Friday, June 24, 2016

And he's home! - sweet reunion!!

Final week!!

Well, I could probably just tell you everything that happened this week when I get home, but I'll at least tell you a little bit. We were blessed to be able to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead with H this week. The Dallas temple is a beautiful building (even though the traffic to get to it was kind of nuts). It was such a refresher to be in the House of the Lord again and H said it was a wonderful experience. I hope he continues to get opportunities to go often.

We participated this week in the Community Rehab Project that they have annually here in Comanche. We were placed with a group of other Christian youth and a youth pastor and we all worked on fixing up a house in De Leon (one of our out-lying towns). It was a lot of fun to work and feel the spirit with them. From this experience, my testimony was strengthened of what Sis. Oscarson said this last conference: "this Church is more than just a good place to go on Sundays and learn how to be a good person. It is more than just a lovely Christian social club where we can associate with people of good moral standing. It is not just a great set of ideas that parents can teach their children at home so they will be responsible, nice people. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is infinitely more than all of these things." They were great kids and we learned truth together, but as we participate in priesthood ordinances, the power of godliness is felt to such a higher degree.

I love the gospel of Jesus Christ and I love His church. I love the work I've been engaged in these two years and I will miss being a full-time teacher. I do know, though, that the work of saving souls will be wherever I go in the world and I can continue to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord every day.

Elder Carlson

Monday, June 13, 2016

Go on an errand for the Lord

It's been a good week. We got five new investigators. One of them is the father-in-law/husband of a family we've been teaching. So now we're teaching the whole family, which we're super excited about because that's what the gospel's all about: families. The wife and the two boys came to church yesterday. We were very excited about that, but they were our only investigators that came this week.

We've also been meeting with a girl named M this week. She just graduated high-school and is a pretty typical teenage girl, but is very sincere in wanting to learn and even wants to be baptized. We set a date with her, but will have to move it because she didn't come to church.

There's been a couple people we've talked to this week who have let us into their homes and tried to Bible-bash with us. I dislike when people try to bash because the Spirit is never there. We simply bear testimony and try to encourage them to pray. "Some things can only be learned by faith," as Elder Oaks says.

We also had interviews with President Heap this week on Thursday, which is bike day, which meant we had to bike to the church in our suits in the heat. It seems like they're always on Thursdays, haha. During mine, President shared something pretty neat with me in Alma 26:1-3. He said it was a mission reunion and the mission president, Ammon, is asking the question, "What blessing did we get while on our missions?" He answers for them and tells them, "that we have been made instruments in the hands of God". And I believe that's a blessing that doesn't only apply to full-time missionaries. All of us can have the tremendous blessing of being an instrument in God's hands and we pray for and search for opportunities to serve every day.

I love you all and hope that you can go on an errand for the Lord this week and make a difference in someone's life.

Elder Carlson

"Where is your faith?"

It has been a very wet week. Yes, we've gotten a lot of rain and there's a bunch of flooding. Not too much in Comanche, but there's a lake near us, Lake Proctor, which is way flooded and a couple of the bridges out near it are completely flooded over. We were told by a member who drove out there they saw some people just sitting in the road at the edge of the water fishing. We've only had problems with the flooding when we've gone out of town to try and visit some less active members. On some of the county roads, we're basically driving trough a river.

We had a really good, productive week, I think. We had four investigators committed to come to church this week, but only one ended up coming; G. We were super happy that G came to church and the branch just took him under their wings. Unfortunately, H didn't come this week because of car troubles, but I'm not sure if I told you that he got the priesthood last week! We were super excited about that, but were sad this week because he didn't get the opportunity to pass the sacrament yet.

