2 Nephi 22: 2,3

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation. Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

Monday, December 27, 2010

December 27, 2010 I'm Dreamin' of a Hot and Rainy Christmas

Oi Pessoas!

Tudo bem com vocês? Well my first Christmas away from home came and went like a trunky snowball. But let´s talk about the week first.

I´m still getting used to my new area Parelheiros and my new companion Elder Alves de Oliveira. Parelheiros is literally the last area before you leave the city. It is huge (bummer) and green (which I like). We live right next to a health post and the train station so we move around pretty well. We spend a ton of time on the bus getting from one place to another so the style of work is way different than it was back in Grajaú. Elder Alves de Oliveira is pretty interesting. He has almost a year and a half and he turned senior this transfer so we´re still trying to figure out how our companionship is going to work.

Here in Parelheiros we have no one close to baptism and our group of investigators is really small so we are working really hard to get into peoples houses and start teaching them. We are knocking a lot of doors right now. We started teaching a man named Antionio last week and when we went to follow up with him he had already read 80 pages in the Book of Mormon (say wha!?!) and was asking questions about temple marraige so let´s hope he keeps it up! We´re finding good people so we just need time to cultivate our garden of seedlings.

Christmas here was way wierd! Down here the concept of the family doesn´t really exist outside the Church so Natal (Christmas) is pretty much another excuse to set off fireworks and get drunk. We spent a big chunk of Christmas eve caroling to find new people and spread some Christmas cheer. It was way successful! The secretaties called and said my package arrived too! At night I taught Elder Alves de Oliveira "Jingle Bell Rock". Unfortunatley he hasn´t stopped singing it since! haha!

Pres. Jackson gave us an extra P-day on Christmas day so we took things slow. We had a big churrasco with a member family in their dirt house and it was a blast! Then we went to another member´s house to call our families. It was awesome to talk to my family and hear their voices after six months. Doesn´t seem like much has changed back there. The best part was when mom answered the phone and screamed when I said, "Hi mom!" haha I almost cried!

Sunday was way interesting too. First, one of my favorite irmas from my old area showed up in our ward so I got to talk to her for a bit. Then during Principles of the Gospel two young men walked in and Elder Oliveira got way nervous. He whispered to me, "I can´t belive my brothers are here." His brothers! They tracted him down! After church they gave him a huge Christmas package full of candy. It was way weird and way against the rules, but Elder Oliveira didn´t solite it so I´m not holding him at fault.

Right now I´m on a division in Embu-Guaçu with Elder Mello. This is the interior (country) and it feels completely different than the city. I really like it.

Anyway, that´s that. I hope everything is going well for my friends and family back in the United States and abroad. I love you all! Don´t forget to write me! haha!

Your´s Truly
Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, December 20, 2010

December 20, 2010 TchauGrajau, Ola Parelheiros

Well hi there world,

This week was pretty good and interesting!

Things were going as normal for the first part of the week, making our normal visits and preping Derrick for his baptism on Saturday, then Thursday came around and everything changed. We´ve been waiting for two big suprises here, the Mission Christmas Conference and the transfer. Both were secret so no one knew, well a bunch of people didn´t know, when they would be. Then we got up Thursday morning and everyone in our zone called asking if which of us had been transferred. We didn´t get a call from the secretaries so we didn´t know. We called them and they asked to talk to me and they told me that I was transferred and to bring my bags to the Mission Christmas Conference the next day! Crazyness!

I spent Thursday visiting all the people I baptized in Grajaú and getting all my bags ready. It was sad. I cried when I talkd to Derrick because I told him about how he has to be the man for his family and that his decisions now will shape the rest of his life. My bags were ridiculously heavy because I had wet clothes. Irma Ieda made me a box of Pão de Mel to say bye.

Friday morning we got a ride to the mission office for the activity and pretty much half the mission was transferred so it was crazy. The Christmas Conference was awesome. They had each zone present a different witness of the birth of Christ. Ours was Isabel and then I sang 'What Child is This?' in portuguese. Then we had a mission talent show and a turkey lunch. Then we listened to Pres. Monson´s Christmas message and got a present for the Jackson family.

The transfer was right after the conference. I was transferred to Parelheiros in Casa Grande which is pretty close to Grajaú. My new comp´s name is Elder Alves de Oliveira. He is pretty cool but we only have a few days so I don´t really know him well yet. We´re going to have to work really hard here because we have few investigators and the area is huge. It´s way green and spread out so it´s way different than my first area.

We had the ward christmas party on Saturday night so I meet a ton of people there.

Well, that´s the week. I´ll have more to talk about when I get better settled in here.

Feliz Natal!

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13, 2010 Can I Be Baptized on Friday?

Hey Everyone,

Well this week went by so fast that I don´t really remember what to tell you guys!

Let´s see... We went to the temple this week on Wednesday. It was awesome! I love the temple because there is a feeling there that you can´t find anywhere else. After the temple I bought a bunch of church DVDs to use in our lessons.

We also had a baptism! We were getting really nervous with Denis because he was not keeping his commitments for a while but this week we really decided to take it seriously. He was marked for this Saturday but we weren´t sure if he would. When we visited him before we started the lesson he asked if he could be baptized on Friday because he didn´t want to wait longer! haha it was awesome. The baptism was really funny cause the jumpsuit was really small so he refused to take pictures and when he was getting out of the font he slipped and swore! haha people don´t change in an instant right?

We had stake conference this week also. Pres. Jackson was invited to speak so he was there and all the missionaries got nervous cause he was watching us the whole time.

Well... don´t know what else to tell ya... I guess I´ll end it there! Love you all!

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, December 6, 2010

December 6, 2010 Prestigio Pizza

Hey Everyone!

December has arrived! Isn´t crazy how fast time is going? Anyway, this past week was pretty good and I have a few things to relate to you all so here we go!

Monday we had a zone activity. It wasn´t super amazing but I definitely am laughing about it because it was so badly organized. First it was way off in Noronha which is the end of the zone were only one companionship has church and no one knew how to get there so we all showed up late. Then we arrived and Elder Muniz got us all together and asked, "Alright, what do you all want to do?" so really there wasn´t an activity planned. The zone leaders didn´t buy any of the food beforehand so we all went to the market and bought random stuff. In the end, the morning was spent playing UNO while we waited for the other elders to finish making the sandwiches. Haha oh man!

I ate one of the most amazing foods ever this week! There is a chocolate bar down here called prestigio which is basically an almond joy without the almond, or, if you prefer, a mound with mild chocolate. They are really good. But this is not the food that blew my mind. We had a prestigio... PIZZA! It was amazing! Chocolate Pizza with Coconut baked on top! Can you hear the angels singing?

I´ve been getting a lot of questions about food (mainly from my mom) so I figured I´d explain what is typical in my diet. We have very little food in our house so I rarely eat breakfast unless Irma Ieda calls us over to eat with her, which thankfully is pretty often. She´ll make us an omlette or we´ll eat bread and butter. NOTE: People here love their butter and mayonaise so they heap it on everything. Lunch is the main meal here so we have lunch almost everyday in the house of a member. It always consists of the following: Rice, Beans, Some Fried Meat, Tomatoes (sometimes lettuce), Juice and Soda. People drink soda down here like it´s water, probably because the water isn´t completely safe to drink. Usually someone will offer us something small to eat around dinner time like bread and butter or we´ll pass by a bakery and buy Pão de Queijo (cheese bread). Iram Ieda usually offers us something to eat when we get home at night, too. She makes a dessert called Pão de Mel (honey bread) that is amazing! It has a million ingredients so I don´t know what to compare it to but it´s delicious and covered in chocolate! That´s the usual meal plan.

We had a suprise multizone this week with Pres. Jackson because the area presidency has established some new stuff for the upcoming year. Our new focus is families, families, families (and we have the rules to force/prove it). Pres. Jackson always manages to turn it into an amazing spiritual lesson when we have new rules to it was awesome. He talked about how families are the foundation of the church and the purpose of the church is to establish eternal families. It was really good!

Things are continually interesting with E. Pereira. He is crazy for Harry Potter so with the new film that just came out he has been freaking out! It´s so funny! We´ll pass by a magazine stand and see everything and he always gets really excited. He also has pretty bad health so he usually has to stay in bed in the morning while we have study time. This week he´s developed insomnia so he hasn´t been sleeping at all.

We´re still working with Denis and Derrick (the twins). They are starting to not keep their commitments and lose momentum so it´s getting hard to get them in the water. I keep having to remind myself that they are 16 so I don´t get frustrated with them. But they are really good at the same time because they remember everything we teach.

Rimunda finally came to church for the first time this week! It made me so happy because we´ve been teaching her for about two months now and she has never been to church. She lives about as far away from the chapel as you can get in our area and she´s really old. She was going to go last week but broke her toe on Saturday before church. This week we walked with her and she held on to our arms to get her to the chapel. She really liked it!

Our recently reactivated Shirley is a gem. We always help her make cake when we go to her house. It´s hard for her because she´s a single mom with four kids between the ages of 4 and 12 so the house is always crazy. Her kids go crazy for a camera so we always have fun with them.

