Monday, July 27, 2015

07-27-15 Email from Elder Taylor Anderson

Hi everyone! I have made it 5 days in the MTC. It has been incredible. I have learned so much just in a few days. The spirit is felt here almost all the time. My companion Elder Richins is awesome! He is from Hurricane UTAH. He played football there and is going to walk on at SUU when he gets home. I also stay with another companionship and we have been having so much fun together their names are Elder Oldroyd & Elder Glauser. Elder Oldroyd is from Fountain Green UT and Elder Glauser is from Mesa Arizona. Their testimonies and thoughts have helped me be a better missionary. 

 I have been teaching investigators everyday, and I will be honest at the first it was tough to get used to and i was a little bit down on myself. But I know that if i press forward and keep doing my best the Lord will bless me for it. Prayer has played such a big role here at the MTC. Heavenly Father really does answer our prayers, I know that he has answered mine. I have worked harder than I ever have in my life. We wake up at 6:30 everyday and by the time it gets to 10:30 we are all asleep. That really is a transition for me because before I got out here I would stay up every night until about 12:30 - 1:00 watching One Tree Hill haha. There are times I feel like I wanna go home and be with my family and friends cause I think it is too hard for me. But I have a good quote right next to my bed that a good friend Elder Benson Rhees gave me. It says "Forget Yourself and Get to Work." That seriously has been such motivation for me. We have learned here that what we are doing here is not for us at all. We are here to focus on our and investigators and like our purpose says " Invite others to come unto Christ." 

The food here is so good. But it is all you can eat and I love that. But when you only get 55 minutes to work out it kinda sucks because you think that you are getting fat haha. I played basketball the 3rd day and it was fun to finally get some exercise. You can only play half court so it does not get too competitive. Which is probably good for me, because I want to win in everything i do haha. I kinda got in trouble too. Because you are not supposed to touch the net, rim, or backboard and i smashed the backboard trying to make a Lebron James block and the supervisor got mad at me haha. I wasn't in trouble or anything but every other missionary that has been here for more than a week looked at me like i committed
a crime haha. I met this missionary who is from Chicago and his name is Elder Weaver III. He has this amazing story I wish i could tell you guys but I don't have enough time. But he is a convert and grew up without a Dad in his home. His testimony about the Gospel is just so cool to hear. He also is best friends with Jabari Parker the NBA player. So he told us all these stories about him and i even got to try on his warm up from a game. Elder Weaver III left today. It was actually sad even though i have known him for only 5 days i grew to love him, but i know he will be great.
I am running out of time, but i want you all to know that i am doing great and my love for this gospel is being strengthened each and everday. I have felt your prayers and support everyday. I love you all! I would love to hear back from each and every one of you. The Church is true. LESSGO

Elder Anderson

Unexpected picture from Sarah Brandley

So, this morning I was looking at my phone wondering if I would hear from Taylor today. When a text came from Sarah Brandley, a sweet girl in our ward, with a picture of Taylor and some other elders. I was so excited to see my sweet boy's face. It was a tender mercy for me. I then found another one of the Elder's mom, who works with Taylor Aunt Beth and sent her the picture as well. We were both crying as we saw our sweet boys. I am so grateful for thoughtful people who knew exactly what I needed today. It was such a blessing to me and a testament that our Heavenly Father knows all of use personally and gives us what we need. My heart is full. The elder on the far right is Taylor's companion, Elder Richins.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

July 22, 2015: Reporting to the MTC

July 22, 2015 finally came. 
This was the day Taylor had been looking forward to for so long.
 It was a hard day. I'm not going to lie. But we made it through. 
We had to take a few pictures before we left. 
 Grandma Linda sure had a hard time saying goodbye. She and Taylor are very close.
 They have a special relationship.
 Taylor made sure to say goodbye to our dog, Belle. He's worried that she won't be 
alive when he gets home.

We tried to eat an early lunch at Smashburger, but I don't think anyone really enjoyed their lunch too much. The nerves were starting to get to all of us and the reality of what was about to happen made it difficult to eat. We did enjoy spending every last minute together.

We went to the Provo Temple and walked around for a bit. I love these pictures of my precious boy.

Last family picture for 2 years. 

