Tuesday, September 25, 2012


We received no e-mail or letter from our Elder Jaussi this week.  Nothing, zippo, zilch, NADA.  We'll keep hoping and praying that all is well and that we hear from him soon.  In the meantime, let's just keep writing letters.  :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Taylor's e-mail this week was pretty interesting.  He started off by telling of his experience with someone who showed up at their place at 5 a.m. hollering "Buenas, buenas, buenas!" (That's what people do outside your house when they want to get your attention. ) He was a little befuddled to hear that at such an hour and he thought it was a dream.  The person who appeared to be a woman was very drunk and kept asking to be able to come in.  Taylor woke his companion and he helped the person understand that they couldn't let her in, that they would be happy to visit another time.  (At this time Taylor interjects that he would prefer that time to be something other than when he is trying to get his beauty sleep!)  It was a little unsettling for them but Taylor said that Valladolid has a problem with people being drunk.  It's probably not as rare as he thinks.

Elders Jaussi and Villanueva also teach in a town called Temozon (the photo above is of a church there) and have met a member there who is actually from West Jordan, Utah.  He and his wife vacationed in Cancun and liked it so much that they decided to move there and start a panaderia (bakery) to help the locals out with jobs.  T says that he is an amazing guy, always feeding them, giving them rides, helps them by going to lessons and assists in the teaching AND gives them referrals.  He served a mission to Argentina and his Spanish is still very polished.  Taylor said that he is actually coming to West Jordan this week and said he might try to come by and say "hi."  It would be nice to thank him for being so good to the missionaries, especially ours.

Taylor had only received one letter as of yesterday and that was one from our stake, written by a high councilor.  Apparently, he will only receive letters when the zone leaders go into Merida for meetings and retrieve everyone's mail.  We've been told that is about once a month.  He said that he is only allowed to e-mail family and has just an hour to read anything from us, write an e-mail as well as report his work and goals, etc. to his mission president.  Taylor asked that we continue to send letters, that he will receive them at some point and he likes being able to re-read them.  He said he took a bunch of letters he received in the MTC with him and that they will tide him over until more arrive.

They had lunch with the Bishop the other day and they asked him if he or his wife had anyone they knew that would like to hear their message.  Bishop gave them some names of some non-members as well as some less-active members.  He said they felt impressed to look up some of the less-active members and ended up having a great experience visiting with one family in particular.  He said it was great that he had been thinking a lot about a certain scripture on Sunday and he shared it with them.  As a result of their discussion, they were able to plan a return visit.  Taylor is gaining a love for these people.  He said that even though he had only met them the one time, he felt a connection to them and said that they were an "awesome family."

He wasn't able to send any photos, but we hope that he is able to figure out how to do that soon.  He assures us that he has some good ones he'd like to send.  It will be good to see his mug again as well as to see his surroundings. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

"Just Another Day in Paradise"

