Saturday, October 21, 2017


Hello from America's favorite 20 year old. 
Right now we're sitting on the side of highway 26 waiting for a member to come get us. Our car ran out of gas. Happy birthday to me. *facepalm*
Anyway, the missionary week was good, but kinda slow. We had exchanges and that was fun. I went to Spartanburg and got pumpkin cheesecake. It was great. The STLs came to MMA with us and that was fun. I tried Mexican food that I actually liked and it was incredible - I even wrote about it in my journal and titled it "The Mexican Food Renaissance". It was from a place called Papas & Beer and the owner is named M. We met him at the international festival and he thinks we're legit angels. He's the greatest. We referred him to the Spanish elders.  Another highlight is that we taught a new investigator named T but he's totally a YSA so. Tough. We just get to give our investigators away to elders. :(
Yesterday I had a little bit of a mental breakdown because I'm officially done with being a teenager. I've been around the sun 20 whole times. What the heck. 
So to keep myself happy instead of dwelling on my imminent mortality or something dramatic like that, I've decided to make a detailed list of 20 things I'm grateful for! (It might be more than 20. Don't judge.)

1. My parents. You guys, I'm serious. If you don't know them, you are missing out. My mother is the most committed disciple of Christ I have ever met in my life. I want to be her when I grow up. And my dad is just the cutest goofiest dude ever and he has the best heart. I legit cry about how much I love them. They are the best parents.
2. My siblings. 1: Taran & Lisa (and unborn baby child), AKA Pocahontas and John Smith (you all think Taran is John Smith but you're wrong, he's totally Pocahontas). They are hilarious and the best. I love them a lot. Taran is the official winner for most emails read aloud to companions because they are all super duper entertaining. Lisa wins the award for most happiest ever because she literally is not ever sad ever. I don't even know how that happens. And they are also giving me a nephew! Hoorah! 2: Timo & Megan. They just got married in May and they are the cutest people that ever lived. Megan is so funny and I knew before I left that she would fit right into our family. I appreciate her sharing her spiritual experiences with me, especially the ones from the temple. Timo is a very thoughtful person and also freaking hilarious. He is also a good photographer and mainly is really dedicated to the gospel which is great. 3: Izak. Izak is the sweetest person. He cares a whole lot about everyone and wants to make sure they're all doing okay. He also says REALLY FUNNY THINGS and overall we just get along really well. Like, so well we'd probably be friends even if we weren't siblings. So that's really cool. Also, he is really great with little kids and tries to learn everyone's names in all his classes at school. Nobody gives him enough credit for the hard work he puts in. He is a serious winner and he can do anything he puts his mind to. 4: Micah. Micah actually writes me every week even though he is a teenager. So he is inheriting everything I own if I die on my mission. CONGRATULATIONS! But really, I appreciate Micah's desire to do the right thing. It's very mature for his age. He is doing a great job supporting things at home. Also, he's just really funny. (Are we sensing a theme here?) Also his majestic flowing mane of hair is really something to be proud of. 5: Zane. Zane is a passionate, fiery little guy (little as in he's totally taller than me and his voice has dropped like 9 octaves since I left on my mission). I am grateful that he likes to enjoy the magic of things and also that he's totally down to watch Fantastic Beasts with me 500 times when I get home. (Right?) Also, he has cute freckles ❤And again. Super funny. But in the most random, crazy way ever. 6: Gwen. Gwen has been my sanity ever since she was born 11 years ago. Also, the reason I know how to do hair. Also, basically my inspiration in life. I have never met anyone who loves dragons as much as her. She also is very naturally giving and shares anything she can. Also, she likes to snuggle and spend time with me, which is always a plus. Also, she's...funny. Like, really funny.
3. The Gibbons family. Since the 5th grade, the Gibbons household has been my second home. Tiffany is more like a part of my soul than a best friend. She is the sweetest, most selfless, bravest girl out there. She has been with me through thick and thin. I can count on her. And her family has been so accepting and welcoming to me. They are such blessings in my life and I am so, so grateful for them.
4. The Rice family. Andrew and Abi may have been what started my friendship with the rest of the Rice family, but they have loved me more than I ever thought anyone could. They helped me through some of the toughest years. I'm sure I wouldn't be where I am without them. Also, Andrew and Abi are both doing GREAT things on their missions and I am so proud of them and so honored to be working in the vineyard alongside those two spiritual giants.
5. Garrett Broekhuijsen. Garrett is one of the kindest, most intelligent humans I've ever met. There is almost nothing he wouldn't do to help another person. The coolest thing about Garrett is he helped me see myself clearly. We're like sisters. It's the best.
6. Conner Quiring. Even when our paths go different directions, I know Conner is always there for me. He's definitely my bro. Forever. Maybe even 5ever.
7. Colin Jorgensen. He's always real with me and I love that. He also has probably changed the most out of everyone I knew in high school, in a good way. Also maybe one of the smartest people I know. And hilarious.
8. All of my seminary and institute teachers. I am mostly just super grateful for the excitement they have for the gospel and how they made me excited to be a missionary. Thank you to all you gospel teachers out there! Your enthusiasm and love for the Lord is inspirational.
9. My MTC companions, Sister Laura Janke and Sister Tiffany Cordon. They cried with me, laughed with me, and made the MTC one of the very best experiences of my life. I will be forever grateful for them. They always have a special place in my heart.
10. Sister Kaylee Elizabeth Hansen who is soon to be Kaylee Elizabeth Pratt. (Weird.) She taught me how to be a missionary! HARD! Especially because I thought I already knew how to be a missionary! She handled me so well and with lots of laughter. She is very talented (especially at ping pong) and she has such a good relationship with God. She was the hardest working missionary I ever met, and she's going to be the most beautiful bride! Payton is a lucky man :)
11. Sister Jessica Noel Goettsche. Sister Goettsche is the most loving human being you will ever meet in your whole life. Holy Hannah. She wins all the awards. Sister Goettsche taught me that with God on my side, I can change lives. She also taught me that there are more important things than numbers, that people really matter, that everyone has a purpose and that everyone deserves to be respected and loved. I came away from our companionship a much kinder, much more loving person. I can't thank her enough for all she did for me, and for all the sacrifices she makes for the Lord. Straight up she is such an amazing missionary.
12. Sister Sierra Nicole Julander. I heartily protest that I only got one transfer with this beautiful woman. I am serious you guys. I don't think I have ever laughed harder in my whole life than that one transfer. She is the most ridiculous person I know in the very best way. Never play volleyball with her. It's hopeless. I promise. She also is just very organized and for some reason she just really liked me a lot which made me feel special.
13. Sister Clara Rae Kniffen. Sister Kniffen is a special person. She has more love in her heart than most people have. She doesn't make excuses and she loves to laugh. She is stable and trustworthy and selfless and giving and I learned so, so much from our 5 weeks together.
14. Sister Damitu Wesley Haws. Sister Haws and I were like actual siblings. She taught me how to take risks, how to laugh at myself, and how to make things work for me even if everything is going wrong. Also, she supported me through some serious emotional trauma and knows me better than nearly anyone on planet earth. She is so strong and hard working and knows how to just get things done. And she also is so selfless. It doesn't matter what's going on with her personally; she puts it all on hold to help others. She is amazing.
15. Sister Kyla Rae Graves. OH MY GOSH. It's only been 3ish weeks but she is so easygoing and kind. She loves the Lord so much. She is a great support, and she makes me laugh.
16. The Blythewood ward. Even though it wasn't a long stay, it was a good stay. I love the people there.
17. The Moncks Corner ward. Those 7.5 months changed my heart and soul. Especially those sweet ward members who were endlessly willing to help and uplift us missionaries. I am so grateful for all the rides we were given, all the advice that was shared, all the knowledge imparted, and for all the love that they gave. Truly, the Moncks Corner ward is the promised land.
18. My current area. Again, it hasn't been very long, but I am captivated by this place. It is perfect for me to be here right now. I can't explain it at all. But it's true.
19. The Book of Mormon. Because of the Book of Mormon, I am learning to be more like the Savior. I'm serious, the Book of Mormon can help and uplift you if you read it looking for a bright spot of light. It has amazing power to transform your life.
20. The Atonement of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the Father who willingly gave His Son, the Son who willingly gave His life, and for the peace this gift brings to me. Because of my many imperfections, this is the best birthday present I have, and I get to use it literally every day. It is a precious precious thing. I am so, so grateful for it.


