Monday, June 30, 2014

First week in Texas

I'm finally a missionary, ahaha! I love it here already, but it is crazy hot. I am in a city called Seminole right on the border of New Mexico. it is a pretty small town and the wind literally never stops blowing here. And it seems to always be blowing the opposite direction we're biking. It cools us off sometimes, but some days it's a dry wind and is hotter than if the air was standing still. We used to have a car here Elder Christensen says (he's my trainer) but I think some Sisters crashed or something and so they gave them ours. So we bike everywhere, which is hard because there are some investigators we need to see but they live way too far away to bike (like an hour by car). 

Days are really long. It seems like I've been here forever already. Elder Christensen says the first week is super long, but after your first Sunday you suddenly are almost done with your mission. Unfortunately, even Elder Christensen feels like these days are long. For some reason every single person we go to see is gone when we get there. I've only been in two lessons with investigators that I can think of right now. Yeah, I think we've only had two. One was this Mennonite family of ten (Mennonites are of German decent. They speak German as a first language, then Spanish usually, then, if you're lucky, English as a third language. There are a ton of them here in Seminole so it's awesome that we get to teach some!), the other was this man named Cory. We taught him out on his front step and he had some pretty deep questions about the Plan of Salvation that came up even though we were teaching about the Restoration. There was also this family that was way solid with baptism dates and everything, but the first time I met them, they gave us back their Book of Mormons and said they wouldn't meet with us anymore.

The Branch here is only about70-80 members that come consistently. There are some really amazing recent converts I've met. We go read the BoM with one lady a lot. She is amazing, with a super strong testimony and follows every commandment and is so dedicated to the church, but can't be baptized yet because of her parole. We're trying to fix that though. We're even going to her father's house on the fourth of july for some Texan BBQ! i'm so excited, haha. 

I met this amazing lady. She got baptized not too long ago, but has had an insanely hard life. She was actually on her way to commit suicide when the missionaries found her. They asked her one question, "Have you ever heard of the Restoration?" and she got goose bumps and new she had to talk to them. They never gave up on her and literally saved her life because they showed her they loved her. She is so strong and strengthened my testimony of why i came out here so much.

I love it here, even though I have to endure the endless biking through the windy heat and nobody being home. I have already seen how much the gospel can save not only peoples souls but their lives also. I am so blessed to be out here and to be meeting these people. There are some interesting people in Texas and most of them aren't willing to listen to us because they all belong to one of the million different churches they have here. I love you all and miss you.

Love, Elder Carlson

Also, my address here is:
P.O. Box 543
Seminole,Texas 79360

I'd love to get more letters because i can read those the day I get them, but emails i only have an hour on Mondays to read and reply to. Tell all my friends to write me too. Letters would be great to get.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Arriving in Texas.

Brian flew out this morning to the mission home in Lubbock.  We haven't heard from him yet but assume all went well.  We will post his address once he lets us know where he is assigned.
Until then he would love an email!

MTC temple trip

Week 2 in the MTC

This week has been fantastic! I never knew how fast I could learn, but I know so much more and feel so much more prepared for actually getting to Texas. It's crazy to think I'm leaving Monday! We have to be at the travel office at 4:30am but we're not flying out until 8:45. Then we wait at the airport in Dallas for an hour I think until we fly from there to Lubbock. I'm getting used to being sleep deprived now, which will help, haha. We got up at 5:00 this morining to go to the temple this morning. It was awesome, as the temple always is, but we had to skip breakfast. It was definitely worth it though.

We had a devotional Tuesday and Elder Ballard talked to us! It was fantastic, of course, haha. He talked about standing up for what you believe in nomatter what and that if you kep focusing on the prophet and apostles, you won't be led astray. It is so weird being the "old" missionaries in our zone, but i know i have progressed so much in this last week alone. One of the new missionaries in our zone is Laurae (sorry if I spelled that wrong) Summers's grandson, Elder Kniffen. It was awesome because we recognized each other and he also knows Elder Arave in my district because they went to the same high school. The rest of the time I'm here will be kind of crazy because the new mission presidents are being trained here and all of the first presidency and apostles will be here all at the same time so they're shutting down the main building where we eat and stuff. We're also going to miss meeting our new mission pres. here because we would do that Monday night and we're leaving that morning.

I hope all is going well at home. Let me know how girls camp went and if anything exciting happens! Also let my friends know I would love a letter or email from them! I get all the mail for my district as DL, but I don't get any mail! haha! Always remember, "The Lord doesn't move the mountains in front of us, but He'll always help us climb them" (Sister Sheri Dew from Sundays devotional). As followers of Christ we don't get a fast-pass past our trials but no matter what trials we do have, He will always help us overcome them if we trust in Him and always do our best to become more like Him.

Love you all  - Elder Carlson
(Hopefully I'll be able to send pictures because Sister Evans took lots of pictures for me on our walk around the temple grounds Sunday, haha)

First week in the MTC

Dear Family,

I am loving it here so far. The Spirit is so strong everywhere we go. My companions name is Elder Thornton. He is a great missionary I can tell already. He knows how to think like our investigators and is great with being sensitive to their needs, but likes to wake up at 6:00 rather than 6:30, which is good, but I'm so tired all the time, haha. I just got called as my district leader yesterday which is both nerve racking and exciting at the same time. I have the opportunity to serve my fellow missionaries going to my same mission, but I feel like I don't have enough time to fulfill all of my duties to the best of my abilities at times. In my district there is a trio of Elders, Elders Arave, Garey, and Mortimer and a trio of Sisters, Sisters Affleck (distantly related to Ben Affleck, haha), Evens, and Heaton. They are all amazing and it's amazing to tell already that we will be life-long friends. I think we're the only ones here currently that are going to Lubbock and one of the Elder's family just moved to Carlsbad, so hopefully one of us will be able to be put in that area and meet them! I've taken some pictures, but left my camera in my room and we aren't in the computer lab where we can upload photos, so I'll send you those later on.

I love you all!!!  - Elder Carlson

Brian's MTC district