Sunday, December 30, 2012
Mammmaa jamma! It was been such a great postive amazing week. Too say the least. I love getting your emails eevery week. Elder Smith told me we were related. Which is so gnar! He said, so in some way I'm related to the diabetes guy!??? I said really really distant, but yes some way. He is a great missionary! Oh boy, where to begin!? How about with Grant!? I'm so estatic he took steps! It's so cool! And the pictures Kimber sent of her and Sam are gorgeous! I'm so happy for you two!
As for my week, lets start off with about a week ago I failed to mention this but I did pass 'Lewis Park', you know the one by my house? I thought it was so funny and I actually laughed out loud when we passed it. Great times here.
Monday started off great. We thought we only had a half p-day because of the temple trip but come to find out no one really took that to heart. We sorta did. We went and met a former investigator and then went home and wrote letters. That night we had a dinner with a member family and it was so good! I love the members of this ward! They seriously are the greatest and I can't wait for you to meet them! We went and helped Cynthia continue to move and pack up her boxes. She's great! More about her later.
Tuesday we had our district meeting, I love the district I'm in. Like you've said Elder Smith is in my district but also the other Elder Smith, the one related to Sadie Love. It's so cool to make those connections from home. Tuesday we can say was a very good day. We met with a less active and we're going to help him get back to church. He's really great. We had another dinner with members Tuesday and I actually got flipped off there. :/ haha by a 3 year old. Story was: she had band-aid on her middle finger and was showing me her owie...and flipped me off. It was really funny because she didn't know what was going on but all the adults did. I love it. (She also commented on how much she loved my shoes, thanks Kimber! :) ) They are a younger couple that are so sweet! There are a lot of young couples with young kids and it stinks so bad because we can't hold the babies! And then I look at the pictures of Grant and Tacy and it kills me even more! Erg! But it's cool. No worries.
Wednesday was one of the best days of my life. NEW YORK CITY....hello! It was so amazing. I will never live there but it is so cool to visit. We woke up and drove to Union city to catch a bus to new york. We traveled under the Lincoln tunnel (underwater) and got to New York City. I got kinda crazy....We're not supposed to look like tourists. But it's so hard to resist. It was just like the movies! We walked right through times square and I have many pictures to send. One of the coolest things though was the billboards of the mormon.org pages. They were everywhere. I'll show you some pictures. There was a video I took of a slide show of mormon.org and it's nice to see the Church getting our name out there. It was incredible. As we kept walking... BOOM! hello Manhattan Temple. Right here. As soon as we walked in...peace and quiet. We were a little early but we went up and change and did initiatories. It's nice to be in the temple and remember the covenants you made. We had to wait a little for the session to start and so we went into the chapel to wait and none other than........Elder Stirling Ward was sitting right in the chapel! It blew my mind completely! It was insane! And I loved it so much to see someone from home. We went through the session (absolutely incredible might I add) and went into the Celestial room. As I was finishing up my prayer Elder Ward was sitting right next to me. So of course we caught up. He's actually going to be home on Wednesday and I can't believe two years went by that quick. I told him about Jody and Melissa and it blew his mind. I told him to say hello to you! It was so cool to see him. So we continued on our day and walked back through times square. The pictures will say it all. I loved it! We got back and went and helped Cynthia pack up her stuff some more.
Thursday we'll call it a less-active day. Every appointment we had was a less-active. It was good to get to know those members and try to help them get back to church. I pray to hard for everyone everyday to rekindle their flame. But patience is a virtue. Oh and ps....Sister Taylor has officially had some shrimp. Yes taht is truth. We were at a less-actives house for dinner and she's asian so we had a lot of food and she kept insisting on us having the shrimp, so I took some. And ate it. It didn't taste fishy but I'd rather not have that haha. But yes I have had it now!
Friday was another incredible day. The things I'm learning are so amazing and I can't wait to continue to grow in faith in Jesus Christ. We had lunch with a Sister senior couple and I ate a little to much. :/ It was not working well with my stomach. But its all good now. We went and visited one of our investigators and she's great. It's going to take a little more time with her but I feel like we're really helping her. This night we went with one of our members to carol to one of her friends that was 80 years old. Her name was Anne and she was so sweet. We also caroled to her neighbor, Alma and the spirit hit her. You could tell. I love when I can see the spirit begin to work in people. It's amazing.
Saturday was a long but incredible day. I made cookies in the morning because we had our Christmas party that night. I made pumpkin spice cookies from the bag. But they turned out delicious. All day we helped Cynthia move. We loaded up the U-Halh (sp?) and cleaned up her apartment and moved her to her new home. It is a nice home and we're so excited for her. She's really progressing and we're hoping to help her progress even more. Like I said we had the Christmas Party for the ward and went to that. It was great to see faces and meet more people. And Cynthia came! With her daughter Caitlyn. It was awesome having her there. As well as Anne. Sister Morales brought her and it was good to see her again. I'll send pictures of them. The food was great and the nativity was so cute. All the little kids did a great job.
Sunday was great. Cynthia was going to come but because she stayed up so late trying to unpack she didn't make it and it sounded like she got a little sick which isn't good. Sacrament was just what she needed to. It was on tithing. And yes we taught the young women about pretty much missionary work. It was fun getting to know them better. I love that ward so much! After church we went home and studied for a little and then went to a members house for dinner. We quickly went and said I to Cynthia and then went to Cary's and she had a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon that we did great answering. She's progressing too. We have some amazing people that we've found and hopefully we can commit them to baptism soon.
