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, October 31, 2011

October 31, 2011 I'm so Happy

Hey Everyone,

I am so happy! I feel so much closer to the lord and I can feel his hand so much more in my life. The last few weeks have been truly amazing and I have been learning so much about my purpose and who I am in the eternal scheme of things. I know that God loves me and all of his children. It truly is an honor to be here in this great work to help others be clean of there sins so that they can recieve mercy at the judgment day.

This week was great. We started teaching a really awesome family. Iara is a recently single mother and she lives with her son Antony. He is best friends with one of the ward youth and that´s how me met the family. The lessons are going incredibly. At first Iara just wanted Antony to be baptized was a little resistent to be baptized herself but we told her to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. When we went back she said that while she was reading she couldn´t stop thinking about temple sealings (the gospel principles topic on Sunday) and she realized that in order to be with Antony after this life she needed to be baptized in the right form so that she can be sealed to her son for time and all eternity in the temple. Then this weekend her sister passed away and she is even more determined to follow Christ.

Marlene and Pedro were going to be baptized on the fifth but they had to go to a family wedding instead of Church so it looks like they will be for the 12th instead. She is commited to live the word of wisdom now and they are both super excited to follow Christ into the waters of baptism. Pedro is so funny. One day his drunk dad was there and he was saying a bunch of bad stuff about us and Pedro got up and started yelling, "Can you read dad!?! Look at their name tags! Who do they represent!?! Jesus Christ!!! Respect them!" Might I remind you that he is eight-years-old. They are really incredible.

Adeline unfortunately decided to take a break from the lessons for a while. She got back together with her exhusband and is going to church with him. She said that she still feels like she hasn´t found the right place yet (which is exactly what we are trying to help her with) but that she is feeling really confused right now. She told us that she is going to call us when she is ready to start investigating seriously. We felt oddly good after the lesson. Even though she stopped investigating we left on a really good note with the door wide open for her to come back and find out more. I feel like it probably just isn´t the right time for her but someday a couple of lucky elders will be able to help her family better than we could.

We had a mission wide meeting this week with Elder Claudio R. M. Costa, area president of Brasil. He was really good and he and his wife talked to us about how God fulfils the just desires of worthy servants´ hearts and that if we truly give 100% we will receive the blessings. After he had a meeting with all of the LZs and we talked a lot about the Resgate program (I don´t know what it is called in English.) It seems like things might finally get moving on that and that he is going to be really firm with the stake leadership to get things functioning the way they should. What a blessing he will be for Brasil.

I had the priveledge to do a baptismal interview in Jardim das Rosas for a young woman that I had helped get ready for baptism. Her name is Lilian and her mom was baptized last week. The first time I taught her in an exchange and she was being so difficult. I had to call her out and really wake her up to the fact that her salvation is on the line. What a difference a few weeks and some good personal revelation seeking makes. She was so well prepared and the interview was amazing. She said that it meant a lot that I did the interview for her and when she prayed the spirit was burning in the room.

Saturday was the baptism of Marcelo. Imagine what a hard situation he is in: 17, his parents don´t support him in going to church, and his closest contact to the Church is his less active neighbors who are kind of crazy. It was a miracle his dad signed the baptismal form. He was so ready, we didn´t even have to teach him because he has been going to church alone ever since he was 10. At the baptism the young all put some money together and gave him some white dress shirts and ties to weat to chruch. He was already interviewed to receive the priesthood and started his mission preparation and forms with the bishop right after his confirmation. What a stud! All the young women are fighting to try to date him now too. HAHA!

Anyway, we are teaching some other families (complete families, as in with men who can receive the priesthood and divide the ward) that we are getting prepared for December already. And everyday I´m getting closer and closer to the Savior. The only thing that bugs me is that I´m figuring out all this stuff out now when I have only a little over half a year left in the field. I wish I could go back in time and reuse all the time I wasted... :P haha!

Love you all!
Elder MacLane Winsor Taggart

Monday, October 24, 2011

October 24, 2011 The Little Engine That Could

Hey World!

