Monday, August 26, 2013

On The Ordinance of Baptisim, And Other Things!

This week, we have been walking like crazy. Our miles situation is really very sad. Sister Belyea and I were trying to figure out how many miles we had walked one day, and we put it all in the GPS.... it was over 12 miles. Yikes! Well, Sunday brings the new month, and with that new miles :) 

This week started with an exchange with Sister Christensen from Vernal, UT (doesnt know the Kendall family... I was super surprised! I thought everyone knew everyone in Vernal! ) She was super fun to work with... I’ve never met someone with so much energy! It was awesome to see her work. We got to visit with a couple of less active sisters out in Cowpens (super rural area, so fun!) and promise lots of blessings. All in all, a fantastic exchange. 

So, Miracle Moment: On Thursday, Sister Belyea and I were walking, and we noticed ominous black clouds rolling in. We were a good couple miles from our destination, and without umbrellas. The wind started blowing really hard, and it started to sprinkle, and we were resigning ourselves to a very wet walk, when a green minivan pulls up next to us on the road, and out pops brother Digsby! "Hey sisters, It’s starting to rain! What are you doing out here?!?" We explained that we were on our way to go visit a less active sister, and he stopped and thought for a second, and then told us that he just happened to have 2 umbrellas in his car, that we could borrow and bring to him at church! It was cool to see just how much the Lord takes care of those that take care of his children :) it was such a tender mercy!!!
 Bryndee and the miracle umbrella...This thing is huge!

It's a good thing they got those umbrellas look at the downpour!
A cool lesson we got to teach this week: Remember Scott from Boston? We got to teach him the plan of salvation this week, and we felt inspired to take a particular member with us. We were a little bit nervous about it, because the impression we got from Brother Goodman was that he was super quiet, and Scott was one that needed major fellowship. But, we followed through on the prompting, and it turned out amazing! Brother Goodman was able to pull out scriptures, and explain things in a way that Sis. Belyea and I could never have done. It was such a great lesson, and Scott really, really loved it. Its a testimony to me of just how important members are in missionary work!

Best part of the week: WE HAD A BAPTISIM! And oh, what a baptism! Joe has finally joined the true church, and he is so. Stinking. Happy. Ive never seen him so happy!

Bryndee, Joe, and Sister Belyea
The baptismal service was wonderful, we had Bryson give the prayer (he does such a great job.... he is doing so awesome!) and one of our members, Brother Gonzales give a talk on baptism. He was able to bear powerful testimony of the importance of it because he was baptized a few years ago himself. Then, Brother Garrett gave the talk on the Holy Ghost, and made everyone cry. The spirit in that room was super-duper strong, testifying that the decision Joe was making was one that Heavenly Father was very, very proud of. Yesterday, when Joe was confirmed, He was promised that he would be able to lead his family to the temple, there to make more sacred covenants with his Father in Heaven. So cool.

 Joe and his family!

Well, that's my week. It was a super long week, but it was perfect. President Holm says, in regards to serving a mission "the worst its ever been was wonderful" and I completely concur.

Y’all have a blessed week!

S. Derrick 

p.s. Transfers next week! Sister Belyea is freaking. Out. :) Ill let y’all know what happens!

Monday, August 19, 2013

I don't know what to title this email. It's kind of a random one.

A question for the masses: Why is it that when I leave, all of my friends start getting married and stuff??? Not cool.

So. Funny story: There’s a member of our ward named Bro. Hernandez. Last Sunday, as we were greeting our investigators and members in the foyer (is that how you spell that?) he very urgently waved us outside. We asked what was up, and he just kept walking.

Hmm. Mysterious.

So, we follow him to his car, and he pops his trunk to reveal a RIDICULOUS amount of cakes, cookies, muffins, and other baked goods!

This is why missionaries gain weight on their missions.

