Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"...My homeboy, Joseph Smith." - one of our eternigators.

This week has been an exercise in diligence. I'm not going to lie; it’s been the hardest week of my mission so far. Why? Because all of our investigators either dropped us, or disappeared this week (and when I say disappeared, I mean literally, deserted houses and all...) almost every single teaching appointment we had, all week, fell through. The members didn't seem to have any friends we could go meet. Then, to top it all off, we have pretty much run out of miles due to our GPS mishap a few weeks ago. Last night I did a little math, and Sister Belyea and I have knocked on approx. 1,104 doors this week.

They walked so far they found themselves at the city limits.

A snake they found while walking...yuck!

I. Am. Exhausted...........

But… With as hard as this week was, I had a kind of cool experience in sacrament meeting yesterday. The speakers were a couple of senior missionaries that had returned the previous week, giving their homecoming talk. As I sat and listened to them recount their mission experiences in tears, I glanced across the room to my new district leader, E. Kerr, who goes home in 2.5 weeks. I thought about what it would feel like to be going home. I basically made myself super sad, thinking about it. I realized how much I'm going to miss this someday! I’m even going to miss weeks like this one :) I am so privileged to be able to do what I'm doing, to represent Jesus Christ, and to share the Truth of the restored gospel with South Carolina. It’s cool to be able to work so hard at something so important.


This week is MLC, and I am SUPER EXCITED!!!! For MLC this time around, President Holm is taking all the STL's and all the Zone Leaders to the temple to do baptisms, because he wants us to remember what it feels like to be baptized. I feel like it’s been so long since I've been to the temple! Plus, I get to be baptized by President Holm. I seriously can't wait until tomorrow. And guess who our ride home from Columbia is? Brother Joseph Smith and his wife. Seriously.... that’s his name.

After MLC, we have ZTM (Zone Training Meeting) where Sis. Belyea and I will probably have to train, and will hopefully find out what we're training on soon. Noooo more training like last time, please :)

Oh! Something else that happened this week: another set of sisters moved into our apartment! They're super nice, and it’s fun to have other people there.

Ya'll have a blessed day! :)

Sister Derrick

I mustache (must ask) you a question...Do you know Jesus?

A sign they found outside a gas station.  Just think of the things Bryndee and Sister Belyea are mission out on driving all the time...maybe using up all your miles isn't such a bad thing?

Do you know the Muffin Man?  They tried to find him but he didn't answer his door.

It is sooooo hot!  They are realizing they can sweat a whole lot!  Looking good girls!

Monday, July 22, 2013

On Trunkiness and Ghettoclassy!

Missionaries have lots of words that normal people don’t normally use. As this has been recently brought to my attention, please enjoy the following:

A Missionary Dictionary:

Creaster: (n.) Someone who only attends church on Christmas and Easter. Basically everyone we knock into that isn't Baptist. :)

Trunky: (adj.) Someone who is so beyond ready to go home. Basically, my district leader, Elder Olsen (also known as Elder Oldsen ;)) this week. He led his very last District Meeting this week, and it was one of the best DDM's I’ve ever been to. We basically all sat in a circle and listened to miracles and stories from his mission. There is nothing more inspiring than listening to someone who has been through their whole mission, just talk about it. My favorite story was when E. Olsen and E. Butters (no idea who that is...) had just finished teaching a really amazing lesson. The spirit was there, and the lady was ready to be baptized. They were biking the 3 miles home when a hurricane hit. They were soaked. It was pitch black, and the only time you could see more than the few feet in front of you was when lightning struck and lit up the forest. The trees were swaying. And then, in the middle of all this..... E. Olsen's bike broke. It was 10 Min. to 9:30, so they just started running. Elder Olsen told us he couldn't think of more adverse conditions, and yet.... They were so happy! They were just so stoked about their lesson, they didn’t even care! They found so much joy in teaching, and you could just see it in E. Olsen's face as he talked about it. It was just so inspiring... I want to be like that!

Diso: (adj.) Disobedient. Pretty much the worst thing a missionary can be. Also, just a fun word to say :)

Ghettoclassy: (adj.) almost cute, in a super ghetto way. Like having a bright pink suburban or using garden lattice instead of a screen door. When you get out in the sticks, or into the projects, you see lots and lots and lots of ghettoclassy :)

Eternigator: (n.) an eternal investigator. Basically someone who's been taught all the lessons, but refuses to set a baptismal date. They know it’s true, they're just afraid to make the jump, for whatever reason. We have SO. MANY. Of those right now, so we've been knocking a ton this week. We're hoping to find some solid new people to teach, who are actually going to progress.