The mission, like the whole world, is getting ready for Christmas! Pres. and Sis. Jackson are planning a big activity but the date is secret so everyone is going crazy to find out what and when it is. I´m going to be singing during the program (whatever it may be) with the Jackson´s daughter Aimee, ´What Child Is This?´

Well that´s the week! Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Love you all!

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, November 29, 2010

November 29, 2010 And the Holiday Season Starts

Hey Everyone,

First, Happy Thanksgiving! There isn´t a holiday like Thanksgiving here so it was just a normal day. I definitely felt a lack of turky and stuffing but I´m trying to lose weight anyway so I guess it´s better this way. haha!

So E. Pereira is still struggling with his health. Some days are great and other days he struggles to get out of bed so it´s a bit of a rollercoaster, but we´re still working really hard and helping lots of people. Monday he had a scary incident in a hot crowded bus that resulted in a visit to the nearest health post (like instacare). He staid in bed on Tuesday so I made visits with Enais, our Ward Mission Leader.

We meet the most snaky snake (snake is a word we missionaries use for women that chase after missionaries because they think we have lots of money) so far on the mission. Her name was Regina and she was a reference of Nila. She was VERY inappropriate. It was pretty interesting and funny.

I had a division with the Elders in Noronha (the Zone Leaders) this week. I stayed with E. Justino in Noronha. It rained the whole day and I forgot my guarda-chuva (umbrella). All of our appointments fell through so we were soaked at the end of the day. Noronha is further away from the city than Grajaú and the Zone Leaders´ house is pretty scary. I was swatting away bugs the whole night and when I woke up my arms were covered in red spots from all the bites I got throughout the night. The mosquitos here are really dangerous so I´m lucky I didn´t get sick.

We´re getting really close to baptizing Denis and Derrick. Missionaries tend to have crazy goals (like baptizing twins) and I already have the opportunity to do it! Denis was going to be baptized last week but we didn´t think he was ready so we´re going to see what happens this week. He already knows the Book of Mormon is true so he will be baptized it´s just a matter of when.

Our new Bishop has started emphasizing missionary work in the ward so hopefully we´re going to get more help from the members here.

This week we also had a really trunk-tastic opportunity. Irma Ieda and Leda (the irmas we live with) asked us to help them decorate their little Christmas tree. Fake trees are really expensive here and they don´t have the realy thing so everyone just had little trees. It turned out beautifully tacky. After Irma Ieda made us a cake! It was awesome!

Well that´s my week! Love you all!

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22, 2010 Gotta Laugh

Everybody! yeah! Rock your body! yeah! (Yes this is a Backstreet Boys reference.)

Well I marked 5 months on the mission Tuesday! Can you believe how quickly this is going? It was a great day because we got to take Severino and Angelo to the cartorio to get all their wedding stuff filed. They scheduled the wedding for the 30th of December so I might not be here to see it but tudo bem. I´ll be able to see them get sealed!

We had a crazy long service project this week in Res. Cocaia. The elder there have an investigator who is building a new house so we helped out. We installed two windows and a door. Guess how long it took? Seven Hours! Yeah, seven, that´s Brasil.

It was my first Zone Conference this week! It was so awesome. Pres. Jackson talked about the difference between Faith and Belief and it was really interesting. The jist of it is that Faith is belief plus action. Nossa que legal!

Remember our recent convert Nila? Well she has kinda gone crazy. I don´t know what happened but she is just super stressful to be around. She talks about E. Tibbs (my trainer who has gone home already) everyday and she is trying to raise money to get him to come back here and live with her. My reaction to stress is to have laugh attacks so when she was stressing us out we took her to a lesson and I could not stop laughing. It was so bad. She has gone off to the beach for the week so who nows what will happen when she gets back.

Irma Ieda and Irma Leda made us Pão de Mel (Honey Bread) this week! Oh my! So good! It´s a cake-like treat that is drenched in chocolate and filled with carmel! Ah! I have a store in house now! haha

We had another Baptism this week! We reactivated Shirley and she asked us to baptize her sons. This week we baptized Moises. He´s 10 so it counts as a convert baptism. Her other son is 8 so he´s not really a convert but he has asked me to baptize him so that will be coming up soon. He has to be interviewed by the Bishop so the baptism isn´t scheduled yet.

Sunday was the craziest day so far on the mission. We only had one person in church because Denis and Derrick´s dad had an emergency and Severino´s family is on vacation, it was actually a good thing. The relief society called us to talk about the lunch situation because we are only getting about two lunches per week. It was crazy. Some of the Irmas were crying, others were yelling, and we were just standing in the front while the Irmas fought. I taught Principles of the Gospel again and we talked about the Second Coming, it was great as usual. ;) Then Sacrament was about temples and lots of sacred stuff that isn´t supposed to be talked about was talked about. At night we had more crazyness because we had to meet up with the Elders of Cocaia but they were on a division with young men in the ward. E. Aguiar was with Carlos and Carlos went crazy! He was yelling at the people he was making contacts with and getting all up in their grills. We were already late so we had to leave him and then we sent the other young men to go get him. When things get crazy you just gotta laugh.

Love you all!
Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, November 15, 2010

November 15, 2010 Crazy About Casamento

Hey World!

Wow another week just flew by didn´t it? First off let me just say that the weather here is crazy! It´s Summer down here for those of you who didn´t realize Brasil is on the Southern half of the globe. Everyday is a surprise those. For half of last week is was freakin hot! And for the past three days it´s been rainy and cold. I never know what to expect.

This week we kinda went crazy about casamento (marriage) with our investigators. First with Leidi and Rogerio. Leidi really wants to get married and they have lived together for 14 years so they should be but for some reason Rogerio doesn´t want to and he´s disappeared since we tried to talk about it with him. Next we have Derrick. He´s just 16 but he was already engaged and his fiancee lived with him. Luckily (for us) they broke up two days ago and she has already moved out so he is ready to progress. It would be cool if we were able to baptize him with his twin brother Denis on the same day. And finally we have Severino and Angela. They are really poor and when we talked to them about marriage and that we could marry them for free (it´s super expensive to get married in Brasil) Angela started to cry! They have wanted to get married for a really long time but couldn´t afford it. We´re going to the Cartorio with them this week to start the papers. It seems like with them we have everything they need... elect?

We have been working with a less-active named Shirley and she is so cool. We have practically reactivated her and she has been to church the past two weeks. This week she asked us to baptize her kids! Ah! I´m so excited! Moises is 10 so he will count as a convert baptism. Her other son Philipe is only 8 and since she´s active again it won´t be a convert baptism but still it´s great.

Sunday we had even more goodness. We got 7 people to church! That´s the most I´ve had since I got out into the field. It was awesome! It was also my first week as the new Principles of the Gospel teacher! Since we had so many people in church the class was packed so I was a little nervous, but it went well. I taught about the signs of the second coming.

Hm... anything else of interest? The other day a dog followed us around the whole day and we named him Gaga (my comp is way into Lady Gaga). Oh, people have started giving us tons of food all of a sudden. We live with two irmas, Ieda and Leda, who almost everyday make us some sort of torte or treat. Things are really looking up here in Grajaú!

Love you all! Remember that prayer starts in the heart, not in the head.

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, November 8, 2010

November 8, 2010 Transfer Confusion

Hey everyone!

My second transfer just ended! There was so much confusion about the transfer. I was told 3 weeks ago that I was being transfered, then 2 weeks ago we were told the area was being closed, then Pres. Jackson redid the entire thing last week so no one knew what was going on. The secretaries are supposed to call and tell the missionaries what is going on but we got no call last night so we assumed we were both staying, then we got up this morning and we had 8 missed calls from the assistants. E. Periera called them back and they told him he was called as a zone leader and that he was being transferred. Then we called the secretaries to ask why they didn´t call us last night and what was happening with me and they told us that E. Pereira was called as the new district leader and that he was staying. So we called the assistants again and they confirmed that what the secretaries said was the truth. In the end this is what´s happening, E. Pereira and I are staying together and he is the new district leader.

This week was great because we baptized Larissa! It was such a close call. Earlier in the week her mom told us that it was too early and that she wouldn´t let her this week. Two days later she completely changed her attitude and said we could move forward. We decided to bake cakes for the baptism so we stayed close to our house and make them in a members house and asked our ward mission leader to fill the font. After we made the cakes we realized we had no way of getting them to the chapel so we carried them the whole way walking and it was about to rain the whole time but we made it! Then we looked at the font and it was only up to my knees. The baptism was so complicated! I had to do it 4 times on account of the water level! But HURRAH!

We had a really cool unity activity in district meeting this week. We all sat in a circle and each person laid on the next persons knees while keeping our feet on the floor. Then they took the chairs out from under us and we all had to hold eachother up! It was so fun!

We started teaching a set of twins this week, Denis and Derrick. They were street contacts and they are really good. Their dad had really severe cancer and their mom spends her days helping him. She has already heard the missionaries as a kid and it seems like she is really wanting our help and the gospel. Derrick and Denis are 16, Derrick is engaged already and she lives with them so we´re going to have to get them married. Denis came to church already and he already knew most of the young men so things are going quite swimmingly right now with this new family.

