Monday, October 28, 2013

What Would A Holy Woman Do?

Hello everyone! Hope y’all had a great week!
Sooooo……..Church yesterday. Oh. My. Heavens. It was really fun, but soooooo very exhausting. There is a good reason why church is 3 hours, and not 6.
We had a baptism this week! In the 2nd ward, they’ve been teaching a lady named Ashley, whose mother in law is in the 1st ward. So, we’d been getting updates on how it was going from the mother in law, and then when the areas merged, we got to teach and baptize her! It was way cool. We had her 7 year old daughter sing “I’m A Child of God” at the baptism, and oh my heavens, it was beautiful. She started out really quiet (She was kind of scared) but then when it got to the final chorus, she got this huge smile on her face and belted it out “lead me, guide me, walk beside me. Help me find the way. Teach me all that I must do, to live with Him someday!” The spirit in that room was so powerful, testifying that we really do have a Heavenly Father who loves us. There was not a dry eye in the room.

Ashley and all that were involved in her baptism.
Ashley and her family.
So, exchanges this week: Simpsonville!! I got to go on an exchange with S. Steimlie, and stay in my old apartment!!! It was way weird going back, but it was great to see S. Belyea again, and see how all my investigators down there are doing J Sister Steimlie is way cool, and I was happy to get to work with her. We met this really cool girl down there, who was really into YouTube. We told her who we were and she got really excited. “Oh! There’s these youtubers (apparently, youtuber is a real thing.) I’m obsessed with who are Mormons! They always seem so happy…. It’s cool. I want to be happy like that. I’m glad you came.” I kid you not. It was like something straight out of a conference talk! We were so excited! I love that the Lord really does prepare people to receive the missionaries, and to hear about the gospel. J
On Tuesday, we got the opportunity to go to a Sisters Conference. We talked a lot about being holy women of God. Sister Holm gave us a cool homework assignment. “"What would a holy woman do?"

In thinking about how to learn about holiness, I'm wondering if for these days leading up to our Sisters Conference. Would you be willing to, just once each day, purposely choose one of your daily activities and try to “be holy” while doing it, or do it as a holy woman would do it. For example, how would a holy woman start her day? What would be on her “to do” list? How would a holy woman approach a difficult assignment or a new overwhelming project? How would she read to a child, or exercise? How would she talk with a friend, or shop, or play, or pray, or do laundry?

How would a holy woman handle a conflict or avoid a conflict? What would she read, or say, or listen to, or watch, or wear? What would she do in really difficult situations? If someone said something to her that was confusing, or hurtful, or demoralizing, how would a holy woman respond? What would she do? If she were betrayed, or misunderstood, or falsely accused, what would a holy woman do?
How would a holy woman respond to her own success or failure? How would she respond to the successes and failures of others? How would a holy woman use her time and energy and money? How would she prepare to partake of the sacrament each Sunday?”
As we got to do this, I learned a ton about meekness. A few days after receiving that assignment, there was an Elder that very harshly corrected something that he felt I should be doing better. I was pretty irritated at him, because I felt like I had just been thrown into a difficult assignment, and was still trying to figure it out. As I sat down and fumed, a scripture came to my mind “my [daughter], Despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him. For whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth.” I thought, how would a holy woman react? I calmed down a bit, and let the spirit teach me. I know that the Lord (and maybe even this Elder) chastens me, because he knows it will help me grow, and become more than I currently am. It’s uncomfortable, but effective.
I hope that this week is a great one, and the Lord teaches you lots and lots!
Y’all have a blessed week,
Sister Derrick
Elder Hansen, Elder Braxton Montgomery, Bryndee, and Sister Stout.
Braxton is from Bryndee's home town.   Ron is his Stake President, he was on Porter's tennis team, and his sister is one of Torie's best friends. To say Bryndee was a little excited to see someone from home is an understatement!

Apparently there is no cursing in South Carolina.  If that's the case I'm ready to move there NOW!!!

Bryndee and Sister McNeece with some YUMMY Ice Cream.
Looks like things haven't changed.  Once her nose is a book a bomb could explode and she wouldn't even realize it.
Bryndee and her best tracting face!

