Monday, June 24, 2013

I *Heart* Epidemics

Hello! Welcome to the three-week-left Edition of Sister Taylor's email.
In our upcoming news report we will feature news following the dreaded RotoVirus outbreak among the missionaries in the Provo Missionary Training Center.
We will also have a special feature on how the 12-week program slowly turns missionaries insane -- complete with personal experiences.
On a lovely, warm Tuesday night all was well among the 3,000 plus missionaries in the Marriott Center. Little did they know they were in for a surprise, and a long, sleepless night.
*personal story time*
Sister Bradshaw and I had just gotten home from the devotional and were heading to our room to check on a sister who had an allergic reaction to some food when I started to get a really bad headache. On our floor I ran to the bathroom, lost my dinner, and decided I was going to be okay. We went back to class, and half way through I decided it would probably be a much better idea for me to lay in the hall of our residence. After a good hour of never wanting to be sick again I slowly crawled over to my dear companion, whispered my final words into her ear, and died.  Not really. I just asked her to call the front desk to get Elder Hansen and White to our building to give me a blessing.
After the phone call, I scooted outside, in my pj's, without shoes, at 10:45, with lovely Sister Urling and Sister Bradshaw. As I was sprawled upon the sidewalk an older gentleman wearing a suit came walking towards us. "Great," I thought "here I am, in PJ's, no shoes, past curfew, laying on the middle of the sidewalk."  We had a nice chat, he asked where we were going, (after the "why are you on the sidewalk" question) and told us he was the Branch President of the Korean Zone. We had a nice chat until we were interrupted by MTC security escorting our lovely Elders to my grave site.
I got a blessing, puked, shuffled to the front desk, picked up prescription Pepto on steroids, and didn't puke again.  Moral of the story: If you lay on the sidewalk past curfew and get a blessing, you will puke no longer.  There have been a good few hundred missionaries sick, we're not allowed to hug or shake hands and the hand sanitizer machines are multiplying like rabbits. All is well in the land of Epidemic. (The MTC)
In other news,
well... there's not much other news.
Sister Bradshaw and I were in the Choir yesterday. I'm about 99% sure you did not see us. Pourquoi? Well, we were literally the very top row of sisters. I don't think the camera can even zoom high enough to see where we were sitting. Oh well, the chairs we sat in were padded. That made the entire venture worth it. There is nothing worse in the MTC than sitting for 4 or more hours on hard bleacher chairs.
On to our spiritual thought of the week brought to you by Sister Ana De Agostini of the Relief Society General Board:
Her son is in the military, and she shared a thought about how "We are always in enemy territory." She wasn't referring to being in the middle of Iraq, she was referring to our life, right now, right here. She sent her son into the middle of a very deadly area. Our Heavenly Father sent us to the Earth, where we could be tested and tempted by Satan. She worried about her son, she loved her son, and wanted to help him in anyway she possibly can. Our Heavenly Father is exactly the same. He loves us, He worries about us, and He WILL help us if we ask. 
But, it's not enough to sit around blocking yourself from Satan. You can't live your life on the defensive, we are here to prepare and execute our offensive plan of attack. (Yeah, I just made that up, you can quote me.) But really. I love my family, I love my friends and I'm sitting in the MTC regretting not sharing the gospel better with the people I love and don't have it. That my lovely friends and family is our best offensive. *cue epic sound track here* I know we've been beaten on the head over and over about the importance of Member Missionary Work the past few months, but it is so important. I'm going to a country where I can speak a little bit, but not enough to really get to know a stranger on the street and let them know I love them and share the wonderful details of the plan we have. I'm praying to meet members who have friends they already know and love and that these members are willing to show me who to talk to. Knocking on doors won't get me very far, but knowing your neighbors will get missionaries ANYWHERE even farther than we imagine.  
*end missionary work rant here*
The MTC is slowly injecting me with insanity. If you haven't noticed already. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE it here. I am just extremely ready to get into the field. I want to meet people and teach non-fake investigators. 3 more weeks! That just means you will only get 2 more lovely emails from me in the MTC. I can do that. :)
Oh, in light of the passing of my stay in the MTC, anyone may donate any of the following items at your nearest post office:
mustard pretzels
the blue striped skirt in the second to last drawer of my dresser
cliff bars
fruit leather (I will never dislike delicious fruity sheets of mush)
skirts that have elastic waistbands (and are soft and comfy, patterns or no patterns accepted)
super duper soft exercise shirts (Gramsie, you win, my shirt is sooo comfortable, thank you again)
silly putty
To donate:
Place item into box.
