Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sacrifice to Give to Others

Hey guys, I hope everyone had a great Christmas and really felt the true joy of the season. I thank those who sent me things in the mail for that day; it truly meant a lot. But the best gift I received that day was just talking to my family, I haven't talked to them in 7 months and oh how they have changed. Jessica gets more beautiful and older every timeI see her, Dylan has a deeper voice than me and can now probably beat me up and my Dad is still the happiest and most positive man on earth. Truly they bring me the most joy, I'm so thankful for their love and support.

It's cold here, it was 21 degrees this morning and snowed a little a few days ago. For me, it's cold but I'm a wimp. On exchanges, we walked like 6 miles in the cold windy air!! It was legit, I felt like a hard core missionary from the good ol' days. I'm blessed to have a car.

Things here in ABQ have been tough- not going to lie, it's been tough since I've been here but the past transfer or so the work has been struggling here. It's SUPER hard finding YSA here in this area to teach. A lot more live more by campus but on this side of town it is a lot more houses and families. My companion and I are still trying to work our hardest and trying to figure things out. I had prayed and fasted many times for the work here to grow and that I'd have another two baptisms before I leave and now it doesn't look like we will even have one. I don't mean for this to sound depressing but I want to show you the reality of missionary work sometimes. We have one investigator and have only had one for a transfer and a half now.. the other ones we have a lesson with them once then they just never answer or call us back. Now, I'm thankful for this. I'm thankful for the struggle it is working in this YSA branch and for the lessons I have been learning. We truly have changed less active members' lives here though, there's a few we see and are helping and that brings fulfillment!! So, the point is that sometimes sacrifice needs to take place. Sometimes I need to sacrifice my desires, wants and time, to others. Like I don't choose to go around all day driving or walking to addresses where YSA's in the stake live who are most likely moved or hate the church; BUT I do it knowing it's going to touch someone's life and that we will be blessed with someone in the long run to teach. Sometimes we need to sacrifice and do things that really isn't what we want to BUT we have to try to love it. Our mission president always quotes " Learn to love your work. Learn to enjoy everything, you'll be healthier and happier." I truly have learned that lesson here. I absolutely love it here and the people but I've really had to learn to love the work here and because of it I still am happy, I still have the desire to find, teach, and baptize. The Lord is teaching me valuable life lessons and I thank Him for it.

My mother was the supreme example of this. I remember one Christmas season a lady, who was a little bit older and had physical issues, could not decorate her house or christmas tree. My mom who is ALWAYS busy it seemed like could have not offered, I say offered because I swear that woman was never asked by anyone to do anything, she would just get up and do it before they would even think to ask for her help. So, she probably told this lady that she's going by to help decorate for Christmas. Well it was a Saturday which she usually always has a lot of projects that need to get done but instead she dragged me with her and maybe my brother, I can't remember, and we went to go help this lady. As a teenager and that punk kid I was, I of course complained and asked how long we would be here, she said not very long at all. Just have to decoarte the tree real fast, you can do that easy and I'll put some decorations around the house and we will be done. Well, right when we walked in I swear a tornado hit the place and dropped off so many dang christmas junk it could decorate 5 houses. haha My mom just looked back and I can't remember the words but its was probably around these lines of "Well... never mind, its gonna take a while. Suck it up and get to work." haha To me that was a wonderful example of sacrificing her time, her own projects needing to get done as well, being the end of the week and being tired, still going over for what seemed hours to help this kind widow. My mother forever has left imprints in my life, I continue day by day to be reminded of the wonderful lessons she taught me. I know that she always gave of herself for others and didn't complain about it, just did it, even if she didn't want to, so why should I just quit or give up? No, I need to push along. I want you all to know I live every day similarly to the story I shared. I swear I'm still following my mom today, that she's helping me out with this work and whenever hard days or tasks come- I remember her looking back saying, "well... get to work. Suck it up. Push forward. Don't give up, you can do it." And, honestly that has been a sustaining factor for me these past 23 months and will forever be.

This week I invite you all to sacrifice for others, go the extra mile, get over yourself and your problems and look outward and I testify that as you do that, for some reason your OWN problems will go away, and you will find more joy in life.


Elder Justin Taylor

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Testimonies Lead To Conversion

What's up everyone?  I hope you all have had a fantastic week and are stoked for Christmas in two days... I know I am!  This transfer is already going by too fast.  I can't believe I'm already writing another entry. This week has been full of great things: zone conference, exchanges, branch christmas party, and so on.  Fun stuff.

I wanted to write about a training Elder Jenson and I gave for zone conference. It was 25 min long and in front of the whole north of the mission.  It was super cool doing it in front of more than half the mission. 

I know a lot of you have read and remembered when I wrote about "the roots of your testimony."  I want to take that analogy and add more to it. 

Each of us have different testimonies in different things from different experiences. Just as a tree's roots under the ground are all separate then come together to form a tree so is our testimonies separate then come together to form our conversion. 

I  remember an experience I had growing up that gave me a testimony of prayer. I had lost this new game that I had purchased with my own money and was really upset that I couldn’t find it.  Then after a while my mom stepped in for her teaching moment, as all great mothers do, to ask me if I had prayed about finding it. I had never thought about that before; I didn’t know you could pray for something like that. So I did...  I went in my room and prayed. Literally right after I felt impressed to feel down the crack at the end of my bed and guess what?  There was my game!  It had slipped down in the crack. At that point I had learned from my wonderful mother that Heavenly Father cares about things we care about and wants us happy and He will sometimes answer our prayers right away or in His timing. My root of prayer started to grow. 

Think about your own roots that have helped you. As we add the roots of prayer, the Book of Mormon, fasting, church, service and so on...  all of these roots develop into a stronger "tree" or in other words conversion.  Alma talks about this principle in Alma 32: 41 " If ye will nourish the word, yea nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and patience, looking forward to the fuit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.

So, in order for us to keep converted and to grow in our conversion and strengthen even deeper our roots we must continue to have faith and be patient and diligent.  In other words we need to endure to the end and we will see the fruits. Another twist is that the fruits can also mean sharing the gospel too. Once someone is converted they can't help but share the gospel with every one around them and let others partake of your fruit and goodness. So, if we, as recent converts, less active members, active members , and even investigators all strive to find the roots or develop the roots of our testimony on individual things we will develop a tree that will continue to grow as we nourish it and it will produce fruit for yourself and others to partake of as your SHARE it with those around you. 

Miracle: I wasn't able to share it this past week because my talk was too long so I wanted to share it this week. 

