Monday, December 30, 2013

Tema finally taking off!!!

Dear Family,

Yes I broke my promise....

Remember how I always said, "I'll never let myself be sick on Christmas...NEVER!"  Yeah, I was way sick this year ha ha.  I guess better this year than next year right?:)  It was killer though!

I woke up not feeling all that well, but couldn't really tell if that was just from excitement to talk to you, or what.  I made an awesome breakfast, took a few bites and then it just hit me!  I went and laid down still trying to convince myself that it was just because I ate too fast or something...but it persisted...I died that day!  Ha ha, I felt terrible!  I thought that I started to feel a bit better, then I woke up and threw up more than I think I ever have in my entire mission!  Mom like you said, throwing up is a bit more common in Ghana than at home, but I promise you never get used to it! ha ha.  I always have the same thoughts..."I'm going to die".  Ha ha...and I think every missionary truly does believe that they are going to die when they are sick here.

I started to feel a bit better before the phone call and I was so happy that I would be able to talk.  And then about an hour before the call...the worst of the worst came and I knew I could not talk.   I remember convulsing, and just being covered in sweat and saying a prayer just begging to be able to have the strength to talk to you.  6:00 came and I was still feeling like I was going to die so I asked one of the other Elders to put my phone chip in the phone so that I could send you a text that we would have to do it another time...and right when he handed me the phone I started to feel 1000 times better.  I stopped needing to run to the bathroom...I did the call...and it was great!

I think this was God's little way of helping me to be obedient to the 40 minute rule.  I knew that was going to be a really hard one for me to follow, since we got to talk so long last year...so I had been praying all week for help in being obedient.  And...literally...as soon as Dad said, "okay time check, its been about 40 minutes", my stomach pains came back.  Not with as much vengeance.  We ended the phone call on time...I ran to the bathroom...and then I felt fine!  Yeah still sick but it was something that kept me distracted so that I ended on a happy note and didn't really allow myself to get to the sad/homesick part...so I was pretty good after the phone call this year:). 

I loved talking to you all though!  It was such a highlight, and a blessing that no one but a missionary really fully comprehends.

Okay so this week my email will be a little short, we have a mission tour this coming week so I had a few things that I needed to do for that on the computer today so that took most of my time but I love you all so much, next week I should have more time!

Tema is finally taking off though!  We are finally getting out of this rut and up on to the tops of the mountains again!  We have been so blessed with the people that we have been able to work with lately.  It is such a blessing and a privilege to be where I am right now.  We have my two favorites right now, Fat Albert and Godwin, I talked about Fat Albert but maybe Mom you can put in a little more of the practical info on Godwin (Taylor told us that Godwin is a great investigator that has graduated from college (unusual) and his two sons are at university right now...close to graduating...extremely unusual)

Anyway story of the week.....

We met Godwin about two weeks ago as we were walking home one evening, we set our first appointment, and things have just been incredible since then. We went to visit him this week and when we arrived he had his laptop opened up to LDS.org in front of him and was reading from his copy of The Book of Mormon. We started talking with him, and I can safely say it was the best lesson that I have ever had on my mission! I have had lessons where I was overflowing with the spirit but I have never taught someone who is so prepared and ready to receive this Gospel. He truly STUDIED The Book of Mormon, I find it difficult to explain just how prepared this man is...but it was a lesson and an experience I will never forget. We had a quick lesson and then gave him a quick little tour around lds.org, as we showed him a few places we thought he would enjoy.  We felt prompted to show him Elder Holland's General Conference address about the Book of Mormon from a few years ago. We found the talk and began to play it, he listened intently and the spirit soon filled the room. All three of us were edified and two of us were in tears by the end of that amazing testimony.... (Elder Nondala is a little tougher than Godwin and I were) ha ha.

We had the opportunity to follow up on Elder Hollands testimony and add our own simple testimonies of The Book of Mormon as well.  As I bore my simple, but sure, testimony of The Book that I have grown to love over these last few months, I was filled with an even greater measure of the Spirit.  Obviously, it wasn't as eloquent and magnificent as Elder Holland's but it really vitalized the quote from I forget who that, "a testimony is to be found in the bearing of it". My testimony isn't grand but I can say with more surety than I ever have before...that God lives. He hears my prayers each and every time, and He answers them in the best way possible. I know that Christ came to die for me specifically, and although repentance isn't easy, it is worth it (kinda like a mission), the Book of Mormon is true and NO one, and nothing can turn me from that knowledge that I have. It has been amazing to see since I started my mission how much my faith and testimony has grown, not just my testimony of the Atonement, or the Book of Mormon...or any one principle...but my testimony of nearly every aspect of this great Gospel.

President Judd once said to me, "Elder I will die for this church! And I think you would be right along side me, wouldn't you?" I think I nervously shook my head...but I can now say with confidence that I would. I have always known this Church to be true but now I know it with a surety.  I'm ready to let it lead and be the top priority in my life. Its an amazing feeling! I love it!

I love where I am.  Yes I am jealous of ski trips but I've got my whole life to do that!  I love where I am, I am now healthy and I am happy.  It's hard but I am happy.

Love you all, be safe, no getting lost in the Back country....oh wait that was me ;)

Taylor

Monday, December 23, 2013

Afehyia Pa or...Merry Christmas!

Afehyia Pa, or Merry Christmas,

I cannot believe that is time for Christmas again!  The time is flying by...like I can't even explain!  Its exciting but at the same time make me sad.  The things that I am learning, the experiences I am having, the spirit I am feeling, the people that I am interacting with, they are just unparalleled by anything else!  I know I will still have all of this back home but I just can't imagine it being at the same level.  The way we live as missionaries is amazing!  At first for me it was hard, but now as I look at the blessing and the spirit that come from living exactly how I have been asked, seems like the smallest sacrifice.  It's a tiny price to pay for the reward we receive. 
Anyway, this week I received my Christmas packages!  Thank you all so so much!  I got one from Grandma and Grandpa Bradshaw, one from the Dew family, and I got the ones that Mom and Dad sent.  I got a dear elder letter from Grandma and Grandpa Bradshaw, and a mystery letter.....?  My guess is Grandma Palmer, but it was sent from Maine and signed "Mom", it was a bit wet, well really wet so that threw me off as well... so no idea on that one....?  But thank you EVERYONE so so much for all the letters and cards, I have read a few but am saving them mostly for Christmas:).  That was the best part!!  And Mom and Dad, thank you so much for sending some things for my companion....  That truly was the best part of my package this year.  Not going to lie as I sat there holding it I had some thoughts of just keeping it for myself, I don't know what is in there but I know it will be good, I looked at my pile of packages in the corner and looked at him there, happy, but with nothing.  I gave it to him...and at first he thought I was just letting him look at it but when I told him it was his, he didn't really know how to react...  He took it, thanked me and as he walked out of the room, I head him say, "now it's Christmas!", there was a little tear shed from both of us that night.  Giving truly is the greatest gift of Christmas.


The Ansah family.  Bro. Ansah's baptism day, being baptized by his oldest son.  Sis. Ansah will be baptized on Christmas.
 
Speaking of the greatest gift I could receive this year.... I had this picture in my inbox this week:) :).  I don't think you will recognize this family...they are the family that I just loved back in Koforidua...but that is Blessed Ansah being baptized by his oldest son this past week:).  He was then given the Priesthood and will be baptizing his wife on Christmas!  This work is amazing!  
 


Explain some of the photos you sent...
 
You with your two trainees...how fun is that???  Was that at your Christmas conference?  How did that go.  How is Elder Mc Donald?
 
