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.