Monday, November 30, 2015
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.
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!!!
Monday, November 16, 2015
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
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!
Monday, November 2, 2015
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!
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.