Friday, May 23, 2014

Elder Almen Thorpe - May 18, 2014


Mom, I'll make sure to pass the message along to Elder Lewis. We will both make sure we slow down coming down those mountains. It's is good to have a companion like Elder Lewis because he is just a little bit taller than me, I would say about 5'6'', close to there. I think about you and the family a lot but I know that you are all in good hands with dad! :)
They finished the 9/11 water falls and museum!!! Wow I wish I could see those! Glad you and dad had some time alone to spend with each other. It's good for you two to get away from those kids. The garden place is just made for you mom! Those people that had their family members die in the accident will get a chance to hear about the gospel in the spirit world. Heavenly Father always has a way for his children to reach him and their families. Sounds like a lot is happening back home but I am happy to hear that you and dad are still having your little adventures.
The teaching is going great! Tupele, the lady we have been teaching is getting baptised this weekend. She's hasn't smoked in awhile, which is good. We had a very spirtual moment with her and very sacred to me that I will have to share with you and dad when I get home. We gave her a blessing of comfort and counsel to help her through her progress of not smoking. She is a very happy lady when she is learning more and more about the gospel. I can see so much change in her from the first time I met her. It is amazing to see how the gospel of Jesus Christ can really change peoples view of the world. This is Heavenly Fathers work not mine and I am blessed to be his instrument in the vinyard.
We had a Come and See fireside yesterday were all the missionaries have to bring an investigator to come in order to go and Tupele showed up with her family. The fireside was packed with investigators and members of the church. There were some really pretty singing, recent converts went up to bear their testimonies. President Lekias gave a talk, overall it was a fun night to be at the fireside and Tupele felt really happy.
We also had Elder Pearson from the first quorum of the sSeventy come and talk to us last week. Elder Pearson talked about us being forgiven for our past transgressions. He said that he was prompted to say that. Right there at that moment I felt his comfort and his arms around me because I have been always thinking about my past and hearing that from a diciple of the Lord really made me  happy that I can move on thorugh out my life without thinking back about how bad I was. Elder Pearson also said there are two ways of being successfull in life, we choose to be happy living in a world were we think we are good or we become the true people Heavenly Father wants us to be. He said we can't choose two sides because it can't work. We eaither choose to be disciples of Jesus Christ or live in the world were we think we are happy but we are not. That touched me too and I thought to myslef that an effective servant of the Lord is not only effective on his mission but also off his mission. The church is all about wokring and progressing, Elder Pearson also said the mission is preparing us to become the next gengeration that takes over the church. This is so true because everything we do is preparing all of us to be the next leaders of the church who take over. It amazes me how the church is not centered just on one person but with everyone and how through Jesus Christ and his teachings, we can progress in life. We need to choose because when we stay in between nothing good comes out of that choice and we see ourselfs not progressing in life. Elder Pearson had so much to say that my heart was full and my soul was lightened up again. He also said it is important to find our lost sheep, talking about the less actives and how we need to bring them back into the fold and the reason they are not coming back to church is because they do not understand the process of repentance. Through Jesus Christ and His Atonement we can all be forgiven. Hearing Elder Pearson's testimony about the Atonement just touched everyone in the room, people were crying left to right and the room was filled with the spirit.
I just want to add my testimony that the prophets and the leaders of the church are true seers and revelators. They have been called of God to protect this church and the members. I have only been out for six months and I have seen the gospel unfold right in front of me! Jesus Chirst does live and he does know how every single one of us feels. We are all diciples of Jesus Christ and we all have that potential in life to reach our highest. At times we forget who we are but there it's only one person who never forgets. That is our Heavenly Father. Take time in your prayers to ask Heavenly Father where you stand with him or where we are with him in life and I promise you, you will get your answer when you ask "Heavenly Father how do you see me as your child?"
I love you all and hope you can learn more about the gospel. Ask our Father in Heaven to help you through your studies because if we want him to help us in life we first have to get to know him and find him out for oursleves. I encourge you to find him for youself, start with the basics by reading the true book that he has put on the earth today, The Book Of Mormon!
Hope you all have a fantastic and safe week! Love you tons with all my heart!

Elder Thorpe

Elder Zach Taylor - May 21, 2014

This week`s been longer than most.. not sure why. Wednesday we went to Natalio to have our district meeting. We practiced cutting the lesson with investigators who talk too much. I thought it was pretty funny.. because it happens all the time. We go up to a house and the person takes out some chairs and just starts to talk about all these experiences they`ve had that have nothing to do with the lesson.. and then we move on to the next point and they have another random story from their childhood that they want to tell us that also doesn`t have anything to do with the lesson.. it`s always a good time. 
We did teach a new family this week that the Ramirez family showed us. The dad`s name is Ramòn, but I don`t remember his wife`s name. They have a little boy that looks like he`s about 3 or 4. The lesson went well.. we talked about the Restoration. Ramon said that he`s gone to many churches but never felt like any one of them was the true one.. and that he wants to investigate more. So hopefully this turns out well!
At church on Sunday we had good attendance again. We filled up Brother Ramirez`s house. One of the members has a sister named Petronila who`s been coming a lot, and we`re hoping she`ll get baptized within the next couple of weeks.
There`s not much to tell from this week.. I have been improving on my studies in the mornings. I`ve learned a lot more this week than I had normally in the past. I always get excited when I learn new things.. it just makes me want to go tell everybody!
That`s about all I have new for this week.. talk to you later!
Elder Taylor

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Sister Wood - skyping with the family on Mothers Day!

