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.
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