Well recently I have been feeling a lot like the little engine that could (one of my favorite childhood memories). Our area is being a little hard right now but we see so many miracles and I have been receiving personal revelation like crazy. I have never felt so capable on my mission than I do right now but the hard part is that almost all of our appointments are falling through and we have very few people to teach. We are just chuggin up the hill and pretty soon it will all pay off.

This Saturday we´re going to baptize Marcelo! He is a young man who has been going to church forever but never got baptized. We´ve been trying to visit him forever but he never was home when we marked with him. We finally got a hold of him and just asked him when he wanted to be baptized and it all kind of fell into place perfectly. Yeah miracles!

Unfortunately mircale Kelli decided not to take the visits anymore. She said that she doesn´t have anymore time and that right now she needs to calm down a bit before she makes any commitments. We tried but to be a good missionary you have to go with the shepard approach instead of the sheep dog technique.

We got an amazing referral from a family in the ward this week. Iara and Antony are great. The first time we visited them Antony said the closing prayer and cried because he felt so good. They both went to church too!

I did an exchange with Elder Mather too. He is finishing his mission right now. He was way cool because he was so smiley. All of the people we visited commented about how good he made them feel. He also talked with EVERYONE in the street and we got some really good contacts.

That is pretty much it for the week! Thanks for the love!

Elder Taggart

Monday, October 17, 2011

October 17, 2011 Six Days of Rain and Counting

Dear Everyone,

Hey!!!!! Wow that week just flew by didn´t it? Well things are going really well here and even though I´ve already been here in Pirajussara almost five months, I´m just beginning to really love it here and could stay here a little bit longer even.

Monday night we had a family home evening with some members named Jean and Lili. They invited their neighbor Roberto. I had actually already met him once when we doing contacts he was way rude in the contact but during the FHE he really opened up. He started to cry because his life isn´t what he wants it to be. We tried to mark with him but he works everyday and it´s hard to find him at home so he didn´t mark a lesson.

Tuesday I did an exchange with Elder Redford in Jardim das Rosas. Elder Redford is on his last transfer so is way trunky but is an amazing missionary! He is helping us in the zone alot because we are trying to change basically everything and he is helping us organize our plans. During the exchange we just kind of went after new investigators and did contacts. At one point we were doing a contact with a bunch of young dudes in the streat and they were making fun of our accents but Elder Redford just played along and in the end we marked one of them for baptism! haha! It was great. It started to rain at night.

Wednesday, still raining. It was Kid´s Day in Brasil (the most commercial holiday I have every seen). We ate lunch with Elton, Adriana, and Mariana. They made the best Lasagna that I have ever eaten! It was incredible! We also got to teach our newest elect Marlene and her super smart son Pedro. She is awesome. We taught them about the Restoration and during the lesson she was paying such good attention. When I was explaing the first vision I told her how Joseph Smith asked Christ which church was true and I said, "Do you know what Christ said?" and she was on the edge of her seat and asked, "What did he say?" "He said that none of the Churches were true." Her reply was hilarious! Her eyes opened real big and she said, "No! What are we going to do?" Then we explained the rest of the lesson and she accepted everything. She is going to be baptized on November 5th.

Thursday, raining even harder. We did an exchange with the Elders in Jardim Kennedy. I stayed with Elder Brady who is brand spanking new in the field and he has that fire in his belly to get out there and help the whole world. It was great! We taught hardly anyone and he would not get discouraged. At night it was pouring rain and at about 8:40 I was telling him we should just go home and he was like, "No I have contacts we can go visit!" haha! We both we completely soaked when we got home that night. I think God was happy with us because when we ordered pizza they sent us a chocolate pizza for free.

Friday, still raining hard. Nothing real interesting happened.

Saturday, still raining. The rain ruined everything! We had a ton of visits marked and we had members ready to go out with us but everyone fell through because of the weather. Then at night we had an 'only on the mission' experience. We had a member with us to visit Marlene but the power went out in her viela so we had to walk in pitch dark to get to here house and half-way through we found out that there was a mudslide in the viela that had blocked the path so we couldn´t get to her house. That´s Brasil for you.

