mission

mission

Monday, December 31, 2012

Feliz Ano Nuevo!

Buenas!                                                                       
          This week has been pretty crazy to say the least.  First things first though, it was so darn good to talk to you all.  I am glad to hear that all is well and all in all I was just glad to hear your voices. I was sure to tell Hna. Carla thank you so much but she said it was not a problem at all. She was happy she could help Elder Garcia and I out. I just love ya guys so much!!!  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that you all have your two front teeth. (That, and I hope the Lakers lost!)
First things first, I'll answer the questions [from mom].  Cancun was pretty good and my part of the conference went pretty well. I only had two or three problems with my spanish and I only swore once... It was an accident though!!  It was good though and it was a good review of the things we learned from President. I think my teaching is improving but I still need to work on being patient and being comfortable with silence in the lessons. A lot of the time, I just want to keep talking but I need to wait and let the Spirit do some talking to me and most importantly the investigator. We weren't able to take a bus Thursday night though so the Zone leaders said we needed to take the one at 5 o'clock Friday morning. Can I just say it is absolutely awful waking up at 3 to go take a 2 hour bus ride? The night before we left it rained like crazy too so all our stuff got soaked.  Luckily, I haven’t had too much of a sleep hangover or whatever you want to call it, these last few days.  
As far as my New Years plans, we don't really have any. We're going to have district meeting as usual tonight but tonight the Elders from Tizimin will be coming to join us. Everyone is staying at my house tonight but we still have to go to bed at the same time. Everyone says that we'll wake up at midnight though because things get pretty crazy here. There are "muñecas" or mannequins outside of a lot of the houses and from what I hear, at 12 they're going to burn them. It's basically pants and a shirt stuffed with newspaper and the burning of the guy is supposed to symbolize the passing of the old year.... Something like that. It should be pretty good tonight to get together with all the missionaries though. It's always nice to have a couple more guys to talk with.
Tonight we have to be in our house right after District meeting, and then tomorrow we won't leave until about 4.  Things get a little tipsy here if you know what I mean. We have quite the wine bibbers that live next door to us.
The new youth program sounds so awesome! I really want to be a teacher of one of the classes when I get back. I was talking to our bishop a little bit about it and it seems like it will make the teachers work a little bit harder but most of all, help the youth. It should be pretty divine!
Things are still going really slow here as far as investigators that are actually fulfilling their commitments. I'm just trying to keep the faith and work hard though.  Hopefully we'll have a breakthrough soon.  I'm thinking we'll start cooking once all the holiday season dies down. We'll just keep working!
This is the last week of transfers so hopefully we'll be able to stay together one more transfer so I can finish training Elder G. All I can say is I've tried my hardest and done all I know to do so at the end of the day I can be happy I reckon.
Sorry this one isn't very long, but just know that I love you guys so much! Keep the wonderful letters/emails/prayers coming, they sure are so great!
 Much love from your man in the Yucatan, (yes, I made that up myself!)
Tay
 
Standing on the corner in.......Valladolid, Mexico
 Must be Christmas morning
Elders A, Jaussi and S. at conference in Cancun
   "La Zona" (the Zone) doing the "perdon" sign.  He's not sure why but it is popular for some reason.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Hablando con Elder Jaussi

We were able to talk with our Elder Jaussi after a few attempts with a calling card on Christmas Day.  He was at a member's home and we were able to have a good visit.  He is doing well, still has very high expectations for himself and is doing his best to be a good missionary and trainer.  He told us how grateful he is for all of the letters and packages he has received.  Missionaries in the office have come to know him by name from the mail that comes through on its way to being sent on.  Missionaries who have never met Taylor have said, "So, you're the Elder Jaussi that gets all the mail."  Then they proceed to tell him that it won't always be like that and that after he is out for longer, the mail will decrease significantly.  Taylor asks that we not let that be the case and for everyone to keep on writing!  (Letters can be sent to Salt Lake to go in the pouch system, for free through DearElder.com or sent with an 85-cent stamp directly to the mission home.  Addresses and instructions are listed to the right.)
 
Taylor and his companion, Elder G., were headed back to Cancun last night for another training session for a couple of days.  This time around, he will be one of those doing the teaching and training for a small portion of the conference.  He told McKay and any other prospective missionaries that this training would be great to study in preparation for serving a full-time mission.
 
His brother, Sean, asked him what some of his favorite things are about the culture there.  Taylor said that he likes the Mayan influence (though he hasn't seen any of the Mayan ruins, etc.) and how some of the older people still speak Mayan and their children understand it too.  He likes how many people have a "store" of sorts in their living rooms where they can stop in and purchase a needed item very close to where they live or along the way as they are out working.  There isn't a lot of Christmas music played around the town or much decorating for the holidays and he has missed that.  The fact that the climate is so different makes this Christmas different as well.  He says it's really warm in the afternoon, but that it can get cool at night just because of the high humidity.
 
