Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Humpppp Dayyyy

Guess what day it is on Thursday? HUMPPPPP DAYYYYYY!
That is so crazy to think that it has already been a year since I came out on my mission! The time seriously has flown by! The days have felt like weeks but the weeks have felt like days. Or as some missionaries like to say, the mission is like a roll of toilet paper. The more you use, the faster it goes. But it has been one of the hardest, must frustrating, trying, years of my life, but at the same time though, it has been one of the best! I would never trade this last year for anything because of all the amazing things I have learned and the amazing people I have met!

Over the last year I have learned:

How to build a porch
How to skin a chicken
How to use a weed whacker
How to follow a schedule
How much I loved naps
How to love others
How to better study and understand the scriptures
How much I love spicy food
Chili Dogs are actually good
Hillbilly slang
How to speak hick
How to cook
How great my family truly is! I couldn't do this without them!
How to be more organized
That dishes don't automatically get cleaned anymore so paper plates are better
Always love those you are around because you never know when you might leave
How to solve a Rubik's Cube
How much it sucks when your heater goes out in the middle of the night in the winter
How great heated blankets are
Ties are a way of life as a missionary. You can never have enough
I love Pepperoni Rolls
How to strive to be your Best self
How to work in a garden
Service can actually be a lot of fun
I really really like quotes
How to budget money (still working on that one)
How special it is to see someone find a greater love for the gospel and for their Savior
My mom doesn't like me walking on ice, or really that she isn't with me all the time
Getting caught in the rain in slacks, shirt and tie is not as fun as wearing street clothes
How to polish shoes
How to castrate a pig
Everyone loves their small town festivals
Everyone and their dogs has cats in West Virginia
and so many other great things.

But most importantly I have learned  that Jesus Christ is our Savior and he suffered for each and every one of us. Not just our sins, but for our trials, our hardships, our pains and sicknesses. He loved us enough to suffer all of it for each one of us individually. 
Our Heavenly Father truly loves each one of us perfectly. We are his literal spirit children and he knows us. He knows what we need and he will give us it even when it may not be what we want, and it may not be easy. 
This life can be hard. It is not always easy. But if we rely on our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ, it will all be worth it! And all that is unfair in this life will be made up through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 
I know that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live. They are glorified and perfected beings. They love us and we can show our love for them by following them and obeying the commandments they have given us. 

I love you all! Thank you for the great support you have given me this past year! I hope that this next year can be an even better one!
Elder Ryan Carter

“Never assume that you can make it alone. You need the help of the Lord. Never hesitate to get on your knees in some private place and speak with Him.”

Gravity Must Not Work as Well in Kentucky

Well it's official. I'm now in Olive Hill, Kentucky. I live in Grayson and am about 15 minutes from Moorehead KY. The best part about all of this though is that I am serving in Carter County and the two high schools are East Carter and West Carter. It is almost like they knew I was coming or something! And there is a Ryan city or town close to where I serve, but unfortunately it is out of the mission so I can't go see it. But I'm finally settled in after a long day of packing and traveling. This was my suit case... I think I still need more ties though!
So far we have been doing a lot of just trying to get to know the members since we are both new to the area. The first day we got here a member showed up at our house. His name is Austin Gee. He is 18 and he is going on a mission to Las Vegas Nevada, and he reports on July 2nd, a year after me. He is an awesome kid! We are so similar it is great! He is planning on going to SVU to play basketball and so of course we had to play. He is quicker for sure but it was a lot of fun. But I think I can jump higher in Kentucky because a month or two ago I couldn't dunk but now I can. I think someone turned down the gravity here!

The best part of the week though was on Saturday Austin had his Grad Party/ Mission Farewell party. In the middle of the party his dad called us over and introduced us to someone who needed some service done and we offered to help so hopefully we are able to get something out of that. And then later as we were about to leave a friend of the Gee family walked up to us and told us she wanted to start taking the missionary lessons again! It was pretty exciting! We are very hopeful for her and that we will be able to help her progress! 

And then on Sunday the branch had a baptism! He was an 8 year old named Jaxon. He wasn't 9 so it doesn't county as a baptism for the missionaries but it was still great to be a part of. It is always special to get to witness someone get baptized and to see their excitement for it! It is one of the best parts of getting to be a missionary! And after the baptism the grandma came up to us and told us she has a friend that needs to be taught so hopefully he will be someone we can teach and that will have a lot of interest!

I'm very excited to be serving here in Kentucky! There seems to be a lot of potential in this area and hopefully we will be able to help the area to grow and progress! 
I love you all!
Elder Ryan Carter
“The same boiling water that hardens the egg will soften the carrot. It all depends on the individual’s particular reaction to stressful circumstances.”

