Oct 31, 2011
From left to right: Hermana Read (from Northern Virginia, going to San Diego spanish speaking), Elder Lawlor (from Bay area California, going to Paraguay Ascencion North), Elder Miera (from Colorado, going to Paraguay Ascencion North), Elder Alvarez (from Virginia, going to Las Vegas spanish speaking), District Leader Elder O'Harra (from Southern California, going to Paraguay Ascencion North), Companero Elder Barrus (from Chicago, going to my mission), and ME!
Oct 30, 2011
Mom! Dad! Becca!
Thank you so much for the junk food! We don't get enough munchies here, just cafeteria time every 5 hours, I don't like it at all. And, well, frankly, the food doesn't pass well, so I'm never hungry when I'm supposed to be. But, it's okay. My companion takes it seriously, but my Spanish is definitely more advanced than everyone in my district. I was thinking of taking the test to move up, but I love my district and I don't want to miss an opportunity to go to the DR MTC (the next district above has only a 3 week MTC period). We're starting to finally get in the groove of teaching lessons. I didn't realize how seriously I took this stuff til I got WAY upset after we didn't teach well. Bringing people unto Christ is not an easy thing, and I don't like failing. I learned how important it is to stick to the lesson plan, but still apply it to our investigator by asking specific questions and applying principles directly to aspects of their life. Our "investigator" right now is really just hired as our teacher who helps us practice. It's brilliant. I love it.
We have a "hermana" in our district that is probably the least practiced at Spanish, but whenever she bears her testimony, my heart melts a little (Don't get jealous, Court). She's so spiritual, we all know we're exceedingly blessed to have her in our district. Ladies, if ye have desires to serve God, ye are called to the work. So, serve a mission. They need more sister missionaries for sure. You too, Becca.
I love being immersed in Spanish. It's what I've wanted ever since I started taking classes in 8th grade, and now the opportunity has come. I'm still terrible at conjugation, but I spoke to a girl who's been here for 8 weeks today, and I'm far above her. Still not fluent, or close, but ready.
I met TWO Dominicans! One's going to Chicago, that's where elder Barrus is from (yes, he's going to my same mission, Mom), and the other was... Texas? I don't remember. It was so exciting. Also, there's a picture of a baptism in the DR by an ocean and a beautiful sunset in the halls of the MTC. It makes Elder Barrus and I extremely happy.
Becca, I played soccer the other day for gym time, and I got excited to come back and play with you again. Keep working, I'm proud of you!
I went to the temple today, it was fantastic. I have so many questions, and at first I was getting upset cuz I couldn't really wrap my head around WHY we were doing what we were doing, but by the end of the session, I had the most overwhelming peace flow over me. I testify, the Lord loves us, I am doing His work, the Spirit is His influence on earth, and we have real Priesthood Power to administer ordinances, blessings, and other amazing gifts. I'm so happy to have this opportunity to serve.
Look forward to pictures! I'm going to send home my SD card before I leave for the DR. Dad, congrats on your calling, sounds like a lot of fun :) Keep up the good work. I'm enjoying the leaves up here so much!
Oh, okay. Read 3 Ne 11. Think about how all those things really happened, and what the Nephites must've been thinking and experiencing. Put yourself in their shoes. It was a really fantastic experience for me. Furthermore, when something's important to you-anything at all, no matter how trivial it is in the long run-pray about it. And the important things, REALLY pray about it. I know that we can't receive all the answers, but we can be blessed, comforted, strengthened, and often answered by the Holy Ghost. Pay attention to how you're feeling, how receptive you are to the Holy Ghost, and repent often. These are the things that have strongly impacted me since I've been here. I love learning and teaching the gospel.
I pray for you guys daily. You've been such a blessing to me. Miquelle, Jannal, Alice, Danielle, thank you for the letters. Your response is in the mail, Miquelle, and I'm going to try to write the rest of you later today. Courtney, thank you so much for the cookies, and once again, all my roommates and district think you're hot.