Transfers are January 6.  Elder Jaussi says he will most likely be staying in Valladolid at least another transfer to finish up the 12-week training course for his greenie companion, unless his mission president feels that there should be a change. 
 
It was great to hear his voice and have a chance to talk with him.  He still does well in English even though sometimes he has to think about the English words now.  We're sure that it will be even more difficult come Mother's Day.....only 5 more months to wait.
 
Here, Elder Jaussi's Dad holds a cell-phone up to the speaker phone so Sean and Caitlin can hear the call from their home in California...
The family gathered around the speaker phone chatting with their favorite missionary....

Monday, December 24, 2012

Feliz Navidad


Buenas!!!!

Hola todos, here goes yet another weekly epistle from your favorite missionary.  This week has been pretty calm, even with all of the "fin del mundo" (end of the world) stuff going on the 21st.  I had a funny encounter with a guy from Poland on Thursday actually.  I was waiting in the ADO (bus station) for the other elders to arrive so we could buy tickets to Cancun (we're going to Cancun for ANOTHER conference) and this tall white guy walked towards me and sat down next to me.  I smiled at him, and gave him a wonderful "Buenos dias" because you can never be so sure if a white guy is actually from Mexico and will get offended if you speak English to him. Anyways, (NA) he began the conversation by asking me in accented-English if I was "like a missionary or somesing."  We began talking and it turns out he had never heard of the Mormons. He began to tell me that he was from Poland and was planning on going to Chichen Itza to see the end of the world "or some sort of happening...." After the "getting to know you's" I gave him and a couple other of his friends the lesson of the Restoration more or less, something which is actually kind of hard to give in English now... He would stop me every now and then and throw in a piece of his mind, all of which was quite whack to say the least.

They didn't seem too interested in the lesson but were definitely interested in arguing with me.  However, at one point the guy from Poland told me that he hoped to feel "some sort of energy" (yes, this guy was a little bit interesting) while he was at Chichen.  I asked him what that meant because I wanted to know what he was trying to get at and then he said, "I don't know, something like how I feel right now talking to you.  I feel really good" Talk about a shock!  I began to talk to him about the Holy Ghost and how he testifies to us when messages are true and that that was what he was feeling. He didn't seem too convinced though and went on talking about his "energy" he was hoping to find at Chichen.  He told me that if nothing happened at Chichen he would like to learn more so I gave him a pamphlet with the number of the missionaries in Cancun, where he is currently living.  Who knows what will happen with that guy but you never know right?  One thing is for sure, no such "happening" occurred here in the land of the Mayas.

Our zone leaders sure took advantage of the 21st and all the end of the world talk.  In the morning on the 21st, they called us and told us that we needed to stay inside the house all day because of all the hubbub going on.  That kinda got me worried because I wasn't too excited about the idea of studying all day and staying in the house, but not too worried. The thing that got me worried was when they then told us that if anyone dressed in black came to our house asking to come in, we shouldn't open the door. You best believe I was scurred (scared) when they said that!  They were joking though so there was no problem, just a little scare from this wimp. You all know how much I love scary movies!!! NOT

I'll probably tell you all more about this tomorrow but the conference that we had with president was really great.  He talked to us about teaching more with the spirit so that we could teach people and not just lessons.  This week I have been trying to use a lot of the things I learned at the conference.  At the beginning of the week it was really hard to be honest, but it has gotten better.  In fact, we had a lot of really cool experiences with something we call "inspired questions." (Anyone preparing to go on a mission should start studying about them, Chapter 10 of PMG talks about asking questions.)  Last night for example, we went with a reference and after the lesson we invited her to be baptized.  I felt like the lesson wasn't that great and I wasn't feeling like we should ask her to be baptized, but Elder G. went ahead and asked her.  After giving us an affirmative no, I started praying really hard to know what questions I should ask her.   I really don't remember what I asked her exactly but at the end of the lesson she said she would get baptized but wouldn't give us a date.  I left her with my signature "somos amigos" and the tense situation turned into one of love fo sho!  We'll see what happens with her, no, she's going to get baptized, but all in all those inspired questions are pretty darn useful.  Preach My Gospel talks about how the Savior used questions to teach better and I really like that way of teaching.  Sometimes, I find that the investigators know all of the things they should be doing and are excited to find out that what they should be living is the message that we're bringing.  If that makes sense....

