Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Merry Christmas Ya'll!

It's been a pretty great week! I hope y'all had a merry Christmas! On Christmas Eve morning we did another free hot chocolate stand with some other sister missionaries, in front of Kroger (we asked permission ahead of time so we didn't get kicked out), and it was good, except that it was like 70 degrees outside! Lots of people took some hot chocolate and light the world cards though! Christmas Day was great too, super busy! We got so much food and visited a lot of people!
Our investigators Andrea and Michael are doing pretty good, Andrea is still recovering from her illness but she's doing much better! We were able to do some service for her this week and they had us over for Christmas dinner! We were talking to Andrea a lot while we were doing service for her, she had lots of little questions, we explained to her that we have a series of lessons we teach people and basically asked her if we could teach them to her (because as of this point we haven't really had a "lesson", just answering her questions etc...), and she said she's super excited to learn them all! And we invited her to be baptized and she said she would love to! She hasn't received an answer about the church or the Book of Mormon yet, but she said she really wants it to be true and hopes this is the true church. So we're excited to start teaching her the lessons!
Our investigator Juanita's doing pretty good, but she sure is a stubborn one. This week we decided to show her the 20 minute restoration video, to help her understand the restoration more. She absolutely loved the video, and the story of Joseph Smith. She told us she has no doubt that he was a prophet, or that the Book of Mormon is true. That's how it is with almost everything we share with her, but for some reason she still won't come to church or agree to baptism. I guess she just doesn't understand the significance of it...there is a huge difference between knowing the gospel in your mind and knowing the gospel in your heart.

Here's a quote I read this week by Howard W. Hunter about charity: “Charity encompasses all other godly virtues. It distinguishes both the beginning and the end of the plan of salvation. When all else fails, charity--Christ’s love--will not fail. It is the greatest of all divine attributes”

Love y'all!
Sister Taylor

 Our district! Sisters Patten, Hosman, Me, Evans, 
Elder Haws and Fossum.

 Merry Christmas Y'all!

Our free hot chocolate stand!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Merry Christmas!!!!

It's been a pretty good week! A little slow though, we dropped quite a few of our investigators and then we didn't even get to see any of our other investigators because they all got sick. But we're spending more time finding, so that's good too! This week we were on bike so we spent a lot of time biking too.

Drew is doing so good! We were having dinner with him and some other members on Thursday, and he told us about how he was talking to his sister, and sharing the gospel with her! And then he told us about a conversation he was having with some of his friends, and they had a lot of questions, and he knew all the answers! It's been so cool to see the change in him, and to continue to see him learn and grow!
Unfortunately our investigator, Andrea, has gotten really sick for the past 2 weeks so we haven't been able to see them and they haven't been able to come to church. However we have been able to talk to her on the phone several times and she told us that she knows she's gotten this sick for a reason, and is now spending a lot of time reading the Book of Mormon and the Bible, and researching Mormon.org! She's been telling us all these cool things she's been learning and asked us how she can set up a family history account! So even though we haven't been able to see her, she's been learning a lot!

So about a month ago (the week of thanksgiving) we were tracting this one street, and it was dark, and this guy comes up to us and says "do you like donuts?" Haha it kind of scared us since we didn't see him because it was dark but then we talked to him a bit and found out he was a member going to school out in Kennesaw, but he was home for thanksgiving with his mom (who isn't a member), and so he gave some donuts and we continued tracting. Now back to this week, I was telling Sister Patten this story and she had actually served in Kennesaw, and knew the person who had given us donuts before! So we decided to go knock on his mom's door to talk to her (since Sister Patten had met her before too) and she was so excited to see us! She told us she had been praying about the church, if she should look more into it or not, but that she would definitely come to church on Christmas with her son! And of course she gave us more donuts before we left :)

1 Corinthians 2:9 "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."

Love y'all and Merry Christmas!!!
Sister Taylor

 Sister Patten and I

Monday, December 12, 2016

Drew's Baptism

It's been a pretty great week!! Drew got baptized on Saturday, and on Sunday he received the Holy Ghost and was ordained to the priesthood! The members have really embraced him! On Sunday night our dinner appointment invited him over (without us asking/suggesting or anything!) He is fitting right into the ward family, he is so happy! We found him through a member from another ward, and I had thought that they had been friends for a long time, but Drew told us that he just met Bill at the grocery store a couple months ago, and they became friends and Bill invited him to church!  And now he's decided to be baptized! It's amazing how far a simple invitation can go!

