Oct 9, 2013

Trent's email 10/2/13

Dear Mom and Dad
ONE MORE WEEK!   WOOOO!!!!  I can´t wait to hug and kiss you both!  and BECCA!  WOOOO!!! 
That´s kind of scary.  Id like to know what Zoe thinks about the government shutdown, now that I know what you think.  I´ll be playing some fun federal government hockey when I get home, I guess, doing some research.  I´ve been thinking a lot about it lately, I read Jacob 2 the other day and really made me think about welfare programs and capitalism.  Lots of things to think about, I guess.  Life´s not very simple.  Aww, I sure hope I´ll be able to go to Zion!  
Yeah, I´ll be freezing cold in 70 degree weather.  But, whatever.  It´ll only last a few months, then I´ll get acclimatized.  
GAH!  I sure hope I get to see the painted mountains this year, I don´t want to wait another year!  I missed em last year.  We´ll see how it goes.
Thoroughly Modern Millie?  "FORGET about the Boy!"  I´ve been singing that song to myself for like, six months.  "Forget about the girl..."
Good stuff.
I love plays.  Sure hope I get to go to Tuacahn!  So many things I want to do.  I want to hang out with Grammy and Grandpa!  
Naw, don´t write me.  Early Wednesday I travel to Santiago, then I´ll be in the mission home on Wednesday, talking to all my friends in the mission that I see that day, we sleep there that night, and then we fly home earlycito in the morning.  (that´s spanish grammar.  It means really early.  Dad will laugh).  Thanks for the money!  I´m glad I was able to serve a mission, too.  You´ll see soon... I´v changed a lot.  In some ways.
This week we baptized Carmen.  I got to baptize her.  It was so special.  A wonderful way to end the mission.  I can´t wait to introduce you family to all these wonderful people whom I love so much, and who love me so much.  I love Montecristi, and I´m going to miss it SOO Much.  I can´t wait to show you all my pictures and tell you stories and read my journals with you.
Love you!  Over and out!
Elder Trent Taylor

Oct 1, 2013

Trent's email 9/27/13

A COUNTDOWN app?  Ooh, Mom.  You make me so happy!  Thanks for loving me so much.  Although when you say it like that, it starts to sound REALLY long.  I´m glad I don´t have a countdown app.  Phew.  It will be fun.  I am so excited to hang out with you guys.
My first day back?  Umm, I haven´t thought about it.  I want to wake up early (which is inevitable, because I´ve been waking up at 4:30 your time for two years straight), go running, study the scriptures, and then... idk.  We should eat together so we can just chat. I just want to chat.  Maybe show you pictures, and see your pictures, tell you about my goals, get career advice, listen to good music, learn to dance salsa using YouTube...  We could play video games together, we could watch movies.  It doesn´t matter.  I have some souvenirs to give you.  I guess I can unpack mostly on Monday when you all are at work and school.  I want to watch the BYU Notre Dame game on Saturday. Talk to the stake president and set up the appointment, please, so I can go swimming.  Oh, do I want to go swimming!  I don´t know if you all will want to come with me for that, though.  I sure hope I have some goggles and a jammer packed up in my storage stuff so I can swim laps. I´m glad I have a room, too.
Yes!  Thanks for the money.  Do you think I´ll need some extra money just in case for unplanned flight expenses?  It might be a good idea.  
I don´t need a good job, I won´t even have 3 months to work.  Thanks for filling that out!  I sure hope it works.  I appreciate your help.  
Football!  Yeah.  I hope you had fun at the game.  I´m glad Becca had lots of social activities.  I think I´ll have to motivate her to get out of the house a bit more, being so social myself, huh?
Ah, Mom, don´t worry.  I definitely don´t want to live the same lifestyle that I lived before after seeing what I´ve seen here about real necessities and poverty, but I've learned a whole lot about patience and not judging.  Don´t sweat it.  I´m not the same kid that left two years ago.
I love you too!  Talk to you sooner than soon!

Sep 24, 2013

Trent's email 9/18/13

So glad to talk to you.  I hope you're doing as well as you make me think in your email, and Becca's behaving well.
Hahahaha, I'm glad Becca's a good driver.  I'd hate to come home to a ruined Esme, seeing as she's the only asset I really have right now.  Good for her.  Well, I hope the not buying a Fiat works out, even though I might want Becca to have one.... Hahaha.  Good luck.  Becca can't drive the truck!  Let me drive it.  That'll be fun.  I'll get lots of girls that way =)  Yeah, he does spoil us.
Did you find anything great in Vegas?  I think I'm definitely going to need some new clothes.  I'm so tired of white shirts.  I know I have some stuff packed away, and I love Grammy's vneck that she sent me.  I'm excited to use it when I get home.
Zombie targets?!  I'm so glad you are fun people, I think I'd want to stay on the mission for forever if you guys weren't awesome.  As it is, I'm excited to start real life again and spend time with you three.  I need to learn to shoot well, too, seeing as I will one day be a husband and father.
There really are no opportunities for them to learn piano out here.  It's depressing.  But, I'm helping.  Wow, I bet the professional training was great!  I really hope I can do a capella music when I get home, just as a hobby.  I love it so much.  I've been listening to lots of classical music lately.  It makes me really happy, just inspiring, really.  The primary program will be fun.
Okay, plan on me going to Sacrament meeting on the 20th in California.  I don't know where or how, but I want to go.
  And I want you to come with me.
Yeah, I don't know what I'm going to do.  I really am considering Chemical Engineering.  I need to do lots of shadowing too, when I get home.  I think I'll take a semester of basic general classes to help me get back into the groove and give me some time to make a definite decision, do service, do shadowing, do reading, talk to professionals, and then I'll have three more months and a lot more experience when I committ to a career.  I don't know when I'll get out of school, but I don't want to do something that I won't like, and if I've learned anything on the mission, it's that the most important decisions need to be made slowly.
God does guide us when we trust Him and pray to Him.  I love receiving it.  I've done it today, I've done it this week.  The scriptures really help.  I don't know where I'll be in two years, but I know I'll be happy because I'll keep the commandments, and get God's help in everything I need.  I can't wait to start life again.  It'll be a challenge, but it'll be an adventure. 
Good luck with homework!  I love chemistry!  Thanks for the package!  I might need a few more dollars to pay for it, because I'm seriously short on cash.  I spent very unprudently for the first year of my mission, and now I'm paying for it.  I wish I would've been smarter!
Anyway, I love you Mom! Dad!  Have a great week!  See you in three!

