Monday, March 31, 2014

Bonjour Ma Famille!
I am doing well in Mahina! It’s been so weird being transferred, but I’m slowly getting used to it and I am excited for all the work that needs to be done in Mahina. It’s been pretty unstable in Mahina because there have been so many different missionaries that were only here for a few weeks and so I am now the 3rd official (I say official because she was with a few others as well) trainer for my new companion- Soeur Faana! The poor girl has had so many changes during her training, but we're both hoping that we stay together until the end of her training. I love my companion. She's so great! She keeps me laughing so I’m happy. :)
It’s always a little different with a new companion so we've been trying to figure out how to teach together and how to figure out our amis because she's only been in Mahina for 6 weeks. With so many changes, the amis work is a little slower for the moment, but I know that that will really pick up. We're both excited to get to work and really improve this sector.
So Mahina is a lot different because it’s basically ALL in the mountains. I am in another car sector ( I’m wondering if I'll ever use my bike.... sorry parents ) but I’m actually really grateful to have a car. Why? Because these neighborhoods like spiral up the mountain and I have been getting used to driving (manual) up them. It’s DEFINITELY an adventure. Dad, you will be so impressed with my driving skills (I hope) by the time I finish my mission. Mom, since we're always up in the mountains, it’s been interesting getting used to changing altitudes so much- especially with my ears. It wasn’t too bad this past week- but I hope that that improves more and more as I get more used to it.
So because all of these neighborhoods in the mountains, there are a lot more wealthier houses and people in our sector. Which means a lot more Frenchy and International people! Contacting is a little interesting because most people turn us down right away and all of the French people still scare me- but it’s good for me! I always think of you, Soeur Jones, when we come across French people who want nothing to do with the missionaries and that always reconfirms that you are supposed to serve in France and I am supposed to serve here. We met a potential new ami, Patrick, who is French. We found him by contacting and he said we could come back this weekend. So we came back and we had just a little lesson with him where we explained our purpose and who we are. It was a lot harder to understand his French accent and then I caught myself having to speak proper French (we speak informal French in Tahiti with everyone) so that was interesting. Also, my companion told me that he thought we were there for him to sign a contract and join a cult- I didn’t catch that- and she said I was just like yes! Ha ha ha whoops. We'll have to explain that better the next time.
With all the changes and everything this past week, I still am really grateful for where I am and who I am. I feel like I've changed a lot during my mission and I've really realized everything that is important in my life. I look at the lives of so many people here who are not happy because they made so many poor choices and I always just feel so grateful for all of the good choices that I made! I realize that I never really understood why a lot of the times when I was obedient to a commandment, but because of my parents and all of the great examples around me- I did it anyway. I know that I have been guided, protected, and blessed in my life for a reason and I know that that is because I need to help others. I have to be the person to help guide and protect these people who don’t have anybody. I know that we all have a purpose and we all have a plan in our life. All we have to do is figure it out! How? Well by asking of course. Matthew 7:7 and James 1:5. It always works!
I hope y'all are doing well. I love and pray for each one of y'all!
Lots of love,
Soeur Taylor
Our zone in Paea (Papara) before my transfer
Soeur Titaina and her cute little girls.  I miss them so much!
Cute little Hitinui with his hat and guitar.
The Soiree Kaina in Paea before I left.  All of the Relief Society in each ward performed a dance or a song.
It was all traditional.  I loved it!
Missionary splits in Papara. We had so many youth who wanted to come with us.  This was my last day in Papara.
Soeur Mathilde and Stacy!  She's like my second Mom here.
Soeur Heilani!  I love her.  She is hilarious.
Family Mendelsohn!  Man I am going to miss them.
Contacting! Mostly just the dogs greet us when we come to the gate.  Most are nice like this one but some are scary!
Contacting (tracting) in the valley.  SO PRETTY!
We had to cross this sketchy bridge to get across the river.
It was fun but super scary at the same time
The valley with the sketchy bridge.
Normally cars can cross this river.  Soeur Faana calls it "Mountain Splash" but I was saying, "yeah, I'd rather cross the sketchy bridge."
One of our Amis has a little pot with fish that like to nibble at our hands.  It's fun!
Scenery shot.  I haven't taken a lot of scenery shots because well, I have to drive.  So, Soeur Faana takes them for me.  We need to take some more pictures.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Hello Family!

