Hey! I think I am now an official Caribbean missionary….

!Hola!  I think I am now an official Caribbean missionary because I am always sticky and have really strong tan lines already.  My watch tan line is my favorite.  I am proud to say that I was able to make my companion laugh pretty good this week.  i started telling her about my love for dinosaurs and told her about times me and other friends have imitated dinosaurs and she wanted to see.  So I walked towards her on the street making my best dinosaur impression and TAD-AH!  It worked!

We had an interesting time this week while contacting.  We started talking to a couple girls sitting on a bus bench and my companion asked what they were doing and they said “working.”  I picked up on all they context clues but my comp didn’t so it got a little awkward when she asked, “Oh, what do you do?”  Let’s just say they were….ladies of the night  Haha.  But hey…EVERYONE needs the gospel!  That same day on the street there was this massive bag of intestines just laying there and it smelt soooo bad we wanted to gag.

The guys here are always hissing at me because of my skin.  The other day, a group of teenage boys were walking on the same street as us and they started spreading out walking towards me and ended up locking their arms around me with me in the middle, my companion had to help me get them off.  So that was an experience!

I have fallen in love with quipes!  They are my favorite and today i will learn how to make them.  I have tried a lot of weird things and you’d be proud to know I’ve like them all.  Surprising, right?

I got the best compliment the other day from an investigator, she said I am “casi Dominicana” YAY!  I’ve been imitating the way they speak and someone finally noticed!  I had to give a little talk on Sunday on Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and I was terrified!!  I do not feel like my Spanish is good enough to speak in public yet.  I just kept praying for the gift of tongues and I went up there and said what I felt the spirit needed me to say.  Afterwards, I got tons of compliments saying they understood everything!  I think everyone, including myself, was surprised.  There was a little girl on the stage with me and she was trying to draw on my arms and face so I think everyone got a kick out of watching that.

A couple in a ward got robbed pretty bad yesterday right after church and they are on the more high end scale of things, so we went over to offer help or support but they were so positive about it.  It was awesome!  Of course they were upset but they said that at least they are okay physically and that items can always be replaced.  What a great attitude!  We have a progressing investigator named Cesar and he is awesome!  He lived in New Jersey for 17 years and was involved in gangs and all this crazy stuff in his past but he has such a soft spirit and a hunger for truth!  He has a million question and talks so fast you can barely understand his english but I love his excitement.  He is the most prepared of anyone we are teaching and I’m so excited to see his enthusiasm and I can feel that he has such a strong spirit.  My companion and I were able to have a good inventory this week and I was able to tell her what I have learned from my relationships and classes and the 5 Love Languages in order to make us have a better companionship and I really think it is helping!

I have felt so blessed this past week and I know the Lord is constantly looking out for me.  I can feel Him guiding me in lessons and especially with the language.  The more I just listen to the people instead of trying to think of what to say next is when we have the best lessons!  We’ve been so blessed by finding opportunities to serve (even though sometimes it takes a lot of pleading) and we’ve seen other serve us as well.  I love it and I love this work!

Besos y Abrazos 🙂

Con Amor,

Hna TaylorDSC00862

Advertisements

Hola!

There is so much to write about!  But I will try to condense everything so I am not boring.  One of our biggest problems we have run into here is that no one is married!  They don’t want to commit but they’ve been together for years with kids…even some members are only a “civil union” because it’s less committal.  Our president is really emphasizing family and now we can’t teach or baptize anyone unless we put ALL effort to also baptize the immediate family.  Some kids have up to 40 siblings because the people struggle so much with the law of chastity!  It’s crazy!  So many people we are teaching say they want to get baptized but they won’t get married.  Speaking of President Corbitt, he is just awesome.  He is such a spiritual giant and he has awkward sarcasm like me and I love it!   I’ve learned Latinos do not use sarcasm at all and now I don’t know how to be funny.  President told me last week that he feels I have a better understanding of why I am here and the power of the Atonement and all these nice things and of course I just cried.  I felt like he wanted to give me a hug so we awkwardly shook hands and left.  Ha ha.

We had intercambios this week (splits) and I was with Hermana Fife from Alaska for the day and she was AWESOME!!  I felt like we had been companions forever and we had so much in common and hit it off so well.  We decided we were probably companions in the pre-existence.  I have heard a lot of crazy claims about Mormonism in my day, one I’ve never heard of is that the missionaries are spies.  Yes, spies!  Here everyone has been told that we are spies coming to bust them for drugs and other things.  So imagine how difficult it is for us to get in the door!  It’s just so funny to me but also frustrating because people won’t let us in!  We’ve been getting asked, “so, if I’m black does that mean I’m cursed?”  Imagine trying to answer that in Spanish!  Ha ha.  !Muy dificil!