Elder McDonald...Taylor (Elder Bradshaw)...and Elder Nondala

-yeah that was at Christmas Conference.  Spending Christmas with the mission family:).  Elder McDonald is doing great!  His shoes are destroyed but he is doing well ha ha.  The greatest thing to take on a mission is Eccos, just in case anyone asks!

You with a thumbs-up with a guy with his shirt off...you both look super happy!
 
Taylor with his new favorite investigator...'Fat Albert'
 
-That's Fat Albert, my favorite investigator.  He likes reading all sorts of books and they keep getting in the way of him reading the Book of Mormon.  So we challenged him to read nothing but the Book of Mormon for a week and he said, "no...its just too boring!"  
 
I realized that he likes looking deep and finding things that others don't.  I had this prompting to give him my BYU Book of Mormon study guide, so we stood up in the middle of the lesson and went and got it for him.  I got a call from him the next day during the Christmas Conference.  He said that he needs a Doctrine and Covenants, and and LDS edition of the Bible AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!  He said, "I have a Bible but without all these JST's how am going to know what really is true and what was added by man?"  
 
He is awesome!  Anyway, one day after we gave it to him, despite a funeral, he had read the first 25 pages of the Book of Mormon.  Then Sunday morning I called to remind him about church, and his reply is, "you're too late, I'm already here."  Yep he was to church a whole hour early ha ha.  I love that guy!  He calls me every night just to say..."Elder Bradshaw, this book is amazing!"

You and comp? with two other African's...one with glasses and yellow tie

Taylor with Patriarch Ahadjie, his grandson Prince and Elder Nondala

-Patriarch Ahadjie, and his grandson Prince that we baptized.  He is a black version of Grandpa Bradshaw.  The baptism was in November...I only interviewed him but it was so spiritual!
 

At the baptism of Prince...Can you find Taylor?


QUESTIONS FOR YOU:

Are you doing any Christmas-y things? 
-I think I am going to make us all a sweet breakfast:)

Okay about out of time, Love you all so much!  Talk to you soon:). 
 
Merry Christmas,

Elder Bradshaw

Monday, December 9, 2013

Refined through obedience



Dear Family,

Holy cow I am so happy to email today!:).  Thank you all so much for the emails, they lighten my day and make me so mappy!  

Yes, my time in the cafe has been cut down....  I think that, as our mission gets more obedient we are given the opportunity to be more and more refined in the things that aren't as obvious. When I first got to Ghana, President was asking the missionaries, to stop having girlfriends within the mission boundries, or to stop calling friends back home on your personal computer or cell phone that they had bought.  Now we are being asked to make sure our top button is done up or spend less time in the internet cafe and things like that.  It's been a cool thing to witness though.  I have seen the change and I have seen the blessings and miracles that occur when a mission, as a whole, is obedient.  Kinda stinks though, that we had to have shortened cafe time....so that is why my letters have been a bit shorter...sorry.

The tree festival thing sounded pretty cool!  I am sure you guys made a sweet one!  You should try and send me a picute of it.  And I was so so glad to hear that the Palmer side is doing some great stuff this year.  That is such a great thing!  I was so happy to hear that!  

It is just the most foreign idea to me right now, that somewhere in the world...it's actually cold! I really am going to die when I get home.  It rained the other night and I was so cold.  My companion was making fun of me because it really wasn't cold at all...but aparently I have just  been well adjusted to the weather ha ha.  I'll be super excited to experience the cold again though, that is going to be quite the sensation:).

I love the Friday devotionals. Yes, I love watching the movie but even more so...its just such an awesome thing to get people into the church.  This week we didnt have it due to a funeral held on the same day for a member of the stake...but this Friday we will be watching part two of 'The Work and the Glory.'

Yeah sorry...my camera is working fine.  Just with the short cafe time, I am having a hard time wanting to take the time to put them on.  We have wifi at the apartment though, so I'll see if Tony will give us the password and I'll send some home:).


Questions:

Most spiritual part of your week:
-This week, like I said there was a HUGE funeral!  It was for a church member that lived in Tema that had a massive influence in the revolution of Ghana.  Not like Mandela, but pretty big.  He was the founder of the reigning political party in Ghana so there was like 400 or 500 people there.  We were asked to be there to be available for contacting and help to greet people and all of that.  I happened to be standing by the door where the body was and where people would come out after they viewed the body.  Let's just say there was a lot of weaping and wailing....  There was these tribal drums and what not being played...and the spirit was not there and I just felt down.  I was thinking, what the heck is up with this death stuff, and things like that, and I just wasnt in a good mood.  But then, all of the sudden the drums stopped and the Stake Choir began singing, 'Master the Tempest is Raging'.  The whole mood changed. Just as they began to sing, the worst weaper and wailer of all...came out of the room.  As she left, my entire body was filled with a comforting tingle and warmth that filled me with joy.  I changed from being in a sad mood to having to try and calm myself down a bit because I was a bit too enerjetic and happy as I greeted all the crying people.   I know that death is not the end.  We do live after this life...and that life is going to be so much better than this one!  Like think about it, no more pain, no more sin, no more Satan, no more ski lift lines...it's going to be amazing!  I'm not excited to die, but I'm not afraid to either.  

Mail:
- I got a package from the Hunter's, I think they called it a 'Halloween' package...which by the way thank you SO much!!! It was amazing!  And I got one from Grandma and Grandpa Palmer.  Don't worry. I didn't open it. I did have to put it in my suit case though because it was so tempting!

Love you all, about out of time...but you are the best family in the world,

Love you SO much,

Taylor

Monday, December 2, 2013

White Christmas

Hello Family


Sorry this is going to be so short.  We had a lot to do and I had to do some other things online today, surveys and what not...so I only have a few minutes...but I promise to get a good email out next week!  
Anyway, I love you all so so much!  It is always so so good to hear that everyone is doing well.  I, myself am doing great, I'm tired but I guess that means I am doing something right.  President once said, "if you have trouble falling asleep that means your not working hard enough!"  Lets just say I have no trouble falling asleep at night:).  

This week was fun.  We had our first missionary devotional, which will be happening each Friday from now on.  It's a plan we organized with the bishop to not only get new investigators into the church on a less conflicting time, but a plan to retain new converts and less actives.  I am thoroughly convinced that if you can get someone into the chapel, they will feel something different...if they allow themselves to...and that something will drive them back to the church on Sunday.  This week we watched 'The Work and The Glory', it was pretty awesome!  We had a great showing.  We had about 10 recent converts, a few members and one of our new investigators with his less-active brother, who were then at church on Sunday as well!  It was great.  The bishop was thrilled with it, and everyone loved it!  The investigator was so impressed with how the same problems the church is encountering today (rumors, etc.) was exactly what they were experiencing from the beginning.  His name is Meshack, by the way, and he is going to be baptized on the 25 of December!:) 

Our apartment is organizing a "White Christmas", well lots of white clothes at least:).  Hopefully.  I am really excited about it!  I had a realization with the whole Thanksgiving thing and realized the same to be true about Christmas.  I will have every year in forever to enjoy myself on Christmas by eating fancy food and sitting around with family and opening presents...but when else am I going to have the opportunity to stand in the baptismal font with my hand to the square and help to give one of my brothers and sisters the greatest gift of all time?!  I love this work and I know it to be true!  I love being here, and love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

Sorry its short, if you haven't sent my last package yet I need a black belt... mine fell apart.  And this time maybe a bit smaller, and not one that is shiny.  One likes dads.

Love you all

Taylor

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving WAS great!

Dear Family,

So my computer is again in French...so, please,  bear with me....

