If you'd like to receive email updates, enter your email address here.

Monday, June 29, 2015

June 29, 2015 Tender! Small World Story


We have been doing some pretty extensive iPad training. We do not have wifi in our apartments so we have to go to the stake center or chapel for internet. Just the other morning, when Sister Triana and I were going over our new area books on the ipad, a member who we recognized but did not know personally asked if I was from Virginia (I was wearing my "Virginia is for Lovers" shirt!), my answer was, "Yes, of course!" She replied that her grandparents were in the Arlington ward! She asked me if I knew who Marjorie and John Merrell were. 
Image result for John Merrell
J.Y. Merrell
My. Heart. Melted. 

When I was in Young Women's in Arlington I remember our leaders wanting us to get to know some of the older members in our ward better. In little groups on Mutual night we would go visit them. We would bring a treat, spend time in their home, ask questions about their lives etc. I was blessed with the opportunity to build many relationships with these wonderful members. Pearl Goodsell is another that I have to mention!
Image result for pearl goodsell
Pearl Goodsell

-- but the Merrells were my family. They were the family that I truly bonded with.  I remember walking into church and as soon as I saw Brother Merrell, he would give me a look, walk over to me and whisper that I had better go give a big hug to a wife and say hello to his wife. How cute. 

After I went to college I found out about Sister Merrrell's passing, I cried. A lot. But even now almost 5 years later, I know, I truly know that they both loved me just as much as I loved them! I think of them regularly and having the chance to meet and know their granddaughter was not a coincidence. Thousands of miles away I was able to reconnect with a family that I so dearly loved. The world is small and it's even smaller in the Mormon World!!

I am so grateful for that tender mercy of being able to meet their granddaughter! She is lovely and I hope she knows how much her family means to me. 
Sometimes we don't understand the lives we touch or even how. We just need to do our part of helping to serve in the Lord's vineyard wherever we may be. I know that is true when I was in Arlington, and even now in Palo Alto. 

I am also for the even greater testimony of the Plan of Salvation that I have received on my mission. I know I will see the Merrells again. 

I love you all!,
Sister Carter

Sunday, June 28, 2015

June 23, 2015 Returning members

Hello :)

What an exciting time to be a missionary!

I've unfortunately gotten to the point of my mission when people ask me how long I've been out and after my response of 9 months, they say one of two things. . . "You're almost there!" or "You're almost done!"  With the excitement on their faces, I know they mean it in the sincerest of ways but I can't help but to be a little taken back.  "Yes! You're right", I will reply, but what a terrible thing for me to apparently almost be done.  Not only do I disagree, I'm not almost done.  I really just got started and still have so much to do/learn!!

This week was full (typical for Sisters Triana and I), but, a success came from a returning member!  Remember we call less actives returning members in this mission.  She lives in East Palo Alto and since I got to Palo Alto has been pretty flaky with us missionaries until recently.

Sometimes we would knock on her door and she wouldn't answer regardless if we knew shew as home or even if she scheduled an appointment with us and told us to come over. 

Image result for missionaries knocking on doors
". . . Sometimes we would knock on her door. . ."

 Every once in a while she would open the door and let us in telling us she is SO busy etc.

When we offered her service, her eyes lit up and she welcomed us back last week.  We have been going over regularly to help her fix up the guest home she has behind her house.

Through these efforts she has (at her own request) asked us to read the Book of Mormon to her.  So we read a chapter after every visit.  She then shares with us what she has learned from the chapter and we do as well.

Image result for book of mormon
"She asked us to read the Book of Mormon to her"

Just this last visit her last words were, "Y'all going make me come back to church!" in her bold, forward way (that's how she is all the time).  We then, lit up and replied "Yes! We hope so."

Although I am not sharing much of this woman's story, who she is, where she came from, her conversion etc., I will say, it's easy to pass judgement on someone and reason within ourselves as to why or why not they are coming to church.  But what we as members must do our best to keep trying to help others come back.  We can't stop.  We can't be judgmental, but we have to love them.

This woman has a testimony of the gospel.  If she didn't, she wouldn't have asked us to read the Book of Mormon with her.

This was a humbling experience for Sister Triana and I.

Also, I finished the Book of Mormon this morning again!

I know it's true!

Sister Carter

Friday, June 26, 2015

June 23, 2015

Happy P. Day!! Wait. It's Tuesday!!!? Well, yesterday we had a giant 6 hour meeting about....iPads! Yay!! These things have been a blast. The next step is calendars, area books and pretty much no more paper in the California San Jose Mission!! That means all of those records from 2002...yeah, we get to create electronic copies. Yay!

Remember how I spoke at the Stanford 2nd ward on Mothers day? Well just two days ago, I was able to speak on Fathers Day at the Stanford 1st ward!! This was a tender mercy because  I was able to proclaim the love and admiration that I have for both my earthly parents. I love them so much. 

"Fathers are so special with a very special love.
  1. They watch us and protect us.
    They guide us and direct us
    Back to our home above"
  2. I spoke about miracles and how they are truly all around us!! Here is a bit: 

"There are so many miracles around us: 
Miracles of being forgiven, 
Miracle of the Priesthood
Miracle of Resurrection 
Miracle of the Restoration
Miracle of Fathers
Miracle of the Atonement 
Miracle of the Book of Mormon 
Miracle of a Prophets 
Miracles of Missionary 
Life birth 
Waking up on time
Getting a job
Not burning the lasagne
Now, I will use the word miracle and blessing interchangeably blessing. 

Miracles are wonders, marvels, because of the effect produced on those who saw them.
Many of them were also symbolic, teaching such divine truths as the result of sin and the cure of sin; the value of faith; the curse of impurity; and the law of love. Miracles were and are a response to faith and its best encouragement. They were never wrought without prayer. 
The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 
"But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."

