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!
Sincerely,
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!
Love,
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!
Yours,
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
missionaries.
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.
Yours,
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!
Sincerely,
Elder Taylor