Sunday, July 7, 2013

First letter from Louisiana!

July 1, 2013

Dear friends and family,

My first week out here in Louisiana has been great! I'm in LaPlace (pronounced "La-Ploss.") I can't believe it's only been 5 days. I feel like I've been here forever. President and Sister Wall are amazing! They're so nice! I love them! My companion, Elder Knowlton, is great! He's an awesome trainer and he helps me a lot. He never makes me feel bad about myself, even when I do something wrong. He is very obedient as well. He's from Sacramento and he's been out here for 15 or 16 months.

The other Elders here in LaPlace (E. Hansen and E. Gosch) are good too! There were Spanish Elders here before, but since Elder Gosch and I came in knowing Portuguese and French, they decided to double-work the English investigators. After splitting the area between two English-speaking companionships, it's harder at times to get lessons scheduled. We are working a lot on contacting and finding new investigators. People aren't very good at keeping commitments down here, and it really stinks! Everyone's Christian, and they don't think that it matters what church they go to, as long as they worship Jesus. It's really hard to teach people... They all talk so much and it's hard to get your own word in! But they're all very polite and very friendly. Probably 80% of the investigators or people I've contacted have been black. I love it! Haha white people are mean!

I met the ward for the first time yesterday and they are awesome! It's a very small ward, but everyone that attends is so strong! There are about 200 members in our area, but only about 60 are active (the exact same numbers I heard about Martinique!) Since it was the fifth Sunday of the month, we had a combined meeting for the third hour where we talked about the broadcast from last week. It was great! The whole meeting was focused on missionary work! I think the ward is really excited and ready to help out the missionaries here in LaPlace. Lots of them are scheduling appointments to meet with us so that they can see how they can help us. It seems like I got here at the perfect time! haha I'll probably be well-fed this week!

We have been meeting with some investigators more often, trying to get them to progress. Because of their schedules, sometimes we can only leave a spiritual thought with them. We're trying to get the Williams family specifically to progress. They're all girls, but luckily, every time we've gone over to teach them there has been a man in the house! The missionaries have been teaching them for a long time, but they haven't budged. But they keep accepting us back, and they keep asking us questions, so I think they can sort of tell how important our message is. At least one or two of them gets involved each time we visit.

Last night was full of tender mercies for me! I wasn't feeling very motivated, and I didn't really want to go out and search for people to teach lessons. The first two houses we went to didn't have time to let us share anything with them. So we walked through the trailer park and a man in his mid-20's saw us and asked, "What, you're not going to stop and talk to me because I have a beer?" So we took his challenge and went and talked to him. We found out that he had recently gotten out of jail and that he was looking for some direction in his life. While in jail, he found himself closer to God than he had ever been. We kept talking to him and we met two younger boys and their mother. They all lived in the same trailer. The mother explained to us that she has been looking for a church, so she asked us for a handout before we could even offer her one! It was really cool to finally find some people that were looking for us! We continued to talk with them and scheduled an appointment for later this week so that we could come back and teach a lesson. I'm excited to go back and see how it turns out!

After we went to the trailer park, we went and did some home teaching at a less active member's house. When we got there he said he was sick, and he didn't want us to come in. But after a little bit, he let us come in. He told us that he was just barely thinking about us and that he thought he might call us to come give him a blessing. So, we gave him a blessing. I got to seal the anointing, and it was only the second time in my life. I'll admit that I was a little scared, but it was amazing for me to be able to do it! I'm grateful that Elder Knowlton and I were able to visit him. I don't think he would have ended up calling us, so I'm grateful that we were the ones that went to him so that he could receive a blessing.

Much love,

Elder Taylor Dayton

Here are some pictures of our apartment. It smelled like cigarette smoke when I moved in, but I'm used to it now! haha It's two stories, and Elder Knowlton and I are the only ones that live there. The next door neighbor lady yells and swears at her kids every night at about 10:30, so that's kind of fun! :) haha I love our home though!

Elder Knowlton in our Corolla! The other ones in LaPlace are on bikes. It's really nice having a car here. It's SO hot!! Probably hotter than the West Indies will be!

My bike that a departing Elder gave me to use just in case I ever need it. Haha it's so beat up! The brakes are terrible. But it does have a sweet basket! :)

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