Everyone, I love being a missionary. It's my favorite thing.
Don't let the muggles get you down!
All my love,
*20 Year Old Sister Pew*

22. Any other friends who have changed my life anyone who was involved with LPHS drama and chamber choir because you're all beautiful humans who deserve to be recognized and I am sorry I don't have time in this brief email to delineate your many marvelous qualities.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Week 42 - ¡JesΓΊs es mi luz!

Hello all! This week was crazy. Like extra a lot crazy. Oh man.
I believe I wrote about Monday last week, so we can start with Tuesday. Which was the day the mission drastically changed. Like, so much. For starters, as many of you are aware, we have become a Facebook mission. I kind of like it and kind of don't. It's nice to be able to use another tool to help with missionary work and it's really convenient for us to stay in contact with the people we know here, but I DONT NEED TO SEE THE POLITICS OR THE NEWS OR EVERYONES FREAKING WEDDING PICTURES (although all y'all do look great). I am allowed to talk to you directly if you have any missionary stuff to tell me, like if you read a cool scripture you want me to share or whatnot. So shoot me a message, share conference talks with me, and help us here in SC to turn Facebook into the flood of inspiration and positivity that it was created to be.  We were also informed that we are one of 12 missions selected to be the piloters of a new finding program. We don't know the details, but I will keep you informed on how it works as additional information becomes available. AND our area book app updated and everything is so weird. You guys, just when I thought I was getting the hang of all this organizational stuff, they throw this in here. This isn't even the first time. Remember the schedule change like a month into my mission? I swear the missionary department of the Church just hates me. (Definitely a joke. They're too nice.) That night we went to the church to set up our Facebook accounts, but we ended up running into one of the YSA elders' recent converts, so we just talked to him until like 8. (Side note - one of the YSA elders is Elder Spencer Thomas, formerly of some mission in Kenya or something, but he's been reassigned here. Remember the LDS Face2Face with Elder Bednar? Elder Thomas was one of the youth hosts for that one, along with my friend Abby. Go watch it!) Then we went out finding. It was great. We stayed out until 9pm and it was dark and sketch. Awesome.
Wednesday we actually set up our Facebook accounts and that was weird. We also went finding a lot and had Book of Mormon class. Luckily the Rs were there so we were able to actually have class. Also, we had ward coordination with Brother A and I am convinced that he is the funniest person ever. We told him about all the new stuff.
Thursday we had MMA in the morning and then we went over to see D We mainly just talked to him this time instead of arguing. We also met this cute old guy trying to find a former investigator. He was out in his wheelchair on his driveway and we stopped and had a nice chat with him about God and happiness. Hopefully we'll be getting back there soon.
Friday we went out with Sister F to a place called Strawberry Hill, which I swear is the cutest place ever in the whole world. I think I need to move there. It's basically a ginormous farm. We went to visit a shut-in member. She was sweet and a little Pentecostal which is actually probably my favorite thing. So much evangelical zeal. She recently had surgery and basically told all her doctors and nurses that the second coming is near and they need to shape up. Afterwards, though, was less fun. Since our area book app updated itself WE DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO DO ANYMORE so we had to figure that out, and then I started feeling really nauseous all of a sudden right before we had to go to a lesson with J. We nearly cancelled except then a thought popped into my head: "This is Satan. Satan doesn't want you to go teach J." So I was like, "Whatever Satan" and we went anyway. Miracles? When we got to him, all nausea disappeared. God is real, folks. And during J's lesson (at his gym) one of the students' moms came in and started talking with us...turns out she's a less active that we didn't even have on record! So definitely Satan was trying to keep us from seeing J and meeting her as well. He's the worst guy.
Saturday we were able to attend the International Festival of Spartanburg. It's where a bunch of people get together and sell foods from other countries and have booths that explain the demographics and stuff (which is totally right up my alley because I love travel and other cultures so I was dying). I had this really cool experience where I was talking to a Chinese lady about China and she just all of a sudden really searched me. Like, she looked deeply into my eyes and saw my soul. My companion was leaving, but I smiled at her, thanked her, and told her I hoped to make it to China someday. I hope that even though my time with her was very limited, she'll remember how she felt when she looked into my eyes and saw the Light of Christ and felt the Spirit of the Lord. It was special. ALSO THE FEATURED COUNTRY THIS YEAR WAS FINLAND SO SHOUTOUT TO DADDYKINS
Sunday was fast and testimony meeting, so I bore my testimony. All the lessons were on Family History and I felt pretty roasted because I have limited desire to do genealogy at this point. The teachers were basically like, "do you want to explain to your ancestors why they couldn't be baptized sooner?" And I was like, "No. I don't want to do that." So, remind me. That's like, the first thing on my list of things to do when I get home.
Well, today was also fun. We went to the zoo because it was Sister J's birthday (she is one of our STLs). We had lots of fun and went to Sticky Fingers in downtown Greenville, which is super cute and I like it a lot.
Also, speaking of birthdays. I turn twenty next P-Day, which is SO not okay. But you can't stop it. So...yeah. But anyway. For my birthday, I would like each of you to do 20 acts of service in the next week. And then tell me all about it. They don't gotta be big, and I'll do it too. But that's what you can do for me on my birthday, is serve God.
Also if you have any fun Facebook post ideas that are spiritual in nature, please let me know! 
I just absolutely love being a missionary. I have found a fullness of joy.
Never forget how loved you are.
And don't let the muggles get you down!
All my love,
Sister Pew
This actual from the week before, I forgot to post. We didn't get any photos this week so just as well. They are watching General Conference at a members' home.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Week 41 - "Bedtimes are of God."

Hi everyone!
Life just keeps getting better. I'm telling you, I love where I am. It is theeee funnest. So fun. All the fun. I was kinda worried about going to the upstate because in Greenville (which isn't far from where I am) there is a college called Bob Jones which has a very large collection of anti-Mormon material on display and Bob Jones graduates tend to really hate us. But so far everyone I've met is just the sweetest human and I love it here. Also, Sister Graves is the greatest. It was she who said the quote that is today's subject line. It was hilarious. She is just so easy to get along with and we are already the best of friends.
Last Monday we didn't do much but today we may or may not have accidentally ended up in North Carolina...awkward. But it was really fun!!! We went to a little town called Landrum. It reminded me of Cedar City. We found the absolute best antique store ever. It was so awesome.
Tuesday was awesome. We had our first DDM and I got to meet los elderes de espanol, Elders P (district leader sir), H and C. H and C are verdes. They've been out 1.25 transfers. Elder P was in Charleston at the same time as me for awhile. Anyway. It was a really good DDM and Elder P had us all bear testimony of the Book of Mormon. I freaking love that book. It is the best book. Then we went and taught this cute lady named S who was basically like, "well you never know until you try so I guess I'll just have to read the ENTIRE BOOK OF MORMON AND PRAY ABOUT IT" Well, maybe she didn't say those exact words...but almost. Then we met the elders at an old folks home and sang. I had to play the piano. I have been practicing like a madwoman. Children. Practice your piano. YOU NEVER KNOW. That night we went back to see the A family and E was barfing all over everything so we called Brother R who lives down the street and is the father of J our MMA teacher so that he could give them a blessing. Ds medication has been making her crazy lately, so she wanted one too.(Side note, Brother R totally looks like Richard from Tommy Boy.) Also, Brother R's brothers-in-law just happened to be there and that was a miracle. The blessings were both given by Brother R and it was incredible how much peace was in that home after he finished. #miracles.
Wednesday we did service at a soup kitchen. Also, the zone leaders were nice enough to bring me 2 packages! Which was awesome. And also 2 letters! Which was also awesome. And also a phone! Which was awesomest. Also, we got to learn about the temple with the youths.
Thursday we went and did service at a farm with Brother W, Sister R, and Sister R's atheist son D whom we are kind of teaching. Also, I briefly stepped in a small anthill, but I got theeeeeeeeee worst ant bite ever. Seriously it itched for dayyyyys. After service we taught D. We emphasized testifying. That works best, usually.
The next day we met this really cool guy named E who said we could totally come back and teach him. We were trying to find a less active and we knocked on the house it said he lived at and nobody answered. As we were pulling out of the driveway, a car pulled into the driveway. We immediately got out and asked him if he was our MIA less active friend and he was NOT but he was super duper nice. And get this. He saw me and pointed and the first thing that came out of his mouth was, "You look super familiar." And I was literally about to say the exact same thing. He is really cool. We like him. He thought we were Jehovah's Witnesses but was still super awesome and then when he found out we were Mormons instead he was even MORE awesome. Apparently his mother is a convert to the Church in Colombia. After that, Sister Graves and I were both feeling like death. Hers was a stomach thing and mine was a cat thing. So we just went home and weekly planned until 6 pm when Sister R and J needed us to come over and help them decorate for J's wife K's baby shower. K happens to be a Bob Jones graduate. She used to hate us, but not anymore. She still doesn't believe what we believe, but she likes us as people now, which is good. Anyways, we decorated J's gym with ninja decorations for the "baby ninja" that's due in 5 weeks. I was all the time thinking about my SOON TO BE NEPHEW HECK YEAH but it was a good time.
Saturday we went to the baby shower for a lil bit, then studied, then got to watch General Conference. WHICH WAS SO BOSS MIGHT I ADD. For the first session, we and los elderes and the zone leaders went to the church to watch it. I did squeal when the camera pointed directly in my cute daddy's face. Props to him for not forgetting any of the words <3 and also the elders were super impressed. Also, the following account is true and I did not even make it up. Before the broadcast started, the whole district asked to see pictures of Daddy so that they could find him in the crowd, and Sister Graves sees my dad for the first time and this is what she said:

"Your dad kind of looks like Batman."

I am not joking. I am not lying. That is the first thing she said about him. Which was HILARIOUS, and so I died laughing for a good ten minutes while everyone waited patiently for me to recover, and then I had to try and explain the oldest of family jokes to them, and they all thought I was crazy, but I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO MAKE THEM UNDERSTAND HOW BEAUTIFULLY PERFECT THAT WAS. Okay, that is all. (Note from her mom: Tim has said he was Batman since Taran was 4 so 20 yrs, long story but this might help a little).

And so, we Conference'd. It was cute to watch the lil greenies trying to furiously write down every single word that proceedeth forth out of the mouth of Elder Holland. They were literally scrambling and kept being like, "he's talking too fast! I can't get it all down!" After that, I asked the aforementioned greenies to give me a blessing for my allergies (they have been killer lately). It was Elder H' first or second or something cool like that. Anyway, it was interesting -- he barely talked about allergies at all in the blessing. He mainly talked about how God loves me and is proud of me. Sometimes that's difficult to grasp. But it was sweet that Heavenly Father just wanted to tell me that. I love that guy. After first session Sister Graves and I began fasting for inspiration as to what we could do to be better missionaries and help the members to join with us as full partners in this work. We went to see G again. We were able to testify boldly to him of his divine nature and invite him to come partake of the Spirit again. I know he felt something. He didn't come to Conference like he promised, but we'll see what happens. After that, we went to Bishop's house to watch the second session and priesthood. AND HOLY COW PRIESTHOOD. It was very inspiring for me. Never in my life have I been so grateful for the precious power the priesthood is. I am so grateful for my righteous father, who has always honored his priesthood and served quietly and powerfully. I am also grateful for my righteous, priesthood-bearing brothers, who may tease and occasionally torment but who all have very good, decent hearts, and who are a constant light in my life and in the lives of my mother and sister. I also felt a considerable and exciting paradigm shift come upon me. I felt so strongly of the blessing it is to be a support in the home to a worthy, covenant-keeping priesthood holder. I felt a strong desire to uphold and inspire those priesthood elders I serve with. I felt a call to repentance for not respecting enough their sacred office and the holy work they have been called to. Men are amazing! They have a substantial work to do, and we as their complimentary counterparts are best served by lifting them up, cheering them on, and being kind, gracious, forgiving and patient with them. We have no diminished position before God because of our sacred duty to strengthen the priesthood - it is a divine assignment that I feel anxious to magnify. Think of the good we can all do if we bless and serve each other! Think of the miracles that would occur if every priesthood holder or prospective priesthood holder had someone who believed in, cared about, and prayed for him and his success! I just have lots of feelings about priesthood session, okay? It was an awesome experience for me. #ldsconf
Sunday was no less amazing. We actually had our investigator J come to the morning session. J is Jewish, so the emphasis on the Savior was like, so inspired. It's like God planned it out or something. Afterwards, we broke our fast and had lunch with J and the H family. AND THEN, we went to Bishop's house and Bishop's wife made us dinner. Conference is just so good. Later that day we were able to go and plan at Lake Bowen park and it was beautiful.
I just love the gospel and the Church so much!
To close this here email, I want to tell you a story about my mom.
The giving of scriptures to a newly baptized eight year old is a common practice in the LDS church. My family isn't the only family that does this. However, my experience with the tradition is forever ingrained into my memory. I consider it to be the most important event of my childhood.
My mother is a champion of service and love. She tried relentlessly to impress upon her children the significance of spirituality from their earliest years. We always knew the scriptures were of paramount importance to her; we always read scriptures as a family, and it was not unusual for us to stumble upon her prayerfully studying them herself as we went about our morning routine. So it was with little surprise, but admittedly a bit of excitement, that I found myself in bed, with my mother sitting at my feet, holding a pair of scriptures that said my full name, embossed in gold letters. They were beautiful. I couldn't wait to hold them.
Before handing my scriptures over, though, my mom looked me right in the eyes. She has a way of sticking it to you. She looked me in the eyes, and she said quietly, "Emily, I want you to read these every day." So impressed was I by the Spirit in all of my eight-year-old, newly confirmed glory, that I'm pretty sure I couldn't say a single word. I distinctly remember her opening the Book and pointing to a page. "It doesn't matter how much you read," she said. "You can start with a column a day. But just read them every day. Okay?" I nodded - an anticlimactic reaction to that incredible moment that, unbeknownst to me and my mother, had just marked my course for eternities.
I definitely didn't know how impactful that was at the time. But I did make a decision that day, and that decision was that I was gonna read my scriptures, dangit. I definitely haven't been perfect. I have missed a few scattered days - but those days have been remarkably few over a nearly 12-year period. That habit of scripture study, catalyzed by my mom, has been instrumental in building the framework of my testimony. Think steel beams. The scriptures are what I fall back on, what I turn to in times of trial, and how I receive personal revelation from God. That decision that I made to read my scriptures has affected my past, is affecting my present, and will affect my future and my future family. I am on a mission because I learned from the scriptures how to listen to the Spirit. I have only made it on some hard days because of the little voice that comes into my head (It usually sounds a lot like my mom): "Have you read your scriptures today?" What I am finding in the scriptures, particularly in the Book of Mormon, is the joy of discipleship and the blessings of obedience to God's laws. The most important thing, though, is the knowledge of who I am, and who God is, and how He relates to me and my life. The most important thing is the reality of Christs's Atonement and the knowledge of why He did what He did. That knowledge is changing everything about me.
So if you're a parent thinking nothing you teach your kids will ever sink in, remember my faithful mom. Over time I have come to know that, like the mothers of the stripling warriors, I have been taught by my mother that if I do not doubt, if I hold on, if I keep at it, God will deliver me. And I do not doubt my mother knows it.
I love y'all!
Don't let the muggles get you down!
All my love, Sister Pew
Look who she ran into at the library

