Thursday, August 29, 2013

Semaine cinq!

Bonjour Ma Famille! 

Wow, another week gone again! Time is flying. We start our 6th week at the MTC today! If I were just learning French I'd be out of here by next week, but in reality I'm only at the halfway point. lol 
Our Montreal Canada Elders & Sœurs got their travel plans already and they got here the same day as us! So crazy! Our district has decided that Tahiti is only a dream and that we're not actually going to leave the MTC. It just seems so far off and we still have so much more to learn. Like Tahitian! We start on Thursdayand I'm so stoked. Right now, our district is on an english fast until Thursday. So far its been challenging, but definitely worth it! 
We're all way excited for Tahitian but once we hit Tahitian, we'll still have to study french as well and so our time will be split. Therefore, we're trying to learn as much french as possible this week before we start Tahitian. We've all kind of got a little head start on Tahitian and have tried to learn words here and there for fun, so it'll be hard but also really cool to finally start learning it. It's such a beautiful language!!! We have this program on the computer called TALL (don't ask me what it stands for.. I have no idea lol ) that we get on to study French. It has a French person say a vocab or a phrase and then we repeat and we can learn all kinds of vocab and grammar. It's not too bad except for French in Tahiti is different than French in France. It'll be interesting talking to Jordan (who's serving in Lyon, France right now) and Riley (who served in Paris, France) because Tahitians roll their R's and speak a lot more casually and not as proper. But ANYWAYS (sorry for the rambling), sometimes at the end of our TALL time, I'll switch over to the Tahitian TALL. It's so entertaining because it takes me like 10 minutes to learn a word and like 5 minutes after I get off the computer, I forget it. I've been trying to learn "We are missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" for like 2 weeks. I can say "Jesus Christ" (Iesu Mesia (Yay-two-ah Muh-tea-uhh)) and that's about it. Hahaha greaattttt. 
Teaching has been going really well!! Sœur Aniel and I are becoming so much better at teaching together and by the Spirit. Our last lesson on Saturday with Vetea was definitely one of our best yet! I really have noticed that our French has been coming faster and smoother and that we were able to say just about everything we wanted to (even if we had to get creative in how we said it). We were talking about it after our lesson and I said- "Hey, I thought our French was really well!" LOL. So now I can't speak English. Haha speaking in general has been rough. I can't even imagine what it'll be like with 3 languages floating around in my brain. I'm getting a headache just thinking about it! lol 
Other than that, my week was pretty average. I had a few health issues and it seems like every other day it's something different, but I'm doing just fine now! I'm actually hoping I get all of these small sicknesses out of the way now so it doesn't happen in Tahiti). Some days I feel like Satan is trying me SO hard, but I know that he will never win because I'm not going anywhere. I still know that God lives. I still know that His son, Jesus Christ lives. I still know that they both love us too much to even try to comprehend. I still know that I have a purpose of being here and that nothing will stop me from pushing onward. Everyday here at the MTC is worth it, regardless of the success or trials I experience. It's the best feeling to be studying the gospel ALL day and be surrounded by SO many great people at the same time. We can do all things if we come unto Christ and follow him - "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land for which we will praise his name forever.... Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." Alma 26: 12,16 

Thank you for all the letters and prayers! Love y'all!!

Beaucoup d'amour, 

Sœur Taylor 

p.s. We're not moving to West anymore! It was weird for them to change it, but last I heard we're staying here! I'll keep y'all updated if they change it again. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Week 4