Greenie: (n.) A Trainee. I’ve gone on lots and lots of exchanges with greenies this week... We started with Sister Simmons from Utah, who came down here to work with me in Simpsonville. She normally serves in Greer (pronounced Grrrrrrr :)) and is so cute! She came on a mission because she spent a semester in china teaching English, and met so many people she wanted to share the gospel with, but couldn’t because of government restrictions. The next day, I got to go down to Gaffney (which is basically Thatcher AZ, but in South Carolina) and serve with Sister Lester, from California. Gaffney is an interesting place to serve, because the town was originally established by Cherokee Indians, and has tons of streets named after Book of Mormon characters! They have a Nephi and a Lehi street, and their elementary school is called Alma! So cool!

Hope that was helpful. :)

Well, I hope y’all have a blessed day!

S. Derrick

P.S. Ellie sent me a letter asking if I could speak any languages yet. I caught myself legitimately using "ain't" in a sentence a few days ago... does that count?


Sister Belyea!

The first sister signatures in the drawer.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Proper Prior Preparation Positivly Prevents Poor Preformance.

This week has been an adventure for sure!

It kicked off with exchanges with Sister Robinson from Amarillo, TX (Her parents are living in mesa though!) She is companions with Sister Mumford, so it was way fun to swap companionship stories. Have I ever told y’all how much I love that I have the opportunity to go on so many exchanges?  It’s great to watch lots and lots of different teaching styles, and I feel like I learn waaaaay more than I ever teach. This assignment is probably more for my learning and benefit than it is for the sisters. Anyways, our exchange was miracle filled! We were knocking because our appointment fell through, and we knocked into a less active that the ward didn’t know we even had! We taught him about how his Heavenly Father hasn't forgotten him. He has decided to start returning to church, and has asked us to teach the lessons to his friend in his home. Score!

After our exchange, Sister Belyea and I had something of a mishap. We were in the middle of Greenville (the northern most part of our area) when my GPS broke. It shut off and wouldn’t turn back on again! It took us something like 3 hours to figure out how to get back home, because all we could do was travel south, until we hit something we recognized. It was certainly very exciting, and we were very grateful that it happened late in the transfer instead of in the beginning, because we would have been sooooo lost.

We had zone conference this week, which I was SUPER excited for, because for the first time ever, sister Belyea and I hadn't gotten the call to do training! I was so excited to just sit back and enjoy the meeting for once. We got through the first half of the conference and lunch all right, and then one of the assistants stood up to announce the program: "we will be having a training by the Spartanburg zone leaders, and then a musical number by the sisters, and then another training by Sister Derrick and Sister Belyea...."

I wish I could have seen my face. I’m sure it was hilarious.

A couple of discreet texts later, we found out that we had been assigned a training, but for some reason the information hadn't quite gotten to us. So, I got the opportunity to plan a training in less than 10 minutes, without being able to talk to my companion. I now truly have a testimony of D&C 38:30 "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear"

Luckily, it went all right, but my heavens.... that is not something I EVER want to do again!

Funny story about Bryson: He went to the wards family history workshop this Thursday, and when we went to his house Friday night, we found out that not only did he have more family history done than most of the ward, but he ended up teaching part of the workshop and telling everyone about a new website that helped a bunch of people find names and dates they were missing! Have I told y'all yet how awesome this guy is?

Bryndee, Bryson, and Sister Belyea post baptism!

After his baptism, Bryson gave Bryndee and Sister Belyea his pipe...this was his companion for 40 years
This is the last week of the transfer. Every transfer, I’ve tried to have a new theme... something to focus on, like we used to do in stake conferences and youth conferences back home. My theme for last transfer was 2 Timothy 1:7 (for God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love and of a sound mind.) I have done a lot of scary things this transfer.... things like training a new missionary, opening an area, training a zone of missionaries lots older than I... But I have come to have a testimony of this scripture. I know that my Heavenly Father helps us do things that are hard and scary. I feel like I’ve grown at least 5 years older this transfer... I now can handle tough things. In fact, I love tough things. I'm first to do tough things. I do tough things first. I'm a finisher. And I LOVE being a missionary :)

My theme for next transfer: Discipline: doing what you don’t wanna do, when you don’t wanna do it, because you know you should. -President Riggs. :) Should be a great transfer! By this time next week, I’ll know if I'm staying or not... We'll see!

Y’all have a blessed day!

Sister Derrick

Bryndee and Sister Belyea...Silly girls!

I can do tough things!
How true is this?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Bryson Bailey Is Baptized!

Things that South Carolina is full of: 

1. Bugs. Oh my lanta, I have never killed so many bugs in my life! Sister Belyea is deathly afraid of them, so it’s fallen to me to be the official bug killer. The other day, I was at my desk, when I heard her scream like she’s being attacked! I run into the other room... turns out there’s a palmetto bug (basically a massive roach) in her bathroom. Funniest moment of my life :) 

2. Very patriotic people. There are still fireworks going off every night, and it’s been 4 days since the 4th! It’s fantastic! 