Missions are great. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be one out here in New Jersey. I love my Savior especially at this Christmas Season. I'm glad you got to go see Sister Dicou. She's amazing and I glad you met her. I'm glad Jody and Erics talks went great. The spirit can do some incredible things. I'm excited for this upcoming week and looking forward to finding people who are prepared for this gospel. It is amazing! I love you all so much and I'll be sending pictures right now. You are all the Best! Remember Christ is Christmas! :)
Sister Christine Taylor
--The sound of a kiss is not so loud as that of a cannon, but its echo lasts a great deal longer.--
Monday, December 10, 2012
Well well, what another amazing week out here in New Jersey. Can I just say I love love love New Jersey. I love the people the weather the scenery, just everything! I really have learned so much and I cannot wait to learn more. I'm so grateful for the Savior and for all he has done for me. This week like I said has been fantastic. After emailng last monday we got to head to Hoboken to Carlos' Bakery from Cake Boss on TLC. Word! It was sweet, when we got there, there was no line and we got right into the Bakery. I got a lobster tail that was BOMB! I loved it. And I got pictures so don't worry. I'll send those. It defintiely was an eventful week. After we headed over to the Liberty State Park to look at New York. I'M GOING THERE NEXT WEEK! FOR THE TEMPLE AND I COULDN'T BE MORE EXCITED! But really I'm super stoked. After the day we had a dinner appointment with some members of the ward. And we totally have a connection to home. Brother Smith is from Kaysville Utah and his brother is my age and definitely married Jennifer Parker. I didn't make that connection until the next day but confirmed that in church yesterday. What a small world! That was really exciting to make connections like that to home. The night ended a little early because Sister Morrison was still a little sick. But she's all better now. Tuesday was a great day with a lot of teaching. We get to do mormon.org for two hours every week and since we hadn't done any since the storm we did two hours. It was good to finally see more of what really happened from Sandy. I'm just proud to say "I survived Hurricane Sandy!" So that was fun. We went and taught a few people and then went to get gas and taught our gas guy. Those guys are awesome because you can teach them while they're filling up your gas. He was a really sweet man.
Wednesday we had zone meeting. I love zone meetings. You can always recieve revelation because we do a lot of role plays. They're very awkward but always great! Our zone leaders talked to us and our focus, again for this month, is on the Book of Mormon. I started reading the Book of Mormon over and am focusing on faith. I don't know if I told you that but I'm really excited to strengthen my faith while reading the Book of Mormon. It truly is the most correct and amazing book we have today. The principles and all the stories were written for our day and I'm so happy to have it in my life. I love being able to share with our investigators the message it contains and I have been able to see it start to change a few of our investigators lives. We went to lunch (5 Guys! Yummy) after and really enjoyed it. We had another dinner appointment with the English Elders and us with a family of the ward. We went out for Pizza and boy is the pizza good here! I don't know if I can ever go back. Haha jk, but really. The night kinda ended dull. Thursday we had some weekly planning which is long but always so useful. I'm really grateful for the time we get to plan and study and teach. I love it. We went and saw a less active family Thursday and they are so great. She has four little kids and wants to come to church but her kids are crazy. She said she was going to come this next week. Which is fabulous! After that we went to the Family History Center and did some family history. I'm grateful for the knowledge I have now of where I really came from, because honestly I didn't know that before :) Striaght up outta England! (I hope that's right) But that was fun and very useful.
The weekend got crazy! But it was incredible. Friday we went to the Gurney's (Members, I love them so much) for lunch. We had some bomb soup. And talked about the gospel of course. She's the young womens president and we're teaching the young women next week so we got the lesson for that. Then we went to one of our investigators, Cat, she's insane but has a lot of potential. She kept us for two hours because she just keeps talking and talking. After we went to the Berhmann's and said hi and had the new sisters meet them. They're great as well! And then we went to another investigators, Cynthia, and she is amazing! She is going to get baptized. She has a little girl and so I kinda had to babysit while S. Morrison and Galuvao taught her. They talked to her about the atonement and I heard it was an amazing lesson. She's progressing and we're so excited for her. She's moving this Saturday so we've been helping her with that which has been so great.
Saturday we thought was going to be a normal day but we ended up doing some service for a lady that had some trees fall in her yard. Huge ones too. So we went and helped for about four hours. I love service. Any kind of service. You all know that. I can't wait to get home and serve serve serve. We went back over to Cynthia's because she was donating some furniture to the mission because of the influx of missionaries coming in. She's a sweet lady. After that we went back and did studies and then went over to another member families home, Dunnings and had dessert with them. They are such incredible funny people! We had such a great time over there. We ate dessert and then Brother Dunning showed us a braille machine and wrote our names in braille and then we just conversed. And they want us to come back over! I love all the members of this ward! They are so great.
Sunday rolled around and it was just what I needed. Church! Being able to feel of the spirit in the chapel is so amazing to me and I love it. The sacrament was so great The talks were wonderful. They were on testimony and how we need to desire to have one. That's my challenge to you this week, write down your testimony. I realized it really doesn't have to be extravengant, but from the heart and really the things you know. I'm so excited to be able to strengthen my testimony everyday. We should all be striving to bear it everyday. It kinda got crazy last night and we went on a little exchange and went to Bonny's. I love Bonny! She's so faithful and great. She's a recent convert.
I got home last night and my companions and I had a little argument but it was excactly what I needed. I cling onto people so quick and so hard and when they leave or we have to make changes it's the hardest thing for me. But change is good and sometimes it really needs to happen. I'm really grateful for my companions and the difference they are.
As for mom's letter. Tell Jessica Cordero congrats. She's going to be such an amazing missionary. One thing I've learned is to be myself. People will appreciate it. Congrats dad on getting your elk. It's bout time! But really though nice work. If you make some jerkey maybe you'll have to send it out! I hope you start feeling better mom. You are in my prayers. It's sad to hear Brother King pass on but he's in a better place.
This week coming up is going to be amazing! I know it. I'm excited to progress this work in this area. I will let you know about Christmas as soon as I can. We actually still have to find a place to go. But I will let you know. I know this church is true. I know God lives and loves us so much. I know Jesus Christ is our Savior and we really need to remember him this Christmas season. Mosiah 18:27-29. Read it. It's good and the message we're sharing to the members this Christmas Season. I love you all and am so so grateful for your prayers. I feel them. I pray for you all as well. I hope you have the best week ever! I can't wait to hear from you soon! Miss you guys!
