Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Final Testimony of Elder Taylor

I have thought about this a long time of what I would write on my last letter home as a full-time missionary.  Honestly I still don't know, but I do want to share with you the testimony I have developed.  I have no crazy/cool thing to say or write about that's happened or that I have made up, but just my simple testimony.

The Lord knows us and our potential. I was not at all reaching my potential before my mission; I was so unprepared to go. I had never read the Book of Mormon all of the way through, or any other scriptures, or read from Preach My Gospel; but I had a testimony that the atonement is real and a testimony of the plan of salvation. Having a testimony of both these things have molded me into who I am today. With that testimony I have been able to now have scriptures with doctrine to support everything that I believe, and it increases my testimony knowing that. I have been through the refiners fire many times and have been molded and pushed and shifted a lot of time by the Master to make me into who I'm supposed to be... though I'm still far behind. 

I am not a perfect missionary, nor will I ever profess to be; but one thing I will say is that I always loved the people with all of my heart and that I served and tried my hardest to help them come unto Christ. I'm leaving the mission still imperfect, but I'm leaving it with a desire to become perfect and to progress each day. 

I've only had to give a few final testimonies so far before I leave, and I cried like a baby in all of them because of the love I have for the Lords' work and the love I have for these people. I'm sad leaving my family, but I have joy knowing I will be greeted by my other family. 

I thought of an analogy to describe my areas and companions, and I always tell missionaries to have this mindset.  Just as a parent loves each child as much as the next... he or she loves them each individually in different ways because each child is different and has different strengths. To me that perfectly describes the three places I have served and the companions I have had...  I have no "favorites" .... I love them each equally, but in such different ways. 

The New Mexico Albuquerque Mission is my sacred grove. El Paso, Alamo, Magdalena, Socorro, and ABQ West are all my sacred grove. Just as Joseph Smith came out of the grove knowing that there is a God and Jesus Christ, that prayers work, that miracles continue to happen, that Christs' church has order and is true, that the Lord expects a lot from each one of us individually, and also the Lord can show us a vision for our personal ministry and what we must become ...  the same I feel has happened as I have served here in the Lord's sacred vineyard. 

I do not want to be writing this... I want to continue to serve and to help others come unto Christ.  No one will truly know how I feel inside right now or how nervous I am to come home, but I do know one thing...  I know that my Savior and my Mother have been by my side everyday since September 9, 2012 and will forever be after my mission. Everyday when I put my name tag on I remember my Savior as I see His name as well as my family name, and I always strove to make them both proud by the work I am doing.This scripture that Paul writes describes my feelings exactly... 

2 Timothy 4 : 6-7. 
"For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.

I close this, my last epistle, with my testimony of eternal families. I know families are forever and that sacrifice brings blessings beyond measure. I know that my beautiful mother will continue her missionary work on the other side as I continue mine, and that we were foreordained to serve full-time missions at the same time. I leave these things with you with all of the Love and Faith that I posses.   In the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

Sincerely ,

Elder Justin Williams Taylor 

PS: Thank you for all of you who have read my blog and have supported me in doing so. Honestly, I'm shocked at how many thousands have read it and I pray that it helped you in some sort of way!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My last witness of the Book of Mormon as a full time missionary.

What's up everyone?  Hope you all are doing great, enjoying life and helping others in the process. This past week has been filled with a lot of good things:

 We had our Mission Leadership Council (MLC) and zone training and the weird part is that I had to give my departing testimony at both of them. It was super hard; a lot of you who really know me know I don't cry much and I don't like to, but during both testimonies I cried like a little baby. My mission is so hard to leave behind and we set a new 2015 mission baptism goal (of 850 baptisms) and it breaks my heart that I don't get to help labor to achieve that goal! 

A tender experience happened as well this week. I was on exchanges last week again (which I've been on exchanges every week the past 3 weeks), but anyways my companion met with Josh and told me that Josh is going to be ordained to the office of a priest. I was so pumped when I heard the news!   We went by last Friday and Josh (who has been coming back to church these past few months) asked me to ordain him. I was shocked and super humbled that he had asked me. He hasn't received an ordinance in like 9 years so this was special and he truly is prepared and ready. Josh has impacted my life so much.   I've seen him on the bottom and now he is on top and truly has changed his life and become a wonderful man of God. I never get nervous giving blessings or anything like that, but when I put my hands on his head I could feel the Lord's love for this young man and knew how far he has come to get to this point;  I began to get nervous giving the ordination, but after a few words I felt inspired of what to say. 