Also this week, we got infested with maggots in our apartment!  They are so nasty! To kill them, you have to pop them like a pimple.  It’s disgusting!  We just dumped Clorox all over our floor and hoped for the best.  We also saw a centipede that was the size of my forearm!!!  It looked like something out of the movie Tremors.  It was terrifying!  I find baby centipedes in my shower everyday.  Apparently we have one of the areas that might be turned into an Elder area because of the danger level.  We saw a man get shot in his car in the middle of the day and no one blinked an eye.  Yesterday this lady got tied up and robbed in the afternoon.  So we definitely pray a lot for protection!  Haha.  Luckily we live in a ”nice’ part of town.

There are so many Haitians here that we’ve started learning creole phrases.  It’s had though because the people are so racist towards them here that they are all trying to leave the island.  Our neighbor is from Holland so we’ve been learning Dutch phrases too.

We had stake conference this weekend and it was so packed that people were sitting in the chair closet and on the floor and standing against the walls!  It was crazy but so great to have so many people come.  They are going to need a bigger stake center.  We got poured on yesterday and I was very thankful for crocs!  It was nice for some rain because the heat has been so bad that everyone has been having severe migraines.

I have really come to learn that being a member of the church is really hard and requires sacrifice for some people, especially here, but it is so worth it!  I have also seen how important it is to raise a family in the gospel and the difference it makes in the children.  I have never felt the true power of prayer in my life until now and I feel so much love for those I come in contact with!  If there is one thing I’ve learned, it is to see everyone as children of God and not for their sins.  I love you all so much!  Thank you for your love and support.  PS–I hope I’m not boring.

Love,

Hermana Taylor

DSC00817[1] DSC00816[2] DSC00830[1] DSC00806[1] DSC00811[1]

Una Semana de Aprendiendo

This Sunday we had 9 investigators come with us to church!  It is so exciting to see people progress!  It’s at 8 AM so a lot of people have trouble getting up early enough to walk all the way to church in this heat!  For some it takes up to 30 mins!  I think of how much dedication that takes and how easy we have it in the states.  We have 3 towns in our area so we are walking ALL OVER.  Our area is huge! There used to be 6 missionaries covering this area but now it’s just us two.  I have so many blisters I could barely walk the past few days!  I’ve gained a lot more confidence this week with my teaching and Spanish.  It is so awesome to understand people!!  I have also grown so much love for my companion and the members.  In the MTC, we learned there is only one reason why companionships don’t get along, it’s when one is trying to do the right and the other, wrong.  It’s SO TRUE!  As long as we both have the same goal, we will get along.  Also, I realized my companion is kind of like Dad…she pushes me really hard and I may hate it in the moment, but I know I will be thankful later.  Also, I love kids!  I didn’t realize how much I love kids until now.  I love playing with them at members houses.  Every monday we make dinner for the Velez family and have FHE with them.  They are recent converts with 3 boys and it is so fun.  It reminds me of home.

I have been getting sick (still) off and on with weird stuff but luckily Dad has trained me to have a “tough it out” mentality.  I got a crazy rash all over my legs and it looked pretty scary but it’s almost gone!  I also have swollen legs and feet from all the walking and bug bites.  I’m so pretty ha ha.  We got to celebrate my comp’s 9 month mark this week and I encouraged her to burn a skirt on the roof…so she did.  Yay for peer presure!  ha ha.  But it was so fun and worth it.

We got to teach an investigator from Haiti with a translator  and it was awesome!  He’s been going to church for months but doesn’t understand the lessons because his Spanish is so bad.  So it was a total blessing…and I got to teach in English so that was fun.  Literally everyday I have at least one guy try to talk to me in English so it’s pretty funny what they will say.

It has  rained on us twice so far and the ground is so hot that there was steam rising!  I ate my first plantain in my favorite Dominican dish called Sancocho and I actually liked it!  Also, we get mangos from everyone for free which is the best thing ever because they are so good here!  It is so humbling to have people give us food when they have so little themselves.  I have felt so insecure here when Io wear my hair up because my tattoo shows and I hate wearing my story on my skin.  However, it has actually started a lot of conversations with investigators and less actives.  I’ve even been asked permission to share bits of my story because it helps other see that they, too, can change.  I love getting to bear my testimony to them about how much this gospel has changed and blessed me in my life.  I feel like they feel more comfortable confiding in me their questions and doubts because I’ve walked their path.  i love seeing this change in others!  I feel so grateful for everything!  I love you guys!

Love,

Hna TaylorDSC00794[1] DSC00772[1] DSC00792[1]

I am finally out in the field!

