Monday, October 28, 2013

Super Feast

Transfers are here yet again. I will have a new companion named Sister Becker in a few days. I am excited.

I didn't take any notes on this week, and those who know me k now that I have a TERRIBLE memory. But I did take a lot of pictures. So I'll explain them for you.

SUPER FEAST: Every Tuesday our zone has what is known as super feast. It is a scary combination of foods from cans created by Elders, and is surprisingly good. I decided to make a beautiful Canadian banner for it but all of the Americans weren't having it, so they slowly one by one tainted it with all of their American flags and other stuff. This picture only shows the first of the Canada-US rivalry.
Elder Bettridge (my district leader) and Elder Cullimore are the masterminds behind the super feast. 

One of the concoctions... hmmm interesting to say the least.

THE DISTRICT: This was the last time our district would be together before transfers so we decided to take some corny grad photos. Notice the fake rock that our fearless district leader is sitting on. I think it adds a nice touch.
We also had to get some pictures with the elders that we pull pranks on all the time. They are pretty funny. 
Our District

Goofy Elders.. 

The Elders we torment..

WONDERBARS: Courtesy of my wonderful grandpa for sending me a ginormous pile of wonderbars (I might be spelling this wrong) to give to people. I am slowly but surely convincing everyone that there is no other chocolate bar that is greater.

PARROTS: One of the members in our ward has a bajillion parrots. They have chickens too. I tried to get the chicken to sit on my arm like the parrots but unfortunately chickens don't quite comprehend the same as parrots do.
My companion is SO AFRAID OF BIRDS. It's so funny. The best was when she couldn't move because a chicken walked up to her. You never know, it might have had rabies or something. better safe than sorry. 

SERVICE: for the record that Elder (Elder Cluff) doesn't actually have his arm around Sis. Van Wie.
We went to a food bank this week and got to do service... They had a huge scale there that people were weighing themselves onAAAAAAAND lets just say I may have gained a few pounds.... :(

TRUNK-OR-TREAT: Sister Van Wie and I dressed up a traditional (FRUMPY) sister missionaries, from the early 1990's, and the Elders dressed up as men in black. We had so much fun. We got to judge the chili cook off too. Yummmmm.

MAC AND CHEESE: Mom and Daria, you will be happy to know that your Organic Auntie Annies mac and cheese came into good use this week. we were running out of the apartment and I forgot to pack a lunch, so I grabbed a pot, and the mac-and-cheese that you sent, and called it a feast.

BAPTISM: This Little princess got baptized. Her and her family invited SO MANY PEOPLE. I love member missionary work, it is so important. Sister Van Wie and I were able to do the missionary moment where we invite all those who have not yet been baptized to learn more about the gospel and prepare themselves to be baptized. It was so powerful. The spirit was incredibly strong!

PILLOW PRANK: The Elders had Sister Van Wie's journal that all the missionaries sign. They forgot to bring it to us so they just gave us their key so we could get it ourselves. Bad move... They had very cold pillows to sleep on that night.

                                                 Just one last little something for fun!

Well once again, I love you all.

Sister Carter

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pranks and Promptings

An armload of puppies!!

You know you are a missionary when you end a phone call with "amen" instead of "goodbye." Oops.

Sister Van Wie is hilarious! This week we were driving when all of a sudden she took off her shoes and socks, child locked all the windows, and turned on the heat to full blast! She loves to torture me. It reminded me of all those wonderful times torturing my little sisters. Never have I ever been on the receiving end of it though, so I think I am beginning to understand how it feels. To my four sisters: no need for pay back, I am getting it now. Actually is has been so fun. We have our little wars back and forth. We were getting ready for bed one night when Sister Van Wie started throwing bouncy balls at me. I grabbed them, turned off all the lights and tried to sneak up on her. Unfortunately one of them glowed in the dark and just when I was about to throw it at her my plan back fired. It's okay though, I get to serenade her with my Mormon tabernacle Choir solos in different accents. My personal favorite is the hick accent. I think next I shall try singing in whale.

There is always so much to write and I have so much I have to do on the computer before I can email, so I run out of time easily.
But this week was amazing. We saw some pretty incredible miracles. We met a guy I'll call Peter*  who was sitting on a curb looking pretty glum. We knew we needed to talk to him. We went to go park but were pretty sure he would be gone by the time we got there. This was an apartment complex with lots of doors, but we had a pretty good feeling as to what door he would be in.We were right. When he answered he said, "why is it that every time I am at my lowest point the 'mormons' find me?" He then said, "alright what do I need to do to join your church?" We had a lesson with him right there and then. We also had a family home evening with Jennifer, and another investigator Janna* at our stake presidents home with his family. It was so powerful for them to see a family in the gospel and how the gospel can bless their families lives.

