Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Half way mark at the MTC!

Hey hey hey!!! So today marks the half way mark at the MTC! So crazy how fast it goes here, the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days. The spirit has been so great it’s awesome. Some things have definitely changed since last week. Our amazing teachers that were teaching us, Hermano Clarke y Hermano Riboldi, are not going to be able to teach us anymore:( they were so amazing. Hermano Clarke was such an inspiration; he would always share examples of his mission from his journal and talk about how it’s all about the peeps! In my case the peeps in Chile. When it’s hard I just remember that I am doing for those people. But it was so spiritual the last night we sang "Till we meet again" in Spanish and he bore his testimony, it was filled with so much joy and excitement for us, you could really tell he was passionate about us and the mission. We all got teared up because the spirit had such a strong presence around him, it wasn’t fake at all, he is such an outgoing guy and can be hilarious but when it’s time to work he gets us to because we respect him, we weren’t to excited about our new teachers but they are great as well! Not the same but have different great strengths. Another change is I got a new companion. One of the guys left to Spain and we had two Trios in our district, so we had to split up. This will be my 4th companion now and 3rd companionship. I haven’t even left the MTC yet either ha-ha. I was really bummed when this happened; starting to teach with a new companion is hard at first, especially after leaving such a great trio. But we have gotten along great and he is such a great new comp, it will just take time to get flowing together. (btw his name is Elder Pugh). Another thing is I was called as the new district leader. Excited to help bring us more together as a district. Teaching is my favorite thing probably at the MTC! I surprised myself soooo much at our last TRC (training resource center). We taught two lessons about revelation from the book of Mormon. We first taught two guys from BYU that served in various missions Spanish speaking and second taught a Chilean!!! What was crazy is he couldn’t speak any English really I loved it. I got so excited and it really really made me want to get there and teach the people there. He was so friendly and had such a great spirit. It was me and my comps first time teaching and we had nothing planned because of how soon the switch was. But nonetheless we went in with the spirit and I surprised myself COMPLETELY! I spoke the best Spanish I have yet (not saying it was perfect, but hard work really does pay off, testifying of how I have received revelation as well as listening to their comments and responding was miraculous the spirit was so strong, especially when you testify of what you know. Another thing is how great the scriptures are in my life now. I LOVE THEM! My two most favorite times of the day are personal study time where I can just read the Book of Mormon, and Language study time, It is so much fun learning new things because you can use the new things you learn in lessons, it’s not like school where you’ll never us the stuff, everything we learn we use its amazing.
This Sunday we listened to Elder Bednars talk he gave on Christmas at the MTC is was about the Characteristic of Christ. He talked about how we need to be converted which means putting away the natural man. He talked about how Christ now once in his life thought of himself always giving an outward love to others rather than an inward love of yourself. Another speaker this Sunday said how to be a great missionary you need to humble yourself in order to become a great missionary. These words had really changed my thinking of the Mission, This is not my mission at all, I am in place of Jesus Christ, and it is to fulfill his work declared in Moses 1:39 (hey a scripture mastery huh). So I really have made a difference in how I interact with everyone here, never talking badly of anyone or complaining about anyone EVER. Helping others matters so much more then what I need. It will take time to do this, no one is perfect, but I want to become more outward with love, instead of embracing the natural man with selfishness.
Bednar also said "You receive no witness till the trial of your faith." He referred to the story of the Brother of Jared found in Ether. He talked about how he asked God to light up the stones with his finger. As God was doing this the Brother of Jared began to just see a bright light, it wasn’t till towards the end of touching all the stones one by one that he was able to see Gods finger working this miracle. In our lives especially here at the MTC we often do things trying our faith and it’s often not till awhile after doing something where we see the blessing of God in our lives. Especially with the language some days feel like I will never get it, but then we go and teach and the spirit of God is present and through the Holy Ghost I am able to teach someone the Greatness of the Gospel. Brother Monson talked about how the Prophet has very simple faith in that if he is prompted or told to do something through revelation he won’t question why he will just do it. We here need to do that as well regarding obedience because all the rules are inspired by revelation. Thanks Dalan for your letter I actually was able to understand your whole letter of Spanish except for one word but I was still happy ha-ha. I am bummed to hear about how they showed the garments that upset me. I honestly want people to just read the Book of Mormon. Everyone that has fallen away reading the Book of Mormon has trouble denying the Books power because of how true and sacred it is. If everyone just read the Book they would really see who we are and what we stand for. Overall this week was great! I love teaching, can’t wait to testify to the people of Chile

