Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Good Week

It's been a good week. Although it's been a lot hotter and more humid lately. We were starting to think that we were going to get away with a nice, mild summer, but apparently not.

It's good to hear that Elder Rudy is doing well, and I was particularly excited to hear about the sisters in his district. I hope I'll be able to meet them. Transfer calls are next week, so I'll know next Monday if I'm staying or going. It's kind of an interesting situation, since I've only been here 2 transfers, but Sister Boyson is leaving next transfer. So if we stay together another transfer, then I would probably stay in the area when she goes home. And then I'd only have one more transfer, so I'd probably just stay till the end of my mission. So I kind of feel like this transfer will determine if I stay here for the rest of my mission or not. Unless something crazy happens, like when Sister Boyson goes home I leave as well, and I feel like crazy stuff tends to happen pretty frequently, so we'll just have to see.

We had a good week. I went on an exchange, which was fun. We did some service for a less active member, helping her clean up her craft room. She had a lot of stuff, that room was crammed full. And most of it was cute, useful stuff, but there was just so much. This lady is one of those people who never throws anything away, and always has about ten projects going on at once. So it was quite a task, but we got a lot done and it was pretty fun.

We had a lot of people who committed to come to church this week, but only one of them actually made it. I can't remember if I've talked about her before, but she's a very sweet old black lady that Sister Winsor and I knocked into awhile ago. We've taught her a few times and she understands what we're teaching her, just has a hard time believing that the Savior would only have one church. But she came and stayed all three hours yesterday and seemed to really enjoy it. We were teaching the Young Women lesson, so we didn't get a chance after church to talk to her about what she thought, but I think she had a good experience. Everyone was very friendly.

Sister Boyson and I sang a duet in sacrament meeting, "Because I Have Been Given Much." It went really well. I was a little nervous about it, since I was singing alto, and we did it without accompaniment, but we've been practicing all week and everyone told us afterward that they loved it.

We've really been trying to get involved with the ward and the members in as many ways as possible, and it's really making a difference.  As we're spending more time with members and getting more involved and asking how we can help the members are becoming more missionary minded. It's especially made a big difference with the ward council. We now have assignments from almost every auxiliary. So we are going to be running to get everything done this week. It's exciting. It's a lot more fun to be a busy missionary than to have to find things to do all the time.

I hope everyone has a good week; thanks for all the emails and pictures. It's always good to hear about how everyone is doing. I love y'all! Have a blessed day :)

Sno Cones at the Ward 24th of July Breakfast !?!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Camden Sisters

We've had a really good, interesting week. We had interviews with President Turner on Wednesday. It was pretty different from interviews with President Holm, but it was good. Sister Turner was there, sitting out with the missionaries who were waiting to be interviewed so we got to talk to her for a bit while we waited. She's funny. When we ran out of things to talk about she started playing church trivia with us, looking up random statistics and asking us questions about how many stakes and temples there were in certain countries. And it was good to talk with President Turner for a little bit, it was mostly a getting to know each other interview. He's very nice, and was very interested to hear about Mom being an English professor, because he was an English major at BYU.

One of our investigators is getting closer to being ready for baptism. In our last lesson she shared with us about her concerns about leaving her church. It was good to talk about because we weren't sure if she understood that's what we were asking her to do, but she totally gets it, now she just has to decide if what we've taught her is true and worth leaving her church for. 

Since we now teach lesson 5 before baptism, which is all the laws and ordinances of the gospel, we decided to teach her about eternal marriage. It was an absolutely amazing lesson. She lost her husband about a year ago and so the lesson was really meaningful to her. And we had a member with us who bore a wonderful testimony about what the temple means to her. The Spirit was so strong in that lesson, it was really sweet. I know that she felt the spirit telling her that what we were sharing was true. 

It was the perfect thing to teach because it helped her to see that there was more that we wanted for her than just to get baptized and become a part of our church. I mean, it's great to be a part of the Savior's church and to learn all the correct doctrine, but all that is really just a means to help us get to the end goal our Heavenly Father has for us, which is to be a part of an eternal family. I love that we know how that can happen, that there is an actual place and an authority we can go to to receive those blessings. And as we told her about that, it was like eternity unfolded in front of us.  I have never felt so close to heaven as I did in that lesson.

