Thursday, July 30, 2015

Last Days in Mexico City

In the few days before she came home, we got a few messages and pictures from the Stutzneggers.

June 2, 2015 - We love and cherish your daughter. I had the most wonderful "goodbye" interview with her. She is a chosen young saint! We felt the Spirit, talked about many of her mission blessings, her love of the Savior, and just talked about life. I will dearly miss her.

June 7, 2015 - I have your daughter in my possession!!!!!
They have "left their apartment!"
Gonna miss your sweet daughter! She is truly wonderful as you well know!

The group of 20 missionaries about to return to their homes.

They picked up new missionaries on Monday, and did training and the usual things.  Then the cambios meeting was on Tuesday and all the new companionships were formed and eventually left for their areas. Ward members also come some time in there to say their goodbyes. Finally all that were left were the twenty who were going home.  They had a testimony meeting and spent time together on their last evening in Mexico.  

Hanging out at the Stutzneggers home.

June 9, 2015 - Can I call you?

Pres. Stutznegger called me the night before she came home. He said all the hermanas were there in the house, just talking and doing their final bonding. He just wanted to tell me what a wonderful missionary Hermana Taylor had been and how much they loved her and would miss her.
It really was the sweetest call, and most unexpected. I almost wanted her to stay . . . almost!

In the Mexican outfits they flew home in.

Early morning - all packed and leaving the mission home.

She had some delays before leaving.  Her flights had been changed (I knew this because I entered her flight itinerary into the computer the day before - a tip from a missionary mom - and some of her flights didn't exist.  I talked to Missionary Travel and they told me her new itinerary and assured me that she would have all that information on her end).  Anyway, after some delays, they got it all figured out.  Hermana T was glad for the delays because Pres. Stutz had been off in a different part of the airport, sending off some other missionaries, and it gave him time to get back so they could say their goodbyes.

June 10, 2015 - It was so sad to say goodbye to Her!!! :(
It was painful!!!!

Meanwhile, at home, I was tracking her flights.  This is her first flight that left Mexico City at 6:10am Mexico time, heading for Dallas Fort Worth.
From there she flew to Calgary, and then home to us.

This message came after she had left and they had twelve missionaries still there, waiting for later flight.

June 10, 2015 - So very excited for the Taylors! We are all hanging out at the office with 12 missionaries eating dominós pizza, soda, and just killing a little time before the last sad trip to the AirPort!

We got the house ready!

Her last flight was supposed to depart at 4:15pm but it didn't actually leave until 6:08pm.  That gave us almost two hours of watching the board and seeing her flight being delayed time after time for another fifteen minutes each time.  We were working on our long suffering, plugging parking meters and getting mighty hungry!!!  The weather was nice though so we spent lots of time outside.  Finally a plane arrived and we were pretty sure it was the one she was supposed to be on, so we videoed it, and it was indeed her plane.  We watched from a distance as she finally came out the doors, down the glass hallway, and into our arms!  Best hugs ever!!!

Katia and Mackenzie ran up for the first hugs.  They were both very emotional and couldn't get enough of their big sister.

Our family together again - so so wonderful!!!

The whole family - and Hermana Taylor finally got to meet Addison!

In the car.  It was so fun to watch her look around, and observe the differences.  She said "Hey, people stop at traffic lights here - they're not just suggestions!" 

We all went to Tony Romas for dinner, along with both sets of grandparents.  The delayed flight changed our plans and we were starving.  Luckily the stake president was able to meet with her later that evening for her release interview, so we could still eat as planned.  These two little sisters did not leave her side! 

The drive home was interesting too as she got very quiet and was just looking around at all the fields and the space.  "Where are the buildings?  Where are the people?" Home was pretty different when compared to the twenty million people in and around Mexico City!

We took her straight to the Stake President for her release, then went to see some local family and finally home.

It has been a pretty long, tiring and emotional day for our sweet girl.  But bed didn't happen until she opened her luggage that weighed a ton and gave us gifts and showed us her Mexican treasures.  She even brought back mole for us to try!!!

When we asked her what she wanted to do the next day, she immediately responded that she wanted to go to the temple.  The Mexico City temple closed for renovations the month she arrived in Mexico and will open in a few months, and she really missed being able to attend the temple.  
So first thing the next morning, we went to our temple.

