Wednesday, August 28, 2013


So it is the end of the first transfer. Transfers happen every six weeks and I definitely didn't think this transfer would come this quickly! I have exciting news though! Elder Williams and I will be staying here in Portsmouth! However, we will also be getting a new companion, Elder Nelson. We know nothing about him but are both very excited! We are also moving tomorrow into a new home which is super exciting!

Monday Aug 19th:
Well I continue to learn that I am somewhat of a decent cook! I mad some Cinnamon Muffins this morning. Okay so it was out of a box but for me I was still proud and they are the best muffins I have ever made! Okay you got me again, the only muffins I have ever made, BUT they actually tasted really good and they didn't kill me or Elder Williams. While I made my muffins, Elder Williams made some cookies so we basically had a bakery going in our apartment. I finally got a much needed hair cut which was nice. Elder Williams did it and was laughing the whole time which scared me and made me think he was messing it up the entire time but it turned out good. 

Tuesday Aug 20th:
We had and amazing zone conference and I learned so much! The one part that stuck out to me most was that "We must do it [God's] way!" If we do it his way we will receive so many blessings and we will receive so much strength in all that we do! if we have faith in him, he will provide! "Faith is Power." 

Wednesday Aug 21st:
I now can say that I know how to trim hedges! You can add that to my list of things I can now do for yard work. We did a bunch of yard work for an older woman who is not a member but has a son who is. She has been investigating for 45 years now and she loves the missionaries and has just starting coming to church for the first time since she started talking to missionaries. 

Thursday Aug 22nd:
Thursdays are usually pretty slow because we have weekly planning but tonight was fun! We had a family home evening with the Sanfords (a family in our ward) and the Taylors (an investigating family). The Sanfords were in charge of it and it was awesome! We had a scripture scavenger hunt at the park which was a lot of fun and the little kids loved it! I was on the winning team!! :)
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Friday Aug 23rd:
Today was a lot of fun! I got to be on an exchange with Elder Labrum who was in my district in the MTC. I found that he and I work really well together and we were able to teach the lessons well together. Since school started we didn't really have any long lessons together but it was still good to get to work with him. We got to see Kristi who was funny like always. she was venting a lot but we were still able to laugh a lot. She told us she loves when we come over because we always improve her day and make her laugh. 
We later saw Rebecca. We asked her if she had been reading the Book of Mormon and she said "Yeah, and I have noticed every day I read I feel way better." She thought it was crazy when I told her that she isn't the only one who tells us that. The Book of Mormon is an amazing book and we see so many miracles that come from reading it! 

Saturday Aug 24th:
Well not too many exciting things happened today. I'm not sure why but I feel like I didn't talk a lot which made the day felt a lot longer than usual. I have studied a lot about families today because I have been asked to give a talk on families and marriage tomorrow

Sunday Aug 25th:
Well I got to church today and was told that I'm no longer giving a talk... I'm glad I was able to prepare it though because it helped me really think about how much I love and appreciate my family! We taught a few people today and both lessons went really well! No cool stories but they were both awesome lessons that I really could feel the spirit during. 
For dinner we went to the Sanfords who are awesome! They have a young family but the way the kids act remind me a lot of my family so it was really fun being with them. The son was awesome! When we got there he went and got his dads missionary tag and dressed up like a missionary the entire time we were there. Inline image 3

Monday Aug 26th/ Tuesday Aug 27th:
"A Little Better Day By Day"
"Do not expect to become perfect at once. If you do, you will be dissapointed. Be better today than you were yesterday, and be better tomorrow than you are today." - President Lorenzo Snow
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:48

I often ask myself "What can I do to be better?" and "What can I remove from my days to improve?" I was able to work with Elder Labrum again in Russell, Kentucky. I realized how grateful I am for the amount of work we have in Portsmouth and for the work ethic I have learned working in Portsmoth with Elder Williams. It takes a lot of work to find success, but the amount of work it takes is worth it. We then learned on Tuesday in district meeting a lot about faith. I was praying to find how I could improve in my missionary work and I received an answer. In our district meeting we discussed "What is the price we have to pay and the currency we have to pay in order to improve ourselves and our mission?" The currency is that we have to have our will in line with the Fathers will like we find in Alma 22: 15-18. The price all depends on our desires. This not only applies to missionaries but to everyone. We must be willing to sacrifice a part of ourselves if we want to improve and have success. There are a lot of things we don't want to give up but if we are willing to sacrifice, we will improve leaps and bounds if we ask for the Lord to help us. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Probably the best week yet!

Oh man it has been a great week!!! This work just keeps getting better and better and I keep learning more and more every day!!