For months I have told the zone about this idea I had of "Flooding" the ABQ West Stake with the Book of Mormon. Just like President Benson said a long time ago... we need to flood our zone with the BOM. The idea came when I was with my first companion here and I noticed we had like 2 shelves full of BOM'S and I asked why they are there, and he said they are the 1981 edition and just have been sitting there for awhile. So I pulled them all out and stacked them and counted it and had them on the floor for awhile. I then prayed for a few days what we could do as a zone to use the BOM to help us increase missionary work in this part of His vineyard and then the answer came ...  "Flood the westside with the BOM." As I thought of it I was shocked about how little as missionaries and as members we really do use this powerful tool in our efforts to share the Gospel. This is the one thing that makes us stand out from every other church; our church hinges on if the book is true or not. The spirit that the BOM carries is like nothing else; people's hearts are changed when they read the words spoken in it so we need to use it better. Finally, after months of not doing it, we were finally able to do it and it worked out perfect. It is a new year and this is a new powerful challenge to go out excited to share it ...  it was also my last zone training so it was even more special being able to finally carry out with this initiative. 

Below I will attach the document we wrote and sent the high councilor over missionary work regarding this "Flood" and hope to bring this to the stake presidency this Sunday and see if we can get every member in the stake to join us in it. That also came to me... that if we don't have the members join in doing this with us we truly won't have as much success.

Ideas for Flooding the ABQ West Stake with the Book of Mormon: 
In the ABQ West zone we have come up with the idea of "flooding" every area with the Book of Mormon. We had a lot of extra copies in our apartment that were sitting there not being used so we gathered them all together and had enough for each companionship to have 9 copies to start. We printed off a section from Preach My Gospel that has these “Questions of the Soul” that can be answered in the Book of Mormon. Also, every missionary is to record their personal witness of this book's divinity, as well as highlight scriptures that have impacted them. We feel as our missionaries are going out and talking with everyone while having a Book of Mormon in hand and using it to talk to people that many will be touched by it's special spirit as well as better know the keystone of our religion. We feel that the BOM is not used enough in missionary efforts both with members and full-time missionaries and we would love to have the members in the stake join with us in the Flooding the Book of Mormon. 

Some Ideas:
-Have a stake commitment go out so that members know it is serious rather than just coming from the missionaries extending the commitment. Strive to pass it out by a specific amount of time, make it a challenge. 

- Missionaries can follow up during dinner and member visits so there is more accountability as well as the Ward Mission Leader can help by calling and asking families if they have done the challenge yet. Also can come from the High Council following up with the bishops who will follow up with the WML on how the ward is doing with the challenge. 

- Have members pray about a family in their neighborhoods that they can give it to, because that’s a big struggle we see here... not a lot of members are talking with the people that live by them but rather people who they work with that live somewhere else. Have every member record their testimony in the front cover so it’s more personal. 

Break Down: 
Say an average ward is 150 people and only 50 of them actually do the challenge. They really pray or fast about a friend or family that lives near them that they can give the greatest gift to and accept it. As well as invite at some point in time for them to learn more about this book and to have the missionaries at their house to explain more about its importance. Now say half of those people which is 25 actually meet with the missionaries that’s 25 new investigators that will progress because they already have fellowship. Break it down even more and say that 12 progress towards baptism. Break that down by half and you would have 6 baptisms per unit right there that will already have friends in the ward and proper fellowship; not because of the missionaries BUT because of the members. That’s not including families that might have 4 or 6 people in them already or that members might hand out more than 1 BOM. We hope that after they share it and see how easy it is and how great they feel sharing such a wonderful gift that they will see how amazing and easy sharing the gospel is to those around you.  

This is just a few of our thoughts; you can change whatever you want to it but these are some ideas on how we could roll out with this. 