A month after she got home, I sent a little update about her to the Stutzneggers.  These were their responses:

Sis Stutz: It is hard to tell you how much we miss your daughter! We loved her so much and miss her sweetness, dedication, and smiling face. We will forever be attached to her! Give her a big hug and we so enjoyed hearing about her current adventures! She deserves to marry the very best - so you have to monitor that one for us!! Love you guys!

Pres. Stutz: I want to wear a little medallion also that says, "I can do hard things". I share that saying with my missionaries all the time. I remind them of Hermana Taylor and her strength. Missionaries get so discouraged so fast when things don't go their way.  We truly love "our" Jasmine.  She will always be a part of our hearts. I really cried at the airport saying "goodbye" to her and all the sisters and Elders we got so attached to!! I cheated and hugged your daughter and kissed her on the cheek!!! We miss her!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Few More Photos

These are a few photos I got from other missionaries who have returned home.

Photo taken by Hma Luque at the Visitors Center.

Studying Hermanas

Flooded streets with Hna Mercedes

A Mexico City Street

Deep in thought

An internet cafe where our weekly emails got sent from

Getting a Krispy Kreme treat at the airport after dropping homebound missionaries off.

Hermanas Taylor and Ingram,walking the streets of Mexico City

Monday, June 8, 2015

{Week 78} Polanco - June 8, 2015

Hi family. This is my last time to write to you all. It's been a crazy, amazing 18 months. I can't believe it's practically over. I think I honestly believed that this day would never arrive. But it has! And I'll be home on Wednesday!

First of all, can you tell Jaime that I love her and that the mail works? I finally got the Christmas card that she sent me lol.

This has been an amazing week... Both Carlos and Bertha were baptized! It was a really special baptismal service.
 - Bertha - her husband called us hypocrites the first time that we met, but we've become friends over the past few weeks, and we were so happy to see him come to the baptismal service to support his wife. Bertha has been such a golden investigator. From the moment we met, she was convinced that the church was true and that she wanted to be baptized. The day of her baptism she was sooo happy. She hugged us and cried, and thanked us for coming into her life. She told us that she wished she had found the church years ago. She said ''I would have joined years ago, but nobody told me. I didn't know. If I had known, I would have done this a long time ago''. We found Bertha when her friend Lourdes who was baptized in October suddenly came up to us in church and told us that she had a reference for us. I am so thankful that Lourdes had the courage and the desire to share the gospel. There are so many people who are prepared and waiting to hear the gospel, they just don't know it, and they won't know until we open our mouths and share our testimonies and invite them to come unto Christ. 

Hno Ramon, Bertha's husband, Bertha, Me, Hna Ingram, Lourdes, and Bertha's kids Jonathan and Alison

 - Carlos - it was a miracle that we found Carlos. We contacted a lady, who gave us a false address, and we then found Carlos at that address. We taught him for about a week or two, and then we couldn't find him. But we kept passing by - and that is the miracle, because usually after a week or so of looking for a person everyday, we stop going by. There are a lot of people who will listen to us once or twice, but then they hide from us and avoid us. Eventually we get the hint and stop coming, but with Carlos we both felt like we had to keep passing by. Finally we found him drunk, we taught him, he stopped drinking, he started coming to church, and he got baptized! He was so happy the day of his baptism. He clasped our hands and cried as he thanked us for helping him to change his life.  
Gustavo, Carlos, Carlos's wife, me, Hna Ingram

On Sunday we had three confirmations - Alejandro, Carlos, and Bertha. When we got to church, Carlos and Alejandro were already there. They come every Sunday morning to church at 7 AM for a priesthood preparation class, which ends in time for our services to start at 8. So they were both there and got confirmed without a problem. I was so happy for them. I could feel the spirit strongly. But Bertha didn't show up. We called her about 20 times that morning, but she didn't answer. Before the sacrament hymn we snuck out and tried one last time. We had decided that if she didn't answer we would look for her at her house after the sacrament and help her get to church to be confirmed. But she answered! She had woken up late and was on her way. She got there right after the sacrament and was confirmed. It was so amazing to see these three people that I have come to love so much receive these sacred ordinances. I love seeing people's faces light up and their countenance change as they find and accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Alejandro was a huge example of that - after his baptism he looked completely different. His face was peaceful, when before it had always been full of worries and concerns. I love seeing people change. I love teaching people as a full time missionary. I know that the gospel helps us to change our lives, and I am so grateful for this chance I've had to be here.
Us with Alejandro on Sunday

