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Friday, December 26, 2014

December 15, 2014 Christmas, transfers, miracles

Oh my goodness.  This is easily the craziest mission day ever!  Well, such is mission life, right?!

We were just sitting at the computers (Sister Gregerson and I) when the Hermanas walk up to us and say that they are moving in!  Well, funny thing is, we knew that they were moving in but we thought that it was more towards the beginning of the new year!  Turns out it's today which means that we have to completely clean out their apartment so that they can be sleeping in their new warm beds by tonight.  Not to mention p-day is over at 6:00 AND their old apartment is getting completely shut down.  No more missionaries will be living there.

Also here's the kicker. . . Sister Gregerson is leaving!  My trainer is getting transferred.  Not only am I getting two new roommates but I'm getting a new companion!  Tomorrow morning at (9:00 a.m.-ish I will be driving Sister Gregerson to San Jose and picking up my new companion.  My zone is all the same people minus Sister Gregerson and Elder Lundy one of our zone leaders.

Yesterday night was the 21st Interfaith Activity Day by the Livermore wards where we invited five choirs to come and sing/perform for and with us.  Three other Christian churches came along with a high school choir and us.  It was beautiful.  We all together sang the Hallelujah Song. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBZ7AfZR9xs

 It was intense!  It was so loud in there.  More people were there than at Stake Conference!  Our Stake Presidency also showed the "He is the Gift" video to everyone.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzjFEMmM0Xs

Sister Gregerson and I typically go to Zumba on Wednesday mornings for exercise.  All of the moms are found there and it's actually pretty hilarious because it's a bunch of moms dancing around with children and babies running around in circles.  Needless to say it is chaotic but fun and a wonderful teaching/finding opportunity.  Sister Gregerson and I typically bring Vanessa with us who we are teaching.  She has a son named Ethan who is so wonderful.

Here's a miracle.  Sister Gregerson and I are never ever low on food and we ALWAYS have dinner.  Since I've been on the mission we have only had to eat at our own apartment once!!  With that said, we for some reason had two nights where members did not sign up to feed us.  We were not worried and figured that we would just call our ward mission leader to feed us or even a member.  Sister Gregerson and I did not have to do so because the Lord blessed us with a miracle.  Sister Gregerson and I answered our phone one night to a lovely experience.  A member called us and asked if we could come to dinner on the very night that we didn't have dinner and to teach a non-member friend!!!  Woo hoo.  Not only did they call for the night that we didn't have dinner BUT it was so that we could teach!!!

Sister and Gregerson and I had the opportunity to teach her on Sunday night and will start teaching her twice a week!!

Not only did that happen once, but it literally happened twice.  We didn't have dinner (for some reason) again and the Lord blessed us with another referral!!  A member called and asked us to teach her friend!  

Merry Christmas to all!

Love,

Sister Carter

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014

My emailing is terrible.  I'm not too sure why besides the fact that I am HORRIBLE at managing my time!  On Monday, the hour we have to email really isn't enough!  I feel really sad because I'm so bad at expressing myself and informing everyone on what's going on and how people are progressing etc.  I'm sorry.  I pray that I will get better and I will certainly pray that my future letters will help many people see how happy and grateful that I truly am. 

I had the blessing of being able to give a talk on Sunday about being physically and spiritually prepared.  That, translated to me, was "The Doctrine of Jesus Christ".  Truly, the Doctrine of Christ: Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End allows us to be BOTH physically and spiritually prepared.  "Keep the Commandments." is a phrase we read a lot in the Book of Mormon.  Wickedness never was and never will be happiness and truly keeping the commandments always allows us to be happy, thus, being "Prepared".   I sobbed while giving my talk in perfect Sister Carter fashion.  I'm always so embarrassed but oh well, I'm tender.

Here is a bit from my talk:

Missionary works allows us to declare to others that they too must be physically and spiritually prepared.  There are many who don't know what they're missing in their lives.  Many don't know where or how to find the truth.  But, all is well Brothers and Sisters, because I am here to tell you as a representative of Jesus Christ that not only I, as a missionary, but we all "must declare this gospel [to all people] that they may be filled with joy.

Declare to this people that they must repent, have faith, be baptized.  Don't only tell them, but show them of that straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life.

"This is the way and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God.  And now behold this is the Doctrine of Christ, and the only true doctrine of the Father. . ."