Our Vision:
 We know that if members and missionaries together are using the Book of Mormon more effectively that there will be many who will join the church. Plus it will also benefit the members and missionaries who do share it with their testimonies of the book and its importance in their lives.  PMG on page 104 says “The Book of Mormon, combined with the Spirit, is your most powerful resource in conversion.”  This tool we have is our most powerful one and if we catch the vision both members and missionaries in using this resource for conversion more effectively we will bless the lives of everyone we share it with! "

I add my testimony that the Book of Mormon is true. I am finishing up reading it cover to cover for the 3rd time in my mission and in my life, and I'm forever grateful for the wisdom and spirit it has brought into my life. I know that each word in these pages are true.  I know that this record is written in the ancient Americas and is the ancestors of some Native Americans and I'm grateful for serving on the reservation because I have seen those promises given to the Lamanites being fulfilled. I know the Savior visited the people after His Crucifixion and that He is the Savior and Shepard of all. I know that Joseph Smith did not write this book, nor could he. Find me any young man that could write a 531 page book and have the story, location, names and teachings all line up perfectly and carry such a godly spirit? Its not possible; therefore Joseph was used as a tool or instrument in God's hand to bring forth this powerful record that was written so long ago by prophets of God. I invite all who read this letter if you have not already done this to read the Book of Mormon and to pray and ask God if it is true... read and pray having faith that it can be and having a desire to know and I testify that you will find your answer. I have seen it first hand with people I have taught over the past 2 years. If you already have an answer why not pray often asking if its true to deepen your conversion and witness of the Book. 

Love to you all. Next week will be my last blog letter. 


Elder Taylor 

Here are pics of how we did the "Flooding ABQ West with the Book of Mormon."
 Read my blog it will talk more about it and what we did. 

The other pics are of my last Mission Leadership Council. The pic with all the Elders is everyone of my companions!   haha   Crazy that I have so many of them at MLC. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sacrifice to Give to Others

Hey guys, I hope everyone had a great Christmas and really felt the true joy of the season. I thank those who sent me things in the mail for that day; it truly meant a lot. But the best gift I received that day was just talking to my family, I haven't talked to them in 7 months and oh how they have changed. Jessica gets more beautiful and older every timeI see her, Dylan has a deeper voice than me and can now probably beat me up and my Dad is still the happiest and most positive man on earth. Truly they bring me the most joy, I'm so thankful for their love and support.

It's cold here, it was 21 degrees this morning and snowed a little a few days ago. For me, it's cold but I'm a wimp. On exchanges, we walked like 6 miles in the cold windy air!! It was legit, I felt like a hard core missionary from the good ol' days. I'm blessed to have a car.

Things here in ABQ have been tough- not going to lie, it's been tough since I've been here but the past transfer or so the work has been struggling here. It's SUPER hard finding YSA here in this area to teach. A lot more live more by campus but on this side of town it is a lot more houses and families. My companion and I are still trying to work our hardest and trying to figure things out. I had prayed and fasted many times for the work here to grow and that I'd have another two baptisms before I leave and now it doesn't look like we will even have one. I don't mean for this to sound depressing but I want to show you the reality of missionary work sometimes. We have one investigator and have only had one for a transfer and a half now.. the other ones we have a lesson with them once then they just never answer or call us back. Now, I'm thankful for this. I'm thankful for the struggle it is working in this YSA branch and for the lessons I have been learning. We truly have changed less active members' lives here though, there's a few we see and are helping and that brings fulfillment!! So, the point is that sometimes sacrifice needs to take place. Sometimes I need to sacrifice my desires, wants and time, to others. Like I don't choose to go around all day driving or walking to addresses where YSA's in the stake live who are most likely moved or hate the church; BUT I do it knowing it's going to touch someone's life and that we will be blessed with someone in the long run to teach. Sometimes we need to sacrifice and do things that really isn't what we want to BUT we have to try to love it. Our mission president always quotes " Learn to love your work. Learn to enjoy everything, you'll be healthier and happier." I truly have learned that lesson here. I absolutely love it here and the people but I've really had to learn to love the work here and because of it I still am happy, I still have the desire to find, teach, and baptize. The Lord is teaching me valuable life lessons and I thank Him for it.

