Dec 26, 2012

Trent's email 12/19/12

Hey Mom!
I´m soo good.  We went to a campsite in Bonao and had a blast.  It´s been very fun.  The weather was a little warm, we were sweating a bit as we played basketball.  I actually MISS the cold, the hot chocolate, the sledding, the cuddling, the snow.  Hahaha, she can do it.  Poor girl.  Tell her she can come walk around in the sun all day every day and never stop talking to people if she would prefer.

Aww, I had SO MUCH FUN singing.  I love to sing.  I might want to make it a more permanent hobby when I get home.  Christmas music is fantastic.  I´m sorry that no one wants to accompany you.

No, I´d never seen Ben Hur before, but the 1.5 hours we watched were FANTASTIC!  I want to see it badly.
I mostly just ached today when we were playing basketball and I took a couple of elbows in the chest, but nothing too bad.  It´s a good story, right?  Sister Douglas is SO FUN.  The flash mob involved us singing loudly in a mall, one by one starting to sing.  Very exciting.  We should be getting a youtube link soon, once they get it all edited together.  I´ll keep you guys posted.  Hopefully it makes an impact in the mission work.

Thanks for sending me the stuff.  I got the package =)  It was fantastic!  Thanks so much!  I was surprised that there was no fudge or divinity or peppermint bark--don´t tell me you´ve stopped the tradition this year.  It was delicious, always nice to have some chocolate in the house.  My orange sticks are in the freezer.  MMmmm.

Hahaha, still, you two are standing in front of people.  I´m so proud!  Good work =)  I hope you had fun, and hope it leads you to do more theater in the future =)  I´m sure I´ll do community projects and will need your help in the future.
Yeah, Courtney lived there almost all of her life.  A little time in Pennsylvania, but mostly Parkersburg.  I think it´s amazing she´s going to Jerusalem, lucky duck. 
I feel like Dad starts a new job every week.  Like, every time I get to the internet center, you say something about Dad and a new job.  No one really helps his style flow, do they?  They´re crampin him up.

15 pounds!  alright!  I heard weight loss was just about calorie intake?  I´m glad he´s exercising.  I hope I can find some time to go down to go people watching/walking with him when I get home.  I need to spend more time with that man.

I´m glad you three are having a fun Christmas holiday.  Skyping is looking good, we should be good to go at 1:30 PM my time on Christmas, which will be 10:30 AM your time, I believe.  I´m super excited to see Becca and her growingupness.  It´ll be very fun!  I am also excited to open the presents you sent me in the package.

Anyway, that´s all for now.  I love you!  Have a fantastic week, and talk to you on Tuesday!
Love, Elder Taylor

Dec 19, 2012

Trent's email 12/12/12

Hey Mom!
My week has been really good.  Very eventful.  We had our Zone conference, aka Christmas party on Tuesday, and I was the only one who got musical numbers together.  It was very fun, Elder Grover and I worked hard on a version of O Come all ye Faithful in Spanish, and we were really proud of it.  Sister Douglas made stuffing, turkey, ham, fruit salad, crossaints, delicious pumpkin bars, and more to celebrate.  We had a big testimony meeting, and we watched half of Ben Hur, a movie about Jerusalem in Christ's day.  I love President and Sister Douglas.  Wednesday... I got hit by a motorcycle.  It was my own stupid fault, I got distracted crossing the street.  Got the wind knocked out of me pretty badly, but that was it.  Sister Douglas told me to go to the hospital just in case, and I'm fine.  So, we spent all day Wednesday in the hospital.  Today we're in Santiago, because tomorrow we're participating in a flash mob in a mall around here, that Sister Douglas organized.  She needed loud voices =)  We spent all morning in the mission home helping President and Sister Douglas get the other zone conference ready.
I'm learning a lot this week about the importance of companionship study and always focusing on your investigators.  I get so excited to teach when we find new scriptures and new ways to teach, new things to say.  We got a bit of that in this week, and I want to try to do it every day.
Also, today, I bought fabric to get some more pants made.  I like custom made, and I'm low anyway.
OH!  PLEASE send me Compound W.  I have lots of warts, and I got medication from here, but it is NOT WORKING at ALL.  Don't get me the liquid, get me the gel, please, and send it quickly!  They're starting to really damage my self image here.
Anyway, I'm going to buy new shirts next week.  I've got one stained really badly, one with big holes in it from barbed wire, and one I gave away to Junior, the father of the family I baptized in July.  I need more.
Go Becca!  I know she can do it.  She should enjoy the time with her friends while she has it!  Johannes Brahms!  I wish I could see her report.  That would be excellent.  How's piano going for her?
I can't imagine Christmas shopping right now... it doesn't sound that fun.  Hope you enjoy it.
Wow, what a good celebration for your anniversary!  That's wonderful to hear that you two are enjoying your time together.  Marriage is so underappreciated these days... I mean, I don't know anything about marriage, but I feel like basic affection and spending time together are important... I don't see a lot of that.  I feel like people are missing a huge part of God's plan.  Go parents!  I hope you're having fun together =)
I sent a message to Sister Fuller, and sent you a Carbon Copy.  It's in Spanish, but you'll get the gist.  She should get you the new address on Monday at the latest.
YOU TWO ARE PARTICIPATING IN THEATER!  I'm so proud!  That's excellent!  What parts are you doing??? Aww, that's got to be SO FUN!  I wish I could see it.  I never thought you guys would do ANYTHING like that!
Haha, that makes me happy.
Ask Courtney where SHE'S going next summer.  Big news.
Family, I love you all so much!  You're the best.  Don't worry about me, I learned my lesson and I won't be crossing streets erratically for awhile, I promise.
I love participating in this work.  I love learning about the Savior, doing what He would do if He were here.  I love being here for Christmas.  It's the 2nd best place I can think of being.  Being with YOU three would be the 1st best.
Love you, family!
Elder Taylor
P.S.  Next week, Pday should be Wednesday again.

Dec 12, 2012

Trent's email 12/5/12

Mom, Dad, Cody, and others,
Happy December to you, too!!
Hahaha, the Dominicans don't celebrate Thanksgiving or Halloween, but they DO celebrate Christmas, so they've been feeling that spirit since October.  It's kind of lame, actually, it gets old faster that way.  But, more and more trees and lights go up every day, so that's really exciting.  I love singing Christmas hymns.
We don't have decorations (and money, much less), except the nativity set that Courtney colored for me on cardboard last year... but I can't find a spot in the house to put it.  We have very little furniture and wind blows hard through our house, so it's not really UP, it's just chilling on my desk.  And that's all we have for Christmas.  I'm gonna see if my friend still has those stockings I sent him last year (he's from the Christmas Islands, so I sent him stockings when he got to the mission, the ones you sent me in my package).  See if I can get them back :)
Uh oh, I hope Kenji gets better!  And I'm glad to know that Mrs. Pickles isn't such a turkey.  You guys were making me scared.  I'm sure Becca's having a diabolical amount of fun spraying her with water.

Miami's expensive.  Maybe you could try sending them to the mission office directly through UPS?  I don't know.  The address has changed since I got here, so you have to check that out.  I don't know what it is anymore.  But, I thank you kindly for the many packages you have sent!  They're fantastic, and always bring a little home back to me.  I like that.  And, more importantly, reminds me of how great a family I have.  You guys are the best. 
It's amazing how far a little service goes for a hardhearted nonmormon.  People just light up when we help them, even if we don't leave them a book, we leave a good impression.  Plus, behavior is a big deal.  We've gotta always set a standard when we're around people so they don't think we're just crazy.  Well, they all think we're crazy and worship Joseph Smith, so we have to do our best to fight those steriotypes.
I have learned a LOT about Catholicism.  It'll be fun to talk to Darlene Newell about her experience in the US, because it's very Dominican Catholic here.
I hope we come back here a lot.  Better fruit than Mexico, even though the food isn't as good in general.  Limoncillo is a tiny thing that looks like a lime on the outside, a grape on the inside, and tastes like... a sweet lemon.
I'm glad Teresa's good.  I miss festivals and lots of food.  I hope Dillon and everyone else is happy and healthy, too, there in Kanab.  Dallen Root emailed me, he's doing good and excited to go on a mission, I guess.
Sabrina's SO ADVENTUROUS!  That's awesome.  I never really liked Indian food when I was roommates with Sarva (sorry Sarva, if you ever read this), but that's awesome.  Lamb Curry?  Wow.  I do miss Thai food.  Go Tasha!  I can't wait to meet her husband.  Glad to know they're doing good.  Where's Jackson on his mission?  We don't trade ties that often, but I could get something going if I wanted to.
This week has been great.  I've gotten a new hold of what it means to be a missionary, and learning SO MUCH and working MUCH HARDER.  I love it.  I've been exhausted and motivated and stoked all at once, and I couldn't be happier.  I think the only more rewarding job is being a parent, but I'm not sure.  We're planning an activity for couples to help fortify families, and I'm mostly heading it off, but we've invited President Douglas and Sister Douglas and four other couples in the district to help people learn more about tricks for raising a gospel-centered home.  I hope people show up on time.  We had some really nice invitations made and hand delivered.  That'll be the hope of this week.
Furthermore, we're having our Christmas celebration on Tuesday, it'll be three zones here in La Vega to sing, bear testimonies, and probably eat lots of food.  I'm stoked.  We're preparing various songs, and I LOVE TO SING CHRISTMAS SONGS!  I wish I had a prettier voice, but I'm definitely grateful for the knowledge and love of music that I HAVE acquired.  It's going to be fun.
And, hopefully Senso gets baptized.  We're doing everything we can.  Pray lots, please!
I love you all!
Elder Taylor

Dec 5, 2012

Trent wrote a play

So, I wrote a play for an activity we´re doing tomorrow... ward talent night.  I ran it through a free translation document, and I wanted to send it to you.  Hope you laugh as much as I do when I read the horrid translation.
It´s a good play.  Many laughs will be had.