Con Amor,
Elder Carter

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


My heart is so full!!! This week so far has been so amazing!!! My testimony of family, prayer, and fasting is stronger than ever. Thanks to everyone who fasted and prayed for me. I felt so loved. Sunday I woke up and felt something was different, a good different though, the spirit was so strong. Even stronger than before. I gave the closing prayer during sacrament and felt it so strongly, as I spoke the spirit was igniting in my soul even with chopped up Spanish. Since Sunday my health has gotten sooo much better, and I feel as though during hard times I am being lifted by God and angels. Thanks for fasting for me I really needed it and now I just want to work harder than ever.

My companions and I are getting along so great! Our teacher gave us a lesson on how all of us have potential and we need to decide if we want to start that now and work towards it and make it a 2 year mission, or try later and make it a 5 week mission, we all decided we won’t live our mission with regrets, we will work when we need to and do more than we are supposed to.

Regarding sleep it is so funny what I have to do in morning personal study. I sometimes I have to study my scriptures standing next to the wall doing calf raises or something to keep me attentive. The Lord provides a way though and for me to study when I’m so tired that’s what I need to accomplish the task at hand.

For TRC (Training Resource Center) where we teach volunteers, we got to teach Santiago, the same one from last week, he is so awesome, we taught him about prayer and revelation this time regarding why and when we should pray. I bore my testimony of how I was able to decide to go to BYU-Idaho through revelation of prayer and how blessed I am for choosing to go there. He told us he could see progress in our Spanish skills and definitely could see the gift of tongues happening.

Some games we do at night to relieve stress is a couple we made up, we even have a leadership board for who won the game that night. The 3 games we made up are 7 on the line a basketball game (we made a hoop out of a cardboard box and taped it to our wall), Frizz-Wall (frizbey wall ball), and Trial Toss (tricks with a ball as you throw it against the wall) it is so amazing how creative you can get here and how simply entertained we are.

Something cool happened Sunday, Brother Monson videotaped us singing Happy Birthday in Spanish to his Uncle (The Prophet) haha. It was sooo cool, I even gave a nice pointer and smile at him, and he showed it to him that night. When He watched I guess he said "Muy Bueno" so I’m sure he was proud and impressed by our angelic voices (chiste;) ) haha Another awesome thing that happened Sunday was Elder Neil L Anderson Spoke at Devotional!!!! We luckily got early so we got good seats! Oh man do General Authorities have great things to say and such a powerful spirit. I felt it the whole time. He gave us advice for the mission. One thing he quoted was "You are instruments in the Lords hands" and how when we are on the lords time he will bless us. Last week I was walking back to our dorm after a long day and looked at all the missionaries, I saw angels over all of them; some had 2 or 3, just watching out for them. I did not see them with my eyes though I can’t really explain it, later Brother Monson told me God revealed that to me as a vision, and they don’t come with your eyes, it’s a spiritual experience. But how powerful is that, that God and angels are always there for us even during hard times.

Thanks for the Tie Clip and gym stuff!!! Grandma and Grandpa also sent me an awesome tie clip and tie pin of angel Maroni. When I get things like that I feel so loved so thank you!!!! Tell grandma thanks for her inspirational words they helped so much, I will write her as soon as I can.

