Monday, June 24, 2013

Long Week

This past week has been one of the longer weeks so far on my mission. Things have been so up and down it's been tough. BUT whenever there is a low there is ALWAYS a high. I look forward to next week and hope to make it a great one. I feel that I haven’t been giving the Lord all of my Might , Mind, and Strength lately. I’m being brutally honest. I’m sure everyone of you who reads this has had times where you haven’t given your ALL to the Lord and His work and been a helping hand. Now don’t get me wrong, we still have been doing missionary work, but it's not at the level where I want it to be. The great thing about the Savior and His atonement is that we can have HIM help US improve ourselves. That’s what I’m doing...I'm having Him strengthen my weaknesses and imperfections. Also, all of the stress from this last week with all that went on was weighing on me but again I gave it to the Lord and had him ease my burdens. 
Last night I watched the World Wide Mission President Broadcast at the church and it was good! Oh, how I love this Church. I don’t know of a greater thing than this. Everything just makes so much sense... the structure of it as well as the foundation that it's built upon. The leadership of the Church is what gives me so much faith and trust in it. As I watched the Apostles of the Lord speak I was taken back... I could truly see the love that this Gospel has brought to their lives. I was so HUMBLED and HONORED and GRATEFUL that the GREATEST time ever to be a servant of the Lord is now, and I have been found worthy and able to do such a literally be a representative of the Lord and to know that He is allowing me to do so. As I sat and watched the broadcast I just got so fired up about the missionary work and wanted to share it with all of our friends and family who have no idea about it and I TOTALLY forgot for a sec that I was a missionary (haha) until I looked down and saw my name tag. Then I got even more pumped about everything.

For some crazy reason since I’ve been  missionary my mind has been open to things.  Revelation sometimes just pours like water out of a glass.  It's SUPER humbling because those who knew me before probably think I’m crazy for saying this.  I am able to make up things such as quotes or analogies to help understand the Gospel in a simpler way.  While I was at the Butterfields a few days ago I was pondering my Dads 3D’s of the Devil that he made up and he sent me.  He said that the adversary will use Disappointment, Discouragement and Depression to get you down, and to fight against it!  Like father/like son I decided then and there to make the C’s that Satan will use against us:
Satan will use these C’s against you. 
1st he will use Confusion, 
2nd Corruption, 
3rd Contention, 
4th Collision until 
5th you Collapse then with keep you Captive. 
DONT LET HIM! Don’t let him Confuse you and confuse your standards or your beliefs.  Don’t let him Corrupt your mind and soul.  Don’t let him bring Contention into your life and home ... he does this so there will be a Collision in your life; either with yourself or with others that you love and care for. Then, from that point you will Collapse and he will try to take you Captive
Now, I hope this doesn’t sound too scary or something but I am speaking of the reality of these things.  I have seen them in my PERSONAL life, and now being a missionary I've seen them in others’ lives. PLEASE recognize these C’s because he will use cunningness and craftiness to bring you down and take away all your joy. I’m giving these to you to help you put on that armor of God and to use these to your advantage so that when they occur  you will be able to fight ALL of them off.  I testify that if you apply this in your life, and share it with others to help them fight against it, that you WILL win; that WE all can win because we are on the Lord's team. Search for those who are struggling and help be a Savior to them and help lift their sorrows and pain. Maybe next week or sometime I can think of A’s and B’s too apply as well. 
I pray and hope these things will help all those who read this and and all of those you share it with. If this is applied you will be able to recognize these things and can better fight off the adversary. This Gospel is true and because it’s true that means it’s pure. I can bear testimony that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is just that, and because of it we all have an opportunity to know pure and true joy after this life!  The scripture to go with the C’s can be found in 3 Nephi 14: 17-20 and Matthew 7: 16-20.  Open your mind to it and you will see how it applies.

Love to you all,

Elder Taylor

PS - I read the Pearl of Great Price this week and it was great!
My FADE hair cut!  A Mexican lady in Socorro cut it!

