Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Busy Week

Hey! I don't actually have a ton of time this week for a full blog email! 

There's a lot of work to be done here in Socorro and my companion and I are trying to figure out how to turn this area around and show the ward (who haven't had a baptism in almost a year and a half) that there are people here prepared! 

As I have been studying the great missionaries in the Book of Mormon I haven't just been reading them as stories; I believe the Book of Mormon wasn't made to be a book full of history or cool stories but as a guide and instructions to help us prepare to meet our Maker.
 
Read the scriptures in a way that you may receive revelation, instruction and personal peace. Take their experiences... not their stories! 

Thank you all for the support!

Elder Taylor

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

God always has His structure

Hey everyone!  Hope you all have had a great week.


CONFERENCE WAS AWESOME. I received great revelation and pray you all did as well.   May we all take from it, plant it, and watch it grow within ourselves. 

Well, I don't have too much to say this week... it was kinda a slow one but I will tell you one profound thing that came to my mind that I'm sure all of you have already studied or knew.

Elder Rasband, of the 70, spoke at General Conference and in the beginning of his talk (if I remember correctly) he said for all of us who raised our right arm to the square and sustained the prophet of God that it meant that we are telling him that we will help take some of his responsibilities from him and do our part in the kingdom of God and basically not leave it all up to the prophet.   

Well, I was reading randomly somehow in Exodus 18: 13-27.  I challenge you all to read it...  I think its really cool. 

Well, in verse 22 it says this: "So it shall be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee."

After this Moses called other leadership and DELEGATED to other worthy men ("priesthood holders") to help him with all of his responsibilities.  Then a few chapters later he calls 70 men... which is the same in Christ's church today. 

I know that God has to always have His structure of things. He has had order and organization for thousands of years and TODAY He has the same structure in His church and the same organization. 

I testify that there are living prophets and apostles on this earth. After General Conference I pondered on why I feel like I know each and everyone of them on a personal and friendship level...? 

Lets look at the Savior... why were people drawn unto Him? and also drawn to His apostles like Peter and John?  It is because those who truly have a open and humble heart and who are looking for guidance will feel the power and authority, will feel the spirit of God and will be influenced for the better.  Then will we know that they speak truth and truly are men of God; which in turn will DRAW you into them and their teachings to you. On top of that they show us through their very strongly-developed Christ-like attributes how the Savior is.  They are examples and all those who seek good things are drawn to Christ or His spokesmen... it is the same. 

Love to you all! 

Elder Taylor 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Picking Things Up

The work here in Socorro has grown even more. We have found 9 more people to teach... the past 2 weeks we have found more investigators than Socorro has had total in a few months! 

I don't have too much time this week to email.... it is transfers and that is why I'm emailing today. Good thing is all of us missionaries are staying so I'm excited about it. We are going to baptize hopefully a lot of people and help others come unto Christ and feel the blessings of the Gospel! 

Yesterday we met up with a couple from Alamo who knew a ton of the people I do and who we ran into on Saturday because the hand of the Lord was in it.  Then we went by yesterday to teach them. He is addicted to all sorts of drugs, had tattoos on his body and his face  with a long pony tail ... but if you looked on the inside of his heart and soul he is my brother; he is a son of our Living God who is the Father of us all. We cannot afford to be "scared" of what people look like or to judge how they might be; God does not... He only cares about who we are today and what will we do to change to be better tomorrow. 

They both have been searching and looking for peace and happiness and answers to life's questions that we were able to help solve. They both accepted the invitation to be baptized into Jesus Christ's true church on the earth and to receive the blessings that come with it. 
At the end of the lesson I asked the husband if he would offer the kneeling prayer and he said he was too scared because it had been too long but said for his wife to do it.  She accepted and gave the most humble prayer I have ever heard. She took a minute to think of what to say, then said, "Tell me if the book of mormon is true."  Then another 2 minutes kneeling and then, "Help us."  Then she wanted me to finish the prayer but I KNOW he heard that prayer and will answer that humble women who has faced the firery darts of the adversary her whole life and will bring light into her soul. 

