Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Oct 21st:
So today we had to run to the hospital to give someone a blessing. It is a 17 year old girl who has cancer that only adults have. As far as I've heard she is the only kid in the world with it so it is pretty crazy. It is amazing to see her outlook on life though and how positive she is. We have had a few conversations about our hospital experiences and how "fun" they are. It is crazy how many blessings I have given. I knew I would be giving them but I didn't realize how often it would be happening. It has definitely been really cool for me though.

Tuesday Oct 22nd:
So we were able to see Julia today which was good! She almost went back to New York on Saturday because of family issues but she said she stayed because she is not leaving before she gets baptized. She is so much more prepared than we realized and it is so cool to see. Now we just have to keep teaching her and helping her learn more and more.

Wednesday Oct 23rd:
So today we taught Jason and Jamie and Jason asked if we could study forgiveness in the Book of Mormon. (We have been going over and studying topics out of the index in the Book of Mormon and then discussing the verses that stick out to them.) We ended up talking about the parable Jesus give in the Bible in Matthew 18:21-22 
" 21 ¶Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I aforgive him? till seven times?
 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until aseventy times seven."
We also talked about how when Jesus was on the cross how he forgave the Roman soldiers and said "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
Both of these are such great examples of how we must forgive others even when it is difficult to do so. We must follow the example of Jesus Christ and always work to become more like him.

Thursday Oct 24th:
So funny story for today! We got a media referral that was in Lucasville and we are supposed to try and contact them within 24 hours of receiving them. Our plans had fallen through and so we decided to go out and try and contact the refferal. Well we were driving out there and then all of a sudden we see a sign that says "Welcom to Pike County" and we just turned and were like "Oh shoot! We just left the mission!" Not only did we leave our area but our entire mission... haha We turned around and called our zone leaders and the only thing they said was "Don't crash, and hurry and get back in your area" It was a pretty crazy experience. Guess I'm not very obedient....

Friday Oct 25th:
Well today I got to serve with Elder Morgan in Portsmouth. It was a really fun day and we were able to get a lot of things done! The craziest part though was at night we started talking and he was telling me all that I need to start doing to prepare to be a leader soon. It was kinda crazy but somewhat expected too. Everyone keeps telling me I need to be an example even though I'm new. It is kind of scary but definitely something that keeps me motivated. 

Saturday Oct 26th:
So I don't think I have ever done yard work in October until today. Today we mowed and weed wacked and moved some rocks for somebody that was friends with a member in our ward. I must say I'm becoming quite the pro at yard work. 

Sunday Oct 27th:
We were able to get Bryce to church today which was awesome!! His grandma is a member and didn't know he was coming so it was really cool to see her reaction to him being there. And one of the members that has known Bryce for a long time said "I don't know what you are doing but keep it up." It has been cool to see the change in Bryce but even cooler to see how much other people are recognizing it. A lot of people thought he would never really change or join the church but he is improving leaps and bounds every day. It is so cool to be a part of!

Well that is pretty much it for my week! I love you all!
Elder Ryan Carter

"You must become the rock the river cannot wash away."

This is an old picture that I finally got. This is Elder Williams and I with Bridgett and her son Jojo
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So this week has probably been one of the least busy of my mission but it has been a great week regardless and it is crazy how much I continue to learn each day!

Tuesday Oct 15th:
I don't know how P-days were so busy in the past. We always seemed to be running around like chickens with our heads cut off  trying to do everything but today we had 3 hours to just sit around and relax. Nothing to exciting but it was definitely a good day.

Wednesday Oct 16th:
Well today was an interesting day. Last night I aked Elder Hudson if he had ever had a day where he was able to keep all the plans they had made for a day. Well I learned to never ask that again because today nothing we planned happened the way we hoped. I have never felt like there was nothing to do until today because we tried so many things and none of it worked out. However, we had one plan that worked out with Julia, and we were able to set her on date for baptism. Hopefully, it works out this time and she doesn't get scared like last time. 

