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Saturday, January 24, 2015

January 19, 2015 What our Sundays are like and a car adventure

Happy Preparation Day!

What a week!  Actually what an interesting last 24 hours.

Let's just start at the very beginning.

Our Sundays are always busy.  We start off with a meeting with our 4th ward mission leader, Brother Romano.  He is a convert of about 30 years and has three daughters.  We are close to his whole family.  His wife's grandmother who we call "Nana" lives with them and she is fantastic.  She is 100 years old and from Germany!  

Anywho, we start our morning bright and early with him and then head off to our first sacrament meeting.  We then either teach or go to the Gospel Principles class (we teach next Sunday :)) and from there we go to our next meeting with our Second ward mission leader in the 1st ward, Brother Bailey who is actually also a convert!!!

He just moved with his family from Washington state.  After our meeting with him, we then go to 1st ward Sacrament meeting, and then if we have investigators, we teach a Gospel Principles class.  But if not, we go to Gospel Doctrine, then to Relief Society (which we actually taught yesterday :)  Now this schedule is of course dependent upon which investigators come to church and what class we get invited to teach.  Two Sundays ago, we were asked to teach junior and senior primary singing time. . . Ha.  We are basically at church from 7 a.m. -4:00 p.m. and I LOVE IT!!!  Four wards meet in our building.  We cover 1st and 4th ward and 2nd and Springtown which have the Elders.

Yesterday we had about 5 less-actives come to church, and an investigator.  What a blessing.  In our mission we have the blessing to be a mission that is piloting the "to the rescue" program where we help less actives or what we in the San Jose mission call "returning members" come to church.

After church yesterday we got a referral from the Mocho Elders (from the Mocho spanish branch).  They contacted into a Hindi family who speak (Punjabi) from India and since the Elders are really Hermanos, they passed them off to us!  Blessings!  Not only do we love referrals, but it's a family:  Husband, wife, 1 son and 2 daughters!! Blessings!! And the 4th ward that we cover has a recent convert family that is also from India!! Woo!! We will go back to teach them on Thursday and Sunday.

Later on in the day we were planning to go visit another one of our investigators but Sister Carter just decided to shake things up a bit. . .

I love driving in California, really, I do.  In fact, I think I do a pretty good job but last night, I was not on my A game.  I do a horrible job at getting close to the curb when trying to park.  I'm either too close or too wayyyyy too far away.  But, I've been getting better!  Well to make a long story short, I popped the tire.  Actually, I cause the tire to explode.  The thing made the loudest noise.  How did that happen?  I was trying to park close to the curb and rammed so hard into the curb I caused the tire to pop.  

Eh.  Oh well.  I had to call the mission office this morning and talk to Sister Ned who is in charge of all of our mission cars and beg forgiveness.  Hopefully my driving privileges don't get taken away. . .!!!

Anywho, this morning (It's p-day) we drove to wheel works and they gave us a new tire.

Oh I forgot to tell you how we got the spare on!!

After screaming for probably 20 minutes we called the Elders!  Good thing they had just gotten out of a dinner appt.  They came to our rescue.  They put the spare on and we were off.

So grateful for those elders.

I promise I'll do a better job driving.

I promise to do a better job taking care of the Lord's car.

Sister Carter

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

January 12, 2015

Decisions Determine Destiny

We teach a lot of people! A whole lot.  Just to give you an example, we contacted (remember we don't tract) about 300 people last week. . . So, our teaching pool is pretty huge as well.  With this knowledge it can easily be assumed that we are teaching people of various walks of life.  Not only am I in the Bay Area where you can find people driving Teslas, Range Rovers and other hundred thousand dollar luxury cars but we also see drug addicts on Livermore 1st Street asking us if we want to smoke weed with them, alcoholics with no job, and children with no way to feed them.  I had seen this type of poverty on T.V. but up until the mission, despite being from the D.C. area, I had never seen how real poverty is.