This week was hard.  And it was good.  At the same time.  Missionary work will never get easy, Satan hates it way too much to let it get easy, haha.  It's like...once you figure out his tactics, he has already planned the next one...and he is going to try and bring you down.  One of these days though he is going to run out of ideas...and I'll have all of them figured out!:).  That's going to be a sweet day. 
It is absolutely crazy to me that I have been here 16 months!  The time seriously is flying by!  Elder Larsen (Taylor's awesome 2nd companion) goes home in two weeks!  It feels like just yesterday I was picking him up at the mission home, crazy!  Anyway funny thing is, when you have been here 16 months...some weeks you just really don't have anything to say....?  I am sitting here just trying to think of what to write about and I am drawing a big blank...  It was a fine week, but there just wasn't anything that crazy or awesome. 

We had a baptism for P, that was great.  He is the grandson of the Stake Patriarch.  We didn't really have to work all that much to get it.  I don't know...some of your investigators you just have an awesome connection to, you delight in seeing them grow and are overjoyed when they reach the waters of baptism.  Others...you teach them, they progress and they are baptized but for some reason...you don't have that special connection that you sometimes have.  I think with P., he just didn't really appreciate or understand what was happening all that much?  He comes to church each week, but I don't know if it's him or his grandparents making that decision.  He is great and I love him, it just wasn't as spiritual as some of my other baptisms have been.  Elder Nondala did the baptism and he did an awesome job! 


Ha ha! I was sad to hear that the psychedelic Christmas tree has flashed its last flash...haha that thing was sweet!  I'll be excited to see the new one though...it sounds awesome:).

To answer Mom's question...my 'standing up for what I believe' wasn't ever a huge challenge for me.  I made mistakes and I know I still do. I think honestly the reason it wasn't ever that difficult for me to stand for what was right because I had made that decision when I was so young.  I decided when I was fairly young that there was certain things I just wouldn't do...no matter what.  That way...when those hard times came...the decision was already made.  Yes, I grew up in Alpine Utah...the safest place in the world...but no matter where you are, even in Alpine...you still need to stand up for what you believe.  When I went to college, I stayed true instead of wavering like some did because they hadn't made that decision. Then, when decision time came...it was too late...and they were gone.  It's almost like being inoculated...given a small experience of bad so that when the real bad comes you know how to fight back.  I would just challenge each of them to set their own rules: places that they will never go and things they will never do.  Draw a line and never cross it.  No one needs to just sit in a house and never go into the real world because that's not what our life is meant to be...eventually they will need to venture out...and if they have never had opportunities to make decisions...they won't know how to handle a lot of freedom.  At least, those are my thoughts!
 
So...for the weekly questions!!

Most Spiritual part of the week?
-This week I again realized what makes me happy in life.... Last year for Thanksgiving we did an amazing dinner! It was just like home!  But, not going to lie, we didn't do what we were supposed to.  Instead of being out teaching all that day, we were in the house cooking. The dinner came and it went. I was happy, but there was something missing.  I didn't realize what that was until almost exactly a year later, which was this Thursday, Thanksgiving. We did make an amazing dinner this year...but we started cooking when we came in after a full days work at 9pm.  And then, we were done and in bed before we knew it.  I was happier than I was the year before...it was a joy that is hard to explain. I sat there eating and realized what was missing the year before.  Last year...we had not done anything close to what we should have been doing.  We had wasted an entire day of the Lords time to celebrate a stupid holiday of a country that was miles away.  We thought we were happy but we were missing the spirit in our apartment...and that is why we couldnt truly be happy. This year I felt that true joy and I know that its not the food or the money, the cars or the snowboarding, that make me happy but the Spirit of the Lord.

Thanksgiving?
-So confession time...I just realized something really funny.  I thought Thanksgiving was last week...so we already had our Thanksgiving...ha ha.  It was good though, we all really enjoyed it.  I am the only American in the apartment, so I was the only one who knew what Thanksgiving was, but the others thoroughly enjoyed it:). 
K sorry, about out of time.  Love you all so so much.  Can't tell you that enough!  You are all amazing:).  Thanks for all the help on your end.   I'll tell you the same thing you tell me...be safe, work hard.

Love you,
Taylor
P.S.- If you could send some insoles to my Eccos that would be great, not dead yet but close;). size 44


Taylor trying to prove that he really does need some new in-soles for his shoes.

Monday, November 18, 2013

At that moment of great alarm...

18 November 2013


Dear Family,

This week was pretty darn awesome! 

It was hard at first and is getting hard right now but, to put it in the terms of moms analogy, I definitely hit that wake during the middle of the week and had some great experiences. 

If there is something that I have learned on my mission...it is that God usually waits until that last minute of hope before he saves you.  Maybe it's that whole, "saved by grace, after all that we can do" concept.  Or maybe it's just like working out...those first few reps get you tired but don't make you stronger...it's the last two after you don't think you can even do one more that breaks that muscle down so it can build back stronger.  Whatever the analogy...I have noticed that God will hold off on his "noticeable" divine help until you can't go any further, until you are just about done, until you just about can't take it any more...then there is always "subtle" divine help along the way, as we have been promised his constant companionship.  It always makes me think about the experience of Joseph Smith and the story of the first vision.  We all know what leads up to this story but this is something that I really feel is a principle of how God operates...   "at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

I have always been fascinated with this part of the story.  I think its amazing that one of the greatest events that has ever taken place on this earth, was preceded by an experience that had Joseph Smith inches from despair.  "At the very moment", "just at this moment", right when all else seemed lost is when that pillar of light (Heavenly Father) entered into young Josephs life and changed him forever. 
I have experienced this SO many times over the course of my mission, its crazy!  I realized this a long time ago, and sometimes it's frustrating to realize that you are struggling but you still have some time to go, some more effort to give, to get to that absolute last minute before His help comes. I hit that point this week.  It wasn't all that bad of a hard time but one that I was just tired working through. I hit that point this week, and then had some of the most spiritual experiences of my mission.  That light came into my view and I enjoyed it so so much!  Anyway...just a cool little thing I have learned over the course of my time in Ghana:), and something that I definitely experienced again this week. 

Mom, I don't think that I overlooked my answer to prayer in Koforidua.  It was more like I didn't really want to admit it that it was an answer because I didn't want to leave that place at all!  That answer helped me know it was coming but just didnt want it to admit it.  I realize now, that that answer was just like you said...was there to comfort me at a different time, which was now.

Things with Elder Nondala are going well.  We got into our first little argument the other night over some small misunderstanding.  Nothing too big, but we were both a little fired up. We got in the house and he sat down to plan and the only thing I could think in my head was, "there is no way that I am going to plan with him right now!" As I put something away in my closet, I had a little vision.  Earlier that same day...we had an amazing lesson.  The spirit was there, we were able to keep that spirit present through the entire lesson and really help our new friend, Cecilia, to come closer to Christ.  We were so happy!  The spirit was so strong!  And, after the lesson we just walked down the street together overjoyed. In my little vision...I saw us leaving our lesson that we had scheduled with that same woman the next day.  The spirit wasn't there. We were not happy.  The concerns that she had were not resolved.  And as we walked away, one of us was ahead of the other...and we were not happy in the slightest. At that moment...I almost began to cry.  I was so sad that all this had happened.  We were just starting to get things figured out and now things just wouldn't be the same.  But then it came to me... "just say sorry."  I paused for a minute, because I really felt that I hadn't done anything wrong.  I felt that I was actually the one that deserved an apology. But, because of this 'little vision'...I went back and sat down to plan.  As we did, I was filled with a love for Elder Nondala that I hadn't felt before.  It was infectious and it filled my entire body.  I knew that...yes, I was wrong for how I had handled the situation and I apologized. It wasn't something big or grand but I felt a burden relieved as I knew that our relationship had been saved and that we were back on that great path that we had been earlier that day.