Sep 17, 2013

Trent's email 9/11/13

It´s been a great week!  We had Leadership Council, I taught a music class, Church was really fun, and we had some good experiences in a zone meeting on Monday.  Today, I went to the beach again with lots of Americans, it was really fun, and now I´m here.
Leadership Council was cool.  Sister Douglas gave us three tools to group teaching.  1) Participation 2) struggle 3) action!  If we´re teaching, and people aren´t participating, they won´t learn anything.  We can´t spoonfeed them information, either.  Information for which they struggle is much more valuable to them than information that is given.  Then, they have to practice what they learned.  They have to act, they have to fast if they´re learning about fasting, etc.  It was great!  We had some opportunities to apply it, as well, in a Zone meeting, which I liked.
I wish I would´ve started teaching music classes at the beginning of my mission.  I´m teaching them the pentagram, the treble clef, and basic rhythms, but it´s not very easy to teach.  I´m learning so much!  There are lots of women who want to learn, but no men.  It´s a bummer.  Hopefully they send another musical elder to take my place.
Also in leadership council we talked about English.  President wants all the missionaries to learn English, so we´re going to use english in each meeting.  We started off by having my companion give his testimony in English on Monday, and it was a great experience for me!  I felt the spirit very strong, and was very happy.
I´m going to miss the mission.  You´re right, I´ll be very bored very quickly, but I´m planning on making myself busy very quickly as well, so no worries.
I wanted to add Chemical Engineering to the list of careers I´m looking into.  Courtney´s dad does that, and Darlene tells me about it all the time, and I was looking at the classes on BYU... it sounds really interesting.
I love teaching people.  Carmen is maybe 65 years old, and China, the woman who got baptized not too long ago and I sent you photos, is one of her best friends.  “What are you doing here?” was the first thing she said to me when I met her.  Two missionaries left her a Book of Mormon for her birthday many many years ago—in those days, she lived next door to the missionaries, and took care of them like a mother.  She really grew to love them, but somehow kept thinking that we worship Joseph Smith and didn´t want anything to do with the Church.  Now, she´s committed to be baptized on the 28th.  She wants to pay tithing, she understands the role of prophets, and she´s so happy to be learning about Christ.  Each member we bring to her house gets to hear the testimony that “Elder Cayton” and “Elder Philpot” put in the back of that Book of Mormon.  It´s a huge blessing to be able to teach her.
Also, Auri is progressing well.  She´s having some really great experiences with the Book of Mormon.  It´s helping her while she takes care of her grandmother who has Alzheimer´s.  I really love teaching and helping people!
I´m so grateful to be on the mission.  It´s a fantastic experience.
Yeah, I think Kevin Steed went to Madagascar!  I know him. Cool.  Weird that I´ll be just one of a million returned missionaries back there... I feel so unique as a missionary here.
AHH!! I love the Smiths.  Can´t wait to see them again!  Good good good.  And I´m glad to hear that dad´s taking good care of my car =) 
Don´t worry, I´ll have things to do. People to get in contact with, facebook pictures to update, online classes to take, piano to practice, family to visit, and Becca to play with, and movies to catch up on, and hopefully something to do in the Church.  I´ll be okay.  Oh, and BYU football to watch.  YEAH!  hahaha.  I want Texas sheet cake, chocolate pudding dessert, and chocolate cake with white frosting SO BADLY!
Anyway, I love you, family.  Talk to you soon!
Trent Taylor

Sep 10, 2013

Trent's email 9/4/13

APUSH??  Of course I remember junior year.  Hahaha.  Becca´s doing APUSH?  You go, girl!  I had no idea.  I learned a lot of very important things from that class, it really helps with college.  You have to write SO MANY ESSAYS in college, so it´s great practice! Good for her.  Well, I´ll help.  I like helping.  That´s so weird that Becca´s in APUSH.  I feel like she´s too young for that.  But, whatever.  Everyone´s old now.  I did an exchange with a greenie on Monday, and he´s 18 years old from South Jordan, he was the quarterback for Brigham High, and he´s dating a 16 year old.  I really tried to help him... his trainer´s chilean and doesn´t speak English, so he´s pretty lonely.  It´s hard to start the mission.  He says he feels really comfortable around me, so that´s good.  
Becca wrote me a short letter, I appreciate it.  I can´t wait to see her!  yeah.  It´ll be great.
My day is great.  Today we climbed the Morro, which is the little mountain here.  It was beautiful.  I am sunburned.  I also went to a beautiful beach and walked through very very soft sand.  MAN, it was great!  I love sand.  I think I want to live somewhere by the beach.  Or have a beach winterhome in the DR.  I don´t know.  I went with my companion and with the other two elders in town, Elder Mateo and Elder Salgado, from the capitol (spl?) and Honduras, respectively.  Then, we made a banana smoothie with rice and some delicious cheesy mashed potatoes and some beef.  Elder Salgado's a good cook.  Now we´re here.  This week we´ve taught quite a few people!  I love mission work. I love helping people.  I can´t wait to be able to do mission work at home, even if it´s significantly less.  I feel so out of place in this country, trying to help people I´ll never see again live better lives.  Maybe it´ll be harder than I imagine when I´m in my own city.  I´m not living a normal life, so how can I help them take their normal lives and make them better?  Everything´s through the spirit.  WOW, my comp is SO good at teaching with the Spirit!  I´ve seen quite a few miracles happen with him.  I want to share one.
So, we´re teaching a woman named Marina whose sister is active in the Church.  She was baptized about six years ago, but since then has gone back to the Evangelical Church due to doubts about Vicarious work.  We took time to talk to her about the Book of mormon and the importance of prophets.  My companion gave an example of Noah, who was a prophet for the people in his time.  She afterwards explained that she felt that God was answering her, because that very day she had been reading about Noah.  My companion said he just knew he had to talk about Noah, but he didn´t know why.  It really motivates me to study more and listen harder to the Spirit.  He´s such a good missionary!
Stuff like that happens often with him.  I´m learning a lot.
Hey, Mom, I love you.  You too, Dad.  you´re great.  Thanks for always staying in touch.  I had to sacrifice a lot of things to be able to serve the Lord for these two years, but I´m sure glad that you´re not on the list.  I don´t know what I´d do without you. And I know I´m not the only one who made sacrifices.  Just know that it´s all been worth it.

Sep 3, 2013

Trent's email 8/28/13

I feel like there´s nothing new.  I feel like I´ve been an adult for quite awhile now.  But, maybe I´m overestimating myself.  For my birthday my companion took me out to the only restaurant in town, and I ate guinea, which is, like pheasant or something.  It was cool.  Also, they sang to me in church on Saturday when we were there, that was sweet.  And, I got your PACKAGE!  That was lots of fun thanks so much!  We opened it with the zone and ate stuff and took pictures and put on the hats and made noise and had a blast.  Definitely a good present.  Ooh, I LOVE grammy´s taste in shirts.  I´m so excited to utilize that shirt when I get home!  It´s nice.  Fits me great!  
That IS Dominican weather!  The only difference is your roofs aren´t made out of tin, so the sound isn´t very loud, and water doesn´t leak inside, and your streets are paved....  But that´s cool!  We had a small little storm in Montecristi two days ago.  It was cool.  Lasted maybe 25 minutes.  It doesn´t rain in this town.  Hardly ever.  We´re in a little hole or something.    We were with a member and she was so scared of the thunder!  But, it´s okay, we sang hymns.  I love thunder and lightning.  So beautiful! 
There´s maybe a 10% activity rate on this side of the country.  Lots of people get baptized, expecting to receive money from the church, having good relationships with the missionaries, because they have a relationship with a member, or just cuz it´s the cool new thing, but then they leave before they get a testimony.  It´s a lot of work trying to get some of them to come back, but with God´s guidance, we´ve been able to find a few people that really needed us.
I´ll always be a kid, Mom.  When we grow up, we don´t lose our kidness.  It stays inside, we just have a level of maturity on the outside.  Sometimes we try to suppress the kidness with adultness, but that´s not fun for me, so I´m going to keep being a kid forever, but just at the right TIMES.  No, you don´t need to start criticizing me.  I´ll get through it.  Maybe constructive criticism would help?  I don´t know.  I´ll be fine.  Hahahah, I remember Drivers Ed.  How fun................ Well, she´ll forget all about it one day when she´s free to drive!  Good good good.  Keep it up, Cheese Brain!  
I hope I can go shooting with all of you soon!  Good stuff.  Keep it up!  I probably won´t be a very good shot though.  
So, President Douglas wrote three words on the chalkboard when I had my first meeting with him.  "priesthood" "service" and "love."  He said for him, those three words are the same thing.  I really love that idea.  The principal function of the priesthood is to be a loving father in a home, blessing children and loving your wife.  Furthermore, the family is the basic unit of our society.  Every day I see more examples of that.  Kids raised in loving homes with both parents are WAYYY more likely to be successful, confident, and healthy than kids in one parent homes or homes where their parents don´t pay very much attention to them.  The father of the family is the spiritual leader of the family.  He´s the one who iniciates the love in the home, organizing family home evening and family prayer and family scripture study, and more than anything, making sure his children are happy, healthy, responsible citizens.  At the same time, no one can lead without a proper use of agency.  No one, NO ONE responds well when their agency is taken away.  Part of being a priesthood holder is knowing how and when to let a child make the decision for themselves, even if it means letting them choose the wrong path.  Discipline is essential for an effective priesthood holder.  Empty threats cause children to lose respect for their parents.  A parent needs maturity, wisdom, a good knowledge of gospel doctrine, and revelation to know how to make decisions about their child´s conduct.  That´s why its so important for a priesthood holder to study the scriptures and attend church.
On the other side of the chalkboard, we need ordinances.  John 3:5, Jesus himself says that without baptism, no one can enter into God´s kingdom.  Through modern revelation, we know that this also applies to temple sealings and endowments.  It´s a bar that God sets for all his children everywhere.  Maybe it has something to do with the nature of our Spirits, or maybe it´s just a program God instituted to make things more organized.  I don´t know.  But, I do know that we need them.  The Sacrament is a weekly cleansing process.  Each week we try and try to get better, repent, and become more like Christ, until we arrive at perfection (3 Ne 12:48), and the Sacrament is a wonderful way to invite the Spirit into our hearts and purify us.  Another reason why a priesthood holder NEEDS to attend church.
So, The priesthood will bring not only salvation, but also health to the human family.
Ask me to write a ten page paper on it when I get home or something, hahahaha.

