Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Forget and get to work

I don’t think I’ve ever exerted more energy or passion and feelings into anything than I have this past week. I am dead tired right now but let me tell you why that makes me happier than I’ve ever been! 
After my hard week 2 weeks ago I really wanted to use the “atonement” more in my life.  The "atonement" basically meaning to correct or overcome our sins and trials because Christ did that for us, and that word is used to describe that. So after that I knew I had to work harder than ever before if the Lord was going to help me with this... so that’s what I did. 
We went and contacted EVERY PERSON we could think of. We filled our planners with people to go by and visit if our appointments fall through and technically we were supposed to be home at 9 o’clock at night unless we have an appointment (then we can go till 9:30pm) but what I do is work every night till 9:30.  We visited and strived to bless as many people as possible until we had to head back.  Now “technically” that’s kind of bending the rules but for those who know me we know that I’d do it anyways. I love these people too much to be lazy or to not try to fit a lot of people in or to not contact them.  I don’t want to waste the Lord's time throughout the day... that’s why I’m here.  I’m here to work.  My heart is full!  My love for the members / investigators/ less actives has increased “100 fold”. I would do anything for them; I consider them family and eternal friends. I want to see them in the Celestial Kingdom after this life with their family and have them be in God’s presence. I am changing every day.  I am surrendering myself unto the Lord.  I’m not fighting anymore who “I” want to be ... I’m letting Him mold me into who “HE” wants me to be and I hope that I will be that man that I’m destined to be. 
I HUMBLY want to say that last week we taught about 40 lessons total. We had 13 member-present lessons in one week (which last week we had 9 and that was even super high). Setting goals that are challenging but achievable is what will make you better and give you the results you look for. Two new missionaries were able to do that.  Now, it wasn’t us... it was the Lord blessing us for our hard work.  I want NO credit for the success we had because it was all the Lord.  I am so humbled that we yet again had a wonderful week but we know there are so many things to improve on. All of your prayers truly are helping - I can feel it. 
We had a miracle this Sunday- we had 3 investigators come to church!  Its been about 3 months since we have had that many to church.  I’ve been praying for that and the Lord provided.  One of them, named Ray, we actually set a baptismal date for on June 16 which will be great.  He’s amazing and is so ready for this next step closer to God.
Also, another miracle is that for 2 weeks in a row we have had members signed up to come out with us Monday through Friday.  Two weeks ago I kind of “threw down” in priesthood about needing them to come out teaching with us.  I was very lovingly straight to the point and blunt with them but the spirit put the words in my mouth that I said to them, and as a result we have had more members wanting to come out and more excitement about missionary work then I’ve ever seen since being here!  
This week we have met a lady who has been taught by missionaries in the past but is addicted to cocaine and other hard drugs. She showed us her infected hands and feet when she shoots up the drugs and it was hard to see. The love I have for her is great so it hurts seeing someone controlled by a drug and feels like they can't escape it.  Luckily, through the “Atonement” Of Jesus Christ she can escape it and we are working with her on it.  
Another miracle is a man that I’ve seen at our ward occasionally.  Elder Broulim and I just  prayed that we would be able to help someone and find someone who really needs us because we were having a tough afternoon and being rejected a lot.  Then we get a call from that man on a random number.  He asks if we could meet up, so we hurry over to Lee Travino chapel and speak with him. You could see the pain and sorrow in his eyes so I asked him why he called us, and then all of a sudden he just opens up. He tells us that he hasn’t seen his 3 year old daughter in over a year because his ex won’t let him see her and they are somewhere in Juarez, Mexico with her family who also hate him. This man loves his daughter but can’t see her. He’s done many iniquities and sins in his past life and is wanting a fresh new start again and to get back to the temple. He lost his Job that he had been working at for 19 years, and was a year away from retiring there but they fired him and he’s now jobless. He lost his car, as well as his house, but the hardest was losing his daughter. We were shocked and heartbroken, but LUCKILY the Spirit helped us bear powerful testimony to him and help him see a light at the end of the tunnel. We were all in tears and we asked if we could give a blessing. I was asked to give it.  Now, I’ve given quite a few priesthood blessing on my mission but this one was one of the top few I’ve ever given where I felt so strongly of what to say. There were things said that I can’t even type because of how sacred they are to him and to his trials and welfare. Now, this man texted us last night and said he is SO HAPPY and felt the Spirit all day... as well as the love his Heavenly Father has for him. Because of a phone call and because he was just looking for someone who he could trust and talk to, we were able to make the darkness in his life into Light by the Power of the Lord. He said he didn’t want to do something stupid that would result in bad consequences and I’m so grateful that he didn’t and that he called us. I share these things with you because I know it can bless you guys by learning from these people's experiences and realizing that there is always someone out there who has it worse than you do. Turn to the Savior and HE will help you, your family and those you love who are struggling. Thank you for those who read my blog and take from the things I email, and actually appreciate it.  It brings me joy to share my experiences and feelings with the world as a missionary for the Lord.
Hope you all have a wonderful week.
Elder Taylor   