3. Southern Baptists. Have you ever heard a southern Baptist pray? Lemme tell you, the general LDS population could learn a thing or two from the Baptists. They know how to pray better than almost any member I've ever heard, because they have a real conversation with God.  

This week was the most eventful week I’ve had so far on my mission. On Saturday, July 6th, I had my first Baptism! It was definitely an action-packed morning... pretty much everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. We got to the church around 8:00 to fill the font and set everything up, to find out that we didn’t have any of the right keys to open the font control panel. We call the bishop, who had agreed to preside over the meeting and give the 'welcome to the ward!' talk, and he's running a 102 fever. We finally get the font going, and find spiders in the water (more bugs....) so we get to clean those up, and then we find out that we don’t have a single white jumpsuit that will come close to fitting Bryson, who's kind of a bigger guy. I know that the adversary was doing everything he could possibly think of to try to prevent this baptism from happening. Talk about discouraging.... poor Sister Belyea was near tears! 

In trying to figure out what to do, Sister Belyea and I stole a moment to go say a quick prayer in the chapel. We basically just put it all in the Lord’s hands, and asked him to help us to figure it out. It wasn’t easy, but we problem solved, and eventually came up with a solution with the Lords help. Brother Jones, who the bishop sent to replace him in the program, sent his wife to goodwill to go find some white clothing that would fit. (I love goodwill! :)) The baptism started almost an hour late, but it was so worth it to see this man that we had come to know and love make sacred covenants with his Father in Heaven. I've never seen someone happier and more changed, than Bryson when he came out of that water. And his first words to us were "you're never going to convert me!" ;) 

This week we also had an outlandish amount of meetings. We kicked off the week with Mission Leadership Council, where we received a lot of training on goal setting and planning. Did you know that in 1959, Yale did a study of their graduating class, and the goals they had made? Only 3% of that graduating class had clear, well defined goals for what they wanted to do with their degrees. Then, in 1979 they went and found the members of that graduating class, and found that the 3% with good goals had out-earned the other 97% combined! Now, that’s kind of a worldly thing to talk about at a missionary meeting, but if you apply it to missionary work, it’s an amazing concept. If we have a vision, set good goals, create and execute inspired plans, and stand accountable for what we do, we have the potential to bring so many more souls unto Christ! It’s super inspiring!  

The next day, we had sisters conference, where we were pretty much put through finishing school ;) We learned about manners, modesty, nutrition, and how to effectively communicate with elders. The communications class was pretty funny. It was taught by the assistants to the president, and we could tell that they felt super awkward around all those sisters....  

The 4th was Zone Training Meeting (ZTM) where sister Belyea and I got to teach training on unity. I think I'm finally starting to get over my fear of talking to people... Kind of.  Hey Dad remember when you got that prompting that I needed to learn how to be a good public speaker? We were going to enroll in classes and learn how to do it? We should have acted better on that prompting... :) Teaching other missionaries is still one of the hardest parts of my assignment, but it helps that the Greenville zone is a lot smaller than Augusta :) This week is zone conference, where we will probably be teaching again... I feel like the zone is going to get sick of hearing from me!

Well, I hope y’all are having a great week, and sharing the gospel!  

Have a blessed day, y’all! 

Sister Derrick 

p.s. have y’all seen the new church website? hasteningthework.lds.org. Go check it out! :D


Friday, July 5, 2013

All Is Well...All Is Well!

Hello! I hope everyone is having fun at Philmont without me! I'm not gonna lie, I’m pretty jealous of Porter and Torie getting to go on the mountain man trek.... y’all better have fun, and tell me all about it!!! I am fully planning on living it vicariously through you. 

This has been a brutal week. We had several of our top investigators abruptly drop us, and most of our other ones have come to a point where they need to either start progressing or be dropped. Needless to say, we've done quite a bit of knocking this week, trying to find new people to teach.
There were a few really, really great moments though: 

1. Bryson officially has a solid testimony of the gospel. He was really really struggling for a while believing that God calls prophets, and having faith that he could quit smoking. We had a really, really powerful lesson on Thursday. We simply bore our testimonies, shared a story from the scriptures, and re- invited him to be baptized. He may or may not have cried :) It was awesome to watch the spirit work in him. He told us he needed some time to think, so we left him with some scriptures and conference talks to read, and set up an appointment for the next day. That next day, we walk up his driveway, and he stops us at the entrance to the garage, where we usually teach him. he has all of his coffee cans, tobacco pouches, and tea bags all lined up, and one by one he tears everything up, dumps it on his lawn, and throws it in the garbage. he finishes by declaring that he wants to be baptized, for real. The change in him was amazing.... he was so happy! He's slated to be "dunked" (his words, not mine...) on Saturday. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited :D 

