Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New Area

Taylor wasn't able to give much of an update this week because he was transferred to a new area. He's still waiting for his visa to come through, but in the meantime was transferred to a Spanish speaking area in downtown Salt Lake City. Here is his NEW current address: 133 E Westminster Ave  Salt Lake City, 84115

Monday, January 20, 2014

Week 10: From Layton, UT

Hey everyone!! So for those of you who didn't get the memo I am currently serving in the Salt Lake City Mission until I get my visa. I have been assigned to serve in Layton Utah in the Layton Central Stake with Elder Napeahi. Elder Napeahi is a cool guy, he his Hawaiian and is a bigger really nice friendly stereotypical Polynesian. He runs on Poly time which means we are always running late and staying at appointments or meals longer than we plan so we usually don't finish as much in a day as I would like but at least I have a super nice companion that I get a long with and is easy to talk to while we are walking from appointment to appointment. So in the Layton central stake there are four missionaries who cover the area, Elder Napeahi and I, as well as Elder Putra and Elder Lusk. We cover 3 wards, Fox creek ward, North park ward, and the 6th ward, and we also cover a Tongan Branch. Elder Napeahi and I don't have a car but our apartment is right between the North Park ward and the Fox Creek Ward. Our church building is a 2 minute walk away and anywhere in either of these two wards are no more than about a 10 minute walk away. These two wards as well as the Tongan Branch meet in our church building, but the Tongan ward is huge and goes all the way up to Ogden and all the way down to SLC so we don't usually tract or contact referrals in that branch but go to their ward services and help members of the branch when they need help. On the other hand the 6th ward boundaries start about 15 minutes away from our apartment and are 4 times the size of the other two wards and they meet at a different building. We don't have time on Sunday to attend their ward but once or twice a week we will get a ride over there and spend most the day in the 6th ward boundaries contacting referrals and going to all our sixth ward appointments that week. Missionary work here is really different and really weird, we are not allowed to knock doors unless we have a referral from someone to do so. This is because with all the members that already live here our chances of contacting a non or less active member are about 2-10. We do get quite a few referrals here though and our main focus in this area is re-activation. The members here are so kind and love doing everything they can to help the missionaries which is awesome! :) We have at least one meal with a member everyday and sometimes twice a day, so we are getting fed well. If we go out to eat about half the time a member will offer to pay for our meal because they love helping the missionaries. For example, one day we were really hungry and didn't have any food at home so we went to Cafe Rio, as soon as we got in line an older gentlemen asked if someone was paying for our meal. I replied no and so he insisted on paying. Another time when we were at Walmart shopping for groceries we had a member come up to us, tell us how grateful he was for the missionaries because they changed his life 40 years ago, handed us a hundred dollar bill and said I want to pay for your groceries. It is a completely different missionary world out here in Utah but I can say that we get treated like kings! ;)

I have had lots of homesickness since I've been here, it is really weird because in the MTC I didn't feel homesick at all. As long as I'm out and about doing our various activities during the day I don't get that feeling but every morning when I wake up and do our morning routine I miss home a ton and it kind of hits me every morning that I won't see you all for 21 1/2 months!! I'ts really weird to think about but I really miss home and that is probably the hardest part about being here so far.