And now to a more worldly story: yesterday we went with a member to give him a Book of Mormon because he wanted to give it to a friend. We talked to him for a bit and as we were starting to leave his 2 year old son Br. (SUCH a cutie, but don't worry too much Jentz!) brought us two little regalos (gifts) . They had us open them up, two new ties, and then told us that they hoped we had a great Christmas. Samuel, the dad (he's one of my favorites in the ward) then invited us to go eat with them tonight but because Elder G. is going to call his family tonight S. said he would just bring the food to our house.  I really wish I could hug some of these little kids and wives sometimes because giving them a hand shake to say thank you doesn't quite do it for me.  I was sure to give S. a big hug though, and he said "Elder Jaussi, me cae bien. Me recuerda de uno de mis compañeros." (no real direct translation—just that he likes him and that he reminds S. of one of his companions) Somos amigos (we’re friends), that's for sure. Maybe tomorrow I'll tell you more about him and his family.

Well my dear family and friends, I'm afraid that is it for today.  I'll send some more business e-mails off to Mom but that about does it for this week's epistle.  I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas, but better yet a Feliz Navidad!  Let's all remember why we celebrate this time of year, and utilize the Atonement of Him who makes this time of year so special!!!  I testify to you all, as a representative of Jesus Christ, that the Atonement is real.  I honestly don't understand why or how it works, but one thing I do understand and that is that it does just that: it works.  Sure, I have SO MUCH work to do but only through Christ's atonement can I do all the things I'm able to do here on the mission.  Phil 4:13 all day baby.  If you're not using it, start using it! If you are using it, keep it that way!

God bless us, every one! 

Tiny Tay

But in all seriousness, Merry Christmas everybodies!! Or as a very cute little kid once said on home video "Mash Kapush!"

Con amor,
Taylor

"Y hablamos de Cristo, nos regocijamos en Cristo, profetizamos de Cristo y escribimos segun nuestras profecias, para que nuestros hijos sepan a que fuente han de acudir para la remision de sus pecados." 2 Nefi 25:26  (
And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we bprophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.)
 
Elder Jaussi's companion, Elder G. from Mexico City.
 

 
Elder G, feeling a little bit cold while ironing this morning.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Better Late Than Never, I Suppose

It turns out that this Monday and Tuesday we had a meeting for all trainers, district and zone leaders in the mission and so I got to go to Cancun for that.  Elder A. (my district leader) and I went to that and our companions stayed here in Valladolid while we were in Cancun.  It was really good and I learned a lot to help me out with my teaching I think.  I hope to put it all in practice.  It's always hard to keep the fire going from those meetings when you go back to your areas. We'll see what we can do though!
 
Elders L., A., Jaussi, and G. in "el Centro," Valladolid, Mexico.
Elders C. and Jaussi at training conference in Cancun
Elders Jaussi, P, and G. - Training conference in Cancun


The picture with me with all the presents is quite the crazy story.  Friday night we had a ward party and we planned on going because a few investigators were going to be there but we had planned to only go for about a half hour to welcome them there, make them comfortable, and then get back to work.  Every time we were about to leave though, someone in the ward kept telling us that we had to wait because they wanted us to sing a song as part of the program.  I decided we could do that much and we decided to wait, but they never asked us to sing.... The whole party there was a table at the front of the room with a bunch of presents on it.  I was for sure it was to play white elephant which gave me one more reason to leave; we didn't bring any gifts!!  We didn't need to though... They were all for us!!  Talk about the biggest surprise ever.  Towards the end of the meeting, before the ward was going to go outside to eat the Bishop started talking to close the meeting.  He began to talk about "dos angelitos con nosotros" (two angels who are with us) who work really hard every day. I started to realize what was happening, but it got worse.  He then went on saying that these two people don't have their mom or dad, their brothers or their sisters, and they're "solitos" (alone) on Christmas.  That was when I started to have some big ganas de llorar.. (desire to cry) and I couldn't handle it any more.  I started crying because he just kept going on and on about the family that we didn't have with us but then he closed it all with saying some really nice things and telling us thank you for all we do. To cap it off, he said that all the gifts were for us!  It was quite the cool experience.  It made me feel less sad to be away from home for the first time during Christmas because I really feel like a couple people here are already family to me.  One of them, Hna. R. started to cry with me too because she went on the mission and she said she knew exactly how I felt. (She is the mom of N. and the wife of the ward mission leader.)  It turns out that one of the wards did that for her and her companion when she was on the mission and she wanted to do it for us so she started it all up.  It was a good night for sure, but even without all the gifts it was great. We're really starting to gain the confidence of the members I think because they're helping us more with references and all that good stuff.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Nada....Otra Vez

This is the status of this week's communication from our beloved missionary in Mexico.......sigh.

