Monday, April 29, 2013

How do you spell excited in Portuguese?

Guess what?!?!? Transfers are Wednesday! I’ve officially been on my mission for one transfer, and am halfway through my training... but that’s not why I'm so excited for transfers. Im excited because......... Our companionship is going to be a trio! And, this new sister is a visa-waiter, on her way to Brazil, so I GET TO LEARN PORTUGUESE!!!! we will now be getting an hour of language study every day, and we get to start teaching a Brazilian sister in one of the neighboring wards. I am so stinkin' Excited!

 The only down side to transfers: we have no idea how we're going to get there, because we have run out of miles for the month. Our car only gets 1100 miles a month, which is difficult because our area is close to 1000 square miles... so, long story short, we've been doing a lot of walking the last couple of days (porter- I am never, ever going to make fun of your sock tan-lines again, because I'm currently sporting some pretty sweet ones from my loafers...) If I'm being completely honest though, I would much rather be out walking then in our car, so I don’t really mind too much.

 This week (few days?) has been much calmer... fewer police incidents (although, officer Chris did tell us we were pretty gutsy when we were out walking one day... we always seem to run into officer Chris whenever where in the sketchy parts of town. He must need the gospel! :)) and more lessons... back to normal :) we did get to go to a stake women’s conference though! (we can't go to ward or stake events unless we have an investigator or less active we're working with there...luckily, we got one of our investigators there) we learned about budgeting, meal planning, the new youth curriculum (can I just take a moment to say how much I LOVE the new youth curriculum? It is preparing these kids to be missionaries like you wouldn’t believe, because the lessons are taught just like a preach my gospel discussion is... it’s wonderful!), and writing a personal history. There was lots of food, decorations, and a tearful woman... your typical women’s meeting :)

 People we've been working with this week:

 Tasha (have I talked about her before? I don’t remember...) - She's a single mom, with a tiny 5 month old baby named Derricka (she loves my name, because they're spelled the same... she says it every time I’m over there!) who is going in for surgery in Augusta this week. She committed to baptism, but is working on giving up smoking. She came to church this week with us, and LOVED IT!

Sis. Usry- She's a less active woman with twins, amber and Austin (who's autistic). She LOVES when we come over, and always ends up teaching us a few things. She's also working on a WOW problem, but she is really progressing towards giving up her cigarettes! her problem with church is that she's afraid to take Austin, because she doesn’t want anyone to say anything about him... I guess it happened in the past, and she knows if it happens again, she'll leave the church for good. We are hoping to work with her on building her faith to the point that she goes to church because it’s what she believes in and not based on the people there and what they say.

Shelton- He is the friend of a member (Member missionary work! totally the way to go!) and we got to teach him for the first time on Wednesday. We taught the restoration and he was SUPER excited! he's working his way through the Book of Mormon, and we usually call him every night to catch up on where he is in his reading (he lives really far away...) we're hoping he can be baptized on the 11th :)

Those are the main ones.... The others are all having a hard time progressing, but we're working on it! ;)

 What I’ve studied in the scriptures this week:

 I've been reading up a lot on the women in the scriptures, the Wives of the prophets, and Emma Smith in particular. In D&C 25, the lord calls her an "Elect Lady". I’ve decided that I’m going to live my life in such a way that I can be called an Elect Lady by the lord. There are so many great women in the scriptures to learn about and emulate! A few favorites: Rebekah (genesis 24), Ruth and Naomi (the book of Ruth), Abigail (1 Sam 25, one of my very favorites! she's amazing!) Nephi’s wife (I forgot to write the chapter down, I’ll get it to you next week... I believe its 1 ne 11ish?).   And the woman with an issue of blood (Matt 9, Mark 5, and Luke 8.).

 Well, I hope y'all have a fantastic week, and are sharing the gospel like crazy!

Ya'll have a blessed day!


Sister Derrick

Balloon animals with Sister Gardner. 

Cute little girls of someone they are teaching.

Bryndee, Mckayla, Sister Gardner

Bryndee teaching (I don't know why this went sideways Ron couldn't even figure it out) and so happy!  I love and miss that smile!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hello Family and Friends!

