Where the last 18 months have gone, I'm not exactly sure....
But of one thing I am sure- I have become a new creature through my Savior, Jesus Christ.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." - 2 Cor. 5:17
The following is a list (in no particular order or importance) of things that stood out to me that I've learned on my mission. Some are things I've learned about myself, and some are things I've learned about the Gospel. And you might look at many of them and think, "Well that's a no-brainer!" But these are things I needed to experience in order to learn.
1. People before things
2. I need to love people even when I can see their weaknesses 3. Everyone, independent of how they think, feel or act needs to be shown Christ-like love 4. Sense of urgency 5. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. 6. There is no detail of my life that is random 7. I have something to learn from everyone 8. No random thoughts 9. Early to bed, early to rise 10. The Gospel of Jesus Christ will bless anyone who lives it, regardless of circumstance 11. I am infinitely greater than my shortcomings 12. I need to learn how to love myself 13. If there is something about myself that I don't love, my Savior can give me the power to change it. 14. Always say thank you 15. The desire to recognize my weaknesses and be willing and anxious to improve 16. I am nothing but a vessel 17. Raise the bar 18. I choose to be happy 19. I have power and authority in the priesthood 20. Ask for suggestions in how you can improve 21. Be steadfast in Christ, not simply enduring 22. Never postpone a promoting 23. General conference is better than Christmas! 24. Wawa, Rita's, Amish food and Reading Terminal Market... 25. There's no growth in the comfort zone, and there's no comfort in the growth zone. 26. Comparison destroys vision 27. The Priesthood is the power of God on the earth 28. I LOVE THE TEMPLE!!! 29. You can't actually talk to everyone while riding septa, or while trekkin' downtown Philly 30. You CAN get lost with a GPS 31. Pride is the root of all evil 32. There is a real power that flows into your life the minute you begin a serious study of the Book of Mormon. 33. Forests actually exist. 34. Faith is a principle of power. 35. Time was created by man, not God. 36. Our time here is so short, we have so much to do here- we can't waste a minute of the time He gives us. 37. I didn't give 18 months to serve Him, He gave me 18 months to serve Him. 38. Each one of us has promised to always represent our Savior, not just those set apart full time. 39. doTERRA for life. Essential oils are God's pharmacy. 40. You don't have time, you make time. 41. Reach out to the one 42. I am capable 43. I can't actually see things that are far away... 44. Family, isn't it about time? 45. Be proactive and proactively accountable!! 46. The love and light of Christ have no language barrier. 47. Firm, Undaunted, Obedient 48. "We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see." - Boyd K. Packer 49. Cruise control is heaven sent #ExactObedience 50. My worth is set. I'm not here to prove my worth, I'm here to determine where I will spend the eternities. 51. I'm Mexican. #JustAskMyPeople 52. Weather or not people are prepared to receive the gospel at this moment, every single person needs this gospel. Prepare them to learn. 53. Everyone needs a smile 54. More important than what you will ever say is what you do. 55. Surround yourself with goodness. 56. I also claim Idaho 57. Statistics do not drive eternal progression 58. No one else's disobedience can justify my disobedience. 59. I'm never cutting my hair again- seriously don't let me. 60. #hashtagsforever 61. I was effectively trained by my BYU-Idaho custodial position 62. God hears my prayers 63. Pantsing is a natural high 64. Laughter heals the soul 65. Don't sweat the small stuff 66. Mission is the best marriage prep. 67. The Atonement can heal wounds of the Spirit 68. The power of the priesthood can heal the effects of pornography 69.Every good thing in this life and the next depends on us gaining and keeping the spirit with us. 70. Treat the chapel like the temple. It's a sacred place of worship. 71. Dearest Children, God is Near You 72. Hymns are inspired scripture 73. Retail therapy exists 74. Dr. Pepper- discovered it 75. I want to learn how to can, sew, crochet and play the uke ie... develop/discover many talents 76. I like to cook 77. I discovered the enabling power of the Atonement 78. Just because I have an opinion doesn't mean I have to share it with the world... 79. The Lower Lights 80. I really do like cleaning 81. If I don't do it, who will? 82. I'm the voodoo witch doctor minus the voodoo plus herbs.. 83. Just because someone is in a leadership position... 84. Pray before you leave the house 85. In thoroughness is satisfaction 86. My future is securely in His hands 87. flying turkey vultures. 88. There are only 2 ears on a stalk of corn... 89. #earwaxcandles 90. COOKIE BUTTER! 91. I love sister pleasers. 92. The Savior is a part of every aspect of my life 93. I'm still a hoarder...I mean collector... 94. The general public is not actually happier around the holidays...they're grumpier...it's sad. 95. I will never reach perfection in this life, and I need to be okay with that. Perfection is a direction 96. I need to never let anyone make me feel like I'm not good enough, including myself. 97. I own what I feel 98. I need to focus on things that matter most...the stuff of eternity. 99. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. 100. Repetition is redemptive but routine impedes revelation.
