Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Baptism and Transfer Day

28 March 2016

Whew a lot went down this week.  First we taught a lot, which was amazing.  I am talking more in lessons and I'm really comfortable with the language, I can joke with people and they actually understand my jokes! (I love the PI, here I'm actually funny!  That or they just laugh at my accent...)  I find it easier to speak from the heart about how the gospel has changed my life.  Elfie, our investigator, got baptized last Saturday too!  It was awesome, we also had two other baptisms along with his, Emerald and Hanisa.  I got called to speak last minute which went well even though I wasn't expecting it.

We also got a new bunk bed frame this week so our room is actually a room instead of two beds side by side!  This week is the end of my two cycle training (a cycle is about 6 weeks) which means I'll get a new companion!  4 of us elders live in Cabbaroguis and the other two are new, we all thought my companion would be transferred to a new area because he is the oldest here.  But today we found out that I'm actually going to be transferred and one of the other guys who got here at the same time as me!  Its unusual because I just got done with training but I am super excited!  But I wont be able to use the new bed frame come Wednesday...  oh well, I'm super stoked!   

We also had this awesome Pinoy traditional dinner where we just eat off a banana leaf... it was so cool.

Anyway, I love you all, thanks for the support!

Elder TJ

Life is good

A Fresh Start and Astig Falls

21 March 2016

This morning we went to the falls in Bagiou Village!  It was a blast, I love it here!  I also got to eat a pig's eye this week (poor pig) and pump water for the first time.  Buko juice (as usual) was freshly cut yesterday at our dear member's house (the Deranchang family).  But in the midst of all the astig (cool) things we got done, we did work too!

This week I prayed a lot for Elpie, our 15 year old investigator who really wants to join to church and for Amie (as you can tell those are our most progressing investigators).  Elpie had his baptismal interview this week which went smoothly!  I was a little worried when we went to have his guardian sign the consent form but it went well (my companion is super good with people so props to him!).  Elpie will get baptized next Saturday if everything goes well!  He is so excited to get his fresh start, when we explain baptism we tell them about how strong the spirit is at the baptism and about how they become new, all their sins are washed away.  He is super excited for that.  And Amie started to actually take notes during our lesson, which I thought was awesome because she sometimes doesn't seam like she wants to pay attention.  But we didn't ask her to take notes, she just did, which made us super excited!  

Personally I've been working on a lot too, mostly being as obedient to the mission rules as possible and becoming as self-less as possible.  I started doing the dishes more (which I hate doing) and looking outside myself more which so far is going well!  

Thanks for all the support, I love you guys a ton.

Elder Taylor-Jenson

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.  So watch your step."

Monday, March 28, 2016

Spiders and doing what is right...

14 March 2016

This week was a blast, we went on a hike up this hill and cut down some small trees to help this guy build an extension to his house!  Then when we were done we went to this grandmas house and I climbed a 30 foot tree (I mean it was 10 feet mom...) to get the buko (coconuts) down.  That is my favorite thing here, being able to cut open a fresh buko and have some fresh buko juice.  We also caught some little spiders  on our walks home.  I use to be a little scared of spiders to be honest but here even the kids play with them.  And this morning of course I owned up some basketball with the little Filipinos!  They make me laugh so much, I don't think i can play basketball without speaking Tagalog! 

As for spiritually, I relearned a lesson this week that my dad taught me!  (I'm half a world away and my dad is still taking me to class...)  Ever since I was little my dad has taught me "don't sweat the small stuff" and that is so true.  There is an infinitely vast plan set out for us.  Every experience we have gives us an opportunity to learn and be better and work to perfect ourselves as people.  I was in this van on the way to stake conference this weekend and we drove past a church with a cross.  I thought about why our church doesn't have a cross as its symbol.  Our symbol is "the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints" with the name of Jesus in big letters.  I think the reason for that is because this plan for our whole lives, this gospel and this church is all centered on Christ.  Thats why our symbol is his name.  And as I thought about it I realized how much the gospel has changed me a lot.  How I wouldn't be me if I wasn't a "mormon".  To me it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ for Keanan Taylor-Jenson.  It is personally and directly related to me and who I am.  So maybe that is why it is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  

I miss you guys so much, again I thank you for your time and support. You have all touched me at some point in my life.  

Your Average American in the Philippines,
Elder Taylor-Jenson

"feel the fear and do it anyway"

Progressing Investigators

6 March 2016

Sorry  I missed last week!  I had no time but heres what happened.  We taught a bunch of lessons and contacted a lot and went on splits which was fun!  I got to go to this other area called Zamora and we had a good time, i liked my companions teaching style.  I love the language so much, I can really use it well now!  Its like in the movie "best two years" when Elder Calhoun finally can speak the language.  Anyways we also had some fun!  We went to the Bukid which is like the jungle where the rice farmers farm and we went there for Edsa which is a holiday about the sacrifice world war two soldiers made.  There I got to ride a caribou!  That is my single favorite thing here in the Philippines.  I also got to climb a coconut tree and fish a little, we had a blast!

This week we went to this sick waterfall place this morning, its just called Madella falls, it was so gorgeous.  I had one of those, "where even am I right now" moments!  I get those daily where I notice "wow Im in the Philippines." And life is just good!  Im still enjoying the life here, don't worry I'm alive haha.  Just trying to stay fit, the people here feed me so much, its so nice!  Sometimes we ask to have some buko juice (coconut juice) and they'll just pick some for us!  Its so awesome. 

We've also been teaching Amy and Artemio.  Artemio is awesome, he is only 15 and he really wants to get baptized even though no one in his family is a member.  I love teaching him because he has really good questions and really wants to know the truth!  I love sharing something so near and dear to me, most of the time we get denied but when we teach interested people its way worth all the let downs.   

Whew ok so spiritual thought of the week... we visit a lot of less actives because here people get baptized a lot and then kinda let their fire sputter out.  So this week I shared Helaman 5:12 which is very well known and often used but very true too.  It talks about how if we build our lives on the foundation of Christ we cannot fail, no matter what!

As usual, thanks for the support!

Elder Taylor-Jenson

Philippines Proverb, "Emulate the rice stalk, the more grains it has the lower it bows."

Riding a caribou!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Filipino Fun

21 Feb 2016

This week was a little difficult, we didn't get to much done because my companion was sick for some of the week...  so throughout this week I found myself looking for motivation, why am I really here?  Of course the gospel is awesome but why?  We finally got out of the house one day and our investigator wasn't there but we decided to keep walking around rather than go home.  So we walked and saw a less active driving home and decided to go talk to him, we talked about the importance of church and the sacrament and he asked us if he could be re baptized which was a weird request but we explained the repentance process to him.  He told us he loved the feeling of being clean.  And looking back I think that is why I'm here.  Because I have felt the gospel help me feel clean and I love it!  It's a good feeling having nothing looming over you, no guilt holding you down.  So that's my motivation, I need to be out there as much as possible, being as obedient as possible so that the Lord can work through me as much as possible.

So besides the ok hair cut I got today, this week was great!  We've been walking a lot to save money and contact which has been fun.  I finally got over my fear of talking to people!  I use to get scared that I wouldn't understand them but its not to bad anymore.  We had a lot of dinner appointments too so that was nice!  The members love having us over here for dinner and family home evening.  After we eat we usually share a message and the one I had prepared this week was about humility!  Something I've been working on is remembering that the Lord gave us everything we have.  I would be a very different person if it weren't for his atonement and sometimes I need to remember that I owe it all to him.  I think a lot about who I want to be too and humble is one of those traits that I want to develop.

The language barrier can get weird between me and my companion sometimes.  In Tagalog when you ask a question you just say the statement that you are trying to ask and add "ba" so for example, "Are you going to the store?" would be (in English) "You are going to the store" and you would throw "ba" in there.  So when he talks to me in English sometimes its very straight forward and comes off rude.  So not taking offense is one flaw I have been working on.

As usual, I love your support.  Thanks for your open ears and hearts.  Until next week. Again I miss you all so much, thank you for your support,
I love you all! Elder Taylor-Jenson

"He who takes offense when none is intended is a fool. He who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool." - Brigham Young



The Beautiful Philippines!

14 Feb 2016

This week I'm great!  Chillin as usual, in the gorgeous Philippines!  Today we went to the grocery store and there was a rat runnin around, your typical Philippines scene. We also were in this little store with like second hand clothes and I saw a bunch of American brands like Old Navy and Izod and Banana Republic and Tommy Bahama... I have no idea how they get those out here.   Ummm this week we taught Amy, she's chill.  She's 20 and her husband is a member and she seems to like the material we taught her, she's gunna be baptized soon so that's fun! Life was easy this week, we got this challenge to read the whole Book of Mormon in a month so I'm working on that in addition to my usual study and I'm going to read through it with the question "what lack I yet" in mind so I can better myself with what I learn.  I just read in Mosiah about a ton of battles that happened and thats pretty fun.  And in church we read about Howard W. Hunter and he was really into kindness. He says that true greatness comes from consistently giving little acts of kindness which is something I will be trying to work on.

I also finally finished my first cycle (6 week period) and you can potentially get transferred each cycle.  Anyway, I have like 12 more to go or something... yaaaaaaaay!  Haha people say it goes by fast but I kinda hope it doesn't, its so pretty here!  Plus the food is awesome, I found out today I love Bikol Express which is a little spicy but I guess my taste buds are changing!

Oh and I got a package from my family!  

Til next week,

Elder Taylor-Jenson

Silver Linings

1 Feb 2016

Ok sorry this is a longer letter but I also had a crazy experience this week.  We got invited out of the blue to go to this funeral.  This little 7 year old boy died in an accident and we went to go speak (I have no idea why they asked me) and we got into this tiny cement house (like all the houses) and there were some friends around in a circle and the little boy was in his casket and I looked at him.  Now I have only seen one dead person in my life and that was my grandmother when I was like 13.  

For some reason I wasn't that sad so I thought that I didn't get sad at funerals.  But as I looked at this boy I felt so deeply for him and his mother.  Then I started thinking about what I would say.  As I got up I flipped to Moroni 8:8 which among other things talks about little kids and how they cannot commit sin.  I explained that I have a sister about Mark's age (his name is Mark) and I talked about how children have an innocence and a light about them.  Then I talked about how this should not happen, the parents should never have to see their kids die.  And as I said that I was overcome with this wave of emotion in my head and I could feel it spread through me, I have come to know that as one way I feel the spirit.  In the scriptures we learn that the spirit comforts and brings joy but as I felt it on Saturday I was so sad, I was embarrassed because I cried in front of everyone and my voice began to give way as I shared my mom's favorite scripture which is Alma 7:11-13.  I told her that it says Christ suffered "pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind" and that she must be feeling such pain and anger.  That is why he suffered ALL pains and afflictions because there are times when we feel alone and we feel like no one can relate to us.  He did that so we don't have to be alone ever.  Then I explained the plan of salvation to her, I told her we know exactly where we came from and where we are going and why we are here in this life.  I told her I know she will see her son after this life and that is the beauty of the plan He has for us. 

As I thought about it later I realized that the spirit had helped me "mourn with those who mourn" because that is our job as Latter Day Saints. That is why I was sad and feeling the spirit.  

I love you all thanks for the support! 
Elder Taylor-Jenson
Progress not Perfection.