Sorry that I didn't get an email put up last week, so many things were going on that I completely spaced and didn't get one written up!
Well, We had our transfer calls this last Monday, and Elder Taylor and I both got moved, together. We got the call on either Friday or Saturday, I can;t remember which one..anyway, the assistants told us that President Turner was closing the Camden Elders area, and putting the sisters into a three pack, and letting them cover the whole ward. It was a bit of a shocker to find out that they were doing that, and that Elder Taylor and I would be white-washing another area together. I haven't really ever heard of a companionship getting moved together, but it has happened to me twice in the last 5 months. Haha we are happy to be here in Dutch Fork.
We spent our last few days in Camden packing, cleaning our apartment, and saying goodbye to members. It was hard and emotional at times, but for the most part, it stayed a happy thing.
The transfer meeting was an absolute madhouse. Hah I guess the Irmo building, where we usually do transfers, was having some renovations, so we all met at the West Columbia stake center. It was SO hot. and humid. We would be switching our car for another one, and we were told that it was missing the back glass because of an unfortunate occurrence with a golf ball..haha but it would be getting fixed the following day. Everyone is supposed to bring their luggage and everything into the gym so they can grab and go as soon as they got their new companion, but since we were staying together, I went out on a limb and parked next to the Ford Fusion that had plastic instead of back glass..haha
The new way of doing transfers is a little weird, and it is harder to know where people are going unless you're there for the entire time. The way they're doing it, is as soon as you are called, you find your new companion, and you leave. Grab your bags and head straight to the new area. Elder Taylor and I were the last few since our new area and Stake gets called out last, so we got to hear where most everyone was ending up. But getting back to it being hot and humid, when we were switching all of our stuff over to the other car, I was absolutely drenched. I didn't ever sweat this much in Utah, and even though I have been here for such a long time, I still haven't gotten completely used to it!
We left transfers after being assigned to Dutch Fork, and we ended up driving back to Columbia because Elder Kirby's new companion had his bike, and they didn't have a bike rack since a member was driving them, so we took it to their apartment for them. It started to rain pretty good on our way back to Dutch Fork, and I was worried about the plastic that was covering the hole where our back glass should be, but I remembered that I had cut a few of the edges and patched some holes that were in it a little earlier, and I hoped that would hold it, which it did. All of our stuff was dry when we got there. The apartment that we live in is where the Assistants to the Mission President used to live, so there are a few things left behind by Elder Wright and Elder Appleton, who both came out with me. It was pretty cool to see! Also, the last time I'd seen this apartment, was when I was being moved from Union down to Summerville, and we stopped to get some lunch at the AP's place. Now I live there! :)
So, the common theme among people since we have arrived here, has been to let us know how tough this ward is for missionary work, and how they haven't had a convert baptism in quite a while...but here's the thing! We only have about 30-35 less actives on our ward roster, and some great attendance in Sacrament Meeting. That isn't a bad thing! I mean, if all you are looking at is how successful you are in bringing non-members to church, then yeah, I guess you could say it can be hard, but no different than any other ward! If you look at it from a non-missionary standpoint, this ward is doing awesome! People are friendly, they fulfill their callings, and they are active in the gospel. Now comes the time where we get to work and see what God is wanting us to do right now! I really enjoy being here!
So, since we got here last Wednesday, Elder Taylor and I haven't had much of a lead into who we should be visiting, and since we are both new here, we decided that after meeting the bishopric and most of Ward council, we would go around and visit basically everyone that is in our area and on our lists, and see where that brings us. We had a rough first couple days, being the beginning of summer, no one has been home when we drop in, plus the added anger and yelling of neighbors telling us we can't park on the street, or that we're wasting our time, and they aren't interested in what we're selling. Good old fashion rejection. Haha we trudged on though. We had some cool lessons with some people that would be active other than a few little things like the time being too early, or whatever else it may be, but we taught the doctrine and asked for referrals like we are supposed to, and we saw a little bit of success! We got caught in a HUGE storm a couple days ago, it was a regular, hot, sunny day, but all at once dark clouds moved in, and there was lighting everywhere! We got to our car and got away from any trees for fear of them blowing over, which is common out here since the ground is always so wet, and the winds are so strong. Glad we did it too, because driving around after the fact, there were tons of trees that had toppled over, and we were told that the rain turned into decent sized hail really quick!