Aug 27, 2013

Trent's email 8/20/13

And I´m writing on a Tuesday.  I hope it doesn´t upset you too badly, but tomorrow we have a special meeting with the area president, Elder Andersen, and won´t be able to write.  I´m also going to see Elder Nelson tomorrow, for which I´m super excited!
So, we´re working a ton with less actives and also some investigators that we´ve found.  It´s an adventure.  It´s fun to help people feel the Spirit and grow and commit to change.  I just wish everyone would do their home teaching.  I feel like it´s an essential part of being a member, and if you´re not doing it, you´re truly failing in your purpose in life.  I know life´s not easy, and I have a very skewed perception of things in my simple mission life, but I just feel like it´s important.  I think that if everyone would be a good home teacher, the full-time missionary program wouldn´t even be necessary.  Seriously.  Less actives would come back to church, people would preach the gospel for themselves... it would be so fantastic.  Maybe I´ll implement some Jehovah´s Witness tactics to get people to leave their house more often.  They´re excellent at that.
Montecristi´s a beautiful place which I love very much.  Especially the beach.
I´m learning so much about pride.  I guess that´s my biggest downfall.  I don´t know how to stop being prideful.  I´ve been getting really annoyed at my companion this week, but I realized yesterday that it´s my fault, not his.  I thought that I had solved this pride issue at the beginning of my mission, but it´s still there, just in different ways.  Christ is like a silversmith, I guess, just BURNING OUT those impurities.
We should have a baptism on September 28, maybe more, we´ll see how that goes.  
I´m happy, healthy, exercising, trying to eat well, working hard, and avoiding thinking about home as much as possible.  I love you all, and hope you have a great week!
Sincerely, and with lots and lots of love,
Elder Trent Taylor

Aug 21, 2013

Trent's email 8/14/13

So, I emailed Becca.  Good for her!  Are you excited to start working
again??  That´s good that it´s a good environment.  I sure hope to find
a job quickly when I get home, I hope you´re looking a little,
talking to the ward members, etc.
You didn´t go to watch the tennis match?  Well, good!  I´m glad.  I
loved the picture.
Yeah, living in different places is dumb.  We have to be together,
guys.  It´s just a bad idea to try to be far away from the people you
love.  I don´t know how the married missionaries did it, I don´t know
how I´ve done it for so long, but I can´t wait to be with you all
again.  California sounds like too much fun, I´m stoked.  Really,
that´s incredibly exciting.  Thank you!  Trying not to be trunky...
okay, done.  Tell that bishop that I want to work SO HARD in the
church when I get home.  I want to talk in firesides and I want to go
on splits with the missionaries and I´ll do anything he needs done.
Until January.  Also, I need to confirm... what´s our bishop´s name?
And our Stake president?  And our ward?  Bloomington Hills Stake,
right?  They´re buying my plane tickets, so they need that
I would LOVE to clean trash at the parking lot at Tuacahn.  They don´t
realize how wonderful the TUACAHN is!  I can´t wait to go back to that
place!  What shows are going on this season?  Oh, man, I need a job.
Cool cool about the patriarchal blessing and the military orders.  I
mean, maybe Kuwait won´t be that fun.  But... he´s serving the
country.  So, that´s good.  Important.  I hope he doesn´t burn in the
sun.  I´m really glad it´s in January, I was hoping to be able to hang
out in Vegas with him for a couple of weeks and play basketball with
him and other stuff.  We´ll leave St. George together.  Good good.
No, I don´t think life will ever settle down.  My life´s about to get
really crazy in 8 weeks.
Courtney gets home tomorrow, she´ll be in Texas for two weeks, I
think.  Her parents are going to take her to New Orleans, which should
be fun.  Lots of weird, different food.  They live really close to the
border with Louisiana, so they´ve been taking excursions over there.
Her dad´s in the YM presidency, and he´s loving that.  Much less
stressful than Stake Pres.  She´s going to room with her little sister
this year, Rachel, who´s two and a half years younger than her.  Her
other sister is in Montana on a mission, I´m emailing her a lot
(Danielle).  Her other sister, Valerie, is doing marching band, and
loving it, and also is very excited to start school again.  Seems like
she really likes it.  Courtney´s mom sends me lots of emails.  Yes,
she will be graduating in April, but she´ll be taking 18 credits this
semester, which might actually kill her.  So, if she doesn´t die,
she´ll graduate.  Her winter term will just be student teaching.
Her blog is so cool, right!
So, some things I wrote in other emails that I wanted you people to read:
Great story.  The first counselor in the district presidency took us
to visit a family who has two less active members, two kids.  When we
showed up, they were super receptive.  When we went back yesterday,
they told us that they were in desperate need for some spiritual
upliftment, and were just so blessed by our visit, and they all want
to be baptized.  It´s great!  I love focusing on families and helping
them become better.
I´m having a fantastic week and am so
grateful for the mission.  I love the work we do. I love who I´m
becoming.  I love helping people.  The Lord is the best. I learned
this week about spiritual power.  I´m trying to put more emotion in my
prayers and exercise more hope and faith in my feelings when I give
blessings and teach.  I can feel the power that comes from Jesus
Christ´s name.
The mission´s great!  I can´t wait to read my journal with you all,
some really cool experiences that I´m recording!
See you soon!
Elder Taylor

Aug 13, 2013

Trent's email 8/7/13

Hey parents.
Best service experience ever!
So, on Tuesday morning, we wanted to do service, so we went to the "Mother Teresa Foundation," a social health care business where we often help clean and organize and so forth.  They had nothing for us to do there, so we decided to pick up trash in the street.  Dominicans don´t have an organized garbage system, so they often throw garbage in the street, therefore there´s a lot of it.  I thought people would just ignore us, laugh at us maybe.  Our neighbor did.  But, I found $100 pesos, and realized that God was happy with what I was doing.  My companion got really excited.  That´s like $2.50 in American.  Then, some lady saw us, got really excited, and offered us more bags so we could clean more.  A little kid started helping me pick up trash.  One man bought us two liters of soda.  I was so impressed by the response from the neighborhood, that it made me want to plan a bigger, better service project.  Especially about cleaning the community.  Maybe we´ll be able to make a difference in the Montecristi mentality about cleanliness.  I sure hope so.
I´m doing great.  I´m learning a lot, trying really hard.  I feel like I´m ready to live a better life than what I lived before.  I´m trying really hard to apply the things I´m learning here in a normal life aspect, think about how I´ll apply it when I´m home.  I love my mission.  I can´t believe it´s almost over, 9 short weeks, but I´m happy.
We´re teaching Carmen, Yamivi, Auri, and Felix José, all of whom came to church two weeks ago, none of whom came to church this Sunday.  It´s very difficult.  The open house was well organized, but hardly anyone showed up.  We´re planning on having another, better-announced open house in a month or so.
Umm, there´s not much more going on!  Leadership skills, life.  I´m happy.  I think I´m happier than ever.  I love you all.
Elder Trent Taylor