We're in a pretty serious drought here in Livermore.  Something that I'm not used to, especially being from a place that gets a ton of rain.  Everyone is so cautious of how much water they use, shower time, dish washing/hand washing time.  It's interesting.

Thanksgiving has come and gone.  It's so weird:  number one being in California where there is no snow makes it even funnier.  Snow certainly helps you realize what season it is.  :)


I love you all,

Sister Carter

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December 7, 2014 Thanksgiving report

     
First Thanksgiving meal with the Prusos

The Prussos!!!  Love them!  1st Thanksgiving meal
My place

Second Thanksgiving meal with the Browns

The Browns

The Browns

   
Third Thanksgiving meal: Mexican!
Brother Sigland and Maddi.  He just got released as our 1st Ward Mission Leader


The Ramanos:  Bro.  Romano (ward mission leader 4th Ward), Staci, Kevin, ?, Sister Romano, Nana, Sister Gregerson and Me


Terrible Talent show with the Hnas and Elders



The Theobalds.  With them at the Oakland temple

Friday, November 21, 2014

November 21, 2014




"All is well" is a phrase I have been saying lately.  That is because it is certainly true.  I have had a very serious prayer in my heart recently.  And truthfully it involves all of you.  Well, it involves whoever reads this letter/email/blog etc.  To start, I'll just begin by saying that there is a lot of pressure sometimes being on a mission but the pressure more often than not comes from myself than from any other person.  We make goals as missionaries and one of my goals is to write better emails for everyone to read so they (you all) can grow and learn as much as I truly am.  Again, it's a lot of pressure that I'm putting on myself but it's so necessary and I truly desire for all of you to grow and learn with me.

Elder Bednar
Our best teacher is the Holy Ghost.  Truly that is who we learn from.  No matter how poised or articulate I think I am or claim to be, the Holy Ghost is who and what penetrates the soul.  It's who and what saves lives.  It's who and what transforms a simple testimony into conversion.  I learned that from listening to David A. Bednar when he spoke to us at the Oakland Temple on Saturday.

 He quoted Doctrine and Covenants 88: 122 and I couldn't agree anymore.  "Appoint among yourselves a teacher". . . The teacher is the Holy Ghost.  "And let all listen to his sayings." . . "That all may be edified of all."

I pray that it won't be my words that shape, change or transform your lives but I pray that the Holy Ghost will teach you, and edify you as I learn and grow.

And yes, David A. Bednar did indeed come to Oakland California and we made the 45 minute trip to go see him along with the San Francisco/Oakland Mission.  There were 500 missionaries and despite what that number sounds like, it was a very small and personal group.  What made it even more personal was that he did not just read a talk but he made it a question and answer session.  We got to ask an apostle of the Lord questions!  We had to come prepared though!  David A. Bednar had us prepare by reading three of his talks before the Saturday when he spoke to us.

"Seek Learning by Faith."  https://www.lds.org/ensign/2007/09/seek-learning-by-faith?lang=eng
"Converted to the Lord" https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/10/converted-unto-the-lord?lang=eng, and
"Ask in Faith" https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/04/ask-in-faith?lang=eng.

They were all amazing.  I invite each of you to read them.  All three.  Don't worry, they're short and sweet.

A lot of things have been happening here in Livermore:  From teaching little children in a neighborhood called Lahey Square to teaching an inactive family about the Plan of Salvation because their son just died.

https://www.lds.org/topics/plan-of-salvation/we-can-live-with-god-again?lang=eng 



I will do my best to tell you of experiences, what I've learned and pray that they Holy Ghost will accompany me so that you too will learn.  Just as Elder Bednar gave his apostolic promise to us and all who could hear his voice, that we would "remember," I hope you all will too.

As we are preparing to receive i pads, Sister Gregerson and I regularly go through our huge area books.  Actually huge in an understatement.  (Who invented paper anyway?  ha!)  We came across a name that I was unfamiliar with and she began telling me of this family, their trials, their many struggles and over all now much sorrow and pain they've experienced (some of which was brough upon themselves for poor choices.).  Because of this, I found myself not wanting to visit them because of their history and how they would react toward me.  This family has basically a bomb waiting to explode and I did not want to be anywhere near it.  Because I am a missionary and that is just not how life works, we got a call from the Relief Society President informing us that the son of this family had died.  Not only had he died but his tragic death occurred next to his mother in their car.  I will spare you all the details.  As a missionary we are trusted into lives, literally sent across the world or country in my case and truly called to serve.  This incident with this family is just a bit literally an ounce of what we are both privileged and asked to help/be a part of.

