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


Monday, July 27, 2015

This is a Great Day!

Hey people!

This past week was great! As usual....

We had 4 more baptisms at Fort Jackson! It was great! 

This is a picture from last weeks Baptisms

Elder Mcarthur
This week at Fort Jackson Elder Mcarthur, our area seventy came for a surprise visit. He seemed to really enjoy his visit. He was really excited and impressed with the the baptisms. He came outside with us and actually was a witness for all 4 baptisms. It was just an awesome sight, a Seventy, 8 missionaries, 4 senior missionaries, and about 20 soldiers standing outside by the portable baptismal font to watch the baptisms and confirmations, the spirit was strong and I heard Elder Mcarthur say behind me, " this is a great day".
I agree with him! Yesterday was a great day!

Our area in Irmo, the Dutch fork Ward is doing great. We have a new plan for member referrals and the Ward council and the bishop so far are standing with us in our plan.
We have one referral from a member that we will be teaching this Thursday, we are excited for that.

So I met an awesome person last week! Mr. Clapp, to summarize, he is fascinated with the Native American migrations and has an interesting collection of stuff. He actually gave me some arrowheads last week, and we plan to get back together again soon. He has had lots of Mormon friends and is interested in our faith. We have made plans that when the weather cools down In the fall we will go the the lake Murray shore and do some arrowhead hunting, he says there are lots by the lake. So that will be a fun future play! 

This week should be awesome!

Love y'all! 

Elder Dearden

Monday, July 20, 2015

Fort Jackson

Hello people!

This is a picture of the soldiers who were baptized last week, Pvt
Blanco is on the left, Pvt Doone on the right. The middle guy is a
soldier who was baptized the week prior and had the privilege of
baptizing Doone and Blanco.

I don't get to take pictures of the baptisms, I'll explain why latter
on, but Elder Nolan, a senior missionary takes the pics for us and
then gives us a hard copy the next week, so my photos of the baptisms
will be delayed a week. Having said that, I'll talk about the 2
baptisms we had yesterday on next weeks letter.

The way Ft Jackson works is that we get to go teach on base on
Sunday's. There is a chapel building used by multiple denominations
and we get the morning hours, so from 8 to noon we are on base for the
Ft Jackson Branch sacrament meeting, we get there an hour early and
talk to the soldiers in the chapel that come early, surprisingly about
50-65%  of those in attendance are non members who just wanted to take
a break and visit a church, or they are battle buddies of members who
wanted to go to church but as a rule they must always have someone
with them, kinda like our missionary rules. ( FYI background, these
soldiers are in a 12 week basic training program) But anyways we just
start talking to them and most of the time they are willing to be
taught, so we teach them abbreviated restoration lessons and commit
them to keep coming to church and to be baptized 2 weeks later. It is
amazing how well the soldiers keep their commitments, over the coming
week they actually do read the Book of Mormon and pray and almost
always come back with a witness from the Holy Ghost.

Rather than Sunday school they just have hours for the missionaries to
teach, because we are limited on # of missionaries we teach alone
without our companion. There are 2 sets of Elders (the APs and Us .)
and 2 sets of sisters. Each missionary usually teaches about 3 lessons
each Sunday.

Immediately after sacrament meeting we have a baptism service for
those who are being baptized. Sometimes we get to witness them, but we
are usually caught up busy with other teaching appointments, in order
to maintain effectiveness and productivity we only get to teach a
soldier 1 lesson and then we pass them off to another missionary to do
another lesson. So we don't get to know them on a super personal
basis. But it also guarantees that when someone is baptized, all the
missionaries had a part played in their conversion. But that's why I
don't get to take pics of the baptisms because I'm usually busy
interviewing someone for baptism ( like yesterday) or I'm teaching
someone new. We pick up like 7 new investigators each week and about
half of them stick.

We have a goal to baptize 4 per week, right now we average 2 a week.
What is amazing is that the retention rate of Ft Jackson is higher
than the world convert retention rate. So we are assured that the work
we do is effective. More than half of the converts remain active after
basic training.

Anyways, last week I went on an exchange with Elder Briggs, the ZL for
west Columbia. It was really fun and we got along great.