Obra de Helamán 5, Libro de Mormón
NARRADOR: Hace casi dos mil años en la tierra que se conoce ahora como “Las Americas.”  La tierra era rica, llena de guineos, manzanas, y uvas (eat a grape!)—pero allí vivía un pueblo lleno de malicia, orgullo, y desesperación, un pueblo llamada los lamanitas.  Los lamanitas no amaban a Dios, rechazaban a los profetas, y no querían saber de ningún “Cristo.”  Dentro de ellos había un capitán super malvado, y con él en ejército.
CAPITÁN: Somos libres, somos fuertes.  Somos felices.  Y tengo una espada demasiado grande. (high five)
NARRADOR: Vinieron muchos profetas para predicarles, pero hacía mucho que habían olvidado del Señor.
PROFETA: ¡Arrepentíos!
CAPITÁN: ¡Cállate!
NARRADOR: Al mismo tiempo, había dos hermanos, Nefi y Lehi, que se habían puesto fuertes por medio de la oración, el ayuno, y el estudio de las escrituras.
NEFI: Lehi.  Necesitamos predicar de Cristo a los lamanitas.
LEHI: ¿A los lamanitas?  No quiero morir, Nefi.
NEFI: No seas tonto, muchacho.  ¡Dios nos va a proteger!  Ora, y nos vamos.
NARRADOR: Y así, salieron.  Tenían que caminar mucho, pero en el camino, vieron a muchos milagros, y cambiaron muchas vidas.  Predicaron lo que les dijo su padre.
NEFI: Y ahora bien, recordad que es sobre la roca de nuestro Redentor, el cual es Cristo, el Hijo de Dios, donde debéis establecer vuestro fundamento, para que cuando el diablo lance sus impetuosos vientos, sí, sus dardos en el torbellino, si cuando todo so granizo y furiosa tormenta os azoten, esto no tenga poder para arrastraros al abismo de miseria y angustia sin fin, a causa de la roca sobre la cual estáis edificados, que es un fundamento seguro, un fundamento sobre la cual, si los hombres edifican, no caerán.
NARRADOR: Se escribe de ellos, “y sucedió que predicaron con gran poder, a tal grado que confundieron a muchos de aquellos disidentes que se habían apartado del [pueblo del Señor], de modo que se adelantaron y confesaron sus pecados, y fueron bautizados para arrepentimiento.  
LEHI: Estamos aquí en el nombre del Señor.
LAMANITA: Y ¿qué me van a decir?
NARRADOR: Y acaeció que Nefi y Lehi predicaron a los lamanitas con tan gran poder y autoridad…a tal grade que ocho mil de los lamanitas...fueron bautizados para arrepentimiento.
LAMANITA: Yo estaba en oscuridad, y tengo muchos pecados, pero ahora, sé que si sigo a las enseñanzas del Cristo, mis pecados me serán borrados.
LEHI: ¡Pero WAO, Nefi!  Qué maravillosa la obra que el Señor ha hecho por medio de nosotros.  ¡Me encanta el predicar el evangelio!
NARRADOR: Pero, el capitán malvado y su ejército era duro de corazón, y no quiso escuchar las palabras de ellos.
CAPITÁN: ¡Echa estos “Profetas” en la cárcel!
NARRADOR: Nefi y Lehi pensaban pelear, pero a ver el espada grande del capitán, se llenaron de miedo, y fueron presos con el ejército.  Allí estaban feo por la foto, ya que hacía mucha fría, y no había nada menos polvo por la cama.
LEHI: (Give him the jacket) Toma, Nefi.  Mi saco.
NEFI: (acostado) Ay, gracias.  Odio las arañas.
LEHI: (pretend to pick spiders off of him) Parece que les encantas.  ¿Ya oraste?
NEFI: Desde que llegamos, estoy orando.  Estos sí son impetuosos vientos.
LEHI: Ay sí.
CAPITÁN: Vengan, muchachos de mi ejército.  Esos “profetas” merecen la muerte, ¿no?  ¡Matémoslos!
NARRADOR: Pero mientras los malvados se acercaban para matarles, un gran fuego envolvió a Nefi y Lehi, de modo que los malos no se atrevieron a echarles mano por miedo de ser quemados.
CAPITÁN: ¿Qué pasa?  ¡Un calor FUERTE!
LEHI: Mira, Nefi—estamos arrodeados de fuego, pero nada nos quema.  ¡Nuestro Redentor nos está protegiendo!
NARRADOR: Al ver el milagro de Dios, Nefi se animó, a tal grado de que habló a los lamanitas asustados.
NEFI: No temáis, porque he aquí, es Dios quien os ha manifestado esta maravilla, con lo cual os es mostrado que no podéis echar mano de nosotros para matarnos.
NARRADOR: La tierra tembló en gran manera, los malos cayeron al piso y huyeron como ratas, y dejaron a Nefi y a Lehi, pero en su miedo, el capitán dejó algo importante.
LEHI: (pick up the keys) Vámonos de aquí
NEFI: Nos fuimos.
(Ahora, Lehi abre la puerta mientras Nefi deja un folleto para el capitán de los ejércitos, el cual él verá después.  Junta con él la llave.  Después, el capitán se queda mirando el folleto)
NARRADOR: Ellos volvieron a su tierra en seguridad, y dejaron con el capitán y su ejército un gran testimonio de la verdad.
NEFI: ¡Wooo!  ¡Lehi!  Lo hicimos!  ¿Cómo te sientes?
LEHI: (Smile) Poderoso.
NEFI: ¿Viste ese fuego? ¡Y su cara! Jajaja, que miedo!  Y WAO, tú le quitaste las llaves.  Excelente, mi hermano.
LEHI: Nefi, tu sabes que necesitamos volver.
NEFI: Claro que sí, mi hermano, pero vamos a comer un chin de yuca primero.  ¡Tengo jambre!  