I know that I now have a life ahead of me to apply what I've learned- with His help! I know I'll need it. I will be eternally indebted to my Heavenly Father for the experiences He has granted me, not only on my mission, but in my life. These experiences make me who I am and will shape who I become. I'm so grateful to each one of you for being a piece in the puzzle of my life (: you make up a piece of who I am.
I pray that my Father in Heaven will help me to reflect His will in all that I do. I pray that He will help me to live what I've learned on my mission. I pray that He will help me to show you by word and deed who I've become with Him by my side. I am forever changed. I love my Savior. He is truly my best friend. Each day I learn to see a little bit more of my divine potential. I strive to live up to it daily.
Your love and support has sustained me. I thank you endlessly.
Sorry folks, I just don't know where to begin...ever.
This week was truly incredible. Back in March, a lady named Jackie Hess showed up to church with two little brown girls, gave us their mom's phone number and address and said, "She just had a baby, go see her in two weeks!" So, we did!
Yesterday, Jackie came into town for the baptism of Victoria's 8 year old daughter Zaria. Brothers and Sisters, I cannot begin to communicate the indescribable joy that has forever come into my life because of this experience. Being able to see Victoria and her daughter go from referrals to fully active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has been so miraculous! Being able to sit down with Jackie and talk to her was such a blessing. She'd talked with Victoria before about the Gospel, but never really invited her to learn. Until that day in March, I cannot believe He counted me worthy to be a part of this experience. I will be forever grateful.
Ephesians 3:11-21- "According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
My hope is to be filled with the fullness of God. To have His image in my countenance. To let all my life reflect His will. Conversion is a process, and perfection is a direction. But now I have a direction. I know which way I'm facing, and I know who's path I'm on. Christ is my Redeemer, and I pray to be more like Him each and every day.
Thank you for your love, support and prayers! I need them all! I am so grateful to be a servant of our Heavenly Father, representing our Savior! This experience has changed my life completely. It has changed me completely.
found a Haitian family a few weeks ago. The wife, Marlene, speaks creole and
French..."luckily" our Ward Mission Leader speaks French! They moved
from Haiti three months ago. She goes to a Haitian church but wants to know
what we believe! Bro. Siebach (WML) taught the lesson, of course. He taught
about Joseph Smith, The Apostasy, the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. The
Spirit was so strong! And we're coming back this week!
found a couple named Cory and Stephanie. They are super great and really open!
We met Cory on the steps outside the apartment complex and he said we could
come back that day! *never happens* So we had to go on splits and I went and
took a ward member, Heather, with me. It went really well! They are doctrinally
pretty spot on. But...Cory has a strong belief that he's been baptized by water
and by the Holy Ghost, "...And that was the best gift God ever gave
him!"...so we're praying to not have any road blocks there...
and Sisters, do realize that we live in a time where Apostles and Prophets post
on FACEBOOK?! That is a miracle in and of itself! Their apostolic messages beam
right to our pockets inSECONDS!