If you live in Utah County UPS will deliver your box for free on Fridays
Sister Morgan Taylor
MTC Box #174
2005 North 900 East
Provo, Utah
on box
Deliver to post office
Wait approx 1 week for thank you card of love and admiration
If you made it through this email, congratulations! If you'd like an explanation on why I'm so weird today, I blame running 3 miles just barely, then eating M&Ms, followed by living in a 1 mile radius for the past 2 months.
Soeur Taylor

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Week.....who knows anymore!

Ia orana! E aha to'oe huru? Maitai?
First: Happy Father's Day!! It's a day late.. sorry. But. Happy Father's Day!
Second: Can you believe I'm going to be sitting on an island, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, in four litle weeks?  I can't. I feel like I'm not a missionary yet, i feel like i'm at a very long summer camp where they speak to you in strange languages and feed you as equally strange of food. BUT. They've been pulling out the watermelon for us on Monday's. That is THE BEST.  The honeydew is also delicious, the grapes are acceptable, and the green jello salad stuff.... well... don't touch it with a 10-foot pole. Sister Urling told Elder Lovelock he could only take her tray for her if he ate the salad (because she loves it). He ate it. His expression was priceless.
Tahitian is coming along. The grammar is strange, so I've been working on studying that, but now I've gotten to the point where I understand the grammar, but have no idea of any words to plug into the grammar sequence. Oops. I guess that's going to be my goal for the week -- learn words! I know a good handful of words. Sister Bradshaw and I have been working on contacting each other in Tahitian, just so we can get the hang of it before we're thrown into the field. My go-to job is "fare moni" which means money house, which we think means a bank. We aren't completely sure... But hey, we're going with it.
We are teaching our first lesson in Tahitian tonight. It's going to be a very nice, short lesson. We're shooting for the ability to say all the the bullet points in PMG and sharing our testimony. Wish us luck!
Yesterday in Relief Society we had Neill Marriott, she's in the new YW Presidency, came and spoke to us. First of all, her hint of a southern accent is awesome, we love. Second, she's so fun. She's going to be incredible in her calling, I'm slightly jealous of all the young women. ;) She spoke to us about staying focused, the priesthood, and then she shared her conversion story--which is fantastic. She grew up in the deep south going to the methodist church every week of her life. Her friends and her decided to move up to Cambridge, Mass. A few days after they moved there they met some boys who told her they were Mormon. She asked, "What's a Mormon?" Their response is my favorite... They said, "Well, can we have two of our friends come tell you a little more about us?" And she and her friends said yes.  The next day the boys came over with the missionaries and taught all the girls the first lesson. They continued to take the lessons, and Sister Marriott was dead set on not joining the Church. It came to a point where a few weeks after she was going to leaving the country for a few weeks, one of the missionaries was going to go home, and she was going to be able to leave the country still as a methodist. One of the last lessons the boy she had met spoke up and asked her (something powerful that I forgot. Dang it!). BUT. It inspired her to sincerly pray about whether the church is true. She knelt down, prayed, and heard a voice say, "It's true." She then promptly stood up and yelled, "It's true!" without closing her prayer, called the mission president and told him she wanted to be baptized.  What I learned: There is extreme power is asking a well thought, well phrased question.  Just, remember the question. . .
Then, last night for our devotional, Elder Allen spoke to us again. Which is a good thing, because we really like him. She showed us some commercials he produced, and they're all better than the cheesy, "Family, isn't it about. . . time?" ones you can watch on Mormon Channel. (Believe me, we have watched all of them. We get a lot of movie watching in when our minds are going to explode with gooey tahitian overwhelmingness.) I'll just share the lovely taglines he shared with us:
It's not about what you aren't, it's about what you are.
When everything says you can't, believe in the part of you that says you can.
It's often life's small moments that bring the greatest joy.
If you love them, let them know.
What ever you do, just do your best.