Aprons someone made them

Lake Bowen Park

Lake Bowen Park




Friday, September 29, 2017

Week 40 - "Elephants are the Mormons of the Animal Kingdom"

I just want you all to know, I am the most blessed person. Because I get to serve with Sister Graves. It's the best time!
So, this week has been wild, as you can probably imagine, what with being transferred and such, so let's get right into it!
Monday was such a great time. Most of the day we spent packing/cleaning, and that night we said goodbye to R, which was the most difficult of the goodbyes I actually had to say. I love that lady so much. I know the ward will take care of her though; that's the nice thing about leaving is that you know the ward is strong and will help your little convert babies to continue to progress in the gospel.
Tuesday was so crazy! I was all packed by then, but we had a lot of stuff to do and a lot of people to see. We dropped off a Bible to a referral real quick and then we went out to eat with U. It wasn't easy to say goodbye to her either. But I know I will see her again :) Then we went to the Ss' house and learned to make bread. Sister J then took us out to see P. P just makes me so happy. He is doing so well! They are thinking about giving him the priesthood soon so that is wonderful. That night we visited the S family and they were very sad I was being transferred, which was not fun, but they all signed my journal, so that was good. Then we went to the church and Sister P shared a very special experience with me. It was amazing. Then we played games with the Ss for the last time. It was so fun.
Wednesday was transfers. Holy cow, everyone was there! Sister Julander got transferred. Elder D got transferred to be the new Florence zone leader. Sister Goettsche was whitewashing into a new area (but still is an STL so wow shoutout to her for being the greatest of all time). Elder G is bluewashing (whitewashing a sisters' area) into Orangeburg. We met all the greenies and that was good, and then we found out where I was going, with Sister Graves. It is all the way upstate. Our ward boundary on one side is the North Carolina border!!! So I'm a little bit far from my lowcountry, but it's sure beautiful here. Sister Graves is wonderful. She is quaint and quirky and funny and I like her a lot. She is from West Jordan. Sister Haws got Sister Fausett from Irmo, which is way funny because we stayed with them for the hurricane! Hahaha. It was great. But anyways, after we got my suitcases all packed in Sister R (our ride) car, we were on the road...and then we received a call from Sister Haws saying she was holding my blanket and stuffed animals. So that was funny, driving back to the parking lot to pick up my blankie and my teddy bear and my stuffed turtle. Am I almost 20? Yes. Do I still sleep with a teddy bear? Absolutely. So, we got to our area and immediately realized that the sister who left the area took the keys to the apartment and the car with her to Charleston...luckily we had a spare apartment key but we were stuck inside until Book of Mormon class at 6:30. Sister R was kind enough to drive us there. It was so funny. We got to meet the zone leaders, who serve in the neighboring ward. They were teaching Book of Mormon class, which went well. Not a ton of people came, but it was still a good discussion. Then we had ward coordination, and we currently have no ward mission leader so we coordinate with the 2nd councilor in the bishopric, Brother A. He is super funny and his wife just had twin girls who are in the NICU still. But he was kind enough to still coordinate with us. It was a great meeting.
Thursday our spare car key came in the mail so we could do stuff. Most notably, we have a member of our ward who teaches mixed martial arts. And he gives us and the elders a free lesson every week in exchange for being spiritually uplifted. So on my second day with Sister Graves, we wrestled. It was way fun! I feel a new hobby coming on. Seriously, I had the funnest time. It was the best. He is the greatest ever. He's super short. He had us all share what we learned in personal studies that morning and then shared what he learned in his personal studies. He is the best human. Seriously. The actual best. That afternoon we went tracting and accidentally scared this  lady and she swore at us. She apologized quickly and shut the door and Sister Graves and I could not even because we were laughing so hard. Poor little lady. We also saw a  member and his friend. They are pretty chill. G is going to be a dad soon and wants to start coming back to church. T is interested in learning about the gospel. Both of them are younger than me, which tripped me out majorly. But it's fine. We also got to meet this lady named Sister M and she is hilarious. She lives in a nursing home. She's actually really coherent and knows what's happening. Which made it even funnier when she told us about how she likes to squeeze her doctor's biceps. She is delighted by the fact that it makes him turn bright red. Also, she is the one who said the subject of today's email. Her reasoning is that elephants are also very family oriented. Not bad logic. We're all elephants here.
Friday we went out with Sister F. Actually, one of two Sister F in the ward. But she is very sweet and recently had a heart attack, so it was quite low key but very fun. We got to see T and G again this day, and also a recent convert named B, who really loves Moses and the Old Testament. A lot. He is the best and we read the Book of Mormon with him. ALSO BIG NEWS: One of the people in my area that I'm working with is a lady, who happens to be my trainer, Sister Hansen's convert from Spartanburg! I found out because she looked super familiar and so I asked her about the missionaries who baptized her and she told me one of them had really long hair and pretty eyelashes. I was like, "No. Way." And I asked her if it was Sister Hansen, and she was like, "Yes! That is her!" And it was cute. We took a picture. I'll attach it. Then we went to see an investigator family, the As. And somewhere between the As and our next appointment with another recent convert named L, we lost our phone. So we spent the remainder of the evening attempting to find it, but to no avail. So we've been phoneless for a good 3 days now *eye twitch*. So first it was the keys, now the phone, next is my marbles. Maybe those are already lost...
Saturday we planned for the week. It was hard without a phone. We then made cupcakes for Women's Conference at the church. We had a fabulous time doing so, especially because we have no electric mixer. We got pretty creative when it came time to make frosting...After that we went to see 2 members, the Ks and the Ds, both of whom just randomly gave us referrals, which was awesome. They are both sweet families. Then we had dinner with the Relief Society people before Women's Conference - it was a potluck and we had like 11 different kinds of soup. Also, there was a bunch of drunk people in a limousine when we got there, so that was exciting. Women's conference itself was SO AWESOME. The first talk by Sister Eubank was just the greatest. I wanted to go, like, baptize everyone basically after she spoke. It was just so good! I love this church!
Sunday was awesome. We had ward council, and they are all funny. So, so funny. It was great. Also, we taught gospel principles. Also, the ward music specialist played the piano for Relief Society and I sat on the front row and during the opening song she kept looking at me. After the meeting she pulled me aside and was like, "So, you sing? Good, we'll be having a special musical number from you on the 22nd of October. Perfect. Good to meet you." And I was like, "oh. Okay." Also, I hear this ward likes to make missionaries talk a lot and I do not love that. But other than that this is a great place and a great ward. After church we got to see the Ps, a really nice investigator couple and went to a member's house to borrow their phone. They are the Cs and they live in our complex. They are brilliant and made us eat roast. Which was a good time. Unfortunately, though, the aforementioned Ps have like 4 cats. So when we got home I almost died because I COULD NOT BREATHE (there were many dramatic pictures taken of this event, featuring the homeless elf sweater). But I did get a really cute video of one of the cats. 
I love it here! I love my life! I love being a missionary!
Don't let the muggles get you down!
All my love,
Sister Pew

