Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Card from Ensley, Alabama

It was a wonderful Christmas as we had the blessing of speaking with Mason.  A little longer that we should of probably, but it was nice.  He sounded great.  Very happy.  Getting along great with his companion.  And working hard.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

More News From Ensley, Alabama

Expert from Mason's Email today:

Elders Dunn, Chugg, Taylor, Chelson, Rappyleye, and Baldwin with
Sister Cope (my Mission President's wife) at the Ensley Branch on Sunday
 "This week has been the best week I've had since I have been here in Alabama :).  I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am here.  I love Ensley so much! And I love serving with Elder Chugg! Me and him have been working so hard this week. Like non stop! We have been doing so much tracting.  I think we've done more tracting this week than I have done all together in Homewood. The thing I love about Elder Chugg is that he wants to work hard. He has a desire to really work and to be successful. And its really been rubbing off on me. Together we both want to make a difference here. This area needs to grow! The thing is with Ensley is that its a very dark place - really struggles. At first I was way scared and very nervous to work in a place like this. But as my time goes on here, I start to realize that bringing the light and love of the Savior to an area that needs it is a huge blessing and opportunity. I am so gratefull and so blessed to have this privilege.  

I have no doubt that this is where I need to be.  When I was at the transfer meeting (where you find out where your going and who your serving with), President got up and starting speaking before they announced where everyone was going.  He told us that around 4:00 that morning the Lord woke him up; telling him that he needed to make a change with the transfers. So they made calls to people who needed to get transfered that morning and told them to pack up and be at the transfer meeting at 9:45. I get announced that I am going to Ensley and that I would be serving with Elder Chugg. Later on that day I found out that Elder Chugg was one of those people that President called that morning letting him know that he was getting a new comp. So that was the Lord testifying to me that Ensley is where I need to be.  I am so happy here!  I cant even begin to describe it to you.  I am having so much fun here!  I love the other missionaries I'm serving with.  Everyday is a party . . . ha-ha.  We are working hard and having a blast!  I am so happy and honored to be here! I can't wait for what the future holds.  I'll keep you posted on how the work goes.

Sister Cope with her Primary Class at Ensley on Sunday
Sister Cope, one of our senior sister missionaries, enjoyed her last Sunday in the Ensley Branch. She will be heading home on Wednesday after fulfilling her mission with honor. She really enjoyed her assignment in the Ensley Branch. She has been a blessing to us all!

Christmas Lunch - Picked up his Christmas Package

KD put together a wonderful 12 days of Christmas for him.  He says he is being good and not opening any of the packages before he is supposed to.  We get to talk to him 9:30 Saturday for about 45 minutes.  We are so excited about it.  

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ensley, Alabama

“This week has been a long, but good one. As you know, it was transfer week.  It was rough at first. I now understand what missionaries mean when they say "you get transferred or sent home right as you begin to get comfortable."  I finally started to get comfortable in Homewood, but right as I did, they sent me out.”

“I was so scared to find out where I was going. They have this new way of doing transfers. They call you a few days before transfers and tell you if you’re getting transferred or not. If you are, they tell you to go to "Base" (the church in Hoover. It’s the church closest to the president).  It’s there they tell you where your going and who you will be serving with.  So it’s very scary ha-ha”

“I am now serving in Ensley, Alabama. Ensley is just south of Birmingham and is a WAY super poor area. I am serving with Elder Chugg. I am very happy with where I am serving and I am very happy with who I am serving with :) Elder Chugg is a stud! He has been out for about a year and half. He is from Morgan Utah. He is a super funny guy and a way awesome missionary!  I’ve only been here for about four days and already we have been working way hard!  We have been tracking like crazy!  We Have a baptism date set with a guy we tracked into. We had a way sweet first lesson with him and we asked if he found these things to be true if he would be baptized on January 1st. And he said he would :) His name is Kortez Brown. So if you could keep him in your prayers that would be way awesome!”

“Serving here is awesome! It’s kind of scary though.  Like I said it’s a super poor area. Remember how I said that there are some parts of Birmingham that are called the "Hood". Well that’s all Ensley is.  I’ve already heard gun shots. On every street here, there are at least 3 to 5 abandoned houses. It’s very sad to see how some of the people live. At first I thought I wouldn’t like this area because of all those things... but as soon as I got here, I knew for a fact that this is where I need to be. The amazing part about serving in an area like this is the light you bring into it. Because it’s already a very dark and scary place... But as ministers of Jesus Christ you’re bringing Love, Light, and Hope to that area. There isn’t a better feeling in the world. I love it more than my last area. It truly is a blessing to be here. And I have no desire to be any where else. I love it here!

