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, January 30, 2012

January 30, 2012 Ray of Sunshine

Well World,

This was a really good week. Even with the rain things are looking good. Unfortunately I´m using the worste computer in the LAN house and will have to very short on words this week.

Tuesday our mission had the priveledge of receiving the visit of Elder M. Russel Ballard. Apostle! It was such and incredibel meeting. It´s incredible to see how simple he is. A truly humble servant of the Lord. With some questions he just said, "I don´t know Elder, you have to ask the Lord." And the love he showed for his wife also was impressive. I enjoyed the meeting alot. He talked about how the mission is the only time in our lives that we will be able to truly represent Jesus Christ and that we should show our love for him in everything and in every moment. He also said that instead of complaining about the problems in our areas we need to be the solutions.

I also had to get my toe worked on this week. After stubbing it last week and breaking the nail, it turned into a big swollen, ingrown thing that needed to get fixed. The foot doctor was suprized I was even managing to stand up let alone walk all day. He did a really good job and though it was painful I felt better immediately after the treatment. It´s still an ugly little thing but it´s getting better.

Ray was baptized on Saturday and it was incredible. A ton of members came and the rain stopped right before the baptism started. After 2 weeks of straight rain, the sun came bursting through the clouds and there was a beautiful blue sky. It was awesome. After the confirmation on Sunday he grabbed and hugged us on the pulpit. All the members liked that. Ray still has a long way to go but has already changed a lot. It will be really interesting to see what he´s like in 5 years.

Well, like I said, short on words. Bye!
Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, January 23, 2012

February 23, 2012 The Most Anticipated Baptism Ever

Hey World!

Well this week was a very busy roller coaster. I learned a lot about perseverance (sp?).

Monday was a normal work day because we went to the temple this week so P-day was on Wednesday. We got to visit a man who is really interested named Danilo. He is 25 years old and we went to give him the Book of Mormon. We gave it to him and he got all teary eyed and said, "You guys are the only ones who remembered my birthday!" It was so perfect.

Tuesday we had District Meeting and I gave a truly inspired training. I was studying about how the Holy Ghost works in people for conversion and read D&C 50 and says when you teach by the spirit and people receive by the spirit it creates light that builds upon itself. Right then I looked up and noticed the light bulb and thought about how it was such a perfect representation. Inside the light bulb are two metal wires joined in the middle by the conductive material that burns to make light. My training talked about how we need to make sure our preparation allows the energy to flow through us and how we need to teach people with desire so that the energy can flow through them and create light when the Holy Ghost testifies! It was awesome!

Wednesday was great! We went to the temple and had an awesome session, followed by and awesome churrasco session! Meat! And at night was Gleice´s baptismal interview that she passed without a doubt. Gleice is probably the most anticipated baptism ever. She has be faithfully attending church for almost 6 years now and could never be baptized because her deadbeat husband didn´t want to marry her. New Year’s came around and she decided that it was more important to have a commitment with God than with a man that didn´t even want to marry her, so she kicked him out and we marked the baptism.

Thursday was kind of frustrating. Elder D. Monteiro had new missionary training that went all day and then at night I had to go do a baptismal interview super far away. We get to the house and the woman was drinking coffee! We wasted the whole night! I got really mad and realized how far I still have to go in the patience area.

Friday was a day that really tested our faith. All of our visits fell through and no one was home. We had nothing to do and it was raining. At one point I thought, "Let´s just got to the Bishop´s house and eat something." I had a really strong impression that God was testing our faith and right when we started walking toward the Bishop I got the impression that there was someone on the street we needed to find. We walked a little bit and I knocked on a house. A little boy appeared behind us and said "My friend lives here but he´s not home Elder." The kid is a member of the ward that we had never met and we asked him if he knew anyone on the street. He said my sister isn´t a member and she´s home right now. So we went. Her name is Monica and she recently separated from her husband and is looking for a church. She really likes the LDS church but is a little confused because of her other family members who go to other churches. It was an incredible experience.

Saturday we found a huge family that we are going to start teaching this week. There are about 20 people that live there. Should be interesting.