Sunday was fast and testimony meeting. We bore our testimonies - as well as half the ward. The last testimonies finished 30 minutes late. There was a lineup at the pulpit. Many mentioned us in their testimonies and thanked us. Even though the testimonies stopped super late, they still sang the closing song. It was #88 - ''Placentero nos es trabajar''. I love this hymn. It doesn't exist in English, but it has come to be one of my favorite hymns. The first verse talks about the joy and pleasure we find in preaching the gospel and helping others learn about Christ. The second verse exhorts the people to listen to the word of God and to always remember the love He has for us. And the third verse says something like this - ''Farewell my brethren, the time to go has come. But if we keep the faith in God, we will see each other again on the other side, and we will dwell with God''. It was so appropriate, and I just cried through the whole thing. Then after church, everyone hung out for about an hour, and we took a bazillion pictures, and I cried a lot. I've been in this ward for 11 months, and it was so sad for me to say goodbye to everyone. They've all become so special to me, and it's hard to know when I'll see them again. When I said goodbye to you all 18 months ago, it was sad, but it was okay because I knew I'd see you again in a year and a half. But when I say goodbye to the people here, it is really sad because I have no idea when I'll see them again. But it's okay, because like it says in the song, I know that if we keep the faith and are obedient, we will see each other again. 
My last Mexican meal - pazole!

It's been an amazing 18 months. It went by so quickly - but at the same time I can't remember ever doing anything else other than full time missionary work. It has amazed me the love that I have come to feel for the people that I have met here. My testimony has grown so much. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live and love me. I know that Jose Smith was a prophet. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet now. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and if we study it diligently everyday, we will find amazing answers and knowledge. I know that when we pray with faith, He hears us and He will answer us. I have felt His love and His guidance in my life, and I know that He will never forsake us. I know that we have a huge responsibility to share the gospel, and if we have the courage to open our mouths, He will give us the words we need to help others feel the Spirit. I came on the mission with the mindset ''I can do hard things''. But over time I have come to realize that I can't. I'm weak and imperfect. I have faults and I make mistakes. I can't do it... at least, not alone. But I KNOW that with His help, I can do ALL things. And that is maybe the biggest lesson I have learned in my time here. To literally trust in the Lord with all my heart, and lean not unto my own understanding. I know that He will direct my paths, and He will help me do all that He would have me do. I just need to trust in Him, and work with all my heart, might, mind, and strength, and He will bless me and help me. One of my favorite scriptures is D&C 64:33-34. We must always have a desire, a willing heart and a willing mind, to do what He asks of us. I've changed in the mission, and I want to keep changing to become a better person - the person that God wants me to be. 

I'm excited and terrified to come home. I'm really emotional these days - I've been crying a lot... But I'm excited to see you all and I'm ready to come home.  I did my best.
Be good, say your prayers, and Trust in the Lord. I'll see you on Wednesday. I love you!

- Hermana Taylor

Countdown from Hna Stutznegger!

Monday, June 1, 2015

{Week 77} Polanco - June 1, 1015

Hello Family! I've got a civil war of emotions going through my heart right now. I'm ecstatic to see you all again. I miss you. But I'm so sad to be leaving. And I'm just a little bit terrified to start real life again... but, I know that all will be well.

Can you ask Pres Stutznegger to tell me when you get the letter from the college. I'm pretty sure that's what I want to do, I just haven't really thought much about it for a while, so I want to pray about it first.  

Addison! Happy 1st Birthday! It's really strange to think that there is a new person in my family that's been there for a whole year, and I don't know her! But I'll meet her soon :)

So a lot of stuff happened this week!