It's been a CRAZYYYYY week! I don't even know where to start!
So, this letter is coming to you on a Wednesday, because apparently earth day is a library holiday. who knew? but, in honor of the holiday, brother story (one of our Less actives) gave us some bamboo shoots to plant, because they are almost impossible to kill...They may or may not be dead in our apartment right now...... but it was fun!
Reasons this week was crazy:
1 crazy drunk investigators boyfriend
30 black kids street fighting (which Sis. Gardner proceeded to break up... crazy girl!)
2 run-ins with the police (once when on a member ride along, we had a very hysterical investigator who was being abused, so the member whipped our her phone and called the police... talk about an exciting lesson! the second one was when Sister Gardner broke up the previously mentioned fight. Us and the police are pretty much on a first name basis now. In all seriousness though, I am so grateful for good law enforcement. They sure have their hands full around here!)
1 investigator (and son...) in jail right now. (I guess a 2 year old DUI case that was never resolved? this sounds like a bad thing, but its actually not... this investigator has a really hard time committing, and his wife was so excited when he was booked because it's not permanent, and it'll give him a chance to think. He's on date to be baptized, and we're hoping the jail time humbles him enough to stay that way)
1 Zone conference
1 exchange
1 free perry the platypus t-shirt (I was really excited about that one... someone left it in my apartment when she went home, and Sister Gardner has never seen Phineas and Ferb (I was so sad for her...) so she said I could have it! SCORE!)
Plus 3 opportunities to wear JEANS!!! (I love service projects!!! :D I got to paint a house (mom! I now know how to paint a room w/o having to tape! Ill have to show you when I get home...) and then help brother storey with yard work. it was wonderful!)
So, exchanges were really fun! I got paired up with sister Ibarra, an outbound missionary from salt lake (who knew Nichelle Yazzie, fun fact...) and I GOT TO RIDE A BIKE!!! I was so excited! We ended up visiting a bunch of less active members in Evans, GA, which is a super classy area. it was weird to see real, actual functional families... with a mom and a dad who are married, and kids who all have the same daddy. the spirit in the homes we visited was so different from what I've gotten used to, and it was really nice to see. I also had my first member meal (so fun! We had tacos, and they had adorable kids!). All in all, exchanges get a double thumbs up, but i am very glad to be back in my area. Who knew you could miss the projects so much?
Little Miracle: I got a little bit mopey this week, because i haven't gotten any mail from anyone back home in 2 weeks (SLACKERS! ;)). anyways, we go out to visit a less active that hasn't seen anyone from the church in years, and her 12 year old great granddaughter comes out and I swear, I was looking at Kymber. they look so much alike! needless to say, we hit it right off, and we are hoping to get permission to teach her, because she hasn't been baptized yet. fingers crossed!!!!
A sweet little moment from Martha: she said the closing prayer at one of our lessons this week, and thanked the lord for sending her best friends, the missionaries. I almost cried.... It was so sweet and tender. Baptists say the best prayers... They are so sincere and sweet and full of fire and faith.
One thing I learned this week: On Thursday, I took some sacred grove time to just talk to my father in heaven. I was feeling pretty down because I didn't feel like I was a great missionary yet. all my life, I've picked things up really quickly, but I wanted to be the very best missionary that this mission had ever seen. I felt like I owed it to my father in heaven to be perfect, because he trusted me with this area of his vineyard.
Lemme explain sacred grove time really quick. our apartment has 2 rooms, but only one companionship staying there. so, during sacred grove time, I take the spare room (Sister Gardner takes our room) and we just pray out loud. its a few minutes of perfect solitude, to tell the lord all of your secrets, your desires, just whatever you feel like telling him. So, I went in that empty room, and knelt down, and told the lord about every thing that was wrong with me; every shortcoming that had been eating at me for the past month, I put out on the table. I told the lord "I'm not good enough! I cant figure out how to make myself do what you want me to do, and not what I know how to do! I feel like I've been wrestling with myself and loosing.... " I finished my self-degradation, and kind of just sat on the ground for a minute, wallowing. Then, the sweetest moment of peace. "Bryndee, You are enough. I know its been hard, but your efforts are acceptable unto me. go, and keep working at it."
The lord knows that I struggle, and its okay that I do. I'm allowed to have a hard time. I cant be perfect yet... but I can have a perfect knowledge that the lord loves me, perfectly.
On that note, I'm running out of time... till next week!
Have a blessed day!
Sister Derrick
The Thompson Tire Man.
Sister Gardner, Martha, and Bryndee
Bryndee, Sis. Appling, Mckayla, and Sister Gardner

