Goodbye Blythewood

This week has been crazy. We have had so much going on and I have so much to get done still.

On Saturday I got a call from one of the AP’s and I will be leaving Blythewood this transfer to be a District Leader somewhere. I will also be whitewashing an area, which for those of you who aren’t familiar with missionary terms, whitewashing is when two new missionaries are sent to replace two missionaries in an area.

Normally when transfers happen one missionary stays behind in an area and the new missionary sent there learns the area from the older missionary, and then the process repeats. When whitewashing happens, the missionaries going in have basically no idea what is going on.

The next few weeks will be an adventure for sure.

I am a little bummed that I am leaving Blythewood right now, because a ton of stuff is just now happening. Blythewood has definitely grown on me. I really didn’t like it when I first got here, and even when I had been here for a couple transfers, but I really think that I might miss the place.

On Monday we had an appointment with Sister C. and it was AWESOME. Bishop L. came with us and we had a really good talk with her about her life and what she needs to do to get active again.

We also found out that one of Sister C.’s great granddaughters is of age to be baptized and she wanted us to teach her! Her name is Cenaya and she is awesome! We were teaching her and she was taking notes and everything! She is super excited to be baptized and hopefully there will be a baptism here in the next month or so. I definitely wish I could have been here for it but oh well. There is a reason for why I am leaving for sure.

One of the highlights of this week was having President and Sister Turner come to our ward on Sunday. They came to train our ward council on a new program in the mission for wards to essentially hasten the work. They also had the opportunity to speak in church.

The best part, however, was being able to talk with President for a while. We don’t normally get to talk to president very often or for very much time, but he wanted to talk to Elder H. and I, so we spent all of priesthood talking to him!

We talked to him a bunch about our area and how things are going, and then he gave us a lot of advice on what we can be doing better. It may sound unexciting to you, but missionaries never get opportunities like this, so it was awesome!

 

I will find out on Wednesday where I am going. I am hoping that it isn’t in the Columbia Zone because I really want to see new areas.

I have a ton to do today, so I will be ending this email here. I look forward to filling you in on what is going on next week! I will probably have a lot to talk about!

Until then,

Elder Jeremiah Brown

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Another week in the magical land of Blythewood

Week of July 11th, 2016

Monday

Today was a lot of fun! We did some shopping, wrote our emails, and then headed down to Ridgeway to hang out with the Elders down there.

We were talking about playing whiffle ball but we decided instead to go fishing again. I actually caught something, which was a shocker because my cast game resembles a grandma trying to kill a bee with a broomstick (thank you Patrick McManus in “Never Sniff a Gift Fish”).

I somehow managed to pull up a 7-8 inch long bluegill who was dumb enough to bite the tangled mess of fishing line I knotted with no real method or knowledge of fishing knots (thank you fishing merit badge).

He’s currently sitting in my freezer, waiting for me to figure out thetastiest way of eating him.

I totally would have taken a photo of it, but we were running late for an appointment so we had to clean him up quickly.

Tuesday

We started our day off with DDM this morning, which was good because I didn’t have to give any trainings. Afterward we realized that today was “Dress like a cow” day at chick-fil-a, so we cut up Elder Snelson’s old suit pants and made spots with them so that we could get free food. We met the marketing manager there and she was really impressed with us and enjoyed talking to us so she gave us her business card and a free breakfast card and told us to call her if we ever need anything. I was really hoping that we could have started teaching her but she lives in Rock Hill which is out of our mission but in the state (so you’re welcome Rock Hill Elders).

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After that we went around to visit a few people which we were mostly unsuccessful with. It decided to start dumping rain partway through the day which always makes things interesting. Everything else was pretty slow.

Wednesday

I forgot to write down today and I don’t remember much of what happened but I do remember visiting M., one of our eternigators (eternal investigators) and we actually made a little bit of progress with her. We got a solid commitment to read the Book of Mormon and we also talked a lot about what is going on in the world right now. It is crazy how much scary stuff goes on behind your back when you are on a mission. I also remember running into a Vivint sales guy who came down here to work from Utah. He told us that we should work for him, which was expected, and gave us his card. We get salesmen telling us to work for them all the time down here cause we have door to door experience and plus then they’ll get paid more. South Carolina is a HUGE market for door to door salesmanship because everybody here likes to buy unnecessary things.

