Wednesday, September 26, 2012

4 Days til I leave the MTC!

Familia!!!! How are you all?! Wow this time at the MTC has gone by wayyyy fast. I am so excited to go to Chile! I am happy to tell you I am feeling soooo much better now. My fever finally stopped Thursday night. I have had pressure in my ear from my sinuses for a day and a half but luckily mom packed me with a pharmacy in my luggage so I have been taking decongestant medicine. (THANKS MOM!). Oh this week has been such a great one. I was so excited last Friday to receive my travel plans! Here is the travel plan
I leave the MTC at 6:00AM (salt lake time) and our flight leaves at 9:45 AM October First (Monday)
Then We get into LAX at 10:46
We then leave on the airline Lan Chile S.A. for Santiago, Chile at 1:25pm and arrive in Santiago the next day at 6:40 AM
We then head for Osorno at 9:50am and get there to my final destination at 11:25am
Long flight huh? haha hopefully my sinus pressure will be fine for the flight. Not worried though it is feeling so much better now. So we don’t have a set limit for how long we can talk just as long as we don’t miss our flight. haha obviously. But I was thinking after I get through security at around 7 my time. but expect the call anytime from 6-9am my time! maybe you can go to work later that day our something? and then if I have time in between my layover in LAX I can call you again maybe? it’s not too long of a layover though but if I have time I’ll call. Idk what do you think? 
But yeah our carry-ons can only be 17lbs and we can bring a small backpack as well. Maybe could you check the Lan Chile guidelines online to figure out more details? because I only have a backpack and want to bring that as my backpack and bring something else like a small string backpack (the ones I bring to basketball practice) as well. If you could maybe send me a small one of those or have grandma and have it get here b4 sat that would be great. If not, I'll work something out. I’m sure I can;) 
But yeah things are going great here! I cannot explain to you my love for the gospel and my love for the savior Jesus Christ. We had the opportunity to watch the temple dedication of the Brigham city temple. Elder Packard said some amazing inspired things. Oh my goodness the apostles have such power in their words. one thing I love that he said was that the church has nothing secret, just sacred. (talking of the temple) I loved that. But it was so amazing to see a temple dedication, temples are such holy places I really urge everyone to go there as much as possible. Unfortunately my last time attending a temple was this morning but I will carry my thoughts with me and continue to do other things on my mission to keep the spirit with me. We have been having some of our last fake lessons here at the MTC, and I cannot tell you how much I have learned! Wow I have come a long way. I remember the first lesson we had my companion just sat there in fright and I only said two statements, one of which was, El libro de Mormon es verdadero. ahah it’s true though. But I have come such a long way. My favorite part of the Predicad mi Evangelio (preach my gospel) is the section regarding, "How to begin teaching" There are just a set of bullets about what we need to get across. These bullets are ESSENTIAL for teaching. They are revelation of an apostle and I know why. I was finally able to this week really listen to my fake investigators thoughts in Spanish. As they talked I was able to understand what they said and ask questions that dug down deeper to their thoughts and information necessary to connect the gospel with them. One essential part of begin teaching is to really connect with them and let them know you are there for them not to just tell them a lesson that you memorized in Spanish. Our last lesson was a conversation, the invitations (which are key for conversion), were made in a smooth, natural way. Our investigators name was Romona and she was sick. We talked to her about how the spirit can comfort her. She didn't know how to receive that spirit and we told her when she prays, and reads the book of Mormon she will feel comfort of the Holy Ghost. We also told her we have the power to give her a blessing where the power of God through the spirit can touch her life. We got to know more of her concerns and really dug deep to what she truly needed in her life. What is amazing is the Gospel is for everyone, no matter who you are, or what your circumstances are the Gospel can help you. So with that I learned you should never worry if they will accept the message. If you find out what they are going through or who they are, the spirit will touch their lives and tell them what they need through you. If they are ripe and ready to accept the gospel they will. If they are not ready then down the road they will remember the spirit that touched them that one time in the Past. Loving the people is so key. 
During Devo a seventy spoke and talked about what faith equals. He said what it really comes down to it is faith is personal righteousness. If you want more faith you need to act according to the gospel and what Christ would do. To have a testimony is great! but without acting upon what you believe you will NOT receive conversion. That is why enduring to the end, constantly implementing the atonement in your life, ridding yourself of the natural man, and coming closer to Christ from mistakes and corrections is so important. I cannot tell you how much closer I want to be to Christ. And I know that going out to the field will help with this so much more. 
We had the experience to eat at the Temple cafeteria this morning and OH MY GOODNESS it was so good. It was not mass produced powder egg omelets! and the Belgium waffles were sooooo GOOD! I have heard so much about Chile from my teachers! I won’t tell you what they say though because I will have my own stories next week about Chile! so excited to share them with you. I know it will be hard but I am ready. I will kneel and pray to my God especially during these times thanking him for these trials and hard times. I am expected on this mission to be put in uncomfortable situations, then once they become comfortable I will be stretched and put in uncomfortable situations again. I am ready for these times and will keep a positive attitude. I am here to serve others and invite them to come unto Christ. Along the way I will change but it is not about me. I heard if we could only see now all the peoples eternal joy that we will have the opportunity to bring them we would not be able to sleep at night. 

