Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Change: Training a new missionary again!

A lot has happened this last week ... we had a BAPTISM. It was Kathy Secatero and she is so amazing.  She's fully converted and her perspective on life is forever changed.  I'll talk more about it later in this email. 

I got called to TRAIN again so I'm picking up the brand new missionary tomorrow. I'm sad that I'm having to say bye to Elder Gibson; we were killing it but he was called to be a district leader in another area so I'm super proud of him.  He's been asking me advice but I know he will do great! 

My trainee is awesome!  I totally called it that I was going to be his trainer. Elder Magalei came up to me and gave me a huge hug and said that there are two "poly" brand new missionaries and I was like, YES, one will be mine!  I've been wanting to get a non-white missionary forever (haha) and I got one. Hes was born in Hawaii and now has lived in Utah for 4 years... he's Chinese, Hawaiian and caucasian. We are going to have a great time.  I can already see that he will hearken to a lot I say and really be a powerful missionary. 

My heart is full for the love I have here. I feel at home here; they have adopted me into their culture and hearts. Tomorrow is my birthday and a lot of people want me to come over and then come over for Thanksgiving.  I can't wait to really focus on the work here and to put all I have into these people. I'm changing even more things this next transfer and have set high goals that I want to achieve. 

It snowed up here last week and was so cool ... it was freezing cold.  I took some pics that I'll send next week. 

I got to see a ton of people today when we all met up to find out where we are going and who's going with who. I LOVED seeing old buddies and companions; it was one of the happiest days of my mission.  I'm so grateful to be a part of this marvelous work.  I am now more fired up and have a stronger desire to work even harder. I got to hear Elder Krebs, Ballif and Eaton (who called me when I was home to welcome me to the mission) and all of these other great missionaries' testimonies right before they went home. So sad to see them go. I spent last night at the zone leaders apartment and was with Elder Krebs one last time, writing in journals, and packing. 

Well, I got to go to dinner with a member in their spanish ward in Albuquerque last night and it was the bomb.  They had Carne Asada and all of this good stuff. They asked me to say the prayer so again I did an English/Spanish prayer!  haha I don't know too much Spanish but I tried. Then we went and had to go confirm a little kid who was baptized on Saturday and they asked who they wanted to confirm him and he pointed at me!  haha  They had to tell him I couldn't speak Spanish but I thought it was so funny;  I had just met him and he wanted me to do it at first.
Well, I don't have much time.  I have to go show my trainee around and get him settled in but know how much I love this Gospel.
I was SO humbled today to see so many great missionaries and see them going up and talking to my trainee and telling him about me and stuff.

Christ lives and He does lead this church and this work! 

Elder Taylor 

This is Kathy Secatero.  She will be the future Relief Society president here on the Res! 

Here is me and my new comp Elder Kaleb Keith Makoa Ame Ma'e Ma'e Ah Loy!
Haha!  Finally got me a "poly" comp!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

GREATEST week of my mission! My heart is full to the brim with joy!

The last week or so, as you can read by the title of the blog, was amazing. No words can express it... Elder Gibson and I will never forget it. 

As you know, last week it started off with Elder Krebs coming up here and we had a great time.  Then when Elder Gibson came back we only taught 2 lessons the next day.  By Thursday we had only taught around 10 lessons. Well, a few weeks ago I decided to write down our goals and specific people we feel we need to pray for specific things for them. Also, we both have been taking everything to the next level ... wanting to go above our calling. We really worked on consecrating ourselves and Alamo so that we can help these people. Well on Saturday, in one day, we found 14 new Investigators ( people who want to know more about the gospel) and taught 12 lessons that day and set up 3 more baptismal dates. That is like impossible. We have no clue how it happened.  We kept working hard all day and saying gratitude prayers before and after everything!!  We have had to skip dinner the past like 3 nights because the work was going so well and we couldn't stop but the Lord helped sustain us.

We are beginning to realize the power and authority we have as representatives of Jesus Christ. If we are pure vessles and have a constant prayer wanting to receive guidance from the Holy Ghost to help teach and touch the hearts of many.

Then, on Sunday, we had 9 investigators at church and LOVED it. It also was potluck Sunday so we had the huge Thanksgiving feast together after and it was great. There were 75 people at church and 112 total for the food after (that is the record for this building). I'm going to try and contact the mission president and stake president and ask about expanding the building and getting a baptismal font out here.   

I truly feel at home here.  The Navajo culture is now feeling like my culture. I have a special love for them. They usually always pray in Navajo when we visit them and at church and it is so beautiful.  We don't understand what they say but the Spirit is definitely felt. We believe their ancestors have a HUGE part in all of this success; they are helping their family here on earth to hear and accept the Gospel.  We are definitely lead by their spirits. When we go and knock on a house they say " OH".  In Navajo that means "yes" ... so you hear " OH" all the time.  haha They never say "yes" in English... even if they are speaking English they incorporate "oh" into everything. 

ALso they eat fried bread every meal. Sometimes we help make it and toss it in our hands... it is really good but SUPER unhealthy. Everyone right now has deer meat because it is hunting season and they have it with green chile. It is starting to get colder here.  We are having to go out and chop wood for people and bring some to people to help them stay warm for this winter. 

Kathy, who is getting baptized this weekend, is one of the most converted investigators I've ever taught. She just LOVES the scriptures and the Gospel and it all makes sense to her. Other churches around here are a little more crazy than other ones I've seen; like they believe that there is witchcraft and possessed people all of the time and stuff and are really superstitious. So Kathy, when she was a little girl, was forced to go to church with her mom, but was a little nervous.  Well, when she was there someone in the front looked at her weird for a while then shouted, "Get her! She's possessed by a devil." Then all of the congregation went after her and another girl. They started beating and kicking her, ripping her clothes and then left her there. That was her last church experience. She lost hope in a God from that point.  Well, we started seeing her when I got here and after a few weeks it clicked. I told her the purpose of this life, our Father in Heaven's plan for her to be happy and she said that I just answered the questions she has been looking for her WHOLE life. Then, like 3 days later, she basically read more than half of the Book of Mormon by then and was understanding everything. We taught her commandments and one she struggles with was coffee, but after we explained how it can be addictive and take away agency she said I will NEVER drink it again. Anything we teach her she does. Well, just yesterday, we were talking about her baptism and she said she wants all of her family to have the Gospel. Then she looked into our eyes and said, "You guys have no idea how grateful I am... you have saved this soul."  We were oversome by the Spirit. We told her that that is why we are here, to find people like her, and I know God sent us to one of His most valiant daughters and that is her. Words can't express how amazing it was to see someone change and shift their entire life and culture for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  She knows this is Christ's true church on the earth; His church. 

We also have Margarita Gandanegro being baptized on Saturday as well and we should have a few more the next week. 

We don't boast of ourselves, but we boast of our God. He is who made all of this possible, we are just following the Spirit to the best we can and being a tool in His Hands. 

I KNOW I'm in Alamo for a reason; to help the ancestors of the Book Of Mormon come to the truth and to be the true covenant people. I'm eternally grateful for the experiences I had last week and for what is to come here. 
This email would never end if I were to tell you all what its like here and the success we had last week, but just know that the Lord is blessing me and my family beyond belief! 

All my Heart,
Elder Taylor 

A pic here out on Alamo on a cool sunset day!

After church with 2 Navajo Princesses

Reporting the success of the most blessed week we have ever had our whole missions! 
The Zone Leaders were tripping out on how awesome it was. We are so grateful! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Enjoy eternal experiences ... for they are few

Great past week up here in Alamo. We had a Zone training meeting last Friday and it was super awesome. There were so many things that were said to do that I'm already doing... like using better language or praying for specific things. It showed me how truly inspired the mission and the individuals can be! Now P-day is going to be on Tuesdays mission wide ... our mission president changed it to that.  I'm so grateful to be here as a missionary when all of these major changes are happening and to be of the largest army force ever!

