Monday, December 26, 2016

Last Mission Christmas!

I had a memorable last Christmas on the mission!

We went caroling in downtown Charleston Friday night. It was fun, and every missionary in the zone came! Spread the Christmas cheer! Going to downtown again today for inspired us, mom. hahaha

We went to church from 10-11:15, and the Goose Creek Ward and us combined. We sang a congregational hymn, then someone got up and spoke about a Christmas hymn and bore their testimony and then sang another hymn and then repeated. It was pretty good. A lot of people showed up, including 3 investigators!!! wohoo! After church we went to Brother and Sister Evans house for lunch. There were other members there as well, and man was it so tasty! We had green bean casserole, prime rib, potatoes made some sort of southern way, and some good desserts! Brother Evans was a general authority in the southern area of the US, a stake president in Charleston, and also the temple president. We had some good gospel conversations, and oh boy is he sweet! 

Afterwards we facetimed the family, and leading up to it I was kinda nervous! It was great to see them all grown up! 9 months left- don't even get me started to how crazy that is...

Last Tuesday we had exchanges and we were driving around the Dorchester area of North Chuck. We had just visited a potential who said he was not interested. We got to the car and I looked at the plans. I felt to go see next a lady named Joann. We met Joann a few weeks ago while trying to locate our potential investigators. She lives by herself with her disabled daughter, and frequently has doctor appointments. I thought to myself as I sat there "well, we have no member with us, so we can't go inside her house, and we really need a member present lesson-" immediately a thought came into my mind to call a priest named Patrick- who by the way is the coolest 16 yr old kid in the country- 2nd to Monson of course! He answered right away and we went up to Goose Creek to pick him up and back down to Dorchester... we knocked on Joann's door and she opened up right away! She was so happy to see us and invited us right in! We taught a good restoration lesson, and she seemed to understand all of it. 

What made me so happy is that as the elder (Elder Kimball) I was exchanging with shared the first vision, her mouth opened showing all 6 of her teeth, and her jaw literally dropped. She said something like "Wow! Did that really happen? It's amazing!" We have a return appointment with her on Tuesday. Patrick bore a powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon, and it really brought the spirit. He will be a great missionary one day. He studies his scriptures, isn't afraid to talk to people in the streets with us, and he helps us so much during lessons- especially the last few weeks! He and his family went over to Joann's house yesterday and gave her a turkey for Christmas! So sweet!

On Wednesday we had 2 lesson with ladies on two opposite ends of the spectrum of faith. The first lady, Ms. Elliot, was a bible referral and she allowed us back in to teach her. We shared the Restoration with her and she immediately had a hold up with modern prophets, and the Book of Mormon. She used the standard "I'm Baptist" and "I have faith in Christ" cards. Those generally mean, I'm not interested. She bore a strong testimony about the Savior, and became emotional while sharing her testimony with us. She is a good Christian woman, which is so great! However, wouldn't open her heart and mind to the possibility of more scripture given to us from God. We told her that we aren't here to take away from the faith that she has in Christ. We invited her to read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully, and see if what she reads causes her to feel enlightened and edified- thus strenghening her faith. And if what she reads adds upon her current faith in Chirst, then she can know of a surety that this is the word of God, and that the word is true. She listened then thanked us for coming. We all held hands in a circle and prayed-- BTW I love the holding hands in a circle prayers! Super cool! I remember the first time that happned was in training and a lady put her hand out and I kinda freaked out and looked at Elder Fife and asked if that was allowed...It's a culture thing.

The other lady we met with was Ms. Parker. She is like 72 years old! She has met with missionaries before and she shared stories of her childhood, growing up Methodist, then switching to Presbyterianism. She talked about how her mom had tremendous faith and was an amazing woman. She read to them the bible and really cared for her children. She went on to say how she can't comprehend the faith her mom had, and how she felt that it was unfair that God gave her so many trials and challenges that took a toll on her. We shared the video "because of him" and talked about the realtionship we should have with God, and his relationship to us. 

She told us how she couldn't see how having a down syndrome child could be a blessing. She said that God occasionally messes up with creation... I was kinda mad when she brought that up. Those children with disabilites are little angels, and are so innocent. She said she wished she could have aborted, and that broke my heart. She had trials with raising a down sydnrome child, and from what I understood, didn't understand or see the blessing that followed. She does not go to church any longer, and can't remember the last time she went. Being her age, I felt bad becasue she is coming to an end of her life (she was physically frail) and lacks faith in Jesus Christ. She was kind, and I hope we can come back and help her with her faith.

Per my mom's request:
I love South Carolina, don't get me wrong, but most of my pet peeves center around driving. As missionaries, we do a pretty good roast of South Carolina. 

  • drivers are worse than Utah drivers
  • everyone honks at everyone for no reason
  • worst traffic system
  • on and off ramps that cause heart attacks for drivers
  • sideways sheets of humid rain that you literally slow down to 25 on the freeway in order to drive through them
  • traffic flow is darn right terrible
  • tiny roads
  • one way in and out of every major retailer taking like 20 minutes to get out
  • little to no sidewalks
  • no bike lanes
  • houses are pretty dirty and smelly, trash everywhere
  • everyone smokes here
  • car accidents every mile it seems
  • trains take forever to cross
  • jay-walkers like crazy, who walk like they own the road
  • sirens like nothing else
  • humidity- well I'm used to it-- 
  • getting bit by mosquitoes even on Christmas when it's cold
  • smell of the paper mills- wreaks like sewage in most places
Love y'all!
Woohoo! I'm in a family picture finally! 

MTC name tag & shirt  I wore for the first 14 months of my mission and sweetgrass that can only be handpicked & made by the Gullah- it is nowhere else but the Charleston area.

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