Monday, June 11, 2012

Last Letter from Chile - 6/11/2012

Taylor saved his best for last.  Thank you to everyone for supporting him and us throughout the last two years.  We are so proud of him and are grateful for his service.  He will be coming home on the 19th and will be sharing some of his experiences on Sunday, June 24th at 11:00 a.m. at our church in Orem.  The church is on the corner of 1000 North and 600 West.

Dear Family and Friends-

The time has come to write my last email from the mission field. Obviously, it is hard to write one big email that could sum up what my last two years´ experience has been. However, I have been reflecting a bit on what it has meant to me. As I have reflected upon the experience of my mission, I have realized that it comes down to one thing--fruits. Christ once said that "By their fruits ye shall know them..." (see Matthew 7:20; 3 Nephi 14:20; Moroni 7:5-13). After thinking about it, I noticed that everything in the mission has to do with fruits--the changes I have seen in myself, the changes people have made to follow the Gospel, the impact I have been able to leave in the people I have served, etc.

With that said, I have realized that God gives us opportunities to interact with others so that both we and they can bring forth fruit. I have loved seeing the changes in other people and I hope that I have sufficiently changed my own life to be an acceptable offering after these 2 years. I fully acknowledge that the mission is not everything, but I know it will have an impact on me for the rest of my life.

I know that the Savior lives. I know that He died on the cross to give us the chance to live with God again. I have loved being a missionary and am sad to leave it behind, but we all have to move on. For those of you may still be following my letters after 2 years (I know it is a long time), use every second to your advantage. If you have for some reason lost the testimony you once had, do everything to get it back. If you are still firm, stay firm and never go off of the straight and narrow path. I echo what Mormon once said to Moroni, " let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God." (Moroni 9:6). I have loved serving the Lord for these 2 years and I am glad He gave me the opportunity. I love you all and I thank you for all of your love, care, and advice over the past 2 years.

Elder Taylor Thomas

Monday, May 28, 2012

Letter from May 28th, 2012

Sorry for another short letter. I still have to work on my stewardship report and we just got back from a trip (pictures attached). .We went shopping for souvenirs and  met a bunch of gringos while we were there. One was an American Airlines pilot and the others were flight attendents. Really nice people.

As for the week, we found a lot of new people to teach, including several families. We have appointments with them all the rest of the week, so I hope that we will see some progress with them. I placed one of the Book of Mormons you guys gave me yesterday with a cool family we found. The daughter was also there and she was all over the idea of reading the BOM. They are really committed to read now and find out the truthfulness of our message.

Well, I am doing ok, just working hard to the end. I hope you are all doing well too.

Elder Taylor Thomas

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Letter from May 21, 2012

This week has been pretty good. We have found some really good investigators this week that look like they have a lot of potencial to progress. The ward is also doing a little bit better. We have seen some motion and people are starting to plan activities. We are also trying to keep a good relationship going with the Bishop.

Sorry for the really short email.  I am doing fine, and I have placed one of the Book of Mormons you gave me. I will probably be placing the other 2 this week. Thank you for everything. :)

Love -

Elder Taylor Thomas

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Letter from May 14, 2012

So, this week has been pretty good. I have a new companion. His name is Elder Ian Birch from Twin Falls, Idaho. This makes my third gringo companion in a row from Idaho. He is a really good missionary. I am adapting to his working style and it is still fun. 

To say the absolute truth, baptisms before the end of the mission are looking kind of bleak. Sebastian is having trouble with some of the committments and I think he will be baptized in the future, he even says that he has a lot of desire to be baptized; however, I don´t think it will happen for a little while longer. But, we are still looking to pull off a miracle by finding another investigator. The other investigators we have have baptismal dates for after I leave the mission.

Copying Elder Aaron Lillie´s idea, I have a culinary story for the week. We had to make lunch in the house this week and I wanted to make pasta. I asked my comp if he wanted it and he said "Yes, but I want to have pancakes too." So, we made them both. No, we did not mix them on the same plate. Mmmmmmmmmm......angry pasta with pancakes on the side. Definately a step outside of the box for a picky culinary person like me :)

So, that I think is all for this week. I hope Josh got to his mission ok, and I look forward to reading his email.

Elder Taylor Thomas

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Letter from May 7th, 2012

This week has been hectic. Probably one of the more busy ones of my mission. We had concilio (which I have fotos attached, with us in action) and several other meetings with President King. We also had a stake activity which we were in charge of. Right now I am in a temporary division with Elder Lacambra (from Spain) who I was also with several other times this week because his companion is also going home. 

We are teaching a couple who is progressing really well. They are not married, but have a third child on the way. They have a baptismal date for later in June, but they are progressing well. We had a good lesson with them and it is amazing to see that even the little things we have taught them have helped them and their relationship a lot.

Well, I will find out who my new companion is tomorrow. I hope you all have a great week. And have a happy mother´s day mom!!!

Elder Taylor Thomas

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Letter from April 30th, 2012

This week has been full of miracles. The Familia Zavala (the one that Sebastian is a part of) had their grandma die this week. It was sad for them, but I think that the knowledge of the gospel really helped them out. Related to this story is that we went to the funeral to support the family. The thing is that the funeral was in an Evangelical church. Oh, yeah....plenty of "amens" and guitar music. It was a good service, but it just served to strengthen my testimony of the true church.

Anyway, continuing with the story. The Dad of the familia Zavala is an inactive member who had never really participated with us nor showed interest in coming back to church. The miracle from this week is that when we went by to teach them after the graveside service, the dad sat down with us with his Book of Mormon in hand. He then told of us his desire to come back to church and how his wife had helped him to take that decision. We really felt the spirit and he did come to church (in a suit I might add) yesterday.

Well, that is all for today folks. Have a great week!

Elder Taylor Thomas

Letter from April 23rd, 2012

Well, we thought that this week we might have a baptism, but then she did not come to church. She is 9 years old but acts like a 20 year old. Her brother is the only active member of the family. But, the good news is that she should get baptized in May.

Otherwise, the week has been pretty good. Today we went to the Chilean version of the Air and Space Museum. To tell you the truth, I was quite impressed. It was a really high quality museum. I have over 70 pictures of it and so you might get other emails than this one. It is located at the old airport in Cerrillos (where Grampy came in, you should have him look at the fotos). Some of the pictures that I have here are of a P-47 Thunderbolt (and original one) and an F-4 Phantom from the U.S. It actually fought in a war and you will see a picture of me pointing to the kill mark painted on the side (it shot down a MIG).

Well, sorry for the slow news day. Have a great week!