 Ensley Alabama Branch
President Sanders, Nick and his father, Jeffery Prewitt up front
(Mason - Back Row)

Elders Chugg, Taylor, Rappleye, Baldwin, Chelson, and Dunn (our missionaries in Ensley) are working hard to help strengthen the Church in this part of the vineyard.

Elder Chugg (Mason's new companion), Brother Briggins, Nick Prewitt, and Elder Baldwin

Friday, December 10, 2010

1st Transfer

On December 6th, Mason's email said he was getting transferred.  He didn't know where or who yet.  He was supposed to pack his bags and go to the church building in Hoover, Alabama for his new assignment on Thursday the 9th.

Making Transfer Calls - Where is Mason going? 
Elder Lasike with Mason's Bags
Details from the mission about transfers: 
This has been our transfer week in the mission. We changed our format. We called all the missionaries involved in transfers and asked them to attend the Thursday morning transfer meeting in Hoover without providing specific assignment information.

1n the transfer meeting, held from 10:00 am through 12 noon, we announced the new assignments--locations, companionships, and callings (as zone and district leaders, etc). The assistants prepared a PowerPoint presentation that included photographs of each missionary, the locations of the new assignment, and a photograph of their new companion. They did this by zone. It went very well!

Elder Taylor talking with President Holzapfel
(Mason's new companion, Elder Chugg, looking over President's shoulder)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Word From Homewood, Alabama

"The Beautiful Alabama Sunset" 
"This is downtown Birmingham.  It's so nice.  Very flat though.  No mountains."
"Me and Elder Lasike after a service project.  We trimmed some bushes."
"Me, Elder Lasike, and Mat Diasio - Baptism"

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Bowl

Mason - Thanksgiving Turkey Bowl (Far Right WR)

Birmingham Zone Turkey Bowl

Up for grabs!  Mason far behind in black shorts.  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Birmingham Zone Conference

Birmingham Zone Conference
November 10, 2010

Presiding:                        President Holzapfel
Conducting:                    Elder Kidman

Piano:                              Elder Erickson
Chorister:                        Elder Chelson
Opening Hymn:              “Do What is Right” #237
Invocation:                       Elder Taylor

Training:                          How to Begin Teaching (Elders Kidman and Erickson)

Training:                          Automobile Safety (Elder Sommerfeldt)

Blessing:                          Elder Hyatt
Prayer:                             Sister Metcalf

Testimony:                       Elder Hubert

Role-Play:                        Policies (Elders Kidman/Erickson/Wright/Andersen)

Instruction:                       Cultural Awareness (Elder Erickson)

Teaching:                         Discipleship (Elder Wright)
Announcements:              Baptismal Interviews (Elder Kidman)
     Mileage Policy (Elder Andersen)
                                         Calendar Review (Elder Erickson)
                                                Car Appreciation Day, November 19
                                                Leadership Training, November 23
                                                Specialized Training (sisters), November 30
                                                Christmas Multi-Zone Conference, December 16

Instruction:                       President Holzapfel

Closing Hymn:                 “Hark All Ye Nations” #264
Benediction:                      Elder Gervais

Birmingham Zone Conference - Group

Elder Taylor and Companion Elder Lasike

Elders Erickson and Kidman--our zone leaders in Birmingham

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Zone Conference - Looks happy.

The Birmingham Zone - Mason: 6th from right, 2nd Row

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"How Great Shall Be Your Joy!"

And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!

On October 17, 2010 in Homewood, Alabama, Elder Mason Taylor experienced his first baptism - Matt. Here is the excerpt from his email:

The baptism yesterday truly was an AMAZING experience! I have never seen, or done anything like it before. I was very honored to be a part of the whole thing.

So, getting the whole thing ready to go and done was kind of a complicated. Because, like I said he was hit by a car about 10 years ago. And that whole accident caused his neck to be damaged, so he can't move it side to side or backward. It also messed up his legs so he has to have bandages on his legs at all times and those bandages can’t get wet. He is a pretty big guy so we needed to find him some bigger clothing because he couldn't fit into any of the baptism suits we had. So we found him a really big white button up shirt, and some really big pants. So that wasn't too hard. But, before he could put on the pants, we had to find a way to keep his bandages from getting wet. So we found some white garbage bags, and we had to duct tape them around his legs so they wouldn't get wet. Then we had to help him put on the pants and shirt.