Work of Helamán 5, NARRATOR Mormon Book:  It does almost two thousand years in the land that is known now as "The Americas."  The land was rich, full of Guinean, apples, and grapes (eat to staple! )—pero there lived a full town of malice, pride, and desperation, a called town the lamanitas.  The lamanitas did not love God, they rejected the prophets, and did not they want to know about no "Christ."  Inside them there was a captain super evil, and with him in army.  CAPTAIN:  We are free, we are strong.  We are happy.  And I have a too large sword.  (High five) NARRATOR:  Many prophets came to preach them, but did a lot that had forgot of the Mister.  PROPHET:  Arrepentíos!  CAPTAIN:  You silence you!  NARRATOR:  At the same time, there were two brothers, Nefi and Lehi, that had themselves placed strong through the prayer, the fast, and the study of the writings.  NEFI:  Lehi.  We need to preach of Christ to the lamanitas.  LEHI:  To the lamanitas?  I do not want to die, Nefi.  NEFI:  You be not a fool, boy.  God is going to protect us!  Prays, and we go.  NARRATOR:  And thus, you left.  They had to walk a lot, but on the road, they saw many miracles, and they changed many lives.  They preached what their father told him.  NEFI:  And now well, you recall that he is on the rock of ours Redeeming, which is Christ, the Son of God, where should establish your base, so that when the devil throw its impetuous winds, yes, its darts in the whirlwind, if when all I am hail and furious storm whip you, this have not to be able to drag you to the abyss of misery and anguish without end, on account of the rock on the Which you are built, that is a sure base, a base on which, if the men build, they will not fall.  NARRATOR:  He is written of them, "and he happened that they preached with great to be able, to such degree that confused to many of those dissidents that they had set apart themselves of the [town of the Mister], so that they advanced and they confessed their sins, and they were baptized for repentance.  LEHI:  We are here in the name of the Mister.  LAMANITA:  And ¿what do they be going to say me?  NARRATOR:  And it happened that Nefi and Lehi preached to the lamanitas with so great to be able and authority…to such grade that eight thousand of the lamanitas. ..fueron baptized for repentance.  LAMANITA:  I was in darkness, and I have many sins, but now, I know that if I continue to the teachings of the Christ, my sins will be erased me.  LEHI:  But WAO, Nefi!  How marvelous the work that the Mister has done through us.  I love the to preach the gospel!  NARRATOR:  But, the evil captain and its army was hardhearted, and did not want to listen the words of them.  CAPTAIN:  It throws these "Prophets" in the jail!  NARRATOR:  Nefi and Lehi thought to fight, but to see the large sword of the captain, they were filled of fear, and were prisoners with the army.  There they were ugly by the photo, since did a lot of cold, and had not swum less dust by the bed.  
LEHI:  (Give him the jacket) Takes, Nefi.  My bag.  NEFI:  (It gone to bed) Oh, thanks.  I hate the spiders.  LEHI:  (Pretend to pick spiders off of him) Seems that you charm them.  Already you prayed?  NEFI:  Since we arrive, I am praying.  These yes are impetuous winds.  LEHI:  Oh yes.  CAPTAIN:  Come, boys of my army.  Those "prophets" deserve the death, ¿not?  Kill them!  NARRATOR:  But while the villains approached to kill them, a great fire wrapped to Nefi and Lehi, so that the evils did not dare to throw them hand by fear of to be burned.  CAPTAIN:  What happens?  A STRONG heat!  LEHI:  Looks, Nefi—we are arrodeados of fire, but nothing burns us.  Ours Redeeming is protecting us!  NARRATOR:  Upon seeing the miracle of God, Nefi was encouraged, to such degree that spoke to the lamanitas they frightened.  NEFI:  Do not you fear, because I have here, is God who this wonder has declared you, with which is shown you that cannot make use of us to kill us.  NARRATOR:  The land trembled to a large extent, the evils fell to the flat and they fled like rats, and they left Nefi and to Lehi, but in his fear, the captain left somewhat important.  LEHI:  (Pick up the keys) come on from here NEFI:  We were ourselves.  (Now, Lehi opens the door while Nefi leaves a pamphlet for the captain of the armies, which he will see later.  Joins with him the key.  Later, the captain remains looking at the pamphlet) NARRATOR:  They returned to their land in security, and they left with the captain and their army a great testimony of the truth.  NEFI:  Wooo!  Lehi!  We did it!  How do you feel?  LEHI:  (Smile) Powerful.  NEFI:  You saw that fire?  And its face!  Jajaja, that fear!  And WAO, you removed him the keys.  Excellent, my brother.  LEHI:  Nefi, your you
know that we need to return.  NEFI:  Clearly so my brother, but we are going to eat a chin of first yucca.  I have jambre!  

Trent's email 11/28/12

Hey mom!  Hey Dad!
We were at the internet center this afternoon when, in the last 20 minutes of our internet time, we lost internet, so now we´re back to finish (we had to go to some appointments at six, so we´re doing the best we can).  It´s strange to think that Becca still goes to school every day, that her life is normal, that she doesn´t know what it´s like to talk to crazy Catholics and stuff like that...  I definitely am REMOVED from the world out here in the mission field, but I like it.  How´s that dog of ours doing?  I´m glad I won´t have to deal with Mrs. Pickles at much extent, because it definitely doesn´t sound like a pleasant experience.
Yay, Christmas packages!
The one for Thanksgiving cost me $40, by the way... it was heavy.  I think it was that canned pumpkin you sent me.  So, I appreciate the stuff, but my funds are suffering.  Help?
I´m super excited to eat those cookies =) and the pistachios were a wonderful surprise, along with the skittles and twix.  THANK YOU!
Dicken´s festival!  Wow, the traditions that I have forgotten!  Cool.  How old´s Chloe now?  How are Lance and Teresa holding up?  
You should be impressed.  That sweet potato casserole, man it was great!  And I now know (more or less) how to cook a turkey.  And how to do pumpkin pie from scratch.  Thanksgiving rocks!  Only missed out on Pecan pie. It seems too complicated, I didn't even want to attempt.
Courtney got the pictures.  Ask her to send them to you or something.
Weird, weird, weird.  Brittany getting married.  Dallen emailed me.  Didn't say much.  Cassie pregnant again?  How are they holding up?  What´s up with Jay these days?  Aah, graduating.  Seems like a far ways away.  Far, far, far ways away. Go Kelcie! Go Austin!  I can´t wait to chat with Chase about his mission!
Go Jess!  I didn´t know that people could shop all through the night, I thought the stores opened at 4 am.
Man, people are SO stubborn!  we found a catholic that tried to tell us that God will never send more than the Bible, and the Jehovah´s witnesses believe the same thing... It´s so FRUSTRATING, because the majority of them are better than many of the Latter Day Saints (and much more dedicated, I might add), but they´re closed off to the truth by a false belief in the bible.  It´s so FRUSTRATING!  As if God can´t talk more than once.  SO DUMB!
Read the Book of Mormon.  EVERYONE.  Pray to know if it´s the word of the Lord.  It might take a little time to get your answer, but if you REALLY WANT TO KNOW, to FOLLOW THE LORD, you will!  Just pay attention.
Then, help the rest of us share the message with the world, and serve in the Church, eh?  It´s totally worth the work.
Aaah, I might have to move to this country when I get older, family.  Fresh bananas, avacado, beaches, mangos, limoncillo, my skin clears up, nice people... it´s just so awesome.  I might have some serious culture shock when I get home.
Woow, Krishel can´t get married!  She´s always been on my (long) list of options! Aah, Katie Cable´s married, Tiele Quist is married... -sigh-.  Good thing I only need one, cuz it seems like MOST are getting taken from me.
Well, that´s rough.  I wouldn´t like to get my knee torn up.  Our greenie rolled his ankle playing basketball today, but he´s okay.  From Oaxaca, Dad.
Salt Lake, eh?  Go Bob!  Hmm, that´s really weird, thinking of him as a dad.  Hopefully he´s keeping his life in order.  I´ve realized a lot more out here how hard it must be to be a father in this world, especially without the help of God.  I hope he lives a tranquil life.  
Well, family, it´s late and I´m tired.  I love you all!  Have a great week!
Elder Taylor

Nov 28, 2012

Trent's email 11/21/12 #2

So, for Preparation Day, Elder Taylor decided to have Thanksgiving.  His zone wanted to participate.  Even though it was transfer week.
I had to thaw the turkey using a hose in the bathtub and a bucket, with the water running overnight.
But, it turned out delicious.
I did Sweet potato casserole (delicious!) and some stuffing (also fantastic) and my companion did gravy and we peeled 12 pounds of potatoes to make mashed potatoes, and of course, a whole turkey.  The zone leaders made pumpkin and banana cream pies.  We might be eating white rice the rest of this apoyo period, but it was SO WORTH IT.
Also, Elder Nelson (Barbados), Elder Taai (Christmas Islands), and Elder Dowell (Monroe, UT) are featured in these pictures.

Dear family, Cody, and Courtney, I love you all.

Yours, Trent

Sorry, the pictures didn't come through.  We will all have to see them when he gets back.