Oh, mom, my district is NOT the guys in my room. Just turned out that way. We're actually stuffed in six people in a room (they closed two residence buidlings down recently) and somehow I ended up with some people, one from Columbia, one from Canada, one from Mexico, and the other from Maryland, but they all speak fluent spanish. It's fun, and I'm picking up more every day.
Sorry, this email is scattered, but I don't have much time and I'm trying to get all my thoughts out! I love you all so much, family, and thank you to all of you who are also supporting me. I feel and appreciate your prayers, and I'll talk to you again next week!
Elder Trent N. Taylor
Oct 25, 2011
Oct 23, 2011
Mom! Dad! Becca! I'm so excited to be writing you.
How's the MTC, I bet you're wondering. Ah, I could laugh, I could sing. I could weep, I could scream. Overall, I'm loving it despite how difficult it is. It's an excellent test of everything I know about the gospel, and everything I know about Spanish (oh, I'm learning SO quickly! Dad, you're right, I'm picking it up like mad!). I love speaking Spanish, and I wish I was already in the DR so I could be speaking THEIR spanish. We're learning from people who went to Chile... not as helpful. But still good. Still growing.
I remember what Cody said about many people not knowing what "Elder" means-that is, many people aren't here to work, don't realize they're on the Lord's time. It's kind of upsetting. But, it teaches me to be with different types of people. The best way to explain it is like difficult schooling, but not everyone here's a BYU student. My DL, he is a great kid. he grew up in So Cal, and has all kinds of horror stories about being locked in a "Quadrant" of his school while his classmen fought, mexican v. black, and he had to bond together with the white kids to not get the lights beat out of them. It's crazy. He's really funny, he doesn't really understand me, and I don't really understand him, but he's an excellent guy and I'm glad he's my leader.
I was wonderfully blessed with a companero who is here for the right reasons and willing to work when we're supposed to. Elder Barrus, from Chicago. Quiet, but smart. I learned the yesterday when we taught our first "investigator" (in spanish, crazy, right?) that I am a little better at conversing than he is, and I need to make sure the conversation doesn't leave him behind. When I give him the opportunity to talk, he's fantastic.
The other guys in my district are Elder Alverez from Virginia, Elder Lawlor from Cali, Elder Mieda (be careful how you say that, Dad ;) from New Mexico, and Elder O'Harra's the DL from earlier. Hermana Read is also in our district, she's fantastico! She's a solo missionary for now, it's kind of crazy. Elders O,L, and M are going to Paraguay, Elder A is going to Vegas, Hermana is going to San Diego, and Elder Barrus is igual with me. We're all new this week.
I live with Elder Barrus and four native speakers. They have us stuffed in like sardines cuz they had to close two buildings. I'm learning a lot from our roommates. It's really sweet. I have almost everything I need now, I did forget a lot of things but I got to buy most here. I still would love a "toiletries bag" and if you can find one, a good pocket-sized picture of Peter and Christ walking on water, or something like that. Today was a hard day, and I would like to have a depiction of my favorite story of Christ. They don't have them here :/
What's going on at home? Anything interesting? I miss you guys a ton. I will have Preparation Day on Thursday, but we can get mail every day. So, you can expect letters on Friday or Saturdays usually, and emails on Thursday. That'll change when I get to the DR., probably. Courtney sent me some Cinnamon bears, they were fantastic :) That letter I sent to dad was a request for paperwork on MMR (cuz apparently they need 2 dates to be able to send me to the DR?) and the date when I got my Hep A shot. I hope that made sense.
We study all the time. We pray all the time. I change my attitude all the time. It's a good thing President Bangerter told me to get to know and love the people around me, because otherwise I'd be really really really mad at all of them and wouldn't be bringing the Spirit and wouldn't be progressing.
I love you all. I know this is the true Church. I know we're here for a reason, and I know that reason is to be tested according to our faith to strengthen one another and ourselves, and to ultimately return to live with our Heavenly Father, so that I can be with my familia forever in happiness. I say these things in el nombre de Jesuchristo, Amen.
Sincerely, and with all my love,