This week has actually turned out to be such a good week! I'm so so so grateful for your prayers and concern and definitely the card. I got it on Saturday and it was the best thing! So thank you! Your words of encouragement really helped me. Like I said the week of transfers was tough but after a talk with President Jeppson, and a blessing from him, everything has been good. Our companionship is working great and everything is fine and dandy!
Before I begin on the weeks events to answer your quick questions mom, after we are done demolishing the house we spray the walls with bleach and it doesn't completely fix the problem but it defintiely helps it. And thinking more and more about it, I'm sure I have seen Sister Galavau on the Square but I wasn't like, "OH, I've seen you before"...ya know!? Thank you for the GPS, I recieved it on Wednesday and am so grateful for all of you again for getting that for me. The story of how you got it is incredible, the Lord knew your desires and he put it there for a special reason. Haha so thank you for that! The Christmas fireside we did get to sing at, we all sang as missionaries. No solo for me :)
Now for the good experiences and fun of the week.
Monday after emailing I finally got to write some of my friends and siblings that wrote me. I haven't gotten them sent off yet because I haven't gotten stamps but they will be sent off today. I can't believe it really has been a week. The weeks are getting so fast and before I know it, in just a few weeks I'll be out for THREE months! Crazy crazy crazy. And the transfers haven't been normal either! We had dinner with a member family on Monday and then went to visit one of our progressing investigators. She's looking to move pretty soon so we taught her and then told her we'd come back and help her begin packing. She's incredible and promising. We're teaching her hopefully more this week and help her progress to baptism. Tuesday was fun! We got to go to the mission home and have a "Jingle with the Jeppsons" It was all the sisters there and we ate breakfast and hung out with the Mission President and his wife. They are incredible people! I love them so much. They sang and we even played the bells like we do every Christmas Eve with Grandma Stevens and the cousins. I kinda laughed inside when she brought them out. (Before I forget, I recieved a letter from Elder Stevens and he was telling me how everything was going and at the end he told me he'd been doing service and work for the F.F.D.A, it made me laugh so hard after I read that!!) The Jingle was great and very fun. After that's when I had a talk with President Jeppson and he gave me a blessing. He's an inspired man and helped me so much. The blessing and your prayers are exactly what I needed. I'm doing so good now! We went out the rest of Tuesday and tried to teach some people. We went to Cary Tuesday night and taught her the Plan of Salvation, it was a lot to take in but I feel like she has a desire to learn. She's awesome. Wednesday rolled around and Sister Morrison started getting really sick, so Sister Galavau and I did our studies and S. Morrison stayed in bed. We had district meeting so we drove to that and S. Morrison wasn't feeling good so S. Galavau went on an exchange and I took S. Morrison home and we stayed there the rest of the night. It was so amazing though because I got to read and read and read more in the Book of Mormon and get farther in it. I finished Alma and was so happy! We actually went and picked up a Sister from Sparta on Tuesday so we could still go out and one sister could stay with s. Morrison. So after weekly planning we went up and picked S. Healy up. Let me just say, New Jersey is so beautiful. I can't wait til I can bring you guys back here and show you how pretty it really is. I love it HERE! S. Healy and I went out and went and taught four lessons to some Recent Converts and then had dinner at a members home. We had pizza, that's another thing...the pizza here is so good! I can't wait for you to try it! YUMMY!!!! Friday S. Galavau and I got to go out (I was lucky and got to go out because I was the only other Sister that can drive the car so I didn't have to stay in except Wednesday.) We went and visited another investigator and talked for TWO HOURS!!! Way way to long but it was a good discussion and I think we're going somewhere with her. We also went and found a Less-Active which was great! This past weekend the church put on a community Creche (Nativity) at the church which was beautiful so Friday night we went and sang Christmas Carol's outside the church for peeople coming in.. It was a lot of fun and cold.
Now Saturday was another SERVICE DAY! We drove down to Eatontown for service and got right to work. We went and helped a man right by the Jersey Shore. It house was torn up! (Well, we helped with it of course) Knocked out everything. We went to lunch and a St. Mary's Episcopal church which was really nice and fed us and such. We sang Called To Serve after lunch and they were all so appreciative. I'm so so happy for the opportunities I have to serve down here. It has been absolutely incredible! S. Morrison left early because she's still been sick. We got back from lunch and quickly went and saw the ocean! It was cold but beautiful (pictures to come). We got back to work and had to leave a little bit early because we were caroling at the Creche again. We got back and s. Morrison wasn't feeling well so I stayed with her and read more in the Book of Mormon. I love the Book of Mormon so much! Sunday rolled around and S. Morrison, still sick, so we stayed inside a lot of the day, didn't get to church....but it was incredible. I read the Book of Mormon from 7-2 and FINISHED IT! I think I told you what I was doing and it was incredible to see how many people are really in the book of Mormon. Ether was tedious. But at the end of my reading, I took Moroni's promise and prayed about it. It was a calm peaceful feeling i got. Not big, but I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I'm so grateful for Joseph Smith and all of the prophets that contributed. I love it!!!! We made a cake for Cynthia because it was her birthday yesterday and went and helped her pack and celebrate her birthday. We also taught her about the Book of Mormon. It was a good day. It ended with the Christmas broadcast at the chruch. I love hearing the words of the Prophet.
Next week, we get to go to the temple and we're either going to Carlos' Bakery (from the show Cake Boss) today or next week. I'm more excited to go to the temple though. After not being able to go every week like I did before I came on my mission, it's killing me to go back and feel the peace there. I'm very excited!
Sister Dicou said her home coming is on the 16th of December and I'm trying to get her church address but Kimber if you add her as a friend on facebook, I'm sure she'll post the address. She's incredible and I'd love it if you could go to it and meet her mom. You'll love her.
Thank you again for all your prayers and the card. I'm so grateful for every single one of you! You are so amazing! I know this chruch is true. I know God lives. I know Jesus Christ is our Savior. The Book of Mormon is true. It's the word of God.
Lets try and remember Christ this Christmas. Because that's what its all about. It's not about the presents and all the hustle and bustle that goes around but, Christ's birth. I'm so grateful for the growth I've realized and seen in myself so far on my mission. It's changed me forever and I'm so excited to be able to come back and share everything I learned with my family and friends. Thank you for your support!