So I'm going to take this time just to let you get to know a few of my investigators and a few stories I have with each of them.
1. Loui and Ally are a part member family. Ally has a really strong family but has been inactive for almost 10 years now. When the missionaries originally contacted Ally she was living with her boyfriend Loui. They started taking the discussions, Ally is slowly becoming reactivated and Loui accepted the invitation to be baptized. Loui and Ally got married in Nov and were planning on having Loui's baptism in early December. To understand the next part of the story Loui has a very colorful background, he has done almost every drug known to mankind, he has been to jail twice and is coming from a very very colorful background. When he went to do his baptismal interview the District Leader had to then refer him to the Mission President because Loui had confessed to killing a man in prison out of self defense. The Mission President had to send in a request to the first presidency to see if he can be baptized. His baptism is pending on that request but Loui has gotten really discouraged about waiting so long and has taken smoking back up. So that is Loui and Ally, even though he has quite the colorful background it is so amazing to see how far he has come with the gospel in his life!!
2. Sevon and Hillary are the next two investigators. Sevon and Hillary are both non members and are living with Sevon's parents. His mother has been a member almost her whole life and Kevin, his dad was converted a year ago and is really faithful. Sevon is on house arrest and just barely got out of jail for reasons I don't know and don't need to know. His girlfriend Hillary and him are both awesome and seem very interested but keep putting off wanted to take the discussions because they are "too busy". It is really sad to me and we will keep working with them but a lot of people would judge Hillary immediately because she has huge gauges, is covered in tattoos and other body piercings but is the kindest nicest lady ever. 
3. Steven and Maria are the next two investigators and have the coolest story as it pertains to me. I forgot to mention this but this mission does have Spanish speaking missionaries and branches but I got assigned in this area to speak English. Steven is a less active member who was reffered to us by the Bishop, he has a drinking problem and got a fine from his land owner who is now making him go to the 12 step program (a church sponsored addiction program) due to an incident he had on New Years. We went to visit him and he let us in. I don't know how this works at all but he is married to a Peruvian woman who doesn't speak English, and he doesn't speak Spanish. I was able to translate some things he wanted to say to her, and I was able to talk with her, practice my Spanish and teach her a little bit about the church, we are going back this week to check up on Steven and I told Maria I would bring her a Spanish Book of Mormon because she used to have one but lost it. She is really really kind and is really grateful for us when I told her we were here to help Steven get back to church and help him with his problems he is having. I'm really excited to talk and teach with her again and it was such a cool experience for me!
4. Able and Chance are our next investigators. Able is married to Misty who was less active for a long time and the sister missionaries just re-activated. She has a daughter who is nine who has been working with us and the sisters who was just baptized on Saturday which was such a cool experience. Chance is Audra's (the daughter who was just baptized) older brother. He wants to be baptized also but wants to do it the same time as his dad. We will start teaching them on Wednesday and I'm really excited for that opportunity! 
5. Lastly Georgieann is a new convert, she was just barely baptized about a month ago and is so so so amazing!! She is 72, is the nicest, sweetest lady ever and has booked our calendars to feed us every Friday night. Her daughter in law who lives with her has been a member her whole life, converted her husband about a year ago. She is very funny, very loving and her attitude and spirit reminds me exactly of Grandma Call. She just got a visiting teaching assignment which she is so excited about and is loving every second of being LDS. Her son doesn't have his temple recommend because he still drinks coffee. Just an example of the kind of lady she is she took the coffee maker, smashed it on the floor and said "Trent, I'm going to the temple in a year and I want you to go with me, your giving up coffee because I'm going to the temple and you're coming with me!!" haha she is my favorite person here in Layton and she makes me feel right at home. 

Well this email was really long and super jammed packed full of info so I hope you all like it. I miss you all and would love to hear from you! please write me letters and I will write back. My new address is:
Elder Taylor M Adams
1654 N Hill Field Rd Apt 4A
Layton UT 84041

Love you and miss you all!!
Con mucho amor,

Elder Adams 
Taylor couldn't upload photos today, but this is from a cute lady in the ward he's serving in right now. She texted it to me.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Week Eight

January 7, 2014
Hey everyone! This week schedule changed and I now have P-day today. Yesterday my district left for Mexico City, I was really bummed and really wanted to be out in the field but even though it has only been 2 days extra here, they have been the two best days in the MTC thus far. Of course Heavenly Father knew I needed these two days more than I knew I needed them and I'm so glad and happy to have stayed longer. I am working on my patience as  I wait for my new call or visa to come in. I am excited to see what the rest of the week has in store for me! 

I am currently sleeping on a couch in the apartment of one of our other districts. I'm living out of my suitcase and have been chilling on the couch. Due to my extra length in the MTC, President Tyler wanted me to join the companionship of the new zone leaders and have three zone leaders because he loved having me as zone leader. To lift my spirits about staying on Friday President Tyler sent me a weekly letter reassuring me that I need to be here at the MTC for a reason. He said that I had touched the lives of many in the zone and maybe I need to help some more people here before I leave. In the letter he also included an anonymous section from someone's letter to the him. This letter said: 
"I love our Zone. It's a great feeling to know that I always have friends and people who care about me and want to talk to me and know about things that made my day and things that I'm struggling with. I think I might have already expressed this to you, but one person who is especially good at that is Elder Adams (Taylor -type). I can't ever leave a conversation with him without feeling loved, uplifted, and just a better person all around. And I see that he makes everyone feel like that, not just me. He is a great example to me of someone who has true, Christlike charity toward everyone. I know he's disappointed about not being able to leave the MTC with the rest of his district, and I'm sad for him for that, but I'm also a little selfishly glad because it means I'll be able to continue to learn from him, and so will the other Elders and Sisters in our Zone. His example makes me want to be the best missionary I can be by loving others around me unconditionally. He's definitely teaching me a lot about the love our Savior has for us and the love I should learn to feel for the investigators I teach. I know he'll be especially good at making the new District D feel welcome. He did it for us." 
This made me feel really good about myself because the hard work I have been putting in was being recognized, and the person who said this really meant it because they weren't looking to make me feel really good they were saying it to President Tyler. 

