Sunday, December 1, 2013

End of an Era

November 25, 2013
We had transfer calls this Friday night. I'll be leaving Moncks Corner, along with Elder Wright. I knew this was coming, but it's still kind of sad. I love Moncks Corner, and I really love Sister Bell. It's going to be strange to leave. These past couple days have been full of goodbyes. I've really gotten to love the members of this ward and I'm really going to miss a lot of them. Last night we had dinner with Sister Barron, one of my favorite members. It was hard not to cry when we left her house. We're going to visit Sister Marsh one last time tonight, I pretty sure I'm going to cry then. I just keep telling myself that I'll see all these people again sometime, whether that's when I come back and visit or sometime later.

I'm really going to miss Sister Bell. She's been a great companion and we've been through a lot together. We're very different, but we get along well. We complement each other in a lot of ways. Leaving her is going to be very hard. But we've already made plans to meet up after our missions, we're going to go see Finding Dory together when it comes out in two years. 

We got to go to the temple this week, which was so wonderful. Sister Barron and Sister Jarvis went with us. And we went on the day when a few members of our ward work in the temple, the Langdons and Brother Harrop. I did one of Brother Harrop's family names. It's been so long since I've been able to be in the temple, it was so nice and so peaceful. The Columbia temple is tiny, but it's so beautiful. As soon as we left I wanted to go back. After we went to the temple we went to the LDS bookstore across the street. I got volume two of the Lower Lights, and the BYU Men's Chorus cd, which made me very happy. 

We had an interesting experience the other day as we were out tracting. It was a kind of rainy day, it had sprinkled a few times, but had never rained very hard. As we were walking this guy called out to us so we went over and talked to him. We talked to him a bit about the restoration, and he told us he was very impressed with what we had been saying. But then he went on to say that he didn't think we were going to be part of the Latter-Day Saint church for much longer, he thought we were going to join a different church. We asked him what church that would be and he said the St. James AME church, his church. Sister Bell and I were looking at each other, trying to figure out what we could say. And as we were trying to think of what we could say to get us out of that situation without hurting his feelings, it started pouring rain. So we were able to very quickly end the conversation and walk away. I think that was Heavenly Father's way of getting us out of that situation, rather than giving us what to say, He just made it rain! 

My six month mark is on Friday. It's amazing how fast the time has gone by. Elder Smoot and I were talking about it on Sunday, since we both now only have a year left on our missions. In some ways it feels like it's all gone by so fast, but when I think about all the stuff that's happened and all the things I've learned it's amazing.

One of the things that I've learned, which surprised me, was how to be a better member of the church. Now I understand how important home and visiting teaching are, now I understand why fellowshipping and loving and serving other members is important, now I understand how the simple primary answers-praying, reading the scriptures and going to church- are what really make the difference. Doing those basic things consistently is what keeps our testimonies strong and helps us to become increasingly converted to the gospel.

I think so many people see the commandments as burdens, as extra things to do that they just don't have time for. But now I've seen that when we don't treat the commandments like burdens, when we put God first we're so much happier than we would be otherwise. Yes, living that way requires more work and sometimes it means that God asks us to do scary things, things we really don't want to do. But as we put our faith and our trust in Him and try our best, He helps us do more and become more than we ever could have on our own. God's agenda is always better than our agenda.

From a numbers standpoint, I haven't had a very successful mission so far. But I know that my mission has been successful, very successful. I know that Sister Winsor and I and Sister Bell and I have done a lot of good. And I'm just so grateful to be here. I hope I can work even harder and be even better in my next area and throughout my mission. This next year is going to go by so fast. 

I love you all so much, have a wonderful Thanksgiving, I'll miss being with you all. 


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