Aug 7, 2013

Trent's email 7/31/13

Hey Mom!
Don´t worry, I knew that something weird must´ve happened.  I know you´ll always write me.  I was just fine.  Surprised, but no big deal.  I´m a big boy now.
Not sure how you lived without phones and internet, huh?  I know how.
Oh, how little importance those things have!  How much I´ve forgotten about them!
Did you know that my general happiness is higher than ever before in life?  I love the mission.  I´ve grown up, learned so much, and love being in the service of people in the Dominican Republic.
Mosiah 3:19-- when you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God.
I feel so free.
Here, I do a whole lot of what´s really important, and a whole lot of what´s not very important.  Facebook and internet and texting and movies and stuff... it just doesn´t mean that much anymore.  I´d rather talk to my friends (these members quickly become your friends) eat with them, ask them if they´re reading their scriptures, argue about scriptural ideas with them, and pray with them.  SO IMPORTANT!  
The environment here is so beautiful!  The air, the trees, the beach, everything.  And now my house feels more like a home, after cleaning ALL DAY.  I´m just happy.  I am starting to realize how a person can always be happy no matter what they do.
Sometimes, I think life involves becoming an important person in the world, and that´s how I´ll have success.  I wonder if I could be successful and happy living in Montecristi for the rest of my life, serving in the Church, working in who knows what, and just trying to love and help the people around me?  Heaven knows this town needs help.
If you guys wanted to live here, I think we should move down here.  If not, I´ll stay in America.
I´ve learned so much about how the Spirit works,  and how most members want to be in Church, but they just have difficulties for one reason or another.  Teaching is really fun.  I haven´t exactly figured out how to get people back to Church, but I´m getting there.  You´re right, Mom, every person is different.  The worst part is that so few people do their visits... If they´d do them, lots of people would come back to Church.  
Much chocolate.  oh so much chocolate.  My whole zone has greatly benefitted from my chocolate reception.  I don´t eat as much junk as I used to.  I´m out of the habit.
You´ll alll love the souvenirs.  I have some great ideas.  You´ll see =)    I wish I could´ve been in the mountains with you all!  How cool.  The beach here makes up for it, but I just miss being with you all.  I hope they can sell the cabin.
Oh, I hope your surgery went well!  
So, I want to tell you all about my day.  After cleaning, we went to the museum in Monetcristi, it´s very small.  I learned some cool things, like the declaration of independence of Cuba was signed in this city, by a man named José Martí.  I guess this town helped with that.  Pretty cool.  Also, Christopher Colon named this city when he saw the little mountain by the beach (called the "Morro" nowdays), he said it looked like the hill where Christ got crucified. He was Spanish.  "Monte" is mountain, and "Cristy" comes from Christ.  Cool, right?  Anyway, then we got our hair cut, and I look bad, but it doesn´t matter, because I don´t have to impress any women yet.  The next haircut will be very important.  Then, we went to a meeting with the District President to help him organize his work here in the district.  He´s a great guy with a strong testimony, but he doesn´t know how things work very well, he´s kind of impulsive and not a very good planner, so President asked us to help him work through some solid plans to make the district grow (District=stake as Branch=ward).  I´m learning how to run the Church here, and speak to experienced leaders and help them work better.  Then, we went to visit Eva, a less active member whose husband was branch president many years ago, and I guess there was some scandal and she got offended and hasn´t been back for a long time.  The spirit was STRONG.  All we did was try to help her get excited to read the scriptures.  We succeeded.  It´s going to bless her life, I know it will.  She also gave us juice. Nice lady.
That´s my life!  i lvove you all.  Can´t wait to read you stories from my journal.
Elder Taylor

Aug 2, 2013

Trent's email 7/24/13

Good afternoon!
How are you all doing?  Becca says you're in Idaho.
...first week in my whole mission without an email.
I guess I've been taking it for granted!  This is so weird.
So, this weeks been good.  My companion... is... growing up.  He's a LOT like me when I started the mission... self righteous, intelligent, responsible, strict... just needs a little humility and love.  He's a good guy.  I like being with him.  Sometimes it really tests my patience, which is something I didn't realize that I was lacking until this week.  We cleaned the house, went to the beach, and ate.  And studied.
We're working on an open house in the chapel.  Leaders here don't do much. I've been taking control of the situation, really, trying to get them ot take the iniciative.  It should be a great chance to help people to meet the Church in a non-threating, friendly way.  I'm super excited.
We're working on finding more investigators, but I've decided to stop contacting.  Too much of that in my mission has never gotten anywhere hardly at all, so we're mostly doing what Dad suggested a long time ago: reactivating families and baptizing the children.  I like to focus on the fathers.  They're usually the weak spot of a family, especially in Church attendance.  I'm trying really hard to think about WHAT will motivate a person to go back to Church when they KNOW they should go, but just don't take the time to do it.  It's a very difficult puzzle to solve.
Darlene sent me a WONDERFUL package, lots of chocolate.  She's great!  I'm working on some souvenirs for Becca and Courtney and Valerie, too.  It's good stuff.
What else?  It's flying, my last few weeks.  I'm so sad to leave this work, this country, but so happy to be with you again, family.
Love you!

Trent's email 7/17/13

Good afternoon, parents.
Elder Chalas left this morning.  I'm finally receiving a MEXICAN companion, Elder Burelo, to finish me off!  We're waiting for him to get here on the bus. I'm with Elder Barrus today, my MTC companion.  We've been sent to this tiny zone together to finish our missions.  He's going to be training to finish his mission, so Elder Burelo should arrive with a new missionary from Las Vegas who doesn't speak any English.  It'll be great to have a greenie in the zone.  I sure hope Elder Burelo can cook!  I would love some spicy tacos and stuff.
On Monday, Elder Chalas left me here to navigate the area (He had a meeting in Santiago so I was with Elder Barrus) and I totally rocked it.  God answers prayers.  I've been praying htat he would help me learn the area so hard, because I'm so scared to get lost or lose the confidence of my companion or not be able to do my job, but I really have it under control now.  God answers prayers.  Everyone loved Elder Chalas and I learned a ton from him, but I'm glad I'll be able to do lead out in this area now instead of follow.  I really like focusing on lots of lessons, and that's something I missed in this last transfer.  It's so nice to be with Elder Barrus, we have so many experiences to share.  He thinks a lot like me, and he's american, so we understand each other very well.  I've been missing that. He's a great missionary, he'll be a great trainer (again)
The baptism was fantastic, beautiful, spiritual.  I learned, however, the importance of starting on time... it's so obnoxious to start an hour and a half late, just because of the Dominican culture.  Furthermore, I was conducting, so it was a little embarrassing.  However, one of our best investigators, Auri, was there, and she loved it, and also one of the moms of the kids decided she wanted to get baptized when she saw her son get baptized.  That should help a lot.  I'd send pictures, but my camera broke this morning :(  Sadly, I'm a clutz, and I dropped it on cement.  My memory card's fine, but the camera's broke.
I REALIZED LAST WEEK THAT IT WAS DAD'S BIRTHDAY, BUT I FORGOT TO SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  I'M SO SORRY, DAD!  I hope it was marvelous, and that you were very happy.  Can't wait to be there for the next one.  
Wow, go Becca.  a Junior!  i hope it goes well.  That sounds like such a cool experience, a good italian restaurant!  You'll have to take me back there :)  hint hint.
Anyway, that's all for the week.  I love you all, I love this work, and I love Jesus Christ!  And, I'm anxious for October 11, just like all of you, although I highly dread the responsibility and cold weather and finishing being a missionary, but I can't wait to see you all again.
Elder Trent Taylor