Andrea and Michael are doing well! We had dinner with them on Tuesday, which went pretty good! They told us more of their story, and it turns out that Andrea has been reading from the Book of Mormon every morning! She told us that when her father joined the church she saw such a big change in him, which is why she's so interested in learning more, that she wants to know what caused this change and how she can have it too! Michael keeps telling us how much I remind him of his daughter, which is part of the reason why they have let us into their home (it sounds like they don't really like to invite very many people inside), but we have the same personalities and that's meant a lot to them. Which really testifies to me that I am in this area for a certain reason at a certain time, that because I am so much like Michael's daughter they're more comfortable inviting us over and opening up to the missionaries!

I was able to go back and read the talks from the Christmas devotional, and here's a quote I really liked, by Douglas D. Holmes:
"Imagine how strange it would be if, on Christmas morning, we sat around the Christmas tree, admired the beautifully wrapped presents, talked about what might be inside them, and then went about our day without ever opening the gifts! Unfortunately, this is what we sometimes do with God’s gifts to us. Tonight I want to invite all of us to ponder how we might truly receive the gifts God has offered us."
Love y'all! 
Sister Taylor

 The sisters in the Zone

 Beautiful field and sunset

Drew's baptism! Me, Sister Patten, Drew, 
and Brother Downs (our ward mission leader)

My Birthday :)

The Sugar Hill Zone!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Transfers and Tornados

This week as been pretty great!! Transfers were this last Wednesday, my new companion, Sister Patten, is great! We were on bike for the whole week, which wasn't that bad. It was pretty rainy all weekend so lots of members were nice enough to give us rides places. On Wednesday afternoon we almost got stuck in a really bad rainstorm with a tornado watch and everything. We had planned to bike from a member's house to our service activity at a thrift shop (which was only about 3 miles away), but because it was starting to rain they convinced us to let them put our bikes in their truck and drive us there. As soon as we got inside the store it started POURING rain and they had the radio on with tornado warnings right through our county and the surrounding areas....we were so blessed that the members gave us a ride so we didn't end up biking through it! By the time we had to leave the storm was past. But it's been an adventure biking! It sounds like we will probably get the car every other week.

Drew has been doing great, he's all set for his baptism this Saturday, we're excited for him!

We had an awesome experience with our new investigators, Andrea and Michael! They were potentials from the Elders before they got taken out. Andrea has been texting/emailing us and is very interested (her father was a member, who has since passed away) but her husband has been hesitant to let her come to church. So we just kept inviting her, and this week we invited them to the ward Christmas party, and they both came! The party was awesome, so well planned out! They had really good food and had the youth bring it out to all the tables and then had a nativity program. During the party Michael told us that he felt prompted that he needed to come to church with us, and on Sunday they came! And then they invited us over for dinner this Tuesday as well. It was a cool little miracle, because they kept telling us the elders kept trying to get them to come, but for some reason they never had. But after all those invitations and the ward Christmas party his heart was finally softened enough to come to church! 

"Just as a man does not really desire food until he is hungry, so he does not desire the salvation of Christ until he knows why he needs Christ." -Ezra Taft Benson

Love y'all, have a great week!
Sister Taylor

Me and Sister Patten, my new companion!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thanksgiving Week!

