Saturday, November 30, 2013

Living it up in Mo Town #YOMO (you only mission once)

So just to explain this hashtag in the subject. Our zone has a saying YOMO and everyone says it so I just thought I would share it with all of you.
I now am in an area where we go to a library to email and so we have a limited time to email so my emails are going to start to get a little shorter. I wish I could continue sharing what happens each day but I am just going to share the highlights of the week.
I'm in MORGANTOWN!!! It is absolutely awesome here. There are 12 missionaries serving here which is super exciting! 3 sets of Sisters and 3 sets of Elders. My new companion is Elder Kamauu. He is SUPER green! He has been out in the field a total of 5 days now! So exciting! He is from Ewa Beach, Oahu, in Hawaii. He is 21 years old. He only has a sister who is 19. But the best part is that he is so excited to work and he is so awesome! I have been loving serving with him. He makes me feel pretty smart even though I really don't know that much still. But I have loved training him so far. He just is so good at listening and is just awesome! He just saw a fire place used for the first time EVER yesterday and he has never been in weather this cold. I went from a Canadian who loves this weather to a Hawaiian who has never been in this weather. So funny!
One of our investigators name is Antionette! She is from the Bahamas!!! So cool, and she has a sweet accent! I have only talked with her like 5 minutes though so I'm looking forward to going back.
One of the members of our ward, Sister Lund, took us out on Saturday to go grocery shopping and she was just throwing stuff in the cart for us. She ended up spending like $200 on us. I felt kinda bad but loved it to because that never happened in Portsmouth! She is just so nice! I think she is feeding us on Thanksgiving too!
Okay funny story. We went over to meet an investigator of ours. She is a 91 year old lady named Margaret. She was talking about how her house got cold the night before and how she was freezing. It just so happened our apartment got down to 52 degrees that same night so I told her Elder Kamauu had the same problem. She then goes on to say to Elder Kamauu "Well maybe we could keep each other warm." It was so funny!
Our ward is awesome! Everyone was so welcoming to us. We went over to the Kellems for dinner and they told us to come back for dinner on Tuesday too. Guess they liked us. Everyone keeps offering to help us with anything because oh yeah, we don't have a car. It is the beginning of winter and we have to walk everywhere. It isn't too bad for me but I just have to stay bundled up.
Oh and I called Portsmouth last night and Francis went to church!! That was awesome news! AND Julia is finally going to get baptized! I'm sad I'm going to miss it but I'm so excited for them! Especially since there is a new missionary in Portsmouth so that will be super cool for him!
I hope that y'all have a great thankgiving week! I'm am so thankful for all of you and your support!
Elder Carter
"If you only had that which you had thanked God for that day, what would you have?"
“What if you only had today what you thanked God for yesterday?”

Heading to Mo Town

Well I have exciting news! After 4 and 1/2 months in Portsmouth, Ohio, I'm now going to Morgantown, West Virginia! I will be training a new missionary and I'm super nervous but also so excited because of all the exciting things I have heard about the area!

Tuesday Nov 12th:
It was a crazy day today. We went out to dinner tonight with Nickles out at the daycare they own. It was a weird environment to go to dinner but I've worked in a daycare so it was okay. But, next thing I know is they are in the office yelling at a worker of theirs and we are pretty sure they fired her. It got a little crazy... Along with that, the wife yelled at the kids a few times which I've heard she does a lot. Definitely one of the more awkward dinners we've been to. They didn't yell at us though and were nice to us so it wasn't too bad, just awkward.

Wednesday Nov 13th:
Tonight was so much fun! We had a surprise party for Brother Sanford who was turning 40. They rented out the laser tag place/ bowling alley and also got arcade games and stuff. Not exactly sure if the arcade games and everything was approved but oh well, we had a lot of fun. There were a bunch of ward members there and we had a blast. For those of you who have watched How I Met Your Mother, I felt like Barney Stinson! It was LEGEN... wait for it.................. DARY!  LEGENDARY!!

Thursday Nov 14th:
Today we had a zone meeting which was really cool. We talked about Zion and what it is. There were a few quote I really liked. The first was "It begins ONE at a time." The other was "Zion is created ONE person at a time, ONE family at a time, ONE ward at a time, and eventually ONE stake at a time." It was really cool for me just hearing he importance of ONE. Never feel like you are unimportant! 

Friday Nov 15th:
Tonight we met with Jill in the Sanford's home. It was a very good experience where the spirit was very strong. (and it was nice not having to teach out in the cold) She has her concerns like all investigators do but you can tell that she has a strong desire to find out if the Book of Mormon is true! So elect!

