Elder Taylor Dearden
South Carolina Columbia Mission
110 Oak Park Drive, Suite B
Irmo, SC 29063


Monday, June 30, 2014

Family and Friends,
Holy cow, it feels so good to finally be here in South Carolina. I love it here, but wow it is humid, but I don't mind it, I actually like the way it feels here, it feels just like it did in Mexico. Everywhere you go there are huge trees and its super think with forest and greenery everywhere!

I had a great time flying out on the plane, I love traveling, being in the Georgia airport was fun, as it reminded me of the Adventure Dad and I went on last summer.
President Holm was amazing, I spent some good time with him the first 2 days, he is no longer our mission president now though, President Turner is in Charge now. I'll be meeting president Turner on Thursday. I'm so excited to meet him, there is a neat power around mission presidents.

On tuesday all the trainers came to meet us, none of us knew which trainer we'd get, but we went on splits with a few of them, Crazy coincidence:
I was assigned to go on splits with Elder Cook, who is Actually Grandpa Glenn's Brother's Grandson, so basically we both have the same Great-Grandma: Grandma Dobbs. So that was cool to get to know each other and to enjoy each other's company. I failed to get a picture of us, but he has one on his camera, so hopefully he'll send it to me and I can forward you that picture. But he is my height, I think my shortness may come from the Shaw line, so I think I made a connection there haha. It was so cool though to see God's hand in our life when we realized that we are second cousins. 

However, I wasn't assigned to be his Trainee, my new companion is Elder Davis, he is my trainer, we get along great and I'm excited to learn from him and progress. I'll attach a picture of us. He's also short, so that way I don't look like a tiny person knocking on doors, having someone the same height helps me look normal height haha. BTW: President Holm during our Transfer meeting (There were 150 or so missionaries there) He had me go up on the stand and stand next to him, and he said this, "I really like Elder Dearden, you know why? Because he makes me feel tall!!" Yes, President Holm is taller than me!....
It's good to be out of the MTC, I like being in the real world now.

My new area is Greenwood, it's in the Greenville zone. It's about the same size as Layton, but it does have some rough ghetto places. They have walmart, so that's good! I've already had at least 50 doors slammed in my face, it really makes me angry, because they don't know what they just slammed the door on, I know it makes our Savior sad when people do that. 90% of the people we talk to are Baptist. EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE believes in Jesus Christ here, and they love to talk about him, so it makes religion an easy subject to bring up.

The area we're in is Brand new, they created this area and sent me and my companion here to start it up, he has never been in the area so this is new for both of us. The ward is super small, only about 70 active members, probably only 8 active families to work with. So most of our efforts won't involve members, mostly because there isn't much of them, they should probably be a branch, not a ward, but they do have 300 inactive members! So we'll have to focus on reactivation here.
We met a guy named Albert Smith on the street, he'd never heard of our church, but he had seen General Conference before, which was funny because he said he liked it, but he didn't know where it came from. We taught him about the restoration and he got super excited, so we're going to meet with him again this week. He did however suggest that Joseph's experience in the Sacred Grove with God the Father and Jesus Christ was an Alien encounter...I think he was trying to be funny, but it was interesting haha. 
We met other interesting people, but I don't have time to write about them. :D

MOMs Questions:

What is the place like that you live in?
-It's super green, lots of homes that look like we're in Henefer, just add jungle to henefer, that's what it looks like.

Are you eating good food?
-starting out no, but now that I'm going shopping today, i'm going to buy some good food.

Where do you do your laundry?
-Our apartment is super nice we have washer and drier.

How are you allergies?
- NO allergies here! The humidity get's rid of them! It's great!

Are you sleeping?
Yes, I sleep perfectly, the beds here are great, no snoring hippos.

Are you driving to riding your bike?
WE have a car!! WE have a HUGE area, so we drive everywhere, but we use our bikes sometimes, the bike you guys bought me is super nice! I love it!

Can you drink Dr. Pepper?
YES! they say, just be wise in what you eat and drink, don't overdo anything! So yes! I love it, they have a gas station here that does 25 cent refils if you have their mug! so i'm going to get me one!

 These are the two missionaries that we share the appartment with, Elder Barrows, and Elder Aldous, Aldous was in the MTC with me, he's also being trained.

My companion, Elder Davis

Tell G-ma Dixie that there are two McDonalds and a Subway close by.  ha ha 

It's been great to read your letters you've all sent, getting mail and emails is the best!

I'll write back next week! I have p-days on monday!
Elder Dearden

Elder Cook and Elder Dearden (2nd Cousins) 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Family Friends, other People...

I love my district to death here, they are amazing! We all are extremely different but we've all bonded with each other so much! We fart, burp, and relax around each other so it's not uptight.