Picture of us and the sister missionaries

Monday, June 17, 2013

Earthly Father, Heavenly Father

Happy Father’s Day to all who read this!  I’ve pondered a lot about Fathers, and the importance of them in our lives especially because of yesterday. I had a wonderful privilege of speaking yesterday at church. For those who have been reading this for a while know that two months ago I spoke in church but at least this time he called to ask us at 8:30pm instead of 9:30pm.  I only stayed up until 1:30am to prepare and study but last time we were up until 3:30am preparing. 
So, as of right now I’m very tired, but very blessed that I spoke because it made me ponder over my life and the importance of Prayer and Fathers. Just as our earthly father wants to hear from us and know how we are doing our Heavenly Father definitely wants to know us... so we MUST update him every day through prayer. My Dad last week sent me an email that he sent to our bishop regarding prayer to Heavenly Father and why we do it.  Totally inspired I think. I used some parts of it in my talk.  My dad was saying that “you aren’t praying because God needs you to pray, you are praying because He wants you to pray because He wants you to develop a relationship with Him… The process of prayer is for us, it transforms ourselves, not God.” I love what my dad said, how it’s important for us to pray so we develop that relationship and transform ourselves. I stated on Father’s day mind you, that every Father in that room can find something to improve on; they can be better while carrying out the duties as a father, and they can always progress.
 I made 6 steps on how I have found we can grow closer to our Father in Heaven:
1: Pray at a quiet time and place
2: Update your Father on your life
3: Have Hope, Faith, or Belief that He truly is listening to you.
4: Thank Him for EVERYTHING He has given you. Humble yourself, be grateful and ask for NOTHING only thank.
5: Tell Him you want to be closer and know Him better and promise you’ll strive to accomplish that.
6: Close in thankfulness for His Son, our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ.
I made this up that night and have used it for the past 2 nights and I have felt so wonderful after I stop praying.  I can promise if you try those steps that you will feel closer to God.
Later I shared a little of my story.  For the 1st time ever in this ward I shared publically what I’ve gone through with losing my mother. I didn’t want to do it because I don’t want pity or attention or for anyone to treat me different but I felt prompted by the Spirit to share it. As I have gone through this trial I have tremendously developed a STRONGER relationship with my earthly and Heavenly Father; it took a trial for me to personally learn this. Learn from my mistake... turn to both of them NOW, let both of them help you and show their love they have for you. My dad is the greatest man I know. I don’t think I’ll ever meet a better one. I LITERALLY can’t find one flaw in him, one wrong thing he’s done or said. I’ve never felt closer to Him in my entire life. I believe it's because we both have gone through the hardest thing we have ever faced and we both turned to our Heavenly Father to get comfort, courage and strength and it had Bonded us closer together. I love both so dearly. I know through these two Father figures in my life I can overcome any and all obstacles and that I will never feel alone or abandoned, because they show their love to me. I pray each of you will strengthen your relationship with your Earthly and Heavenly Father. Also I give some credit to my mom because behind every great man is a great WOMAN and I know my dad can agree to this statement!  :)

Update on missionary work. It was a tough week.  
It was our first one with the new changes with our area being divided into a north and south and having new sister missionaries come in. We lost 75% of the people we taught and all 4 of our baptisms planned so that’s been hard to basically start all over again but I KNOW the Lord has a perfect plan and reason for it. We are definitely humbled about all this. We have found wonderful new people to teach, (actual families) which are what I have been praying for. 
 It was tough to hear people's problems this last week. We have been working with a lady who is addicted to hard core drugs and pills and shoots up every day. We helped her stay clean for 3 days but the temptation was too strong. She texted us and said there was no hope for her. I don’t EVER want to hear those words again. I know that through Christ there is hope for everyone so please help those around you who feel hopeless. Love the heck out of them, then help them, and then hug them. Make them feel special just like the Savior did when He was on the earth. Seeing how badly the world is getting and the problems in it are hard to see but makes me REJOICE in knowing the plan of happiness and know truth and to be part of Christ church here on the earth. Stay strong everyone!
Love to you all,
Elder Taylor  
A picture of our white board after the sisters came in ... I had to erase almost everything!

