I came to the realization this week that Gaffney is a weird place. Like literally the weirdest place I have probably been in my life. More on this later.
Anyway, Elder S. is my new companion. He is from somewhere in New Mexico that I can’t pronounce and has been out on his mission for about 10 months. He will probably be my last companion, which I am fine with because he is a really good missionary. Gaffney is probably going to be my last area. If I do have another area it would only be for 6 weeks and the mission president doesn’t normally like to do that, so this is probably it.
This week was pretty good! We were super busy and got a lot of stuff done. Because of the crazy nature of this week I neglected to keep a daily log of our adventures so I will just relay some highlights.
In the days leading up to transfers Elder N. and I went around and he said goodbye to people. We had a really good meeting with G., a lady Sister B. referred to us that was at her house when we went to say bye. She was really nice and seemed very interested! Sister B. told us later that she would not be surprised if she was baptized very soon! I am sure Elder N. was a little bit bummed that he couldn’t be here to teach her but it was good nonetheless.
Wednesday was transfers and we struggled hard core to find a ride in the previous days. All of our members were organizing relief for the people down in Florida so they couldn’t really help us out. We finally found a member in the Union Branch who was willing to drive us down with the Union Elders if we drove ourselves down there. It worked out well and we got to transfers on time. Transfers were fun as always as I got to see a lot of old missionary acquaintances. Afterward, the member who took us down to transfers took us to Cracker Barrel on the way back home. I had never had it before and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was.
The first few days with Elder S. were a little bit slow but we had some great things happen. We had a great appointment with a less active named S. who was temple worthy and everything and was about to go through but fell off the deep end shortly before. He expressed a lot of regrets and wanted to come back to the church. It was an amazing lesson and the spirit was very strong.
Sunday we went home teaching with Brother G., which was a ton of fun! We visited a lot of families in the ward and got to know them. Ever since the member meal policy happened the missionaries have become detached from the members, and missionary work went pretty stagnant. None of the members know us and so going around and visiting them allowed us to get to know them a lot better. Brother G. named all of the county roads in Cherokee county (the county this ward covers). Lots of the roads he actually named after Book of Mormon prophets. He has a lot of cool stories about how he named the roads and he also knows a TON about the history of the church here. There literally are abandoned historical buildings and other such things from hundreds of years ago that just sit and rot here, and most people don’t even realize that they had some sort of significance a couple hundred years ago. The mission home for the South Eastern States mission was at one point here in Gaffney, until some mob violence claimed the life of two missionaries and they moved it elsewhere. Gaffney apparently used to be the stake center for the entire northern part of SC and Charlotte area in North Carolina.
All of this made me wonder, what happened to this place? It used to be a booming town and one of the strong points for the church in the south. Now it’s just stop on the road that nobody goes through.
Something is really weird about this place, and at first I just ignored it.
My suspicions were confirmed on this when the first thing that Elder S. (my new companion) said when he got here was that the town felt dead. Like literally if cities were living beings then Gaffney would be dead. It has a very odd and unsettling spirit to it that words really cannot describe. Elder N. and I ignored the feeling when we got here because we both thought it was in our heads, but without prompting or even asking Elder S. he relayed the exact way I felt when I first got here.
Anyways, enough of that. Despite the challenging aspects of the Gaffney Ward, I actually enjoy being here. There is a lot I have learned from this place and there is a lot I probably will continue to learn.
GENERAL CONFERENCE IS COMING UP!!!! I am very much so excited. I would encourage everyone to prayerfully consider a question to bring to General Conference, because you will receive an answer, sometimes in ways unexpected.
Ok well I gotta go. I am running out of time here. Thanks for everything as always!
Elder Jeremiah Brown
1. Me and Elder Neff
2.,3. Gaffney in a nutshell