Monday, July 29, 2013

Not easy, but worth it

We had a great last week.  We only had 5 days of work this last week BUT we still taught 24 lessons and worked our butts off.  I want this area to get back to being one of the best in the mission so I'm doing all I can to make that happen. This ward is my family, and so are the people I teach; so I'm not leaving this area until it is super well off.  haha  Y

esterday we had a miracle. Sergio came to church and hasn’t been to church for years and years.  Two weeks ago when we visited him he basically said he gives up and that he cant' change again and he’s too deep in the hole and keeps digging it deeper and deeper. So, I threw down on him ( in a loving way ) and told him that I won't let him go any deeper or give up and if I have to drag him by the collar out of the hole then I'm going to do that because as long as I'm here I'm not giving up on you.  I said that I will do all I can to help you receive the Spirit again and get through your problems.  He appreciated it but I could see in his eyes that he didn’t have faith that it was even possible. I told him right when we left,  "DO NOT go watch TV or go on the computer,;go lock yourself in your room and find your scriptures and read, and then ponder your life and pray for help , guidance and repent. I promise you that you will have a change of heart and that Satan will lose power over you." 

That’s the back story.  Yesterday after sacrament he pulls me to the side and tells me a story. Basically this is what he said,  ”You were right. Right after you left I turned on the tv and felt sucked into it but then I remember you told me not to watch it so it was hard but turned it off. Then I went to my room and I spent countless minutes looking for my scriptures and then finally found them. I searched to find where the scripture was that you read to me that day but couldn’t find it so I kind of gave up and went to go eat. I left the book of Mormon on my night stand and came back and kid you not it was opened EXACTLY on the page of the verse you shared with my (Ether 12:27). It said how I can make my weaknesses my strengths.  I was overcome by the Spirit so strong. I repented and prayed to God for help and strength and felt so much peace. But I was still down about losing my dog because he was part of our family so that next week I read and prayed and then I got a call later that week saying that someone has my dog and that they saw my ad. It’s a miracle Elders; the Lord answered all my prayers. I feel the Spirit again and have joy. Elder, you were inspired to come that day and to share with me what  you did and what you said for me to do after you left was all perfect and from God. You guys are literal angels on earth sent to me.  Thank you so much for everything. I want you to teach my daughter this Tuesday and we both will come to church next week all 3 hours."

I know that story is long BUT that right there is a miracle and an answer to many prayers. This was something I did not expect , and it is so humbling to witness. This man is changed again and has come back to the Savior. After he told me all these things and more I had to go into a room and pray and thank God for what has happened because it purely was Him working miracles. 
Ray gave the closing prayer in sacrament meeting and it was legit and I was so proud of him and he did a great job.

Now these past few days have been sort of  hard for me personally. I’ve had to give blessings and help and council to people going through the hardest trials ever. Families losing sons or brothers from death and suicide and coping with that, and then people coming to me individually telling me the depression they face and suicidal thoughts and addictions that they can't overcome and all the hardest things you could imagine. I want to just make everything better for them, to fix their hurt hearts, their problems and their pains BUT I've been taught from my mother that we can't fix everything but the Lord can and we need to do all in our power to help but we also can turn to the Lord because He is the one who can heal and fix all.
There’s a super less -active family we visited and they love everything about the church and live it all and know it's true BUT they don’t like the church’s stand on homosexuality because her son and brother-in-law are gay.  Then Maria, an investigator. who I've talked about before and has had a lot of depression and loneliness just dropped us and told us she doesn’t want us to come anymore even though we had a baptismal date with her.
SOOO ... like the statement in the subject of my email these past few days haven’t been easy. I've been worrying about these people and many others and have been stressing on what to do to help them BUT I know as I continue to pray for strength and peace, and continue with faith that I can receive revelation on how to help these families and individuals.  This life isn’t made to be easy because this is the test; we are in it, all of us, and some of us are closer to finishing it or some are just staring off but through the Gospel of Jesus Christ you can finish it with knowing that every tear,pain and sorrow was worth it for the eternal blessings from God.