Well it turns out that I’m getting transferred...

I’m going to Mahina!!
It’s on the other side of the island and it is a lot more mountainous than Papara so I’m excited for a change!
It’s really, really hard leaving Papara- I’m leaving behind so many great amis and members in Papara but I know that it'll be good for me. This last week has been so crazy stressful though because we've been trying to see everybody and then make sure that everything is ready and organized for Soeur Kavera's new companion. She's training and so is Soeur Tamahahe so that is exciting for them too. Soeur Fisher is heading off to Moorea so she's pretty excited about that too.
It's hard to leave Papara because we have so many amis who are getting baptized in April, but I know that Soeur Kavera will take good care of them :)

I don’t have a ton of time, we have to run and quickly pack all of our stuff to bring to the mission office, but I will send more pictures and details next week! I hate to let yall down this week- but life is crazy today haha.

I love yall and I hope yall have a great week!!

Soeur Taylor

Howdy Utuafare!

First of all,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FRANK!!! I can't believe you're 18! SO old. I keep trying to tell myself that it's not possible that my little brother is EIGHTEEN and then I realize that I'm now 20 and that is just too crazy.

Thanks for all of the birthday wishes- My birthday was so great!! I loved, loved every bit of it! In the morning, Soeur Fisher, Sr Kavera and Sr Tamahahe made me breakfast and got me a little cake with candles to blow out too. It was great. Our day started out with Family Maono- remember them? We still see them every Saturday and I love it. We had a really good lesson and Vivian (the Mom) was really excited to tell me that her husband, Jean, finally said he would come to church. After I don’t know how many months with this family, I was so happy to hear that FINALLY  he was going to come back to church. And he did! Yesterday was a great day too.

After them, we saw our new investigator- Mihivai! She is so cute even though she doesn't understand me half of the time so Soeur Kavera does a lot of translating. I didn't think my accent was that bad but well, hopefully one day we can get through a whole lesson where she understands every word. Ha ha. She is a little timid but she always has so many good questions so I love our lessons with her. Mathilde made us sandwiches and cookies for after the lesson (we have the lessons at her house).

After Mihivai, we had lunch with a family in our ward- Family Tufariua (not the same as Carole and Teipoe) We had Shrimp Curry ( my favorite) and they made me a huge cake which was so nice.

After lunch, we saw Anita! She's doing well and finally got her answer that she wants to get baptized and that she knows it’s true. Before we had her baptism date for the 15th but I could tell that she wasn't quite sure. So for the moment, we haven’t refixed her baptism date but she is doing well and she was supposed to talk to her Dad yesterday (to get permission) so we'll see tonight if she did that.

After Anita, we did splits with Imihia Tufariua (who is planning to go on a mission next year) and Soeur Mathilde. That was fun and we got a lot of work done.

After the splits, we had our English class at the chapel and then we ate dinner with Family Temahuki! It was their daughter's birthday too so that was fun sharing our birthday. They made us TWO cakes and Frere Temahuki thought it was funny to watch us try to down two large pieces of cake he served us.

So if you didn't count- I ate cake FOUR times on my birthday. And that is a Tahitian serving of cake (a lot like Texas servings too haha). I was SO full at the end of the day and literally have never eaten so much in my life. I was really touched though with what everyone made me and I definitely had a good birthday :)

Last Tuesday, we had our sport activity for reactivation for all our inactives and amis. We played kickball and had our Tahitian snowball fight! We put together all of the snowballs (panty hose filled with flour) and everyone had fun throwing them. Tahitians aren’t as competitive as Texans because we only played for like 15 or so minutes before they started cleaning up. I was like, seriously? But it was fun anyways :)

Transfers are next week and we have been dying, waiting for the call. President made me an STL so I’m pretty sure I’ll be staying in Papara for this next transfer but we never know- Anything goes when it comes to President and transfers ha ha.

The work is going well and I am still loving it here in Papara! We fixed a baptism for the 29th with one of our eternal amis. She is 12 and has taken the lessons for a LONG time. She is friends with Regis and Heipoe and so when she saw that they got baptized, it made her think about it more. She started reading the Book of Mormon and I was so touched when she came up to me and said- "Soeur, soeur! I read the chapter you gave me last night and I felt something that I have never felt before! It was so warm!" I happily responded- "Lanihei, that's the Holy Ghost!" She then told me she was going to read again and pray again so that she could feel it again.