To start : Alejandro. 
We visited Alejandro a lot this week - then on Thursday, he told us that he still wasn't sure, but that he was more decided to do it, than to not. But, he also told us that he was going to have to go out of town. He was leaving that night, and wouldn't be home till Sunday or Monday. He had to leave for work, but it meant that once again, his baptism was going to fall through! Grrrr. But we couldn't do anything about it. Don't tell him this, but as we were leaving that day, I was praying that his car would break down so he couldn't leave lol. So we spent the next few days calling him, and sending him messages. We had left him several chapters in his Book of Mormon to read during his trip. But he never answered any of our calls or messages! So we were a bit nervous, and we were praying a ton for him. Finally, Saturday morning he answered when I called him! And it turns out, he never even went on his trip because his car broke down!! (oops - be careful what you pray for lol) He wanted to see us immediately, but we were in the mission offices (I'll explain more about that ahorita) so we couldn't until later that day, and then he was busy working, so we ended up meeting around 5. He had seemed really down on the phone, so we were both a bit terrified. I was praying for him all day. When we talked, he started it out by telling us that he had prayed and read, and had a huge fight with his wife, and a lot of work problems... and he had decided that he was ready and wanted to get baptized! He said he didn't want to have to wait and wanted to do it that very day! We were so happy! I teared up I was so happy. But, unfortunately it was too late to arrange a baptism for that day lol, so we planned it for Sunday after church. Our District leader came over that night to interview Alejandro and we called everyone and got it all arranged - and then on Sunday he was in church in a suit and tie, and was super nervous. He left before the last class because he had to do something at home, and said he'd be back at 2 for the baptism. So we got everything ready... and then 2 came and went.... and I was getting really nervous that he wouldn't come, and he didn't answer when we called him... but then at 2:15 he arrived! It was a great baptism. Elder Choc came to baptize him, because it was he and Elder Evans that started teaching Alejandro. I love baptisms! And I was so happy to see Alejandro finally make that step! It was a miracle!!!!
The baptism! Hna Ingram and I, Elder Choc, and Alejandro.

This week we also had several reunions - on Tuesday we went to a training meeting to train the new trainers... lol. That was a lot of fun. 

Then on Friday we had the mission Leadership council meeting - I love this meeting. It's all the Zone Leaders, the Assistants, the Sister Training Leaders, and the President and his wife, and we talk about plans for the mission and different concerns that we may have. Elder Perea and Elder Kelshaw gave a capacitation, which was really good - they talked about how we can work with the ward to advance the work. At the end, Elder Perea talked about how, when we go home, we have to work hard. We can't go home and go back to being the people we were. We've changed here, and we need to never become complacent, but we should keep working hard to become more like the Savior and we should help others to become more like Him too. The spirit was really strong, and I just about started crying as it hit me that this message was for me. Then the President ended the meeting, and asked a few of the people going home to bear their testimonies - and he asked me to bear mine too! This time I did start crying. My whole mission I've had the chance to hear the testimonies and advice of the missionaries who are about to go home, and to learn from them. And I couldn't believe that it was my turn to do that. 

Then on Saturday, we had our goodbye interviews. (That's why we were in the offices when Alejandro wanted to talk.) Those are normally our last weekend in the mission, but the President's son is here this whole next week to visit, so we all had our interview last week because the President wouldn't have time this week to do them. That was so crazy! It was the best interview ever. We talked about what I had learned in my mission, what my plans were for when I go home. He gave me some really good advice. I cried (I do that a lot these days). Then he gave me a blessing, which said exactly what I needed to hear. After that interview, I feel a lot better about coming home. I love President Stutznegger so much. I feel so blessed to have had him as my mission president. He has taught me so much and has helped me so much to become a better person. And his wife is amazing too. I feel so blessed to have both of them be a part of my life. 

And on Sunday, our Ward Mission Leader invited us to come eat pozole at the church. I LOVE pozole, so of course we went. A whole bunch of our favorite members were there, and they held a tiny devotional in which several converts bore their testimonies, then the WML sang to us!  We've butted heads a bit, but I've just always tried to love him and help him out, and it seems like somewhere along the line, we worked our way into his  heart, because while he sang, he cried! He sang ''I'll Find You My Friend'' by Janice Kapp Perry, but in Spanish, and it was so touching. It made me cry. Then we all ate pozole and took a bunch of pictures, which was a lot of fun. 
 The pazole party - all the sisters.

La Familia Sanchez - I love this family! 

I feel so blessed to be here. I love this place, and I love being a missionary. I have no idea what I'll do when I get home, so mom, your schedule looks good for a start. In the words of an Elder that said it so poignantly - ''I love my ghetto mission''. It may not be the prettiest place in the world, but the people here are good, and I love them. I feel blessed to be here. I know that God loves me, and I love Him. I think that is one of the biggest lessons I've learned here. I know that He loves us and will help us overcome whatever trial that we are called upon to face. 

