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, March 26, 2012

March 26, 2012 Wide Open Spaces

Dear Everyone,

Well last week I was transferred and one of my mission dreams has come true! I´m in the city of Itapetininga as zone leader of the interior! I am about 4 hours outside of São Paulo, in a beautiful city surrounded by wide open spaces, blue skies, and fresh air! This is exactly what I needed. The city is called 'the city of schools' because it is full of old schools and tons of classic architecture.

It was an adventure to get here. I was with Elder Hullinger who was also transferred to the interior. We had to grab a bus, two trains, and then a 'greyhound' style buss, all with 4 full size suitcases! haha! The journey was about six hours. We were met by Sister Neptune and Sister Dacol and then my comp showed up.

My new comp is Elder Shettell from American Fork. He is way fun and has a little more than a year on the mission. He gave me a wonderful welcome to the area present: 3 baptisms! We baptized a family on Saturday, no really a complete family, dad Alaor, mom Silvia and daughter Jessica.

The work here (as far as I can tell) is a lot different. The church isn´t as well established and is districts and branches instead of a stake and wards. The zone is more than 2x the size of all the other 12 zones put together! Missionaries tend to get a little slow out here but Elder Shettel and I have already started what we call 'Projeto Acorda-Se!'.

Anyway, I really like it here and will probably finish my mission out here so I´m excited. This week was way busy and I don´t really have any stories yet. Next week I´ll tell you more about the people and everything. Love you all!

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, March 19, 2012

March 19, 2012 Just When Things Were Getting Good

My Dear Friends and Family,

Well this week was very good. We are working very hard to create a new teaching group so we are visiting a ton of people and it´s a little unclear who will end up progressing right now.

I found out yesterday that I was transferred. I will be leaving Itapecerica da Serra tomorrow and have been called to be a zone leader again. These past few months have been incredible. I am so grateful for all that I have learned here and the opportunity I had to train Elder D. Monteiro. He is an awesome missionary and example to me. When we got here we found out that we were either going to make or break the area aka if we didn´t do well the president was going to close the area for good. Through a positive attitude and a lot of hard work we were able to gain the confidence of the members. The started participating in the work and with some truly inspired changes in the ward leadership, the ward is now a fully functioning missionary machine. Wednesdays and Fridays the chapel is open for soccer. Every other Thursday is ward family home evening (which was huge this week). Every Saturday there is an activity in the chapel of rotating organizations. Every month there will be Sunday night devotionals. And they are planning to visit ALL the less active members every trimestre (which they did last night and was a huge success). And it goes from there. I´m glad to know that any missionary can come to this area and have success now.

I´m kind of nervous about the transfer but I remember the hymn "I´ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord..." I love you all and hope you have an awesome week! The Church is true!

Elder MacLane W. Taggart


Monday, March 12, 2012

March 12, 2012 The Best Week Ever

Hi there!

This week was incredible! Arguably the best week ever! Every single day was full of love and the Spirit!

Let´s start with Monday! Monday night we taught a referral of recent convert Bruno, his sister. Her name is Claudia and the lesson was way special. Her little girl was crying the whole time but the spirit was still way strong and she understood the message and accepted all the commitments. After the lesson we went to our family home evening with Edivania´s family and guess what? They threw me a early surprise party for my birthday! The cake was a little burnt but it´s the thought that counts right?

Tuesday was edifying. Elder Godoy from the quorum of the seventy visited our mission and we had a big meeting with him. In the morning there was a special meeting for the mission leadership and he talked about the importance of being a balanced missionary. We need to have as much Spirit as we do technique. Then with everyone he joked around and gave an amazing training about how to discover and resolve the problems of our investigators. It was a very entertaining meeting.

District meeting was alright. We had a zone counsel for the month of February. After the meeting we had a few good visits. At night we visited the kids: Mauricio, Joana, and Ana Beatriz. They have been way prepared for baptism for several weeks now so this week we just did positive contacts with them everyday. Leaving their house one of the kids that watches the lesson stopped us and said, "Can I tell you guys something?" "Sure!" "I like you a lot!" And then he opened up his arms and jumped to give us a hug. It made me feel so good!

We had new missionary training again on Thursday because of the 12 week program. It wasn´t very well prepared so we just kinda chilled there for a few hours. I sat with Elder Christensen and Elder Griffin. It was way funny! Elder Griffin goes home next week. One more of my best mission friends leaving. We´ll hang out up there in Newton, Utah after the mission.

We went into exchange with our zone leaders after the meeting. Elder Monteiro (not Elder D. Monteiro) stayed with me in the area. Our first visit was with Adelina, a more-or-less active member we are working with. She made a birthday dinner too. It was hot dogs, carrot cake, and ice cream! During the message she bore her testimony and cried a bunch.