The next day, we were walking down the road around that same area that we had contacted Cecilia and we got a phone call. 

It was Cecilia and she told us, "I have something I need to ask you, can you come to my house right now?"

Just by the tone in her voice, I knew something was wrong. 

As we arrived at her house, she was waiting outside holding the Restoration pamphlet that we had given her the day before.

She gave us a chair and we sat down.  She said, "Are you the Mormons?"

We told her that we were and she just said, "why? Why do you have to use this other book, why?!"

She continued to tell us that she had heard we were this and that and that she loved us...but hated our church.

We talked with her about her concerns.  As we did...that familiar spirit came into the lesson that we had felt the day before.  We, as missionaries, were guided by it.  Cecilia as a concerned investigator, was taught and comforted by it.

We left that lesson as happy as we had been the day before.  With one less Book of Mormon...and baptismal date for my new favorite investigator, Cecilia.

I am so grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ, I have learned to use it more and more over the last few months than I have in my entire life! For not only the major wrong doings...but even for the small little arguments and mistakes of our day to day life. I know that the Atonement is there for us...and WILL take away the effects of sin.  We had contention in our companionship, and we were able to avoid the consequences of the next day by partaking of the great gift of the Atonement today. It filled each of us with a greater love for one another and healed that wound that we had caused.  I know the atonement works and that it is real. I love, appreciate, and understand it more and more each day. 

Ha ha yeah my companion does kind of have a fun name to say...Nondala. When he first got him, I had a hard time remembering it...but I realized it sounded kinda like Mandela, Nelson Mandela.  So that was my little story that I used to remember his name.  It kinda backfired on me during our second day.  It was one of our first lessons, and I introduced him as, "my new brother, Nelson Mandela..."  Man...I was so embarrassed, but it was hilarious!  His name is way fun to say when you add his first name...which is Bubele...Bubele Nondala...he's a great guy.

I loved the analogy of water skiing!  I was going to relate mission to water skiing this week as well....  Every year at Lake Powell, Dad will come up to the top of the house boat on about on the third day...early the morning and ask if I am ready to go out for the morning ski run.  And I will always reply, "I hurt too much."   And without fail...his reply is, "the best way to not be sore is to do it again!"  And it's true!  It works!  When you are sore and you keep going, you push through it, it gets easier and it doesn't hurt as much.  This week I was hurting spiritually.  I was on a high, physically...I was just tired of working!  I wanted to sleep in, I wanted to take a rest, my mind was so tired of thinking and worrying about this and that I just wanted a break.... But I thought of the water skiing, "the best way to not be sore is to do it again."  That's what I am doing, and as I push forward...it really does get better:).  Thanks Dad for teaching me lessons that you never even knew you were teaching:).


K...and now for some questions...

Most spiritual part of the week?
-Had an awesome lesson with Cecilia!  I'm about out of time but so I won't get into too much detail, but it was just one that I felt very close to the spirit and very guided by it

New contacting tactics?  Ward member relationships?
-just talk to as many people as possible!  We only got to watch 45 minutes of General Conference but I heard someone say, "Elders and Sisters, if you want more people to teach, you must talk to more people" so we are just going to contact like crazy this week and talk to everyone!

Mail?
-I got one from Little Lexi, who is no longer so little, and holy cow...you let her drive!? 
Things with companion?  Roommates?
-things are good!
Funniest thing?
-there was a baptism for a man named Evans this week.  The bishop was giving a talk and he told him that he was reading about Nephi being asked to build a boat...and Evans, under his breath, goes, "actually that was Noah, but its okay!"  Totally serious.  It was hilarious! 

Also, we extended a baptismal date to a man named Eugene and his response was, "well I don't want to go to Hell, so yeah!  I'll be baptized!"  Well, may not too funny...but I got a kick out of it.

Pday fun?
- I went for a run this morning, that was kinda nice.
What are you grateful for this week?
-the companionship of the spirit and the Atonement

Dad you asked how many people we have in the district, We have four sisters and four elders.  It's going pretty well.  Our district is in a bit of a slump right now in terms of numbers...but we are climbing :).


Well, I love you all so much.  Take care of yourself, keep reading The Book of Mormon...it's awesome!  Zack enjoy the new companion...I am praying for ya like crazy!

Love you all.  Thinking about you like crazy.  Praying for you constantly,

Taylor 


PS...(from Kim)...Here is the analogy that we sent both our missionaries this week...it seemed to fit!

Here's a fun analogy for you...
This mission can be related to a water skier...actually more like Grandpa Bradshaw water skiing, you'll see what I mean here in a minute.  When you left...it was like when you jump into the cold water at Lake Powell...it takes a minute to be able to breathe (in my case) and you move around and warm-up and soon your are comfortable...that was you at the MTC.  Little bit of a shock...but you adapted and were comfortable. 

When you left for the 'real' mission...it was like when you say "hit it!" when you are holding on to the end of the rope behind the boat.  First thing that happens after that is that you get pulled under water and have to fight it for a while, water going up your nose...getting sprayed and pulling with all the strength that you have...and then finally coming up out of the water, still a little unstable and shaky...and then finally, you begin to plane...and you begin to look around and see the scenery and it becomes a little easier just staying behind the boat.  Now...I'm going to add here that there will be times when you make a deep cut and have to hold on tighter because there will be more pressure and more resistance, but then again...you will come out of that deep cut and fly again.  And that, my dear...is my analogy of your mission...so far.  You are up and behind the boat...you are just in a really deep cut right now...watch out...the wake is coming up!

Monday, November 11, 2013

I've left one foot in Koforidua

Dear Family,

I am not quite sure where to start this week...as usual.  It was an okay week, a bit of a hard one...but also one where I finally started to get some things figured out.  Lately the work in Tema has been suffering....like, really suffering.  I don't know what it is.  We try new tactics each week,but it just doesn't seem to pick up.  I can't say that Tema is a bad area, because its not...it's just one that I am having a hard time figuring out how to keep moving.  It is a tough area I will give myself that much, its different than any other area in Ghana in terms of the way that you will do contacting, the way you will teach, the way you work with members and honestly...I really am struggling with figuring it out.  I can't really say that I like the area all that much to be honest with you but I think even that is starting to change.  This week...even just this morning I had the realization that one of my feet was left in Koforidua.

I don't know if I ever told you this...but when I was in Koforidua I was praying once for some answers and comfort as to where I would be in the coming transfer.  I was a bit nervous and reluctant to leave what was then my new home. As I prayed, I opened my scriptures and it fell to a place in the D&C.  It said something along the lines of, "your work in the eastern regions is finished, nevertheless, you are called to continue your labor in the southern regions." I read that and knew immediately that I would be transferred back to Accra.  Not going to lie, I was a bit bummed.  It's pretty obvious how much I loved serving in Kofoidua. When I first had this experience I never really thought all that much about it.  It was something that I kinda just brushed off and took as a little warning as to where I was going.  But this morning, as I was washing my clothes, it was called again to my memory and a feeling of peace washed over me (no pun) that truly it was divinely inspired that I was supposed to be in Tema. I may not love it as much as my past place of service...YET...but I know its where I am supposed to be and where the Lord would have me. I also know that as I work as hard as I can and put as much of my heart, soul and energy into the work here that love for this area will come just as strongly as it did in Koforidua. Yes Koforidua was awesome and I love it so so much, but Tema can also be awesome.  I think that Koforidua was so awesome because of how I learned to work in that area.  The work wasn't easy, but I enjoyed it because of the spirit that I felt doing it.  I knew the importance of the work that I had been called to do there and was happy as I saw it grow.  Koforidua was the same when I started my time there, the work was hard, I was down on myself and not feeling the spirit like I wanted to.  Even when I first started with Elder McDonald, I wasnt happy and hit probably one of my lowest lows, but that lowest low was followed by my highest high. Each area comes with its own set of challenges, I just need to figure out how to overcome them here.  Right now...I'm about dying, but I know that just before I die is when God steps in and we get things done. 
 