PEOPLE, ARE YOU UNDERSTANDING THE MAGNITUDE OF THIS?!You have new scripture every time
they post something. They're not quoting anyone, or letting you know what's
going on in their lives...They're guided by inspiration as to what they should
share...and then it beams out to the world! I'm obviously really floored by
this, and you should be too. This week Elder D. Todd Christofferson
pray that you will make the theme of the Savior’s life—“I do always those
things that please [the Father]”—the theme of your life. If you do, you will
save your life.
content in all your striving and achieving to put His will first. Lose your
self-will in His perfect will. Learn to want what He wants. Confess and
acknowledge Him in every aspect of your life. Do not be ashamed of Christ or
His gospel, and be willing to lay down cherished things, cherished
relationships, and even life itself for Him.
while you live, let your life be an offering. Take up His cross each day in
purity, obedience, and service. These are the implications and the fruits of
words really touched my heart. I started crying when I read them, mostly
because I read them over Facebook! What a miracle. That's what we're here to
do. Learn how to give up our will. And as President Uchtdorf pointed out this
weekend at the Women's Broadcast, our Heavenly Father knows more than we
do...So I'm trying, day by day, to give up my will and realize His. Trying to
want what He wants. Something tells me this will be a lifelong endeavor, but
I'm willing to work for it.
even done with the miracles!
with me...I need to back up a bit for this one. Back in June...we were planning
a Ward Cultural Night. We went to Staples to print off some fliers. The chick
at the counter looked at us and said, "Hey, I'm Mormon! My name is
Ashley." We were stunned of course. We tried to get her number but it
didn't work. Then in July we were back for Victoria's baptismal programs!
We got her facebook but couldn't find her because she was super blocked (dang
stalkers). Then again, we were there in August for Qiu Liang's baptismal
programs! This time we got a number and that evening we saw her while we were
at Olive Garden with Victoria! That number didn't work....I promise she didn't
do it on purpose! Finally, at the end of August the Smyrna Elders ran into her
and they got her number for us! Success. We texted her and she asked for a Book
of Mormon. We were supposed to meet up with her but she bailed on us. Then,
like a veil, my mind was erased of her. It wasn't like I kept thinking of her
and then brushing it off, she literally never entered my mind. Then, a week and
a half ago...BOOM! It hit me like a ton of bricks!
text her and she INVITES US OVER FOR DINNER THIS WEEK! Oh yeah! We were stoked!
But as usual, I was having little faith. She was just "too
excited"....I was wrong. Again. We show up, and she lets us in! We talked
all through dinner just getting to know her, and I was a little worried because
it was all a bunch of nothingness. I mean, it was great but nothing gospel
related. So finally we ask if we can share a message before we go. We had
prepared to talk about Moroni 10:32 and our purpose in helping others
to come unto Christ. We then watched the Come Unto Christ video. Halfway
through I just started praying that she would feel His love. I look up, and she
crying. The video gets over,and she's still crying. We wait for a moment and
just let her ponder. Then she says, "Ever since I was young I could
see spirits, and I know this sounds crazy, but when you walked in I could see
angels. Please just know He sends them to watch over you, because I can see
them." And then that's all she said about the matter! My heart was so
touched. She then went on to tell us everything. How she knows she needs to
change her path and that God kept telling her to invite us over. It was like a
total 180. She came to church yesterday and is coming to volleyball tonight.
