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