My mother was the supreme example of this. I remember one Christmas season a lady, who was a little bit older and had physical issues, could not decorate her house or christmas tree. My mom who is ALWAYS busy it seemed like could have not offered, I say offered because I swear that woman was never asked by anyone to do anything, she would just get up and do it before they would even think to ask for her help. So, she probably told this lady that she's going by to help decorate for Christmas. Well it was a Saturday which she usually always has a lot of projects that need to get done but instead she dragged me with her and maybe my brother, I can't remember, and we went to go help this lady. As a teenager and that punk kid I was, I of course complained and asked how long we would be here, she said not very long at all. Just have to decoarte the tree real fast, you can do that easy and I'll put some decorations around the house and we will be done. Well, right when we walked in I swear a tornado hit the place and dropped off so many dang christmas junk it could decorate 5 houses. haha My mom just looked back and I can't remember the words but its was probably around these lines of "Well... never mind, its gonna take a while. Suck it up and get to work." haha To me that was a wonderful example of sacrificing her time, her own projects needing to get done as well, being the end of the week and being tired, still going over for what seemed hours to help this kind widow. My mother forever has left imprints in my life, I continue day by day to be reminded of the wonderful lessons she taught me. I know that she always gave of herself for others and didn't complain about it, just did it, even if she didn't want to, so why should I just quit or give up? No, I need to push along. I want you all to know I live every day similarly to the story I shared. I swear I'm still following my mom today, that she's helping me out with this work and whenever hard days or tasks come- I remember her looking back saying, "well... get to work. Suck it up. Push forward. Don't give up, you can do it." And, honestly that has been a sustaining factor for me these past 23 months and will forever be.

This week I invite you all to sacrifice for others, go the extra mile, get over yourself and your problems and look outward and I testify that as you do that, for some reason your OWN problems will go away, and you will find more joy in life.


Elder Justin Taylor

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Testimonies Lead To Conversion

What's up everyone?  I hope you all have had a fantastic week and are stoked for Christmas in two days... I know I am!  This transfer is already going by too fast.  I can't believe I'm already writing another entry. This week has been full of great things: zone conference, exchanges, branch christmas party, and so on.  Fun stuff.

I wanted to write about a training Elder Jenson and I gave for zone conference. It was 25 min long and in front of the whole north of the mission.  It was super cool doing it in front of more than half the mission. 

I know a lot of you have read and remembered when I wrote about "the roots of your testimony."  I want to take that analogy and add more to it. 

Each of us have different testimonies in different things from different experiences. Just as a tree's roots under the ground are all separate then come together to form a tree so is our testimonies separate then come together to form our conversion. 

I  remember an experience I had growing up that gave me a testimony of prayer. I had lost this new game that I had purchased with my own money and was really upset that I couldn’t find it.  Then after a while my mom stepped in for her teaching moment, as all great mothers do, to ask me if I had prayed about finding it. I had never thought about that before; I didn’t know you could pray for something like that. So I did...  I went in my room and prayed. Literally right after I felt impressed to feel down the crack at the end of my bed and guess what?  There was my game!  It had slipped down in the crack. At that point I had learned from my wonderful mother that Heavenly Father cares about things we care about and wants us happy and He will sometimes answer our prayers right away or in His timing. My root of prayer started to grow. 

Think about your own roots that have helped you. As we add the roots of prayer, the Book of Mormon, fasting, church, service and so on...  all of these roots develop into a stronger "tree" or in other words conversion.  Alma talks about this principle in Alma 32: 41 " If ye will nourish the word, yea nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and patience, looking forward to the fuit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.

So, in order for us to keep converted and to grow in our conversion and strengthen even deeper our roots we must continue to have faith and be patient and diligent.  In other words we need to endure to the end and we will see the fruits. Another twist is that the fruits can also mean sharing the gospel too. Once someone is converted they can't help but share the gospel with every one around them and let others partake of your fruit and goodness. So, if we, as recent converts, less active members, active members , and even investigators all strive to find the roots or develop the roots of our testimony on individual things we will develop a tree that will continue to grow as we nourish it and it will produce fruit for yourself and others to partake of as your SHARE it with those around you. 

Miracle: I wasn't able to share it this past week because my talk was too long so I wanted to share it this week. 

