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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!


Sister Carter

Saturday, October 11, 2014

5 October 2014

[Editor's note:  This is slightly out of sequence due to snail mail vs. email, so enjoy going back a few days]

 How are you all?

I am in my first area!  Livermore, California.  I'm currently at Target with my companion, Sister Gregerson.  She's from Atlanta, Georgia!  So much has happened!  Livermore is a cute little town about 40 minutes away from San Jose.  Everyone is connected and pretty much related.  Lucky for me, I'm following in the footsteps of two amazing sisters.  One that got transfered to Palo Alto and another that went home.  Truthfully it's slightly intimidating, but with the Lord's help, I will be able to love and serve just as well as they did.

My companion is a fireball.  She is literally on fire.  I am the first sister she has trained and she will go home in about 6 months.  She graduated from BYU Provo in Neuroscience (did I even spell that correctly? ha!)  So to say the least, she is brilliant.  She is about my height, blonde with a short hair cut that is a bit of a bob.  She's got blue eyes but looks can be deceiving.  She is tough.  She knows her stuff and is incredibly obedient.  It is a blessing to have such an obedient trainer/companion.  She is starting me off just right!  I know I am supposed to have her as a companion.  She has already taught me so much.  I only hope I can do the same.  We're on the way to a dinner appt now.  Pday is really over in 3 minutes.  We give restoration lessons/dinner messages where I recite the First Vision.  It's great!


Today is Preparation day.  We have to pay for laundry which is a bit of a pain, but oh well.  WE live in a fairly nice apartment.  All of our neighbors know who we are seeing as sisters are always coming and moving in and out of that apartment.  The Hispanic population is that of Arlington around here and it makes me pretty sad and disappointed that I'm not an Hermana.  I just flock to these groups of people and wish that I could communicate with them better.  I hope they feel my love through my smile and hopefully my presence.

So far, we have taught a lot of less-active members.  It has been wonderful meeting everyone.  They knew I was coming and have all give me warm welcomes.

Having General Conference as my first weekend on the mission has been a blessing.  It helps me to know what to say or reference.  Overall it's a great topic of discussion and of course a great commitment to invite people to do.

We are big on commitments here in LIvermore.  We don't knock on doors but simply street contact.  If we aren't in a less-active member lesson, we are at a member dinner or contacting.  We, meaning the San Jose mission, is one of the missions being tested to see if contacting, rather than door knocking works.  We participate in a lot of service as well.

On Friday morning, we went to Quail Gardens, an elderly home and played BINGO.  WE also sang to them.  At one point, when the four of us sisters were singing "Nearer My God To Thee," they all joined in.  Truthfully, I hate that song because it reminds me of the ship, Titanic going down, but you just have to believe me when I say that I sobbed!  I could not handle it!  The tears were flowing and would not stop.  It was so beautiful singing with them.  They were all so old and at the tail ends of their lives!  They really were nearer to God than me in a sense.  I just started my mission not even a week ago.  I have got so much to do in this life and so much to (hopefully) accomplish.  I think about where I was, where I am, and certainly where I'm going and can't help but be so incredibly grateful!

I loved singing with those sweet old people.  Many whom were asleep, couldn't talk that well or something of that nature.  But as soon as we started singing, they did too!  I'm so blessed to be able to be a missionary.  I am so grateful that my Father in Heaven trusts me with his children.

I love my mission president.  The Mellas are perfect.  Sister Mella is Marsali Hancock's sister.  Sister Mella totally knew who I was and on the night before transfers took my companion Sister Walton and I to see her!  Marsali lives a couple of minutes from the mission home, so it was truly wonderful to be able to see her.  I didn't however get to see Annie or Rachel.  Marsali's house is beautiful.  She played the violin for us!  It was perfect.  I felt like I was back in ARlington with her.  It was so wonderful.

I've come to the conclusion that I am going to be tired for the next 18 months.  I have literally been tired since September 17.  But, what a blessing!  What an opportunity.  As I think of other missionaries and their experiences, I decided flat out yesterday that no matter what happens I am not going home until this work is finished, until I am called home.  This may not always be easy.  It may even get harder, but nothing, no force will take me away from this work until March 30, 2016.  How blessed I am to be able to number myself among the 88,000 missionaries all over the world.

The Lord knows us.  He knows our needs, our wants, and our abilities.  My favorite talk at conference was the one given by the Brazilian Seventy. "Are we living up to the blessings we are promised in our Patriarchal Blessing?"  I may at one point have been living under my potential and my privilege.  I am SO grateful for this mission and this blessing of an opportunity.

Love always,

Sister Carter

Thursday, October 9, 2014

October 9, 2014 Monday P-days, General Conference, Investigators

I have met so many people. It is insane. I am so grateful to be a missionary. I think of the Missionaries that helped us join the Church. Since then, I have a better understanding of this Gospel, what it is all about and of course who my Savior is, who my Heavenly Father is, and what I want my life to end up being.
So, Preparation Days are officially on Mondays so expect my emails every Monday around this time :)

I am in Livermore, California!! About 40 minutes from San Jose or so. This is my first area and I will probably be here for 6 months. 