I MEMORIZED THE FIRST VISION! I was so excited to tell our mock investigator it, I did it with the spirit and it was so cool to do in Spanish. It’s amazing how much the spirit has even when we can’t say what the spirit wants to teach them. I think one thing I would like to tell you is the power of prayer! I was reading in 3 Nephi 18-18-21, this is after Jesus talks about the sacrament in the Americas. WE must ALWAYS pray! For it provides us protection as well as an amazing relationship with God. We also are more tuned to receive revelation from him. What better way to protect us and fill us with knowledge then going to the source of all truth and knowledge many times of the day. I encourage everyone to take this word and act on prayer always; you’ll be surprised how much more charged your spiritual battery will be!!!
Kristy!!! I am so excited for Carter! Glad that he can overcome is awkward crawling hahah tell him I’m so proud to be his uncle!
Mom I’m so happy for you, and so grateful to be your mom, Just hearing the blessing you have received lately and what you have realized to better your relationship with God is awesome I’m so happy. Thanks for all the help.
Dad! Thanks for your advice and stories of the home front, I am so blessed to have you as a dad. Everything you said went straight to my heart, and has helped immensely; the learning curve is so real your right! I just feel so much love from both of you and the rest of my loved ones so thank you! I am excited to hear more about that Evangelical/Mormon thing so fill me in

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August 15, 2012

If I could explain the MTC in one word it would be Spirit. I constantly feel it every day here it’s such a privilege. Thanks so Much for the package!!!! I LOVED it!!! I loved all the sticky notes it made it that much more special. My favorite was the laminated patriarchal blessing and the pictures. Ha I loved the ones of you shopping for it and especially of carter. My nephew is such a stud! It was such a great day to get that and I felt so loved. So Thank you again! It’s crazy how fast it goes when I go to recall what happened the last couple days it’s just a blur. It seems like just one huge day. Where one day ends the other follows. My old comp was going to Chile Osorno. BTW. My new comps are going to Rancagua Chile. We get along so GREAT! It’s so great. This week we had our first TRC where someone volunteers to come and have us teach them. The lady that came was a member. We were way nervous. We began with a prayer to have the spirit. We were just going to go with the spirit the first time and I quickly picked up with a prompting to share Enos 1: 3-5 talking about the importance of sincere prayer. We then got to know that she has sons on missions currently. Then something amazing happened. I began to testify to her how my families and loved ones prayers have already helped me so much and have blessed my time here already. I then told her that her sons can feel the prayers of her family. What was crazy is I said this all in Spanish. It probably wasn't perfect but the spirit allowed me to say what I wanted to say. What was even better was my companions caught on to this spiritual prompting and we taught an amazing lesson on prayer. Our Spanish wasn't perfect but because the spirit ignited in our hearts and hers it was such a great lesson. Our district has become obsessed with sand volleyball during gym time. It is so much fun and it really brings us all together. The sand gets hot sometimes though but on those days we play bball or four square haha. We have this little game we created that spread to our whole zone where we get plastic spoons and you try to put it in each other’s pockets throughout the day without them noticing its sooo great haha. Oh the things that bring you simple joy. The language is coming along slowly but surely. During our service time as me and my comps were mopping the stairs we began to sing the Baptismal invitation in Spanish to "Another Bites the Dust" by Queen. It helped us memorize it soooo well. I was able to invite our practive investigator (our teacher) to come unto Christ and be baptized in Spanish; it was so cool and uplifting. Hahaha oh goodness I’m glad my bowel problems are public, glad I’m going to be gone for 2 years to overcome that embarrassment;) haha if you don’t remember during my farewell talk I used Alma 32:28 where Alma compares the word unto a seed. Sister Seamon the first counselors of the MTCs wife spoke on replacing seed with mission it was crazy how what we are able to do on our mission completely relies on what we put out regarding effort and obedience. Oh man I love you all so much though. Your letters remind me how much I appreciate our family. Continue to share things; those pictures of Carter are so precious haha. The gospel is true! Sometimes in our lives we just need to rekindle the fire and remember how blessed we are for a loving heavenly father and a selfless savior Jesus Christ. Take the time this week to ponder on times in your life where God has blessed you, recollecting past experiences are great to be reminded of God’s love, we can’t know the happiness without times of trial and sadness (2 Nephi 2:11)

