Monday, December 29, 2014

{Week 55} Polanco - December 29, 2014

Merry Christmas! It was really strange to see you all Christmas - like you said Dad, very surreal. And afterwards I sat by the computer for about five minutes just thinking about you all and what you'd be doing after we hung up. I loved seeing you all - you've all grown up!
 The YW card arrived! Thank you!

For Christmas Eve we worked until 6:30 - at this time we all had to be with a member or in the house. It rained all day and was miserable and wet. It was cold! I can stand the cold in the street, but what gets me is that often it's colder inside the houses than outside. They don't have heating in the houses here, so it's always cold inside right now (and dad, we use Celsius here, not F). We spent Christmas Eve with Josefina and her daughter Diana. They made us spaghetti and a hamburger helper type thing. They also made us lemon pie and a fancy jello. It was good and we enjoyed our time with them, then they brought us home about 8:30.
Diana and Josefina - lemon pie and jello!
Josefina gave us treat bags!
Then Hna Luque and I were just chatting, sharing all the Christmas traditions that our families have. The next thing we knew, it was midnight! So we opened our presents. I had a few things from you all, and something from Hna Luque, but her parents didn't send her anything (Argentina is a bit far and it would cost a ton - she hasn't gotten any packages her whole mission). So I had made or sneakily bought her a bunch of presents so she'd have something to open. They don't really do gifts here for Christmas. A few families might have Santa come, but most just wait till 3 Kings Day - when the 3 kings bring them gifts. But they don't really exchange gifts. Hermana Luque and I also sang a few Christmas hymns together. It was really sweet and I loved it - definitely the strangest Christmas ever, but very sweet.
Our Christmas present stash.

And then on Christmas, we went to the first counselor in the bishoprics house to have breakfast and skype! That was fun :) It made me cry. Then we went with the family Maldonado for Christmas dinner. Then we went home and slept! Lots of members, converts, and a few investigators sent us texts wishing us a Merry Christmas which I really appreciated. And that was my Christmas!
(Our side of the skype with Hna Taylor.  She's meeting her 6 month old niece Addison for the first time and everyone is trying to get Addison to smile for her auntie.  Didn't work!) 

Church was a lot of fun on Sunday. I don't know why, but I just really enjoyed it. Remember Jorge? one of Edgar and Adolfo's friends? He came to church and has decided that he wants to get baptized! We haven't seen him in like a month and a half, and then out of nowhere he came to church! That got us pretty excited. And Vianney and Monse (two sisters, 16 and 18) came to church too. And they really liked it! Things are looking good! And then in Relief Society they gave us cake. Cake always makes things better. And Josefina was super sick, but still came to church because she was so excited to be confirmed. I love confirmations!

I love Christmas. I love the music of Christmas. I love the lights, the food, and I love to remember the reason for the season. I know that Christ gave everything for us. I know that He loves us. There is a video by the Mormon Tabernacle choir called ''What shall we give to the babe in the manger'' or something like that. It's beautiful and I highly recommend it. He has given us everything, and Christmas is a great time to remember and to think about what we are going to give Him this year.

I love it here. I love all of you. Sorry it's a short letter today. I hope you all have a lovely week. Thanks for sending me dad's talk. I printed it out but haven't read it yet.
Have a great week, and I'll talk to you next year! Be good, say your prayers, and love everyone!
-Hna Taylor
What could it be?

"We love our Moose"
A family photo calendar for the new year!

(Picture on the front of the calendar.  Hna Taylor is the giant stuffed Moose being hugged by her sisters.)

Monday, December 22, 2014

{Week 54} Polanco - December 22, 2014

Dad, I would love a copy of your talk if you have one. It sounds like it was a great talk. I love you so much - you're awesome.

Jordy and Katia, thanks for the letters. I love you both!

SKYPE!  I am so excited to see you all again! Even if it is just through the computer. I love you all tons and can't wait to hear all your voices!