We then had to very slowly lead him down into the font. It took a while because he has to have a cane with him to help him walk and these certain shoes to help him balance and walk better; and obviously he couldn't bring those with him into the font. So it took a while to get him down into the water. After we got him into the water, we did the prayer part of the baptism. Then came another complicated situation . . . getting him under the water. Like I said he can't move his neck, and the bandages keep him from bending his knees. So we kinda had to force him into the water . . . he can't bend his knees so we had to lay him straight backwards. Elder Lasike was in the front helping him and I was in the back supporting him. But we finally got him fully under the water :)

Afterwards, we had to help him get dressed again because there were some things he couldn't do on his own and needed help with. Things like helping him take his shirt off, and help him putting on his pants, and helping him get his shoes done up. That part was a little different, but after a while it felt really good to have helped him in so many ways! It truly was an amazing experience. I haven't felt anything like that before. I loved every second of it. It was hard, but it was all worth it in the end :) I'll never forget it. I have been very blessed to have had the honor and privilege to teach him and to be a part of the baptism. It truly is an experience I will never ever forget! I'll be sending the picture hopefully within the next week or two :) Oh, it was Elder Lasike and Elder Reed who tracked into him. I was there to teach him all the lessons :)

We are so grateful for our missionary son, his success, and who is becoming.  His humble testimony of he and Elder Lasike helping Matt "in so many ways" touches and inspires us.  We are grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and the hope it brings to dying world.

"It's Like Christmas . . . "

After almost two months of being out in the mission field, we finally received a package from Mason.  To date, it has just been emails and some letters from the MTC - which have been nice, but we were very anxious to see him in "action" so to speak.  Just his day to day experiences.  His package had letters for the whole family, a package of pictures from the MTC, and his broken camera (need to get it fixed for him) with another 246 pictures!  It was wonderful.  I told KD, "I feel like it's Christmas!" 

Here are some pictures from the MTC:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sister Cope and Elder Taylor Jr.

Mason' Mission President posted this.  Thought it was great.
We are so proud of our son.  He is adjusting to life a s missionary and is learing to lean on his Savior to get him through the difficult parts. 

We have not received the package he has been promising us for a month.  It has pictures, handwritten letters, and his camera.  Another missionary dropped it when taking a picture for him.  Thank good for warranties.  Maybe, I should have purchased two years : )
Elders Johnsen, Taylor, and Lasike
He looks good.  Looks happy.  Loves his companion, Elder Lasike.  They have a baptism coming up on Oct 17th. 

Regarding the baptism, an expert from Mason:

He actualy is getting baptized on the 17th. So next Sunday! :) Im so excited!! He is a stud!  About ten years ago, he got hit by a car. It really messed him up! His neck, and his legs are still in very bad condition, and he is unable to bend his knees forward. So last Wednesday we met with him, and he asked us both to baptize him! So how it's going to work is, Elder Lasike is going to do the actual Baptism part, but I'm going to be in the font with them, and Elder Lasike will hold his arm and hands like you would in a regular baptism, and I'll be in the back supporting him on the way down, and supporting him on the way back up! I'm soooo excited and so honored to be apart of this! It'll be happening at 12:30 this Sunday!! I'm way pumped! Kinda of nervous, but way pumped! So continue to keep him in your prayers :) He is such a stud! I love the dude to death!
Mason Talking to Sister Kathleen Cope
 Caption from Mission President regarding the pitcure left:

"Sister Cope visiting with Elder Taylor (his father was a missionary in Sister Cope's mission when she and her husband presided in the Missouri Independence Mission)."
Mason and Sister Cope
Emails from Sister Cope:

Date: Tue, Oct 12, 2010 at 6:59 PM

Subject: Your Elder Taylor!

Yes....I saw your Elder Taylor today and he looks good. So clean cut and full of the Spirit and happy. He wants to know when your birthdays are...I feel blessed to be here while he is here too. Our President Holzapfel is so full of energy and he wants to follow everything that Salt Lake is asking for our mission to do. You could let me know about your birthdays and I will give your missionary a call and tell him. Best Wishes....Sister Cope

Friday, September 24, 2010

1st P-Day @ The Mission Home . . .

Elders Taylor & Lasike at the Mission Home
Elder Lasike and Elder Taylor came to the Mission Office this morning after playing basketball--a mission tradition on Preparation Day.

President's B-day Party
 The Mission Office missionaries held a small birthday celebration for me at the office this morning. They are kind. Elders Taylor and Lasike joined us for some treats.

Adjusting to missionary life can be a difficult.  Being away from home; strange new land; different people.  Greatest two years of life as well as the hardest. 

We are so proud of Mason.  Grateful for inspired leadership and those who have stewardship over our boy.  The gospel is truly amazing.