Saturday, June 22, 2013

Moncks Corner, South Carolina

Wednesday morning (June 12) we had a transfer meeting, which is when we found out where we would be serving and who our trainer/companion would be. I was assigned to the Moncks Corner area, which is about an hour north of Charleston, I think. It's a pretty rural area, and it's beautiful here. It's also really hot and humid. The first full day I was here, Thursday, it was about 102 all day and humid too, so it was really hot. But since then it's cooled down about 10 degrees so it's felt pretty nice the past couple days. 

My companion's name is Sister Winsor. She's from South Weber, Utah and she's 21. She's been out here in South Carolina for 3 months, she's been in Moncks Corner the whole time. There are two sets of missionaries in the Moncks Corner ward. The elders cover the town of Moncks Corner and are on bikes, and then us sisters have the rest of the ward, which is a huge area. Sister Winsor hasn't even been to some areas in our boundaries that's how big it is. 

We live in a very nice apartment in Moncks Corner. We're in charge of cooking for ourselves most of the time, but we have dinner with members of the ward about twice a week. And they feed us very well. For example, yesterday for dinner we had squash casserole, potatoes, fried pork chops, fried chicken, green beans, rolls, macaroni and cheese, banana pudding and hummingbird cake. They feed us well. On the nights when we're not fed by members we normally just pack a dinner and eat somewhere near where we're working that day, to save time and miles. So if anyone knows any good recipes for dinners that you can pack and not have to heat up, I'd appreciate it. I'm getting a little tired of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 

The ward here is nice, but very different from the wards I'm used to. It's small, probably about 100 people come to church each week. There seems to be a very small core of people who come to church every single week and then a whole bunch of people who come every once in awhile, or never come at all. We've spent a lot time visiting less active members of the ward since I've been here. 

We don't have any progressing investigators at the moment, but we did meet some people last week who I have high hopes for. We'll see how things go this week. We've been doing a lot of tracting, and I think we'll be doing a lot more. My mission is a pretty high baptizing mission, but we're kind in a drought when it comes to investigators in Moncks Corner. Hopefully that changes soon. I've met lots of wonderful people though.

Arrival in South Carolina

36 new missionaries and
President and Sister Holm

I got to South Carolina last Monday (actually June 10). We flew a red eye into Atlanta and then took another plane to Columbia. It was strange to be out of the MTC and still be a missionary. Everyone at the airport was staring at us. We were a big group, 36 of us went to South Carolina. There were 22 sisters and the rest were elders. President Holm, his wife, the assistants to the president and the traveling sisters (which are basically female assistants to the president) met us at the airport. I was in love with South Carolina from the minute I stepped off the plane. The South Carolina airport is small, but it's beautiful, lots of windows and columns and white rocking chairs. It's as close to a plantation house as an airport could be and I loved it. 

We spent the first two days in orientation, so the girls stayed at the mission home and the elders stayed at a motel near the closet stake center, which is where we had orientation. President Holm is wonderful. He is such a great mission president, I feel very lucky to have him. 

The second day we were there all the missionaries who would be training us arrived and we were all sent out tracting for about an hour. I was so nervous, but it actually wasn't bad at all. I had fun. I was with Sister Seaman, and she was very nice and reassuring, which helped me a lot. There was only one girl who was really interested, I gave her a Book of Mormon and she agreed to visit with the missionaries, which made me really happy. Everyone else basically said the same thing, that they already have a church and they're happy with it, but they were all very nice. 

Everyone, well, just about everyone, is very nice down here. That southern stereotype is very true. Lots of southern stereotypes are true actually. People do speak with an accent, but it's not too bad, I can normally understand what people are saying. And the food here is so good and so southern. I've already had fried chicken twice. 

Final MTC days

Sister Carlson and Sister Rudy
Former roommates, Southern sister missionaries, Friends forever

Ready for South Carolina


MTC District (probably)

It's been a crazy, wonderful week here at the MTC. The first day is so overwhelming. Your family drops you off and then you're almost immediately whisked away and thrown right into the middle of everything. My companion is Sister Anderson, she's from Alpine, Utah, she's turning 20 next week, she's a hairstylist and I love her. She and I are pretty much exact opposites when it comes to appearance, but we get along really well.

We spend most of the day in class or studying with our district. In my district there are 12 people, 6 elders and 6 sisters. All the sisters are going to South Carolina like me, and all the elders are going to San Antonio. All of us sisters also share a room so we've become super close. I'm so glad we're all going to the same mission so we'll be able to see each other after the MTC. Speaking of after the MTC, we found out on Friday that we'll be leaving for South Carolina next Monday, June 10 at 1:00 AM! We're all so excited to get out there. 

I'll admit, at first I was really worried about being in the MTC for such a short amount of time, I felt like there wouldn't be enough time for me to learn and prepare, but now that I'm here so ready to just get out there are start teaching people. Not that I don't love it here, but I'm just so excited to be a missionary and I want to start sharing my message as soon as I can. Being in the MTC this week I've really learned that to be a successful missionary you have to teach by the spirit. You really have to be so reliant on the spirit to help you know what your investigator needs to hear. I knew that the spirit was important to missionary work before I came on my mission, but now I know that the spirit is everything. It's the difference between a good lesson and an amazing lesson. And if you don't have the spirit with you while you teach, the people you're teaching aren't going to be converted.

I've been trying so hard this last week to stop paying attention to my thoughts and what I want to teach the investigator and instead really listen to what the spirit is telling me to say. I can tell I'm going to need a lot more practice, but I'm getting better already. I can't believe how much I've learned in the last six days.

I've seen a lot of friends while I've been here, which has made me so happy. Sister Whitney Carlson is around a lot, I get to see her every day and she seems to be doing really well. I also frequently see Elder John Oldroyd. He speaks to me in Russian and I pretend to understand. I've also seen Sister Eliza Handley, who is also speaking Russian. And just half an hour ago I saw my wonderful ballet teacher Phyllis Whitaker in the temple when we went up there to do a session. It was so wonderful to see her. 

Everyone here says that time flies once you make it past Sunday and I'm beginning to believe that that's true. I'm so excited to go to South Carolina next week, and I'm so excited for the rest of my week here at the MTC. I have a lot left to learn. I hope it all goes well. I miss you all, but I know I'm where I need to be. I can honestly say that I'm happier than I've ever been before in my life. I love you all. 

Monday, June 3, 2013


May 29, 2013

Today has been a great day.  Also very overwhelming. It's amazing how much has happened.  We've just been whisked from one thing to the next all day long.  I feel like I've been here [the MTC] forever because we've done so much.

I'm so glad I'm here and I've got so much to learn.  I'm excited for the next 11 days but I'm even more excited to get out to South Carolina and really get going on this.