picture of me and elder broulim just chilling on the couch

Monday, June 10, 2013


That one word can explain the past year of my life perfectly. 
Yesterday on June 9th was the 9 month mark since my beautiful mother's passing. She actually passed away on a Sunday, just like yesterday, so it was a special one to me. The past year I’ve graduated High School, helped take care of my family while my mom was sick, turned in my mission papers, went to Hawaii for college, lost my wonderful mother, and now I'm serving a mission. As I’ve been serving my mission I have gained a better understanding of where she is and what she’s doing. I know for a FACT that if it weren’t for this Glorious Gospel of Goodness and plan of happiness that I would NOT be where I am today. Even though I have that knowledge/understanding/and blessing in my life it is still difficult at times. I hope that those who read this that have lost a loved one will pay attention. 
I'M NOT ALWAYS STRONG when it comes to losing my mother. I speak with  honesty in my heart. I used to think I was Superman and could handle everything myself but I was rudely awakened 2 years ago by my mother. She sat me down and with tears in her eyes told me “Justin, I know you think you are and want to be Superman and do it all by yourself... but you can’t.  You can't take the world on your back. It’s impossible. Turn to the Gospel to help you. It’s ok to admit you’re not perfect and have weaknesses and can’t fix everything.” That stood out to me ever since. My mom was “Wonder Woman” in my eyes. How can Wonder Woman tell Superman that he can’t take the whole world on his own? As I’ve reflected on this conversation with her I now realize that she’s right. That I have someone better than Superman... my Savior. I’ve OFTEN turned to Him to help me with the burdens and trials I face on a day-to-day basis from previously serving my mission. Satan knows my weaknesses/fears and regrets in my life and attacks them. I feel as if I myself have fixed a “wound” finally but then Satan comes in and “stomps” on it and brings back the same pain as before and re-opens the cut. BUT luckily our Savior is the Great “Physician” and can sew my wounds up and heal them properly. I don’t have to rely on myself to try to bandage my wounds but the Savior will and he will make it as if new. So in those times when I feel down, discouraged, or angry towards what has happened in my life I remember that Christ will fix it, that He’s gone through it all and that I DON’T have to be Superman and fix it on my own.  There’s ALWAYS someone who has it worse than you. Then my knowledge of the Gospel comes into play.  Then the peace and happiness overcomes me and I feel the Love of the Lord and my mother...knowing that I WILL see her again someday. That it’s a “see you soon” not a “goodbye forever”. 
I encourage those who have lost loved ones and their faith to please TAKE my faith in the merciful plan and TAKE my peace that I have of knowing that everyone who has passed on is FAR happier than we are and is waiting with open arms for us to reunite with them. Hope is the 1st step of everything. Hope for something, then have faith in it , believe in it, then run with it and never let lose it!

Brother Butterfield in my ward here emails my dad occasionally.  He talks so highly of my father and to me is a second father-figure while serving here. My dad was up at 3 in the morning and sent him a rough draft of his talk that he gave yesterday. I asked for a printed copy of it and the Butterfields gave it to me. I don’t think that any treasure on EARTH could ever buy these four papers from me. I read out loud with my companion my father’s talk titled “ Emissaries by Example: Catching the Spirit of Missionary Work”. Both my companion and I are in tears while I tried to read this talk out loud; it’s more like an “epistle” in my eyes. My love and respect for my father grew leaps and bounds after reading it. I want to share parts of it with all of those who are reading this. 
“Elder Wilson explained, it doesn’t matter whether I teach the gospel on this or the other side of the veil, so long as I teach it’. I am confident my wife would say the same thing. It’s so humbling to have 2 members of my family serving the Lord, my son on this side of the veil and my eternal companion on the other side of the veil”. 
My father is also my strength. His positive outlook on all he faces in life teaches me so much. WHY NOT BE HAPPY?! If all you do literally is look at everything in life with an Eternal Perspective then what in the world is ever going to bring you down if you KNOW that there is so much happiness to come in the next life??? I testify that this life is as a grain of sand in the sea. Having an eternal perspective with the Gospel Will Wash away the Worries of the World and bring Wisdom! I know that because Jesus Christ “Loose[d] the bands of this temporal death, that ALL shall be raised from this temporal death”.  {Alma 11:42 in the Book of Mormon}. I know that because He lives, that now my Mom lives and that after this life I too will live. I tell myself that I'm going to have to tell my future wife that after this life I'm going to have to chill with my mom for AT LEAST a thousand years!  haha ;)
I love her. I love my Father. I love my Lil Bro Dylan.  I love my Baby Girl Jess. I love this Gospel and all that it encompasses. Know i'm working hard, but I could work hard{er}. Know I'm happy but could be happi{er}. Know I'm strong, but can be strong{er}. Know I'm striving to be better like our SAVI{ER}.