¡Buenas dias!

I am finally out in the field! ¡ Al fin! I love getting to teach REAL people now and do what I am called here to do.  My companion is Hermana Muñoz.  She  is 19 from California but her dad is from Peru and her mom is from El Salvador.  So she was already fluent…not fair.  We are getting along well and she is being patient with my Spanish.  She definitely has a strong, dominant personality so it has shown me SO much humility.  It has been a big adjustment to let someone else take charge but it has made me appreciate all the people who put up with me when I get controlling and bossy…because it is not fun being on the other side.

I have only had to shower out of a bucket once so far.  I got the shower to work and I have grown to LOVE cold showers!   There is nothing better than coming home after sweating profusely all day than jumping in a cold shower!  It’s the only place I don’t feel sweaty.  I am becoming one with nature while living with centipedes, cockroaches, and mosquitoes in our house.  You should my legs, it looks like a war zone.  Mosquitoes-100, Chelsea-0.

Missions are HARD WORK.  I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into beforehand; but I am so glad I am here!  I know there is nothing greater I could be doing with my time.

Here are a couple of stories from this week:  First, we were teaching a woman who believes strongly in science and has a lot of questions and literally SECONDS after we said our closing prayer, a man working on an electrical tower did something wrong and there was a giant flash of light and then a thud.  He electrocuted himself and fell to his death right in front of us.  Our investigator went crazy and the ironic part is that we just finished teaching the Plan of Salvation.  Second, (this story will tell you how my Spanish is going) we were buying fruit from some guys on the street and one of them was being flirty with me (we call them frecos) and he was talking too fast for me to understand so I was just agreeing with everything he said so he would leave me alone.  As we walked away, Hermana Muñoz said, “He asked you if he can make a daughter with you and you said yes.” WHOOPS!! Once I can understand Dominican Spanish, I will be able to understand anything.

Third story, (and most embarrassing) was when we taught a lesson to a progressing investigator with 2 Tongans visiting from the states.  The guy served here on his mission so he wanted to come along.  Well, him and his sister were dressed up SUPER fancy and we looked nasty from walking around all day so I said that they made us look like sweaty hobos.  Now this was like my 3rd day in the field, so I was really emotional and stressed out over the language and not feeling confident in myself, just keep that in mind.  When we got home that night, my companion started lecturing me on using proper missionary language and I’m thinking, “What did I do?” So I asked and she said, “Remember calling us SLUTTY hobos?” HAHAHA!  I just started laughing so hard because I thought I said sweaty, not slutty!  Then 2 seconds later, I started crying because I am trying so hard to be obedient in everything I do and I was so embarrassed that she thought I said that!  I had a weird, breakdown moment.  But now I can’t stop laughing at that!  I can’t even speak English!  My rules for the mission are to be confident, be patient with yourself, and have fun!  We were put on this Earth to experience joy!  Too many people take things too seriously.

Anyways, that is all for this week!

I love you all!  ¡Besos y abrazos!

Love Hermana Taylor

DSC00714[1]DSC00715[1]

last week of mtc life!!! WOOO!!

I got to go out into the field last Friday! It was awesome! We taught people in the streets and someone threw a bra at us… all sorts of fun stuff happened haha. Also, I understood EVERYTHING! It was a miracle and definitely because of the Spirit. I was able to communicate clearly with everyone we taught and I felt like it was a million times easier than normal! We rode the buses or “gua gua” as it is called here and we were packed like sardines and everyone was sweating on each other!! I’ve never sweat so much in my entire life!

I have come to accept that I will just always be tired on my mission. Staying awake is a daily struggle. Oh I burnt a hole through my skirt last week while ironing… that’s fun. I don’t even know what happened…. but yeah.. there goes one skirt. Everyone was laughing at me.
I got corn rows this week from a Dominican and it was the coolest/most painful experience of my life and everyone was calling me a little ghetto girl and laughing at me but it was a bucket-list item I can now cross off.
This morning while reading emails, one of the sisters from Puerto Rico found out that her sister and her friend have both died. That hit me really hard with how lucky and blessed I really am. I have nothing to complain about! So what if I can’t roll my stupid R’s yet? Everyone I love is alive and well and that’s the best blessing I can ask for! I just feel overwhelming gratitude for everything and for this life and especially for the Plan of Salvation.
Here are my rules for my mission and I think they apply to all of life:
1. Have confidence
2. Be patient with yourself
3. Have fun!
That’s all I have time for this week.. But I love you all!
Con amor,
Hermana Taylor
PS- I’ve been eating mashed potatoes… you’d be so proud.
DSC00673[1]DSC00637[1]