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


Monday, October 26, 2015

Parties, Wheel Chairs, and Pots!

Hey Family and people!

I am doing fantastic! This past week was a fun one!

On pday last week we had a "house warming" haha! We invited all the senior missionaries from the office! We had 3 sets of couples and a Senior Sister with us. We had pork roast and made tacos out of them!  It was super fun and the food was great! We did that to thank the office missionaries for all the hard work they did to get us into our new apartment! Great memories!
Our area is going great, we are meeting lots of cool people. Our area
has a great mix of country and city. My favorite is to go knocking on
doors in the country. The people out there are so kind and you can
talk to them about anything!

We had interviews with President Turner on Wednesday, I always love
meeting with him and feeling the power of the keys and inspiration he
has for this mission!

On thursday last week, we went to the State Fair for a service
project. We pushed people in wheel chairs around for a couple of
hours. It was really fun to take them around to see the animals and
all the festivity happening. They had an elephant at the fair, you
could pay $6 to ride it. I WAS SO TEMPTED! I wanted so bad to ride the
elephant and get a picture. But then, I thought about it, and I don't
think President Turner would be to happy if he found out a missionary
was riding an elephant...haha!

I made this cool ceramic pot a few weeks ago for pday. Sister Ammer
fired it up in the kilm last week. We put some gold on it and it looks
really cool. It reminds me of Hopi land!

I can't believe that Doug is finished with his mission! Holy Cow! It seems like
yesterday that he left!

I am excited for this week, good things should happen!

Elder Dearden

Monday, October 19, 2015

Floods, Taco's, and Potatoes


So much has happend! Wow!

Last week we did lots of service. We also got to do lots of regular
missionary work again. Things are finally returning to normal.

The area we did service in was so sad! The homes had about 5 feet of
water when the floods where there. We went to a place where people had
been rescued by boats. It was so sad to see people and all the things
they had lost. Virtually everything in their homes were destroyed
except the framing. We had to chuck everything else, furniture, dry
wall, anything paper, cloth, or wood based.

It just broke my heart when we went to do more service at this
apartment building where there was this little family with a single
mom living there in Columbia. Their bottom floor had been completely
destroyed, they were still living in the upper part of the home. They
were in so much shock they hadn't done anything. Mold was growing and
the place was stinking. There was a young boy, probably 11. He had a
lot of fun with us using the hammers to brake down the walls. But It
was so sad to see that he had lost his home and didn't know where to

On a happier note, yesterday we had an investigator at Church, his
name is Brian! He is so cool! He really enjoyed it, he had been before
a few times, but I am so excited to be working with him!

I have some pics from a few weeks ago with the Mechams, we went and
got icecream one day for lunch.

Today we are going to have a fun "house warming" haha. We invited all
the office missionaries to our new apartment for dinner to celebrate the new and fantastic place to live! It will be fun, next week I'll
have pics! We are doing a taco bar!

We have been meeting lots of cool people in the Congaree ward area.
I'm so excited for the future!

Love Ya'll

Elder Dearden

Elder Dearden mailed a potato to Chandler for his birthday.  He mailed it through the  USPS with stamps and an address attached directly to the potato. 

The potato arrived 5 days later on our front porch.  I wish I could have seen the mailman deliver it... ha ha ha.  

Monday, October 12, 2015


Hello people!

Life is going great here in Congaree! Our ward was so blessed to not
suffer any damage! However, only 15 miles away many places were
submerged and flooded severely. We are grateful that we were spared in
this area. Last week we returned to our apartment and discovered it
was no long inhabitable. The place needed to be dried out for a week.
So the mission office couples performed a miracle and got us a new
place! It is super nice, it is actually a town home and is just as nice
as my previous place in Dutch Fork!

So we got to do service last week, we helped a guy start cleaning out
his business in Elgin, it had flooded 2 feet where he was and we
helped rip out all the dry wall and stuff. It was really fun actually.
I enjoyed smashing stuff and throwing it away haha. We are hoping to
do lots of more service this week too.

The Church has sent lots of supplies and our building is where
everything is being kept. The Columbia Stake Center flooded out so our
building is being used a lot. We should be doing tons of service over
the coming weeks as things get more organized.

I'm super excited to be here in Congaree, there are so many great
things that will happen. We have some amazing people we are working
with. I believe Baptisms will occur here!

I have been "Ponderizing!" I love it! I'll share with ya'll the verse
I ponderized last week!


Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things,
both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all
power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not
comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.

I take note on my thoughts as I ponderize, here are some of the
thoughts I had last week about the verse.
I have chosen to Ponderize this Scripture over the coming days because
it has an emotion of Faith that enters my heart and mind when I read
it. The words denote a complete confidence that Heavenly Father can
accomplish whatever is needed and that He is completely in charge.

Belief in the following:

* That 'HE IS" - This means that we acknowledge that His existence is
absolute, "is" means a state of existence. Therefore, believing that
He Is, means to acknowledge this complete and perfected existence,
there is no missing piece, no degree of doubt that his existence is

* That "HE CREATED ALL THINGS" - The word create has a meaning that
something was organized in thought, preplanned, and then executed so
that physical things are organized to produce the preplanned thought
or idea. No where has create ever meant to produce something out of
nothing. That has never happened, and never will. All things have
always been and always will be, they cannot spring into existence out
of nothing, but rather all things can be continually organized into
various forms. This can be compared to manipulating play dough. With
those thoughts in mind, we can conclude that the meaning that God
Crated all things, means that he preplanned, and thought through all
things that have existence, and that through the intelligence and
perfected power in Him, he executed a perfected process of organizing
existing matter into the reality of His Genius Plan to bring forth
Endless happiness for all His Children.