I hope you all have a great week. I love you all. Be good, say your, prayers, and always put your trust in Him.
Con amor, 
Hna Taylor

Monday, May 25, 2015

{Week 76} Polanco - May 25, 2015

So it's Monday again! This week was crazy - it went by soooo slooow. But that's a good thing :) We felt like we hardly had any lessons and that we were in the street all day every day, but when we counted at the end, we had 49 lessons this week! Everyone is spoiling us and making our favorite food before we go home. And in every house that we go to, they ask us how much time we have left before we go home. But even with everyone talking about it, I still can't believe it. I know that I only have two weeks left, but it's like I can't imagine any other life than missionary life. I still feel like I just got here, but at the same time I can't remember any other life. It's a pretty crazy feeling. It still hasn't hit me that I'm coming home soon, and I don't think it will for another 2 weeks. But I am getting tired. Every time I go home I feel exhausted. And before I know it, it's 6:30 and I have to get up again. Actually that's pretty easy - I can't sleep past 6:30. I'm too used to getting up! Often I'm awake by 6 and just laying in bed waiting for the alarm to go off!

Jordy, you should wait for me and we'll go to Institute together! (haha you don't have too....)
Waterton looked like a ton of fun. I'm an expert at walking right now, so we should go hiking a lot when I get home lol!
Mackie, thanks for your letter! It made me so happy to hear from you! I love you!

So this week we did divisions with Hna Bennett and her companion Hna Tirado. I spent the day with Hna Bennett, which was a ton of fun. It reminded me of the MTC days - it feels like that was forever ago!

I love Mexico - we saw some interesting things this week that you wouldn't see anywhere else...
- there was a guy smoking weed in front of his house, and this guy walked past him walking his dog. The weed-smoker handed his joint over to the dog-walker, who took a few puffs, handed it back and continued on his way! What friendly neighbours to share their drugs.
- A guy was trimming his bushes with a giant machete. We contacted him. Then he said we were ''muy guapas'' (very gorgeous) so we just gave him a pamphlet and kept going! It's a bit strange when the guy with a machete starts trying to flirt... 
- a drunk guy was really mad about something and was shouting and cursing and throwing rocks at a house... that's actually a pretty normal occurrence lol.

And the sun had this crazy ring around it! They were saying that there were ice crystals in the air, and that the sun was reflecting off them, making the crazy circle. The people kind of went crazy - lots were saying it was a sign from God, while others were saying that it was announcing some big natural disaster. But so far we've just been getting a lot of rain lol.
The world ended....

And the other day, we went to a member's house to eat - and normally we love eating with this member because the food is always delicious! But this time, she had forgotten... so her husband gave us the food... and he gave us chicharron! That is pretty much pig skin - they fry it, then they soak it in salsa, so it becomes a nasty, soggy, booger looking thing. It is terrible. Hna Ingram and I were both wondering what we were going to do - I can choke it down, but I don't like it, and she hates it. So thankfully, the member left for five minutes, so we grabbed the plastic bag I had in my backpack to protect my books from the rain, and we shoveled all the chicharron into it then  hid it in my backpack. That stuff is seriously so nasty. It's almost as bad a mole lol.
Hiding the chicharron.

We had a super spiritual experience the other day. Around Christmas time, a member here took us to visit a lady named Guadelupe - she's a member, but she has cancer, so she hasn't been able to come to church in a while. She's the only member in her family. When I met her at Christmas, she was in a lot of pain, and you could see the tumor in her neck - it was about golf ball size. This last week, we went to visit her again. Her house was full of people - all of her family was there. They ushered us to her room, and she was sitting on her bed. she was sooo skinny. She was literally like a skeleton just sitting there. and the tumor was huge - like softball sized. We sang ''I Stand all Amazed'' with her, and she was mouthing along the words with us as we sang. Then we said a prayer and talked with her for a bit. It was really hard for her to talk - we had to really focus to understand what she was saying. She remembered me from when I came last time to see her. She told us that she had died for five minutes and had seen Heavenly Father, but that He had sent her back. She bore her testimony to us, saying that she knew that the church is true, and that God loves her. It was amazing to read the scriptures with her and talk about how much God loves us, and how He was helping her. There was a really special spirit in the room - and there was not a dry eye. Even the nurse that had come to check on her was crying. As we left, she asked us to do a favor for her. She told us to tell the Bishop that she wants her funeral to be held in the church. It was amazing to see someone who has suffered so much continue to have such strong faith.