Jul 17, 2013

Trent's email 7/10/13

I'm glad you got all the pictures!  I love the beach.  Love love love love love love love the beach.  I'm going back soon.  I'm working on a homemade souvenir for Becca.  I hope she likes it.  In a month I'll be receiving my final instructions for my travel plans.  I can't wait to get home.  I'll miss the mission so much, but I can't wait to be with you all again, and to live free.
Poor Becca, missing out on cool things because of laziness.  I bet the Parade was really fun, and I love breakfast!  20 sister missionaries???  Were they cute?  Hahaha.  I miss Americans....
I bet most of them are new, and I bet some of them are training missionaries even though they've only been there for three months.  We've had a lot of that.  It's difficult to be a missionary for lots of people, you really have to open up.
Hahaha, there was a parade here... THAT was lame.  Don't talk to me about lame parades.  It was for... I don't even remember what holiday.  Like, June 1 or something.  LAME.
It'll be fun to see some good movies when I get home. Like the Hobbit and Ender's game.  Woo! 
OOOOH, sounds like a great summer project.  I hope you have a blast!
My companion has decided to extend his mission (after some requests from President Douglas) but he won't be staying in Montecristi.  I don't think I'm ready to manage the area by myself, so pray for me, PLEASE!  I love you all.
We have a baptism on Saturday again, a really cool girl who's the neighbor of a member family.  Really strong.  I'm excited.  Manuela!
I'm keeping a good journal so you can all read it.
Love you all!
Elder Taylor

Jul 10, 2013

Trent's Pictures 7/4/13

Trent's email 7/4/13

Mom!  Dad!
Look, China got baptized.  Her son baptized her, he's the Branch president.  Isn't it cool?  Also, I went to the beach with my zone.  I really like the beach.  I was quite excited, and quite crazy about being on the beach.  
I'm sorry it was so hot!  Wow, I'm not suffering that badly.  I mean, I don't love the heat, but I sure don't have problems with like, dying if I'm out in the sun at 7 AM.  I love Montecristy.  There's alwasy a breeze.  Always.
Thanks for looking up continents for me.  I really was curious about that.  I'll have to show that information to Elder Matos, with whom I often debated the issure.  
I hope everything works out well with the drought.  I feel like in the US, it's not a big deal.... there's always a rich people solution.  I feel like here, it would kill lots of people.  But, at any rate, I hope it works out.  Also, I'm super happy that girl's camp went well!  And that Alysa had a good experience.  Good good good!  It's so good of you to be willing to serve... I'm sure it's really stressful for anyone to try to do it. 
Accounting doesn't sound too fun.  I don't know what I'm going to do with my life, but we'll figure it out along the way.  Which reminds me, Darlene wants me to thank you for keeping up my blog, she reads it frequently, apparently.  Great lady :)  This is a shout out.  Don't worry, Darlene, I'm not stressing out too much about my career.  Thanks for caring about me!
Oh yeah, it's Independence day!  I just gave an American a high five.  That's the extent of my celebration.  I hope you all got to eat some really tasty hot dogs or hamburgers.  Yeah.  Good old american barbecue.  How I miss it.
Woow, I can't believe Becca is driving.  I can't believe it.  Good for her, I'm glad she's doing well.  Just don't let her fall of the freeway, like I almost did.  Do you remember that, Mom?  You were so patient with me!  I don't know how you didn't just forbid me to drive for the rest of forever!  Thank you :)  
I've beeen thinking a whole lot about leadership lately.  I'm a Zone leader in Montecristi, so Elder Chalas and I are in charge of all the missionaries' needs, especailly about teaching the gospel, training them, etc.  It's fun to think of new ways to motivate people, try to get to the root of WHY they don't do what they're supposed to, or what they can do better, how to do it, and what to focus on.  I have to learn to be very effective in a short amount of time, because we give short training meetings every week, and I have to learn to talk about the most important things first, and quickly.  I'm realizing how DIFFICULT it must be to be a bishop or President of ANYTHING, because you just have to organize your time, your information flow, your EVERYTHING so well, and everyone's always trying to criticize.  I'm learning so much, it's a fantastic experience, and I'm really glad to be able to participate in it.  I think it willl help me with my career, too.
As far as finishing the mission goes, it sounds like you're free to come pick me up, you just have to let me know so I can tell them not to buy a ticket for me.  Sounds like I'm still on a leash, though, as a missionary (no swimming, no movies...) unless I can shmooze President to release me or give me permission to have fun.  Just let me know, whatever you decide.
Love you all!  Relax, be happy, and enjoy life!  It's too short to be sad.
Elder Taylor

Jul 3, 2013

Trent's email 6/26/13

Hahaha, first, Mom, BREATHE.
Now you're in girl's camp.  You'll probably read this on Saturday night, or maybe even Sunday.  Are you okay?  I like organizing things.  I hope you had a good experience.  I hope Becca learned a lot :D  Alysa's there, too?  whoa!  Wasn't expecting that!  Good for her.  Is she 14 already?
I really love the history as well.  Thomas Jefferson has always been my favorite founding Father.  Good stuff.  I'm glad to know you ate well while you were there.  Courtney's family is experiencing lots of southern food, too, I believe, being in Texas.  I know they're hanging out with some mexicans as well, so they're eating tamales and stuff.  Aaww, I miss all American food.
Speaking of which, Latins are taught that there are only 5 continents, and they teach us that there are 7.  What is a "continent" anyway?  Are Dominicans considered Americans because they're in the American continent, or are they just Caribbean?  Some "Educated" Dominicans get mad when I tell them that I'm American because they all say that they're american too, but I don't think so.  I think they're caribbinean, or however you say caribeño in English.  Which is very different from American.
On monday I saw Haiti for the first time.  There are some missionaries in Dajabón, which is on the border, and we went to the market where the Haitians sell food and shoes and stuff, and I could see out into Haiti.  Just dirt and people and tents.  I thought the DR was underdeveloped with its beaten roads and its wood houses, but I hadn't imagined Haiti.  No wonder they all try to come over here.
Speaking of the market, do you all need Church shoes or pants or tennis shoes or anything?  It's all very cheap in the market.... You have to be careful, though.  I bought a pair of dress shoes for $4.50 to later discover that they're painted black, but really brown...
What's $4.50 anyway? 
I also found a football, some socks, two short sleeve shirts, all for about $15 total.  Its a great place.  So just let me know.
We have a big training meeting of which my companion and I are in charge.  So we're planning that.  I like organizing!  I like helping people!  It's fun stuff.  I'll let you know how it goes later.
On Saturday, we have 6 people getting baptized, but 5 of them are children from the ward, and 1 of them is our investigator.  China, we call her, but her real name is Virginia.  She's great!  She's the Branch President's Mom.  Learning lots, very excited to finally be baptized.
We're working lots with less actives.  I really like it, because most of them want to be there, but have just gotten distracted for some reason.  We have an activity tonight, another tomorrow.  This branch is so fun!
Anyway, that's about all I'm doing.  I love mission work.  I could totally do it as a full time job if I were allowed to take it a little easier, like date women and have free time to go bowling with some friends and breathe every once in awhile.  And listen to music.  Meanwhile, I'll keep working :D
Mom, do you like accounting?  How well would I do in accounting?  I like organizing, I like rules, and I like math.  Could I make it into a successful, satisfactory career?
Anyway, I love you all!  Have a great week!

