Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Baptism and The Gospel of Jesus Christ

The title of this letter is exactly what I'm going to talk about.

First off Bruce got baptized which was so awesome. It was on the same day as my baby sister Jessica so it was special for me because I wasn’t able to be there for her baptism. Our mission president came down for the baptism and so many other people were there.  Bruce was approved by the First Presidency of the Church to be baptized because he needed that permission because of past problems. What was powerful was his testimony after his baptism; how the Lord has blessed him and how he studied the scriptures in prison and when he got out he wanted a new life and that now the Lords has given him just that!

Also, last Sunday all three of us missionaries were asked to speak on what ever we wanted. I decided that the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was a powerful and essential topic to teach on. We had all of the members and us invite non-members to come. Well, it didn’t work out too well; we only had like 3 non-members, but it was still great to have 3.  We were blessed.

I would like to share with you the analogy I came up with to use for teaching in sacrament  about the Gospel of Jesus Christ…

I compare it to a school. Everyone knows about school. Imagine having a perfect teacher (Christ). We must have (faith) in the teacher; faith that, if we trust in Him and do as He says, then we will do great in the class. Well, our teacher is merciful; when we do bad on a test we can come to Him and ask to re-do it.  (Repentance).

Our merciful and perfect teacher says yes we can re-do it, but now remember to study hard and learn from your mistakes.   In order for the teacher to help you even more in the class he needs to meet with your parents. So there is a parent-teacher conference in which you promise your parents and teacher that you'll do better in the class and on the tests if they give you a second shot. The teacher responds in saying He will provide someone that will help you so much. For those who are smart they go to that person and get help from the tutor (Holy Ghost). The tutor is there as you are practicing the problems and going over your mistakes. The tutor can lean over and say “Nope start the problem over again; or no, go to the next chapter, your answer is in there."  He guides you on your journey of learning and helps in all ways for you to find the answers while you are still learning. Then the hard part is enduring to the end of the class, or in the gospel, until the end of our lives. Just as a hard class is at times we have resources to help.  We have to motivate ourselves to succed. We have to promise ourselves, our teacher and parents at times that we will do better and try harder next time.

The principle is like our Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ the teacher and the Holy Ghost our tutor. Their motives are all the same; they teach the same, they help all of us children the same, and want the very best for each of us.  Let them HELP you!  Turn to them and follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that you may receive the highest “grade” you deserve.
May we all be diligent and receive eternal life is my prayer.

Love to you all,

Elder Justin Taylor 

Here's the picture of Bruce's baptism!!! So awesome.

Here is me and my companions after we went to a hospital to visit 2 members.  
They gave masks to us because there was a virus there that people were getting.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ups and Downs

Hey everyone!  Hope you all are doing well and living happy. 

So, my thoughts this week are on how the Lord challenges and tests us to make us stronger. Not only stronger with the present trials we face, but stronger in all aspects of trials we can face.  There is a plan, a game plan, for each and every one of us and it was created even before we came here to earth. My thoughts are this (this isn't doctrine but it is just my thoughts). 

When we were shown our personal plan before this life we could see how great we could become  but we also saw all of the trials, challenges and hard times we would face. Then we were asked... do you accept this plan, are you ok with going through these hard times, making these sacrifices to be this great person in the end?  the person you were created to be? 

With that thought it has helped me so much have this eternal perspective. To know why I go through these things, and to think of the lesson that I will have coming out of it. There is ALWAYS an experience and a lesson attached to every trial ... which I believe is much larger than the trial itself.  As we look at life and the challenges you should rejoice that our Father in Heaven loves you enough to let you go through them and to grow through them because I know its even hard for Him to see his children struggling and that is why He has His gospel to help us as we turn to it. 

I pray each of you will see your life as a road map and a game plan to becoming who you were designed to be and fully accessing your divine potential. 