Real quick another cool story.  Yesterday after lunch we were studying for few minutes then all of a sudden I had this urge to do missionary work and to get out of the apartment. So, I said to my companion,  “Let’s go out and conquer the world!”  He agreed thinking I'm probably crazy for saying that;  so we went out and as we were walking to a family’s apartment we were stopped by a teenager walking his dog. He asked where our church was because he and his mom and sister were looking .They were recently baptized in Arizona then moved here and couldn’t find it. I shared a verse with him from the Book of Mormon and applied it to his life, and then said, "I know that everything happens for a reason and that God was the reason why we met at this exact time!!"

It was so awesome to see how the Lord works in mysterious ways and how we need to follow every prompting even if it doesn’t make sense.

Hope you all have a great week!  FIND someone who’s going through depression or a trial and do all you can to help!


Elder Taylor
PS - My new companion is Elder Heimbigner and he is from Utah

This guy was just walking by and it's probably the most LEGIT picture ever taken! haha

 Me and my new companion Elder Heimbigner

We just got some FADES this morning...  short hair is better!

Monday, July 22, 2013

El Paso or Bust!

I found out on Saturday that I’m staying in El Paso for another transfer!  I can’t believe I’m still here. Usually the trainer leaves after he trains but in this case the trainee is leaving (Elder Broulim) and I’m staying here. I’m super sad that we are splitting up; he was an awesome companion but I'm happy though because I truly love it down here.  I love all of the people and there’s still a lot of work to do. 
I hit my 6 month mark tomorrow and it’s so crazy that I’m one-fourth done already. Just like everyone always says that you’ll already look back and hope that you knew more and were better at certain things and that is EXACTLY what I feel like. I was reading in the New Testament and came across a scripture that really stood out to me and it's 2 Timothy 4:7-8. “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith”. As I've pondered about this verse and thought about my life, and more specifically my mission, it’s brought a new perspective. If I live every day to the fullest and work until I drop, then after another year and a half when I’m done and step off that plane I’ll be able to say, just like that scripture, that I’ve fought a good fight and have finished my course and kept the faith. I know the Lord will bless me and more importantly bless my family. 
I was asked in district meeting on Friday to say a motivating reason why I’m out here on my mission and what kind of gives me that drive to keep going and to work hard.  My first answer was a total joke because it was like tense in there.  So for some comic relief I said I  that I hope I get a hot wife out of all of this, but then I said for real I’m here because of my Mom, and my family. I’m here to make her and my family proud and all I want is that for while I'm gone that my family gets ALL of the blessings that come from me serving and being away from them. I got a card from Jessica and it melted my heart away... that’s my baby girl and to have her say she misses and loves me and is happy I’m a missionary makes me so proud to be her big protective brother. I love the boys in the family but my girls, my mom and Jess, have made me into a better man.  Because now all I’ve got is Jess here with me until the next life I keep seeing my mom in her more and more and PRAY that as I’m gone she will be blessed as I serve. My family is everything and to be out here helping other families have what I have brings me no greater joy. 
There’s a family in our apartment complex who we FINALLY got to teach and they were really receptive and are a super cool family. The father Ishmael is always outside smoking and stuff and looks like a hard "cholo" Mexican with tattoos and the whole deal but seriously is one of the nicest guys I know. "Don’t judge a book by it's cover" for sure applies to this situation. I’m really praying we can get their family to church this next Sunday and have the kids go to primary because I  KNOW the Lord has put us in their path for a reason. It helps us and brings me so much joy and love when people really appreciate what we are doing out here and want to listen.  

So, now on to Elder Broulim ... I’m going to miss that guy. He’s the first person I’ve ever trained and my second companion ever on my mission. I'll never forgot when I picked him up I was freaking out because I felt so brand new still and couldn’t believe I had to train. I told him I was half way through my mission so he wouldn’t freak out (ha), but everything turned out great. I learned so much from him even though I was his trainer. I learned to always push through when facing adversity because he’s gone through a lot of medical problems so far on his mission already and is still out here pushing through. Also, I've learned the importance of speaking to everyone around you and to always start conversations with people. He's got a wonderful family who I’ve felt a genuine love for  as well. He’s truly family to me now and always will be... he’s ma true Brotha!!

The Lord has blessed me with the two best companions in the mission already so we will see who I get on Tuesday... I’m sure he will be great!

Love to you all and thanks for all the support from everyone! Hopefully next week I'll have some cool stories to tell.

Love always,

Elder Taylor   

This is Manny and he's awesome!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Another Baptism

Last Saturday Ray Arellano got baptized. I can't begin to tell you how much joy it brought to me to see him enter the waters of baptism. I met him in the very beginning of my mission when I was awkward, scared, and homesick but after that we just kept teaching him.  He also was my very 1st person I EVER invited to be baptized. So there's a lot of things that we have gone through since that day and finally it was the right time for him to be baptized and receive the full blessings of the Gospel. I don’t think it could have been at a better time.  I've seen his testimony grow so much since day one up until now! I was so truly humbled that I was again asked to perform the baptism.  Ray also asked for me to confirm him and give him the gift of the Holy Ghost (it was my very 1st time I had ever done that). The Spirit was just so strong this weekend and Ray gave a powerful testimony at his baptism and at that point I was HIT by the Spirit telling me that this is why I’m here ... this is why I left everything behind to come serve the Lord.  I am supposed to find my brothers and sisters like Ray and bring them the joy I have in my life, and seriously it doesn’t get better than that! Though at times the mission is so hard and I get homesick and just want to quit and rest, I know that other people have sacrificed so much for me personally to get to this point in my life and have touched me... so I NEED to return the favor to them and most importantly to my Savior and Redeemer. Everyone, the Lord is hastening His work here on the earth... more and more people are getting exposed to the true Gospel so STUDY and PREPARE to teach those around you who are in need of these blessings. 
I could see the Love of the Lord working on Ray this weekend and my testimony grew leaps and bounds about the importance of baptism.  It makes me rejoice that another one of God's children decided they want to return to Him again.
Hope you all have a great week and know I love everyone who reads this and supports me!
Yours truly,
Elder Taylor
PS: Funny story about the baptism... after I baptized Ray we went into the bathroom changing area and then he said he forgot his towel... and I was like I totally forgot mine too!  We just busted up laughing because of how dumb we were to forget a towel and then Elder Broulim comes in and says everyone could hear us!  We told him we forgot a towel so he ended up getting paper towels out of the dispenser and we used that to dry ourselves!  haha Super Ghetto but it worked.  I'll never forget a towel AGAIN! Ha

Baptism pics!!! me and ray and also chris, a guy we baptized like 3 months ago came and supported ray so It was so cool to be there with both of them !

Ray and I on Sunday... we had our skinny black ties on and a tie clip! Bosses

Elder nelson and I when we were on exchanges for the day 

Had to fix somebody's lawn

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Read! Read! Read!! (and new address!)

This past week,  in case you don’t know by the title, I read a lot!! My companion had his surgery Monday so we have been inside a lot this last week. As he recovers I decided to get something accomplished.  For some crazy reason I thought I would read the book Jesus The Christ (I never wanted to even touch it before because of how hard of a read it is and because it’s like 800 pages). But, I did anyways and I finished it in 4 days.  I started Monday and finished on Thursday. I read the last 350 pages on Thursday... I couldn’t put it down. I truly have a greater knowledge of Christ and His mortal ministry, which in turn strengthens my testimony so much more!I  I recommend it to all of those who haven’t read it to do so. I also then decided on Friday to read True to the Faith, another book, and finished it on Sunday.  As of now I have finished reading the "missionary library" (all the books we as missionaries can read on our missions) and did it in 5 months. I say this because if any of you know the Justin Taylor from before my mission you know I NEVER read... that I hated to read and now I can’t get enough of it. I never read so much ever before and now I feel closer to Heavenly Father and His plan more than before.
On Saturday we moved apartments ...  just to the  one right next to  me, but still it’s a pain to move. We had like 8 elders here to help and we made it fun! haha Probably made it take like twice as long as it should but it's all good.  The new apartment has actually a nice bathroom and real carpet that’s not stained, and the walls are actually the color they are supposed to be. haha  I told everyone we went from the Telestial Kingdom to the Celestial Kingdom!!
Also at church on Sunday it was a super powerful testimony meeting, like one of the best I've ever been to. It was the sister's investigator first time to church, and he went up last and bore his testimony for like 10 min and it was awesome.  He’s from Jamaica and told his story and how he found the missionaries. Also two members went up and bore their testimony about blessings and how much my companion and I helped them when they needed the blessings. The father said something I’ll never forget... he said in his testimony something along these lines of, "Thank you Elder Taylor for your blessings you gave me, my two daughters and my wife; you were so inspired to ask us and to give us the wonderful blessings. I thank you for deciding to serve a mission and to sacrifice so much to be here for us."
That right there clicked in my head.  I was in awe and wonder, and extremely humbled.  I sat there and had a powerful feeling come over me that right there is why I’m out here. That people need me to be an instrument in God’s hands to bring them closer to Him; that’s why I left everything and came to serve. I later went up and bore my testimony saying thank you but that none of it was me.   I said that literally I'm just a mouth piece and that as a missionary I'm shocked at times because of the miracles and blessings that our Heavenly Father has given to me and others. I’m so imperfect.  I’m just a regular guy but when I serve my God, He makes me into whoever I need to be at that time and I'm grateful for that.
I probably will be getting transferred to a new area on the 23rd of this month so keep that in mind when sending stuff.  Maybe it will be safe when it gets closer to just send it to the mission office address! Thanks for all the support everyone :)
Yours truly,
Elder Taylor 