Cute Sister Haws

With Sister Graves

Sister Graves

Allergy attack

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Week 39-Everybody's changing and I don't feel the same

Well, this is it. The ticking time bomb has exploded, and I'm spreading my little baby missionary wings and leaving my Moncks Corner nest to fly free some other place. I don't know where yet. It's really sad, but I know that I will come back someday, and I also know that these people are permanent parts of my life whether I see them again or not. Moncks Corner has been a refiner's fire. It is also sacred ground. I will always love it here because it was here that I came to know who I was and am and more deeply came to understand my Savior and His Atonement for me.
It's been kind of a weird week, to say the least. Monday was a good day. We were really bored during the lockdown so what do four antsy missionaries who are not allowed to go out and proselyte choose to do with their time? Well, we decided to play truth or dare (missionary style, where you can only do positive and uplifting things), and that is how I found myself knocking on the Ss' apartment door (the Ss are the senior missionary couple in charge of cars and housing) to sing "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission" for them. The bad news was that in the Irmo apartment complex, there are 4 different missionary apartments: the Irmo sisters, the mission secretary, the Ss, and the APs. So who answered the door? Elder H. They were all chillin' at the Ss' apartment. Luckily I don't get a whole ton of stage fright because I ended up singing for the Ss, the 3 APs, and the Mt. Pleasant elders, who were evacuated from the Charleston zone. It was pretty awkward. The Ss actually invited us in so we got to get to know the APs a little bit which was cool. But then I told them I'd been in my area for seven and a half months and obviously that was a mistake! (I'm just kidding. It's all good, everyone. Transfers happen.) Also, we got cinnamon rolls. So it was great. Later that night we tried to choreograph a dance but it was just not working. None of us are great dancers.
We got word in the morning that lockdown ended at 11. So at 11 we were on the road again, headed back to the Corner. It was weird driving back, and the whole time I was just like, "Man, I missed our little country town." I wanted to hug all of it. ALL of Moncks Corner. We saw some people Bishop asked us to visit and it was fun. We also played games with the S Family and Brother S invited all of us on a Mediterranean cruise in 2019. Sounds great, except...I'm poor. Hahaha, but it was all great fun.
Wednesday was fun. We traveled out to St. Stephen to see these cute little kids who aren't baptized yet. They are so cute! One of them (L, picture included) wanted to take pictures of EVERYONE. Now that I'm being transferred, I'm so glad he did. Also, this one kid, M. Oh man. For some reason, we just really connected and I'm pretty sure I need to adopt him. He has the crappiest situation ever. But he is just...the best...I love him...We also saw the Ss that night and picked up some groceries.
Thursday we went to Mepkin with the YSA sisters. It was way fun. I'm so glad I got to go one last time! I got to drive the gator and everything. I will miss Mepkin so bad. And U. Ew. My heart hurts. Feelings. Also, I felt like I was going to throw up after Mepkin, which was NOT good so we had to stay in for a few hours, all of which I slept during. I HATE staying in. I HATE IT.
Friday we weekly planned and it took 5ever. We just started calling all the prospective elders over the age of 60 to see if they'd be willing to let us come over. It was actually kind of fun. We contacted some pretty nice people that way. After that, we had dinner with a lady H and she is hilarious and also probably the most passionate person I've ever met. She believes so hardcore in everyone. Her motto is, "if it's never been done, why not invent it?" We also saw R and committed him to be that a thing? I don't know... lol. That night we found out Elder W was training and that Elder G and I are leaving.
Saturday we had a great day. We spent the morning cleaning the church. Then we went to the horse rescue, and then Sister C had us come pressure wash her porch off. It was awesome. Pressure washing is really satisfying. Then we saw Sister G because I was leaving and I wanted to see her.
Yesterday Josh Willis gave his farewell talk. That kid is awesome and I'm so pumped that I got to see him give his talk. I also got to say goodbye to everyone, which was good. Brother R REALLY wants me to get transferred to Seneca so that we can be in the same ward again. Lol. He said the same thing to Elder G. They even announced that I was leaving in Relief Society and everyone was so sad! It made me feel good to know that they really did appreciate me.
Well, everyone. Not to worry. God has a plan! Life is peaceful. Everything is going to be okay. :):):)
Don't let the muggles get you down!
-Sister Pew

