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

taylor.dearden@myldsmail.net


Monday, September 29, 2014

Smoke?

Friends and Family.....


So this past week was really interesting....lots of strange things happened...so i'll tell ya'll a story from last week.

Last Tuesday, I had an appointment to go see Dexter, a member (Bro Harrison) (He reminds me of Obama, the way he looks and sounds) he went with us to go see Dexter....well we got there and Dexter wasn't home, and so I was like....crap...I had this member drive out here to meet this guy and now he isn't here. But the Lord had another idea. A family from across the street came outside and quickly invited us to come into their home to teach them. I don't know why they wanted us to teach them, they had never spoken with missionaries before, so I was like...Ok....we'll come teach you?

So we taught them, the Cullen family. We taught them the restoration and it was very powerful, they wanted to come to church and have a desire to be baptized. They have so much Potential. Broth Harrison said he would pick up Dikerous (the 32 year old son of the lady we were teaching) and bring him to church....

Well Dikerous came to church alright...shaking like a skeleton. Half way through sunday school he asked where the bathroom was....I was like oh no.....so I took him to the bathroom, I thought I would walk out for a few minutes to see what he would do if no one was there....and sure enough when we walked back in he was smoking in the church bathroom.....I flipped out and made him come out, put out his smokes, I took him outside the church and chewed his fanny off....I explained that the Lord was upset that he would smoke in his church (Dikerous knew better) and I told him that if he wanted to come back into the church he needed to take his drugs somehwere else, and he could come back in for priesthood hour if he showed me his pockets and that he had nothing in them....so he disposed of his drugs and he came back in....well I hurried and found the bishop and explained to him why the bathroom was stinking...so while I was talking to Dikerous he told the priesthood brethren the situation, and they quickly put together a lesson to teach during the priesthood hour about addictions.........

It was amazing, there were so many brethren that were sharing stories about how they overcame alcohol and drug addictions, and how there was hope, all the while Dikerous had no idea that they were really talking to him, but Dikerous was super receptive of the lesson, he wants to keep coming to church, he has a desire to be baptized, he has a very, very, very long road ahead of him. I told him he would need to make some HUGE adjustments in his life if he wanted to be baptized, but he claims he wants to make those changes. He understands it will take a while and won''t be easy. 

I was really frustrated at first that the lord would send someone with problems like this to me, but then I realized that Dikerous is the one who found us, he knows he's got issues, and he wants to change so much, he is reaching out of the pit of addiction wanting relief, Bro Harrison (the High-priest group leader) is going to help, we're getting him involved in addiction recovery programs and hopefully we can make something happen, of course the Lord is who will make the difference. 

Thankfully we have individuals in the ward who understand Dikerous situation, they don't judge him, they want to help, which is really good.
This should be an adventure, I'm excited to help Dikerous. 

Well there's my story for the week, and I think it Qualifies for a WTH moment: Headlines for Elder Dearden's weekly Newsletter: INVESTIGATOR SMOKES IN CHURCH BATHROOM....
Yep was interesting...
Hope ya'll have an interesting week like Elder Lumpkin and I did!!

Elder Dearden

Monday, September 22, 2014

New Adventure!

Friends and Family!

This past week has been an interesting adventure!

Elder Davis went home! I was super sad when he left, I love him so much, and he was such a great example to me! I feel honored though to have been trained by him!

My new companion is Elder Lumpkin, He is an amazing individual. He had cancer when he was 10 yrs old. The cancer left him with Scoliosis, a balance disorder, and other concerns. He is actually legally blind.

I was given driving privileges, now I drive a Ford Fusion, it's a nice car, and I like driving.

It has been a stressful week for me, I now am the senior companion and run the show here in Greenwood. I didn't realize how much Elder Davis actually did for me until now that he is gone! I will need your prayers, I want to keep up the work that Elder Davis and I did, I don't want to work to slow down, hopefully I can live up to the example Elder Davis set here.

Our investigators are doing pretty well, we didn't have much time this past week to visit with them because of the transfers and adjusting to our new companions. I will do better to update ya'll on them next week.

I have learned so much about the Lord's atonement, HE is so real, His atonement can help us overcome stress and anxiety! I have had a lot of that this past week, but the Savior's atonement has made it possible for me to overcome those negative energies!

I hope ya'll have a great week, hopefully I'll have time to write more next week. 

Elder Dearden


Monday, September 15, 2014

Three Months Already?

