Monday, January 25, 2016

Amazing week!

It's been an amazing week! I don't even know where to start...

First off, we've been seeing a lot of progress in some of the people we're working with. We set a baptismal date with one of our investigators, R (he's 18, doesn't have much religious background so is starting his faith from scratch, and has a baby on the way)! He is very humble and wants to learn and understands the scriptures better than most, if not everyone I've taught on my mission.

We also had 3 less active families and one investigator at church yesterday! The A's (they've now come 5 consecutive weeks; the first time in about 15 years), the D's (the first time since I've been here), and the B's (who are also working to go back to the temple in March and their daughter, A, was the investigator who was there). A is really progressing as well. She's never been interested in the gospel before now, but when we gave her a Book of Mormon, she read the chapter we gave her and prayed about it. When we asked her about it, she began to cry as she described her experience and the Spirit was so strong! It was probably one of the strongest I've felt in a lesson. The Spirit really is the only teacher and the gospel can change lives.

On Wednesday the world-wide missionary broadcast was about our doctrinal purpose for missionary work: teaching repentance and baptizing converts. I learned something cool that wasn't really said in it, but I'd like to share it with yall. So forgive my dumb video game analogy, but you know how in Super Mario Bros there's parts where you have to walk on sand? You can hop around on top of it and get across, but if you stop for only a second, you start to sink and it's harder to move and get out. It's the same with us. In life, we need to continue to change and progress. If we don't improve ourselves constantly in the gospel, we soon get into a rut and may even start to sink into apathy, being comfortable with where we're at and not ever reaching our full potential. I hope yall will continue to become better and look at how you can better serve others. That's what we're here to do.

Elder Carlson

Zone Conference

It's been a really fun, busy week this week. On Tuesday we had zone conference, which is always great! One thing they talked about was our mission's culture. Every mission has a culture of how things are done, but the Brethren want to make sure we're all focused on the main doctrinal purpose of missionary work: teaching repentance and baptizing converts. It's so important that everyone learns in this life how to repent. Repentance is changing and turning towards God and that is one of our main purposes in this life. In 3Nephi 11:37-38, Christ talks about the importance of "becoming as a little child" (through repentance) not only before baptism, but afterward as we receive the Holy Ghost and are sanctified and change gradually throughout the rest of our lives.

On Thursday we got to go on exchanges with one of our DLs, Elder Pulsipher, and Elder Brown, his companion. We did a lot of contacting on the street and knocking, but we found some awesome people who will hopefully still be willing to talk to us when we go back. One thing I need to work on as a leader is giving people assignments/invitations to study something or do something differently. That's really how we teach repentance, by inviting others to change.

On Saturday we got to go to the temple with a member, Bro. S. We went early and did some initiatories and baptisms as well as an endowment session. I love being in the temple and am so grateful I am able to be around members who are so willing to take us and go often as well.

I love you all and hope this week is fantastic. Always remember the Lord and always be open to His spirit teaching you what you can do in your life to further repent/improve.

Elder Carlson

Monday, January 11, 2016

Exchanges and MLC

It's been a pretty crazy week. I feel like I haven't worked in my area much at all so far since I've been here. After p-day was over we got to go have family home evening with a family in the ward, which was great. Then on Tuesday we had district meeting in Carlsbad and I stayed there on exchanges with Elder Farley and elder Cortez. Wednesday when we exchanged back we did some service for a member moving stuff around in his motorcycle shop he owns. Right after that we headed to Lubbock to go on exchanges with the APs. They serve in the YSA Ward in Lubbock but don't get to proselyte a ton because they have a lot of other duties as APs. So we did a lot of knocking in the student housing and we actually got in to teach these two girls. Teaching people your own age is a little weird at first, but they're still people too and definitely need the gospel. Then we had MLC on Friday and on Saturday I was finally able to have a full day of proselyting in my area. We even got two new investigators!

At MLC our mission vehicle coordinator, Elder Heppler, and President Heap really emphasized not going over our mileage allotments. When we got back to Roswell, we looked at our zone's miles and they had been assigned about 5000 miles over what we were supposed to have, so we had to cut a lot of miles back from every area in our zone with a car. There were a lot of complaints about this, but I learned something during my studies after dealing with all of that. After reading 2 Nephi 26:8-9, my testimony really grew about following the prophet and our church leaders. Even though there might be persecutions or we might have to make sacrifices (by biking more), we will know Christ so much more because of our obedience, we will have more abundant peace, and we will see these blessings not only in our own lives, but in our families as well.
I love you all! Have a fantastic week and strive to listen to what the Spirit instructs that you can be more obedient in.
Elder Carlson