Monday Aug 12:
We had Zone P Day down in Huntington West Virginia which was a ton of fun! Basically we got like as many people from our zone together and had a BBQ and played games and stuff at a park! 
After that I had my first companion exchange. Elder Fehlberg, one of the zone leaders. Came back to Portsmouth with me. We didn't really do much today but it was a fun day. Kinda scary though, it was my first time without Elder Williams so I was in charge of Portsmouth. 

Tuesday Aug 13:
It was a great experience to work with Elder Fehlberg! We didn't get to do a lot of work together but I learned so much from him, and about myself since I had to take the lead of the area since he had never been there. I had to lead all the lessons which made me realize I know a lot more than I thought I do, and just need to open my mouth and get over any fear I have. The best thing Elder Fehlberg taught me was to not take myself too seriously! This work is so important but we can't be robots! It is supposed to be fun! I have already been having fun but since he came I have had so much more fun just trying to make people smile and laugh. There is a time to be serious and sincere but there is also a time to have fun and become friends with our investigators.

Wednesday Aug 14:
What did I do today? I made people feel GUILT!! That sounds bad but as missionaries when that happens we are able to help so much. As we teach the power of repentance and the Atonement our investigators find so much peace in their lives and so much joy! 
The reason I said I made someone feel guilt is because tonight we met with Bridgette and Kristi. The lesson we had was so spiritual! Kristi is overcoming a lot of trials mentally and physically right now, and always is feeling guilty. I shared with her Alma 36: 5-21 which is the story of Alma the Younger and his conversion through repenting. She cried at several points as I was sharing this story with her. Since then she has already begun to change so much and become so much happier. She wants to change and she wants to become better and through repentance she can!

Thursday Aug 15:
Well today we had a weird but awesome experience. We were driving by Bridgette and Kristi's house, who usually aren't home, but we decided to stop to say hi. As soon as we parked the car we got a text from Kristi. She had a question but instead of replying we knocked on her door. How's that for a quick response, we all got a pretty good laugh out of it, and we ended up having a pretty good short lesson from it. 

Friday Aug 16: 
I got to drive today!!! We have a Chevrolet Colorado and I've decided trucks are awesome! But anyways just thought I would share that. Today has been great! Early in the afternoon we were able to meet with Bailey. The lesson didn't feel very long but it was probably close to an hour. We taught her about baptism and at the end asked her about baptism. Her response was awesome! She said "I can't this Sunday, but maybe next Sunday." It was great to see her excitement. We had to explain to her that there are some things we have to teach her and she has to do before she can be baptized. She is awesome! (I've come to the realization that I say that a lot. It is true though, all of our investigators are awesome.)
Tonight we had another exchange. Elder Wright is now in Portsmouth with me. I am very scared because both of us are new missionaries. He came out the same day as me and the area he is in hasn't been super successful and he seems pretty shy.

Also: Alma 32 is awesome! Elder Williams and I discussed only half of the chapter for an hour and a half and could have talked longer if we had more time. We have discussed it many times since then but we decided that verse 21-43 is the 16 steps to Eternal Life!

Saturday Aug 17:
Oh man today was AWESOME!!! Elder Wright and I had such an amazing day! We had 7 lessons today which for me happens a lot, but that is about how many he gets in a week sometimes. We met with some of our best investigators and we both really enjoyed it! He didn't say a whole lot during the day but when I asked him what he thought he was all smiles. By the end of the day he was asking how the day went by so fast because his area never goes fast, he said. 
I had two favorite parts! The first was with Kristi. Since we taught her repentance she has already changed so much and keeps telling me she is already feeling so much happier! At the end of the lesson we had with her we set up a plan to help her quit smoking and then... WE SET HER ON DATE!!! I have never done this before and it has always been Elder Williams who does it! When I left I was so happy! She is so awesome and I'm so excited for her. 
The other awesome experience was crazy! We were teaching an 85 year old woman and gave her a Book of Mormon. She has to wear glasses to read but she told us she couldn't see the words because they were blurry. When she took them off she said she could see the words clearly! I then asked her how she felt. She said she felt like someone had wrapped their arms around her and gave her a big hug and she felt warm inside and peace. I know that the Book of Mormon is true! It does so many amazing things!!

Sunday Aug 18:
We got an investigator to church!! It was so awesome to get them there and they said they loved it and they were so happy! It made church such an awesome experience!
After church we went to the hospital to give someone a blessing. It was a great opportunity but ended up being really hard for me. The last time I was in a hospital like that was for my grandpa, and before that it was for me. I don't know why but I was overwhelmed with so many thoughts and emotions which made the experience not quite as enjoyable. Looking back I am so grateful for the knowledge I have that I can see my grandpa again after this life and I am so grateful for the health I have and quick recovery I had. 

God has a plan for all of us! He loves each one of us and wants us to all be happy! We have trials in our lives but we must find a way to see the blessings that come from enduring them! If we can do that we will only be happier in this life!