Two weeks ago my companion and I were walking around in the apartment complex  trying to contact some less active YSA's but none were home and we were trying to share the HE IS THE GIFT cards with everyone we see.  Not a lot of people were outside and usually they go the other direction right when they see us. Well, anyways, my companion and I were putting our stuff in the car when I saw  in the corner of my eye two guys standing in their porch smoking about 30 or so feet away. I for a split second thought, "No. These guys are far away, and they probably won't listen."  Then right after that I felt that EVERYONE needs the opportunity.   So I threw my bag in the car and started walking fast over there and started to say hi to these two guys. Not even realizing my companion was behind the car waiting to back me up because he thought I was going to pull out the car ... he shows up next to me as I'm talking to these two young single adults. We gave them the cards and asked them why we even celebrate Christmas. They responded, "Because of Christ."  One seemed more interested than the other. After talking more about "He is the Gift" we asked if they work or go to school and so on; come to find out that they are both Navajo.  So I started to say a few words in Navajo to them and they were shocked and loved it. Well, one said they were about to leave and walked inside then the other was still smoking and after we asked him he gave us his phone number. This woman (his mom) came out and gave us kind of a dirty look then went back inside then came out and we were like "uh oh."   Then she said, "Can you pray for us? My uncle just lost his son and needs a prayer!" We said yes, of course, and she told us to go around and knock on the front door. We did and entered into the home. I did greetings in Navajo to the elderly gentleman who was sitting on the couch and who is the uncle to that women. Come to find out that he's from utah and is a less-active member and that the woman is a member too. We said the prayer and afterwards I just  straight up asked the two guys we were talking to if they are baptized members and the mom answered and said,  "No, not in the Mormon church."  One of the guys said he wants to leave though and find truth and we said,  "Perfect!  That is what we are here for!!"  SUPER cool experience. Literally it was like 10 min before dinner and then the Lord at the most random time used us as an instrument to find YSA's for us to teach and hopefully baptize and to help save a less-active family in need of help at this time. Truly His hand is in all things we do if we just follow the spirit and not judge a situation or people we will see the hand of God touch others lives through our actions and words. 

All I ask for Christmas from you all is to talk to ONE person about the Gift of Christ coming to earth and why that is so important to you.  Tell them why He did the atonement. I promise that your testimony will pierce the heart of any man and women.  SHARE your fruit this Christmas season and have a wonderful holiday week. 

All my love,

Elder Justin Taylor

Picture at our Christmas party ! Me, Elder Jenson, and Collin Shumway
Best sweaters in the worlddd!! 

Elder Barrus my MTC comp is going home 3 weeks early for school so this was our last pic together.  Love that guy ! 

The beautiful ABQ TEMPLE on our way home from zone conference 

We helped set up for our Branch Christmas party.. looks legit right? 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christ's birth and His Gift

Howdy everyone, this past week was a great and productive one. Again, thanks for all the support, I'm already getting Christmas cards and presents in the mail and I really appreciate it! This past week has been a little crazy busy but that's good, I love being busy. Sunday was awesome but I had A LOT of things to do. I was asked at 8:50 p.m. Saturday night to speak the next morning in church which I will write about in a second, then we had our stake missionary correlation meeting and had all the stake high counselors there ... yea it was intense but super good. And also we had to give a training on 'just serve' for our 3rd hour of church that was a combined meeting and the stake president happened to show up for that, too. What was funny was President Sowards, who's in the stake presidency, was at church when I spoke and said in our stake missionary meeting that I've had a big day having to speak in church, 'just serve' meeting and now this meeting. I loved it all though, learnt SO much from each thing.
I want to share with you all my talk, I'm going to try to type it out the way I spoke it, if I remember what I really said, hope you all enjoy it. SUPER long though, I honestly wrote it in detail so I can always have a copy of it. So, if you all don't read it, no worries. haha 

12/14/14 Sunday's Sacrament Talk:

The vision of what I want for this talk is for each of you to understand the importance of Christ's birth in mortality and the gift of His Atonement to all of us.  
How are signs significant? They obviously are given for important things such as stop signs, communication purposes, etc. Also to symbolize things. We learn in the Book Of Mormon about the Savior's birth and coming in Helaman 14:5,7-8. which says " And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you." verse 7 " And it shall come to pass that ye shall be amazed, and wonder, insomuch that ye shall fall to the earth." 
So, when Christ is born in Bethlehem, far away the people in the Americas will know that He is born, because of signs. Also something cool I put together as well is that these scriptures foreshadow the Savior's coming to the people in 3 Nephi 11. That when he comes down from the sky HE is like that star, a sign and also brighter and greater than anything they have ever before seen and because of that they will fall to their knees and that's what happened in both accounts. Kinda cool small connection there. Verse 8 says "And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have eternal life". Why is that possible, how is that possible? I love how right after speaking of the signs of Christ's birth it immediately jumps to Him being the only way for us to have eternal life.  
In Mosiah 3:5-8, we learn about what Christ will do, he will do mighty miracles, heal the sick, cast out evil spirits and experience "pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer". Basically the Savior was to come and experience what you experience, feel what you feel, He wants to be able to say I know what you're going through and that was only in and through His infinite Atonement. In Alma 7:10-12 we know that " He shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers" and that He, meaning  Christ, "shall go forth suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind... that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities". This means that He will know how to HELP you when going through the hardest and worst of times. Now in order for each of us to really catch the magnitude of this atonement that these Scriptures in Mosiah and Alma talk about I want to do an analogy. Think of the WORST physical pain you have ever had... now imagine that back right now. Then imagine every other physical pain since the day you were born till now all come back at this very moment. Now think of the worst emotional pain like losing trust from someone you love, losing a loved one, a bad break up, emotional abuse. Now imagine that feeling come back with every other one your whole life all back at this moment. Then, let's add more, think of the worst guilt you have had, hardest temptations you have given into, all the times you felt sorrow for your sins and add those in there, too. There's much more I could put into this analogy but honestly could any of you handle those? And that's just you, just your own physical, emotional and guilty sinful experiences, imagine adding someone else's onto you or many others- it wouldn't be possible. Just you alone have a lot, but Christ took yours, and the person next to you, and everyone in this room and every living thing that's ever existed on the face of this earth upon Him all at once. It was so hard that literally angels had to come strengthen and help him. Why? Because He knew you couldn't do it on your own, we couldn't, He had to do it, He knew it was the only way for us to repent and change so we can return to our Father in Heaven.  
Christ boldly stated "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness... I came not to judge the world but to save the world." John 12:46-47.  
Christ knew what He was to do, that it was the only way to save us from all our hardest trials. He truly is our Light, your illuminating Light, that forces darkness out, as well as the power to strengthen and help us so that our burdens are light. Now we know why and how Christ did what He did and why He was born on this earth, but how do we embrace and share this gift?  
Simply, in John we learn that the Christ child said to the Samaritan women, "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life" John 4: 13-14. Meaning that if you want to keep doing what you're doing then good luck, by yourself, you will have to overcome weakness, trials, fatigue, guilt, all on your own and you will keep struggling and struggling OR you can partake of my "water" or atonement. I have a never ending supply of it that if you drink of it or meaning use it daily, right? Because we have to use water daily to survive so we must use His atonement daily to survive- then you will not thirst again, you won't be searching for something else to help you.  
Now think of another analogy... say you have an unlimited amount of water, you live in the desert and everyone around you is fighting, searching and needing water but its scarce where they are at. Families are getting torn apart because of contention in their homes or with neighbors because one family or person has more water then the other, suffering before your eyes. What would you do? Duh, you would tell everyone to come and partake of this ENDLESS SUPPLY of water where you live, that there needs no more to be pains, contention, suffering, that everyone can partake of all the water. You would SHARE that water, SHARE that Atonement, SHARE that Gift. My invitation to you all is think of a gift that you can give our Savior that would show thankfulness to the greatest gift of His atonement that He gave us.  
I testify that Christ had to come to the earth, if not, we would all be hopeless. Something that came to mind was I'm sure the greatest light, and stars were when Christ was born, everyone on earth and heaven rejoiced, to me I feel that's a SIGN of God's emotions, that it was symbolizing His feelings of joy when His son was born and His Crucifixion was a sign of His sorrow and grief of His son's torture and death on the cross that the earth shook and was in darkness. I know it was not easy for our Father in Heaven to watch His beloved Son go through what He did but that He understood that it was the only way for all of His sons and daughters to come back to Him, it was essential. To me, I feel God's gift to us was sending His son to the earth to give us an example, BUT Christ's gift to us was His Atonement. He had agency to choose if he wanted to suffer it or not and He did and because of it we must remember those amazing gifts. I testify that He Is The Gift. Initiative is a SIGN from on high that this Christmas season is different from others, that we must share the gift with all who we see that they can come partake of the endless supply of the Lord's atonement before His Second Coming. In the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