Elder Nondala is doing well.  He got some blisters on his feet but who didn't when they first got here?  ha ha.  He and I get along very well. He is getting a bit discouraged with the slump in the area but he will get it.  Elder Halavaka is doing well and said to tell everyone hello.  He and I have become pretty good friends over the last few months, he is a great guy.  Yeah we all four work in the same ward, Tema ward 2.  Its a pretty sweet ward.  Probably my favorite ward out of all my areas, they are pretty eager to do the work when you push them a bit.  Ha ha I don't know what else to say about Elder Nondala, he really is a cool guy.  He liked body-building back home...whenever he tells people that they say, "you don't look like you are very good at it though!" (he really isn't big at all), so he stopped telling people that ha ha.  He is really humble though.  He has desire to work hard, a little more so when people actually want to talk to us ha ha.  Training him and Elder McDonald is so different!  I love them both and love different things about each of them.  And even though South Africa is so much different than the rest of Africa...it's still Africa, so he is a little more used to the living style, the washing the clothes in a bucket, the way the transportation is, things  like that.  But that is also kinda nice. Elder McDonald was a blank slate and anything I said he followed...wanting to learn, he is like a little copy of me. Elder Nondala has his own way of doing things, he had an idea of what missionary work was and yes, he does take my advice but mostly does what he wants.  He just came with more experience.  Elder McDonald was on a quest with me to be obedient, Elder Nondala is a little more on the side of obedience being a hindrance still.  He's an awesome guy and willing to obey when I ask him...but sometimes I just get tired of being the Nazi missionary.  I said something about home the other day and Elder Mabizela let out a sigh and said, "ah I'm glad that you are somewhat human and not just this super missionary all the time, telling us about this rule or that rule, or talking about investigators or the work all the time".  K...I'm not saying I'm a super missionary, but I just realized how much I truly have turned into a missionary since being here. Of course I think of home...but its almost just like sweet memories.  I almost feel like I'm not going to come home some days and that this is just my new life.  Today we went to the market, which is in the bad part of town and I felt more at home there than when I was in the nice part of town.  It was weird that speaking Twi, being around small shacks, in the busy, unorganized streets of Ghana felt better than the A/C, nice homes, hamburgers, and proper roads of my new area.  I just can't imagine the shock of coming home. 

Anyway I am about of time :/  I love you all so much.  I probably seem a bit down but honestly I am doing well today, we went and explored the market and I had a great day.  I really felt the spirit today, chills and all!  I have such a desire building inside me to just kill it this week and I am. So. Excited!

Love you all,

Taylor

Monday, November 4, 2013

South Africans are my Favorite

Dear Family,

Everyone seems pretty anxious about transfers so maybe we will start there ha ha.  I am now with Elder Nondala from South Africa!  He is a really great guy, and he and I are already getting along great!  I am training him but I feel almost more like he is training me, he was baptized about two years ago but is very ready and prepared to be a missionary and its been an honor to work with him for even the few days that I have.  Ha ha he talks a bit fast for the Ghanaians to keep up but he is great.  Elder Halavaka is training another South African, Elder Mabizela.  It's a pretty sweet apartment full of missionaries.  South Africans are just like Americans which makes them some of my favorite people to be companions with, you get the relativity of an American but the adventure and experience of an African.  I think my favorite thing is that they just grew up so differently than we did in the gospel.  We all know the same doctrines and principles but we were all taught them in a different way.  It's just cool to see the different approach they have on missionary work.  I really like Elder Nondala though, we are going to have a great time together.  
 
Thank you very much for the Thanksgiving package!  I really do appreciate that!  We are really looking forward to thanksgiving, I am the only Elder in the apartment that celebrates it...but Elder Nondala's birthday is around the same time so we are going to do it right :).

Yeah, apparently Elder Gann's family is totally willing to bring over stuff for me!  Since you sound like you are getting close to starting on some caramels...could you plan on a few boxes for me?  There are some people that I want to give them out to here, President and Sister Judd, some of the Sr. Couples, Elder McDonald, people like that.  I think they would really appreciate and enjoy it, I know I would:).  And I would love some as well if you can:).  Ill get a list together of some other things that I could use.

I really appreciate all the prayers and fasting!  I really can feel it, missionary work will never get easy....never ever!  I struggle almost every day with X, Y, or Z, obviously you get more accustomed to the work and all that it requires but its never easy.  Satan always find new and cunning ways to drag you down and try and ruin the work.  He is pretty good at what he does, especially with missionaries, sickness, home sadness, no success, rejection, worry, doubt, fear, stress, the list goes on forever. Missionary work is hard so I appreciate all the help that everyone is sending, it does not go unnoticed :).

 -HOW WAS YOUR WEEK? HOW'S TRAINING?
- I really enjoy training!  Its a great experience.
 
-MOST SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE
A couple of nights ago we had a few appointments fall through, we sat down to look at our planners and decide who we could go see for the last appointment of the night and no one was really coming to mind.  It was getting to just about that time where we could almost start walking home but I just didn't feel like the night was over.  I knew that we still had someone we were supposed to see. As we sat thinking, it only took a couple of seconds and I had a very clear thought to go and see Emmanuel and Sarah who were recently baptized.  They have been having some pretty rough financial problems which is causing a lot of marital problems which has been so hard to see.  We had just seen them the day before, and had ruled them out earlier in the day that we didn't need to visit them again, but I knew we needed to, so we started walking to their home. As we passed a fruit stand, I again had a prompting to buy them a little something and take it to them that evening.  I bought them a 1 cedi pineapple and we were on our way. As we approached the road their small house is on there was a woman sitting on the curb with her head down, we nearly passed her by but then I realized that it was Sarah. She, in previous visits had been very sad reserved and blocked off and really hadn't wanted to talk with us about what was bothering her...but as we sat down with her that night she just opened up. She told us all that was bothering her, and we had one of the most spiritually led lessons that I have had since coming to Tema. We were able to offer some small advice and let her know that her Heavenly Father is aware of her situation and has promised her help through the Holy Ghost...if she asked for it. We had a solemn but spiritual lesson with her that night and then were able to give her a pineapple to finish it off.  Totally lame, but was something that really meant a lot to her. I was so grateful for the guidance that the spirit offered that night so that were able to be in the right place at the right time, and to do our little bit to lift someones hands that hung helplessly down. 


-FUNNIEST THING THAT HAPPENED
-We walked past a car wash the other day and Elder Nondala asked howw much it cost to wash OUR car, I just laughed.....he totally thought we had a car ha ha.  

-FUN PDAY ACTIVITY FOR THE WEEK
-apartment inspections by the office couple!

-WAS IT FUN TO GO TO THE MISSION HOME TO GET YOUR NEWBIE? 

-To tell you the truth its horrible going to the mission home!  I hate it!  It's quite the process and it just makes you so tired.  It was nice picking him up though, a bit nerve-racking but fun.  They all sit on one side of the room and trainers on the other then they calll two names they stand up...and thats your next three months ha ha.