Heading All the way to the West Coast...

Well this last week has been a lot of fun. We got to go to another baseball game last Monday and Derek's team won so that was good. It was a lot more fun watching an older team than to watch little league. Just a little bit more action.

Then on Tuesday Elder Streeter came here for an exchange. We had a pretty good day. We got to see Susan, who I will talk more about later, and we got to see Derek and Austin. We talked to Derek and Austin about the importance of scripture study and how to make it more effective. They seemed to really enjoy it. Afterwards we had a little bit of a competition. We went and shot a bow!
I wasn't the best shot but I got better after a few tries. It just took a little bit of getting used to. It has been a while.

Wednesday we helped out the Weitrzykowski's move. They are a part member family in our ward and it was probably the shortest and the easiest move I have ever done. The entire move consisted of walking across their back yard into their new backyard and into the house. That was my kind of move!

Friday we got to see Susan again and taught her a great lesson of the Restoration of the church. We planned on mixing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to talk about baptism a lot while we were there so that we could invite her to be baptized at the end of the lesson. She accepted and we set her on date for August 10th! It was a pretty awesome experience! She has some pretty funny questions and ideas though which made the lesson a lot of fun.

Saturday we got to go to the big Chapman Reunion!!! Those are always a lot of fun! We got to play volleyball, eat a lot of food, and play some corn hole. Now for any of you who don't know what corn hole is, look it up! It is a lot of fun! I'm finally starting to get the hang of it! definitely something I'm planning on brining back to the west coast!

On Sunday we had a baptism for Bret and Cody Lambert! They are some pretty funny kids but they were a lot of fun to teach and to get to know! (Bret is on the right next to Elder Fielding, Cody is next to me, and their older brother Jason is in the middle and he baptized them) You can tell by their faces they are a pretty goofy family.

But last night I got a little bit of a shock. Transfers are this week and I thought I would be staying since Elder Fielding had been here longer. Boy was I wrong. I'm going all the way to the West Coast (or at least what people out here think is the West Coast.) I'm going to Olive Hill, Kentucky. It is just south of Portsmouth, Ohio, which was my first area. Chances are high that I will be back in Portsmouth sometime in the next few weeks which is exciting. I will be serving with Elder Young, and I don't really know much about him.

I'm pretty sad that I'm going to be leaving Buckhannon because the people here have been so great! I have had so many fun experiences and now have so many memories of this great place! I will really miss these people but can't wait for the day when I'm able to come back and see them all!
I love you all, and Happy Fathers Day to all you Fathers out there! I hope it was a great one!
Elder Ryan Carter

"Fathers, you are the primary model of manhood for your sons. You are their most meaningful mentor and believe it or not, you are their HERO in countless ways. Your words and your example are a great influence on them." -M. Russell Ballard

Like a Chicken with its Head Cut Off

Well it has been another great week and the analogy of "running around like a chicken with their head cut off" now has an entirely new meaning to me! But we will get to that later.

Monday we found out that Austin had to have surgery and get his appendix removed. When we saw him it hadn't burst. The plan was for him to get it removed the next morning but it burst during the middle of the night and so he had emergency surgery. He is doing better now and was at church yesterday but had to leave because he wasn't feeling to good. He found out that he might have to get his gall bladder removed too so please pray for him! He is a tough young man but still is hard to go through at his age!

Tuesday I got to go to Elkins to go on an exchange with Elder Mortensen. He is a big teddy bear. He is like 6'5, 250 lbs and just the most friendly kid ever! We had a lot of fun and saw a lot of success while I was there. It was a lot of fun!

On Wednesday we had our last meeting with President and Sister Pitt. I can't believe that they are leaving this month! They are some of the greatest people I have ever met and it is going to be so weird not getting to see them after a year of seeing them often and loving them so much! I have learned so much from them and am so grateful for all they have done for me!​

After the meeting we had a lesson with Bert, Jessica, Antonia, Tailynn, and Wilbur! They are an awesome family and we taught them a lot about prayer and why it is so important and they really understood it and already have strong testimonies of prayer. Along with that we read Alma 32 and talked to them about how to grow and strengthen their faith and also what actions they must do to plant the seed of faith and to help it grow. They are really awesome so hopefully in the near future they will be able to start coming to church and want to be baptized. We already know it is something the kids have wanted to do so now we just need to invite them. Just waiting for the right time now.