I love this Gospel and I can not wait to go to Chile. 
Este Iglesia es verdadero. Estoy Muy agredicido por Jesucristo y su expiacion. me amo nosotros mas de todos las cosas. (my typing of spanish is still bad but I can verbally say things much better haha)
Love you!
con amor
Elder Carter

Saturday, September 22, 2012

2 weeks!

Wow so crazy how fast this experience has gone by at the MTC, I have definitely learned soo much here. We get our travel plans tomorrow!!! So crazy! I get to call you at the airport for like 30 min or so. Tomorrow when I get my travel plans I’ll write you a letter letting you know what time, and if I have a long lay over to just call you then (since phone booths get packed at the airport) but yeah so you can just work out when you need to answer the phone. But anyways my experience has been so amazing here, we are still working hard. Unfortunately I got sick 2 days ago and have not been to class since, today is luckily P-day and I am probably going to try to go to class tonight. Yesterday I had a 102.4 Fever but don't worry I have been taking care of myself:)  I have broke the fever and am just recovering, I am blessed to have had this week rather than next. This last week has been such a life changing week regarding my love for the scriptures. I have been praying continuously to liken unto the scriptures more and more, I enjoyed reading them and they have really opened up, but I wanted them to more. At devo Sunday this guy named W Tracy Watson spoke regarding the Book of Mormon and how important it is. He first made a daring approach to his speech by showing one of the "Book of Mormon" plays musical numbers. It was of missionaries being completely overzealous and using the Lord’s name in vain and it made me very uncomfortable. It made me realize the seriousness of the Gospel and holding it dear and sacred is what we need to do. He then told us what Elder Holland said regarding from our past history of running from Bablyon, such as the saints running and other ancient saints. Elder Holland said in this day we no longer run from Babylon when we are being attacked and the Lord’s work is being attacked, we attack. He then showed the churches efforts in letting the people of New York around the area where the play is being shown. He showed the subways covered with I’m a Mormon ads and links to the Mormon site saying "want to know more about the BoM?". They also bought a huge jumbotron in New York advertising what we truly are about. It was pretty sweet. But he bore his witness of how the book has changed his life, and the spirit flooded the room. He also then talked about how he goes across the world proselyting with missionaries and going in homes to teach. One lady they were teaching, right when they got in there had a paper. She asked the missionaries if she could ask them the questions. They said of course. She asked about polygamy and blacks receiving the priesthood and other questions. He finally noticed something was up and he asked her, "Do you always start your lessons with these questions?" and she said no. She then stated how she just needs them to be answered before she gets baptized because her family will disown her if she gets baptized so she needs to know if it’s true. He then looked down at her Book of Mormon and saw tons of markings, he then asked her, have you been reading this book? And she said "Oh of course! (Holding the book to her heart as if it was a baby) I love this book." He then asked, do you believe this book to be true? And she then said, Yes. And he then said, I don’t think you need to ask any more questions then. And she looked up after 2 min of silence and said I want to get baptized.
What is so important for us to realize is the Book of Mormon is either Completely True or the biggest fraud of mankind. And you can go your whole life fighting the validity of the Church and of Christ Gospel, but all your doubts can go away if you just gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon, not a testimony of scientific evidence of the book, nor the fact that Alma's Chiasmic Poetry was unheard of by a unschooled 14 year old, But a Spiritual testimony of the Book, found by searching, pondering, and praying to your heavenly father.