Lately Sister Bradshaw and I have been ridiculiously busy. I wish the days had 30 hours in them, that would make all things better.  Depending on the day, we usually have 3-4 hours of study time. Lately, we've been interviewing other sisters for a very large chunk of that time, and I've been feeling overwhelmed with learning all that I need to in a one hour study session.
Our French sisters, whom we love, are leaving next week! Which makes me cry every time I think about it. So, we've been doing exit interviews, helping them understand they have to clean up their room... (jk, they're clean) and just spending as much time with them as we can. I love them. I'm going to miss them a lot!
Last Tuesday/Wednesday we had new missionaries put into our zone! We have a Sister Rubio from Mexico, Sister Castaillo, Sister Morris, Sister Gordon, Sister Flores. All are from Utah, except one Idaho-ian and a real southern Georgian. :) They are headed to Paris and Montreal. We also have an Elder going to Benin, Africa. So, our zone covers the following missions
Paris, France
Lyon, France
Tahiti, Papeete
Benin, Africa
West Indies
New Calodonia
Congo, Africa
We're pretty legit if I do say so myself.
Anywho, on Tuesday we were able to show Sister Rubio around early along with 5 other sisters. 2 were from Finland, and the rest were from Scotland, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. It was so much fun! We had the Finnish sisters talk to us in Finnish, which is crazy. I give Uncle Todd props for learning it... ;) 
We went on a field trip this week! Sister Bradshaw has a strange rash appear on her face every now and then, so we walked over to the clinic to see if she was allergic to anything. The doctors didn't have much news for us, but gave her suggestions on how to make it better, and off to Rite-Aid we went. That was strange. Right next door was the Macy's where Madi, Erin and I went and got food, and where Kortnie, Kobe, Chandler and I ate giant ice cream cones. It was just a strange place to be while I'm in the MTC.
This week is going to be a good one! Choir is still going strong! I think I'll be wearing my teal shirt on Sunday, so keep an eye out for me!  I love you all!
Sister Taylor

Another week is over!

And another week is over!
This week has been strange, I am seriously lacking on my sleep. :) I've had a lovely cold for about two weeks, and this week I had two nights in a row where I just couldn't sleep because I was coughing so badly. That's when Sister Bradshaw decided to drag me to the doctor. *sigh* I have broncitious. That's just a fancy name for a cough that won't go away. We went on a nice field trip outside of the MTC to get some lovely antibiotics. The doctor told me, "well, it looks like you don't have pneomuia yet, but if your cough doesn't go away after you're done with the antibiotics, come and see me." I hope he was kidding. :)  
Oh, and I'm in choir. Which is incredibly ironic. I cannot sing at all right now, but I HAVE to be in choir because... wait for it....
Our devotionals are now moved to the Marriot Center! There are offically too many missionaries in the MTC. There's never enough missionaries, but there is a lack of space. This will be the first time every missionary, including the ones living in Wyview and Raintree can watch the devotional together. Ready for more? Tuesday (tomorrow) is the first day they are having it, and Jeffery R. Holland is going to be the speaker. I'm going to sing for Elder Holland! I'll just keep making this better. Have you heard about the Worldwide Missionary Traning Conference they're showing on June 23? Well, you should have because EVERYONE is invited. It'll be held at the Marriot Center and President Monson will be presiding and speaking. I'll be singing. In the choir. For President Monson. Even if I just have to mouth the words I am going to be "singing."
Tahitian is going so well! I like it a lot more than French, honestly. Maybe it's the fact I've already learned how to learn a language that makes it easier to study a new one, but, Tahitian is coming easier. It's beautiful. I really like it because you have to think about how you want to say something. Example: Haamaramaramaraa is the word for "window." I know that looks insane! But it's actually just three words put together. Haa means: to make Maramarama means: light and Raa makes any word a noun. The literal translation of the word is a thing that makes light. HOW COOL IS THAT! That's how nearly every word is, haamaitai is the word for blessings, it's "to make good." Basically Tahitian is a giant brain teaser, and I adore it. It's strange too. In class we have conversations in English, French, Tahitian all within a half hour. It's easy to tell it's overwhelming some missionaries, myself included at times, but you just have to take it a few minutes at a time. We're going to be in Paradise in 5 weeks speaking these languages. 