As stewards, we are expected to help.  I was shocked and saddened at the sudden death of this family's son.  Despite what I had heard about them and what people say, I wanted to help.  We just didn't know how or when we continued to plan and prepare for our day unwilling yet willing at the same time to help this family.  I believe both of us maybe even consciously were avoiding this family.  We continued on with our day and to our shock all, every single last one of our appointments dropped and fell through.  We literally had nothing to do.  That never happens; at least to us.  We decided, well, now is the time to visit them because, everything has fallen through, not realizing to the extent of how much we were truly needed.

We got to the run down house of this even more recently run down family and knocked on the door to find a woman waving a Book of Mormon in our faces yelling, "I want to know where my son is."

Answers were needed, the Holy Ghost was needed and I am so grateful to my Father in Heaven for humbling us and allowing us to help this family, despite our prideful hesitation.

We are going to start teaching the non-member friends of this boy who died.  We will teach them the Plan of Salvation.

I love this work.  It is hard, but oh so good.

Miracle:  We got to see an apostle of the Lord on Saturday at the Oakland Temple.

I love you all so much.

Sister Carter


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November 12, 2014 Pictures


Fancy new ice cream bar

Halloween Trunk-or-Treat "Feast on the words of Christ"

With Jeremiah

First In-N-Out burger on mission


P-Day hike



With Najaya

Friday, November 7, 2014

November 7, 2014

Happy P-day!  We went to Jamba Juice today so that was a bit of a change.

Halloween was a wonderful time.  Inviting everyone to feast upon the words of Christ was a blast.  Trunk-or-treating was great with the LIvermore wards and participating in both wards in their Haolloween activities was certainly productive.  I think I mentioned this before, but both of the ward that Sister Gregerson and I cover (Livermore 1st and 4th) decided to hold their Halloween parties at the same time.  We invited LOTS of our investigators as well as part member families and many of them showed up.  The 4th ward party was held on a giant field.  There was a cake-walk, a chili cook-off, trunk-or-treating and lots of other fun activities.  The 1st ward all met at the church and had a party.  There was trunk-or-treating in the parking lot. 

(This is a random trunk-or-treat picture to give you the idea)

Sister Gregerson and I knew it would be difficult but decided that we would try to spend 30 minutes at each party goig back and forth.  Of course, it didn't turn out that way.  We got stuck at the 4th ward party the whole time because of the trunk-or-treating and the chili cook off.  Sad part is, is that two of the investigators that we invited to the 1st ward party showed up and we never saw them!  It was very sad.  We felt very bad.

Now let me tell you a bit about these two investigators that we invited. . .

Sister Gregerson and I like contacting.  We are pretty good at it too if I dare to say.  Almost two weeks from this day we were contacting in a neighborhood called Leahy Square.  

 

We decided we would knock on the door of a girl Najaya who at one point was getting the discussions.  We knocked on her door to be greeted by her mom who just walked away not saying anything.  Najaya then came to the door and quickly realize who we were said she was busy because she had homework.  We quietly told her that we could help and her face lit up!  She ran away and came back with all of her bags and books in hand throwing them in our arms.  We walked over to the benches in her apartment complex and started.

Ever since that day of helping Najaya with her homework we have been teaching her along with seven of herneighborhood friends, two of which we invited to the Halloween party and came.

Turns out Najaya had a baptismal date for February and ended up being dropped because she was not keeping her commitments.  As all of the neighborhood children started to see us there every other day, they too would come out bringing their homework.   Sister Gregerson and I quickly used this as a teaching opportunity and invited the children to call a number on the back of a pass along card that we gave them for a finding faith in Jesus Christ video.

Two of the children in particular Elaijay and Elijah are progressing.  They have been going to church activities and thank goodness for members.

Elaiyah and Elijah don't have too much support at home but are getting lots of love at church.  In their prayers they thank their Heavenly Father for feeling and being accepted at church.

I love these children.  I am so excited about how they are progressing.

Lots of miracles; lots of blessings.

Miracle:  We still get fed every single night

Miracle:  Elijah wants to be baptized before Thanksgiving.

All my love,

Sister Carter

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

November 5, 2014

 
I heard that sweet Brother Aegerter passed away. I love him SO much. I will miss his smile but await the day to be able to see him again! I am happy to know that he is with his wife!! I bet that was a wonderful reunion. Someone please give his family my regards.

