Feb 26, 2013

Trent's email 2/20/13

Hey Mom and Dad and everyone else.
I´ve learned a lot this week about focusing on the most important thing, and the importance of having a good attitude.  Often, the question shouldn´t be, "What´s wrong," it´s "How can it be better?"  I think it´s a lesson that will help me in personal progress and family life and leadership skills as well.  Furthermore, I´ve learned about the importance of the Spirit.  I really can´t teach the gospel.  I can do my best to find logic in what we teach, but it´s not up to me to make it make sense to people.  God´s in charge of that.  If He wanted it to be a logic thing, he would make all the High Priests go out and teach, instead of stupid 20 year old boys and girls.  It was humbling and inspiring to figure that out--I´ve been able to focus a lot more on my personal prayers and the power of the scriptures than on my own logic.  I like it.  Less of a headache, and more strengthening.  It´s been a challenge for me my whole life to depend on the Spirit, so it´s wonderful to have an opportunity to strengthen that relationship and follow those promptings.  I´ve grown a lot.  I think this week will be even better. 
We had some interesting experiences this week.  Friday was a very long day with lots of contacting.  But, on Saturday, we had the pleasure of hearing Elder Neil L. Andersen and his wife bear us their testimonies, and then Elder Ronald Rasband of the Presidency of the Seventy and President Anderson of the Area and their wives gave us some really powerful experiences in their visit to the mission.  We were able to learn a lot about how to keep your chin up after a hard day.  We applied it well on Sunday, too, because it was also a bit difficult.  I´m not sure when we´ll get the progress that´s expected of us, but I won´t stop working until I´m done with my mission, so even if I never baptize another soul, I´ll be able to say I did my best.
I´ve also been planning activities, like usual.  I like planning.  I like being involved in things.  I like it when activities I plan run smoothly.
Glad to hear that Grammy´s getting better!  She does so much good when she´s got energy, it´s great to know that she´s up and doing projects again.  I hope you´re enjoying your weather.  My companion is willing to go running with me in the mornings, so we´ve been doing that.  Today we played basketball, too.  I´ve been doing lots of strength exercises, and I think I´m probably in the best physical shape I have been since sophomore year, when I was swimming every day.  I like it. 
I need to hang out with our cousins more.  Jessica writes me every once in a while with updates about the family.  She´s cool.  I hope Melanie´s happy.  I don´t know why I never hung out with them.  All kinds of people are gonna be married when I get home... how weird.  Let me know what happens at the open house.  Kelcie is graduating.  Wow.
Go Beamer!  Congo.  Wow.  Machete mission.  According to Elder Rasband, the announcement for how many missions they´re gonna open this year is "going to blow your mind."  He didn´t tell us how many, though.  The mission is currently at 160 missionaries.  In June it will be at 200.  In October, they´ll have about 250.  And maybe half of them will be sisters.  Big changes going down.  No wonder, with everyone and their dog getting a mission call out there.  I´m excited for Ashley!
Elder Fabián is good.  We´re learning a lot from each other, I think.  He´s helping in my not-being-so-critical all the time (I´ve been studying patience and charity a lot as well).  And he´s a good teacher.  He´s new in the mission, six months.  He mopped and swept the house today, so I´m happy.
I´m glad Becca´s getting more responsible.  Reading all the Liahona´s, it´s impossible not to think about how to raise children.  I was impressed this month, there´s an article about "How to raise resilient children," and I realized that you two applied lots of those things with me, and I feel as though I´m pretty resilient.  I mean, it´s pretty notable out here in the mission, people who can´t handle challenges very well.  Thanks for being such great parents.  I´ll definitely need lots of help when I start my family.
I don´t get why someone would want to ditch seminary or mutual... I loved seminary more than all my other classes, and mutual was cool, as long as I had friends... which I never did in St. George, but whatever.  I´m still not exactly sure what "New Beginnings" is, but I´m glad they´re focusing on testimony building.  Maybe it´ll help less people want to skip seminary.
So, the Book of Mormon is the word of God, just in case you wanted to hear it from a missionary.  So grateful for it, really clears up a lot of doubts.  Pray about it and study it, and God will help you know it´s true by a feeling in your heart and a surety in your mind.  I like reading the scriptures.  Going back through Jesus the Christ a second time.  Yeah.
Other than that, I love you all, and have a great week!
Elder Taylor

