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!

Letter from April 16, 2012

We were able to talk to Taylor so he had the chance to touch base with his brother who is leaving on a mission on April 25th.  It was nice to be able to see him and Taylor is doing well.  The pictures below are of a stake service project at a Catholic Cemetery.  Taylor and his zone performed some work here a few weeks ago and the stake was able to finish.  It was a nice opportunity to make friends in the community.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Letter from April 2nd, 2012

Taylor is doing well and has spent much of his email time helping me to figure out his fall schedule.  Here is today's email and a short part of last week's email about the 7.2 earthquake that hit last Sunday.  For those of you who are thinking that his are always short, you are right; this is even shorter :).  Thank you for all of your support for Taylor.

So, the earthquake was actually quite fun. We were in a cita with the couple missionaries when it happened. It lasted about a minute and I found it really cool. We actually thought that it was going to get worse, but it didn´t. Oh, and we just kept going on with our lesson right after. All in all, pretty fun.

Random story from today, we were robbed by somebody while we were playing soccer. They took the backpacks of 2 missionaries and stole our phone. The thing that stinks about it is that we lost all of our numbers of people in the sector. But, oh well, that is how Chile is.

We have also seen how the gospel has started helping a family we found. One day a 14 year old flyte (roughly translated: gangster, but it isn´t the same) contacted us in the street--which doesn´t usually result in anything. Long story short is that his whole family is now listening to us. They are really humble people and have all started participating in the lessons. Hopefully it will turn out well.

Well, I hope everybody has a great week!


Elder Taylor Thomas

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Letter from March 13th, 2012

Taylor's zone had their P-day today so they could go to a museum.  In our letter to him, we asked several questions about his investigators and his responses are below.
I have attached a voice recording from today. Also, I will have fotos the next week from our trip to the museum. As for the part-member family, we had a visit with the Fuentealbas (the senior couple). We talked pretty clearly about the need for marriage and it was a really spiritual lesson. Also this week we have been trying to find complete families to teach and we were able to find two whole families. It is a complete miracle, because I have never had this happen in the mission. It is generally really hard to find a family in which all of the integrants of the family want to listen. Also, we had a really cool experience where we couldn´t decide what to teach a reactivating member that we were going to visit with the Fuentealbas last night. So we planned to teach about Teaching and Learning in the Church, and when we got there, he told us that he had been called as the teacher for the youth. Totally cool how the spirit guided us to know exactly what to teach him 24 hours before we even passed by.

Well, I think that is all for today. You have a great week.

Elder Taylor Thomas

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Letter from March 5th, 2012

This week a new senior couple arrived to the mission and they are working with us in the ward. The Elder was a Patriarch and a temple Sealer and the both of them are pure spiritual power. We have already visited several people with them and it has been cool.

The spiritual story of the week is that we had a really good lesson with a part member family. The dad is the only one who is not baptized and has been attending church for 20 years. We had a good spiritual moment with him when his wife talked about her desires to have an eternal family. We were able to testify and leave him the commitment to read and pray. Hopefully he does it.

Well, that is about all for today.


Elder Taylor Thomas

Monday, February 27, 2012

Letter from February 27th, 2012

So, this week was a little difficult. We found some really cool people to teach and we were going to set baptismal dates the next visit. However, when we returned they were not there, and we have had trouble finding them again. I am really excited to work with the Fuentealbas, a new senior missionary couple from Chile, I think they are going to be a great addition to the ward I am serving in. Elder Fuentealba served as a Stake President and a temple sealer. So he is going to bring spiritual power to the ward. We are still waiting for a bishop. The ward has not had one for a year and really needs one.

As for a good spiritual story this week, I have one. Yesterday we really saw the Lord guiding us. We were knocking doors in several parts of the sector and we had the idea to go follow up on some old contacts that we did. The people who we passed by initially seemed OK. People that might let us in, but who wouldn´t progress towards baptism. When we passed by them, they both let us in and are both really receptive. One is a man who wants more unity in his family and wants to follow God. It was amazing how the Lord changed his heart over the 4-ish weeks we have been trying to pass by and get into his house. He obviously had been prepared by the Lord over the past few weeks to be ready to hear the gospel. Hopefully all turns out well with him.

Anyway, I hope you are all doing well this week. Have a great time!


Elder Taylor Thomas

Friday, February 17, 2012

Letter from February 13th, 2012

Well, as for changes, I will be staying here in the sector. Elder Silva is going. They are splitting the Zones of Maipú and Olimpo. I will be staying with Zona Maipú. .Elder Lewis is going to be one of the new zone leaders of Zona Olimpo :)

We also had a cool miracle the other day. We had invited one of our investigators who had been going to church and who is living with a reactivating family to baptism again. He answered with a firm "no" when we were almost certain that he was going to say yes. When we had a FHE on Saturday with him, he said, "Elders, I have made a decision. I want to get baptized." We were really surprised and we saw the hand of the Lord in this miracle.

Also, I have attached a picture of our entire Zone, the last Zone picture of Maipú and Olimpo together. The other one is of our adventure today. Love you all!

Elder Taylor Thomas

Monday, February 6, 2012

Letter from February 6th, 2012

This week in the work has been good and very busy. We had stuff to do every day of the week. One of the highlights we had this week was that we helped clean the Catholic Cementary of Maipú. I have attached the foto for everyone to see. It was a really fun project.

The other cool thing is that we are probably going to have a baptism this weekend. Pedro is doing really well and has a lot of faith. Now I say probably because his baptismal interview is today, which should go well. I am really excited for it and I hope everything goes well. It is amazing to see the changes that people make in their lives to follow Jesus Christ. That is my favorite thing to see as a missionary.