SCORE...Free Perry T-Shirt!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Happy Masters Week

Hello everyone! I hope you are having a fantastic week!
Did you know that there's week long holiday that they neglect to celebrate in Arizona? Its called Masters week, and from what I gather, its not a 'real' holiday, but might as well be one :) Apparently It has something to do with golf, and is a major deal.
Sister Gardner and I have started singing hymns in peoples homes lately. (Yes porter, I sing out loud. In front of people. and they actually like it ;)) I love the spirit that a hymn can instantly bring!! I've made more people cry this week than I ever have in my whole life!
Along with teaching me the power of hymns, Sister Gardner is teaching me all kinds of useful stuff... Like I can now cook all kinds of stuff! I'm becoming a regular genius with rice and beans! (Which is pretty much all Sister Gardner can eat... poor dear...) In exchange, I'm teaching her to organize and prioritize better, so she can get more 'needfull' things done... It works out nicely :)
This week, we started teaching Luther and Tatiana, a couple living in the projects with their two little girls. Sister Gardner met them with her old companion when she crashed their birthday party and started making the kids balloon animals (she does this a lot...) and teaching them primary songs. We taught them the plan of salvation, because they had alot of questions about death. When we explained the spirit world and Resurrection, you could literally see them light up! Tatiana said that she isn't afraid to die anymore, and they are excited to learn more. It was totally rewarding!
We also met Sister Weizer, who is this adorable little old lady from Austria. Its like someone picked up a fairy tale book and shook it really hard, and Sister Weizer fell out... she is so cute! I told her that I was thinking about going into engineering when I got off my mission, and she got super excited and animated and exclaimed that we needed more female engineers and that I was doing the right thing... I was glad she approved ha ha :) She gave me the best advice I've gotten all week.... That as important as the work I'm doing is, it is way to easy to fall into a rut of stress and worry. Its also important to find joy, and enjoy my mission while I'm living it. I can't live on some days....' someday one of these investigators will keep a commitment'....'someday Ill baptize'.... Someday is a dangerous word. Why not enjoy now? :)
How I've seen the lords hand in the work this week: This week our focus has been on sacrament meeting attendance. We have been inviting, and inviting, and following up, and inviting, and anything just short of lovingly harassing people to go to church this week. we ended up having 7 solid people that we were positive would be there, and we were so excited.....until Sunday morning, when every single one of them fell through. We walked into church feeling a little dejected, when there they were: Albert and La'toya... The son and daughter in law of one of the new converts we had been working with, there to see their dad bear his testimony in church for the first time! Even though our own efforts didn't work, The lord blessed us so we would have someone there. I am so grateful for the lords tender mercies... He truly does bless us when we do his work, his way!
Another person the lord blessed us with this week was Lilly Mae. We were in the Dollar store, checking out when we were approached by this black lady who was super excited to see us. "are Y'all the Mormon Missionaries?!?" Us: "Yes Mam, we are! Whats your name?" "Well, I'm Lilly Mae, and Ive been looking for y'all for ages! I used to meet with those boys who ride around in suits on bikes, and then they just suddenly stopped coming! Will you come teach me?!"
We were Dumbfounded. This doesn't happen! EVER! so, we gave her a Book of Mormon, and she asked us for assigned reading! I'm so excited to see her progress!
Welp, I've got to go for the week, but Y'all have a blessed day, Ya hear?!?
Sister Derrick

Happy Masters Week!

Cute Sister Gardner!

Love it!

Sister Derrick, Nancy (invistagor), and Sister Gardner

My Ghettoblaster nametag... which I may or may not have had to use... again....

Elder Clariadge (Johathan) and Bryndee at the MTC

Monday, April 8, 2013

Hello Everyone!

I hope y'all had a great conference weekend, and were spiritually fed :)

Conference weekend is THE BEST as a missionary... Its the equivalent of taking a field trip when you were a kid. Some things I noticed was that they focused a lot on the bible (almost every scripture reference given! I only had 2 BOM ones written down, but tons and tons of bible!), the building of strong families and homes, and obedience.... all of which I was super grateful for, because that is what the people in my area are struggling with! My area is kind of .....ghetto? (not the best word to describe it, but its all I can come up with...), so its a really rare occurrence to find an actual, real life family anywhere. It makes me so very grateful that I grew up where I did, with the family I did... mom and dad, you're amazing! I'm also super excited for the new training on the priesthood... we're supposed to get to watch it in ward council next week, but I might use part of my time (we get an hour every Tuesday) to watch it :) In between sessions, we worked on some office-y stuff like copies and maps and ward directories, because the church building is really far away, and we couldn't take the hit to our limited miles to go back and fourth. it was good, because our area was just recently opened, and not well organized, so we were able to figure out lots of logistics and get organized.