The 3 Nephites!  Their costumes for the ward Trunk or Treat party. 
Bryndee:  Sister Nephi
Sister McNeece:  Sister of Jared
Sister Stout:  Sister Abinadi

Monday, October 21, 2013

Surprises and Regrets

So. Surprise! I now have a third companion! Say hello to Sister Stout! :)
This week has been......... crazy. I can’t even think of another word for it. Crazy.
On Tuesday we get a call from President at around 5:30, asking S. McNeece and I if we were going to transfer meeting. We were super confused, and told him we weren’t planning on it, but we would if he needed us to? He seemed a bit perplexed, and told us he’d call us back in a few hours or so.
I was positive I was being transferred or something, so we spent the next couple hours or so, waaay stressed out. At around 8:00 at night, He calls us back and says he had been praying about it a lot, and he had decided that he wasn’t going to give S. Stout a new companion. (S. Mchaylee got transferred to West Columbia…) Instead, He was going to put us in a 3-pack, and that we needed to go pick her up from transfer meeting tomorrow. We are now covering the area of 2 companionships, which means that we cover two wards. (This makes church attendance really interestingJ… I wonder if this is what my dad feels like.) Also, because of the dual-ward coverage, we are members of TWO zones, we have TWO district leaders, and we report TWO separate sets of key indicators. Crazy. Exhausting. Terrifying. And completely wonderful J
Cool thing though… the Lord really truly qualifies us when he asks us to do tough things. For some reason, the three of us have really great unity in our teaching… something S. McNeece and I have been struggling with all transfer (you know me…. I just dominate in lessons ;)) We all enjoy each other, and laugh, and just have great fun J This is going to be a phenomenal transfer, I think J
So, I hope y’all enjoyed stake conference! Ours was perfect. It really made me want to be a better missionary, with all the talk of missionary work. It also reminded me of how much I’ve changed since I left home. I was reminded of a guy that I talked to a little bit in high school. If you knew me at all in high school, I was a pretty withdrawn sort of kid. Unless I was very comfortable around you, I didn’t say much. I kick myself because there was so many people that God put in my path that I could have shared the gospel with… If I wasn’t so fearful, I could have lifted those around me. Anyways, so this guy was the big brother of one of the girls I was best friends with in middle school, but I didn’t know him too terribly well. One day, he randomly started chatting with me on Facebook, and asked me what I had been up to that weekend. I had been to a youth conference. He started asking me questions about it. I froze up. I had no idea what to say. In my head, sharing my beliefs was something that was awkward, and I really didn’t know him very well, and….. My head filled up with excuses. I quickly excused myself, and signed off. To this day, I can’t remember what made me so afraid. I think about this guy often, and I think I regret that moment more than almost anything else I’ve ever done. So, to the people that read this blog…. Be braver than I was. The Lord will put people in your path… please love them enough to share yourself with them. President Duquette, the stake president of the Greenville East Stake, told us yesterday “I know that Jesus is the Christ. I could sit down right now and have shared with you the most important part of my soul.” Please. Be your brother’s keeper. Share yourself, your beliefs, your love with them….
Anyways. I hope your week is wonderful, and you’re sharing the gospel like crazy J
Y’all have a blessed week!
S. Derrick

Monday, October 14, 2013

Smile :-)

I got a new journal this week, and I've been writing in it like crazy, so I actually remember most of what happened this week! Now, I just need to decide what to write about. If only there weren't time limits.....

This week, we've been working with quite a few less actives. Down in woodruff (the middle of our area) there are quite a few members who went to the Laurens branch before it merged with Simpsonville. They have testimonies, but they feel like Spartanburg is a little too far to go for church... We got the opportunity to bear testimony to them and I got to share my favorite scripture with them....3 Nephi 17:19-22. This scripture takes place right as Jesus Christ is in the middle of his visit with the Nephites. He has just taught them how to pray, and they are all around him, on their knees, talking with their Father in Heaven. The verses read “And it came to pass that Jesus spake unto them, and bade them arise. And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full. And when he had said these words, he wept, and the multitude bare record of it and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them. And when he had done this he wept again;” I love this depiction of the savior, because if you think about it, Jesus Christ has just come from Jerusalem, where the people had very little interest in what he had to teach, or in becoming more like him. In fact, they brutally killed him. There’s a very famous scripture in Ether that talks about how after the trial of your faith comes the miracles. After what must have been a huge trial of Christ’s faith, He got to come here, to America. Here, he had been prophesied of for centuries, and he was received by a people ready to hear what he had to say. This is the second time (that I’ve been able to find, at least) that Jesus Christ cries. The tears he sheds are tears of joy, as he blesses this faithful group of people. He tells them “blessed are ye, because of your faith…. And now behold, my joy is full.” I want more than anything for Jesus Christ to be able to say that about me. As I shared this with one particular sister, she got really quiet. I don’t think she was super comfortable with the reminder of what the spirit felt like, and its absence in her life. As S. McNeece said the closing prayer, her eyes filled with tears. It was a super powerful lesson, and one I hope sticks with her.

Transfers are this week. On Transfer-calls Saturday, we got a text from president Holm “Sisters, please call concerning transfers when you get a moment. President Holm.”

My stomach dropped.