Thursday

Today we went to get background checks and fill out paperwork for the new apartment we are moving into. After that we visited a few people and got hit with a monster rain storm. The Sandhills Elders have successfully obliterated our miles for this month, so we have been very limited to where we can go. It has made things a little slow here and especially slow when the weather is bad cause we can’t just walk everywhere.

Friday

Don’t remember much about today. We had weekly planing, and a lot of rain. It was pretty slow overall.

Saturday

Today was good. We had a ward breakfast at the Tp.’s house (a family in our ward). They live on an awesome piece of property with woods, farmland, and a man-cave.

After the breakfast we tried to visit a bunch of less actives, which we had no success doing. We then started knocking doors and didn’t really find any interested people. After that we tried to visit a couple of our potential investigators but they were all busy. We did end up getting to meet with Sister Cooper for a while which was awesome and she expressed that she wanted her granddaughter to start taking the lessons from us! So we got a solid referral there!

After that we had dinner and then ward coordination. Ward Coord wrapped up our day.

Sunday

Today we had a pretty successful day. We had sacrament meeting this morning and we had several non-members show up. One was a random guy who just walked in about an hour before church started and asked to see the “pastor.” I told him that he was in a meeting and I could bring him there in a little bit. While we waited we talked for a little while and I was able to find out that he was from North Carolina and he was down in the area visiting family. He was a pretty nice guy. He asked me when service started and then he said he was going to go on a walk around the building. We must have scared him off because he never came back. It was kinda weird and I was a little disappointed but meh.

We also had a family who just moved into the ward from Utah, the T.’s, bring a non-member college kid to church. They had just met him a couple days before at at a swimming pool and invited him to church. We aren’t sure exactly how interested he is, but it was an awesome thing to happen!

The T.’s are an excellent example of being missionary minded! I wish that more families out here could be like them. They don’t do anything too special, they just share the gospel with people they meet and invite them to learn more! They have only been living here for a few weeks and they have already given us 3 referrals! They even gave the sisters a referral before they had moved in yet! They are awesome!

After church we got to go on visits with Nephi, a recently returned missionary from our ward. We had a lot of success with him and we got to talk to a lot of people. We finally contacted a bible referral that we have been trying to contact for almost 6 months now.

We ended our day by visiting with O. and A., a part member family. We have been working on trying to get them back to church so that Ana can be baptized but Oliver has a very time consuming job and struggles to make it to church. We are trying to help him understand the importance of church attendance but it has been a struggle.

After that we came home and did call in reports and finished the day.

Over all, it was a pretty good week. It definitely ended on a better note than it started.

On Wednesday, Elder Lundell, one of the Sandhills Elders, was given an old electric guitar from a lady they were doing service for. He took it to a guitar store and apparently it was a rare antique Gibson from the 1960’s and could be worth $30,000. He took it back to the lady and she didn’t want it back, so he got to keep it. He found out later that it was actually only worth a few thousand dollars, but still.

We will be moving very soon, and we have already started prepping to move on the 29th. The unfortunate part of this is that transfers are on the 27th and there is a very good chance that I will be leaving Blythewood. I will have been here for 6 months in a couple weeks and combined with the fact that there are going to be 21 new missionaries this transfer, we are expecting a lot of change here. Who knows though, I could very well stay here for another few transfers. President normally leaves missionaries in an area from between 3-9 months.

By next Monday I will know what will happen. I haven’t ever been so nervous for a transfer because none of them were likely to effect me.

Anyway, that was my week.

Until next,

Elder Jeremiah Brown

Taco Bell is Divine

So this week I had the unfortunate experience of having my iPad reset on accident and as a result I lost all of my notes. Everything from the beginning of my mission until now is gone. I am kinda bummed but it makes me glad that I keep a non-electronic journal because that thing can’t get deleted. I also learned that I should probably back up my notes.