Love to you all, 
Elder Taylor 

Transfers; saying bye to an awesome sister missionary that I served with a lot of my mission! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

STAYING IN ABQ WEST!!! Last 6 weeks ... Finish strong

Hey guys!  Hope everyone is enjoying the Christmas spirit and are getting ready for the holidays.

Obviously, you can tell by the title, I will be staying in the West Mesa YSA branch here in ABQ West and I'm stoked about it!! So cool. I've been stressing these past 2 weeks, wondering where I would be my last 6 weeks. Honestly I would have been heartbroken to have left; things are starting to pick up in our branch, on a stake-level with the missionaries, and just everything else is going well so I'm glad to watch it continue to grow.

We have been having amazing miracles this last week, seriously. For those who read my blog this past week know it was really tough but like I always say ... when there is a down there is always an up and this week forsure was our up. 

One of the miracles I'd like to share happened this past Saturday. We went to visit someone who is trying to come back to church and has been out for years. When we got there they were setting up this huge christmas tree in their living room. We asked if we could help them out and they agreed. Well, when we  got there you could feel the contention. The father had surgery on his leg and was walking with crutches so the mom and the YSA had to do all of it.  He was upset because for 30 some years he has always put up the tree and now he couldn't help so he was pretty salty. We got it looking all nice and we stepped back to look at.  After a few minutes it suddenly started falling down forward and smacked the floor. (By the way this is a 12 foot REAL tree. Yea this thing is a beast).  So the mom screamed and we grabbed it and put it back up, cleaned up all the shattered ornaments that we just put up and tried fixing the stand on where the tree is. They said that stand is pure iron and has lasted them 20 years... they don't know why that happend. But we fixed it and everyone had a happier attitude after. Then the mom said we can do our lesson with the YSA we were trying to visit. So we sat down and started teaching him about the plan of salvation and the Spirit was super strong in that room; you could see in his eyes he was learning things he hadn't thought about in years. Well, as we were towards the end suddenly the father (who is not a member) starts to crutch in to the room asking if they could join us... we say, "Of course!" The father proceeds to say this: "You will never know how thankful I am for your help today. I have always been the one to set up the tree and get on the ladder but this year has been different and its been tough. My whole life I've worked with my hands and now for the first time I'm forced to rest. If you guys weren't here who knows what could have happened; my wife could have been on the ladder when that tree fell down."  He continued saying that for some reason the past few years every single time their family was at a low point, having trials at the most random times people from your church show up and are here to help us. "Now, I'm not super religious.  I was baptized catholic as a baby and I think I'm still good with that baptism, but I never have seen people from the catholic church here to help us...only the mormons. And I've never done anything in that church to be one, and I still think God knows my heart, but maybe I will do something one day.  But if someone asked me before I die what I am ? I will tell them I'm a MORMON. You truly helped our family and your church always is there for us and I thank you for being here today." 

We were taken back!  I'm almost in tears seeing this tough/manly guy express his gratitude, humbling himself to 2 young men and expressing what I would say is his testimony. The Spirit was so strong in that room. The wife / mother is a less-active member and she's just beaming with joy because her non-member husband said that and her son who joined the church when he was younger and has fallen away is now trying to find faith again. She says because her husband isn't working she has a low amount of money for christmas gifts this year.  She is just getting something for her grandson and said she would love for us to both come by and she will have something for us. My heart was deeply touched.  We said, "Yes! We will come by!"  Then they said we both better not leave anytime soon!  ha   Instant -love and connection with this family just in that short time that day. On our way out the mother gave us a bag full of food! I had small tears in my eyes as I walked out of that house; for the wonderful family giving what they can to us and showing their thankfulness. I was a firsthand witness of God saving a family. I saw the adversary try to make something turn bad... like the tree falling RIGHT before we were going to have a lesson to cause more contention and for us to have to come back another time; but instead we all helped clean up and put it back up and fix it ourselves. And because of that we had a great lesson, then his parents come in and put together all the pieces of that day and truly we were able to see the hand of the Lord in that family's life that day! I testify that God sends us where we need to be sent; that He uses bad things for His greater purposes of good. He is reaching out and is putting people and experiences in our paths to bring all of God's children back to our Father in Heaven. Remember to share HE IS THE GIFT  this christmas season; remember and help others remember the true meaning of christmas. 

I've only got 2 years of missionary work and an eternity to look back on it!  I'm going to make sure these last 6 weeks count! 

Love ,

Elder Taylor

This picture is of everyone who came out with me. Two of them are going home earlier then the rest so we took this at our Mission Leadership Council. 

Played golf last p-day... finally learned how to do it!! haha I'm hooked now... its super fun. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


What's up everyone??  Hope you all had an awesome Thanksgiving and ate a ton of food!! I know I did.   Also, I had a GREAT BDAY week.  I've been getting spoiled all week long and I thank everyone who helped me have the best birthday. 