So,, know how I mentioned that my area covers 5 counties? well, there are two women in my ward, sister Ingram and sister Howard, who live in one of the farthest counties, and they are two of the most missionary minded members I've ever met. They're fantastic!!! they have decided to set up an open house in the county library for us, with and family history and all of the auxiliaries there... Its so exciting! its kind of like a 'meet the mormons' type deal, where we can talk to people and they can put in referrals for themselves or family and friends. we have really high hopes for this meeting! I'll let you know how it goes.

This week, Sister Gardner and I worked our tails off! Sister Gardner said she has never worked so hard on her mission, and we had amazing results! the lord truly blessed us for our work! this week, we ended up with 30 lessons taught, over 100 people we met, and 13 new investigators!!! these numbers almost triple our goals for the week! it was incredible! I look forward to trying to beat my numbers next week, and bring lots and lots and lots of people to Christ.
last week, I mentioned Wanda, one of our investigators. On Friday, We were impressed to go see her, but she wasn't home! we were sitting out in the car, making a phone call, when someone knocked on our window, and it was Wanda! She was like " Y'all come to see me off?!?" and we were like, off where? apparently, she's leaving for Florida to be with her daughter, permanently! If we hadn't been there we would have never known... and now we have all her Florida info so she can meet with missionaries there. I'm so excited to see where she ends up... she would be a fantastic YW leader! :)
last night, I got to teach the first lesson, almost all by my self! Super exciting! I taught Tasha, a black lady with a baby who is having lots of health problems. She was super doubtful at first, but after I testified she opened up alot, and accepted the challenge to be baptized! Super cool!
dad- I started putting all of my notes and thoughts on 3X5 cards.... Its wonderful! I should have listened to you sooner!
This week in my scripture studies Ive been looking at having faith to receive.  In 2ne. 4:35, there is a promise from a prophet that "god will give to him that asketh... if I ask not amiss." The lord defines amiss as "that which is contrary to my will." (hel. 10:5) Do I have the faith to ask things of the lord and know that it WILL happen, as long as it's not contrary to his will? Do I have the faith to believe in miracles? Because as long as I do the work to get me there, I'll get them. Other verses on the subject: Alma 29:4, and 3ne. 14:9-11
Well, Its about time for me to go... but know that I love you, and so does the lord! Catch the wave!
Sister Derrick
Sister Gardner with her trainer (on her right) and all her trainees.
Bryndee and Sister Gardner

An Easter Tradition for the Baptist's down south.  They hang a purple sash on the cross then on Easter morning they change it to white.

Visiting on Easter Sunday.

One of her favorite parts of P-Day...Washing the Car!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Hey Y'all!

I hope you all had a fantastic Easter, filled with miracles and love :) I Miss you all!

 Easter as a missionary is kind of weird. We go to church, eat dinner with a member family (If we're lucky! we have like eleven members in our area, because we split the ward with a pair of elders, and all the members live in their area.) and then the rest of the day is tracting, just like a regular day. We were blessed to be able to eat at our ward mission leader's home, Brother Trover. He's this super nice Italian man, who cooks like Emeril, and uses at least two forks at every meal (they're a country club type family, super proper). We had pork with jalapeno apricot jelly, and it was stinkin' delicious. (mom.... you would love that jelly. Seriously.) We then spent the rest of the day in Gibson, the very south part of our area. Gibson is a town we don't make it out to very often, because we have very limited miles, and its a good 40 Min. away. It was a kinda fun drive though, because we listened to our only CD, Motab Christmas songs, and try to relate them to Easter (these are the things you do for fun as a missionary... :)) Sister Gardner and I were trying to get in contact with a less active in our ward named Brother Kent. We felt really strongly that our father in heaven needed us to get in touch with him, and so we used a good chunk of our miles to go visit We were so sad to find him not home, but we got to contact a guy walking by as we were leaving a note on the door, and it turns our he knew the Kents very well! So, we gave him an additional message to give Bro. Kent. We then continued on with our appointments for the day, and as we were winding up to head home, we saw a truck on the side of the road with the hood up. Sister Gardner and I felt impressed to stop and help, even though neither of us know anything about cars. We stopped and asked if he needed a jump (the only thing we actually knew how to do) and he said no, his friend was on his way to help him out. As we talked to the man, we found out that the friend was Brother Kent! So, we stayed for a few minutes, and got to see Brother Kent, get a working phone number for him, and set up a teaching appointment For later this week. I now know that the lord never asks us to do anything without providing a way for it to happen! We also got to meet lots of cute old people, who never get visited because they live so far away. all in all, it was a fantastic Easter.