Well, that´s pretty much all I´ve got for this week. Sorry I haven´t send any pics in a while. Something happened to my memory card and i haven´t figured out how to get my photos on the computer, especially at the LAN house. Love you all! Send some love my way and pray for me, I need it!

Tchau! Até proximo semana!

Elder MacLane Winsor Taggart


"Efforts and Courage are not enough without Purpose and Direction" - JFK
"In order to be irreplaceable one must always be DIFFERENT." - Coco Chanel

Monday, November 1, 2010

November 1, 2010 Apostle Power!

Hey Everyone!

This last week was pretty interesting, difficult but good.

Something for people to try: read 3 Nephi 8 next time there is a thunderstorm. We did that with Rondinelli last week and it was so cool! It´s the chapter after Christ died when everything is going to... well, you know.

Right now we´re teaching Larissa, Nila´s granddaughter. She is so awesome and smart. She really wants me to baptize her and this is the last week of the transfer so she is marked for this Saturday. I don´t know what´s going to happen. Her mom is really concerned that it´s too soon and I´m concerned that she only wants to be baptized because she has a crush on me. haha! But seriously...

Elder Dallin H. Oaks visited our mission! It was awesome. The whole mission was there for his talk. I was way suprised because whenever he talks during conference he is so stern and cold but he was so funny! He said love is the whole purpose of the plan and in order to be an effective tool we have to be healthy and usable. After he did a Q & A with missionaries. One of the questions was about humility and he said that pride is a lifelong struggle that he has been trying to overcome for his entire life and he still hasn´t. It was so good!

Also, HAPPY HALLOWEEN! The brasilians have halloween but it is not big at all. I dressed up as one of the 'men in black' cause there is only so much you can do with a suit. I got a great package full of candy too! Who needs trick or treat when you´ve got my folks?

Right now E. Pereira and I are planning a suprise party for an Elder in our district because today is his birthday. E. Pereira is with his companion right now baking a cake for him and he´s with me so I have to keep him entertained all day. We´re going to a member´s house to watch church movies and have lunch, yeah that´s fun for missionaries.

Anyway, those are some of the highlights of the week, hope you enjoyed them! Love you all! Don´t forget to write me everyonce in a while!

Elder MacLane Winsor Taggart

Monday, October 25, 2010

Horses in the Street--October 25, 2010

Well hi there!

Another week has come and gone so quickly. And what an exciting week it was!

I´ll start with District Meeting. So we were all waiting for our interviews when a brasilian woman came into the church from the street looking for an American. I of course was the first person she found so she started talking to me about how she is being chased down by the government and needed someone to get in touch with the FBI to save her. It was so weird! Crazy lady!

E. Pereira has been sick for the past week or so. Every morning he can´t get out of bed because he has a pain in his stomach so I´ve been studying alone for a while. The problem is he is allergic to everything so he can´t take any medicine! He doesn´t want a blessing either so it´s tough to have patience.

Nila´s granddaughter has asked me to baptize her. We´ve marked her for the first week of November. She is way smart and nice so it´s an honor to be asked.

There are a bunch of random horses that live in our area. It´s wierd because we have no open land so I have no idea where they live. They are just in the street all day. I have a funny picture but of course this LAN house doesn´t let you load photos.

We´ve been working with a less active named Shirley. She is so nice and has a really strong testimony but she left the church because of her visiting teacher. Attention members: Don´t be stupid! haha

A girl in Cocaia also asked me to baptize her. I´ve taught her about 3 times. Her name is Giselle. She only wants me because I´m the only American in the district.

Nila is a flippin missionary. She goes out trackting everyday now!

We baptized Valeria this week! and I did it! haha it was awesome, my first! The only bad part was that I forgot to bring extra clothes so for the rest of the night I was walking around wet. Haha it was great though. I was way nervous but I didn´t mess time, first time did the trick!

We had a meeting with our Bishop and talked to him about all the problems in our area. He is way good. He has already started working on things! It´s so nice to finally have someone in the ward that helps us!

Well that´s my week! Talk to you all next week!

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, October 18, 2010

October 18, 2010 Katia's Baptism and Rainforest Adventure!

Hey Folks!

Well it´s me again and another week has come and gone. I marked four months on the mission on Saturday! How crazy is that!?! It´s hard to believe that it´s already been that long.

This week flew by because we had a baptism so the entire week was scheduled around preparing Katia. We had already taught her everything so we just needed to keep her motivated and excited. Her family is having some problems right now so we were really worried that she would quit but she kept at it.

The day of the baptism was fun. We went to the chapel and while the font was filling we made a cake for her (well E. Pereira wouldn´t really let me do anything so he made the cake and got to lick the bowl). It was SO ugly! haha a big pink mess! But it tasted really good. We got a ton of people to the baptisimal meeting and Katia had a bunch of family there too. All went well!

I didn´t baptize her because she drew names out of a hat and E. Pereira got it, but next week I will be baptizing Katia´s sister Valeria. It´s really exciting for me because they were the first people I visited when I arrived in the field. I didn´t think they would ever progress then. It´s amazing to see how the Gospel can change people.

I don´t remember much else of last week because 1) I got zero sleep last night and 2) I didn´t have a chance to review my journal like I usually do.

Today we had an awesome district activity. We went to an island just outside our area called Bororé. It has very few inhabitants and is covered in rainforest. We hiked around for a while and it was raining. I got some awesome pics that I´ll send your way soon. Everyone kept saying, "Now this is Brasil!" It was way fun!

Anyway I don´t have much else that I can think of at the moment so I hope your week was as good as mine. Don´t forget to write! Love you all!

Elder MacLane Taggart


"Efforts and Courage are not enough without Purpose and Direction" - JFK
"In order to be irreplaceable one must always be DIFFERENT." - Coco Chanel

Monday, October 11, 2010

October 11, 2010 The Beat Goes On

Hey Everyone!

First, big news! Elder Dallin H. Oaks is coming to our mission on the 28th! I guess he´s going to be taking a tour of the mission and then we´re going to have a mission-wide fireside with him. Should be awesome!

Alright so the past week... The mission is definitely sending me new challenges as I go so it´s always an adventure. The past week was pretty stressful but there are always those great things that makes it all better.

We started teaching some new investigators and they have been great so far. We found a family! Dad, Mom, and Kid! Seriously perfect. Rongerio is the dad and he is firefighter, he takes the Book of Mormon with him to work and reads when they aren´t out. Leidi is his wife and she is awesome. She is going to be starting the job courses the Church offers downtown. Their son is Leonardo and he prays everyday, at one of our visits Rongerio told us Leonardo calls him and reminds him to pray everyday! Take note that we´ve been teaching them for a week. We also started teaching a Rimunda, a little old lady. During our first visit she asked if she could be baptized! Hello? So things are good on the new people front.

Nila is still being a rockstar. She gave us about 20 references this week and they are all pretty golden. She has a table set up now in her sew shop now with pass-along cards for people. She thinks I love grape soda so everytime we go over there she opens a new bottle and we all drink it while we talk.

I did a short division in Cocaia again on Thursday and most of the people we taught we contacts I made while I spent the week there a while back. That made me feel good. I also ate pig ear and nose during the division without knowing it. They didn´t tell me till after. It wasn´t bad...

We had a random gorgeous day this week. Seriously the nicest day of the mission so far! It was a nice break for the rain that we´ve been having everyday. It is really cold right now down here.

We finally got a new Bishop after a month without one! He´s a really cool guy so let´s hope he is willing to help us in the work. The ward had huge attendence the day he was called, which just shows hot big the less active rate is.

And the worst part of the week was definitely yesterday. Yolanda was marked for baptism this week but she has been dodging us for the past couple weeks. She started sending her daughter to the door to tell us she wasn´t home. Earlier this week we had a family night planned with her and we had a ton of people coming and she canceled 10 minutes before it was supposed to start. Then yesterday we tried to talk to her and she wouldn´t answer the door. My comp rang the doorbell about 10 times (stupid!) and Yolanda came to the door and started yelling at us, unfortunatley I understood. She told us not to come back and that we weren´t welcome in her home anymore. I´m pretty shell-shocked from it. She was so good a few weeks ago. E. Pereira keeps telling me to get used to it.

Well I hate to end on a sour note but that´s the most recent news. A tough week but I´m surviving and there is always a reason to smile.

Til next time,
Elder MacLane Taggart

Sunday, October 10, 2010

October 4, 2010 Happy Spring/Fall

Hey everybody!

I can´t believe it is already October! Wow, that is so wierd! Spring started here a few weeks ago but it has been really cold. It´s still been raining everyday. I saw how beautiful the weather is in Salt Lake during conference and it made me so trunky.

Well, a new transfer has begun and with it a new experience. My new companion is Elder Pereira. He is a brasilian from Recife. We don´t have a problem communicating at all because I´m thankfully good enough at the language to express myself pretty well and he has been studying English for several years so he can talk to me when we need too. He snores like none other so I haven´t gotten much sleep the past week but I´m hoping I´ll get used to it soon.