We received another e-mail from Elder Jaussi today. It was his first p-day. Translations have been attempted.  :)
Just Another Week in Paradise—Spiritually, of Course 
Buenas Tardes!!! (Good afternoon)
This is what Elder Villnueva and I always say when we're outside someone's house and want them to open the door. It's kinda different from the normal tracting. This week we have been doing a lot of street contacting and tracting because unfortunately we don't have many investigators. The ones that we do have haven't been keeping their compromisos (commitments) so we kinda had to stop spending so much time at their houses. It's kinda sad, but at the same time they have their albedrio (agency) and we can't tell them what to do, ¿me explico?  (Do I explain myself?)
                I'm pretty sure I didn't tell you folks this last week when I wrote but if so, just act like it's new news I suppose.  I believe it was last Wednesday, but we were going to one of our appointments which was about a 20 minute walk away and it started raining a little bit here and there. Then it started absolutely pouring buckets!!!! It was pretty darn nuts les digo (I tell you). That's not it though. You know how the Utah monsoon season brings some rain storms like that that usually only last for about 10 minutes, if that? Well I kept thinking this one was going to end but it never did!!! Needless to say, I was soaked and I wasn't sure what exactly I had signed up for. They say missionaries can't go swimming but I think that's what we were doing more or less! Nah, bromas (jokes), it was all good it was just a shock.
            Another thing that is an absolute shock is the heat here. Vaya, vaya, vaya!! (Wow- not a literal translation) I think the only thing I can compare it to was during football when we had our helmets on and we were over in the swampy grass and it was above 100 degrees. It feels like that all the time here from about 10 a.m. to 9 at night. As the saying goes, I'm finding sweat glands that I didn't know mankind had.
Things are going really well though. Don't get me wrong it's already probably the toughest thing I've ever done and it's tough to have zero real investigators but todo esta bien (it’s all okay). The members are really great too! (Just a heads up, this email won't be any more organized than other ones) I'll talk more about the members in a bit though, no se preocupen (don’t you worry).
McKay, do you remember when we went down to Southern Utah, I don't remember exactly when, but when we saw lizards we thought it was the cat's pajamas? All I remember is we thought it was so cool that you could see lizards running around and it wasn't just at someone's house in a glass box. So anyways, (Nacho Accent) I have probably seen more geckos in our casa (house) than I have ever seen in the wild or any kid like Hayden Jaussi's house. If you lift up your mochila (backpack) or move your shoes, you'll see a gecko scurry off in a hurry. It's pretty neat, because that's "neature after all, gee dangit."
            The hamaka (hammock) still is awful but Elder Villanueva was trying it out last night to show me how he sleeps in a hamaka and then he told me he thinks mine is too small for me. I'm not sure what I should do really. Every morning I wake up and I feel like I just got back from a campout with Bishop Mustoe sleeping on the rocks, ya know? Last night I ended up just sleeping on the floor.  I didn't feel too much better but it wasn't as bad.  I figure that's just one of the many sacrifices I'll have to make these next two years. I'm sure I'll get accumulated (is that even a word?) (acclimated) to it but I'm just warning you, when I come home I might be like Quasimodo or however you spell it. All in all, hamakas are really hard to sleep in. If your back is comfortable, then your neck is probably hanging off at a ninety degree angle... Oh well, it's all good in the Valladolid hood.
I don't know if you guys have looked up Valladolid on Google maps but I highly suggest it. It is que potente (cool)! The central of the city has a huge Catholic church and I'm pretty sure I tracted into Nacho when we walked by. Yesterday we were in the central square waiting for a member to take us to a nonmember's house who asked for a blessing and an older couple came up to me and started to talk to me in English. I actually started to talk back in Spanish! They told me they were from England and asked how much longer I had on my mission and all the other good questions. They said their nephew went on a mission to SLC and when they asked me if I had ever been there, I told them it was my hood of course! I was getting the vibes they weren't members so I decided to ask what they thought about the church. They said their brother (the guy's brother) was a member but they had heard all about the church and weren't interested. I told them that it was all right and if they wanted a Book of Mormon, which I was sure they already had, they could have one albeit in Spanish... We talked for a little bit longer but then they went back on their tour bus. It was really nice to speak English even if it wasn't the real kind.
Valladolid actually brings in a lot of tourists. It is halfway in between Merida and Cancun and is really close to some Mayan pyramids so we get a lot of riff raff in the square every once and awhile. All around the city on the brick walls are paintings that say "¡Como te quiero Valladolid!" (How I love Valladolid)  It definitely isn't Utah anymore but I'm starting to agree with those paintings. The people here are great, and even when they start off the conversation by saying "Soy Catolico" (I’m Catholic) they're still fun to talk to.  Elder Villanueva answers their questions for me because I still can't pick up one word besides no, si, (yes) and Jesucristo (Jesus Christ) really. Then when he looks at me I try to figure out what they were talking about and bear testimony about the subject. It's been working so far because the people have never looked confused.... I think... haha I really do like street contacting though. It was scary the first few times but Elder Villanueva told me I had to do it by myself three times in a row, and now I love doing it.