Well, because this last week was a week of thankfulness I want to share what I was thankful for this last week: being tested. Truly, I feel it each day;  both my companion Elder Jenson and I feel it. Our teaching pool is small and just as we feel it begins to get bigger, someone drops us or won't answer then it starts getting smaller again. All we want to do is TEACH; there is no better feeling than that so we are searching for all YSA's here in this stake and are praying hard. Honestly though we had 3 days this last week in which we taught 0 lessons... we drove around everywhere going through a stake list of every YSA in the stake and after doing that for 3 hours it gets a little hard... especially when people are mean. For example, we knocked on this door where 2 YSA sisters supposedly live so we were excited and hoping to get both back to church and teach them. But, on the list we have no idea anything about them though ... so its kinda' like we knock and find out. Well a car pulled in as we were at the door, a husband and wife walk up and he gives his wife the keys and says go inside and she says be nice. He then asks if he could talk to us, so we follow him to the bottom of the drive way and he with a very upset asks us why we were there. We just say  we saw their names on a list of Young Single Adults here on the west-side and want to invite them out to activities. Well, after that he, in a loud voice, started shouting and asking what he has to do to get their name off the list, that his wife years ago was molested by a superior leader in our church and wants nothing to do with anyone from this church; he is screaming at us, dropping the F word every other second, and  spit is flying from his mouth.  He's yelling and is so upset.  Thank goodness his wife runs out and tries calming him down or trying to save our lives (ha), but we were just shocked and taken back.  We say we are sorry and that we didn't know because we are new here and were just coming by to find out information.  We said we were sorry to bother them, and that we will tell someone that you want everyone's name off. He keeps yelling saying he's told many people this and all this junk. Well, we both start walking away and I just say, "Sir i hope you have a wonderful Christmas!"  He responds in a harsh voice, "I'll do my best!"

Yep, Elder Jenson and I both agree that it was the worst we have ever seen on our missions of people just being straight up angry and filled with hate. No lie... i had my right fist ready in a position if this guy tried attacking me or my companion; it was that sketchy. I'm cool with getting in trouble protecting my companion or myself, but that wasn't what we were expecting. Basically, that was our past week /// besides the good food and bday love from people that was our week in a nutshell. Filled with testing days and trials, but its wonderful! because that means we are doing something right if satan is trying to get at us so much and that miracles are just right around the corner! 

Transfers are coming up next week, so we will find out this Saturday if I'm staying here for my last 6 weeks or if they are shipping me off! 

Love to you all!  Don't let other people get you down; turn the other cheek and you will be so blessed! 

Elder T

Had a great time visiting people and felt so loved. 

 The Hollands, on their trip, got In N Out stuff for a bday party for me and made burgers!  
It was so LEGIT! Felt like California that night! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My ways, your ways, or OUR ways?

Hey everyone!  Hope everyone had as good of a week and were able to work on pushing through even if the wind is blowing against you as you are biking up the hill of life.

 This past week has been life-changing for me. We had a mission conference with a member of the Quorum of the Seventy who came to visit, named  Elder Corbridge, as well as an Area Seventy too. Boy, was it a treat to listen to him!  He has written the famous missionary talk called "The Fourth Missionary" (for those who might be familiar with it) ...  a lot of missionaries around the world have this talk as well and Elder Corbridge has spoken in General Conference a few times. He was running low on time, so that kinda' stunk, so we could tell he was jumping around a lot;  but one thing I noticed was how well-versed he is in the scriptures.  I swear he could quote the whole Book of Mormon.  Also, he told us of a cool vision he had one night and it blew everyone's mind. So, anyways, he REALLY focused on the Spirit; he said the greatest gift we can get on earth is the Holy Ghost and living worthy to have it always is most important. We get baptized to be cleansed and worthy to receive the Holy Ghost; we have commandments to keep us worthy to have the Spirit with us, etc. His words and teachings really hit me and changed my perspective on a lot of things.

The next morning I received revelation on a passage of scripture that Elder Corbridge had mentioned.  He had read just one verse but I decided to read the whole chapter to better understand its context. It is Isaiah 55. He told us that the Lord ALWAYS teaches us using repetition, like " knock, seek, find" ... same thing, but just used in different words and ways. Also, he told us that effective teaching is like a trip. We have to figure out our destination (doctrine), route (principles), and conclusion (application). The Lord teaches us often times in the scriptures using this form and structure. So, after I read Isaiah I started looking for these patterns and I found them. The Lord starts off basically saying there is no cost for salvation, everyone can "come unto me" (meaning the Lord) and be full of joy ...  so that is our "destination" ... salvation.

Then He says that we must seek Him and be rid of our wicked ways and thoughts, and turn towards him.  In other words repent because "he will abundantly pardon." Then He says that His ways and NOT our ways, or His thoughts and NOT our thoughts. But everyone thinks that means He is talking down to us, but really to me it is an invitation. Because we sin and fall short, His and our ways are divided;  but if we just forsake our wicked ways, change and ALIGN our thoughts and ways with His thoughts and ways then there will be no separation ...we will be one, and it will be OUR ways. The Lord doesn't want us to be below Him; He wants us to rise up unto Him and His attributes by becoming more like him. (Route to achieve eternal life) 

Then in conclusion He says in verse 12 "ye shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace".  If we just apply the route, repent, change our thoughts, and think of our destination of salvation then we will come to the application,  This is where I act on what I have learned. I now know the doctrine, I know the principles, and now I need to apply it.  For example: praying daily and repenting, learning more about the Savior's ways in the scriptures, etc. 
What I love about that promise at the end is that we will have peace and joy and those feelings only come from the Spirit of God... which is EXACTLY what Elder Corbridge focused on ...having that Spirit to be with us always. 

I won't tell you which verses and the ones in which the Lord repeats basically the same thing because I'd then ruin the surprise of seeking it yourselves!   I don't know if this is all doctrine, per se, but what I used to compare it .  I know I felt the Spirit teach and reveal more things to me and I wanted to share it with you all. It was a miracle I came across a random chapter that aligns  EXACTLY with what Elder Corbridge was training us on. I testify that as you strive to make your ways not so divided from the Lord's ways you will receive power beyond what you can imagine; strength, peace, hope and salvation.  May all of our ways be more in align with the Lord's ways and may they ultimately become OUR ways.

Peace and blessings, 

Elder Taylor 

SERVICE: we cut out weeds on an entire block!

Bday Dinner with the Moe Family

Have not ever met a family who knows what these are (aebleskivers) ... I grew up eating this deliciousness!!  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Push on; don't justify and quit

Hey!  Hope you all are doing fantastic and have had a wonderful week. As I have been thinking of this past week and what I wanted to write about nothing really came to me really hard... just little impressions.  So I hope I gather them all in a way that you can understand.