People who read this blog:

Today is the 15th- Those of you who know me well know that good things always happen on the 15th ;D

Life is great out here in Greenwood, I will definitely be staying in Greenwood another transfer. I will find out who my new companion is on Wednesday. I am excited to travel back to Columbia and be with all the other missionaries! 
I will really miss Elder Davis, it will be a strange adjustment to get a new companion, but I'm sure the Lord has something good in store. 

Last week was an adventure with our investigators! We taught so many powerful lessons, I'll go through our investigators. 

Marshall:
We met with him last week with one of the members from our ward, they hit it off so quick! They related to each other and made great friendships! I am so excited that they like each other so much! Bro Manley is the name of the Member who is doing an amazing job at fellow shipping! Marshall recognizes that Satan is going to try to do everything he can to stop him from being baptized, life is difficult right now for him, but I am excited to see how the Lord will raise him out of the darkness. He has such great faith already that the Lord will help him! I love Marshall, and I look forward to seeing him again this week!

Kathy:
She is doing as great as ever! We are taking her today to meet the member in our ward who runs that youth school, we will be having dinner with them, along with many other members in the ward. They are having like a farewell dinner for Elder Davis, so lots of members will be there, so because of that we decided we would invite Kathy, so we are super excited to see her connect with those people!

Myia and her Mother Barbra: 
They are doing super well! We taught them the plan of salvation and they loved it! Myia has expressed a desire to be baptized, we will be meeting with them later this week! I love them so much, they have such a sweet spirit about them! It is neat to see people come closer to Christ!

Dexter:
We met him a few weeks ago while he was drinking on his porch. We approached him and he immediately threw down his cigar and put away his drink, he was embarrassed and didn't want to talk to us while he was indulging in the drugs....So we taught him about repentance and set a time to back and teach him. We gave him the restoration pamphlet, and came back a week later. He had studied it like crazy! He claims to believe it all, and expressed more interest in what we had to share. So we gave him the Plan of Salvation pamphlet and came back the next day. Sure enough he studied it like crazy again and said he believed all of it! He has made a commitment to give up smoking, we told him it will be a slow process but that the lord will help him every step of the way! So many other things happened, but it would take to long to type it up, but I am so excited to see Dexter Progress! He has some really good questions, like, "Who Created God?".....I was nervous to answer at first, but I told him that one quote, "As man now is God once was, as God now is Man may become".....strangely he thought that made perfect sense (which is awfully unusual for people in the south to accept that kind of thinking). So anyways, he's a deep thinker and he's realizing that our message actually can answer all his 'deep' thoughts....

Other stuff happened that was super fun and I learned a lot! But I ain't got no time to talk about it!

WTH moment of the week:
I was on an exchange with Elder Barrow and we were biking back to the apartment when a big bearded old man on a bike stopped us....(He looked like Si from Duck Dynasty).....He then started yelling (in a cheerful way) about how he had been 'saved'.....He thanked us for our service and told us we were doing a great thing....but then.....he....welll.....at this point tons of cars had stopped and were watching us from the side of the road listening to this crazy old man yell about his 'bein saved' experience.....He then Fell on his knees and screamed at the stop of his lungs, taking the Lords name in vane (I think he thought he was praising God or something), it was just super awkward, from a distance it may have looked like we were casting devils out of him or something....but ya...we just hoped on our bikes and rode away, I think he was high or something, it definitely wasn't normal....I remember saying to Elder Barrow, "What the Hell just happened"...........Yep....Life is Good!

Have a great week Ya'll.......

Elder Dearden



My District here in Greenwood.

This is the Litchfield property we go to on p-day, where I saw those indian paintings, I'm going there again today!

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Lord keeps me busy!

Family & Friends-

I'll just update ya'll people on the people we've been teaching!

Marshall: 
He is this awesome guy we have been working with for about a month now, he has a great family! They are so kind to us! We watched the restoration video with them last week, and his kids seemed to really like it! Their mother has been reading the Book of Mormon with them, but she wanted a simpler one so that her kids could understand it, so I went to the ward house and sorta stole a Book of Mormon stories book....I Plan to replace it of course, but anything for an investigator :D. I am so exctied for this family! They want to come to church, and they have expressed a desire to be baptized! They text us a lot, so that's good, they seem to really like us, we just hope we can help them to like the people at church! 

Kathy:
Kathy is as awesome as ever! She has been studying a lot about the church and we have been doing some service around her home. We have connected her with a local member here who runs a youth correction school, because Kathy has a PhD in Psychology we thought they might want to meet, and Kathy has actually offered to volunteer at this members school, and if that works out, that will be perfect! She'll have a daily fellow shipper! So anyways, things are great with her. She has to go to North Carolina this week for a medical appointment, she has rods in her back, and she needs them checked on or something so we won't be able to see her this week. 