Church was great! We got to meet the majority of the Ward, still don't have all the names down, but I'm getting there! Haha We got to see the Mechlings at church! I was so excited to see them! For those of you that don't know who they are, they are a couple that lived in my very first area back in 2013 in Hopkins, and they now live in Dutch Fork! Sister Mechling is like my big sister, and is trying to figure out a way that we can go have a meal with them! I love them so much haha
We had a super cool experience yesterday while out meeting people! We were in a neighborhood about 7 or 8 miles away from our apartment, and we knew that there were at least 4 members in the neighborhood. We talked to one guy who was marked as a less active, and it was clear that he wanted nothing to do with us..we left there, and got no answer at the next house, but the next member was just up the road. We knocked on her door, and she came outside to meet us. She was very very friendly, as was her Collie/Lab mix, Freckles. Haha we stayed for a while getting to know eachother and getting covered in Dog Hair, and we left after being told where we should go next. She had given us the address of a less active that she visiting teaches, but has a hard time catching her at home because she's a trucker and is always on the road. Well, we got there and there was lawn equipment on the front porch, and it looked like the lawn had been professionally done, and it was fresh. I remember telling Elder Taylor "Either a team just left, or she's home" we knocked on the door and waited a minute with no answer, so we knocked again. After a few seconds, we heard "Come in!" We walked in, and again were greeted by two very enthusiastic dogs, haha I think God knew I needed a little play time with some animals. Anyway, we came in and found out that we had just woken her up from a nap that she decided to take after working hard and finishing her front yard. Her name is Sister T, and she wasn't too pleased with us being there, but then again neither would I be if I had just been woken up from a nap! We sat and talked for a minute or two, and just tried to get to know her a little better, and she started warming up to us. We offered our service in any way we could help, and after being reluctant to comply, she said "Okay. I am gonna go get a hammock out of the attic, will you help me set it up?" And I said "I'll do you one better, where is the hammock in the attic? I'll get it for you." She insisted that it was too hot, and I insisted that it didn't bother me, and we went to the hall where the entrance was. She had me go up and get it, then we went outside and helped her set it up. We then sat on the little patio she had outside, where we would talk for the next 2 hours! Now, I know it doesn't seem very significant, but it shows how powerful service really can be.. King Benjamin taught his people this wonderful doctrine in Mosiah, chapter 2. He says: "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." Well, it works...I know it. And as weird as it sounds, a lot of the time we spent with her, we spent listening to different songs that talked about Jesus. She is on the road a lot, and wanted to bring the spirit with her. We listened to "the way he was raised" by Josh Turner, and "I'm only Jesus" by Tim McGraw" and "Your Plan" By Dustin Lynch..all my favorites. She was in tears during a few of them, and when someone cries, I start to cry too..haha I have heard it is one of the ways you can know that you have the spirit with you..anyway, since we were then on that subject, we had a wonderful conversation about the character of God. We talked about why other churches argue so much about who God is, and why it is so important that we have modern day revelation. We even talked with her about going back to the temple! It was so great :) We loved it! Then, since she had a captive audience, she decided to show us her favorite old country. She had us listen to things like"Phantom 309" and a few others by Red Sovine. Reminded me of when Grandpa and I would be driving to Fremont or out to Generator Exchange, and he would show me his favorite music :) Made me really happy, and I even knew some of the lyrics! Haha I know it is a very round about way of explaining it, but it shows that people are much more willing to listen to what we have to say when we take the time to get to know them, and have the same interests as them.
Sister T thanked us, and told us how much she truly needed the time and spirit that we had given her and brought with us..and truthfully, I needed it too. She told us about her Elders, and about how much she loved and missed them. Meerkat and Richie Rich, as she referred to them haha She showed us the picture from her baptism and the spirit was very present at that moment. We bore our testimonies, and said a prayer with her. We committed her to come to church as soon as her job would allow her too, and to allow us to come over and help her finish her back yard as soon as she would let us. It was a wonderful lesson, and a great start to our week :)
Okay, well I will end there and get this sent off.
I love The Lord! I love the Gospel, and I love being a missionary! :) Over and out!