Friday, June 24, 2011

Week 7

Heisann familie!!!
I hope everything is going well! :) I miss you all very much. Can you believe that my time in the MTC is almost done? We should be getting our travel plans TOMORROW!!! July 4th is rapidly approaching and I cannot wait to be able to talk to you!
Again, this last week was not very exciting. The days and weeks are all blending together!
This week is a very special week at the MTC. Almost 200 new mission presidents and their wives are all coming here for training. well guess who trains them.... The first presidency and quorom of the 12! So security has been super tight and we are not allowed to go in certain buildings anymore because it is so high-profile! Sweet, huh?! :) The prophet is supposed to be here tomorrow for sure and we have a special fireside on Friday... We're hoping we get to hear from someone like Pres. Uchtdorf of Eyring! This morning, we went to the temple and while we were walking up, there was a couple waiting at the cross walk. The husband was a newly called mission president. The woman had on the cutest red heels ever! Of course, I had to comment. :) She told me in her adorable spanish accent that they were made in Brazil and that's where the greatest shoes are made. We laughed and chatted for a bit while we waited to cross the street. After that, my new goal is to travel around the world, study shoe designs, and then create my own line... like jessica simpson, but not. Ha ha! We'll see what happens!
On Monday, we had the most fun i have had since i was a small child! Since one of the buildings that is closed is the gym, we had to go to the missionary field. Our Norwegian district played kickball with the Swedish district and it was a riot! I kicked a home run... funny story- the sprinklers were on, so the ball got really wet and slippery, so when I kicked, an elder caught it so I thought i was out, but then it slipped out of his hands, so i kept running! That drop pattern continued until i made it around all four bases! :) After our game, we dicided to relive our childhood and run through the sprinklers! It was so fun and we were completely soaked! I'll have to send pictures. :)
As i mentioned before, we went to the temple today. we did initiatories and sealings. I have never done sealings before, so this was a great experience. As we rotated through, I listened to the sealer speak, I thought about 2 things: 1. how lucky we were to be born under the new and everlasting covenant and how much i have taken it for granted in my life, and 2. what an honor it was to be able to give someone the opportunity to live with their family forever. I am so grateful that i can spend eternity with you all- I love you more than words can even describe!
After we got done at the temple, we had personal study. I was reading in the Book of Mormon, and I actually finished the entire thing! I felt the greatest sense of accomplishment, and I KNEW without a shadow of a doubt that it is the word of God! I love that book so much! I never realized how much it can bless us- there is so much to learn in it! I look forward to reading it everyday for the rest of my life! :)
Sorry this is short... I don't have too much to say. :( Just know that I love you all so very much and that I KNOW that this gospel is true! It is the greatest blessing in my life. You are the bestest in the westest and I can't wait to hear your voices!
Jeg elsker dere!!
-Sister Taylor

