Sunday, December 29, 2013


So.  Christmas was pretty awesome.  We started the day with breakfast and email, and then we had a Christmas celebration, which was basically a talent show by the missionaries.  My favorites were the Yiddish Bottle Dance (one of the elders did a slow-motion dance with a mostly-full plastic bottle on his head whilst singing nothing in particular) and a show by The Great Manchik Enkhjargal and The Enchanting Roman Curiel.  The Roman Curiel played the piano while The Great Manchik Enkhjargal turned handkerchiefs into batons and umbrellas, pulled cards in and out of thin air, threw glitter everywhere, and did all sorts of other magic tricks.  

After the celebration was lunch, which was pretty much the same as Thanksgiving lunch, and then we made sack dinners (which was pretty much the same as Thanksgiving dinner).  And then we had our Christmas devotional.  Elder Bednar and his wife came to the devotional.  ^__^  Elder Bednar talked a bit about inspired questions, and then he announced that the rest of the devotional would be a question-and-answer session.  He explained that he had an Ipad, and there was a number to which we could text anonymous questions, and those questions would show up on his Ipad.  Then he explained that the media department had 200 cell phones which they were going to pass around so that we could text questions to him.  (The international MTCs who were also watching the devotional had an email address to which they could send questions to Elder Bednar.)  This way Elder Bednar ended up talking about a lot of different things at the devotional, according to the missionaries' interest.  There were a few questions which he figured his wife could answer better than he could, so he invited her up a few times.  I thought that was cool.  ^__^

I'm not able to explain why the MTC had all those cell phones and yet wasn't able to let us all call home on Christmas.  My guess that there were other logistical issues besides the quantity of hardware.  <shrug>

After the devotional we had some time with our districts, and then we went to the Christmas program.  Ray Smith, a music instructor at BYU, came with his jazz band and played for us.  I'm not usually a fan of jazz music, but I liked this show.  After that was dinner, and then the Christmas special, where we watched a recording of a Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert.  They had a bag of kettle corn for every missionary there!

So, to sum up, we had four meetings: a Christmas celebration, a Christmas devotional, a Christmas program, and a Christmas special.  xP

Yesterday was our in-field orientation.  They taught us about finding investigators, working with members, and goal-setting and planning in the mission field.  And we were really tired at the end of the day.

Today is our last P-day in the MTC.  Tomorrow is our last Sunday in the MTC.  Monday is the day we leave the MTC.  AndTuesday is the day we arrive in Japan.  And Wednesday is New Year's Day, and I get New Year's Day before all of you because Japan is sixteen hours ahead of Utah.  Mwah hah hah.  xP

The MTC has been a good experience.  Not easy, but lots of fun.  And I've learned a lot.  And now it's just about over.

Love you all!
~Elder Taylor (テイラー長老)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

It's Almost Christmas~!

It's business as usual at the MTC this next week except for on Christmas Day itself.  For my district, though, it's our last week at the MTC, so it feels rather different.  We got our travel plans yesterday.  In class, they've taught us all of the doctrine, teaching skills, etc. already, so it's just been more and more practice.  We have our "in-field orientation" on Friday, our last MTC P-day on Saturday, and our departure devotional on Sunday, and then we report to the travel office4:30 Monday morning.... 

Several weeks ago I gave up on trying to figure out how fast time was going.  I think I've also given up on figuring out whether or not I feel ready for this.

This past week we taught one of our investigators the Word of Wisdom, and subsequently discovered that up until then he'd been drinking five cups of coffee every day and didn't know how he was going to stop.  This is our investigator who's 60 years old and in poor health.  I'd forgotten up until then that coffee was addictive.  o_0  He's got enough faith, though, that he's gradually cutting back on his coffee intake in the hope that he'll be able to stop altogether in the near future.  He was constantly depressed when we first met him, but now that he has the gospel he's brightened up a lot.  :3

Some weeks ago they had each of us missionaries come up with an investigator character to roleplay.  My investigator's name is Akira.  He's a college student in Tokyo who moved there from Sapporo, and Elder Soto's investigator was his randomly assigned roommate.  Akira wasn't expecting to see the missionaries; his roommate invited them over, and Akira sat at the edge of the room and listened because he's interested in the things people believe.  You learn a lot from seeing the missionary lessons from an investigator's point of view.  It's clear that the missionaries who've been teaching us don't understand Akira's perspective at all, and so they haven't taught him very well.  I can't really blame them; Akira's roommate is the one who asks all the questions, and it's kind of hard to take the scenario seriously anyway because we made up these investigators.  But even though Akira doesn't understand the Spirit, and even though his interest in the Church is just academic, the Spirit is working on him.  It's amazing to watch and feel.

Have an excellent Christmas!

~Elder Taylor (テイラー長老)

Sunday, December 15, 2013


So, we were sitting in class on Wednesday evening, studying some Japanese grammar, and someone came and told us that we going to do TRC over Skype in an hour.  (TRC is usually on Saturdays and in-person.)  So, an hour later, we were talking to a Church member in Japan.  o.0  It was 6pm Wednesday evening where we were and 10am Thursday morning where he was.  We understood maybe half of all the things he said, but it was fun.  ^___^

We got twenty-two new Japanese-speaking missionaries in our branch this week.  Two of them are from Australia, one from New Zealand, and one from Mexico.  (They don't teach Japanese at the Mexico MTC, apparently.)  It's been fun to talk with them about their first lesson and offer encouragement and advice and snacks and whatnot.  ^___^

Elder Quentin L. Cook came and spoke to us on Tuesday!  He's the third Apostle who's come to speak to us since I got here, and we almost got Elder Holland last week, too.  We've been blessed here.  ^__^

Hopefully today we'll get our schedule for Christmas day.  I'm excited.  ^___^  

~Elder Taylor (テイラー長老)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Lots More Snow

So, this past week the MTC staff gave me new nametags which said テイラー姉妹, which translates to "Sister Taylor".  XD  I informed them of the mistake and now I have the correct one: テイラー長老 (Elder Taylor).  We're not allowed to wear the Japanese nametags until after we leave the MTC, though.  The ones they gave me when I got here have my name and title in English and the name of the Church in Japanese.

Elder Holland was scheduled to come speak at our devotional on Tuesday, but he couldn't make it because of the snow, so Bruce C. Hafen got a call at 4:30pm asking him to speak at the MTC at 7:00pm.  He's a former member of the Seventy, and this year he just finished serving as president of the St. George Temple.  He talked about the temple and how it affects us on our missions. It was a good devotional.  ^__^

At TRC last week, Elder Soto and I taught a sister who had served a mission in Japan and then married a man who had also served in Japan.  She said that when her kids were old enough for her family to read the scriptures together, they would read them in Japanese.  I think that's awesome!  I want to teach my kids to read and speak Japanese like that too.  ^___^  After we taught her, we taught another returned missionary from Japan, and it wasn't until we got the feedback slips back that we made the connection that those two we taught were married to each other.  xD

I've only got about three weeks left here in the MTC.  The senpai are leaving on Monday, so soon we'll be the oldest ones here.  Going to Japan is starting to feel more and more real now.  o.0

~Elder Taylor (テイラー長老)

Sister Taylor

Elder Taylor