I love you all! Thank you for all that you do for me!
Elder Ryan Carter

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Week 4!!! It has almost been a month in the field!

Well unfortunately I don't have a lot of time to email this week so I won't be sending any individual emails this week. We are going to Zone P-day today in Huntington so we are in a hurry to do everything this morning so we can go.

Monday Aug 5:
Not much happened today. It was just another regular Monday. It was relaxing and I always look forward to Mondays because we get to talk to everyone and just relax most of the day.

Tuesday Aug 6:
Wow! It has already been 10 months since the accident. That makes it seem like forever ago but it does not feel like it was that long ago! Today we basically did service all day. We are moving at the end of the month into a members rental home so we went and helped them fix up the home. We basically painted all morning so I got pretty good at that. After that we helped an investigator move into her new home down the street. She has a daughter that is 20 that was in a bicycle accident and now has the capacity of about a 6 month old. It is crazy to think that I could have been just like that and how blessed I am to still be able to do all that I am able to. 
For dinner my companion and I made salmon and rice. Basically we are professional chefs now, and it was delicious so go us. Who knew I could cook?!

Elder Williams then made some blueberry muffins and we went around the rest of the night talking to investigators and giving them muffins which was fun. 

Wednesday Aug 7:
Today we taught Joey with Josh O'Connor, a member of our ward. He is 20 so it is fun to have him come out with us for splits. We talked to Joey about the restoration again and about repentance and baptism. We now just need to get him to church because he is doing well at progressing.
After Joey was interesting. We taught Brandon, Rosy and Evalinda. Their apartment is always super hot and they have like 6 cats so it doesn't smell good. They have a strong desire to learn about our church and be baptized, but we have a lot to teach them. Oh but it was interesting because Evalinda, who is 47 or something, started to compliment me before we left and started talking about how she is looking for a pure young man in her life... it was awkward, but she did the same thing to Elder Williams. I just smiled, said thanks, and then we left. 

Thursday Aug 8:
Next week when I have more time I will have to teach you all a little bit about repentance because since getting on my mission I now love that subject and love teaching it. We had zone and district meeting today and I got to teach a short lesson on repentance and then later got to teach it to Nora which was awesome! She now picks two things every morning that she is going to work on improving or getting rid of in her life. She is AWESOME!!!! You all are probably tired of me telling you she is awesome all the time but she really is!

Friday Aug 9:
Well a lot happened today but I will share a short experience with you. Today we got a referral from, which we get in a text. It was awesome because we were on the street of the referral when we got it and we were looking for somebody to teach when it happened. It was so cool. She is awesome and so ready to hear the gospel. She has been searching for a while now to find the truth and is just waiting for her heart to tell her which church is right for her.

Saturday Aug 10:
Well I have an awesome experience from today from and AWESOME investigator. Guess who it is. You probably were right. It is Nora! She told us she has been praying a lot lately for her husband, who is in jail, to think of all the good times they have been through because he has been complaining a lot lately. She was about to send him a letter to do this but she then got a letter that answered her prayer directly. Everything she wanted him to do he did. He wrote a 4 page letter about looking back to when they met and all the good times they have had and all that he appreciates about her. Prayers really are answered if we just do the simple things we are asked to do and have faith. If we do what we are asked we will receive so many blessings!

Sunday Aug 11:
Yesterday there are two things that I realized. The first happened because we went to a priesthood preview meeting for a youth in our ward that just turned 12. As I sat there I realized the power of the priesthood that I have and all it can do to bless others lives. The priesthood I have is the same priesthood that Jesus Christ had and has the same power as his I do all I can to be righteous and follow his commandments. 
I also realized how grateful I am to have a father. Very few kids out here have both parents and even those that do a lot of the time don't have a great influence. I am so grateful for the example my father has been to me for my entire life and for both parents I have that have taught me all I know and helped me grow into who I am today. I couldn't even begin to understand how hard it would be to grow up without them and I admire those that have done this.

I love you all and miss you!

I hope everyone is doing well back home!

Elder Ryan Carter

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I Love Portsmouth Ohio!

Monday July 29th:
Today was much needed! Best P-Day yet! Last week was so stressful and I needed a break! We both took naps because we were so tired and it felt so good! Today Glen told us he doesn't want to meet with us and just wants to investigate on his own... This was good and bad. We want are investigators to be self-reliant but it was still hard to deal with because he was our top investigator at the time. But as we walked out the door a lady called for us and asked who we were. She asked if "we had any literature for her to read." Well of course we do! We gave her a Book of Mormon and she seemed anxious to read! How Awesome!!