WHAT A MIRACLE! Ashley is so amazing. She recognizes what she needs to change
and she's willing to do it. I'm so happy!!!!
had a lesson with a lady named Hermana Lupita. She is the mother of a recently
baptized family. She has a baptismal date for Nov 9, so keep her in your
had a lesson with our friend Kenny this week! He's super awesome. He like
Ashley, knows what he needs to do to get where he wants to go. It's amazing to
work with people who you help to get going in the right direction, and they
just completely take off running in the right direction. The Spirit is really
strong when you teach a willing heart.
husband Hal came home this week! I FINALLY MET HAL! Man, after 7 months it was
quite a relief! Super happy he's home with his family. Which reminds me,
Zaria's baptism is on October 19th! (: super exciting!
week in church the Primary, Young Women's and Relief Society presidencies ALL
got remodeled! It was crazy and awesome at the same time! We are so excited to
work with all these new auxiliary leaders!
folks, that's about all I've got for you this week. Please keep the love and
prayers coming. I'm so grateful for your love and support. He truly is
hastening His work, and I'm so grateful to be a part of it!
Sister White and I had Golden Re-Training which is a meeting for new missionaries and their trainers. It's always great to be up at the mission office. We are blessed with the most wonderful senior couples in the world. They take such great care of us! And plus the Jones' are from St. George...so that's a nice perk! And not to mention that we stopped at Trader Joe's on the way home and I bought myself some Crunchy Cookie Butter! *nectar from the gods* You'll never eat an apple the same way again.
We also had interviews with President this week! That man is so in tune, and I am so grateful for his inspired guidance and counsel. He helped and encouraged me so much. I definitely know that I was called to serve with President and Sister Anderson. I will love them forever.
We got to go to one of my favorite places this week..the hospital! I even met an after hours security guard who directed us to the right room. It was magical.
We had an awesome volunteer opportunity this week at a thrift store called God's Way...needless to say, my custodial days at BYU-I had trained me for that very moment. I could have debuted in my own Pine-sol commercial. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that the toilet was cleaned three weeks ago...but those floors...like I said, Pine-Sol central! Not to mention- NO GLOVES! I also killed FOUR spiders in the bathroom. Count-em..1-2-3-4! Those "character building" experiences- love em!
This week a sister said, "A mission is learning what to hold on to and what to let go of." Super inspired and exactly what I needed to hear. Right now I'm learning which mountains to climb. It's a very humbling thing, but as always I'm feeling the sustaining power of the Atonement, and there are no words to describe my gratitude. The power of the priesthood is so real. I know that God lives. He loves us, He cares for us. He watches over us continually.
I invite each of you to ponder how you can have more meaningful prayers. This act of faith will show your Heavenly Father that you care for and seek after His love inspired correction.
I love you all! Your prayers are felt and needed!
VE, Hermana Taylor
quotes of the week:
"You can't be prayin' for crazy things Z! If you eat donuts, you're gonna get fat!" - Victoria
"Hailey, shut that door! Do you want them bugs to come in here and crawl into your bed and eat you at night?!"- Victoria
There's never a dull moment in the service of the Lord! This week, you get a play-by-play!
Monday- YSA volleyball was as great as ever. After 7 months in Dover you'd think my volleyball skills were getting pretty intense...but they're not.
Tuesday- Well, a couple weeks a go we got a headquarters referral for a "golden" investigator who has LDS family members. She'd already ordered a Book of Mormon on her own, she was in Mosiah 3 when we talked to her, and she really wanted to know how her family could be together forever. She'd even been studying Doctrine & Covenants too! Our first lesson went great! We had a member there, she bore powerful testimony, and at the end of the lesson our investigator asked us how she could contribute to Relief Society! She was SOLID! Or so we thought...after that we couldn't get a hold of her. But she was sooooo awesome. So we texted 3 times, and facebook messaged twice...no response. So finally a week and a half later we decided to stop by her house. We knock. They approach the door, begin talking about us, and don't open the door. So, we leave a note and go on our merry way. (That was last Saturday) So on Tuesday...we get a text message saying that, "Her husband almost shot us because we showed up unannounced and the talks are off!" Yikes.
Wednesday! Sister Cook made me funeral potatoes! Yummmmy! I was so happy. (: It's the little things.
