Monday, August 29, 2016

Teaching Repentance, and Baptizing Converts!

It's been a pretty great week! Robert got baptized on Saturday, which
was wonderful! It went well, and he's really happy! We also found some
pretty solid potential investigators on Saturday while we were
tracting! We met a really nice couple who had just moved in and they
were looking for a church! (Something about the south is that there
are so many churches and they're different from each other, even if
they're the same denomination, so when people move they have to find a
new church) We told them about the Book of Mormon and left them with a
copy and as we were walking away from their porch they had already
started reading it!

We had an awesome lesson with Cindy this week too! We had planned to
teach about modern day prophets and the word of wisdom. We started
teaching about modern day prophets, and somehow we got off on a
tangent about something that had happened to her this week and so we
talked about that for a bit and when that part of the conversation
ended it was silent (and a bit awkward), and we couldn't figure out
how to tie that into the word of wisdom, and then I got the impression
that we needed to talk about Christ's grace, which related perfectly
to the experience she had this week! So we talked to her about grace
and Christ will make up for all of her weaknesses and imperfections,
she just has to turn to him! Then we got to the word of wisdom, and we
had her read it from the pamphlet, and after she read it she was like
"Yes, I totally agree with it. That was definitely inspired!" She said
it was not a coincidence that we had brought up that topic today since
earlier this week some things concerning the word of wisdom was really
weighing on her. We invited her to live it and she told us that she
would have a hard time with it, she would need to quit some things,
but she was willing to try. And that's where Christ's grace came in
from earlier, it was great! We shared 1 Nephi 3:7 and testified that
there is no commandment unless there was a way for us to live it, and
Christ will make up the difference! It flowed so well, lessons with
her are always amazing!
Unfortunately the next day she sent us a text telling us that she has
decided that she doesn't want to get baptized...which doesn't make any
sense since she was very excited about it and we always had great
lessons with her, she read and prayed and came to church. We were so
sad. She told us that we can still teach her so hopefully we can find
out what happened and help resolve any concerns.

This week during our lesson with our investigator, Juanita, her
husband decided to join in! Juanita loves God and Christ and the
Bible, and is open to more knowledge and truth, but it's been hard
teaching her because she always asks "Where does it say that in the
bible?" She hasn't found a church that goes along exactly with what
the bible says, which is why she is so open to learning about all the
different denominations. We had left her with 2 Nephi 31, and she had
some questions and so she asked if we could go over it. As we were
talking her husband asked how we knew if we had the Holy Ghost? So we
explained baptism and confirmation (with proper authority), but
Juanita didn't quite agree. She and Julio argued for a minute, and
then randomly Julio said "I want to be baptized again"! Juanita told
him she thought he was already saved and he didn't need to be, but he
said no, I need to be baptized again! It was cool, neither of us were
expecting him to ask to be baptized! We tried to resolve concerns, but
it didn't go too well. In the end we testified of the truthfulness of
our message told them both to pray about it and to study the
scriptures together, and they said they would!

This week in Relief Society at church we had a lesson on President
Uctdorf's talk "Of Things That Matter Most" from Oct. 2010 conference,
it's a great talk! Here's a quote that I loved from it!: "Strength
comes not from frantic activity but from being settled on a firm
foundation of truth and light. It comes from placing our attention and
efforts on the basics of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It comes
from paying attention to the divine things that matter most.  Let us
simplify our lives a little. Let us make the changes necessary to
refocus our lives on the sublime beauty of the simple, humble path of
Christian discipleship--the path that leads always toward a life of
meaning, gladness, and peace."

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

 Robert's baptism!!

 the plant kudzu, it covers everything!
The trees, the ground, the
houses, etc...

 we actually cooked some food!

eating an adorable miniature blueberry pie

Monday, August 22, 2016

The week of August 15-22

This week has been pretty great! We've been way busy, we have had so
many appointments and teaching visits! The work is going great and our
investigators are awesome! Robert is getting baptized on Saturday but
we still had to teach him like half the lessons so we were teaching
him a lot! He's awesome though, everything we teach him and ask him to
do he is so willing to accept! He's the brother of a recent convert in
the ward. Last week he ran into some anti Mormon material online, and
he said it sounded off to him and he prayed about it and God told him
it wasn't true! It's just so awesome to see him going to God with his
questions and problems instead of the missionaries! Cindy, our other
investigator, is doing awesome as well! Our lessons with her are
amazing, she is just so ready to hear the gospel! Friday we got a text
from her and we read it kind of fast and we thought she was dropping
us and we were so sad and heartbroken but then we read it again slower
and she actually was telling us how excited she was for us to come
over and teach her more! That was a huge relief! She came to church
yesterday and loved it! She participated in all the classes and
everything!  Nothing else too exciting happened this week, just lots
of teaching, which is awesome!