I got to hear Elder Ballard Speak on Tuesday! I loved it so much! He gave us some kind instruction and told us to focus to the doctrine of Christ. It was great to feel the Spirit swell within me and to know that he was Called of God. He said this, "Elders and Sisters, I want you to know that you must always keep your eyes on us, we will NEVER lead you astray, we cannot, and will not". He prophesied that the Church is going to be blasted by the media in a negative way more than it ever has before. He told us that as missionaries we will be confronted about what the media says, but he told us to tell them that we don't care, and that we care about the Doctrine of Christ, and that we sustain our Leaders. 
It was amazing to hear that, he spoke to us on such simple grounds and was not complicated to understand.

On Sunday I watched a recoding of Elder Bednar talk about the Character Of Christ, it was the most amazing talk I've ever heard, nothing compared to it. Elder Bednar referenced the stones that the Brother of Jared had the Lord touch, he said some things about what stones symbolize, it was super, super interesting, it actually changed a lot about the way I think and view this life.

Idk if you can find it online or not, but I just plead and ask that all of you watch it, it is amazing, and it can change your life. Just search "Elder Bednar, Character of Christ, MTC devotional" It's about an hour long, and it's fairly new.
I am so stinkin excited to fly to south carolina on monday! It is going to be great!

The nice man taking this picture was older and couldn't center the camera to get the entire district.

To Answer Mom's Questions:

-Have you seen your new mission President?
Not yet, he comes into the MTC tomorrow, i'll probably see him on sunday.

-Are you hearing ok?
I hear fine, it is well.

Are you sleeping ok?
No, my Companion snores like a Hippo giving birth, I kick him at night because he's above me on the bunk, and that turns his snoring off (most of the time), NO one can sleep in my room because of the terrifying noise he makes, but I got some ear plugs and they kinda work, but he still wakes me up, and that says alot because I can't hear anyways, he just snores so loud! But the Promise in D and C that my body will be refreshed if I serve the Lord is absolutely true, because I don't feel tired during the day.

Are you talking in your sleep?
I don't get to talk in my sleep because I don't sleep ;)

Did you hear Elder Ballard speak, or just see him?
Yes I got to see him, was amazing to see him, the spirit and respect in the room was powerful.

Are you shaving everyday?
Yes, my face hair is going to fast, I have to shave morning and night.

I've had so many spiritual experiences here at the MTC, its hard to explain how much the Lord has blessed me and has taught me. I'm actually really shocked how much i've learned about the basics of the Gospel that I didn't understand before.
I will call home at 5:45 am in the morning on monday, so if you want to talk to me, be ready. I'll call your Cell mom. ILL BE IN SOUTH CAROLINA ON MONDAY! AHHAHAHA! CAN'T WAIT!
I miss my brothers so much, and I hope they know that the only reason I'm out here is because I love Jesus Christ and I know that this is where he wants me to be!
I miss my parents so much too, its weird not having them to talk to for advice and to just express myself.
My district leader is awesome, he's not a controlling person, he just loves us and makes sure that we have fun.
I appreciated all the letters I got last week! It is awesome to get letters, so send more :D
And thanks so much for the Packages! They were awesome, my companions loved the Caramels(Mom), the Buttons(mom), and the Almond Joys(G-ma Dixie).
WTH moment of the week: When my companion snores, the only way I can get him to stop is if I lay on my back on the bed, lift my feet up and kick the bunk above me, that makes him bounce and he'll stop snoring for like 10 min, but then it starts again, he's asleep during all this BTW, haha. so I spend my nights kicking the bunk above me trying to get Elder Pearson to stop testifying like a dying Hippo.

I'll send a different email with pictures from last week.
I love all of you! I look forward to your letters and you emails! The Lord is Real! Even in this world where logic will try to say that God doesn't exist, He does, you just have to know where to find Him!


Friday, June 13, 2014

Family and Friends

Arriving at the MTC was like Getting out of a Hot Tub and Jumping into an ice cold pool, it was such a shocker! The best way I can describe it is like we're in a prison with the Lord. We're so restricted here and we don't have much freedom, we have a set schedule and we have not choice but to follow it. 
I'm enjoying all that im learning, I love my companion, Elder Pearson, we get along great. He's from Ogden, and he knows about the glyphs and stuff that are there, so we started off on a good conversation. He also hates sea food, and we both like to eat the same stuff so far.

While I was running on the track in the gym the other day I was talking to the Lord in my head, I told him that I thought it was strange how the MTC is like a prison, I was questioning whether or not He was really in charge of the MTC, because of how strange it is here. But I received a strong answer in my head that made lots of sense. I was told that it is better to be in a Prison with the Lord, rather than a palace without him.