We have also heard from the rumor mill that they will be dividing the zone next change. This zone is a zone with 2 stakes in it, while all of the other zones are only one stake. I will also find out what is happening this week with changes.

Well, I hope you all have a great day!

Elder Taylor Thomas

Monday, January 30, 2012

Letter from January 30th, 2012

We had our Zone activity today and so we are short on time. We went to Buin Zoo, which is a zoo to the south right outside of Santiago. I have attached fotos. 

So, we have one investigator progressing towards baptism in the middle of February. His name is Pedro and he is 83 almost 84 years old. He is very receptive and is learning really fast. Hopefully there will be some more good news with that next week.

We did have a cool experience this week. A member in a taxi told someone that we give health blessings and that she should listen to us. We arrived within 1 or 2 days at her house by knocking doors and now we have her and her husband who are listening to the message of the Gospel.

Well, that is all for today. Hope you all enjoy the pictures :)

Elder Taylor Thomas

Monday, January 23, 2012

Letter from January 23rd, 2012

This week has been normal, we did several divisions this week with the district leaders. I went with Elder Lewis in his sector and it was fun to work with him again.  I also went with Elder Smith this week.

We had a cool spiritual guidance moment this week. It was later at night and my companion suddenly stopped and knocked a door (which was actually an intercom doorbell). Generally the intercoms we call "rejection boxes" because the people usually are really annoying when they answer them, especially at night. But this time they came out, gave us a piece of cake (it is quite normal for people to offer you food or something to drink at the door here) and the lady said, "My parents said they don´t have time right now, but said to come back tomorrow." We were really surprised. They weren´t there the next day, but we passed by the day after and they were there. They even received us when they had tons of vistors at their house (generally people do not let us in in these cases). They had shared with missionaries before and are a united family (Mom and Dad love each other, their kids are respectful, etc.). So it was really cool to see that even when we don´t realize it, the Spirit is guiding us.

Anyways, I hope you all had a great week.
Elder Taylor Thomas

Monday, January 16, 2012

Letter from January 16th, 2012

This week has been interesting. My companion is the other zone leader and a really good missionary.  I am in the Zone with Elders Lewis, Smith, and Fearnley as District Leaders. I know all of them from beforehand (Elder Fearnley was also in the coast with me) but I don´t know any of the other Elders very well. Maipú is a big zone with 3 districts, which isn´t normal in this mission. It also looks like we might be getting a lot of new sectors opened in this zone because of all the new missionaries who are arriving.

We had a cool experience with a lady we are teaching named Lucy. She is an active Evangelical but has been reading the Book of Mormon. When we passed by to teach her the other day, she said that she had commented in her church during a women´s meeting that she had been receiving us in her house. A lot of the other women started saying that we worship a prophet and that she needs to trust in God, among other things. Instead of getting scared, she defended us and said, "They have taught me a lot about God and Jesus and nothing about worshiping a prophet." That was a really cool experience. We are hoping to have more progress with her soon.

Well, that is all for today. Hopefully you liked the story for this week.

Elder Taylor Thomas

Monday, January 9, 2012

Letter from January 9th, 2012

Hey friends-

So, this week there isn`t much to tell because I don`t know much myself. I was changed to Maipú and I am with Elder Silva from Temuco, Chile. We whitewashed (missionary term for 2 missionaries entering in a sector at the same time with no knowledge of the sector) a ward called Monumento whose boundries go until Plaza de Maipú. We are still getting used to the sector, but it is pretty cool, and there are jovenes this time! Anyway, I have run out of time because there was lots to do today. Hopefully I will be able to write more and share some cool spiritual experiences. Maybe I will even send a voice recording....maybe. Have a great week!

Elder Taylor Thomas

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Christmas and Letter from January 2nd, 2012

We were able to speak with Taylor on Christmas Day and it was great to talk to him.  He is so concerned about getting everything done on his mission that the Lord would have him do.  He has spent six months in San Miguel and has enjoyed his time there.  Now, he is off to another adventure.  Here is his letter from this week with photos from Christmas as well.  The first pictures are of the ward Christmas party and you all know how much he likes to take pictures of meat!  Thanks to everyone for your support of Taylor.

Hey everybody-

I am a little short on time, but I will explain why in just a second.


Finally we have some really good investigators. A week ago we found a single mom with 6 year old fraternal twins (boy and girl). She is really interested in the gospel, especially for her family. The other is Manuel and Catalina, who have a baptismal date for the 4th of February along with their 9 year old daughter. Catalina was the person who we contacted the 18 de Septiembre (the big party day) who just loved the Book of Mormon. She is really smart and I think they will make it to baptism. We also have a member who recently reactivated and moved back to the ward. His wife isn´t a member and had been listening to the missionaries in their old ward. She also looks really promising.


At last, the information at least some of you have been waiting for. Yes, after 6 months here I have changes! It also looks like a ton of people have changes because President King is preparing the mission for a huge influx of missionaries. Our mission is going to be at full capacity (180 missionaries) for quite a while longer. Every companionship in Zona San Miguel has changes, which I have never seen before. Anyway, for guesses as to what Zone I might go to, I am thinking that it will be Maipú, Ochagavia, or Cinco de Abril.


Ok, so an explanation of the pictures. So we went to the mission home as a Zone for our Zone activity. We had BBQ chicken sandwiches and played games out back with President and Hermana King. I also am pretty sure that President King killed the missionaries that he was playing Rummikub (is that how you spell it?) with. These are the pictures we took while we were there. It was super fun!

Have a great week!

Elder Thomas

                  Ward Christmas Party -- Taylor picked the menu (big surprise!!!)

                    President and Sister King at the mission Christmas get-together

                                               Christmas Day

                                 Zone activity with the Kings!