An awesome quote I read this week by Pres. Uchtdorf (from his talk
"Forget Me Not"):
"The lesson here is that if we spend our days waiting for fabulous
roses, we could miss the beauty and wonder of the tiny forget-me-nots
that are all around us." Be happy now and enjoy every moment of life!

Love y'all!
Sister Taylor

 today we did a sisters preparation day, we all met and had brunch at
the stake presidents house!

 we also went bowling for sisters preparation day!

a Georgia street

Monday, August 15, 2016

Miracles!

This week has been great!! The work is hastening here in the Sharon
Springs ward! We have been seeing so many miracles!! So much has
happened and there just isn't enough time to write about it all! We
had an awesome zone meeting about prayer on Tuesday, and it's helped
out a lot because almost all of our lessons this week went back to the
importance of prayer! Then we went on exchanges, I went to Suwanee
with Sister Hollowell! It was awesome, we walked a ton though since we
didn't have the car and Sister Hollowell's bike broke. While I was on
exchanges Sister Thorn and Neff found an awesome new investigator,
Cindy, contacted an awesome referral, and put Robert on date for
baptism! Great things are happening!

There's a less active in our ward who has expressed the desire to come
back to church and for us to teach his wife (who isn't a member), but
it's been hard because they're hard to catch at home and he still
won't come to church. However he gave us his favorite pair of shorts
that he had ripped and asked if someone in the ward could fix them. So
the shorts got fixed and we told him to meet us at 2pm at the church
building on Sunday to get his shorts back! Haha he knew exactly what
we were trying to do (since church starts at 2pm) but he didn't say no
(or yes...). So we brought the shorts to church! But he didn't show
up, unfortunately. But the good news is that we still have the shorts
so one way or another for him to get them back he will either have to
come to church or meet with us!

The biggest miracle of this week was finding Cindy! We were on
exchanges, and Sister Thorn and Sister Neff tracted into her! She
lives at the very end of a very long street at the very edge of our
area (up a REALLY steep driveway), and when they knocked on her door
she let them right in, and from what it sounds like they had an
amazing lesson! She has had so many experiences that have been
preparing her to meet the missionaries and to hear about the gospel!
We had a church tour with her on Friday night, which went awesome! She
loved all of the different programs for her kids and she really wants
the gift of the Holy Ghost! She told us that she can feel the Holy
Ghost sometimes but she really wants it all the time! (Which we can
help her with!) Then we had a third lesson with her Sunday night! It
went so well, she read Alma 32 before the lesson and we just discussed
it and talked a lot about faith. Everything we teach her about she
tells us "I know that's true because it's happened to me!" She has had
so many personal experiences that go right along with what we're
teaching! The first two lessons we had invited her to be baptized, and
she had said yes! Then Sunday night we told her we had been praying a
lot about when she could be ready for baptism and we said we felt like
September 3rd would be a good day, and she just started crying! She
asked us what made us pick that day and how it was no coincidence that
we chose September 3rd because that is her oldest son's birthday! It's
a very significant day, especially because he's been struggling a lot
and she's really worried about him. She's now on date to be baptized
on September 10th! :) Every lesson with her is amazing, she really has
been prepared to hear the gospel!

Here's an awesome quote I read this week, it's from a worldwide
devotional, "We Are the Architects of Our Own Happiness" by Gérald J.
Caussé:
"The greatest thing we can desire in life is to align our will to the
will of the Lord--to accept His agenda for our lives. He knows
everything from the beginning, has a perspective that we don’t have,
and loves us with an infinite love."

Love y'all!
Sister Taylor

 Exchanges! Sister Hollowell, Neff, Thorn, and Me!

 fun fact: all the fire hydrants in Georgia are silver.

 Sister Thorn and I!

 On Saturday we volunteered to help out at a 5K color fun run, and
our job was to: guard the burritos! Haha wasn't a super exciting job,
but we got to study while we did it and eat burritos.

 Sister Thorn and I eating a stick of cookie dough!

Sugar Hill Zone!

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Secret to Happiness!

It's been a pretty great week! We've been busy, which is always a good
thing! On Wednesday we got a flat tire on our way to district meeting!
So we pulled over and had only a few minutes to get there, but luckily
we had our bikes on the back of the car! So we biked as fast as we
could and luckily we weren't too late! Then we had to go back after to
try and change it to the spare tire. We just kind of stood there
trying to figure it out and then out of nowhere a bunch of guys come
over and change it for us! I guess they were out on their lunch break
for work and one of them recognized Sister Thorn from her previous
ward she was serving in, and he came and helped us with all his
buddies! It was awesome (especially since I had no clue how to change
a tire...) Then we had to go to Pep Boys to get it fixed. Haha and
then later in the week we realized that we also needed an oil change
so we had to go back again! The second time when we were just sitting
there waiting this guy came up to us and started talking to us about
some hard things that have been going on in his life and asked us to
pray for him! It was cool that we were able to help him, even if it
was just to pray for him!