Thursday Oct 17th:
Today was weekly planning day and we didn't end up leaving the house until 6 because we had a lot to plan since we just finished our first full week and he now knows the people we are teaching. Tonight we had a cool experience though. So I always carry consecrated oil with me because I never know when I'm going to have to give a blessing but since we left late I almsot didn't bring it but for some reason I decided to grab it anywys. At 8 we got a text from Kyle saying that Jacee was in the hospital and needed a blessing because something was wrong with her apendix. We were able to be there within 5 minutes and if I hadn't been prepared we wouldn't have been there as quickly.

Friday Oct 18th:
This morning Kyle texted us to tell us how Jacee was doing. The doctors said she is one of the luckiest people they have ever seen. Her appendix had become so swollen and burst and did no damage to any other organs. It easily could have killed her but instead she is going to have a short recovery. Kyle says he believes with all his heart that she was okay because of the blessing and I'm so glad I was able to be a part of it. 
Tonight was awesome! We were able to teach Jill tonight and had an awesome lesson! She has a 22 month old daughter who is awesome now that she isn't scared of us and shy anymore. We were able to teach her the Plan of Salvation and she seemed to really understand it. She didn't ask questions or show concerns like most people because of how different it is. But she doesn't really have a lot of knowledge so she wasn't really set in any belief which made it easier. At the end we were able to set her on date too though which was awesome! Hopefully we will be having two baptisms in November at this point. 

Saturday Oct 19th- Sunday Oct 20th:
This weekend was Stake Conference so we were in Huntington, West Virginia for most of the weekend so we didn't really teach many lessons. But the conference was awesome! The entire confence was focused on the work of salvation. President and Sister Pitt both gave talks and there were 3 things I really liked that they said where the members can be more involved. The first was the fact that missionary work is not a part of our church but a part of our lifes. We are all life-time missionaries and we don't have to be serving as full-time missionaries to be doing missionary work. It should be a part of are lives and who we are. The second was the invitation for every member to pray for a missionary momentDAILY! It doesn't always have to be sharing the gospel or teaching which leads into my last point I liked. "Come and see." We should be open to inviting others to "come and see" who we are, what we do, how we live. One of the best ways to be a missionary is to be an example in the way we act, and the way we live. Missionary work was never meant to be hard. It isn't supposed to be hard. We have the Lord on our side to help us. He is always there to lift us up or give us a helping hand when we are doing his work! 

"It is impossible to fail when you do your best when you are on the Lord's errand." -Elder M. Russel Ballard

I love you all! Keep the faith! Your Father in Heaven loves you!
Elder Ryan Carter

Loving Life

So all throughout this week I keep thinking about the fact that a year ago I was laying in a hospital bed not really know what was going to happen to me and the fact that I'm out here on a mission is crazy! It has been a pretty happy week because of the fact that I'm remembering how much of a miracle it is that I'm even out on a mission right now!

Wednesday Oct 9th:
Today was crazy busy getting ready for transfers and everything! I made hash browns for breakfast since we didn't have milk for cereal or anything to have anything else so I just decided to make hash browns out of a potato. The crazy thing is, it actually tasted delicious! I keep surprising myself with my cooking skills. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of it... but it was good!

Thursday Oct 10th:
Elder Hudson is here and he is awesome! He is from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He played rugby and football but also likes hockey and basketball. He likes the same music as me. And as far as I can tell likes the same movies. So I'm very excited to serve with him! He has been out almost 20 months and he served in Portsmouth a little over a year ago. But that's about all I know but I'm super excited to serve with him!
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Friday Oct 11th:
Tonight we went to a wedding! It was for Kyle and Jacee, members in our ward. It was super relaxed but it was a lot of fun. That took up like all of the night and during the day we had weekly planning so there wasn't too much that happened today.

Saturday Oct 12th:
Happy Birthday Dad!!! Hope you had a great day!!
Today we had a lesson with Jason and Jamie and we have been teaching them how to use the index. We studied 'strength' which was actually really cool. I learned a lot and Jamie kept smiling which is awesome because they are going through a lot right now and we haven't seen her smile much in the past. 