We called, and I was positive I was going to get transferred, but what came next was a happy surprise… “Sister, I feel Inspired to call you as Sister Training Leaders…: Oh! J I’m pretty excited… this should be a good transfer J

We also started teaching a guy named Scott this week. We found Scott because he’s the twin brother of a Less- Active member we’ve been working with (it’s horrible…. I mix them up all the time, because they’re Identical!!!) He is pretty darn excited to be baptized. We taught him about the restoration on Wednesday.

Us- “Scott, what did Joseph Smith do to find out what church was right?”

Scott- “he asked God?”

Us- “Right! And what did God tell him?”

Scott- “The latter-day saints?”

Erm…. Well, Kinda? J

So, scary part of the week- on Thursday night, I got a call from S. Mchayley (one of the sisters I live with) saying they were going to be home late, because S. Stout, her companion, was in the hospital. I guess she and S. Warden were on an exchange, and they were knocking doors, and S. Stout randomly passed out! She ended up with a concussion, and was experiencing some scary memory loss. The poor dear. We ended up splitting our two areas between S. Mchayley, S. McNeece, and I. luckily, S. Stout is much better.

We got to go to the Temple on Thursday!! It was completely wonderful. Because of the sacred nature of the ordinances preformed there, I won’t say much about it, other than it was so good to make promises with God, and feel the peace that resides in his holy house.

Bryndee's district outside the South Carolian Temple.

Sister Graves was kind enough to take them to the Temple.

Bryndee and her companion, Sister McNeece, cute girls! 

On that note, I end my letter. I hope y’all are sharing the gospel like crazy.

Y’all have a blessed week!!! :D

S. Derrick

The socks that S. Mchayley's mom sent us :)  There are 2 companionships living in their apt.

The ugly grandma print blanket she bought...she was cold...if only she could have waited a week I have a really nice blanket free from ugly grandma print going to her. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Week of Many Meetings, Among Other Things!

So, apparently in other states, they have this cool thing called “fall”…. Let me explain it for the other Arizonians out there. It gets kind of coldish outside, and all the trees start changing funky colors, and it’s absolutely BEAUTIFULL!!!! Who knew weather like this existed!
It’s been a super full week, jam-packed with police run-ins, crying investigators, awesome meetings, and Prophets of God.
We kicked off the week with LTM (Leadership Training Meeting) where we got to spend 2 days in Irmo learning how to be better missionaries. I got to see a lot of people from my old zone (I miss Greenville!!!) and hang out with President and Sister Holm at the mission home. What really stuck with me from that meeting was about adversity. President quoted Neil A Maxwell and said “How can you and I really expect to glide naively through life, as if to say, “Lord, give me experience, but not grief, not sorrow, not pain, not opposition, not betrayal, and certainly not to be forsaken. Keep from me, Lord, all those experiences which made Thee what Thou art! Then let me come and dwell with Thee and fully share Thy joy!” We cannot expect to live life both faith-filled and stress free. It just doesn’t work.
A morning walk in Irmo, SC
Sister McNeece and Bryndee with "some dam" behind them.  She isn't too good with details.  But I guess I can't complain it's a picture and she is in it!  :)
So, on Friday (Sister Belyea’s birthday! Happy birthday Sister Belyea!!!) we met this girl named Whitley, who was on her way to some “endevilment” but stayed to talk to us. She was so impressed that we’d be out in the ghetto, in the dark (don’t worry, we were safe!) talking with people. “Y’all should carry a gun! You could just write Jesus on it!” J She commented on how happy we were, and how it just made her happy! We’re pretty excited to go back and teach her this week.
We also met a lady named Ethel (reminds me of my momJ) she had just recently lost her husband, and just wanted someone to talk to her to ease the loneliness. We were able to testify of the plan of salvation and assure her that she’d see her husband again. She told us that she’d answered the door with a splitting migraine, ready to send us on our way… but once she got talking with us, her headache disappeared. Way cool J
General Conference. I LOVE GENERAL CONFRENCE!!!! This conference was really good, but not in the way I expected. I didn’t get a whole ton from the talks themselves (yet. I’m re-reading them this week.) But I got a lot of things to study and work on from the spirit. My favorite talk was definitely Richard G Scott. He took one of my favorite stories, and told it from a perspective I’d never thought about. Here is a link to the talk she is refering to. 
Sorry this is a kind of short letter, but life is good, God is great, and I love being a missionary!
Y’all have a blessed week!
S. Derrick
This is Bryndee’s Mom here I asked her about the “Police Run-ins” because I was a little curious and she failed to explain herself and this was her reply …”oh, we freaked someone out.... they called the police.... it happens a lot :)”  So I’m guessing no big deal.

Sister Derrick and Sister McNeece's goal chart.

Fun Girls!

Washing the car...always a fun activity!
Cute Sister McNeece!