Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission
Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission
September of 1986 to 1988.
I served in the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission in September of 1986 to 1988. Having never been away from home before, outside of scout campouts, I was real home sick in the Missionary Training Center for the first couple of days. Every night I would pray earnestly for comfort and by the time my prayers were over I would feel comforted and ready for another day.
Three weeks later our group flew to Philadelphia and met our Mission President, Keith Polman. My first companion was Elder Rick Powell from Idaho, we work in a town called Sellersville, PA. He was fairly new and we tracted a lot, teaching several discussions a week. Whenever someone would not let us return for a second or third discussion Elder Powell would get real sad, and I had the attitude of "lets go find someone else". After a week or two I noticed that attitude difference and expressed it in a letter home. The return letter taught me a lesson, it said "the more you serve the people, the more you'll love them, just like God so loved the world, He gave his only begotten Son". So I continued to serve. My next companion in Sellersville was Elder Pulliam, from North Carolina.
From Sellersville I was sent to Melbourne, PA, where I served with ELder Darrin Winward from Utah, He was a good cook, intelligent, borderline intellectual, and knew how to speak to people. He was a little taller than me and a fast walker. I don't know if he was anxious for the work or for the next bus. Melbourne is just outside the Philly line, and we were on public transit. We learned the routes of the busses, subways, and trolleys, except to get to church, a member would give us a ride every week. Elder Donald Cole from Utah, was my next companion there in Melbourne. In my district in that area was Elder Dale Empey from St. George, Utah, who we spent a lot of P-day time with.
I had been out about seven months,when I was sent to Ambler, PA to work with Elder Brent Clayton from Utah. Elder Clayton had seven months to go. He was a simple Elder, and we tried to get back to the basics, just old fashioned missionary work, and it seemed to pay off. We has a Ward Mission Leader who would go on splits every week, and arranged one dinner appointment every week with a ward member. We thought this was the best ward in the mission. We also had one Jamaican man in the ward who fed us a dinner a week, he was a real nice man. Next, I trained Elder Brent Clark from Oregon. I tried to train him like I was trained. Tracting every spare minute. This was summer time in a thousand percent humidity. Swear just running down our faces, handkerchiefs soaked, but worthwhile.
Then I was sent to Reading, PA to work with Elder Don Pauluk, from Canada. He was fairly new and didn't have a good trainer, and maybe even a slothful companion before me. Anyway, he was ready to go to work. We would pray about where to go, get on our bikes and ride until we found and area or street that we liked. One day we found our street and started tracking, just knowing we were going to teach that day. Finally at the last house on that street, a lady let us in. At the end of the discussion, she told us that she had prayed, the night before, for some direction in her life. In my district in that area was Grant Coon from Mesa, AZ and Joel Biggs from Safford, AZ. Reading was a neat place to serve.
Then I transferred to Blackwood, NJ to be with Elder Greg Morrill, who was my MTC companion. We were both out about fourteen months, and felt like we knew the ropes. Winter was setting in again and it was cold. Elder Gary Cahoon from Hurrican, Utah, came in after a couple of months and continued to work with me in Blackwood. There again we had a family preparing for baptism when I was transferred.
My next Companion was Elder Gerber, from L.A, CA. We worked in Smyrna, DE. On our P-days we would go out to the docks and go crabbing. Then we would take the crabs home and eat them. Elder Knowles was my last companion, he helped me prepare to return home.
I had a hard time going, due to homesickness, but an even harder time leaving to come home. I really loved the areas, the members, the work we were doing and the people we worked with. The so called "overwhelming homesickness" was nothing compared to the joy I got and have from working in the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission.
Chile Santiago South Mission
January 1988 to July 1989
I served my mission in the Chile, Santiago South Mission from January 1988 to July of 1989. I had a great time in the missionary training center and after spending 2 months there I thought, "WOW, I'm bi-lingual!" It wasn't until I got off the plane and realized just how little I knew and felt very inadequate about being in Chile. I continued to feel that way until I met my first companion and trainer, Hermana Pereira. She was very patient with my spanish and loved the gospel and loved being a missionary. I was so grateful for her. She helped me gain a love for Chile. Three weeks into my mission, my sweet chilean companion discovered she needed to have surgery on her knee. President Jerald L. Taylor, my mission president and his wife drove the 3 hours from Santiago to pick her up. I thought they would take me too, seeing how I was such a "Greenie". He told me I was needed in Llo-Lleo ( our area ) and that I couldn't leave and I was to find some stake missionaries to help me tract. I asked him to please, please take me, I was to afraid to stay by myself, I did not yet speak the language. He assured me I would be Okay. Sobbing, I watched them drive off. I went back into the house I was living in and went into my room, closed the door and knelt by my bed and cried heavily to the Lord telling him I wanted to go home and I did not want to be a missionary any more. As I was kneeling by my bed sobbing I felt arms wrap around me and begin to gently rock me back and forth. I knew I was being held by a spiritual being. I must of fallen asleep within minutes because the woman of the house knocked on the door and woke me up while I was on my knees. I woke up jumped up, sat on the bed and told her to come in. She walked in and said, "I brought you some goat milk to help you feel better."
I will never forget that sentence. It was a miracle. I UNDERSTOOD and what was even a greater miracle was I talked back in perfect spanish. She stayed in my room for about 30 minutes and we talked the whole time. She left and I got back on my knees and thanked my Heavenly Father for giving me that great experience. I could hardly fall asleep that night from amazement. The next morning I woke up and immediately realized the gift was gone. At first I was sad, but I quickly got on my knees to ask for strength to be able to do the task that lie ahead. I knew I had angels all about me and they would lift me up and help me endure. I found a stake missionary and it was frustrating to them and me that I could not communicate well, but in 3 days time I had a new senior companion and feeling very grateful for the growth I had received from those 3 days.
Hermana Sanchez ( my new companion ) and I got along great and for the first time of my mission I felt like I could enjoy my mission. I began to speak better and better each day. Llo-Lleo is a beach town so I got to enjoy the sounds of the waves. We worked very hard. My first baptism was the woman we lived with, Nora, she saw the miracle that took place and wanted to know more about what we were about.
I was then transferred to Buin, a little town about 1 hour south of Santiago. I think this was the time a polishing for me. During my two months there with Hermana Torrealba I became fluent in spanish and not only became comfortable with teaching, but grew to love teaching. This companion loveds to work, she taught me that we were to eat, breathe, and sleep mission. When we had our companionship prayers at night, I always feel asleep on my knees while she prayed.
After 2 months there I was transferred and became senior companion to my first American companion, Hermana Dunlap. We became great friends and loved working together.
After I left there I was transferred further south of Santiago. The majority of my mission I had ice cold showers, ate cow tongue, stomach, and chicken feet, and yet I have never been more grateful for any other experience I have ever had, the kind that only a mission can bring. I was blessed with wonderful companions throughout my mission. Hermana Rich in El Bosque, we worked so hard and I had never had more fun with any other person. Hermana Scharine in Donihue. When we arrived we were told by the branch president to go home, he didn't want us there. We ended up having some of the best experiences of my mission. Hermanas Uriquiola and Gibby in Peumo Lindo. I cherish the friendships that I made in the mission field.
I am told that one shouldn't say, "My mission was the greatest time of my life". I feel it was for me. I feel if it was not for my mission my life might of gone in the not so quite a straight and narrow way. It led me to the greatest man of my life who I later married and to our children.
New York New York City South Mission
Villahermosa Mexico Mission