Apr 29, 2012

Trent's email 4/25/12

Glad to hear that everything went well with the FO memorial.  How's Chris??  He's the only cousin that I actually know, so I just wanted to know if you saw him.  But, a trip to Cali is always fun, and I imagine Dad had less of a headache because I wasn't there to argue with Becca for the 13 hour drive.  A huge buffet also sounds wonderful.  I haven't had quite that big of a selection for awhile.

Congrats on passing the lab final, Mom.  What's Becca learning about Poland? I feel like it was superbly affected by World War II, and probably still hasn't completely recovered from that. That's so cool that she's doing a bunch of big projects!  They're such good ways to learn about people.  I still remember a few things about Walt Disney, when I did a report on him... I don't remember ANYTHING about Panama, even though I did a report on that, too.  

Tennis Elbow??  What is that? All I think of is "operation," the game, and I know Dad doesn't play tennis, and I also don't feel like he does too many things that involve using his elbow too intensely.  But of COURSE Dad isn't taking a break.  He'd go with a body cast, as long as he still could use his arms and see.  Layton?? I've never really seen us as Layton people.  Then again, we're not really Spanish Fork people.  I don't even know if we're St. George people.  We're just people, without a permanent home.  Too awesome for Spanish Fork, too tranquil for Las Vegas... Just people.  

Physically, I don't think I've changed too much.  Maybe.  I don't know, I still think I look the same as I did when I was in 7th grade, but I also know that's not really true.  Mentally, I've changed a whole lot.  You develop a lot of patience and a good sense of humor (or, some people just get ornery and complainy) when you have to spend a couple days without light, and all the food you had in the fridge goes bad, or when you have to leave to preach without having showered, or having to live 24/7 with someone that you've never met before.  You learn a lot about people when you talk to them all day, meeting new ones, and trying to see the good in everyone so you can bring it out and help it grow.  You learn a lot about the blessings of the Lord when you've abandoned everything and everyone you've ever known to talk about the Gospel in a place you've never been, and you're happier than ever in your whole life. I love the mission.  I don't know how people really grow up without these two years.  

Mom, don't worry about all the people I'm teaching.  Just worry about the experiences.  That's really the only thing I feel like I can do here--we have had so many investigators progressing really really well, and we get really excited for them, and then they disappear.  Stop showing up to church, stop answering their phone, are "not there" when we go by their house...  We just can't focus too much time on one person.  That's why the mission President wants us to contact 10 people every day-investigator turnover rate here is insane.  You just can't balance all the things we have to do sometimes, so you just end up doing what the President says and hoping people keep their commitments.  That's the biggest thing--get members involved to help out certain investigators, and then commit them to do things, and when they don't do things, tell them how upset you are and how upset God is, and hope they change, and if they don't change, stop going back for a little while, and try again later.  That's basically how the mission work is here.  President says that often, people progress better when we're not passing by than when we pass by every day. So, the point is, don't try to keep track of my investigators, cuz it's a rough job for me, and I'm living it.

But, Anthony is doing SO well!  If you don't remember, he was one we contacted basically Elder Sweeney's first day here.  "Elder Taylor, have you contacted this apartment?" "No-" he was already on the second floor, knocking on a door.  The guy who answered had prayed the night before to know if he needed to change something in his life.  That's Anthony.  He and his wife Janet came to Church this week, with their daughters Amy and Mia.  He's a video game nerd, and he loves Big Bang Theory in English (he understands REALLY WELL), and she works in Marketing.  She loved Church, and they're set to be baptized on the 12th if all goes well.  We were supposed to have a baptism with Abraham, a 16 year old, but he decided he didn't want to keep the law of Chastity, so he told us that he didn't want us to keep coming back.  He was progressing super well, but sometimes people let their own decisions stop what God wants for them.  

I'm still in Pueblo Nuevo, but Elder Sweeney moved up to Zone Leader.  I'm with Elder Rodriguez, a small, quiet Dominican who's got a year and five months.  He's cool... but I feel a little... separated from him.  I don't know if it's his reserved personality or the fact that I don't understand him very well when he talks to me or what, but hopefully I'll learn a lot about relying on the Lord this transfer.  I've always been most afraid of living with a companion that doesn't want to talk to me very much.  Also, Elder Jenks (we were in the CCM together) got sent to Bonao, which is about an hour from here and in the mountains. That's weird, cuz we've been together since basically the beginning, and now he's gone.  I didn't really like him all that much when we started, but now I feel like he's really my brother.  He's a good kid.  And now he's far away.  Also, some of the Elders that I've really looked up to since I started my mission are finishing, and it makes me feel like I'm gonna really have to step up pretty soon-missionaries are gonna start looking up to me.

Anyway, that's mission life, here in Santiago.  Everyone says that this is such a fantastic area, and they're all jealous.  I guess I don't see it yet because I'm in my first area still, but it seems pretty average.  Actually, sometimes it seems a little weak.  But, it's okay.  I'm having a blast, and learning a ton, and I feel like I'm becoming an effective missionary, even if the baptisms aren't coming as quickly as I'd like.  Hope you get my pictures, like, tomorrow or Friday!  Love you all!

Oh, as far as packages go, if you put any money in the easter package, it was swiped by customs, because I didn't find any.  Just hide it better next time- sneakily slip it in a snickers or something.  By the way, comparing Cadbury eggs and Peanut M&Ms, I decided that M&Ms kind of are cheap chocolate, and Cadbury eggs are to die for.  Also, if you guys could send me some, like, instant chocolate pudding packs and spaghetti seasoning and cool things like that, I'd be excited.  I was looking for both those things in the store today, but couldn't find them.

I love you guys!
Have a fantastic week!
Elder Taylor

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