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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.


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