Trent's email 11/21/12

Dear Mom, Dad, and anyone else who wants to read this email,
Thanks!  Happy Thanksgiving to you all, as well!  I´m thankful for the mission, I´m thankful for my mom and dad and sister, I´m thankful for my awesome companion, I´m thankful for a knowledge of Jesus Christ, I´m thankful for my ability to work, I´m thankful for all the people who send me letters and packages (Christmas is coming up, people.  Let´s not waste time), I´m thankful for my healthy body, I´m thankful for my bed, I´m thankful for Alexis, Belkys, Senso, Moreno, Morena, Juan, Oswaldo, and all our investigators, I´m thankful for President Rossó, Wascar, Chiquito, and all the other cool members in our ward, I´m thankful for love, I´m thankful for peace, I´m thankful for families, I´m thankful for respect, I´m thankful for the scriptures, I´m thankful for the ability to eat until my eyes pop out...
Well, when you read my other email, your first question will be answered.
Courtney told me you had invited her, thanks for thinking about her!  I appreciate it.
I don´t know how you guys plan Thanksgiving.  It takes sooo much coordination, and so much money!  I was so surprised that it turned out well for us, there were a couple moments when I thought everything was ruined.  And not to mention that it´s EXHAUSTING.  But, it was worth it.  Everyone contributed to the price (even though my comp and I took most of the financial burden) and helped clean up afterwards, and they were all satisfied.  The sister missionaries are gonna come over tomorrow and we´ll have another mini party with the zone leaders and Elder Grover and his new missionary (Elder Castro from Mexico).  I´m excited.
And that will be Thanksgiving.
We had some interesting experiences this week. I realized that we´re quite lucky, that very few people close the door on our faces, but this week there was an angry catholic lady that told us that she didn´t want anything to do with us.  Also, we´re working on finding less actives that might´ve moved, and seeing where they live now (the branch president wants us to help clean up the ward member list, so he put us to it) and we´ve talked to some people with interesting stories.  I´ve thought a lot about the Atonement and the purpose of life, and I just wish I could help everyone feel what I´ve felt about the Gospel.  It´s so frustrating to run into someone whose heart is closed, or whose ears are stuffed with pride.  One evangelical likes to tell us that we´re stupid for believing in a Prophet every time we walk by.  It would be such a blessing in people´s lives if they would JUST LISTEN.
Agency.  So important.  People really are stupid sometimes.
Mom, I don´t think it´s a sin to be proud of me... it´s a sin to think that I´m the best, or to look past my faults, but I think you can be proud of me.  President Uchtdorf talked about that.  So, thanks =) 
Do you think we´ll come back to the DR?  I´ve thought that we would, but maybe not.  I´d love to take you guys back here to meet the Vasquez family and to see the cheap avacado and delicious pineapple, and go to the temple. 
Yeah, transfers were today, Elder Nelson and I are staying here.  President Douglas doesn´t like things to change much.  I´m okay with that, yesterday I realized that I still have a lot to learn from Elder Nelson, so I´m excited.  I´m comfortable and happy, I didn´t think I´d have this much fun on the mission.  We´re gonna work super hard this transfer, I´ve already set some specific goals.  It´ll be good.  I do like transfers, it´s always exciting to see what´s going to happen.  I predict that I´ll train again next transfer.  I´m glad to know that everything´s up to God and I don´t have to worry about it.
Aah, politics frustrate me so much.  I don´t understand economics, but I feel like giving people jobs just to give them jobs doesn´t really help out the society, or giving out food to people who aren´t willing to look for jobs doesn´t really help out anyone.
Why can´t people be responsible, and cool, like the pioneers?  They worked for EVERYTHING they did!
I´ve been thinking alot about how I want to help the world become a better place, by way of profession.  I´ve always wanted to be a well-established doctor to be able to travel around the world and help people in countries like this one, where they just can´t get help.  But, I´m starting to think that that might not be the best career choice for my personality.  I think I still want to be a doctor, but maybe in administration of a hospital or something.  Haven´t figured it out yet.  More on that later.  People always told me I´d change my mind on the mission, and I never believed them.
I´m glad you´re helping out in the Church, Mom!  The Church is weird in Utah, but it really is the Lord´s kingdom on earth, so work there, and you´ll help out lots of people who need you!
I don´t get why Becca doesn´t like school.  I like school.  A lot.  I miss school.  But, I´m glad she´s got exercises for her knee.  Is she playing soccer, or is her knee super bad?
I´m glad I have a Dad who works so hard to take care of us.  I still can´t imagine the burden he feels as a father.  I think it will be very stressful.  Take it as it comes, right?
Aww, I thought about you a lot on Saturday, Mom.  I´m glad they treated you well.  Are there good movies that I have to see when I get back?  Becca only better pick the really really good ones!  I don´t want to watch anything kind of good, and I don´t want to watch anything with anything dirty in it.  Fair warning.
Hmm.  Excited to see our new house.  I hit 13 months on Monday, can you believe it?  This last year is going to go by much quicker than the first one.  Anyway, that´s all for this week.  Love you all!  Take care!
Elder Taylor

Nov 21, 2012

Trent's email 11/14/12

Hi Mom!
It´s cooling down here a little bit.  I´m happy.  I don´t think it ever gets below 80, but I don´t have any way of verifying that information.  Dominicans freak out though, they think they´re freezing cold.  Aah, Thanksgiving.  Aah.
The visit from Elder Cornish was FANTASTIC.
Wow, I really feel like I´ve been elevated as my ability to teach, significantly.  They always tell us that we´re supposed to invite people to be baptized in the first lesson, and set a date for baptism by the second lesson, which feels REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE if you don´t do it the right way.  Well, Elder Cornish helped us find the way--just teach them what GOD wants them to do, and offer your help.  Often, we try to help them get baptized because WE want them to get baptized.  I learned how to get myself out of the picture and help the investigator strengthen his or her relationship with God.  It´s fantastic, and I really feel like a better teacher.  That´s definitely the highlight of the week.
Today we went to Jarabacoa, a town up a little higher in the mountains.  We went to a BEAUTIFUL waterfall (I didn´t bring my camera, but I´m hoping my friends will send me lots of pictures soon) and a nice hike, and we played some sports and relaxed at the Church.  Another good day.  I love this country, it´s really beautiful.  We made lots of sandwiches, and took them up with us, and played some frisbee.  We used our Taz hats that we bought together last week, it´s really fun to wear something exciting with your comp.  You miss having a really good friend.
There are domincan girls here, watching me type, amazed that I can do it without looking.  Now, they´re asking me if I know their friend who also lives in the United States, who is named Isabel.  Next time, I´ll lock the door of the internet center.
Yeah, the church runs way smoother in the States.  Man, the stories... if I hadn´t seen these things with my own eyes, I don´t think I´d believe it if I hadn´t seen it.  It´ll take a while for me to get used to normal American life again, surely.
Senso´s not baptized yet, but we´re still working with him.  His daughter got pregnant and had a miscarriage, and it´s been a rough week.  We´re working on it.  He´s excited.  We have a lot of people that are excited about baptism now that we know how to really teach people about baptism.  I think it´ll be really successful next transfer, hopefully I get to stay.  I could be writing you from a different place next Wednesday, we have transfers.
I´m sorry the cat´s annoying.  If it´s any consolation, our neighbor has a little chihuahua that tries to enter our house, and we had to put up chicken wire to keep him out (the door is just metal bars, it´s not actually a door) and he poops ALL OVER the back patio that we share with our neighbor.  It´s not very fun.  I can´t decide if it´s worth complaining to our neighbor or if I should just suck it up and deal with it.
Organization is SO ESSENTIAL!  Man, I just never realized how much basic things help in organization, and how much easier life is when you are organized.  I had forgotten for a little while with all this insanity of this country.
By the way, I´m not going to be a very punctual person, I don´t think, when I get home.  To people here, 3:00 and 3:30 both mean that you were on time, even if you were supposed to be there at three.  You´re not actually "late" til 4, and it´s not that embarrassing to be late cuz it happens all the time.  The whole Caribbean is very laid back, I expect.  I´ll have to work hard to get accustomed to punctuality again. 
Yeah, Zoe told me "suck it" with love.  I don´t know that many things would change if we put in President Romney anyway... I´m losing my faith in politics.  They have to spend so much time worrying about their popularity, they can hardly worry about actually helping the people who need it most, so things just don´t get done.  Sometimes I´ve noticed that people are super critical, and when, as a leader, you do your best to solve the biggest problems, people don´t want help or think you´re dong it wrong.  I definitely plan on being more supportive when I get home, especially when I´m uneducated about decisions.
I´ve seen a couple quinceñeras around here, and always wondered what happens.  I wonder if that tradition has a little bit to do with why there are lots of pregnant 15 year old girls... they think they´re women?  I don´t know.  Either way, it´s disgusting.
Aww... I miss buffets so much.  I would love to eat various foods until I´m stuffed.  Here, I get stuffed quite a bit, but only on rice.  And I miss dinner.  I´m gonna make my comp pork chops and rice this week.  YEAH!  I would´ve loved to be at the party, just to mix with the Spanish-American culture a little bit.  I´m excited to see what it´s like, to keep practicing spanish and stuff.
I love you Mom, Dad, and Becca, and Cody!
Yeah, Jessica sent me a letter, telling me that he´s 26 and Jimmy´s not happy about that, but that Brittany´s happy and it sounded positive.  Weird, weird, weird.  She´ll be married before me.  She´ll have kids before I´m married.  Weird, weird, weird.
Love you all!
Elder Taylor