I pray that the Holy Ghost will be with me as I write this letter.  I don't want to offend anyone but simply stating what I've seen as a simple minded 22-almost 23 year old (thank you very much) from Northern Virginia living in California.

I have come to know, though I have always known even more while on the mission that 

Decisions Determine Destiny;

And that the Gospel of Jesus Christ allows you to have a happier life.  The Gospel helps you with your decisions and your choices, thus having a happier life.

Sister Packard and I teach people of all walk of life but this week the theme was apparently that of our decisions determining our destiny.  It seems as though some of the people that we teach may not have thought about their futures too much and so the choices that they made are still having lasting effects on how their lives are playing out now.

When you don't put the Lord first in your life you will be unhappy.  When you have the gospel of Jesus Christ in your life and do those things that are pleasing to Him, you will be happy.  It's proven and we can see the results in the lives of others who don't.

Commandments like the Law of Chastity that helps us to keep our bodies, minds, and lives morally clean bless and protect us.  Commandments like the Word of Wisdom allow us to have control over our lives and maintain happier and healthier bodies and minds as we abstain from alcohol and drugs.

Commandments are laws/standards set by the Lord that will bless and protect us as well as elevate us.  Commandments aren't rules set by a vengeful spiteful God to hinder us or limit us, but they are truly there to protect and bless us, to shape us and make us into what we have the potential to be.

On my mission, I am learning of the importance of choices.  This decision of going on a mission has blessed my life and I know it will determine my destiny.  For that I am grateful.

Elder Cook, an apostle of the Lord came to our mission on Saturday and spoke to us of the importance of this mission and beautifully bestowed an apostolic blessing on us.  It was tender and beautiful and I will never forget it.

I love you all and am very grateful for your love, your examples, your influence and your testimonies.


Sister Carter

Friday, January 2, 2015

Merry Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas!!!!!!

Well.  Sorry it's late but Merry Christmas!  Our Christmas was full of laughs but also tears.  I got the blessing of being able to skype my family!  Maybe that blessing of being able to skype is more for our families than us?!  All I know is after sobbing from talking to them, I went right back to work!  Right back to the work, whereas maybe some of my family were still distracted from getting to talk to me.  Anywho until Mother's day family!  It certainly was fun!

We woke up to my sweet companion Sister Packard screaming Merry Christmas!!!  We then opened all of our gifts.  Sister Packard and I then went to our first breakfast at the Holt's home.  They are wonderful.  We then went to our ward mission leader's home for our second breakfast.  We had breakfast casserole at both homes by the way.  

Breakfast casserole

After we ate and skyped, we ate dinner with them.  Brother Bailey made us lobster and crab legs!  We then left for our second dinner at the Webb's where the Loyde family was present.  We had a blast!

Just for reference, we are watching "Meet the Mormons" as a zone at the building, so I'm a bit distracted writing this letter. . .

Our ward mission leader who actually just got called has been the source of great blessings.  We are teaching a woman named Vanessa.  Vanessa is currently living in her dad's house.   Vanessa's dad was an extreme hoarder. You know that show "Hoarders"? Yeah.  Picture that.  We have been doing service for Vanessa at least twice a week since I've been here in Livermore.  Because of the extreme hoarding, Vanessa doesn't have a job.  She is left to cleaning the house with her father now in the hospital because he recently just had a heart attack and is now in a coma and can't speak!  She has a lot of bills to pay.

Back to the ward mission leader. . . His family has read the book "The Christmas Jars." and because of that book, his family does a jar every year.  Brother Bailey asked us who from our teaching pool would need this jar.  We said Vanessa.

Vanessa called us the other day completely in awe, shock and amazement that someone left a jar (of money).

She said that she will keep the jar forever in remembrance of how good God is to her.

The Lord is merciful.  He uses us his servants as his hands.  We need to be working and willing to do all that he asks.

This is His work.  We're just blessed to be a part of it.

Love,  Sister Carter