It's been a pretty good week! This week is transfers, but I am staying in Sharon Springs! Sister Thorn is getting transferred, and her new companion will be my trainer, Sister Mitchell! My new companion is Sister Patten, but I don't really know her. They're also putting us in a car share with some other sisters in the area right next to ours, so we will be biking a lot more now. 

Thanksgiving was great, really busy! It probably was the busiest day of my mission, we had appointments all day. By the end of the night we had seen 11 families/individuals, active and less active members and investigators! We just shared thanksgiving messages with everyone! We ate at a member's house and at Juanita and Julio's! It was fun! A lot of people gave us leftovers and pie to take home too. On our way home thanksgiving night we drove past a man sitting on the side of the road, and we decided to turn around to make sure he was okay. We started talking to him and he told us that he was homeless, just lived in the woods on the side of the road, and had spent thanksgiving completely alone. He started crying when he told us that a woman had just stopped and gave him a whole plate of food. We couldn't do much for him, but we gave him some of our leftovers as well and our card. Moments like that make me realize just how blessed we are to have what we do, even the little things like food to eat and a place to sleep.

On Friday morning we decided to set up a free hot chocolate stand at the outdoor mall, to try and talk to all of the Black Friday shoppers! It didn't work as well as we had hoped, the mall security came up and basically kicked us out. They said that since we weren't selling it or anything we could stay until they got a complaint, but we couldn't do it again unless we got permission. But we did get to talk to some people! That evening we stopped by on a part member family, from Haiti and they were doing their thanksgiving dinner that night, and gave us so much food! We didn't get to talk to them much, but one of their friends, Max, was there and he talked to us for a while! At first he said he wasn't very religious but the longer we sat there eating with him the more questions he asked about missionary work and Christ and prayer. It was cool!

Drew's been doing good! On Saturday night we had a lesson with him but after calling and texting people the night before and all day that day, nobody could come (and we can't teach him without another woman with). We had about an hour before the lesson and we're about to give up and just cancel when one of the members called us back and said "We're eating thanksgiving dinner tonight and it's almost ready, so I can't come with you but y'all are welcome to come here and eat with us and have your lesson!" They saved our night! It was so nice of them to call us back and change all their plans last minute to have a lesson with Drew in their home, we were so grateful! And another member had also invited him over to have thanksgiving dinner with them on Thursday as well! The members have been doing a great job reaching out to him and making him feel welcome and a part of the ward family! 

We had a cool moment Sunday night! After church a member stops us and gives us directions to one of their neighbors houses that we could try sharing to gospel with! When we get to the house we narrow it down to 2 possible houses, so we knock on both. One didn't answer but the other did and he watched the Light the World video and said he'd love to hear more of our message! Even though we didn't get to talk to the referral, we were led to talk to someone who would listen. The Lord is in every detail of the work!

Hope y'all have a great week, and if you haven't already check out the new Christmas video #LighttheWorld on Mormon.org! It's a great way to serve others and keep Christ in this Christmas season!

Love y'all!
Sister Taylor

 Our district: Elders Cochran, Frew, Haws, Fossum, 
Me, Sisters Thorn, Rosenberg, and Evans

 Us and Evelyn! She's a member in a nursing home that we go visit!

 A pretty fall tree outside our apartment!

 Sister Thorn and I have the same birthday!! 
We had to celebrate a week early since she's getting transferred.

 Us, Ciearra, Divine, and Robert!

Us, the Neilson's (members in the ward), and Drew!

Monday, November 21, 2016

live in Thanksgiving Daily

Hey y'all! It's been a great week, really busy!! Things are going well here in the Sharon Springs Ward, I'm grateful that I have the chance to serve here!! The members are starting to get more involved with the work, someone invited their friend over from work to dinner and invited us too! It was great!