Thursday we had to go back to Elkins to teach a lesson to Brett. His family lives in Elkins but they come to church in Buckhannon because that is where the grandparents are and they want to make it a family thing. So, that took up a majority of our night but it was a lot of fun. We taught Brett (9) and his brother Cody (8) and they are a bunch of characters. They are both getting baptized on Sunday and we are very excited for them. It is really strange though because they look like twins. They are a year apart in age but they said they are 1 pound difference. It is pretty crazy.

Friday we went out to Roy Chapman's and he gave us a brand new experience yet again. We got to skin chickens! Yes, you heard it. It was really weird but pretty fun! I won't go into detail but if you ever have the chance to do it, take the chance and do it! After that it is up to you. That was probably my first and last time skinning a chicken but it was fun! But it was so funny, we would cut the head off and no joke it would flap around for like a minute or two before it stopped. I never actually believed that it kept moving afterwards but it totally does!!
This is what his building looked like afterwards...
Best part is that we ate the chicken for dinner!

Then on Saturday I got to go to a baseball game! and I'm going to one tonight too! There are two kids in our ward that play. One is Ryan Smith and we watched him on Saturday and he had a good game. They ended up winning 12- 11. It was a pretty high scoring game! Tonight we are going to watch Derek play so we are excited for him!

None of our investigators made it to church on Sunday which was a bummer since we thought that at least 3 of them would be coming. Well actually Brett came but I think of him as being a member already. But, we are really hopeful to have a lot there this upcoming week!

Oh also Roy's cat had some kittens Saturday and we got to see them on Sunday!
I love you all! I hope you have another fantastic week!
Elder Ryan Carter

"Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. The desires we act on determine our changing, our achieving, and our becoming."
 -Elder Dallin H. Oaks

(no subject)

Wait has it really been another month that I have been out? I can't believe that has been 11 months since I have been out. The months truly just fly by. But it has been another good week here in Buckhannon. Last Monday we got to go fishing and well the picture is all I got... I tried using it as bait to catch some bigger fish but unfortunately was not successful... I guess I am just not meant to be much of a fisher. Sorry Grandpa.
But on Tuesday we got an exciting call. During the afternoon we got a call from the traveling assistants to the president and they told us they were going to be visiting us for a day. So Tuesday night we drove up to Clarksburg and Wednesday we got to spend time with Elder Hansen which was a lot of fun. While he was here we had a long discussion about the new things goings on in the mission to prepare for the new mission president. We talked a lot about faith and how we need to strengthen our faith to become the missionaries and the mission that we are capable of becoming and it was very exciting to be a part of. Wednesday night we went out with Roy to teach Bert and Jessica. Jessica brought her 3 kids with her and all 3 were over the age of 8 and were excited to talk to us. we gave all 3 a Book of Mormon and they seem like great kids!
Then Thursday we had a cool experience. We were walking around talking to people on the streets late at night. When we were about to go home we talked to a guy named Stan. Eventually he started talking to us about his life and his relationship with God and got pretty emotional. He had been drinking and was at the point he was still coherent but just emotional enough to reflect on his life and he said he would love for us to come back so we are excited for him.
On Sunday we had a few investigators come to church but in the middle of church the bishop wanted to talk to us. We went in and he informed us of a 9 year old boy that is getting baptized on Fathers Day. His mother and 2 of his siblings are members and he has been coming to church like his entire life but because of his mothers busy schedule he hasn't been baptized yet. But since he is 9 he will be a convert baptism so we are going out to teach him and he will be getting baptized on Fathers Day. It was quite the miracle. We are very excited for him!
It is amazing to be a part of such an amazing work as a missionary and to see the blessings that come from obedience. But, more importantly, it is amazing to see the changes that happen in others lives as they embrace this gospel and all it has to offer them in there lives and to see the joy that enters their lives. This gospel is true! Jesus Christ lives and has suffered for each of us, and as we embrace that atonement in our lives, we can truly improve ourselves to not just become what we think we are capable of, but what God is able to make of us. As we do that, we will find so much happiness and joy!
I love you all! I hope all is well!
Elder Ryan Carter
Doctrine & Covenants 122:5-9
5 If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils‍ among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;
6 If thou art accused‍ with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thygarments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves‍ for the blood of the lamb;
7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge‍ up the way; and above all, if the very jawsof hell‍ shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
8 The Son of Man‍ hath descended‍ below them all. Art thou greater than he?

On a Roller Coaster Ride

Wow it has been a crazy week of ups and downs. Starting out Monday we had a great lesson with Austin to prepare him for his baptism this week. It went so well and it has been amazing to see the growth in him especially in the last few weeks. He is a typical 11 year old that likes to mess around and has a shorter attention span but he continues to love learning more and more. 