My goal for this last week was to deepen my conversion... you can never deepen it too much right? Well, because of it I feel that I have had a lot of great trials, lessons and experiences to help me with that goal. I have been chastised, yelled at, blessed, strengthened, received deeper knowledge, humbled and so forth. These things seem to be how it is every week in a life of a missionary, but I've just noticed it more this week. 

I was able to go on exchanges in the Bandeleier ward, which was awesome to be back, but they are on bikes. Not only that but to get out to that area it is basically all up hill. Well, being myself and all confident (or maybe "prideful" haha) I thought it wouldn't be that hard because I'm pretty fit right now so I can do it. Well, I was SO wrong!  That huge hill creamed me. I felt like a sissy but I had a great time to ponder and be taught by the Lord. He showed me physically how life is ALWAYS going to be; that it isn't like this just on the mission but for the rest of your life. Also, it is SUPER cold here now ...like if it rained it would totally snow; so we are freezing all of the time and that day it was super windy. So, not only am I biking up a giant never-ending hill, but all of a sudden these large waves of strong/cold wind would hit and that slows you down even more. So I had a choice... do I give up and give in because its really hard and can justify why I can't do it and quit?  I'm sure I had enough excuses why I couldn't really keep going and keep giving it my all.  Well, once I decided I would be a sissy and give up my strength and mentality grew... I just kept pedaling and pushing forward with faith and hope that I could do it.  Well, then all of a sudden I was at the top of the hill. I got a 1 min break because of a light then went on to conquer another hill. But that's how our life is; we don't always have it easy. We may spend most of our lives climbing up a hill on a bike, then only have a minute break at the top until we are having to go up another one, but because of that I'm stronger.  I was humbled in that fact of how hard biking is... especially in the wind. If we know how to use the gears on the bike properly it will help us get up that hill but does that just mean we stop pedaling? No.  All it is there for is another tool to help us finish our task. So it is with our lives; as we are on our spiritual bike climb, don't forget that you can "shift gears" and if it is too hard to peddle you can you can change that gear ... we need to use them. Our gears are our modern prophets, scriptures, wisdom from friends and family and leaders, support from others, power of prayer, church, covenants to give us strength, and, of course, our Savior's atonement. We can switch to any one of the spiritual "gears" whenever we need its help to get up that hill and keep our pace. We need to have faith and WORKS. I'm reading in Miracle of Forgiveness and a statement in it really hit me. It says, "The Lord will not translate ones good hopes, and desires and intentions into works. Each of us must do that for himself."  Don't get off the bike, don't justify why you can't finish or that you have probably made if far enough and want to ride back down. No.  You finish even if you go at the slowest pace it doesn't matter if you are using those gears to help.  All that matters is that you finish. The Lord can't tell you to get off the bike and He will bike up the hill for you.  No, you still have to pedal but He will for sure coach, help and encourage you the whole way. 

At the end, after I biked up all of the hills, I was able to bike down it all!! I was looking at the left and picturing myself struggling up this very hill and how thankful I was that I didn't give up because the ride down was amazing and I felt accomplished, and I learned great lessons. So it is with our lives; you will someday get to enjoy the ride down and feel that satisfaction.  There are always great blessings for us, and most are worth the struggles. I testify that this is true! Trust in Him . 

Your Friend and brother in the cause,

Elder Taylor  

Only one pic this week! 
On exchanges with Elder Jewett.
 I figured I should get the typical missionary pic with the helmet 
and bike at least once on my mission.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Roots of Your Testimony

Hey guys!  Thanks for reading my emails. 

This last week we had zone training on Friday.  The section I chose to train on was bearing our testimony frequently in lessons as stated in Preach my Gospel. Well, as I pondered this the next morning I was reminded of a memory ... of where my testimony in the prophet Joseph Smith was rooted. So I challened the missionaries to think and remember of a time in which someone or they themselves felt the testifying spirit come over them. For me I wish to share that experience: 

When I was 12 years old and just entered into the young men's program we went to visit the Mormon Battalion  While there we watched the Joseph Smith movie.  I didn't really know too much about his life so it was really eye-opening , but I really felt a connection with Joseph... as if I knew him. In my mind I was thinking I would have totally fought off the mobs and put my life on the line for this man. After the movie I was saddened that he was killed, but grateful for all he did. We had a testimony meeting and I felt the Spirit nudge me to bear mine, but I fought it...  I had felt emotional the whole meeting. I didn't want to go up and cry like a baby in front of all the young women!  haha  But I ended up going up. Guess what happend?  I cried, but I bore a testimony that I didn't know I had on the prophet Jospeh Smith. All I remember is leaving there KNOWING that Joseph was a prophet of God and I could never deny that. From that point on I never lived perfect. I wasn't too into the Gospel or bearing my testimony often but when ever anyone would talk bad about Joseph at school or anywhere I would ALWAYS stand up for him because of the testimony that had been rooted in my soul. Now, because of that root I have been able to grow in that testimony and bear witness of it every single day of my mission. As I remembered that it brought me back to the foundation of my testimony (my roots), and how often times we lose our focus and the  basics of what got us here to this point in our life. 

My testimony has grown tremendously... I honestly feel that I have gotten to a point in which I could never deny the things I teach, feel or believe ... even if my life was staked on it. I'd rather DIE in my faith and testimony than to DENY it.

Three nights ago we went to a member's house to teach a YSA-aged guy who had questions.  The son of the member is friends with this guy and the son is on a mission right now. So we sat down and he mentioned that he's a thinker. Well, he started off asking us why we know the Book of Mormon is true.  Powerful testimonies were born but then he came out with note cards full of anti-mormon literature. In a loving and non-bashing I used analogies to help him understand things.  He spoke of SUPER deep doctrine and more like other people's speculations in the church than doctrine, and he was so caught up on this stuff.  (I won't share what it is though.)   Well, I told him an analogy... I asked him if he goes to the gym?  If I had a bench here with three plates on both sides that was over 300 pounds and asked you to rep it 10 times could you? He said no.  I said, ok, if i had a 10 pound plate on both side and said for you to rep it 10 times could you? He said easy!  I said ok, the things you are focused on right now and are getting caught up on are the 300 pound weights ... but to even reach to that  level you have to start with the 10s and work your way up. But if you go into the gym not even believing you can reach that goal and are not working your hardest to get it by going and lifting consistently (Church), eating healthy (reading the Book of Mormon daily), and being diligent in your goal and staying motivated (praying for help and answers often) then you won't get the result that you want. Having faith that doing those things will get you to that 300 pounds will help you achieve it through diligence, but if you listen to "other" people or look at other sources saying that doing those things won't help you reach that goal to bench 300 then you will lose faith in it and question it. 

