Fish Hoek: 6/6/16 (Week 4)

Well this week a lot of funny things happened, I know my Grandpa Needham will love one of these stories…. But first off, happy 22 to my cousin Jacob, he is the man!! Can’t wait to see him!

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So this week we met with Elder Hamilton for Zone Conference with a bunch of Elders. He is in the Second Quorum of the 70 and the Area President. We had a special leadership meeting as well with the leaders in the mission, which was great.  He is powerful…learned a lot, really cool to spend some time with him! Of course we sat in the front because our zone wanted to. So at the beginning of the conference he wanted to shake everyone’s hand. President called me to go first, so I shake Sister Merrill’s hand and then President, and then go to Elder Hamilton, and I forgot his name as I spoke, I said “hey elder hamamaamll….” and then I walked away, I was too embarrassed. And then to make it worse, after Zone Conference President and Elder Hamilton went out of the parking lot a different way and we went the other way, so about two minutes later I was going to go straight and the Elder told me to go left at the last second, so I cut in front of a car to make a left at the last second and I look up, President Merrill is in front of me, and I look back at the car I cut off…Elder Hamilton. I said out loud “I cannot believe I just cut off a General Authority” The other Elders in the car where dying laughing, legit crying of laughter.  But on a positive note, Elder Hamilton talked to me for a little bit about training and stuff, so that went well.  I bet my Grandpa is dying right now as he read that.

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Another cool thing that happened… I had lost my wallet in Mitchell’s Plain in December. Someone found it in Johanesburg and mailed it to the mission home and I got it back this week….what??? Hahahha blessings on blessings on blessings.

The work is getting there, slowly but surely. We had four less actives at church and we are finding some more people to teach. We did like 6 service projects which was cool! But we are getting there.  Grateful for the opportunity to have a hard last few months so I can continue to learn and grow and become the person God wants me to be…. 8 weeks Brothers and Sisters!

Elder Taylor

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Fish Hoek: 5/30/16 (Week 3)

I am about to quote Taylor Swift…I don’t even know if she is still big or what not but she was big when I left: “I don’t know about you but I’m feeling 22!” Hahahha, yes I am now 22 months on my mission!! So crazy! But this week went well… we saw some super sweet things happen. Fleming is awesome, he gave out five copies of the Book of Mormon and then introduced us to three friends who we are now teaching.  Another member gave us another 2 friends to teach.  We have met some new less actives, two who came to church. I am used to teaching 25-40 lessons a week throughout my mission, so it has been harder here so far.  We managed to teach 14 this week, so I am very happy with the progress though, since we were starting from scratch . The spirit has been strong. I finally feel like I have gotten good as a missionary and I am going home in a few months!  Bummer, hahaha, but I am determined to finish strong.

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We have zone conference this week. Elder Hamilton of the 70, and the new Area President will be speaking to us, so we are excited for that! He is a cool man, I have met him once before so I am eager to learn more from him!

But all is well over here…continue to keep me in your prayers please, as well as this area and my son (my companion, hahaha) they help lift me always and especially in times of need. A mission has been so hard, but so grateful for the support I have received, words can’t express my appreciation!! Love you all!

Elder Taylor

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Fish Hoek: 5/22/16 (Week 2)

My people, another week down. Went by pretty quick actually. Good news, we got a car. Bad news, there’s not much people to teach at the moment but we are getting there little by little. Elder Smith, one of my former companions, told me of a guy he baptized there that was less active so we found him and taught him and are working on getting him back. A few referrals here and there, but not much yet. The area will probably get going right when I leave hahaha but it’s cool!

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Cool thing, found a guy in the township wearing an A’s jersey. It was late and he looked scary so I decided against getting a picture, but take my word for it. I freaked out and everyone was like what what??? I was like “that guy is wearing an A’s jersey!!!” hahahahah! First time seeing that since I have been in Africa!

We got fed a bunch again this week, the members love us which is great. We played the American game Apples to Apples which was fun. I think we got fed 7 times last week and have 6 more planned for this week. We have a bbq with that rich guy in the ward tonight which should be sweet!

This morning we went up to Signal Hill. We got up early, around 5am, and went as a district. Going to miss South Africa, one of the most beautiful places you can imagine. You really can’t explain it with a picture. I love this place. It really has become my home.

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Elder Ianu is doing well. It’s crazy actually, having to be a “father”…helping him budget, iron, clean, missionary work, how to act with members and what not. Really preparing me to be a dad!! Loving it. Can’t believe I will only send 9 more weekly emails on my mission. Hope you have enjoyed them and looking forward to the last few!

Love you all,

Elder Taylor

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Fish Hoek: 5/16/16 (Week 1)

Well everyone, on Tuesday at 9 AM I got a phone call from President telling me my trainee will be coming in and I will white wash train (open up a brand new area) to end my mission, crazy. He wanted me to serve somewhere else but felt prompted to put me in Fish Hoek to train a new missionary and randomly his visa came in at the last minute and I was able to start training him, super cool. President Merrill was a man called of God and he receives revelation for this mission!

This week was brutal hahaha, no other way to put it.. We don’t have a car, we are walking and part of our area is in a township and there are riots going on.  We have zero people to teach and my companion doesn’t have a clue with what is going on… oh boy…but we found a few people and visited some members and slowly but surely we will build it up.  Always rely on Lord and he will help us with everything! We got fed 5 times in 5 days so that is always nice! I taught Priesthood on Sunday and it was cool to look around at all the brethren and see the diversity in the gospel. There was a man from Zimbabwe, South African white man, Malwai, America, Samoa, Chile, and a Xhosa. The gospel is meant for everyone.