So we've seen several miracles this week! And it's all due to the spirit of Christmas.
We went Christmas Caroling! Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, us, the Elders, and several YSA (Young Single Adults) and youth went Christmas caroling - we sang to everyone. Members, less actives, investigators, and houses that we randomly knocked on. And it was amazing. I want to tell you all the miracles that happened each day:
- the first people we sang to were Adolfo and Edgar. Then we invited them to come with us. Adolfo was busy and couldn't, but Edgar came, and brought Adolfo's 6 year old son Issac. This was one of the biggest miracles of all - because Edgar got to know the other people we brought with us, and they've been helping to fellowship him and he's suddenly been getting a lot more excited about the gospel. He had been feeling kind of rejected lately in church because of all his tattoos and his past. He was a bad guy before and has changed so much. He said he couldn't believe he was singing Christmas songs in the street with ''churchy'' people, and that he was enjoying it so much. And he was singing with all his heart - even though he didn't know the hymns. It was so awesome! We didn't think he'd come with us again, but Wednesday he was the first one there.
- Issac (Adolfo's son) was super cute. We gave him a stack of cards that say ''He is the Gift'' that have the website for the video and our phone number on the back, and he ran around giving these cards to everyone we saw. Super cute! He'll be a good missionary some day!
- Vanessa is 18 and is less active. She came with us too and also loved it. And our amazing YSA friends that came helped her to feel welcome.
- We sang to Gustavo's family - he's in another part of the city working right now, but we went to sing to his mom and aunt and cousins, and his mom and aunt just cried. They are now taking the discussions from us - haven't come to church yet, but there is hope!
- While we were singing to a less active, a drunk taxi driver behind us got out and asked if he could sing with us. We said sure why not! So he started following us in his taxi from house to house and singing with us. After about four houses he started crying and telling us how he wanted to change his life. So we got his address and sent the missionaries! But it's a different stake so I don't know what happened after. His name was Fernando.

Christmas Carolers! - we're with gustavo's family here.
- we sang to a lot of random people this day. We'd be singing to a family that we know, but then the windows of all the neighbours would open and they would see us, so we 'd go sing to them afterwards. And several gave us appointments!
- we sang to one family of converts that is super poor - they have hardly anything and recently sold their stove to get a bit more money. They were all in tears. The lady just kept saying ''thank you.'' It was really humbling and powerful.
- at the end we went to Isabel's house (one of the YSA) and her mom gave us all ponche - it's like an apple cider type drink but with lots of different fruits. Really good!
More Christmas Caroling
- this day we were running out of people to sing to, so we started knocking on some random doors and a few accepted us!
- we also sang to lots of investigators and old investigators - and several cried and asked us to come visit them again. It was amazing to see them feel the spirit so strongly.

And even more!

And on Sunday, Josefina got baptized! That was so beautiful - it was one of the most spiritual baptismal programs I've been too. Lots of tears. Hna Luque and I sang ''I Like to Look for Rainbows'' and Josefina cried through the whole thing. Elder Hixen baptized her, and she was just so happy. We couldn't find the white baptismal jumpers (our ward mission leader lost them) so one hermana let us borrow her white temple dress for the baptism. Josefina was super happy with the dress and she looked beautiful. She was so happy and peaceful - and at the end she bore her testimony. That was beautiful - she said she knows that José Smith was a prophet and el Libro de Mormón is true, and that this is the true church. She said that when she entered the water she had an overwhelming feeling of peace and joy. It's amazing because I've known her since I arrived in this area. She lives in the same house as a YSA in our ward. But she never wanted to listen to us - was always giving excuses and stuff like that. But then she finally agreed to come to a FHE - and loved it and started listening to it. Five weeks later, she got baptized! It's these moments that make it all worth it. I can stand 1000 rejections to see one person change their life and come to feel the Spirit and the love of their Heavenly Father so strongly. It was beautiful and I am so happy for Josefina. I love her so much!

Elder Hixen, Hna Luque, Diana (Josefina's daughter), Rosio (the YSA who lives in the same house), Josefina, and me!

It was a great week here for us. I'm learning lots these days, and feeling the spirit really strongly. I love this gospel so much! And I love Christmas! I hope you all have a great Christmas. Remember the reason - and remember all that Christ has done for us. I love my Savior and I know that He loves us. It will be a different Christmas - no snow, no finger food, no family... But I know it will be a great Christmas.

I love you all. Be good, say your prayers, and have a Feliz Navidad!
Love Hermana Taylor

Monday, December 15, 2014

{Week 53} Polanco - December 15, 2014

¡¡Feliz Navidad!!
Hola mi hermosa familia! This week has been really different... lots of Christmas parties! But more about that later...
Jordy, I loved your letter. I always knew you'd make an amazing missionary... hint hint lol.
And it's a miracle! The mail does work! I got two packages - one with ketchup chips (thanks mom!) and the other with sweet chili heat doritios and Christmas presents! That was awesome :) And I love all the Spanish sayings you sent me!
So Cambios! We did not have them! So that means that I'll be staying in P till the beginning of February! That means that 9 months, half of my mission, I will be here. It was funny because yesterday a whole bunch of members were saying goodbye to me because they all thought I'd be having changes... oops! Elder Evans and his comp, Elder Chok, will be staying too. They had us all speak in church on Sunday, and at the last minute they announced that we'd be singing a special number too - but we hadn't practiced anything! We sang ''Jesus en pesebre'' - ''Away in a Manger''. They also forgot to mention that we'd be speaking in church on Sunday, so I had to make up a talk right there at the pulpit. I talked about the story of Christmas among the Nefitas, and then tied it all in to keeping the commandments. I thought it went well, although there had been technology problems and we had to do it without a microphone - so I felt like I was shouting the whole time.