Things I've learned in New Jersey:
1. You are not allowed to pump your own gas, GAS GUYS do it for you!
2. Cheese pizza is not called "cheese pizza", its a "cheese pie"
3. I know why it is called the Garden State, there's more trees here than I've ever seen.
4. The Jersey Shore, isn't like what it is on the TV show, it's an actual shore! Haha
5. I've learned to be confident and bold in expressing my feelings. Don't be scared
6. God's hand is in everything and is looking out for his children.
7. Mission's are the best thing ever!!!! :)
Love you all and miss you. Pretty soon you'll be able to hear my voice (and maybe) see me. Five days and I'll be out here two months. Sixteen days and I'll be out on my mission three months. Time flies when you're having fun. Pictures very soon!
Sister Christine Taylor
Sunday, December 2, 2012
Sister Dicou left on Tuesday and it hasn't been the same without her here. She is an incredible Sister and one I will miss so dearly. She taught me so much and was such a huge example to me of the kind of missionary I want to be.
You should try and go to her homecoming. I will get the details and maybe you can go up there. Maybe.
Thanksgiving was so great! We met up with quite a few missionaries and had a turkey bowl. I played with the Elders and it was a lot of fun. The Elders in this mission are the best! I did score a touchdown which was pretty cool. It was pretty funny on Thanksgiving as soon as I got there they were like, "Sister Taylor, go white....no Sister Taylor, go black" I don't want to boast but it was pretty cool. The Elders respect me and that's nice to have. I don't want to sound too prideful either but they recognize. :) After that we had three appointments. Luckily we only ate at two so I didn't get way to stuffed. But the food was delicious and I was happy the members invited us over for dinner. It was good to get to know them better.
I probably should back-track a little. My new companion is Sister Morrison from San Diego but it doesn't stop there. I'm in a trio. The other sister is from the temple square mission and her name is Sister Galavau and she's from Anaheim. They're great. We did service on Friday down in South Jersey but it wasn't like the other service, we were more inland and chopped trees and cleaned up the leaves and stuff. I was happy to do it but not what I would of wanted to do. I wanted to wreck a house. But any service is good service. Saturday we did a little service for an older lady and chopped up her tree and cleaned the debris. They are all so grateful for us and I know we're planting little mustard seeds of faith in them. Years down the road, two missionaries will knock on their door and they'll be more receptive because we saved their lives and cleaned up their house. We finally got to go to church again this week! It was the first time in four weeks we actually got to go to our own ward. And some of the members thought I was new because I hadn't been in a long time. But that's okay.
I got to talk to Sister (Liz) Dicou last night on the phone because we can call them and ask them about the area if we have any questions so I got to call her and talk to her. Right as I got on the phone and started talking I started crying because I miss her. Sister Taylor doesn't do well with quick change. It really has been a tough week for me. Last night after I got off the phone with her I got down on my knees and bawled and prayed to Heavenly Father for help. Please pray for me. I need it. I need to focus on the work.
We had a Mission Fireside yesterday for members and investigators and it was so good. We had a little program and had parts and sang songs. The spirit that was felt there was incredible and so amazing.This month our focus is on the Book of Mormon. My testimony of the Book of Mormon has grown so much this month. Our mission president wanted us to pick a principle to focus on while we read. My focus isn't really a certain principle but every time there is a new name said, I write it down where I found it and who that person is. It has strengthened my testimony so much because I know who these people are now. And when I do start to read it over again, when I focus on a principle I know who it is. I want to challenge you guys, to read the Book of Mormon with a purpose. It will strengthen your testimony so much of it and I know it will make all of us happier. My testimony has grown so much since being out here and I can't wait to strengthen it even more. Christ lives. He loves us and so does our Father in Heaven. They want the best for us and knows us. We might know what we want but that might not be in God's plan for us. Read your patriarchal blessing this week, I read mine on Friday and cried. That will help you see what God sees in you. He loves us so much. I'm so excited for this Christmas season and can't wait to continue to teach our investigators. It's been tough with all the service we've been doing but we have such great investigators and some of them will get baptized. I can't wait to teach them happiness. The church is true!
I love the story about the lady in Target. That's hilarious. When there was the gas crisis out here we saw a car butt in front and BOY, he was getting honked at for probably five minutes. THAT'S BOLD! Just kinda reminded me about that. I love hearing about all your stories. If you came out here Dad you'd be able to shoot like 200 deer. There is road kill all over the place. Thanks for all your support again! I love you guys all so much and miss you! I'll send some pictures of the great service we rendered. Love you!!
Sister Christine Taylor
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
It was pretty great, after emails last week I got home and recieved four letters! Brad Elly Melissa and Sister Robinson. So tell them thank you and I'll try to respond to them as soon as I can.
I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to buy new tennis shoes because my have got dry wall and poopy water all over them. :) I love doing service!!
So now to the events of this week. It's been pretty choatic. We've been having some of the sisters stay at our apartment on and off because of service and everything. Monday was P-day and we had a rehearsal for our Christmas program so I went to that while Sister Dicou went to her departing missionary trip. After our practice we played ball at the church for a little bit. We had a couple of lessons that night. Tuesday I already told you about in the last weeks email, but that night we went and taught our new investigator Cary and we had cheesy broccoli soup and talked about the gospel. She's incredible. I didn't get pictures of her quilts because she gives them all away but she did say she was making beanie's for the young ones so I'm very excited about that. She's so awesome! Wednesday Sister Dicou had her Temple trip so we went on exchanges and Sister Swann and Roper came with me and we went out during the day until they were back. Then we had another exchange with the Paterson sisters so I went up there and stayed the night. Paterson is crazy. The sister was a spanish sister so I barely said anything all day because I couldn't speak-a da spanish. But I was really trying to focus on things that they said and picked out a few things. It was interesting and very cool. We exchanged back the next day. Friday was probably one of the craziest days I've had out on my mission. We were trying to get so many things done and so little time before Sister Dicou left. I had my interview with President Jeppson and then one with Sister Jeppson and it pumped me right up. It was so comforting talking to them. They seriously are incredible people and I love them so much! They are so much fun and so close to the spirit. I love it!