Two weeks ago my companion and I were walking around in the apartment complex  trying to contact some less active YSA's but none were home and we were trying to share the HE IS THE GIFT cards with everyone we see.  Not a lot of people were outside and usually they go the other direction right when they see us. Well, anyways, my companion and I were putting our stuff in the car when I saw  in the corner of my eye two guys standing in their porch smoking about 30 or so feet away. I for a split second thought, "No. These guys are far away, and they probably won't listen."  Then right after that I felt that EVERYONE needs the opportunity.   So I threw my bag in the car and started walking fast over there and started to say hi to these two guys. Not even realizing my companion was behind the car waiting to back me up because he thought I was going to pull out the car ... he shows up next to me as I'm talking to these two young single adults. We gave them the cards and asked them why we even celebrate Christmas. They responded, "Because of Christ."  One seemed more interested than the other. After talking more about "He is the Gift" we asked if they work or go to school and so on; come to find out that they are both Navajo.  So I started to say a few words in Navajo to them and they were shocked and loved it. Well, one said they were about to leave and walked inside then the other was still smoking and after we asked him he gave us his phone number. This woman (his mom) came out and gave us kind of a dirty look then went back inside then came out and we were like "uh oh."   Then she said, "Can you pray for us? My uncle just lost his son and needs a prayer!" We said yes, of course, and she told us to go around and knock on the front door. We did and entered into the home. I did greetings in Navajo to the elderly gentleman who was sitting on the couch and who is the uncle to that women. Come to find out that he's from utah and is a less-active member and that the woman is a member too. We said the prayer and afterwards I just  straight up asked the two guys we were talking to if they are baptized members and the mom answered and said,  "No, not in the Mormon church."  One of the guys said he wants to leave though and find truth and we said,  "Perfect!  That is what we are here for!!"  SUPER cool experience. Literally it was like 10 min before dinner and then the Lord at the most random time used us as an instrument to find YSA's for us to teach and hopefully baptize and to help save a less-active family in need of help at this time. Truly His hand is in all things we do if we just follow the spirit and not judge a situation or people we will see the hand of God touch others lives through our actions and words. 

All I ask for Christmas from you all is to talk to ONE person about the Gift of Christ coming to earth and why that is so important to you.  Tell them why He did the atonement. I promise that your testimony will pierce the heart of any man and women.  SHARE your fruit this Christmas season and have a wonderful holiday week. 

All my love,

Elder Justin Taylor

Picture at our Christmas party ! Me, Elder Jenson, and Collin Shumway
Best sweaters in the worlddd!! 

Elder Barrus my MTC comp is going home 3 weeks early for school so this was our last pic together.  Love that guy ! 

The beautiful ABQ TEMPLE on our way home from zone conference 

We helped set up for our Branch Christmas party.. looks legit right? 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christ's birth and His Gift

Howdy everyone, this past week was a great and productive one. Again, thanks for all the support, I'm already getting Christmas cards and presents in the mail and I really appreciate it! This past week has been a little crazy busy but that's good, I love being busy. Sunday was awesome but I had A LOT of things to do. I was asked at 8:50 p.m. Saturday night to speak the next morning in church which I will write about in a second, then we had our stake missionary correlation meeting and had all the stake high counselors there ... yea it was intense but super good. And also we had to give a training on 'just serve' for our 3rd hour of church that was a combined meeting and the stake president happened to show up for that, too. What was funny was President Sowards, who's in the stake presidency, was at church when I spoke and said in our stake missionary meeting that I've had a big day having to speak in church, 'just serve' meeting and now this meeting. I loved it all though, learnt SO much from each thing.
I want to share with you all my talk, I'm going to try to type it out the way I spoke it, if I remember what I really said, hope you all enjoy it. SUPER long though, I honestly wrote it in detail so I can always have a copy of it. So, if you all don't read it, no worries. haha 

12/14/14 Sunday's Sacrament Talk:

The vision of what I want for this talk is for each of you to understand the importance of Christ's birth in mortality and the gift of His Atonement to all of us.  
How are signs significant? They obviously are given for important things such as stop signs, communication purposes, etc. Also to symbolize things. We learn in the Book Of Mormon about the Savior's birth and coming in Helaman 14:5,7-8. which says " And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you." verse 7 " And it shall come to pass that ye shall be amazed, and wonder, insomuch that ye shall fall to the earth." 
So, when Christ is born in Bethlehem, far away the people in the Americas will know that He is born, because of signs. Also something cool I put together as well is that these scriptures foreshadow the Savior's coming to the people in 3 Nephi 11. That when he comes down from the sky HE is like that star, a sign and also brighter and greater than anything they have ever before seen and because of that they will fall to their knees and that's what happened in both accounts. Kinda cool small connection there. Verse 8 says "And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have eternal life". Why is that possible, how is that possible? I love how right after speaking of the signs of Christ's birth it immediately jumps to Him being the only way for us to have eternal life.  
In Mosiah 3:5-8, we learn about what Christ will do, he will do mighty miracles, heal the sick, cast out evil spirits and experience "pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer". Basically the Savior was to come and experience what you experience, feel what you feel, He wants to be able to say I know what you're going through and that was only in and through His infinite Atonement. In Alma 7:10-12 we know that " He shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers" and that He, meaning  Christ, "shall go forth suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind... that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities". This means that He will know how to HELP you when going through the hardest and worst of times. Now in order for each of us to really catch the magnitude of this atonement that these Scriptures in Mosiah and Alma talk about I want to do an analogy. Think of the WORST physical pain you have ever had... now imagine that back right now. Then imagine every other physical pain since the day you were born till now all come back at this very moment. Now think of the worst emotional pain like losing trust from someone you love, losing a loved one, a bad break up, emotional abuse. Now imagine that feeling come back with every other one your whole life all back at this moment. Then, let's add more, think of the worst guilt you have had, hardest temptations you have given into, all the times you felt sorrow for your sins and add those in there, too. There's much more I could put into this analogy but honestly could any of you handle those? And that's just you, just your own physical, emotional and guilty sinful experiences, imagine adding someone else's onto you or many others- it wouldn't be possible. Just you alone have a lot, but Christ took yours, and the person next to you, and everyone in this room and every living thing that's ever existed on the face of this earth upon Him all at once. It was so hard that literally angels had to come strengthen and help him. Why? Because He knew you couldn't do it on your own, we couldn't, He had to do it, He knew it was the only way for us to repent and change so we can return to our Father in Heaven.  
Christ boldly stated "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness... I came not to judge the world but to save the world." John 12:46-47.  
Christ knew what He was to do, that it was the only way to save us from all our hardest trials. He truly is our Light, your illuminating Light, that forces darkness out, as well as the power to strengthen and help us so that our burdens are light. Now we know why and how Christ did what He did and why He was born on this earth, but how do we embrace and share this gift?  
Simply, in John we learn that the Christ child said to the Samaritan women, "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life" John 4: 13-14. Meaning that if you want to keep doing what you're doing then good luck, by yourself, you will have to overcome weakness, trials, fatigue, guilt, all on your own and you will keep struggling and struggling OR you can partake of my "water" or atonement. I have a never ending supply of it that if you drink of it or meaning use it daily, right? Because we have to use water daily to survive so we must use His atonement daily to survive- then you will not thirst again, you won't be searching for something else to help you.  
Now think of another analogy... say you have an unlimited amount of water, you live in the desert and everyone around you is fighting, searching and needing water but its scarce where they are at. Families are getting torn apart because of contention in their homes or with neighbors because one family or person has more water then the other, suffering before your eyes. What would you do? Duh, you would tell everyone to come and partake of this ENDLESS SUPPLY of water where you live, that there needs no more to be pains, contention, suffering, that everyone can partake of all the water. You would SHARE that water, SHARE that Atonement, SHARE that Gift. My invitation to you all is think of a gift that you can give our Savior that would show thankfulness to the greatest gift of His atonement that He gave us.  
I testify that Christ had to come to the earth, if not, we would all be hopeless. Something that came to mind was I'm sure the greatest light, and stars were when Christ was born, everyone on earth and heaven rejoiced, to me I feel that's a SIGN of God's emotions, that it was symbolizing His feelings of joy when His son was born and His Crucifixion was a sign of His sorrow and grief of His son's torture and death on the cross that the earth shook and was in darkness. I know it was not easy for our Father in Heaven to watch His beloved Son go through what He did but that He understood that it was the only way for all of His sons and daughters to come back to Him, it was essential. To me, I feel God's gift to us was sending His son to the earth to give us an example, BUT Christ's gift to us was His Atonement. He had agency to choose if he wanted to suffer it or not and He did and because of it we must remember those amazing gifts. I testify that He Is The Gift. Initiative is a SIGN from on high that this Christmas season is different from others, that we must share the gift with all who we see that they can come partake of the endless supply of the Lord's atonement before His Second Coming. In the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