Tuesday July 30th:
In the morning we taught Nora! We taught her about the Word of Wisdom and as we were teaching she said she was making a plan to quit smoking! She is so awesome! We then went to teach Alex Scott and her best friend Blake was with her. She told us she didn't really want to continue because she was happy with were she was with religion right now and we were confusing her. This was a lot harder then Glen because prior to this she was always so excited to learn and had so many great questions! She said she still wants to see us though so we will see what happens. 

Wednesday July 31st:
Well today we spent 4 or 5 hours helping Brother Moore with yard work. I'm basically a professional weed whacker now because that is all I did the entire time. They fed us blueberry pancakes and fried rice which were both delicious!!! 
Some awesome things happened at night! One was I met a new investigator and her name is... Bailey! How cool is that. She thought it was cool I had a sister named Bailey. She seemed interested in reading the Book of Mormon so hopefully it all goes well with her. We still need to meet up with her again! We also set an investigator on date! It was our first time meeting with him! His name is Joey and we met him walking to his house last week. He kept saying how powerful our message was and that he wants to be baptized as soon as he is able. We just have to keep teaching him and get him to church.

Thursday August 1st:
So I found out I can cook today! I made salmon for Elder Williams and he said it was good! We didn't have anything to put on it so I didn't have any. But for my first time I would say GO ME!!! 
We had a pretty slow start to our day but it was still good. We taught Nora and Savannah the first half of the Plan of Salvation and they seemed pretty interested which was awesome! The rest of the day we basically saw a few people then helped a less active family move. It was good to be able to help and was pretty enjoyable, expect helping carry in the fridge.

Friday August 2nd:
Today we were teaching some new investigators! They said they only had like 20 or 30 minutes and we ended up talking for an hour and a half because they were so interested and the time just flew by. Eventually we kind of split into two lessons and I was on my own which was scary but was awesome! She kept telling me how she was feeling goosebumps and when I told her what they were she already knew it was the Holy Ghost! How awesome! She kept asking "Why do more people not know about the Book of Mormon." She is so ready to learn and wants to learn so much!

Saturday August 3rd:
I have been out for a month already! Wow that is Crazy!!!
Well today was the slowest day we have had since being on my mission. Neither of us had any energy pretty much all day long so it was rally rough. This was my first day with about nobody to teach and it made me realize how blessed I am to have so many investigators to teach! This are is so awesome and so prepared for us! 

Sunday August 4th:
We didn't have any investigators at church today again but today was much better than last week. Fast and Testimony meeting was awesome! We had so many people visiting at church today and it was awesome to see so many people in our ward. We taught a lesson on the importance of work. I liked two quotes that I will leave with you all to think about. The first was "Our Heavenly Father remembers the families in these situations [chronic illness, loss of spouse, injuries, etc.] and gives them strength to carry out their duties. He will always bless them if they ask Him in faith." 
The other quote was "'Doing nothing is the hardest work of all, because one can never stop to rest.' Without work, rest and relaxation have no meaning." We must always remember to be working. There is a time for rest and recreation but we must always be learning and growing. 

God works in mysterious ways.
He loves all of us more than we can comprehend!
The Church is SO True

Love you all!

Elder Ryan Carter

Week 2, It is my half birthday!!!!

First off I would just like to say to all of you who have written me it is so great to here from all of you! I love you all so much and it makes my days so great when I get to read them! Unfortunately I only have an hour to send emails. If I could I would sit here all day to talk to all of you but just know that you all are awesome!!

Monday July 22;
It was a pretty relaxing day and much needed! Not a ton happened. We only visited two investigators and had dinner with a member. Nothing too exciting but it was a much needed day!

Tuesday July 23;
I would say today was my first 9 hour day! We left at noon and didn't get home until 9. I don't remember if I have talked about Nora and Savannah but they are awesome!!!! Savannah is 13 and they both love the Book of Mormon. When I first met this family there was so much fighting all the time. I always heard about fights. Now, this family has completely changed. They are always so happy and it is so fun to talk with them and teach them. I thought I would never be able to love this family but they are probably my favorite family to teach right now. They always have such good stories to tell about reading their scriptures and they are just awesome!
The Bishop in my ward is from Oregon!! He is from Albany and his wife is from St. Helens and they went to OSU. He totally knows where Sunset is which is awesome! He is such a great man!

Wednesday July 24;
Today I met Alex Scott. She is 16 and is basically sooo awesome! She is probably the happiest person we teach and I feel like she has to get along with everybody! She is fun to teach and to talk to and she asks so many awesome questions when we teach her! She asks more questions than anybody but they are all so awesome and help us teach her so much. We had dinner at the Leedom's tonight and we go there every Wednesday. It is so funny, they are members but don't go to church even though they have amazing testimonies of the gospel. They live the gospel they just don't like going to church because of the people. I am finding out that a little bit ago the ward here had some people that must have ran people away or something because there are so many people who know this church is true but they don't go to church because of the people. It is so sad to see but they love me and Elder Williams and can see that there has been a change so hopefully we can get everyone back to church. 
Tonight we picked up Elder Maxwell for and exchange. He is the traveling assistant and will be working with Elder Williams and I for the next 2 days.