Because we have no investigators Elder Villanueva and I decided to have an intervention. When we were having our planning time, we were wondering what we could do and then I suggested we hand out cards to people in the streets, and the members do the same. We have the cards ready and basically they have questions of the alma (spirit/soul) on them like "where do we go after this life? Can I live with my family in the after life?" And questions related to the Plan of Salvacion (Salvation) and families. At the top it says "have you ever asked yourself...." and then at the bottom it says something like "If you are wondering the answers to any of these questions please come to the SUD capilla (I think this means Santos de Los Ultimos Dias Church—or Latter-day Saint’s church)  on the 22 of September. Our plan is to have a big lesson about the plan of salvation in the chapel and then outside on the basketball court or in the classes we'll have tiny tables that have more specific topics i.e. the spirit world, this life, etc. I don't know if this is making sense, but as they say here in Mexico, it's going to be potente!! (cool, really, really cool) Before the 22nd we're going to have a ward activity this next Saturday that focuses on missionary work and to talk to the members about the activity on the 22nd.
On Thursday I thought that we needed to go talk to the Bishop for a minute just to ask him if there was anything we could do because we were just tracting. Elder Villanueva had me call him and he said he would love to meet with us at the capilla (chapel) and he would be there in a few minutes. We went to the capilla and after waiting for a few minutes, he came and we went into his office. Elder Villanueva had me talk because he said "Elder Haussi (That’s how he would pronounce Jaussi in Spanish) just wanted to talk to you and meet you" So I basically told him what Elder Holland told us missionaries to do when we first meet the bishop.I I told him that I didn't want to take much time but I just wanted him to know that we were behind him 100% and we are here for him whenevs! (Taylor translation=whenever) I told him I didn't want to be a burden for him but we wanted to help him in any way possible and that because we're missionaries, all our time is devoted to the work from sun up to sun down! Fue potente les digo.  (It was cool, I tell you)
After we talked to him for a bit and he gave us references he told us he would be more than willing to go to teaching appointments any time Thursdays through Saturdays in the afternoon. Then after that he asked us to give discursos (talks) in church. I was pretty darn nervous but because of what I just told the bishop of course I said yes! Haha The talk went really well actually. Elder Villanueva looked over what I had written and after I gave it, a lot of the members came up to me and said I sounded like a native. I started out my talk by letting the ward know the same thing we told the bishop, that we were there to serve them and help them bring more people unto Christ and ultimately to the ward but we need their help. Then I told them that if I ever look at them with an eyes glazed over look after they say something it's because I can't really understand that well. If I talk to a member before they talk to me they think that I know Spanish perfectly so they'll go off on a crazy rampage. It's all good though.  I figure in 4 months I'll be able to understand enough to get by. I'm not sure what to do until then though.
There is a little girl in the ward named Fernanda and she kept passing me notes during sacrament yesterday.  Elder Villanueva and I are positive she'll wait for me after the mission. I mean, she's about 7 years old so the chances of her getting married are way slim!! Hoorah! No, it was funny though. All of the primary girls crowd around me at church and ask me to carry them but I have to tell them I can't. It's kinda tough because they're so cute, especially the little tike, Nefi.  He is the son of the ward mission leader and he is about 1 or so. I don't like the rule that says missionaries can't hold little kids but I definitely understand why it is a rule. It's kinda crazy though if there are a lot of the primary girls because they just bombard me with questions like why I have green eyes, why I'm so pale, etc. They're really funny. Elder Villanueva really gets a hoot out of it.
Well fam, sorry for the crazy bombardment of info. I think that's it for now.... We have to drive off to Cancun in an hour because Elder Alonso is coming to talk to us! People go to Cancun for cruises but me? nah!! I go for mission conferences!! It should be potente though. As far as the letters go, you can send emails but I only have an hour to write to you guys (family only unfortunately) and to President.  President recommends letters but if you send them it will take awhile to get here. The best way to get those to me would be through the mission home. I don't think the Valladolid mail service is so reliable.
Anyways, (Nacho Accent) I love you all more than Uds. Saben (you know).  I hope all is well and that you're all hugging Jentz for me! Please pray for Elder Villanueva and I that our activities will go well and we will find more electos!! (investigators)
Love all around,
Elder Jaussi