We had 2 exchanges this week, so I started the week with Sis. Williams from Mapleton Utah (I feel like every missionary I know is from Utah...) we had an interesting exchange. Every. Single. Appointment. Fell. Through.... except for one. and man, that one appointment made the whole exchange. We taught a guy named Scott, who had just moved here from Boston, MA. He's living alone, but has a wife and 6 kids in Boston finishing up school before they move down here with him. He was someone that Sis. Belyea and I knocked into, and as we were teaching him, he told sis Williams and I that when we knocked on his door, he had just been wallowing in the fact that he was all alone, in a strange state, and wishing that God would send him a friend. It looks like the Lord has sent him something better: the truth. It was a pretty powerful lesson, and he would like to be baptized! (He just needs to ask his wife before we set him on date ;))

Exchange No. 2: SISTER MUMFORD!!!! Ahh, I missed that girl so much! I was so excited to be able to go on an exchange with her! That exchange taught us both a lot about being happy regardless of circumstances. I feel like the adversary did everything he possibly could have done to make this a miserable exchange. All our appointments fell through... we got chewed out by a guy we ended up teaching... heck…it even rained on us while we were walking. But........... We were just so stinking happy to be missionaries that it was okay. In fact, it was probably the most fun I’ve ever had on an exchange.
 Bryndee and Sister Mumford!  Sister Mumford was Bryndee's MTC companion and they became instant friends!
Sister Mumford and Bryndee

We had a baptism this weekend! Victoria (9) and Preston Elvis (8, and owner of the coolest name in the whole world) had the opportunity to make sacred covenants! hoo-rah! :) Their family is active, but Victoria was afraid to be baptized, so they put it off for a year, and asked the missionaries to teach them. Brothers and sisters, I Love this family. Victoria reminds me so much of 9 year old me, and it was so fun to see her learn and feel the spirit. She looked super relieved when it was all over... I don’t think she likes being the center of attention so much. Luckily, it was a super smooth baptism (something that doesn’t happen often, so I hear...).

Saturday, we have another baptism (hitting our goal of 2 for the month! knock on wood.... :)) Joe is finally getting baptized! Now, if only we could find someone to baptize him that won’t drop a 200ish pound, 6 foot 8ish guy. I love tough things. :)

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what a leader is. I came out on my mission thinking that a leader is someone who knows more, or does more, or takes more initiative than those around them. In my head, a leader had to have a certain....something to qualify them as such, therefore blazing a trail by which others may follow them. The minute I was asked to be a sister trainer leader, or to train, that theory flew out the window. Most of the time, I have no. clue. What I'm doing. Now, I’m starting to realize a leader is someone who is less than those around them, and therefore humble enough to listen to the Lord’s way of doing things. There’s a man in the scriptures that I've been studying lately. His name is Gideon, and he is called to be a leader by the Lord, to save Israel from their oppressors. His response: “Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? Behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house." He feels totally unprepared. He is the last person a man would ever pick to be a leader.... and yet, this is the reason the Lord picks him. Because he is humble enough to rely on the Lord, and do it his way, even when the Lord’s way sounds kind of ridiculous. It’s my hope that I can be humble enough to let the Lord tell me how to lead the sisters in my stewardship to do some pretty amazing things.

Well, I hope y’all are having an awesome week, and sharing the gospel like crazy. I’ve found that a lot of people have this stigma about missionary work... we talk about it, and they squirm in their seats, thinking "oh, I can’t do that! I’m too ________. I’m not ________ enough. I don’t know anyone who wants to hear the gospel!" If that’s you, I invite you to repent. The Lord has said you can do it, and you have the gumption to tell him that he’s wrong?

Okay, climbing off my soapbox, and wishing y’all a blessed day :)

Sister Derrick

Monday, August 12, 2013

Unashamed and Happy :)