Thursday July 25;
It has been so awesome having Elder Maxwell here! He has been out on his mission 23 months so he only has a month left. He is such an amazing missionary and I have learned so much from him already from just watching him teach people. It is such and honor to have got to serve with him.
We talked about sin and repentance a lot today because Elder Maxwell just loves to talk about it and teach it. He said that sin is just a result of being selfish. I have never thought about it but it is so true. Every sin we ever commit is an act of being selfish and wanting to please ourselves at the moment. He then said if he could only teach one thing on his mission it would be repentance. If we think about the true meaning of repentance, everything in our church has to do with it. Often, I think of repentance as just asking for forgiveness but it is much more than that. Repentance is the act of turning your heart to God, and making changes to do that. Forgiveness is part of it, but something as simple as praying daily after not praying for a while is repenting because it brings us closer to God.

Friday July 26;
Today was an awesome day!! We had to get up at 6am after going to bed late because we had district meeting! We got to interview with President Pitt which is always an awesome experience. Just from talking with him I know that he expects great things from me and from the area I'm serving right now! This only made me realize how much potential I have and the faith he has in me which made me feel so good. 
After our meeting we went to Hill Billy Hot Dogs. It is in Huntington, West Virginia. The restaurant reminded a lot of Portland because of how weird it was. They had a bathtub and an outhouse in the store that you could sit and eat at. I will try to send pictures of it. 
Tonight was probably the best overall and most relaxing night so far. Everything just seemed to flow and work out perfectly. Elder Maxwell, Williams, and I all said that the night just felt different. We don't know what had changed but it just was so peaceful the entire night as we taught everyone.

Saturday July 27;
Today was probably the best day so far on my mission! In the morning we helped Betty, the 80 year old women, with her yard. We had taken all the rocks from her yard so there were a bunch of holes and we had finally found dirt to fill them. She was so grateful and people had finally come to fix her roof. I met someone named Mike Charles, and the name is ironic because he reminded me a lot of dad. Not in looks but he ran a very similar business and just seemed to think similarly. It was so nice to talk with him. 
Tonight we were at Wendy's. We were looking for someone who worked there who we had met and we thought she would be interested in us teaching her. She was not there though but we were there at that point for a reason. A lady named Amy needed food and we were able to help her. It was a little ridiculous how much she got but I'm so glad we were able to help her because it seemed to make her day. We then met Roger who was behind us in line. Roger has been living on the streets for 7 months now and has been trying to get into rehab the last 4 months for a heroine addiction. He has 3 kids that he doesn't see because of his addiction and he wants nothing more than to get over his addiction. We offered him help and he said he would go to church with us Sunday but we still haven't heard from him and I hope that at some point we either can call him or find him again because I don't know how yet but I want to help him. We found him for a reason and I know that we can help him some how.

Sunday July 28;
Today was so hard! I thought we would have like 10 investigators at church today and nobody came and we still are not sure why. I was already tired and it kind of ruined my morning when none of them showed up. I later remembered though that many of them have many issues and many don't have cars and the rides they had may have fallen through. As hard as it was to have nobody there I hope that we can continue to help them and next week they will be at church.
We had two dinners tonight which was awesome! One was with an investigator and the other was with Sister Duplain and her grand kids. Both of them were so much fun because there were kids at both of them and it cheered me up so much. I must say thought that I miss my mothers cooking! The food out here is great but it just isn't as good. It wasn't a great day but if this was the worst day of my mission I would be pretty happy! I learned a lot today though and hope that what I learned will help me in the future.

Thank you again to everyone for the love and support! I could not do this without all of the love and prayers! You are all so awesome!!
Elder Ryan Carter

Thursday, August 1, 2013

I'm in the field!

I am on my mission!!! I can't believe I am already out here! I am not actually in West Virginia though... I am in Portsmouth, Ohio, which is right on the boarder of Ohio and Kentucky. 
You can contact anyone in my family for my current mailing address.

This may change at some point in the next 3 months I am in this area because we may move into a members rental home because we are supposed to get more elders in the area next transfer and will need more space. I will keep you updated as I know more.

It was so nice to have 3 suitcases to travel too by the way, mom, because I didn't have to stress about my bags being overweight like a lot of people who left with me. There were 31 people who came out to the mission with me!! Crazy!!

Quick note. If any of you plan on sending anything in a jar, either rap it up with a lot of padding or please send something else. My mom sent me some jam and the jar broke and it got jam all over everything else in the package so the rest of the food in there had to be thrown away. I was able to wash the clothes in the package but it was not fun to deal with.

