Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ia Ora Na e Ia Oaoa outou i teie matahiti api! 
(Hello and Happy New Year (in advance)) 

This past week had its ups and its downs but I was so happy to talk to my family on Christmas. I was happy to see the Christmas tree and Christmas treats because there wasn't a whole lot of that here. It was pretty much like any other day here. 

On Christmas Eve and Christmas, we had fun being Santa and spreading Christmas spirit when we went singing for our investigators and members and giving them either cinnamon rolls or little presents that we pulled together between all of our little toys and stuff that we had accumulated. We really felt the Christmas spirit when we did that so that was nice, so we had a great Christmas.

Spreading Christmas Joy. 

We also had our baptism of our little friend, Walina! She was baptized on her 9th birthday and it was very rewarding to see because it was her Dad who baptized her! When I got to Raiatea, they were inactive and little by little they came back to church. Walina started the lessons and now they're all active and they are preparing to go to the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity. 

Nothing is better than that for a Christmas present! 

Walina chose me to give the talk on baptism and I talked about how when we first met Walina, she was VERY shy and didn't talk to us at all. We were obligated to talk through her Mom and have her Mom help us out in the lessons. But because Walina committed to take the lessons, little by little our friendship grew and we became good friends. I compared that to when we are baptized and we make a covenant with God. At first, we don’t really know Jesus Christ and our relationship is weak. But when we commit to take upon us the name of Christ, little by little our friendship grows until we become good friends and this friendship is what helps us during our whole entire life. Making Covenants with God is how we come to know God and his Son Jesus Christ. That's why in John 17:3, it explains that that is how we obtain eternal life. 

It was really great to see her baptism but recently we've had such a hard time finding new investigators, we are slowly falling into a big slump with the work here in Avera. With the sickness and the holidays, it's been slow. But that’s okay! This week will be better. Even though everybody rejected us this past weekend, I know that we will find those who are ready to accept this gospel. 

We were really tried this past weekend but that's just how it is in our life. We need trials in order to strengthen us. And thank goodness for that as well. 

Thank y'all for all of the prayers- I love y'all! 

Have a great week and a good New Year! 

This picture with Walina blowing out her candle makes me laugh so hard because of her little sister- Apetahi in the picture. Not sure whats she is doing but I got a good laugh with that picture.

Tuahine Taylor 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Bonjour Ma Famille, 

This past week was probably the worst week and the BEST weekend of my entire mission. Why? Because remember last week when I was sick with Chinkungunya? Well I thought I would get over it in like a day or so but I was out the WHOLE week! It was awful. I could hardly move and I was so wiped that I spent the whole week in bed. It was lame. It's not fun being a sick missionary. 

But then this weekend we had the marriage of Dewis and Laetitia and our FOUR baptisms on Saturday!! That's why it was the best weekend. 

Dewis and Laetitia's wedding was so great and the members did so much so that they could have a great wedding. Dewis made me laugh with his gloves and everything and Laetitia was gorgeous! Everybody loved it and it was really great because we talked with a lot of her friends and family that came. Saturday morning was the baptism and it was really one of the most rewarding baptisms ever. 
Every investigator has a journey that they take before they are ready to enter into the waters of baptism. 

Dewis and Laetitia have been prepared for a LONG time. We didn't make a huge difference in their life but they really made a huge difference in mine. They both had a testimony when I met them. Dewis just had a hard time to stop smoking and Laetitia didn't have a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. We taught and encouraged Dewis and we decided to fast together. We did our fast and we were ecstatic to know that the Sunday afterward, he had finally stopped smoking.

When Laetitia couldn't say that she had a testimony of the Book of Mormon, we committed her to read and pray and to ask God if it was true. She made this commitment and the next lesson we had, she bore one of the most powerful and simplest testimonies of the Book of  Mormon that I've ever heard an investigator give. 

Dewis and Laetitia just have this desire to know and to understand so that they can follow Christ. Seeing them baptized was really a tender mercy of the Lord because they are FINALLY members of the Church of Jesus Christ. 