Ia Ora Na!! 
Wow, this past week was a rollercoaster! I have had the best days and moments at the MTC and I also had my hardest day at the MTC thus far. My good days sandwiched my challenging day though, so that's a plus right? 
I'll start off with probably the best days- this past tuesday!
First of all, it was Sœur Derrick's birthday! I LOVE birthdays so I had a fun time trying to decorate her bed at midnight without waking her up and stumbling around in the dark with only little flashlight! (Thanks dad! My flashlight is a LIFESAVER because not all of us wake up or go to bed at exactly the same time) Not to mention, Sœur Aniel like yelled in her sleep so I just about died laughing for 5  minutes and just prayed that I wouldn't wake anyone up. But nonetheless, I succeeded and we had fun throughout the day buying her candy and singing happy birthday in French and Tahitian everywhere we went! (Joyeux Anniversaire is Happy Birthday in French and Mahana oaoa no'oe or Mahana oaoa ya oa is Happy Birthday in Tahitian! I would type out pronunciation but that would take too long haha). In Tahiti when they sing happy birthday, they sing it in french, tahitian, and then sometimes in english or any other language that the family speaks. Super cool, right? It makes sense, but I thought that was neat when our teacher was telling us about it :)
Besides that, we had devotional and there were all these rumors that someone like a general authority or apostle was coming to speak because it was being broadcast to all the other MTCs around the world. We got there early and got super great seats and just waited anxiously to see who was going to speak! It seemed like forever, but finally during the prelude, we all rose (so clearly an apostle) and immediately when he walked in, the spirit FLOODED the room. Sœur Moli had to tell me that it was RICHARD G. SCOTT (because I couldn't see lol) that was there to address us at ourTuesday devotional. His spirit and the spirit he brought was INCREDIBLE. I wish all y'all could have heard him speak because it was really one the BEST talks I've ever heard. He talked a lot about prayer and gave a lot of comfort and advice to us missionaries learning a language and for when we have hard companions. What really got to me though was when he testified to us that God knows us. He knows our capability and capacity and fits the tasks he asks of us to our capacity. He will never abandon us when we need him. He inspired my call to Tahiti and he knows that I'm capable of not only learning and speaking two languages, but being able to teach in those languages as well. We don't start Tahitian until next Thursday, but even the thought of starting over with a new language is pretty terrifying. I still have so much more French to learn! Nonetheless, I know that I need to hear his talk because it gives me strength to know that I can and will be able to do it. The Lord did not put us on this earth to fail and I am SO grateful for that knowledge. I pray that non of y'all forget it either when going through trials and challenges life throws at us. The knowledge that God knows and loves me has really gotten me through all of the trials I have faced here at the MTC and I know that it can help you too :)
He ended his talk with just about the COOLEST THING EVER- An apostalic blessing to all of us learning a language. He blessed us to have faith and we will feel the power of the gift of tongues. He actually gave it twice in the course of his talk so we took it as one for French and the other for Tahitian :) It was great. As he was walking out and we were all standing in silence, he turned toward us and yelled- "Be good! Lots of love to all of you!" SO CUTE. I love Richard G. Scott. 
After that, I want to share my experience teaching Friday that really was my hardest day at the MTC. We taught Hutia the plan of Salvation and it wasn't terrible (it's hard to completely bomb EVERYTHING in a lesson), but we definitely did more things wrong than right. We got some good, but tough feedback that really hit me hard. I'm kind of a perfectionist so failure (or what I consider failure) is a hard pill for me to swallow. I felt like I let down myself, our investigator Hutia (who is also my teacher Sœur Buswell), and most importantly- my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It was hard. In reality, I was probably just being a little too dramatic in how bad it went (my companion, Sœur Aniel, is the greatest for dealing with me :) ) , but it was definitely a very humbling experience and only fuel to be better. We both had to step back and really look at everywhere we needed to improve. We taught Veteaon Saturday, so we really wanted to do everything we could to prepare and sure the spirit was there and that we taught through the Spirit. I am so grateful that the Lord knows me well enough to know that my fragile heart couldn't take another failure because we really had SUCH a great lesson with Vetea. The best part- He committed to be baptized!!!! Sœur Aniel and I just about freaked out when he said yes that we almost didn't know how to respond. I wish I could've seen our faces. lol. It was the BEST and HAPPIEST feeling I think I've ever experience. I am BEYOND grateful for the Spirit and for the change that we've seen it make in Vetea. I am so grateful for my calling and for what I do :) It's definitely NOT easy, but COMPLETELY worth it. There is always somewhere or something to improve on and that has got to be one of my favorite parts of being a missionary. 
Well I think that's about it, I just have a few side notes to add in- 
- They are moving us to the west campus on September 14th! Not sure exactly why but everyone in our classroom building is moving so my teacher thinks and has heard rumors that they are going to eventually rip down and rebuild. Who knows?
The classrooms are smaller on west campus which is bad news because we're already crammed in our classroom here so we're all praying they don't split our district. I'm still pretty excited though, it will be interesting changing scenes! 
- The temple opened last Monday! SUCH a blessing :) 
- Guess who I randomly happened to sit down next to you yesterday at ourSunday devotional? Elder Kunz! So crazy, but pretty dang cool! I got a few (and by a few I mean like zero lol) details on the Idaho reception!! How was it?? Mom, did you write me?? I want details! And pictures!! But if you send pictures, mail them! I don't have enough time on the computer to get a good look at all of them!!) 

