Monday, October 27, 2014

{Week 46} Polanco - October 27, 2014

Dad, your beard was lovely. And every time you send me a Star Wars reference I can just picture you snickering away. Love you tons dad :)

And Jordy, you're crazy if you didn't like that picture. You are seriously gorgeous. I show lots of people here the picture of my family, and most of them point to you and tell me that you are beautiful. You're amazing kid!

Mackenzie, I look forward to your wedding. lol

Katia, you're just adorable.

Carlee, I'm proud of your awesome VB skills, and super excited that you're going to play Basketball!

And Jenna, I loved the story of the card game and you screaming. I miss your screams lol.

And Chelle and Logan! the other day I printed off a couple pictures that you had sent me of Addison, and showed them off to a bunch of members. They all instantly fell in love and demanded some copies of the photos. So there are now a bunch of strangers in Mexico that have pictures of your baby... lol.

And Mom, I always love your letters. You're amazing, and I have no doubt you'll be able to manage your busy schedule.

And I don't know how much a peso costs, but a dollar costs roughly 13 pesos...

So last Monday, another member invited us for a FHE, but it actually turned out to be a surprise Birthday Party! And this time the cake was CHOCOLATE and tasted so amazingly wonderful!
Cutting the cake! (it was SOOOOOO good!)

My beautiful chocolate cake!

The surprise birthday party. The lady in the background is one of our old investigators. She's friends with the member that gave me the party (Rocio) and came and gave me this necklace and the 2 tiny people you can see on the table.

Then we had a FHE with Fabiola and her family, and her brother Oscar who is 12 did the lesson - he made an awesome poster and taught us about keeping the Sabbath day holy, but he's really shy, so he kept hiding behind his hands, and it took us 5 min to convince him to talk. It was so sweet! Then we played telephone - that game where you whisper in the ear - and ate Rice pudding! It was so much fun! And they have a dog named Reina (Queen) that just had puppies! 2 of them and they are adorable - I'll send pics someday.
The FHE - Lalo has the paper, Oscar, and his Grandma.
And Fabiola did get baptized. That was beautiful. It was Saturday morning, and her family all came. We convinced Oscar to give the message about Baptism, and Fabiola's sister America (15 years) to give the talk on the Holy Ghost. Then, Hna Luque and I sang. Hna Luque is a music major and has an amazingly beautiful voice, and she convinced me it would be a good idea to do a duet. We sang ''He sent His son'', and she convinced me to sing a couple parts in English. I was so nervous I sounded like an opera singer because my voice was warbelling. lol. But it was actually really pretty, and the spirit was strong. Then Elder Gerken baptized Fabiola - her Grandpa doesn't have the priesthood, and then he was sick and couldn't even come. Fabiola had to get baptized 2 times because the first time her feet came up lol. But it was super sweet and she was really happy.
Fabiola at her baptism.

Fabiola, her family, and us at her baptism. Back: her uncle, her mom, her sister America, me, Front: Hna Luque, Suzana (Fabiola's grandma), Fabiola, Lalo and Oscar. (Oscar is her brother, Lalo is her brother's friend.)

And a couple kids contacted us this week - first a baby, he was in the window waving at us so we went over to say hi. Then his mom came to the window and let us in to teach them! Monica is the mom, and she has 2 little kids - Maria (5) and Joel (1). They're an adorable family - couldn't come to church, but we've got a lot of hope for them.

The second kid is name Karla - she's 8 and was in her doorway crying. She called us over and said she was all alone and was really scared and her mom hadn't arrived yet. She also said she hadn't eaten all day. She tried to get us to come in, but we can't be alone with kids so we didn't enter, but the weird part was that she was insisting that Hna Luque came in, but didn't want me to enter. We thought someone was inside and was making her bring us in to do something bad. But then her mom arrived and we realized that Karla just has a really active imagination and was super scared to be alone for 15 min while her mom went to the store. We ended up teaching them. the mom is named Ana, and she has 3 little kids (Karla (8), Vanessa (5), and Antonio (2). They're really poor, but super sweet.