So our Investigators!
- Alejandro - on Wednesday he was feeling so excited to get baptized. He had his interview - but he had to have a special interview. So later that day we went to the stake center and he had his special interview with the President. And he passed! But then... on Friday he sent us a huge text saying that he had thought about it, and he didn't feel ready. So we rushed over to his house to see what had happened. Turns out that whatever he did in the past that required a special interview was really hard for him to think about, and it made him really emotional, and he didn't want to get baptized any more. We talked with him for a while, and he agreed to pray that night, and we went back Saturday morning to see him. When we went back on Saturday, he told us that he felt like he wasn't ready. He used to run Marathons, so he compared it to that - that when he had a race the next day, if he wasn't ready then he wouldn't go, and instead  would double his efforts for the next race. So he felt like he wasn't ready, so he wanted to wait for the next Saturday, and meanwhile he would redouble his efforts and pray and study a lot to help him be ready. So that's what we're doing! Please keep praying for him! He's a really great guy, and he is sooo ready to get baptized, he just needs a lot of help to get over his doubts!
- Bertha and Carlos are still doing great. They are both super excited to get baptized and love everything that they are learning. Please keep praying for them too!
- and Nora wasn't progressing so we had to drop her. 

I miss you guys. I really do. I'm excited to hug you all. But at the same time I feel really sad to leave. I can't imagine what it'll be like to not be a missionary anymore. And I'm going to miss the people here. I love them so much. It is something amazing to be representative of Jesus Christ - we're constantly teaching and testifying of Him and His plan for us. The spirit is always so strong. And it's amazing to see the changes in people's lives when the Spirit testifies to them of the truthfulness of our message. I'm so glad that I came on a mission, and that the Lord called me to serve among the people of Mexico. 

Be good, say your prayers, and read the scriptures. These things are seriously so important to do. They are the things that help us come closer to Christ and that keep us from falling when things get hard. I love you all tons.

-Hna Taylor

PS. President and Sis Stutznegger say ''Hi'' :)
PPS. Photo credits to Hna Ingram

Monday, May 18, 2015

{Week 75} Polanco - May 18, 2015

Hi family! I miss you guys. The other day we went to the Visitor's Center at the temple again, and the movie about the family made me cry. I'm excited to hug you all again.  And Tony Romas sounds great! And my favorite dessert is Black Forest in a Bowl! (just for your information...)

I'm not sure about what I want to talk about for my homecoming talk... I've learned so many amazing thing here that I could probably talk forever. I wouldn't mind talking about charity... or the Atonement... or the importance of having a testimony about Jose Smith and the Book of Mormon... or about seeking and following inspiration... or whatever other topic. It'd probably just be easier if they assigned me something.

(I asked her how Home and Visiting Teaching was going in her Ward, and this was her response:)
So about this ward... The visiting teaching and home teaching program in this ward is pretty much nonexistent. We are constantly trying to help everyone get excited about doing it, but this ward is a lot of talk and not a lot of action. We're working hard, but it's frustrating sometimes. I do love this ward, but I feel like taking the missionaries out will be a good thing. They're used to us doing all the work and visiting the less actives. It'll be good to get them working, even if it is al fuerzas. 

So this has been a great week with our investigators. Lots of good stuff happening!

 - Alejandro - when we first started visiting him, he just wanted to learn. He was NOT interested in getting baptized. But the other day when we saw him, he said ''I'm convinced. I can't make any excuses. I need to get baptized.'' He then said that he would definitely be getting baptized before we go home, but he felt like that week was too soon. But he also said that if we felt like he should be baptized that week, he would do it. Normally we would have said ''Yes! This week!'' but we both felt really strongly that we should wait a week to give us more time to teach him so that he would be more prepared. So now the plan is for this Saturday. He's been progressing a ton. He has changed so much since we started visiting him. Pray for him! 

I love seeing the changes in people's lives as they start to live and believe in the thing we teach them. It's amazing the power that the Atonement has to help us pick our lives up and change things around, and to help us become better people. 