Friday, December 14, 2012

December 10, 2012

No new photos to post but this is from the latest e-mail:

Buenas!                                                                                                          

Ha sido una semana tan ocupada. Hemos trabajado tan duro y he (It has been a very busy week.  We have worked very hard and I have) found out that it is hard to change from writing to President in Spanish and then to you gringos like me.
This week we have been working a ton with the less actives. In our planners we used to have a key indicator of just how many lessons we had with them but now President added a column for how many attended church. Y ¿saben qué?  (You know what?) We had 9 less actives at church this week!!! That, along with 4 investigators made me pretty happy. The only problem is that our investigators don't have much desire to be baptized and A. is still having a rough situation with her papa. It's all good though, because I'll take what I can get.
I don't know if I told you guys this story but we were with A. and her family one night and we were about to start the lesson. Just before we started to sing the hymn I invited her dad to sing with us and this is what he said more or less, "Elder, nunca JAMÁS me invite a cantar, hablar, ni sentarme con uds. Uds pueden hablar con mi hija y hacer como quieran con ella pero nunca jamás hablaré con ustedes, ¿sale?" (Elder, never EVER invite me to sing, speak, sit down with you.  You can talk with my daughter and do what you want with her but never again will I speak with you.  Okay?) I was pretty shell shocked for a bit, but can you guess what I said? "Bueno. Todavia somos amigos, ¿verdad?" (Okay.  We’re still friends, right?) Ha!!! Killin’ him with love. I didn't say it in a sassy way though and he kinda softened a little bit and said, "Claro, pero no voy a hablar todavia" (Of course, but I’m still not going to talk) Oh well, one day we'll break through to him! We'll see what we end up doing as far as the baptism for A. though.
The hammock is treating me quite nicely and I've just about got the hang of it. It's still a little different and I would definitely prefer a bed but I'll just take the blessing of being able to sleep for now. The food is just fine, albeit a bit weird but I think I can beat McKay in a spicy food eating contest. Habanero is a pretty rough pepper. As far as the stress goes, it's still there but I'm afraid that Taylor Christian Jaussi would cease to be Taylor Christian Jaussi without stress. It's not too bad though and all systems are a go still.
This last Monday I received a ton of mail, all from the fam and it was all great!! All in all, thanks again everyone so much for the letters. I am still basically a greenie though, so let's not have this trend stop any time soon okay? Deal. (Oh! Mom- I got your Halloween letter finally and you told me about you wearing my Terrell Davis jersey. Way to go!!!! That is COMPLETELY all right and I am glad you could wear that baby with pride. Go Broncs!!!)
All in all, things are going just well here in Valladolid even though investigators sure are hard to come by. The good thing is though, at the end of the day I can feel good telling the Lord that I have done everything in my power. We're working really hard and being obedient which is all we can do really. I'm sure investigators will come, even if they happen to come for future elders here.
I hope all is well and I hope you are all blasting FM 100 Christmas music in memory of me. Man I miss good Christmas music. Sing your lungs out too during all the songs, ¿sale, vale? Muy bien!! (Okay?  Great!)
Con amor,

Elder Jaussi, Tay, T, Taylor

Sea feliz, sea Mormón

Monday, December 3, 2012

Training and Being Trained


                                                           
 To say the least, this week has been pretty hectic. First off, before I forget, here is a tiny description of what the pictures are.

1- Elder V and I with the S. family.  Every male member of that family has been the bishop/is the bishop/or is a counselor in the bishopric.  Besides that point, they are one of my favorite families here in Valladolid. The bishop is the bomb.  He's seated to the right, sitting next to his wifey.

2-The baptism of Hna A.!!!!! We told her this Monday that it was Saturday or bust for her baptism (well kinda like that) and she said, "well let's get a move on then!"  The baptism was so powerful. She said she felt so good and you could really tell that whole day that she was so excited. She's the one that I started saying "somos amigos" to (We are friends) whenever she had a doubt or something like that, so she always says that to me now.  She's so great.
 
3- You'll have to tell G and G Jaussi that they basically made the missionary's version of Sport's Illustrated because they have front page on my agenda along with Nefi and Lehi. I don't know why, but I've been thinking about them a lot lately. Can you send me their email? I want to send them a short email this next week to let them know I'm thinking about them, and just because I get a kick out of Grandma's letters and Grandpa's jokes. Also, believe it or not, I really want to work on family history with them when I get back. There has been a lot of emphasis in that area here lately and I have to admit that I really want to do it more when I get back.  I really feel like I need to work on it more.  I started thinking of doing it when I thought about how cool it would be to do ALL the temple work for one of my ancestors.

 My new companion's name is Elder G. and he is from Mexico City too.  I had to take a bus to Merida and President gave us a capacitacion (interview) before we got our new companions. It was quite the crazy day for sure. The whole day I just kept wondering why me out of all the other missionaries there.  It definitely humbled me that's for sure.

He is pretty shy (a trending pattern with my companions) but he has plenty of energy and is really eager to learn everything in one second. (Very similar to me.) Every other second he's bumping into me saying something like "okay, what next elder, what next??"  Training is pretty great though because it has made me realize all of the things I have learned but also all the things that I need to sharpen up.  I don't know what the Lord was thinking when He gave me this assignment but I hope to find out soon.  Every day I feel crazy-overloaded but all I can do is just put my shoulder to the wheel and be obedient.
 
