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


Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015!

Hello people!

I really wish I had some fantastic story this week. But honestly,
nothing super new. Just the same routines.
Thanksgiving was great, we ate with a big family that has lots of
realtives in the ward. It was super tasty, I love the southern cookin!
It was good stuff. We had lots of fun eating with other members of the
ward throughout the week.

Our awesome bishop takes us out to eat every Friday, he likes to take
us to the really good southern restaurants. Honestly, I think this was
the most unhealthy week of my life, I ate so much fried food, and lots
of stuff with butter in it.  I probably ate an entire chicken, if I were to add up all the fried
chicken I had. Unfortunately I also don't have any pictures...

However, today after I am doing emailing my district is getting
together in the middle of nowhere at a farm 1 hr south of here to
record our christmas video. Each Christmas President has us either do
1 of 3 things. We do a live skit (usually funny), or a Video, or a
musical number. Last year I did a musical number, but this year we are
making a movie for the mission christmas party. It is always really
fun to watch all the other disticts and their videos and skits. I'm
excited. If our video ends up being funny enough I will send it home.

I'm excited that it is already December! I can't believe the weather
though, it is 72 degrees right now! It feels amazing.

Ahh, Life is good! Southern Food, awesome Bishop, Great companion,
perfect weather, good times!

Ya'll be good...(that's what everyone says here)

Elder Dearden

Monday, November 23, 2015

Deep thoughts from the Deep South.......

This week was a great week. Nothing crazy happened though.

We meet lots of people, not to many of them seem interested though. However Brian is still awesome and came to church again yesterday.

Last pday we went bowling and that was fun. I enjoyed it.

Since I don't have much else to say I figured I'd share some thoughts that I have been having lately.

I was pondering how having a correct understanding of the Character of God motivates us to repent. I mentioned my thoughts on the character of God several weeks ago, the week after General Conference. 
But I have also been pondering what drives me to be a better person and what leads me to do my best. I asked myself the question, "What motivates me to follow God?"
I wrote down 4 things that Motivate me:
- A desire to strengthen my relationship with God. To Grow in Greater Love for God.
- A desire to strengthen my relationships with others. To grow in greater Love for others. 
- A desire for knowledge, understanding, and intelligence.
- A desire for Power and ability.

A desire to strengthen my relationship with God. To Grow in Greater Love for God.
When I "Remember Him" I experience an emotion that seems to fill all my senses. I am always baffled when I realize how much Love Heavenly Father and His Son have for me, I feel inadequate when I realize I don't respond with equal love. This leads my mind and thoughts to desire a greater capacity to love my God. This can be accomplished by keeping his commandments with exactness.

A desire to strengthen my relationships with others. To grow in greater Love for others. 
This is similar to the above thoughts. I am so grateful for all the amazing people that are involved in my life! A similar emotion comes when I remember all my family, extended family, and the eternal friends I have. I have noticed that those who are the most happy, are those who have the best relationships with others. Along with that, those who have the best relationships with others keep the commandments the most. So, in recognizing that... I have a desire to live a better life each day because I know that will bless those around me and ultimately lead to relationships that bring the most happiness.

A desire for knowledge, understanding, and intelligence.
I have become addicted to the sensations and experiences outlined in Alma 32! I'm hooked and I don't think I can break the habit. I love the swelling in the chest and the expanding of the mind. No better way to start feeling good than to read inspired words for the ancient prophets and to have the Holy Ghost reveal truth. I have noticed that the ability to learn from the Holy Ghost is greatly enhanced when I am focused on keeping the commandments.

A desire for Power and ability.
Heavenly Father endows us with power when we keep his commandments.
"When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power” - President Benson
Power is ability to do something. It is the strength and energy through which things happen. If we desire to be able to do great things, we must turn to the source of all power. He will give us added strength and ability to do above that which we imagined.

Anyways, there are my thoughts lately. 

I hope ya'll have a great week.

Monday, November 16, 2015

American River Festival!

Hello people!

Life is fantastic! Things are going great. 
Brian and Sonya were at church again yesterday and it was so great to see them! I love their family! Great people!  Brian comes with us to the book of mormon class every week now and it has became my favorite part of the week. Nothing is better than reading the book of mormon!

So fun story....

Two days ago on Saturday there was Cherokee Native American River Festival! (That's what they called it) Elder Pace and I saw a sign so we hunted the place down so we could take a look. We found it and just started walking around looking at all the booths with native art and taking to people. We found a member of our ward there, Sister Purser was helping with some stuff. It was fun to see her there. There was a circle in the middle of the festival where some people were performing flute solos and drumming. One of the guys that was going to do a solo was also giving a little speech about native beliefs, and in the middle of his speech we hear over the loud speakers, 
"I'm glad to see that the Elders are here, I really appreciate the Elders." At first we didn't think he was talking about us, but he went on mentioning how he spent a good ammount of time in Utah and was well acquainted with Mormons and respects the Missionaries. We then realized he was talking about us....we felt kinda funny because a couple hundred people turned their attention to us, we just smiled :D.