And we also contacted a teenager named Emili. Normally the teenagers will give us an appointment just because they don't know how to say no, but then later never are there or don't let us in. But Emili was there waiting for us with her mom and 2 brothers. The mom is Yessica, and her 3 kids are Emili (13), Javiar (11) and Raziel (5). Raziel is the funniest little boy - super clever and he laughs histerically at the smallest things. He thought our accents were hilarious and laughed through the whole lesson lol. But they are a really sweet family and we feel like they've got a lot of potential. Love it!

Hna Luque has had a lot of migraines lately. If you wanted to pray for her it would be appreciated.

And Day light savings was Sunday! And no one told us! I knew it was soon, and have been asking everyone when, but nobody knew. I was so excited to sleep an extra hour... we went to church Sunday at 9 for ward council, but then found out it was actually 8, and had to sit there for an hour. The Bishop thought it was pretty funny.

So Jorge, Raul and Edgar are 3 of Adolfo's friends. they don't have anything so they're living with him right now. And they were progressing really well, but Sunday only Edgar came to church, and after when we went to visit them, Jorge said he didn't want to get baptized, and Raul doesn't like the idea of only 1 true church, and Edgar wants more time to think about it. So... we watched the video of the Restoration and the Spirit was strong, and they all promised to pray about it. We're visiting them again on Wednesday, and they need prayers. They have so much potential to change their lives, we honestly love them, and are trying to do all we can to help them.

And Aaron. Sadly, we had to drop him. He's the sweetest old man and he loves the doctrine, but he isn't willing to come to church. It was super sad.

But! we're having fun. We're working hard. We have some investigators that are progressing, and we're seeing some miracles!

Love you all tons. Keep being awesome and giving your all in everything you do. I am so glad i came on the mission. This time has been so amazing and I'm looking forward to working hard for the next 8 months.
Be good, say your prayers, and send some prayers this way por favor! Gracias, les amo muchisimo.
con amor,
-Hna Taylor

PS - I forgot to tell you something funny - we're teaching Abraham, Adolfo's 16 year old son. And he's great and progressing well - but this morning when we dropped by to visit him, his grandma (Adolfo's mom) told us that last night when we visited Raul, Edgar and Jorge, she saw us all kneeling to pray at the end. And then she told us that she can see spirits (she goes to a church called espiritualistas - apparently she talks to spirits and stuff.... yeah) and that while we were praying, she saw the spirit of an old hermit man with long white hair and a beard and apparently it was my spirit! She's slightly crazy... then when she left Abraham and Hna Luque snickered and teased me about apparently having a beard. It was weird and funny lol.

Monday, October 20, 2014

{Week 45} Polanco - October 20, 2014

Hi people!

Hna Luque and I having a blast!

So my birthday was fun! I woke up to Hna Luque singing Happy Birthday in English - then she literally jumped on top of me lol. Then 2 minutes later, Hna Gurley and Hna Mercedes (they're comps right now) called and sang to me. Then we had interviews, so we went to the stake center. And when I walked in, Sis Stutznegger led everyone in singing Happy Birthday. Then they showed me that 3 packages had arrived! The Dear Elder breakfast food, a package from Lynette Schipper (thanks so much!) and your package with all the presents (don't worry mom, I'll wait till Christmas to open the one present!). We opened them all right away, and then we all snacked on beef jerkey and sweets.
Me opening a package... I forgot to take a picture of all the gifts before we ate them lol.
And the best gift was the interview with President Stutznegger. I love the Stutzneggers so much. We are so blessed to have them here in this mission. I loved the interview and he gave me a blessing that was exactly what I needed to hear in that moment. Then we worked, found some new investigators, helped some people - it was funny when we went to eat. The sister who fed us told me that if she had known it was my birthday she would have made me her special mole. I am so thankful she didn't know it was my birthday!