Jun 24, 2013

Trent's e-mail 6/19/13

Thanks Mom.  I always look forward to your emails, because I know you're just full of support and love :D  I'm glad I have time to talk to you all every week.  I'm so jealous!  I want to see Virginia!  Everyone's going places!  Wish I could be there.  Zoe just graduated, they sent me photos, Courtney's walking around in the garden of Gethsemane, Becca's in San Francisco and Virginia, Saya's in Japan... But I'm happy here in Montecristi.   Too many things to do, I can't be everywhere!  Although I would've liked to.  But, I know I'm supposed to be here.  I know it.  We had a really cool experience the other day with a new investigator, "Auri." She read the Intro to the book of Mormon, and I saw she highlighted the part where Joseph Smith said, "This book will bring a man closer to God than any other." This country believes highly in the bible, so lots of people really don't like that sentence, and I was expecting her to say something similar.  But, when she asked about it, she just said, "When I read that... I just knew it was true.  I don't know how I knew it... But I did." Our neighbor, who is a member, is a really good friend of hers, and so it was HER that brought us to visit her in the first place, and now she's really progressing.  It's incredible.  She came to church on Sunday, and I think this is really going to change her life.
I haven't gone back to the beach, unfortunately, but I'm sure enjoying the breeze that she gives me! The Haitian market has been closed because of a strike, so I wasn't able to buy a hammock still...  But that will happen.  The house is good.  We need to fix the plumbing, but it's alright.  Spacy. 
So on monday, I had to navigate my area alone, and it wasn't too hard.  I learned that if I really pay attention, it's not impossible, but I have to really focus.  And, luckily, Dominicans are really nice people so they tell you where to go as long as you know the name.  
I think one of the biggest temptations in this life is distraction.  Satan doesn't need us to be bad, he just needs us to be mediocre.  There are so many horrid things happening in this world, so much poverty, so much hopelessness, so much abuse, and sometimes we just let it pass by.  It's a shame.  A crying shame.  Living in a third world country helps you figure out what really matters, and I see so much of that in Elder Chalas.  People are so important.  
Becca sent me a picture of Ayvah, I'm glad you have a little bundle of smiles in ýour house :D  
Soon we're going to have a meeting with a woman from a program here called Outreach 360.  They focus on literacy, primarily in children, in Spanish and English.  We're hoping we can help serve them.  Montecristi is a fish harbor.  So many people are just fishermen, never really cared about school.  There's not much employment here.  Oh, they also make lots of salt.  There's no tourism, because it's so far from any interesting sights, even though the beach is beautiful.  I LOVE the members, though.  And there's just a positive, happy attitude about mission work.  Probably thanks to Elder Chalas.
I love you all!  Take care, take lots of pictures of Virginia, especially if you get the chance to visit the universities there...
You're the best!
Elder Trent Taylor

Jun 19, 2013

Trent's email 6/12/13

Dear family,
I'm glad I didn't know that you all were in Florida this week, I would've been very jealous all week thinking about all the fun you're having.  I had a great week as well!  I'm starting to keep a good journal (motivated by my companion) so you'll read more when I get home, but basically, the ward is really catching fire.  They just dedicated a really beautiful new chapel that on Sunday was really full, 99 people!  Our focus on less active members really helps the branch.  Our YW president is a recently reactivated member, and she's given us a reference as well.  Furthermore, on Saturday we knocked on a less active's door, and on Sunday they came to Church! They're highly enthused.  It's great!  We're planning on having an open house on the new chapel soon.  I'm learning the area as fast as I can, this'll be the first time that I learn an area in six weeks, so I'm really working hard.  I realized that maps and google have crippled me a little bit-I never got used to using landmarks and locating myself, not really.  It's good for me, this pressure.  Also this week, I went to the beach to check it out.  We just got back from Santiago, it was my companion's last opportunity to go before he goes to his house.  We have a house.  It's big, kind of dusty, but the back yard is WONDERFUL.  Two coconut trees (between which I will be hanging a hammock shortly) and a mango tree, in a very laid back neighborhood (even though we're in the center of the city) with really fun member neighbors.  I love the house.
My companion is one of the best people I've ever met in my life.  He's always happy and always friendly.  I've decided that loving people is probably the most important thing a person can do.  He really cares about the members and the missionaries and listens to them and serves them happily.  I really admire him.  I think his happy, loving attitude is a huge reason why this branch is growing so much.  It's what Christ would do.  I'm learning so much about people, social life, and Christ.
We're looking for service projects.  There's an organization called Outreach360 that's a big group of Americans here doing community service.  I'm still not sure what they do, but I've seen them playing games with kids in an evangelical church and my comp says that they teach english.  I'm going to get in touch with the coordinator, she's from Arizona.  We're also working in a place called Fundacion Madre Teresa, it focuses on medical assistance, technical courses, and parental education (there's lots of information about the importance of breast feeding, and pregnancy, and other stuff.  Service+learning=fun!)  We go there many mornings.
It's really a small town.  Smaller than Cotui, especially in walking distance, and much less developed.  The main sources of work here are the salt plants from the ocean and the farms of bananas, which are sent to Germany, apparently.  I like the feeling.  I've never really considered living in this country, but... who knows.  Maybe it wouldn't be so bad.
The humidity doesn't affect me too much.  I don't know if I'm used to it, or maybe we have less than there is in Florida.  Bread rots quickly, so we don't buy too much, and we always leave it covered.  We sweat a lot.  But I don't feel suffocated by it.  And the fruit that can grow because of the humidity is SO worth the sweating.
AAAH!  Acapella music.  I love music.  I love making music.  i'm teaching elder Chalas the piano.  He's really fast.  I've done a couple songs with other missionaries around the mission, but I wish I could do it a little more.  Later.  
Yeah, it's definitely a desert.  When I was in Cotui, someone said, "Montecristi?  You're going to Montecristi? They have Cactus there!  It's like... it's like, the DESERT!  Like the desert in Arizona!  You know the Desert in Arizona?"  "I'm FROM the desert in Arizona!"  "oh."  So, yeah.  It is pretty deserty.  Hardly EVER rains.  It rains two miles in every direction from here, but the rain just skips over this city.  There's almost always lots of breeze, too, so that makes the heat hardly noticable.
Virginia?  You guys are going?  Cool!  Take lots of pictures!  I'm highly considering east coast for medical school, so learn as much as you can about lifestyle and such.  
I was in the mission office, looking at pictures of 18 year old boys and 19 year old girls that are coming on the mission, and it really changed my whole perspective of the mission.  I remember thinking that returned missionaries were so mature and so... spiritual.  Now I realize... we're really just kids, and the mission is really a great service we offer that helps us grow greatly, but we're not... that grown up. And when we get here, we really are just kids with nametags on and a great call to fulfill, and stars in our eyes.  I haven't gotten too much contact with the young missionaries, but I interviewed a very shy new missionary on Monday and tried to help him gain a little more confidence.
I've learned a lot about how important it is that we do our part.  Often I think about how "Things would only change if the government would..."  or "the world would be a better place if everyone else would...." but it's so important that I do my part, or I'll never be able to make a difference.
Anyway, family, I love you all!
You're the best!  Can't wait to see you in October!  Meanwhile, I'll be working til I can't stand anymore.
Elder Taylor

Jun 12, 2013

Trent's email 6/5/13

Hey Mom! and Dad!
I DID get transferred!  I'm in Montecristi.  Buh bye, rain, hello beach!  I'm stoked.  It's on a side of the mission that I've never been before, clear up in the corner of the map.  Literally, the corner.  Half an hour from the Haitian border and ten minutes from the beach.  My companion is Elder Chalas, he'll be done with the mission this transfer, and he's one of the most energetic missionaries I've ever met.  From the DR.  We'll be quite a dynamic duo.  I'll definitely finish the mission here.  Also, Elder Barrus came up to this Zone with me, so we'll be doing companionship exchanges, for which we are extremely excited.  He was my companion in Provo, and we always dreamed about ending the mission together.  Furthermore, we're close to the beach (which I've yet to see my whole time in the mission), and the really cheap Haitian market.  I'm stoked!  It will be extremely hot with lots of large mosquitoes, but God gave us sunscreen and bug spray for a reason :)  Elder Matos is a great friend of mine, now, and I have lots of good friends in the mission.  I'm so grateful for technology so I can keep in touch with people all over the globe.
I bet that celtic concert was really fun!  I hope you guys enjoyed yourselves.  It's good for Dad to suffer a little, give him a little culture.  =)
Dad's resilience is incredible.  I sure hope to be able to work as hard as he does.  Great man.
Will you do me two favors, Mom?  first, I need more of that under the retainer floss, that's good for threading.  Also, I want you to start doing a little bit of research about medical schools, especially with good neurology programs, so I can get in contact with them my first day home.  I really need your help, because I want to take off as soon as I get home, but I don't want to take time worrying about it right now, and I know I can trust you to do some thorough research (especially in your free time).  Thank you!
Do you all need anything?  in the Dajabon market, we find everything from footballs to waffle irons to tennis shoes, and VERY VERY cheap.
Furthermore, what kind of souveneir can I get for you all?  A dominican girlfriend?  Or.... bags?  Scripture cases?  There's a cool guy here who does stitched leather scripture cases where you can put whatever design or picture or temple or scripture on the case.  They're really cool, and I have some with the DR and the St. George Temple.  I love them!  Lots of different colors.  And TAYLOR on the side.
Anyway, I love you all!  Let me know what kind of things I can find you!
Elder Taylor