Sunday Oct 13th:
Happy Birthday Kiley!! I was thinking about last year and the only memory I have of this day is when everyone came and visited me. It was crazy how packed the room was!  But it is crazy to see how much has changed since then in such a short amount of time. 
Tonight we watched President Monson's talk with Britdgett and after it finished all she said was "Wow! He really sucks you in!" It was really cool to listen to it again and to see how she reacted to it. It was such an amazing talk and as he talks you just feel so much peace and love!

Monday Oct 14th:
This morning we had interviews with President Pitt along with a district meeting which both were good! One thing we discussed in district meeting was expectations. What we expect of ourselves, our companionship, our areas, and a few other things. It really got me thinking and then I met with President Pitt who told me the expectations he has for me. He said if some situations hadn't come up, I would have been training right now and would be a district leader. He also told me how he expects that I will have many leadership roles throughout my mission. Along with these individual expectations, he told Elder Hudson that he expects our district to be the model and example for our entire mission. Normally I would feel pressured with all of this but I'm very excited for the work that is going to take place here in Portsmouth. This transfer is going to be very exciting and we are going to see many great things! 

For those of you who are struggling or just are looking for something to read, read 2 Nephi 4:17-35 in the Book of Mormon. It really has helped me overcome the imperfections I have because I know that I don't have to be perfect. Even a prophet of God makes mistakes! Never give up! Just work to become better!

I love you all! This work is amazing! This Gospel is true!

Elder Carter

Inline image 3This is JoJo, Bridgett's son. I think he is 22 months old now.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Staying in Portsmouth

It has been another amazing week! The weeks out here fly by! I honestly don't know where they go! But I have finished my training and I will be getting a new companion tomorrow!

Monday Sept 30:
Well today was crazy busy! There is never enough time in the day to do everything we want to and honestly need to do. But we met with Bridgett tonight which is always awesome! She told us tonight "Since you guys came around, I'm starting to feel peace that I haven't felt in a long time." I couldn't help but smile but she always tells me I smile too much! I guess I'm just a happy person :)

Tuesday Oct 1:
Today was AWESOME!!! We taught an amazing lesson today to Jill and her mother Joy. We were about 10 minutes into the lesson and both of them were already crying because the spirit was so strong. They both have gone to the r-LDS church here in Portsmouth so they already know a lot more than they realize but both are so ready and are looking for more! It is so cool to see!

Wednesday Oct 2:
My second family sent me a package!! Gotta love the Hickens! 
Also I got to serve in Ashland Kentucky today with Elder Morgan. It was so fun to get out of Portsmouth for a little bit because I haven't really gone anywhere for 3 months. I learned a lot from the exchange and he is so much fun! Elder Williams says we are the two happiest missionaries in the mission so needless to say it was awesome!
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Elder Morgan and I cheesin it up! (He is from California near Anaheim)

Thursday Oct. 3:
Nothing too exciting really happened today. We worked a lot on planning for the upcoming week but I learned a lot that is going to make a big difference in my mission.

Friday Oct. 4:
We had zone meeting this morning which always means a good day! We have been focusing a lot on "Becoming" as missionaries and I always learn so much about what and how I can "Become" better. Two things really stuck out to me. The first was that our faith can't grow during opposition. It isn't until after the trial of our faith that we see growth, so we must build our faith so we can overcome the opposition when it comes. Along with this idea, the second thing I learned was "Trust in God, and Go on." There is opposition in all things. We are going to have trials in our lives. But, if we put our trust in God, he will help us to overcome any trial or opposition and our faith will increase as we Go on. 
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Our awesome District! (From left to right: Elder Kopelson, Williams, Sister Call, Richards, Elder Morgan, Carter)

Saturday Oct 5th:
Holy Cow!!!!! Conference was AMAZING!!!! today! The love that I have felt today from our leaders is indescribable and the confirmation of the power of the atonement is so peaceful and joyful. My favorite talks today were by President Uchtdorf, Elder Dube, Elder Dykes, Elder Ballard, Elder Funk and my favorite of the day was President Uchtdorf during priesthood session on "You Can Do It Now!" We must always have faith, and the hope to always rise up, even after we have fallen. In life the real test isn't how many times you have fallen, but how many times you have risen back up. "You can do it now" with the help of the Lord and through his atoning sacrifice.