Then in the night we went to visit the Bishop because he and his wife had invited us and promised me a chocolate cake. They sang to me, and then I took the traditional first bite of the cake, and discovered to my dismay that they accidentally bought a coffee flavored cake! It tasted horrible! But it was funny and we had a good time bugging the bishop about it. We ended up eating the leftover vanilla cake from the bishop's daughter's birthday instead. It was a good birthday! I had fun :)
The birthday bite of the cake - with the Bishop and his kids.
The birthday party - Hna Luque, Isabel, Isabel's Mom, the Bishop and his wife Perla, and their 2 kids.

You know the hymn ''Count your blessings''? In Spanish, they sing ''Bendiciones'' which means blessings, and I've been singing that song a lot lately. We have seen so many blessings this week. I love Hna Luque so much. We've both been working harder than ever, and we're seeing a lot of blessings as a result! Miracles people, miracles.

First of all, we're finding a ton of new people to teach... now we just have to help them progress.
Adolfo is inviting the whole world and their dog to learn about the gospel. He runs an AA group, and right now three of the members of his group have lost everything and have come to live with him for awhile - Edgar, Raul, and Jorge. And these 3 guys are so great - they love coming to church and are all trying to stop smoking - the only vice they haven't venced yet. Jorge is 17 and should be getting baptized soon. He has changed so much - one month ago he didn't believe in God and worshiped the grim reaper, and now he's progressing so much and is getting excited for his baptism. Edgar and Raul love it all too, the problem is that they work everyday except Sunday so that's the only time we can see them. But they're all great!
And Adolfo's kids never wanted to listen, but last night, his son Abraham who is 16 years old sat down to listen to us teach Jorge more about the law of chastity and the Word of Wisdom, and liked it and was participating, and even promised to live both commandments! That was pretty awesome. And then this morning we went and taught Abraham about the restoration, and he's agreed to pray and read the Book of Mormon! Miracles!
And Beatriz (Beti) is another reference from Adolfo - his neighbor. She and her daughter Judith (21 years old) are listening to us and came to church Sunday! Beti has two younger daughters that yesterday agreed to listen to us too. Now we just need to talk to the dad - he's only there late at night and on Sunday, but this Sunday he left with his buddies rather than listen to us... He and Beti aren't married, just living together, and she wants to get married but he hasn't agreed yet. they're actually closer to separating then getting married... they could use some prayers. They're a great family.
And Fabiola came alone to church again. Love this little girl! Saturday is her baptism!
And Gerardo, our 19 year old athiest, says he wants to get baptized! But then he didn't come to church... he needs prayers too.

About 3 times a week someone calls us looking for some guy named Antonio. We always tell them it's the wrong number and then try to contact them and invite them to listen to the missionaries. It's actually hilarious and we've tried several different ways... so far they've said 'no'. lol

We found a new investigator named Francisco. He's a family guy with a couple kids. He does karate. He seemed like a cool dude until he texted us and told us we were very beautiful. We don't have plans to visit him again.

Hna Luque is hilarious. We're always exhausted because we always go to bed late because we always start talking and laughing, and the next thing we know it's already 11. We're working on that.
Hna Luque and I.

So on Saturday, something awesome happened. We were all asked to fast, and study Mosiah 2-6, and then the mission came together Saturday morning. And President Stutznegger layed down the law! He told us that this was the day the mission was going to change - that from this day on, he expected exact obedience, and would give no excuses. This mission has been very disobedient, and he gave us a list of all the bad stuff that has been going on. And he told us that no more. There was one point where he told us if we weren't willing to obey we could go home. Then he sat silent for 5 min and waited, giving us the opportunity to leave if we wanted. It was dead silent the entire 5min. Then his wife spoke, sharing a message in Spanish. It was really powerful. The whole conference was great - it was tough love, but it was what a lot of elders needed I think. I think - and Hope! - that the whole mission changes after this. It was a good morning.