Well, sadly he went back to his question and wouldn't really listen and that's fine, but I just pray that something impacts him. That he actually trys to have faith in this Gospel and in the Book of Mormon, and asks God SINCERELY wanting to know if this will help him. Just like the sciptures teach milk before the meat; we can't expect to understand super deep things until we build a strong testimony in the simple principles that bring us true spiritual joy, strength and knowledge.  Then as our roots grow we will understand the meat or the 300 lbs doctrine or speculations. 

Brothers and Sisters: don't get caught up on these things that you hear and read that don't truly pertain to faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end because Satan will start trying to destroy and dig up the roots that have been growing. You don't go to a Ford dealership to asking about the new Chevy Malibu because they are going to tell you that they have a Ford Fusion that is way better and tell you false things about the Chevy. If you want to know the belief of LDS people, or more importantly, the truth that the Lord has taught by His prophets and the real truth of God... go to the actual sources.  I testify if you do that you WILL receivee your answers, you WILL receive deeper roots in your testimony and you WILL receive further light, knowledge, and peace in knowing our one true God and His true doctrine for His children.

I invite you all to go back to the roots of your testimony and let the Holy Ghost remind you of experiences because that is what happened to me.  Record them in a journal and cherish it. Read also Alma 32 37-43... it talks about the roots of our testimony.

All my love to you,

Elder Taylor

Check out my new ride! I'll be driving this instead of my car and walking... I wish ! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

New Transfer

Hello everyone!  Hope you all are staying warm in this change of seasons. 

This past week has been great!  I am super happy with the Elders and Sisters we got transferred into this zone.  They are all awesome and everyone is already close and has that camaraderie.  That is exactly what I have been noticing lately ... that as missionaries, or just all of us as members, or just as God's children ... that when we are positive and happy we get along great with others. This life is meant for us to enjoy so why not have fun and laugh and live with those around you. 

There is a scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants.  The Doctrine and Covenants are a set of scriptures which are revelations that the Lord has given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in which he has recorded down for us today to learn and study. The section is 130 verse 2 and it says, " And that same SOCIALITY which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy."  How wonderful that will be!  I think of when we have transfers here or a really big zone conference and all the missionaries are so excited to see one another and catch up and the joy it brings them...  imagine how it will be in the next life? The closest I think I will ever be to this in my life will be when I return home from my mission. Seeing my father and brother and sister and all the others I love and have not seen for 2 years... I feel that the sociality there will be the strongest that I will reach here in mortality. That reunion will be strong of love, joy and laughter. 

But as we know there is opposition in all things. Being TOO social can lead down the other direction. We must still be focused in our cause and always build connections with others, but when we are influenced in a negative way by our peers or when our sociality with them starts to pull us from the iron rod that is when the issues begin. So don't justify being in certain places or with certain people just because the scriputres say it is great to have sociality with others, because the scriputures say we shouldn't do things that even appear to be sinful.

As we follow the commandments of God and strive to be focused on our purpose here in life I promise that our sociality with others, but particularly those of our faith, will grow and that our relationships with others are good and are of God. 

May we all continue to have positive, loving and healthy relationships with others. 

Love , 

Elder Taylor 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Taste of Heaven

Hello!  Hope you all have had a wonderful past week. I have had such a fun past week; its been crazy and busy, but its been fun. It is always fun having other elders stay with you;  we have had some good times together!  Elder Jewett and Elder McSpadden are great elders; one was with me in the MTC and the other is still in training... both just awesome elders. 

When I was out visiting someone just a few days ago I was sharing a spiritual thought.   I happened to flip to a random scripture and felt impresed to share it. The scripture is in the Book of Mormon, Alma 17: 2-3 . I have shared this plenty of times and have taught the importance of searching the scriptures, prayer, and fasting but not exactly what I'm about to share. So Alma and his brethern, the "sons of Mosiah" (or I'd like to say his "best friends") were reunited on their was back to Zarahemla.  I'll put in a few bits and pieces of the verses: 

"Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his bretheren; and what added to his joy, was that they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of truth; they were men of sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently that they may know the word of God. But this was not all, that had given themselves to much prayer and fasting". 

So it is pretty straight forward right? Well, 2 weeks ago I was emailing my best friend Nathan who is coming home from his mission this week or next.   He was saying how excited he is for me to come home and for us to just talk about our missions and our experiences that we had. I got so excited to do that, and realized that if this was before our missions there was no way you would see us both this excited to talk about the Gospel and share these kind of stories. We truly have changed so much and so did Alma and his bretheren while they were separated.  Well, that is on a minor scale compared to a lifetime of being away from someone.  To me this scriputre is giving us a "taste of heaven";  a taste of the Celestial kingdom. Let us be honest here; we are not always going to be in good touch with everyone we happen to know.  Life happens and we move away or lose tract of people we care about; but to think that in the next life we can be in the Celestial kingdom and see them there and be reunited.  Our joy will be great, not just to see them, but to see that they are still my brothers and sisters  "in the Lord."  That in their lifetime they did "wax strong in the knowledge of truth." and searched the scriptures, fasted, prayed often and followed the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  See that right there is true joy... knowing that. I'm so excited to see my friends who are serving missions; not for the fact to see them but to get a "little taste of heaven", to have much joy in knowing that we have changed and become more converted to the Lord, which in turn brings us closer together and unites us. We do not want empty chairs in the Celestial kingdom.   We can help others to know what truly brings us together and brings us true and eternal joy and that is this Gospel; and following it and trying our best. I know for me this scripture has taught me a lot and I'm grateful for it.  Hopefully this makes sense and I hope that I'm writing it in a way that helps too ...  but, if not, I'm sorry because it makes sense in my head! haha 

Everyone have a great week. Speak to ones you care about this week with a different mindset.  Instead of first talking about the game... talk about the Gospel; it will bring you both more joy. 

Love always, 
Elder Taylor   

A district picture ... throwing up the "W" for West-side of ABQ

Here's a pic of the two Edlers who were staying with me this last week.  They call themselves my "assistants"  Haha

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bring to Pass Much Righteousness

Hey you all!   Hope everyone had a great and busy week.