I can’t thank you so much for the pictures of Carter Kristy! And thanks mom and dad so much for that bread! It was so delicious! I hope you know that I was sick that day and my love from my family really came that day when I was resting in bed. I was really lucky. I also continue to feel your prayers.

My Spanish is getting better! I always feel like I can learn more and this is because once I go down there I won’t understand a word, I need to just have faith though. I can understand mostly everything in a mock lesson now in Spanish and teach sometimes slowly about most of the lessons. It is sometimes slow and rusty but the spirit touches the lesson and that’s how it gets across. I hate being sick here, It’s worse than missing class, It is so terrible ha. But I’m feeling better!!!! So all is well. Just pray for me! I’m in my recovery state it was just a little bug. Love you all! I pray for you all everyday! Sounds like things are going great.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Another Great Week!

Missionaries from Escondido Stake in the MTC
Josh Stevens, Ross Urry, Zack, Blake Farrow, Tyler Chapman

Going to the Four Corners (sort of)

Wow has time just flown by! I can't explain how great the spirit is here. It's a love but ready to go to Chile in 2 1/2 weeks kinda relationship. I first want to say how much my testimony has grown so far. I feel the best way a missionary can truly love their time here and on the mission is letting themselves CHANGE. The best thing here is to never say "well before the mission I never did that and was fine", instead say, "I am commanded to do this so I will, because we are missionaries and we have a higher standard of living." We are standing in Christ's place and need to let the world know who he is through our example. There is nothing wrong with being completely obedient, as Elder Bednar said, if you want to feel the spirit and know you are teaching with the spirit, first of all don't worry about it. If we are completely obedient we will have nothing to worry about, because when we do things in our lives that invite the spirit we WILL teach with the spirit. 

This week for me has made a huge impact on the rest of my mission and my life. I have learned so much on regarding leading and building others up. D&C 121 has really meant so much to me this week. I have experienced the power of Love, when necessary and acted upon be blunt and correct those who need it (sorry I forgot the word and don’t have my scriptures with me), and then after follow that with double the love as before. I testify that these steps and guidance written in the scriptures are true, and sometimes being the bad guy when necessary to help the person or help the district then followed after with love only brings more peace and invites the spirit more. I feel such a love for everyone here and that I meet. I pray every day and yearn for an outward love like Christ has. It is not easy at times but since everyday is like Sunday, and we strive to make more and more goals it’s possible. I have never felt so excited and so much love for the work. It is so true about forgetting yourselves. The times I get sad or discouraged here is when I forget my purpose or submit to selfish needs. As I go day to day I learn it is truly not about me here. 

Just yesterday Elder Shumway in our district finally got his visa to go to Madrid so the Companionships have been switched once again. I am now with Elder Pugh and Elder Taylor, so once again in a Trio. haha it’s so funny how many companionships I have had so far. I have had more companionships then some people their whole mission. I got to give Elder Shumway a blessing last night and I was so touched by the unity of our district. All of us were there helping him depart and helping with the blessing. Elder Shumway's companion elder Taylor is such a great Elder and I am so excited to be with him and Elder Pugh for the rest of the time (unless they get their visas to Spain as well) haha.