Feb 19, 2013

Trent's email 2/13/13

Mom!  Becca!  Dad!
Saya and Meg are going to Japan!  Well, I guess Saya´s already there.  SO CRAZY!  Meg wrote me a letter a couple of months ago... MAN.  Life changes in two years, I guess, not everyone just stays where they were.  I love Saya´s mom.  Do you like working there?  What happened to nursing? 
I hope you enjoy working there, Mom.  Sometimes it´s not the best, but I always feel more accomplished when I work hard in something. I don´t know how rewarding lunch clerking is, but I hope you enjoy it =)
CONGRATS TO MELANIE!  That´s weird, but good.  ...I actually thought she was already married.  Oh yeah, she had a returned missionary boyfriend.  It´s not that guy?  Hmm.  Okay, so are you guys going to the reception?
I hope Keri´s happy, too.  Chase... when does he get home?  And what´s up with Laura and Kris and Kelcie? 
I was in Santiago just for the day last week.  I have another month here in La Vega (at least.  Maybe more) but I have a new companion, (a full time missionary, yay!) Elder Fabián from the capital.  He speaks quickly, but I´ll learn a lot from him.  The first strong-willed companion I´ve had in a long time.  It´ll probably take adjusting, but it´ll be alright.  I´m excited.  I bet he´s a good teacher.
Elder Stratford is a good friend of mine here in the mission.  He grew up in Springville, and he´s a really open minded person.  We think very similarly in many of the things that happen here in the mission, and it´s good to have a friend.  He´s going to BYU as well. 
It´ll be weird to be in a normal ward where I just have like, a calling... and I won´t be like, in charge of everything like I am here.  Kind of nice probably.  Be able to relax and just learn, instead of organize so much.
I wish Dad were home more often. Sounds like it´s difficult.
I have the option of extending my mission a transfer (six weeks) and I was seriously considering it this week, but I decided against it because I need to go home and hang out with Becca and take an online physics course before I enter school in January.  I hope we get lots of time to hang out during those two months that I have before I go back to BYU, with Becca and you two as well.
What AP classes is Becca Taking?
Ooh, I bet the 16th floor is FANTASTIC!  Man, It´ll be good to be back in a 1st world country, too.  Yeah.
This week I´ve been thinking a lot about the difference between a blessing and a punishment.  A lot of times, I think that one is opposite to the other.  As in, if I´m not blessed, I HAVE to be punished.  But, I realized that it´s not true.  I can keep doing, like, normal things, and never get blessed or punished.  It´s when I go the extra mile that the true blessings, the true miracles, the true strength in missionary work and in the gospel really happens.  I LOVE learning.  I hope you all are reading your scriptures lots!  There are SO MANY THINGS to learn.
I love you all!
Elder Taylor

Feb 12, 2013

Trent's email 2/6/13

I'm in Santiago!  I went to Wendy's.  IT WAS AMAZING.  I had a
strawberry shortcake frosty and chili.  I asked for extra chili
seasonings so I can take them home.  I love it.  I miss American food.
I'm also hanging out with Elder Stratford, he's a stud.  Maybe we'll
be companions at BYU.
I'm glad to hear about the super bowl, I remember Pitta!  That's so
cool that he made a touchdown, maybe it's not so bad that the 49ers
lost after all.
That'll be so cool to see Meg on the mission.
This week we had some really fun contacts.  One guy made up a
scripture to tell us that the Book of Mormon was false.  That was
funny.  Also, another guy totally rejected us, it was one of the few
times that I was straight up rejected without even a "How are you?"
or "No thank you."  I figure I'm blessed to be in a country that's so
willing to talk about Jesus Christ.
I had two great baptismal interviews and two good companion exchanges
this week.  Robert, the German who's super intelligent with great
leadership ability, was baptized into our branch.  It was a pleasure
to witness.  I can't wait to see what changes in our ward because of
that.  Also, there's another youth that I was able to interview, and
I'm excited to see growth.  Sunday was actually a pretty heart warming
day in Sacrament meeting.  We're working with so many families that
have SO MUCH POTENTIAL.  Just trying to get timing right so that we
help them feel the desire to come to church.  It's really incredible.
I love you all.  Keep me updated!  i can't wait to be with you all
again in October!
Elder Taylor

