Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hermana Taylor Here! ~ October 19, 2015


Your California missionary here with another amazing week to report on!

So my new companion is Sister Hill from Missouri! They just did a little flip in our apartment , so now Sister Hill's with me and Sister Reyes is with Sister Harward (Sister Hill's previous comp). It's a little weird to all still be in the same casa just flip flopped but it has been great, I loved Sister Hill to death already then she became my amazing companion! Sister Hill is fantastic and I have already learned so much from her! We are very excited for this transfer and all the miracles we will see and the people we will meet, teach, and help come closer to Christ.

So Sister Hill has only been out one transfer longer than me! And go figure, neither of us know Spanish! We've hit language study hard and talked a lot more. This week has been an incredible experience with an impressive learning curve! It's really been birth by fire because both of our trainers were natives so we could just rely on them for everything. Now, it's you understand and talk or you don't teach or even communicate at all. I Love It! I have never felt more comfortable with the language in being able to speak or understand. I am to the point where I can start to joke around with people in Spanish (aka be myself) and it has been great because it really opens people up and builds that bond between us even more.

Lalo and Christian Pantoja, my recent converts, are doing really well! Lalo told us that he wants to go on a mini mission! I am so excited for him, can't wait! And Christian, wow, I have literally never heard such cute and sincere prayers. Every time he prays I smile because he ays something completely unexpected and perfect like: Please help my mom to get baptized so we can go to heaven together or help Lalo to go on a mission and then me to go too when I'm old enough. It gives me so much joy to be part of these wonderful lives! I love this work!

We had a beautiful baptism on Saturday for Juan! He was such a ready person; it's been great to see how the Lord prepares people to receive the gospel into their lives and Juan was definitely one of them! I know the Lord has sent me to California to find, teach, and help these people on their way to a new life in Christ. I have had the amazing opportunity to see Juan an others enter into that new life by way of baptism. It is the most sweet joy to see someone you love and have taught for weeks in that special moment. I am so excited for Juan! He is so great! It was also the most smooth sailing baptism I have ever experienced! Everything seemed to go just perfectly!

Right after the baptism I started to feel awfully nauseous. We had a missionary event we were singing for and the moment we got there I found myself on the floor of the bathroom with my head over the bowl. My sweet but helpless companion outside the stall occasionally asking if I was okay and if there was anything she could do. I am sure it was a silly sight to see! When I felt okay enough to leave the bathroom we went to the chapel, sang (nailed it) and then went right back to my spot on the tile. Sister Hill told me I was Super pale and "clammy" which I didn't even know what that meant but a worried looking mother informed me that Sister Hill was right, I was definitely pale and "clammy". I spent the next hour either sleeping on the couch with the worried mother over me every 5 minutes and the bathroom floor. What a night! :)

I love this work! I am so blessed to be here with these amazing people! I love this work and I am so happy and blessed to be here!

Thanks everyone!

Your Missionary Gal ~ September 28, 2015

Hola everyone!

This week has been pretty intense and inspiring at the same time! But we have had some truly incredible and humbling experiences. I love this work and the people I have and will meet!

On Tuesday we went to the hospital with the Elders in our ward to visit a non member Stephanie and her 11 month old daughter Liabelle who is in intensive care because she is in a coma and experiencing seizures every 3-5 minutes. Stephanie greeted us with a huge smile and hugs despite her situation. The Elders gave a blessing to Liabelle and hearing the beautiful blessing and seeing that tiny frame undergoing so much was hard for anyone in the room to keep a dry eye. We then gave Stephanie a message about hope and faith. She is possibly the strongest person I have ever met. She told us that her personal faith had wavered the day before and she had been a little upset with God but that that night she had asked Heavenly Father for forgiveness. She is so positive and trusting in God at this time even though things are not getting better. I know that I personally as well as everyone who has encountered Stephanie and Liabelle have been strengthened and uplifted simply by being in the same room as these two amazing daughters of God.

We started teaching a lady named Haydee this week who has stage 4 cancer. The elders and us went and we had a mini church/sacrament meeting with her and her 15 year old daughter Ashley all in Spanish of course. We had an opening song and prayer, they took the sacrament, and then we had a mini testimony meeting the 6 of us. The four missionaries bore their testimonies and then Haydee bore hers.. She talked about her situation and how it was really scary for her and the biggest thing that stood out to me that she said was "No quiero morir." Or I don't want to die. This hit me and everyone pretty hard and there were quite a few tears shed. But she said that she wants to be baptized. That she knows if she is baptized, even if she does pass away she will be able to live with her Father in Heaven and her family forever. She is truly an amazing lady.