We had another really interesting experience that helped me recognize some of the other blessings of being a member of the church. On Saturday night we had an appointment to teach one of our recent converts who lives at the very top of our area, about an hour away. A member had agreed to take us. I guess she had never seen a GPS before, because she was really amazed at Sister Boyson's, at how it would show you exactly where to go and how long till you reached your destination and how fast you were going and all that good stuff. 

Since the member was getting ready to teach a lesson on the gift of the Holy Ghost in Relief Society the next day, she mentioned that the GPS was like having the gift of the Holy Ghost. And it's really true, you constantly know where you are, where you're going and how to get there. Well, we got to their house just fine and had a great lesson with them. But then as we were leaving their house at about 8:15, we hadn't even made out of the driveway when the GPS died. And all of the sudden we were out in the middle of the country, with no idea how to get home and it was getting dark. We could have asked them for directions but we felt pretty confident that we could find our way back on our own. 

And it was really interesting as we went along, because now we were really being guided by the Holy Ghost. And each of us would remember different things along the way that would help us know when to turn, and that we were on the right road. It was a much more stressful ride than the first one, we didn't really have time to talk or enjoy the beautiful country around us, because we had to be completely focused on where we were going and finding the right roads. As I thought about it, I realized that our ride home must be what it's like to not have the gift of the Holy Ghost. We knew our end destination but we had no idea how to get there, and so we had to rely on occasional landmarks and street signs to help us know where to go. And the only reason we could see those landmarks and signs was because of the sunlight, which is like the light of Christ, which every person on the earth has. It was much nicer to have the GPS, there was a lot less worry and a lot less stress, and a lot more time to just enjoy the ride. So I'm grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost, which helps me to have so much more peace and guidance in my life.

Sisters at the Camden courthouse

At the local stockade

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Super Fast

It's been a good week, I feel like it went by super fast. I can't believe Matthew goes into the MTC next week, for some reason July 23 feels further away than that, but I guess it is coming up fast. Ah, July cannot be almost half over! How does time keep going faster? I don't like it at all.

There were a few really good things that happened this week. The first one happened on Tuesday. We've been teaching a lady in her 60s. She has a church that she attends and loves, but she has really enjoyed meeting with us and seems to believe what we've shared with her so far. On Tuesday we invited her to be baptized, and she accepted! I don't think she fully understands that this means she'll need to leave her church, because she came to church on Sunday, but then left after sacrament to go to her church. So we'll have to address that concern. But she understands the importance of priesthood authority, which is good. 

Sister Boyson and I have both been trying to figure out a better way to help people understand the whole "one true church" concept. We're trying to figure out a good way to tell them that they need to belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jesus Christ's church, which is the only church of Jesus Christ and the only one with His authority.

We were able to get a blessing from bishop on Sunday, just for some guidance and direction as to how we can further the work here. It was a really great experience, a lot like when I got a blessing from Bishop Jones in Greenville. Sister Boyson and I were both promised some very specific things and given very clear direction that we are to work through the members of the ward. I know that that's the way to have success here, even more so than in other places. Obviously the best way to find people to teach is always through the members, but this ward especially has such a strong spirit of family between the members, it really is a ward family. So we've been making plans as to how we can start talking with members more and helping them to identify who it is that they love that's ready for the gospel. We want them to be as involved as possible. And now we know that that's how God wants us to work here. 

It was also really interesting, because for a good minute at the beginning of my blessing, Bishop Swails promised me that my family was being blessed for my service, that the desires that I have for my family will come to pass as I'm on my mission, and that many family members will receive blessings for my service. It was good to hear that, and I'm glad that every week when I read your emails I can get an idea of how people are doing at home, and that although there've been little problems, for the most part everyone has been healthy and safe. I hope that my mission and the things that I share also have made it easier to live the gospel and feel the Spirit and share that with other people. 

It is hot and it is humid, but I'm loving the summer here, and all the people we're getting to meet and teach. We did teach the couple the smoking lesson, but we haven't been able to have much contact with them since then, so we'll see tomorrow how things are really going. We have our first interviews with President Turner on Wednesday, so I'm excited to talk with him some more. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Beginning Again

I'm glad to hear that y'all had a good 4th of July. Ours was pretty uneventful. We had weekly planning in the morning, and the one appointment we had cancelled, but that turned out to be a good thing because we ended up dropping by an active members’ house. One of their daughters lives with them and is less active, and so we were able to talk to her a little. She wasn't very interested in talking about the gospel and coming back to church, but she did mention that she wanted to quit smoking, and Sister Boyson told her that we could help her do that. There's this really great 15 step method that missionaries over in Ireland came up with back in the 80s, and it works really well. So we offered to teach her about it and help her quit and she agreed! So we're going back over on Thursday to help her get started. We're hoping as she goes through this process it will soften her to hearing about the gospel.