K, First off, returning and reporting from last week: the author of "Find Me" is Greg W Haws (Aug. 1973) go read it right now!
One of our new investigators is Dennis. Dennis is a 70 year old man who has had a hard life. He did 3 tours in Vietnam, has lost almost all of his family, and was paralyzed at the c3 vertebrae. His paralysis was a result of a neck surgery that was done in order to avoid a massive stroke, and the doctors said that he wouldn’t live. Not only did he live, but he is now fully able to walk. He is one of the most inspiring men I’ve ever met. When we first met him, he told us his story “not because I want any pity or adulation, but to prove that there is someone above doctors.” Dennis has been baptized into just about every single church you can imagine, but none of them ever stuck. We promised him that his baptism on the 31st of August will be the last baptism he ever has to do ;) He has more faith than anyone I’ve ever met! We taught him the word of wisdom on Saturday. We had just finished telling him what it was and were about to start into promised blessings, but before we could promise him anything, he told us “okay, this is going to be really hard for me… I’ve smoked since I was 15 years old. But I’m going to do it!” That’s just how Dennis is. We teach him, he takes the night to study it out, and then he pretty much commits himself. He’s awesome! I don’t know that there’s really such thing as a golden investigator, but if there were, he would be one.
This week was the Big Lift! I got to go up to Easley, SC to work with Sister Robinson. I love that girl! She’s hilarious! Right now, she and Sister Mumford are teaching a guy named Bo. He’s a 17 year old skater punk who “only believes in science” (insert Nacho Lebre voiceJ) we taught him about the nature of God and the Book of Mormon, and he skeptically agreed to read a chapter we assigned. Fast forward a couple days to our no more stranger’s fireside. (Did I explain NMS? It’s basically a missionary fireside, attended by investigators recent converts and returning members) Bo gets pulled aside into a 20 min interview with President Holm. Talk about Intense!!! Testimony of how awesome President Holm is- Bo walked into that interview not even believing in God, and walked out wanting to be baptized. Awesome experience.
Another cool fireside miracle: Joe is someone who has been investigating the church for YEARS. His wife is a returning member, so he knows a ton about the church, and has been working on reading the Book of Mormon. Sis. Belyea and I were trying to figure out how to help him to progress, and so we invited him to the fireside. He came, (although he was slightly confused by the lack of campfire) and he loved it! And He has finally decided to be baptized as well! He is so excited to be able to be sealed to his wife in a year J
Also- I somehow got roped into doing the musical number for the fireside. I don’t know why they keep asking me…. I’m not really very musical. Something President Holm says: “those who are comfortable doing uncomfortable things, have comfortable lives.” I figure Heavenly Father is just trying to help me to have a comfortable life, by making me uncomfortable every chance he gets J
A lesson in southern, given to us by Bryson:
Blessing you out- the southern equivalent of cussing someone out.
Mashing the button- turning on and off the light.
Turkey- a mildly irritating person (what he lovingly calls our district leader, elder KerrJ)
Cut the tv- turn off the television
Bryson finally got his quad in the mail this week, and is doing great!
A cool quote I found this week:
"I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The dye has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made; I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I'm finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tinted visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need pre-eminence, positions, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk with patience, am lifted up in prayer, and labor with power. My face is set, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided or delayed, will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table with the enemy, pander at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won't give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, and paid up for the cause of Christ. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me. When He returns for His own He will have no problem recognizing me, my banner is clear”. –Henry B Eyring
Y’all have a blessed week,
S. Derrick

Monday, August 5, 2013

Ether 12:6 Exemplified!

"And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."

Dear Family and Friends,

I’ve been sitting at this computer for 30 minutes or so, trying to figure out how to start this letter. This week has been a Godsend, and I’m trying to figure out how to do justice to it in a letter.

I talked about how hard last week was. We had no investigators, and we spent hour after hour after hour after day knocking door after apartment complex after neighborhood after door, seeing very little success. It was a hard week.... but one of the reasons it was so difficult was that I had been so very focused on numbers. I was so frustrated that we weren't hitting 20 lessons a week (our standard of excellence) and no matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to change that.

This week started with MLC. We organized what is called the "big lift". Basically, a big lift is when the AP's and the traveling sisters and the STL's and the ZL's all come together and form a team, and send every missionary in an entire zone on exchanges at the same time. Elder Cardon (one of the Assistants to the President, or AP's) made us planner covers with all of the goals for the big lift printed on them: "Invite all to come follow the Savior" "Leave everything on the field" "Demonstrate the perfect day" " Minister to missionaries" "Use your authority" " Put 400 on date" (we have a mission goal of 100 baptisms this month.... we need 400 on date to do it, statistically) "No regrets!" We talked a lot about three [groups of] people: The missionaries in my stewardship. The people we teach. The Savior. These 3 groups of people are all my brothers and sisters. They make up my family. When I think about it like that, it’s easy to be bold. It’s easy to invite people to baptism. It’s easy to love every person I meet.