So on Monday I went on exchanges with Elder Krebs (when we switch and go with another missionary just for the day). He has been my Zone leader and best bud for my whole mission, but he's going home on the 27th of this month... my bday actually. We have been together for 9 months. From when I first got into the mission field to now here in Alamo; we have always been stuck together. So, as I've pondered this, how come the Lord has always put us right by each other, I came to understand something. That there is no luck; it truly is the hand of the Lord and it was because I needed to learn great things from Elder Krebs. On exchanges we asked millions of questions back and forth, spoke of who we are and how we want our very natures to be changed, and about how we are not the same people who left on our mission. I've got an inch think of talks on my desk he copied!  ha ha  We are a team. He lost his mom as well and I feel that the Lord knew we could help each other with that challenge. We also believe our mothers are together in the spirit world just rejoicing and looking down on their sons with pride for what we are doing. 

We must all cherish and love those who come into our path of life. This mortal journey is divinely guided and when we submit ourselves to our Father in Heaven we will receive eternal experiences such as miracles, friendships, and trials that only point to a higher power and His perfect plan. Never lose focus on our end goal and our purpose in life. 
Enjoy all of the simple laughs, or when you hear a child's prayer; little things pierce our heart as well.  "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise." Alma 37:6  

I'm grateful to have found my true brother, Elder Krebs, who I know will be an eternal friend and who will rejoice as much as I will when we are reunited with our loving mothers and are embraced by their love. We both testify of this plan and that even though we lose love ones we WILL see them again.

We had a miracle story.  That same day Elder Gibson forgot to give me the Alamo phone before he left so we had no phone. Well, there was a family we forgot to tell the Crofts to pick up so we went to the family's house to say that we were sorry because we couldn't get them a ride this week.  When we arrived we saw they were all dressed and ready to go.  So then I said we will find them a ride... just stay there!  We can't call with no cell phone so we start driving towards the church but I thought I saw the Crofts pass us and felt I needed to turn around so I did. We went to someone's house they always pick up and they were there, just about to leave and we barely had enough room to pick up the other family. It was a miracle of both faith and works. The family is awesome but hasn't come to anything and we want to set a baptism date ... so this was huge. They LOVED family home evening and everyone was so nice to them. The hand of the Lord was definitely in it; we could have just told them we were sorry we couldn't  get them a ride this week, but we didn't ... we found a way and because it was God's will it happened!  We truly were divinely guided. 

I challenge all who read this to focus on enjoying the eternal experiences this week; looking for them, and remembering past ones so that your eyes may be opened to the greatness of God through your journey. I testify that He lives.  He is busy striving to bless us in every way but I know He knows we are worth it. 

Thanks for all the support in letters and emails! 

One Love,
Elder Taylor 

Yea... I dunked and broke the backboard!
Nah, it was like this! ha  

One last hurrah for me and Elder Krebs!! LEGENDARY

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Striving to illuminate Christ's qualities will enrich our lives

The seasons are changing... it has been getting colder and colder up here. This morning there was ice on our truck, and on October 25th there was a big hailstorm here ... it almost looked like snow. 

This past week I have seen great miracles, prayers answered and the fruits of my labors begin to come forth. 

We had a BAPTISM of Sydney Apachito on Saturday.  It was wonderful.  Her dad will be baptized in a week or so. We currently have SIX people on a date to be baptized this month! We are planning on getting maybe 3 or 4 more. It has been amazing to see the Lord's hand in all things.  