Week 6

Hi Family!!
I look forward to this time of the week- it's my favorite! Unfornately for today, I don't have a lot to say... Life has been pretty boring this week. Sorry :( We are just trying to speak Norwegian as much as possible, cram in the scriptures, and prepare to leave the country! It gives me heart failure everytime I think about actually being in Norway... and then I get this overwhelming sense of peace and excitement! I'm going to be in another country in less than 3 weeks! I should have my travel plans in the next ten days, so I will know when I will be able to call everyone!!! That is going to be the best day ever!
So funny story- A few days ago, a string of announcements flooded the MTC about this gastrointestinal virus that is plaguing the area. We can't shake hands with anyone and we have to sanitize our hands about 50 times a day. Don't worry, the disease hasn't actually hit the MTC, but they just want us to be extra careful since there are 2500 of us held up in this compound. :)
THANK YOU SO MUCH for the package!!! It was amazing! The socks are fabulous and the nail polish... AMAZING!!! I have it on right now and I'm loving it! When I got it, I was so excited, so I showed all the sisters in our district. Well later that night, the Swedish sisters showed up at our door with puppy-dog eyes and asked if we could have a nail painting party. :) It was so fun!!! Just know, Family, you made our night! I love you tons!!! Oh and the pictures were fabulous!!! I loved seeing what has been happening in your lives. I miss you so much.... However, you have to delete that picture of me walking away from the car- it's horrendous!!! I pretty much look awful in all of those pics... Why didn't someone tell me? Ha ha! Just kidding. :)
My Norwegian skills are getting better and better... knock on wood! We had to teach our first lesson in Norsk at the TRC. I don't know if I've told you about that or not- The TRC is a place where you can go teach volunteer native speakers lessons and practice your skills. Up until this last time, we've got to know the investigator in Norsk, but taught in Engelsk. So we taught our first full norsk lesson there. Since we've already been doing that with our teacher, it wasn't too bad. I enjoyed myself!
So last night, we had our weekly devotional, and Rosemary Wixom, the primary general president came and talked to us. It was so awesome! We sang primary songs and it just made me miss my cute little primary class. Please tell them I say hi! If I have time today, I will write them each a little note. :) There is nothing like the sweet and simple teachings that primary songs have. The Spirit was so strong! The Spirit is always so strong! He is my constant companion. I would not know any of the things I do now without His guidance. For example, I was talking with my branch pres. last night and we spoke of how that scriptures at first seem kind of dull and lifeless, but when read in the light of the spirit, they come alive! I have never felt such a love for the scriptures! Thay truly were written for our time and I KNOW that they are the word of God! :)
Sorry I don't have any cool experiences to share. Just know that I love you all so much and I pray for you always! Thank you for all of your support- I wouldn't be here without you!
Jeg elsker dere veldig mye!!! (Translate that, Zach!) :)
Sister Taylor

Week 5

Heisann min Familie!!!
How is everything going? That you so much for the package!!! I got it on Thursday and it was like mana from Heaven!! I just about died when I saw that cute sweater and the homemade cookies! I shared with all my friends here- it was a big party! :)
I can't remember if I told you, but we got 4 new sisters in our room, so now it's totally full. They are all really sweet! They will only be here for 3 weeks beacuse they are serving in Oklahoma. I actually went to High School with one of them. Her name in Jenna Bowles. I only knew of her, but she is so awesome! I love that we have that connection! There is another sister, Sister Ellingson, who is from SLC. I absolutely love her! We are so much alike and she always comes to me when she is having a hard time so we talk it all out. She is awesome! I don't know what I'd do without her!
So on Friday, we taught our teacher/investigator Anders (The one who we had the amazing experience with last week). We planned to finish teaching him the plan of Salvation. We planned to review the atonement where we left off, then finish it up. We shared a scripture- Moroni 10:32-33. It's a good one! Well he had questions about how we repent and become like Christ. So we started teaching about repentance. We had made a goal before we started teaching that we were going to try to commit him to baptism, and if we continued on the path we were on, it was looking pretty good! So we continued with repentance and then came baptism.... He told us that he had already been baptized... Oh Boy! We had to explain that it wasn't valid. He was very offended. We had to back-track through the great apostasy to explain how the priesthood was lost. Then he was upset because he didn't undersatnd why if God loved us so much, that he would take his power away. I was terrified! I just kept thinking that we were losing him... But then I had the feeling to look in my Norwegian Preach my Gospel (Mind you this is all happening in Norsk...) I couldn't understand everything, but i had a feeling to look up a certain scripture that was listed on the page. It helped the situation a little bit, but then Sis. B. had the impression to share a scripture about how God always has his armed out for his children, but it up to them to accept it. It clicked in his brain! We extended the baptiamal invitation and he accepted!!! I testified that it would be the greatest decision he would ever make, and it was done. In 3 weeks!! We felt like it was a 30 min lesson... it was 1 hr and 30 min! Ooops! It was incredible! I want to be able to do that with real people!!! So Now we just have to make sure there are no issues with the word of wisdom or anything like that.... Ha ha!
So on Sunday, I was released as coordinating sister.... I was kind of sad, but kind of not. It will be nice to be able to focus a little bit more. However, I was moved to Sr. Companion. That could be cool, I guess. ha ha!
As a district, we have started having English fasts or norwegian feasts. That is where we only peak norsk for like 5 hours... It is really helping us grow in the language. I'm starting to feel a little better about it which is really nice!
This week, I have had some awesome experiences whil reading the scriptures. I have never realized how absolutely amazing they are! I love them so much! There is a great strength that can be found in the Word of God!!!
Well, family... this was kind of a lame email... Sorry! Things are just kind of blending together. :)
Just know that I love you all so very much! You are always in my prayers! I don't know what i would do without your support!
Until next week, Jeg elsker dere!
Soster Taylor