Our area is a mess right now. Our ward hasn´t had a bishop for a month now and we´ve been told it might be another two til we get one. Our ward missionaries don´t work much and our invesitigators don´t like them very much. No one in the ward will give us references except the returned missionaries who all live on the other side of our large area so we don´t get out there much. But we are still finding people and we have a few really good investigators so all is well.

I´ve been having some pretty impactful experiences with investigators that I want to share.

Yolanda is an invesitigator we´ve had for about a month and she is marked to be baptized this weekend. She has been awesome but now she has a ton of problems in her life and for some reason we can´t get in contact with her so we´ll see what happens. She is having a legal battle with the father of her children because he hasn´t been paying child support and her brother got in a horrible accident and is in another state dieing. She doesn´t have enough money to get to church some weeks so she definitely doesn´t have a way to get to her brother to say goodbye. I read a talk by Pres. Monsoon the other day that talked about death and the miracle of ressurection. I think I´m going to get a copy for her.

Nila is our recent convert of two weeks ago and she is a rock star! Before she was baptized she was attending three different churches, now she is still going to three different churches but she´s taking the Book of Mormon with her and telling everyone there about how our chruch is true! She has a mountain of references for us and even though she is kind of old she asks to come with us to lessons! She is definitely elect!

We have a family that is marked for the end of the month. They are all adult brothers and sisters who live together and it is amazing how much they have changed in the time we started teaching them. Katia is the most prepared and she reads the Book of Mormon everyday. She is almost done with Alma already. Her sister Valeria has some forgivness problems with their mom and other brother but Katia is being an amazing example for her. Elvis is their brother and he is a single dad with three kids. He has stopped drinking and is looking for a job but his life is being changed by the gospel. Awesomeness!

Did everyone like Conference? How was it? I don´t know cause it was in Português. haha! Pres. Jackson created a new rule that all the Americans have to watch it in Português so it was a struggle but what I understood was great. We had to get up at 4:30 on Sunday to go to another zone to watch the Priesthood session. I was so tired by the time the last session ended.

Yesterday was the big election here. It has been crazy because everywhere is just covered in election stuff. It is the law in Brasil that everyone has to vote so everyone was actually involved. The streets were littered with fliers!

I´ve been doing some refleciton and I´ve come to realize that the mission is the hardest thing I have ever done. Not to sound proud, but I´ve never really struggled at things. I´ve always been pretty good at school and work. I´m so far out of my comfort zone here but it´s so good at the same time. I´m learning so much and really growing up. I am coming to appreciate more and more the Gospel, which unfortunately I´ve taken for granted for a while. I really love the challenge. Everyday has its ups and downs but overall this is so amazing! Thanks to everyone for the support.

Love you all,

Elder MacLane W Taggart

September 27, 2010 I Killed My Dad!

Hello world!

Well this week is a special one because we are in the middle of transfers! E. Tibbs and I have parted ways and he will be on his way back to St. George tomorrow afternoon, in missionary terms I have killed my father. Então I am on a division with E. Lembranzi. He is a brasilian from my same group and is awesome. We actually can communicate really well too. We´re in his area which is in the city part of the mission, skyscrapers and the like, SO different from Grajaú. I will be staying in Grajaú for probably the next three months by the way.

This past week has been great! Last p-day we had a churrasco at our house with E. Orton and E. Griffin to send off E. Tibbs. It was a blast! We all became really good friends this transfer but they all are being transfered. Well I guess I have a new opportunity to make friends right?

The weather this past week was very rainy. We had thunderstorms every night and it was drissling for most of the days. We have a leak in our bedroom ceiling so we have a big bucket full of water in there next to my comps bed and I can hear the drops falling all night but the storms are really cool to listen to!

So last week we introduced Nila to Katia and Valeria and they all became best friends. They started having gospel study at Nila´s house. They always call us to come over during them and it gets kinda crazy sometimes but it was such a blessing. Nila has been helping Katia and Valeria progress so much and I think they will be ready for baptism soon because of her.

We have two other investigators that are marked to be baptized on the 16th, Yolanda and Jásson. They are the best investigators, they have no problem accepting commitments. Yolanda is pretty much ready for the water but I don´t know about Jásson. I think he has a crush on Yolanda so he is just kinda going with it to impress her but he has introduced us to his family and we´ve started teaching them so I think he´s in it for real.

We had house checks this week so Pres. and Sis. Jackson came to our house and gave it a look over. Our laundry machine thing is broken and our shower heater doesn´t work either so they gave us the go ahead to get them fixed or replaced! Hot showers here I come!

We baptized Nila on Saturday! She wasn´t sure about it but she did a lot of praying and when it was time she was sure it was the right thing to do. We spent the whole day by the chapel getting ready for the baptism because if something can go wrong it will. We had everything ready by three so we went to go get our stuff. When we got back at four someone had unplugged the font and it was empty! The baptism was scheduled for five so we turned the water back on and put a hose through the window and it was ready at five thirty. I didn´t do the baptism but I got to do the conformation on Sunday! I was so nervous but it went really well!

The irma´s we live with threw E. Tibbs a party last night and a ton of people from the ward came. He got tons of presents and they made a huge Palmerias (one of the soccer teams in São Paulo) cake. We had a tone of salgados too. Salgados are the general term for fried things with meat.

E. Tibbs and I jammed out to EFY last night and this morning we said bye. I hope all is well for him when he gets home. He was a great trainer and I learned a ton from him. What will come next? I don´t know but I do know that I am being helped and guided. Thank you for all the prayers and thoughts back home! I love you all!

Yours truly,
Elder MacLane Winsor Taggart

Monday, September 20, 2010

September 20, 2010 A Week in Cocaia

Hey Y'all!
Wow, this past week just flew by! I can´t believe it! I only have one week left in my first transfer and I passed the 3 month mark 4 days ago! Isn´t time moving crazy fast!?! Man, it is so weird! Sometimes it doesn´t feel real, I have to stop and ask myself if I´m really in Brasil on my mission.
This week was really good. E. Tibbs had leadership training this week so we did a companion exchange for 4 days! I went to Cocaia and was with E. Griffin and it was a blast! E. Griffin is from Newton! For those not in the know, Newton is a small farming town outside Logan that is really cool. One of my distant relatives has a farm there, shout out to Aunt Dorris and family! Anyway we had a really good time and became fast friends. It was cool to be there because I had an opportunity to meet new people and really push my Português skills.
Cocaia is further away from the center of the city than Grajaú so there is a good mix of what I´m used to in Grajaú and random little spurts of farms and forest. I got some cool pics. Cocaia has 4 missionaries so we ate lunch with E. Cowley and E. Machado everyday. The Chapel is in there area so we were around it a lot. The street our Chapel is on had 11 other churches on it! That´s a lot even for Brasil. One thing you notice in Brasil is that every street has at least one bakery, one church, and one bar, and sometimes all three are the same building! Evangelical churches are everywhere here and they all have crazy beliefs, if anyone says Mormonism is weird tell them to look up some of the evangelical churches.
Anyway, the exchange was fun but it couldn´t last forever. We traded back this weekend and E. Tibbs and I moved all the furniture in our house. I was having a down moment because our ward missionaries are a little frustrating and I felt like we had no control over anything. At least I can organize the furniture to the way I want it. haha!
Sunday was way interesting. We got Dna Nila and Katia to church and they became best friends in a matter of minutes. It´s funny cause Nila is like 60 years old and Katia is in her 20s. They are planning on studying the Book of Mormon together! haha! Awesome! Anyway when we walked into church the temporary bishop told me I would speak in Sacrament meeting! I was so freakin nervous! I spent the first two hours preparing. I think it actually went really well! Our ward is usually really loud but it got way reverent when I spoke. I talked about repentance and how it should be centered on Christ. Lots of people told me I did really well and that my Português is great! Confidence boost! Sunday night our zone leader planned a big devotional for all the investigators. We got Nila, Katia, and Valeria to come. We had to get a ride because it was far away. It was pretty cool. After all the investigators and all the missionaries went in separate cars, and the missionaries all rode in the back of a truck. It was kinda scary and with a brasilian car on brasilian streets with a brasilian driver... I got a little car sick. But I didn´t throw up! Promise.
Today is E. Tibbs´ last P-day so we´re having a Churrasco! I´m excited! This time next week I will have a B

"Efforts and Courage are not enough without Purpose and Direction" - JFK

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 13, 2010 Snakes!