 - Carlos - He is a huge example of how through faith we can change our lives. On Monday night, we went and knocked on his door, and he came out!... drunk. He was really sad, and said that he hadn't wanted us to see him like that, and that's why he was hiding from us. But he decided to come clean. We talked to him for about five minutes in front of his house, and we made an appointment for the next day. When we came back, we knocked on the door and his daughter came out, and told us that he was still drunk. Normally at that point, we would have just left and come back later, but Gustavo (remember Gustavo? he's fellowshipping Carlos and always comes with us to the appointments) asked if we could go talk to him anyway. So she let us in, and we went and chatted with Carlos for about thirty minutes. He's a really sturdy drunk, and if we didn't smell the alcohol, we wouldn't have even known he was drunk. We had a great chat with him - Gustavo helped him a ton. We talked a bit about the faith and how if he put in his part and had the desire, he could turn his life around. When we left, we could tell that he was sincere in  his desire to change. That night he went with Gustavo to the addictions class that Adolfo is giving in the church. We've been visiting him everyday to help him, and he is doing so great. He came to church on Sunday, and in the Gospel Principles class they were talking about faith, and the teacher asked him when he was going to start exercising his faith, and he said ''ya empezé'' (I already started). His original baptismal date was for yesterday, but we had to change it. When we invited him to prepare to get baptized on the 7th of June, he said ''You bet. This time I'm really going to do it!'' He is progressing a ton! 

 - Bertha - she is amazing. When we put her baptismal date, she said yes before we even finished the question. We taught her about keeping the Sabbath day holy, and the next day she told us about the plans that she and her husband have to not sell hamburgers on Sunday night anymore so that they can keep the Sabbath day holy. You have no idea how big of a miracle this is. NOBODY here keeps the Sabbath day holy - they all buy food, and a ton work. So it's amazing to see her faith and desire to keep the commandment. And her husband doesn't want anything to do with us, but he is really supporting his wife which is a huge blessing. On Sunday I sat beside her 5 year old daughter Alison in church, and helped keep her entertained. That was so much fun - I miss watching kids in church!

We also went to the temple on Saturday - we took Alejandro, Gustavo, and Rosa and her family to the Visitor's Center at the temple. They loved it. 

Us with Rosa and her family at the Visitor's Center.

Us with Gustavo at the Visitor's Center.
They show us a video about a family there, and then after, ask what we thought about it. It's an amazing video, and always touches everyone. Victor, Rosa's 7 year old son, was crying really hard afterwards. The two Sisters giving the tour asked him why he was crying, and he said it was because he wanted a little brother or sister. He told them that his little sister died, and he missed her. It was so sad - not a dry eye in the group. Rosa was crying really hard too. It was amazing to testify with the Sister's there that their family could be together. The spirit was so strong. I love going to the Visitor's Center! And I am SUPER excited to go to the temple when I come home! I haven't been to the temple in a long time! 

Alejandro, Rosa, Israel, Gustavo, me, Victor, and Hna Ingram at the temple! 

And on Wednesday we went back to the President's house and finished designing the year long training program for the mission with him, his wife, and the assistants. It was a lot of fun! 

And funny story! Remember how I told you that Bertha's little boy is deaf? Well... he's not. When she first introduced us to him, she said ''this is my son Jonothan. He's 2. He's left handed.'' That's where we got confused, because the word for left handed is ''zurdo'', but we thought she said ''sordo'' which means deaf. So we went for like a week thinking he was deaf. And he's a really quiet kid - never talks, so we believed it. And honestly, how many people introduce their kid saying ''This is my son. He's left handed.''? So anyway, the other day she mentioned again that her son was ''zurdo''. So Hna Ingram asked how they came to realize that he was ''sordo'', and Bertha told us that they noticed that he had started to use his left hand for everything. And we were thinking ''What does using his left hand have to do with being deaf?'' So we were like ''Wait wait wait... what is he?'' And that's when she explained to us what zurdo meant, and we explained that we thought she had been saying sordo. We had a really good laugh over that one!

I'm really enjoying being with Hna Ingram. We laugh a ton, and we get along well and we work well together. It's a blast! 

Last night I couldn't sleep for some reason, so around 12 I went up and just sat on the roof for a bit. I could see the city lights go on forever. There was mariachi music and fireworks in the distance. There was a lot of noise, but at the same time it was really peaceful. It was beautiful. I love this place. 

I love you all tons. I hope you all have a great week. Be good, say your prayers, and enjoy Waterton!
Hna Taylor

Monday, May 11, 2015

{Week 74} Polanco - May 11, 2015

Hi family! It was really strange talking to you all yesterday. I was waiting for the tears, but they didn't come until we had already hung up. I love it here, but I am getting really excited to see you all soon. And this morning Hna Ingram and I went to centro, to the marketplace Ciudadela again, and I bought you all your trinkets... they may not be exactly what you all asked for, but I think you'll like them! I do! I love the traditional Mexican stuff so much! My future house is going to be decorated en una manera muy méxicana!