Wednesday we had a Zone Conference and I got to go back to Morgantown! It was really weird to be there and not getting to see everyone. Fortunately we didn't drive through my area or anything otherwise it would have been pretty tempting to stop and see some people. It was one of the best meetings I have been to in a while though! I forgot my notes but it really was awesome to go to. 
Later that night when we got home we went to a baseball game for a kid named Ryan that is in our ward. It was pretty fun to go watch. 
We hadn't been able to get into contact with Chris and Jennifer for a while so we decided to go out to there house to see what was up. It was kinda weird because on our way to there house Chris pulled out in front of us and we followed him for a while. When we got to their house we got out to see how he was doing and how his sons baseball game went (when he pulled out in front of us he was coming from the baseball fields) He was super friendly and we asked to come up for just a few minutes since it was late at night. When we pulled up to the house Chris had already gone inside and sent out Dusty who is living with them. Dusty told us it was a bad night, which was weird since Chris just said it was okay. We asked if we could at least speak with Jennifer for a few minutes, and he said fine but it would have to be short. We found out from Jennifer that Chris didn't want to meet with us anymore and that he didn't want us coming over when we were home. It was a little hard but Jennifer said she still wants to be taught. We have been struggling since then to contact her and she didn't come to church Sunday. We are still hopeful for them though so prayers would be very helpful for her! She has been struggling and we know that coming to church will bless her so we are hoping we can get her out to church this week.

Thursday I went up to Clarksburg for exchanges with Elder Chavez, which was pretty fun. While I was in Clarksburg, Elder Fielding and Elder Hadfield went around visiting some of our investigators and one said she isn't interested in changing religions right now and we found out another one had a stroke and that he probably won't make a full recovery which was pretty sad to here. 

On Saturday we did a lot of service. We helped a member to move in a stove to a house he is building for his son in law and daughter on his property and it was a heavy stove but he had a beautiful property! He has about 25 acres and it is amazing! He has a pond right by his house so we tried to fish for a little bit before we had to leave. When we left we went over to help someone else plant there garden so I can now add that to my list. I am now a gardener. 

Then Sunday to finish of the crazy week Austin got baptized!! It was definitely the best end to how crazy this week has been. 
Thanks everyone for all the help you give to me and for the service you give to others! At this time of year on Memorial Day I encourage all of you to not only remember those servicemen but those that have served you to improve the quality of life you have! I love all of you!
Elder Carter

"There are lives to Brighten. There are hearts to Touch. There are souls to Save." 
-President Thomas S. Monson

Strawberry Festival

​So this week I think either I left West Virginia and went on a foreign mission or maybe the foreign missions came to me. I'm not really sure but I saw a lot of people this week. We had the Strawberry Festival here in Buckhannon and people from apparently all over come for this. I thought it was just going to be people from West Virginia, but there were groups here from Mexico, Bolivia, Canada, New York, Florida, and apparently the parade is supported by a group located in California. It was it pretty cool experience. I wish I could send videos but they take up too much space so these are some pictures I got of it.

Along with the big parade they did on Saturday, they had a parade on Friday that was all fire trucks and police cars, and, well it get really loud. They gave everyone ear plugs because it gets so louds with all of them having their sirens going off.

Other than the parades, I now feel fat from all of the carnival food we had. Some members of our ward took us out to enjoy some carnival food for dinner and we both ate way too much and feel fat now. We also got to help out at the mile run they do for the festival. A member of our ward is the one who puts it on and is in charge of everything so we got to be at the end of the race to figure out all the placing's of everyone which was fun to be a part of.

​The week wasn't all fun at the Strawberry Festival though. We did do some missionary work. On Tuesday we were able to go out and meet with Austin and Derek and they are always great! Austin is getting baptized on Sunday!!!! We are very excited for him! And Derek got the Aaronic Priesthood last week so this week he was able to pass the Sacrament.

On Wednesday we did some more service for Roy! We finally were able to finish building his sons back porch and it turned out pretty well considering Elder Fielding and I have never really built a porch before. We are skilled carpenters now... maybe.
Then on Friday we were able to meet with Chris. We were planning to meet with both Chris and Jennifer but Jennifer was at the Strawberry Festival so we were able to teach just Chris which ended up being a good lesson. I definitely think Chris is going to be a little bit harder to get to come to church and everything but he definitely is a great guy with a lot of potential. We are very excited for Chris and Jennifer though! They were able to quit smoking! And they both were very excited about it so that is always great!

We are so excited for this upcoming week now that we will have people home without the Strawberry Festival and we have Austin's baptism!

Thank you for all of the love and support!
Elder Ryan Carter

"If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing." -Elder Henry B. Eyring