Friday we had a double baptism for our investigator Cristian, Lalo's brother, and the other Hermana's investigator Eriverto. Things were kind of hectic because we didn't get the programs until the last moment and they had the wrong information, our Mission Leader was 30 minutes late and we had already started, we didn't have a pianist or hymn books in Spanish, Lalo is a brand new member of one month and so he didn't have the words memorized for the prayer, we didn't have a video presentation set up like usual, and to top it off our Mission President showed up to watch the missionaries running around trying to fix everything haha. We got some ice cream after that. But, the important thing is that the spirit was there and two amazing people were able to enter into a promise with our Father in Heaven to serve Him and be an example of Jesus Christ. They were so happy after and it was such a great feeling to have helped them get there.

We went to a baptism of one of Sister Reyes' investigators and when we got there only some members were in the room. They told us they thought they were in the gym. When we walked in there was quite a scene to behold. The lady, Rafaela, getting baptized was in her white dress sobbing on the ground over her special needs son Sammy who was lying there screaming in pain. He had apparently fallen off the stage and couldn't move and was very scared. The ambulance came and they put Sammy on the stretcher to take him to the hospital but Rafaela stopped and told us she still wanted to get baptized first. We tried to convince her to go but she told us she knew what she needed to do and that she needed to have faith. She sent her daughter to the hospital with Sammy and we had an opening prayer, the baptism, and a closing prayer. The faith of this mother was absolutely incredible to me. The situation seemed so overwhelming but in Rafaela's mind there was still a promise with God to be made and she knew blessings would come if she put Him first. We found out later Sammy had broken his femur and had surgery and is now doing much better. I really love and admire these people!

Later in the week Hermana Reyes and I went back to see Stephanie and Liabelle and she is doing a little better and Stephanie was as positive as ever! On our way out we saw a big group of people outside of the room of a middle aged man. We talked to a couple of them with some words of comfort and they said he was going to pass on. As we were leaving we made a silly wrong turn down the hall and immediately realizing our mistake turned around and stopped. In front of us on the other side of the intersecting hall was a woman crying. The spirit hit us, hard, and there was no doubt in our minds what we needed to do. We went over and simply told her that her Heavenly Father loves her and is mindful of her and that she is not alone and then she started crying harder and we hugged her for a long time. It was as if her spirit was crying out as well, it was one of the strongest spiritual experiences I have ever had. After, we talked about all of the things that lead up to us seeing her: meeting Stephanie and Liabelle, the woman's loved one being put on the Pediatrics floor of the hospital same wing as Liabelle when he's an older man, us going at that exact moment to see them, us making a wrong turn even though we knew exactly where we were going. Everything aligned perfectly for us to see and comfort that woman. The Lord and Spirit work in miraculous ways and He is always lovingly mindful of us and our needs.

I know Heavenly Father loves each of us so dearly! It helps me remember his love for me when I can feel his all encompassing love for those around me. I am so blessed to be here teaching and serving these people here in California, specifically in the Spanish language.

Thank you everyone for your prayers and support! I can feel them and I am so very grateful! I hope everyone has a great week!

Hermana Taylor

Confessions of a California Hermana :) ~ September 7, 2015

Hello Everyone!

I hope you are doing amazingly! How did looking for the miracles in you life go this week? Everything is going pretty great here in California! Hermana Reyes and I are working pretty hard to get a solid investigator pool going! I love this work! Keep praying for the gift of Tongues and discernment!!

So yes, I am getting chubby, it's sad but true, what can you do though. The members here love feeding you and it's like how much you eat equals how much you like the food/love them. So I love them A LOT! No one judge me when I come home 200 pounds!  We also have a Casa (house) prank rivalry going on right now! So exciting! we scared the daylights out of Sister Harward!! Then They got us GOOD! So we stringed their room :) Picture included haha

So last week during my personal study I went to grab my Book of Mormon to study and it wasn't there... I checked everywhere. I asked Sister Reyes: "Did we give away a Book of Mormon yesterday in English because I can't find mine?" We couldn't think of anyone though. Then, in the middle of the day, it hit me!! So, we had been driving around and seen a homeless man and I had rolled my window to give him an unopened water bottle I hadn't drank yet and then we got the bright idea to reach in the back seat with our stuff and give him a Book of Mormon too...  Yep, I gave my Mission Book of Mormon to a homeless person. SO Funny, I couldn't believe it! :)

We visited Martha this week but unfortunately not her son. But she said after we taught her the plan of Salvation that she knew we weren't like other churches because she could feel it. She said it felt like she was in the presence of God when she was listening to us and we explained that the feeling is the spirit testifying of truth. I love Martha! I can't wait to see her and her son this week!

Lalo is doing amazingly and asked us if he could get a Preach My Gospel (a book for missionaries we study) in Spanish so he could start preparing for a mission in a year. Wow. I am blown away by him each and every week. All his siblings came to church yesterday! It was a beautiful sight! Now we just need the Mom and Dad on board!