Saturday Nov 16th:
Today was an awesome day! Tonight we were able to set Bryce and Alex on date for December 21st! It was really cool because before tonight Alex hadn't ever really opened up. We talked a lot about how the gospel blesses our lives and about baptism. The craziest part about them is that we have had so many people who know them really well tell us they won't ever change. They don't believe us when we tell them they are until they come to a lesson with us. A few months ago this would have never happened. We were in the right place at the right time and they now are making huge improvements in their lives. God know each of us. He knows our wants and desires and he places us at certain places at certain times.

Sunday Nov 17th:
Today was awesome! We had the primary program in Church today which is always awesome! There is always one kid that steals the show and today it was Ellie Ekins'. She is like 6 or 7 years old and gave like a 7 minute talk in the middle of the program that was better than a lot of the talks I've heard youth give. It was awesome!! She had more attitude than Keely and Caddie if that give you any perspective on how awesome she is! 
Tonight we went to the Sanford's home which was a lot of fun. We did an FHE with them and their two daughters both made me stuff because they new I was leaving. It was so cute! One of them wrote me a letter and said she wishes I was part of their family. They are an awesome family with great kids!

Monday Nov 18th:
Today I went on an exchange with Elder Fielding in Ashland which was a lot of fun! We had two awesome meals, one of which made me think of home because everything that was made was something either my grandma or mom would make. It was awesome! Then we went and taught a lady who is getting baptized on Saturday and she was missing 3 toes which was weird. That's our mission for you though. 

Tuesday Nov 19th:
Well not much happened today. Every single plan fell through on my last full day in Portsmouth. I hate telling people I'm leaving though! It is not any fun in the slightest! I have come to love these people so much so it is going to be very hard to say goodbye. 

Well I'm super excited to go to Morgantown! Portsmouth has been a really fun experience though and I definitely am going to miss it. 
I love y'all!!
Elder Carter

"The creation of a thousand forests is in ONE acorn" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Promised Land

Sorry about not emailing yesterday! We had computers to use but the internet wasn't working for them and the person who works here had the day off so we couldn't really email so we were told to do it today. 

Monday Nov 4th:
This morning we were studying and we got a call from our Zone Leaders asking if we wanted to go to Huntington to play basketball. Of course my answer was yes! I haven't played an actualy game in 4 months. It was a lot of fun! There were over 20 missionaries there! I didn't realize how out of shape I was. "Working out" for 30 minutes in the morning is not cutting it for staying in shape. But it was a really good day and I enjoyed it!

Tuesday Nov 5th:
So I forgot to write in my journal about today. The only thing I really remember is going to visit a less active that Elder Hudson used to meet with and we got her to come back to church this week which was exciting! Everyone went and gave her hugs when they saw her so it was a good experience.

Wednesday Nov 6th:
I must begin by saying that Isaiah is so confusing to read! I have been reading the chapters from Isaiah that are in the Book of Mormon recently and tonight we read two chapters with Bryce and his brother Alex. This morning I was reading in 2 Nephi 25:1 which says Isaiah is hard to understand unless you are from Jerusalem or have been taught in the ways of the Jews so guees it's a lost cause... I will never get it...

Thursday Nov 7th:
We have had two wedddings this month! Crazy! Tonight, Rhonda and Shane got married which was really cool. Rhonda is a member and they have been living together so it has been hard for her to do because she knows she is breaking the commandments. And Shane wants to be baptized but could be until they got married so all of it was good. Now Shane just has to quit smoking. Shane isn't our investigator but I've gotten to know him pretty well from Church and other activities since he and Caleb, really like the Elders and we go to the same ward they do. 

Friday Nov 8th:
Today was a very exciting and spiritual day! Elder Joseph W. Sitati of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy came to our mission today. I learned so much from what he shared with us. He spoke to us from 9-12 and then from 1-3 so a total of 5 hours of just him teaching us. There are two things I really liked that he shared with us.
1. "If you find that fulfilling your purpose is challenging, it means you are growing.
2. "You always know the spirit was there after, never before." We can always prepare to receive help and guidance from the spirit.

And the last thing I wanted to share from it was something that his wife, Sister Sitati, said.
"There is no commandment, big or small, not to be obeyed."
We can't make excuses on the commandment we follow or that we don't, and we definitely can't affort to be making excuses either.

Saturday Nov 9th:
It is crazy how the Lord provides us with opportunities to teach and talk with people. Today we were with Bridgett and a man walked by and asked if we would come talk to him later. After we finished teaching Bridgett we went and talked to him and he seemed intersted. He had a lot of interesting ideas but hopefully by teaching him we can help him better understand all that we know. 

Sunday Nov 10th:
Church was a little crazy today. In sacrament meeting the topic was tithing, and in Sunday school we taught the Law of Chasity. One of the members in our ward that is at the college brought a friend for the first time. That is one way to introduce them to the church! But the crazy part is after sacrament we had to go change somebody's tire that got flat during church. I'm not complaining though. It sure beat teaching an entire class of investigators about the Law of Chastity. Other than that not much happened today.