With all of our amis, the best feeling is still to watch them progress and change. Being a missionary definitely the BEST calling in the world.

Love all y'all and hope yall are doing well!!
Soeur Taylor

Heilani! I love this girl. Such a great ami.
Cute, cute Kahaia
Alex and Raf! They're getting married in April or May and Raf is getting baptized.
This kid is one of the cutest kids ever! During the concert with all of the missionaries on Tahiti he kept yelling "Soeur, Soeur" and kept waving at me. SO cute.
A lot of the kids that we teach.  They're all friends with Regis and Heipoe.
One time, Regis and Heipoe saw a picture of me and Soeur Ariel that I had and then when they saw her at the concert, they HAD to take a picture with her.  Ha ha.
Titaina and cute Whymea.  They're the greatest.
Joane and Nico! Both in the Mendelsohn family.
Noah! Cool pic with flour in the air.
Our district made us a cake. It was Soeur Ference's birthday on the 12th.
My cake for breakfast.
Mihivai! She is so cute.
Stacy! She loves us.
Family Tufariua! She makes the best shrimp curry ever. (Ash you would love it! I know how much love curry)
Joane and Tehani!
Just hanging out.
Celebrating with Stacy. She turned 9 so with the three numbers it looks like 209.
Stacy and I with our cake.
It rained really hard my whole birthday which was super nice because it wasn't hot at all!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Hello family! 

Life is still pretty normal here in Papara!  

The transfers are in 2 weeks and I'm pretty positive I’ll be the one leaving. But we never know because Soeur Carter was here for like 8 months ha. 

Our Amis are doing good, but we've definitely had a dip in progressing investigators and are on the hunt for new investigators. We've done quite a bit of tracting the past couple of weeks and we’ve met so many great people, but when we follow up, nobody's interested or they're "too busy". I guess that's just missionary work, eh? We have found 1 or 2 Amis though from tracting so that's worth something! 

One of my favorite Amis right now is Monihia. She's 17 and both of her parents are members (converts). She's taken the lessons for a LONG time and she wants to be baptized and sealed with her family, but she has this wall and she can't figure out why it's there or how to get over it. She shared this in our Sunday school class last week and ever since she shared that, I could not stop thinking about Monihia and how we Have to help her get over this wall she has up. We've talked a lot about baptism with her and engaged her a couple of times but every time we engage her- she says she not ready. Were just like- yes! yes, you are ready! 

So when she shared this in our class we thought- she just needs to act. That is the only way she'll get over this wall. She needs to make a decision and she needs to act. It's like when we want to go swimming, but the water is really cold. Are we ever completely ready to jump in? Not really, because we know it will be really cold! So we wait a little bit, we dip our toe in, we walk around the pool but we're never actually going to get in until we first make the decision to jump and then actually jump in. It's a little scary at first and uncomfortable right when we jump in but after a few seconds in the water- we realize that it's really not that cold and we can now enjoy swimming.

Well anyways, I got the prompting when she said that to engage her for baptism that Saturday. At first I was like no- that's too soon and crazy but the prompting wouldn't go away and I thought about it every day until we went for our lesson with her on Wednesday. We fasted and prayed and had SUCH a good lesson about baptism and about this wall she talked about. We engaged her for that coming Saturday annnnddd she said no. Ha ha, she said she knew her baptism was close, but she never thought for March. I told her the option was always there for Saturday and I really prayed and hoped that she would make a decision to show up on Saturday to be baptized buttttt she didn't. Even though it wasn't for Saturday, I know that it's close too. We just have to keep working with her and help her make a decision and act. I just really hope it's before I get transferred! And even if it's not, I know that that will be SUCH a happy day when she does get baptized. 

We also were supposed to have the baptism of Anita this Saturday, but her Dad still hasn't given the authorization. So that was a little disappointing, but I know that that will be soon as well. I know that she just needs a little time to be courageous and talk to her Dad and tell him really why she wants to be baptized. She already wants to serve a mission and I know she'll do great things when she becomes a member. 

