Monday, December 21, 2015


Hello. As y'all know, I got to Houston a little while ago. I think it was five days ago. But I've got to say, these past five days have been some of the craziest of my life. (thus, "dead") it's a little hard to handle.
On Wednesday the 16, everyone at the MTC who was going to Houston woke up at 3:00 in the morning. We took our luggage to a bus at 4 a.m. which took us to the frontrunner which took us to SLC and there the trax took us to the airport. After waiting a few hours at the airport, we boarded the plane for Houston. I sat by a guy who was from Fiji but he had lived in L.A. for the last nineteen years working for hotels. We got to Houston at about 1:30 in the afternoon.

The mission president and his wife greeted us at the airport; they took us to a stake center in Houston and after a little orientation they had us take a nap in the chapel (which was sorely needed). After that we went to their house for dinner and more orientation. Sister Mortensen (President Mortensen's wife) had made some brisket for us that was super tasty. They explained to us that Houston is a really productive mission, but we don't just baptize, we try to improve the community a lot. I really liked that; knowing it made me feel a little more like maybe Houston really is the mission for me.
We slept in the president's assistants' apartment on little pads on the floor. There were about two hours where I couldn't sleep at all because the guy next to me was snoring so loud......... haha. Anyway, that next morning is when things started to get a little crazy. When I opened my luggage to get a white shirt, I found that the ink jar I had packed with me (stupid decision) had exploded and ink had seeped out of the bag that was supposed to keep that from happening. So there was a giant ink stain on all of my white shirts. and nothing else in the suitcase. So that was super stressful. Luckily one of the elders from the MTC was kind enough to lend me a similarly-sized shirt.
We had breakfast at the president's house, then we went to the stake center to meet our new trainers. My trainer's name is Elder Jones. He seems like a super cool guy. He's from Cedar City and actually likes some of the music that I do, and we have similar thoughts on the gospel and on society in general, so that's really good. I told Elder Jones we'd have a bit of an adventure because of my shirts. He's taken everything really well. Weirdly, I have too. There was never a moment where I totally freaked out because of everything that was happening. I just felt okay. I knew that the stuff that was happening to me was not good, but I just knew things would work out.
Anyway, Elder Jones and I are assigned to the Sealy area. We live in a city called Belville; Sealy is the largest city in the area and it has a population of about 5,000 people. It's not quite so rural as I thought it would be, it's really suburban, really American, with really few dirt roads and also there are so many trees you feel like you're in the middle of a forest. The humidity isn't so bad most days, and everything is really, really green and beautiful. Hopefully I'll send y'all some pictures once I decide to take some.
I had been feeling pretty sick all day and on the way to Sealy we pulled over and I threw up everything I had eaten in the past few days. So that was good. We got to our apartment and then went tracting; I was still feeling way sick but we managed it. That night we met with a great family (mom & dad, they are the ones who sent you the picture of me feat. Elder Jones) and they fed us amazing biscuits and gravy. Luckily, I didn't throw any of that up but unluckily, I hate brisket now.
Since then, things have been getting better bit by bit. We gave the ink-stained shirts to the local dry cleaners' and they were able to save two of them. Thanks to that and the generosity of people working for the mission, I have 6 white shirts, so I'm surviving. But I lost six white shirts to the ink as well. (this information is more for my parents so we can figure out what to do: I still have both long-sleeved shirts and it's not cold here at all so that's all I need with those, but I believe I only have 4 short-sleeved shirts. So there you go.)
Texas so far is just a really interesting place. It's about a thousand times more diverse than Utah, but everyone loves Jesus and stuff like that. It's a really interesting culture, I just have so much to say about it but I don't even know where to begin. Yep, everyone says y'all, no matter who you are. You can meet some of the classiest people you'll ever meet here and they'll talk like any ordinary person but still just have a few y'alls thrown in. In other households the Southern accent is really strong. We tried to teach a Baptist minister named Mary and I could only tell what she was saying about half the time. She pretty much yelled at us the entire time and kept trying to preach to us about why immigrants are ruining America and stuff like that. It was kind of a discouraging experience. No one likes getting yelled at for an entire hour. Most people are really nice though, um.... yeah! I don't know what else to say about that. If you have any questions about anything on the mission, make sure to let me know.
I love and miss you all. I hope things are going well back in Utah and all the missions people are on and stuff. I really appreciate the e-mails and mail and things like that. 401 E Strauss St #13, Belville TX 77418 is my address if anyone wants to send mail to my apartment. I would love to hear from any of you.
Elder Taylor

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