This work is true and I have been losing sleep, gaining more stress, having more sleepless nights and been on my knees to commune with my father more and more because surely that is what He does for us. 

Love Always ,
Elder Taylor 

P.S. Thanks for all the packages and letters in behalf of my mother! 



Here are some pictures I took my last day in Alamo...Love 'em all!
They are all my family... miss them 

My Shi ma'sana ( "grandma" in Navajo) 




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Tightrope of Life and the Safety Net of the Atonement

Hey everyone,

Had another great week here in Socorro. We had the most successful week this area has had in months...  we taught 20 lessons and got 7 new people who are interested in hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ!! 

I feel on my mission that I am too BLESSED with success. I feel often times I am not working as hard as I could be or am blessed too much for what I am putting in, but that's how the Lord works.  He just needs us to be obedient and to have the right desire then He will fill in all the gaps! 

So, this last week I taught the missionaries and some people this (came up with it a few weeks ago)...

I draw out a tightrope and a safety net.

The tightrope is our life here on earth;  as many of us know it is extremely difficult in this place and many face financial difficulties, family trials, physical trials, etc.   Well, we often times feel unbalanced through all of these difficulties, stressed out, and worried we might fall off. DON'T be so hard on yourself. Think of it this way: how many of us have ever walked on a tight rope before? Well,  how many of us have come to earth before? No one!  This is ALL of our first time here. If we tried right now to walk on a tight rope our first time of course we are going to fall... its destined to happen.  Our Father in heaven understood it the exact same way when He sent us here to earth to be tested... He knew we would fall; we had to. So, don't be hard on yourself.

Next, is the safety net of the atonement .. meaning because Christ has gone through and suffered all of our pains and bad days, trials, sickness, and our weaknesses we too can receive strength from Him. When we fall, we are caught... you WILL be caught and that's a promise we all may receive. But, we are expected to take a breather, to think positive, to tell ourself we can go farther the next time, and to get back on then keep going. The Lord puts us after we use the safety net of the atonement a little bit further from where we fall because, through Christ, when we fall ... we fall forward! 

For all of those who know this already or have experienced this, it is our obligation to tell this to others. Now, imagine for the first time being on one of those tightropes and worried about falling far down and being hurt because you didn't " know" there was a safety net... that would be way more stressful. SO WE MUST ALL share with those who do not know that there is a net to catch them and tell them to not worry,  be their cheerleaders and to encourage them along the tight rope of life and trials. 

Satan uses darkness to dim the end of the tightrope and to dim under it creating the allusion that there is no help, no net but darkness and pain... Christ sends elimination light to brighten the end of the tightrope and to reveal the safety net below you and bring confidence and encouragement to our souls.  

Please share with those who lack this understanding, there is hope...

I have seen MANY many family issues here, and heavy poverty and drug use.  I have been teaching in a home where police can break down their door at any moment and arrest them because of their wrong doing, but seeing in their eye a need for a safety net brings honor to my heart in being able to provide that to them and to direct their paths.

 "But, behold, all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people shalldwell safely in the Holy One of Israel if it so be that they will repent. "

This scripture goes with the tightrope and the atonement. Christ provides this for all of us, if we are willing to give up something and change ans to use his atonement to catch us.

Love ,
Elder Taylor




PS. Its my moms b-day tomorrow.  I pray that all of us will feel of her spirit.  I would ask all who are reading this blog to email, text, call, write or do something for my family that day and tell them a story or experience you have had with my mom! 

I miss her dearly but know that we will be together again as an eternal family! 

Press on. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New

So these past few days, as some of you know, I have been in a new area. It is Socorro, New Mexico, and it would be a small town to many of you but to me it is a BIG town. ha-ha This area was in my district and is where we would go to shop and stuff so I'm already very familiar with the town! 

I have mainly been doing busy work ALL these days but the few times I've been out we have had great lessons and we have 2 families we're hoping will enjoy our teachings this week. 

The ward leadership is very excited I am down here as a full time missionary and have already heard things about me through the grape vine... ( don't know if that's a good or bad thing) but they know we're here to work and wanna tackle it so they are already giving referrals left and right and wanting to really help us and the work here. They are on board for the Hastening of the Work. 