Sunday October 6th, 2013:
Who would have imagined that after all the events from a year ago, that I would be standing here today, 3 months out on my mission. I can't believe how far I have come. I also can't thank everyone enough for the love and support I have received over the last year. I have truly never felt such an outpouring of love for me and for my family. I must say I would not change anything that has happened over the last year, including the accident. The growth and strength I have gained as well as the blessings I've received have changed my life. This last year has been a roller coaster ride, but it has all been worth it. 
With that my favorite talk today and all of conference was President Thomas S. Monson. As I listened, peace and joy filled my heart. It was a perfect end to this less than perfect but amazing year. As he talked about the trials we face in life, I reflected on my own. He said that sadness and sorrows are a part of life. But, we grow stronger through the trials we face, and I know that to be true. Center your lives in the gospel, and whatever is thrown at you will only be but a small trial. "We truly need Him every hour, whether they be hours of sunshine or of rain." I know our Father in heaven loves each of us.

Monday Oct 7th:
The Lord works miracles! The time of 8:30pm to 9:00pm is no referred to as "miracle hour" in our mission. tonight we found a man who is so prepared. We found him on a street we are never on at like 8:45 at night. We stopped and talked to him and he had so many questions that missionaries dream of (or at least I do). We are going to see him on Saturday so it should be awesome!

Tuesday Oct 8th:
Nothing too exciting really today except I found out I will be staying in Portsmouth. My new companion is Elder Hudson! I haven't met him but he will be here tomorrow!

"Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith" -President Uchtdorf

I love you all!
Thank you for all the love and support!
Elder Carter

Week 12-My last week of training!

I can't believe this is my last week training! I don't feel like I have learned enough yet because I keep learning every day. I know that is going to be the case my entire mission but it is crazy that I have been out this long already. Where has the time gone?

Monday Sept 23rd:
So the middle of the day we got a phone call asking to go give someone a blessing. She had been rushed to the hospital in an ambulance because she had a seizure. After giving the blessing we were there for 30 minutes to an hour and it was really hard for me to be there. I've come to the realization that I really don't like visiting people in hospitals, especially since she was not in a stable situation when we got there. The fortunate thing is that she was okay and was home by that night. But It was just hard to watch and think that I was in that situation just about a year ago where I was helpless but I had all my family there to help me through it.

Tuesday Sept 24th:
Today was absolutely amazing! We had specialized training this morning and I learned so much. I took 4 pages of notes and probably could have taken more. We have already begun implementing what we have learned and it has been amazing to see the changes in the work here. 

Wednesday Sept 25th:
Well today was super slow but we had one cool experience. We were talking to one of our investigators during the day and a kid walked by that we had talked to in the past. I noticed him but since we were talking to someone I didn't say anything to him because I couldn't remember his name. For some reason I noticed what he was wearing though which isn't normal for me, but it is important. About 30 minutes later I saw him walking. If it weren't for his clothes we probably would have drove right by him but I told Elder Williams to pull over and talk to him real quick since we were going to be early. We only talked for like 10 minutes but he said he had read the Book of Mormon and that he liked it. Hopefully we will be able to start teaching him soon. 