This week in the My Plan course I'm taking to prepare me for going home, I watched part of a talk by Elder Andersen. He talks about a man who reads a talk by Pres. Kimball about how God wants us to start a family. He goes to talk to Pres. Kimball about this. After Pres. Kimball listens to his excuses of not going to be able to provide for children and how he needs to finish going to go to school to become a doctor before him and his wife will have kids, the prophet looks at him and says, "Brother, where is your faith?!" Needless to say, they had their first kid about a year later. But I learned from that how important our actions are in determining how much faith we have. Faith without works is dead and even if we can't see the end result, if we have faith, we'll still move forward according to what God's told us. I feel like those investigators that didn't come to church simply didn't have strong enough faith, but that's why we're here; to help them strengthen their faith. We're all constantly making decisions each day that either strengthen or weaken our faith. So we might as well act on what we know is right and trust that everything will turn out all right.

I love you all!

-Elder Carlson

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

One step at a time.

It's been a long week and it feels like a lot has happened, but no t very much at the same time. I guess that's how my entire mission's felt so far, but I'm still not used to it, haha. We had zone training in San Angelo this week and exchanges with the ZLs before hand so we were in San Angelo from Monday night to most of the way through Wednesday. I feel so isolated in Comanche that it's always weird going to San Angelo, which seems so huge to me now. I'll probably die back in Utah because it will seem so big and busy.

We had a really neat lesson with our investigator B this week that went along great with what we learned at zone training about "The Role of the Holy Ghost in Conversion". We went over and right off the bat she was asking questions about concerns she had about Joseph Smith and such. But that's not what she needed to hear apparently. The Spirit led us to just focus on praying about the Book of Mormon and about what the BoM is. The Spirit was strong and it definitely seemed to help her a lot even thought we didn't directly answer any of her initial questions. It just goes to show how God knows us each individually and knows exactly what we need even though we might not.

I want to share a quote Pres. Heap shared with us last week from Pres. Monson. "In the search for our best selves, several questions will guide our thinking: Am I what I want to be? Am I closer to the Savior today than I was yesterday? Will I be closer yet tomorrow? Do I have the courage to change for the better?" I know as we strive to be more Christ-like, God will help us and strengthen us, but don't get too wrapped up in what we can improve on. Satan tries to flood us with those thoughts and so we lose focus on the one thing God is trying to help us achieve. One step at a time is how I believe God works at making us perfect.

Elder Carlson

P.S. I don't think I told y'all that Elder Felts and I saw fire-flies last week for the first time in our lives! Now we've seen them almost every day since and they are so cool!! There's been a ton of rain (we just got back today from Brownwood, where it's flooding a bunch), which is probably part of the reason there's so many of them.

Monday, May 23, 2016


It's been a great week! Everything went well for H's baptism. I didn't mess up doing it in Spanish. A lot of members came and even an investigator, G, came. The sister missionaries in Salt Lake who first contacted H when he referred himself to the Church skyped so they could see his baptism too. The Spirit was really strong.

Not a ton of super exciting things happened this week other than that. We had a really good lesson with our investigator B on Tuesday. She is a very strong Baptist and so has had a hard time wrapping her head around our beliefs about the priesthood and prophets. We read a lot of scripture with her as we taught about priesthood and the apostasy. I know the scriptures are the word of God. They teach His doctrine so simply and beautifully. It really is a blessing to have them and to be able to study them so often. B just has to keep reading and praying and she'll get her answer. I am so grateful for that promise we're given that if we pray in the name of Christ, we will receive an answer.

I love you all and hope your week goes well and you learn the lessons God is trying to show you.

Elder Carlson

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Baptizing in Spanish

Lots of teaching this week (especially H to prepare him for his baptism. He's still doing great and on track for being baptized on Thursday. I still need to prepare for it because I'm the one who's going to baptize him, but we're doing it in Spanish... We'll see if I can remember how to say it. We've also been able to see a lot of our other investigators recently as well. We have one investigator, J, who we set a baptismal date with for June 4th! She is a really kind lady, but is really busy, so it's hard to meet with her often sometimes. We read through 2 Nephi 31 with her and she understood it really well. She has trouble reading, but it truly is amazing how simply the Book of Mormon teaches the gospel. I am so grateful Nephi "glories in plainness".

I don't have too much to say for this week, but I want you all to know that I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. If we live it, it is the best and most joyful way of life. We need to be committed to it and continue to proactively live those principles and participate in it's ordinances. That is the way we "come unto Christ".

Elder Carlson