Then we had the baptismal interviews. All the kids passed! Our other investigator Denis, that would have be baptized, said that his aunt wants him to wait a few more weeks to be sure it´s what he wants. Oh well, he´ll go for April.

Friday was the big day! March 9th! My 21st Birthday! It was incredible! First we had lunch with Aurelio and Vanuza, the family that has most helped us since we opened the area. It was a banquet! And the most incredible thing was that Aurelio, who is Coca-Cola´s worst enemy, bought what? Coca-Cola! No one believed it! First time ever! Then they made two desserts! After lunch we found a bunch of new investigators that are all super elect! At night the kids threw me another party! They are pretty poor so it wasn´t much but it was way special. After, we undid the exchange when Elder Hamblin and Elder Monteiro showed up at our house and we had a sleepover party with a ton of pizza!

Saturday we all about the baptism of the kids! The primary president gave the message and it was a mini theatre piece! So cool! I got to baptize Ana Beatriz, Elder Monteiro baptized Mauricio, and the Bishop baptized Joana.

The week ended really well with an amazing Sunday! Ray passed the sacrament for the first time and Jeferson received the aaronic priesthood! The kids were all confirmed and their mom committed to coming to church every week and got well integrated with the women of the ward. After church we had lunch with the bishop and his wife made a great lunch but the best part was the dessert that I requested. She made peach cream pie, just like Nana and Aunt Marilee! It was perfect and delicious!

We taught another new family and then had a way interesting experience. Crisleine is a woman we met a few weeks ago that we never got to visit. We finally visited her and it was an incredible lesson. She understood everything and has already read a ton of the Book of Mormon. Right when we were about to invite her for baptism, her crazy evangelical brother showed up with his gang of extremist evangelicals. They were all dressed in black muscle shirts and tried to circle us and beat us up but Crisleine saved us and snuck us out of the house. Now I´m even more convinced that she is elect.

At night was the ward musical. They made a short little piece about the restoration. It was so simple. The scenery wasn´t much and the acting could have been better, but the spirit was so strong! I loved it! I even cried during the first vision. Best part: we were sitting next to a referral we met right before the presentation and during the show he turned to us and ASKED to be baptized! After we showed him the baptismal font he said he asked, "Is it just one person per baptism? I would like my family to be baptized with me too." YES!!! We met a few other golden referrals at the activity too. Amazing!

Can you tell it was a good week? I love being a missionary. The Church is so true! You can´t deny it! Ate Mais!

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, March 5, 2012

March 5, 2012 Feliz da Vida

Hey World,

Well this week came and went and was really awesome! We had a ton of success and finished the week with two baptisms! Jeferson and Bruno both entered into the waters and followed the example of Jesus Christ being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was one of the most gratifying of my mission.

After the baptism, Jeferson´s mom Edivania, who will be baptized in the near future, came up to us and said, "You two deserve congratulations. Many missionaries have passed by and tried to help my son and none of them even budged him. You two worked a miracle! Thank you so much!" Can you imagine how good that felt to hear? haha!

Bruno is the first of a big family that we are working with to be baptized. His mom Silvana would have been baptized also but she didn´t pass the interview because of a difficult situation with her ex husband. Bruno is a really good kid who needs a lot of help and direction. Now he has the support of the entire ward. They are already trying to help him get back into school and the new bishop has already talked to him about receiving the Priesthood. Silvana will be baptized in a few weeks. At the baptism everyone was joking about the water being cold and she said, "When I get baptized you need to heat the water up alright?" She is a wonderful lady also who is battling to make her life better. She introduced us to her other kids this week and all of them need to get married... oh great. haha!

I also had a really good opportunity to help out one of my friends this week. Elder D. Monteiro had to go to the doctor again so I went and spent the day in the air conditioned mission office. Elder J. Oliveira is currently being kept close to the president because of some problems he´s having. I was his first zone leader and he trusts a lot in me. I asked to go to the supermarket with him and took the opportunity to talk to him and help him out. He opened up and I was able to help him understand some things about the mission a little bit better.

Well today marks the 3 month countdown to THE END. (Wow, while I wrote that a my eyes watered up.) I love being a missionary so much. I am so grateful for the 7/8ths of my mission so far and I´m glad I can stay a little bit longer. I have never felt so good and so close to my lord and savior Jesus Christ. Heavenly Father has blessed me so much so far and has been able to mold me into a more excellent person. I am simply content with my life right now.

Love you all and hope you all have an excellent week. I give you all permission to buy a cake on Friday to celebrate my birthday. The best part is that you won´t even have to share it with me! haha! More cake for you!

Elder MacLane W. Taggart