Lots of changes has happen these past few days . Last week, on Friday, my companion and I were out in the morning trying to stop by some YSA in the stake and we missed a call from our mission president. We called him back and he cracks a joke saying "Elders... did you just wake up??"  haha  Then he asked my companion to be his assistant and said he's leaving that Sunday (a week earlier than transfers.)  He also said that I will be getting a new Zone Leader companion and will be training him and told us to have a great day... we were both shoked. We didn't expect that  call. So everything has changed since that day and we are trying to figure out everything.  I don't have a companion right now so I grabbed the Bandelier elders and am having them live with me because I have 2 bathrooms and 3 beds in the apartment. I've been having members come out with me too so I can still do work in the YSA. It has been super weird doing that and strange doing weekly planning by myself and nightly planning by myself, but its been super fun to have 2 other elders with me.  Also going out with just myself and a member in the YSA has been a blast. I've got so much to do this week and I don't think I'm getting my new companion until transfers . I have 2 stake meetings: one is a priesthood leadership one and then a YSA one. So much to figure out and I love it. Being busy and trying to figure things out by myself for my area and the whole zones is really challenging me to strech and grow... its a true test. 

On Saturday we were at a members house and were asked to share a scripture. The one that came to my mind is Doctrine and Covenants 58. It speaks about always being "anxiously engaged" and being an agent to yourself, and that you can have power to do things. It was perfect timing for me and my companion as well as a YSA who was nervous because she was going to be getting a stake calling most likely the next day. The verse that helped us the most was the one that says that we can't behold at this time with our natural eyes the design of our God. To me it says that we don't know what is best for our lives but our Heavenly Father knows.  We can't see at this time why things happen or why we just suddenly get a lot on our plate, but when we just humble ourselves and try the best in our own power to bring about rightousness we will have sucess and will grow and learn. I know that the Lord is guiding my life and I know this because I am following the commandemnts and trying my best to have His spirit to be with me . 

Love you all,
Elder Taylor 

I put on some old pants.  Yeah...  lets just say me and my companion's jeans have shrunk on the mission ;) 

It is balloon season over here so there are tons every morning!! 

Elder Snyder and I the night he left

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Future and Goals

Hey everyone!   Hope you all had a awesome week full of adventures and growth.

What has really been on my mind lately is my personal future, as well as the future of others, and goals in which I want to achieve. For those of you who know me pretty well or more importantly who knew my mom would know that I'm always looking ahead and planning. I have been writing things down in which pertain to my future on my personal goals and what I truly want in life; as well as ideas of things I want to be as a father and things I want to do in the home with my future family. As I have looked ahead I have learned a significant lesson... I have been more focused on the NOW to help me be the man in which I want to become then.  It has helped me focus less on myself and to grow up more thinking about what is to come in the next chapter in my life.

In order to achieve the vision I have for my future life I need to set goals now, and then plan to achieve those goals and eventually reach my vision. This is what our mission president has taught us. A huge part of that is having accountability.  I'm accountable to 2 people: myself and the Lord. Now, I try to have someone whom I love and can trust help me as well... to lead and guide me and to help remind me of my goals, but ultimately it is just me and the Lord. I need to be honest with myself, but more importantly the Lord. In prayer I invite you to tell the Lord the vision you have; lay out the goals you have and then the action plans you will do to achieve it.  I PROMISE that the Lord does care about your spiritual, as well as temporal, goals; He wants you to succeed in all things. When you do that and ask the Lord for help through His atonement, you can then make a contract with Him; He now holds you accountable and a nightly prayer going over how you did that day with the Lord will help you not only feel Him more in your life but will give you inspiration on what and how to improve and then you will achieve what you have set out on.

My mission president said the key to success is "follow up" and "accountability."  Always remind yourself of who you want to become, and who our Father in Heaven wants you to become. Stretch yourself, do something you never thought you would be capable, try and mess up then try again and always keep learning. Eternal progression will be in the celestial kingdom, right? So why not practice now and learn as much as we can about diligence in setting goals and achieving them so that we progress... it is a God-like attribute in which I believe we MUST learn here in mortality.

In closing, I know you are all thinking, "Well, it is easy Elder Taylor for you to say and type up, but its a lot harder when you actually do it."  I GET IT.  Here's something to think about when tempted day-by-day to turn away and give up on your goals and vision or to do things that distract you.... how will this affect my Plans, Goals and Visions in which I have set with the Lord? How will this affect my (future) or current family? Am I living worthy for the blessings spoken of in my Patriarchal blessing? Will I loose the companionship of the Holy Ghost? As I have pondered on those questions, depending on each and every situation that comes up in which I have a choice, to get closer or further from who I am to be. It always brings me back to the big picture that this life is so short; I need to soak up every bit of it I can before its over; I need to focus on really what matters most. I testify that when those days are hard and you want to just throw the towel in, don't; think for a second, ask some of those questions and see if its the right decision for you. Don't forget to pray too for extra strength. I have to always do that; I'm always failing but I always get back up again.

Tonight I commit all who read this to ponder and pray on your personal or maybe family vision, then figure out the goals you want to set and then write them down and make plans step-by-step on how you can achieve it. Don't forget to be accountable and to remind yourself daily of it; keep focused.

My love goes out to you all, I feel more love and charity for the people I serve daily... it keeps growing.

Sincerely ,
Elder Taylor

Here are some pictures of my companion and I doing service with the YSA yesterday

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Hey!  Thank you to all of those who still read this blog.  I'm still shocked at how many have been reading it and I hope my letters touch you in some kind of way.

This email will be a long one so hold on tight!

I'm sure I have written the title "GREATEST WEEK OF MY MISSION" before but really this week was one I'll never forget... it wasn't full of miracles;  it was full of life. I've had rough times and the greatest times. 

As you all know this last Monday we went to the temple and had a wonderful time and I was filled with the Spirit. The next day was baptism interviews for the Zielinski family (which my companion did).  This is the family I wrote about who lost their husband and father and had a super-spiritual plan of salvation lesson. The next day was the ONLY open day to do missionary work that week.  Also we got late notice but we had to prepare a 20 minute training for the next day for our mission leadership counsel. 

Next day early in the morning we had to set up the room and gym for our mission leadership counsel, but luckily we had help from the assistants too.  We had a 6 hour meeting of being spiritually-fed the whole time and had great discussions.  Our mission president truly is a man of God! Then, that night we had to plan for our zone training and take 6 hours of training for that day and put it into a productive training lasting only 2 and a half hours. 

Next day was our zone training and it went so well.  I gave a training in a break-out session about OYM which means "open our mouth" (which were supposed to do daily and talk to everyone around us),  but I said you need to Open Your Mind to different ways we can talk to people.  For example, if a man is outside playing with kids what should you talk to him about??  Blessings about family.  We always have to have an open mind so that we can use different ways to share the Gospel according to people's needs.  Later that day we got a wonderful phone call from Keiana .... she said she has to cancel our lesson because she was going to the temple to do baptisms!! That was the best canceled lesson I have ever had!   haha   She had a wonderful time and really loved being in the house of the Lord and doing the work for those who have passed on before us. She now wants to get her own family names.  Also, she found out that her birth mom's husband is a less-active member of the church and went to church in Florida on the day she was confirmed to support her . How cool that she is already impacting others.  

