Oct 9, 2013

Trent's email 10/2/13

Dear Mom and Dad
ONE MORE WEEK!   WOOOO!!!!  I can´t wait to hug and kiss you both!  and BECCA!  WOOOO!!! 
That´s kind of scary.  Id like to know what Zoe thinks about the government shutdown, now that I know what you think.  I´ll be playing some fun federal government hockey when I get home, I guess, doing some research.  I´ve been thinking a lot about it lately, I read Jacob 2 the other day and really made me think about welfare programs and capitalism.  Lots of things to think about, I guess.  Life´s not very simple.  Aww, I sure hope I´ll be able to go to Zion!  
Yeah, I´ll be freezing cold in 70 degree weather.  But, whatever.  It´ll only last a few months, then I´ll get acclimatized.  
GAH!  I sure hope I get to see the painted mountains this year, I don´t want to wait another year!  I missed em last year.  We´ll see how it goes.
Thoroughly Modern Millie?  "FORGET about the Boy!"  I´ve been singing that song to myself for like, six months.  "Forget about the girl..."
Good stuff.
I love plays.  Sure hope I get to go to Tuacahn!  So many things I want to do.  I want to hang out with Grammy and Grandpa!  
Naw, don´t write me.  Early Wednesday I travel to Santiago, then I´ll be in the mission home on Wednesday, talking to all my friends in the mission that I see that day, we sleep there that night, and then we fly home earlycito in the morning.  (that´s spanish grammar.  It means really early.  Dad will laugh).  Thanks for the money!  I´m glad I was able to serve a mission, too.  You´ll see soon... I´v changed a lot.  In some ways.
This week we baptized Carmen.  I got to baptize her.  It was so special.  A wonderful way to end the mission.  I can´t wait to introduce you family to all these wonderful people whom I love so much, and who love me so much.  I love Montecristi, and I´m going to miss it SOO Much.  I can´t wait to show you all my pictures and tell you stories and read my journals with you.
Love you!  Over and out!
Elder Trent Taylor

Oct 1, 2013

Trent's email 9/27/13

A COUNTDOWN app?  Ooh, Mom.  You make me so happy!  Thanks for loving me so much.  Although when you say it like that, it starts to sound REALLY long.  I´m glad I don´t have a countdown app.  Phew.  It will be fun.  I am so excited to hang out with you guys.
My first day back?  Umm, I haven´t thought about it.  I want to wake up early (which is inevitable, because I´ve been waking up at 4:30 your time for two years straight), go running, study the scriptures, and then... idk.  We should eat together so we can just chat. I just want to chat.  Maybe show you pictures, and see your pictures, tell you about my goals, get career advice, listen to good music, learn to dance salsa using YouTube...  We could play video games together, we could watch movies.  It doesn´t matter.  I have some souvenirs to give you.  I guess I can unpack mostly on Monday when you all are at work and school.  I want to watch the BYU Notre Dame game on Saturday. Talk to the stake president and set up the appointment, please, so I can go swimming.  Oh, do I want to go swimming!  I don´t know if you all will want to come with me for that, though.  I sure hope I have some goggles and a jammer packed up in my storage stuff so I can swim laps. I´m glad I have a room, too.
Yes!  Thanks for the money.  Do you think I´ll need some extra money just in case for unplanned flight expenses?  It might be a good idea.  
I don´t need a good job, I won´t even have 3 months to work.  Thanks for filling that out!  I sure hope it works.  I appreciate your help.  
Football!  Yeah.  I hope you had fun at the game.  I´m glad Becca had lots of social activities.  I think I´ll have to motivate her to get out of the house a bit more, being so social myself, huh?
Ah, Mom, don´t worry.  I definitely don´t want to live the same lifestyle that I lived before after seeing what I´ve seen here about real necessities and poverty, but I've learned a whole lot about patience and not judging.  Don´t sweat it.  I´m not the same kid that left two years ago.
I love you too!  Talk to you sooner than soon!