I don't mean that physically this place is a prison, the food is great and our living quarters are actually real nice, we got the newer stuff :D. But we are herded around like cows to the slaughter house lol, so that's how I feel like im in a prison. 

Being in such a restrictive place has caused me to really get close to Jesus Christ, without him I don't think that I would be able to stand the spirit and pressure that is here. I'm understanding all the doctrine and fundamentals and strategies that are being taught, a lot of the stuff im learning is actually really cool.

We are always either in a class, a fireside, a workshop, or exercising, or sleeping. I don't have time to Drink my Dr. Pepper, not that I can't have it here, just that I can't find time to drink it! 

I sent some pictures of my Companion Elder Pearson, and my district. In my district there is Me, Elder Pearson, Elder Aldous, Elder Peterson, Elder Jeffs, Elder Robberts, Elder Daynes, and Elder Freestone who arrived today (I don't have a picture of Freestone, because he's new today).
We all get a long perfect, there aren't any Molly Mormons and we all have become great friends already! 

My teachers are great, my favorite is Brother Winters, he's very nice and understands what we deal with here at the MTC, the other guy, Elder Turner (he's not related at all to the new mission prez), anyways he's a little rude...but oh well, he can have his reward in the next life! He's on a  newly wedded marriage high right now and thinks he's arrived :D haha. 

I really miss my family right now, but that's normal, I don't get emotional about it, but I don't go through the day without thinking about what I could be doing rather than this, but thankfully the spirit kicks in and keeps me focused. 

The food here is great! I've never really liked chocolate milk, but dang, here at the MTC its amazing! 

The First Counselor in the Branch presidency here is friends with Marlin Dearden, the guy in Guatemala! The same people that Scott and Kim met recently! It's a small world!!

I still have my rocks, they still work, I just don't tell anyone that I have them...

That's awesome that Ian has his call to Arizona! (I assume English?) Now the Lord will command him to wear pants! July 23rd! That will come so fast! I'm so excited for him, I know he will be a great missionary!

I can't wait to fly to the South! The more I think about it the more I want to get on the Plane and just go!
I leave June 23rd, my flight departs about 7:30. I'll be leaving the MTC at like 3 am, so i'll call home at like 5:30 am, or 6. I bought a phone card here at the MTC so no need to send me one. 

WTH moment of the week: I am so busy that I have no time at all to drink my DP!!! I'll have to give it away or something, but hopefully I can find time to drink it!!! 

i'll attach the pictures in a separate email!

Anyways, I've got stuff to do, so i'll write back next week! On Friday!

From: Taylor Dearden <taylor.dearden@myldsmail.net>
Subject: week 1 pictures
Date: June 13, 2014 at 4:26:28 PM MDT
To: staciedearden@gmail.com

The first picture is a Legit Photo Bomb by Elder Aldous....wasn't pre-planed haha

The second picture is an awkward picture of me and my companion...I didn't smile...Idk what happened there\. I'll try to get a better picture next week.

The last picture is of the rest of my district, excluding Elder Freestone.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Loading Up

Taylor's Cousin Brady sent him this message from Afghanistan...Taylor thought it was so cool!  He received it during our drive to Provo.   Something I think every missionary should read!

Dear Taylor, Good evening from the Stan. I hope this meesage finds that you are doing excellent. First off, a true congratulations to you for graduating from HS. That is a big deal and I am very happy for you. I am also very happy for you that you are heading out on your mission. What a phenomenal opportunity. I know you have heard this before, but I often wish I was back on 'the mission.' Why? Because I grew closer to God than I ever had before and I truly realized who I was at the very core - a priesthood holder of the living God. I want you to be very happy when you come home from your mission and I just want to share a few words to you to help you have that happinnes when you come home. First, work very hard and then work some more and you will see amazing things happen. The law of the harvest is very true on the mission. Second, love you companions. You will have ones that are great and ones that are challenging, just remember God puts you in paths to help others and most everything in relationships is solved by exhibiting love to others. Third, always trust in God and do what he would have you do. No matter how hard it gets, no matter what crazy situations you find yourself in, no matter what works out and what doesn't, remember the living God knows and loves you and that like Job (Job 23:10), everything will work out. The world needs good men, Taylor, thanks for being one of them. Have an amazing time. Your friend and brother in the Gospel, Brady

Pics at Provo Temple Grounds

My phone reminding us we had 10 minutes left!

Saying Goodbye.... in 20 seconds

Nic sent me (Stacie) this message from Taylor's phone, sweet.

June 10, 2014

Taylor was set apart as a full time missionary by his dad (nice perk with his calling) on June 10, 2014

Grandpa Glenn and Grandma Dixie

Grandma Dearden

Taylor's Friends, Courtney, Brooke, and Ian
Farewell Dinner/Party