-PHOTOS?
(From Kim:  A few months ago...the church sent a photographer to Ghana who met up with Taylor and followed him for a whole day in Koforidua---his last area)  The MTC President complimented Taylor on his Modeling career the other day...and Taylor was confused...the MTC President told him that these pictures had been used as part of a recent Mission President Training...and then sent them to Taylor...who sent them to us.  Since then, one of these photos showed up on the Church's Facebook page...Apparently there are some pictures with the Sisters in his mission and one of his great friends in July New Era Magazine...One of the Elders on the cover of that magazine is one of Taylor's good friends from Utah State.  I'll attach a few here.)








-MAIL?
-I got a big envelope filled with small envelopes from Jeff and Courtney and fam!  And two letters from Elli that were from forever ago but seem like they got forgotten for a bit ha ha:). Thank you...thank you very much!


Okay about out of time :(.  Love you all so much!  Stay strong, be safe.

Love you all so much,

Taylor 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Short and Sweet

21 October 1013

Dear Family,

Okay before I forget...because I have for like a month now, I was at the MTC one night and there was a group of new missionaries that were still in the MTC outside in front.  We went over to talk with them, see where they were going all that fun stuff.  As we were talking a missionary came out, looked at my tag and says, "ah man, Elder Bradshaw I LOVE your brother!!" Turns out his name was Elder Robb?  I don't know his first name or anything but he sure knew Zack!  He talked about how much he loved and respected Zack...and how good of a person he was.  I was very very proud to be Zack's brother.  Thank you Zack, for being the kind of guy that when a friend flies all the way to Africa, and sees your brother, he will thank him for having such an awesome brother that always made him feel important and loved.  You're awesome! 
Thank you all so much for the prayers, I really do appreciate them!   And...I really do feel them.  

So, I am about out of time, I wrote Zack a good one today and that took some time.  Sorry this one may be short.  I'll try and hit a few cool points though:). 

How about some questions...

Mail?
-got a package from Victor and Viki!  Thank you!  I got a letter from Elli on her typewriter that I loved...and a letter from the Pace family.

Photos?
-I'll try and get some, time is limited this week...

Most spiritual part of your week?
-This week I was so excited to go to the temple, I prepared probably like I had never prepared before to go to the temple, physically, and most important spiritually. I even made a list of everything I needed to do in the morning; deodorant, tooth brush, shoes, breakfast, everything! When we first entered the session we were a bit early, I had a few minutes to sit and admire the beauty of the temple and to enjoy the peace the prevails there. As I prayed, and pondered...I felt a closeness to the Savior and to my Heavenly Father that I had never felt before, I felt almost as if I could see them sitting there watching me as I sat in that holy room. I felt their love that they had for me somuch stronger than I have ever felt. I have always know there is a God...but the thought of a supreme being was always a bit weird to me.  Not that I ever questioned that He was there...but it was just something I had a hard time imagining. As I sat in the temple on Wednesday it just made sense.  It clicked.  I could process the idea of God clearly, and simply.  Now I can say that I know more than ever, that God lives.  He is there watching over us each and every step of this crazy two years. He knows my pains.  He knows my desires.  And he knows exactly how to help me. He knows when to step in, and he knows when to let me walk alone, or at least seem as if I'm alone, in order to learn a specific lesson. He loves me, and I know it. This experience isn't easy and some days I feel as if I'm done...but that's when he comforts me and gives me the strength I need to carry on.

Funniest thing that happened?
-remind me to tell you when I get home....its one of those...

What are you learning from Elder Benans? 
-Patience, gratitude.
 
Tell me something fun you did for pday...
-we were supposed to do something today in Batsonaa but then we got sick...  Next Monday we should be doing a Zone P-day though.
What are some of your favorite things in Ghana?
-the people are just absolutely amazing!  Greatest people in the world!

Are there things that we could be doing to help you?
-Take care of Zack...I'll do the same.

Okay, I love you all so so much!  You are such an amazing family and I am so grateful for each and everyone of you!  Be safe.
Love you all,
Taylor

Monday, October 14, 2013

Dear family,

Man time is flying by!  It feels almost like its almost just always Monday.  This week was the typical mission roller coaster, good for some of it...and then real 'not good' for others parts...ha ha.  That's about how it always seems to go isn't it? (my computer is in French today so sorry if it's a bit sloppy)

Good. I'm glad that you got my pictures that I sent!  
It was a bit of a process to get my camera hooked up, but I think it should just stay logged onto the network now...so hopefully it will be easier from here on out.  If its not...it may be a while before I can send more.  I still think that is crazy how I can take a picture of what I am doing right then and there...and then send it to the other side of the world and you can share that little experience with me. 
Sister Patricia's Baptism
 This...was the baptism for Sister Patricia, and it was awesome!  We started working with Sister Pat the week I came to Tema.  That was her first Sunday.  She had come to witness her boyfriend (Bro Evans) being baptized the week before and hasn't missed a beat since.  Both of them have taken to the church like crazy...and it has only been a few weeks!  They are a really cool couple. Rumor on the street is...that Evans is planning on proposing soon, don't tell Patricia though;).  I hope they get married, it would be sweet!  Anyway, Evans baptized Patricia and did it perfectly!  Him standing there in the font...all confident and bold...about made me cry!  
He was a big, somewhat shy, soft-spoken guy until they gave him the Priesthood.   You could literally see the change in him and it was amazing!  He is still quite shy but he speaks with conviction and...even more so you can just see his confidence!  The Priesthood really did change Brother Evans.  The first time I really saw and noticed it was when he stood there reverently in the baptismal front. He helped his soon-to-be fiance down into the water, raised his hand to the square (checking to make sure it was just right...which is not a quality of a typical Ghanaian) and performed the baptism perfectly!  It was awesome, I wish I had two pictures of him.  One before his baptism and Priesthood ordination...and one after, then you could see it!  

Okay...I'll tell you a bit about the pictures I sent:

What was that crazy banana-looking fruit thing?


 -thats a plantain, the staple food of Ghana.  I have eaten probably about a million of those things over the last year.  They cook them in about 20 different ways so that one was just a roasted one, I eat them for lunch with a pineapple a lot.  Ill make you all some when I get home:).

What is the pineapple cart?
-they are walking all around town.  Pineapple season is on...so they are cheep-as-can-be and they are everywhere!  For 50 cents I can get a whole big pineapple,  and it kinda reminds me of Dad with the watermelon in Portugal, there are so many of them we only eat the middle, the best part, and it is awesome!!  They peel it all in one piece, that's what I'm holding.
What about the road with white walls/gates?
-this is how my entire area is....I think I sent a picture of a wall with about five doors on it in my last area?  Yeah thats what we knocked there and now we knock on these gates or I guess I should say push the telecom button...it kinda stinks---not going to lie. beep....beep...beep.... "hello", "yeah we are the missionaries, from the Chur.....", "yeah I don't have time for that...bye."  Oh man...it's frustrating! Some times I feel like just walking down the road the chucking pamphlets over the gates...like a news paper...it might be more effective!

What about the road with palm trees/nice houses:

-Just felt not like Ghana at all so I had to take a picture.

Is that a hamburger?

-Yes...it may be heaven:)

you/companion
:
Yeah just so you know who he is.  There was wifi there at that restaurant...and it was like my second day in Tema so I was going to try and send a picture home...but it didnt work.



Who is that large group of missionaries?
-that's our zone, 44 missionaries, one of the biggest in the world, stressful but sweet!

Who is the guy with crazy cart full of everything?

-a crazy guy (like literally crazy) and that was his bike.

Why the picture of the stream/ canal?
-the poop rivers, they are all over....and yes full of poop.

Questions:

Best part of the week:
-Elder Bradley and Elder Shults came and stayed over the other night, that was fun!  Elder Bradley was with me in Teshie so it was fun to hang out with him again.

