Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sister Torino and Farewells

So, my new companion is Sister Torino from the Philippines! She's very nice and we're getting along great. It was a pretty crazy and exciting transfer. Since the Temple Square sisters didn't get in until after transfer meeting, I stayed down in Columbia with the other sister who was getting a Temple Square missionary. We found out at transfers that the two sisters were from Germany and the other from the Philippines, so that was pretty exciting.

Then after transfers we went to the airport to pick them up. That was really strange, to be in the airport. After the sisters arrived we went out knocking on some doors in the Columbia area. We randomly decided who would go with whom, and I ended up with Sister Torino. We ended up in downtown Columbia that night. She was a little nervous to be knocking on doors for the first time, but she did a great job. Her English is really good, although she has a bit of an accent. It's cool though, because since she has an accent it makes people listen to her more intently, since they have to concentrate to understand what she's saying. We stayed the night at one of the senior couples' apartments. We were all exhausted. This whole week has been exhausting. 

The next morning we went to the mission office so President Turner could meet the new sisters and assign us our companions. He couldn't do it the day before because he was with the departing missionaries. President talked with me and Sister Wheelock, the other SCCM sister, first. He actually asked us who we wanted to be our companion. That surprised us, we both didn't feel very qualified to pick our own companion. Neither of us had any feelings one way or the other, so President interviewed both the temple square sisters and decided to have Sister Torino be my companion, and Sister Mathias go with Sister Wheelock.

Oh, and other crazy news from transfers, Sister Bell got put back with Sister Eames as companions. Sister Eames was her companion after I left her. So apparently being put back with old companions runs in the family.

It's really strange to have Sister Boyson and Sister Winsor be home. They both handled it really well. Tuesday was a pretty emotional day though. I think it finally hit Sister Boyson that she was leaving for good. But it was an awesome day; we taught some really good lessons and got to see a lot of the members that meant a lot to Sister Boyson, so it was a really good day. And then at transfers Sister Boyson and I sang her song, and that went really well. I miss her, but I'm glad to have Sister Torino now.

Camden district, Sept. 3

Sisters Boyson and Rudy at Finley park

Sisters Rudy, Winsor, and Boyson

Sister Torino is a convert to the church, her family joined when she was 11. But then her family went inactive for a long time. She started going back with a friend, and then when she decided to go on a mission, her parents started going back to church. She's also a really good cook, so I've gotten to try a lot of Philippino food lately. It's good. It's also been cool to hear about what the Temple Square mission is like; it sounds pretty crazy and busy.

It should be a very fun transfer. We're working hard to find more people to teach and to help the people we're already teaching to make some progress. We're definitely learning patience. I hope y'all have a good week. I love you!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Great Thing

So the transfer news is... I'm staying in Camden! And the really exciting part is who my new companion is going to be. I'm getting a sister from the Temple Square mission. For a few months of their mission they leave Temple Square and go out to a regular mission, and so I'm getting one of those sisters. She won't get here till later on Wednesday so I get to hang out in Irmo all day Wednesday; we'll spend the night with one of the senior couples there and then come back to Camden Thursday afternoon. I'm really excited about it. I don't know her name or where she's from, so that will be exciting to find out.

Sister Boyson is down to her last few days. For the most part she's really excited to go home and see her family, but after just about every lesson this week she made a comment along the lines of "Being a missionary is the best thing ever. This is so much fun." She's been reflecting a lot on what her mission has been like, and it's been interesting to hear her stories and hear her think back on if she was successful and if she did enough. 

I think all missionaries have a tendency to think that they should have done more, that they could have had more success, especially since this mission isn't exactly a high baptizing mission. I think it's easy for us to look back and to feel like in 18 months surely we could have done more, all the successes and the miracles look pretty meager. But what Sister Boyson and I have talked about a lot this past week is how life isn't like an Ensign article. Very rarely does everything fall into place and result in people choosing to make changes in their lives. 

We've talked about how we've both seen a lot of miracles, but most of the miracles never resulted in a baptism or a reactivation. And so we tend to think that those miracles don't "count", like it's not a real miracle unless it has a perfect happy ending. And that's a silly thing to think. All those miracles that we've seen are really amazing and worth talking about, even though the happy ending we all want hasn't quite happened yet. In some cases I don't think we'll see the happy ending till the very end, when we're able to stand before God and account for our mission, and see what a profound effect we actually did have. 

That's what I love about missions, is that the effects of my mission won't end when I go home. It will really continue forever. After all, I'm on a mission as a result of Mom's mission, and Dad's missionaries, and the missionaries way back who converted the first Terry and Smith relatives, and everyone in between who may never have actually been a full-time missionary but who decided to live the gospel, and those who reached out to family who strayed. 

I'm here because Grandpa Terry went on a mission, and because Grandma made the decision to marry someone who could marry her in the temple. It's amazing to think that my mission will have a similar effect on my family and all the people I've talked to while I've been in South Carolina. Missions really are amazing.

I'm really going to miss Sister Boyson. We've had a lot of fun together, as you can tell from the amount of quotes I have from her; she's hilarious. It's crazy to think that I'll be able to see her in a few months from now, at my homecoming. Last Monday we got together with almost all the missionaries in the zone and played ultimate Frisbee at a park in downtown Columbia. It was so fun, and it made me think about something that Dad emailed me about last week, about how important it is to have friends who are men and women of God. I've made a lot of those friends on my mission, and I can already tell that's going to be a big help to me later on in my life.

