Monday, December 28, 2015

transferred to Roswell, NM

 So it's transfer time again and guess what. I'm leaving Borger and going to be a zone leader in Roswell. I'm sad to be leaving Borger, but serving in the land of the aliens will be great too. Because of winter storm "Goliath" transfers are most likely going to be delayed at least a day or two. We didn't get it as bad in our zone as a lot of the mission did. We only got about 4-5 inches of snow, but the snow drifts the wind caused were up to 3 feet in some spots. It's crazy how everything completely shuts down in Texas when there's snow. Since church was even cancelled, on Sunday we borrowed some snow shovels from a member and went around shoveling people's driveways. I'll send some pictures of us in the snow.

 
On Christmas after we skyped we went to one of the parks here that has a frolf (frisbee golf) course. It was probably one of the most epic courses I've ever seen. We were throwing our frisbees from the tops of cliffs, over ravines, through and around trees, and trying to avoid the swampy little stream that went trough the whole course. Of course I got my frisbee stuck in a couple cacti, down in a ravine, and in the stream a couple times (I have the worst luck with frisbee golf). 

I'm not sure if I told you when we talked on Christmas, but on Christmas Eve some investigators of ours invited us to their church's (Grace Fellowship, which is probably the biggest non-denominational church in Borger) Christmas Eve program. We sang a lot of songs there. Most of them were ones we'd sing at church around Christmastime, but also some like "You're a Mean One Mister Grinch" and "Happy Birthday Jesus". Elder May compared it to the feel of a pep assembly. Going there really gave me an appreciation for the environment and amazing opportunity we have at church each Sunday as we participate in the ordinance of the sacrament. Our services may not be as entertaining, but if you understand the significance of why we do what we do, it means so much more.

I think that's about it. Hopefully next time I email it will be from Roswell, but we'll see with the weather. I love you all and hope yall remember the importance of Christ and His birth, life, and death every day.

Love,
Elder Carlson

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Skyping on Christmas


Jingle Jam - Christmas 2015




It's been an eventful week. I hope you didn't freak out too much when I didn't email yesterday. I don't think I told you the Jingle Jam would push our p-day back. I'll tell you about that in a little bit. On Tuesday this week we had district meeting in Dumas and I got to go up to Perryton with Elder Hansen for exchanges. There was a lot more snow there than in Borger (the snow in Borger came on Sunday but was pretty much completely gone by Tuesday). We were able to do a lot of service up there at the Crisis Center and helping to serve food at a senior's center.

On Thursday we got to go to the temple with Bro W again. We were hoping to go to the temple with N soon, but it didn't look possible anytime this transfer. The youth had a temple trip the same day he had his baptism so the next one will be a little while. N's doing great, though. He might be a little overwhelmed because the ward gave him a bunch of stuff for his baptism, like a pamphlet on tithing, one on strengthening your family, a preach my gospel, a quad, and a lot more gospel-related stuff. 

Yesterday was our Jingle Jam, which was great, as usual! I love seeing all the missionaries I know, but it was kind of sad because the sisters I came out with are going home at the end of this transfer. The Borger sisters and Elder May and I were going to sing "Oh Holy Night" and I was going to do a harmonica solo during it, but we hadn't had much time to practice so they all bailed on the idea last second and so I just played the harmonica. I had to so Elder May wouldn't try to ditch out on reading the poem he wrote as well. 

President Heap also had us watch "It's a Wonderful Life". Like Dad told me in his letter this week, we really do have a much bigger impact on the lives of others than we think. Like the "A World Without a Savior" video, it's crazy to think how different our lives would be if the Savior had never been born. But since He was, what a wonderful life it is! I'm so grateful for that and that I'm able to help others to have a wonderful Christ-centered life as well. I hope you all go out and leave those around you better than you found them. Help them to realize what a wonderful life it really is. 

Love,
Elder Carlson

Monday, December 14, 2015

Baptism!


I'll start out with the exciting news, N got baptized this week! It went great! His dad, who's one of the sister's investigators because he speaks Spanish better than English, came to the baptism and seemed to enjoy it. He had a lot of support from members coming as well and they all seem to be really excited. I hope this excitement will keep them pumped to do more of their own missionary work. On Sunday, when he was going to get confirmed, we were freaking out because he hadn't showed up yet when sacrament meeting started! We were texting him like crazy trying to figure out what happened and then they moved into administering the sacrament. Right at that point, fortunately, our frantic prayers were answered because they walked in right as they started the prayer on the bread. He was successfully confirmed after that ordinance and is now the newest member of the ward. We're hoping he can be a positive influence on the other young men in the ward because their ranks are pretty scarce.

Nothing really new with our other investigators this week. One of our investigators is back from a vacation she went on for Thanksgiving finally so we got to meet with her. She's kind of an internigator. She's been meeting with missionaries for about a year now on and off because she's very non-committal when it comes to baptism. But this lesson went well and I think we finally were able to figure out what one of her hesitations is. I can testify that it's the Spirit that teaches these people, not us. If we just have faith to open our mouths, then God will fill them and His Spirit will do the work. I know that will work for y'all too. It's not a promise just for full-time missionaries but all who are engaged in the Lord's work of salvation. 

I hope everyone has a great week and will be able to see God's tender mercies in their lives every day. Remember Him this beautiful time of year when we celebrate our Savior's birth. I love you all.

Love,

Elder Carlson

Discover why Christ is important to us.

N is getting baptized this week! He came to church this week for all three hours and everyone was talking to him about getting the priesthood after he's baptized, which we haven't talked about yet, so he was a little confused and I'm sure overwhelmed, but he's a champ and his dad even came to church with him this week. 

We've also had a lot of success using the A Savior is Born video recently. We have some new investigators who we showed the video to. It brings such a spirit so quickly and helps us focus so much on the Savior. And being in Texas, where so many people say they believe in Christ but don't do anything about it really puts into perspective how amazing that invitation is, "Discover why". If we don't find our for ourselves why Christ is important to us, then how miserable our life can be. God can change us and bring us so much glorious light in our lives, but we just need to act and discover how Christ can make an impact on our individual lives. I love you all and hope you will continue every day to discover what Christ has done for you.

Love,
Elder Carlson

Monday, November 30, 2015

Pictures!




"A Savior is Born"

So pretty eventful week this week. Thanksgiving was a fun day. About a week ago we went around to a bunch of the churches here in Borger looking for opportunities to serve since a lot of them do things for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Because of that we were able to go to the Methodist Church and help pack a bunch of food for "Meals on Wheels". After that we had four meal appointments throughout the day, so by the time we got to the fourth we felt like we were going to explode.