Jun 5, 2013

Trent's email 5/29/13

Aww, mom, you´re the best.
I´m glad your summer is happy for now, even though the heat maybe won´t be too happy.  I want you all to see the flowers and trees and sunrises and beaches in this country (well, I still haven´t seen any beaches with my own eyes, but the pictures are INCREDIBLE...).  Its such beautiful countryside!  Two weeks ago I was in a very tranquil forest by a river with the most INTERESTING leaves and plants and things.  Wow.  You all need to come see it. Even though we´ll probably never get to that forest, because Cotuí´s pretty far from civilization.  I´m not looking forward to the summer.  Sounds like President´s gonna transfer me next week, so I could end up by the beach, or in some REALLY HOT area.  Cotuí is average.
Have you ever tried eating cactus?  I think I´m gonna try it when I get home.  There´s a little cactus here. Therés lots of Aloe Vera.  LOTS.  
I can´t wait to get home and practice music again.  I miss it.  Tonight we have a ward talent night, but I don´t think hardly anyone is participating... I prepared a Come Thou Fount arrangement... we´ll see how it goes.  I´m also accompanying the primary president.  I think lots of investigators will be there, so I´m sure hoping we´ll make a good impression.  Please pray for us.
Hahaha, easy going people... I feel like I would ruin that whole atmosphere.  I have developed self control on the mission, but I´m still hyperactive sometimes.
Becca sent me pictures of the tube, looks like it was really fun!
Our new place is much better.  We´re very happy.  We spent today cleaning the old place.  We finally got electricity on Monday, for a total of 22 days without light, but it´s really not that hard on the mission.  The most difficult part was washing everything by hand, and then getting home at night to a dark house.  Other than that, we hardly ever use the fridge or the blender, and there´s no such thing as TV, air conditioning, or hot water heaters, so we just charged our phone in the church.  We have keys to the chapel, which I find weird.  It was wonderful to have cereal with cold milk on Tuesday morning, though (I´m finally used to the milk).
We found a japanese family in our area, and I emailed Meg and Saya to give me some Japanese tips, and they did!  I love those girls!  So great.
You guys have to meet Sister Douglas.  She´s SO COOL!  Even if Pilates is laughable, my back feels way better.
Yeah, so here´s the thing with the weather.  No day is rainy, no day is sunny, no day is cloudy.  Weather changes by the hour.  Two hours ago, it was storming.  Right now, it´s cloudy.  An hour ago, it was sunny.  It´s just crazy. You never know when you´re going to get soaked.  The worst part is that life shuts down when it´s raining because Dominicans are rainaphobic (yes, that is a made up word).  They think that if their heads get wet, they´ll get the flu or they´ll get a headeache, without fail.  I don´t know what the temperature´s like here, but I´m not excited for summer.  Thanks for your prayers!
Best family ever.
Elder Taylor

May 29, 2013

Trent's email 5/22/13

Dear Mom,
You always have the most creative titles in your emails =)
My week´s been alright.  We moved.  I´ve learned how to do Pilates!  Very interesting. We´ve done some good contacts and are excited to go back and teach those people.  Today we´ve been waiting ALL DAY for the company to come put light in our new house (we never got it back in the old house... we´re on day 16 without energy, and counting) and he still hasn´t come, so we decided to break for the internet center.  It´s been raining.  We´re loving our new apartment, although it´s not perfect, I´m happy.  We sleep much better at nights for the lack of noise, and everything´s well organized.  We love the space.  Conference magazines finally arrived, we´re eating those up.  I love Elder Cardon´s talk about repentance, that man is a MACHINE!  Also, my companion thinks my cooking is improving a lot.  I think I´m getting pretty good.  We eat a lot.
I just love talking to people about the Book of Mormon.  I don´t think I´ll ever stop.  This Book has changed my life!  Everything I think, the problems that I need to resolve, the questions that I have, make so much sense as I read this book.  It´s exhilarating to tell someone who doesn´t know the book about it, someone who really wants to follow Jesus Christ.
Furthermore, I still love meeting people.  There are so many interesting people in the world, all with different ideas and experiences.  I can learn SO MUCH!  It´s very fun.
We´ve also been focused on service.  A lot of times, service can help open people´s hearts and help them change their perspectives about the Church "from the CIA, that carries guns in their bags, and inspects houses for drugs," or "the Joseph Smith worshippers."  We talked to the city government, and they told us about an alphebetization project that they´re doing nationwide, we´re gonig to see if we can get some members involved.  Meanwhile, we´re searching for other projects, especially cleaning the river.  So depressing, seeing a river full of garbage...
I´m learning so much about leadership skills, and how to make a difference, how to talk to strangers, and professionals, and presidents, and governors.  I can´t wait to go back to BYU and implement some service ideas and find ways to help people... Life´s full of excitement.
I´m so proud of you all for participating in a race!  That´s great!
Barbecue.... oooh, please, please, please can we plan a barbecue when I get home?  I miss that stuff.  Soo much.  I hope it went well. How funny, St. George, full of old people.  Interesting.  I hope the kids weren´t too bored.  It´ll be fun to play in an open field and throw a football.  Dominicans are crazy about baseball and basketball, but football almost doesn´t exist... =(
Hahaha, you almost had a nervous breakdown?  I usually get the chance to teach an improvised Gospel Principles class... I really should start preparing it, because even though they never officially ask me to do it, I always end up teaching it...  I realized that the best classes come through simple explanations, scripture, personal testimony, and inspiring questions.  It´s really not too complicated, I don´t think.  And the Church manuals are FANTASTIC.  I really liked the temple lesson as well.  I bet it was a beautiful scene, especially considering all the work they had done.  Those people LIVED for that temple.  Many died for it.  And it still stands, and still inspires, and still is a wonderful place of worship.  What an excellent sacrifice.  It will be wonderful to be able to visit the temple once again.
I´m so happy that Dad is getting his own practice!  I know he likes that business managing stuff, I bet it´ll be a fun experience for him.  He should be an old pro by now, I think!  Good for him.  I hope he can find an adequate dentist, someone who speaks spanish, and that the latins want really pretty teeth.
Speaking of which, Dad, how much does teeth whitening cost?
I´m going to forward you the pictures from Turkey.  From TURKEY.  She´s in freaking Turkey.  Lucky girl.  
How cool would that be!
C´mon, Mom!  Think about how much she´ll learn about life!
Hahaha, I´m glad she´s making the right decision, even though it´s hard.  August is coming up fast.  DON´T LET HER DATE UNTIL I GET HOME!
So I can interview those twerps.
Courtney´s mom is very sympathetic to all people all the time.  She´s very interested in the lives of her daughters, and therefore has been interested in me since we started dating, and I guess it never went away.  Also, she works for LDS Family Social Services, so I think she´s kind of attached to me because of that.  Except I might´ve offended her today, because I told her that Obama is not the antichrist.
I´m starting to wonder what happened that all these women are worrying about me... why can´t there be any my age that are worried about me? Haha.  I sure do appreciate the prayers, though.
Mom, you´re the best, and I will never replace you for anyone.  Your emails always cheer me up, and I really love knowing what´s happening with you three.  I can´t wait to get home and spend time with the three of you and just chat.  I have so many questions, so many goals, and so many things, and I need your help, all three of you, and all the support you can give me.  Life´s not going to be easy when I get home, and without your constant support, I don´t think I´ll make it.  Thanks so much for always being there for me, Mom, even when I really didn´t show any appreciation or respect for how hard you worked for me.  I can´t wait to see you again.
I love you!
And I love the rest of you, too!
Elder Trent Taylor