Hello World!
Well, another week has come and gone. I´m realizing more and more that life is actually moving on back home while my life is basically on pause, friends are leaving, others are coming home, some are even getting married, school has started, wow! But really my life isn´t on pause, it´s more like I´ve paused my old life and put a new one in to play. Things are so different here but it´s exciting and new and I know I´m being blessed.
Anyway, as for the past week. First off, I didn´t realize yesterday was 9-11 until E. Orton called and was playing ´Proud to be an American´ over the phone. Thank you to all the members of the armed forces that are willing to give up everything for the principles our country stands on.
I had ´treinimento missionario novo` this past week. It was actually way fun. I saw a bunch of the guys from district 25A (CTM district) and we all are in the same boat as far as the language (which is getting better everyday, by the way) and we are all a lot tanner. The training basically centered on how to plan effectively and I learned a lot. Sister Jackson made peanut butter chocolate chip cookies! Peanut butter is really rare down here so it was a treat.
The language is getting better. E. Tibbs just throws the lessons to me at random times during our visits and I´ve been able to teach and talk to the people. I´m starting to understand most of what people are saying and I´m able to participate in meetings and stuff. It´s cool to see how far I´ve come, from thinking I was all that in the CTM, to wanting to cry when I first got out here, and now seeing my progress. I can look forward to being even better! E. Tibbs said people like me like to express themselves in Português so right on.
I´m really getting into planning. I´m in charge of planning from now on because 1- I need to be able to handle the area next transfer and 2- E. Tibbs is a bit trunky. haha. But my plans have usually worked out so I think that is one of my strengths.
We have been working really hard to find new investigators. Some of our current investigators and losing interest and others just won´t keep commitments so we need new people badly. We have been spending 2 hours everyday just looking for new people and it seems like we find a few people who are interested everyday so let´s hope our pool of investigators started to grow.
I had my first SNAKE! Snake is a term the missionaries and the church members use to describe girls that go after the American missionaries. It was when we were visiting Nila and she invited a friend to come listen. This girl was like 25 and the whole visit she just kept asking about what we thought of Brasil and Brasilian women and such. At the end of the lesson she finally asked if we were allowed to have girlfriends here! haha it was so funny!
I tried to bake a cake last night because we are pretty much out of money for the rest of the week and we have little food in our house. I didn´t have a recipe so I kinda just threw stuff together. It wasn´t a complete disaster though! It just turned out to be more of a big muffin than a cake. haha!
Well that´s all I really have to report for this week. Hope everything is well back home. I love you all! The gospel is true and it can change people´s lives. I´ve already seen it happen.
Your Missionary,
Elder MacLane W Taggart

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

September 8, 2010 Nice umbrella!

September 8, 2010 Under My Umberella-ella-ella-ai!

Well hi there!
Another week has come and gone and while fall is descending upon all of you back home the weather down here is crazy! It was an oven down here last week, getting into the 90s. This week the weather took a turn and it is really cold now, and seeing how this is winter it´s as it should be. It is so nice here now. The rain is really cool cause it isn´t like normal rain, it is more like a mist that just goes all day. The other night we had a huge thunderstorm too! E. Tibbs said that is way weird and that we couldn´t remember there ever being a thunderstorm during his mission.
Our work is really going well right now. We started teaching Yolanda last week and she is amazing. She has an eye condition that makes it so she can´t read without crying but she still tried, so we had to get her an audio Book of Mormon. But the more amazing thing is she received an answer after the first visit. She said she prayed right before bed and had a dream where a giant parrot told her that everything we were telling her was true! haha! Hey an answer is an answer. Anyway she is marked for baptism in two weeks!
We actually have seven people marked to be baptized at the end of the month! (whether they all are is another story.) I think that probably four will get baptized. It´s a pretty funny story how it all happened. I had a division with E. Aguiar, who is both Brasilian and the DL, and we were only going to invite Yolanda and her neighbor (who is also way into the Gospel) but when we were visiting Katia and Valeria they started asking questions about baptism and he invited them too and they accepted. The story doesn´t stop there. The next day we were visiting Yolanda and found out that E. Aguiar (I was back with E. Tibbs at this point) only asked them TO COME to a baptismal service, so we had to go back to them all and clarify. They all still accepted! We have three others too.
I´m starting to love personal study! I read about a chapter a day, yes only a chapter, because I´ve been going way deep into everything and I´m finding stuff that I´ve never noticed before. It is amazing! The Book of Mormon is so true! And even the random chapters that don´t seem to have much when you just read them quickly are full of warm, gospely goodness! haha
We had interviews with Pres. Jackson last week. The Jacksons are so cool. Pres. Jackson is so nice and he has a really sincere desire to help and support the missionaries. He gave me a bunch of advice about effective study.
This weeks schedule was way wierd so we had a lot of random events. We spent some time with the elders in Residential Cocaia, E. Orton and E. Terxiera. E. Orton is so fun to talk to. We went to the temple this morning and we met up with them before and had a really fun time. I went through the temple in Português for the first time today and I understood almost everything! I was really nervous cause E. Tibbs told me he cried the first time. But it was way good. I have training tomorrow for all the new missionaries so that should be fun to see my old district again.
Anyway, things are going well. My testimony is growing stronger everyday and I´m grateful for the challenges. It is hard but I love it and even though I feel kinda useless at times because of the language, I know that I am being helped by the Lord. I hope you all are doing well back home. Enjoy the fall for me and don´t forget to write!
Much Love,
Elder MacLane Winsor Taggart

Monday, August 30, 2010

August 30, 2010 Learning to do laundry the Brasilian way (This will be the title of my published mission journal).

Hey my wonderful friends and family!
Well week 2 in Grajaú down! I´m getting to know this neighborhood a lot better and while I´m still getting into the rhythm of things, I´m learning and loving the work.
So doing laundry down here is quite interesting. Very few people have washing machines and we are not some of those people. We have this aggrivator thing that basically does half the job of a washing machine and spins the clothes with detergent. Too bad ours is broken so we just have to fill it, mix in the detergent, add clothes and let them sit in the water for a couple of hours. Then we have to rinse out our clothes in the sink and scrub the trouble spots. Then it´s hang dry baby! haha it takes a while but I figured it out quickly and got through all my laundry my first week! Impressive, right?
As for our investigators, we have been working really hard to filter through our people to figure out who is actually in it for the long haul. We stopped teaching a few people and we found nine new people that seem really interested! Right now we have somewhere around 20 investigators but none of them are progressing. Drinking is a huge problem down here. One of our investigators called us and quit because he couldn´t give up alcohol. He goes by Beiro (pronounced Beer-O, irony?). We also started working with a less active who is pretty much drunk all the time and he is really frustrating because he can´t understand anything. It actually makes me really sad.
One of my favorite people we´re working with is a recent convert named Cida. She is always so happy and the Gospel really changed her life. And it doesn´t hurt that she works at a bakery so we always get goodies when we see her. haha! But really she is awesome and she would be one of my favorites even if she didn´t give us sugary baked goodness.
The language... I am getting pretty frustrated with Português. I know that I´m learning and I need to be patient but I wish I could just do it because I hate feeling useless. I have noticed though that I´m starting to understand a lot more and I have been able to teach in our lessons so that´s progress.
This week E. Tibbs lost our cell phone so we had quite the little adventure getting to the mission office to pick up a new one.
The weather down here is so crazy! A heat wave is upon us and it had been summer weather for the past week. I think someone told me that it got up to the 90s Fahrenheit. It´s starting to go normal now though. It´s starting to get foggy at night and in the morning which I´m told is normal and it is really cool looking.
This week was our bishop´s last week. The ward really loved him and E. Tibbs said he was great to work with. We´ll have to see how quickly the new bishop gets into the swing of things.
Well that is pretty much all there is to report this week. Things are moving along and time is really flying! I love you all! Keep praying for me. The Church is true!
Elder MacLane W. Taggart

"Efforts and Courage are not enough without Purpose and Direction" - JFK

Monday, August 23, 2010

First week out in the field, August 23, 2010

Hey World!
Well I have officially finished my first week in the field and it is quite a change. I´m quickly learning that what they taught me in the CTM is not Português. Elder Tibbs says that I´m better at the language than most missionaries straight out of the CTM so right on! (But I still couldn´t do it on my own). My area is really interesting and I´m discovering new things about the real world all the time, which is both hilarious and a little scary. haha
Anyway, ours days are pretty busy. We leave the house at 11 everyday and go to our lunch appointment. We then knock doors or look for referrals for a couple hours then we have appointments all night. I´m pretty exhausted when I get home but I love it. Our investigators all make fun of me cause I don´t really say much but I laugh along because I think it´s pretty funny.
I´m so lucky because we got a baptism my first week in the field! His name is Rondinelli and he is so cool. A really quite guy who moved to São Paulo on his own to learn English and get a good job. He was so excited and he told me that I had actually helped him a lot because I bore my testimony for him when he was having doubts earlier in the week. The baptism happened to be scheduled during the biggest stake activity of the year so it was really loud but the spirit was definitely there.
Sunday was a trip. We weren´t expecting any of our investigators to come but we got 5 there! That is really good for our area. I didn´t understand anything that was going on the whole time but I met a ton of the ward and they were all really nice. We´re getting a new bishop next week so things are pretty wild at the ward. We report our numbers Sunday nights and we hadn´t met some of our goals because it took me a couple days to get into the rhythm so we worked like crazy last night. I make about 40 contacts in an hour!
Anyway I´m just getting used to the huge responsibility that is on my shoulders as a missionary. I´m nervous but way excited and I know I´m learning everyday. I found out I have even more on my shoulders because this is E. Tibbs´ last transfer so I´m only going to be with my trainer for 5 more weeks. That means I have to get to know our investigators and the area really well before he leaves while I´m learning the language so that I can help my next companion. Talk about pressure but I´m going to interpret that as the Lord knows what I can do.
Love you all!
Elder MacLane Taggart

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Elder Tibbs, Trainer

MacLane at the Sao Paulo Temple

August 18, 2010 Hey World!

