I feel at times in my mission like Joseph when the Lord said to him... "know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good... Fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever." D&C 122:7,9. I know that my life has purpose and a plan and I continually pray for the Lord to put things in my life to make me be who I truly am destined to be, to put me in ways to prepare for being the best husband and father and priesthood holder. 

For those who are stressed and have so much going on that your mind is going 100 miles per hour and your days are filled with ups and downs, know that it will give you more experience. Know that it is ONLY for your good and that if you so simply ask for help to finish the task the Lord will help and carry the rest! Hopefully this week isn't so crazy but I know that whatever happens that I will look at it with spiritual eyes. 

My testimony from this last week is perfectly summed up in this verse...

" Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them... let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God." D&C 123:13,17.

Do all you can in your power and God will send you as angels to save others.

Love always,

Elder Taylor

Monday, August 4, 2014

Area Swap

Hey everyone.  Hope all is well. Don't have much to write about today.
My companion and I are switching areas and will be covering the West Mesa YSA branch and will be covering the whole stake. We were super bummed-out to leave the ward that we were in because we got super-close with a lot of members there but it will be a new adventure covering the YSA. There are a lot of families in our ward that have YSA kids who are active or less-active; so we will still be able to eat with them and stuff so that will be good.
Time is flying by so quick out here... it is starting to freak me out!  One of my best buds is going home tomorrow and others are leaving the next transfer. I've come to better realize how time works in our mortal lifes and how important it is for us to pay attention to our experiences and to learn and grow always!
Love to you all... have a great week!
Going to miss Bandelier Ward SOOO much, but I know the Lord has other plans! 

Elder Taylor

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Small world

Hey everyone who reads this blog still...  thank you for still reading it!   I'm shocked people even read the blog in the first part of my mission. Thanks for reading my words as I serve the Lord in His work at this great time.

I don't have a huge thought this week but these past two days I have been connecting with people who know where I'm from or people I know! 

My whole mission, until this last week, I have never really met anyone who knew a lot about San Diego or Southern California or knew where I lived or people that I know.  We had dinner with this family and come to find out I asked him where he served his mission ... it was in California and he served in Murrieta in the Spanish branch! Crazy!  He knew the missionaries I did my mini-mission with when I was a junior and he knew all of  the missionaries that I loved. We even figured out that we went to the same building and could have walked by each other a handful of times; little did we know two or so years later I'd be out serving in his ward! 

Another experience was with a family whose son and daughter-in-law came to visit from Utah and she's from California.  She knows some guys I know back in Murrieta that I hung out with the summer before my mission! Then there is another family whose sister and her family just moved down to Murrieta/Menefee area and lives like 4 miles from my house! Crazy . I know this is kinda' lame to write about, but to me its so cool to see how connected we all are as church members and how when we share our lives and where we are from and how we have come to meet people we will see how truly small this world is and how many of our brothers and sisters we already are connected too. I can't wait for heaven; that is going to be a ton more awesome than the three experiences I had with people I've met who I've been able to relate with! 

Church is true... the book is blue!! 

Sincerely,

Elder Taylor 

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