Monday, May 20, 2013

My Savior

This past week I have been stressed, tired, unsure, scared, hurt, and confused so much.  Being a missionary is the HARDEST thing I’ve ever done. I now know why people have always told me that. I’ve been missing two people in particular this past week or so and it has been a very big struggle for me that I’ve been facing as well as many others. I can feel the Adversary working on me so hard using those struggles against me and putting garbage in my thoughts. There have been times I have just wanted to give up, to give in, to throw the towel in, BUT I didn’t… I remembered my Savior, my Redeemer, my Christ, my Example... my favorite name for him is Prince of Peace, I was really needing that peace. 

There is a member here named Matt Gonzales.  He’s a father of 7 children already at age 29 and is an amazing disciple of Christ/father/husband and I consider him truly an eternal friend. He suggested that I turn all of these struggles I’ve faced and give them all to the Lord and he
bore personal testimony of that to me in his own life... so I did. I got to a point where I couldn’t bear these burdens anymore so I gave them to the Lord. After sobbing and humbling myself more than ever before in prayer I received SO MUCH happiness and peace that my words in this letter cannot even describe it. I went to sleep with no worries or doubts; I had more love and joy than ever before. “MY SAVIOR” went through what I went through.  He’s felt all that I’ve felt and He is and always has been there for me, to make my burdens light. 

I testify that Jesus IS the Christ, the Son of God, and that He is perfect and just and true.  His love and our Heavenly Father's love for us exceeds anything we have seen or felt. I bear personal testimony that Christ lives, that HE leads us missionaries through the spirit to those who are in need of His gospel, and that Christ's true church is here again and has been restored back to the earth with His authority and with a prophet and twelve apostles. I hope one of you have grown a deeper love for our Lord while reading this.

May our loving Heavenly Father bless all of you this week.

Love always,
Elder Taylor

Another email about my week and the miracles that happend:
This past week has had its rough times but also its great times. We started off slow with having member-present lessons because no one was signed up to come at all and a lot of our investigators kept dropping our appointments that we had with them. Luckily the Lord blessed us so much because of our work that we ended up having 9 again. 

We had 3 miracles happen last night. 

There is a less active whose son lives with his mother and was taught by missionaries before awhile ago. So Elder Schneider and I tried the whole 3 months we were together and not once did I ever meet or see him but yesterday we felt inspired to try and he was there!  He answered and we got to meet him and set up an appointment for Tuesday.

Then 3 doors down from his house there is a man named Lino who we tracked into my 2nd week on my mission.  That was a miracle story in of itself but we never got to see him again after our one lesson. His daughters wouldn't answer the door and his wife would tell us she would talk to him for us but we never saw or heard from him; so we tried again and he was there. We got to have a short lesson and set a return appointment to meet him on this next Thurday... so that was incredible. 

Then after that we went to a house where missionaries have been teaching them for like 6 months and it has been real up and down with them.  The last time the mother said she wanted us to teach her teenage son, which was a huge step, and we were so excited. Well, that appointment fell through a few days ago so we stopped by and they weren't there but the son was. He invited us in and we had a little lesson with him and set an appointment with him.  He is very excited to meet with us and said he's got an open heart and mind to what we shared!  

I was in complete shock after last night.  The Lord gave us 3 miracles that I've been waiting and praying for since the very start of my mission. He blessed up with 33 TOTAL LESSONS this week with members/ less active members/ investigators. My faith and testimony grew so much.  I know if we just put the work in the Lord will give us the miracles and blessings.

Love, Elder Taylor

all of my ties!  23 of them!

I made some of this Mexican food! oh ya!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day

Great day yesterday talking to my family! It brought so much joy to me. I know that the work we are doing here is so important. Knowing that the Lord blesses my family and friends back home whom I love brings me so much peace and joy as I am away. I feel the comfort of my Savior when doing that.