Later that night was probably the most worldly-experience I have ever had my whole mission.  At 8:30 pm we went to contact a referral...  a YSA girl who talked to other missionaries. When we knocked on the door she opened and you could tell she really wasn't in the right mindset.  Her friend walks up to the door too and says that their buddies are drinking and that we should come in. Of course we said no and that we don't do that. I will try to describe the next part of this conversation...  they started making fun of us because of our "rules" we have to live by;  that we were attractive missionaries, and that we should drink and no one would know because God wasn't watching.  They said that they think our church hates gay people, that we don't need to believe what our parents taught us, that we were brainwashed , and that they are a lot more happy than us and are having more fun. I'm cutting out a lot of the cussing and just filthy talk. The whole time we were just trying to get one of the girls phone number so we could leave and just text her next time for when we could come by but they just kept going. Mocking God, our Faith and the name of the church on the name tag. One of them at the end said this is ridiculous that you are still trying to help us and teach us ... I'm going to get my phone are record you elders and you can tell us why you are here. So one of them goes and grabs her phone and in a mocking tone and cursing goes in front of my companion and says, "Tell us your name and why you are here at our door this late at night?"  He bore his brief testimony that he's here to share the gospel because it has blessed him and that he knows they can change and find out it is true for themselves. They still mocked and spoke against what he said then they come to me. I tried putting my arms over my tag but she said let me see your name and put the camera close to my tag (which is sacred to me) and said, "Taylor, why are you here? You are here because someone told you too?  Lets see if you even know your stuff.  We will show this to one of your leaders at your church to show 'em you guys don't even know what you are doing here."  With a phone camera in my face I told them that I'm here to testify that through the scriptures we will have guidance in our lives and can find true joy;  she stopped me and said, "Sure. blah blah blah. Talking about the word of God... right."  Then she said something that I wish not to type; then it just went over the edge so my comp said, "Lets go," so he started walking, then the member with us started walking too, and I was the last one and said, "Have a great night."  (as they continued to say, "Yea get out of here; we know you would crack.")  Then, all of a sudden I felt something hit the back of my head... she was throwing ice cream from a spoon at me and it went all on my back, my pants, my shoes and my head. They continued laughing as they walked inside. We went to the car and my companion and the member wiped the ice cream off the back of my newly-stained white shirt and pants and off my bag. I was so proud.  I bit my tongue and said nothing and walked away.  Now, if they were guys that might been a little bit different (haha), but thank goodness they weren't. I could not believe what just happened. We just talked the rest of the night about it.  We couldn't believe the horrible words we heard and the evil that was there and the cruel humor. I told my companion that I have never been so close to the "great and spacious building";  like literally I felt as if we knocked on the door of the "great and spacious building" of the world and they answered it. Truly it was a test of faith.  I'm pretty sure every single commandment was brought up and was invited for us to break. What I learned the most was forgiveness. We got one of the girls number and are going to contact her soon and see if she is sober even though they spoke poorly and mocked my Savior, His church, my standards, and faith... we still must turn the other cheek and not judge and see them not as they are now but as their divine potential. The cool thing was at the start and end of our companionship nightly planning we both put them in our prayers and pleaded that they would someday come to the Gospel and have a right knowledge and mind set. To me that was something I have never really done before but as the Savior taught, "Pray for those that despitefully use you" and "love our enemies." It showed me how lost people are in the world and how powerful Satan's influence is and how hungry he was that night to have the Lord's servants fall off the straight and narrow path, but we didn't give in!

Next day was general conference.  One of the speakers kind of touched on a subject that helped us with our experience the night before. There was so much power in all of the speakers. We later in the day were able to go to priesthood seesion and a less-active and his father went and that was so great to see. Funny how Elder Cook told the YSA who are at the age of marriage that they need not to postpone... funny sitting next to the YSA guys who have been home from missions awhile kinda of take a big gulp! haha

Next day was general conference again. I was touched by a 70 member from Ukraine, I think, and his talk on confidence touched me to the soul and was an answer the the questions I had coming into conference. Toward the end of Bednar's talk a homeless man came in. ALL of the missionaries swarmed him after the meeting and his name is Eddie.  One of the missionaries asked what nationality he was and he said Indian or Dine, and instantly the missionaries were like, "Elder Taylor come over here!"  haha  So I got to talk to him, and he happens to be Navajo and from the big rez. You should have seen the smile on his face when I spoke a few words in Navajo to him.  He said, "You are one of us on the inside I can tell!"  I told him I am... I'm Navajo on the inside. He happened to be in the indian placement program years ago and knows lots of members in Utah.  He is older now and drinks a lot and lives on the street but one set of missionaries gave him a ziplock full of snacks and another gave him 3 dollars for a bus ride to central!  It really taught me another lesson that we must treat our brothers and sisters with love and really reminded me of Elder Holland's talk.  Even though we could smell the liquor on his breath we promised him that God loves him and that he can change and give up the "white man's water" of alcohol.

Later that day an amazing thing happened ... at 6:30 that night the Zielinski family was baptized.  236 people attended this baptism! NO JOKE. I have never seen so many... it was like a sacrament meeting in there, I swear. The spirit was so strong. I got emotional briefly at 2 parts.  Not out-of-control, but a little emotional and I'll admit it.  The first one was when I saw them all dressed in white as I walked up to take a picture with them.   The next was after their baptisms when they bore their testimonies. Teal and Cameron both had so much power to their testimonies and it truly touched my heart... it really brought me back to my real purpose. As Teal spoke about her son Cameron going to do the baptism for his dad in the temple and how they want to be an eternal family I realized again that this is what its all about. Finding and brining families to Christ and His Gospel so they can become eternal families... this is what our Father in Heaven wants. I have waited my whole mission for this family and being able to witness this baptism and know that I was part of their conversion and progression in a little part brings me eternal joy. I love each of them so much.
This week I truly have felt the heavens open.  I have received much revelation from God and have felt the veil thin in my life. Truly my joy is so full.   I love people much more; I desire and thirst for the Gospel more and want to share it more. That is why I feel this last week was the best.  Truly I'm undeserving of these blessings. I don't deserve them, and there are plenty of better missionaries and people who deserve it and are a lot more righteous but Heavenly Father still blesses me and I'm truly thankful for that. I love the new converts that I have taught and seen be baptized in these past 2 weeks.  They will forever be in my heart and in my life. I know this church is true; I know that no money or worldly possession would ever come close to matching up to the JOY, PEACE, and LOVE that I have felt this last week. My mother was ever so near me at points of this last week; I love her so much as well as my family.

Love to you all!  Know how blessed we are all; let us give up things that don't matter according to the gospel and grow closer to things that matter most.

All my love,
Elder Justin Williams Taylor