 This Sunday though I felt a huge amount of love for our ward.  I don't know why, but I just realized yesterday how much I love this ward.  Yesterday in sacrament meeting was the first time that I felt I should share my testimony so I did.    It was a really good meeting yesterday though and I feel like I learned a lot about God and how he works.  One of the things I was fasting for was to improve my relationship with God and just strengthen my testimony because "much fasting and prayer" is how Amulek said he did it. In Sunday School we were reading Mormon 9 and when someone read the verse where it says something like "I will show unto you the God of [Abraham] and all the things He has done"... Shoot I felt like the Spirit Brian-Urlacher-tackled me.  It made me realize that, yes I still have a ton to learn but God sure is great.  He has helped me more than I could have ever hoped for and I need to remember all the tender mercies rather than focus on the big tasks at hand. All in all, it was a great day yesterday because I felt another one of the tender mercies of the Lord.

I've decided that we're still going to visit A. and teach her but we won't talk about the subject of baptism for awhile.  I know baptism is a necessary covenant but at this point I just feel like we need to take it a little bit slower with the situation like it is.  For now, we'll just keep praying for Hno. T. to soften his heart a little bit.

This week, Elder G. and I are going to work like crazy with the members and hopefully the referencias (referrals) will start coming.  If not, it's okay because we're strengthening the members.  I think it says something like that in Mosiah 27:32 or 33, that they went about strengthening the members.  I want to be a missionary like those guys, so I'll keep working with the members just like President has asked us to do.

Thanks so much for fasting for me, I sure have felt that it has helped me a lot.  I love you guys more than everyone loves frijoles here, and don't you forget it!!  

Loves all around!!  Con amor, 

Taylor

 ¡Sea feliz, sea mormón!


Elder Jaussi pretending to be the Heisman candidate...


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ay, Ay, Ay

 
 
Hola todos!
To say the least, these last few days have been absolutely crazy. Sunday night we had cambios (changes-transfers) and Elder V. and I were pretty darn sure that we weren't going to be transferred but that we would stay. Things definitely didn't go as planned. Elder G. our Zone Leader first told us that Elder V. was going to be Zone Leader in Merida which didn't surprise me too much but what he said next sure did.  I thought for sure that a new companion would come to Valladolid, someone that had more time than me but Elder G. told me that I would be training... (gag reflex) Yeah, needless to say my bowels were going pretty crazy that night and it wasn't just because we ate some uncooked food at a member’s house. (But that really happened too.  My stomach has been having a fun couple of days.)
I thought it was a joke at first, because it is pretty much unheard of for someone to just finish the 12 weeks of training to be trained, but no they weren't joking.  I feel so inadequate and I don't know why the Lord keeps giving me assignments like this when I don't feel ready at all. Presidente told the group of trainers before we met our new companions that when he received the names of who should train, he had to go back and pray two or three times for some of the names.  I am pretty sure I was one of those names.... He shared with us the scripture in Mosiah 2 that says something along the lines of "all that He hath required is that ye keep His commandments and ye shall prosper" and related that to the high goals we have set for us as trainers.  He told us that we have to have [so many] lessons every week, and at least [so many] baptisms cada mes (every month). Elder V. and I were averaging  a [few less lessons] each week, and 1 less baptism a month so I am pretty darn scared.  President told us that if we don't complete those requisites, along with others, he's going to switch us out with other missionaries. I know that if I work my hardest, follow all the rules with exactness, and keep all the commandments the Lord will bless me but I feel like my faith is lacking a little bit because I feel so overwhelmed.  Stress is at an all-time high here.
 
I don't have much time left but I just wanted to ask all of you if you could fast for me this week? I'm going to be doing a fast for A., that her dad will let her be baptized (it's a rough situation which I'll tell you about next week when I have time) so I'm wondering if you all could fast for me this week that I will know how to handle everything, where to start, but mostly just to complete all the goals that I have to fulfill.  I'll do my part and work my hardest but I would really appreciate that.
I love you all and loved seeing the pictures of you at Thanksgiving!  Such cuties.  One of the attached pictures with us missionaries and V. is our own version of the Turkey Bowl this Thursday. Good stuff.  I'll write more about that next week too.

Loves all around! Con amor,
Taylor
 
"Turkey Bowl"
 

Elder Jaussi and his new companion? 
 
 
Elder Jaussi with member


Monday, November 19, 2012

19 November 2012


Buenas!