Week 4

Hi family!
I hope everything is going well! I love and miss you all very much. How was your Memorial Day? Did you do anything fun?
So today is my 4 week anniversary of being in the MTC! It's nuts!!! Time is going by so fast... I guess that's a good thing!
So on Sunday, for Relief society, they always have a big devotional for the sisters only. This week Susan B. Tanner was the speaker. (She was the general young womens president when I was in young womens.) She was so amazing! Hearing her speak just brought back memories of when Mom was the YW pres. and we would go to the YW broadcasts together. Good Times!! :)
Does anyone remember that game that grandma had called "Husker du?"? Well, I found out this week that it is a Norwegian game! I know, super cool, right? It means "remember you?" I just thought that was awesome... maybe it's not that cool... Ha ha!
Sis. Butterfield and I taught another lesson in Norsk this week. This time it was on the plan of salvation. It went really well! We only got through pre-earth life, the creation, the fall, our life on earth, and the atonement. However, the part about the Atonement was amazing!! Sister B. had a brother who committed suicide a few years ago, so she testified about how the atonement has helped her in her life- it was so powerful! I love teaching!! It is really scary and stressful because I am trying so hard to understand the investigator, but it is so rewarding when they can feel the spirit testify to them! The gospel is amazing!!!
This week, in my personal studies, I have been reading in the Book of Ether in the BOM. I got to the part about the brother of Jared. That is officially my new favorite BOM story! I always knew about how he asked Heavenly Father to light the stones for the barges that were going to take them to the promised land, but did you know that because of his faith, he actually saw Jesus Christ?! That was amazing to me! I cannot even imagine how incredible it would be to have that experience- it makes me want to have greater faith!! You should definitely read that story if you're ever having a rough time. It was funny because after I read that, our inspired teacher, Brother Jaffa had all of us tell our favorite BOM heros' stories. I, of course, told that one. There were lots of good ones shared. After everyone did their thing, we discussed their faith and courage. One elder brought up Samuel the Lamanite and how he was protected from the speres and arrows that were being thrown at him. The elder said that he thought it was amazing that Samuel had enough faith that God protected him. But the Bro. Jaffa brought up an awesome point- look at Abinadi- he had enough to deliver the message that he was commanded to, even though he didn't know if he would live or die. He just knew that God would give him the power to deliver his message. Bro. Jaffa said this: "Having perfect faith is not always knowing that God will protect us. Perfect faith is knowing that we need to do what's right no matter what the consequences may be." I though that was amazing and totally applicable to our lives. We don't know what is going to happen in our lives- what trials will come- but we just have enough faith to continue in obedience. If we do, then we will be blessed.
So every week we have a meeting with one of our teachers. This week, I met with Bro. Jaffa. We talk about how the MTC is, if we need any special help, and we set goals. I told him that I feel like the language is really slow going and I get discouraged. He told me that I have nothing to worry about. He said that if I were to be sent to Norway right now, He would not worry about me one bit! He said that I need to look at what progress I have made in such a short time and thank my Heavenly Father for giving me the gift of tongues. This made me feel so much better! So Mason, apparently my Norwegian skills aren't that bad! :P Ha ha! Our district has started doing "English fasts" where we only speak Norsk for an hour a day. It's helping so hopefully I will get even better!!
Again I love you all so much!!! I miss you like crazy! I just mailed out last weeks letters... Sorry it took me so long- life is crazy!
Jeg elsker dere veldig mye!!!
love, Sister Taylor