This week we had lots of awesome service opportunities! We had given
our number to the leasing office for our apartment complex and told
them if anyone needed help with anything to have them call us, and
this week they referred us to Kumud! She had recently moved in and
lives alone, but she has a hard time doing things like vacuuming
because she is in a wheelchair. So we told her we'd love to come help
her out! We went over Saturday morning and vacuumed and mopped her
floors, and then she started talking to us about religion! It was so
cool to talk to her and hear about how she gained faith in Jesus
Christ! Before we left she told us that she'd love to continue to have
us over to have religious discussions as we help her clean her house!
Many great teaching opportunities have come from service!

This week we also learned the importance of following God's plans
instead of our own. A lot of our plans this week kept falling through,
changing, getting messed up, all of the above. Our Friday plans got
changed over 4 times over the course of the week, and in the afternoon
we had an appointment with a recent convert and her nonmember brother,
but right after we pulled up and said a prayer she texted us and asked
if we could come back after dinner instead. So we had about an hour
before our dinner appointment, and we felt like we should go tract a
certain street over by our dinner appointment. At the second house we
knocked on we met Sydney and she let us inside! (Which rarely ever
happens when we first meet someone). She was a teacher and one of her
students was Mormon and had given her a Book of Mormon, and she had
read a little bit, but hadn't looked a whole lot into it. She told us
she was comfortable where she was at and with the church she already
was a part of, but told us that if it would be helpful to us that we
could share our message with her. So we briefly told her about the
Book of Mormon, but we could tell she was a bit skeptical about it. So
we talked about faith and how through God all things are possible, and
then we opened up to Moroni's promise. We had her read it and then
there was a moment of silence as she thought about it. We asked her
what she was thinking, and she was speechless, she tried to talk but
couldn't! The spirit was strong, it was so cool! We asked her if she
would do what Moroni asked, read and pray about the Book of Mormon.
Unfortunately she said she would not pray about it, but she would pull
out her copy and read a little more because she was curious now. It's
almost as if she knew that if she prayed she would get an answer and
she wasn't ready to change. Even though she didn't accept our
invitation or wanted to learn more, her heart was softened a little
more, and one day she will hopefully be ready to hear more about the
gospel! It was cool that we were able to meet her and how God kept
rearranging our plans so we could be knocking on her door when we did!

We've been teaching Robert, one of the brothers of a recent convert in
the ward! He's been coming to church for the past month on his own, we
just recently started teaching him! We were talking to him about
baptism, and he told us he wants to get baptized as soon as possible!
It's exciting!

Here's a scripture I'd like to share with y'all this week!
4 Nephi 1:15-16 "And it came to pass that there was no contention in
the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of
the people....and surely there could not be a happier people among all
the people who had been created by the hand of God."  The secret to
happiness is having the pure love of Christ! And one way to be able to
develop this love is to serve others! I hope y'all have an amazing
week!
Love,
Sister Taylor

 Like almost every afternoon there is a crazy thunderstorm!! Haha and
I still forget to bring my umbrella! If you can't tell, it is raining
really hard in this picture!

  Sister Thorn and I

Monday, August 1, 2016

Sharon Springs!

Sharon Springs is great! It's pretty similar to Sugar Hill, just different people! It was hard saying goodbye to all the people I've come to love in Sugar Hill, but I know I'm needed here now. The hardest people to say goodbye to were Kade and Kim, as well as the Johnson family. As we were talking Kade said "I'm really going to miss you but something that helps me not be as sad is that I know that you're going where God needs you." That really touched me because even though he's only 16 and has only been a member for about 4 months he realizes that we are sent to where God needs us! I know that Sharon Springs is exactly where God needs me! We've done a lot of tracting, and just about every time we were out knocking on doors it rained.  Georgia rainstorms are so weird, one moment it's sunny out and the next it downpours!  On Wednesday night we were walking from our apartment to a nearby neighborhood to tract and visit an investigator, and as we were walking it started pouring! We didn't have an umbrella or rain jacket or anything!  We started running, and by the time we reached our investigator's house we were soaked!  Luckily it was a confirmed appointment and she was home and let us in!  We've also been doing service at a thrift store charity, so that's been fun!  We help them sort out the donations and put them out in the store!  We've been doing a new way of planning to help us get more confirmed appointments, and it's been a little hard changing and also a bit confusing, but it's working way better! On Saturday we texted/called everyone we had planned to see and everyone confirmed the appointment, and none of our appointments fell through! It was so cool!  Lately if we don't have very many appointments our mission president said that we should bike/walk more and use the car less so we can talk to more people, which has been awesome, but on Saturday we had so many confirmed appointments that we didn't have time to walk or bike, which was even more awesome!

The scripture I'd like to share with y'all this week is 2 Nephi 32:20
"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life."

Love y'all!
Sister Taylor
Lots of pictures this week!
 
 Leland and I

 Me with the Johnson family!

 Me, Tasha, and Andrew

 Me, Kim, and Kade!

  Sister Anderson and I with the Prichards!

 Me with Sister Thorn, my new companion!