Myia: 
She is a sweet lady we met last week, we have been teaching her how to pray, we've kept it really simple, but she is doing really good, we are meeting with her again today!

Tim, Ed, and the others are still doing great! Just no major stories with them right now, but they are doing good! 

Last week we had a Zone Conference and that was really fun, I always love getting together with the other missionaries, reminds me that I'm not alone in this jungle of South Carolina!   It's weird to think I only have 1 more week with Elder Davis, he's going home after this transfer! I'm excited to find out who my new companion will be!?

Something kinda funny that people say here, they use triple plurals....they say for example, "Is that all ya'll-es bikes?" It's really funny, they also don't really use the word "does". You may ask them a question like, "Does it make sense to you that we need a modern prophet?" They will respond, "It DO"----they won't say "it does"....It Do. 

Anyways, hope all ya'll'es week has been good! I love it here! The Lord keeps me busy!

Have a blessed week! (they say that a lot too, or, 'praise God, have a blessed week') :D

Elder Dearden

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September Already?

People who read my letters:

I had a super awesome week! We have some awesome people we are working with still I'll update ya'll on them!


Kathy:

We were able to help Kathy connect with the Genealogy lady in our ward! They are going to be great friends! Kathy has been reading the Book of Mormon and reading about Joseph Smith. She is still extremely interested in our Faith. She took us out to Chinese Dinner last week and it was super fun, we taught her while eating good food :D

She Took us out again yesterday! It was even better! We ate at Outback and had some good steak! She shared with us a cool connection that she found, something about a 7 year cycle in Joseph Smith's life, and she saw that as a sign that he was a prophet, I was like, "Whatever floats your boat". But she seems to be really feeling the spirit as she learns more! She wears a Thunderbird Turquoise Necklace from the Navajo reservations every time she talks with us, she thinks it's cool that we have both been there, so she likes to wear the necklace when she's with us. It's really cool, it almost looks Egyptian, but i'll see if she'll let me take a picture!

Ed:

Ed says he'll finish the book of Mormon by next week, he basically reads all day, which is good. He's a very independent guy and wants to figure it out on his own, which is good, he'll feel the spirit and hopefully he'll understand what he needs to do. 

We met another guy his name is Tim:

Tim lives near us and we went to his home 2 weeks ago and shared with him the restoration pamphlet. He then took it to his pastor that Sunday and asked his pastor about it: You can already see where that went, the pastor basically told him a bunch of lies about us and hated on us. But Tim told us he felt the spirit compelled him to pray about us, so he prayed, and while he was praying a voice told him to read in Romans 12: Where it says we are all brothers in the Faith, and he felt like he would keep meeting with us. So we shared with him the Book of Mormon, at first he rejected it and said he refused to read anything outside the bible, but then I compared the way the scribes refused to give Christ a chance (and then eventually took it to the extreme and Murdered Christ and his Apostles), and I told him how the world sometimes refuses to give Joseph Smith a chance and they reject him (and it eventually went to far and they Killed Joseph), Much like the scribes said, "We have the Law of Moses, we need no more than that", today they say, "We have the bible, we need no more!" But in reality Christ didn't destroy the law, he fulfilled it, I told Tim that the Book of Mormon doesn't destroy or discredit the Bible, it rather Fulfills it, the same way that Christ fulfilled the Law of Moses, Tim got really emotional and he asked us to pray with his family, we stood in a circle and Tim prayed and thanked God that we brought the spirit into his home, in the prayer he told God that he would read the book of Mormon and asked that God will reveal if it is true or not. It was an amazing experience! I was even a little emotional. But I am so excited for Tim, I hope his family continues to learn more and that the spirit will continue to lead them to the truth, they would be an amazing LDS family! 

There are many others who are doing great to, but those are just the highlights! Dan is doing good, we're just having a hard time finding a time to meet.
 
I really wish I had time to talk about all the investigators we have! They are all amazing people! I've noticed a huge difference in the type of people we are working with now, at first we worked with lazy people, but the people we are working with now are very energetic and excited to learn, and they keep their commitments! 

GOD IS IN CHARGE! THE CHURCH IS TRUE! SATAN HATES ALL OF US! BUT OUR SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST LOVES ALL OF US! LIFE IS GOOD!

I love being on a mission! You can really see the Hand of the Lord!

Elder Dearden