How are things with Robert?  
-dropped off the map :/

Any other investigators?
-not really ha ha.

How's the work in Tema?
-tough and hot.  We work like crazy...get sun burned...and have literally nothing in the world to show for it!

Do you ever feel nervous or in danger?
-not really, just a bit stressed, lot of annoying things going on with some of the missionaries, just a lot of problems to deal with.  Late nights and early mornings...but it's still fun:).  I'm learning a lot.

Do you ever speak in church?  You could be a cheerleader for ward members to invite their friends to church!
-ha ha I wish!  We could really use that chance to motivate people!

Are you still cooking for yourself?
-every night!  Elder Halavaka cooks a lot as well...so its been awesome to be able to collaborate with him and see what we can come up with.  We can get some better stuff here...so our latest concoction has been a sweet potato/pumpkin soup...and guess what?  It's awesome :).

okay well you didn't ask my most spiritual part of the week but this was it...
-Due to the baptism going a bit late we ended up having a double booked lesson with two people that we really needed to see.  The other Elders had brought some investigators to the baptism and ended up having their last appointments in the evening fall through.  We asked if they would be able to do an hour exchange to help us out and they were more than happy to do so.  Elder Halavaka and I went to visit a man named Felix, that Elder Bradley and I had contacted earlier in the week.  We talked and discussed The Book of Mormon, and the need that we have for it.  When Elder Bradley and I contacted him he asked a great question, "does the Bible have all that the information that I need to get to Heaven?"  He talked about how he thought that God wouldn't give us only a partial truth...and wouldn't leave us alone on this pathway back to heaven...but somehow still felt like The Bible wasn't complete.  It was a great 'gate' lesson that we had with Elder Bradley which ended up lasting about an hour and a half.  We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and scheduled a time to come back and discuss the many concerns that he had.  Elder Halavaka and I discussed the need for both The Book of Mormon and The Bible with him.  I really feel like we had a great lesson but we could not get him to realize how great The Book of Mormon is...and how essential it is in helping us on this pathway back to Heavenly Father.  In the end, we finally got him to commit to pray and ask God about it...but he would not read it.  I had about a thousand ideas of how to explain the need for reading before asking but just couldn't seem to put together a coherent sentence in my mind.  It was quite literally a "stupor of thought".  I was for a minute very frustrated and then I had an almost tangible thought, "pray and ask God if he needs to read it or if his prayer is enough?"  I said a simple prayer.  "God is his prayer enough" and then I had a feeling of peace come over me.  He proceeded to hand me back the copy of The Book of Mormon and told us that if he receives an answer...that we won't need to ask if he wants it back.  Rather, he would be on the front row of our church shouting that he needs his copy of The Book of Mormon back.  I was reluctant to accept the book...but again had that reassuring peace that his prayer would be enough, and that I shouldn't push him.  I accepted the book, we closed the lesson and we left.  
It was a great lesson but the best part was after the lesson talking with Elder Halavaka about what was going through our heads the entire time and realizing that out promptings had completely lined up.  It was awesome!!  I am finally learning to recognize promptings from the Holy Ghost...and learning to hold on to those promptings...and then to push those promptings to further knowledge. 
That lesson, I know, was absolutely guided by the spirit.  I don't know if I have ever felt that direct of promptings or ones I guess that I was able to understand so well and then be able to ask for further guidance and then receive it.  It was a powerful realization...and one moment that I really enjoyed this week.  Itreally is true...nothing feels better than the companionship of the Holy Ghost!  It was sweet! 
Elder Halavaka and I have become really really good friends, he is a great guy and one that I really enjoy! 

Well it sounds like you guys are really having a great time and I am so glad.  Don't worry about me.  I'm having a hard time, but a great time!  Thats just how a mission is.  Times are hard but the things I am learning and experiencing are totally worth every bit of pain that I will go through!  I would go through a whole lot...and some days I do...to feel like I do right now.  I love you all, have a great week!  Be safe.

Love you all,

Taylor  

Monday, October 7, 2013

The climb is always bumpy!

October 7, 2013
 
Dear Family,
I am still not quite sure what I am going to write about this week so if this is lame...I'm sorry.  I kinda feel like Dad, teach, sleep, teach, sleep...what the heck? it's Monday again!  Time really is flying by!  
 
This week I was unbelievably tired.  We taught lessons like crazy, here and there, here and there, but I'm just still not happy with the work being done.  I think Elder Halavaka explained it pretty well when we were on an exchange this week...he said, "change is like taking off in an airplane.  The climb is always, always bumpy and rough but when you make it up there its smooth sailing."  I just gotta hold on for the ride, do my part, and one of these days, sooner of later I'll make it up to that smooth sailing ride:).  Really though, it hasn't been that bad, I had a thought the other day that its going to be like coming home... A/C, weird food, off your spiritual high, knowing you need to do something---but you can't really figure out how because its so different than what your used to, getting lost in random neighborhoods, new things to try and figure out, dealing with girls (sister missionaries).  Wow, when I think of it like that...I'm scared to come home!  Good thing I don't have to think about that one for a while.  Anyway I really don't have much to write about....  I am so glad that Zack is doing better though.  That is so good to hear! 
Man, I was so jealous of you all the entire time that conference was going!  I was looking at the Utah time on my watch and doing the count down until conference starts....well when I thought it started, its been a while so I kinda forgot.  Any cool announcements with conference this year?  New temples?  Anything new besides all the missionaries back home getting I-pads?  Ha ha yeah I think we are quite a ways a way from that.  Our phone has a 1 inch by 1 inch black and white screen ha ha.  I am excited to see Conference though...we should watch it in about a month or so.

Yeah Mom we have really been feeling the same thing as well...members truly are the key to missionary work!  We try and try but the members of Ghana kinda lack in motivation to do missionary work unfortunately...  We have found though, that one of our best resources is our recent converts, they still have that fire and are excited to bring their friends into the church, its been cool to see someone who goes from knowing nothing...to someone who learns everything...and then is right there next to you sharing it.  It's really cool, and its been really successful so far.

Yeah, Elder B is doing well.  We get along well, no arguments, no fights.  He doesn't really have much of an opinion about really anything so its kind of like walking around talking to myself all day, having to figure everything out and then not having anyone to bounce your idea off of, but it's okay.  He just agrees with no matter what I say so I thought I would test it.  I told him that I would be going on an over night exchange with the sisters this week.  That one of them would come and stay in our apartment and I would go and stay in theirs.  He spent about 5 minutes telling me how good of an idea that was...ha ha.  HE is good though.

I have taken a few photos but I am scared to put my card in the computer, you usually always get a virus...  I think the chapel has wi-fi so Ill try and send some this week.  
 
Yeah, we stay in Community 9.  I would have to check the house number but it is right by the Bethel Hospital.  Its a nice place though, i really like it.  Tell me if you can find it on Google Earth.

We were actually talking about some sort of district P-day activity or even a zone activity, its just really hard to find something fun to do, there is not much in Ghana ha ha.  I think we may try and take a trip to the Art Market in Accra though so we will see. 

Lexi Congratulations on the awesome dance performance!!  That is awesome!!  I am so proud of you, keep it up!

And, yes,  I love the questions, it really helps when trying to think of things to write about.

Best Part of your week?
-we really started to get things rolling this week.  We have a few people that we are starting to prepare for baptism that I am excited about.  One lesson really wasn't the best...but we ended up in a discussion with a cultist....we got out of there real quick...  Oh, and then when I was on exchanges with Elder H (who I really like) we found a frozen yogurt place that was awesome!!  Its got pretty good prices even.  It's based in Australia so he went there all the time, it was just like orange leaf...but without all of the toppings.