So Hermanas Reyes and one of our house mates Hermana Harward got sick and so Hermana Hill and I went out. Hermana Hill and I are both very new in the mission and know Very little Spanish so going out alone was a tad bit scary. For the first time ever in my mission we knocked on a few doors of people we didn't know. It was so weird to tract since we'd just gotten all our investigators from contacting on the street or members. The first two doors were busts but the next 4 doors had families behind them who we got return appointments with and taught a lesson about Jesus Christ. It was amazing to see in what marvelous ways the Lord works. We know they felt the spirit. 

I am so blessed to be here! I love this work and bringing families closer to Christ! I love this scripture, it explains beautifully the Love God has for us! All He does is for US.

2 Nefi 26:24
"He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation."

Love you all,

Hermana Taylor

From your Missionary in California ~ Octubre 12, 2015

Hello everyone!

Another week gone by! It has been 4 months since I left good ol' Oklahoma. It's crazy how time flies by! Before ya know it gordita Hermana Taylor will be home!

I hope everyone picked their 'ponderizing' scripture for this next week! So for those of you who don't know one of the leaders in the church asked us to start picking one scripture a week, writing it down, and putting it somewhere where we will see it all the time. Pondering + Memorizing = Ponderizing. Then throughout the week you read it, think about it, and ponder it. It will help us keep spiritually in our lives and the scriptures in our minds and hearts always! I love it and I think everyone should do it!

Juan is one of our investigators who had a baptismal date then got in a fight with his uncle who's a member and decided he wanted nothing to do with the church and threw away the Book of Mormon. But we kept texting him because we didn't want to give up on him and this week he texted back and asked us to come over. He said he knew he was in the wrong in blaming the church. He said that he knows that he felt that these things are true and he knows God wants him to be baptized! So, now he is getting baptized this next weekend and is so strong and so sure! I am so very excited for him! It was a stressful, up and down process but he is on his way now!

At a Zone Training Meeting (ZTM) this week, we did several role plays or practice teaching another missionary in front of our zone which usually no one enjoys. But, two sets of Elders went first and it was really good and we all learned a lot then, it was Sister Hill and I's turn to role play teach Sister Unga playing as an investigator Ana. We
were teaching how the Spirit or Holy Ghost testifies that things are true and how we can know we have received answers to our prayers by recognizing the spirit. We taught her just like we would any other lesson (except in English and with Sister Hill as my comp) and when we finished we took our eyes off "Ana" (Sister Unga) looking around to the 18 missionaries and everyone was silent. The room was filled with the spirit. It was amazing to see how these role plays which usually are a joke became something so real and spiritual. It was a beautiful meeting.

Haydee had another round of Chemo this week and so it was rough to teach her so we just stopped by to say hi a few times and went with the Elders yesterday while they gave her the sacrament. We have been teaching her 15 yer old daughter though Ashley and she is so strong! I'm really hoping we can make a difference in this family's life and everyone else we meet too!

My companion also got an in-zone transfer call on Saturday! So I'll be getting a new companion again tomorrow for this next transfer (6 weeks)! Keep praying for my Spanish! It gets better all the time.

The thought this week was sent to me by my lovely grandma and I love it! I really have been able to see that love Heavenly Father has for all of His children through working with and serving them. It is a truly amazing thing! "Our Father in Heaven has a love for us that is perfect and never-ending.  Our vision and understanding is limited,
but our Father knows what will promote our greatest happiness and eternal joy.” Joseph Smith

Love you all and so does your Heavenly Father! I hope you have a tremendous week!

Take care,
Hermana Taylor

From Last Week ~ October 12, 2015

Hello all!

Last week we had a Zone activity at the beach on Monday so we weren't able to email so here is a quick review of highlights from that week!

We had the opportunity to go to the Oakland Temple last Friday and it was an incredible experience. It was so beautiful and so peaceful there. I could really feel the love of my Heavenly Father so strongly within those walls of that stunning, eternal palace of God. I encourage all who can to attend one of the temples either inside or at
a visitors' center nearby you! The temple is a literal piece of heaven on earth and I love it there. I cannot wait to enter its' doors to be sealed one day to my future husband for time and all eternity, what an amazing day that will be.

We also had General Conference last weekend, which is where the prophet and apostles for the whole world speak to us from Heavenly Father about how we can strengthen ourselves and our families in an ever growing sinful and treacherous world. I am so grateful for the words of these men called of God to offer council and guidance for us every six months. I absolutely loved their words! It gave me so much motivation and hope to be a better person and missionary!!

Liabelle is still doing well and Stephanie is still as strong and inspiring as ever. We taught her and her husband Cristian The Plan of Salvation and they loved it and said they felt the spirit and that it was true. I am so excited for them!

Spiritual thought for the week! "Reach up, not out." - Robert D. hales, Quorum of the 12 Apostles. I love this! We need to always rely on our Heavenly Father first! He is our loving Father in Heaven and wants to help us with everything we will entrust to His care.

Thank you all for your love and support!

Hermana Taylor
1520 Branham Ln. Apt. #50
San Jose, CA