Elder Justin Taylor
1530 George Dieter Dr. Apt. 12-I   (used to be 12-J)
El Paso, TX

Friday, July 5, 2013


I want to apologize that I'm emailing like 3 days later than usual!  It's been a crazy past week! haha 

My companion, Elder Broulim, has had pain on his back so last Thursday we went to the doctors and they said he has 2 cysts on his back. We had to drive to New Mexico to the doctors and then to the west side of El Paso, TX. In 2 days between that and all of the appointments I drove 140 miles!  I haven’t driven that much since before my mission.  Elder Broulim had surgery on Monday morning. We got up at 4:30am to drive him to the hospital. 

Funny story...I was studying in the waiting room and I feel asleep for like 20 min and then all of a sudden I wake up and the hospital is FILLED.  There's a guy sitting right next to me and two ladies right in front of me staring right at me! haha So awkward. The surgery went well and I've been taking good care of him... or at least I hope I am. We have been in the apartment the whole time so I've been able to study a lot! In 3 days I've read 455 pages of “Jesus the Christ”. It’s the most sophisticated book I've ever read. 

SO... now to the awesome news!

Chris Martin was baptized on Saturday. His wife is a member of the church and they have a cute little boy who is 9 months old. He was open to the missionaries and after a few visits accepted baptism. I was so humbled when he asked if I could baptize him. This is my very 1st baptism so far on my mission that I've been the one to baptize them. I was on exchanges with Elder Krebs the zone leader on that day and served in the lower valley which is right one the border of MEXICO. I got a picture by the fence actually!  ha It was cool hearing him teach in Spanish. Crazy thing is that I'm getting better at listening and understanding what people are saying in Spanish. From there I went to the church and raised my hand to the square and baptized Chris Martin. I was SO HAPPY. To see someone accept being a member of Christ's true church on the earth and to see him want to be a disciple of Him is amazing. He was so happy, I think his wife was even happier! haha I think it's because they want to be an eternal family and sealed in the temple so this gets him a step closer.  :)

I sadly will probably be leaving this area in the end of July because I'm finishing up training Elder Broulim and usually the trainer leaves. So there are two more people I want to see baptized before I go... so hopefully it will happen !

I  just want to briefly talk about the power of the priesthood. It truly is humbling to have the power to act in God's name. This past week I've literally given more blessings than ever before. Like, at least 10, and EVERY TIME my testimony grows. I can testify that it truly isn’t the words of who is giving the blessing but from our Father in heaven. Example: I gave some  blessings to a family who I felt inspired to ask if they needed some. The last one was their oldest daughter who hasn’t been to church for a long time!  I gave a blessing DIRECTLY from heaven. I had no idea why she needed a blessing or what's going on in her life but I felt her sobbing while I had my hands on her head and I spoke what came to me.  Afterwards she and her family were all in tears and said that’s everything she needed to hear. I then on Sunday saw her with her family at church!! SO AMAZING to see that God used us as a instrument in His hands to get one of His daughters back closer to Him and at church. People somehow heard about the blessing and came to me and said that whatever was said in the blessing was what she needed because she hasn't been back to church since who knows when. My testimony grew LEAPS and BOUNDS. I know God lives and that when we are an instrument in His hands we can and will perform miracles unto His children.

Thank you all for your letters and emails and support... it means the world to me!! Also I got to meet the new mission President (President and Sister Miller) and they are awesome. They both crack jokes but still throw down at the same time. They are so loving and personable and it is exactly what I need and this mission needs.

Lots of Love,
Elder Taylor