First and foremost, Happy Mother's Day to every mother out in the world. We love you. I am so incredibly grateful especially for my mother. As a missionary you begin to truly understand the role of a mother and you start to think back on every little thing that they have done for you in your life. I love moms! I am sorry  for every little pain I put you through and I want you to know that you are my best friend, and I am so happy that I get to celebrate a day just for YOU!
Also, just a little shout out since it is May 12th here, to my brother on his 18th birthday. I know that you miss me, but it's okay. Soon enough you will realize that I am the best sister in the world..... just wait a little bit longer.. :)
Skyping made me so happy. Even though the connection was garbage, it still made me the happiest person ever. My family is the greatest. Haha I am glad that they haven't changed! My dog is still the cutest thing in the world. 
This week I have really been missing my miller. I don't know why it kind of really hit me. I think when I got some of his photos from mom last week and printed them out it was difficult. All I can say is I have the most kahanga-hanga (wonderful) best friend in the world! He was honestly glowing!!! His smile? Gosh ask the sisters here I have just been dying over them. It just shows that he was truly happy in Guam cause I could never get him to actually smile in any pictures. I was explaining it to sisters in our apartment this week, but it was as if our spirits were in love? Does that even make sense? I don't know if it does, but to me it does. I don't know who to write anymore! There is so much I want to tell to someone, but now I don't have anyone to write it all too. :/ Let me know if you want me to write to you haha. :) 
Miller is never far away
We have found and contacted lots of referrals/investigators this week! The investigators are super solid and we should have baptisms at the first of June. There was a referral for us from a missionary in Manila mission and it was his grandma and his extended family. We of course gladly went and taught them. They aren't as open as we would hope, but we are not going to give up on them. I just put myself in his shoes and I would be terribly sad if the missionaries were to give up on my family! They will come along. :) We were going to have a rescue baptism at the end of this month from the Bo, less active family, but they didn't come to church so we aren't sure if it will still happen.
We were on our way home the other night from an appointment and we turned the corner of the street and there sat a 12 year old and a 10 year old smoking cigarettes. I was so angry. We immediately stopped and asked them what they were doing. They hurry and threw them in the street. I was so appalled by it. It makes me so sad to think that these little tiny kids who haven't even hit puberty yet are smoking. I can't even imagine what it is doing to their bodies. When we were about to walk away a young basketball team comes walking down the street. All smoking too. I asked if they won their game and they said no. I said i know why! Because you are smoking cigarettes. They just giggled then walked away. 
Lots of people around me here hit their year mark this week! Holy smokes. It was crazy, because the next batch to hit a year will be mine! Next month... Time is just a ticking a long.
My companion is really sick right now. We spent the whole day at home yesterday. She thinks she has tonsillitis or whatever. Not really sure. She has a bad fever and can hardly talk. Filipinos are frustrating when they are sick because they hate medicine. Like for us its just like pop some pills and call it good. Well, they have to make a full blown meal before taking medicine, so they don't have an empty stomach haha. Its just really different and funny haha. All that matters is that I don't get anything horrific like her haha. None of us have been feeling too hot, but I am taking airborne and my vitamins. :) Haha its so funny because the big sickness here is  A fever. But it doesn't make sense to us americans because we are CONSTANTLY hot. So when they feel us, they automatially say we have a fever. But in our minds we are like no, it is just 100 degrees here haha. 
Well, I think that is all! Life is going great! I'm enjoying it! LOVE YOU ALL LOTS. :) 
Sister Kahoy. (wood)
P.S. Mahaba ang hair ko. 
Sister Wood doing her laundry - this picture just tugs at my hearstrings!


Elder Zach Taylor - Changes!

It´s been an interesting week. Tuesday night Elder Schumacher and I went to Encarnación, stayed over night, and went to Posadas Wednesday morning to send him home. I was in Posadas pretty much all day Wednesday with all the missionaries that are ending their missions... It was kind of weird. I knew a lot of them too.. one was my trainer, a few of my leaders that I had grown close to.. I don´t know anybody in the mission now! Wednesday night I went back to Encarnación where my new companion, Elder Nascimento, was waiting. He´s from Brazil, he´s got a fun personality, works hard, and only has 14 months in the mission so thankfully I won´t have to ¨kill¨ 3 missionaries in a row. Maybe I´ll learn some Portugese while I have the chance.
We didn´t get back to our area until Thursday night. I felt weird Friday and Saturday working with a different companion for some reason. I was really close to Elder Schumacher.. after opening the area and all together it just felt strange coming back with someone else. But anyway, everything´s going great now. 
I also got to talk to my family yesterday for Mother´s Day.. so that was fun. 
I don´t really have much to say except that I´ve just been adjusting to the new situation. The Benitez family, the one we baptized, are still doing really well. They keep coming to church and they read and pray together every day. Well actually, they told me they do Family Home Evening every night. Maybe they didn´t understand that that was supposed to be on Mondays.. but hey, if they want to do it every night I´m not going to stop them! The 10 year old, Paula, just loves reading about Joseph Smith and also in the Book of Mormon. I asked her one of her favorite stories and she told me about the brother of Jared, and how God touched the stones so they could have light in the boat. I thought it was pretty impressive how well she comprehends it all. We also talked about going to the temple. They´re all excited for that now too. Gosh I love that family!
Well that pretty much sums up my week.. hopefully I´ll have more for the week following. Talk to you later!
Elder Taylor