Our investigator Drew is doing great! And so are the members, reaching out to him and making him feel welcome! Some of them have been reaching out to them on their own, planning to invite him to dinner so we can come too! After talking to him we decided to move his baptism date to December 10th, just to give us and him more time to go through the lessons and time for him to process and understand him. But he has a golden heart, and he loves the spirit he feels when he comes to church and meets with us! He even came to both Saturday night and Sunday morning sessions of stake conference this weekend! We were a bit worried it might have overwhelmed him, with all that was talked about, but he told us that he received inspiration from it! But they talked about some pretty deep stuff. Haha I guess Saturday night sessions of stake conference aren't exactly aimed towards someone who is just learning about the gospel...but it was good!

This week we also helped our neighbor make a turkey! She got one and has never really cooked before so she asked us to help her! (Even though we didn't know much more than she did). We just kind of made stuff up and told her how long to cook it and it worked out well! It was nice to be able to help out our neighbor! She said it tasted really good!

I'm grateful for all of you, my friends and family, and for all that you do!! Happy Thanksgiving!!
Alma 34:38 That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.

Love y'all 
Sister Taylor

Pictures: Today we went to a park and played soccer with some of the sisters in the zone!! 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Obedience brings Blessings

This week was pretty good! On Tuesday we got to go to the temple, so that was exciting! Our investigator Drew is doing well! Last week one of the members invited him over for dinner and a lesson, and that went well! Right now he's planning to be baptized in 2 weeks, but we still have a lot left to teach him so we may have to move his baptism back so we can teach him everything and he understands it all. But it's really exciting!! And on Sunday Juanita and Julio finally came to church!! We were so excited, since they still haven't been to church! Things are going great with them, the more they learn the more they see how the Book of Mormon fits with the Bible! It was the Primary Program on Sunday, and we invited them to that, which is why they came. Haha when they showed up they asked if this was when our normal services were and we were like yep! But they loved it! Plus who doesn't love the little kids singing and sharing their testimonies!? They had to leave after sacrament meeting but they told us next time they'd stay for class! It was super exciting! And with them we had a total of 5 investigators at church!! That doesn't happen very often, but it did this week!

This week on Tuesday we visited with Robert, our recent convert. We have normally met with him outside, but since it was cold outside his mom said we could meet with him inside that night. We start our lesson and like 10 minutes later his mom and sisters all leave the house to go somewhere. (There is a missionary rule that we cannot be inside someone's house unless there is another adult of our same gender home) We just sit there for a second and I asked "Did all the women just leave...?" And Robert was like yes, I was just thinking about that. So we all go back outside in the cold, and as we are going Robert's little half brother (who was in the other room watching tv) kind of looks at us like he wants to follow us so we ask if he wants to come listen too and he said yes, but had to go ask permission from his dad first. So we go outside, and then his little brother and his step dad both come out to listen to the lesson! It was so cool! If we hadn't been obedient and left the house, they wouldn't have joined us! And then his little brother came to church on Sunday too, Ciearra invited him for the primary program! (Robert and Ciearra are his half siblings) Obedience does bring blessings, and it's amazing to be able to recognize those blessings! Although they aren't all as immediate or huge as that experience, they are always there, we just have to find them.

Last week I mentioned that quite a few of our investigators had dropped us, but this week we met some pretty awesome people! We didn't have a whole lot of tracting time, but when we did we met a couple people who let us inside and a couple people who said they were really interested and were looking for a church to go to! So hopefully this next week we will be able to go back and teach them more!

I found this really good quote by Elder Ballard this week (Elder Oaks quoted it in his talk from this past conference):
"A most significant evidence of our conversion and of how we feel about the gospel in our own lives is our willingness to share it with others."

Love y'all!
Sister Taylor

 At the Temple...

Zone Meeting...