My companion is Gluten AND Sugar free, she's super allergic. That means I'm Gluten and Sugar free OR, that I eat everything she can't. Needless to say, Halloween was good for me....ha

Halloween was SO fun! Sister Gregerson and I decorated our trunk with teeth around the top, and a long lounge coming out. We were of course passing out candy, but also pass along cards with pictures of Christ inviting people to "Feast upon the Words of Christ". 
 
 
Candy is sweet but the words of Christ are ohhh so much more sweeter, filling and delicious :) We were in charge of judging the chili cook off. Yes. Me and her. She and I. It was allll up to us. I don't know how it is in other wards but in the California Livermore 4th ward the Chili cook-off was  BIG deal and it was, truthfully, really scary judging the 16 bowls of all very good,  but very different chills. 
 
 
We narrowed it down to 5 general winners and left. Actually ran. 
 
The Holiday ended with making doughnuts at The Paradises. They are a wonderful and strong family. Sister Gregerson and I were left to pass them out to all of the trick-or-treaters and of course, in missionary style we passed out pictures of Christ as well! It was very interesting having people yell at us hours before that it was Satan's birthday and things of that nature to then be passing out doughnuts and pictures of Christ. I liked being able to remind people of what matters most, and truly that all things, even Halloween can be centered on our Savior :)

Sorry this is short. Read my blog ;)

We've got two more baptismal dates for an 11  year old Elaiyah and a 13 year old Elijah!!!! So wonderful!

Miracles ARE occurring. Our Savior lives and loves us.

I love you all,
I feel your prayers,
Sister Carter

Friday, October 31, 2014

October 31, 2014

Another Pday is here!  Long days accompanied by short weeks, not to mention we just had a pday on Tuesday.  So this one did in fact come quicker.  My companion Sister Gregerson bought a miracle journal from Target where she writes a miracle a day.  I will do my best to include a miracle a week:  starting with this letter! 

Today per usual we went to Target but we also made an appearance at the Doughnut Wheel which is a Livermore staple!



It is SO good!  And trust me, I know my doughnuts (thanks Krispy Kream).  I of course, had to get more than one :)  We were greeted at the register to a picture of Christ, one that we did in fact give out.  We typically go contacting on main street where the Doughnut Wheel is located and contact to-go people (on a good night of course).  It was fun to see a picture of Christ, when he visited the Nephites after he was resurrected taped on the wall.


Sometimes I like to sit and eat my lunch or write letters in our balcony.  We live next to two cemetaries and one of them as a statue of Christ with his arms out.



It kind of reminds me of the Christus statue in our temple's visitor center in Washington D.C.
 

It's so wonderful being a part of this work.  So many people, Bishops, Stake Presidents, random people on the street really respect the mantle that missionaries have.  This is something that I need to prize, honor, get used to and be oh so grateful for.  I really am called by a prophet of God.  With so many Stake Presidents, Bishops etc. counting on us, our referrals have been increasing.  People trust us!  But I have also come to learn that it is not only the missionaries that are full time missionaries.  We NEED our members to offer their names for lessons.  We need members to share and bear witness of the Divinity of Christ.  We need members testimonies and examples. This work is not only for those wearing the tag for 18-24 months.  It is for all of us to take part in, just in different capacities.

I am so grateful for our ward mission leaders!  They are truly actively engaged.  They challenge us and certainly help us.  Today we were challenged to give our 23 copies of the Book of Mormon this week!  I know we will do it.  But only with the Lord's guidance.

Members matter SO much in missionary work.  I knew this to be true when I was younger but did not fully understand until being set apart and being a part of this marvelous work.

I think about when my mom, grandma and I joined the church and how much of an impact members in the Arlington Ward made.  Rides, examples, love, advice, support, visiting teaching, home teachers, testimonies.  Many members don't realize how strong and influential their impact can or will be so they don't bother.  Some are too busy.  Some just truly don't want to.  I can only say to those members who do not participate in missionary work, you should really reconsider your choices!

I can testify to you with every bone in my body, that members matter.  They are what helps with retention and activation.

I will not challenge you all to pass out 23 copies of the Book of Mormon, but I will challenge you to do a little better today, for the next 7 days, at missionary work than you maybe have been.  All you need to do is invite!  You will bless and change lives.