This is where is gets pretty exciting and why I love being a missionary. We got a call on Friday and our zone leaders told us we were going to be staying over night down South because we were doing service and it was about 2 hrs away from us. So they told us we'd be doing service all day Saturday and Sunday. It's not typical in the mission to be doing things like this so I can definitely say this has been my craziest transfer on the mission! So we woke up on Saturday and met the Assistants at the Chapel and we all rode down in the big 12 passenger van. It was so much fun! We became so close during this past weekend. We got down to the chapel where we were meeting and broke off into our groups to go do service. We were in East Brunswick and had an assignment to go clean a house. We got to the house and it was this old old lady that lost everything. We took our her kitchen and cleaned the garage out. She was so sweet and so hip! We all worked really hard in trying to get the place clean. As we were finishing up we sang "called to serve" and she said she got the goosebumps as we were singing it. I know that it was the spirit bearing testimony to her that we are called of God to serve. I'm so grateful for that opportunity I have everyday to put on my badge saying that I am a witness of Jesus Christ and I know he lives. It was really cool and I'm so grateful for that. We had a couple more hours before we had to head back to the chapel and so we decided to go knock on doors and see if anyone else needed help. We were walking down a street and a couple of the missionaries found a house that two old (81 and 83) were living there from the hurricane. They had orders to be exacuated from their house but they didn't. Mary and Ziggy were there names and they were so sweet. We asked if they needed any help and they said they hadn't touched their basement. So we all went down there to see that the mold on the walls was so bad and the foundation was not good at all. Their neighbors house had fallen in. I'll send pictures of it. The smell in their basement was horrible. It was not safe that they were still living there but they had no where to go. The old clothes they had were the ones on their back because all their other clothes were downstairs. They said that the water level filled up their whole basement and came up a couple inches on their main floor. Just imagine. All of our basement flooded and so much personal items down there. It's just so sad. We started cleaning up as much as we could before it got dark. We had to leave but we felt it would be good to sing to them and say a prayer with them. So we got them together and sang and prayed with them as they were crying. Ziggy was an ex-marine and told us to stop making him cry. Mary burst into tears at the end of the song. It was so spiritual and emotional because they couldn't have cleaned out the basement on their own. They were so sweet. (They had a bar downstairs to that they wouldn't let us touch, we got orders from Mary, "do not touch the liquor") It was pretty funny. They were cool old people. We got back to the chapel and ate pizza and then had a little training/fireside and then went to some elders aparments to sleep (don't worry they were not there too.) All of the sisters, 13 of us, stayed there while all the elders slept in the church.
Sunday we all woke up ready to work. We got to the church and quickly ate breakfast and had the sacrament and then went back to Ziggy and Mary's house. Mary thought we weren't going to come back but of course we were! We started cleaning everything out from their basement before the demolition. They had so many personal belongings down there, clothes, records, magazines, everything and worth so much money. We started going at it. We had 12 people in that house cleaning it all up and were making some good time. We had a quick lunch break, pizza provided by them, and then back to work. We finished lunch around 12:45 and I did not come out of that basement until it was all cleaned up. That was around 5. My back was so sore but I couldn't stop working, I needed to do that for them. It was hard hard work but President Jeppson said the closing prayer in sacrament meeting and blessed us with safety and with the power to continue working. It was an amazing prayer and I know it was answered because even though I was dead, I kept going. I learned something, when you want to stop, think about the Savior and all he did for us. He's there to lift us up and get us back on our feet. I think we can all do a better job at remembering the Savior. That's my commitment to you guys this week. Think about the Savior and all He's done for us. He's given us EVERYTHING!!! We got everything done and started cleaning up. We got Mary back out and talked to her for a little and asked her, what's one thing we need to remember for our lives. And she replied "Don't keep anything!" It was pretty funny and I might need to take that to heart. I have a lot a possessions that don't really matter. I think I have some cleaning up to do when I get home. :/ haha We sang to her again and took a couple pictures with her and were off back to our apartments.
It was such a good day and I know we're doing the Lord's work. I'm so excited to continue on and see where the mission takes me. I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to serve and become better. I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way we can return to live with God again. I'm so grateful for everything I've learned and I know God answers our prayers. I'm so grateful for this chance I have and can't wait to bless more lives in New Jersey. I'm here for a reason and I know it. I love you all and can't wait to see how you're all doing. :) Much love
Sister Christine Taylor
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
I'm getting slightly scared because I keep speaking all this spanish all the time and all the spanish Hermana's have told me they're going to tell President to switch me to spanish. :/
Anyways! Hello. What a crazy, insane, amazing, difficult and happy week it has been. As I have said last week we've had amazing opportunities to serve but this week it has beeen EVEN better. (Quick side note, I write more detail in my journal because I have a little bit more time so maybe when I get home I can just read you guys my journal, Psych! but maybe I will haha)
We were supposed to do service on Wednesday of last week but our zone didn't go because it was to far away and the weather wasn't the prettiest. So we had to re-plan everything but it was good. We went to a couple of people and talked to them. It was snowing (really sticky stuff) and pretty cold. I wore my new boots! Can you believe it? Two days after I bought them I was wearing them. Things are changing, that's not normal haha. We went and taught a few people and got return appointments with them and had to be in by six because of the snow storm coming in. It snowed for a while but it was gone the next day so I haven't had much snow yet but I know I will be getting some more. There were still some missionaires that didn't have power and so another companionship came to stay with us. Sister Soto and Swann. They are spanish sisters. Maybe God is just preparing me because all the sisters that have stayed with us have been spanish sisters. They are so awesome! It's crazy, God knows who to put in your life to help you become better and teach you things. And I definitely have seen that in just these few weeks I've been here. Sister Soto is leaving in a week and I've gotten along with her so well. She's from Brooklyn, NY. Sister Swann is amazing as well.