Note she sent me:So the storm. It was mainly a bunch of rain and wind. We actually went out in it a couple times. It wasn't that bad, it just lasted a long time. We didn't get flooded and no one in our ward lost power. We were all okay. However, there seems to be another 2 storms on the horizon??? Lol I don't even know. And yes we went the back way again. I took some pictures. Hooray hoorah. Really it was not that exciting.

Nuskin mud masks with the Irmo sisters (this was during the "storm"

with the Irmo sisters

A church they drove by on the way home from Irmo


Getting ready for some work

Add caption

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Week 38-Hello Hurricane: in Irmo for Irma!

Why hello!
Just for the record, we are safe indoors. For awhile, Hurricane Irma, which is the strongest hurricane on record EVER to come from the Atlantic ocean, threatened our little Corner. But fortunately for us, the storm went up the West coast of Florida so it should only be a tropical storm when it hits us. Pray for Florida and Georgia, and especially for the little islands that have been absolutely devastated by this storm. We are good!
Well, as you can probably guess, this week was crazy. On Monday, we didn't really do anything much, but the elders were nice and made Sister Haws some chilli. I don't like chilli so I didn't eat any, but Sister Haws said it was good.
Tuesday we heard that there was a storm out in the gulf and it may or may not hit us. It was more like a "oh, cool" reaction than a "OH MY GOSH WE ARE GOING TO DIE" reaction, because at that point it was way too soon to tell whether or not we would actually be affected, plus we missionaries are so out of the loop that we had no idea just how big this storm actually is. We just did our normal things and had interviews with President, who is still the very best human. Man I love that guy. And then we went to see good ol' P. And then we played games with the S Family. 
Wednesday we found out that the nursing homes were all being evacuated. It was funny because we went to one to visit a member who lived there and the front desk lady was like, "Dude we gotta get y'all out of here!" Apparently at that point it looked like it was headed straight for us. There was rumors of evacuation even then for us, and so anytime Sister Haws and I saw a car headed the opposite direction from us, I would say they were evacuating. Sister Haws was so done with my shenanigans by the end of the day. We went EVERYWHERE too, all the way out to Jamestown and back! We played soccer with some little investigator kids and met a less active named M. She was awesome and we should stop by later this week.
Thursday we didn't go to Mepkin because people actually were evacuating already. We knew we probably would too, so we mostly just checked up on some of the elderly members of our ward to make sure they were okay. That was pretty fun. We also did some door knocking and it was so not as scary as I thought it was going to be. We actually met a really nice guy named B. He was a cute ol man and I sang amazing grace for him. That night at Book of Mormon class we received official evacuation notices from the mission. Sister Goettsche  got to call me and tell us we were going to Irmo!!
So the next day at 9:30, we departed. We took some country back roads instead of the interstate which was probably the best decision ever because we made it to Irmo in 2 hours and for the rest of Charleston zone it took about 4 hours. Lol. Also, we passed a lot of really pretty churches and if we go back that way I am totally taking pictures there. So when we got to Irmo we just kind of chilled because we were going to weekly plan but then we didn't know when we would be back so we just read conference talks and wanted to kill each other because we were so bored because the Irmo sisters (Fausett, who came out with me, and is training Asay) actually had stuff to do so they left us alone. It was like the worst thing ever. And then we received a text from our zone leaders telling us that the assistants had a YSA activity that we could come to so we were like OKAY GREAT SOMETHING TO DO and we went. Actually Elder F asked us if we would judge the contest with Elders L and S. LOL. It was a lip sync battle and I think that my ears are still bleeding from all of that worldly music. The assistants  did a lip sync to the missionary version of Hello by Adele. It was ridiculous and hilarious, especially Elder J who is much of the time serious and put together but just went absolutely ham. It was hilarious.
The next day we actually did missionary work!!! We went finding and then delivered the Book of Mormon to some Turkish guy who worked in the mall and he gave us free sunglasses. I got a weird pink pair. I went with Sister Fausett (Sister Julander's MTC companion) and it was so great! She is also small and blond and very straight up about things so we had lots of good conversations. I appreciate her lots. That night we taught the A family and their friend C who is interested in the gospel, and we also visited the A family whose 3 little girls recently got baptized. They are so cute! But they have cats and I almost died. Later I took a Benadryl and was moderately high for the rest of the night.
Sunday wasn't the same without my ward people. It was really sad, and also we found out Brother R is MOVING and I HATE EVERYTHING. But it was still a good service, the talks were good and the ward here is strong. I enjoyed it. After church Sister Haws made me stay in even though I am not sick!!! But we just chilled while the Irmo sisters went out. It was a boring time. Then we got to go to a devotional with the Charleston, West Columbia and Columbia zones. I got to see ALLLLLL the people I've served around, minus Sister Cordon and Sister Julander. It was such a fun time to see Elder M, Elder D, Elder D, Elders C and P, Sister Janke, Sister Goettsche (again) and loads of other friends. We sang Ye Elders of Israel and As Sisters in Zion respectively and then learned about eternal marriage from Elder Bednar (which was kind of weird...we were like, "President, we're missionaries"). Also someone made a meme of President and Elder F and it's perfect. When I get it, I will send it.
And that brings us to now. We're indoors and we're sooooooo bored. Someone send us ideas. We're dying. Help! I need a big help! (That is a Sister Haws-ism.)
We are safe! Don't worry!
And don't let the muggles get you down!
All my love,
Sister Pew