 The wonderful Butterfield Family let me and Elder Broulim go and Facetime at their house ... which was awesome and it all worked out perfect. I got to talk to my companion's family and WOW they are just amazing. I truly feel loved by them already and feel so humbled. This past week we were somehow able to get a lot more member-present lessons... which is amazing. 

Yes, at times yesterday it was hard BUT I felt so much peace. The was the first Mother's Day without my beautiful mother, but I know that she knows how great she was for me. If it weren't for her I wouldn't be here on my mission and be doing what I am doing. She was, and still is, my eternal Rock and she gives me so much strength when I need it so badly!  Not a day goes by that I don't think about her. 

My family are the most AMAZING people ever. My dad and brother are the 2 STRONGEST guys that I know and my princess sister is soooo brave and amazing. I want all who read this to know how important families are, and that the Gospel of Jesus Christ binds and bonds families and keeps them strong when trials arrive. I can testify of that because it happend to me!  Hope you all have a great week!  The Church is SO true :)
Love always,
Elder Taylor

Just a cool sunset here!  They have the best ones

Monday, May 6, 2013

First week as a trainer (and LOTS of pictures)

WOW.  This past week has been again very humbling, but in a different way than before.
I was very nervous to start training a new missionary while still being a new missionary myself but the Lord has helped me out so much! I have NEVER been so humbled by the compliments that people have given me this last week ... especially those coming from my companion, Elder Broulim. 
Members of the ward, as well as people I have been teaching have noticed a difference in me and in the way I teach, talk to people, and act.  I didn't notice what had been happening until Elder Broulim started pointing things out to me.  I wish I could tell you all but I don't even know where to begin or even how to explain it without saying it face-to-face. The Lord has been blessing me BEYOND anything I deserve and I feel so unworthy of it.  My words through prayer or my words on this email cannot even begin to express the feelings and blessings I feel in my life. My companion said, "These past few days it hasn't been you speaking ... there is no way a man could say or know what you just said to that person."  I humbly say it is true. Lately I've felt the Holy Ghost impressing upon me things I need to say to help touch people in this area and I had no clue it was happening until it was pointed out.  I AM NOTHING,!  I only do and say what the Lord wants me to do or say.  I deserve nothing of what people have said about me this last week here because it isn't me saying or doing these things...  I am just a servant of the Lord striving to do my best with what I know at this time. I was worried about teaching but every lesson we have taught together has been great and the Spirit has been really strong. I've never spoken or felt the Spirit tell me things so obvious ever before while on my mission.
Elder Broulim is a great missionary already and is willing to work very hard.  My goal by the time he's done training is to make him a better missionary than I was and it is definitely reachable because he is very prepared.  He is from Idaho ( I called it! ;) ) haha  His family owns a grocery store chain and he's all about the outdoors and football, and he likes basketball too... so that helps!  Also, when I picked him up we were wearing matching Nixon watches... it's meant to be!  He has said the MOST humbling comments and kindest words ANYONE has ever said to me in my whole life! I truly love him already and feel so honored to be his trainer.

The love for this area is always increasing and the people are truly amazing. Our ward is getting a lot better and I talked to my Bishop yesterday and a miracle happened.  He said "yes" to having us come to ward council now so I'm extremely blessed because I feel there is so much the ward can do to help our investigators progress ... as well as make our ward even better. :)

Shout out to the Butterfield family. They are so kind to us and always take us in as if were family. The Gonzolas family as well... they are also SO kind to us and always there for us no matter what. The friendships I have with members in our congregation is an eternal friendship!

I love the Lord ... He is my strength.

Best wishes,
Elder Taylor

Elder Schneider and I!  His trainer passed down a tie to his "fav trainee" and
then Scheider gave it to me ... and now I have to pass it down!

 Also got matching ties on at transfers that the Butterfields gave to us!

Saying "goodbye" to Elder Schneider ...

... and Elder Stewart.  These are my boyz ... they are total studs.

I cleaned up the WHOLE apartment the night before Elder Broulim came because I'm in charge of it now.  I threw a ton away and organized stuff!  I had like 3 bags full .... my mom would have been proud :)

 Here is a picture with me and my new companion!  Elder Broulim!  He's a stud.  I'm so grateful to be his trainer.  He's ready to work hard and learn a lot!  This pic is with Josh ... he's in our ward and he's amazing.  He greets everyone at the door and always has a smile on his face :)

These are the "10 more commandments"that I made for my trainee.
They are things I feel are important at the beginning of your mission ... they will
help bring him success early on.  There is also two quotes I've made up since
I've been on my mission!