Wednesday July 10- Tuesday July 16:
Not a whole lot happened throughout the rest of the MTC. It was a lot of the same thing every day. However, I was able to help give a lot of people in my district priesthood blessings which really changed me and strengthened my testimony. My companion was awesome! It started out rough but he turned out to be amazing! Zachary Baird's family is awesome! They sent me a package full of treats! 

Tuesday July 16:
I got to West Virginia!!! It was so nice to be able to call my family at the airport! I wish that Caden could have been there or I would have had more time to call him. It was so nice to have a little time though to call them and have a conversation with them! President and Sister Pitt are amazing people! I already love them so much! We stayed in the mission home and we had such a good meal! It was so great to actually eat a home cooked meal after all that cafeteria food in the MTC.

Wednesday July 17:
It was a pretty slow day. We had about 8 hours of training and talking about our mission. I didn't realize that Marshall University is in my mission. If any of you haven't seen "We Are Marshall" you should watch, especially Caden. It is a great movie!

Thursday July 18:
Today I went out into the field!!! As I said, I was asked to serve in the Portsmouth, OH area. Sister Call, who was in my district at the MTC, is in the same area so we will be seeing each other a lot. The first actual lesson I taught today was to Shane, Rhonda, and Caleb. Rhonda is a less-active member. You won't ever guess what happened though! We got a baptismal commitment! My first night in the field and we already have somebody scheduled to be baptized!!! I didn't get to ask though but it was still awesome!!
My companions name is Elder Williams! He is soooo awesome! I have already learned so much for him and he keeps telling me how great I am. I didn't realize how prepared I was but still have so much improvement that I can make. He is 26 (He served in the marines for 7 years) and is pretty short which is funny. We get along so well though and, well he is awesome.

Friday July 19:
I don't know what it is, but after exercise this morning I threw up. Maybe has to do with being nervous or tired but oh well it wasn't too bad. This morning was long though because we set up the new area for the sisters. We talked about it for about 2 hours. However, as we were talking, we kept talking about how quickly this area is growing. Apparently this is the leading area in the mission!!! How awesome is that! My first area and we are already leading the mission. The work has been super busy! Tonight I met Betty, an 80 year old widow who has lost about 5 members of her family, and her dog, all in the last year. The only person she has left is her son who doesn't come over a lot. She also doesn't have any friends. We told her we would be her friends and she just laughed. She is so funny and loves to talk. After Betty we talked to a few people but then we talked to Nora Thomas, her daughter Savannah, and Savannah's friend Katie. We taught them a lesson and at the end I, as in yes myself, asked all 3 of them to be baptized and they all said yes. They are planning to be baptized on September 17th. AHHHHH so exciting!! It has been 2 days and already 5 people have committed to baptism. This area is awesome!!
It is crazy how many people smoke here though. I swear all of are investigators houses smell like smoke but the more I get to know them the more I don't smell it and I realize how awesome they are! It will take some getting used to though.

Saturday July 20:
This morning didn't go much better. I threw up again but not as much and it wasn't as bad. At noon, we helped Faye Lane, and investigator, to move into her new apartment. Her family and friends thought we were crazy for helping them move in our church clothes but that's what the missionary life is. It was hot but well worth it. They said they have a big turkey they are going to cook for us soon since we helped them out so much. It was awesome though because Faye's dad, Darrel, is an in-active member of the church. He left because some people didn't help him and gave him a bad image of the church so he left. Elder Williams and I were able to, I think, help change that image and he was super friendly to us. Hopefully we can get him back to church.
We went to Betty's house again after dinner with Rhonda, Caleb and Shane, which was delicious. We had a BBQ and it was really good. But, at Betty's we helped clear bricks out of her backyard that she needed to get rid of. They are still in the back of our truck but it was great to help her. We then talked in her backyard for a while and she didn't understand why we couldn't go in her house but we promised we would come back with some friends so we could go in with her some time so she could show us her pictures. Guess what else, she is coming to church. I don't think she is super interested in the church aspect but she wanted to meet people and feel peace and we told her she could find that if she came to church with us.