Thursday was Jody's birthday! YAY!! Happy birthday, sorry I'm late. I wanted to take a picture of me holding up a sign that said "267 months" But I ran out of time but the thought was there. It was our walking day and planning day and it took forever because we hadn't planned for two weeks because of the storm. Sandy has been crazy so far. Stories to come shortly. We went on exchanges for the first time and it was scary, I won't lie. Sister Dicou left the area so I was in charge for the day. Sister Morrison from San Diego was my companion for the exchange and we have so much in common. She's awesome. Friday was a normal tracting day but we have a member come out with us for most of the day. We taught a few lessons and then went to dinner with a member. We had breakfast for dinner and it was delicious.
We were going to exchange back Saturday morning and that was the plan but then we got word we were going to different places to do service so we were with each other for another day. Which was great. It's nice to know more sisters because Sister Dicou is leaving in a week :( I don't want her to because she has taught me so much but she's going to be so amazing in the real world.
*This is the part that gets crazy cool!*
So we woke up on Saturday early early in the morning to go down to EATONTOWN for service. Now I have no clue where that is but mom you said you follow the places I say. It's down on the Jersey Shore. We drove down with Hermana Swann and Soto because they stayed the night again. We got there quite early so we went to McDonald's for breakfast. (By the way Dad, you owe me probably around 30 breakfast burritos. There are a LOT of deer here :) ) But on the way back we were blasting an Alex Boye song, Have I Done Any Good? with Carmen Rasmussen, if you haven't listened to it, do it. Its incredible! So we were blasting it as we drove into the parking lot of the church and who do you know, none other than Alex Boye, was standing in the middle of all these missionaries as we're blasting his song in our car singing so loud. He started laughing and it was so cool. We saw a lot of familiar missionaries and I saw the sisters that had stayed the week with us and it was SOO good to see them again. But we got our assignments for service and got in the car and pumped up the jam again and Alex Boye ran over and started recording us on his phone singing his song. So keep on the lookout, we might be on youtube or mormon.org or something haha.
We went to our service project and we were assessing the damage of all the people down on the Jersey Shore. And like many of you know me, I want to be out helping people, I want to be helping them with their houses and doing the manual labor rather than the assessing. So that was kind of tedious but it paid off. We went to some people's houses and one lady started crying when we asked if she needed any help. It's so cool to see God's hand in their life and softening their hearts. I love it. I LOVE SERVING!!!! So after all the assessing we went to Union Beach and started looking for people to help. I found a house with an old lady outside and we asked if she could use any help. They didn't really want the help at first but we kept on insisting and they said that the back room was the only thing left that needed to be cleaned out. So we did just that. Sister Swann and I went in and tackled that room. It was so sad to see everything just get thrown away. She had books, and yarn and I'm sure a lot of possessions that were dear to her heart that were ruined by water. It was crazy to see the damage. And it humbled me. The Elders started coming and so the owners said why not there. So we demolished about the whole house. Took out all the walls, kitchen cupboards, and counters and just about took the whole house apart. (Don't get me wrong, it was very humbling but very exciting at the same time. you can definitely get all your anger out by hitting a wall with an ax.) I did probably the most disgusting thing I've ever did in my life and will never forget it. I tackled the fridge. Nothing was cleaned out of the fridge since the hurricane and it had been about a week so if you can only imagine the smell. It was SOOOO rank. Stinkiest smell I've ever smelt. But I did it. We continued to take everything out and the poor old lady was just watching everything be taken out and thrown into a garbage pile. She was crying after we were all done. It was so sad but I'm glad I'm helping them put the next step into fixing the problem.
Sunday was even more exciting. Can you say STATEN ISLAND!? Yep, Sister Dicou and I went to Staten Island on Sunday to do more service. The damage was worse than Saturday. The pictures are so sad to. I'll try and send some but If I don't get to it. I'll try another time. The whole houses were just thrown. It's crazy to think wind can do something like that. We saw a church completely off its foundation. People devestated. But we were there to help. We help three families take our their walls and insulation and posssessions. They were all so humbled by our work. It makes me feel good because God knows us and knows where to put us to touch the people's lives around us to also touch our own lives. And I've been touched. I've been touched by the people I've come in contact with. With our investigators, our ward members and especially the missionaries I've come in contact with. All of them have blessed my heart and I can't wait to continue to learn and grow in the gospel. The final house we helped, one of the brothers blessed the house and the spirit in that prayer was so strong and the family that we helped were all crying after the prayer. And I know that was the spirit working. And it's amazing to see those miracles happen every day.
I gave a training in District meeting on how the Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ today. It was kind of scary because it was my first training but I learned so much from it. It's crazy, and I know that whenever someone gives us a talk or a training opportunity, we will gain so much more from it than those we talk to. The Lord knows what we need and certain points and that was definitely something I needed to realize. The Book of Mormon truly testifies so much of Christ. The words in the Book are words from the ancient prophets and testify to us that Jesus Christ lives and that he will come again and that if we do the little things, have faith, repent, be baptized and endure to the end, keep the commandments we will gain and have eternal life. I'm so grateful for everything I've learned so far on my mission and can't wait to pour out my testimony to those who I come in contact with.
It was been an amazing week and I'm starting to get the hang of things. I mentioned before but Sister Dicou is leaving this next week and I'm really sad. She's been such a huge example to me and has taught me so much. This transfer flew by and I know I could have done a better job and putting my all into this work. But I'm continually striving to be more like Christ and center my life on him and I know that if you all do that you will be more happy than you can imagine. So I challenge you to become more Christlike and I know you will come closer to God. Also, mother and father, you should get a preach my gospel booklet and study it. The words and activities in there are not just for missionaries but for all members of the church. Every member a missionary. So I challenge you to get one and study the words that are in there.
As for housekeeping. The salsa has been delicious! Thank you and we did have chips on hand. I thought you made the bag and I know you'd love Cary if you met her, mom. She's so fantastic. We're actually going over there tonight to make cookies and eat soup and teach her tonight so I can't wait for that. And Thank you Jody for the pictures. I knew they were from you. :) I love that you have been serving so much mom. It makes you feel good when you do huh? Even the little things count. I'm SO EXCITED FOR SARAH JACKSON! Please tell her congrats from me. She's going to do so amazing.