Week 3

Hi family!!
I love you all so much! Thank you for the package- I got it on Monday and it was fabulous! The duck was perfect!! Everyone in our district thought it was the coolest thing ever! Did you get the pics i sent?
So as always, I don't have a lot of time, so here it goes....
So I had the most amazing experience on Friday! It started out so horrible. Sis. B. was driving me nuts. We weren't getting along. We had to plan a whole bunch of stuff and I was falling apart. We had to teach our first lesson in norsk and I was terrrified. Even though I have learned so much, I still struggle remembering everything under pressure. I fell apart. There was no way I could teach. I felt completely helpless and I had no one to talk to. So I started bawling during our companionship study. I talked to Sis. B. and we worked everything out. Thank Heavens!!! So it came time for us to teach. We were teaching one of our teachers who was posing as an investigator. (The one I told you about last week.) Before we taught, we prayed. I said it. I begged for Heavenly Fathers help and guidance. We had prepared as best we could, but He needed to do the rest. It was in His hands. We went in there, and I honestly don't know what happened. We started talking in Norsk and asking him questions. We started the lesson. The Spirit was there. Then we had to teach about the restoration. I said the First Vision in Norsk and the Spirit just flooded the room. It was so strong, I could barely speak! We testified in norsk that Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ, and throught him we have the true and restored gospel. It was incredible. We commited him to go to church with us. I cannot even begin to tell you what was said in that room. All we knew is that the Spirit was there testifying the truth of the message we were sharing. When we walked out our teacher was speachless. He said that it was the best teach he had ever sat through. Me and Sis. B. went back to our empty classroom, closed the door and theanked heavenly father for taking care of us. There was no way we did that by ourselves! We just cried and cried. This gospel is so true!!! I know this doesn't even begin to explain the power that I felt.... Darn! All I know is that I am nothing without the Lord. If we put our trust in Him, we can do anything... even teach a 45 minute lesson in another Language! :)
Another experience... so I think I told you how our branch presidency has told everyone to prepare a talk for Sacrament meeting every week, then they randomly choose 2 missionaries... Well that's how it works. Anyways, the topic this last week was baptism. I had prepared it early on, but as Sunday got closer, I felt like I needed to redo it. I started thinking about my baptism and what it meant to me then and what it means to me now. I rewrote my talk of Sunday morning. I felt really good about it. It made me realize how important that step in my life was and how it is important for everyone to have the opportunity to be baptized. Well I was feeling good about it... Guess who was called up... Me! Good thing I prepared, right? Oh my goodness! I didn't know, but I knew that I was going to speak on Sunday. The spirirt told me! :) It went really well. I didn't ever look at my notes. I just spoke it from my heart! (Good thing I learned how to do that before I left, right? ha ha!)
Last night we had our weekly devotional. Our whole district decided to sing in the choir together. The song was "This is the Christ." That song is incredible! I think it's a new fave :) Anyways. We sang it last night at the devotional. The speaker was Russell M. Nelson. I cant even begin to tell you how amazing it is to be in the presence of an apostle of the Lord!!! And to sing for him, that was so cool! He told us that the last person he talked to before he came to the MTC was Thomas S Monson and that he sent his love. How amazing is that!?! I thought it was amazing. :) His talk was incredible too!
So I am offically a yoga nut! It is my favorite early morning class of the week! I wish I could do it everyday!
Love you all to death!