The big miracle this week was that a less active member we've been working with came to church! It was the best thing ever to see his home teacher spot him in the chapel and come over and talk to him. He was very surprised to see him; everyone was. And his wife was so happy to have him with her; it was just a great thing to have him there.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Good Week, Though

I honestly can't remember much of what happened this week. It was a good week though. A couple of people came to Book of Mormon class and church again. And Book of Mormon class was kind of amusing. One of them has a lot of questions and can be kind of unpredictable in what she'll say. Plus she doesn't like that the Book of Mormon is written with all the thees and thous, so she comments on that a lot. The Elgin elders were teaching the class, and I don't think they knew quite how to handle her. It was entertaining to watch. It was still a good class, and she said she learned a lot from it. 

We had a really good lesson with the family we've been teaching at a member family's house. They used to be neighbors, and the Brother knows a lot about the scriptures so it was a great lesson. We taught them about the plan of salvation, and I think it filled in a lot of holes for them. The pre-earth life was a new idea for them. It's amazing to me that a lot of people just don't think about where they came from, it had never occurred to them that they could have existed before they were born. The restored gospel just gives us so much more knowledge and understanding. They are definitely thinking hard about everything we've been teaching them. They're still not sure if it's all true, but they're praying about it. And the son said that he thinks it could be true. The only problem is going to be their current church. They're really involved, and it would be hard for them to leave. But I think if they get an answer then they would. 

It's Sister Boyson's last full week as a missionary, it's pretty crazy. It's funny, yesterday at the beginning of church we only had one person signed up to feed us this week, but then we told everyone Sister Boyson was about to go home and now we have a meal every day until she leaves. I think we're going to have a busy week. Sister Boyson is much more emotionally calm than I think I'll be when I'm in her place. I hope we have a really good week; I think we will. Cool miracles always happen at the end of a transfer right before someone leaves. 

It's been raining a lot here lately, and not just rain but lightening too. There've been a couple times where we've had to just sit in our car for a little bit until things calmed down. Somehow we always end up way out in the country with nothing to do but knock in those rainstorms. I think Heavenly Father is trying to teach me diligence; we're certainly getting lots of opportunities to develop the ability to work hard when working hard is the last thing I want to do. It's been good though, I feel like I'm getting better at doing tough things. 

I hope y'all have a great week, thanks for writing me; it's always great to hear how everyone is doing at home. I love you! 

Monday, September 1, 2014


It's been a good week. We're starting to see a lot of progress from some of our less active members. We saw two on Tuesday, and they love to talk. We were there for about an hour and a half, so we kind of got their life story and more of their conversion stories and why they stopped coming to church. They're great ladies; I like them a lot. We invited them to Book of Mormon class and they came! It was great, the topic was on happiness and they both participated a lot. And then they came to church on Sunday. They're planning to come to Book of Mormon class and church from now on. It's like the easiest reactivation ever. We still have to help with some Word of Wisdom issues as well. But all they really needed was an invitation. Hopefully we can get them some friends in the ward. 

We had our first zone conference with President and Sister Turner on Wednesday and it was really great. It was good to see President and Sister Turner again, since we hadn't seen them in over a month. We talked a lot about setting goals, and we set new goals for how many baptisms we want to get in the next year. It was a really good discussion and I think we all feel pretty good about our goals. I've learned a lot about the importance of setting good goals on my mission. We need to stretch ourselves to do better, but we also need to be realistic. I think our new goals are a good mix of realistic and stretching to improve. 

Sister Boyson and I have felt like we need to look for more opportunities to give service, so we started praying for ideas. On our way to the library one day, which is right across the street from our apartment, we noticed that the park by our apartment had a lot of trash on the ground, so we decided we'd just go clean it up after lunch. We did, and it didn't take long at all, but the park looked a lot better after that.

We got another opportunity to serve that night when we went to see another less active member who recently moved in. We brought an RM, a sister, who just moved into the ward. As soon as we got out of the car, the member asked us if we'd mind helping her rake some of the leaves in her backyard, so we all grabbed a rake and went at it. There was a lot to do, so we worked on that for about an hour. The RM even grabbed the lawn mower and started mowing her grass, in her skirt. She's awesome. We had a good time. The member we were visiting told us she was going to come to church on Sunday, but she didn't show up. But she called us this morning and told us she'd tried to come, but had gotten lost. We gave her better directions and she promised to try again next week. 

We had another amazing lesson on Friday with the member I mentioned last week. It's amazing how when you just give someone a chapter to read from the Book of Mormon and then discuss it with them, it works really well.  It's obvious that the Spirit is working on him. We talked about the sacrament and what taking the sacrament does for us. He told us that he's really starting to understand the gospel and all his excuses about why he can't come to church are just melting away. They were sick this weekend, so they couldn't come to church, but hopefully they'll be here next week. 

We were also able to get back in contact with a family. We just stopped by their house Saturday evening to try and set up an appointment with them. They were in the middle of a football game, but they invited us in to have peach cobbler and ice cream and then we ended up going through the study questions with the parents, and it was a really good lesson. We set up to teach them again on Friday at a member's house. 

Our missionary Sunday went really well. I feel like I was able to express what I wanted to in my talk, which was that missionary work isn't about going out and doing these big grand things, it's about following the spirit and sharing our experiences with the restored gospel. And the third hour presentation also went really well. Everyone in the ward loved Sister Boyson's song. I hope it all helped people feel more confident about missionary work. 

I can't believe it's already September and Sister Boyson only has two and a half weeks left. This transfer has gone by so fast. I'm going to miss Sister Boyson; we've had a lot of fun together. Because of the Ogden temple dedication, fast Sunday, and general conference, Sister Boyson isn't going to give her homecoming talk until October 12. It's crazy because that's also the day her brother will be giving his farewell talk. He's going to Jacksonville Florida October 15. Sister Boyson is super excited about it. I'll make sure and talk to Sister Winsor and find out the details on her homecoming at transfers. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week! I love you!