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.
Love,
Elder Taylor

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