Thanks for all of the letters/emails and for your prayers! I love y'all!!

Beacoup d'amour, 

Sœur Taylor

Soeur Aniel and I are OBESESSED with tictacs. I can down one in like 10 minutes. Is that unhealthy? 
 Every Sunday we have a theme. This week was Blue Sunday :) 
 Soeur Houtz and I! Best workout buddy everrrrrr
 Aren't Soeur Aniel and I the coolest?? LOLZ

 Soeur Kimball and I love to take awkward pictures. More to come :)
 Trying to be serious... hahahaha
 Just sitting in a tree... :) 
 Awkward posing by the tree at the temple. LOLZ

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Semaine trois!

Ma Famille!
So I think I finally figured out the tricks to this whole emailing thing and hopefully thiis email is better :)
Wow, I can't believe I'm starting my 4th week at the MTC today! Week 3 has FLOWN. Everything that everyone says about how the time works at the MTC is SO true. Days feel like weeks and weeks feel like days. I love it so much though. There really is no better place for me to be than here!
First of all- THANK YOU FOR THE PACKAGE FAMILY!!! I felt like it was christmas morning and it made my day- actually my whole week! 
I also got a small care package that didn't have a name with it so to whoever sent it to me- THANK YOU!!! I got two packages in two days and I just felt like the most spoiled and loved missionary in the MTC. It made my week as well :)
I'm doing really well except for the fact that I'm STILL sick! I have never been through so many tissues in my life! It comes and goes but it seems to be slowly getting better. My voice has been in and out so that has been interesting trying to teach. Haha but nonetheless, all is wel! Thank you for all of the prayers and letters you have sent me, I feel so blessed to have such great family and friends! I LOVE getting mail, so keep writing me!! DearElder is great, but I just die everytime I get a handwritten letter. I'm usually good about replying, they just sometimes take awhile in the mail :)
We got 2 new districts in our zone on wednesday so it's fun not being the newbies anymore! Actually, after next week, we'll be the oldest district. The new districs are all going to the France Lyon mission or the France Paris mission so I have loved to tell them all that my best friend is serving in Lyon right nnow and that my brother-in-law served in Paris! I tel them to look out for Soeur Jones when they get there and they always nod and smile like yeah.... I'm not going to remember that name in like 5 minutes. lol. I know that's what they're thinking, but hey! Worth a shot, eh?
So the COOLEST thing happened this past week! 2 elders FROM Tahiti that are here at the MTC came by to see our teacher, Soeur Buswell, and they gave us all seashell leis!! I was like freaking out. They also sang in Tahitian for us which was just about the COOLEST THING EVER. We've met a few other sisters and elders from Tahiti and it is always such a blast to talk to them. I already love Tahitians so much!!
Another great thing about them coming by is that it sparked this huge culture talk and so we just talked about Tahiti again for all of class- AKA the best kind of class ever. Soeur Buswell is THE BEST. Honestly, the best teacher I think I'll EVER have. I learn SO much from here and I just hope I can even be half the missionary that she was!
Our culture talk was cool because I also learned that with this new wave of missionaries and beacuse there no longer is a quote for the number of American visas, they've opened up more islands! The Marquesas Islands are now open! They speak Marquesian, which is a different dialect of Tahitian I believe, and the islands are small and pretty far off. They wouldnt' send sisters because its too far from the Mission Home, but an Elder in my district, Elder Molinari, is like SO stoked because he wants to go there so bad. Haha but besides the Marquesas, they also have missionaries on the Tuamotu islands and the Austral Islands which I could serve on! The Tuamatus are east of the Society Islands (where Tahiti  and the other main islands are) and then the Austral islands are south of the Society Islands. It's cool to learn about everywhere I could serve, but since 75% of the population of French Polynesia lives on Tahiti, I will most likely serve 75% of my mission there. Which excites me beyond words!