Sunday July 21:
Betty is so funny. She kept telling us she was worried to go to church because everyone would know she was catholic. We assured her that people wouldn't know, and even if they did they wouldn't care, so she came. It was so funny how many questions she asked at church, especially during sacrament meeting. Anyone that could hear her, which was a lot of people, laughed at what she said because she is so funny. I think she was able to find some friends which is awesome!! I believe she is planning to go to a church activity on Wednesday with the relief society! 
During church I was asked to share a quick testimony which I didn't know about until right before church. It was easy though, talking for like 5 minutes is so short now and actually harder to do. It was great to be able to introduce myself though. It is a small ward of about 100 people. There were only 69 people there Sunday is what I heard. It is crazy  because some people think that is a big ward but for me it is small. During Sunday School, Elder Williams and I taught a lesson to all the investigators and recent converts in the ward with the help of Sister Call and Sister Richards, who are in the same ward as us. We are hoping to eventually turn the ward into a Stake with the progress that is being made in the area. 
Later that night we went and talked with Glen Fagan, who is planning on getting baptized on August 3rd. He is an awesome guy but is really struggling financially and with his health right now. Hopefully he is able to get through it and will be blessed for being baptized.

As Elder Williams always says "This Church is SO TRUE!!!"

I love you all. I hope you are all doing well. I'm glad to hear the family is doing so well.


Elder Ryan Carter

Dear Family,

I have heard from Nick.  I saw him right before I read your letter.  He just got his Visa but said it is getting to hard and said he is going home tomorrow or Saturday.  I told him I loved him and I respect him so much for all he has done trying to stick it out.  I can't imagine how hard it must be for him.  He said he hopes to be able to come back if he can figure it out but if he can't he will do a service mission at home  like Christian.  He is such an amazing person and I feel so bad but know he will be happier at home, for now.

Last night I had an amazing experience.  Although he wasn't fully converted, I feel like my companion was able to be truly converted to the gospel.  I don't want to get to into detail but basically he was considering going home.  He has struggled for many years to feel the spirit.  He isn't very open so him admitting this was special.  Unfortunately, he was unsure about God.  He blamed God for many things, specifically his sisters death.  She was the one person he could talk to  and he felt like God took her from him.  We talked for two hours along with Elder Staveley and Elder Payne.  I can't take much credit because Elder Payne is the one who understands his situation completely while I could barely relate.  Eventually, we gave him a blessing.  Elder Payne gave it to him.  The spirit was so strong and bore testimony to me this work is important and the church is true.  Elder Staveley and I said if he didn't feel the spirit we were coming home.  Fortunately we are staying!  Today there was such a difference in Elder Lane. He has been so happy and after meeting with an investigator he said that he felt the spirit so strongly!  I was so happy for him!  This church is true!  I know it with all my heart!  The power of prayer and priesthood blesses lives!  God loves every single one of his children!

I LOVE AND MISS YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!  I hope everything is as well at home as it is here.
Elder Ryan Carter

1st week in the MTC

The first day was pretty overwhelming and we jumped right into learning when I got there. There wasn't a whole lot of time to think about the fact I was beginning my mission. This was probably a good thing because I didn't have a lot of time to think about leaving so I wasn't super sad. I was assigned to be the district leader on my first day. I knew I would be though as soon as they said they would be assigning people the first day. I have an awesome district that makes my job easy though. My entire district is going to the same mission as me which is awesome! I obviously saw Nick since we came in together, but I also saw Sister Crystal Gardner, and Elder Spncer Call, my fall roommate. I also saw Elder Cam Christensen, a friend from BYU that I met the last few weeks of winter term, and he lives in my building.

Thursday morning was rough. Gym started at 6:25 in the morning. The combonation of lack of sleep, dehydration, and just having it be my first full day, made gym hard. Afterword I felt pretty sick from working to hard, which has happened before. When I got back to my residence hall I threw up which helped me feel better but I still felt pretty sick. I ending up falling asleep in a big group thing but after I felt better which was helpful. I finally saw Brayden which was awesome! I gave him a big hug. I also saw Nick again and also Sister McKenna Tracy, a friend from BYU. It was great seeing all of them. We all had a conversation while we watched the fireworks, or at least tried to. We watched a movie, 17 miracles, as celebration for the 4th of July. It is a great movie on the pioneers. It was hard watching the fireworks because I knew you were watching the same ones as me, but I was with friends which made it easier.

It rained a lot on Friday which made me feel a little closer to home. I saw Brayden while it was raining so we shared a little moment together like we were at home. I got a letter from Mom with all her questions. My companions name is Elder Lane. He is from Colorado Springs, but has moved all over because of military. We are pretty different but have found ways to get along even though we don't have a lot of similarities. My entire distric of 11 people is goinig to West Virginia. The 2 other elder in my dorm are awesome and always give me a good laugh. It is weird though because I am the oldest elder in my district. Only one other has been to college so it is sometimes rough for some of them to be away from home because they never have been before. Elder Staveley, one of my roommates, was feeling a little homesick and said a prayer. Later that day he got a letter from his mom which made him very happy. Prayers are answered.
We have 4 teachers. Brother Makahilahila, Brother Smith, Brother Hoffman, and Sister KaHawaii.
I have to get letters since I'm the district leader which is kind of hard because the lock is weird, but I'm getting the hang of it.