New investigators?
-Robert is my favorite!  We have only met with him once so I'll get more info this week...but Im excited for him.  Each week we are contacting close to 150 new people to try and get this place going...and I wonder why I'm tired;)

How are things for Emmanuel, and Sarah?  How exciting to baptize a husband and wife!  You haven't said much about this.
-They are awesome!  I really like them!  They are doing great.  I taught Emmanuel how to tie a tie this week and he showed up with it looking great on Sunday :).  I didn't really prepare them, they were kinda ready when I got to this area, so they wern't a huge focus of my letters.
 
 Taylor at the baptism of Emmanuel, and Sarah last week.

Did you get to see any of conference?
-nope:(
 
Funniest part of the week?
-not really a fun week, just work...
 
mail?
-should get it tomorrow:)
 
Photos?
-sunday?

Any thing interesting?
-nope sorry I'm so boring;)
Well sorry this was such a lame letter.  I feel like I'm going to pass out from exhaustion...  I love you all so so much!  You are the world's greatest family:).
Love you all,
Taylor

Friday, October 4, 2013

Heaven and Hell

September 30, 2013


Dear Family,
To tell you all the truth this new area has been tough for me. 

There has been a few days where I even said that I hated it. 

It's just so different than the last nine months were in Koforidua. 

I honestly have almost the exact same feelings and emotions running through me as when I left Utah over a year ago.  It's almost like I started all over again but with a whole lot more experience and knowledge.  It has been very weird but also a good experience and a really good change. 

Elder Benans and I were discussing the area last night and we decided that the best reference to this area would be that of General Yamamoto in his remarks after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Tema is a sleeping giant and we just need to find a way to wake it up.  We constantly talk about how much potential this area has if we can just figure out how to access it.  This week after a few very long days of knocking gates with no success, we decided that we needed to sit down and discuss how we wanted to go about the next day and how we could improve our finding effort.  As we did, I had a very clear impression to begin contacting shops.  At first I brushed it off because that was something we avoided so much in the past but the thought persisted, I presented the idea to Elder Benans and we agreed to give it a try.  We spent a few hours this week contacting shops and even though it wasnt the ideal place to teach a lesson we were very pleased with the amount of people that we willing to sit down and talk with us compared to house contacting.

This week was a hard one for me, I kind of explained it but earlier but along with leaving my home again I just didn't feel that same peace and certainty that I had been feeling in my final weeks with Elder McDonald.  I began thinking about what I could have done to loose those feelings and that 'Rest of the Lord' that we discussed. I thought about my life now, my life past, and I began to worry.  I thought about past mistakes and if I had repented sufficiently but that didn't feel right.  I had been feeling the Spirit and the blessings of the atonement...and then the other night it hit me.  We were having a really tough day, we had come in for lunch and I was so tempted to just take the rest of the day off.  I knew it wasnt right but was not in the mood to be out in the hot sun knocking on doors.  I said a prayer, asked help, and opened my Book of Mormon. 

I'm not sure where I opened to but there was a note that I had written some months ago...it had stars aroud it and everything.  It read, "Taylor even though it's hard right now and you are struggling, don't be prideful and selfish and forget your duty."  After I read that, I had a response to an email that President had sent me, that said something along the lines of, "you will find the peace and rest you are looking for when you consecrate yourself and work as hard as you know how."  I had an instant realization that I had not been working as hard as I was with Elder McDonald, I wasn't as consecrated and focused and I wasnt satisfied with the work that I was doing and that is why I wasnt feeling the peace that I craved.  I'm emotional right now thinking about it.  I miss that rest, I miss that peace and I am so excited to get it back.  Change and lack of succes are hard, but they are not an excuse for slacking!  Now, don't worry...I wasn't slacking all that much, but just with the small things, the exact obedience wasn't completely exact and it was showing in how I felt.  It was such a big change and it really didn't seem like we were doing much.  For instance, I was tired and it got easy to tack on a 30 minute nap to lunch or to come in a few minutes early at night instead of pushing in one more lesson.  Things are good now though, and I am so excited to try and turn this area into something awesome as well.  As it stands now...we have two investigators... we have done nothing but contacting since I have been here and the number has stayed the exact same,  It's going to take some time to get it figured out but we will get there:).


Okay I'll do some question answering now,

-Do you not have investigators because there just aren't many interested in that area...or is it a new area?  Have there been missionaries there before?
I followed a missionary into the area that went home and he didnt really think much past his flight so this place is just in a slump I think.  It's known throughout the mission though to be a really tough area, so hopefully we can get it going.

-Is there a branch there?
It's actaully a ward, talk about a weird switch going back to a ward...I keep calling the Bishop 'President' ha ha.

-How are the house-mates going?


-both great and horrible, Elder B and Elder H are awesome, but Elder I is pretty tough to get along with.  I think things will get better though.

-Are you able to enjoy some benefits from being closer to the mission office like going to the temple or listening to Conference?


-nope ha ha, I think we may get mail a bit more often?  By the way I got a package from you guys at transfers, it was the one with the shoe polish things, sweedish fish and that stuff. 

-How far are you from the mission office?

-about an hour or an hour and a half

-Anything interesting for pday?
-nope :)

-Any investigators yet?  Do they not answer because more of them are working, or because they aren't as interested?
-No one!  It's so hard!  I'm gettting a taste of the normal missionary lifestyle I guess

-Best part of the week?
-We had a baptism for Emmanuel, and Sarah (husband and wife), and Kwabena on Saturday which was awesome!

-Funniest part of the week?
-I shouldn't laugh but Elder Benans dropped one of the people he was baptizing....twice.  Oh and we had a guy we were having a lesson with pray that "God will stop all of Stan's bull sh**", ha ha I about lost it with him!  It was hillarious.

-Thing you like best about your companion?
-very relaxed,  and down to work

-Activities with district or zone coming up?
-not that I know about, I think the stake has a cultural activity coming up soon, hopefully we can go.

-photos of the old area or the area this week?
-got them on drop box, the one where I am in the picture or the baptism is Daniel and the one with just Elder McDonald is the Ansah boys.


Taylor and Elder McDonald with Daniel

Elder McDonald and the Ansah boys...Blessed Jr.(17),  Adjuet (17), and Clinton (12)

I think I am too late but I thought I would share a quck note about my memory of great-grandpa.  The first one was when I first entered scouts Grandpa made me a terquoise and silver bolo tie thing, I was so proud of it and I absolutely loved it.  I was proud of that thing and wore it each week at scouts, one week we went to a fishing pond where, me being the patient fisherman that I am ran from shore to shore where someone had caught a fish.  At some point during the day I realized that my bolo tie was gone...it was just about the end of the world...  I remember running quicker and quicker with each pass over the beaches with no luck, I remember the notts in my stomach with how sad I was that I had lost it and then I remember the small voice that prompted me to pray, I remember just about giving up but offering a simple prayer that I would find my bolo tie from my Grandpa, I took maybe two steps and stepped right on it.  I HAD FOUND IT!!!  I had bent the crap out of it from stepping on it but I had found it!  I thought about bending it back but decided to leave it as a reminder of the first time I relied on the Lord through prayer.  I was young but it was stuck out as the first time I really can remember praying so earestly for something and then recieving an answer.  Come to learn later that faith in prayer would save my life in the mountains of Utah, and prayer would carry through my time in Africa.  I will always be grateful for Grandpa and that lesson he inadvertantly taught me.  Thanks Grandpa, I love you.

Well I have another one   But I'm about out of time so I'll save it.  Anyway have a great week, be safe, have fun, eat something awesome for me:)

Love you all,
Taylor