Nov 14, 2012

Trent's email 11/7/12

It has been a fantastic day.  Very eventful.
We went to Santiago (we get to do that once every transfer) and I went and visited the Vasquez family, who made lunch for us.  I cleaned my bathroom this morning (an area seventy is coming this week, and he might inspect the house, so we´re getting it DEEP cleaned.  Remember how I was really excited to have a big house?  I´m regretting it now), and we took off, went shopping in the city, bought some Taz hats (yeah, Tazmanian Devil) that are epic, found some sweet ties for nice and cheap, ran into some American kids doing a foreign study from some evangelical college in Omaha (one of whom was blonde with a nose ring and studying nursing, reminded me of Zoe quite a bit) which was quite fun, got in the wrong car and rode around Santiago for quite a while, getting a breezy tour of the city, ate with the family, and came home.  It was quite fun.  I am happy.
For the rest of the week, we´ve been doing SO MUCH cleaning.  SO MUCH.  You never realize how important little basic things are when you´re in America--like, the little metal cover about 10 feet above almost every stove in the states.  Here, they don´t have them, and so oil gets hot and evaporates and then recondenses ALL OVER THE HOUSE, especially on wood cabinets, and it just takes FOREVER to clean off, unless you have some good degreaser.  I´ve scrubbed so many windows and floors and cupboards this week... ugh.  I´ve decided that a big part of being an effective missionary is the efficient use of your Pday so that you have time to focus on investigators during the rest of the week.  A lot of times I let myself play too much on Pday so nothing gets done, and I make up for it during the week.  Unfortunately, this week I´ll be eating my own words because there´s been no electricity in the house all day, so I can´t wash or iron.  I´ve decided for the future to break up the house in tasks, and do a couple tasks every week in a rotated schedule for the rest of my misison.
Leadership in this country is... developing.  It´s very hard to coordinate programs and activities and efforts in the ward without the solid communication (everyone has cell phones, but hardly anyone has minutes) and understanding of leadership principles that there are in the states.  We´re trying to work closely with the branch president to help other members of the ward develop leadership skills, but it´s difficult sometimes.  I´m learning lots of humility and patience, two things of which I definitely lack.  It´s been frustrating in some aspects, but I´m becoming a better person.
We might get Senso baptized THIS week, if we can just help him get his answer.  I don´t know if he´s really willing to stop working on Sundays, so that might be impeding his spiritual sensitivity.  We´ll have to focus on that. 
Ma, thanks for always reminding me that you love me =)  Sometimes, it´s easy to think that the whole world is abandoning you while you´re on your mission.  It´s good to have some solid family support.  I´m really lucky-there are lots of missionaries who don´t come from the best family ever.  So, thanks.  Dad, you always express your love in your emails, too.  Thanks!
Yeah, missionaries can choose whatever Preparation day is best for their mission, usually whenever things are slowest.  Do you talk to the missionaries when you see them in Wal-mart?
Dad´s running errands?  That reminds me, our District President, Presidente Diaz, is one of the best leaders we have here in La Vega, and he´s flying out to Utah today.  I gave him Dad´s name and number and told him that Dad speaks Spanish.  He says he wants to go to St. George, and that he´s going to Utah and Arizona, but he didn´t tell me where specifically.  I told him that I expect him to call my dad and at least say hola. I think he might be with his wife.  They´re great people and made me some DELICIOUS banana bread when I first got to La Vega, so if you guys have time and he calls you, it´d be awesome if you´d take them out to lunch or something!  It´s kind of a long shot, but if they eat lunch with you, and then tell me about it, it´s almost like me being home for a couple hours!
I´m glad Kenji keeps you company =)  I never really cared much for animals.  I´d rather have people that can talk to me.  Did you put the cat down or something?  I haven´t heard about her in a couple weeks. 
It was GRAMMY!  I was wondering why I got a gray tshirt from LLBEAN.  Yeah, I got it right before my birthday =)  Thanks grammy! 
The carmel corn was FANTASTIC, and it was not a giant blob, although the flavor just wasn´t the same...  did you change it this year?  I wonder if it kind of got ruined in the sun or something.  But, fantastic.  Thank you!  Umm, I really would like some instant chocolate pudding mix, that stuff is great... but I think Courtney just sent me Chocolate covered Cinnamon bears.  The only candy that I kinda miss are skittles... those don´t really exist here.  Oh, and I got the pictures.  They made me so happy!  I can´t wait to go back to fish lake and just relax. I have one of Dad and one of Becca taped up above my desk.  Becca´s getting old!  Dad, next time, make sure Mom puts some pictures of HER in the package, eh? 
I´m sorry Halloween was so lame.
Dude, I´m going to be nervous all day tomorrow until the winner is announced.  Do they announce it on Wednesday or what?  Man, I SO hope Romney wins.  I would be able to walk just a little taller in this immigration desperate country... I can´t imagine being a missionary up there in New York right now.  I bet the work has completely stopped for a while, just like everything else up in that part of the world.  That´d be fun to be able to help with something so important.  But, I´m not complaining for not having passed through a deadly storm.  I thought there were only 40 dead!  100!  Wow.  That´s harsh.  I mean, 40´s still bad... but you get what I mean.  I hope it gets cleaned up soon, and that people get gas and light.  I need to remember to pray for that.
My eye´s all nice and neat now.  No one can tell that I ever cut it open.  I am so excited to be a doctor!  It´ll be fun.  It´s a bummer to hear about Becca´s knee.  I hope it gets better, or the doctor can magically fix it.  Elder Grover wants to be a physical therapist! 
AAHH!! THat´s what I miss.  Home made jam.  Any chance of me getting some of THAT in a package?  That would be awesome.
Well, I love you family.  Wouldn´t trade you for anything.  Keep up the good work this week, and don´t forget that I love you!
Elder Taylor

Nov 5, 2012

Trent's email 10/31/12

Happy Halloween family!!! and Cody, and everyone else who might read this.
Side note--Please put mufflers on all motorcycles that you have.  I´m so tired of hearing REALLY LOUD motorcycles daily.  One just drove by.
A few people know what Halloween is, and apparently there´s one street downtown that is doing trick or treating, but where I´m at, no one´s celebrating, and most people are like, "oh, yeah, I´ve heard of that day."  Elder Grover knows, though.  So does Elder Fleurima.  Elder Nelson and I reminded them by mixing corn syrup and red juice powder and putting it all over their bathroom in the middle of the night (we stole their keys and snuck in at 5 in the morning), and wrote "Happy Halloween" on the mirror.  And stole some of Elder Grover´s ties.  It was great.  So worth the tiredness that I´m experiencing right now (if that sounded weird, it´s because I´m using Spanish grammar... habit).  And you guys reminded me by sending me a fantastic package!  I... ate... all the pumpkin candy corn... in two days.  It was SO GOOD, and I just couldn´t control myself!  I don´t know why.  We were just studying, and I kept popping them in.  The only thing left over now are the pumpkin seeds... and I got the package on Saturday morning.  I´m also wearing the glasses.  I realized that these are good for, like, normal vision, like computers, and the other ones are better for proselyting because of the transition lenses, and they´re a little TOO strong prescription, so I just use those proselyting and these on Pday.  THANK YOU!
Hahaha, glad to hear that Becca liked the package.  I almost didn´t send her another present, cuz she just got one for her birthday, but I figured she needed one more than any of the rest of you. 
I sent the card in an envelope, but I tried to wrap it up to make it look like it was a letter... I guess I DIDN´T do a very good packing job on that.  I bet someone stole it.  Hope they enjoy my videos and my pictures.  What a bummer =(  I´ll have to be more careful with the next one.
I read somewhere that GIFTS count as INCREASE in wealth, a statement with which I agree, and that increase from any source during the mission should be tithed in a home ward.  I haven´t done well in that up til this point, but would you be so kind to pay tithing on that money that Grammy gave me in my account, and for future reference as well?  I´m sorry if it´s a lot of trouble... but it´s worth it to me to be obedient to the law of tithing =)  Thank you Mom!  And thank you Grammy!
Becca is NOT too old to Trick or Treat!  Take it back!  Justin and I did it until I... wait.  I moved.  Didn´t I trick or treat in St. George?  Probably not.  Man, I don´t remember a single Halloween in St. George.  How lame.
I hope the root beer turns out well!  There´s lots of coke and cream soda here, but there´s very little root beer.  One of my to dos when I get done is go to Brick oven for some root beer.  Aw, MAN!  It´ll be great.
Wow, it´s already general election time!  I feel like it was just last month when Romney got chosen as the Republican candidate.  It´s really funny to hear news about the U.S. from Dominicans, because they think that "New York" consists of the entire country (I was told that the whole country lost light due to Sandy) and they take the polls and comments from CNN very literally.  Our branch president wants to immigrate, so he always tells me how bad Romney is doing.  Learning patience.
Glad to hear about SOCCER!  WOO!! I can´t wait to go watch her games.  Next year!  Hopefully her leg will get better. 
We didn´t get even a little bit of Hurricane Sandy.  I didn´t know about it until Dominicans started telling me about the destruction in Haiti, and then in New York.  So, I´m good.  Wooow.  That IS Bad.  How many people died?  I heard, like, 30.  Is that true?
Okay, sorry, I left you without details on the eye thing.
I went running with Elder Grover at 6:25 one morning, and there was a wire hanging low in between two trees (probably to hang up clothes) that Elder Grover barely dodged, but hit me right in the head.  I cut up my nose a little and got a nice gash on my lower left eyelid.  Went to the hospital, and they stitched me up.  My opthamalagist was AWESOME.  It made me think a lot about what I want to do as a doctor.  Maybe eyes.  Maybe, like, management?  I like making decisions.  We´ll have to see.  It was fascinating to watch the surgery =)  three stitches on my lower eyelid.  They´re all out, now.  The hospital was comfortable, unlike the one my trainer went to in Santiago.  Ugh.
But, yeah.  We´re working hard!  Trying to get lots of support from the members, it´s really interesting to see the difference in the conversion of every person, based on how well they do the LITTLE THINGs.  I know the Church, although often run by idiots, is very well organized, and if we do it according to the way it´s supposed to, it will wonderfully fulfill its purpose, which is help us become closer to the saints.  I´m really grateful for all those church leaders who sacrificed much so that I could have a strong testimony of this gospel.  This week, we saw the Primary program, and the President had to do almost EVERYTHING herself, but it was incredible to see the final result.  I know she had a lot of difficulties, and she had to do with a lot of stupid people, but it´s something that the adults who attended will remember for a long time, and hopefully will be a strong base for the testimony of their children.  I love reflecting on the times when I was able to participate in many of those sorts of activities, and I´m so grateful to the LEADERS who sacrificed, tolerated, and had LOTS of patience with me so that I could become the person I am today and become a missionary.  I wish more people would understand the purpose of the Church and make more personal sacrifices to help out the members, just like Sister Rosario.  Sure, sometimes we have meetings that maybe are unnecessary, but as long as we focus on people and families, we have success in what we do.  This church is incredible.  Furthermore, it is God´s church.  The principles and ordinances it teaches are essential for salvation.  I love what it says in my patriarchal blessing, "you will be a better man in every way for giving of your time and talents to the building up of the kingdom of God."  Now, I have strong testimony that THAT is true.  I know it is true for ALL who have faith in Jesus Christ.  This is His church.  No other organization on earth deserves more of our attention.  I hope you guys get callings soon =)
Have a fantastic week!  I love you all!
Elder Taylor