We're also using the ''He is the Gift'' video, but for us it's called ''Él es la dádiva''. The funny part is that a lot of people don't know what ''Dádiva'' means because it's like a really fancy way to say gift. But it's a really nice video - I love how clearly it expresses the meaning for the season. The church did another video similar to ''He is the Gift'' called ''Because of Him'' (I think it's called that - I've never seen it in English.) I also love that video.

So! About those Christmas parties... on Wednesday we had a party as a mission. We all met in my stake center around 9, where we ate muffins, then had a devotional that was beautiful filled with music and Christmas messages. Then we had a talent show! That was a lot of fun and just a little bit crazy. And Hna Luque and Hna Cardenas convinced me to sing with them! We sang ''O Holy Night'' but in Spanish, and we were so nervous! It sounded good, but our practices were a ton better. It was lots of fun. Then they gave us a lovely Christmas dinner... but not going to lie... noodle salad with raisins and dry turkey with a weird sauce wasn't exactly the best Christmas meal I've ever had... but no importa! Then they had 4 different things we could do - play basketball, play futbol (soccer), play futbol americano (football) or..... watch FROZEN!!!!! We opted to watch Frozen. I had Hna Mercedes on one side and Hna Luque on the other. They both hadn't seen it and were killing themselves laughing. They both got so into it it was hilarious to watch them. And I hadn't seen it for a year, so I also thoroughly enjoyed it. It was so nice to enjoy a good movie. The only movies we've watched in a long time are Finding Faith in Christ and the Restoration. And I love them and all, but we watch them a ton for FHE's or with investigators... it was nice to see something different. We got back to our area around 6 that day to work.
With the mission president.

Watching the Talent Show.
Then on Thursday we had to return to our house at 7, and Friday we weren't allowed to leave our house for anything. It was Virgin Day - when they celebrate the Virgin of Guadelupe (what they call the Mary, the mother of Jesus - it's a long and complicated story how they changed the name. I'll tell you later.) So this day all the Catholics (which is everybody) celebrate, and a lot of them kind of get drunk. There were fireworks all day long. And, on this day, everyone walks to the Basilica of Guadelupe. Some live close and just have to go a few hours, but others start a couple days early to walk there. And the really devout ones go on their knees. It was crazy - the main streets all filled with people walking to the Basilica. We could see them Thursday in the streets, then we locked ourselves in our house. That was a fun day - we kept busy all morning studying and stuff, but about 3 I got pretty bored. We slept a lot. Good times lol.

And then on Saturday at 5, we had our ward Christmas party. That was fun! We started out breaking some piñatas and then had a Christmas dinner. The piñatas were hilarious! Every organization had to bring their own piñatas, so us 4 missionaries got to thinking that we wanted to break a piñata too... And Gustavo was nice enough to make us a piñata! That was a ton of fun to break - I may just want to break a few when I get home! Hna Luque went first, then me, then Elder Evans - he broke it. Elder Chok didn't even get a chance pobrecito lol.
Us with the piñata - our ward mission leader is in the middle.

Me breaking the piñata.

The Ward Christmas dinner.

Josefina is doing great - she'll be getting baptized Sunday after church. I love her so much and am so glad I'll get to be here for her baptism. Keep praying for her though - the last week is always the toughest. That's when the most trials come.

I LOVE being a missionary. I can't believe I've been doing this for a year. We took your advice and went looking for some of our old investigators - and found a family that we never wanted to drop, we just couldn't find them ever again. And they've started reading el Libro de Mormon - ójala that they progress!

And I wanted to share my testimony with you all - but especially for Jennafer. I've been thinking about you a lot lately Penny - and I wanted you to know how much I love you. I want you to know that I know that Jesus lives and loves me and you. I know that He is our Savior - and that He knows us personally. He loves us so much and has done so much for us. 1 Nefi 19:9 is one of my favourite scriptures - I know that He did so much and suffered so much for us because He loves us! And like it says in Alma 26:12 - alone I'm weak, but with Him I can do all things. I know that alone I never would be enough. But thanks to Him, we can rise above the challenges and the weaknesses, and come to be like Him. I love Him. And I know that He loves us. Always remember that He loves you and is with you.

I love Christmas - miss my white Christmas, but it's pretty awesome Mexican style too.
Hope you all have a lovely week, and I can't wait to talk to you on Christmas!
Be good, say your prayers, and remember that He loves you.
Love you all
-Hna Taylor
 I saw this sweater in the tianguis and just HAD to buy it - only 15 pesos!

