Thank you for your patience. It has taken four months, but we finally have some pictures on the blog. You can find it at taylorsinok.blogspot.com. We will probably update it on our preparation day--which is different every week! Please don't be disappointed if we don't update it more than once a week. We will be doing really well if we do it every week! We hope you will find some interesting things there about our mission. At least you will get to see what big meetings your missionary attended that week. We love the missionaries and look forward to seeing them as often as possible. We will try to take lots of pictures when we are with them.
We are running as fast as we can here. The missionaries are doing well and baptisms are up. We all love to see people here make sacred covenants with The Lord and receive blessings. Please know how important your love and support are to the missionaries. They LOVE to get "real mail" in addition to email. Please remember to help them stay focused on their purpose here--"inviting others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end" (see Preach My Gospel, page 1). It is easy to get distracted by events outside the mission. Remember to direct them back to their work when you write them. They have such a short time to be a missionary--and their whole life to do "home things." Thank you for helping them stay focused on their purpose as full-time missionaries. That is when they are the most happy and it is the best gift you can give them.
Speaking of gifts...here are a few thoughts on Christmas gifts. Most of you are not far from Oklahoma. You shouldn't have too much difficulty getting things here on time. Packages have to go through the office, so try to have things here by December 1. Just be aware that we have a few dates coming up when it would be easy to deliver packages to your Elder or Sister. On November 24 we will be having a transfer. We will take any packages that are in the office to the church for the transfer so that zone leaders can pick them up there and take them back to their areas. We will also be having two multi-zone conferences at the Surrey Hills Chapel (next to the temple) on Dec. 2 and 3. Every Elder and Sister in the mission will be there on one of those days. We will deliver any packages we have to the chapel so they can pick them up and take them home with them. Please remember to send gifts that are not too bulky--they don't want to haul too much "stuff" around with them every time they are transferred. Please keep in mind as well that this is a unique opportunity for them to have a truly spiritual Christmas with very little "stuff". Sharing messages about the Savior at Christmas time is a very rewarding experience. They will be content with very few presents on their mission. As well, try to be sensitive to their companion who may not receive much for Christmas. Please remember to send them only things they are allowed to have. When they are obedient to the missionary handbook they are more protected, happy and blessed. As we are sure you have already taught them, obedience brings them more blessings than they can imagine--including great joy.
We have been emphasizing greater obedience to the missionary handbook lately. We have found that many missionaries have gotten casual about some items in the handbook. As they decide to change and try to be completely obedient we have had elders bring us things that are distracting to them and not permitted such as electronics (including iTouches), big elaborate board games, portable hard drives and digital picture frames. Digital picture frames can be used to view downloaded movies as well as those wonderful family pictures, so they have been misused. Any device that has internet capability is not appropriate on a mission--specifically iTouch or other electronics. They are not supposed to listen to rock music either--so iPods with inappropriate music are distracting as well. They are supposed to listen only to music that helps them feel the Spirit. Many missionaries have told us they have gotten rid of CD's of music that is not approved. Some families have actually shipped saddles, chaps, cowboy boots and lariats to missionaries--inappropriate items that have caused great problems. To better support your missionary we ask you to go to a distribution center, or the on-line distribution center, and get a copy of the little white missionary handbook. We invite you to read it carefully and be aware of the rules your missionary agreed to obey while a full-time missionary. The contents of the white handbook are not commandments to any of you--but they are commandments to full-time missionaries. Look at page four of the handbook for the promises made by the First Presidency to obedient missionaries. The work here is hard. To be successful, our missionaries must rely on The Lord and do His work, His way. As you become more aware of what their rules are we hope you will be able to encourage and support them as they try to be completely obedient. They will receive great blessings from obedience--and you will be thrilled to see them become stronger and more spiritually mature each week.
Young men and women can be transformed by a mission. They have the opportunity to become the people God knows they can be. They learn more about themselves and the Savior. They spend most of their time working selflessly for the salvation of men. They come to understand that their purpose while on a mission is to invite others to come unto Christ by developing faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repenting, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. They are not the same people you sent on a mission. They are more brave, confident, bold and righteous. We love every one of them and count it an amazing blessing to serve with them. Please enjoy the changes in them and encourage them as they grow and mature. That is one of the greatest blessings parents receive while their child is serving a mission. We appreciate all of you. We appreciate the love and support you give your missionary. We are gratetful for the prepared, confident young men and women you sent out on a mission.
Please contact us if you need to discuss any problems or concerns. You can call Sister Taylor at 405-519-6455, or leave a message for Sister Taylor at the mission home, 405-692-2040. You may email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love your sons and daughters and want to help them and you in any way we can. Thank you again for all you do. Love, President and Sister Taylor