2. Sister Belyea put her first investigator on date yesterday!!! Lately, I've taken to having her take the lead whenever we teach the restoration, but she always stopped at the first vision. This week, I challenged her to do it, and to share her testimony about the truthfulness of the account. The week went on, and she never mustered enough courage to do it, until we got to Margret on Sunday. Margret is a former investigator that we started working with this week, and we have been meaning to put her on date since we met her. We started the lesson, and when we got to the part about sharing the first vision, Sis Belyea totally took the reins! I have never been as proud of anyone in my life as I was when she started "I saw, a pillar of light, exactly over my head..." The spirit was so strong, and it really testified to Margret. Sister Belyea then took it a step further and invited her to be baptized on the 20th... and Margret said she would be absolutely honored. I'm so proud of my girl! :D 

This next week is the week of many meetings. Tomorrow is MLC, where we will learn about what is going on with this missionary Face book push. Funny side note: I have been asked to sing in a special musical number. I can almost hear Porter laughing from here. Wednesday is sisters’ conference. I’ll get to see Sister Mumford and Sister Houston! I’m so excited!!! Thursday, in addition to being Independence Day, is ZTM. It should be an interesting week. 

Well, I love you all, and can’t wait to hear from y’all next week!  

Have a blessed day! 

Sister Derrick
 Bryndee and Sister Belyea
A really cool Baptist Church in Simpsonville, SC.
Bryndee and Sister Belyea...already great friends!

On Fireflies and Phonebooks!

I have decided that if missionaries were allowed to date and write home more often, I would be very content to stay a missionary for the rest of my life. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!  

This week, the biggest event in my life was the work of salvation broadcast that happened last night. If y’all haven’t seen it, go watch it right now. Seriously, I’ll even give you the link: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormon-lmissionary-work-worldwide-broadcast?CID=HPL2P01W01032
There are some seriously exciting things going on in missionary work right now! How awesome will it be to have a member- led mission? Member missionary work is 6000000000000000000000 times more productive than knocking doors.  

Things I loved from the broadcast:

-We can now use the internet?!? I’m interested to see how this pans out... It will be nice to be more productive in the morning though... It’s so hard to have appointments during that time!

-Elder Holland's promise: Our invitations to others to hear the gospel will NEVER be weird or offensive when offered in love. That is a promise from an Apostle of God, sealed by the authority of his calling. You can take that one to the bank.

-Elder Anderson's promise: The Lord won’t let us fail if we do the best we can to be missionaries. Awesome.

-President Monson’s story about faith. Someone needs to mail me a phone book ;)

Seriously though, we have been told over and over and over again that members are better missionaries than the missionaries are. We are here to help the members in their missionary work, as a resource, not THE source. I am so excited to help the Lord further his work, the right way :) 

Funny side note: I loved the announcement about the meetinghouse tours, because that’s one of the things that sister Belyea and I have been doing with our investigators all week! We took 4 different investigators through the meetinghouse, and they all said it really helped them feel more comfortable at church because they knew where they were going, and they could feel the spirit in the chapel. Way cool. 
This week we found a couple of really cool Investigators. One of these is the Youngblood family. They came from a church that was pretty anti, that had classes on why Mormons were wrong, and satanic, and all of that... But they recently went through something really hard, and didn’t feel as much support as they would have liked from their church. Sis. Youngblood then had a brother join the church, and her curiosity was piqued. She wanted to know why.

So, on Friday night, we got a call from the bishop, a text from church headquarters, and a note on our referral manager website, all about the same person. They probably referred themselves at least 5 different times! :) We went to go visit them, let them tour the church, taught them the restoration, and they were surprised how different it was from what their church had taught them. They loved the idea of a restoration of the church that Jesus Christ had established in the bible, and decided then and there to be baptized. It was so awesome! They came to church for the first time yesterday and really liked it.  I’m so excited to help the Lord further his work, the right way :)

Someone else we have been working with quite a bit is Bryson. I told y’all a little about him last week, but this week we hit a wall: the Word of Wisdom. Turns out that the Sherlock Holmes pipe he smokes has been his companion for 40 years.... Talk about tough things! We taught about the blessings of keeping the word of wisdom, and mightily testified that he would be able to quit, not for his health, or his family, or any other reason, but for his love of God. The spirit in that lesson was so strong. After we had finished speaking, He took a loooooong pause, and then very quietly agreed to quit. We have been fasting and praying pretty hard for him to have the strength to follow through on this commitment, but I'm so excited to see him grow and change. Aside from the word of wisdom, he seems to really love the church! He is already ticking down the days till he can take out his endowments, reading the gospel principles manual (in addition to the Book of Mormon, of course!), and looking into buying the new 2013 quad :) He's seriously so cool! 

On a random side note, I have officially seen my first firefly! They are SO COOL!!!!! They look like magic!

Well, that’s my week :)  Hope y’all have a good one! 

Have a blessed day, y’all! 

Sister Derrick