For Vahinetua and Mihiura, the journey that they took was really a tender miracle from God. Vahinetua didn't take the lessons anymore when I first got here in this sector. She was stubborn and a little prideful. She would purposely tell us that she wanted to smoke to show us that she was far from being ready to be baptized. When we did our service project with them, I just knew that she would end up being baptized with her daughter. I knew that is what God wanted for her. 

So when she came up to us after doing our lesson with her daughter and asked us when her lesson was, I knew that she had humbled herself and knew that seeking our help would finally help her to stop smoking as well. We had countless lessons about repentance and the importance of following Christ and she got to a point where she was so sick of smoking that she decided she would quit that week. SO SHE DID! She quit smoking and was baptized 2 weeks later.
For Mihiura, she was an investigator that really found the purpose of being baptized while we did the lessons with her. She gave a very powerful and simple testimony at her baptism that warmed our hearts. 

I'll never be able to express my gratitude for these wonderful people that we were able to teach. I know that God loves me because he let these people become some of my greatest friends and that is something incredible. 

After such a wonderful weekend, that definitely motivated us to work even harder because y'all have no idea how much work we have to do to make up for the time we lost with the sickness. We have so many new investigators to find so this week will be fun. Christmastime is always a little difficult to see our investigators but that's okay. We are going to have fun going around singing and giving out cookies and cards. That should make it a great Christmas.

Merry Christmas y'all! 

Soeur Falesii's birthday!! She turned 20 and we were both sick! That's ok, it was fun anyways.

Lots of love, 
Soeur Taylor 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Ia Ora Na tout le monde! 

So right now I'm dying a little bit because I came down with the lovely Chikungunya which has been an epidemic here in Polynesia. Ha, it’s a sickness passed by mosquitoes sooo yippee, it’s been quite awhile since I've been sick so I guess I was kind of expecting it too. I feel like I got beat up and I’m covered in red splotches so this week should be an interesting one! Ha ha. 

I can't believe it’s already the middle of December! That went by fast. This past week was great because the miracles kept happening! One of our investigators, Hereiti, told us in our lesson this past week that she really wanted to be baptized and when we committed her for the 27th of December, she was like "Ça me va!" (That works for me!) I laughed because I've never heard an investigator respond like that. We have a lot of work to do with her still so hopefully we can keep this goal but I know that if it's not this month, it's next month for sure. 

Thursday, Soeur Falesii got sick with the Chikungunya for most of the weekend, I was with a missionary couple that came back from serving in the islands of Tuamatu but who are finishing their mission this month here with us in Avera! They are HILARIOUS so I had fun hanging out with them all day and going to teach all of our lessons. Saturday night Sr Falesii felt better so we went to a birthday party for one of our investigators and then when we went to our dinner appointment, we had the blessing to meet a woman who is traveling the world and is from Spain! She was staying at the 1st counselor's house and she only speaks Spanish and English so we got to teach her a little bit and explain who we are and what we do. It was WAY cool because she was so interested and she was like, "Maybe you guys are going to change my life!" I was like, “Yeah we are!” Ha ha, no but really she was so touched because she got to go to the stake Christmas concert as well last night. 

Yesterday, I was not feeling good but we both really wanted to go to the Christmas concert. We debated whether or not we should go and finally we decided to go. Aka- BEST DECISION EVER. We got to see our Spanish friend one last time and give her a Book of Mormon and then we ran into Elder Groberg, the missionary that is in the movie The Other Side of Heaven! We were like freaking out. Ha ha #starstruck. 

This coming weekend, we have the marriage of Dewis and Laetitia and their baptism with Vahinetua and her daughter, Mihiura! We're so excited. This week is going to be a great one :)

Hey family, for Christmas what time do y'all want to skype? 
I’m so excited to talk with y'all. 

Have a great week! 

Tuahine Taylor 

I made a chocolate cake for Soeur Taarea's birhtday. It succeeded.

Our cute little investigator Takihei and her cousin.  
I was laughing so hard because she was so happy just sitting in a bucket. 

One night Mamie was sick and wanted a coconut so I went to go break and cut one open. It took forever #American.

Birthday party.

Christmas Concert.

The marriage of one of our investigators and an excommunicated member. It was great!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Malo lava le soifua! 
(That’s Samoan for Hello Everybody!) 

I’m learning Samoan too. 
Just kidding, not really at all, just the little words with Soeur Falesii. 

This week was great. 
We had the baptism of Heiarii, a teen that took the lessons with the missionaries before us but had to wait to get the authorization from his parents who live in Bora Bora. He was so happy to be baptized and he gave one of the most powerful testimonies. He knows that God lives and that he made the right choice in following Christ. There were so many people at his baptism so that was heartwarming for a missionary. His baptism was a great way to start off the month. 

So remember when I was talking about a miracle that was in the works last week? Well it was one of our eternal investigators, Vahinetua. Remember when we went to go do Cobra (with the coconuts) with two of our investigators? Well she was one of them! Ever since we went with them to do that service project, she started opening up to us and she finally decided to take the lessons again. We've been doing the lessons and she has a very strong desire to be baptized. The only thing that holds her back is the fact that she smokes. Well after lots of prayers and fasts, SHE QUIT! She told us yesterday that she's getting baptized the 20th with Dewis and Laetitia as well as her daughter, Mihiura, who was scheduled to get baptized the 24th. 

We were ESTACTIC. 

I never seen her so happy when she finally overcame her addiction and she announced that she was getting baptized the 20th. Lots of little efforts really built up until she finally is ready to follow Christ by being baptized with the authority of God. 
Que de bonheur!! (Nothing but happiness)

We have another investigator, Temanava, who is 11 years old and super active when it comes to activities. He is ALWAYS at the chapel playing with the other youth. He used to come to church a lot but for the past couple of weeks, we haven't seen him. When we had our lesson this past week we realized that he didn’t come to church because he didn’t have a white shirt and tie and didn’t want to come with his colorful flower shirt. We told him we would find one and not even 1 day after, we found one! We found him a white shirt from one of our neighbors and I had a tie that I had made from Mahina so we tried to find him that whole Saturday (because he's never at home) but we never found him. Finally, it was Sunday morning and when we didn’t see him at church, we headed out to go find him because he doesn’t live far from the church. Ha, we woke him up and gave him his shirt and in the end, we all made it to church (a little bit late but that’s okay). 
It was rewarding to see him at the chapel and I know that it was definitely worth it to make the extra effort to go and get him because that is what Christ would've done, 

 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be onefold, and one shepherd. - John 10:14-16

Thursday night we had our sport activity and then right after the Christmas party for the Relief Society so that was kind of crazy, but everything went so well! For our sport activity we played water balloon volleyball (something they've never played here) and then played different games with balloons and it was so fun! (PS- If yall have ideas for good group activities, we're open because we are in need of some good ones) The only problem is that we were so gross after our activity but oh well, we went to the Christmas party and it went so well. There were so many investigators there and we met someone from Argentina! She married a French man who teaches here in Raiatea so that was way cool. I thought of you Dad, I wanted to speak to her in Spanish so bad but it’s too bad that I know NOTHING in Spanish. Whoops. 

Christmas party.

Well right now it’s POURING down rain. It’s either burning hot or pouring down rain here. Gotta love island weather. 

Soeur Falesii dropped our phone through a hole on our porch so she had to crawl under the house to get it.

Alofa atu ia outou!  
(Love y'all!)

Tuahine Taylor 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Bonjour tout le monde!! 

So in case y'all didn't know, December is a month of miracles! And it already started a week early! 

Miracle #1
Seriously, I was so nervous. A LOT of people were transferred but we were not affected. Thank goodness too. 