So yeah! it was a great week , and it's only going to get better!
congratulations Sami on your baptism!
Love you all tons - and I'm too tired to make up a math sentence.
Be good, say your prayers and just be awesome.

love, Hna Taylor

Monday, October 13, 2014

{Week 44} Polanco - October 13, 2014

First of all, thank you so much everyone for all the birthday wishes! That was so awesome to get. You're all amazing! I loved the birthday picture mom! No sign of any packages, but we usually get them Monday in the night, so maybe in a bit.

The lovely Hermana Luque has been telling the whole world it's my birthday on Thursday, and telling everyone that I like Chocolate cake. We'll see what happens lol! Everyone asks me what my plans are for my birthday - I tell them I'm going to preach the gospel lol!

Hermana Luque and I tried to take some pictures last night so that you'd have a nice ''companionship picture''. It didn't work out so well, but I sent them anyway lol. Next week I'll send a pretty one. I seriously love Hna Luque - she's amazing!
This is what we normally look like - we're always exhausted!

This is us wide awake.

This is us acting natural.

This is us being serious.

This is us being best friends!

And I had a Best 2 Years moment! I told someone Joseph Smith was a Folleto (pamphlet) instead of Profeta (prophet)! We were teaching less actives so it's not quite as bad, and no one else caught my mistake - just Hna Luque. We had trouble keeping a straight face as I quickly corrected my mistake, and we kept teaching. Pretty funny!

And the other day we walked up to this old guy that was sitting in a chair in front of his house - but as we started to contact him we realized he was sleeping. But then he woke up suddenly and saw us, and started shouting at us! ''¡Qué no nos engañen!'' Don't try to trick us (roughly translated). Turns out he's Catholic and didn't want to listen to us ... yeah... but the whole day we walked around saying ''¡Que no nos engañen!'' in an old man voice lol.

And we tried to teach a half deaf man. I told him my name was Hermana Taylor, and he said ''nice to meet you Maristela!'' And he called me Maristela for the whole appointment - even after we showed him my nametag lol.

So! Investigators! There are a ton, but I'm just going to mention a few:

Maria is a 70 year old Baptist lady. She is so fun to teach just because she's hilarious and gets so into the lesson. The lessons are always super spiritual, and so funny. She always has a desire to know more at the end... the only problem is that she doesn't follow through with her commitments - never reads or prays or comes to church. Or rather, she reads, but only the Bible, and prays, but in her Baptist shouting type way, and goes to her baptist church every Sunday where it's more like a rock and roll concert. But she's a really sweet lady - always throwing in random comments and stories into the lesson. One time Hna Luque bore her testimony, and Maria told her after ''you'll make a great wife one day. Want to meet my son?'' She then said she would introduce me, but he doesn't like white girls. She's so frank it's hilarious.

Fabiola is 9, and came to church alone on Sunday! Her less active grandparents decided not to go, but she really wanted to so they made plans for a member to come pick her up! She is so sweet and super excited for her baptism.

Aaron is also doing well. He really wants to get baptized and bears his testimony to us every visit. The only problem is that he keeps getting really sick on Sundays, so he can never come to church. But I know he'll get baptized soon - there were some problems but it should all work out!

And Adolfo, our convert from before, is also giving us a ton a references. Right now we're teaching 3 of his friends - Jorge, Raul, and Edgar. They are all trying to overcome drugs right now, and are trying to find God. Raul is quiet, and always says he's not going to listen to us or go to church, but then he's always there, and cried in church this Sunday. Edgar has a bunch of tattoos and cries in every lesson. Jorge is the youngest (17) and has a kid, and says he's trying to change his life. All three are great, and we have a lot of hope for them.