The two moments I would like to talk about happened last night and this morning:
1. Last night I was having personal study with Hermana Gerideli, Snow, and Briggs while my companions were studying Spanish. I felt the need to share with them two of my favorite Mormon Messages: , and one that won't pull up called he was all alone by Elder Holland. After watching these both the spirit was incredible. Hermana Gerideli said "Thank you Elder Adams, when I started my personal study I prayed for another confirmation that the Book of Mormon was true (something our teacher had us do) and that was exactly what I needed." After that we all knelt in prayer which brought the spirit even stronger. After this I began to share a very dear experience with them about the day I got my Temple Recommend back. By the end of my story streams of tears were rushing down all of our faces. We shared a few other experiences and bore testimony. All four of us were extremely grateful for the experience and it is one we will never forget.    
2. This morning we had P-day, and got to go back to the temple this P-day (which has been closed since our first week here at the MTC). I had the opportunity to go and do an endowment session in the Provo temple this morning. Going into the temple I had a pretty lose question in my heart something along the lines of: "I've felt the spirit a ton in my life, and I believe the church is true, but if it be your will please let me KNOW that you (God) are there." Before the session sitting in the chapel I began to pick up on my Book of Mormon Reading which by chance was in Alma 32, a chapter all about having faith and not needing to "KNOW". If you haven't read this chapter I highly encourage it. After the reading I had one of the best endownment session of my life, where I learned more than I ever have in the temple. After the session while sitting in the endowment room I decided to try something out that an Elder in my zone had recommended. Whenever he is feeling like he needs a specific answer he lays the scriptures on the table bind down, and lets them fall open by themselves and starts reading. As I did that I opened the Bible to John 14:1 which says "Let not your heart be atroubled: ye believe in God..." Both of these experiences were amazing, and to think I wouldn't have had either of these things happen had I left when I was "supposed to". Heavenly Father knows so much more about my life than I do. I've learned from this to put my trust in him, he knows what I need more than I do and I can't wait to see what the next weeks here have in store for me! :)

I love you all and I hope you are all doing well. Stick to you new year's resolutions and keep on keeping on. Write me or email me if you'd like, I'd love to hear from you all so please keep in touch! Miss you all and love you tons!
Much love,

Elder Adams
Elder Hadley, Hermana Lindsey and Hermana Almond on the Bus. 

Me and my teacher on his last day of teaching us.

Last day with my favorite teacher

Robe ceremony with my departing district

My new companion and I 

Elder Farmer and I again, apparently we aren't going to Mexico 
I'm going to South Korea and he is going to China... haha 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Week Seven

Sad news for Taylor, but it looks like they're in more time to "dear elder" him if you've got time! Sounds like he could use it!

January 3, 2014
This week has been really hard, its been really hard because on a normal schedule we should have left this Monday already. It has been really hard to focus and the week has seemed to drag on forever. Today was really hard also because my whole district got their travel plans to leave to Mexico in 3 days and I didn't, so I went to the travel office to see what was up and they said because I don't have my visa they are gonna keep me here at the MTC for another week or two while they try and get me in to the consulate. If I get in then I will leave for Mexico right after that, if after the 2 weeks here they still can't get me in then they will send me state side until I do get my visa. I'm really bummed about this and the MTC is getting harder everyday I'm here. On a positive note my companion and I have come a really long way in the past week. We are getting along well and things are going a lot better on that front. I also went to infield orientation last night which was awesome and helping me get ready for the field and I'm really excited to get out there and serve.

Not a whole lot to say about this week, I want to share a quick spiritual thought like usual, but this email may be the shortest one yet, due to the lack of things that happened this week. But here are some of my spiritual thoughts, I don't have my notes and can't find the scripture I wanted to share so  I will just share a brief thought:
Someone in my zone during testimony meeting said that when we get knocked down to our knees we are then in the perfect position to pray. I know that life can be difficult, especially after just having a hard week myself, but i know though prayer and through the help of Heavenly Father and Christ all things are possible. 