This area has been DEAD for a long time. There have been no baptisms for over a year, almost a year and a half...!!!  I don't know if there's some cure here but every time anyone gets close they all fall away and it's tough for the ward and especially for the ward leadership. They are kind of down by it ... so I asked if we could bear our testimonies this Sunday and if I could bear mine and they said yes.

I basically introduced myself and said we're here to work our hardest for this cause of the Lord and we need all the help we can get. I promised them that this year they will see MANY baptisms and that the Lord is really working in Socorro for a great cause. And I believe it 100 %!

I like this area because it is a challenge and I love a good challenge. 

Also, my branch president from Alamo has his physical therapy practice down here, so I see him all the time and other people I know from Magdalena and Alamo, so it's great. We work out at the gym, he is there every morning. 

We are teaching a guy named Bruce who got out of prison like 7 months ago and has tattoos all over his arms but he is one of the nicest guys I've ever met. Great heart. He just got married to a member of the church and they are great together. COMPLETE opposites but the Lord truly put them both in each other's life. He is a recovering drug addict like a hard core one.The only thing keeping him from baptism is his parole.  So my Mission President and Bishop and others all wrote a letter to the First Presidency asking for permission to do it sooner, so we will see!! He's SUPER solid. Calls himself a Mormon already. ha-ha 

I miss Alamo. I try not to think about it but I'm looking for every Native American I can find down here to teach! Members in the ward already have names of some Navajos they have tried to work with and are wanting to use me as a resource to help because I guess I "know the people and culture". 

Some of the people I said bye to last week were crying and I got very emotional as we hugged and said "Aqushi" ( Laters) meaning that it's not goodbye but just laters till we see each other again. One was crying in my shoulder saying that EVERY DAY she will pray for me in the morning and in the evening and that she will look out her window every day waiting and hoping for the day when I return again... 

I promised them ALL that I'll be back next February so that helped too :)  

The church is true, if it wasn't I wouldn't be here. I'd probably be in prison somewhere.

Love,
Elder T 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Goodbye Alamo!

So, I've got big news.  I just found out two days ago that I am getting what they call "Emergency Transferred."  A normal transfer for us missionaries is every 6 weeks and that means we will stay in an area until then and after that there is a chance that we can be moved.  Well, long story short, it's only been 3 weeks and half of my district is leaving. One of the Elders in Socorro is being sent home and one of the sisters is being sent home for health problems; the other sister is going with another set of sisters in the mission and the area is being closed down!  So, after President tells me all these crazy changes he says that I'm being sent down now to Socorro and to pack my bags and say my goodbyes on Alamo. So, that’s the news.  It was really hard to hear at first but I've come to know it’s the Lord's will not mine.

My companion says I'm like going to be a Band-aid and that I'll be going down there to help fix and bandage the area, which is true, but I don’t know how long I'll be there for though.  My heart hurt a lot to hear that after 3 weeks they are already closing down one of the areas in Socorro, and that 3 out of the 4 missionaries are leaving; but its ok because there is a plan for it all.

I bore my goodbye testimony this last Sunday.  When I got up to say that I'm leaving all I heard were gasps and people whispering "no."  I cried, of course, giving my testimony and sharing my love to them all and how much I feel a part of their family and culture! I LOVE this people: Native Americans, Navajos, and Apaches soooo much.  A common last name down here is Apachito so some people joke and say my name is Elder Taylor Apachito!  ha But I read the promise that I love the most to the Native Americans in the Book of Mormon and that is Mormon 7: 8-10. It says how they will come to the knowledge of their Fathers when they read this record and that they must follow Christ, our Savior, and that it will be well with them in the day of judgment if they follow this gospel. I think it really hit home to them. There are a lot of grudges and rumors and murmuring here on the res but I pleaded with them to forgive one another and help our brothers and sisters here to come to church and that when I come back and it’s the bigger building that I want to see it filled!

Many of the women were crying.  Its because once the natives let you in their heart and culture and trust you they feel heartbroken when you leave. Some are angry at “whoever is sending me away” but others understand. I tell all of them than I'll be back here in a year and will be in regular clothes coming to their houses to see them, my family, again. I said a few words in Navajo while giving my testimony and that was special too.