Miracle #2
I taught my very first missionary lesson in ENGLISH. 
So Wednesday, we had a young adult in our ward call us up to tell us that he has a reference for us! He gave us the day and the hour but he didn’t say anything at all for what her name was or where she was from or anything. We show up for the lesson and he tells us that it’s better to speak in English because she doesn't really understand French as well. Her name is Ane, she was born here, but grew up in New Zealand. She is here in Raiatea to visit her family and has a TON of questions. She's already met with the missionaries before and she really wants to know if the church is true and it was literally the COOLEST lesson ever! At first, it was weird to teach in English and I struggled a little bit (even Soeur Falesii) but I was actually proud of myself because hey! I can teach in English too! Unfortunately we didn’t have any English resources so we called up the office to send us a Book of Mormon and the brochures in English. I mean, WHAT ARE THE ODDS that she comes to Raiatea, she has all these questions to know if it’s true, and there are two English speaking missionaries in the area where she's living?? The work of the Lord is incredible. 

Miracle #3
Remember when I was talking about them and how Dewis has been trying for like a year now I think to stop smoking and it wasn't until last week that he finally succeeded. We did a fast together and after that- he stopped completely! We didn't even know until yesterday during our Sunday school class when we were talking about the Word of Wisdom and he announced that he doesn’t smoke anymore. We were ecstatic and so relieved because we wanted him to stop before this month anyways. This couple is literally incredible and I can’t wait for them to finally be baptized. They always ask us so many questions because they both want to start preparing to go to the temple right now. Their motivation and desire to learn is inspiring and heartwarming. Being a missionary is definitely very rewarding. 

There are so many more miracles in the works. One of which I hope will take place this weekend. I won't say much for now, but I'll tell y'all all about it next week for sure. 

Other than that, Happy Late Thanksgiving! We ate at our neighbor's house and it was soooo good! It’s been over a year since I've eaten turkey so I was happy :) I made a pumpkin pie too and it was a hit. We have so much pumpkin so I’ve been making lots of pumpkin bread and everything pumpkin. Ha ha.  

Saturday, we had a big stake missionary activity where we had these games and different competitions between the wards. It was SO fun and so successful but the only problem was that we were on a white sand field and I got ROASTED. Like seriously, the worst I've ever been burned. I can already hear my mom asking if I put on sunscreen and the answer is YES, several times but it all sweated off into my eyes sooooo yeah, that was a fail. The worst part is that my face was burned everywhere but my eyelids and like right under my neck.... 
Please enjoy the picture attached. Yep, it’s the worst. 

Stake missionary activity. 

Among the sectors where I've served, I have to say that here in Avera is where we have some of the hardest investigators. One of our investigators that I love is Roselyne who is "Sanito" (RLDS) She is great and is very accepting but it’s very challenging sometimes because she has a lot of the same beliefs and she believes in the Book of Mormon, but she hasn't realized yet that if she really reads the Book of Mormon and gains a testimony, she'll know that Christ's true church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We've had quite a few lessons and talked a lot about the priesthood and the prophet and the Book of Mormon and we finally had one of the greatest lessons this past week where we just taught so boldly, but with the spirit, and we invited her that if she really found out that it was all true, would she be baptized in Christ's true church? At first she told us no. She didn’t' want to leave her religion. But after she thought about it for a second, she said she wasn't sure. She searches honestly for the truth but she's confused because she's had a lot of good experiences in her church and she doesn't feel like she needs to leave it. All we could do was to strongly testify that the FULLNESS of the gospel was only in Christ's restored church and that the blessings she will receive will be greater than she's ever experienced. I don’t know if I've ever felt the Spirit so strong when he added his testimony with ours, but I can’t help but feel sad when she said no because even after everything that we can do, everybody still has their choice. We will always be able to choose. I pray that she receives this confirmation of the truth and has the courage to act upon it but as a missionary, I can only be content with the fact that we are doing our best and all we have to do is leave her the choice. 

Thanks all for y'alls prayers. I really am blessed to have y'all. 

Have a great week this week.

Off to the right in the distance is the island of Tahaa.  Bora Bora is way off in the distance to the left.

Oh yes- LOL at that photo of Soeur Falesii with one of our favorite babies here. That was not intentional when she made that face but we were literally laughing so hard.


Soeur Taylor