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Our District is powerful though. 2 Americans, an elder from Chile, and an Elder from Samoa. We get up and go running in the morning! We have a very tight district. We were up late last night making lemon bars and talking. Helps when you have brutal weeks to have friends in the district to make things better.

Our ward mission leader is very wealthy…an elder said he was 2008 Time magazine business man of the year.  In 2008 he made 250 million dollars.  He is so cool…he has us over every week. First night I got here we went to his house, played ping pong and he made steak and had a correlation then went home teaching with him! Part of my new area is a very rich area to say the least, and part of it is a very poor township.

Ready to finish strong these last 11 weeks… giving it my all to the Lord, because the least He deserves is my best effort!

Elder Taylor

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Port Elizabeth: 5/9/16 (Week 18)

First off, I want to give a big shout out to the best Mother in the entire world. She is so amazing and has been such a motivation for me here on my mission. I love and miss her and I’m so grateful to have her as my mom! Skype was amazing! Can’t believe that was my fourth and final skype, they have come and gone so fast! Love my family and excited to be back with them. So grateful to the Lord for always fulfilling his promises and blessing my family so much!

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I got my transfer news and I found out I will be going back to Cape Town. I will go to a place called Fish Hoek. I will be with a struggling missionary in a tri companionship. There are two elders from the islands waiting for visas, and once, or if, one of them comes in, I will train him there in Fish Hoek! Grateful for the opportunity the Lord has given me to help someone in need. I will not be a zone leader anymore…first time with no leadership in a long time on my mission. I was part of my last MLC and President made me and the other ones going home share our testimonies to the other leaders and it was sweet, strong spirit there! I will continue to work hard these final 12 weeks of my mission… I have had eternity to prepare for these final weeks and my mission in general, and I will have eternity to reflect on how well I served and how well I finished!

This week was great, we had the confirmation of Nicholas and that went well! We have an investigator on the university soccer team here so we went there to support her in one of her games.  It was super cool. They won 3-2…she was a stud! I also had to give a talk at church, hahaha sho I am excited not to give talks all the time once I get back!!

Thank you all for the support, the letters, the love, the prayers. They have helped me get through the tough times. Love you all!

Elder Taylor

Port Elizabeth: 5/2/16 (Week 17)

21 months come and gone, so quick. Time is a real crazy thing. This week went well! We had zone training and we gave the training. I think it went well. I cried in it, first time in a long time I cried in a lesson or training haha I was real touched by the spirit there. I had interviews with my mission president and he talked a lot about home. He told me I will not be a zone leader my last two transfers. I was going to train a new missionary but there are not as many coming in as expected. So instead I will go back to a township and go on special assignment and help a struggling missionary. Always up for the tasks the Lord puts before me!

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We had a super powerful baptism as well this week. Nicholas was a referral from his friend and his friend baptized him, they were both full of joy and smiling ear to ear.

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The gospel is true. It changes lives, it has changed mine. I have seen people with no background knowledge of Christ, or claim to have one, and then get introduced to this, the true gospel, and have seen the light go off in their eyes. Their attitudes change, their personalities change, and their desire to follow God increases. Like the Savior said himself “a bad tree cannot bring forth bad fruit”…if it entices us to good, it has to be from our Father in Heaven.

I love you all!

Elder Taylor

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Port Elizabeth: 4/25/16 (Week 16)

Shoooo everyone 100 days left of my mission, where has the time gone? As I am close to going home I have reflected on my mission a lot.. A kid from Pleasanton, going thousands of miles away by himself to Africa. Walking the streets of Africa going into random people’s houses and telling them about Jesus Christ, such an amazing experience. I have met the most amazing and humble people. Crazy that total strangers in a foreign land have become some of my best friends!

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This week was good, so busy! We found out our recent convert has asked for mission papers and is going to go on a mission, and another girl we baptized is planning on going next year! Powerful! We have a baptism this Sunday for a 19 year old guy who wants to share the gospel as well, so we will start that desire to serve a mission with him. We have zone training this week that Elder Young and I have to do, and then MLC next week! So much stuff to do but we are trying to get everything done!

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I was able to go to Motherwell on exchanges and it was sweet being back. We went on splits and I went with one of my favorite former fellowshippers.  We taught this guy about the Book of Mormon and I was just giving it to him, quoting where it talks about the BofM in the Bible and what not and the spirit was just super strong. After he was speechless, he looks at me and had tears in his eyes and said “wow, that is amazing. Powerful, I want to read this book, I am so excited, please come back and visit”. Crazy how the spirit works and helps people come to the truth. The Book of Mormon is true, I am finishing it for the fourth time and it blows my mind how someone could not believe in it. Even just from an intellectual standpoint. A guy who has a 2nd grade education comes up with a book that millions of people have prayed and asked God if it was true and have felt the spirit testify to them it is. People die for this book, it changes lives. A bad tree cannot bring forth good fruit…from the mouth of the Savior himself!  Read this book and pray about it, and you, like millions upon millions of others, can know that it is true, every verse, every page, every chapter.

Love you all!

Elder Taylor

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