May 21, 2013

Trent's email 5/15/13

Aww, you guys are the greatest!
So, I have to tell you to check out Courtney´s blog.  Jerusalem sounds amazing.
Meanwhile, I sure hope Kaden´s alright.  I know he really liked her.  What mission is she in? Who´s her mission President?  Sheri´s dad is a mission president out there somewhere...
I´m glad we can entertain you with our drama.  Hahaha.
So, the new plan was okay, but we decided that it still needs some rennovation.  We´re going to do a lot of talking to lots of people, but also more teaching as well.  We´ve found some really good people.  Yesterday we went to an excellent zone conference where we talked about the importance of service (Mother Teresa was mentioned and quoted many times...  She´s Sister Douglas´s idol), and talked about helping our progressing investigators in more specific ways... We should be constantly processing how to help them have more significant prayers, enjoy church, read the scriptures, answer their questions, but also have good friends in church and not depend on us completely.  It was a fantastic capacitation, and I´ve been thinking a lot about it lately.  I think it´s going to be a really successful five months.
I´m teaching my companion the piano, and I´m practicing singing.  I´m going to do more singing when I get home, if I can afford it.
All the stuff that´s happened lately has really caused me to think about the purpose of marriage, what is happiness, how does marriage fit in the plan, and what I want to do after the mission.  In conclusion, I´m not capable of deciding anything until I get home, so I´m not going to worry about it.
Umm, I love you all.
Take care! See you soon!  Have a blast in Disney World!

May 14, 2013

Trent's email 5/8/13

Sounds like your prayers have been answered.  I sure am feeling better
than last week!
Ahh, it was just frustrating because it was a miscommunication.  I´m
okay.  Prayer does great things, but it´s important for me to do
everything I can first, and then ask the Lord to take care of what I
can´t do.  That´s my favorite scripture, if you remember.  2 Nephi
So, no one´s coming to Church.  It´s extremely frustrating, because
they appear committed when we talk to them.  I´ve decided for a
complete overhaul of the way we contact.  This area´s so big with so
many untouched neighborhoods (granted, takes a little bit of walking
to get to them) that we´re not gonna teach anyone we meet unless we
feel VERY motivated to teach them, but rather invite many, many, many
people to come to Church, give them pamphlets of the Plan of Salvation
(for some reason, we have over a thousand of those in the house) and
teach the people that respond.  Maybe someone is prepared, waiting for
the Gospel, and just needs an invitation.  Maybe no one will come to
church, but someone will read the pamphlet, and ask us questions about
it, and then we´ll know that they´re truly interested.  Before, we
would just sit down with whomever we could and try to get them
interested in the message; it hasn´t been working.  Pray for us to
find the people that are waiting for us!  And that we have strength to
walk very far, sometimes getting very wet... it´s rainy season!  But,
there´s no greater cause.
Man, those people in high leadership callings have to have fantastic
spiritual experiences.  I mean, it has to be really really difficult
to do what they do, so without those motivating experiences, I don´t
think they could do it.  Plus, they´re called to be special witnesses
of Christ.  What a joy would that be.  But, a huge burden, surely.
I´ve had the chance to talk to some area seventies here, and they´re
wonderful people.
I´ve really been bothered this morning by poverty.  It´s depressing.
They tell us as missionaries that we´re not supposed to give out money
or food to anyone, which makes sense, because we can´t become a source
of physical dependance, but it´s so sad to see a guy without family
and without the ability to work beg for food.  Everyone deserves a
chance.  Everyone needs someone to love them.  How can I, one person,
help so much poverty, so much sadness?  It´s a puzzle I´m going to
work on.
Wao.  The stake is full of missionaries.  What stake are we in now?
It´ll be funny to go home to a stake that I don´t know.
I don´t know if I just missed the boat, or what, but I don´t think I
ever really received direct answers to my prayers before the mission.
Once, about the Book of Mormon.  But, here, I get answers daily.  It´s
incredible.  I love studying the scriptures and living a clean life.
Those things, I don´t ever want to change.  What could be better than
receiving information from an all loving omnipotent Being about your
daily purpose, or your individual questions?  I´m so thankful for all
the sacrifices I´ve made to be here, and all of yours, family, and all
the ones other people have made, because they helped me realize what´s
truly important, helped me come closer to my Savior.  I wrote a poem
about eight months ago, that I want to share with you (With one change
thanks to Elder Grover)
I gave Him my heart,
My girlfriend,
A ton of walking,
And two whole years.
He cleansed my soul,
Amplified my love,
Strengthened my step,
And taught me to treasure each day.

Don´t take the girlfriend part too literally, alright?

Anyway, that´s how I feel.

I love you all!  Have a fantastic week!  Talk to you on Sunday!
Élder Trent Taylor

May 7, 2013

Trent's email 5/1/13

Dear Mom,
It´s been a great day.  I´m burnt.  We went and played basketball (We had six missionaries and a member playing basketball, and then soccer, and it was great fun, even though I´m terrible at soccer and my Peruvian companion walked all over us), I did laundry, we went shopping.  Later, we have some great lessons that I´m excited for.  We met some REALLY pro-bible (and therefore anti-Book of Mormon) people this week, but they´re intrigued by the BoM, so I´m excited to go back there and see what we can do.  The Spirit is essential.
I´ve learned a whole lot about Jesus Christ and faith and I´m excited to practice everything that I´ve learned.  Life gets more and more intriguing as I learn more about the gospel.  More fulfilling.  
I´m trying to help my companion learn english.  It´s going well.  He understands almost everything.  We also went to go teach english in a high school, that was very fun.  Everyone payed attention really well, I guess it was like, the special guest factor.  
Melanie got married.  Wow.  How excellent!  Good for her.  I can´t wait to see Mandi´s wedding invitation.  I sure hope Rachel writes me soon.
Go Saya!  There are lots of sisters in our mission who are training and they´re brand new, too.  Three months in, and they´re training.  District leader?  They have female district leaders?  Can they do baptismal interviews?  Go Japan.  I hope to visit there one day.
Good for Danielle!  I didn´t know she was going to Montana.  That´s one of the facebook missions, so you´ll see lots of her there.  
It was strange teaching english in the high school.  Made my head really spin, remembering Pine View.  We have a weird system where the last three weeks of school aren´t worthwhile.  That should change... it´s really just a waste of tax money.
I´ve been thinking a little bit about all the problems here, and I wish I could help with the economy.  There are so few jobs, so many people that WANT to work, but can´t.  And then, rich politicians that do nothing.  I just don´t get it.
WWOOWW.  A family of Rockers?  Kids playing van halen and stuff?  That´s cool.  I can´t wait for different cultural experiences.  It´ll be great to be outside of Utah!  Haha.
I haven´t seen members with the Book of Mormon in their hands, but there are lots of people that ask us for more copies.  "I´m going to give two copies to people, so bring them here!"  I feel like everyone´s really excited to share the gospel.  Maybe the carrying it around doesn´t work, but the giving it away sure has increased.  I think I´m going to carry it around with me all the time when I get home, even at BYU, if nothing else just to help people remember the importance of reading it.  Maybe.
Aah, career.  That´s just a headache waiting to happen.  I was so certain before my mission, but I had such a limited view of the world at that time.  There are so many things that I could do.  Prayer will be very important.  Very, very important.  Courtney´s mom said I should stop worrying about it and pray about it when I get home, but I have to sign up for classes on the 24th of October (yeah, i checked), so I want to know before that day.

Anyway, I love you all.  I know this work is very important, and that Jesus Christ is our Savior.  LEARN ALL YOU CAN ABOUT HIM, EVERY DAY.
And say sincere prayers.
Elder Taylor