Oct 31, 2012

Trent's email 10/24/12

I can't believe its snowing there.  I'm not very jealous (although I do miss winter sports quite a bit and the sweating doesn't get anymore fun), and fairly comfortably here in my moist, rainy, year round hot climate.  Dominicans don't know what snow looks like.  I sweat significantly less in the winter months than in the summer months (summer is BRUTAL), and it has rained almost every day this week.  The rain jacket we bought was a fantastic idea, but unfortunately there are few missionaries that have one, so I usually end up letting them use my rain jacket while I use my trilogy jacket, and we go out tracting.  Or, we stay in an appointment a little longer than we should.  Heavy rain usually lasts 2 hours, at the most, and it's been raining lightly all day today.  But, I like getting wet.  We say that when you get wet, your wife gets prettier.  I'm down with that.
A professional?  Although I like the sound of that, I know that I still have more to learn than I know.  I don't know if this year has prepared me better to be a missionary or a father, because I still feel like I don't know how to teach some people.  We had a family the other day that we were teaching, and I don't know how clearly we have to explain that the Catholic church is false, but they just didn't get it.  We thought they understood SO WELL, until we extended the baptismal invitation.  Oh well, back to the lesson plan drawing board.  Simple, Elder Taylor, simple.  I might walk around with a sign that says "We're here to help you find the truth about Jesus Christ.  You've been lied to your whole life.  Listen to us if you want to be saved."  Maybe.  What do you think?  Effective teaching?
I'm sure the year will zoom by.  This week has flown by. 
Haha, we can't ever find the tailor in his house, so he still hasn't even measured us, so our new pants are still NOT coming.  But, when they do come, they'll be fantastic.  Just wait.
I am excited to have lots of buddies from the mission when I'm grown up.  It'll also be awesome to be able to talk to other missionaries about their missions, like Seth and Parker and Cody and Blake.  Sheesh, it'll be awesome.
Wow, Seth is done??  how weird!  He's speaking Korean.  He sung with Blake and I.  He was also preparing like CRAZY for his mission, reading Preach My Gospel like, two hours every day.  I imagine he was a very strong, very prepared missionary.  I am excited to hear that he finished as a Zone leader.  Glad to know Parker's well.
Investigators are good.  I cut my eye open on Monday morning while running, and I had to get three stitches on my eyelid.  It was super intersting to watch.  I'm all better now.  The hospital was very clean, btw.  Anyway, we wasted all monday in the hospital, so I hope my investigators are doing well.  7 came to District Conference, but Senso still doesn't have his answer.  We hope to see him tonight or tomorrow to help him along the process.  We also have quite a few marriages that we have to take care of, so that will be interesting as well. 
Oh, how awesome that Becca got to go pee her pants in California with Becca Lynn.  It must've been quite entertaining for Dad to watch that happen.  Glad to hear you enjoyed it.  Is Dad planning a family trip to the DR next year?  I hope to get to take you guys to meet the Vasquez family, and go to the beach and SWIM in this amazing country. 
Wow, it just amazes me to think that you can make phone calls and talk for quite awhile.  We're currently in a campaign for more minutes... we're very limited in how much we're allowed to call people, and it makes it very difficult to invite people to activities and church and remind people of appointments and coordinate work with members. Wish us luck. 
I'm glad to hear Kimmy and Ben and family are well!  I'm still packing around their Christmas Card with me from last year.  I haven't heard from ANY of them!  It'll be fun to have a two year old daughter, I guess.  How cool.  Journey is a good name, too.  Hmm.
Anyway, Besides wasting a day in the hospital, I also had some weird leadership stuff on Monday.  I'm district leader, which means I'm in charge of coordinating district meetings every monday.  Six missionaries talk to me about their problems, I communicate to them the plans of the Mission president or if there's any activity, etc.  We were trying to plan an activity, and one missionary doesn't want to do ANYTHING.  Doesn't matter what it is.  He's very blunt about it.  Makes it hard for his comp to have fun, and makes our lives difficult.  But, we do the best we can.  Also, he's extremely resistant to cooperate with me.  When I ask him a question, he answers tersly.  He's a new missionary.  I'm learning the importance of patience, of not criticizing, and of Christlike service.  I like having this opportunity, but I hope I don't have to deal with this too often.  I have another missionary who's still mad at me because I called him out for being prideful, even though I tried anxiously to ask for forgiveness.  It's hard being a leader.  I wish people in the states would recognize that and criticize less.  Joseph Smith did quite well, all things considered.
Have a great week!  You're the best family (and friends) ever!  Love you all!
Elder Taylor

Oct 24, 2012

Trent's email 10/17/12

Hey Mom, Dad, everyone!
Wow.  One year.  Who knew it would go by so fast?  At the same time, it´s almost daunting to think that I get to do everything again.  But, you know, that´s life.  Today we went to Tutti Frutti, Self Serve Frozen Yogurt, to celebrate.  It was fantastic.  So tasty.  I´m still enjoying it =)  I think it´s going to be an awesome second year.  I finally know what I need to get done, and how to do it effectively.  I hope I get to keep having lots of different experiences, like all the people that we meet... It´s getting to be pretty normal, but every once in awhile, I find someone who believes something wild that I´ve never heard before, or someone who´s super zealous about unfounded false doctrine.  Keeps life interesting.  Don´t worry, when you get my pictures (hoping they´ll get there), you´ll find out about all sorts of stuff like that.  I hope no one stole that card.  It does feel fantastic to be engaged in service to the Lord.  So fantastic.
Thanks for the glasses!  I´m excited.  I hope the perscription is better than what I have on these ones. 
Go Romney!
Hahaha, I don´t want to imagine how crazy Natalie and Becca were in Vegas, but I hope they had a blast.  We had our own little shopping Spree, Elder Nelson and I bought fabric to get some pants custom made.  $17 bucks total per pair of pants.  Not bad, eh?  I never understood very well how fun it can be to hang out with guys, because I always tried to surround myself with girls, but I´m really having a blast with guys on the mission.  Glad to hear that Dad´s having fun.
We had 10 investigators in Church on Sunday.  That´s unheard of, almost.  We were incredibly blessed and incredibly excited.  I´m so happy that these goals are helping us help people get to church.  Hopefully it wasn´t a fluke, hopefully these people really feel a difference from our message, and will make Church a priority so we can meet our 11 baptisms goal.  I´m so excited.  I also had about 35 seconds to prepare a lesson because the communication in the ward isn´t very good and no one prepared the lesson.  Woohoo.  I talked about Eternal families.  It was okay.
But, it´s been a great week.  I hope it keeps getting better!  Elder Nelson and Elder Grover are friends for life for sure.  I´m excited to see what life after the mission brings, Elder Nelson says he´s gonna take me clubbing, and I keep telling him that I´m gonna take him to Zion, and go to Barbados for my honeymoon.  It´ll be an adventure, having friends from across the globe.
Well, I love you guys!  Thanks for all your hard work and support.  I couldn´t be doing what I´m doing if it weren´t for the 19 years of dedication and service that my mom and my dad gave me, so I could be who I am.  I love you guys.
And Becca, you rock!  See you soon!
Elder Taylor