I got to see soo many people I knew this week from home it was so great! I’ll send some pictures. I got to see Elder Blake Farrow a ton and oh man how great is it to see him. It is so weird to see a really good budd here because you can’t really talk to long. But he looked to have a really good first week. I also got to see Elder Urry before he left! What a stud! He is going to do so amazing! Also Josh Stephens I was really touched to see him serving a mission just after being baptized not too long ago. His conversion will touch the people in the Philippines. I also saw Elder Tyler Chapman! He has been in my seminary class so that was way cool to keep in touch, I see him almost every day ha. Also Elder Jordan Johnson! He is doing so great. He is speaking a language that I can’t understand whatsoever ha his mission tag looks so cool it looks like a mini Rosetta stone. 

I loved reading about Romney and how he is doing. I am not sure if you knew this but there is a cool YouTube video of him doing service for some fire victims back when there were fires. He and his brother or something were just there to help, no press or nothing. That is a true leader I love to see people doing things unnoticed. Here waking up and getting at it in personal study is so important. It truly makes or breaks your mission. Right when 6:30 hits...BOOM out of bed. It’s a total mental game and once you force yourself out you have won. Satan thinks he can target me in that area of temptation to sleep in but he’s got nothin on me. ha. 

Spanish is coming a lot better now. I mean we are always humbled sometimes and feel like you know nothing but with the spirit and visualizing the purpose you press forward. I am working hard here so I am not worried. Just as long as you do your best you should have no regrets. 

Mom and Dad! thanks soooooo much for the package! ha wow that was a rough day. BYU was playing and we could hear the crowd and the announcer the whole time. It really made me happy, I loved the creativity ha. We have had a lot of fun and the Cliff Bars are the tastiest things I have ever tried. 

You sent me off with pretty much everything I need. I can’t think of anything I didn’t pack, or anything I won’t need. I have so much meds and probably won’t bring the soap because it just ways me down and I have a lot more study materials I need to bring. I have had to use my debit card for some things such as laundry detergent and other things (meds) so I will need to take out more cash for traveling and just in case. 

Glad Blake and grandma got my letter! did Kristy! Also thanks to Brad and Kent for their DearElders! Those things come at the end of the day and they really are a great way your day. Everyone else who has prayed for me I truly feel your love I can’t tell you all how much it helps. I just get so excited to serve the lord. It’s the best thing ever. I’m reading in Alma now, oh my goodness can’t tell you how much I love that book, I LOVE ALMA! It’s like the best; there are soooo many good scriptures. Well the whole book of Mormon is SO AMAZING. But Alma is my personal favorite. Anyways I am SOOO stoked for Chile. I am ready to go, but know I can keep learning more Spanish and lessons so I am content here! not gettin Trunky. Thanks so much for everything. Every day I thank the lord for my family. Wouldn’t be here without your examples and love! thanks so much!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

More Photos

Family! and friends por supuesto! (of course). It has been another great week!  Let me start out with saying it has been great at the MTC! The spirit is so strong here and I really mean that. It can get super repetitive because it is, but that’s where you just gotta remember why I am here. Teaching investigators that are "just your teacher acting", it is really important to get into it and to take it serious. We watched a video of two hermanas teaching in the field. They were from Chile and they talked soooooooooo fast! dang it was such a humbler, I got a little taste of what we are going to have to understand when we get into the field.  For example, when they said "un hijo y una hija" it sounded like "Nijo nija". Also we were just introduced to Present Subjunctive which pretty much tells you half of the Spanish you have been doing has been incorrect. haha oh goodness, BUT I have faith that God will help me so my stress is controlled to a healthy amount. Apostles have told us in a lot of our training videos too not get overwhelmed and to relax. If we have faith we should limit how stressed we are. I know it will be hard on the field I just gotta keep calm and collected. 