Thursday Sept 26th:
Tonight I was angry about something and at this point I don't remember what it was which proves the point of what I want to share. I was contemplating why it is that we get caught up in the small problems in our lives. Why is it that we get angry at someone or something for something so unimportant. I know that it is part of life but I was just thinking about it. As I looked back over the past few weeks I could hardly remember any of the things I had been angry about, yet at the time I was so caught up in it. We are all human, and none of us are going to be perfect, but we must strive to not get caught up in the negative things in lie. In the grand scheme of our own happiness and well being IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER!
Tonight we were talking to a 12 year old boy and his step-mom. As we talked and listened we felt the spirit begin to leave because of what was being said. The boy had made a small mistake that night and the mom started saying all of these negative things about him. After we left I remembered what Elder Williams and I had discussed in the morning. In 1 Nephi 16, it talks about how Lehi was murmuring and I said to myself, "Wow! Even a prophet of God isn't perfect!" Later, in 2 Nephi 4:17-35, Nephi acknowledges his faults and how he put his trust in the Lord to overcome them.
We are all going to make mistakes. We are all going to have our bad days. We all are going to face trials. Even the people I look at as the most faithful and righteous people on this earth are imperfect and have their bad days where they get angry or murmur. However, we must strive for perfection at all times, and stay positive even when we are making mistakes or going through hard times. 

Friday Sept 27th;
HAPPY BIRTHDAY CADDIE!!!! You have a pretty popular birthday. I met 3 people today that had the same birthday as you. I thought that was pretty cool!
Today we met with Bryce. I can't remember if I have talked about Bryce before, but when we met him he was into drugs and many other things. We met with him Wednesday and he committed to read every day until we came back today. (only 3 days I know but it gets better) I have never talked to anyone who understood so much with how much he has read so quickly. Not only that, he said everywhere he goes now he takes the Book of Mormon with him. And on top of that he said he hasn't been doing drugs because he has been reading so much and just doesn't think about them. His grandma is a member which is part of the reason he knows more than most people, but it is still amazing to see how interested he is and how quickly he is learning. 

Saturday Sept 28th:
Tonight I learned a very important principle that I haven't ever really thought about, but it is a principle we spend our entire lives trying to master. The principle is that of obedience, but even more specific is obedience to the promptings of the spirit. Often when we receive promptings, it is so subtle that we may not even recognize it, but when we do there are times where we question why. We think it is too weird, or too hard, or just awkward. Often as a missionary there is fear of following the prompting because we don't know what will happen. I often ask myself "Why must I do this?" And sometimes we do it and we witness no miracle as a result. We, as God's children, don't know the purpose of many things that happen in our life. Our Heavenly Father does know though. Sometimes, it may just be a test of our faith. Other times it may be to plant a seed or a learning experience for us. Whatever it is, God has a purpose for all things. If we are obedient, God promises us blessings. Joseph Smith said he made the following a rule to live by, "When the Lord commands, do it!"

Sunday Sept 29th:
We had another great experience with Bryce today. We taught him a lot and it is unreal how much he already know and how much he understands of what we are teaching him. At one point we were talking about the Holy Ghost and all it does for us, and how he has felt it while reading from the Book of Mormon. He said, "I haven't done drugs since I started reading, so like 5 days. And I haven't even had withdraws like usual. I just don't want to do them anymore." And the coolest thing is that he did it on his own. We didn't even talk to him about the word of wisdom and he just started doing it. He also said, "The Book of Mormon is better than the drugs. It is my new addiction. It fills me with peace and joy that is so much greater than anything I have ever felt. I just can't get enough of it." I don't think I have met anyone more prepared or more willing to change. He is changing on his own because he see's the blessings he is receiving and he wants to be better.

You are all amazing! Each one of you is unique, and God loves each and every one of you for who you are! Don't try to be someone who you aren't, but be the best you. We are all imperfect and each day is a new day. Don't dwell on the negatives, but take them and learn from them. The greatest learning experiences in life come from the trials we face.

I love you all! 
Elder Carter


Where has this week gone! It is already the start of Week 5 of this transfer! I only have 1 week after this and then I will be done with training! It feels like I have only been out like a month, not almost 3...

Monday Sept 16th:
Nothing too exciting. We went over to the Nelsons for dinner and they have an awesome family! There house is always crazy but they are all awesome!!