I know there are great things to come.  Elder Ahloy and Elder Farb will do a great job without me here...  I know its in good hands. The Lord needs all 3 of us to grow more and receive more responsibilities. I look forward to Socorro and the new and great big challenges that are waiting there for me. "The Lord calls us in our weakness, but He qualifies us for His work.”

I know who I am and what I'm capable of.  If we all just follow the Lord's call, whatever it may be, and become submissive like a child than He will guide and bless us more for He has a greater purpose. Sometimes He cuts us down to help us grow more than we were before.

Thanks for all of the support and prayers here for the Alamonites and for helping pray for the building expanison. I'll be here in Februrary next year to come to Alamo and visit all of my family :) 

Love,
Elder Taylor  



This morning we went with Anita, Angelita and Malcolm to hike by their house. 
It was awesome!  

I love this family.  I was there for Shannon and Sydney Apachitos baptism.
 Going to miss them. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Great Experiences

So for this week's blog I just wanted to give a day-to-day update of my past week. I'm going through the highlights of each day to show you the life of a missionary and how many things come up.This is all quoted directly from my personal journal entrys… 

Monday: 
Gave Crystal Monte who is recent convert a blessing. The Spirit was so manifest it was amazing. She's in her 30's and is struggling with serious heath problems at a young age and is the mother of 5 kids. When the hands were laid on her head I paused for a second for the Spirit to guide me and she began to  cry.  I learned that we truly are the HANDS for God and that we are just acting for Him. She felt it just at the touch. I promised her that her two brothers, mother and grandmother (who are in the next life) are there and will be there to help carry her through her trials. My love is great for her and her family.  They call me : "Elder T" or the "white Navajo." 

Tuesday:
At times I think about my dreams a lot. Ever since day 1 in the MTC up until now I have had vivid dreams every night that I can remember. Every dream I am living the missionary standards or am literally a missionary. I guess if you’re a consecrated missionary you even dream about it! ha  SO, I wonder that when I'm home and have dreams if they will be me on my mission? Will they be as vivid? We will see…

I feel that I have been struggling a little bit with all the changes going on.  I feel like I am lacking in my diligence with missionary work; like I'm taking short cuts but you don’t do that in this calling.This isn’t a job or a salary pay; there is no loop holes in the ministry and work of salvation. God is the author of it so therefore it is perfect. If we, as humans, try to find loop holes or be lazy we will eventually destroy the plan and its purpose.

Wednesday: 
SO many times on missions the adversary attacks you with mental obstacles. He makes things harder for you by bringing up a past life or a mistake or a tragedy.  I am motivated though, at the same time, to be a way better man when I get home. It’s a blessing and a curse. I can see and reflect on how I was empty and unhappy then but am now filled with joy beyond capacity.  My desire for when I get back is to always have and be led and guided by the Spirit and to be a worthy priesthood holder.  Missions truly change us for the better. I feel like I've found out now who the real JUSTIN WILLIAMS TAYLOR is and how I need to stay this way.

Thursday: 
I feel that one of the best things I get to do as a priesthood holder (that I get to do a ton on my mission) is to give blessings. There is a member named Rosi Baca who texted us at 1am saying she was in pain and needed a blessing. So, the next day we were at the Crofts house and she banged on the door and came in limping. Her hip was really hurt. She popped it out. Long story short she asked me to give her the blessing and it was so powerful. I felt true direction from our Heavenly Father. Rosi was saying that because we didn’t answer that she almost went to the Medicine Man (Native American Traditional Church) to be healed but she says we know where he gets his power from. She said she almost turned away.  Well, in the blessing it said the power of God is far greater than the power of the Devil. She felt that her enemies on the reservation are putting a curse on her and I also commanded whatever power that was to also leave! It was a crazy night. A lot of weird but spiritual things. Priesthood is real.