Love to you all, 
Elder Taylor 

Transfers; saying bye to an awesome sister missionary that I served with a lot of my mission! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

STAYING IN ABQ WEST!!! Last 6 weeks ... Finish strong

Hey guys!  Hope everyone is enjoying the Christmas spirit and are getting ready for the holidays.

Obviously, you can tell by the title, I will be staying in the West Mesa YSA branch here in ABQ West and I'm stoked about it!! So cool. I've been stressing these past 2 weeks, wondering where I would be my last 6 weeks. Honestly I would have been heartbroken to have left; things are starting to pick up in our branch, on a stake-level with the missionaries, and just everything else is going well so I'm glad to watch it continue to grow.

We have been having amazing miracles this last week, seriously. For those who read my blog this past week know it was really tough but like I always say ... when there is a down there is always an up and this week forsure was our up. 

One of the miracles I'd like to share happened this past Saturday. We went to visit someone who is trying to come back to church and has been out for years. When we got there they were setting up this huge christmas tree in their living room. We asked if we could help them out and they agreed. Well, when we  got there you could feel the contention. The father had surgery on his leg and was walking with crutches so the mom and the YSA had to do all of it.  He was upset because for 30 some years he has always put up the tree and now he couldn't help so he was pretty salty. We got it looking all nice and we stepped back to look at.  After a few minutes it suddenly started falling down forward and smacked the floor. (By the way this is a 12 foot REAL tree. Yea this thing is a beast).  So the mom screamed and we grabbed it and put it back up, cleaned up all the shattered ornaments that we just put up and tried fixing the stand on where the tree is. They said that stand is pure iron and has lasted them 20 years... they don't know why that happend. But we fixed it and everyone had a happier attitude after. Then the mom said we can do our lesson with the YSA we were trying to visit. So we sat down and started teaching him about the plan of salvation and the Spirit was super strong in that room; you could see in his eyes he was learning things he hadn't thought about in years. Well, as we were towards the end suddenly the father (who is not a member) starts to crutch in to the room asking if they could join us... we say, "Of course!" The father proceeds to say this: "You will never know how thankful I am for your help today. I have always been the one to set up the tree and get on the ladder but this year has been different and its been tough. My whole life I've worked with my hands and now for the first time I'm forced to rest. If you guys weren't here who knows what could have happened; my wife could have been on the ladder when that tree fell down."  He continued saying that for some reason the past few years every single time their family was at a low point, having trials at the most random times people from your church show up and are here to help us. "Now, I'm not super religious.  I was baptized catholic as a baby and I think I'm still good with that baptism, but I never have seen people from the catholic church here to help us...only the mormons. And I've never done anything in that church to be one, and I still think God knows my heart, but maybe I will do something one day.  But if someone asked me before I die what I am ? I will tell them I'm a MORMON. You truly helped our family and your church always is there for us and I thank you for being here today." 