He then went on to explain how Mormons are Christians and that the song he was going to play was dedicated to "Christian Faith". It was a cool flute solo and It was very kind of him to do that for us.
I was very happy about that because most people here in the South honestly are convinced that Mormons are not Christians, Probably one of the most frustrating delusions that the pastors teach down here. Anyways it made me really happy to have this native guy announce to everyone that we were Christians and that he appreciates us!  We found him afterwards and he introduced himself, "Hi, I'm a Lamanite"...HAHA, he is actually a member! We found out that he grew up in Utah. His name is Emerson, and his Brother, Lowery was there with him too. I got some funny pictures with them. They are so cool. 

They travel around to festivals across the united states and were recently in Knightsville, Tennessee and Florida. I found out that they live near Chaco Canyon and I exchanged some information and they said they would meet up with me this coming summer and give me a tour of Chaco and teach me some stuff. It was really fun because we had some conversations about the Medicine Wheels and other things. I think they will be great friends when this whole mission experience is over with! We also talked about the Book of Mormon and how the seed of Jacob, the descendants of Lehi will rise up in the last days. Good stuff :D
Anyways, it was a fun Saturday. 

We got new Spanish Elders in our apartment. Elder Millet and Harris. They are really cool people. Elder Harris is Training Elder Millet.

Btw, Elder Neilson (I sent a picture of him a 7 weeks ago of us at the state house) He was transferred into my district again in Orangeburg. I was really happy about that, he is a good friend and I'm excited to work with him again!

I hope ya'll have a fantastic week! - Elder Dearden

Here is a video of the kids dancing at the Pow Wow.

Monday, November 9, 2015

November Epistle

State Museum
Cotton Field
Elder Dearden's Epistle from the Southern Confederate States of America:

Last week we went to the State Museum and it was super fun. I love history! They had lots of cool stuff there. I have a pic with me by a cool painting.

Our area is still rolling along just great. Brian is doing fantastic. We will be with his family again this week and also at a book of mormon class. We have met lots of cool people this past week, I am anxious to see where it goes from here.

Transfers were announced on Saturday and Elder Pace and I are still together for at least 1 more transfer. I'm excited, we get along great and It's a good adventure for both of us.

We did some service on Saturday and pulled down a tree, that's always fun, reminded me of my young men boy scout adventures, we always seemed to find a tree to pull over haha.

The weather has been really wet and rainy here, not to cold, just wet. I haven't seen the sun for a good # of days....hopefully that changes!

I play the Organ every other Sunday in our ward here. It has been so much fun to apply the stuff Elder Parker taught me about the Organ, I think I have a good handle now on which stops and buttons work together best. The weeks I don't play they have a YSA sister who comes in to play.

Yesterday I played the Organ and gave a talk too. I discussed the
doctrine of Repentance and Baptism. Honestly, those doctrines are 2 of
the most important. I've already gone on a rant about repentance a few
months ago, so i'll save ya'll from another one of those. But I really
enjoyed giving the talk.

I hope ya'll have a fantastic week. I am expecting a great week!

Elder Dearden

Monday, November 2, 2015

November Already?

Hi Family and Friends!

So our Friend Brian and his family came to our ward party last week.
Here is a pic of them. Brian is like me and we both have a tendency to
just ramble on and on about anything.

It was also great to see Brian at church yesterday.

Can I just say, the Southern culture is thick in our ward. I think
this is the richest taste of the south I have gotten yet! They feed us
a lot here and we eat good :D.

I am doing great, things are going well for us! We have met so many
people this last week with so much potential. We will see where it

During my lunch hours I have been watching the "Joseph Smith Papers",
you can find them in the gospel library app. I love them! As I have
been watching them my love and respect for Joseph the Seer has grown
so much! It is truly amazing the events that took place in Josephs
Life! I don't understand how anyone can see his history and then doubt
that Heavenly Father is behind it all!

I don't have to much else to say, other than Holy Crap! It is already
November!? What happened? I can remember a year ago being in my
Greenwood family ward and having such a great time teaching. I miss
those days! I am getting nervous as I realize that I don't have very
much time left now. Realizing that Doug Graff has finished up is
crazy, I don't know where time has gone!

Anyways, Love Ya'll!

Elder Dearden