Cary (the quilt lady) answered my prayer. I wrote Kimber and asked her which beanie would be good for them so I got some ideas in my mind. i can't wait to send them out to you guys.
You'll have to get me the name for Annie's in laws because I can give them a referral. I don't think I'll ever serve in Jersey City because it is a spanish area but those Hermana's would love it if I gave them a referral. So If you could get me the name I'd love that! I know Camille told me a little bit about them and maybe if I went on an exchange there I could visit them.
The church is true! God lives and Jesus atone for us. I'm so grateful for the plan of salvation and know we can return and live with them again through Christ. This work is great. I've had amazing opportunities already and can't wait to have more. I know I leave a lot out but I'm short on time. Any word on the GPS as well? Love you mucho! Take care. Miss all of you! You are amazing. Tell everyone hello.
Debris from Hurricane Sandy
Ye must build your foundation on the rock. Whereon, if men build they cannot fail.
Sister Christine Taylor and Hermana Soto
House with power lines down on the roof
During cleanup with Sister Swann
SHODY!!!!!!! I luff you so much. Hope everything is going good.
On Tue, Nov 13, 2012 at 4:45 PM, Anne Taylor wrote:
this is Jody on moms kindle here with tacy in my arms and grant asleep in your room. we love you and are so proud of you!!! keep up your great work seester!!!
Sent from my Kindle Fire
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Mom and Dad,
Thank you so much for the letters! And especially the package! I loved it and it was so good to finally hear from you guys again. I'm so grateful for you mom and for making those packages and sending SALSA! I know Sister Dicou is happy about that. One question, did you make that halloween bag?? its so cute! All the sisters loved it as well and along with all the pictures of Grant so THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. I can't say it enough. Woof. Here it goes, I hope I can get everything out. Dad, yes I did get all the pictures of Tacy and those crazy people I call my siblings and Tacy looks so big, definitely grown up a lot since I've been gone. It's kinda crazy how much Grant and Tacy have changed but they're still adorable. All the pictures of Grant I love and will be showing them off to everyone. Already showed them off to the sisters that have been staying with us.
I can't believe Bishop Ostler is the NEW STAKE PRESIDENT! That's incredible, he's such an amazing man and so close to the spirit. He's going to do so great. I hope Camille and Sarah have put their papers in for their missions. They have to get out here and start preaching the gospel. :)
We have gotten to do a little bit of service but President Jeppson wants us to still focus on proselyting. That's number one but we have got to do service around our areas. The gas crisis isn't too bad anymore which is great but there still is a lot of clean up to do that we will probably start helping with next week. I can't wait for that. Last saturday though we did get to go do some tree cutting and picking up trees from the hurricane. We were driving up this one hill to turn arond in a cul-d-sac and I saw this lady taking trees to the curb on their very steep hill. I said he needed to stop and so us 6 sisters that were there and 2 elders got out and started helping her. She was so touched we stopped and helped her. She definitely would have fallen down the hill at one point if we didn't go and help her so I was so happy we got to. After we were done she had tears rolling down her face because she was so grateful. That is what service is all about, forgetting yourself and serving your brothers and sisters. I want you guys to all find someone to serve this week and serve them. Do nice things for them. I know it will bless you and it will bless them. After we went to a part member families house and they had a lot of trees down so there were chainsaws and ax's and saws that we all helped getting this tree cleaned up. I got to chop the tree with an ax and let me tell ya, you can get a lot of anger out by doing that. I'll send pictures of the tree. It was huge. It's crazy to drive down the street and see all the destruction, it's crazy to know that just wind can do that. We've heard a little bit about the next storm coming but Sister Dicou and I have been so fortunate and have power and everything we need. The Lord has definitely been blessing us and I'm so grateful for that. Mom, we do live in the same complex as the Elders and that's why it was so easy stealing the mattresses. Our apartment is fine and everything is about back to normal. Just a lot of clean up still. They said the clean up will be going on all the way until Dec. 22 so we'll see about that. :/
Next question to answer is how big my area is...if you find on the map our area is the Parsippany area. We live in Morristown but our area covers Parsippany all the way down to Chatham. It's pretty cool, we share the ward with the Elders. Thursday is walking day. It's our car fast throughout the whole mission and it's nice to be able to get out and walk. I hope I have answered all the questions. It's been such a crazy hectic week but it's slowly getting back to normal.
The sisters stayed with us for a week and a day and left today. It's crazy how God works. He knew we all had to meet and grow so much from each other and I know that's true. My testimony was strengthened so much from those Sisters and I honestly can call them my best friends. They're absolutely amazing. I love them so much, but it'll be nice to finally get back to work. I'm really starting to get the hang of it. I'm feeling more confident in the lessons. We've really been working hard and our investigators has increased so much. We had so many new investigators and I can't wait to start teaching them so they can become closer to Christ. We have one progressing investigator but I haven't sat down and taught a lesson to her yet but we're hoping to soon. We have one man with a baptismal date but I think it's going to be pushed back because of the hurricane. We met this amazing family on Sunday and they are prepared to accept the gospel. We went and visited them in the dark because the power was out but we had such a spiritual lesson with them. They're from India. We talked about what we teach and then had some amazing Indian food. Chicken kabobs, red curry and nan. It was so INCREDIBLE! The Lord has really been blessing us with amazing people in our paths.