So, I decided to start that day. Everyone I saw, I tried to invite (tried being the operative word. I’m not perfect yet..... but I'm working at it ;)) I got the info of our sweet waffle house waitress, I stopped a man who was obviously working and was obviously with another church, and I tried to remember that the person behind every door I knock is a precious soul, my brother or sister. They’re lost, and I have the map. My message is that important.

Then, at ZTM on Thursday, sister Belyea and I got to give a training on contacting (super inspired topic, that’s all we'd been doing for the past week or so ;)) We talked a lot about how the Savior invited everyone to come follow him, and if the Savior were right here right now, he would ask everyone he met to do the things they'd seen him do. Cool training to give. We also got to hear from our Zone Leaders, and they gave the most spiritual trainings I’ve ever heard. The spirit was tangible, it was so strong. (Have I told y’all how much I love our ZL's? Elder Cranford and Elder Tanner are the best zone leaders I’ve had. They truly love and serve the missionaries they have stewardship over. They're awesome!!! I’m so privileged to be able to work with them.)

Elder Cramford trained on charity and love. He read the definition of charity from the Bible dictionary: "the highest noblest strongest kind of love, not merely affection; the pure love of Christ. It’s never used to denote alms or deeds or benevolence, although it may be a prompting motive". He then read the story "Find Me" written by a missionary in the 70's. I’ll send the author of it next week, but sakes alive, that story is so powerful. It talks about 2 best friends in the premortal existence, one of whom was going to be born to an LDS family in Hooper, Utah, and the other who was going to be born into a family that'd never even heard of a temple. The last words of this friend, before he was born were FIND ME. Find me and teach me the Gospel. I know from the blessing I got when I was set apart, that there are people here in South Carolina that I knew well, and loved in the pre-mortal life, that told me the very same thing.... "Find me." I promised them that I would, and so here I am. Anyways, it was such a great training.

Elder Tanner gave a training on having spiritual power, and on forsaking the world. He had us close our eyes, while he read from the bible the account of Jesus Christ suffering... saying “Father if it be thy will, let this cup pass." Then, he gave it up. He gave up what he wanted for what his father needed him to do. Now, compared to that, what have I been asked to give up? Not much. Now, it may be hard, but it was harder for him. It may hurt, but it hurt him more. I can ask the Lord for a new heart... he gave me the one I have now; he can give me a new one. I can do what he asks me to do.

Her amazing Zone Leaders!  This was taken after they went to the Temple with President Holm.

Sister Belyea and Bryndee after Baptisms with President Holm.  WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE!

So, with all of this new fire and spirit for missionary work, Sister Belyea and I went to work with new energy. Aaannnnddd..... We put 4 solid people on date to be baptized. :) We finally have actual investigators to work with! :D

One of the people we're working with is BT. he's a cool black guy with a very simple testimony, and a deep desire to be baptized. We told him he had to go to church at least twice, before he could be baptized, and he was visibly upset. He has to work Sundays, but he's working on fixing his schedule and trading shifts so he can come and be baptized. Way cool!

Another one is Robert. We knocked into him, and when he agreed to talk with us we launched into the restoration, but were stopped by the spirit. . As we listened to him talk, Sis. Belyea and I were both impressed to share the plan of salvation. We totally switched gears, and he ended up loving it! Rob grew up in Maine where he is friends with a lot of shady characters and "judgmental Catholics" (his words, not mine... let it be known by the internet that I love Catholics just as much as any other person!) we were able to answer lots of his questions, and he really liked our views on the 3 degrees of glory.

Anyways, I’m running out of time to type, and I know my spelling stinks in this letter.... just ignore it :) I love you all, and I hope this letter makes some semblance of sense!

Y’all have a blessed week!

S. Derrick

Plan of Salvation cards she made...Cute huh!

A Great and Spacious Building!

You know you have been a missionary for a long time when you see the number 600 but your brain sees the name God.