Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Rainbow Row

Hey y'all!
This week has been fun and very interesting!
We had a pretty fun p-day, but we didn't have much planned. I'm not a huge fan of just going to the gym in the church to play basketball, but that seems to be the default for most missionaries. I would have liked to go find something to do, but there are six of us elders that are serving around each other, and only one companionship has a car. They're kind of like the taxi cab companionship. We sometimes have to just go along with what they say, but sometimes that means we get left at the church while they and the other companionship go somewhere else. Not always the funniest thing, but I have to step back and realize that they're 20 like me, and we aren't always the best problem solvers.

We had a pretty good week though! I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here in Summerville, even though I've only been here a couple days. I'm getting the hang of this place pretty fast! I guess it helps that there are only a few miles across our area, rather than Union, where our area was the biggest geographical area in the zone. I am really sad to have such a short time with Elder Wilbert though.
Elder Wilbert

On Tuesday we got to do service for a lady in our ward named Sister P. She is really nice, and always had a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies for us! She is fixin to pack up her kids and move out to Utah as soon as she can, so she is doing a lot of work in and around her house so she can turn around and sell it. We helped her with a much of stuff. She had brick bordering her house a couple feet out, with mulch on the inside for flowers or bushes, and she had us roll the bricks out and dig under them so they'd be set in the ground instead of just sitting there. She had planned on it taking a few good
hours, but God seems to really help us out when it comes to moving someone or any other service, and we did the side and back of the house in about an hour. It also helped that there were four of us. :) She also told us we could come and fish in her pond anytime! Score! We finished by putting new hinges on her cupboards, and I got to remove the light fixture covering and fix the lights in her kitchen. Next time we go over, we are going to see why her garbage disposal isn't working. She has a son, and she introduced him to us as her little spitfire, and we could see why. Hah he's very active, and reminds me a little of how everyone says I was when I was his age. To help out, while we did the service, we needed him to help because sometimes the shovels were too full and too heavy for us, but he was strong enough to get them. It was awesome, and he gets really excited when he hears we are coming over.

Wednesday was a slower day, because I had a dentist appointment down in Mount Pleasant, where Elder Bowles served! They were very nice and thorough. They helped me find out why my tooth was so sensitive all the sudden, and did their best to fix it without drilling into it. When all was said and done, I went up and paid for it. The member that had recommended us to come down, and worked there rushed to the front and was frustrated when she found out I'd paid, so she went and got the money she was going to use to pay for it, and gave it to me. I was very very appreciative. The coolest things happen when you're on a mission; everyone is so nice to us. We see cool little miracles on a daily basis :) we stopped on our way back from Mount Pleasant at a fishing shop so Elder Wilbert and I could get salt water fishing licenses for Monday.

We went on exchanges on Thursday because our district leader wanted to be sure to go with each of us this transfer. I went up to their area, and he came to mine, which was probably a good thing, considering I still don't really know this area that well. I've got one week left to learn it, and I think I'm doing a pretty good job! Anyway, exchanges were pretty fun! I went with Elder Lund who is a farm boy from Ephraim Utah, and we went straight to one of their investigators houses to do service for her. We spent a good while raking up leaves and piling sticks for her. I love raking, it is a calming thing, and it lets me just think. We stopped in the middle for some dinner that she cooked us. She made this super good ground beef and beans, chili like dish that was so good, and she had bread and garlic butter. She gave me the recipe :) I'm going to try it once I can get my hands on a big pot or a crockpot; however I'm going to see if I can't substitute some of the ingredients for sweet baby rays, or A1 steak sauce. I'm excited :) I love trying to cook new things. We finished our night by going around and visiting with some people in their ward and trying our best to make sure we are using every second we had. Our goal for the exchange was not to have any idle time, so any chance we had where we weren't sure where to go, we would stop and pray, then follow the prompting we got. We had a lot of fun! I got my advent in the mail this week, and had a blast getting it up! Our apartment is starting to get Christmassy and it is really cool :)

We had ZTM (Zone Training Meeting) down in North Charleston on Friday which was really fun! Elder Aldous and Elder Skeen are our Zone leaders, and it is pretty cool to see, because one of the missionaries I came out on the mission with trained Elder Skeen. Elder Nissen! Who is a boss :) I need to get his email.

