Jan 24, 2012

Trent's email 1/18/12

Whewy! What a week!
So, there are some really good foods that I'm gonna miss when I get out of here.  I probably shouldn't be thinking about that right now, but they're so good!  Dad, I bet you've had dulce de leche, just the little brown caramel-type thing?  So delicious!  Also, they sell "bizcocho" flavored ice cream, which means "cake," so there's little pieces of cake inside.  We pay 25 pesos for a whole big cup of ice cream.  That's like 80 cents, for things you'd pay $4 for in the US!  I love it.  We get one every Tuesday night, because it's P-Day eve.

Wow, I don't really know what to say.  Yesterday was a cool day.  We have a list of all the 'members' that live in the ward boundaries, so we went around to all the ones we didn't recognize (which is most of them).  It was interesting to see how many of the inactive members really wanted to come back, they just fell out of the habit, I guess.  Whenever they really started talking, they wanted to come back.  Some have children that aren't baptized.  My companion is excited, cuz that's an easy re-activation/baptism.  He wants to get eight more baptisms before he leaves in another 3.5 transfers (like five months), so I think he's hoping for some easy ones.

We might get some easy ones, too.  The other day, we contacted (meaning tracted to his door) this guy named Leo, who was possibly the most friendly guy ever.  When we walked away, I asked my companion, "was he drunk?" "I don't think so...." Usually, nice people are drunk.  Correction, usually extremely friendly people are drunk.  We've decided he wasn't.  We had trouble getting in contact with him again, and finally we did on Monday.  He was SO excited about learning about Christ.  We gave him a Book of Mormon, he said he'd read Moroni 10 and get baptized February 18 if he got an answer.  This could very possibly be the easiest baptism ever.  We'll see if he actually reads.  Hopefully his wife (who's as nice as he) will be as excited as he is to learn more.

Also yesterday, we had to spiritually wrestle with Mayteé and her family again.  So, Anacaona thinks that Pablo was a corrupt apostle (that's Paul), and he really was just in it for the money. So, we can't use most of the New Testament to teach her until we slay that dragon, which will take some hard work.  Mayteé, her daughter, thinks that the old testament is just a MESS, so she doesn't really believe in that.  And their brother, Carlos José, has a firm testimony of Jesus Christ, but doesn't believe in the Bible.  How that works, I'm not sure.  Here's what happened:

So, we go to their house, planning to teach Follow the Prophet (I don't know why, it wasn't a logical time).  We share scriptures, ask a few questions, explain the way the organization of the church works, show them a chart of the prophet, the twelve, and the seventy, talk about why it's important to follow the prophet, and when we think we're all done, I extend the invitation to Mayteé to follow the prophet.  She tells us, THEN, that she doesn't believe in prophets because she can't trust in one person.  Carlos said the same.  I said we wouldn't have the bible without prophets.  Carlos said he didn't believe in the bible, and Maytee said she didn't believe in the Old Testament.  She said we were more like prophets than Thomas S. Monson, because we preach the gospel.  My companion testified that he KNEW, that any one of our leaders here in this part of the world, especially President Lee, would die for him, just as Jesus Christ died for us.  It was powerful.  Anacaona wanted every prophet to do something extraordinary-she believes in Joseph Smith because he translated the book of Mormon, but how is she supposed to believe in Thomas S. Monson?  We haven't answered that yet.  Mayteé said "If I want to serve a mission to Haiti, I don't need the permission of the prophet." It was really amazing how easy, how simply, we answered her question though-a testimony of the principles of Preach My gospel: LISTEN, don't TEACH-I simply explained that without the prophet, US preaching to THEM wouldn't be possible.  And, plus, because of the organization of the Church, we're able to teach in EVERY PART of the world, not just randomly.  Plus, we know exactly WHAT is most effective to teach, and we know how to teach the full truth.  It made my testimony of prophets grow immensely.  The organization is an inspired system.  So, Mayteé promised she'd keep reading and praying.

And those were the coolest things that happened.  Leche de vaca is exactly what you guessed, mom, real cow milk.  And it's not very good.  We can't get rid of the sour taste.  We're gonna stick to powdered milk.
And thank you for the peanut M&Ms and the camera, I'm enjoying the food and I was GOING to send pictures, but I need a USB-SDcard converter.  I'll go buy one, no worries.  The taxes from Florida packages do come out of my budget, but it's alright. I always leave a little extra space for things like that, and if Florida's more reliable, that's better anyway.  For the record, it wasn't really the worst week ever, I was kidding...

Ooh, what new foods have I eaten?  I tried to make some fried plantains, but I failed.  They were still pretty good.  We had some guanabana juice--it's like a super rich, super juicy, super big grape that you blend up and add water to make it thinner.  I hope I spelled it right.  Also, jagua juice is good, but I had that quite a while ago.  Pastalon is NOT very good, it's like mashed up bananas with... I don't know what.  Probably some sort of cream with like, mayo or osmething.  and cheese melted on the top.  I'm digging "pudding de pan," which is like baked bread pudding, I guess.  Pretty tasty, I get it often.

I'm glad you got the reference, mom, I'm sorry I insulted you.  Good luck with school! it does sound crazy... ugh.  Tyler Olson's in SPAIN?  Aye, mi madre.  That's crazy.  Spain sounds SO difficult, I hope he's enjoying himself.  His dad's a really cool, nice guy, so I hope you enjoy his class somewhat.  Aye, sheesh, apartment in Vegas sounds a little crazy, but if it's easier on dad, that's good.  Please don't be living in Vegas when I get home.  Ugh.

Well, I love you all.  I'm doing well out here, for sure, just so you know.  Don't worry about me.  I'm actually now in the mindset of that 730 days is an extremely short time, I better enjoy EVERY one.  And I am.  My companion and I are still getting along great, and I'm becoming a way better teacher.  It's funny-at the beginning, I just tried to learn how my companion did everything, but I've realized a little more that when you try to learn from Preach My Gospel, you really get the most effective teaching skills.  Which I guess makes sense, it was written by like, 100 old men that know the gospel better than their own houses and have probably served quite a few missions, while my companion is only one guy.

oh, if your name is Miquelle Leslie or Tiele Quist, I promise I'm writing you back.  Sometimes the mail is slow.  Sometimes I am slow.  You'll get your letters soon!

Dear family, you're wonderful. Thank you for your support physically, financially, and most importantly, emotionally.  I love you all.  Take care.

Sincerely,
Elder Taylor

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