Monday, December 8, 2014

{Week 52} Polanco - December 8, 2014

Dad, thanks so much for your letter. I loved it so much. Thanks for your advice - it always helps a lot. Coming up on the one year mark and knowing that I only have 6 months left as a full time missionary is shocking - I can't believe how fast it's gone.

I loved the Christmas Devotional. I especially love the music - Christmas music is amazing, and it's the only part that's in English lol. We've been singing Christmas music in all of our lessons these days, and I love hearing it and singing it. And Hna Luque and I have started Christmas carol contacting! We knock on doors and then sing a Christmas hymn! And as we're singing the whole family comes running to listen to us, and then afterwards they almost always give us another appointment. That's been tons of fun - and a few people have almost cried as we sing to them. There was only one sour old lady that slammed the door on us while we were singing lol.

And tell Randi ''¡Felicidades!'' for me. That makes me so happy!
And I can't wait to meet Addison! She sounds adorable!
And good job with the basketball girls! You make me want to shoot some hoops!
Still no mail... those packages that you sent haven't arrived yet.  (Note: there are 5 things we know of on their way to her, some back from August and September, even letters from the Activity Day girls and Young Women, and a more recent one mailed from in Mexico . . . )

Skype! I'm planning to do it on the 25th. What time of the day do you want to do it? We won't really be doing anything that day, so as far as I know any hour is fine. We haven't found a place to do it yet, but we'll work on that this week. And then of course it's possible that I have cambios! (I hope not...) But I'm looking forward to it!

We went on divisions this week. Hna Cardenas came here with me, and Hna Luque returned to her old ward for a day. It was fun and we learned some good stuff. Hna Cardenas is one of my favorite hermanas - she is so sweet and just has a lot of love for everyone. I enjoyed being her comp for a day.

We went to visit Gustavo the other day. He let us in and told us not to mind the balloons because they were from a birthday party from the other day. Then we sat down and said the opening prayer. Then as soon as we finished, the lights went off and the birthday music started and Gustavo's whole family came in singing their version of Happy Birthday. They threw me a surprise birthday party! And apparently Hna Luque was in on it lol. It was so sweet - they apologized for being almost 2 months late lol. It was super sweet of them. I love them all, and although Gustavo's family hasn't wanted to listen to us (yet!) they are super special people for me, and I love them all tons.
The birthday party - Gustavo, the kids are his nieces and nephews, the girls are his cousins, and his mom is by me. I love them all!

My cakes - somehow they figured out my name and they put it on one of the cakes lol.

So Josefina is progressing really well - but a few trials have come into her life that are making it hard for her. But so far she's been putting her trust in the Lord, and He's helping her to keep going. Although, she almost didn't come to church on Sunday. She called us early, and told us she wouldn't be able to come, but we talked her into it. And then 5 min before it started, she called again and said she wouldn't be coming again. So we talked to her, testifying about how coming to church would help her overcome all these trials, and she agreed to come. She was 20 minutes late, but came just in time to hear all the testimonies - and the stake president's wife bore a powerful testimony about how the Lord helps us overcome our trials. She was crying and Josefina was crying, and at the end, she thanked us for being so stubborn and making her come because ''vale la pena'' - it was worth it.

We had a really good week - worked super hard and had more lessons than I've ever had my whole mission. But then only Josefina came to church. And if the investigators don't come to church, they can't progress. And then there are a ton of new members, less actives, and even actives that sometimes decide to work Sunday because they have lots of economic problems. But I know that when we put our trust in the Lord and dedicate Sunday to Him, we receive such great blessings. And the moment that we disobey we lose all the blessing that He has promised us. I never really understood until my mission the importance of keeping the Sabbath Day holy, but I know that when we keep this commandment, the Lord helps us in all aspects of our lives. So keep the Sabbath day holy! But like really dedicate this day to the Lord - no movies (unless they're church ones), no music (unless it's hymns) and no computer (unless you're indexing or writing me a letter lol).

I love Mexico. I love Spanish. I love my comp and I love all the people I'm meeting here. It's fun to be a missionary. Sometimes super hard and frustrating, but lots of fun. And the spirit is always strong.

Hope you all have a lovely week. Be good. Say your prayers. And have a snowball fight for me! It's so strange to see Christmas lights and Christmas trees and hear Christmas music... but not see any snow! Enjoy it for me!

Love you lots -
Hna Taylor

Monday, December 1, 2014

{Week 51} Polanco - December 1, 2014

This has been a pretty good week - a few tears and a few laughs and lots of miracles.
I want a picture of Jordyn in the dress!
I'll try to have the university stuff for next Monday
Still no mail...
And I was wondering if you could send me a picture of our house at night with the Christmas lights on?
And Jordy and Carlee, I'm so proud of you both. I know that you'd both make great missionaries (hint, hint...)