My companions and I had to go to the BYU medical center to pick up a prescription so we got to walk a good ways. It was nice to see new scenery but the coolest part was as we were walking people said hello elders to us. It was soooo COOL!!! It sometimes hasn’t hit me that we are missionaries, and to have someone out of the MTC say that felt so good. It will be cool to go to Chile and be known as the missionaries. I love representing Jesus Christ and our church. It is the only thing I want to do right now. Thanks for the prayers, the letters, the emails, the packages, the thoughts. I love you so much! I am doing good here and growing everyday!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

First email from the MTC

Mom and Dad!

I love and miss you so much!  Your letter made my day!  And yes I got it obviously o thanks so much!!!! :) Glad you got mine. And prayers really do help so keep them coming. I pray for you and the family and everyone back home as well. The spirit is so strong here. I have so much to tell you in so little time. We only get 30 min so it’s hard to get everything out.

Ever since Sunday it has gotten a lot easier; and more spiritual. You can send me photos I just can’t send them at the MTC so please do. Also thanks so much for the cookies they are really good. We are always hungry at night because we only have 3 set meal times so they were so nice to have.  Mom I keep forgetting about the phone thing as well. WE get in meetings sometimes and the back of your head is telling you tell turn your phone off or you get a phantom phone ring its funny. It is hard sometimes knowing I can’t just call you and tell you stuff I need or just to say hi. But that’s where my companions and the Lord come in; it’s crazy how much the Lord helps. You don’t need to worry; the MTC is so amazing. The spirit is so strong here I can’t put in words HOW amazing it is.  I have become so aware of the spirit and it dwells in my heart at all times. It can be offended very easily and you notice it immediately so the spirit is a good way to know how you are doing.

My companion is such an amazing Elder and I was blessed to have him as my companion.  HE has such an amazing testimony.  Unfortunately he had to clear some things up so he had to go home for awhile to fix them. I was able to comfort him during this time.  It was a very hard, emotional, yet good experience to have. I’m glad I could be there for him.  Pray for him to help him know God is there for him.

My new companions are Elder Hart and Elder Miller.  I love these Elders so much. They are just like me so we have a lot of fun and feel the spirit.  It’s going to be a great time with them. I’ll let you know more about them later. There are 4 elders going to Madrid Spain, 3 of us are going to Osorno, and 2 are going to Rancagua, Chile.  All of my district is amazing and we work hard.  Dad I felt grandmas presence already multiple times. It is nice to know that she is here supporting me and is proud. She is such a great person to have around me here.

We rarely speak English in our classes so Spanish is coming SLOWLY with the power of the spirit. We got to teach an investigator (Mock) and he only speaks Spanish. His name is Daniel and he is from Mexico. We have already taught him 4 times. It is hard because we have to butcher Spanish but you learn how to say things in the easiest way getting around hard things to get out. We committed him to baptism as we told him about following Christ’s example. And he said YES! The spirit was so strong and it was such a cool experience. Bearing your testimony in Spanish is such an amazing thing.

The food is good for the most part. I actually had to go to the doctors here because I have not been able to release my bowels for 7 days. I kind of did today but still struggling, pray for me. Don’t worry though I will be okay the doctor is helping me. I’ll keep you updated.

I was worried about making friends here, but then I have already felt so much love form my district, my zone, and other elders and teachers. Everyone is so nice. I have already been known pretty well and everyone comes to me to be entertained and make learning about the gospel fun. We constantly make songs about things in Spanish such as singing "estamos agradicido por nuestras familias" at the top of our lungs it’s so great. We are all very close and it makes tough times easier. Everyone has each other’s backs. We are all each other’s keepers...