Elder Kaden Barlow - May 7 2014

Elder Granados and Elder Barlow
Hey Family! So this week has been great!!

So Monday all day for P-day last week we were playing sports and we were both super exhausted. In the lessons that night we were both falling asleep it was kinda bad. There was one point that I completely spaced out and Elder Granados sorta did too. He just looked at me expecting me to take my turn but I hadn't heard what he said so I just sorta winged it. It happened to both of us and we were laughing about it all night.

Tuesday, we had our weekly pizza night!! Yeah I know that’s just what you want to hear as the highlight of my week seeing as I’m a missionary, but really I look forward to some pizza that tastes good.  It’s not American good but who cares! Also I think that I’m starting to gain weight!

Wednesday we had a great lesson. We have this family, the Irasmawright family, and they love having us come and teach them but they just won't get to church. So we went and had a lesson on church attendance. We were super bold and the spirit was super strong. In the end the dad, Rafiel, well, we could tell he definitely got the message. He was like yeah I know you guys are worried and we should be taking this more seriously. I just loved the look on his face, it was great. Sadly... they didn’t come to church Sunday. But it was raining and you probably don't understand but the Dominicans hate rain and never NEVER go out in it... it’s ridiculous. So we will see about this upcoming Sunday.

I mentioned Alexander and Ruby last week, but they showed up at church yesterday! It was my first full family to ever show up at church together. In the principles of doctrine class she totally shared all this great stuff that she had learned about Joseph Smith. When she finished Elder Cardoso looked up at me as I was trying to hide the smile on my face and I just gave him a wink then looked over at Elder Granados who gave me a fist pump. ;) We had already invited them to be baptized and they said yes but we are hoping to put a date with them soon :) You know if Dominicans kept all the commitments they make we would have tons of baptisms. I was looking at my list of people we are teaching and almost all of them have said yes to the baptismal invitation... We only now have to get them to comply. :) haha

We visited the book fair that they do once a year here in the capital it was really cool. Never seen so many books in this country... well haven't seen very many at all in this country... So when we went to the book fair, the security was probably the toughest that I have passed through. I mean they patted me down!! Weird feeling that was. I know I’m a representative of Jesus Christ but do I look like a terrorist?? Oh well makes a fun experience. 


Love you all,


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Elder Zach Taylor - Woooo!

This weekend has been one of the best, if not the best in my mission so far. The week was spent mostly in Natalio because we had a meeting over there and it rained; and since it`s a dirt road to our area we couldn`t get back for a few days because of the mud.. but anyway now for the baptism.
In the morning, we went to go clean up the area by the river where we were going to have the baptism. As we were leaving, the assistants to the president called us. One of them, Elder Leiva, is ending his mission this week. Since you don`t really get the chance to baptize as one of the assistants, he wanted to come to our baptismal service to end his mission. It was fun to have extra company. 
The baptism was scheduled to start at 2 in the afternoon. We went over to Brother Ramirez`s house to have the meeting before the actual baptism. Just as we were about to start, Graciela, who is the mom of the family getting baptized, got sick. Apparently she has gastritis and it was acting up. It seems like something always has to happen to try to stop the baptism from happening. But we gave her a priesthood blessing, and luckily Brother Ramirez and his wife sell medicine so they knew what to give her. She got better quickly and we were able to start just as the assistants arrived. There were actually 4 more elders, one was the secretary and another was the to be assistant. It was fun having all of them there. 
The baptism was awesome, the Benitez family were all just so happy to be getting baptized. We all felt the spirit that day. I can`t really describe it well, but it was such a happy moment for all of us. We ate dinner at the Benitez`s house that night with everyone. My companion gave them his scriptures and we both wrote a note inside of them. It was a good day. 
Church yesterday was also amazing. We had another family, the Barrios family, that we`ve been teaching show up, luckily just in time for one of the most spiritual meetings I`ve had. We did the 4  confirmations and also 2 baby blessings of another recent convert. When the time came for testimonies, Graciela and also her 10 year old daughter Paula bore theirs. Paulas`s was so sweet.. seriously it was one of the best things ever to see her go up and say that she knows the church and the Book of Mormon are true. 
It was kind of sad as well since my companion`s leaving this week. It was fun to be with him. He taught me a lot. I definitely worked harder than any time in my mission until now also. Its been a good 6 weeks, and this was an awesome way to end it. 
Hope you all have a good week!
Elder Taylor