Week 2

Hello family!!
I hope everything is going somewhat alright at home! I miss you all very much and I think about you all the time!
I feel so terrible about Kelsie's knee! I can't believe that happened... I started to cry when I read what had happened. I'm so sorry that she is in pain! I had the opportunity to go to the temple this morning, and I prayed for her and the whole family while I was there. I hope everything works out and that it gets better soon. I will continue to pray for her!
I was also diappointed when I heard that dad hadn't gotten that job. My goodness- wheni is this family ever going to catch a break???? The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that Heavenly Father is mindful of us. He watches over us and is always there when we need Him. We had a devotional last night where Richard G. Hinckley (Gordon B.'s son) of the 70 spoke. He taught that faith is an action word. We have to work as hard as we can before we can recieve blessings. In Ether 12:26 it talks about how we recieve blessing after the trial of our faith- we have to prove ourselves... (I think that's the scripture... I don't have time to check, sorry!) Again, I will keep on praying for the family.
I'm so glad to hear that the boy's party was a success! I wish I could've been there for the party bus! :) Happy early Birthday, boys! ha ha ha!
So on Saturday, our district had what was called the TRC. That stands for the training resource center. We go and practice teaching people the lessons. We started out contacting in norwegian, then we taught in english. It went really well!... I think. :) Speaking the language is so hard and so intense. Our teachers have started speaking mostly in Norwegian so it is hard to understand what we are doing sometimes. Oh well... I've had my taste of the gift of toungues, so I know it's possible to speak it! Yesterday afternoon, we had the opportunity to practice as companionships contacting one of our teachers in Norsk. Our teachers are really awesome because they will act as real investigators and they won't break character. So Sis. B. and I had met with one of our teachers characters before, so we went to "visit him again." (I hope this make sense...) Upon our first meeting, we left him a book of mormon and asked him to read it and pray. He said he would, but when we went back, he hadn't read anything. So we tried to explain how important it was for him to really read it. Mind you, this is all in Norwegian! He kept saying something like "it's interesting, but I don't understand why it is important... we already have a bible, why do we need this?... where did it come from?" We were not prepared to answer all these questions, and he was persistently asking. Finally, in broken norwegian I just looked him in the eyes and said something like: "Jeg vet at mormons bok er annet vitner om Jesus Kristus. Det er Guds ord, somme bibelen og Jeg promise du that if du lester den boken og bedt pa Himmeslke Fader, du vil fole Hans kjaerlighet for du. Vil du commit to lester det by our next appointment? (I know that the book of mormon is another testmant of Jesus Christ. It is the word of God and I promise that if you read it and pray to your heavenly father, you will feel His love for you. Will you commit to reading it by our next appointment?) " Yes, there were random english words thrown in there, but as soon as I said this, I felt the spirit so strong telling me and this faux investigator that I was dead on. He ended up commiting and we have a faux appointment set up for friday where Sis. B. and i will be teaching a lesson on the book of mormon in norsk. It was awesome!
I'm running out of time! I love you all so very much! I'll be sending you some pictures in the mail a little later today. Good luck with everything!!! xoxoxoxoxo
Love, Sister Taylor

Week 1

Hello Family!!!
I love and miss you all so much and I think about you all the time! So I only have 30 minutes to write this so please forgive any craziness!!
 So I am obviously still alive... This place is amazing!!! I have never felt the Spirit so strong in my entire life! So when I first got here, I got my name tag and it had this big orange sticker, which is called the dork dot. That is so people can tell that you're new and help you if you look lost. That happened to me a lot! My companion's name is Sister Butterfield. She is from up this way. We get along well. We are a lot alike. She likes to work out a lot, so I have to too.... It's no fun, but the kick boxing is fun, I guess.... Ha ha! My district is really cool. (That's all the missionaries who are going to Norway.) There are about 10 of us. 2 sisters and the rest elders. They treat us well. :) We are all really good friends. I was called by our branch presidency to be the Coordinating Sister. So that means I am like a sister zone leader... I'm nervous. It is a big job. Luckily there are only 5 sisters in our zone and that includes me and my companion. :) 
We jumped right into learning the language. I already know how to count, say my name, contact, bear my testimony, and pray. It is rough, but it's amazing how much we have grasped in such a short time. Yesterday I had a little bit of a breakdown because we have to contact native Norwegians on Saturday in Norwegian.... I got so scared and started bawling in class. It was bad. Lol! One of the older sisters in another district came and talked to me. She made me feel a little better. We talked about just trusting in the Lord. We have to be doing all that we can do before He will jump in and help us. We juast have to know that He is there for us all the way. I said a little prayer for peace (in Norwegian) and went on with my busy day. So it was absolutely amazing because last night, we went to our first MTC devotional. Elder Neil L. Anderson of the Quorum of the 12 spoke to us. Before he started his talk, He said that he felt inspired to share something a little different. He spoke about trusting the Lord.... Coincidence? I don't think so! The Lord answered my prayer through a general authority! Amazing! That is just one of the many miracles which I have witnessed here.
Our District got to leave the compound this morning to go to the Temple. It was fabulous! I just love that place with all my heart and I wish I could go every day!
So I am sorry this is so short! I promise to write you all letters today, since it's P-Day!!! Jeg elsker dere! (I love you all!)
Good luck with all you do- I pray for you every single day!
Love, Sister Taylor

Norway,Oslo Mission