So my ankle is messed up; don't know how bad I messed up the ligament but I should be off basketball playing for like 6 weeks. I've never hurt an ankle before so it is a new experience but I love the challenge and am grateful for the support and help I have as I recover. I am still going out and doing missionary work everyday... NO EXCUSES! 

Also the MIRACLE is that we had a baptism!  Jacob was baptized this last Saturday and it was really special. The ward down here hasn't baptized in a year and a half and now the drought is over! We have another baptism this next Saturday.

The area isn't doing well and we have had to basically start new all over again and are looking for those who truly are prepared, not those who just want to "hang" and be friends with us and that is all. 

Love you all.  Know there are always great things ahead. "Come what may and LOVE it!" 

Elder Justin Taylor 

Pic of me in Hop Caynon. Its like 35 miles away from here and is still our " area" even though no one really lives up there. Beautiful place though, the only real trees around here. 

Here's the picture of my ankle, the reason why its swollen is different parts is because they put a hoarse shoe pad thing on it to help push the swelling out and then wrapped it everyday last week. Im blessed to have the Alamo Branch President be a physical therapist and help me with it and do therapy on it every moring. Looks pretty cool though huh? haha 

Jacob's baptism!  So awesome!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Hey Everyone

I apologize for not sending a very big email today... it has been a crazy past 2 days and I just picked up another companion named Elder Zrimc ( crazy name ) and now there are 3 of us missionaries together. Going be a lot of fun! 

Update on my mission the past 2 days:  last night we were at a lesson for a kid named Jacob, who's getting baptized, and after our lesson his older brother wanted to shoot hoops with me for a second.  Well, after playing for a little bit I decided to go up for a dunk for fun and when I came down I landed at the edge of the concrete and my foot got stuck in between the concrete and the hoop pole and my body went another way than my foot and I twisted my ankle! 

So, afterwards I tried walking it off and was trying to act like a tough guy and that nothing happened.  I had to go home quick to get ice because we were on our way up North to Los Lunas to stay the night before transfer meeting in Albuquerque. Well, I couldnt drive anymore because my ankle was super swollen so I put it on the dash and my comp drove as I iced it! 

I just went to President Stephens, who is a physical therapist, and he looked at it and wrapped it up a ton.  He said he will help me do exercises to heal it and stuff. I got a blessing last night by Elder Schneider (who is going home tomorrow and who was my trainer), and it was very special and I felt a lot better afterwards to be honest. I had 3 of my comps in the circle giving me the blessing and 2 other Elders who I'm very close with. I love my friends out here on the mission and am grateful for the priesthood.

Just this morning I said goodbye to Elder Schneider... one of my best friends and a true brother in Christ.  I won't lie... it was hard. We had gone through so much and I'll eternally be grateful for his service and for our fun times! 

Well, I'll let you all know next week how things are going.  Sorry again for not doing a good email ... a lot has been going on but I'm still going. Nothings going to stop me!! 

Elder Taylor 

Elder Schneider and Elder Taylor

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sacred feelings become Sacred memories

Hey everyone!  I've had a crazy last week that was really awesome but a ton of things happened. I don't know if I can type it all out but I'll summarize a lot of it. 

Wednesday we went up to Magdalena and visited a few people then I had to go and do a baptismal interview in Alamo for Tatiana. Then I had to rush back to get to our correlation meeting with the ward mission leader. We drove around crazy that day. At the end of her interview I had her pray, and it was the most sincere prayer ever. I felt her literally talking and thanking our Father that she's able to be baptized and join the church. Tears were in her eyes and I promised her as the Lord's representative that He is pleased with her and He rejoices in her decision! 

Thursday I had to get up at 5:30am to leave for a leadership meeting in Albuquerque. There were 2 brothers from the missionary department in Utah that came and taught us some really awesome things on the simplicity of sharing the Gospel. Having the Spirit and testifying, but focusing on the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is: faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. It was great to see all of my buddies again. One of my best buds just got called as AP so that's cool! 