I can't believe it's December! The nights are getting really cold, and there have been a few days that have been chilly, but the weather has actually been really nice. Like today it's beautiful outside. They tell us though that it's not normal to have such beautiful weather still... supposedly it should be chilly all day everyday. Everyone always teases me when it's cold and they see me in my coat, saying ''you're from Canada, this is nothing for you!'' but I guess I've gotten used to the heat because I get cold!

So sadly, we went to visit Guadelupe on Wednesday (her birthday) and as soon as she let us in we could tell something was wrong. She told us that she loves listening to us and reading The Book of Mormon and that she loved going to church... but that her husband has now forbidden her from listening to us and coming to church. It was really sad. We all cried. But we left her with The Book of Mormon, and an open invitation to come to church. And her fellowshipper is doing her best to pass by every week to keep being her friend. It was sad, but I know that one day she'll make it.

And then on Thursday (American Thanksgiving) all the sisters in the mission went to the president's house for Thanksgiving dinner! That was a ton of fun. Their house is huge and gorgeous... and very formal like you're in a church... but really pretty. And it was so fun to help make mashed potatoes and turkey and ham. And it was delicious! That was the best turkey I've ever had! Then they gave us flu shots (it was all a trick - they invited us to eat turkey just so they could inject us - mwahahaha) that was funny. A few girls cried. Then we all just sat and sang while we waited for the combi to come pick us up! It was a ton of fun to be with all the sisters and the president and his wife for Thanksgiving. At one point I actually got really homesick - every once in awhile I've missed you all, but this was the most homesick I've been in my whole mission - it was when we went around the table and everyone said what they were grateful for... I instantly thought of you guys. I had just barely been helping make mashed potatoes and it was something so normal - because life here is very different - and doing something so normal made me remember all of you, and miss ya'll a ton! When I'm working my mind is always focused on my investigators and where we're going to go next and who we're going to talk to next that I never have time to miss you guys. But a normal day, with mashed potatoes and 19 other hermanas, made me miss you all a lot. But I got over that and enjoyed my day. It was a fun time. I loved it!
Celebrating American Thanksgiving in Mexico City.

Preparing potatoes!

Hna's Mercedes and Luque admiring the mashed potatoes - Williams is in the background.

Hna Bennett and President Stutznegger!

Me with the Stutzneggers.

The Hermana's at the Stutznegger's house.

Look at that lovely food!

A few of the hermanas - with Hna Luque acting natural!

The combi ride.
More of us in the combi.

We haven't been able to find Reyna again, she's never there. But Josefina is progressing really well. We went to visit her the other day, and she told us that she wants to get baptized. She said by praying and reading and coming to church, she knows it's true and want to get baptized. She came to church again Sunday, and is loving everything. And we've started teaching her 17 year old daughter Diana too.

We worked hard this week and saw some miracles. There is one family that has been less active forever except for the dad, because the mom is alcoholic. She now hasn't had a drop in a month and they've come to church every week for about 2 months now. And her son that never wanted anything to do with the church has now done a 180 and wants to be baptized - he lives in another ward though. And they've cleaned up their house that has been cluttered forever, and they've put a big picture of the temple and are very focused in their goal to go there one day to be sealed as a family. I love this family, and am so excited to see them start progressing like this. Miracles!

And there is another less active who also hasn't come forever. The other day she finally opened up and told us what's stopping her from coming to church. We had planned to teach her about keeping the Sabbath day holy, but we both felt like it wasn't right. We were just sitting there in silence all looking at each other. Then I asked her why she doesn't come to church. We had asked before, but she had always given some excuse. This time she didn't answer right away. We all sat in silence for literally like 5 minutes until she finally opened up and told us. We ended up having a great lesson on repentance and the spirit was strong. We were all crying. It's been great to see these people that I care about so much start progressing like this. Miracles!

We found tons of new investigators this week. None came to church. That's a little frustrating but we'll just keep working hard.

Sadly, Edgar started smoking again. So to help, we copied what Elder Tyler Hansen did and made him his own special pack of cigarettes. Each one is a scripture and every time he wants to smoke he has to read the scripture then decide if he's going to smoke.
Edgar's smokes. We made the box and everything.

And I just wanted to ask a special favor... that you could send a couple extra prayers our way that we'll be safe. It gets darker a lot earlier now, and we don't know the new half of our area very well, and we feel like the guys in the street talk to us a lot more these days... I know that the Lord protects us but a few extra prayers would be welcomed. Thanks!