Hey World!
Como vai? Well I have left the CTM and I am now in an internet cafe instead of a computer lab emailing home. It is so weird, it almost doesn´t feel real, to actually be out here. It´s a little scary of course but I can handle it.
Before I get ahead of myself, the last week at the CTM was pretty awesome. Tuesday night I directed the CTM choir for the fireside. I did a really beautiful arrangement of 'I Know That My Redeemer Lives' and it turned out really well. I was kind of limited because music education is not very good down here so the Brasilieros can´t really hold a note, so I ended up doing the entire song in melody. But I pulled some tricks that spiced it up! haha
In Casa Verde (where the CTM is) they just finished a huge new chapel and they asked the CTM to get a choir together for the open house. They asked me to direct a few songs because my stint as the director went so well earlier. It really was a wonderful opportunity and I´m glad I did it.
Last Thursday, Elder Hunt challenged Elder Pockrus to beat his record of 10 cups of chocolate milk during snack time and keep it down the rest of the night (after climbing the six flights of stairs up to our rooms) and he actually did it! Well, he did the drinking park and ran up the stairs and felt really good. Then he just lost it and the bathroom was a total mess! haha it was so funny!
During our final classes we got to do an activity with our district. Each person sat in front of the rest of the class and the others said something they learned from them or liked. It was so good to be able to share our appreciation for each other. The comments people made about me were really touching. They said (in a nutshell) that I showed everyone to always have a positive attitude and love everyone. They also touched on my patience and how I learned quickly. It made me feel really good but it´s always awkward to have people have to compliment you.
It was really hard to say goodbye to my CTM district. I love them all so much and we were all really good friends. We had a final district prayer the morning before we all left and I almost cried. And then we left, just like that.
We went to Pres. Jackson´s house for an intro meeting to the mission and a delicious lunch. It was awesome! They seem really nice and I feel really comfortable around them. They live in an amazing condo complex that has more free space than I´ve seen anywhere in São Paulo. After lunch we went to the transfer meeting after than and I met my new companion! His name is Elder Tibbs and he is from St. George, he actually lived way close to Grandpa and Grandma C. Pres. Jackson told me he is one of the best Americans at speaking Português. He seems pretty cool. This is his last transfer so in missionary terms I´m killing my dad. I also got my first area assignment. I´m in Grajaú (Gra-ja-oo).
It took us over 2 hours to get from the transfer meeting to our area! We took a bus and a train. Grajaú is right on the border of the city and is pretty poor. I thought it was a favella the first time I saw it but it´s not. The area is basically a big mountain covered in buildings and the surrounding hills. Our apartment is on top the mountain of course so I had to lug all my stuff up the hill. I was so sweaty! We do have a good view though.
I got a little time to settle in but we went out and worked at night. My area is one of the tougher areas in the mission. In the last three months there have only been three baptisms (which is pretty low for Brasil) put that´s the norm here. Elder Tibbs said the ward is kinda weak too. Looks like I got my hands full to start! Both of our scheduled appointments fell through so we just did follow ups with some investigators. Man, I was pretty confident about my Português when I left the CTM but now I don´t know. I couldn´t really understand much and the investigators didn´t really understand what I said. Luckily my comp has it down and he is helping me a lot! He´ll help me get the language down quickly. Needless to say I was really tired when we finally got to go to bed.
This morning we had district meeting. All the elders in my district are really nice so they helped me out during the meeting. We had a lunch appointment but it fell through so we went to lunch with some other elders. Now I have a mini P-day for two hours so I can email and settle in more.
I´m so good, nervous, but good. Things are going to be interesting, that´s for sure, so I´m going to look at this like an adventure! Remember to send things to the mission home now. I love you all so much!
Your Missionary,
Elder MacLane Taggart

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August 10, 2010 One More Week!

Hey everyone out there in "we support Elder T" world! / After this week I have one more week in the CTM! How amazing is that? I'm so excited! / This week was pretty normal, such is life in the CTM. But I guess there are some cool things of note. We got a flood of Americans this week because the Church pulled some strings with the Brasilian Govt to get hundred plus missionaries stuck in the states because of Visas down here. The place is a lot more crowded now. It's weird to have so many new kids cause I feel so much older than all of them! / Friday we went PROSELYTING! This time we went to the middle of downtown São Paulo. It was amazing! São Paulo is so interesting because it has those classic early 1900s buildings and ugly 70s buildings and amazing new buildings. It's like a time warp! But anyway we had an amazing experience. Some cool experience to tell you: one time we were talking to this girl and she was not interested, but in the middle of our conversation another woman came up and was really excited to see us and when we shook her hand she kissed ours! She handed me a tie and told me it was a present for me so I handed her a Book of Mormon and told her it was a present for her. We got her address and everything and then she got out some coconut oil or something and started messaging our hands! It was so weird! Another experience: after we had given out all of our books we were walking around and we stopped at a street vender and one of the girls working there told us one of her family members was just baptized. We asked her if she was a member and she got all timid and bashful. We left and later we got an extra book. I remembered the girl and we ran back to the street she was on and luckily she was still there so we gave it to her. She was so interested and I really think she is going to investigate more. When we were really done we went into an old Catholic Church to look around and it was pretty. I love old cathedrals! Outside the church was more interesting though cause one: there was a high dude that the cops were trying to help stand up and he couldn't, two: a naked homeless man yelling at all the people walking by, and three: a man performing voodoo. Haha! Gotta love big cities! / On Tuesday I directed the MTC choir and it went so well! I did 'I Know That My Redeemer Lives' and it sounded beautiful. The woman in charge of all the music here told me she thought I was 'marvelous' and all the Brasilieros were complimenting me, I liked it. Another music event, there is a brand new Chapel in Casa Verde and the CTM is in charge of all the music. They asked me to conduct my song again for the open house. I'm also singing in a quartet for the open house. It's nice to be busy this last week because it's making the time go by quickly. / Today was our last P-day in the CTM. We went to the temple and Pres. Arnsten (our branch president) took pictures of all of us and he is going to be sending via email this week so you can all see the temple. It is an amazing temple, the inside is all solid mahogany and gold leaf and the baptismal font is covered in glass mosaic. We also went to a Rodizio for lunch with Irma Gaspar and I forgot about my diet for two hours. It was so delicious! So much meat! Oh and I ate a chicken heart, not too bad. As it is my last week y'all should start sending stuff to the mission home so I will be able to get it. The next time you hear from me I will be in the field and as green as and unripened tomato. / Thanks for all the love and support, I can truly feel it! I love you all and hope to keep hearing from you! / Yours truly, Elder MacLane W Taggart

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August 3, 2010

Well hi there everybody! Another week has come and gone, can you believe it? I´ve been out for about a month and a half now and I´ll be out in the field in 2 weeks! I´m so excited! First off, thanks to those who have been sending me letters and such, I really appreciate them. Especially the wonderful package full of Hawaiian goodness from my folks! Love you guys! If anyone is itchin´ to send me some love in the form of writing don´t hesitate. / Alright so as for the happenings of the past week... If you´ve noticed I haven´t talked about my weight loss for a while. I kinda hit a wall a few weeks ago and stopped losing but I´m happy to report that I have once again resumed my thinification and am 4 lbs away from reaching my MTC weightless goal of 20 lbs. This is all thanks in part to my running during gym, I can now run 2 miles without stopping. / We have weekly progress assessments called 'milestones' once a week but last week our class was so crazy that E. Abernethy and I didn't do ours until last Wednesday, and we have been speaking Português in class for about 3 weeks now btw. Well when we did ours our teacher almost started crying because she said it reminded her of when she gained her testimony and there was some way intense spiritual power going on. It was way nice to get received like that. And she said that our Português was better than her trainer's in her mission! / Being cooped up in this big buildings for so many days can get pretty boring, so what is a group of 12 guys going to do? Shave our legs of course! haha! E. Pockrus has (had) some intense body hair so we all agreed that if everyone in the district shaved their legs he would shave his entire upper body. And well... he did it! It was so funny. I do have to admit that I am not liking the shinny legs though. It will grow back though... right? / We also had TRC this week. TRC is a fake teaching experience with real Brazilians who are from the local ward and there is a whole set up with couches and stuff. So I was kinda freakin out before because this was the real-fake deal! But we ended up doing really well. Better than even I thought apparently, because the next day they asked E. Abernethy and I to do a practice followup visit in front of ALL the teachers in their Friday meeting. Now I was really freaked out for that and it was pretty frustrating because our practice situation was that the guy didn't want to take the lessons anymore and he was very stubborn. In the end we did fine so my reputation is building. / The construction on the MTC is quickly finishing up and it is so awesome! The cafeteria opened up yesterday and it is so nice! They even gave us cake to celebrate the occasion! And the path to the new gym is almost open too so that will be good, considering they told us it would be open three weeks ago. / I'm getting ready to direct the MTC choir Sunday. I'm going to do 'I Know That My Redeemer Lives' and I've got a really cool idea for the arrangement. The Brazilians are not very musically inclined so I have to do it simple but I'm going to be pulling some a Capella stuff and solos too. I hope it turns out okay. I'll let you all know how it goes next week. / Sorry that there isn't much to write about this week. Things are just dandy and I'm happy so be glad I'm not writing 10 pages about how I hate it here. I'm being blessed by the buckets and I recognize the Lord's hand everyday. I am growing so much! One of my teachers always tells me how much he admires that I am happy all the time. I love you all so much and am grateful for your prayers and thoughts, keep em coming! / Your's truly, Elder MacLane W. Taggart