Soeur Buswell also told us about this mountain on Raiatea (Ray-uh-tay-uh) where there is this small, beautiful flower that can only grow there on that mountain! They've tried to replant this flower everywhere, but it won't grow! It's sad too that because these flowers are so rare, people have picked them to sell and so there aren't very many left. Soeur Buswell got to hike up and see the flowers because she had some connections and I am so jealous because I'm not sure if I'll ever get that opportunity! Nonetheless, pretty sick eh?
She told us about Teahupoo, which is the southern part of the island of Tahiti, where the biggest waves in the world are. They have like pro surfing competitions there and everything! I couldn't help but think about Cousin Nick and all of his surfing trips. Next stop- Tahiti? Haha but the waves are HUGE and pretty dangerous though so I'm not sure how many recreational surfers surf there.
So other than all of the culture talk- French is going really well! I really feel like I'm progressing and am slowly getting to where I want to be. This past week, we taught the Plan of Salvtion to Vetea and it was definitely pretty difficult because of all the vocab and trying to simplify the lesson that we could teach it in 20 minutes. It turned out really well and I really feel like everytime we teach, we progress. Our second lesson with our new investigator, Hutia, was really the greatest indicator for us that our hard work, preparation, and constant seeking of the Spirit to be with us and help us really does pay off. We were really able to connect with her and teach her based on what she needed to hear and not just what we planned to teach her. IT WAS AWESOME. I love learning and feeling like I'm progressing and becoming closer to the Lord because I know that these habits will impact me far beyond my 18 month mission. I know I've said this a lot, but I'll keep saying it- This is definitely the best decision I have EVER made and I thank Heavenly Father everyday that I'm here and that I get the privilege of being his servant as a missionary of the Lord.
Another cool experience we had this past week was in the TRC. We taught two volunteers who were members, but it was such a great experience and good practice for us. We taught and testified of Joseph Smith which was really powerful. I even recited the 1st vision in French from memory! The Spirit was incredible and I really enjoyed it. Learning and speaking French is definitely not easy, but it's worth it when you get to experience the Spirit like we did when we were teaching. I just love it so much!
Well, I think that's about it! But to end on a funnier note- one of our favorite things to laugh about in our district is how fat we're all going to be when we're in Tahiti. Like seriously, everyone I've heard of or talked to gained like 20-40 pounds on their mission. I think it'll be hilarious when we have zone conferences because it seems that weight gain is pretty inevitable and we'll all just laugh so hard when we reunite. So to warn you far in advance friends and family- don't be surprised when I send home pictures in Tahiti and I'm fat. Hahaha I say bring it on because I know that I'll love the people and French Polynesia too much to let it bother me. :)
I hope y'all had a safe flight back from Utah family! I was definitely thinking about y'all when y'all were here in Provo! Hope you had a great birthday Mom :) Love you!
Love y'all and I can't thank y'all enough for all of the prayers and letters! Keep them coming :)
Beaucoup d'amour,
Soeur Taylor
P.s. Our favorite scripture in our district is D&C 90:11. It's definitely one of those scriptures when we just have to say- enough said. :) "For it shall come to pass in that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power, by the administration of the Comforter, shed forth upon them for the revelation of Jesus Christ."

Semaine trois that I had fun making with scripture crayon shavings :)
Me and my Comp with our shell necklaces! We were both looking at our own cameras and failed to look at one of them at the same time. lolz
Soeur Kimball climbing across the dresser in our room. lolz, it was late.
 Our district with our leis!
 Soeur Buswell's throne! She's the best. I love this picture because it describes her perfectly. She loved it but felt awkward at the same time. hahaha love her!!
 Another of our shell necklaces. lolz at Elder Molinari.
 Our whole zone!! Plus some more from the other french speaking zone i think haha
 Floral Sunday!! We all wore our floral skirts and shirts :)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Day 13 at the MTC

Ia Ora Na Ma famille!
Man do I love P-days. I can't believe its already been a week! It's gone by so fast but at the same time, it feels like forever ago that I had my last p-day. It SO true how they say that the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days. So weird! Today is Day 13 in the MTC. I've been trying to keep track so I don't totally lose all concept of time.
Okay so where do I start? This past tuesday, half of the tahitians went to San Fransisco to get our visas! It was pretty uneventful, but it was cool to visit the outside world for awhile! The other half went on Monday. Dad, I hope you got that picture that this wonderful mom took of us and sent out to all of our parents. I thought you would get it for sure since Mom's phone is off and lost sometimes ;) But so we got up at 1:45 in the morning (YES, 1:45!!) and had to be at the travel office at 2:30 am. After waiting around for awhile, we finally got on a bus to the airport and then our flight left at like 5:30. We got into San Fransisco about 8ish I think and then just at breakfast at this cute little cafe and waited for the French consulate. After we met with the French consulate and got fingerprinted, we went and walked up and down this outdoor mall. There was a farmers market so we tried some of the fruit and bought some good bread from these people selling them at a stand. They were really nice and gave us a deal for his "missionary friends" even though it was only like $1.00. lol. After walking around a little bit, we called our driver and he took us to the airport a little early because the last group had problems with ticketing and apparently it was a big deal, so they told us to go early. Well we got our tickets fine and had like an hour before our flight, but then our flight got delayed. TWICE. We sat in the San Fransisco airport for FOUR HOURS. It was awful. We talked to a few people though, including some members from like Florida, so that was fun. Soeur Naylor was my companion for the day since Soeur Aniel went on Monday, so that was kind of fun. Soeur Taylor and Soeur Naylor. She's so much fun. She and I talked to this like 21 year old who was heading home to Nevada. I asked where in Nevada she lived and she said Henderson! I was like no way, I know some people in Henderson! I asked if she knew the Andrews family (even though it was a LONG shot) but she didn't. I wish I remembered her name but she works for some eco-friendly or green company. I can't remember. But she was really nice and it was fun talking to her.
Another great thing that I have LOVED this past week is that my teacher has been talking a lot of culture with us! Last monday when half our district was in San Fran, she talked culture for like 2 hours. IT WAS AWESOME. She also came to dinner with us and talked culture then too. I love hearing about Tahiti and CAN NOT wait to get there! I already love the people so much.
Here's some of what I learned-
1. Each island is surrounded with a reef and so most islands don't have the picturesque beaches we all see in pictures. A lot of them are rocky and the water comes right up to the land! Who knew? There are lots of pretty clean and beautiful lagoons so that was cool.
2. There are no restrictions on where Elders and Sisters can serve- some just have sisters, some just have elders. They also opened up new islands a few weeks ago so who knows, I could serve anywhere in French Polynesia! But since 75% of the population lives on the main island of Tahiti, I will most likely serve 75% of my mission there.
3. There are fruit trees EVERYWHERE. Bananas, mangos, pineapple, passionfruit- you name it. Its supposedly the BEST fruit in the world too so I'm beyond excited. I don't even care if I have to endure eating raw fish in fermented sea water (a popular dish that natives apparently LOVE to serve you when they find out you haven't had it yet. I can't remember the name... but from what I hear- It's gross).