Monday, November 7, 2016

Dare to Stand

This week was pretty good! A little harder, as a lot of our investigators dropped us. It's been really hard with this family the Elders had been teaching before they left. The family was really progressing towards baptism, and when the Elders left they like fell off the face of the planet, not answering calls or their door. It's sad because the last request of the Elders before they left was to take care of this family. Our investigator, Santos, also dropped us. He called us about 20 minutes before our lesson with him and told us that meeting with us was causing too much contention in his home and that he can no longer meet with us. We were so heartbroken, especially because he was making such great progress and was very sincere. But of course the last thing we want is to cause problems with his family. The next day he called us again and told us how much he appreciated us and our time, and that hopefully with time his wife's heart will be softened. He told us that he's almost to 2nd Nephi and he's going to keep reading and keep praying and hopefully will be able to meet with missionaries again when his family is more open to it. It's just amazing to see his faith and dedication, that even though he's faced a lot of opposition and can no longer meet with us he will still continue to read and pray, with a sincere desire to know if our message is true. 

Even though a lot of people have dropped us, we have a couple investigators who have been progressing and we're excited for them! We were able to have an awesome lesson with our investigator, Drew, this week! We gave him a church tour, teaching lesson 3, the gospel of Jesus Christ. We ended in the chapel, talking about the sacrament and how we can be clean again every week. We asked to end with a kneeling prayer, and asked him to say it. He said one of the most touching prayers I've ever heard, he said his heart is prepared and he's ready to come closer to Christ through this church! It was amazing, the spirit was so strong. On Sunday when he came to church our ward mission leader was telling everyone about his baptism and so many people were talking to him and introducing themselves to him, making him feel welcome!

Here's a great quote I read this week from Pres. Monson' stalk "Dare to Stand Alone":
"As we go about living from day to day, it is almost inevitable that our faith will be challenged. We may at times find ourselves surrounded by others and yet standing in the minority or even standing alone concerning what is acceptable and what is not. Do we have the moral courage to stand firm for our beliefs, even if by so doing we must stand alone?"

Love y'all! Have a fantastic week!
Sister Taylor 

On Halloween night we had to stay inside and weekly plan, and my mom had sent a pizza to our apartment ❤

 When we have to pull over and try to figure out where we're going!

 We found some Christmas lights in our closet 
and had to put them up!

Monday, October 31, 2016

remember to be grateful

This week has been great! We've been so busy, it's been crazy! We've
had a lot of people to teach, which is awesome! It's just been
difficult to get them to come to church, so nobody is really
progressing. So hopefully this week we can help them better understand
the importance of coming to church and that they will make the effort
to be able to come!

This week we did a church swap with Joan, who we met last week! She
took us to her church and she came to ours! It was a good experience
going to Browns Bridge with her (a mega nondenominational church), it
helped us see where a lot of our investigators are coming from, since
a lot of them do attend that church or a similar one. It was
different...it was basically a Christian Rock concert with a sermon at
the end. It was so great having her at our church as well! She said it
was completely different than she thought it would be, and was really
impressed with how nice and welcoming all the members were! She told
one of the members how she's learned a lot and she's now open to the
missionaries/hearing more, where she wasn't really before, because
she's come to church and seen what we are really like.

We had an awesome experience with our new investigator, Drew, this
week! He was a referral from missionaries in a neighboring ward, he
had gone to church a couple times with his friend but hadn't been
taught by missionaries or anything. Since he lives in our area, the
elders sent us his information! He's just so willing to learn and
commit, he is so prepared! He's hard of hearing so he doesn't catch a
lot of what people say, especially at church, but he wants to learn
and participate and be a part of the gospel! We could tell he was
struggling a bit with that, but we told him in the gospel he gets
credit for trying, and as a response to that he asked us what we want
him to do next! He's committed to be baptized at the end of the month,
it's so amazing how the Lord led him to the gospel and to missionaries
through his friend! It's interesting because he lives at the back of
an RV repair park in a camper, where the gate is locked a lot of the
time. I don't know that missionaries would have been able to find him
if it wasn't for his member friend!

Here is a quote from Pres. Uchtdorf's talk from this past conference
that I love:
"Life-changing truths are before our eyes and at our fingertips, but
sometimes we sleepwalk on the path of discipleship. Too often we let
ourselves be distracted by the imperfections of our fellow members
instead of following the example of our Master. We tread a path
covered with diamonds, but we can scarcely distinguish them from
ordinary pebbles."
Remember to be grateful for the knowledge of the gospel!