Ben Stocker was Baptized yesterday too! He is the young man I taught
for 6 months in Summerville! I'm sure Elder Parker had a great day
seeing Ben Baptized! Some members from Summerville are going to send
me pics from that special day. I'll post them next week.

I don't have much else to say other than, LIFE IS GOOD!

I hope life goes great for y'all this week!


Monday, July 13, 2015

Fort Jackson and Dutch Fork

Well to start off I just want to say that leaving Summerville was so
hard! I love that place and I want to go back so much! I have some
amazing friends in Summerville and it is going to be difficult to not
see them for a while! I've never really felt homesick on my mission,
but I am homesick for my previous area!

I'll send some pics of the rest of the people I took pictures with
before I left.

Sister Procopio, Elder Lumpkins mom

Summerville Missionaries

Last Picture with Ed and Bobbi

Jeffs Family


Apollo and Stacey

But last p day Elder Parker and I went to Fort Sumpter and had a
fantastic time! I have pictures of that too.
I'm really going to miss my Summerville missionaries! They were so
much fun to around! But time moves forward.

We got permission to ride on this ferry to get to Fort Sumpter, this
is us inside the boat.

Fort Sumpter

The Ferry we took to Fort Sumpter

So....I was transferred to west Columbia. The Ward is called Dutch Fork.
My companion is Elder Scarff, he is from Alberta Canada. I'm way
excited to get to know him and to work with him.

It's really funny, I still get to drive a car! I'm so spoiled. We have
this dodge van we get to dive, I Really like it. We also get the
fanciest apartment in the whole mission. It has new everything and
fancy crown molding everywhere. The bathroom is huge too. I felt
even more spoiled when I saw the apartment. The place is a gated
community and we have a fancy pass card that lets us in.

Elder Scarff and our van
 So....even more great stuff....

I get to be the office monkey, we move mail around and do some other
stuff for them when they need it. I actually just live a mile from the
mission office. I'm really excited about that. That's why we get the
van, so we can transport stuff.

The greatest of all is that I also get to serve on Fort Jackson, I
basically have two areas! (Dutch Fork and Ft Jackson) I couldn't ask
for a greater blessing, we get to go on base to teach soldiers who are
going through basic training. There are a lot of members who are there
and they bring their buddies to church and then we teach them. We get
to go to their sacrament meeting, which is really cool to have
soldiers pass the sacrament to us in their uniform. We baptize every
week there. Yesterday we baptized two soldiers, Pvt Doone and Pvt
Blanco were baptized yesterday. We have 9 people on date to be
baptized next week, I'm super excited. We work Fort Jackson with the
assistants to the president, which is so cool, I really enjoy being
able to spend lots of time win the assistants. I will have pics from
those baptisms next week.

So, guess what else?! There is a senior couple that serves in my
ward, Elder and Sister Mecham, and yes we are related! We discovered
that Elder Mecham and myself share Lewis Mecham as our common
ancestor. Lewis is my great- great- great- grandfather. Lewis is Elder
Mechams great grandfather. I'll send pics of the pedigree. It was a
great comfort to find a relative here to know I'm in the right place!
I'll get a pic with Elder Mecham next week for y'all.

Lewis Mecham

Alright, well, this week was busy and I'm excited for this new
adventure! I'll try to keep myself from thinking of Summerville,
because I have lots of emotion attached there! But I know the Lord
wants me in Ft Jackson and in Dutch Fork!

Love y'all!!!

Elder Dearden

Monday, July 6, 2015

Leaving Summerville :(

Hey Family and Friends

I have limited time today, I found out I am being Transferred away from Summerville and asked to be a District Leader somewhere else. I won't know where until I get to Columbia on Wednesday.

I took tons of pics. I'll hurry and attach them and try to quickly explain who all the people are. But I wish I had time to express the emotion I have had the past 3 days. So many amazing things have happened. Here are some pics.....

This is the Most amazing bishop ever, Bishop Justin Robinson and his wife. I am going to miss them so much! I could sit and talk forever about how amazing this couple is! I love them so much and I am so grateful for all that they did for me! I honestly would love to move back to Summerville sometime in my life and live in this ward!