And I just wanted to mention my loverly companion Hna Luque. She is marvellous and we laugh so much. We're best of friends and it makes us just a little bit sad that we live on opposite sides of the world...

But yeah! I think that's all!
It's been lovely talking to you all again. Hope you have a great week! Nos vemos lunes!
Be good, say your prayers, and have a snowball fight for me!
-love Hna Taylor
We found this lovely craft in the Stutznegger's house...

Monday, November 24, 2014

{Week 50} Polanco - November 24, 2014

Dad, I'm proud of you. Keep up the missionary work!

Jordy and Carlee, I am so proud of you both! That's amazing - first zones and now provincials. You're amazing!

Mom, the next cambios should be the 23rd of December... but there is a rumor that they are going to change that cambio to the 16th of December so that people aren't in a new area 2 days before Christmas. I'm kind of torn... I REALLY want to be here for Christmas, but at the same time if I don't have cambios in December I'll be here till February - that's half of my mission in one area. But I REALLY hope I'm here for Christmas.

Today Hna Luque and I went sightseeing! We rode the metro for an hour to downtown, where all the old cathedrals and buildings are. It was pretty cool! We had a fun time wandering around downtown. We saw some cool stuff!

So! Elder Pieper of the 70 came to visit! We had a really great meeting with him, his wife and President and Hermana Stutznegger. I loved it and the spirit was super strong. We learned a ton of things - one thing that I really loved was how he taught us about the Priesthood. I feel like I understand the Priesthood now in a way that I never did before - and that will help a lot when we teach investigators about the Priesthood. And there were a ton of other things we learned that I loved, and that Hna Luque and I are trying to apply to our teaching. It was great. And I was in the choir - we sang ''Press Forward Saints''. It wasn't perfect, but the spirit was strong so that's what counts. And then they gave us mashed potatoes and ham when we finished! So good... And then when they ended, they announced the names of 10 missionaries that got to have interviews with Elder Pieper... and I was one of them! So I got to be interviewed by a 70! It was pretty cool - he gave me some good advice about forgetting myself in the work of the Lord and doing everything I can to help others come closer to Christ.
Mashed potatoes and ham!

(Thanks Hna Stutznegger for these photos!)

Then on Saturday, our ward went to the temple so we got to go too - I love going to the temple. The Visitors Center is really great - they have this video they show that teaches about the family and always makes me cry. Since Christmas is so close I've kind of been missing you all just a bit. And then seeing that video made me miss you a ton for about 5 min. But then as we were walking out of the Visitor's Center, I saw one of the members here - Hermana Maldonado. She's pretty much my mom here - always taking care of us. I love her tons and she gave me a hug and helped me feel better. I'm super excited to talk to you all for Christmas. I'm not really sure how it's going to be - if it's the 24th or the 25th and what time. But I can't wait to talk to you all!
Hna Maldonado and us outside the visitor's center
Us and Hna Maldonado's daughter - she made me the red skirt I'm wearing.

So we have tons of investigators, but I wanted to tell you about 3 of them in particular:
-Guadelupe is the lady that we were teaching when the Elder's showed up looking for their dinner appointment. She is a massage therapist and has a spa which is where we go to teach her. I honestly love her, and she adores us (lol). She always does her reading, and loves everything we teach her. She came to church this Sunday and LOVED it. She was telling all the members that she'd see them next Sunday in church. The only problem... she's not married, and her husband does NOT want to get married. They could definitely use some prayers.
-Josefina is the landlady for one of our members. Ever since I arrived here, this member has been trying to get us an appointment with Josefina - but she always came up with some excuse for why she couldn't be there. About 2 weeks ago she finally came to a FHE with us and the member - and since that moment she has loved everything we teach her. She also came to church on Sunday, and also loved it. Afterwards, we showed her the baptismal font, and she looked at it for a moment, then said ''One of these days I'll be there.'' Then she gave us huge hugs and thanked us for coming into her life and teaching her. She has a baptismal date scheduled for the 21st of December (which is another reason why I REALLY don't want cambios - so I can be here for her baptism).
-Reyna is the mom of Susana. Susana has been super busy this week and we haven't been able to get a hold of her. But we've started teaching her mom. Saturday night, she broke down and started crying, and told us the story of her life. She told us about how she used to be super Catholic, and how she grew up with an alcoholic dad who would come home always drunk and beat them. She told us that when she got married, she was the happiest she'd ever been, but how her husband started drinking and is alcoholic too, and would always come home super drunk. He didn't beat her, but it's been super hard. She's about 40, and told us that when she reached the age of 30, she came to the conclusion that God doesn't exist. She is an amazing women who tries super hard to be a good person and help everyone, but she now doesn't believe in God. She told us that in that very moment, her husband was probably out drinking, because he was already 2 hours late. She was crying, and she looked at us, and asked ''Where is God? Why does He give me so many trials when I've tried my whole life to be good? I've asked him in 2 thousand different ways to help, but things just always get worse.'' My heart broke for her when she asked that. We cried with her, and shared the story of Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail, and D&C 121. And she read the words and just cried. We pleaded with her to trust in God again, and shared our testimonies about the love God has for us. And she said she'd try. She and her family need lots of prayers too.