We left ZTM spiritually fed, and spent some time at the Panda Express to get physically fed! 
Anyway, we left there and went back with the other Elders to downtown Summerville to do some proselytizing there. We played a game to see which companionship could hand out a Book of Mormon first, and we totally won! We had four awesome lessons that night. We started with a prayer and we got working. We first talked to this couple walking, and when we started talking to them, they were very receptive and friendly. Come to find out that they're former members who used to have the missionaries over all the time and considered them family. We taught them the first half of the restoration and they were very kind in listening. They didn't give us their address, but took a card for the Christmas video that was put out.
We kept working and talked to these two guys in front of a bar. They talked with us about their scooters which were lowered and kinda ghetto, and we just started teaching the restoration. They were a little less attentive than the others. One guy was very nice and actually listening, but the other guy was pretty not there. I think it may have had something to do with being very drunk. Probably. Anyway, we finished up, gave them both cards, the one guy asked if he could burn it and I told him whatever he chooses to do with it is up to him.
The other guy said he'd like to know more. When we left we told them Merry Christmas and shook hands, and the drunk guy shook my hand, bowed to me and kissed my hand. So that happened...
We then had two of my favorite lessons of the night, we talked to this high school couple, and they were really sincere and talked with us. We taught, testified, they asked some questions, and gave them a Book of Mormon. They committed to read it, and we laughed a little about high school with them. Then, we were finishing the night, stopped at a restaurant to use the bathroom and headed back to the car to meet with the other elders. There were some guys about our age that were sitting in the back of a lifted Dodge Ram, and skateboarding around. I am always a little leery of teenagers and young adults because they aren't always very respectful, or even nice. We were hanging out by the car, and one of them skated right up to us and I started a conversation with him about his deck. About 30 seconds in, we were laughing and having a good time. He asked us what we were up to, and we started to explain it to him and tell him what it is to be a missionary. He thought it was really cool that we were his age but spending our time for The Lord. The rest of his friends skated over to see what was going on, and we just talked and laughed with them. We started to tell them about the Book of Mormon, and they all listened and had a question or two. One of them was from Canada, and has a copy and told us he'd read it when he gets home. We gave them the copy we had, and committed him to read it, and gave him a card. It was way cool, we said a prayer with them, and they kept skating. Such a cool night! God was really looking out for us, and he blesses us when we go around on purpose and talk to everyone we see. 
We had a good rest of the week too. Church was awesome, very spiritual fast and testimony meeting and a lot of really good lessons. We got a ride down to the Charleston building for a musical devotional before the first presidency message, and I was pretty sure we were gonna die.
Some people drive really crazy out here, and you'd think you'd get used to it. We all gathered together for the message and watched it in the church while eating the potatoes someone had cooked for all the Elders. That was pretty cool. 

Then P-day! The Jeffs, an awesome young couple in our ward, picked us up, and we headed down to Charleston to fish off the pier! It was such a cool little place and we had so much fun even though we didn't catch any fish or sharks or anything like that. We did however catch like 5 blue crabs, and a stingray! That was cool, it's not usually something you think would happen, and with all my experiences of fishing in Utah, having a stingray on the end of your hook is never really a concern. 

We left, had some bbq at a place called home team, and went sightseeing down in Chuck Town. They gave this market place like Pikes Place Market in Seattle, but it is all southern stuff! Sweet grass baskets that smell so good, and everything else you could imagine. 

I really enjoyed just driving around and looking at all the cool sights. We got to go take pictures by Rainbow Row, which is a famous street of houses that are all connected and painted bright pastel colors. There isn't much history behind them other than they're old, and painted and people like them. 

We got to see the pineapple fountain, which is pretty popular for people down here, and I got to feed a squirrel by hand. They're that used to people. Now I want a pet squirrel, as if the sugar gliders
weren't enough ;)

 I was trying to get the squirrel to come get the water oak nut from me again:) It grabbed my hand and grabbed it from me! They were so used to people.

Very good week, had a lot of fun, and did a lot of work. It is a little stressful having only been in the area a little over a week, and knowing that my companion is going home next week. I have a lot to learn and a lot to do to be ready to take this place over. I'm willing to do it, and I'll pray and get to work and just trust that God will take care of the rest.
Well, that's about it for my week! Hope y'all like the pictures
Love y'all! Merry Christmas!
-Elder Joel 'Sunshine' Barker

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