Oct 17, 2012

Trent's email 10/10/12

Hey ma, pa, and special salute to Cody, who´s tuning in with us this week!
I´m doing great.  Ah, life is good.  It´s weird to almost hit your year mark (next Friday) and I have to keep remembering to take the mission one day at a time.  A year still seems incredibly overwhelming sometimes, and I get antsy.  I´ve been thinking a lot about it.
Luckily, transfers yesterday produced wonderful results.  I´m staying with Elder Nelson!  Yeah!  So excited.  We set a goal to have 11 baptisms this transfer.  We had 0 last transfer, but there are SO many people that are just SO close.  I feel like, if we just go the extra mile (eleven times) we´ll easily reach those 11 baptisms.  We´ll have to see how things pan out.  Elder Robertson, my kid, had to go home.  President Douglas did everything he could to help him work out his problems, but he needs real professional help.  This is one of those things that I should probably explain when I get home.  Nothing too dramatic.  No stress.
Uhm, also I´m hanging out with Elder Grover a lot, too.  He ROCKS.  From Cedar.  He´s staying in Conani, as well.  Lots of exercising, exchanges, and happiness.
I´m glad you guys are chillin´ in the eighties.  I´m finally feeling a little more comfortable here in the tropical paradise.  It´s hot, man!  Yeah, teenagers are bad drivers.  Mom, don´t ever come drive in the DR, okay?  Just don´t.  Hahahaha.
I´m glad to hear that Dad´s exercising, even if it´s alone.  I like having Grover, much more entertaining.  Your Monday date is a little boring, but much more thrillfilled than a mission =) I can´t wait to go shopping and eat lunch with women again.  All in due time, right?
Hahaha, poor Becca.  It has a RED LID.  It should be easy to NOT use the incorrect contact solution.
Okay, Conference was INCREDIBLE.  The thing about new missionaries, yeah, cool, exciting, I´m excited for the work, but it really has no effect on my personal life, so mostly I just loved Elder Oaks, Elder Holland, Elder Bednar, President Eyring, and President Uchtdorf´s talks.  MAN!  I wish I could watch it again right now.  Conference is chill here.  We just go hang out at the stake center basically all weekend.  They were watching it on hard benches in the sacrament meeting room, but us 6 english speaking missionaries were in the branch president´s air conditioned office with Dr. Pepper (found at a nearby cornerstore) and cushy office chairs, watching it on his computer in English.  Many members were upset about that, but I didn´t feel too bad.  Anyway, I also have a bunch of quotes that I was going to write to you guys as, like, highlights, but I left the paper at home, so next week.  IT was FANTASTIC, though.  Meg Gass, if you´re reading this, and you didn´t see it, go watch President Eyring´s talk... I think it was Saturday afternoon session.  Totally for you.
Wow, glad to hear that Ashley has such a strong desire to serve!  You go girl!  Fill those papers out!  I know Shayna Henrie also wanted to go early, so I hope her papers are already submitted.  It really is good news about the girls =)  I love that us young men are gonna have to kick it up in to high gear.  With more returned sister missionaries, they´re going to expect more out of their Priesthood holders.  Girls are already stronger than us, I can´t wait to see what effects this has on the church as a whole.
My comp´s good.  His grandma was 98 and had alzheimers, so it was kind of expected, but she lived with them, so it´s just hard to let that go.  We´re back up to speed again.  Thanks for asking about him.
And thanks for taking care of my glasses, Mom.
I bought a belt today, and shoe polish.  I feel like a million bucks.  I´m definitely going to buy some new pants and shirts next week for my year mark... I´ve bleached two pairs of pants... and some shirts have holes in them.  Yeah.  It´ll be good.  I´ll look much more attractive.
Anyway, I love you all.  The work´s good.  We´re gonna really push ourselves.  I hope you guys learned and changed alot from Conference.  I hope you all go to Church trying to become better people.  I don´t like going to meetings just because you´re supposed to.  I know this is the Lord´s Church, and the principles it teaches are those that are going to prepare us for Celestial life.  Open your ears and hearts, everyone, and just let it change you.  It´s worth any time or sacrifice you have to make to truly understand Jesus Christ and the power of His Atoning Sacrifice.  We can become better, so let´s become better.
Love you all!
Elder Taylor

Oct 10, 2012

Trent's email 10/3/12

Hey Mom!
So, I know it´s late.  My comp´s grandma died, and he found out this
morning when I was about to email you, so we´re back in the internet
center now that he´s gotten a little better and skyped his parents and
everything.  Excuse the weirdness.
I´m doing well.  My comp´s been having a hard day.  Today, we´re not
preaching cuz we spent about 4 hours in Santiago just relaxing,
letting him talk to his parents and just be alone for awhile.  It was
a good recuperation time for the both of us, really.  I´ve been
feeling quite stressed out.  We decided it was important that we email
our families to let them know that things are okay (especially his),
so it´s been good.  It was strange going back to Santiago, it was kind
of like returning to BYU after a couple weeks at home.  
Glad to hear that the family´s doing good!  Thanks so much for always keeping me updated, Mom, you rock.
How do you decide what a Dominican looks like?  They all look so...
different.  Black, white, tall, short... it´s hard to know.  They all
have brown eyes, though, and few men aren´t shaven.  It´s hot here,
hair is not your friend.
I´m excited to get a picture of the house!  I like knowing where I
live ;)  I´m sure Becca´s changed a lot, she looked so much older in
the video chat.  Lots of pictures, lots and lots of pictures!  Aw,
parents, keep exercising!  It´s the key to a healthy, happy life ;)  I
like my exercise.  This week, I did an exchange with a soccer player.
New missionary.  He runs like the DEVIL!  It was VERY VERY Difficult
to keep up with him.  I was glad that I´ve been running with Elder
Grover in the mornings so he didn´t completely slaughter me.  I was
sore ALL DAY, but it felt good.
I love treating each person like an individual.  They´re ALL children
of God, and you NEVER know which one is prepared to receive the
message in that moment.  Plus, I´ve always thought that every person
has something fantastic to share, you´ve just got to listen!  I´ve
learned a lot from people that way.  We actually talked to the
President about the process the twelve go through to call the mission
presidents (as explained to him personally by President Eyring) and I
realized that they put a whole lot of time and effort in getting to
know individuals--their families, their career, their lifestyle--to
see if the time is right for them to be called as mission presidents.
President Douglas had two personal interviews with Elder
Christofferson, and one with President Eyring, all through video
conferences.  How would you feel to get that call? Haha.  Anyway, God
is personal.  I loved that example of Jesus Christ, Mom, and I think
that that´s part of the reason why home teaching is so
important--gives us a chance to be personally concerned about one
another on a specific, private level.  I´ve always liked that program.
That´s also one thing that sets our religion apart from every others,
as far as missionary work.  We´re trained to listen, ask questions,
know about their families, and help them understand the personal
benefits of our message.  Conference is incredible on a general level,
but nothing´s more important than a close friend who´s willing to
sacrifice personal time for you.
We get the conference on a satellite, we go to the stake center and
watch it together.  This weekend, we´ll be in a chapel downtown almost
all weekend.  We´re gonna make pizzas with all the missionaries in the
Zone to celebrate my companion´s birthday on Friday (it´ll be great!)
and just hang out and relax.  Conference is a wonderful weekend for
There was a talk in the Liahona about clearing your schedule for
conference, I thought it had some good, even if a little unrealistic,
points that I want to try and follow when I get home.
Glad to hear that Colton´s doing well!  Hope it´s fun for him, being
the quarterback =)  He´s a good kid.  I wish I could see the games,
but I guess I´ll be there when it gets to be a big deal, right?
 Glad to hear about Marcus, DJ, Becca and Alec, and fantastic
strong family that I have.  You guys rock.
It´s amazing to get out of Utah and see the difference in the world.
So glad I´ve served a mission.  SO glad.  New perspective.  Plus, the
gospel has become so much more REAL to me, not just a list of things I
do to comply.  God is real.  We NEED him.  If you don´t believe in
Him, pray.  Pray until you get an answer.  I know you will.  If you
think you´ll be better off for not following His laws, you´re foolish.
Think about it.  Pray about it.  Read the scriptures.  You´ll ALWAYS
be better for reading the scriptures.  ALWAYS.  If people would follow
gospel principles... WOW.  This world would be so much better.  To
quote Bryant Newell, "even if the gospel wasn´t true, the lifestyle is
AMAZING!"  It is true.  But it´d almost be worth it to live the laws
even if there was no "salvation" deal at the end.  Just live it.  Try
it and see.  Be faithful. "My yoke is easy and my burden is light!"
Hope the debate is going well.  Wish I could decorate for Halloween!
The stores around here are already setting up for Christmas, and it
makes me trunky.  I´m glad Becca has so much fun decorating.
Love you all! You´re the best family ever.
Elder Taylor