That night we headed to Amarillo because we had MLC again on Friday. The weather was nuts. It was rally icy so we decided not to take Amarillo's minivan like usual. I'm grateful we have a truck Four-wheel drive helped a ton. It took us three hours rather than the normal two hours because of all the ice, though, and since it took about the same on the way back we ended up spending an extra night there in Amarillo. 

As far as our investigators go, they've all been doing really well and N's dad said he'd be ok with him getting baptized if it was something he really wanted! So he's going to be baptized on Dec. 12th (the same day Brooke is getting her endowments)! Unfortunately, because of the weather, church was cancelled for us yesterday so we had a lot of investigators planning on coming to church who then couldn't. 

If yall haven't seen it yet, the Church put out a new Christmas initiative, "A Savior is Born". Go to christmas.mormon.org . It's sweet and really puts into perspective why we need a Savior and why it is we celebrate His birth. He lived and died for us. If you want to give Him a gift back, Give Him your heart and reach out to someone in need. He said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." I love Him and I love all of you too.

Love, 
Elder Carlson

Tornadoes!

It's been a pretty crazy week. It started out with some of the craziest weather I've seen (and most everyone here has seen as well). Monday there was quite a few tornadoes that touched down right outside of Pampa (about 30 or so miles outside of Borger). There was one that came pretty close to Borger as well, but all of the old-timey Borger-ites say a tornado will never hit Borger because of the plants here. Apparently the heat they give off is enough to disrupt the right climate for them to form and deter their course. It made for a crazy night, though, with the insane wind and hail we got. We were in a lesson with our now new investigator for most of it, luckily. Then there was snow the next day and it was really cold. The rest of the week's weather wasn't too bad, though.

We were finally able to meet with J, the Vietnamese lady who we do service for and came to church a couple weeks ago. We're not really sure how much she understands, which is kind of frustrating having that language barrier, but she already has a pretty strong faith in Christ and can recognize the spirit really well.

With Thanksgiving coming up we've been looking for scriptures that go along with the holiday and Elder May found a really good one in Psalms 100: 4-5. I'm so grateful for all God does for me and the amazing gospel and priesthood He's blessed us with. His truth and mercy truly does endure to and bless all generations and families. I'm so grateful to be able to help share it with the people of Borger. Have a great week and especially a great Thanksgiving!!!

Love, 
Elder Carlson

Monday, November 16, 2015

Staying in Borger

A lot has happened this week. First off with transfers, Elder May and I are both staying in Borger and most of our zone is staying the same. There's only one companionship in Panhandle Zone that's changing.

This weekend the sisters here had a baptism which we got to go to. It's been a little while since I've been to a baptism, but fortunately N's getting close and hopefully will be ready for sometime this transfer. C, unfortunately, will be out of town for quite a while for the holidays and to visit family so it will be a while until we can help her get closer to baptism.

We also almost got arrested this week. One of our investigators has had a really rough past but has been trying to clean up his life. What happened was he owns this house where the people who were renting from him went to jail and left mountains of stuff inside. On thursday we biked over in service clothes to help him clean out some of the junk. Right as we pulled up, a cop pulled up and got out of his car to talk to us. We didn't have our IDs because we were on bikes, which he wasn't too happy about and he ran background checks on us. While we talked, two more cops showed up and one ended up being from Sandy (haha, it's a small world). Eventually they let us leave, but the reason they questioned us and everything was because it's illegal to move those people's stuff until they've gone through the whole eviction process. So it's a good thing we didn't move anything yet.

Yesterday we had a cool experience as well. We were out finding and decided to go to this neighborhood we hadn't spent much time in previously. The very first house we knock on, this guy comes to the door with tears in his eyes and invites us in to talk to him. He introduces himself as E and through the sobs tells us about his wife passing away and his daughter being taken from him and having to put down his dog by himself. He's met missionaries before because they showed up at another hard time in his life in the last place he's lived. We just listened for a while and then read him some scriptures and bore testimony to him about the healing and peace that the Savior can bring. I know that God lives and knows each of His children because He sent us to one of His sons to prevent him from doing something terrible to himself. Never forget how much God loves you and never stop feasting upon His words. I love you all.

- Elder Carlson

God answers our prayers!

It's been a busy week. On Tuesday we had Zone Training, so this was my first time instructing as a zone leader. I instructed on prayer and how we can use it to receive correction and direction on our path to our "promised land" or to fulfill our full potential on our missions/in our lives. Because of that I've studied a lot about this and I know God answers our prayers. If we have "real intent"(Moroni 10:4) and pray "with all [our] heart[s]"(Jer. 29:13) He will answer us according to His will and timing, but nevertheless He will answer.

We went on exchanges after that and so I was in Dumas for the rest of that day. They received a lot of referrals from one member out there and so we tried by them and did a lot of finding. It's amazing how much the work moves forward when the members and missionaries are working together. We experienced that really well yesterday at church here in Borger. Towards the beginning of this transfer we found this really old and run-down apartment complex where this Vietnamese couple were working to fix it up. We've been going and doing service for them about once a week since and this week the wife came to church! We had a potluck after and the ward really took her under their wing. i love to see members embrace and welcome those who are new to their ward or the church. Everybody can make a really big difference if they just put their minds to it and do something.

N, one of our investigators, is getting ready for baptism soon. We'll have to move his date back from this week to next probably, but he's a really smart kid and is just soaking up everything we teach him. He understands baptism and wants to make that commitment. We just need to meet with him a little more since he's pretty busy with school and golf and such. 

We've also been working a lot to set a bap date with C, another investigator who's the girlfriend of a recent convert, R. She just needs courage to take that step. One lesson with them this week we brought a member and were going to try to help her set her own date, but when we got there, two of our other investigators, who we found out are related to R, were there and so we taught about prayer for all of them in general. It was a really heat lesson, though, with the Spirit being really strong. I definitely have a strong testimony of prayer after this week and hope and pray that all of you will remember to turn to the Lord in prayer when you need strength or guidance. I love you all!

-Elder Carlson

Monday, November 2, 2015

Don't let a moment pass you by!



Sporting stylish mustaches for Halloween!!

It's been a very crazy week. On Tuesday we drove to Amarillo to pick up Elder King, one of the APs, for an exchange. He's a great missionary and taught us a lot about leadership, especially about the need for the spirit of revelation as a leader because things come up that you've never dealt with before. Like right now, President Heap is having all the ZLs make standards of excellence for our zones rather than having mission-wide standards. That's been interesting because half our zone is doing better than the other half and we need to figure out how to help inspire and motivate them both so they're both progressing.

Thursday we got to go to the temple again with Bro W. This time he brought Bro M, who got his own endowments and was sealed to his parents. It was really neat to be a part of that and there's no parallel for the amazing Spirit in the temple. Friday we went to Lubbock again for the mission tour. A mission tour is when a General Authority comes and meets with all the missionaries in the mission. We have to split it into two days here since our mission is so huge. Just the ZLs and STLs got to meet with him on Friday and Elder Foster, of the 70, introduced a program they're instituting here in the N American SouthWest Region of the church. It's specifically for helping the work of salvation be correlated between missionaries and members so they aren't separate works, but that it's the work of the whole church combined. We need to work on getting this mission to a member/missionary mission (members helping missionaries) and then hopefully to a missionary/member mission (missionaries helping members).

There was a lot I learned from Elder and Sister Foster at the mission tour, but one thing they emphasized a lot is how we shouldn't let a moment of this experience in the mission field pass us by. Neither should any of us let a moment in the experience of life pass us by. There's so much to learn, so much we can do to grow and eventually become who God wants us to become in this life. We need to be meek enough to accept and even invite and seek out correction and instruction from leaders and especially the Holy Ghost. He is willing to give us personalized answers on how we can become more perfect and continue to grow. Never sacrifice the blessings you can receive from being obedient for anything. Fun and temporary pleasure is no substitute for the joy, peace, and growth that come from making the right choice. I love you all! The gospel has been restored! 

Love, 
Elder Carlson

the Sacrament


So this week has been really busy, like usual. We've been working with this older black couple who are great! S really likes to preach to us and has some interesting views on the gospel. It's really neat to see how reading the Book of Mormon can change people. We try to teach him something when we're there after he preaches at us a little and then leave him a chapter to read. Every time we've gone over and he's read, he'll use something from that chapter in his mini-sermon to us or his view on something has changed slightly. I love seeing when something we teach someone or they read sinks in and it adds to the truth and light in their lives. We think eventually S will get baptized and he'll claim he's believed these things all his life. And thus we led him carefully up to heaven, haha.

I'm not sure if I've told y'all about N yet. He's one of our investigators who's a senior in high school and is really smart and just sweet. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and he got it down right away and when he was asking some questions even remembered and used the names of the kingdom, which I even have a hard time keeping straight sometimes! He came to church this week with his dad again (they came two weeks ago as well). The N family weren't able to come again this week, but a LA member and his girlfriend (also an investigator), came! 

We also had zone conference this week in Amarillo and Pres Heap shared this amazing insight about the sacrament. He talked about the story where Barabbas was let free and Jesus literally took his place. Each week when we partake of the sacrament, He essentially does the same thing for us. We are the ones who should be on the sacrament table because we're the ones who have sinned. We are worthy of that punishment, but Christ comes and says to us, "I'll take your place this week. I'll be broken and bleed and die in your stead, but you have to take my place. You be me this week Do what I would do and represent me." The sacrament is meant to help us change and progress to become more and more like Him week after week. 

I hope you all remember that and try to commit yourself to be more like Christ every week as you take the sacrament.

Love,
Elder Carlson

Monday, October 19, 2015

Strive daily to remember Christ

This week has been pretty crazy. We've had a lot of lessons set up this week. Unfortunately, we were only able to teach 10 out of our 30 or so of our set lesson appointments. That's just the life of a missionary. You have to learn to be diligent and keep working hard even through disappointment and the constant tiredness, haha.

We've started teaching this family who were former investigators from about 2 years ago.  They have a 4 year old autistic son, who makes our lessons with them crazy and distracted, but fun. The dad keeps telling us how the two main times in his life he's prayed and asked for guidance, the missionaries have showed up at his door. They are an awesome family and even came to church this week!

Also this week I've been ponderizing Alma 37:36, which says,
"Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest
 let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed  
upon the Lord forever." 
 
I love how everything in the scriptures turns us toward Christ. He is the message I am out here sharing. He is who our thoughts and actions should be focused on and we should always strive to follow Him more perfectly and come closer to Him. I love Him and am eternally grateful for the gift of His Atonement and the impact it has made in my life. I love you all and hope you strive daily to remember Christ.

Love, 
Elder Carlson

Watchful unto prayer

Elder Carlson and Elder May


This week started out pretty crazy with transfers and everything. Being a zone leader we have to be at the transfer site for most of the day to make sure everyone gets where they're supposed to be on time and coordinate when some missionaries go on exchanges for a while waiting for their new companions (the Amarillo ZLs deal with that more than us because the transfer site is actually in Amarillo).

Elder May is a pretty neat guy. He's an amazing missionary so I have a lot to learn from him. He's from Bozeman, Montana and has been out for almost a year. The Heaps are from Bozeman too. Pres. Heap was actually Elder May's stake president back home and was over all the seminaries there so he saw him in seminary sometimes.  He really likes working with part member families and less actives so we've been cleaning up the ward roster trying to look for the families we don't know on that list. He's a lot more organized than me, which helps us be more effective and be able to focus on the most important things. We've been doing a lot of finding and knocking as well and have met some awesome new people that we can hopefully start to teach now. 

One thing I've learned this week is how important it is to always keep your eyes/minds focused on the Lord. Like the Nephites when Christ comes to America, we need to turn our eyes to heaven so we can hear the voice. If we are to hear the voice of the Lord in our lives we must be watching and listening for it, especially by being in the scriptures and even ponderizing scriptures. Like President Heap says, "It's not a design flaw that God gave us two eyes, two ears, and one mouth."

I love you all and hope you will remain "watchful unto prayer" and can feel Heavenly Father's love for you always. 

Love, 
Elder Carlson

Monday, October 5, 2015

Borger missionaries and Dumas district



Let conference talks spur us to action!


It's been a very busy, crazy week. We got transfer calls Saturday and Elder Johnson and Elder Wrathall are both leaving to be in other trios and training. There's a lot of new missionaries coming in lately so a lot of missionaries are training, even some of the zone leaders. My new companion's name is Elder May. He was just in Lubbock as a ZL and Elder Johnson was companions with him previously too.

We were busy earlier this week with a lot of service and appointments, which is a missionaries dream. Thursday is when it got real crazy, though. We were doing service for our landlord when we got a text letting us know a young man in our ward was missing. Apparently, he left at 9 the night before to get some milk from the store but nobody in the family noticed he wasn't home yet. In the morning his car was found parked on the side of the highway with his wallet still inside (plus he left his phone at home). We went to help and went out in a couple of the search parties for him. It was a long day for his family I'm sure. Luckily we heard the next day that in the middle of the night he was found in the ER beat up and confused. It's good to know that there are good Samaritans out there who would help him get to the hospital. 

General Conference was amazing this weekend, as always! We spent most of Saturday at a members house listening to it while we helped him remove the drywall in their kid's room so we could put insulation in. For the priesthood session and on Sunday we spent it at the church watching and there was a potluck in between sessions. It was really neat seeing three new Apostles called. We are so blessed to be led by these inspired men today and to continually receive direction and revelation from the Lord through them. 

I've learned a lot from Conference this weekend, but one thing especially was how important it is to spend as much time in the scriptures as possible, whether you're studying or "ponderizing", and to do all we can to have the Spirit with us always. The Holy Ghost really is one of the greatest gifts we can receive in this life. His companionship is something we need to work our hardest to always have. I love you all and hope that you will let what you learned and felt during this conference weekend change your life for the better. It's not a time we can just sit back and listen to some good talks, but we need to let the words of these chosen men and women sink into our hearts and spur us to action. 

Love, 
Elder Carlson

Busy week

We've been busy this week. One of the APs came on exchanges with us this week. We were able to get so much work done with four of us in the same area! We got three new investigators in just the two days he was here and 15 lessons total throughout the week. He taught us a lot about leadership as well. The root of it really is just to love them.

One of the people we met is T. She lives in our apartment complex and is really interested. She grew up going to church but when she was in high school her church kicked out and shunned her and her family for some reason. She felt like God abandoned her, but when we came along she agreed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, which she did. She felt God's peace and told us it was a very emotional experience for her. We're excited to teach her.

We've also been teaching this guy who is the cousin of one of the members here and has met with missionaries on and off for about 6 years. He's really sincere but just never comes to church. This week, though, we were able to start teaching his girlfriend. We're hoping she'll be able to feel the Spirit and motivate him.
We've been trying to work with church leaders better in this area too. We have started putting together a ward mission plan and are now going to start meeting with the Stake President once a month hopefully to correlate the work with the stake's vision as well. It's helped reemphasize for me how important member missionaries are. We can work really hard as missionaries and knock and knock and knock, but there's a much more effective way to do it if people are able to be influenced and brought to the gospel by their friends. 

I love you all and hope your week is filled with joy and miracles.

Love,
Elder Carlson

Missionary Leaders Conference





Monday, September 21, 2015

100%

It's been a busy but very good week this week. We traveled to Lubbock and back twice this week so I'm even sicker of the flat, boring Texas landscape. On Thursday we went with Bro Wheeler to the temple and did two sessions with him for some family names he had. We also went on Saturday for another MLC (missionary leaders conference) with Elder Lynn G Robbins of the Seventy and Elder Palmer (an area authority). Those were some long days, but very spirit-filled.

We have had some more lessons this week than in the past, but have still been working hard to find new people to teach. We've been looking for more opportunities for community service and just talking to everyone we see, so I hope the Lord can trust us with more people to teach through these activities. The work is never done.

At MLC Elder Robbins taught us something that had a pretty big impact on me. He taught how since we have 100% agency throughout this life, that comes along with 100% responsibility for what we choose to do. A lot of the time wee don't like the idea of being 100% responsible and we tend to make excuses, blame others, try to hide/cover up our mistakes, murmur, etc (there's a lot more on this list that I'll let you come up with). But we need to dispose of this list, which is "the enemy of repentance". If we turn to anything on that list, we forfeit our control of positive outcomes in our life.

I hope you all will be able to realize how important it is to give the Lord your WHOLE heart, might, mind, and strength. Even though y'all aren't on missions right now, you still have an impact on everyone that you come across every day and you can choose if that impact is a positive or a negative one. I love you all. 

Love,
Elder Carlson

Service



It's been a busy week, but mostly with service so we haven't had too
much opportunity to do a ton of proselyting. On Wednesday, Thursday,
and Friday we helped our apartment manager (who's also a LA
member), to texture the walls in an apartment, paint some cabinets,
and re-pipe four other apartments. On wednesday we also helped a
member cut down the weeds in the yard of her house she's
trying to fix up. We brought over some machettes and hacked away,
which was a ton of fun. We also had to help clean the church for a
funeral for a member of the ward on Saturday.

We've had a lot of appointments punch this week, too. One day we had a
bunch fall through and so we were just driving around trying some
potentials when Elder Wrathall suggested we go talk to this couple he
saw down an alleyway. They were making out pretty furiously, but Elder
Johnson agreed to do it so we turned around. Elder Wrathall was
freaking out because he was joking and didn't really want to do it. We
got out of the car and headed down the alley with Elder Wrathall
begrudgingly following. We told the couple there were some papers we
were looking for that we thought blew down here and then started
talking to them. They turned out to be really cool and actually pretty
interested (unfortunately neither of them actually lived in Borger)
and it wasn't nearly as awkward as I thought it would be, haha. Oh,
the awkward life of a missionary. It just goes to show, though, that
you never know what the Lord will need you to do and even if it seems
out of your comfort zone or inconvenient, He'll make it work out in
the end.

Love,
Elder Carlson

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Companions




Elders Carlson, Johnson, and Wrathall (and a few Texas reptiles!)


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Zone leader responsibilities

It's been a crazy week. I love my new area, but feel like we don't get
to do a ton of proselyting sometimes because we have other things
responsibilities we have to do as zone leaders. For example, MLC took
up part of Thurs night and all of Friday. We stayed the night at the
Amarillo ZLs apartment and drove to Lubbock from there. The meeting
was really good. It was all about being a leader and how to do that
better, which was great. Then, we had to drive back to Borger after
that. It was a long day. We got up at 4:50 and didn't get to Borger
again until around 8pm.

Today is another good example of zone leader responsibilities. We went
to district meeting in Dumas this week (we switch off between the two
districts) and after had to drive to Spearman to inspect this
bunkhouse the Perryton elders were maybe going to stay in sometimes to
save on miles and such when they had to go out to Spearman. We left
for district meeting at 9 and didn't get back until about 4 (and
district meeting usually goes from 10-12).

We got a sweet new investigator this week too. His name's J and
he's the boyfriend of this less active girl, T.
The Borger sisters passed them off to us because they are supposed to
only teach Spanish speaking people. The lesson was at our Bishop's
house and went pretty well. The Bishop and his family showed up late,
though (to their own house!) and it wasn't the most in-sinc lesson
we've ever taught. We still need to work on our teaching unity since
it takes a little more effort being in a trio, but the Spirit was
really strong during the first vision. He's going to read the BoM and
T is wanting to work toward going to the temple.

We also got to go do some service for this lady this week. She
had called the church building in Borger to ask for some help moving
since we were "the most trustworthy people she could think of". So we
went out there and got to help her load
up some of her stuff and move it to a storage unit (since we have a
truck). It turns out she's a member of the church and her daughter
happens to be too, but neither of them knew the other was a member
until they were both trying to find people to help her move. They
both called the Church, haha.

I'd like to share something I learned from MLC:
During the meeting Pres Heap shared an experience from when he was
stake president and went on trek with his stake youth. At the
beginning of trek, right from the start they all took off. Within 30
min of walking, the handcarts were all way far away from each other.
People just wanted to be the first one to camp. But that's not the
legacy our ancestors left when they first crossed the plains. They
took the time to break the rock-hard ground and plant crops that they
just left behind so others behind them would have food. That's the
legacy we have to uphold. We cannot leave any one of God's children
behind. It's not about who gets there first. It's about everyone
getting there safely. So watch out for our brothers and sisters and do
everything you can to help them get safely home to our Father in
Heaven.

Love,
Elder Carlson

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Atonement brings life, healing and improvement!

This week has been great, but with quite a bit of change. My new
companions are awesome. Elder Johnson really knows what he's doing and
is so motivated to work. Elder Wrathall is such a funny kid and has so
much potential. That's why he's here in this trio, to learn how to be
a leader. Being a zone leader hasn't been as bad as I thought, haha.
It's basically the same as being a district leader just you're over
more missionaries. Apparently there's quite a bit more traveling, too.
It was a long drive from Lubbock to Borger last Tuesday and we will
have to do it again and back on Friday (maybe it's Thursday, I'm not
sure) for MLC (mission leader conference).

Borger is a town of about 1500 people (quite a bit bigger than
Stanton) and isn't insanely flat and ugly!! The hills do make it a bit
more miserable to bike, though. We have some awesome people we're
working with, but we still do a lot of knocking and finding to try and
get new people to teach. The work is never done and never takes a
break. Also, it's in the Amarillo Stake, so I may hopefully meet the
stake president, Pres Vest.

Pres Heap and the assistants are going around the mission this
transfer and meeting with every single district. Recently, since the
change of not turning in numbers to mission leaders, every key
indicator in the mission is has fallen pretty dramatically. The hope
is that if we can help our missionaries realize this we can raise the
bar and work even harder than before.

I've been learning how much this gospel is about change. We need to
constantly be changing and improving because the world around us never
stops and the adversary never quits. Pres Heap talked a lot about the
Fall and how necessary that is. If we truly understand the Fall, we
understand how vitally we need the Atonement. While the Fall brought
death and pain and hard work, the Atonement brings life and healing
and improvement. He sent us this quote that I love: "Even if we’ve
been a conscious, deliberate sinner or have repeatedly faced failure
and disappointment, the moment we decide to try again, the Atonement
of Christ can help us." We just have to keep on trying and Christ will
make those efforts enough.

I love yall and hope you're never satisfied with who you are and so
continue to progress to the amazing people Heavenly Father intends us
to be.

Love,
Elder Carlson

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Transferred to Borger, TX

So I'll just start out with the crazy news. I'm being transferred to Borger, TX and am going to be a zone leader over the Panhandle Zone, I believe. Elder Hanson is staying and Elder Gillette is the new district leader here. Elder Thornton is going to be a DL as well in Fort Stockton and his companion, Elder Holtman is going to be "trained to be a zone leader" by Elder Gavin in Big Spring still. My companions are Elder Johnson and Elder Wrathall (I knew Elder Wrathall in Lubbock).

Transfer night was very stressful because we were hearing from a bunch of other missionaries where they were going and everything and we hadn't gotten our calls! Finally, around 10:30 we get a call from one of the assistants. I answer and he says, "Oh, can I talk to your companion? I won't be giving you your call." He tells Hanson he's staying and his new companion's name and then he hangs up. I'm freaking out because President Heap calls if you're training or being some sort of leader. I sat there wondering where in the world I'm going until I finally got the call at  11:30. I'm kind of nervous, but really excited at the same time. I've learned a lot from being a district leader and have come to love being able to minister to these amazing missionaries in my district.

It's been a great week, though. We got three new investigators and have still been working with A on quitting smoking. He's actually working now with his cousin to quit as well and his ex-wife accepted the invitation for us to teach her the lessons.

One of our new investigators names is P. Elder Hanson saw him in our records and felt prompted to try by again. He ended up right after we set up an appointment with him breaking his arm, which gave him a lot more time to meet with us. God has interesting ways of blessing our lives sometimes.

Anyway, that's about all I can think of right now. I love you all and hope everything goes amazingly for everyone this week!!

Love,
Elder Carlson

Friday, August 21, 2015

Quote and picture

Midland Missionaries


Brian sent us this great quote and this picture he drew:

"The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in.
The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of the people, and then they take themselves out of the slums.
The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment.
The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature."

Monday, August 10, 2015

The perfect spotter

I'm really sad to hear about Brett. It's no fun being away from family during times like this but we had a meeting with Pres Heap this week and what he told us was really neat. He was telling us about spotters in weight lifting. A good spotter doesn't just take the weight when you tell him to, but says first, "No, pick it up!" Even though it may seem like he's a horrible spotter, that's what a good one does. He knows his friend's limits and what he can and can't handle. A good spotter knows that it's in those last struggles that his friend grows the most. That takes a lot of trust, but it's comforting to know that during life's struggles we have the perfect spotter (Christ) there to help us and He will never leave us under any weight we cannot handle.
This week we got to meet with A and her family. Her kids were crazy and loved us. She really tried to preach to us the whole time we were there, haha (that happens a lot in West Texas), but we talked about some basic principles of the Restoration and she accepted a Book of Mormon. Hopefully she'll have the prompting to read it.
It's been really hot this week and we've done a lot of biking around but we've been blessed for it. One day while biking around in the heat we decided to knock one more door before we headed back to fill up on water again. As we walked up to the door a lady pulled up and needed help. They were moving in and as they were doing so her husband threw out his back and right as he did, we biked past down the next street and she saw us. She remembered one of her friends (a member of our church) telling her that if she needed help to just look for two guys in white shirts. We were able to help them finish moving and they wanted us to come over later to teach them! So we have a lesson with them for this Thursday.
Another day I was having a a hard time finding the motivation to go out in the heat but we went anyway. We decided to go try this potential and were able to sit down and have a lesson. The Spirit was really strong and it went really well. God really does know how to help us in times of trial, even if that trial is as little as finding motivation to leave your air conditioned RV.
Love yall!
- Elder Carlson

Monday, July 27, 2015

God answers prayers

So I guess I should probably explain a couple of those pictures, huh? The one where I'm holding something, it's a horny toad we found outside a recent convert's house. They're all over the place here. We've seen a couple tarantulas lately as well, but haven't caught any of those yet. The one where I'm holding some wood, we took apart the bed frame in our trailer's "master bedroom" so our study room would be more roomy. It ended up being more difficult than we expected but once we got it up we got creative and turned it into a makeshift supply shelf as well. I'll have to send some pictures of it finished.
This week we had zone conference, which was really great. President Heap instructed us on how we need to teach like the Savior, who is the Master Teacher. It never ceases to amaze me how many different things we can learn from the scriptures and especially from what Jesus Christ did and said. One thing I learned in particular was how the only authority Christ taught by was that He received from the Father in contrast to how the scribes and others taught in those days by authority of others' words. I have been ordained of God and have His authority as well. It's a big responsibility but I'm so glad He qualifies who He calls.
One cool miracle this week happened on Tuesday. We were heading back from a lesson in Greenwood and when we got back to Stanton we didn't have much more time until we had to go in but we decided to go try one more person. We weren't actually 100% sure which house he lived at so we knocked a couple and the second we tried this lady answered who seemed super happy to see us. It ended up that she had been praying on the way home to know if she was going down the right path and for some direction from God and then right after she got home, the Mormon missionaries showed up on their doorstep for the first time in the 8 years they've lived in that house.
I know God answers prayers and knows us each individually and loves us too. I love y'all too and hope everything goes just superb for you this week.
Love,
Elder Carlson

Monday, July 20, 2015

Greenwood / Stanton



Elder Carlson's District

Charity

It's been a good but hot week. Has it still been as hot there as it has been?
This week we got two "new" investigators! The first is Bro. C. His whole family is members but he's not. He's been coming to church for a while, though, and now is taking the lessons! We had a really spiritual lesson with them last Monday. And we'll have another tonight.

The other one used to be an investigator and was coming to church regularly and getting ready for baptism last time I was in this ward. We were over at a less active member's house and he wanted us to come over later that day. Our lesson with him started out not so good. He was very adamant against authority and our church's "hierarchy" but we were able to remind him of the testimony he had gained in the past of the Book of Mormon and what that meant. So he came to church on Sunday! And brought all his kids!

Also, our investigator, T, came to church this week! She lives with her grandma and is really active in her Baptist church but is willing to find out if what we've taught her is true. Lately she's been trying to get an answer to prayers about the BoM but hasn't felt anything yet. Coming to church was a big step for her, though.

On Wednesday we were out knocking some doors out in Greenwood and this random guy pulls up in his car and asks if we're JWs. We told him we were Mormons and he was pretty happy about that and started asking all about our beliefs. Now don't freak out at this next part, Mom, but we ended up hopping in his car and just cruising around Greenwood for a while teaching him basically the whole restoration. He even took a BoM and I really hope he can feels the Spirit from it. I just really think it's funny how as a missionary all those rules about not talking to strangers and not getting into a car with a stranger is just thrown out the window (unless the Spirit tells you otherwise) haha!

Also, we finally got our po box! So our mailing address is:
P.O. Box #1285
Stanton, TX 79782

I appreciate the comments on love this week, Mom and Dad. Recently I've been praying a lot for more charity because it is such a vital part of missionary work. With enough charity everything seems so much easier because you're focusing on serving others rather than yourself. It takes a lot of work to have charity all the time and to be able to help Christ heal others, but the rewards are so great!

Love,
Elder Carlson

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Trailer... and Pythons




The Atonement covers EVERYTHING!

So we are officially completely moved into our trailer!!! On Tuesday (our last day in our Midland apartment) we spent pretty much all day moving stuff into our trailer (including our new fridge!) and cleaning the apartment very thoroughly. It's not bad living in the trailer, I kind of enjoy it, but what isn't too fun is sleeping in my little cubby in the wall. The AC doesn't get to it too well so I just put a fan at the opening at night and whenever I move around I usually bump something (my head, elbow, butt, or knee) into the side. Showers in the morning are really cold too. But that means I use less water in the mornings, though, which is good. Elder Hanson seems to be immune to the cold water, which I'm impressed with. But he's always freezing at night while I'm burning up, which I don't really get... 

The 4th of July was pretty fun, but it always kind of sucks being isolated from other missionaries in these small towns. We mostly just watched Mormon Messages (after 6, when we were supposed to be in) but we also got to go help give a blessing to a less active member (which ended up being really spiritual because we were fasting too).

On Wednesday, after district meeting I got to go on my first exchange as a district leader (that wasn't with the ZLs). I was in Big Spring with my MTC comp, Elder Thornton. It was really fun being there. I even got to hold a couple pythons. But it's hard sometimes being responsible for these missionaries when they're going through hard times. I feel like I never know what to do to help them be happier and/or be better missionaries. All I can do is try and turn them to the Savior because His Atonement covers everything. And when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. But we just have to do those things that will allow it to work in our lives.  

I've been very impressed this week with how simple the gospel really is. Everything turns back to Christ(2 Nephi 25:26) and remembering/coming closer to Him. That's why the sacrament is so important as well as the BoM. We will receive answers to prayer, increased faith, and guidance, as well as many other blessings as we feast upon the words in the BoM daily. I hope y'all will continue to keep building your faith by learning from and living the teachings in the BoM. I love all of you and hope y'all stay safe and keep having fun.

Love,
Elder Carlson

Monday, June 29, 2015

Happy 20th Birthday Elder Carlson!!!

Thank y'all for all the birthday wishes! It's been a good, but hectic week this week. We have almost all our stuff moved out of the apartment (I don't know why we have to live on the 3rd floor) but aren't quite moved into our travel trailer. We'll be officially moved tomorrow. On Friday they came and fixed our ac, which is super nice, but now we just don't have a working fridge. Bro. S (the member who donated the trailer) is bringing another one tomorrow.

District meeting this week went well. My instruction actually took long enough, which I was a little nervous for. The zone leaders came too, of course, which added more people and made me more nervous. But it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. A little more about my district, like you asked: There are four companionships in my district (including me and Elder Hanson). They're all elders. Two of the companionships are in a city called Big Spring and the other is the Spanish elders for Midland. I was happy to find out at the beginning of the transfer that I knew Elder Thornton (my MTC comp), Elder Gillette (my mission "brother"), and Elders Conkel and Kennedy (I just served around them in previous areas) before.

Mostly this week we've been trying to get our apartment ready to vacate and find more people to teach. We did get to meet with this one lady who is really interested and prepared, but since her mom's a member she wants to be baptized where she's moving. We haven't been able to see J too many times this week. He kind of just disappeared and didn't come to church either.

I think that's about it this week, but I've been able to study a lot on the sacrament this week for district meeting and it's been really neat. It's so important to remember the sacrifice Christ made for us and I hope y'all never forget how much He loves you. Strive each week to make partaking of the sacrament a sacred, cleansing experience and focus on the Atonement.

Love,
Elder Carlson

Monday, June 22, 2015

Great, stressful, exciting week!

It's been a great, stressful, and exciting week.  We've been able to see J almost every day this week. On Friday, though, we were able to see him and later, before we left Stanton at the end of the day we passed his house again and he flagged us down. His dad and brother were there with him and he was super excited to introduce us to them. It was really neat how he was telling them how much we had helped him overcome his addictions so far and how we never gave up on him and came by every day. His dad is a JW, but his brother seemed pretty interested in meeting with us! Unfortunately, though, J didn't come to church like he said he would.
The stressful part of this week was when I had to give an instruction during zone training. And now I'm preparing for district meeting, which I'm not too excited to instruct, but I'll survive. God will qualify whoever He calls. I just have to give Him all I've got no matter how miniscule it may seem.
Oh, and we also got to set a baptismal date with this girl named T. She's pretty cool, but really active in her baptist church and so is a little weary of coming to church with us. She invited us to her church and so we might go in the next couple of weeks and then she'll come to ours.
And we also finally got our trailer set up! We haven't moved anything there yet, though. The AC doesn't work yet so we're waiting for that to be fixed before we move; otherwise that would be miserable. And I'm glad they told you the address Mom! You should send that to me, haha. We have no clue what it is. Anyway, I love y'all and hope this week is fantastic!
Love,
Elder Carlson

Friday, June 12, 2015




Amazing miracle!

So adjusting this week to my new area, companion, and calling as a DL has been alright. Elder Hanson is from Idaho and is a really nice guy. He's been in this area for a while and so is a big help.
Greenwood is a pretty great area so far. Most of the time we spend in Stanton because Greenwood is just all the houses out in the county roads between these two highways outside of Midland. We do have a car, but not related to me being DL. We actually live in Midland and Stanton is about a 30 minute drive (so it would be quite the bike ride). We will be moving into a traveling trailer in Stanton sometime this week, though. We have no idea when yet. It will be quite the change going from the most expensive missionary apartment in the mission (and one of the nicest I've seen thus far) to a travel trailer. I haven't seen one yet so I don't know how small it will be. Because of that I'm not going to tell you an address yet, but you could just send anything to the mission office.

We had an amazing miracle happen just yesterday. We had a lesson scheduled and had this member couple, the P's, come out with us. Unfortunately, they slammed the door in our face and so we visited a less active family for a bit. After we said thanks to the P's and they drove off, we soon got a call from Sis P. There was this man who, when he saw them driving down the road, flagged them down and asked them about the gospel. We got to go in and teach him. He's a recovering drug addict and had just said a prayer for God to give him some hope when he opened the door and saw the P's.

It's strange being here in Midland 3rd ward again and has brought back a lot of memories from when I was here with Elder Morley. I've been able to think back and realize how much I've grown and changed in this past year. I learned so much training Elder Evans and I know being a DL will make me stretch and grow even more. I love you all and hope everything goes well at girls camp!!

Love,
Elder Carlson

Monday, June 1, 2015

Transferred and District Leader

So this week we did have some crazy weather. And we've been stuck on bikes all week because we already went over on our miles for the month. We did get to still go help at the community garden we've been helping at luckily as well as the Catholic Charities place we help at every Saturday (some awesome members took us). On Thursday was when the weather was crazy. We had planned to go help a family move but when we opened the door we stepped into a torrential downpour! We were instantly soaked and as we biked we were riding through puddles that were halfway up our shins on our down-peddles. Since we were already drenched we got to help a man push his car out of the flooded street. It was insane but so much fun, haha!

On Friday we got to go to the temple with a less-active lady that we've been working with a lot. She struggles a lot with smoking but recently we've set some goals with her and she's been able to stay clean for a while and is worthy to do baptisms for the dead!!! I love the temple so much. 

On Saturday we got transfer calls. We were actually at our assistant ward mission leader's house having correlation meeting when President Heap called. Elder Evans is staying here and is training a new missionary. I'm going to Greenwood (right next to Midland, and in the same ward I was in when I was in Midland last I'm pretty sure) with Elder Hanson (who I don't know yet). I'm also going to be a district leader. So I'll leave Lubbock tomorrow. Also, they are moving us so instead of the Greenwood elders living in Midland we'll now live in Stanton (which is in our area). If that doesn't work out, though, we'll be living in a traveling trailer. Elder Evans is super jealous of that, haha.

It really sucks being in an area so long because then when you leave it's so much worse because you're so much closer to the people. I'm going to miss everyone here, but the Lord needs me elsewhere. 

I love y'all and hope everything goes great this week! Enjoy your summer while I burn up in Texas again, if it ever stops raining (maybe y'all should pray it doesn't stop raining). 

Love,
Elder Carlson

Dropped, slipped and kneed

Sorry I wasn't able to write yesterday. I'm sure you probably realized all the libraries were closed due to Memorial Day. Anywho, this has been a pretty eventful week. More of those events had to do with my harm, though. We'll start with the emotional harm, haha.

We got dropped by two investigators in the same day. The first was the investigator who we met last week. She was so interested and loved meeting with us but on Tuesday when we stopped by her husband was there. We talked to him for a while and apparently he had met with missionaries in the past and said he and those missionaries had come to the conclusion that they had different beliefs and they'd go separate ways. He was really against her meeting with us but said it was up to her. I don't think he had told her anything good about us and so she dropped us. Hopefully she'll stay interested and have another opportunity to accept the gospel later. Later that night our long time investigators dropped us. We hadn't seen them in forever so it wasn't a big surprise.

Now on to the physical harm (it's nothing serious, so calm down Mom)... last p-day we were out playing some frisbee golf and we cane to this big gutter that was filled with water and extremely mossy (which I didn't realize at first). Another elder didn't want to get his shoes wet so I offered to carry him. As soon as I picked him up and took the first step, I realized the moss made the ground absolutely frictionless and I did a full blown cartoon wipeout. My companion watching said it was hilarious to watch the other elders surprised face as he fell into my lap and suddenly got wet, haha! The physical harm came from the fact that my elbow got scraped up, but that's it.

Then, on Wednesday we were playing ultimate frisbee for morning sports and I was booking it to catch the frisbee when suddenly there was a large, solid object right in front of me. I slammed into another elder, who is quite a bit larger than me and I stopped pretty abruptly. I thought little of this incident until when we got back to our apartment I found that my knee was about 4 times it's normal size. So this week hasn't really been fun since we've been biking every day (we're running very low on miles for the month) and my knee doesn't like it. Don't worry, though. It's a lot better now, so don't worry. 

Anyway, I'm out of time, but I love you all!! Y'all are in my prayers.

Love, Elder Carlson

Monday, May 18, 2015

Seek for and follow the Spirit!

This week has been pretty good. We decided to go through our list of investigators and see who we should still consider one or not. I really hate dropping investigators but when you just can't contact them ever you have to sometimes. We dropped quite a few including C and her finance (she moved out and she didn't tell us where so we have no way of contacting her now).

We did find two new investigators this week, though! One is the fiance of one of our potential investigators who used to meet with the missionaries a ton way back when. We haven't been able to meet with him though. The other we found while on exchanges. I was with Elder ChungHee, our district leader, and decided to stop and talk to her since she was out weeding. We found out she just moved to Lubbock not too long ago from Thailand and has lived all over the place including South Korea. We started teaching her the restoration but she kept asking questions about deep doctrine (I'm pretty sure she's come in contact with plenty of anti, but she's still pretty open). 

The O family is doing great! We got to go and have a lesson with them on the temple grounds this week. It went pretty well considering how chaotic their family is. Also, J was interviewed by the bishop for the Aaronic Priesthood this week!! We haven't heard how that went, but I hope he'll get it soon because his son just turned 8 and that would be amazing if he was able to baptize him! 

We also did quite a bit of street contacting this week and had a couple sweet miracles. One happened while we were walking to try a potential. As we passed this house, we felt prompted to knock it. The lady who answered the door was very apprehensive at first and told us we couldn't come back but we testified of our message and offered to do some service. We were pretty persistent with the service and suddenly she said that we could come back and set up an appointment! She even told us that she hardly ever answers the door because it's a sketchy part of town but for some reason she had answered it that time. We also found this black man on the streets.  He was very open and seemed pretty interested (whether in hearing our message or that he thinks we'll smoke weed with him, I'm not sure. ha, ha). 

If there's one thing I've learned this week it's how important it is to have the Spirit with you all the time. Whether you're a missionary or not, being a disciple of Jesus Christ means that you do and say what He would do. And that requires following the Spirit and seeking for it's guidance in every situation. It's such an amazing feeling when you know God has worked through you for someone's benefit or to answer their prayer (Words of Mormon 1:7).

Love, Elder Carlson

Monday, April 27, 2015

By small and simple things are great things brought to pass



This week has been pretty awesome! We got three new investigators this week, the most notable one so far is one of our investigator's fiance. She always avoided us when we were there until one day when we stopped by he wasn't there and when we started talking to her she decided to listen. We gave her a Book of Mormon and came back the next day to find out she had read 21 chapters (that's 20 more chapters than we told her to read, haha)!!! She says it all makes perfect sense to her and loves how the BoM answers all of her questions. She's on goal to be baptized may 16th if all goes well. Hopefully she'll help her fiance progress that much too.

One of the other new investigators is an older Catholic lady we found street contacting one day last week. We've also started going over to C's parents house to teach them and her younger brother. Her mom just wants to bash with us but her dad and brother seem a little more interested. We also went with C to the family history center yesterday and she's going to start trying to get her parents to come and start helping her out with it. Hopefully that will help get them hooked on the gospel! Family history work is so sweet. I got to get on and look up some cool stories about my ancestors while we were there too. 

That's all I can really think to tell y'all right now. I'm glad to hear about the great week y'all had too. I hope everything keeps going well. I've learned a lot recently that God doesn't settle for second best or just mediocre, so we shouldn't either. We need to keep on progressing every day and continue to work work work. So keep reading and praying and doing the simple things that will help you grow and learn. By small and simple things are great things brought to pass. 

Love, 
Elder Carlson

Friday, April 17, 2015

Baptism

It's been one insane week. Mainly towards the end of it was the crazy part. Earlier in the week was good. I got to go on exchanges with my trainer, Elder Christensen, who's my district leader. That was really fun. Just like old times in Seminole. 

We've also been able to do some great service this week too. We got to help paint a members house and then helped one of our investigator's friends move. We've also been able to meet with quite a few people this week as well, which is great. I'd say that's probably the biggest problem we have is trying to get in contact with people again. It seems like most people can only meet at the same time as everyone else can only meet at.


Saturday and Sunday was when it got crazy. I'm happy to say, though, that on Saturday J and C got baptized!!! It went great. They invited a lot of family and so there was a lot more non-members than members there. One of the missionaries who taught them in Plainview was at the temple and got to see them after the baptism, which was cool. 

Later we found out an investigator's brother died so we couldn't go see her. Then we got a text from C telling us that her husband had appendicitis and was in the hospital for surgery. We went up there, getting lost a couple times going through Tech campus, but weren't able to see him.  Everything went well fortunately, but he won't be able to work or drive or anything for at least a week, which will be rough for them since they need the money from him working and they have trouble finding regular babysitters for their kids so C can work. 

Sunday we got a request from the zone leaders to go help out another set of missionaries in our zone. One of them was up sick all night and so couldn't go to church but was supposed to give a talk so I went with his companion to their sacrament meeting so he could give the talk instead. After that we went to our ward where I got to confirm J and C!  It was a little nerve wracking at first but it went great. After church we got to see one of our prior investigators.  He's doing a ton better! He has a job, is able to pay his own rent, goes to church, and looks like a completely new person! 

One thing I learned this week is how dumb it is to speed. God never made or told us to make time. We created time on our own and we tend to try to speed things up because of it. God intended us to slow down and appreciate what God's given us and not be going too fast and missing everything we could enjoy around us. She said it a lot more eloquently, but realizing that has helped me resist the urge to speed as I drive and "Elder Tiwi" yells at me a lot less now, haha. I love y'all!

-Elder Carlson