May 21, 2012

Trent's email 5/16/12

Hey family!
Thanks, Mom, don't embarrass me too much with compliments.  I'm glad
you're happy, it seemed like a ridiculously short time to talk.
Hahaha, how could I not have a good attitude?  I came to serve the
Lord, right?  Our fellowshipping activities will hopefully get better,
the last one was alright.  Yeah, members are pretty weak here, I'm
hoping these activites will get them more excited about the missionary
work.  We have a lot of people lined up to come with various members,
we'll see if they pull through for us.  Utah is one of the highest
baptizing areas in the world as far as missionary work, so you guys
will be in good company.  It's contagious once you find someone, you
guys will want to keep sharing the gospel.
Well, honestly, I didn't really get as close to President Lee as I
thought I would, him being my mission President.  He's a good guy,
very well prioritized, but we don't often get to see much of his
personality.  My biggest fear when he leaves is that all the tigre
(disobedient) missionaries are gonna try to walk over President
Douglass--Everyone knows that President Lee rules with an iron fist.  I have no idea when

I'll meet President Douglass, maybe not til the first interview, which
will probably be in August.  We'll see.
I have learned SO much about the importance of constantly nourishing
your testimony--there is so much doubt in the world, so many different
ideas and philosophies and theories and religions and interpretations
of the same scriptures and lies about the Church and mistakes that
people in the Church make that it's so EASY to forget that one
truth-this IS the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And to start out,
the ONLY, only ONLY way we can know that is through the testimony of
the Holy Ghost, which will ONLY come to us through constant
nourishment.  Once we REALIZE that this IS God's Church, we can
receive SO MANY benefits from its message and really trying to LIVE
the gospel.  I know that reading your scriptures every day is the
first step to a truly happy life here on earth and a happy eternity.
That's why I tell you guys to read your scriptures every time I talk
to you.
Also, I realized something on Monday while we were talking in our
district meeting.  Sometimes, God makes promises that maybe seem
contrary to logic.  Like, give up ten percent of every dollar you
earn, and you'll have everything you need, or take time to read your
scriptures and you'll be able to accomplish all the things necessary,
or, one I've been struggling with as a missionary, don't take naps,
and you'll be a more successful missionary.  I realized something in
detail, hopefully I can explain it well:
It's like Alma 32.  Alma says, if you exercise FAITH (don't take a
nap, even though you're DISGUSTINGLY TIRED), you're planting a seed
that will grow (the promise is, you'll be a better missionary-as in,
you'll have the energy to do all the things necessary).  Maybe
sometimes you let it fall to the wayside (you decide to nap anyway).
But, every time you exercise that faith, it begins to grow, and you
see fruit (wow, I'm accomplishing my role as a missionary), and you
know it's a true principle.  But, maybe you forget next time.
Eventually, if you do it enough times, you'll figure out that it
doesn't make SENSE to nap, even though it seems more logical, because
you trust more in the promise of the Mission President than what your
own body tells you.  Through that knowledge, you've witnessed the
truth of one of God's promises, which are many.  Now, I think that
that's how people end up seeing God.  They keep exercising faith SO
MANY TIMES, until there's no possible explanation in their minds than
the existence of God, our Creator, and then they no longer exercise
faith, but have a perfect knowledge, and they, as the Brother of Jared
in the book of Ether was, are thrust through the veil.  This is
essentially the lesson Elder Bednar taught us when he came, but now
I'm experiencing it in my life, and my faith is growing.  I'm not
saying one day I'll be strong enough to see God, but I'm saying I'm
gonna keep working on my faith every day, in one way or another, and I
want everyone within the sight of my words to do the same.  And that's
ANOTHER way you can gain a testimony of the truthfulness of this
Church--obey the leaders with FAITH, and strengthen your testimony.
I actually think blended juices sound wonderful.  If I knew how to
make them taste delicious, I'd just blend up fruit all the time.  Have
I told you guys yet that my favorite juice here is beet juice?  It's
also really good mixed with Oatmeal juice.  I bought a gallon last
week, and it's delicious.  They also make carrot juice and cherry
juice, but I don't like those all that much.
I really like that 1 Ne 13:40 verse, Mom, thanks for sharing!  You
know what I never appreciated at home that I really like reading now?
The title page, introduction, and testimonies of the golden plates
before the Book of Mormon even starts.  We ALWAYS invite investigators
to read the Introduction, at least the last two paragraphs.  Remember
that promise!
So, bananas are amazing in this country.  I love them.  I could eat
one every day, if I wanted to.  They also have sweet oranges, and
right now it's MANGO season.  Have you guys eaten fresh mango?
FANTASTIC!  I think pineapple is a strong competitor for most
favorite Dominican Fruit.  As we say here in the DR, esta pela va
(it's on!).
Speaking of Pelas, it's elections here in the DR on Sunday, and I
couldn't be any more excited for one event to be OVER.  Campaigning in
the DR=giant speaker trucks that play the same song five thousand
times, and if they drive in front of your house you MIGHT think you're
experiencing an extremely noisy earthquake.  Plus, Jose, one of our
favorite investigators, is deeply involved with politics, and won't
committ to a baptismal date until the election's over.  They say
people are gonna fight on Monday, though, no matter who wins.
And so it goes.  Anthony and Yanet are doing alright, just gotta take
it step by step.  I've realized that I have been focusing a little too
much on the baptism and not enough on their personal testimonies, so
we'll get there.  I really love being in Pueblo Nuevo, we're close to
everything and I know lots of really cool people.  I'm finally
starting to get a hang of the mission work, I think (ha, I'll probably
say that same sentence lots of times in the next two years).  Always
learning, always studying, ALWAYS praying, always waiting for
Gabrielle Cunningham to send me a letter (someone please post that on
her facebook wall, if her name's still Cunningham.  Maybe she got
married in the past seven months, who knows?).
I know this is the Lord's work.  I know the Lord is taking care of me,
and my comp, and all of us.  I know He'll give us more blessings than
we can imagine, if we'll just be humble and do what He asks.  I know
He suffered for our sins, and I'll be really happy one day when I get
to thank Him for all that.  I know we can become better through His
Atonement, whether we're good or bad.  I love you all!  Please, share
the Gospel with your friends, with your family.  They need it JUST AS
Elder Taylor

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