Thursday- Brother and Sister Kopp took us our for lunch, then they let us plan in their back yard as usual. They spoil us to death. It's super great. Then, they also fed us dinner because we were at their house for so long. <3 These members take WAY good care of us! I'm so grateful for them! And then we went to mission prep and the teacher was so inspired! Brother Hamner is the best! It was just what we needed.
Friday- you don't want to know.
Saturday- Sister Wiser pants-ed me... TWICE in 5 minutes! Also...we had the Mission Tour! With Elder and Sister Andersen of the second quorum of the seventy! I learned SO much, of course! I cannot put into this email all that I learned! Structure and pattern equal happiness brothers and sisters! And the earlier we wake up, the happier we will feel! Be engaged!
This is my testimony- Prayer is powerful, and it is sacred. We are invited, spiritually, into the presence of the Creator. Our Savior bridges the gap of our fallen state to allow this to take place. Be careful about how you ask for blessings in your prayers. Too often we ask the Father to bless others, rather than asking Him for the ability, capacity or insight to bless them ourselves, with His help. I invite you to pray for the later. When we pray, our desires need to be consistent with Christ's will, if it is any other way it is not a prayer of faith. We cannot be asking for things because of motives contrary to the will of God. We must pray that we may be able to conform our desires and motives with those of Christ. Now, there is no prayer of faith without works. So work to accomplish the answers to your prayers, and you'll have His help every step of the way. He will enable you to carry out His will.
You get the point... (: But you don't, until you've experienced it.
Monday night YSA volleyball rocks my world.
When they let the Sister Missionaries be team captains, my team always dominates. Just saying. I swear, I've never been competitive, but YSA volleyball just brings out my inner competitive side.
I feel like an old mom haha. Luckily she's pre-trained, and went out with the sisters for months when she was home (: She's also hilarious. I feel like a dead beat next to her...and that's saying something ;)
We have interviews this transfer, and I am so excited! President has had us write up our own "personal purpose" - what we want to accomplish on our missions and in life, really. There were a lot of details he wanted, and at first I as nervous about how I would put everything down into words. But as I began writing, it was surprisingly easy for me to put it all into words. I will share it with you sometime. In short, I want to be like my Savior, and I feel that if that is what I am striving for, everything else that is a priority will fall into place. When I'm focused on becoming more like Him, my Heavenly Father will help me to take care of the rest. The Savior is the focus of the gospel, and He should be the focus of our lives. So that's my new motto! Steadfast in Christ, not simply enduring! I wise missionary I know helped me to see the difference. Life is about more than just enduring, it's about enjoying. And if you're having trouble seeing that, start one day at a time. Look for a blessing, a tender mercy, a simple joy in every day. They are there, I promise you that. You have a loving Heavenly Father who waits eagerly to answer your prayers. But you have to do your part.
I've been studying faith a lot. How to obtain greater faith, how to strengthen my faith etc...One might say that to obtain faith we must be obedient, but I felt that it was so much more than that- and it is. In a quote I found by Elder Holland he says, “Preparatory faith is formed by experiences in the past—by the known, which provides a basis for belief. But redemptive faith must often be exercised toward experiences in the future—the unknown, which provides an opportunity for the miraculous. Exacting faith, mountain-moving faith, faith like that of the brother of Jared, precedes the miracle and the knowledge. He had to believe before God spoke. He had to act before the ability to complete that action was apparent. He had to commit to the complete experience in advance of even the first segment of its realization. Faith is to agree unconditionally—and in advance—to whatever conditions God may require in both the near and distant future”
That is what I am striving for, exacting faith! Brothers and Sisters, I know that when we make Christ the center of our lives, we will have greater perspective about what is important and what is not. We live in a busy world that tells us that being busy is being successful, happy and even righteous. I pray that we fill our days with things that further the work of the Lord. In all that we do we should be His servants. Our motives should always be to bring ourselves or others closer to Christ.