And the other day we knocked on a door, and a young, 19 year old guy came out - Gerardo. He told us he's not very religious, and doesn't actually believe Christ exists. So I asked if we could come by another day and share the reason that we believe in Christ and how he can help us overcome all our problems. He agreed and gave us an appointment for Sunday night. We went and he was actually there! He let us in, sat us down, and said, ''I don't believe in God, but I've got a lot of problems right now and I'm stuck. I've got a lot of addictions and I've tried, but can't overcome them myself. I don't believe in God, but if he does exist, he's my last option. That's why I agreed to listen to you.'' So we talked about how faith, and his identity as a child of God, and the fact that Heavenly Father has a plan for him. I asked him if he wanted to believe in God, and he answered with such emotion telling us that he does. So we shared Alma 32, and how he just needs a particle of faith, and if he doesn't have that, then just a desire to believe, and how he should let that desire work in him and grow by reading the scriptures, praying, and coming to church. He agreed to do that. At the end we bore our testimonies and I told him ''you told us God is your last option, but I testify that He is your only option. It's only through Him that you can overcome those trials and temptations and find peace in this life.'' The spirit was super strong and we both feel like he has a ton of potential.

The mission is amazing. We meet a ton of new people everyday, and we grow to have such a love for them. It honestly hurts when they say no, and we feel so happy when they say yes. The people here are amazing, and they all have such potential. We all do! I have gained a huge testimony these last few months about the Plan of Salvation. I know that our Heavenly Father really does have a plan for us - to come here, to be tested and tried, and to return to Him again. I recently discovered the primary song ''He Sent His Son'' on my iPod, and I absolutely love it. I know without a doubt that He has a plan for us and that He was willing to send His Son, and His Son was willing to come and suffer and die for us. And what does the Father ask of us? ''Have faith, Have hope, Live like His son, help others on their way.'' I love my Father so much, and I love my Savior Jesus Christ with all my heart. The gospel is true.

It's been a great week. This next week is going to be awesome, and the next 8 months will be spectacular. I love you all.

Be good, say your prayers, and listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir arrangement of ''He sent his son''. I'm pretty sure you can find it on Youtube and you won't regret it.

Love you all!
-Hermana Taylor
Thank you Gates family for sending me these pictures! I love them so much!

Monday, October 6, 2014

{Week 43} Polanco - October 6, 2014

Jordy, thank you so much for your letter! I loved it, and I am honestly so excited to live with you. You rock kid! (the rest of you are all awesome too :) )

SMALLSS!!! Feliz Cumpleaños! that is so crazy that you are going to be 16... honestly can't believe my little smalls is all grown up and saving China!

We didn't get to see the women's broadcast. I didn't even hear any mention of it, so I don't know what happened there... General Conference kind of snuck up on us. Last time I was counting down the days for like a month, but this time it was Sunday and we were shocked to realize it was conference the next week. I loved conference! It was so good - unfortunately due to a bunch of random circumstances none of our investigators made it, but it was really good. Saturday morning we went to our home ward to watch it - 5 min before it started they finally started setting up the internet and projector, and then realized there was too much light in the building and we couldn't see the image. So they spent the first 20 min of conference trying to tape up all the windows, but then abandoned that endeavor and instead tried to hook the computer up to a TV, but then realized they didn't have the right cord, so they sent someone to buy it, but they bought the wrong one, so they had to go back and buy another, but then the TV wasn't working for some reason... then the internet was really bad and eventually just died... basically we didn't get anything out of the first session. For the second session we went to the stake center and everything was perfect and I got to watch it in English (yes!) and I LOVED it. We were all in the Institute building across the parking lot. There were some really awesome, really powerful talks. And when the Spanish speaker started talking, we all got up and ran across the parking lot to the church to watch it in Spanish. And it was a great talk. Then, we realized the next speaker was Elder Holland, and we booked it back across the parking lot to watch him in English. The Sunday morning session we went back to our home ward. This time it was much better - a TV and the projector - a bunch of windows were taped so we could see, and it was all set up 1 hour before conference started. The only problem was that the internet died the moment the prophet came to the mike so we missed the last 10 min and his talk. For Sunday afternoon we went to the stake center again. I love conference so much and was so sad to see it end! I loved the talk by Elder Scott - I've been applying it in all the lessons since we heard it. I also loved Elder Bednar's talk and wished that I had investigators there. I love conference so much!
Watching conference in English in the Institute building.