Now, what I have learned this week. This has basically been the theme of the week. I'm too timid. My teachers told Sister Bradshaw and I we "tip toe" in lessons. Bah. I spent a lot of time this week thinking about how I can be more direct and powerful with what I'm saying. We had Sister Clegg of the Relief Society General Board come speak to us in Relief Society, the message of her talk was to "Be Bold."  Exactly what I needed to hear. I know this church is true. I know what I'm teaching is true. I know what we're teaching is essential in the lives of our investigators. I just need to put myself out there and say it. We had very good practice this week. We were working with a few sisters who were having trouble in their companionships, and as the Sister Training Leaders it was our job to correct it. We were scared out of our minds to tell sisters that what they were doing was wrong and needed to change. We talked to our Branch President, we talked with our Zone leaders, and we even practiced telling each other what we were doing was wrong and how to fix it before we finally felt semi-comfortable to talk with the sisters.  Thank goodness for prayers. We had spent praying to know what to say and to help the sisters, we walked into the meetings, said what we needed to say, and all was well. Now we can be tough on our investigators, and we won't be afraid to tell them they actually have to read the Book of Mormon and Pray.
Quotes of the week:
Poor Elder White had quite the week. There is a sister from Tahiti, going to serve in Fiji, so she has class in the same building as us. Her name is Sister H (insert a million vowels here). Anyway, she came to class and we were practicing winking (Sister Van doesn't know how to wink) when Elder White winked at her. The look on her face was priceless. She said, "Don't do that in Tahitit! In Tahiti that means, I missionary now, but I come back." Elder White was so red, and we were crying because we were laughing so hard. He apologized to her over and over and over and she just laughed and walked away.  The next day he walks in and says, "I was just laying awake in bed, just thinking, I winked, and I felt so bad and couldn't sleep." We love Elder White, his Tahitian name means "Godly Sorrow" because he instantly feels bad for anything and everything he does. Once he told me, "Sister Taylor you look 10 times smarter with your glasses" and instantly apologized over and over because he didn't realize that could be an insult (I wasn't insulted, everyone just made fun of him for it). That's the story of the week. She came back on Saturday to take a picture with him because he's the one that winked. :)
I love you!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Week 5 - one month!!

Hello! Bonjour!
First of all, thank you so much for all the letters and packages I recieved this week! You are all the best, and lovely little notes are being sent to you today.
This week absolutely flew by, I feel like it should be Tuesday of last week.
We went to San Fransisco! That was an adventerous day. We woke up at 2:15am, got showered, dressed, and headed into the "kidnapper van" to be escorted to the lovely Salt Lake City Airport. Upon arriving at the airport our travel leader (Elder Travis Hansen) ran to punch in our confirmation number for our tickets. No luck. He looked around to see if someone would help us, but there was abosultely nobody in the airport. I could have told him our tickets were for United, instead of Delta, but I couldn't pass up the chance for him to freak out a teensy bit. So, I didn't tell him. For a good 7 minutes. After I told him and we were in the correct lobby and had our tickets we headed through Security. We grabbed a bit of breakfast and I bet the Elders they couldn't give out 3 pass a long cards. They ran off to try to prove me wrong. In the mean time, the sisters with us, Sister Urling and Sister Van Wagenen talked to a very nice lady who took our picture and sent it to all our mothers. 
The Elders came back complaining everyone was already a memeber and they couldn't find anyone to give their card to.
The real adventure came when we landed in San Fransisco. We were so lost. So. Lost. The travel department didn't have a paper in our packet telling us how to find our driver. Elder Hansen called them, we got the instructions and then attempted to find out where we were going. No luck. Because we flew United, instead of Delta, we had to find our way to the terminal that had the Delta flights, walk to baggage claim, go out the doors, head to courtyard one by following the dog prints. It took us 45 minutes to find it. Poor Elder Hansen was so upset because he felt like he "failed" us as our travel leader. I was just laughing the whole time.
We walked into the consulate, and met a lady from India, who has lived in the United States her whole life, getting a visa to go to Paris on vacation. We discussed religion with her for awhile, she's what she called a "Spiritual Hindu." She said she doesn't practice a religion formally, but believes that all things on earth are connected. It was an interesting conversation. We left her with a pass along card. It's crazy to feel immediate love for anyone you talk to. You just want to share everything you know about the gospel because you know it's going to change their lives, but sometimes people really aren't interested, and that breaks my heart.