Yesterday was the most spiritual experience I've had on my mission thus far. We went to go out and teach and find people and knocked on a potentials door and she welcomed all of us in. It was Sister Dicou, Sister Lowry and myself. We got into her house and asked if we wanted hot chocolate and of course, since we were cold we accepted. She had us sit down on the couch and tucked us in one of her homemade quilts! Mom, you would love her. She used to quilt and now she cross-stitches the cutest things. She made such cute little beanies for babies and I want her to make some for Grant and Tacy because they are so cute. She makes the beanies look like apples, and bees, and peas and stuff. It's kind of hard to explain but they're adorable. Now, this lady, is SOO prepared to accept the gospel in her life. She's been prepared for a very long time. She has a friend that's a member that did such great fellowshipping. She's been to the open house of the Boston temple and the spirit was so strong throughout the whole lesson with her. She has a grandson thats 2 1/2 and such a cute little boy. I shared a scripture with her that I read in personal study and it immediately made me think of our family. It's Mosiah 18:21 and it says: "And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in lvoe one towards another." I feel that family is such an important part of our lives and I've said it before but I've taken my family for granted. But I feel as we all strive to become one we will be blessed. Our hearts should all been knit together and have such a strong love for one another. As I shared that she said thank you and then went off on how she's noticed how important family is in our religion. We don't just have our immediate family but we have our community or church family. I know that we can all become closer when we all are striving to become one. That's something I've learned so far. And you better believe I will be working on that as soon as I get home. Is strengthening our family :)
A few more items of business: how is the ward doing? How is Melissa and Barry? I'd love to hear from them and Brad and Elly as well. How is family prayer going?
I hope I included everything. Yes, our toilet did get clogged but it was from the storm and they got it all figured out. We had to dump water (poopy and sewer stuff) from the tub because it was filling up quick. It was disgusting.
This church is true. Things are coming together here. We have a lot of potential investigators and I can't wait to see them progress. I know prayer is real. God is waiting to talk to us. The Book of Mormon is true. Our focus this month is on the Book of Mormon and I've already gained such a stronger testimony of the word in the Book. They are the words of the prophet in the olden times. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. I know he translated the Book of Mormon. And I know we have apostles and our Prophet, President Monson, to teach us what we need to know in our day today. I'm grateful for you guys and the constant support you are giving me. It truly is touching and I seriously couldn't do it without your support. I love you so much! And I'll be emailing you hopefully on Monday next week. You guys are all fantastic. Remember to pray and read your scriptures. You WILL come closer to Chirst.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
GUYS GUYS GUYS!!! I'm alive! Woo Hoo! What a few couple of days it has been. I don't even know where to begin. Crazy stories thats for sure. Cleaning poop from the tub/toilet, trying to steal a couch from the Elders, having 4 more sisters stay at our house, and cleaning up the crazy mess.
I dont have a whole lot of time so this one might be a tad bit short but hopefully I'll be able to catch up a lot. We started hearing about it on Thursday and kinda making some preparations but not a whole lot. We didn't know exactly what was going on because....no electronics. No TV no nothin!
Tuesday we had a district meeting and went and visited members and had dinner with them. The ward here is incredible. They are so nice and so awesome. Wednesday was so cool! We were up in Parsippany and we were walking around trying to find someone to find and so as we were walking Sister Dicou said: "Okay, pick a number?" So I said: "Okay, um 13." And then she said okay "Letter A". So we were at an apartment complex and went to go find 13A. As we found it we walked up to the door and saw a Romney Ryan sign in his door. As we knocked on this door a man came out. We started talking with him and found out he plays the organ for the Catholic church and very good at playing the piano. We continued talking and then got a return appointment with him. As we walked away we were so excited and so happy we found a new investigator. Sadly enough, we were supposed to go back on Monday but it was the middle of the storm so we couldn't go back but we're planning on it. Anyway, that was awesome. Thursday was walking day and we did our regular appointments and then found another new investigator. It was incredible. That sunday before the week we fasted to find new people to teach and we found almost one new investigator everyday. It's incredible to see that fasting really work when we fast for a purpose.
So I'm going to skip to this week because I'm almost out of time. Sunday we were teaching and got word that some Sisters in Jersey City were going to have to be exacuated and as well as some Sisters in New Brunswick. So we got 4 new sisters in our apartment. Of course we needed to get a couple more mattresses so we went and stole them from the Elders apartment because they were going to stay at the mission home. I carried a mattress up by myself which was pretty cool. I have pictures but I'll have to send them next week. After that we thought we had a great 'strategy' and go and steal the couch from the Elders because theirs was so much better than ours. So, we carried down our couch, (took a Friends shot on it) and carried it up to their apartment. Little did we know their big couch wouldn't fit outside the door. So it was stuck, it was hilarious and so much fun. Moral of that story: don't move anything until you have a "strategy". It was so great. Monday we were cooped up in the house and couldn't leave AT ALL. We got kinda crazy. But we made flautas, smoothies and then pumpkin chocolate chip cookies because we still had power. The storm started coming around 6 with strong winds and rains. It started getting dark and I introduced Grant the Game to them. THEY LOVED IT! We were playing and all of a sudden the power went out. We went into a brown out (really dim lighting) But didn't lose complete power. THANKFULLY. The storm continued all through the night and I did see a tree fall right outside our apartment that pulled down a power line. It was crazy to see the damage but it reminded me of the wind storm. We went to bed with loud winds. The next morning we woke up and were all just hanging out in the room and all of a sudden heard this HUGE BOOM! Another power line out. It was crazy. We had to stay inside Tuesday as well. We started going crazy, played more Grant the Gam and never have I ever. Wednesday we finally got to LEAVE! And we went to the mission home and showered and then went and did service. We actually didn't do any but yesterday we got to finally help move trees and rake leaves. We got awesome pictures that I will send next week.
I can't wait to get out and serve more people. This is what I love to do. I can't wait. The sisters that have been staying with us are incredible. Sister Lowry (from Canada :) ), Sister Santos from Florida, Sister Herrera (from Arizona) and Sister Petersen (from California) They are all spanish Hermanas and so great.
Oh yeah, and we're definitely in a state of emergency, gas lines are crazy long just to get gas because the power is out all over and people are using generators to function. We waited an hour in a half for gas today. It was madness and still is.
But I'm okay and well. I've been having a headache for quite a while now and getting sick, but i'm functioning and trying to do the best work I can. I'm grateful for your prayers and all the support.
The church is true. New Jersey is great and beautful and I love you all.
I will send pictures next week. I'm sorry I haven't gotten back. We got to come to the mission home and email so I'm grateful for the President.