"Efforts and Courage are not enough without Purpose and Direction" - JFK

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

July 28, 2010

Hey All! / (again working with a bad keyboard so no paragraphs, just slashes.) This week has been a whirlwind and it´s really amazing to see how great this work is and the power of the gospel! And normal life is pretty good too! haha Notice: They are crackin down on some new email rules so I can´t send pictures til I´m out in the field and I don´t have much time at all to write so here we go! / So the CTM is under some major construction and our already small world is even smaller. Seriously we eat lunch in hallways and we can´t open the windows during class because they are building a new gym outside (which they have been working on for like 9 months or something), so it gets really hot in our classroom which makes us tired and our teachers don´t get why we are falling asleep because they are Brasilian! haha it actually is really funny to think about! / Last P-day I got the coolest shirt on earth! There is a store right outside the CTM called Komora (yeah, cheesy church history reference) that sells stuff to missionaries. The shirt has all these missionaries in armor and with swords and stuff, looking like the army of Helaman, waving a Brasilian flag and it says, "So Os Fortes Sobrevivem!" which translates to "Only The Strong Survive!" Basically I´m going to save it til I get home so that I can show how awesome it is to everyone I run into. / Friday we went proselyting! Oh my freakin heck! It was the most amazing thing ever! We had 5 Books of Mormon to pass out and we had like 3 hours. E. Abernethy and I were pretty nervous and so we decided to just talk to the first person we saw to get over that. It just so happend that the first person we saw was actually a group of 4 hardcore automechanics. We just walked up to them and started talking and they were pretty interested so we gave them all books and commited them to read it and call the number for more info. We just flew from that point on! Yeah we had some rejection and all but we ended up get some extra books and in all passed out 7 in 2 hours! It really was so amazing and I felt the spirit so strongly. I almost started to cry when I was bearing my testimony to one of the people we talked to but I got a hold of myself. He ended up taking a book so mission accomplished. I can´t wait to get out in the field and actually do that everyday. It is ON!!! / So this elder in our district is a flippin guru or something. E. Overton is a self-proclaimed master of self-evaluation (and non-self-evaluation apparently) and he has been 'reading' some of the people in our district. It is crazy how accurate he is. He will be like, "I noticed you tuck your shirt in this way, did you ever get bullied as a child and you feel insecure about it and worry about your appearance?" and he is usually right! He did a reading on me and it was way close to reality, it was kinda scary actually. / The other night I had a crazy vivid dream about my future wife and it was pretty much a movie about our life. It was a way beautiful dream and if it came true I would not mind at all because she was beautiful. You may ask, "why is he telling us this?" but it was seriously that real that it is worth telling you guys. / Last night E. Abernethy was having a really hard time and as a district we were discussing the plan of salvation. He had some thoughts that were kind of wrong and E. Pockrus certainly let him know. It was pretty harsh and Abernethy was shook up about it. I ended up pulling him aside and we talked for like an hour and a half about everything that has been hard for him and it felt really good. I think I was actually able to help him with some of his stuff so it made me feel good. I´ve actually been talking with a lot of people and helping them with there problems. I´m glad I have the ability to understand people and work them through things. / Our Brasilian roomate left this morning. Goncalves and Castro Silva were so much fun and they helped us a lot with the language. The Brasilians are very open about their feelings and they told us they loved us every night when we were all going to bed. It was pretty funny but also nice to hear every once in a while. I hope they do well out there. It is actually ironic because the Brasilians are way nervous about understanding the gospel while they have no problem with the language while the Americans are always freaking out about the language but for the most part have the doctrine down. / Anyway, all is well. I only have 3 more weeks in this place and I´m so excited! I appreciate all the love that is being sent my way and want it to keep coming! I love you all so flippin´ much you don´t even know! / - Yours truly, Elder T

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July 20, 2010

Hey Todas Pessoas!
So one more week down and let´s just say I am growing increasingly more aware of time down here. haha. But things are still going really well. E. Abernethy and I are teaching in Português now and we are getting better every time! It´s like watching hair grow, you don't notice that you are making progress until you can actually hold a conversation with a Brazilian. Irmão Carboni called me a Brasiliero so I´m feeling pretty good, but I still have a long way to go.
On to the events of the past week... last P-day our district wasn't scheduled for the temple so we just chilled the whole day. We went out and I got some Coke Light (Diet Coke) and it lasted me a couple days.
We went to the Federal Police to register our visas. It was way cool and they had these really techno machines that scanned our hands and everything! It was like being in a Jason Bourne movie! And I´m not being deported so that´s awesome!
My life has gone music crazy! So I'm in charge of putting together a song for our sacrament meeting in a few weeks and who´d of thought that no missionaries can play 'Called to Serve'? AND I´ve been asked to direct the MTC Choir in a few weeks and they want all my info right away so I have to figure out what the heck I´m going to do. I think I might do an acapella version of 'I Know That My Redeemer Lives'. AND E. Abernethy and I are writing a song together. So music central right now.
The weather is pretty crazy down here too. It was raining for three days straight and now it´s super hot. Weird. The Brazilians are saying it´s weird too so right on. I guess it just followed me from Utah.
We got our new AP and it´s E. Wilkinson. I was kinda jealous but he knows the white handbook from cover to cover so I´m okay with it. He will be a great AP. And I´ll have a better opportunity out in the field anyway.
District 21A left today and I am way sad! They are such cool guys and they are our districts closest friends. I´m happy for them though cause they are going to do great and we´re going to stay in touch.
Well... that´s about all the news I have for you guys. Not a very exciting week. No news is good news I guess, or just the monotony of the CTM. haha! Love you all! Keep up the letters and emails, in fact send me more! No pressure. :P
From your favorite missionary,
Elder T

"Efforts and Courage are not enough without Purpose and Direction" - JFK

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

pics from Brazil

July 13, 2010 One Month In

Wow! I feel so loved right now! I am so grateful for all the letters and emails and I´m going to do my best to write everyone back! Keep them coming. Oh and Katie T is definitely in the lead right now for the package and the snickers and starburst AND all the letters! I can´t believe I´ve already been gone a month (well in 3 days it will have been a month)! I just have 23 more! haha I´ve been told the best way to count down is by Fast Sundays. So I have some congrats to send out: Paige Elizabeth Neff! Mr. Culter hit the nail right on the head with you. I´m so happy to hear about your engagement! Add 2 kids in the next 2 years and you´ll be set when I get home! And Scott! Congratulations on the mission call! I freaked out when I first found out! I am so excited for you and know that you will do an awesome job!

So life down here is pretty much the same. We just go through the same schedule everyday. The days move slowly but the weeks fly. This past week had some interesting stuff though!

Every Wednesday is pizza night down here. Yeah, the CTM built a brick oven in the back so we have pizza a lot. It´s not the same as the pizza back home but it´s still pretty good. I always eat way to much and feel sick afterwards. But I´m still being good about watching my weight. I weighed myself this morning and I´ve lost 13 lbs! Get ready ladies cause when I get back you all are going to be wanted a piece of Mac Daddy! haha!

The other day Elder Abernethy and I translated some hinos (hymns) during our study time and the Português words are so much better than the English! I love the hymns down here.

We got some new Brazilian Elders in our room and they are way nicer than the ones who left last week! They are Elder Gonçalves and Elder Castro Silva. They always help us with the language and they know some English so we talk a lot.

The biggest thing that happened this week would have to be our baptism by fire on Friday. Our district has been falling a little behind because Irmão Carboni has been gone (he´s back for good finally) and we all got a little complacent. So they administration sent in the big guy... literally. Irmão Peçanha is this huge black dude who is way smart and has a voice like Mufasa from the Lion King. He spent 4 hours doing activities with us to show us how missionaries should be and kinda throwing us under the bus with some language activities. In the end it was definitely a wake up call for most of our district. We definitely had some problems and they got fixed. We are learning machines now.

On Sunday I spoke in Sacrament Meeting about hope. I think I did well. I had written a talk but when I got up to the stand I decided to just wing it and follow the Spirit. It turned out really well and everyone complimented me on how well it went. It made me feel good.

I helped Elder Lund pull a prank on Elder Larrot (the AP) and Elder Lund totally sold me out and said the whole thing was my idea! Now Elder Larrot has sworn revenge on me but he´s leaving next week so he better get to it. haha

Things are going really well down here and I miss you all so much! I really took so many of you for granted and I definitely love you all more than I can say! Stay strong and everything will turn out for the best!