Sunday morning was Gleice's baptism. The whole ward we there! There we multiple musical numbers that the members prepared and everyone was crying. It was awesome! One of the best baptisms ever! The ward is really starting to have more confidence in us and we are receiving many referrals and a ton of members want to do visits with us. I love being a missionary!

Elder Taggart

Thursday, January 19, 2012

January 16, 2012 Rain, Rain, Go Away

Dear Everyone,

Well, one more week down. I can´t believe the transfer is already half over. Time goes by so fast it scares me. This week in São Paulo it rained everyday and continues. I prefer rain to sun though.

Our investigators are going so well! Gleice is super excited for her baptism this Sunday. We´re going there with the bishop today and she will be interviewed later this week. She has been waiting for this for five years! It´s exciting!

Ray is our other miracle. He just keeps getting better and better. We left the Word of Wisdom pamphlet with him and when we went back he had already stopped drinking coffee. We went to a stake activity with him Saturday and on the way home he was asking us questions about when he could recieve the priesthood and what happens when the prophet dies. He is so good! He gave an amazing prayer this week that made me cry. He said, "Thank you God for the priveledge of having your servants in my home to teach me the true gospel." I love being a missionary!!!

We also had interviews with Pres. Pinho this week. He told me that I need to get the area ready for a new missionary because he might call me as a zone leader again. He also talked to me about preparing to go home because I told him I was kind of scared. He said you have to make plans or you might get lost.

I did an exchange this week with the Elders in Itapecerica 2. I had the chance to get to know Elder Viana better. He had to sacrifice a lot to serve a mission. He was a professional soccer player before leaving on the mission and he gave it all up. He was making a ton of money and was getting pretty famous in his city and put it all away to serve the Lord. That´s someone who knows the importance of serving a mission.

I had a super spiritual experience this week! We were planning at night for the next day and we were praying to finish up the day and we asked in the prayer to let us know if we needed to change anything. I felt really stronging that we needed to change our plans in the morning but I didn´t know what to do. When I got up the morning I knew the exact street that we needed to go to and that their was a family waiting for us. So we changed the plans and went knocking doors. At the end of the street we found a family of seven that let us in and they accepted the invitation to be baptized! Go Holy Ghost!

It´s exciting to be here in Itapecerica 1 because lots of big changes are happening. Last year only five people were baptized here and the whole ward was way down, but now everyone has the missionary spirit and we are recieving tons of referrals and people are coming back that were less active. I´m hoping to be able to open up the back wall of the sacrament hall next week! It´s so cool to see how awesome the Gospel is! I love it!

Well I gotta go! We are going to the temple this week so we have to work normally today. Oh and just so you all know, I will be meeting Elder M. Russell Ballard next week. He´s visiting our mission. Jealous? haha!

See ya!
Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, January 9, 2012

January 9, 2012 Wearing the Name of My Savior

Dear Everyone,

Well another week has come and gone. This week another important date passed, January 5th. Why is this date important? Because it means that the 5 month countdown has begun and I only have the fingers of one hand left as a servant of the Lord... mixed emotions for sure.

The work is going well. Opening the area is a little challenging but when it´s more challenging the miracles start to happen. For example, Gleice. Gleice is a woman who has been going to church for 5 years, her children are all baptized. She has been battling to marry her husband for all this time then one day she decided that her desire to baptize was stronger than her desire to keep fighting with her husband. So she kicked him out and will be baptized on the 22nd!

The ward is also super excited to have new missionaries in the area and they are getting into gear as far as missionary work is going. The past two weeks we have received tons of referrals! One was named Raiy. He is about 20-years-old and doesn´t have very developed social skills but does anything you ask him so he is fulfilling all of his commitments. He understands all the principles that we teach but at times gets kind of confused so we´re taking it kind of slow. After church this week he came up to me and said, "Thank you for having guided me. I have found the right path and will be here every Sunday." It made me feel so good for him to actually open up a little bit like that. He´s preparing to be baptized on the 28th along with his brother.

We also have Alexssandra who is progressing really well. She has really started opening up to us after the initial shock of trading the Elders. Seeing Nayara, her best friend, get baptized and confirmed really helped her a lot.