Keep sending Dear Elders asking questions and responses cause it gives me time to make an outline of what I can say. I love typing to u so it’s awesome. Here is a scripture that sums up how I feel at the moment. Alma 26:12-13.  I won’t type in sake of time but it’s about Ammon saying he is weak in spirit without faith in the lord. I am nothing without God and Jesus Christ and some things I have learned I would not be able to without the spirit.  I am so grateful for that. It is really humbling. I have been way humbled and my faith in Christ is rising at a speed I have never gotten to before. The power of the Holy Ghost is real.

Please keep telling me stories and what is going on. It is truly a comforter to hear from your family… Letters make me feel so good.  I'll admit it is hard at times.  Your prayers, letters, packages, and love have helped so much. My love for the Gospel is at a high and it keeps growing. This is the hardest I’ve worked in my life the past 7 days already and I love every minute of it. It’s hard waking up at 6:30 but with Faith I can do it. I know that's funny how hard it is for me, but you know me and mornings. The spirit sometimes whispers to me, “ok if you get up I promise you won’t be as tired in an hour” and the next hour I’m up and awake happy as can be. I am so glad I could give the most precious thing to my heavenly father and that is my will. Serving a mission is such a great feeling. It is weird looking out the window here knowing that others are doing other things in the world, but when you get down to my purpose, First Chapter of PMG there is no doubt in my mind that this is what I need to do and I go forth with faith, with an eye single to the Glory of God. LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!! I feel your love everyday and am so thankful for you. Thanks for teaching me and raising me. The gospel is real and use it in your lives!

Con Amor,

Elder Carter

Sunday, August 5, 2012

First Letter from the MTC

Mi Familia,

Oh the MTC is so great!  I am just writing to let you know that my P-day is not til next wed, so I won't be able to email you til then.  Also, unfortunately they just came out with a rule where no pictures can be sent to anyone at the MTC so I was think I'd send my card home every now and then.  But anyways I will be totally hones the MTC is very hard, challenging, tiring and more but I LOVE IT!  My district is AMAZING and me and my comp besides our completely different personalities I love him to death and I let him know that.  Early on I was down but then lifted up when we were taught by the president that we need to love and help our comps.  My mission is to love, help, and allow my comp to be as happy and comfortable as possible, even though its hard sometimes, its worth it.
  Another thing is how surprised I am at the immersion in Spanish already!  My teacher in a 3 hour class period speaks about 10 words of English and I love it!  Super overwhelming but if I just stick to what I need to do it will come.  I'm tired already but our district wants to do everything with complete obedience, we build off each other.  I have not missed Facebook or TV or music.  I just love the gospel and have already increased my relationship with God and his Son.  Thank you so much already for the prayers.  I can feel the love so keep them coming; they do help.  Also, let others know letters and packages are amazing here, it hard work and its good to know people love you.  But overall let people know prayers mean sooo much, way more than letters or gifts.  It's amazing how the Lord is such a special/important part of my life already.  I am so blessed to be here.  Thanks so much for your example and love, also BYU-ID has prepared me so much I LOVE IT.  Anyways, write you soon.

Con Amor,

Elder Carter

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Trip to the MTC

Monday night, Zack wanted to get Mexican food for the last time (They don't have tortillas in Chile). 

The Last California Burrito for Two Years

Zack was set apart by President Brad Baker Monday night.  The next day, Zack, Shelly and Ron flew to Utah.  Zack wore his suit, looking the part and getting several comments from other passengers ("Good luck", "What mission are you going to?", etc.).

We spent the night at the Grandparents, with a last supper at Chili's Restaurant (no pun intended).

Last breakfast at Kneaders for their famous French Toast.

Everyone was fighting their emotions and we all were dreading the finality of the MTC drop-off.  We found a spot nearby for photos.

The MTC (Missionary Training Center) was impressively organized.  They directed traffic to one of a dozen drop-off "stations" along the curb with smiling missionaries waiting to greet and help us.  We took a quick photo and Zack was off to his new life.  We didn't have time to cry and honestly it was an exciting experience.  

We're very proud of Zack.