Hand out a picture (a pass-along card) of Christ.  Go do a quick act of service for your neighbor.  Hand out that copy of the Book of Mormon to your neighbor.  Invite someone to a Family HOme Evening.  Give your missionaries a name for a referral.  I promise if you do this, you will find greater happiness in your life simply by inviting than you would or could if you do not.

Try a little harder to be a little better,

Sister Carter

P.S.  Miracle of the day:  The washing machine did not eat my money!

P.P.S. Miracle of the week:  We have another baptismal date!




Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014 Pictures

 
Attached are some fun pictures of me! I am so so so incredibly behind schedule with the pictures seeing as some of these are from the MTC and I've been out for 1 month and 4 days! haha.

Pictures 1: At the MTC, with my Companion Sister Aguilar who is now in Santa Rosa!
Sister Aguilar
Picture 2:Temple with my Zone and District!

Zone and District at Provo temple
Picture 3 : With Marsili at her house in San Jose!! YEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! SO SO fun seeing here!
With Marsali Hancock

Picture 4: With Sister Sierra who is from the Bella Vista Ward (McLean Stake Buddies!)
Sister Sierra

Picture 5:  With the Zone Sisters
Sisters in Zone



Picture 6:  With President and Sister Mella
President and Sister Mella


Today (Tuesday) is Preparation day because yesterday we had a Mission Tour where we were instructed by our Mission President (President and Sister Mella) as well as Elder Pino of the 70! It was amazing and truly inspiring to say the least. I truly have "work enough to do" as the song says!

Thank you thank you thank you, honestly, for all of your love, your prayers, your support, your emails. I appreciate it more than you'll ever know. I love each and every one of you.

The church is true,
Sister Carter

Sunday, October 19, 2014

October 13, 2014

Vineyards near Livermore, CA


Livermore's downtown








Livermore's downtown
















Happy P-day!  Let me start off by saying that it is so hot.  It's weird to think that it's almost Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas!  I have enjoyed looking back at where I've spent my holidays the last three years.  I've been all over the place and have certainly enjoyed every second.  P-days are not as relaxing as people claimed they were.  You still wake up early and in fact, you feel like you have more to do than usual because on P-days you are allowed to go to stores and actually do real life things.  Today we went to Target again, as well as Trader Joes.

Livermore used to be a "farm" town.  I believe it.  But Livermore has got nothing on Rexburg, Idaho.  That is a true fram town.  Livermore is full of vineyards and rolling hills.  It really is beautiful in its own unique way.  "Downtown" or Main Street has a ton of cute restaurants that are always crowded.  It reminds me a bit of Clarendon in Arlington, but Clarendon is way fancier, cleaner and more modern (newer).

Sister Gregerson and I got a chance to do some service for a sweet inactive member.  She has a beautiful piece of land and lives up in the rolling hills by the windmills.  She is building a waterfall in her backyard and has a fancy grill and lot of other fun things.  It's quite extravagant.  We went over to help her with planting, power washing and painting!  It was great.  I literally primed and painted her barn for her.  O.K., it was more of a shed, but it was so fun!  And the view was beautiful.  I missed Rexburg a bit looking around at the scenery.

I'm a bit nervous for ipads let me tell ya.  Truthfully I don't want to go back on facebook!  I'm really not looking forward to it.  Today even, in the stores, music was playing (Justin Timerberlake ha), who I am a big fan of, and I literally wanted to run out of the store.  I felt so uncomfortable.  I LOVE not being int he world.  It really is a blessing not being a part of the craziness.  It is fun serving and spreading the gospel.

I had the privilege and blessing of being able to share my testimony in both of the wards we cover:  Livermore 1st and 4th wards.  It's fun being able to cover 2 wards!  It's hard keeping track of every one but a blessing.  I love everyone.

We also got the opportunity to teach the Young Women in the Springtown ward which we do not cover.  We just got invited to teach about virtue.  It was wonderful of course.  I TOTALLY remember Young Women's.  It was some of the greatest times/moments/memories/experiences of my life.  I hope those Young Women got something out of that lesson.  :)

Our new investigator with a baptismal date for November 1st is amazing.  Our last lesson was actually at the Stake President's house.  We extended our baptismal invitation to him then and it was a quick yes!  How blessed his life will be for this wonderful decision he is making.  I'm excited for him.

The gospel truly blesses families and lives!

Love,

Sister Carter