Oct 3, 2012

Trent's email 9/26/12

It has been a good pday.  I sent you guys my memory card, it has lots of video journals that will let you see the state of my acne, hair length, happiness level, and a three minute update about what´s been going on in my life.  Please pull everything off of the card and onto my laptop, and erase the card completely.  If you want, you can send me pictures of the family so I can see how old Becca is now.  Then, send it back to me promptly, because I´m gonna run out of space on my other two soon.
Also, I´m happy.  Cleaning, shopping, playing sports.  I´ve realized how important it is to simply be a friendly person.  Sometimes, I get so focused on "preaching" and "sharing the message" and stuff that I forget basic rules of courtesy.  I realized that missionary work is impossible if they don´t trust you, and they´re not going to trust you if you´re a strange robot, or a hyperactive preacher.  Evangelicos are the "do the Lord´s will or you´re going to Hell NOW" guys, and it´s obnoxious.  We go house to house preaching with love, talking about Jesus and all the things he´s done for us, giving them the chance to feel the Spirit to know that the Church is true (cuz how am I, a stupid 20 year old American, going to convince ANYONE that the church is true).  We just leave it to the Spirit, give our testimony, share the message they sent us with, and love the people.
Excuse my preachiness on my last email, just sharing what I´ve learned.  I am assigned to be a preacher, after all.  God does call those guys, even if people don´t want to hear what we have to say.  
Weird that the iPhone 5 is already out.  
Weirder that Becca and her friends are going to be dating.  I don´t know why we let sixteen year olds date.  I did so many stupid things as a child.  Don´t let Becca date til she´s twenty.  Til after her mission.  I was so dumb.
Hope fitness for life goes well.  Wish I could hear about the high school gossip.  Also, excited to see football games and stuff.
Man, I miss fast food, I miss people cooking for me, and I miss relaxing.  one day, one day, I´ll have all those things again.  For now, I´m here, right?
Thank you for taking care of my visual needs.  It´s really important.  I don´t like being blind.
Well, I´m gonna go.  Have a great week!  Love you all!
Elder Taylor

Sep 26, 2012

Trent's email 9/19/12

Good afternoon, Mom.  I hope the tennis match went well!  And the math homework.  I do miss high school.  I would like to go back.  Don´t feel bad, I went to the internet center very early.  Don´t worry about it.
Hmm.  Football is good.  We watched Forever Strong today about Rugby, for a pday activity.  Very good movie.  I liked it.  I hope you enjoyed yourselves playing football, but don´t forget WHY we have sabbath day.
I´m glad to hear Colton does so well, and that Dillon´s having fun as Defensive End, I think that´s called. I hope Natalie had fun on Drill.
Too bad we lost.
I am SO ready to go camping.  I love the peace in La Vega, it´s so much better than the city.  I decided that I never want to live too far east, or in a big city in California where you´re just jam packed.  I need to be able to escape. 
I got glasses, but she made the perscription too strong, so I can hardly see the computer.  I´m really ticked off, I´ll have to go back on Wednesday to talk to her.  She probably won´t be able to do anything about it unless I pay again.  Stupid doctors.
In your last email you said you wanted to know more about the district.  There are two districts in La Vega, in mine we have another pair of missionaries that go to our same branch, then another pair in another branch, and the Zone Leaders come half the time to our meeting, and they have their own branch.  It´s fun.  I realized that most of my mission, the district leader has done district meetings incorrectly, so it´s fun to figure out new fun things I can do when I do it the right way.  You know, false traditions of our fathers, no one ever reads the manual.  I like reading the manual, tells you how things SHOULD be done.  Usually, it´s pretty well thought out, if we just execute it the way it´s supposed to be executed.  That´s usually where the problems happen... a lot of times, we don´t do what we´re supposed to, so the church ends up... worse.
Anyway, I know the Lord inspires this work.  I know that we are here for a purpose, and that it´s the best purpose we could have.  A lot of times, we have to give up our own will for His, but it´d be stupid not to, because he´s a lot smarter than we are.  My plea is to be intelligent.  Do what the Lord expects and asks you to do, not what you think is best.  Study the scriptures with a spirit of humility, and you´ll get what you need.  Love the Lord above all things.  Does the Lord need our love?  Not at all.  We need to love Him.  When we do that, we put Him first.  Because His work and glory is the immortality and eternal life of man, when we put Him first, we put the salvation of ourselves and those around us as our first priority.  I can´t think of anything better.
So, think about what you do.  Every day, every moment, every word.  Ask yourself if it´s what the Lord would want.  If not, change it.  It´s worth the effort.
I love you all!
Elder Taylor

Sep 19, 2012

Trent's email 9/12/12

Hola familia, es el tiempo de escribir.  Lo siento que vine temprano al centro de internet, pero hoy va a ser un pday suficientemente tranquilo, por fin.  Yo espero DOS correos de mama la proxima semana, y uno de papi, tambien.
let me think... what has happened this week?
I have decided officially that the first place i want to go when I get back from the mission is camping, preferably on a beach, like Lake Powell.  Most important parts are swimming, the campfire, and family, and a dutch oven.  Oh, boy, do I want a dutch oven peach cobbler.  Wow.  Sounds incredible.
Lots of working this week.  Lots of working.  I love Elder Nelson!  He´s such a stud.  So energetic.  We talk all the time, and we stay up late at night talking.  I told him stories last night that I had forgotten, like when I spun off the freeway with Meg and Saya and Blake (holla!), and other things.  It´s fantastic.  We´re always working when we´re supposed to, having a blast meeting new people.  His spanish still isn´t the strongest, but he´s totally cool.  He´s always laughing and having a good time, no matter how frustrating the situation.  We´ve been practicing spanish a lot.
I have a paper on my wall with three goals for every day.  Read two pages of the new testament, do three spanish exercises, and eat a vegetable with my lunch. It´s coming alright, but it´s something to strive for!  I want to finish the New Testament again, and do more exercises.
One of the coolest things I´ve reinforced on my mission is how people can change.  Reason, love, and diligence help people to leave behind their pride, their fear, and follow God.  It´s important to help people leave those things behind because, in reality, we´re required to sacrifice everything to be able to be true Christians. I love this opportunity I have to serve a mission, to leave everything behind to serve him.  I don´t know how easy it will be when I get home to do the same, but I know what´s most important, and I refuse to ever let go of it.  I´ve met plenty of people that say, "no, they will just be upset and things will just get worse if we try."  Then, I try, and things get better.  Faith really is the most important thing.  Faith in yourself, faith in others, and faith in Jesus Christ.  Faith in yourself is a matter of honesty, really.  Be honest with your strengths and your weakness, and don´t compare yourselves to others.  Faith in others has to do with an optimistic attitude.  Look for the good in people.  As Christ said, "judge not, that ye be not judged, for with what measure ye judge, shall ye also be judged" or something like that.  It´s so true.  When we see the bad in other people, they see the bad in us.  Pride breeds pride, humility breeds humility.  Finally, Faith in Jesus Christ comes down to the testimony from the Holy Ghost.  People like to think they know that the Gospel is true or false through temporal evidence, but they´re deceiving themselves and everyone else they talk to about it.  The only way to really know if God exists is to keep yourself Spiritually strong.  If we don´t obey the law of chastity, the word of wisdom (including coffee and tea), keeping sabbath day holy, and all the other commandments, we lose the right and ability to feel the spirit and will lose, bit by bit, the testimony that we´ve gained.  When we don´t do the three basics (read, pray, and go to church), we don´t invite the Spirit into our lives, and can´t build our testimony.  If we don´t dedicate time each day to build our testimony, we won´t have what we need to face the challenges of life when they come, and we won´t be able to enter into the Celestial Kingdom of God after the final judgment, simply for lack of diligence or prioritizing.  Really, it´s depressing.
So, that´s my new perspective. That´s how I feel. I invite each and every person who reads this letter to put their lives in order with the will of God through repentance.  Talk to your bishop, he´s there to help.  If you don´t know a bishop, find some missionaries. You´ll not regret that you did it.  Then, keep living the way He wants, keep reading and praying, and you´ll be blessed with things that are more important than anything or things that you can find in this world.  Try.  Have faith.  Believe in yourself, and believe in God!
I meet new inactive members every day.  Every single day, at least one.  I´m trying hard to meet all the active Melquisedek Priesthood Holders to get them involved in missionary work, too.  It´s a blast.
Keep on keeping on, family.  I love you!
Your son, Elder Taylor