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Area, Valladolid

WARNING: This post, which is the first e-mail received from Taylor who is now in Mexico, has many references to the movie "Nacho Libre." If you are familiar with the movie, you might be able to understand some of the things he says. If not, you'll have to go with what you do understand. :)

I Am, I Am, A Real Religious Man                                                                5 Sept. 2012

 Hola todos!!! Como estan? (Hello Everyone!  How are you?
To say the least, these past few days have been pretty crazy. We landed in Mexico City around 2 Mexico time. Let me tell you this much though, Mexico City is absolutely amazing!!! It is huge!! Luckily when we got to the airport, one of the missionaries Elder Estrada "accidently" ran into is family from Mexico City because we were absolutely lost. Elder Juarez didn't fill out his immigration papers correctly so he had to go to the back of the line full of about 100 Chinese people. (sorry Nicki Glover.) Jokes, jokes! But seriously, that did happen with Elder Juarez. I then tried to explain to the worker at the airport that my companion needed to get to the front of the line because we had to rush to get ready for our next flight but I could not understand one word the worker said. Tenia miedo. (I was scared) No obstante, (nevertheless) we figured it out and with the help of Estrada's family we got all of Elder Juarez's bags ready to go on the plane. Remember when McKay was about 5 years old and he said that one line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail? The one that says something like "a blessing, a blessing from the Lord! God be praised!"? Well perdoneme (pardon me) for being sacrilegious but that is what it was like le digo! (I tell you!) His uncle was a really nice guy and he helped us all get our boarding passes because we didn't get them in SLC. You can tell how much I've had to travel huh? We got it all figured out though and we left Mexico City on a pretty sketchy plane if I do say so myself (Aeromexico). I have to say again though, Mexico City is so awesome! I was kinda jealous of the missionaries that got to stay there but then I remembered I still had bella (beautiful) Merida to wait for!
We flew over the Gulf of Mexico and about two hours later we landed in Merida. When we got off of the plane I started to brace myself for the humidity but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. My camisa (shirt) was pretty darn soaked though but other than that it wasn't bad. When we got out of the gates, Presidente Salinas was there with a couple of his assistants and then we drove off to Mission offices in his sweet Toyota van while the other assistants took our bags with them in a taxi. Presidente Salinas is really, really, really great. He always says "potente!!!" (cool) and he went on for a really long time talking about how our companions were the hardest workers around. I could understand everything he was saying and felt pretty good about that until he said he was going to talk slow for us so that we could understand.... Needless to say I haven't the slightest what people are saying here. I just smile and wave is all.
The first night we stayed in the mission offices (on the opposite side of Merida from the mission home) and all six of us verdes (greenies) got our hamakas (hammocks) and we hung them upstairs. I didn't think I would have a problem sleeping because I was so darn tired but I'm being so fo real when I say I stayed awake until 3 o'clock in the morning with not one minute of even "twitching sleep" (the kind Dad does). That's all right though, last night was a bit better but I still got maybe 4, 5 hours of sleep. I'll have to work on the thing we call sleep.
Yesterday we were taking a taxi with one of the assistants to the capilla (chapel) and the driver was talking on his walkie talkie with another one of his driver friends and I tried to catch what he was saying but then it started to just morph into white noise. It's kinda hard to explain, but that's what it was like. Then, the assistant (who is from California) asked me in English if I understood what the driver was saying and I said I didn't have a clue. The native companions sitting next to me kind of laughed and then the assistant said that it was probably a good thing that I didn't understand. So when it comes to dirty talking taxi drivers, I'm glad I can't understand a word here!
When we got to the capilla (chapel/church), we had all of our training, learned the mission rules, etc. etc. and had our interviews with Presidente. When i had my interview with Presidente, he asked me if I would offer the opening prayer. After I finished he asked me where I learned Spanish. After I told him all about mi mama bonita (my Mom) and escuela, (school) guess what he said?? He said I speak like a Mexican!! En serio, les digo (seriously I tell you) he said that to me! Then I said something like, "come on, don't be crazy!" (Nacho Accent) but then he said "en serio Elder! Habla muy bien!" (seriously, Elder.  You speak very well!) That was pretty good to hear that's for sure. I had to tell him that I can't understand much so he talked slow for me.
I thought the talking would take more time and be harder than the listening but that definitely hasn't been the case. I honestly can't figure out one word I hear. Pero, (but) like Presidente Salinas told me, "no se preocupe (don’t worry) Elder Jaussi (hard J all day here, no Y sound) tenga paciencia, ¿okay?" (have patience, okay?)  I'm excited for this Sunday because I can talk to the niños (children)  because they don't mind as much if I say repite por favor? ¿entiende? (repeat that please.  Understand?)  It will all come I know, but I kinda wanted to know what one of the members was saying last night when we went and talked to her. She started crying and all I understood was her husband had cancer and she was having a tough time paying her diezmo. (tithing) Oh well, como Presidente Salinas dice "paciencia Elder. No se preocupe."  (as Pres. Salinas says, “patience, Elder.  Don’t worry.) Patience has definitely been the theme of my mission so far.
After our get together at the capilla (chapel)  we met our companions. My companion is Elder Villanueva (Vee-ya-new-ay-vuh) and he is from the Ciudad de Mexico. (Mexico City) He speaks pretty good English but let's just say we're speaking Spanish 24/7. It's good though because I need to figure out what language they're speaking back to me. A couple more of the members that dropped by our casa (house) last night all commented on how I didn't sound like a gringo at all so that is all helping me feel better as far as not being able to understand.
We got assigned to the pueblo que se llama (that is called ) Valladolid. I am definitely not in Kansas anymore. When we got off of our 2 hour bus ride from Merida it was pretty dark and I have to admit that the streets and the houses on the sides looked exactly like Nachoo!!! It was grrrrrrrreat! I really loved Merida and wished I could have stayed there with the other 24 or something missionaries but I love Valladolid already too. The people are nice and patient with me so far. Our apartment is shady but that's to be expected. La ducha (the shower) this morning was interesting to say the least. Our water works sometimes, and sometimes no. This morning was a no so I filled up a bucket with water outside and had a bucket shower. They're a little different that's for sure.
All in all, things are going pretty great here although I'll admit anxiety hits me more here than it did in Provo. I was feeling really nervous when we flew into Mexico City but then when we got off and there were airport workers lining the entrance to the plane, I felt an overwhelming feeling of love for the people of Mexico. I can't even explain it really. It made me feel a lot better and more at peace. Y eso es el espiritu santo, ¿no? Asi es! (And this is the Holy Ghost, right?  It is.)
Well, I hope this finds you all well and that you know I'm just here training to become the greatest fighter who ever leeeved! (or missionary as the case may be...)
I love you all more than Nacho loves wrestling!!!! Muchos achuchones por todos! (many hugs for everyone)