Then we headed to Pier 39 to get some lunch. I love being in the real world! I love the MTC, but I miss meeting strangers and eating at restraunts. We took some pictures, saw sea lions, and ate the most delicious sour dough bread on the planet. We had sour dough sandwiches at a cheap, delicious cafe', and that is where we placed our only Book of Mormon. The guy working behind the counter was named Thumper, like from Bambi, I kid you not, and we was really nice. Anywho, Sister Urling went back inside to buy a loaf of bread to eat on the train home, and walked out with a free biscotti from Thumper. Perfect. We walked back in with my Book, told him a little about the church, marked 3 Nephi 11 with a pass a long card and committed him to read it. Bam. We traded a delicious treat for Salvation. Sounds like a fair trade to me.
Our flight was scheduled to leave at 1:10 and our driver was going to pick us up at noon. That gave us 10 minutes to contact the people around the stop for our driver. I sat next to a lady and we asked her about herself and her kids, and we asked her if she knew a little bit about our church. She said yes, and we were all waiting for her to say she saw the musical (that's what everyone says) but she said, I really appreciate you young people. You aren't trashy or skanky. Your church is great example to the world. At this point I'm grabbing a book out of my purse, and she continues, but my husband and I are practicing Scientologists and we will never leave our church. Crussssshed.  So we shared a message about Christ and left her with a pass along card, just incase.
We said goodbye to San Fran and headed back to the airport. I enjoyed a nice ginger ale on the plan, munched on a bag of pretzels and got on Frontrunner to head home. All in all, our trip was amazing.
I've discovered what I miss the most in the MTC. Ready? Couches. I miss sitting on a couch so much. I have been 33 days sober from those wonderful plush things. *sigh* Maybe in Tahiti there will be a couch.
Speaking of Tahiti.... WE START TAHITIAN TODAY! I know, we aren't supposed to start for another week, but we are a week ahead in our french! How wonderful is that? Now I get 7 weeks to stumble over crazy vowels instead of 6.
 On Sunday we had a great lesson on Baptism, and I started thinking about our Baptismal committment, this is what I came up with:
By being baptized we promise to always remember Christ. We promise to remember his Sacrifice for us so that we may live with Him again.
Because we remember His Sacrafice, and we use the atonement, we WITNESS Christ lives and through him so may we.
And because we understand the atonement, we are WILLING to take upon every trial that comes with being a member of this church because we bear Christ's name.
With that willing heart we WILLINGLY follow all the commandments given to us through the scriptures and modern-day revelation.
With all of these things we can achieve the Ultimate Goal, which is, when we fully commit and keep this covenant we can recieve the Spirit. With the Spirit of Christ we can do all things. We can command in the name of God, in behalf of God. We will receive all things, because all things are for the benefit of men.
I really like that lesson.
In one of our lessons with Manuarii (our teacher), he was giving our critique when he told me the ability I had to speak French the way I do is a miracle to him. This was after he accidentally said in French, Jesus Christ was killed by the apostles. Oops.  So, I guess French is going well...? J'aime notre instructors. Ils ont l'Esprit est parceque de ils, nous pouvons ensigner notre amies de l'eglise avec le Saint-Esprit. (I probably spelled all of that wrong....)
Just on a last note, we watched "Tonic For Our Time" (I almost wrote that in french....) By Sherri Dew last night. So so good. This is what I got out of it.
She talked about what we are focused on. If we focus on the world, and worldly things we allow Satan to block our view from God. When our focus is on the Savoir and serving him, then we can really begin to understand what path we are to take in life. I've had a few friends write me about serving missions and I thought this applied really well. Focus on the Lord, not the world. What would He want you to do? Now, He doesn't call all men/women to serve a mission. Many young women will be impressed not to start mission papers, but they can take comfort in knowing they are following the Lord's will. All men are called to serve a mission, but not all may be able to complete the "normal" time of a mission. Sometimes God just wants to prove your willingness, and then calls you to a different aspect of life. You man think your time was cut short, but it wasn't. You fufilled the time the Lord expected you to serve and you served whole-heartedly. Take joy in knowing you are obeying and following your extremely personal plan created by our Savior, just for you.
Be fearless.
I love you all!
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