It has been 9 months since the accident!!!! WOWWWWW!!!!!
Today we taught our first "investigator." It was just our teacher role playing as a friend of his. His friends name is Ryan and is from Oregon which was weird, for a second I thought how do you know all this about me. But anyways, the spirit was so strong while we taught him, even though it was just a role play. At this point I have received 5 letter and 2 packages while others have received none so I feel bad and wish I could help. Keep sending them though, it makes my days way better and makes  being away easier.
Also, we got our departure plans today!! We are scheduled to leave the MTC July 16th, at 3:30 am. Our flight leaves Salt Lake at 7:30am and we have an hour layover in Michigan around 11am. That would probably be around like 8 or 9 in Oregon so I will try to call home then. Just be home and ready around that time. Every time I call it wastes minutes off the calling card. If it is random number just answer.

I'm finally getting used to the schedule. I didn't fall asleep at all today which is saying a lot. We had mission conference in the morning, where the MTC President, President Nally, talked to us about all the new technology we will be getting which got me excited. Later we had testimony meeting in our zone and the spirit was so strong. During the meeting Elder Johnson, our zone leader, said a great quote about missionary work. He said "The mission isn't the best 2 years of your life, but the best 2 years for your life." What a great statement that made me so excited.
I finally saw Trevor which was great!! I also saw Kaeley Darby, another friend from BYU. I saw Brayden and Crystal again.

I am so glad I went to college before my mission! It makes it so much easier to be here and way less stressful to be away from home. I feel bad my companion was very sad today. I don't know why but at one point he was with a teacher out of the room so our district said a prayer for him. Later he got happier but it was a hard time. He has a different sense of humor than most of us which makes it hard but we are trying very hard to include him and help him fit in. My testimony of prayer has grown a lot especially when praying for investigators and others in my district. Everything continues to get easier and I learn and grow every day so much.
Tonight was hilarious. Elder Staveley is a funny character. He stubbed his toy then tried jumping over me. He is only like 5 foot 6, and by the end our entire floor was outside laughing on the floor.

What a great day! Even though it was not a real investigator, WE GOT A BAPTISIMAL COMMITMENT!!!! WOOOHOOO!!! It felt so great and both my companion and I were so happy. I have never seen him happier. The spirit was so strong. Later we met with an actual investigator which didn't go as well but we learned a lot from it and are meeting with him again on Thursday.
The devotional tonight was awesome especially our discussion with our district and branch president after! President Richards is an amazing man! I saw Trevor again and we had a great conversation on our way back from the Marriot Center. I also saw Kiley's roommate from winter term but can't remember her name right now.
Well that is kind of my week summarized a little bit. I have learned and grown so much. This work is amazing and I can't wait to be in the field. I'm not ready yet but am so excited to be out there.
Keep sending letters and emails. They help so much.

I  love and miss you all!!!
Love Elder Ryan Carter

Wow I can't believe I have already been here for a week! Everything is going great! My companion is from Colorado Springs most recently but his dad is in the military so has moved a lot in his life. The first day we were here he said that it is sometimes hard for him to talk but the longer we have been here the more he wants to talk! It is awesome! I hope you read my letter but if not I was chosen to be the district leader. It has been such a responsibility because whenever anything goes wrong I have to take care of it especially in the classroom. The exciting part is that I am in a district where everyone is going to Charleston West Virginia. It is awesome because all of us are able to talk about how excited we are to get there. As a district we set a goal that by the end of our mission we can have a temple in West Virginia. The goal is a little bit of a stretch but it is something we all want! I hope and pray that if we don't have one by the time we leave, that there will either be an announcement for one, or it will be in the process of being built.
I will be sending another letter with more information about everything this week but I have learned and grow so much! My testimony has only gotten stronger! Especially of the power of prayer. I didn't think it could get much stronger but it definitely has. The Church is true, along with all of its teaching.
Love Elder Ryan Carter

July 5, 2013

Dear Family,

The first two days have been long and hard but I am learning so much, already.  It has helped me so much to be able to see so many familiar faces from school.  It has made being away much easier.  My companion and I are so different but are doing well.  He says he doesn't like to talk much so we will see how that goes once we start teaching.

I have never been so tired and it is very hard to stay awake throughout all the activities in the day but hopefully once I get more accustomed to the schedule it will become easier.  Because I've been so tired I threw up yesterday after gym.  Not a fun time because I was feeling sick all morning which made the day very hard.  I said lots of prayers to help me get through it and eventually I did.

The fourth of July was fun!  We had a few festivities last night that was a great break from all the business of missionary life.  I hope you all enjoyed the fireworks as much as I did.

I love you all very much!  I hope you all are doing well even though I'm gone.  As hard as it is, there is so much work to be done.

Love you,
Elder Ryan Carter