Friday: 
Cathy, a recent convert I baptized a few months ago, has been running around crazy. Rewarding to see her this morning. Well, we have been teaching and talking to her about temples lately and doing the work for those who have passed on. She told us of a dream she had that her friend who is dead was talking to her and she went to him. She mentioned she has had many dreams like this or has heard or felt the presence of those who are in the spirit world. She said they were being taught by someone else and learning things but was in a dirty place. Another came up to her and told her his name and then walked away. She said she asked her friend when telling this story if he knew the name of the man in her dream and he said yes, that it is one of my friends who passed away a while ago. This had motivated her and made her decide that she needed to go to the temple.   

At scripture study Rosie said that instantly after the blessing she began to feel less and less pain in her body, specifically her hip. Her countenance had changed in one day; she was happy, had laughter,  joy and peace. I called her attention to it and said look at the difference from last night to now... its because the power of God is more powerful than anything. His priesthood healed you physically as well as emotionally and spiritually because of your faith and His love for you as His daughter.

Saturday: 
On exchanges in Socorro. Had a great district meeting; taught them the 3 S’s to successful teaching. Randomly saw President and Sister Miller at the gas station down in Socorro on their way to El Paso. I love my mission president; he is great at praising and motivating missionaries. I love being on exchanges and helping the missionaries I'm over. Trying to find ways to help them always improve. Almost got eaten by these sketchy pit bull dogs chained up at this guys house.  Went to the Technical College there and felt super uncomfortable around all these science kids and a lot of white people... not used to it! We got chalk and for a way to find more people to talk to we drew out the plan of salvation on the floor right in the middle of campus... it was awesome. Got to talk to a lot of the college students there passing by.  Talked to a guy doing a yard sale who said he didn’t believe in God and that his life turned to crap and that this summer he was going to end his life. I felt so sick to my stomach and my heart hurt. I tried telling him why God lets hard times come and how much He loves us but he seemed not to care. I'm so grateful for the knowledge I have of a Plan of Happiness. I miss Alamo already... I'm not used to a city! ha

Sunday: 
A beautiful morning sunrise... half the sky is filled with storm and rain clouds by the mountains with sunshine piercing through the gaps and giving ray of sunlight on the Alamo. How beautiful is this earth?  The Creator made this a special and wonderful place.

Elder Farb felt sick this morning so I went to sacrament while Elder Ahloy stayed in the trailer with him. Beautiful testimonies were born. Rosi went up and said I got a blessing and it has helped me so much. Spoke about her trial earlier that week and the miracle of the Gospel. She said, "I did what you said Elder Taylor... I went to the temple, not knowing why you told me to do so in the blessing, but I just trusted in the words that God told you to say. When I was there I felt like putting names on the prayer roll. The first name that came to mind was my niece Jenessa... I had no idea why. Later, come to find out, that she got in a car accident and somehow made it out with only a few bruises."  When I heard Rosi’s testimony it helped me know that someday all the members here will be as converted as she is and will go to the temple often.

Later I had to go by myself to branch council and figure out the mission plan and also do correlation and be part in a blessing of a man with an addiction.  Only got to visit 2 people because Elder Farb still wasn’t feeling good. Taught Cathy's son Bruce the piano and how to read notes and stuff. She told me on March 22nd she's going to the temple to do baptisms and she wants me to do the names of the men in her family and for me to baptize her in the temple. SO SPECIAL! One of the happiest things I've heard. To baptize her for herself and then in the temple for her family... so cool.

I've been on the phone all the time;  I don’t know why but everyone seems to be calling me lately or I have to be making calls to other missionaries to certain issues coming up, but I love it...  the stress, pressure, more responsibilities because I get to learn and grow.”




That is all for my entries of the past week. I hope this made sense; I wanted to change it up and share with you all personal things I've written while out here in my journal.

I pray that we may look into our lives and ponder, learn wisdom and serve others for truly that is why we are here.

“Don’t pray for lighter burdens...  Pray for a stronger back!” Unknown

Love always,
 Elder Taylor

Parts taken from Personal Journal #2 Pages 49- 62  



So this is my Shi Ma Anita... she taught me last week how to braid hair Indian style and this is the beginner one. Anita was laughing the WHOLE time I was doing it!   haha She's going to teach me how to do a more complicated one next week but I love her. That family has a very special spirit there and a family I'll never forget.