 This week we spent a good chunk of time at the mission home in Irmo, SC, because it was our tri-annual Sister's Conference/ Leadership Training Meeting. Right now there are 30 or so sisters in our mission, but by the summer its going to grow to over 100!!! They really emphasized that there are going to be 80 or so newbies, and even though we feel totally inexperienced, they are going to be looking to us. no pressure right? so, I guess we are all supposed to be called as trainers in as little as a month. So. Scary.

 A few random, Inspirational quotes from the LTM:

 "Be like a Rhino! Do you know how thick a rhino's skin is? Two whole inches! Be thick skinned! never take offence, whether its intended or not."

 "Casual people become Casualties. The gospel is NOT casual."

 "Does the lord have favorites? Yeah, He favors those who keep his commandments."

 "We need to eradicate rumors and gossip. I want you to kill it, and kill it at the speed of thought."

 "Beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing."

 "Elders are adequate, but Sisters are perfect" ;D

 President Holm is an amazing, Inspired man!

 A Piece of advise:

Porter, If you go on a mission with a car, BRING A GPS! I'm buying one today at Walmart... It'll save your life.

 An amazing talk/ devotional:

"that we might not shrink" by Elder Bednar. Seriously, It's changed my Mission (the whole month of it Ive been on, anyways... :)) go watch it!

 People I'm Teaching:

Right now, in addition to all of the less actives We're trying to reactivate, we have 2 Progressing Investigators.

The first is Wanda, who found Christ while she was in jail. Shes such a funny lady! she told us a story about how she used to sing hymns in her cell, and all of the other ladies in neighboring cells were yelling for her to stop, but she'd just keep on singing, and eventually they just gave up and joined in with her. That lady has spunk! Right now, we are trying to help her quit smoking, and get her to church. (the hard part about working in Thomson, its entirely made up of trailer parks, gov't housing, and old people homes.... so nobody has a car! we coordinate lots and lots of rides every week, but its hard getting people to the church, which is half an hour away. be thankful that Gilbert has a church so close!!!) Our other investigator is named Terry Berry (yes, that's his real name, and he is very proud of it!). He's had missionaries before, but they must have been transferred or dropped him, because he said that they just randomly stopped coming. He is on date for baptism, but he is also car-less, so its hard to get him to church.

 Well, my time is about up, but I hope you all have a really wonderful week. Don't forget about the opportunity y'all have to listen to a living prophet this weekend! Its a great opportunity to share the gospel with someone you care about. Be BOLD! INVITE! :)

 Have a blessed day!

Sister Derrick :)

Bryndee's first mission bedroom. 
Happy Easter ya'll!
Isn't she cute in her hat...a true "Southern Bell"!
Our MTC group at sisters confrence. I MISS SISTER MUMFORD!
People love South Carolina so much, they paint the flag on their porch....
Bryndee and her first companion, Sister Gardner.
Cute girls!
The Story family... one of the less actives we teach. They're making changes in their lives so they can do their son's temple work! 
Washing the Car on P-Day...Fun Times!

An Easter Surprise!

A couple days ago we got a fun surprise in the mail...An Easter Card from Bryndee and her comp, Sister Gardner.  What made it even more fun was the fact that Sister Gardner wrote it to us not Bryndee.  Below the picture is what Sister Gardner wrote.
Dear Derrick Family!
I want you to kow how much I love your daughter/sister.  She is a perfect cute missionary and we have already seen so many miracles together!  With our Faith in God mountains are moving!  WATCH OUT! (Some are ones the natural man cannot see but God's timing is everything.)
Love you and can't wait to see you one Aunt lives in Mesa.
Sister Gardner