            This week has been pretty potente (awesome). We had almost zero success with investigators with plenty of dropped appointments, dropped commitments, and overall dropped investigators. However, we have been working a lot with the members and I really love it. Every time that we go with the members we learn a lot more about them and I find something more to love about them.  Along with that, after hearing a lesson from us they tell us that they would love to help us out more by going to lessons with us and thinking about friends who would accept the gospel.
            One of the members told us basically all about her whole life and how she felt really bad for having gone inactive a couple of years back.  She is the grandma of C., the niño that I was able to baptize and she told us that she feels like God can't forgive her because she feels that she caused the inactivation of her kids too and that her daughter didn't marry in the church because of her.  Interestingly enough, that morning I read Mosiah 27 which has to be one of my favorite chapters because I feel like it applies to my life pretty well.  In my studies I had no idea why I came upon that chapter because I began studying about Conversion, but I found out with this member. I shared with her the last two verses and told her that she was "bringing about the salvation of souls" and it started with her grandson.  She told me, "muchas gracias, Elder" and we then gave her a Book of Mormon that she wanted to give to a friend.  All in all, working with the members is the way to go even if al principio (in the beginning) we don't have many investigators. We're starting to feel like we have the support of the whole ward now and that they actually want to help us— not that we're burdens in their ward.
            Along with that, we went to visit a recent convert, R.  Her conversion story is really neat because her husband is really, really Catholic and she was pretty anti-Mormon too. We went to share a scripture with her and her family but let me tell you, I was so scared because her husband is pretty intimidating.  Then the quote by Elder Eyring popped into my head that says something like "The Lord is preparing people to hear you BOLDLY declare your testimony" or something like that... We went in and I shared a scripture but then I challenged the whole family to pray that night to know if this church was true and invited them to church, something I definitely hadn't planned on doing.  The next day at the church I didn't really expect to see them there (oh ye of little faith, eh?) but lo and behold, here came Hermana R. with her daughter.  Apparently her daughter has always wanted to come to church but had been too scared of what her dad would say to her.  After we left, she asked her mom if she thought their dad would let her go and R. said that she (A.) needed to ask.  As you can guess, he said it was fine! This Sunday we talked to her and asked if she would want to receive the discussions and even the bold Baptismo question... she said yes to both!  We're going to be working with her this week, and hopefully soon her dad will come through.  
           Yesterday was the presentacion de los niños  (children’s program) and let me tell you, it was so for cute!! Hermana R.'s grandson R. is such a cute little guy and he was one of the fun ones to watch. You know, the ones. He lives close to our house and he always waves to us when he walks by the park where we go running. You'll have to look up "Tazos" on the internet because I always play tazos with him.  Somos amigos. (We are friends) (That's my go-to phrase with everyone we teach.  If there's ever a tense moment after an invitation or if they don't feel comfortable I just say something like, "Puede hacerlo! Somos amigos ¿no?" (You can do it!  We’re friends, right?) Elder V. gets a kick out of that when I say it)
            Have a great Thanksgiving week and be sure to eat some pumpkin pie for me... ah....... (drool on the keyboard)  I'll be sure to eat some frijoles for you and some rice!! And possibly some soup made by Nacho!  I love it!  It's the beyst!!

 Vaya bien!  Con amor,

Taylor, Tay, Elder Jaussi, Elder Howsee
--Sea feliz, sea Mormon (Be Happy.  Be a Mormon)
 
 Elder V. and I with N. G., our little amigo, wearing one of my nametags. He is the son of the ward mission leaders. They are probably my favorite family in the ward. They're so great!!

 
 Me surrounded by angels and by Jesus like it says in DyC 84.  President gave an awesome lesson with the cardboard cutouts. It was superb!
 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Chispas! (O sea, WOW!)

12Nov. 2012

¡Hola mis chicos!