We were taken back!  I'm almost in tears seeing this tough/manly guy express his gratitude, humbling himself to 2 young men and expressing what I would say is his testimony. The Spirit was so strong in that room. The wife / mother is a less-active member and she's just beaming with joy because her non-member husband said that and her son who joined the church when he was younger and has fallen away is now trying to find faith again. She says because her husband isn't working she has a low amount of money for christmas gifts this year.  She is just getting something for her grandson and said she would love for us to both come by and she will have something for us. My heart was deeply touched.  We said, "Yes! We will come by!"  Then they said we both better not leave anytime soon!  ha   Instant -love and connection with this family just in that short time that day. On our way out the mother gave us a bag full of food! I had small tears in my eyes as I walked out of that house; for the wonderful family giving what they can to us and showing their thankfulness. I was a firsthand witness of God saving a family. I saw the adversary try to make something turn bad... like the tree falling RIGHT before we were going to have a lesson to cause more contention and for us to have to come back another time; but instead we all helped clean up and put it back up and fix it ourselves. And because of that we had a great lesson, then his parents come in and put together all the pieces of that day and truly we were able to see the hand of the Lord in that family's life that day! I testify that God sends us where we need to be sent; that He uses bad things for His greater purposes of good. He is reaching out and is putting people and experiences in our paths to bring all of God's children back to our Father in Heaven. Remember to share HE IS THE GIFT  this christmas season; remember and help others remember the true meaning of christmas. 

I've only got 2 years of missionary work and an eternity to look back on it!  I'm going to make sure these last 6 weeks count! 

Love ,

Elder Taylor

This picture is of everyone who came out with me. Two of them are going home earlier then the rest so we took this at our Mission Leadership Council. 

Played golf last p-day... finally learned how to do it!! haha I'm hooked now... its super fun. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


What's up everyone??  Hope you all had an awesome Thanksgiving and ate a ton of food!! I know I did.   Also, I had a GREAT BDAY week.  I've been getting spoiled all week long and I thank everyone who helped me have the best birthday. 

Well, because this last week was a week of thankfulness I want to share what I was thankful for this last week: being tested. Truly, I feel it each day;  both my companion Elder Jenson and I feel it. Our teaching pool is small and just as we feel it begins to get bigger, someone drops us or won't answer then it starts getting smaller again. All we want to do is TEACH; there is no better feeling than that so we are searching for all YSA's here in this stake and are praying hard. Honestly though we had 3 days this last week in which we taught 0 lessons... we drove around everywhere going through a stake list of every YSA in the stake and after doing that for 3 hours it gets a little hard... especially when people are mean. For example, we knocked on this door where 2 YSA sisters supposedly live so we were excited and hoping to get both back to church and teach them. But, on the list we have no idea anything about them though ... so its kinda' like we knock and find out. Well a car pulled in as we were at the door, a husband and wife walk up and he gives his wife the keys and says go inside and she says be nice. He then asks if he could talk to us, so we follow him to the bottom of the drive way and he with a very upset asks us why we were there. We just say  we saw their names on a list of Young Single Adults here on the west-side and want to invite them out to activities. Well, after that he, in a loud voice, started shouting and asking what he has to do to get their name off the list, that his wife years ago was molested by a superior leader in our church and wants nothing to do with anyone from this church; he is screaming at us, dropping the F word every other second, and  spit is flying from his mouth.  He's yelling and is so upset.  Thank goodness his wife runs out and tries calming him down or trying to save our lives (ha), but we were just shocked and taken back.  We say we are sorry and that we didn't know because we are new here and were just coming by to find out information.  We said we were sorry to bother them, and that we will tell someone that you want everyone's name off. He keeps yelling saying he's told many people this and all this junk. Well, we both start walking away and I just say, "Sir i hope you have a wonderful Christmas!"  He responds in a harsh voice, "I'll do my best!"

Yep, Elder Jenson and I both agree that it was the worst we have ever seen on our missions of people just being straight up angry and filled with hate. No lie... i had my right fist ready in a position if this guy tried attacking me or my companion; it was that sketchy. I'm cool with getting in trouble protecting my companion or myself, but that wasn't what we were expecting. Basically, that was our past week /// besides the good food and bday love from people that was our week in a nutshell. Filled with testing days and trials, but its wonderful! because that means we are doing something right if satan is trying to get at us so much and that miracles are just right around the corner! 

Transfers are coming up next week, so we will find out this Saturday if I'm staying here for my last 6 weeks or if they are shipping me off! 

Love to you all!  Don't let other people get you down; turn the other cheek and you will be so blessed! 

Elder T

Had a great time visiting people and felt so loved. 

 The Hollands, on their trip, got In N Out stuff for a bday party for me and made burgers!  
It was so LEGIT! Felt like California that night!