Love to you all. Remember to pray and please email or write me if I can help you in any way! I’ll always love and revere my “wonder woman” Mom, “till we meet, at Jesus Feet” .

Forever love,

Elder Taylor

This is Nora Silva.  She is old and very lonely so we stop by a lot!! It's always a party with her. She thinks I should go on the Bachelor when I get home!! :P haha and basically said if she was younger she would go on the show and know I would have chose her... awkward! haha

Elder Rico is an awesome missionary who was my AP when I first arrived and is going home.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Blessings of the Lord

This last week was wonderful. 

We broke records… literally. We worked our butts off and beat our numbers from last week. We taught ALL member present lessons this week which was 15 of them and 14 less active member lessons and 11 new investigators we found to teach!!   Sorry if none of that made sense and was pointless to you but that doesn’t usually happen. I don’t know why the Lord has blessed us so much with so much success. AGAIN I say all of this humbly, because I truly am humbled by it.   I’m in awe and wonder right now.  

Why would we be so blessed with so many amazing people to teach and with so much success? I feel unworthy of it. I still feel I’m not giving my best or my all. I feel I’m not being as consecrated as I could be as a missionary. I have SO MUCH more to improve on. I pondered this and this is my conclusion to it. On the back of my planner I have 2 quotes written on it that I look at every day. 1st is by Michael Jordan (of course) … 

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it to happen, others make it happen”. 

The 2nd is by Bob Marley “you never know how strong you are... until being strong is your only choice”

These both apply to me. My attitude is exactly like both of these. If I want to have the most success out of any missionary in the world I will make it happen.  If the only way to help people into the waters of baptism is by having members come with us to teach and fellowship these people I will make it happen.  Sitting down and giving up isn’t in my book. I’ve had to go out of my comfort zone; I’ve had to stretch ways I didn’t think was possible to achieve the impossible... to believe that miracles happen with faith. Just like the 2nd quote says ... I had to choose to be strong while I was tested through tremendously hard trials.  I’m not nearly as strong as I should or want to be but the SAVIOR has made me stronger through His Enabling Power of the Atonement. Through Christ he can “make bad men good and good men better”. I have been trying to implement this into my daily prayers and study. 

To look for ways to improve and that if I want something to happen that I need to 

1st have hope, 

2nd  then have faith in it,

 3rd WORK for it,

 4th then see the fruits of my labor afterwards. 

We had 5 Investigator’s come to church yesterday... 2 families and one single lady. Oh how great is my joy to see them in the Lord's true Church feeling the Spirit and feeling the love from all of the other saints around them. I hope that if any of you find things in your life that don’t seem achievable that you will use the steps I’ve given (that have worked for me personally) and apply them and just wait and see what comes of it!

 I testify of that because I experienced it firsthand.  I saw miracles happen.  I saw goals that I’ve set be exceeded, all because of a Loving Heavenly Father blessing us and His children because of our desire to help those in darkness.

 I talked to Elder Schneider, my last companion, and he asked about the work we have been doing and if the people are progressing towards baptism. He was SO happy to know how much the Lord is blessing this area. When I got here there was only 7 people on the board and Elder Schneider found more than half of those before I got there.  Now we have 2 full boards, we might even need to get another one. I KNOW that there are always people who are ready and open to hear the Gospel but it’s our jobs to not give up and keep inviting people. 

I miss and love you all.  Thanks for all the support and love.

Yours truly,

Elder Taylor

The Coolest BYU basketball shirt ever! I swear I had the same shirt when I was a lil' kid

The Butterflied family made this bread and applied ANTS . I taught about "Automatic Negative Thoughts"... you've gotta stomp them out. haha Sister Miller taught us that in zone conf.

All of my district together

Two of the Gonzelez kids reading scriptures

this is conner ! he is selling alarms here and served a mission a few years back with a buddy of mine

I was OF course climbing a rock wall and trying to hop it and slid and messed up my arm haha

My mission president and his wife!  This was their LAST zone conference. They go home on July 1st. They were so awesome. I love them both dearly.

My hair is super long again!  Just got it cut today so don't worry guys! haha