I would like to blame this week’s email on having my nightly log deleted, but I just didn’t write in it teehee.

Ok so this week we had a few cool experiences. On Tuesday we were biking home for dinner when Elder H. was like “we should go to Taco Bell,” and I was like “dude we should.” So we took another route instead, and it just happened that on that route was a less active lady that we talk to every now and then. She happened to be outside her house just to take out the trash quickly, so we caught her at the perfect time. She invited us in to talk and then she suddenly broke down in tears. We were kinda confused until she explained that she was at really low part of her life and she had been planning on hiding in the backyard and just crying for hours, until we showed up just at her wits end. She saw us being there right at that time as a miracle and was super grateful for us coming by.

It was a reminder to us of how important it is for us to make sure we are in the right place at the right time.

I guess you could say the moral of the story is that if you feel like eating Taco Bell, you definitely should go because it will lead to miracles (cue lightning strike).

Okay maybe not but that could totally be a blasphemous Taco Bell ad.

On Wednesday Elder H. and I drove down to Charleston for a doctors appointment. Charleston is a ton of fun and it is beautiful, but by the fifth time of making the 3+ hour drive it gets kinda old.

Monday was interesting. People go crazy on the 4th here. We heard a ton of reports of people doing dumb stuff and hurting themselves and man it was loud. California is lame when it comes to fireworks, but at least it is quiet there. It was hard to sleep.

I find it funny that people here can hardly afford to pay the power and water bills, yet they somehow find money to literally light money on fire with fireworks that are 15 bucks a piece. Southern logic.

On Friday we had ZTM and we had a potluck afterward. I got all fancy and cooked some baked mac n cheese and people loved it (thank you mom)! The only problem was that I didn’t get much cause it went so fast.

After ZTM we went on exchanges with the Ridgeway Elders and I went to Ridgeway with Elder B., who came out with me. It was fun and we made contact with a lot of people, which is rare for Ridgeway. We went to the BP, which is basically Ridgeway’s town center (it’s a gas station) and ended up talking to a ton of locals there, as well as giving directions to a family from North Carolina who came down here for a trip to Myrtle Beach as a “Make a Wish Foundation” trip for their mother who is on her last few weeks of life. I’m not sure why you would choose Myrtle Beach of all places, cause it’s basically the redneck San Fran of South Carolina, but it was still cool to talk to them.

We also found a turtle in our bathtub. It was probably the Elgin Elders that put that there.

Ridgeway is basically as “out there” as you can get in South Carolina. We see a lot of interesting people and houses out here. Ridgeway is so small that Elder B. knows almost everybody there. I want to say there are less than a thousand people in their area.

On Saturday nothing too crazy happened. We had weekly planning and I was feeling kinda sick. We also had ward coordination. I felt better as the night went on.

That is pretty much all that happened this week. We are going to be going fishing again today but we are choosing a different pond this time. Maybe I will actually catch something but I dunno with my luck.

Elder H. and I wrote a song the other day called “Get Swole Casserole.” We are going to be famous one day, just you watch.

This week I was reading a talk by Elder Faust (I think I spelled that right) and I was really impressed by it. I think it was called the “Power of Self Mastery” or something like that. The entire talk was awesome but one part that I really liked was when he said something along the lines of “the scriptures work as the best washing machine for our minds.” I thought this was really cool and interesting because it seems like in life our minds can get cluttered with worldly or distracting thoughts and ideas. Even if these thoughts aren’t inherently bad, they can distract us from the Spirit and make our lives seem messy. The Scriptures can help us “de-clutter” our minds and “wash” them clean of whatever we have in them. That is just another reason why it is so important we read the scriptures so often. Just as we would wash our clothes regularly, it is important we read the scriptures regularly so we can “wash away the dirt.” If we neglect to wash our clothes, it will be harder to remove all the stains we have. The same applies to our minds.

Anyway, there’s my week. Hope you all have a great one! I appreciate all of your emails and letters, even if I don’t respond to them right away (or ever)!

Stay crazy,

Elder Jeremiah Brown