Love y'all!
Sister Taylor

 Sister Thorn and I wore matching outfits :)

 The beautiful fall leaves! There are so many trees here

Monday, October 24, 2016

a crazy week and kind strangers!

This week has been pretty crazy!! A lot has changed in just this last
week, as the Elders were taken out of the area and we got all their
investigators and contacts, and on top of that our ward mission leader
was released and a new one was called! So it's been a bit stressful
with all this going on, but we must be diligent in the work no matter
what happens! Although change is hard, it's also a good thing. This
will be good for us and for the area, kind of like a new start! We can
definitely see the hand of the Lord in our lives and in all this,
leading us to something better!

We were able to have an amazing lesson with our investigators Juanita
and Julio this week!! We had an awesome member team up with us, and
Juanita and Julio listened to us more than they ever had before! We
placed a huge emphasis on the importance of proper priesthood
authority and that we are Christ's same church, established once again
on the earth. (A common belief here in the south is that as long as
you believe in Christ you're okay no matter which church you attend or
if you attend at all, which is sometimes hard to work with because
when we say we are Christ's same church on the earth again it doesn't
really mean anything to them. There are a lot of mega
non-denominational churches out here.) As we have been teaching them
these 2 things have been the biggest concern, and Brother McChesney
(our member team up) was able to explain it so simply and powerfully,
using the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and they actually listened!
They were finally able to understand (we've tried teaching this in
many different ways but it's never really succeeded), and we
transitioned into the restoration (again), emphasizing that this is
all true or it is not, and we bore a powerful testimony that we knew
it to be true and they can know for themselves as well. You could feel
the spirit so strongly testifying to all of us that what we were
saying was true. It was such a powerful lesson and it really made a
difference, hopefully we can keep this momentum going with them!

Friday night we stopped by on a new investigator that the Elders had
been teaching, they were busy so we set up a return appointment for
the next day. Meanwhile, we went to try a former investigator who
lived a few houses down and two neighbors were outside and they struck
up a conversation with us! We talked to them for a little bit about
being missionaries and what it's like and showed them a short video
about Jesus Christ. Joan asked us if we ever attended other churches,
and we told her we could do a church swap, and if she came to our
church then we'd go to hers! She's been trying to get Steve (her
neighbor who we were also talking to) to come to church, who has not
set foot in any church building since the 1980s, but agreed to visit
our services next week only if Joan goes too. And she was persuading
him just as hard as we were to come to the Mormon church! Just before
we leave, another neighbor walks up so say hello, and Joan invites him
to come to our church too! He says "I'll go if he goes!" So this next
week should be exciting for all of them to come to church! Haha and
here's the kind of awkward part about the whole thing, it was starting
to get dark and these past few days it's also been starting to get
chilly as well, and I guess I looked really cold because Steve went
inside and gave me a jacket. I tried to give it back as we were
leaving but he told me to take it and he would get it back when he
came to church next week, so I guess now he has to come to church
because he told us and because he needs to get his jacket back too! It
was a bit awkward, but really nice of him!

Here's a cool quote I found by Elder Brian K. Ashton as I was reading
through some talks from this last conference: "Faith causes us to stop
worrying so much about what others think of us and begin to care far
more about what God thinks of us."

Love y'all!
Sister Taylor

 We did a family night with Ciearra and her little boy, Divine! We

did a lesson and then drew each other with chalk! They loved it!

 I've hit my halfway mark, "Hump Day"!

Me and Ciearra, a recent convert!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Happy Hump Day!!!

Sister Taylor hit her halfway mark!!! She's halfway through her mission!!! Wow!! She's already done so many amazing things!! Missionary work is the best!!!
Happy Hump Day Sister Taylor!!!
You're Amazing!
We love you!!!!