Elder Jaussi

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Last U.S. Epistle

Taylor's last e-mail from the MTC came on Saturday.  He will depart from there on Monday, Sept. 3.  He will fly to Mexico City first and from there to Merida.  There are several other missionaries that will be on that first leg.  We are hoping to be able to speak with him from the airport before he leaves.

He had an "in-field" orientation where he received instruction on what things will be like in the field.  The meeting focused a lot on working with the members and Taylor said that he will work hard to make sure that he becomes really good at that.

Taylor received several packages this week and was very grateful for them and for all those who remember him and have written to him. It has been a blessing.

 Taylor is pictured here with one of his teachers.  We're not sure which one.  His native teachers have been so helpful in his learning of the language.
Taylor with Elders Shawn Harris and Landon Fischer.  All are from Riverton.  Elder Harris went to Poland and Elder Fischer to Columbia

 Posing with his group at the Provo Temple
This is where Taylor has spent many an hour and day learning the language and teaching skills.

Taylor with Elder Anthony Crawford, another "Rivertonite"

Taylor had the opportunity to serve as a missionary Host.  Here he is pictured with a friend he met at BYU, Elder Seth Bohman 
 Taylor's great Aunt Karen and Uncle Floyd Tarbet were at the MTC preparing to serve their next mission in North Carolina.
 Here he comes, Merida, Mexico!!
Letters can now be sent to the mission address.  Stamps are 85 cents to Mexico for a regular letter.  DearElder.com will be free or a pouch letter can be sent to SLC for a first-class stamp.  Thanks, everyone for all of your support for Elder Jaussi!!