Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I have never once had a transfer go the way I thought it would. Here I was thinking I'd be in either Paris or Olney and I ended up in Berea, Kentucky! Berea (or "Burr-rear" as the hillbillies say) might sound familiar to some of you. It's actually an hour away from Corbin! I actually did a blitz here last year when Sister Edgerton and Sister Noakes were the Berea Sisters and Sister Clemons and I were the Corbin Sisters! Crazy! I didn't think I'd be sent here because it's so close to Corbin, but the Lord knows my love for the Kentucky foothills and hillbillies so he sent me home (southern Kentucky) to die (finish out my mission). It's wonderful! Berea is actually like a hybrid of Salem and Corbin. It has some of the hills that Corbin has and some of the hillbillies. But it's like Salem because it's more sophisticated and less backwoods than Corbin. It has a college called Berea College and there are tons of international students. We actually have a recent convert from Liberia, and two new gators: one from Zimbabwe and one from Congo.

Me, Sister Clemons & Sister Mickelsen at transfers
I guess I should have guessed Berea because I thought Sister Clemons would be transferred from here because she spent 7 and 1/2 months here and she only stayed because she had to train the greenie that was meant for me. So, now I'm doing the second half of training with the Sister. I guess the Lord wanted she and I to serve together, but He wanted us to serve together in Berea. Her name is Sister Mickelsen. She's from Lindon, Utah. She's really into working out. She said the hardest part about coming on a mission was knowing that she'd have to give up going to the gym. That and not being able to go to the lake. She's very confident and very sure of her opinions. She wants to work hard which I'm excited about.

It feels real good to be back in Kentucky. But I do miss my people back in Salem. It's hard to go from seeing people you know and love all the time to not being able to see them or call them or anything. Plus, I'm not that good at making friends right away. And following Sister Clemons who is a saint has been hard on the investigators. They all miss her a lot. But I'm still glad to be here. Berea has a ton of investigators and the days are jam-packed. It's definitely a contrast to Salem. Berea actually has two sets of missionaries in the ward. We're in the Berea part and then there's Elders on bikes who cover part of Richmond which is actually where the church building is (which is 20 minutes away from Berea).

There's a recent convert here who is like a mix of Willard and Winslow. He got in an accident and went blind, just like Brother Winslow. But he's not ornery and stubborn like Winslow is. Instead he's tender-hearted and emotional like Willard. His name is Shirdy (like shur-dee). He said it's a mountain name. I don't know if he meant that it's the name of a mountain or it's a name that mountain-people use, like way back in the hollers. He's adorable though. He said he loves everything about the church except for one thing: he doesn't like how the Sisters have to move around so much. He misses "Blondie" (Sister Clemons) because she's the one who found, taught and baptized him.

We're teaching a sweetheart man named Buck who cries through every lesson.

We're teaching a lady named Trinia who is trying to quit smoking so that she can get baptized next month. Today we were talking to her about repentance and she asked me where I'm from and I said Las Vegas and she said, "Woah! I bet you have a lot to repent for!" Then she saw my inhaler in my scripture case and thought it was a lighter and she freaked out saying, "Why you got a lighter for, huh?" Haha. Later we encouraged her to pray and read the scriptures before she smoked. As we were leaving she said, "Bye! You girls be safe! Make sure to pray and read your scriptures before you light up, Vegas!" Haha.

The Sisters were teaching a body-builder who is really interested in the church and very sincere, but I found out that his wife said no to him taking the lessons and that he was meeting with us behind her back. We are no longer teaching him. It's hard because he really feels the Spirit and wants to learn more, but his wife is insistent in her stance and we would never want to come between a marriage by being deceitful.

Maelyn & only half of the animals that live in her house 

We're teaching these two people named Adam and Maelyn who are the kind of people I'd be friends with back home. They're real country though. It's great. Adam used to be in the Army and is now dealing with some of the side-effects of that. He's been raised pretty strongly Catholic and is still hesitating on committing to baptism. He comes to church every week though and says that knowing what he knows now he couldn't go back to the Catholic church. He'll get there. Not everyone would spend the night in the emergency room and come to church anyways the next day. I don't even know if I would. But Adam did. He's great. Adam's actually from East Bernstadt which is where Otis is from! But he spends about 5-6 nights a week at Maelyn's. Maelyn knows the church is true but is afraid because of the last church she joined and how things went wrong there. She reminds me of Apey back in Corbin the way she talks. Thick accent and she's proud of it. She introduced me to a new phrase the other day. We were driving in a neighborhood with a bunch of houses in it and she started getting claustrophobic and was like, "I'd never live here. Too many people. When I buy a house, if my husband can't walk outside and pee off the porch, we aint far enough back in the country!" I started laughing and blushing and Adam was like, 'You aint never heard that phrase before?" "NO!" "It's the way us hillbillies tell whether or not a place is fit to live." Haha. I don't know if I'll ever get used to how open people are with their bodily functions as they are out here.

We taught a lady yesterday and watched the Joseph Smith movie with her in her crazy, eclectic house. She had pictures all over her walls of her when she was young; she was gorgeous and so classy. Now she's a Professor Trelawney-type and doesn't wear much clothing but compensates with bright blue eye make-up and bleached hair with dark roots. She doesn't believe in shaving her armpits or her legs. I wondered how such a drastic change could happen to a person's lifestyle. At the end of the lesson we were talking to her inviting her to say a prayer when she interrupted Sister Mickelsen in the middle of her sentence and asked if she liked the movie The Hunger Games. I looked away so that I wouldn't laugh and that's when I noticed a powdery white substance on her coffee-table. Hmm. I'm not saying it was cocaine... It could have been sugar or sand or something. But... the way she was acting and talking... made me wonder. Needless to say, I don't think she'll be an investigator much longer. But you never know. Drug-heads need the gospel, too.

Adam's idea of allergy medicine is drinking honey

We're teaching this couple that's engaged and they're planning their wedding and it's going to be in a barn and instead of chairs everyone is going to sit on bales of hay covered with camouflage blankets.
See why I'm so happy about being back in Kentucky?

At church on Sunday, Adam and Trinia came. The man who was conducting the meeting got up to announce the sacrament hymn but instead bore his testimony for ten minutes. It was hilarious. Everyone kept looking at each other and talking with their eyebrows like, "Umm... what's he doing?" The bishop and the other counselor were having the hardest time keeping straight faces. After his testimony he opened the meeting up for others to share their testimonies for the next HOUR. Then the bishop whispered to him and he jumped back up and said, "I'm gettin' my horse before my cart again! We need to have the sacrament!" If that wasn't bad enough, the hymn was one that NOONE knew. Even the chorister and the pianist. She didn't sing and he fumbled through the whole thing. There were giggles all around and I finally stopped trying to sing and just hid my face in my mop of hair. I thought Adam was going to burst. The first testimony after we actually had the sacrament was a lady who pointed Adam out and said, "I saw you laughing, Adam. It's ok. I was laughing, too. Us Mormons may seem dull, but we can laugh at ourselves when we need to." He liked that.

There's a man in the ward who looks and talks like Richard Dreyfus. I commented on that to Sister Mickelsen and she had no idea who he was. So I named a bunch of movies he's in and she had never even heard of any of them besides Jaws and she said she couldn't care less about seeing that movie. I realized that my companions are usually Paige's age. But this one is actually Hayley's. Yikes! I'm feeling pretty old anymore.

Extra Blessings: Otie x 2

I have to run. I love you all and I hope things are going well for everyone. Safe travels to Mom, Dad & Sis. Happy Birthday, Paige!

The Church is TRUE! Share it!

Love Yuns,

Sis Nelson

No comments: