Monday, December 29, 2014

Love the scriptures

It's been a good week this week. Christmas was fantastic skyping y'all of course. After we got off with you we went to this member family's home for dinner. Then we went and played basketball and some games with the other missionaries in Lubbock at the stake center. 

The rest of the week after that we've done a lot of knocking and street contacting (which is only effective on the nicer days). We have had a couple good lessons with our investigators this week and M actually came to church yesterday! He seemed to like it and stayed all of sacrament meeting instead of only 20 minutes like he said he would, haha. The bad thing was one of our other investigators, J, didn't come to church, so we have to move his baptism date back again. 

I'm not sure if I told you about him because Tuesday was p-day and we finally met him Tues night. We had tried him a ton of times since we've been here since the sisters had been meeting with him and he had been progressing quite a bit, but he was never there. So Tuesday night we were heading in for the night when I just felt like we should try to see J again. We almost didn't because it was getting late and we wouldn't have hardly any time to meet with him, but we did anyway. We got there and he was there and we had a fantastic, yet short, meeting with him! We found out that he had called the sisters who gave him to the sisters before us as a referral and was wanting missionaries to come over. The sisters had tried to call us, but we were running from appointment to appointment and missed their call. But the spirit still guided us to him when he really needed us. 

This week I've really come to love the scriptures even more than I ever have. I've been frustrated from all the tracting we've had to do lately, but when we get back at night and I read a little from the scriptures (especially the BoM) I feel so much better and way more motivated to go out and do whatever it is the Lord needs me to do. I hope y'all can find as much joy and consolation from the scriptures as I do. Life would be miserable if I couldn't read from them every day.

Elder Carlson

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Rain - a gift from God

This week's been kind of crazy, but a really good one. We had a mission party yesterday (only with half the mission, though). It was really neat. We had a talent show and watched Saratov Approach and then more talents and then a short talk by Pres Heap. Some of the best gifts we can give others is our talents and time. When we use our talents to help others and make them happier, it's a lot more long lasting than anything you can buy from a store.

Elder Evans is really cool. He's from Lewiston, Utah and loves to shoot competitively. I feel like he's already been trained, haha. He's a good teacher and really knows his stuff. He just needs more practice, so hopefully we'll be able to have a lot of teaching opportunities.

White washing this area's been interesting too. It's good that I already know the members, and even a couple of the investigators. We have three main investigators: C and J (they're Pagan, but are coming to church for the structure for their kids) and M (this black guy who's awesome and understands pretty much everything we teach, but he just needs time to get an answer it's true). A lot of people aren't too happy the sisters got replaced by elders, which makes it a little harder sometimes, but some people like us better. 

One cool experience this week was last night, it started raining and we were out on our bikes (we're trying to save miles on our car). It was really cold and I wasn't too happy about getting soaked when it was so windy and cold. But then we rode past this man who flagged us down excitedly. He apparently wasn't too pumped about the rain, either, but when he saw us it reminded him that the rain was a gift from God and he should be thankful for it. So we prayed with him and all of us went on our ways happier. I'm glad that I can have that kind of effect on people just by being a missionary and doing what I know I should be doing.

I hope everything is going well and ya'll remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Elder Carlson

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


So we got transfer calls last Saturday and I'm staying in the same ward, but I'm moving up to the area in the north half of it (taking over the sister's area). Apparently there are 10 sisters leaving the mission and only one coming in this transfer so a lot of sister areas are being taken over by elders. I also got the crazy news that I'm training! His name is Elder Evans, but that's all I know about him. I don't feel 100% ready for this, but if the Lord calls me to do something, He'll make sure I can do it.

This week has been pretty productive. We met with our investigator T, who we haven't seen for about a week. We had an awesome lesson with her and she was super excited to come to church, but she didn't come. We think it was her boyfriend, who's a less active member, that's holding her back. Really the hardest part of missionary work is getting people to do the stuff we invite them to do. In church this week we talked about idleness and how we need to watch out to fill our lives with the best things in life and not waste our precious time in life with things that aren't the best, even if they're good. I think that's really what missionary work is, is helping others realize what's best for them and helping them make that step from doing good or better things to doing the best things. It's hard to just help others understand that.

We've also had some other good lessons with investigators this week, but they haven't really been progressing like T. One guy we meet with is reading the book of mormon, though, and is loving it! He's a Spanish tutor at Tech, so us and the Spanish elders are meeting with him. He's already read the first six chapters at least 3 or 4 times (he rereads it all each time he reads because he has a hard time remembering what he's read). The only problems with him is he isn't willing to come to church and he isn't sure if God even exists. As he reads, though, he'll come to know God is there and Jesus Christ is our Savior. The bom is a powerful book. 

Also, yes I did hear about the guy who crashed into the temple. Mostly from non-members. We don't know too much, but he might have been raised in the church and they say when he hit it he was going 94 mph and died before they even got him out of the car. The damage to the temple wall is minimal. There's apparently only a crack or two. I love you all and remember not to drive your car into any temples. The temple will always win.

-Elder Carlson

Monday, December 8, 2014

Community Nativity Exhibit

Not a ton happened this week. We got to help out with this nativity exhibit the stake has been putting on. I'm not sure if I told you about it. for about 5 years now this stake has put on a "community nativity exhibit" where members donate nativities for the weekend that are set up and people can walk around and look at. There are also a ton of musical groups and stuff that are performing as you walk around, too. It's really neat because the entire community of Lubbock contributes. There are choirs from other churches and schools and they have a concert type thing there every night. Yesterday, instead of the concert, they showed the Christmas Devotional and we got to see that. All the missionaries took different shifts and so Geverts and I got to help Thursday and Friday. Thursday we hosted (pretty much just walked around and answered questions for people) and Friday we pretty much were put as guards for the temple, haha. The nativity was in the stake center and the temple is right behind it and so I guess they had a problem with people thinking it was in the temple. so that wasn't as fun because we didn't get to see the cool nativities, but it was nice just to be able to relax next to the temple.

One cool thing that happened this week was on Saturday. We were pretty bummed because all our appointments for that day cancelled and we just found out that some of our pretty solid (we thought) investigators were now going to a baptist church. We went back to our apartment to grab something and when we were leaving (to go contacting or something) we saw this guy in our apartment courtyard-type-place looking pretty depressed. We sat down and started talking with him and found out that he had just been in a fight with his wife and had been struggling with some addictions for a while. We talked to him for a while and toward the end of our conversation he was able to talk to his wife and get back on less-bad terms with her and we gave him a BoM and he wanted us to come over and talk with him more another day. It's really neat how the Lord will always put us in the right place if we're just trying to do our best. He'll make sure what needs to happen will happen. As long as we're doing good of our own free will, God will put good opportunities in our path.

- Elder Carlson

Small miracles

It's been a pretty good week. We've been trying some different approaches lately and they've worked out pretty well. For a while we've been going around to visit less actives and trying to help the ward figure out who's moved and who still lives in this ward. While doing this this week we came in contact with this one family who moved here about three months ago and haven't gotten in contact with any missionaries or members here. It was really neat because about a week before we met them one of the missionaries who baptized them saw them and was wondering if they had seen any missionaries around. Then we showed up, haha. It's amazing the small miracles we're able to be a part of.

Thanksgiving morning - helping put together Christmas boxes for the Salvation Army

Thanksgiving was really good. We went to a member's house and ate with them and two other member families. They all have a bunch of little kids that were running around everywhere so it was almost like being home for Thanksgiving, haha. We also made some little flier type things I drew up wishing people a "Happy Turkey Day" and went around handing those out to investigators, potentials, etc. We even went to a nursing home and handed some out there. 

Friday we started "the initiative" by handing out those 'He is the Gift' cards when we morning find people. People are a lot more open when we start talking to them about Christmas rather than about prophets or something. It's also been a nice change when we just invite people out to the big nativity event we're having here. It's apparently a really big thing they've been doing in this stake for a couple years now and we get to help out with it a couple times. It'll be pretty fun. 

It's been really nice to be able to just focus on Jesus Christ this season and to help others do that, too. So many people focus on the negative things happening in the world but don't do anything to change those things, even in their own lives. Change is hard and that's why I think so many people are so afraid to talk to us; because we invite people to change. Don't be afraid to change. Even if you're comfortable where you are, you can always be so much happier. One man we're teaching told us, "Why would you do all that work to get to the Celestial Kingdom when the other two are so nice?" We need to shoot for the top and strive to reach our FULL potential. Never settle for less. Even though it may be hard, you'll never regret it.

-Elder Carlson