Sunday, still raining. No one told us that it was daylight savings time so we got up and went to church for our meeting with the Bishop and thsacrament meeting was starting! We had planned to go get our investigators but we didn´t have time so in the end we only had Marcelo who will be baptized on the 29th. Count your blessings.

Today still raining. We went on a little adventure this morning. Elder Christensen had to go grab some of his stuff in his old area so the Elders there left the keys with us. We tried to play a trick on them so we made lunch in their house and as we were walking out the door to leave with the pots and plates in the sink they got home. (Don´t worry, they are Elders we both know well and we are all good friends.) It all turned out well and we got to hang out with them a little. Then we headed back to our house. Now I´m going to take a nap while it´s still raining.

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, October 10, 2011

October 10, 2011 American Companion

Hey Everyone!

Wow, this week was so amazing! Like I told you Elder J. Melo was transfered and on Tuesday i received my new companion... drum roll please... Elder Christensen! WoHoo! We have mutual friends at BYU and actually knew each other before the mission a little so we both were way excited to be companions. He´s from Washington and is a 6 foot tall red head. They actually didn´t even tell him that he was being transfered so after the transfer meeting we had to go to his old area and get all of his stuff.

I have already learned so much with him and we have had an explosion of personal revelation and revelation about how we should run our zone. It was so nice to feel the spirit so strong to help us create plans and confirm in our hearts that we are on the right track. We are going to start following Preach My Gospel to the letter and begin putting in practice all of the programs that Pres. Monson has been sending out that no one in our mission is doing. I kind of feel like we all just need to listen to the prophet and get on the ark, so to speak, or we´re all going to drown here.

I personally realized that I needed to change alot this week because I was completely neglecting the Doctrine of Christ. To tell the truth I wasn´t even teaching it to people. I think we get so worked up with the restoration that we forget about the atonement sometimes. Right now we´ve started marking people for baptism without even teaching the restoration fully all because we are getting people excited to follow Christ and recieve forgiveness for their sins. There is a phrase I like a lot that I´m taking to heart in one of the Preach My Gospel DVDs that says, " Having faith in Joseph Smith isn´t important. Having faith in Jesus Christ is important. What´s important about Joseph Smith is that we know he´s the prophet who restored the Church of Christ." If we focus on Christ more than anything else then we will have more success and truly represent him.

Like I said we had a lot of miracles this week. I just want to talk about one of them named Kelli. Friday during our planning session is when we decided to put all of our new plans to work so we went out there and we made a contact with a young woman named Kelli who asked us to pass by her house that night. We went there and taught her about how she can have a new start and receive forgiveness for her sins by following Christ and being baptized. She accepted to be baptized at the end of the month and then on Saturday she watched a baptism and got way excited. She was saying, "I can´t wait for my turn!" This is just one example of the incredible changes that are happening in our area now that we are truly preaching Christ.

I am so happy right now because I really feel like I represent my lord and savior Jesus Christ. I know that his atonement is real because this week I experienced it by making changes in my life and repenting of how I neglected him. I know that this Church is his and that we are so blessed to live in the fulness of times and be guided by a prophet. I love this gospel and I love you all so much. Keep praying for me.

Elder MacLane Winsor Taggart

Monday, October 3, 2011

October 3, 2011 The Mission is Going Crazy

Dear Everyone,

I have NO time to write today so sorry in advance. All I have to say is that the mission is going crazy. We had transfers this weekend and everyone in my zone was transfered... except me... I will spend 6 months here, here we go. I´ll take the advice of my favorite fish voiced by Ellen: Just keep swimming. Everyone thought that I would be transferred and Elder J. Melo would stay but he was released as a ZL and I will train a new ZL. Well that´s all. Just a note to everyone: The bankers and the mailmen here in Brasil are on strike so everything is going way slow in those areas.

Elder MacLane Taggart