Feb 5, 2013

Trent's email 1/30/13

Mom, Cody, and dear old Pop,
It´s been a great week.
I got a mini missionary from Cotuí, a tiny town up in the mountains
close to here.  This is the first time he´s spent more than a week
away from home (Dominicans are super home-bodies, and Momma´s boys.
Way more than most of us), but he´s a really humble guy, and does
really well for only having 4 years in the church.  Pretty quiet,
reminds me of Elder Rodríguez back in April, my other dominican
companion.  I am, thankfully, sleeping in my own apartment again since
Friday night, and it´s much more comfortable.  Hermano Torres is good
at speaking English, has a strong desire to work and serve, and gets
excited when we have a successful lesson, which we´ve had quite a few
these last two days.  We´re working with lots of families and trying
to help lots of Catholics listen a little better.  It´s something I
haven´t been able to do my whole mission, but I think we´re finally
teaching clearly, and I love it.  I mean, it´s so simple.  If Moses
were here, they´d all listen.  Why wouldn´t they want to know about
our message?  Thank you, M. Russell Ballard´s 'Our Search for
Happiness'.  I never realized how effective those books in the
missionary library really are.  I love teaching. I love helping people
come closer to God.  I love the way I feel when I testify about God.
Best two years, no doubt in my mind.
It will be good to have a regular missionary next transfer, I think.
Two more weeks.
I changed the way I pray.  I often think of God as just an omnipotent
being that is really difficult to understand and rewards us based on
good desires and our "best effort," or what I want to pass off as
"well, I did the best I could."  I decided to picture Him more like
Dad.  A wonderful, hard working man who wants to help me in whatever I
need, but who has all power and infinite love to do so.  It helped. I
realized that I´m really the one in charge, that I can´t blame anyone
else for failure but myself, and that I can reach much more if I pray
a little more sincerely and work a little harder.  To quote a poem I
learned in 7th grade (thank you, Mr. Scott Buck, for making me
memorize it), "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my
soul."  So, maybe I won´t be able to baptize dozens of people on my
mission, but I will make a difference, and I will be a witness to
those who want to know about God, and those who I DO baptize will have
a strong testimony, and the missionaries I see will become better
missionaries because they knew me.  I am capable of those things.
Whatever else happens is more or less in the hands of everyone else.
And God will help me, because He loves me and He wants it to happen,
too.  Just like Dad would help me if he were here.  It was a
life-changing experience.
Thanks for getting me more shirts.  I bought a couple here, but
they´re just pathetic.  I don´t like them.  I´m not too concerned
about the brand, but the fabric is SO important.  I already sweat
Meg Gass wrote me last week.  She´s great.  Going to Japan on a
mission.  She told me that Mandi would probably get married soon.  How
cool that we´re in the Hendrickson´s ward!  I love those guys.  Good
for Mandi.
I´m glad you went to a couple of movies together!  It´ll be super fun
to go with you guys again.  I´m really excited for that.
Glad to hear that Bob´s working.  Hoping that Alysa will be okay.
Rough life, little kid.  I read a lot of scriptures about that kind of
stuff this week, but I left them in the house.  I wish I could relate
to her, to help her out.  Hopefully someone will be there for her.
I hope you get the job at Pineview!  haha.  Courtney sounded excited about the snow, I miss being cold... but only
a little.  Mostly I miss cold weather things, like tubing and hot
chocolate and fire places.
Still working!  Lots of families.  Aah, such good stuff.  one of these days!
Keep reading your scriptures and praying!  As a family!  Love you all.
Elder Taylor