We're all so special to God. He honestly loves us - everyone of us. We pass through things that are really hard sometimes, but I KNOW that this is part of His plan for us, and that it's by following Him and putting our trust in Him especially in the hardest times that will help us to have peace and happiness. He really does love us. Prov 3:5 ''Put your trust in the Lord and lean not unto your own understanding.'' It's hard sometimes, but I know that it's the truth.

Sunday was the Primary Presentation. I think that's part of the reason why Guadelupe and Josefina liked it so much. It was super sweet to see all the Primary kids sharing scriptures and singing their hearts out. So cute!
Sunday lunch, with a bunch of members that I love, and the Elders.

Us with the members in the house of Hna Maldonado.
It's almost Christmas! I love Christmas :) It'll be interesting to see how they do it here. The rumour is that they eat a lot of mole.... yay... :P

But anyway it's been a fun week! Showers with hot water and not a bucket are divine. I loved meeting Elder Pieper. Downtown is pretty sweet. Investigators need prayers. Hna Luque is my favorite companion in the whole world. Mexico Rocks!

Oh and I forgot to mention - when I was in the MTC and we went to Vegas for our visas, there was a sister from Calgary that went to Vegas with me and is serving in the North mission. When I went to the temple, she was there and we saw each other again. We think the next time we see each other is when we're on the plane headed home... how crazy is that?!

But anyway, I love Mexico. I love serving the Lord. And I love all of you. Be good, say your prayers, and... and yeah! Say your prayers! And please remember my investigators in your prayers. Mosiah 27:14

Love you all!
-Hermana Taylor
Some more pictures of downtown . . .

Note:  Just after she got her call to Mexico, we saw the Mexican flag somewhere.  I wondered why there was a bird and a snake on the flag and she rattled off the bird/snake story to me.  I said, "How did you know that?" and she replied "Oh, it was just something we learned back in grade 4 or something."  And I'm thinking "Who remembers anything they learned in grade 4?" lol  I guess the Mexican story made an impression on her!  And I can't remember the story and she told it to me last year!

Note:  See these maroon and gold taxis?  Apparently all taxis have to look the same and they're all getting a new paint job soon to the new look - pink and white!

The new look for Taxi's in Mexico City.  (Photo credit to Hna Stutznegger)

Monday, November 17, 2014

{Week 49} Polanco - November 17, 2014

First of all, to answer your questions...

During changes I wasn't there. Normally only those who have changes go to the meeting... so we weren't there. We did stop by before the meeting started because Hna Luque had a package for her family that she sent with an Elder from Peru that finished his mission, so we were there for a bit but left before the meeting started. That's why I wasn't in the pictures lol. We were tempted to hang out to see what happened, but we had appointments and had to leave.
Before the meeting.  (Photo credit to Hna Stutznegger)

Janae is going to Japan! That is so cool! Hna Luque just about fell off her chair when she found out. Janae is going to be an amazing missionary!

I have not received any of the packages you mentioned... but maybe tonight I'll get them. We'll see.

Carlee, I am so proud of you! Sounds like you did a great job on the question panel. You rock kid!
And Jordy, you're amazing. You made me cry reading about your VB games - I couldn't help but remember when they cut you from the team in grades 7 and 8, and now look! You're a superstar! I'm seriously so proud of you for never giving up. You're honestly one of my heros. Love you!

So my new house is nice! We have to wash our clothes by hand up on the roof, but at least in this house we have a place to hang the clothes up to dry. In our last house we didn't have that, and had to drape our wet clothes over our bed posts and chairs and stuff like that. And we finally bought gas today. You have to buy it in a big tank, and they come and connect it. We were always too lazy, busy, or whatever to buy it before, and were content with showering from a bucket. And then in my last house it didn't help that we didn't know which of all the tanks of gas was ours, so we couldn't replace it even if we wanted to. But the other day Hna Luque and I had a nice heart-to-heart in which we decided that we're tired of showering with a bucket and we went and bought gas. They tried to rip us off by selling us a tank that was half full, but our lovely landlady came to our rescue and sent them running and called another gas company to come bring us gas. We have to be careful because people here are always trying to rip us off - especially the taxis and moto taxis.
Our front room.