We had a really funny family home evening this week with a less active family. We show up and it´s almost sunset to find the house completely black. Why? The power went out, but the family insisted that we still have the family home evening, alright grab the candles. I didn´t know how many children the woman had and discovered that she has 9! And she takes care of some of the neighbors' children and their was another family from the ward there. Result:Chaos! I have come to discover that I cannot handle children at all. I started to feel short of breath and started losing my patient because they would not be quiet. My the end I just had to sit down and watch it all go down instead of being part of it. Ha ha! How am I going to be a dad!?!

This Sunday´s testimony meeting was one of the most powerful I have ever been too. I don´t even know why but the spirit was so strong and everyone bore amazing testimonies. Nayara was confirmed and during the testimonies she got up and bore hers! It was amazing. After her I got up and I talked about the privilege to wear the name Jesus Christ on my name tag. When I sat down I started thinking about what it will be like when I can´t use my name tag and started to cry because I felt like a piece of my soul was going to be torn off. A ton of people got up and bore their testimonies about missionary work. Adriano, a brother who did a visit with us this week, said, "We have amazing missionaries here in our ward now. The one visit I did with them changed my week and they have such a good spirit. They need our help! Let´s help them!" Ha ha! A few other people got up and said how the ward needed get working. To finish it all up we sang 'Bela Sião' (Beautiful Zion) which is one of my favorite hymns. I couldn´t even sing because I was crying! I bet a few people were giving us weird looks... Ha ha!

Well that was the week! Hope you liked it! Bye!
Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, January 2, 2012

January 2, 2012 Opening the Area

Dear Everyone,

Well this was definitely an interesting and exciting week, full of new experiences and lots of fireworks!

On Tuesday we got to meet our trainees. Mine is named Elder Monteiro! He is from the interior of São Paulo so is serving basically at home, it´s a 4 hour drive to his house from here. He is really cool. I was worried about who I would be training because if it was an american he would not understand anything, but if he was brasilian he would probably be proud and hard to teach. Luckily Elder Monteiro speaks portuguese and is super humble. He almost couldn´t serve a mission because of an intestinal problem he has, but he did everything he could to get it under control and he is so grateful to be on the mission. So now all I have to do is help him have spiritual experiences that will mold him into the best missionary ever!

We got to the area and the whole week we pretty much just ran around trying to get to know all the investigators which was a little difficult considering the fact that my companion was so wide-eyed at district meeting that he forgot the Area Book in the other area and we won´t get it till tomorrow. It seems like most of the people they were teaching are way long term investigators that really can´t be baptized at the moment.

The old elders did leave us a christmas/new year´s present though! Nayara! Nayara is a young woman who was completely prepared for baptism when we got here and this Saturday on new year´s ever she was baptized! Her entire non-member family went and loved the baptism. She has a little brother that has already been to church and her mom said she wants to be baptized too but the parents need to get married.

So let me explain a little bit about my area Itapecerica I. My area is the outskirts of 3 cities. We live on a three way border with the city of São Paulo, Embu das Artes (where I stayed last week) and the city of Itapecerica da Serra. From what I can tell the area has really good members because after we both spoke on Sunday we were attacked and marked a ton of family home evenings to get to know a bunch of referrals that all the members have for us. It´s kind of lower class mixed with middle class so it doesn´t seem too dangerous. There are parts of the area that are just green but the parts were we work are just concrete and brick.

New Year´s was a blast, literally. Our house here has an enormous window that looks out on the ghetto and it really felt like I was in Iraq. It was impossible to sleep because of all the fireworks. They started around 6 and went the whole night long! We just sat in bed watching it all from our house as a bunch of little punks tried throwing bombs into our window. Midnight was insane! The whole city just lit up and it was non-stop for 10 minutes! Their was so much smoke in the air by the end that you couldn´t even see the other side of the street, just the multi-colored burts going on overhead.

So I´m still a little dazed and confused with the whole opening the area thing but things are under pretty good control and I am pumped to have an amazing week. This morning I had to teach Elder Monteiro how to wash his clothes and how to us a gas stove... patience is definitely a virtue.

Peace and Love,
Elder Taggart