The APs are Perea and Kelshaw. Our ZLs are Esplin, Garret, and Hixen. They're in a trio because Esplin and Garret go home at the same time I do, and they're training Hixen to be a ZL. My DL is Elder Lee.

So President Stutznegger and his wife are in search of 30 General Conference talks about the Savior to give to the missionaries -  if you have any suggestions you want to send me or him, it'd be really helpful! Thanks.

So you already know that on Wednesday we were in the President's house for most of the day - we made a year long training program for the mission. But we didn't finish it, so next Wednesday we're going back to finish it off. I love being in the president's house - it's super peaceful. We had arrived Tuesday at his house, and then Wednesday morning he went to go pick up the assistants, so while we waited we were just doing personal study. I spent about 2 hours just studying one scripture - John 14:6. I learned a ton of stuff - it was an answer to prayer. One of the messages I got really strong was about the importance of having charity - the way. I could feel so strongly the love that my Heavenly Father and Jesus have for me and for everybody, and I feel like I could understand even better the  need to love everybody. I also learned quite a bit about personal revelation - the truth. It's been so amazing to me to see when I diligently search for revelation, the Lord really does reveal things line upon line, and precept upon precept. And it's through this personal revelation that I find the strength to do as He asks, and I feel His love even stronger. I also learned a lot about the Atonement - the life. I know that through Christ's atonement, we can receive eternal life. Heavenly Father wants us to return to live with Him. We just have to love Him with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. And if we truly love Him, we will do as He asks without being compelled to do it. I have really come to love the scriptures over these last 17 months - there are so many treasures found in them, and if we study them everyday, and apply the things we learn to our lives, we can truly change and become the people He wants us to be. 

Our investigators are doing well...
 - Alejandro - we had a great appointment with him on Saturday night. Before, he didn't even really believe that there was a need for him to get baptized - he just liked learning. But on Saturday it was like everything clicked, and he felt the spirit, and came to understand and feel like he needed to be baptized. We have an appointment with him tonight, and depending how things go, he should be getting baptized on Saturday! He has progressed so much since we started teaching him. He's a really great guy. 
 - Bertha - we found her on Tuesday, but she wasn't able to meet with us at all in the week. Sunday we passed by to bring her to church, and she said that she wasn't going to be able to go. We testified to her that it would really help her if she came, so she said she'd meet us there. They say that a lot, but then never show up. but she actually did! About 15 minutes late, but she came! That was a miracle for us, and tomorrow we have another appointment. 
 - Carlos - we've lost Carlos! We can't find him. We don't know if he's avoiding us, or if we just have really bad timing, but pray for him and that we'll find him, because he has so much potential. 
- Nora - she came to church again, but she's really not sure how she feels about the whole baptism thing... pray for her too!
- Edith - she's still not married,  but she came to church on Sunday... she also needs lots of prayers. 

And remember Rosa and Israel? They're the ones that have to get divorced and married before they can get baptized. They are so amazing. We meet with them once a week, and they always come to church on Sunday. Right now they technically don't count as investigators, because they can't get baptized, but we love them. They have such a desire to get baptized, and are working hard to be able to do it. We always feel so happy when we teach them. We love them! The picture is them at the church. 
This is Israel, Rosa, and Victor. I love this family!
 And I love Mother's Day! They gave everyone ice cream in church! And it was Cheese flavor, which is my favorite. It's seriously soooo gooood. You'll have to try it sometime. 

So we've been walking a lot lately... and May is pretty much the hottest month here, so we are always sweltering! Then it always rains at night, so our shoes get wet on the way home. And our area is a lot bigger, and lately people haven't been home, so we usually end up walking around for a couple hours in the hot sun just contacting... lots of fun. 

We also did divisions this week. Hna Ingram went to Oriental with Hna Ortiz, and I stayed in P--- with Hna Valdivia. She's from Tijuana, Baja California, and she goes home when I do. We had a good time together. Divisions are fun - a nice change of pace, and I always learn something new. This week we're trying to do them with Hna Gurley and Hna Llaguarima. Hopefully we're able to do it! 

So that's everything for now! It's so crazy to think I'll only be sending 4 more emails before I come home. I love you all tons and hope you all have a great week. And I'll talk to you soon! Be good, say your prayers, and study the scriptures! love you :)

- Hermana Taylor

Mothers Day Skype