Monday Nov 11th:
Today was awesome! We went to Ashland, KY today along with 8 other missionaries (4 sisters, and 4 elders)  and we played volleyball and basketball which was a lot of fun. Tonight we got a new investigator too. He is the one that came to church with the member at the college. Guess church wasn't to crazy for him. But he is a Sophomore at Shawnee State University. They seem to have talked a lot about the church already which is good but so far he seems to be pretty firm in his beliefs so hopefully he is able to open up and his prayers are answered about the Book of Mormon and our church. 

It snowed last night...
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Thank you all for the prayers and the support! I love you all!!
Love Elder Carter

The Hardest Thing I've Ever Loved to Do!

Well crazy to think that I have already been out 4 months now. Where has the time gone? I'm loving every second of it though, even the hard seconds because it means that I'm learning something that will only help me in the near or distant future. 

Monday Oct 28th:
We gave Heaven another blessing today. I always thought that my accident was hard until I met her. I have so much respect for her and her faith. She so easily could just give up and be unhappy with all the trials in her life but she just keeps on fighting and always has a good attitude even when everything is thrown at her all at once. It is really quite inspiring to be able to see her attitude toward life and everything she does for others to help them see the positives in life. 

Tuesday Oct 29th:
Brother Sherman came out with us today which is always a good experience. He actually is moving to Wenatchee in Washington I think is what he said which is cool. But It is always nice when we are able to take people with us who have served missions because they know how to work with us and it always makes our job a lot easier as missionaries.

Wednesday Oct 30th:
Today was a lot of fun. We went over to the Leedoms tonight for dinner and I asked Austin a question and HE DIDN'T KNOW THE ANSWER!! Okay maybe not too exciting for all of you but he knows like everything I swear so it was crazy that he didn't know the answer to the question. After dinner we had our ward Trunk-or-Treat which was a lot of fun. One of the members dressed up as a fortune teller and apparently I'm going to have 9 children.... uhhhh not happening! But crazy story from today! So there are these things out here called Japanese Beetles. They look just like Lady Bugs but they are orange instead of read. When I say there were thousands at one of our investigators house I'm not exaggerating. I wish I would have taken pictures but I didn't. It was awful! Apparently they bite but we were flicking them off the entire time we were there and it was really distracting. It was the craziest thing!

Thursday Oct 31st:
Happy Halloween! Halloween is weird here. They are given a time when can trick-or-treat, and I guess it usually isn't normally on October 31st so it was a big deal this year that Halloween was on the right day. But it was a hard day because we can't really go out and find people on Halloween so we decided we would stay at our house and pass out candy. One problem with this idea though... NOBODY CAME TO OUR HOUSE!! We are in a neighborhood and there were kids walking by our street but not a single person came to our house. It was really disappointing! 

Friday November 1st:
We taught Nora today for the first time in like 2 months and it was awesome! She has been really busy and had a lot of family members pass away recently so we haven't seen her at all for a couple months. She still reads the Book of Mormon daily and prays all the time which is awesome! The fact that she still continues to read after all this time is so cool to see!

Saturday November 2nd:
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Okay we made up a cool story! So the past few days we have had words of the days that we have to use in a lesson. Today the word was Gondola. Refer to the picture above for the parable. 

The Gondola represents the church. We must all enter into it through baptism and we must remain in the boat so we don't fall away. 
The guy pushing the boat (don't know the actual term) is the prophet. He is there to guide us on the right path . By staying on the Gondola we can follow him.
The stick (I found out they don't use an ore) represents revelation. They have to be able to reach the ground, Or God, with the stick to keep moving forward. Without a prophet and revelation we would be stagnant and this would not be the Church of Jesus Christ.
In order to reach Heaven we must stay on the right path. Heaven, like the dock, is our destination. We must take the necessary steps to get there and follow the counsel of the prophet and his apostles.

Maybe a little bit of a stretch but we thought it was clever! :)

Sunday Nov 3rd:
My study/ what I learned today: "It is impossible for us to fail when we do our best when we are on the Lord's errand." -Elder M. Russel Ballard
This quote is referring to missionary work but I believe it is a true principle for all of us. If we are doing all the Lord has asked us to do, and we do our best we will not fail. We may face challenges, life isn't easy, but we will learn and grow and find success and we continually turn to the Lord. Often we will have to ask for help and the Lord is always there to help us. 
 aAsk, and it shall be bgiven you; cseek, and ye shall find; dknock, and it shall be opened unto you:
 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that aseekethfindeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask abread, will he give him a stone?
 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
 11 If ye then, abeing evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

This work is so amazing! I love it so much even though it is hard! To see the change that occurs in the lives of our investigators is truly amazing! I love you all!
Elder Ryan Carter

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