I can't believe I'm already in South Carolina! I'm in the Hartsville area (with a few surrounding cities) with Sister Makin (from AF). Hartsville is pretty tiny, only about 7500 people, but it's really spread out so it's nice to have a car-really wish I could bike though. Sorry if the rest of the email kinda skips around, I'm just cutting and pasting from what I journaled on my AlphaSmart thing (which is AMAZING)
The plane ride was great-I sat next to a mish and a return mish to Atlanta and from Atlanta to SC I sat next to Joe, a Catholic from Lousiana, we talked the entire time and I left him with a card, not positive how interested he was but he was way nice.
I love south carolina!! Our first morning in SC we left the hotel by 6:30am and headed out for what they described as an "excursion"-it's super hard to tell where you're at because of all the trees. They randomly stop us on the side of the road (all 31 new elders and sisters and the AP's, sister training leaders and mission president. We walked about 50yds into the woods and had our own "sacred grove" experience.
It was amazing, there was a thick layer of leaves on the ground, surrounded by a thicket of trees, vines and shrubbery and the the silence was filled with tons of birds singing. President Holm talked to us a little, we sang "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" and then were left to ponder about what this meant to us. I thought about the significance of it all and how I knew that Joseph had seen God the Father and Jesus Christ and how much I wanted to share that message with the people of SC. When we were done pondering we were instructed, whenever we were ready, to make our way out in a different direction. Little did I know that about 50 yds through the woods, it opened up to a beautiful view of the Columbia temple. The spirit was so strong and I received a strong witness of how important the FULNESS of this gospel is, and what spectacular blessings are available to my investigators. We got to go inside and listen to the temple president/wife speak.
We also got to go tracting for 2 hrs-and I loved every minute of it! No one really listened to us buuuut...it's so great to be out serving the Lord and talking about the gospel!
It's weird being the new sister in the area that nobody knows-i get a nervous smile from the person and the "where's the other one?(in reference to Sis Mchaley who transfered)" question alot. I still fee super lost in Hartsville so I just have to keep reminding myself that it's only my first few days.
Saturday, I got to experience my first South Carolina rain storm-but everyone's telling me "i ain't seen nothing yet".
When we went over to Willie's for his baptism we still couldn't find him, we were super worried. Lucky for miracles though-a medicare guy drove up looking for Willie and somehow knew he was at his sister's house, we got the address and rushed over to find Willie just chillin on the front porch. He had sprained his ankle pretty bad so we had to call off the baptism for a 2nd time-but we won't give up, we'll do what it takes to get Willie to baptism-3rd time's the charm right?
One thing I love about the south though-although they're confused at first who I am (the last missionary was a short girl with short dark hair) after they meet me I always get a hug (they're big into huggin')! Also-evvveerrryone here is friendly. I love being able to wander down the road and wave, smile and yell "how y'all doin'?" to EVERYONE, and they always wave and smile back.
Oh yeah-Southern phrase of the day. "cut that TV on/off", yup instead of turning it on or off, you would say "cut the lights on" or "cut that radio off"-it's great.
Hope you all have a "blessed day" ---they say that here too:)
Love, Sis. Smith