Sep 24, 2013

Trent's email 9/18/13

So glad to talk to you.  I hope you're doing as well as you make me think in your email, and Becca's behaving well.
Hahahaha, I'm glad Becca's a good driver.  I'd hate to come home to a ruined Esme, seeing as she's the only asset I really have right now.  Good for her.  Well, I hope the not buying a Fiat works out, even though I might want Becca to have one.... Hahaha.  Good luck.  Becca can't drive the truck!  Let me drive it.  That'll be fun.  I'll get lots of girls that way =)  Yeah, he does spoil us.
Did you find anything great in Vegas?  I think I'm definitely going to need some new clothes.  I'm so tired of white shirts.  I know I have some stuff packed away, and I love Grammy's vneck that she sent me.  I'm excited to use it when I get home.
Zombie targets?!  I'm so glad you are fun people, I think I'd want to stay on the mission for forever if you guys weren't awesome.  As it is, I'm excited to start real life again and spend time with you three.  I need to learn to shoot well, too, seeing as I will one day be a husband and father.
There really are no opportunities for them to learn piano out here.  It's depressing.  But, I'm helping.  Wow, I bet the professional training was great!  I really hope I can do a capella music when I get home, just as a hobby.  I love it so much.  I've been listening to lots of classical music lately.  It makes me really happy, just inspiring, really.  The primary program will be fun.
Okay, plan on me going to Sacrament meeting on the 20th in California.  I don't know where or how, but I want to go.
  And I want you to come with me.
Yeah, I don't know what I'm going to do.  I really am considering Chemical Engineering.  I need to do lots of shadowing too, when I get home.  I think I'll take a semester of basic general classes to help me get back into the groove and give me some time to make a definite decision, do service, do shadowing, do reading, talk to professionals, and then I'll have three more months and a lot more experience when I committ to a career.  I don't know when I'll get out of school, but I don't want to do something that I won't like, and if I've learned anything on the mission, it's that the most important decisions need to be made slowly.
God does guide us when we trust Him and pray to Him.  I love receiving it.  I've done it today, I've done it this week.  The scriptures really help.  I don't know where I'll be in two years, but I know I'll be happy because I'll keep the commandments, and get God's help in everything I need.  I can't wait to start life again.  It'll be a challenge, but it'll be an adventure. 
Good luck with homework!  I love chemistry!  Thanks for the package!  I might need a few more dollars to pay for it, because I'm seriously short on cash.  I spent very unprudently for the first year of my mission, and now I'm paying for it.  I wish I would've been smarter!
Anyway, I love you Mom! Dad!  Have a great week!  See you in three!

Sep 17, 2013

Trent's email 9/11/13

It´s been a great week!  We had Leadership Council, I taught a music class, Church was really fun, and we had some good experiences in a zone meeting on Monday.  Today, I went to the beach again with lots of Americans, it was really fun, and now I´m here.
Leadership Council was cool.  Sister Douglas gave us three tools to group teaching.  1) Participation 2) struggle 3) action!  If we´re teaching, and people aren´t participating, they won´t learn anything.  We can´t spoonfeed them information, either.  Information for which they struggle is much more valuable to them than information that is given.  Then, they have to practice what they learned.  They have to act, they have to fast if they´re learning about fasting, etc.  It was great!  We had some opportunities to apply it, as well, in a Zone meeting, which I liked.
I wish I would´ve started teaching music classes at the beginning of my mission.  I´m teaching them the pentagram, the treble clef, and basic rhythms, but it´s not very easy to teach.  I´m learning so much!  There are lots of women who want to learn, but no men.  It´s a bummer.  Hopefully they send another musical elder to take my place.
Also in leadership council we talked about English.  President wants all the missionaries to learn English, so we´re going to use english in each meeting.  We started off by having my companion give his testimony in English on Monday, and it was a great experience for me!  I felt the spirit very strong, and was very happy.
I´m going to miss the mission.  You´re right, I´ll be very bored very quickly, but I´m planning on making myself busy very quickly as well, so no worries.
I wanted to add Chemical Engineering to the list of careers I´m looking into.  Courtney´s dad does that, and Darlene tells me about it all the time, and I was looking at the classes on BYU... it sounds really interesting.
I love teaching people.  Carmen is maybe 65 years old, and China, the woman who got baptized not too long ago and I sent you photos, is one of her best friends.  “What are you doing here?” was the first thing she said to me when I met her.  Two missionaries left her a Book of Mormon for her birthday many many years ago—in those days, she lived next door to the missionaries, and took care of them like a mother.  She really grew to love them, but somehow kept thinking that we worship Joseph Smith and didn´t want anything to do with the Church.  Now, she´s committed to be baptized on the 28th.  She wants to pay tithing, she understands the role of prophets, and she´s so happy to be learning about Christ.  Each member we bring to her house gets to hear the testimony that “Elder Cayton” and “Elder Philpot” put in the back of that Book of Mormon.  It´s a huge blessing to be able to teach her.
Also, Auri is progressing well.  She´s having some really great experiences with the Book of Mormon.  It´s helping her while she takes care of her grandmother who has Alzheimer´s.  I really love teaching and helping people!
I´m so grateful to be on the mission.  It´s a fantastic experience.
Yeah, I think Kevin Steed went to Madagascar!  I know him. Cool.  Weird that I´ll be just one of a million returned missionaries back there... I feel so unique as a missionary here.
AHH!! I love the Smiths.  Can´t wait to see them again!  Good good good.  And I´m glad to hear that dad´s taking good care of my car =) 
Don´t worry, I´ll have things to do. People to get in contact with, facebook pictures to update, online classes to take, piano to practice, family to visit, and Becca to play with, and movies to catch up on, and hopefully something to do in the Church.  I´ll be okay.  Oh, and BYU football to watch.  YEAH!  hahaha.  I want Texas sheet cake, chocolate pudding dessert, and chocolate cake with white frosting SO BADLY!
Anyway, I love you, family.  Talk to you soon!
Trent Taylor