Saying goodbye was HARD. Each one of us said goodbye to him in our own way. While it was so hard for us, I know it had to be extremely hard for him. He was strong and patient and ready to go. He was so anxious to go and serve the Lord. What a wonderful example he is of a wonderful missionary already. We were emotional, it was hard. But we all knew it was time and he had to go. We knew he was ready and we were all so proud of him.
 We arrived at the MTC and pulled our car in, stopped, jumped out for literally one minute and he was gone. He turned around to wave with a big grin on his face. He was happy and ready to go. What more could a mom want? While these next 2 years will be difficult, this was the look on his face the last time I saw him. How much better can it get? He is happy!! He is happy!! He kept telling me to not be sad but to be happy. And that's what I am trying to do.
We all love our special boy so much and couldn't be more proud of him. He is doing what Heavenly Father wants him to do. We can do this!! I know we can!! Now, if we could just get an email from him, that would be awesome.

Missionary Moms

 So thankful for the friendships Taylor and I have with these 2 people. Tanner and Tricia Nielson have been so good to both of us and we are so grateful to have them as friends. Going through this experience with them has been so wonderful and it has been nice to have someone to experience this with. Tricia put together these cute pictures of Tanner and Taylor through the years. They really have done so much together and have always been a great support to each other. I know this will continue as they serve their missions.
Tricia said this and I agree that we feel like we are sending off two missionaries. We love these boys so much and are so grateful they have each other.

It's hard to say goodbye to friends...

After the setting apart, we came home to a group of friends wanting to say goodbye to Taylor. It was difficult for these sweet boys to say goodbye knowing that it would be a long time before they see each other again. Taylor's best friend, Tanner Nielson had just gotten set apart as well and was heading to the Mexico MTC the same day as Taylor was going into the Provo MTC. It was such a blessing for them to be doing this together. They have been the best of friends.

We love all of these boys so much. We will miss having them over at our house all of the time. Every time I turn on my street and there are no cars at my house, I feel the void of the boys being gone. They have been such good friends to Taylor and we have been so grateful that he has had such great friends.

Setting Apart: July 21, 2015

On July 21, 2015 at 7:20 pm Taylor was set apart as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It was a very spiritual experience for all of us there. Most of our family was there to support Taylor and it was so neat to have everyone there. When they closed the door, the spirit was immediately there and very strong. They asked me to offer the opening prayer and then Bishop Simmons said a few words about Taylor. He talked about how humble Taylor is and how that will help him as he serves his mission. He was so sweet, genuine and kind and we appreciate his words so much. Then, President Hansbrow set Taylor apart as a missionary and gave him a very beautiful blessing. The words he spoke were directly from Heavenly Father and I know will help Taylor as he goes forth to serve. I felt so much gratitude and love for Taylor and I know others were feeling the same thing. After we got home, Jessi text me: "I seriously love Taylor as if he were my own. I could not believe how much love I felt for him tonight. He is such a special boy."

After the pictures, most of these family members had to tell him goodbye for 2 years. This was an emotional time for all of us. While it is hard to say goodbye, we are so proud and happy at what he is doing. We all love our special boy, Taylor. Well, I guess he is Elder Anderson now.

Taylor's Farewell July 19, 2015

On July 19, 2015, Taylor had his missionary farewell in our Sacrament Meeting. It was an incredible day for our family. Our hearts were full as the chapel was completely full of people there to support our sweet son.Taylor gave a great talk on Section 4 of the D&C and touched many hearts with his testimony. We were so proud and humbled to be his parents. After the meeting, we had around 250 people come to the house to eat. It was an overwhelming, but very special day for our family. We felt so loved and supported as we are about to embark on this amazing experience.

Payson Temple June 9, 2015

On June 9, 2015, Taylor was able to go through the temple and receive his own endowments. This was a very special experience. The weekend before he and his siblings had participated in the Payson Temple Cultural Celebration. June 9th was the first day of operation for this beautiful temple. It was truly a wonderful and spiritual day for our family. Both sets grandparents, Jared, Jessi, Pat and Kelli were there to go through the temple with him. It was such a special day.
 He also had the opportunity to go the temple with his good friends Tanner Nielson and Tallon Beckstrom and their families. What a great experience it was to share this day with these good friends. Tanner will be serving in the Honduras San Pedro Sula East Mission and Tallon will be serving the Spain Malaga Mission. Benson Rhees was also at the temple with the boys. What amazing young men these guys are! We love them all so much!