4. We will be riding bikes everywhere on sketchy roads so that should be fun. She said everyone has a fall at least once because there are crazy ditches on the side of the road that travels all the way around the island of Tahiti. I laughed because I know that for me it'll be like an everyday thing.
5. Our teacher gave a prayer and spoke a little Tahitian for us. Oh my goodness, it's such a beautiful language! I can't wait to learn it! It seems REALLY hard though. On the bright side though, my french is coming easier! I gave my first lesson without notes last week and it was awesome! The gift of tongues is SO real and I'm so incredibly grateful to be blessed with it!
6. I will accumulate like LOADS of leis and seashell leis and black pearls which excites me so much. Fruit, leis, black pearls, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Does it get much better?
One of the hardest things about the schedule we have is not getting sleepy during class! It's a constant struggle. Especially since I lost a lot of sleep traveling to San Fransisco and there is no nap time here at the MTC. Boo. But it was pretty funny last week in class when we were practicing baptismal invitations. My companion, Soeur Aniel, was in the middle of inviting me to be baptized when I had totally fallen asleep on my desk. We were laughing so hard. It's amazing how fast I can fall asleep in our classroom! I'm slowly getting caught on my sleep so that's nice!
This past weekend, I've been battling congestion, a cough, and a sore throat. It's no fun being sick at the MTC! But I got a blessing yesterday and have been feeling SO much better. I think it's just my body trying to adjust to the dryness of Utah. I can't wait to be in humiditiy again!
So here's an update on our investigator- Vetea. We asked him to be baptized last week! It was so scary. Especially in French. I stumbled a little bit, but the spirit was so strong that it was seriously tangible! He said maybe and we're meeting with him tomorrow. I love teaching! I have learned SO much about being the best missionary I can be so I look forward to teaching our investigators because there is always somewhere to improve. We get a new investigator tonight and her name is Hutia! I'm excited. We start TRC with investigators who come in from the outside next week so I will be teaching A LOT more. It was pretty funny because Vetea turned out to be another one of our teachers. When he revealed that he was our teacher and was playing the part of one of his investigators he had (Vetea) we all were like whhatttt. I suspected, but it seems so real when you're in there that it's nice. Soeur Buswell is going to be Hutia so I'm excited to get good feedback.
Speaking of Sister Buswell (our teacher from the beginning)- she is AWESOME. I love her so much! Honestly, one of the best teachers I've ever had. This past week, she had us do an activity where we took off our tags and looked at them. She asked us to look at what stood out the most- our name. But not our own personal name, our family's name. Soeur TAYLOR. She reminded us that our family was always with us and couldn't be closer to our heart. They were constantly praying for us and that we should never forget that. She also told us to look at the next biggest name- Jésus-Christ (Jesus Christ). She reminded us as well that he was ALWAYS with us and that we should never feel alone. We are representatives of Jesus Christ who loves us so much and will always be there when we need help. This activity really got to me and made me extremely grateful for this calling and for the family that I came from. I love you all and miss y'all so much! Thank for all of the letters and dearelders- it's the best part of my day!
Look up the talk- Teaching Helps Save Lives by Russell T. Osguthorpe. He gives a shout out to us Tahitian missionaries and it's really a wonderful talk.
Beaucoup d'amour,
Soeur Taylor
Soeur Naylor and I matching when we were temporary companions for the day! (:

 On the plane to San Fran!
 In the van traveling to the French consulate! Lolz at elder Tweede.
 Our- "We've been in this airport for 4 hours" faces. haha excuse the unattractiveness.
 Cafe Rio for dinner at the airport. THE BEST. It took 2 hours for someone to pick us up so it made the time pass faster (:
 My vocab wall! It's actually pretty helpful. When I learn a word or verb, I cover ti up with a new one! But I can still flip back through and review. 
 Our classroom! It's tiny. That the view from my desk.
 I decorated our door! la Ora Na - Hello. and then Aita Pea Pea - No worries. Our class motto!
 HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!! On Wednesday!! In French and Tahitian just for you! Love you!!! 
The face wash and lotion I need. My skin is dying here from the dryness! Can't wait for the humidity!!! (Never thought I would here anyone say that... haha -ash)