Free sunglasses

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Week 37-Miss Sparkle

Hello everyone! Welcome to the weekly letter of Sister Emily Ruth Pew, aka Miss Sparkle, but we'll get to that later. 
This week was full of personal revelation.
Monday we went to Charleston! I will send y'all a video (see below) of when we accidentally went across the Ravenel Bridge, because it's quite brilliant. That night we saw R. She is the best ever.
Tuesday we had DDM. We all made treats for it and I gave a training. It was on teaching with discernment. What I learned from studying for that training is that love+The Spirit=discernment of thoughts, feelings and needs of your investigators, members and companions. I invite all y'all to try this with me this week. Study charity in the scriptures and apply it to every relationship you have. Also, this day I got my glasses! You will see them in probably every picture henceforth that I send home. The elders (both of whom have glasses) tell me I look like a nerd. *sigh* it's like being back at home with five brothers again.
Wednesday we had exchanges with the STLs. I went to S with Sister Fowkes. We went finding for a lil bit, and then we had a ward coordination meeting, which was weird because I don't even serve in their ward. then we went and saw P. Then we went home and went to bed.
The next day I was still in S so we went to do some family history and it was fun. I read about Grandpa Louw and his mission which was awesome. Then we went to a place called Royal Oaks and had a great time singing for old people with the 3 sets of S elders. Problem is, they're all tone deaf and none of them play the piano so I had to struggle to do so. It was bad. It was fun, but we sounded awful. Then we had lunch and went finding and then we came back and wrapped up our exchange. Then it was back to the promised land for me! We came back and did the rock painting booth/Book of Mormon booth and then taught A NEW INVESTIGATOR named B. He was cool. Then we went to Book of Mormon class. What a wild time.
Friday we tried to weekly plan but were mostly unsuccessful, so then we went out finding and didn't find anyone. Then a member of our ward had us over for dinner so we could teach her nonmember husband who is slowly having a change of heart after being anti for a number of years.It was a great time.
Saturday we went to the horse rescue again. I officially know how to groom a horse now! We finished up weekly planning after that. We have a lot of door knocking to do, folks, and Sister Haws is making me do all of it because I'm scared of people so I'm a little stressed for next week. I know it'll be good, I'm just kind of like screaming on the inside. That might after a lesson with good old R who is still not reading his SCRIPTURES EVERY DAY, I had a minor struggle where I basically realized the colossal role fear has played in my life. I am used to letting fear get the better of me, but the times I overcame it are branded into my memory. I am a good missionary. I still knock on doors. I do my best - but my best can be better if I forget my fears and go to work. I know what I need to do. It's high time I faced and conquered my fears. They are holding me back. I would appreciate it if I knew that y'all were praying for me to have strength and courage to do what I need to do and become the person I need to be.
So yesterday, after a bright and eye-opening chat with God, I realized that this is all possible. Because Jesus Christ died for us, I am able to put these fears behind me and live unlimited by them. This knowledge buoyed me up, and I spent the rest of the day glowing. Everyone was like, "What happened to you?" And MULTIPLE people asked me if I got a cute letter from a boy (ew groooosss) and I just laughed. One of the elders actually called me "Miss Sparkle". Really, it's the atonement of Jesus Christ. It's because I don't always have to be the way I am. It's because I CAN CHANGE, and I don't have to remain in my fallen and fearful state. I can overcome through Him! So if I sparkle, okay, great! That just means that Christ's grace is at work in me. Can I get a hallelujah amen?
Be a sparkler for Jesus, baby. Just glow.
And don't let the muggles get you down.
All my love,
🌟Sister Sparkle🌟

Celebrating National South Carolina Day


Little girl with Sister Pew's tag, bag and boots

Music is a Christian band Rivers and Robots