I know that miracles have not ceased! God is the same yesterday today and forever. My mission is a miracle, the blessing of having a wonderful dad is miracle, the Book of Mormon is a miracle and I can go on and on. 

I love this work and am so grateful to be apart of it! 
The church is true!!
Sister Carter

Saturday, June 20, 2015

June 15, 2015 Palo Alto will experience an Arlington Style 4th of July: Pancake Breakfast!

Happy P.day!

Having ipads is weird.

The fourth of July is pretty soon and I look forward to the festivities.

 Image result for july 4th

Yesterday in ward council, we had a huge brainstorming session.  What should we do as a ward for the fourth of July?  Should we even do anything?  Well, of course!!!, I piped up.  Not only am I a proud American, but I am a proud Northern Virginian!  And in Arlington, we take the fourth of July pretty seriously--especially in my Arlington ward growing up.

Image result for july 4th pancakes

I vividly remember the Fourth of July breakfast!!!  I quickly shared my testimony of a pancake breakfast and everyone was on board.  We are going it early in the morning and the whole community is invited.

Although I will miss D.C. on this beloved day that we celebrate our freedom, Palo Alto is going to be the place this year!! I am so excited!!

Yesterday, Sister Triana gave a talk at our Stanford 1st ward.  It was Emily's farewell.  Emily is an older girl in our ward who decided to go on a mission despite it not being in her original plans.  My heart rejoiced listening to this amazing girl give a talk about having a change of heart and following the Lord's will despite our own "wants" or "desires."  She graduated from BYU two years ago and moved to Palo Alto to start an amazing career in Finance.

She is financially successful and stable but the past year or so described having some unsettling feelings.  She did not feel like she was progressing.  Should she switch jobs?  Apartments?  States? or even Country?  Should she start dating more?  One day, she went to go watch "Meet the Mormons" with friends when then she knew:  She needed to serve a mission.  But give everything up?!  It was difficult for her to say the least but she's doing it.

If you can't tell my heart just burst for this amazing girl.  It is obvious why she was so successful financially.  She is working to do whatever it takes.  That is clear with her spirituality as well.  But that is not the only thing.  There are hundreds of "older girls" and more people in general who are doing their best to follow the Lord's will.

I am so proud of them.  I commend them.  And I am cheering for them.

Following the Lord is not a casual practice.  It is a continual commitment; a way of life.

Love,  Sister Carter

June 15, 2015 Mini Missionary

We had another mini missionary with us for 7 days!!!! Sister Lauren
Bennett is serving in the DC South Mission!!! Look out!!!!! She's
amazing :)

The church is true!
Sister Carter

June 8, 2015

 Sister Triana and I made it through the hunger games and will be together for 6 more weeks in Palo Alto!!!!!!!!!! (We did not get transferred).

My heart breaks at finding out that our beloved Apostle L. Tom Perry pass away! Of course as missionaries we don't watch T.V. or listen to the radio but some of the missionaries found out and it trickled down the line and a mass text went out. ****I wrote this part of the email last Monday but it never got sent out***

Speaking of technology, we got iPads. Yeah. iPads...I'm not too sure how I feel about this but the overall use of the ipads is to not just participate in Hasting of the Work--yes, we will be on Facebook proselyting, our area books will be on the ipads as well as our planners etc but the ultimate purpose of these ipads, is to make US better disciples. We cannot be one person, talk one way, act, or even dress one way, then suddenly take on this fake persona over the internet. We should be disciples of Jesus Christ always. We need to represent him always.

With the age change 2 years ago, crazy 18  year olds are leaving the comfort of their homes to change other peoples lives. It is expected that through this drastic lifestyle change, they change as too but allllll too often, this change lasts for a couple months after the mission and then some (not all) are back to doing the same crazy things they did before the mission.

These wonderful 18 year olds (mee too as an old 23 year old) are learning how to be representatives of Jesus Christ on the mission and these habits that we learn on how to use technology appropriately will stay with us after the mission and we will teach others- we will help others be obedient righteous disciples, our friends, our families, and then they will teach others!

This ipad isn't just an ipad, it's making us better people. There is so much being thrown at us in the world. So much deceit, so much negativity, so much sin, and a lot of it starts with the internet, and media. So this is where is stops. This is where it ends. Missionaries all over the world will have these ipads and help teach the rest of the world.

I read many emails a day from about 10 other missionaries and am impressed with their passion, their vigor, their obedience their love for the gospel and the Lord and it makes ME want to do better. I am grateful for their testimony's and examples. 

Sister Triana and I got to go to the temple on Saturday with Sister Morano to be with her  for her first time inside of the Oakland temple!! She received her endowment!! 

The Church is TRUE.
Love you all,
Sister Carter

Saturday, June 6, 2015

June 6, 2015 Being Missionaries


Sorry for being such a terrible writer.  Things are well here in Palo Alto.  We are already gearing up for the 4th of July.  Hopefully I'll actually be here.

Yesterday at church, we had the blessing of being able to teach during the 3rd hour.  It was a whole hour dedicated to our ward mission plan which is "to develop the love of Christ" in which members pray, share and invite.  

Anywho, Sister Triana and I based our thoughts on Clayton Christensen's book "Power of Everyday Missionaries".  We took his main points and held a giant discussion with the ward.  It was amazing.  I would encourage you all to either read the book or at least go to his website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xP9P48cIF5w and watch or read what you can do daily to be a missionary.

Something Preach My Gospel teaches is that anything, absolutely anything and everything people say will (or can) highlight a principle of the gospel.

That's the magic.  That's the miracle!  As latter-day saints, we are able to know how to fix and share problems with pretty much everyone with principles of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ's gospel!

What a blessing to be on the Lord's errand.

Sister Carter