I miss you all tons and I hope I hear from all of you. Please send me letters and emails, I'd love to hear from whoever I can and keep in touch with those who would like to write me. I hope you all have a great week and remember to pray with things get hard.
Much Love,
Elder Adams

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Week Six (last week in the MTC)

December 27, 2013
Hey friends and family! I can't believe it is already week 6 but here goes another email from the life of Elder Taylor Adams at the MTC. Life is getting a little boring repeating the same thing over and over again, but on the bright side I leave the MTC in 10 days!!! So crazy, I can't wait to get out and actually start serving! As for actually getting down to Mexico on time only time will tell. Yesterday my whole district flew out to Vegas to have their visa interview and to get it approved, except me. I am the only one in my district who doesn't have their visa, yet so I may have to go state side Spanish speaking for a little bit before I get my visa to Mexico.

This week flew by really fast, with Christmas time and all we had going on this week with Vegas, visas and Christmas I can't believe it is already Friday. On Christmas I was able to open all of my presents from my family. We then had an MTC talent show, followed by a Christmas feast. After the feast we had an awesome devotional by Elder David A Bednar. It was a very different devotional but was one of the most amazing devotionals I have ever attended. The reason it was so different was he gave every missionary his phone number and sent out 200 cell phones thought the audience to ask him questions we would like him to answer and that is how his talk went. Some of the questions included: "What is your favorite scripture and why?" "What is the best characteristic you can have as a missionary?" "Why do I feel inadequate?" and many more. No matter how bad or stupid the questions was Elder Bednar gave the best, most profound answers to every question. After the devotional we had a devotional review with our zone (Which is basically like a testimony meeting where we each stand up, say something we learned and bear our testimony). After this we then had a concert with Christmas Jazz music and watched a movie. It was a really good Christmas even though I was missing home a lot.

I will try and share a few spiritual thoughts from the week but it will be a little difficult as I don't have my notes... so here goes nothing:
1. Elder Bednar said the best attribute of a missionary is being able to get out of the way. He said the best missionaries are the ones who are selfless and don't let their personal needs interfere with the work. We need to put ourselves aside for two years and work as hard as we can.
2. Elder Bednar also shared with us a scripture from 3 Nephi 11 where Christ went among the multitude one by one showing ever person that he was Christ, not just showing one persons and having him tell the rest of the people, "yeah its him". After calculations that action by Christ would have taken about 18 hours but Christ is the perfect example of teaching people one, by one. We need to do the same thing, focus on others individually rather than as a group. I have a lot more notes on this but I can't remember them off the top of my head.

I hope you are all doing well. It is crazy to me that next week will be my last P day in the MTC before I head out and start serving. I can't wait to get out there and give it my all. Please let me know how you are doing, send me letter or Dear elders because I would love to hear from you. I miss you and I hope you all had a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!!

Much Love,
Elder Adams

A few other notes from his other emails:
-haha good i'm glad you liked them :) It was kinda hard having my first Christmas away from home, but Elder Puzey (who is awesome, him and Elder Beck filled the void of my two best friends who left) said something that really made my day. He is 24, has already graduated college and is super mature, but he said: "Today we join the ranks of those great men who choose to not spend Christmas with their family for a better cause, weather its protecting our country, weather is is working overtime to make sure you can provide your family with food, or out here doing the greatest work we could ever do, helping other souls receive salvation." There was a poem that  I really liked that said: "The definition of a missionary is someone who gives up two years away from their family so others can be with theirs forever" I know I'm supposed to be here and even though I missed you a lot of Christmas this is where I need to be.

-Yeah there is a chance but I don't think it will come. Even if I get sent state side for a bit it won't be for too long because Mexican visas are really easy to get right now. Depends where I get send but it could be a really cool experience to serve two missions! :)--haha really haven't been called T-Bone in a while... haha I'm really excited to get out of the MTC my Spanish this past week has really shot thorough the roof. My whole district went to Vegas yesterday except for me and one of my teachers is a native of Mexico and doesn't speak English very well. I had to give her a 45 min lesson with someone else who didn't talk at all... in Spanish as she pretended to be a fake investigator. So essentially I talked and conversed with her while she was speaking at her normal speed. I felt really good about it afterwards because I was able to say everything I wanted to say and  I understood her so well. After she told me that my Spanish was amazing and that I am one of the best Spanish speakers from a beginner or intermediate class she has seen in a long time!!  
 These are my 3 best friends from the MTC (Elder Hadley, Elder Russon, Me and Elder Edgington) Elder Russon and Elder Edge are gone now but Elder Hadley is in my zone and going to Mexico City West also.
Opening Presents 
More Presents
 Elder Muller, I and our teacher who I was talking about Hermana Casdavez
This is Elder Hadley, and my two new friends who came in Elder Puzey, 
on the right and Elder Beck on the right