This is Kent Robinson, The Bishops Dad. He is also our Ward Mission Leader, and the Father in Law of Jeff Hall. I Freaking Love His family. They honestly are one of the coolest families I have ever came across! I will always remember Kent, he has done so much for me and for this ward!

This is Bro George. He was recently Ordained and Elder. He will be going to the temple sometime this year! I am so excited for him. He will be feeding us lunch tomorrow. It will be hard to say goodbye but man, he is awesome! When he goes to the temple I'm pretty sure I'll get permission to meet him there!
This is Jeff Hall, He's the one that we shared the crazy coincidence where he knew some friends of mine who live in Mexico! After taking the picture he said, "We will go to Mexico, I'm serious!" So, hopefully one day we can continue to build the network of amazing people!
I'm gona Miss him! He is going to Baptize BEN on the 18th of July! I am so excited for Ben to be baptized. I'm sad I won't get to see it, but Ben is so ready! I should have pics sent to me afterwards of Ben's Baptism! I am so grateful to have known Ben and to have taught him for 6 months! It was fantastic!
I'll attach a pic of Ben too.
This is Ben.
This is James, I've talked about him the past couple of Emails. He is on the far left. Then Elder Paker, then Brother Wertz, one of the Ward missionaries we worked closely with. He also teaches Gospel Principles. Gosh Dang it, I'm going to miss these amazing people!!! James is working to get baptized, and I am hoping it will be soon! 
Sister Johnson, LeGrand Richins' niece.
This is Bro Johnson. He is really cool. I have had some fun conversations with him, He grew up in Richfield and knows where lots of native stuff is in the mountains. He's a really cool guy. He is also the Husband of the Relief Society President, Sis. Johnson, who is actually distantly related to me! She is a Richins. and LeGrand Richins is her Uncle! Crazy connections! But I love them. Above is Sister Johnson.

This is Bro Fish. He takes us out to Eat every p-day! He actually has Cancer but has set such an amazing example to me of how to continue to serve others despite the circumstances. It is amazing, it's Crazy, he will come out of radiation and go straight to taking us to lunch. He is such an amazing individual! I am so grateful to know him! I'm going to meet up with him in Charleston after emailing today!

Well, I will have even more pics after this week. I will be with Chase, Bobbi, and James and Nicole, and many others over the next 48 hours and I'll add more pics of them next week!

Fast and Testimony meeting yesterday was the most spiritual meeting I have ever attended. The Testimonies all revolved around Jesus Christ. The man blessing the Sacrament was emotional when saying the prayers and the whole Congregation was so respectful and the spirit just swung in full force. In Bobbi's words, "The Spirit was really heavy today". It was amazing to have everyone testify of the spirit that was in the room. Never before has the sacrament meant so much to me! 

It was also a very emotional day, I hated saying goodbye to people that I LOVE SO MUCH!

It will be especially hard to say goodbye to Elder Parker! I Love him so much, he has taught me something of value above all things! He showed me what Charity is! I will forever thank him for being a pure vessel of the Lord to Teach me by example of what it means to Love others! I have never met a more pure and loving individual! Elder Parker and I will be going to Charleston today to hang out one last time. I am grateful he will be only a few minutes away in Salt Lake after my mission so we can meet up often! I could go on and on about how amazing he is. But If his Mom reads this Blog, I want her to know she has a righteous son on a mission who touches so many hearts! He has certainly touched mine! 

Well, I am not happy about leaving Summerville, but I know the Lord is in Charge. I have so many terrific memories of Summerville with Elder Parker I will never forget! This closes an amazing Chapter of my life and It brakes my heart to turn the page! But I have to. 

Btw- I will never be able to explain in Words how amazing this past 6 months have been, but perhaps this quote from President Monson will scratch the surface.

"Beyond comprehension, my brothers and sisters, is the Love of God for us. Because of this Love, He sent his Son, who loved us enough to give His life for us, that we might have eternal life. As we come to understand this incomparable gift, our hearts will be filled with love for our Eternal Father, for our Savior, and for all mankind."

I have seen the Love of God from the people here in Summerville. Truly the Lord's hand is moving in the Charleston area! I just hope to get the point across that Love is the lesson of my mission, especially the past 6 months!

Moving forward, 

Elder Dearden