With all of our Amis and the people we meet, I still love, love, love seeing the changes in people and to watch how this gospel changes them. Family Tauhiro still continues to make me so happy to see the changes in this family and to feel the difference in their home when we come and have our lessons. Families like them make all the tracting, all the disappointment, all the worrying, all the sweating, and all the work WORTH IT. 

I know also that changes sometimes don't come as fast for some people as others. Sometimes we just have to be patient! 

Merci pour les lettres et pour votre soutien! Je vous aime! 

Soeur Taylor 

PS I can't send photos this week sorry - next week! 


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Ia Ora Na To'u Utuafare e Mau Hoa!
Happy March!
Life is pretty dang golden here.
First of all- THANK YOU for the package parents! I got it and loved every bit of it. Thanks for all of the vitamins mom- I promise that I'll take them (even though they're all MASSIVE. The only thing I was thinking when I was taking them was thank goodness I'm not Briana because there is no way she would able to down these hahaha.)
The work is going really well and I love seeing the progression in Papara. This past week we started something new where we had a sporty activity at the church in an effort to reactivate and get our amis involved. We didn't have a lot of members show up but we did have a few amis and inactive members show up who LOVED it. They all kept asking us when the next one was. So we took it to our meeting with the Bishop and the leaders and we are going to do an activity every week in order to reactivate and integrate our amis. We're excited.
I'm dying to have a "Texas Snowball Fight" (where you take panty hose, cut it into sections, fill it with flour, and tie it off) here like we do in Cypress Ward. I feel like the Tahitians would LOVE that. We might do that next week but we'll see...
We had our baptism too for cute little Heipoe and Regis. They are always SO fun to be around because they love to giggle and laugh and joke around. Which works perfectly for me because I'm secretly still 10 years old inside as well.
So Heipoe and Regis got baptized on Friday and then because of the special conference last week with Elder Callister, they got confirmed with Famille Tauhiro yesterday. We had 5 confirmations and it was definitely one of the best Sundays EVER. Famille Tauhiro is seriously one of the greatest families I've ever met. They have been so strong despite all of the trials they've had since they've gotten baptized. Titaina has no support on her side of the family and so that has been hard for her, but they're staying strong. They bore their testimonies during our Sunday school class yesterday and it was so powerful for all of our other amis that were there as well.
Baptism of Heipoe and Regis.
It definitely is such a great joy to hear the testimonies of recent converts because you get to see how far they've come. It's not anything that WE said or did, but they gained their testimonies by everything that THEY did- by their experiences. It always comes down to actions. We all have our free agency. We can't force them to pray or read their scriptures. It always comes back to them and their choices and what THEY did to grow their faith and to gain the testimony that they have. (Ether 12:6)
And speaking of free agency, we had quite a few good experiences tracking this past week. We did quite a bit of it (OLB as we call it) and I have really come to love it. I love watching and imagining the thinking process that people have when they see us and talk to us. In Tahiti, almost everybody has a gate. So you walk over to the gate (or the end of the "driveway" or path if they don’t have a gate) and you yell- "Ia Ora Na!" Sometimes people come, sometimes they don't. It’s fun trying different techniques to get them to continue talking to you and then eventually to accept a little discussion or that we come back during the week. We met quite a few different people and I've loved meeting so many people who are already prepared to receive the gospel.
We found this hidden beach when we were tracting.
We met one Mami and when we asked about her family, she told us that her husband passed away 7 years ago. We started talking about how she can see her husband again and she was so shocked. She responded- "Is that real?" and couldn't believe that we could be sealed with our families for all of eternity. I LOVED it because I feel like that's how everyone should react when they hear about eternal families. It is SUCH a blessing to be sealed to my family and it is SO incredible that families can be sealed for all of eternity. She is pretty active in her Protestant church so that was kind of a block, but she did give us her number and we will definitely be trying to see her again.
Well I think that's about it for this week.
I really am grateful for all y'all! Keep the mail coming :)
Cute little Sandy just turned 4 on Friday.
Somebody burned a 38 into the hillside behind our house.  Soeur Kavera told me it was a gang.
Heiope loved, loved, loved my plaque. It was so cute because she started to pretend to be me and it was hilarious to watch her imitate me.