Tuesday Sept 17th:
So today we went and taught someone named Jill. 2 weeks ago she called the church asking about when our service was and wanted to learn. She is so prepared to learn and at the end of the lesson she kept asking us "How will I know?" which if every investigator asked that, I would be thrilled. She even came to church before we even met her! How awesome is that?

Wednesday Sept 18th:
Happy Birthday Keely!!!!! I hope you had an awesome birthday!!!
In Helaman 3:35 it talks about how we must fast and pray oft, and we will wax stronger and stronger in humility and firmer and firmer in faith. Recently I have really been trying to increase and build my faith in the gospel and in myself. Today was a great testimony building day for prayer. Two times we had no idea what to do. Both times we said a prayer and the first time someone came up and talked to us and was interested in learning more. We now have an appointment with him on Wednesday. The second time we were led to Bridgett. She was having a rough day and we could not have been there at a better time! Prayers are definitely answered if we have the faith and if we put in the work to receive the answers.

Thursday Sept 19th:
Today we had to trade our truck with some other missionaries who needed it more in their area. We now have a Toyota Corrola. It is definitely weird driving a car after having a truck for so long. The Toyota is newer though and has a lot more interior things to use which is fun! But anyways not too important to the missionary work. 
Tonight we taught two lessons on faith and repentance, which have been my two favorite topics since getting on my mission. I was reading in 1 Nephi 12 this morning and read over verse 10 a few times and it was really cool. In summary it said that those who have faith in Christ will be cleansed of their sins and be righteous forever. Now there have been many times where I have struggled in areas with my own faith, but Elder Holland said "Forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe." It doesn't matter how much faith we have. If we can just believe, all things are possible and it can grow into faith and a knowledge if we put in the effort. 

Friday Sept 20th:
My goodness my mother is crazy! So tonight we got home and started our daily planning like usual. As we begin the door bell rings and I looked at Elder Williams and said "Who in the world is at the door?" So I go and open the door slowly and a pizza delivery guy is standing there. I stood there for a second just looking at him confused out of my mind. After a few seconds I was finally able to say "Who is the order for? We didn't order any pizza." He then responded with "Sara Carter". WHAT?!?! I went on to explain that my mom in Oregon sent this to me without even telling me and he was very surprised, as was Elder Williams and I. Long story short, my mom is crazy and is like no other mom in the world but she is awesome and I love her to death!!
     But we had a ward picnic tonight which was so much fun! Julia came and I have never seen her laugh so hard since we have met her. She was so happy and at the end she said "Thank you so much for bringing me! It was like heaven!" I love Portsmouth! And our Ward is awesome!

Saturday Sept 21st:
Today was really good for me. As missionaries, we still make mistakes because we are human. We are definitely not perfect teachers or perfect people, and yesterday we felt like we had done a very bad job teaching a family of investigators. We felt like we had scared and confused them. We said many prayers asking for help to overcome our mistakes and help them to still continue to want to learn. We went back today and they said they were still reading the Book of Mormon together, it would just take time because it is so much different than anything they've ever learned. They continue to pray for understanding and to know the truth. This was a definite answer to our prayers. We continue to see miracles each day even though we are still learning! 

Sunday Sept 22nd:
The Lord answers prayers in his own time and in his own way. We have been praying to find Julia help over the last month and today we finally found it. It took a long time to find it, and definitely longer than what we wanted, but he answered. It was definitely a test and trial of my patience and my faith, but because of it, my faith continues to grow in the power of prayer and our Heavenly Fathers love for each of us. 

I have realized how much I have been relying on the Lord recently and how close I feel to him. I know that without him I could not be doing this work as a missionary and I would not be able to overcome all of the trials and hardships of this work! Our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want to help us every day with everything! They love each and every one of us. Often, all we need to do is ask for help. 

I love you all! Never give up! Keep pressing forward no matter what trials you may have and I promise that in the end you will receive blessings for you efforts!

Elder Ryan Carter