Yours truly,
Elder T

"Efforts and Courage are not enough without Purpose and Direction" - JFK

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

3 weeks and time is beginning to fly

3 weeks down! Wow time is beginning to fly! So funny story... the whole not hearing from anyone thing... Turns out minha familia sent a letter the first week BUT they sent it to my mission home and not the CTM (Centro Treinamento Missionario) so I didn´t get it til yesterday! Luckily my mission president did the devotional on Sunday and he was kind enough to bring it over. He is such a nice guy and his wife was so cool! That is a huge blessing. Their devotional was amazing also.

I´m loving all the emails and letters from all of you guys! It means a lot! (Reminder: I can´t email anyone back unless they are direct family so please give me your address.) I´m sorry to hear that you guys took down the trampoline, such memories. I really got emotionally reading that. That with Independence Day really kicked me with some homesickness but I´m good. Having Independence Day on a fast Sunday was não bom.

So things of note: I got a haircut with the CTM barber the other day and he did not speak English... I´m kind of a fuzz ball right now. haha! I had a terrible canker sore so the CTM doctor have me some baking powder to help it heal and told me to put it on ever other hour. It was in a plastic bag so it looked like I was carrying around a bag of drugs!

Our amazing instructor Irmão Carboni has been out for a while because he is having some serious kidney stone problems. He told us the first one was 8mm! Anyway he´s been in and out of the hospital because his surgery gave him internal bleeding. I have been praying for him and our whole district is really worried. He is an amazing guy! He stopped by the other day and told us everything and it was hilarious! He called his doctor the Penis Man! At least he can laugh about it!

We got a new elder in my district named Elder Maner. He seems pretty cool but he´s kinda quite. I guess it would be awkward moving into an already established group.

My district kolobs so much! If you are unfamiliar with the term don´t worry, neither was I. It means to talk about doctrine that is so obscure that it does´t really matter. For example, last night we spend an hour and half talking about all the prophecies of the end of days. Real productive! haha! It´s really funny most of the time.

I´m getting better at the Português and Elder Abernethey are rocking our teaching practices so right on! I love you all so much and hope everything is going well! Please keep up the letters and emails!

Muito Amor!
Elder Taggart

"Efforts and Courage are not enough without Purpose and Direction" - JFK

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Before and After

MacLane seems destined to have become a missionary.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hey Everyone!

Wow no emails or letters? Seriously? Was there some sort of apocalypse or something? Just so people know they can email me, I just can´t email back so I´ll write them a letter if they give me their address. My email is maclane.taggart@myldsmail.net. Why have I not gotten anything from home yet?

Anyway, things are going super great down here in Brazil! We have been learning a ton every day. Irmão Carboni went out sick for the week cause he had to have emergency surgeory on his kidney. He´s coming back tomorrow so it´s all good.

Well... there isn´t really anything to report. Nothing too exciting happened down here. The city is still in World Cup fever. I heard the US lost so that´s too bad. My district is a lot of fun, but we talk about the most random stuff and it sometimes gets out of control. Like we talk about politics A LOT!!! Normally that wouldn´t bother me but most of them don´t know what they are talking about so I just get mad everytime. And we had a conversation about "Utah Mormons" that made me mad too. Most of the kids in my district aren´t from Utah and they say that Utah Mormons are super judgemental and have never really had to test their faith. I´m definitely not like that and I´m from Utah so stereotype destroyed.

Elder Abernethy and I are doing really well in our teaching. We just kinda get each other so when we are teaching it works really well and we know what we are talking about so that takes away a lot of the pressure.

I guess I can tell you guys about my everyday life down here. We get up at 6:30 and have to be to breakfast by 7. Breakfast is not something to look forward too. It´s bologna and cheese sandwiches every morning without fail. Then we have personal study til 8:30 and class with Irmão Carboni til noon. Then we have lunch. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day here in Brazil so it´s always good in the CTM. There are always two meats, rice and beans, salads, fresh fruit, and all the guarana you can drink! It´s hard to control myself. haha. Anyway, after lunch we have class with Irma Gaspar til 4:30 then companion study then dinner. After dinner we have gym (we usually just play basketball, it´s against the rules to play soccer at any time while on a mission in Brazil). Then it´s Missionary Directed Time, planning, and bed. So I am really busy every day and I get really tired every so often, but I´m adjusting well.

If I misspelled anything in the email I´m sorry. The Português is really messing with my English. If there is anything specific you´re dieing to know just shoot me an email and I´ll tell you what I can. I hope to hear from home soon and hope everything is going well! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE write me and email me! I want to know what´s going on. Feel free to send me some typed or written love whenever!

Peace out!
Elder MacLane Taggart

Friday, June 25, 2010

preimero semana, June 22, 2010

Hey Everyone! So I´ve survived my first week at the CTM, actually I really like it here so it doesn´t seem like I´ve had to `survive´. Anyway it is so crazy how quickly we are moving in the Portuguese and everything! I have the purpose and the first vision memorized, I can pray and bear my testimony as well as have a good conversation, all in Portuguese! It really is such a beautiful language and our district has amazing teachers, Irmão Carboni and Irma Gaspar. They are some natives who have served missions here in brazil. (For some reason this computer won´t let me use the enter key so I can´t really make paragraphs so I´ll just use a slash.) / We have the biggest district in the whole CTM with 11 elders and I love everyone in my district. My companion is Elder Abernethey from Boston! (Shout out to Jackson!) He is really an awesome kid and we have a lot in common as far as family situations and stuff like Family Guy. We pretty much just quote it all day. We live on the sixth floor, which is the top, and they don´t let us use the elevators so we have to walk up all the floors like five times a day. Some other elders of note: Elder Overton from California who has been having some major struggles and said he was going to go home the second day but we had Elder Neil A Anderson (that´s right, an apostle) come and he talked about sticking it out and relying on the Lord so it was pretty much divine help. Elder Williamson is from Virginia and is our District Leader. He is so fun to hang out with and I totally called that he would be DL before it happened. / We have some Brazilians living in our room and since we don´t speak the language too well it is really hard to communicate and they are really loud at night. But some of the Brazilians that live with our district speak English really well so they help us out. Most of the missionaries here are Brazilian because they only have to be in for three weeks. / The food here is AMAZING! It´s basically just carbs and protein all day everyday with some fresh fruit and Guarana. They mix it up with some American style food on the weekends but it´s all good. I have been being really careful though. Everyone in my district is trying to gain weight so they eat as much as they can at every meal but I just eat what they give me and a lot of fruit and vegetables. I´ve already lost about four pounds so let´s keep it up! / I really do love it here and haven´t been homesick at all. Not that I don´t love you all but they keep us so busy that there isn´t really any time to think about home. Since it is our first week we have a bunch of special meetings so maybe things will get more chill after this week. / The coolest thing is that they let us out pretty much whenever we want so we have walked around the MTC several times and the neighborhood is very friendly and there is a lot of cool stuff to check out. There is an American cookie shop across the street called Mr. Cheney´s. Diet Coke is called Coke Light. Medical stuff is pretty much free so sorry mom and dad for making you pay for all those shots. The World Cup is going on right now and it is crazy here. The city goes silent during the game and when they score it just erupts in fireworks and horns! It is so cool! All the Brazilian missionaries sit by the windows waiting to here the noises and they can keep score. There are brazilian flags and fireworks everywhere, it´s really cool to be in a place where people have so much pride in their country. / Anyway, my time is almost up so I need to finish it up. I love you all so much and I am praying for you all back home like I hope you are praying for me, I´m going to need all the help I can get to learn this language. / Stay Classy! Elder T

Saturday, June 19, 2010

MacLane has arrived in Brazil!

Look at the handsome elder on the left. He's still smiling.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Let's Get It Started!

Ola friends, family, and anyone else who has stumbled upon my blog!

I've created this blog to chronicle my mission in Brazil Sao Paulo Interlagos and share my stories, feelings, and opinions for everyone back home! Plus, this should be much easier for my less than tech-savvy parentals than having them email everyone.

Anyway, this time next week I will be in Brazil! It seems so incredible and scary that time has flown so quickly. It seems like I got my call weeks ago but it has almost been six months! I am so ready to get out of the SLC, but I'm going to miss all of you. The last six months have been such a blur but thanks to my ever OCD mom I got all my supplies and stuff months ago. I must say I'm pretty proud of my tie collection and I finally found the perfect red and white tie to finish it up! Unfortunately I've been told silk ties get destroyed by the heat and humidity so my efforts may have been in vain, of course...

My farewell speech (I call it a speech because it has always bothered me that we call them talks. It sounds so trivial and the people are speaking so it should be called a speech. whatever.) is coming along nicely. I gave it in single's ward a couple weeks ago but I think I'm going to tweak it a little bit. Sunday is probably going to be the last day I see most of you before I leave because I get set apart Sunday afternoon. Temple extravaganza on Monday! It's pretty much the only thing I can do other than pack.

I should be getting my visa, plane tickets, and name tags in the mail today! I'm so excited to be able to just touch my name tag! 'Elder Taggart' how awesome is that!?!

Right now, I am so excited to get out there and get started! I have been so scared lately but I just have to have courage and trust that whatever is supposed to happen is going to happen. I love all of you so much and hope to hear from you! My testimony is growing stronger everyday and I can't wait to share it!

Stay Classy,
MacLane Winsor Taggart