We have told and been told this past week that God had sent us at this time. As I've pondered my calling, and who I represent I feel I need to become more like Christ. There has been countless people in my life that I've felt the love of the Savior just from their presence and attributes. In Preach my Gospel it teaches that Faith, Hope, Charity, Love, Virtue, Knowledge, Patience, Humility, Diligence and Obedience are all great attributes of Christ. I add to that Positivity (like my email from last week) as well as Focused. We all can work on each one of these. For me, as I've purified myself and become a more consecrated missionary I've seen my heart and nature change. Now I'm working to shift my sails into the direction of changing my attributes to be in-line with the "Lighthouse of the Lord."  If we focus on one attribute at a time and learn from it we will see that change in our lives. Serve, love and strip yourself of all pride; humble yourself, recognize you are not perfect and change your behavior. My thought is this... that God created us to have these Christ-like attributes listed above; that is the kind of intelligences we were made to be but because life on earth is a test we must work on those qualities. You will see that once you work on Charity and Love or whatever it may be that it will almost feel natural;  this is how you have always been... we are reminding ourselves of who we are destined to be. I gave a training on this a few days ago for a district meeting (a meeting with other missionaries) and the assistants to the Mission President surprised us and showed up. It was awesome to have them there and be part of it all.  I taught of Charity, Love, Virtue and Positivity. I left them with this statement and I'll leave the same one with you all... If we continue to seek for help to become more like Christ we will receive aid from heaven, and increased amount of courage and determination.  Then your confidence will increase in your pursuit to be who you are destined to be,,,  like our Loving Savior.

Miracle story:  so Charlotte and Billy Joe Guerro are two recent converts to the Church. They got baptized like 2 or 3 months ago.  Billy Joe baptized Sydney last Saturday because he is her grandpa so we thought it would be perfect for him to do it and he accepted. Afterwards they went to the Albuquerque temple to do baptisms. Charlotte said she saw angels in the baptismal water and all around it jumping up and down, almost like dancing, because of the excitement of the ordinances being done for them. She said she's never seen anything like it and told Billy Joe.  He said he saw the exact same thing too. They said they will forever cherish that experience and she said she didnt want to leave... she wanted to live in the temple !  We were taken aback hearing that.  We were hoping they would have a great time at the temple for their first time but we didn't expect that they would see something that spiritual. Temples are so truly amazing and those who are worthy do receive miracles.

We played basketball at the Wellness Center here on the Res and I taught my companion on Pday how to really shoot a basketball and do layups and stuff. There is this Navajo guy who we know from playing ball with.  His family is basically the toughest family on the Res and I think are a "gang".  They all wear blue bandannas and stuff.  He asked if we could split his wood because he broke his rib. So we did but there were a ton of other people who could of done it at the house, and he never came out to say hi to us. So, he played me in basketball and I will nicely say that I dominated him then and  he was humbled by that.   I called him out and asked, "Are you going to thank us for chopping your wood?! " He was caught off guard and said, "Oh, yeah... thanks."  I said, "Yeah, you never came and talked to us.  Now we are coming over to your house to talk to you about something that will change your life."  He said, "Uh, I'm might not be home."  Then I said, "It's fine we will stop by until we catch you."  ;)  haha  He was stuck and had no excuse so he said ok. My companion was tripping out because he couldn't believe I would call out this tattooed big gangster guy like that, and to get him to listen to us. For me I see EVERYONE as my brother and sister.  So if I gotta call out my brother, teach him a lesson and humble him because it will help then I will do it. I fear no one.  Now all of the scary wanna-be gangster kids here on the Res come up to me and want me to be on their team next time I play basketball or they tell me they have got my back if anyone trys to mess with me. It is cool because now the people who thought we were the weird white church men now think we are like the coolest guys on the Res. People's hearts will change IF you are level with them, think as they think, abd put yourself in their shoes; you will help mold them into who they ought to be
Thank you so much for all the support!  I couldn't do it without all of the prayers and love.

Elder Taylor 

My companion filmed me being funny and dumb in the church wearing my beanie like this!  ha 

Baptism of Sydney Apachito and the gang! 

A giant shovel I found.  Why would anyone have one this big?! ha 
This was the sunset from this week ... I'm in paradise.