So... cambios! That was a lot of fun - it's fun to see all the elders and hermanas joking and talking and hugging old comps. President Stutznegger started off the cambios by telling us that our loved ones that have died are here in Mexico softening the hearts of the people. And then just a few moments later, he and his wife found out that their nephew had died. He was in front of us all just crying, and we were all dead silent. It was so sad, but at the same time the spirit was strong knowing that now his nephew would be here too, preaching the gospel.

And my new companion is..... Hermana Luque! (Lu-k) She is from Argentina and is 22. She has 1 year in the mission. She trained Hna Gurley. She is so sweet and laughs at everything and we have had a fun week together - and we work hard! We're contacting like wild women. The other day we were in a house of less actives waiting for the heavy rain to pass - and she was telling all the stories of how her old pets died... and for some reason they all died in funny-ironic ways and we were all laughing so hard! I love her so much - and she helps me a lot. I loved Hna Mercedes, but I believe it's the changes that are what help us grow and become better, and I feel like I've already learned tons from Hna Luque. I've also been bumped up and am now senior comp.

It's been funny these last few days because everyone is asking where Hna Mercedes went - both members and our friends in the street (people we see everyday - but who don't want to listen to us, but always want to chat and practice English - they include a few old ladies, some kids, and several harmless druggies and drunks :). One of the drunks ran across the street when he saw us and asked ''Where's Mercedes!?'' - and I told him ''She's gone, she left''. He got a shocked look and said ''No more?'' and I said - ''Nope, no more.''  He gasped and said ''She died?!'' It was pretty funny and we quickly set him straight.

And dad, ever since you asked me about Quezacoatl, that subject has been brought up every day! It's pretty interesting stuff!
(Dad asked:  How do the Mexicans view the idea of the Savior appearing to the people in ancient America? I think they call Him Quetzecotyl (sp?) or the Great White Spirit. And how does this fit in when they read about it in the Book of Mormon? Please expound on this for me.)
And a couple weeks ago, a lady randomly contacted us in the street and asked if we give English classes. Fast thinker that I am (lol) I told her that yes we did, every Saturday at 10 (randomly picking a time and day - we weren't actually giving classes). She got a disappointed look and said,''Oh too bad, I'm busy every Saturday until 2.'' I was like, ''Oh that's ok, because we also have a class at 3!'' And then that Saturday at 3 I started teaching her English! And last week she brought her husband! And I'm being sneaky and throwing in all sorts of churchy stuff like starting with a prayer and throwing in random fun facts about missionaries and our beliefs. They're both really awesome, and we have sneaky plans to start teaching them soon! lol :)

And the colorful skirt I bought in the tianguis - the other skirt that someone made for me is red. Someday a picture of it will get sent.
Gustavo made me and Mercedes piñatas. Super cool!
Aaron is doing awesome - but couldn't come to church on Sunday because he went on vacation. And Fabiola is also on vacation. And we found several new people this week, and we'll see what happens with them. One of them believes in the Santa Muerte - Holy Death. Basically she worships the Grim Reaper. (A lot of people do that here.)

And... yeah! Fun stuff :) I love the mission. I love my comp. The food is delicious, Spanish is great, the Spirit is strong, I'm counting down the days to the time that we get the Liahona with the conference talks.

We had an infestation of ants, but then I was reading about those oils you sent with me mom, and found out that they don't like the smell of peppermint. So I went slightly crazy with the peppermint flavored oil and splashed it everywhere. All the ants died. And our house smells like candy canes now.

I love Mexico. I love you all too.

Be good, say your prayers, read your scriptures, do FHE, and go to the temple!
You're all awesome.


PS - Sorry I don't have a picture with Hna Luque yet.