Sep 10, 2013

Trent's email 9/4/13

APUSH??  Of course I remember junior year.  Hahaha.  Becca´s doing APUSH?  You go, girl!  I had no idea.  I learned a lot of very important things from that class, it really helps with college.  You have to write SO MANY ESSAYS in college, so it´s great practice! Good for her.  Well, I´ll help.  I like helping.  That´s so weird that Becca´s in APUSH.  I feel like she´s too young for that.  But, whatever.  Everyone´s old now.  I did an exchange with a greenie on Monday, and he´s 18 years old from South Jordan, he was the quarterback for Brigham High, and he´s dating a 16 year old.  I really tried to help him... his trainer´s chilean and doesn´t speak English, so he´s pretty lonely.  It´s hard to start the mission.  He says he feels really comfortable around me, so that´s good.  
Becca wrote me a short letter, I appreciate it.  I can´t wait to see her!  yeah.  It´ll be great.
My day is great.  Today we climbed the Morro, which is the little mountain here.  It was beautiful.  I am sunburned.  I also went to a beautiful beach and walked through very very soft sand.  MAN, it was great!  I love sand.  I think I want to live somewhere by the beach.  Or have a beach winterhome in the DR.  I don´t know.  I went with my companion and with the other two elders in town, Elder Mateo and Elder Salgado, from the capitol (spl?) and Honduras, respectively.  Then, we made a banana smoothie with rice and some delicious cheesy mashed potatoes and some beef.  Elder Salgado's a good cook.  Now we´re here.  This week we´ve taught quite a few people!  I love mission work. I love helping people.  I can´t wait to be able to do mission work at home, even if it´s significantly less.  I feel so out of place in this country, trying to help people I´ll never see again live better lives.  Maybe it´ll be harder than I imagine when I´m in my own city.  I´m not living a normal life, so how can I help them take their normal lives and make them better?  Everything´s through the spirit.  WOW, my comp is SO good at teaching with the Spirit!  I´ve seen quite a few miracles happen with him.  I want to share one.
So, we´re teaching a woman named Marina whose sister is active in the Church.  She was baptized about six years ago, but since then has gone back to the Evangelical Church due to doubts about Vicarious work.  We took time to talk to her about the Book of mormon and the importance of prophets.  My companion gave an example of Noah, who was a prophet for the people in his time.  She afterwards explained that she felt that God was answering her, because that very day she had been reading about Noah.  My companion said he just knew he had to talk about Noah, but he didn´t know why.  It really motivates me to study more and listen harder to the Spirit.  He´s such a good missionary!
Stuff like that happens often with him.  I´m learning a lot.
Hey, Mom, I love you.  You too, Dad.  you´re great.  Thanks for always staying in touch.  I had to sacrifice a lot of things to be able to serve the Lord for these two years, but I´m sure glad that you´re not on the list.  I don´t know what I´d do without you. And I know I´m not the only one who made sacrifices.  Just know that it´s all been worth it.