Kitchen (I'm hoping that's a fridge under the counter)

Front room and kitchen.


Bedroom.  My bed is the blue one.

So cambios! Elder Hixen from my MTC district is now my district leader, and Elder Gerken and Martinez left... and no one came to replace them! So our ward that had 6 missionaries now only has 4, and we had to split their area so, my area just doubled in size! It's almost like I had changes because I have a new house and a whole new area to work in! And we also inherited two new investigators with the new area that are progressing nicely. We were visiting one of them (Susana - 18yr old) who lives in the same house but different apartment that Elders Gerken and Martinez lived in. We were teaching her when we saw Elder Evans and his comp Elder Choc, and Elder Hixen and his comp Elder Garret, walk in the apartment building to clean out the house of the elders that left. We all laughed at the coincidence and then just continued teaching Susana. And as we were sharing our testimonies about the Book of Mormon, we started to notice that something really stunk, but we ignored it and kept teaching. Then, just as we were about to put the baptism date with Susana, Hna Luque looked down and shouted, my backpack! We all looked down and realized that as we had been teaching, the bathroom had flooded and spilled into the living room, and the whole house was filled with stinky nasty poop water. Luckily my bag was in my lap and not on the ground lol. So we ran out, and realized that it was because the Elders who were upstairs had flushed the toilet - And Elder Gerken and Elder Martinez when they lived there had been flushing the toilet paper down the toilet (you can't flush TP here - it clogs all the drains.) So the four elders came running down and we all helped clean all the poop water out of the house of Susana and her family. Needless to say, her mom and dad weren't too impressed. And the landlady was furious, chewing out the four elders when it wasn't even their fault. It was a mess lol! But... we were able to chat a bit with the mom and dad and Susana while we were all cleaning and we were all best friends by the time we finished so... we'll see what happens lol!

And then later that same day we had contacted a lady in the street, and she let us come in her spa to teach her. So we sitting there in her empty waiting room teaching her about the restoration, when we heard a voice that sounded a lot like Elder Evans. Then we realized it was in English, so we knew it was Elder Evans. And then he and his comp walked by - and saw us through the glass door. So they knocked, and came in and sat beside us! It turns out they had written down wrong the address of the house where they were going to eat, and we just happened to be at that address. So they came in expecting to be fed, and we thought they just didn't have anything to do, and by coincidence found us and decided to teach with us. So we kept on teaching the Restoration. And as we were teaching, they realized that this was an investigator not the members house, but couldn't leave and had to wait till we taught the whole restoration. It was pretty funny when we talked about it after and realized what had happened lol!

So we had a lot of miracles this week - we found some new people to teach, had a ton of people with baptismal dates, lots of investigators progressing... and then no one came to church. So that was unfortunate, and a bit upsetting, but it just means we're going to work even harder this week to help the people progress and come to church. We did have one investigator in church... but it was crazy how it happened. The other day when we were visiting a family we talked with the nephew who was there for about 2 min and made an appointment to visit with him on Tuesday. But on Sunday morning when we went to find the family, they weren't there but he was. So Hna Luque invited him to come. He looked at his watch, shrugged, and said ''Sure, why not! I don't have anything to do right now.'' So he came to church with us! And said he liked it, and we'll be visiting with him on Tuesday! His name is David and is 18.

This Sunday was Stake Conference. It was really cool, because they did a broadcast from Salt Lake. We had 2 Seventies speak, Sister Linda S. Reeves speak, and the Apostle Elder Anderson! They all spoke in Spanish - the Seventies actually knew it, and Sister Reeves and Elder Anderson knew bits and the rest they read. It was really good and everyone loved it. I especially loved Elder Anderson's talk - he spoke about sacrifice and giving up something good for something better. Loved it!

Stake Conference with Hna Gurley (photo credit to Hna Stutznegger)
So.... yeah! It was a fun week! and Elder Peiper from the seventy is coming to visit this week - there is going to be a mission conference. I'll be in the choir.

We've been seeing a lot of miracles lately. The Lord is so good to us - His tender mercies are evident every day. I know that He loves us and that he takes care of us. The scriptures are amazing, the church is true. Joseph Smith really did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and through him the Lord has restored his church to the earth. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God , and that the 12 truly are Apostles of God. It's all true people, He knows us and loves us and cares for us.

Be good, say your prayers, and always follow Him.
Love you all!
-Hermana Taylor :)
Three of my favorite missionaries in the world! Our areas are across the street from each other (Gurley and Mercedes are together right now). We all went out to eat together.
Gustavo's house right now - it's filled with piñatas for Christmas!

Garbage truck in Mexico City (photo credit to Hna Stutznegger)