My companion's name is Sister Gregerson. She is from Atlanta Georgia. She. Is. Tough. She has been out for about a year. There are 4 sisters in my District but we are the only two English speakers, the other two sisters are Spanish speakers. We have a lot of Elders of course! We only drive in my district (YESSSSS NO BIKING!!!!!!) (I probably just jinxed myself) and I am the driver. For whatever reason she doesn't drive so it's all me......Kinda exciting and helps me learn the area better. The car is really nice.
Am currently sitting with my Companion at the Library. We started our laundry and are headed to Target after this. 

We don't knock on doors but rather proselyte by contacting. We go downtown and ask people "do you want a picture of your Savior Jesus Christ?"  Or "Hi! We're the Missionaries.... Have you seen Sisters like us before?" It is so fun. I think since I have a talent for running my mouth, this has been fairly "easy" for me to talk to people. 

The members feed us EVERY night!!!!! Crazy right? Such a blessing, BUT some nights we have two dinner appointments in ONE night!!! hahahahaha. I really am a missionary. It's crazy. A crazy blessing!

Did you get to watch General Conference? It was amazing!! My first Sunday on the Mission and I get Conference! I wasn't really watching it for myself, but rather all of these Less Active Members that we teach. 

[editor's note:  names have been removed, but this is a general summary of the people she and her companion are teaching]
1.  A woman who is not active, divorced, with 4 sons, works at Wal-Mart, and has a VERY tough time.  She has two cats.

2. A man who is not active but has two sons who are very, very in active. He knows what he needs to do to come closer to Christ but doesn't. He knows what is good, what is better and what is best but needs to actually do it!

3. A young single adult who we met street contacting downtown! He had lots of questions, especially about Prophets!! I hope he was sincere because I really liked him! He's clearly a wild teen but this gospel will only add to his life. 

4.  A Hispanic man. He is a "born again" Christian. He lives with his mom? Has like 4 kids. Goes to Church! So cute. I liked him. He has a good heart. 

5.  Another man, a Meth addict. We met him street contacting too. He had a friend on a mission in Paris France. We are teaching him tonight. He needs help. But when we prayed with him, he said he felt a feeling! Totally the Holy Ghost!!!!! I'm excited for him, but this addiction is going to kill him if we can't help him by introducing him to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He has his agency!

6.  A cute family. The parents are both cops :) He's been out to DC. They are older and just got married about a year ago. They have two kids who are like 16 and 18, I believe they are his kids from another marriage. She say's she doesn't like the church too much because of women's roles. We're going to start giving her the lessons.

Anywho, so much more to tell everyone,
Sister Carter

October 9, 2014 Note from a ward member

Sister Carter and Sister Gregerson, Livermore, CA
Dinner with Sister Sherri Whitt.

"We enjoyed sharing dinner with your lovely daughter.  She has a wonderful spirit and we are grateful to have her in our ward."
Sherri Witt
Livermore California

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

1 October 2014

I made it! I totally made it! I am currently at my mission home (my Mission President's house) with 6 sisters, and a whole lot of Elders! My new companion is Sister Walton who I was at the MTC with. My companion all through the MTC left me on Tuesday morning to start her mission in Santa Cruz California!

Sister Walton and I woke up at 3:15 am to board the bus which drove us to the Salt Lake airport with all of the other San Jose Missionaries. I got to call both my mom and my dad and talk to them super briefly (this will be my last time until Christmas!) I had to purchase a calling card for 5 dollars at the MTC book store and search for a payphone at the airport ha. It was interesting. Who knew payphones still exist. 

President Mella and Sister Mella were waiting for us all as soon as we got off of the plane! It was great. I love them so much already. San Jose is PERFECT. Literally perfect. I am SO excited to serve here!!!!!! As soon as we left the airport, we drove to San Jose College and started contacting (proselyting!) IT WAS AMAZING. I handed out a Book of Mormon, said TWO prayers with some sweet women and just spread the good news :) I met a woman who had just gotten into a car accident and clearly needed the gospel and there is certainly a story there.....I'll be sure to write that out later. 

Dinner is now being prepared by some sweet women from some ward in San Jose.....

I am beyond myself with gratitude for my Savior. This mission has been nothing less than a blessing and more than anything I ever wanted. How grateful I am.

I know my Savior lives and loves me as well as all of you! He knows each of us and our individual struggles, as well as our needs. 

With gratitude and complete love,
Sister Carter

Oh PS at the MTC we got to participate in the Ogden Utah Temple dedication! It was amazing!!!!!
I LOVE you ALL so so much.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October 1, 2014 Alicia's in San Jose!

Sister Alicia Carter landed safely in San Jose, CA today.  They had her as the tour leader flight leader for about 15 missionaries who were flying into San Jose today from Salt Lake City. Her mother, Jessica, was able to speak to her this morning before she got on the plane.  Alicia is excited, nervous, thrilled, sad, every emotion right now. She is not sure what day she will be able to check emails but will send plenty of pictures when she's able to.
On the airplane to San Jose!