* That "HE HAS ALL WISDOM" - Wisdom is the quality of having
experience. Therefore, Heavenly Father has "all experience". He not
only 'knows', but has 'experienced' all things. Therefore, anything
that one can experience, the Father has.

* That "He has all power" - Power means, ability to do something.
Hence God has the ability to do anything, and everything. He is not
bound by any lack of ability. Now, this means he has power to commit
sin if He really wanted to, but he never will because he has perfected
wisdom, he knows the outcome of all things and will never commit sin
because of negative outcomes. He has power to do anything, but will
only do what is right, he could do wrong, but never will.

* That "Man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can
comprehend"- This means that we don't comprehend on the same level
that Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ do. There are two
meanings of the word comprehend. The First is to grasp mentally and
understand. The Second is to encompass. This leads to the conclusion
that we cannot encompass (See the full picture) of the things in our
mind that God can. He has a perfected superior ability to mentally
grasp all things.

Something interesting I just realized is that I haven't always
accepted all those points perfectly. For me, it has been easy to
accept that He created all things. I haven't ever pondered to much on
the idea that He has all Wisdom - or the quality of being experienced.
I have always known and accepted that His Son Jesus Christ did,
because of the atonement, but I never really connected the dots to
realize that the Father has the same experience.  (John 5: 19) "Then
answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The
Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for
what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. "

I have always assumed that Heavenly Father has all Power, or ability
to accomplish whatever He desires. However, my mind also never really
has dwelled the on the concept that He comprehends all things. It is
exciting to be assured that He indeed knows me perfectly and
comprehends me.

With all these amazing concepts that derive from this scripture that
describes the qualities of God, my soul is filled with desire to know
Him more.

Both in Heaven and in Earth

What does that mean? In the Scripture it mentions it 2 times in the

When I think of that phrase my mind is directed to the temple, where
"Heaven and Earth come together". Heaven is a place of perfection
filled with the government and order of God. There isn't anything
temporary in the Heavens, all things are eternal in perspective there.
Verses Earth, where all things are temporary and are tremendously
influenced by Satan. Satan after all is "the god of this world".

Why is that phrase used then, "BOTH IN HEAVEN AND IN EARTH"? Perhaps
it is reminding us that Heavenly Father isn't limited by location, for
he did create after all , all things, both in Heaven and in Earth.

Anyways, thanks ya'll for your prayers!

Elder Dearden

West Columbia Zone

Monday, October 5, 2015

And the rains came down.......



It has been a wild week! First off...I was transferred to Congaree
which is about 10 miles south of where I used to live...ain't to far
at all.

Well, on Friday evening, President Turner decided to lock the mission
down because of the impending storm, there was an expected 16' inches
of rain over the weekend. We were then called by our leaders and told
that we needed to evacuate our apartment because they expected it to
flood pretty bad. The unfortunate part was that we only had 20 minutes
to pack as much as we could and get out. President wanted us all off
the roads by 7pm that night and we didn't get to start packing until
6pm. We were told to find another missionary apartment to stay at. I
chose the APs place because they have an extra bedroom. Anyways, I
packed as much as I could, I was able to get all my sentimental
objects and enough clothes for a few days.

Anyways, I'm back in Irmo with the APs again for the weekend. We were
able to watch conference at the Irmo building, because the APs had
permission to drive their truck. I really loved the first session
Saturday morning! That day continued well with nothing really
happening except for conference, because after conference we had to be
back in our apartment for the rest of the night.

Waking up Sunday morning our ZLs called us and told us that their
apartment had flooded! They had 1.5 feet of water in their apartment,
they didn't realize it until it was too late when they woke up, they
lost everything that was on the floor, including scriptures and
anything cloth based. They gathered up everything they could and
evacuated to a nearby senior couple. They are fine, they just lots a
lot of possessions.

Meanwhile we were safe, dry, and warm with the APs in their apartment,
assuming our apartment in Congaree was filled with water and possibly
mud and whatever else comes with a flood.

They closed down the Irmo building due to many roads in the ward being
washed away and people being stranded, so we couldn't watch General
Conference there. However the Mechams live in the same Apartment
complex, so we went to their place, and they threw a huge breakfast
party, we had like 8 missionaries and we all stayed there to watch
conference on their computer. It was great, I love the Mechams, great
people!!!! Sister Mecham looked online for us to see what was
happening around the state, and we discovered there were already 5
dead from a building collapsing and many people were stranded. We were
quite shocked to hear about the disaster that was happening

Unfortunately after the Morning session was over we were informed by
people knocking on doors that the water was contaminated due to the
floods washing harmful stuff into our water system. So if we drink
water from the tap we need to boil it first. We were lucky to have a
case of water bottles in our car.

Well, Sunday night came and we ate dinner with the Nolans, who lived
nearby also. As we were leaving we were informed that the state had
issued a state of emergency and there was a curfew for when you can be
on the road, I think it is 6pm. So everything is shut down after 6 to
prevent crazy people from stealing stuff.

I was informed this morning that the roads that would take us back to
Congaree are closed down and flooded. So I don't know when I will be
getting back.

All I know is that this was the strangest conference weekend ever!

Btw, I found a picture of my trainer in a members home, (Former Elder)
Cole Davis! It was really funny to realize that he served here in the
same area. This member does really cool ceramics and has invited us
over sometime to paint and do some fun stuff.

I really like my new comp, Elder Pace. Here is a pic of us at the
members home who has the ceramics.

Thanks for your prayers! Pray for South Carolina, it is a disaster
here! However this will open MANY DOORs for service!

I know the Lord is always in Charge!

Elder Dearden
My new Companion, Elder Pace

Picture of my trainer, Elder Davis, in the ceramic shop.

Watching conference at the Mechams