            I can hardly believe all of your folktales with the snow at home. When I read the first e-mail from Dad saying that it had snowed so much, I could almost feel that cold feeling of snow. Almost... Nah, not really but it was fun imagining! I was actually wondering earlier in the week what the weather was like back in the good ol’ John Denver Rocky Mountains because a couple members were asking me if I would be sad not having any snow for a couple years. Some days I miss the cool weather but I really prefer hot weather even if it is humid as the days!!
            This week we had a capacitacion (interview) with the leaders de zona. (zone leaders) Elder P. then went on splits with Elder V. and I after because Elder V. is the Lider de Distrito. (district leader) I definitely learned a lot from Elder P. that I really want to try and implement into how I teach.  He is always full of energy and the investigators don't really have time to get bored during the lesson because he is always saying some sort of compliment, question, or joke.  I don't know how else to explain it but simply put, I've been trying to be more upbeat this week.  Not that I haven't been upbeat, I just think I've been really timid these first few months because I feel like my Spanish isn't very good.  I've decided I'll take the risk of people laughing at me or if I can't understand, because people have been a lot more open to my "corker" personality (As mom would say).  I mostly have just been more open and easy going with the members because I figure they will correct me with the language more willingly than investigators. Then, when I get even more comfortable with the idioma (language) I can be more like Elder P. with our investigators. All in all, being happy and fun-loving is definitely the best way to go in life!!
            Also, in the capacitacion the lideres de zona (the interview, the zone leaders) introduced some very drastic news.  I don't know if this is the same for the whole world but as of now, we are no longer allowed to go tracting as missionaries in Mexico. We can still contact in taxis, streets, things like that but the message was clear: no more door to door tracting!!  The leaders of the church were looking over the numbers of recent converts and over the last three years, only 12,000 of the 120,000 convert baptisms have remained active.  As you can probably guess, we're starting to focus more on reactivation as well as retention of recent converts.  For starters, we had a consejo de Barrio (ward council) with the Bishop and other leaders in the ward to make a list of 40-50 menos activos (less actives) whom we feel have a good chance of returning with a little help. Along with that, we are going to visit EVERY active family in the ward and teach them the message of the Restauracion (restoration) again so they can just get back to the basics of everything, ¿me explico? (understand? Do I explain myself?) I have found that although those visits have absolutely nothing to do with the numbers we report, I really enjoy visiting the members. It seems like the ones who felt neutral towards us or even really didn't like the missionaries have begun to like us and they even want to help us teach/find investigators!! These next few weeks will definitely be slow as far as investigators go but I'm fine with working with members for now. I know that working with them will help us in the long run.
            Along with that news, in the consejo de Barrio (ward council meeting) the ward is planning to have a ward Christmas party this next month.   Every group (young women, young men, priesthood, Relief Society) is doing some sort of talent/song/what-have-you.  Elder Villanueva and I are thinking of doing a cute little song but we're not quite sure yet.  Apparently he is quite the guitar hero so he wants to try and find a guitar and he says I can sing. Miss B would be so proud of me!!! I am actually appreciating the fact that I did Madrigals more and more, believe it or not.
            Let's just say tonight I will sleep well because I bought a new hamaca (hammock) too! I tried it out when we got back from centro and it is definitely an upgrade!  I was getting accustomed to sleeping on my hamaca but it still hurt my back so Elder Villanueva convinced me that it really was my hamaca that was mala (bad). I'll just leave it at this: he was right. The new one is divine "fo sho."
            Tomorrow we're going to Cancun for Zone Conference with President which I'm pretty excited for.  The bus rides are always fun with the other elders in our District and I always like seeing other missionaries in the mission.
            This Friday we're hoping to have a baptism of a lady whose name is A.  About 2 months ago her baby passed away and after that happened she started to search for some answers, and she started looking into coming back to church.  Her mom is a member (inactive) and she told us she remembered going when she was about 4 or 5 so it has definitely been awhile. She told us all this in the first lesson we had with her and her husband and needless to say, we definitely pulled out Moroni 8 and D&C 137 to address her worries about her child. Both she and her husband accepted the invitation to be baptized on our first visit which is always awesome!! The problem is that her husband is a taxista  (taxi driver) and he can't really come to church every week. She has been enough times that she is ready for her baptism but he still hasn't come. We've been trying to help him find a new job/switch shifts/anything but we haven't had much success lately.  We're going to talk to them tomorrow to see if he is going to make an effort to be baptized with his wife or if we should go ahead and baptize her first.  Preach my Gospel says to try to wait and baptize couples together if you can, but we might just have to change that depending on what R. says.
             Thank you so much for all your support and love but mostly the wonderful letters.  I sure am blessed with great family and friends.  Have a great week and I will talk to you next week!!!  Hopefully I receive some snail mail tonight at District meeting!!! De todas formas, les amo muchisimo! Mas que uds. pueden imaginar!  (In any case, I love you all very much—more than you can imagine!)

Con amor,  Tay

Sea feliz, sea Mormon (Be happy.  Be a Mormon)

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 5, 2012

These are photos that Elder Jaussi sent to us today.  We're not sure of the names of everyone in the photos.  Looks like they are on a rooftop somewhere.
  This might be a transfer day, if the suitcases are any indication.....


We assume that these Elders are some that arrived in Mexico the same time that Taylor did.  Elder Juarez (on the far left) was his MTC companion and he mentioned that he had the chance to see his "first generation" recently in Merida.
A good old "corte de pelo" (haircut)--Mexican style.  Lookin' good, Elder Jaussi!
 
Elder Jaussi sounds really good this week.  He loved the package that was delivered to him by Bro. Taylor and says that his companion loved the 3 Musketeers.  Apparently, they aren't to be found there in Mexico.  He is hoping to be able to go purchase a bigger hammock this week.  :)  Buena suerte, Elder!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Letter from the President

We received a very nice letter from President Salinas, Taylor's mission president along with this photo taken (we assume) when arrived in Mexico in September.  Pte. Salinas seems like a very nice man and expressed his desire to help his missionaries be successful.  Some of the things that he said were:

Remember when writing, to encourage and express the feelings that the Spirit puts in your heart.  Explain to him the spiritual progress that you are making while he is serving the Lord, and ask him to share with you some of his spiritual experiences.  Be positive and help him focus on the mission.  These 2 years are very important for him as a missionary, future father, and leader of the Church.  He will have great experiences, many challenges and temptations that he will encounter for afflictions.  But just as the Lord comforted Joseph Smith by saying..."all these things shall give thee experience,...he also will learn from his own experiences.

Encourage him to press onward and support him in the difficult times.  The life of a missionary is not easy, and one should not think it is, but by trusting in the tender mercies of the Savior, He will make our burdens light."

Pte. Salinas goes on to tell us that "he will be our son and as our son we will love him and be mindful of all his needs."

It appears that Taylor is in very good hands.

Monday, October 29, 2012

"Reppin' it Like A Mascot in Valladolid"

These are excerpts from Taylor's e-mail this week:

Bosh kuwaleek! (Or something like that. It's Mayan for "How are you?") I'm not quite sure how to spell it.  Speaking of Mayan, the other day the bishop of the ward in Uayma, a little pueblo that we go to every once in awhile, asked me to give a talk at the baptism of Carlos.  Basically everyone in Uayma's first language is Mayan but they have the church meetings in Spanish with some Mayan mixed in. They definitely feel more comfortable with Mayan though because they don't talk to each other in Spanish, just to the missionaries and to their kids because they recognize their kids have to learn Spanish. When I got up to give my talk I told everyone that my Spanish was still pretty rough so I would just have to give my talk in Mayan. Everyone started chattering and getting all excited, I threw out the few phrases in Mayan that I know and they were just lovin' it!! Then I finally told them that I was just kidding and finished the rest in Spanish. It was good stuff. You should have seen some of the faces of the old ladies in the ward! Priceless fo sho!
This week has been pretty superb. On Tuesday we got a call from the secretary in the mission offices and he told us that I had to go to Merida to work out some stuff at the immigration office. So, on Friday at 4 in the morning we took a bus for a four hour ride all the way to Merida. Normally it is only 2 hours to Merida on the first class bus but because it is the end of the month and money is tight we decided to take the second class which goes through all the tiny pueblos. It was crazy how many there were! The thought that kept running through my mind was the scripture that talks about the people walking in obscurity and from the truth because they know not where to find it. I am sure that missionaries have never taught there but hopefully someday we'll have enough to do just that.
 I don't know if I've heard this somewhere else or this is just what I think, but I feel like if you hear a message over and over again it is because the Lord wants to make sure you get it. I think it's because unfortunately I tend to need a bit more prodding than hearing something just one time. The message that I have heard over and over again these last two weeks is that of becoming perfect. In the scriptures, Jesus exhorts us to be perfect even as our Father in Heaven is perfect. Most of the time when we hear that we just think, "Nah, I'm human. I can't be perfect even if I try.  Jesus must have been talking about the next life, because that isn't something I can worry about today."  While that thought may have some good reasoning, it is not entirely true! An hermano (brother) in our ward gave a talk two weeks ago about just that and he brought up a good point. If the Lord is asking us to do something, it is because He fully expects that we can do it. Sure, we're going to mess up, we're going to definitely struggle with certain things but He knew that.  He has provided us with tools such as the Atonement where we can fix all those desafios, (challenges) and one day we really can become perfect. I don't know why, but I've been thinking about that all a lot lately and I really do believe it. Yes, we are going to trip and mess up along the way.  However, like Nefi (Nephi) we just need to remember that the Lord never gives a commandment unto the children of men without providing a way. We can become perfect some day! The key is to improve line upon line, ¿verdad? (True?) Ah yeah! Call me crazy but I just felt like I wanted to share that because it has come up a lot for me in the past few days.  A lot of times we sell ourselves short as far as becoming like our Father in Heaven. The great thing about this gospel though is that we have the knowledge that as God now is man may become and along with that as man now is God once was. We can do it, with a lot of time and with hard work! Shall we not go on in so great a cause?
Have a great week and I'll send another epistle next week!
Con amor, (with love), Elder Jaussi
Sea feliz, sea Mormon (Be Happy.  Be a Mormon)
 These are answers to a couple of questions we asked him:
We eat every lunch with members and I have to say they are so darn generous. At times I feel bad because they give us so much and most of the times I can't finish it all. (My stomach is still adjusting, but getting better!!) As for breakfast and dinner, we usually fend for ourselves. I have been pulling a Dad and cooking oats every morning in water with sugar. Good stuff!
The piano lessons haven't really been happening. I just play in sacrament meeting and that is it with the piano. I love it though, and I have to tell you how grateful I am that you kept me with piano for as long as I did it. No one was really interested in learning, but I'm going to keep offering.