Friday we had zone meeting.  I got to share some things and insights from the MLC meeting the day prior. I did a ton of role plays and the missionaries really grasped the concept very well.  Great miracles will come from the training. 

Saturday was the lady from Alamo's baptism.  Her name is Tatiana Sam and she's my "Shi da." I really felt honored that she asked that I baptize her. I guess that is the benefit of being moved to the next area over and being able to baptize and attend that special day for her. Her family is all really solid; probably the best in Alamo when it comes to the Gospel. The water was SUPER shallow so I had to really dunk her low but all went well. I felt the Spirit so strong. 

Sunday had a big activity after church for lunch to help a non-member family get closer to the members and feel a part of the family. It was really cool. The newly married couples here that go to the Tech College are awesome and are always willing to help. 

Monday was "Missionary Monday" at the temple and boy was it special. Once we were walking up to the temple someone commented on barely remembering to bring their recommend and I came to realize that I forgot mine and were like almost 2 hours away.  So I told the people in the temple and they were really cool and one went to talk to Preisdent Miller to ask if I could get an interview real quick then go in. The guy comes back and said that President Miller told me to tell you that you owe him a chocolate shake!   haha He said to go in and change and enjoy your session.  SUPER cool.  I just got to go in and my worries all went away. Man I love my mission president. The temple was super special and sacred for me. I felt the Spirit so strong and to renew my covenants again was really powerful.  I felt forgiveness for my past mistakes from the last 7 months and now feel like a new clear man ... striving to do even better before I return in October to the temple again. 
I learned a lot and my mission president gave us a special promise and blessing that I won't share (just through a letter) but really was special and has changed my mindset on a lot of things! 

Well, my thoughts for the week are this... all of my most clear and fond memories have been the sacred spiritual feelings I have had in my life, even from before my mission. MANY have come to my mind the past few weeks and I love it. The baptism and then the temple were just so amazing to me, and gave me perspective on my purpose as a missionary and how real the Plan of Happiness is and how we truly are just here to be servents to those in this life as well as those in the next. Cherish all of the spiritual moments in your life when you have felt God communicate directly to you.  Then record it so that you and your posterity for generations down will feel that same Spirit you did when you wrote it. 

Love always,
Elder Taylor 

The baptism!! Love this family.

The boyz!  Love these Elders.  I have 5 companions in that photo right there.  Such a blessing to somehow be with almost all of my companions in the temple that day. 

Sister Brown.  She is from Laie, Hawaii and always gives me the Hawaiian goodies she gets sent to her.  Auntie Winnie was her teacher in Hawaii so she knows Uncle Morris and Amanda.  Also, Elder AhLoy is in the picture because he was born in Hawaii and is a 'lil Hawaiian! haha 

This is a real email i just got from someone I baptized. This is real and how hard the adversary works against those who choose to follow Christs example and be baptized a member of His true Church ... the adversary never quits and gives up on trying to lead us away from truth! So proud of how strong she is to realize that this gospel is the most important thing in her life, not her friends... we need to all follow this example and show this kind of faith. 

"Hi, i just wanted to write to you because i was feeling a bit down and everyone else I text and talk to aren't up listening to what i had to say. LOL Well ever since my baptism i've been feeling great except for today, i was doing fine until some person just got tell me "I can't talk to you and be around u anymore because ur a mormon now". I was in shock, i was speechless and of all my feelings were hurt. I feel like crying here and just let it all out but i said to myself in my heart "No matter how many friends or relatives or people i care about i lose just because of my religion is not worth my time fighting for because i know God/Jesus Christ have a plan for me and if his plans were to not have these people in my life then it's probably for the better" I don't know how to take this in or how to move from it all i know is that it's already making me think a lot and making me feel sick to my stomach. I'll just have to endure to the end. Sorry i just needed to vent and needed someone to talk to that i can trust".