Sep 3, 2013

Trent's email 8/28/13

I feel like there´s nothing new.  I feel like I´ve been an adult for quite awhile now.  But, maybe I´m overestimating myself.  For my birthday my companion took me out to the only restaurant in town, and I ate guinea, which is, like pheasant or something.  It was cool.  Also, they sang to me in church on Saturday when we were there, that was sweet.  And, I got your PACKAGE!  That was lots of fun thanks so much!  We opened it with the zone and ate stuff and took pictures and put on the hats and made noise and had a blast.  Definitely a good present.  Ooh, I LOVE grammy´s taste in shirts.  I´m so excited to utilize that shirt when I get home!  It´s nice.  Fits me great!  
That IS Dominican weather!  The only difference is your roofs aren´t made out of tin, so the sound isn´t very loud, and water doesn´t leak inside, and your streets are paved....  But that´s cool!  We had a small little storm in Montecristi two days ago.  It was cool.  Lasted maybe 25 minutes.  It doesn´t rain in this town.  Hardly ever.  We´re in a little hole or something.    We were with a member and she was so scared of the thunder!  But, it´s okay, we sang hymns.  I love thunder and lightning.  So beautiful! 
There´s maybe a 10% activity rate on this side of the country.  Lots of people get baptized, expecting to receive money from the church, having good relationships with the missionaries, because they have a relationship with a member, or just cuz it´s the cool new thing, but then they leave before they get a testimony.  It´s a lot of work trying to get some of them to come back, but with God´s guidance, we´ve been able to find a few people that really needed us.
I´ll always be a kid, Mom.  When we grow up, we don´t lose our kidness.  It stays inside, we just have a level of maturity on the outside.  Sometimes we try to suppress the kidness with adultness, but that´s not fun for me, so I´m going to keep being a kid forever, but just at the right TIMES.  No, you don´t need to start criticizing me.  I´ll get through it.  Maybe constructive criticism would help?  I don´t know.  I´ll be fine.  Hahahah, I remember Drivers Ed.  How fun................ Well, she´ll forget all about it one day when she´s free to drive!  Good good good.  Keep it up, Cheese Brain!  
I hope I can go shooting with all of you soon!  Good stuff.  Keep it up!  I probably won´t be a very good shot though.  
So, President Douglas wrote three words on the chalkboard when I had my first meeting with him.  "priesthood" "service" and "love."  He said for him, those three words are the same thing.  I really love that idea.  The principal function of the priesthood is to be a loving father in a home, blessing children and loving your wife.  Furthermore, the family is the basic unit of our society.  Every day I see more examples of that.  Kids raised in loving homes with both parents are WAYYY more likely to be successful, confident, and healthy than kids in one parent homes or homes where their parents don´t pay very much attention to them.  The father of the family is the spiritual leader of the family.  He´s the one who iniciates the love in the home, organizing family home evening and family prayer and family scripture study, and more than anything, making sure his children are happy, healthy, responsible citizens.  At the same time, no one can lead without a proper use of agency.  No one, NO ONE responds well when their agency is taken away.  Part of being a priesthood holder is knowing how and when to let a child make the decision for themselves, even if it means letting them choose the wrong path.  Discipline is essential for an effective priesthood holder.  Empty threats cause children to lose respect for their parents.  A parent needs maturity, wisdom, a good knowledge of gospel doctrine, and revelation to know how to make decisions about their child´s conduct.  That´s why its so important for a priesthood holder to study the scriptures and attend church.
On the other side of the chalkboard, we need ordinances.  John 3:5, Jesus himself says that without baptism, no one can enter into God´s kingdom.  Through modern revelation, we know that this also applies to temple sealings and endowments.  It´s a bar that God sets for all his children everywhere.  Maybe it has something to do with the nature of our Spirits, or maybe it´s just a program God instituted to make things more organized.  I don´t know.  But, I do know that we need them.  The Sacrament is a weekly cleansing process.  Each week we try and try to get better, repent, and become more like Christ, until we arrive at perfection (3 Ne 12:48), and the Sacrament is a wonderful way to invite the Spirit into our hearts and purify us.  Another reason why a priesthood holder NEEDS to attend church.
So, The priesthood will bring not only salvation, but also health to the human family.
Ask me to write a ten page paper on it when I get home or something, hahahaha.

Aug 27, 2013

Trent's email 8/20/13

And I´m writing on a Tuesday.  I hope it doesn´t upset you too badly, but tomorrow we have a special meeting with the area president, Elder Andersen, and won´t be able to write.  I´m also going to see Elder Nelson tomorrow, for which I´m super excited!
So, we´re working a ton with less actives and also some investigators that we´ve found.  It´s an adventure.  It´s fun to help people feel the Spirit and grow and commit to change.  I just wish everyone would do their home teaching.  I feel like it´s an essential part of being a member, and if you´re not doing it, you´re truly failing in your purpose in life.  I know life´s not easy, and I have a very skewed perception of things in my simple mission life, but I just feel like it´s important.  I think that if everyone would be a good home teacher, the full-time missionary program wouldn´t even be necessary.  Seriously.  Less actives would come back to church, people would preach the gospel for themselves... it would be so fantastic.  Maybe I´ll implement some Jehovah´s Witness tactics to get people to leave their house more often.  They´re excellent at that.
Montecristi´s a beautiful place which I love very much.  Especially the beach.
I´m learning so much about pride.  I guess that´s my biggest downfall.  I don´t know how to stop being prideful.  I´ve been getting really annoyed at my companion this week, but I realized yesterday that it´s my fault, not his.  I thought that I had solved this pride issue at the beginning of my mission, but it´s still there, just in different ways.  Christ is like a silversmith, I guess, just BURNING OUT those impurities.
We should have a baptism on September 28, maybe more, we´ll see how that goes.  
I´m happy, healthy, exercising, trying to eat well, working hard, and avoiding thinking about home as much as possible.  I love you all, and hope you have a great week!
Sincerely, and with lots and lots of love,
Elder Trent Taylor