Well let me just say that it has been one heck of a week, and it’s probably going to be one heck of a next 5 months.
So Gaffney is wild. I understand now why they call it Gaffrica. It is easily the most backwoods area I have served in and quite possibly one of the most backwoods areas here period. I thought that I had fully adjusted to the southern accent and then I came out here and I am honestly having trouble understanding people. It’s like another language.
There are pretty much no neighborhoods here. Everyone lives in a trailer or a small home on a private plot of land or a trailer park. This place is wacky but I like it.
This week I drove all the way across the entire state of SC. Lots of driving and trees.
Anyway, Monday was when we found out about the Emergency Transfer. We found out right before we were about to check out our groceries from Walmart, which was good otherwise we would have wasted a lot of money.
Pretty much the rest of the day we played basketball, wrote emails and said goodbyes. In the evening we spent our time packing and cleaning up our apartment for the new sisters replacing us.
Tuesday was complete madness. We had to drive down to Charleston (which is a 2 hour drive) to get some prescriptions filled and then come back quickly so we could finish packing and prepping the area for the new missionaries. Charleston was fun though because I got to have lunch with Elder O. who is in Charleston now as a Zone Leader (da’s my boy).
After Charleston we finished up packing and then for dinner we went with the ZL’s to Pawley’s Front Porch, a really good burger place in downtown Columbia that they had been wanting to take us to for a while. The West Columbia ZL’s and the AP’s showed up as well which was fun, except that the AP’s had to leave early and we had to cram both sets of ZL’s in our car and drive them home, which was complete madness and we didn’t end up getting home until late.
Elder C. had to come down to get his car fixed so he stayed the night here and I got to see him, which was fun.
Wednesday we spent the morning finishing the cleaning process and then we said goodbyes to the ZL’s (Elder V. and G.) and started our journey to Gaffney. It was sad saying goodbye to those guys. They were really good friends and I will miss having them around. Elder V. is one of 2 other Elders in this mission going to BYU so I will get to see him there.
We arrived in Gaffney after dark and started unpacking for the rest of the evening. The apartment was pretty nice minus the giant holes in the ground. There was hardly any food in the place but I found some weird frozen Chicken Cordon Bleu that didn’t look too bad so I ate that.
Thursday we shopped and finished unpacking. A. H., a member of Greenville ward who still keeps in contact with me, found out that I got to Gaffney and came to visit. He was almost 600 pounds when I was in Greenville with him but then he got a gastric bypass and has been losing a ton of weight. It was great to see him and I almost didn’t recognize him because in less than a year he has gone from 580 lbs to 185 pounds. He has lost so much size and weight that he is having to remove 35 pounds of extra skin. It is really cool to see what people can do when they put their mind to something. He told me all about how Greenville ward was doing and stuff. Greenville has honestly become probably one of my favorite places in the world. I just love it there.
Anyway, that was fun. The rest of the day was unpacking and then we got to visit a couple new people and explore the area.
Friday we spent a lot of time cleaning up the areabook and figuring out the area. It is very rural.
Saturday we started getting the missionary work ball rolling. We visited a few less actives and every single one I have met is a character. We met one guy who lives in this trailer in the middle of nowhere and has like 15 guns just sitting around the place. He moved a couple off the couch so we could sit down and just handed them to his 6 year old son like it was nothing, and told him to put them away. I love the south.
Basically the day consisted of lots of guns, confederate flags, crazy people, cool people, etc.. There was a nasty thunderstorm that hit and our apartment got struck by lightning and set the fire alarms off. It was probably the loudest sound I have heard in my life.
Sunday was pretty good. Literally everyone in the ward is related. EVERYONE. It is just a big religious family reunion. It kinda worries me actually.
After church we went out with Brother M., a retired member of the ward, and he took us to visit a whole bunch of members and showed us around the area. He is a really awesome guy and does a lot with the missionaries. We spent most of the day with him. He took us to visit his home teaching families, who are literally his family in one way or another.
Anyway, that was the week. Honestly this has been one of the weirdest weeks of my mission. I guess it’s just a lot to take in but I am going to have to do some adjusting for sure.
It is truly Gaffrica. Today for P-Day we are probably just going to take naps and sew ties. That may sound lame but there isn’t much to do around here besides going to see the giant peach water tower that is the image of Gaffney. If you don’t know what I mean look it up or wait for me to get a picture with it.
Well, wish me luck.
Elder Jeremiah Brown
Here is a picture of the state of South Carolina so you can see how far Elder Brown had to travel to go to Charleston and then up to Gaffney:
Here are some images I found online of the peach water tower he referred to in his email: