Monday, September 30, 2013

The good news and the bad news

Two Sister Carter's in the Santa Rosa Mission

Today I have good news and bad news.

I'll start with the bad news:

1. I gave you the wrong address, so if you have been wondering why I haven't been responding to your mail it is because I wasn't getting it.

2. I sent a nice big long email last week, but just when I pressed send the computer froze. What was worse, is that none of it saved and I was completely out of time to be able to write a new email. I may have shed a few tears.

3. Sister Van Wie and I discovered that all of the cats we committed to baptism are afraid of water...

Okay, so now for the good news:

1. I FOUND ALL OF THE MAIL!! It was the most exciting thing. All of it was getting sent to a neighbor in the complex who had been holding it for me instead of forwarding it back. I was the happiest person alive. You can imagine my excitement to see 2 months worth of mail that I didn't even know existed. Not getting mail is sad. If you were wondering why I wasn't responding to your mail, it is because I wasn't getting it. You will have to be patient with me thought because I only get Mondays to write letters, so it will still take me a few weeks to be able to respond to all of it. Mom, I burst out laughing when I opened the package (which Sis. Van Wie and I loved!!!) and first thing I pulled out was an open bag of licorice with half of the the licorice already eaten. That is SOOOO something my mom would do. Also, my whole zone LOVED the 4 ft long licorice. They told me to tell you to send more "4 feet of fun." We had so much fun with it!
My REAL address is:

Sister Malia Carter (Don't forget my first name, there is now another Sister Carter)
5203 Old Redwood Hwy
Apt. 48
Santa Rosa, CA

You might just want to send it to the mission home address because then I will get it for sure!!

2. I made it out past 2 months. Time goes by SOOO fast as a missionary, it is so sad. Especially because I realized this week that I am actually living one of my dreams! What an incredible feeling. I just don't want it to end. There is so much to learn and a missionary. Being a missionary, is hard, fun, discouraging, incredible, challenging, humbling, and I love every waking moment of it. EVEN at 6:30 in the morning when I am about the throw the alarm clock across the room.

Okay I only have a few minutes left, so let me tell you about Julie (name Changed)! She is INCREDIBLE! For one we share the same birthday. Scorpio all the way! But actually she really is incredible. Her apartment door was referred to us by someone who wasn't interested in what we had to say to them. We knocked on her apartment door around 6 different times and no one ever answered. We decided we were going to try one last time. So we prayed and told heavenly father that this was the last time we would knock, and after that we were done, and moving on.
We knocked, and Julie answered! I want to tell you all about her, but I am out of time, so I will save that for next week.

I love you all! Thank you for the letters and emails! They bring me more joy that you could know. I can't wait to tell you more next week.

All my love,
Sister carter

Monday, September 16, 2013

I'm Hooked on a Feelin'

No we are not related... but Carter is a pretty cool last name!

Transfers are here and I am staying put! Yay! I even stay with my trainer which makes me so happy. I love her! We have so much fun together.

The apartment below us sometimes blares their music at night. Last night I fell asleep to "Hooked on a Feelin'" by David Hastlehoff. What a gem. Hah! I will never understand that music video. Nor will I ever know if that man is being serious or not! regardless it reminded me of all the hilarious times my sisters and I blasted that song and dance to it while cleaning the kitchen. Good times.

The Elders got a mini van this transfer. HILARIOUS. They actually requested it. It is the funniest thing to see two big grown men, both football players in a minivan. and they love it. We tease them all the time with text messages like, "Elders, we saw you drive by... Your mini van is a testimony to us that families really are forever!" We have lots of fun with them.

Okay I have some super cool experiences that have been building up. So many miracles have been happening. We have been searching for people to teach. It has been really hard, but we are trying to be as exactly obedient as we can be, and do everything we can. We do this thing called power hour in our mission. It is where we combine our faith with the faith of the members that are feeding us that night. They pray with us that for the next hour the Lord will direct us, and that the windows of heaven will open in our area. I promise you that every time we do this we have ALWAYS seen miracles. One night this week in particular we prayed with the family and shared with them that there was an apartment that we had been referred to by some people who weren't interested in hearing our message, We asked them who they thought would be interested and they said to go try their old apartment. We went but no one was home. We went back about 3 times within the last 6 weeks and every time no one was home. we were actually pretty sure that the apartment was vacant. We told our dinner appointment that we were going to try one last time, and then move on. So we prayed with them and went on our way. Miracle 1: As we were approaching the apartment we saw that someone was there but was talking on the phone just outside. We were so glad that we didn't give up on them sooner. but since the lady was on the phone we decided to stall by doing a lap around the apartment complex to see if we could find anyone else. Within a few feet there was a lady just about to get into her car. We told her we knew that she was in a rush but had something really important to share with her. She told us that she was actually really interested in learning about Jesus Christ and gave us her apartment number and told us to come back (miracle 2). the lady we had planned to see was still on the phone so we decided to go up the stairs. In the apartment directly above her there was a young man in probably his mid 20's walking into his apartment. We barely caught him and started talking to him. He shared with us that most of his family was Mormon. He had just barely moved here and was feeling like he needed something more in his life. He didn't really know what his family believed because they all joined after he moved out, but didn't think he was very interested until we started talking to him. He told us that he really wanted to know more. He was looking for something, but didn't really know what. We had to get going but we got a solid returned appointment (miracle 3). We didn't end up having time to talk to the lady we were waiting to talk to, but we knew she was there so we went back a few days later. She answered and turns out she too has been looking for something more in her life. She was extremely interested and had a great desire to become a better person. She told us that her ex had become a member of the church and that he seemed so happy and she said she wanted that happiness for herself. She was so touched by everything that we told her and wanted us to come back. Thank goodness for prayer because without it she would still be looking. We start teaching all three of these people this week. And every single one of them we ran into at exactly the right moment. The Lord is seriously directing our path. Our testimony of prayer was strengthened so much.

Before I go I have to explain a few of those pictures. A huge group of us went to the beach last p-day and we found this rock and all took pictures pretending we were the little mermaid. I tried flipping my hair up and failed pretty bad, but I thought it was funny so I wanted to send it.

 Okay and I have to tell you the story of those shoes in the other pictures. for everyone reading this, I hate mary-janes (type of shoes). I told my mom that I would NEVER be one of those sister missionaries that wore those horribly frumpy mary-janes that sister missionaries seem to love! My mom thinks they are adorable and maybe I don't really think they are that bad.. but I just dont want my mom to be right. Well on p-day I forgot to pack some shoes with me and we were going straight to dinner after the beach. My options were no shoes or sneakers. I chose no shoes. When we got to our dinner appointment the sweet darling lady felt bad for me and decided to offer me some shoes. Fortunately we had the same size feet, unfortunately for me they were the EXACT shoes that I swore I would never wear. When my companion saw me wearing them it took everything in her not to laugh. It was HILARIOUS! We had to take pictures. Then we started having way too much fun and dressed up as super frumpy sister missionaries and took pictures. At church I forgot to take the shoes back to the lady that lent them, but I told her how thankful I was to have shoes that night (I really honestly did appreciate having them.)  She told me, "Oh don't worry, in fact you know what, you can keep them! They looked so much cuter on you than they did on me!" I am now the proud owner of a new pair of Mary-Janes. Sister Van Wie and I are going to dress up as frumpy as we possibly can for our first district meeting of the new transfer. Haha, we think we are so hilarious.
This one's for you mom!!

The Frumpy Sister Missionary Look!!

Anyway I love you all. Until next week,

Sister Carter

Missionaries make the best detectives

Did I ever mention that my companion is from Scranton Pennsylvania? As in, the Dunder Miflin Scranton from "The Office". That's just my little claim to fame for the week. Mom and Dad you probably have no idea what I'm talking about, but Cheyenne (My Sister) you would definitely know what I'm talking about.

Happy late birthday to my most favorite African sister ever!! Nyajuok, if you are reading this, I love you!

I went to Cloverdale on exchanges this week. Cloverdale is a very interesting town. Emphasis on interesting. Downtown Cloverdale feels like its only about a block long, and there is "art" everywhere, or at least pieces of metal slapped together into what they call art. Who knew that a bunch of pieces of scrap metal could make me an artist?! I've been an artist all along!! It is literally everywhere. Some of it isn't just metal though, in fact their most prominent piece is of a giant squatting naked green lady. Oh and my personal favorite was the ceramic pear in the middle of the sidewalk... Interesting.
We met some very interesting people too. As a missionary It is so funny how as soon as we put on our missionary name tags, we are suddenly free walking psychiatrists. They see that name tag and instantly feel comfortable sobbing their whole life's story to us. But not to complain actually because I love it! I get to meet some of the neatest people, and hear some of the neatest stories. I love getting to see people turn to the Lord through hard times, and hard times that I never would have gotten the privilege of knowing if I wasn't a missionary. Cloverdale is a tiny little ward, but so cute! One of the members told me that after my mission I need to go home, get married, have a bunch of kids, and come back to Cloverdale where they will have an entire bench in the chapel ready and waiting for me and my family to fill up. I thought that was super cute.

So I am inevitably a target of embarrassment here is Santa Rosa. I'm blond, green (term to describe a brand new missionary), and I'm from Canada. SO basically I'm hopeless. My favorite moment this week was when Sister Van Wie and I were introducing ourselves to a part member family. The husband is a devout catholic and barely speaks English. He asked for my name and instantly I answered,  "Malia!" Oops. Greenie mistake. I have done that SO MANY TIMES!! But the best part about this time in particular is that there was no redeeming myself. Because he barely speaks English, trying to correct myself was fruitless. I tried to correct myself by saying "Oh I mean Sister Carter" but it was hopeless. It stuck. It is hilarious, he answers the door loudly exclaiming "MALIA!", and when I am leaving he yells, "BYE MALIA!" No matter how many times I try to correct him by pointing to my name tag, it doesn't work. So MALIA I will stay.

Trying to contact potential or former investigators is always entertaining. There are so many Hispanics, and they always come up with the best excuses! "Sorry I don't speak English", and then we proceed to have a full on conversation with them. Once we knocked on a part member family's home and the Man who came to the door said "sorry I don't speak English" and then the next time we saw him he was speaking perfectly fluent English. My personal favorite excuse is when we knock on the door asking if so-and-so is there, and the little kid at the front door rehearses, "Sorry he/she is in Mexico" and we can literally see the person we are looking for sitting on the couch in the background. Missionaries make the best detectives!

We had one very memorable experience this week. We were looking for a couple I'll call Paul and Patricia. When we get to the front door, I was kind of off to the side. I thought to myself I should probably move closer to the front door so I can actually see the person when they open up. But I ignored that thought. Peter answered, and my poor companion got a great big eye full of a tall, old, naked German man.  We also had a member with us. Both of fortunately did not see anything. He exclaimed, "oh I need to go put some cloths on" -_- and shut the door. We assured the member who was with us that this was not a regular occurrence.

Anyway I need to get going. I love you all very much!

Sister Carter

Our Visit to the Oakland Temple.. such a beautiful place!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Calluses on our knees!

Wow, what a week. Teaching people online is so inspired! I can't believe the miracles already. Friends at home, don't be offended if I decline your friend request. It is nothing against you, I am just trying to figure out my boundaries for myself since we are a pilot mission and have no guidelines. It is very overwhelming. To clear a few things up. There are lots of missions around the world with specific districts that have Ipads and do online work, but this is the first time that an ENTIRE mission has both. We are all learning a lot, and so is Salt Lake (the Missionary department). We have found some glitches in their area book app that they made for us. Missionaries of the future are going to be so blessed when they get to have Facebook and Ipad training... We are basically the guinea pigs and don't get any training. I suppose we will help create the future training as we work through the glitches and face issues.

Good news, you know how missionaries usually learn the language of those they are teaching? Well, my companion and I have seen incredible success in this. We taught an entire field of sheep the gospel this week... In their native tongue. We are also increasing in our ability to speak cat. Their biggest fears seam to be entering the waters of baptism. We are working on that. We have even committed our GPS Tammy to attend church and she has followed through every time. Our only problem is that she tends to sit in the parking lot instead of coming inside.

You know you are a sister missionary when you start getting calluses on your knees from kneeling so much. Sister Van Wie lotions her knees every day. It is really funny to watch. This week I have officially begun to see my missionary tan lines. -_- Joy. Brace yourselves, because when I get back I will be quite the sight to see.

It was Sister Van Wie's birthday this week. Her mom sent her the greatest package. We felt like we were 4 years old again. It was full of little mermaid birthday decorations, party hats, cups, plates, and cake making supplies. We had fun!
Our big joke this week was: "How old are you? 21? Oh, your one of those missionaries. Let me guess... Couldn't get married?" Haha! I'll be 21 pretty soon too.

Lots of miracles and blessings this week. I got to attend the baptism of a guy I'll call John. He is covered in tattoos all up and down his body. A lot of people I know here went to school with him and never expected him to ever join the church because of his life style. He bore his testimony at his baptism on Saturday and it was so powerful. He was radiating the light of Christ in his countenance. The atonement changes people. He is so happy. I was so touched by his testimony I cried.
Lots of tears this week. Miracles, blessings, and trials. I am grateful to be stretched and to be given challenges that help me to grow. It is not comfortable, but the Lord knows what he is doing. Seeing the gospel work is peoples lives is incredible.
I am so grateful that dad was able to give my sisters priesthood blessings before they went back to school this week. I would have died for one this week. But I was able to bare my testimony about the power of the priesthood in the family to a new convert who just married a Mormon and has a baby on the way. I was able to share with both of them the blessing of having a father who always lives worthy of the priesthood, and how much that was a blessing to me growing up.

I love you all so much!
Sister Carter

Oh so incredibly happy to have fresh grown tomatoes!!

Missionary Service day

Ready and willing to fly to the ends of the earth!