Oh my do I have so much to say. It has been a crazy last few days…
First off, I apologize that I was not able to call home in the airport, I will explain the story behind that in a bit. I also apologize for the last few emails, I had very little time to email in the MTC, however out here I have much more time.
Anyway, let’s just say that I have learned so much and have more things to talk about than I have words.
I’ll start by filling you in on last week.
So basically the week was the same as the previous. The differences were that I had some successful lessons with investigators and even a baptism commitment.
I also can say that I set things right with Elder “Sheendawg” Sheen. I realized that I was being a prideful jerk and I started looking at the good in him. I left the MTC with the same personality, but a better understanding of how to get along with everyone, especially those who have nothing in common with me.
Let me give you a little background on Sheendawg now that he isn’t staring at me while I type this. He is from Twin Falls Idaho, he is the youngest of nine children, and his favorite things to do are walk and read. He is going to South Carolina as well. (I have no idea what area he went to though.) Literally he does nothing else for fun. You can imagine that we had nothing in common, and that’s a rare occurrence because I like a lot of stuff. The best word to describe him is “robot.”
Don’t get me wrong, I am really grateful that he was my companion, but man, he was tough to get used to.
I started realizing after about a week that I wasn’t happy. I realized that it was because I was really focused on myself. I decided to focus on him and look for the good in him. It took forever, and it was really hard, but I eventually started becoming friends with him.
Looking back, I would never have traded Elder Sheen for anyone. He showed me how to be a better person and I left the MTC with more knowledge about myself than I ever could have because of him.
Anyway, the day soon came for us to leave. We got up at 2 am, finished packing, and got in line at the travel office. It decided to snow, and it was cold. We finally got on the bus and drove to the train station, and then from there we took the train to the airport.
Our airplane took like 45 minutes to take off because they had to de-ice it. That’s why we almost missed our flight, and I couldn’t call you. Sorry about that.
Anyway, once we got to South Carolina we were met at the airport by President and Sister Turner. They are really nice people. They took us to their home, fed us, and then we stayed the night there. There were about 14 of us.
The next day was transfers, and that’s when I was assigned to be in the Conway South Carolina area. Conway is just a bit southwest of Myrtle Beach. Conway is awesome. There are some very beautiful and green places, but there are also some very ugly and poverty stricken areas. A lot of the area is very similar to the not so good parts of Sacramento, just more green.
My companion is Elder Kuamo’o. He is from Hawaii, however his family is living in southern California right now. He has 9 months left of his mission. He is really easy to get along with and we have a lot of similar interests.
We have been working really well together, and have been really successful considering our circumstances.
Speaking of our circumstances…
Me and Elder K are both new to this area. We are “whitewashing” the area. For those of you that don’t know, whitewashing is where they switch out all of the missionaries and start from scratch. Usually they do this when the past missionaries in the area weren’t doing their job.
We had no idea.
Me and Elder K get to our house (we are staying in an old small house that a member rents out) and flip on the light. Holy freak. It was appalling.
The last elders had trashed the place. Big time. There was dirt, trash, clothes and filth everywhere. Most of the lights didn’t work, the sink was clogged, and there was a huge accumulation of junk missionaries had left behind all over the place. I will send pictures next week, but I can’t today because the computer lab was closed for the holidays so I am sending this from my iPad. The only pictures I’ll be able to send are from my iPad today. So sorry about that.
We spent several hours cleaning, fixing and tidying everything up. It was disgusting. When you jumped on the carpet dirt would fling up.
Luckily, Elder K had some connections and a member was able to take us to the store, and she helped us get cleaning supplies and such.
The old elders also marooned us. We are fortunate enough to have a car, and our area is huge, so we kinda need it. Each area has an allotted number of miles allowed per month, so we have to be conservative with driving. I guess the old elders knew they were being transferred, so they blew all of the miles for our area, and we still had half of a month left! We called the mission office and they told us they couldn’t do much for us, but they gave us a few extra miles. It wasn’t until Saturday that we realized that there was no way we were going to be able to get around with what we had. We were having to plan out every single mile of our day and we still were not able to make do with what we had.
Saturday was pretty rough. We were sitting in a parking lot, not able to do anything because we had run out of BOM’s and we weren’t able to go home, because once we drove home, we wouldn’t have enough miles to do anything else that day. Eventually, Elder k decided to call one of the AP’s he was pretty close to, and he allowed us 350 extra miles for the rest of the month. Thank goodness they were friends, because there was no way we were going to do anything without more miles.
The old elders also did nothing with missionary work. They left us 2 investigators and that’s about it. That’s a small amount for those of you who don’t know what normal amounts should be. The investigators weren’t very solid either. You could say we were starting from below ground zero.
Anyway, despite these challenges, we have been doing really well. We have had a really successful week and have made friends with lots of the members, which is really important out here. We had “knocked” into a few new investigators, and we have done really well considering our circumstances.
Things about South Carolina
It is WAYYYY humid here. It makes Hawaii seem mild. The weather is bipolar too. It can be cold and in the 40’s, and then 86 degrees the next day. Christmas is going to be 83 degrees. I can’t contain my excitement….
I never really appreciated California’s anti smoking culture, because EVERYBODY smokes here. Let’s just say that when I get home at night, I reek of cig smoke. People are always smoking here. ALWAYS.
Anyhow, here’s a cool story.
So Conway was Elder K’s first area. His first contact was on a dark alley way in the middle of a rainstorm. The only way he knew someone was there was because he saw a cigarette flare up in the darkness. He was terrified, but the guy ended up being really nice, and he invited them into their home for hot chocolate and a gospel discussion. His name was Tim. He was a very religious man and has scriptures tattooed on his arms. They became friends with Tim, and although he never ended up being baptized, they still stayed friends. The first person Elder K took me to see was Tim. It has been 2 years since they had seen each other (Elder K has had a longer mission because he went home for almost a year). Tim was not doing well, his kids had just been taken from him, on false accusations of child abuse. Although he wasn’t in trouble with the law, his kids were not able to be with him until they cleared the case in court. At the same time, he had just lost his job, and his car broke down. He was not a very wealthy person to start off with.
We had come at a time when Tim had just hit his lowest point. We left a short message of comfort with him, and he wept. It was cool seeing a rekindled friendship between Elder K and Tim, and it was also cool to see the person that Elder K had already told me all about.
We don’t think it was a coincidence that we were sent here, and Elder K was sent back right during Tim’s life low.
Anyhow, that’s the story.
Amd that’s about it. It’s been a good week. A really tough one, but a really fun and satisfying one. I’m having a blast to say the least.
Elder Jeremiah Brown
P.S. Don’t use dearelder.com anymore. I can check my email daily, and dear elder takes longer here. Also, all packages sent to me need to be sent to the mission home with priority mail, otherwise it will take a transfer or so to get to me.