The other big event for the week, of course, was meeting President and Sister Turner. We met with the West Columbia and Columbia zones on Thursday in the West Columbia building. It was kind of fitting that it was there, since that's where my first transfer meeting was held, so it was the first building I ever went to. It was kind of like going back to the beginning all over again. 

We had been asked to get there half an hour early and sit in the chapel and sing hymns till the Turners arrived. I had been praying for the past couple days to receive a confirmation that President Turner had been called by God to be my mission president, not really because I felt like I needed one, but because President Holm had asked us to. I definitely got that confirmation as soon as President Turner walked into the chapel. I didn't even have to turn around; I knew when he entered the room, because the spirit in the room changed. I think the best way for me to describe it would be that it immediately became more reverent. There was just a calmer, more powerful feeling in the room. But I knew that President Turner was the mission president; it was so obvious that he had that responsibility put on him. 

The Turners are wonderful. They are so kind. And they're both very funny as well. At the end of the meeting President Turner let us ask him and Sister Turner questions, and as they were telling about how they met and dated they got pretty funny (they only dated for 8 days before getting engaged!). As of right now, the way things are done is staying the same, and then President Turner will change things as he feels they need to be changed. We're having interviews with him next week, and I'm excited to get to know him better.

Things are going well here. We're still working on finding people to teach, as well as teaching those that we've recently found. No one is showing much progress just, everyone is kind of in the beginning stages. But we have a lot of people with great potential.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


We've had a really good week here in Camden. Sister Winsor's last couple days here were pretty uneventful. It was sad to see her go, but I think we both knew that our work together was done. I was glad that we were able to go to transfer meetings, since it would be our last chance to see President and Sister Holm. It was also great because I was able to see Sister Bell (who transferred into my zone!) and Sister Barron, one of my favorite members from Moncks Corner. 

I was expecting to see Sister Rowley there, since I'd heard she was being transferred, but instead I found out she's had to go home because of medical reasons. I was sad to hear that because I know how much she loved being a missionary, but I talked with a sister who had heard from her, and she said Sister Rowley's at peace with it. I love her so much, and I'm glad that I was able to be her companion for those three months. Sister McNeece and Sister Anderson weren't there, they stayed together up in Easley. I hope I get to see them soon, so I can hear how they're doing and how everyone in Greenville is.

My new companion is Sister Boyson, who was Sister Winsor's MTC companion! She's pretty amazing. She's from Hooper, Utah and she was a real estate agent before her mission. We've been having a great time together. Heavenly Father definitely knows what he's doing when He assigns companions, because she's already helped me so much. I've realized lately that I need to work on being a better finder, on immediately beginning to teach people when we talk with them. And Sister Boyson is really good at doing that. So we've been able to teach a lot more people this week and we've gotten quite a few new investigators because of that.

The family who was baptized last week is doing so well. I feel like they've gained a lot more confidence in themselves now that they're baptized members of the church. They were commenting more in class on Sunday, and the husband gave a great closing prayer.

We have a really interesting new investigator. Sister Winsor found him while she was on an exchange last week. He drove up to them as they were walking around and asked if they were Mormon missionaries. Apparently he met with elders about ten years ago. And now he's really searching for something. We went over on Saturday with a member, who got baptized back in March. The investigator talked to us a lot about how many hard things he's had to go through in the past ten years, the biggest of which is a divorce and now raising three kids on his own. We were able to testify of how the gospel can help him, and the member was great for him because they'd been through a lot of similar things. We invited him to church, and he said he'd try to come. He didn't show up so we went to see him yesterday, and he told us his son had gotten sick. But we were able to meet his roommate, who was also super interested, and we'll be going back to teach both of them on Tuesday.

We'll be meeting our new mission president on Thursday, which I'm very excited for. They seem like wonderful people and I'm really excited to get to know them and learn from them.

I hope y'all have a wonderful 4th of July and a great week. I love you!