One funny thing we do is we go up to random elders and do the hang loose hand gesture saying "Tentaculos Elderes!!!" They look at us confused and often do the gesture and say it back. We get a good kick out of it because tentaculos means tentacles, jaja spanish is so great. The games my companions and I play at night are going great, besides the fact my name has not gone on the “7 on the line” leaderboard for a month. We take our night games very seriously because if you win you get ties we have inherited.  I’m not a tie collector type but it’s more for the bragging rights. So our district has done a lot better with kindness and love (no gossip).

 I have really made a stride to be an example by not saying anything about anyone and when anyone starts to I just politely say, "Whoa whoa!  KILL'EM WITH KINDNESS!" This has really helped everyone be nice and just love some of the people that may be in our zone or district. I'll be completely honest some people here are kinda ridiculos, but when you just love em for who they are it really helps keep the spirit.
We have really yearned to be on time every morning and we have done it this week! Every day we are 5 min early.  It’s the best!  I told our district we sing at 7am sharp and if you aren’t there then you miss out on singing and district prayer. We also kinda made it a race to be the first one to class. Making things games really helps everyone be obedient without them even thinking or trying to be.

So I wish I would’ve been that little nerdy guy with a planner in his pocket. I LOVE PLANNING! It’s so great. One of the best times of the week is weekly planning where we plan for 2 hours talking about what we did, making new goals, and talking about things we could do. The language weekly planning is the greatest, me and my companions weekly planning this week was to memorize a scripture a day in Spanish. Monday we did James 1:5, yesterday was Amos 3:7 and tomorrow we are doing....not sure, but it’s crazy how memorizing a scripture really helps teach with the spirit and memorize words because of contexts.

This German lady, the wife of a Seventy Sister Kapishka, gave such an amazing talk, she just started to learn English a couple years ago and she was the most charismatic, joyful, happy, sociable lady I have ever met. She had the whole audience in the palm of her hand because she was REAL. She talked about how she was speeding on the freeway last week in Utah and got a ticket. (Probably was going 100 knowing she usually drives on the Autobon haha. sorry probably spelt that wrong) but anyways her desire to learn English as well as her simple testimony was so great, it really is important to keep it real. The spirit likes real.

Tell Jordan I’m so stoked that he is doing his eagle! Oh man Sometimes I hated doing the paperwork and stuff, but like the mission here, hard work brings fulfillment and happiness. I am so glad I got my eagle; I can look on that forever. So thanks dad for pushing me to get it!

I have gotten a package from you/Kristy and the tie clip/tie pin from grandma mom! So you guys are my number one fans;) I loved those packages and it was very cool! I gotta say though your letters mean so much to me! I love hearing about stuff. Thanks for fasting for me! I feel so loved. I’m sure Blake did a great job, wish I could be there to paint with you guys as well. Probably would suck compared to your guys painting though.

Soooo excited for Chile, 3 1/2 more weeks. Not like I’m getting trunky or anything.

Um probably the only things I need are the things I mentioned before, just some toothpaste that has fluoride and mouthwash that has fluoride. I love brushing my teeth they are whiter than ever. Maybe some trail mix or some healthy snacks if you are to send another package before I leave. If not I’m still so happy and grateful for letters:)) I love your letters so much. Family matters the most to me. I get teary eyed just thinking about how grateful I am for you guys.

One last thing is the power of revelation. We were in a workshop the other day where we had to teach the person across from us, just happened to be this hermana that was kinda mean to me and other people in my district. As she taught me I was inspired to share her 3 Nephi 17:2-3, after I talked about it not knowing why I was teaching her this, she began to tear up and said thank you so much, I have been needing to find an answer to my question and that’s just what I needed, I have been looking for this answer since I came to the MTC, she had been having anxiety problems and was making a huge decision the next day. I don’t know all the details but remembered that in zone meeting Sunday her comp was talking about her having some problem.
Love you all so much! Missionary work is kind of the coolest most amazing thing I have ever experienced. Excited to share the gospel and invite the people of Chile to come unto Christ.
Con Amor,
Elder Carter
 Me sewing! Ha some stuff already kind ripped but Brother Monson's wife taught us how, its not to bad...well for simple stuff,,,takes so much time though