Some of you may be confused why I started adding friends and family on Facebook. I have been allowed to all along but I have been trying to figure out what would be best in doing my own personal online proselyting. It is difficult being a pilot mission because no one tells you how to do anything, we have to figure it out ourselves. We have been starting to get a little bit of training here and there, but it is still lots of our own figuring out. I have to do a lot of praying to get some spiritual guidance as I go about my online work. It took me a little while to finally accept friend requests from home, and now I am going out of my way to add them because I realized I need your help. You can be a huge tool in my online work. When you see that I have posted something, 'like' it. Better yet, 'share' it. I can only reach so many people, but as soon as one of you shares one of my posts, suddenly I have reached double the amount of people. Choose a post and share it. There are baptisms, and lessons happening all over the world now from our mission because Facebook friends are starting to catch the vision too. We need your help.

Moment of the week:
So, as missionaries we loose all concept of time, as well as have absolutely no clue what is going on in the world except for what we hear from members at dinner appointments. Last Monday we went to the post office to mail off a book of Mormon to a girl in Calgary. When we got there it was closed. We asked a lady who also needed to go to the post office why it was closed and she didn't know... Sister Van Wie and I walked away in a bit of a panic saying, "Oh no, what is the world coming to?! The government is shutting down!" (We had heard rumblings of such a situation and didn't really know what was going on) We then went to the grocery store to get everything we needed for the week, and ran into that same lady. She said, "Hey I know why the post office was closed, it's Columbus Day!" We got a good laugh at the hilarity of our jumping to the worst possible conclusion, instead of using our brains and noticing what time of the year it was. Oh the life of a missionary.

Love you all.
Sister Carter

PS. Pretty sure this week we tracted into Thor. We weren't sure though because he didn't have his hammer and goofy outfit.

(due to the nature of the internet names have been changed to protect privacy)

Having fun encouraging our investigators!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Testimony of missionary work and the spirit

Family and friends, we missionaries need your help. a very unfortunate thing happened this week as well as a few weeks ago, and It needs to stop. The missionaries are on the Lords team, if you are not on our team then you are on the opposing team, and there is enough in this world going against us.
2 weeks ago we had a lesson with Julie, we were following up with her on how she liked church and she said it was great, and then her countenance changed. She told us that the member who drove her to church told her that she didn't agree with how the missionaries always invite people to baptism so soon. She then talked about how there are so many things that people have to change first before they are baptized, and so much to learn, and that the missionaries push baptism on people way too fast. Julie was crushed. She said "I was really excited to get baptized. am I not good enough?"  My heart broke. We had to do some damage control. To all you members out there, Yes we do invite people to be baptized right away,  but we do not do it first without the guidance of the holy ghost. I can promise you that we have never once invited someone without being moved upon by the holy ghost, and whether they choose to accept it or not is their choice but we MUST invite. Missionaries are set apart to be able to recognize when the time is right to invite someone to be baptized. To someone in the church it may seem too soon, but they have no idea when that time is truly right for them. As missionaries we are given that stewardship to know when the time is right, and then to help them to prepare for that day even if they are so far from it that it looks impossible. The gospel Changes people, it softens heart, and the impossible happens. If our members are on our team they will trust us when we invite someone to be baptized. We are being obedient to the promptings that we get, and we are being obedient to our mission president who was called by a prophet of god to know how to lead the missionaries in this area. We are not in control here, the Lord is. I can assure you that we do not invite people to be baptized unless moved by the spirit to do so. When we invite people to be baptized we are inviting them to make their very first step towards eternal life. Do not underestimate the power that can come through inviting people to follow the example of Christ.
We were able to get Julie exited again, but we went in there to a heart broken girl. Julie has gone through so much in her 24 years of life, and for her to know that we could actually help her to find peace and joy through her trails and through her pain was liberating for her. Baptism opened a whole new world for her. Julie was so vibrant about this path that she was on, only to get it crushed by the comment of a member who underestimated the abilities of the spirit to convert. It doesn't matter how young, slow of speech, or annoying a missionary is either. That missionary was called of god and has been given gifts specific to his calling as a missionary when he or she was set apart.
Sorry if this email seems to be heavy, but this has happened twice in the last few weeks. If you do this. Stop. You know who you are. If you feel the need to express that you don't agree with a member inviting someone to baptism so quick instead stop yourself and express your testimony of the power of baptism. Testify.
I do have to get going. Hope this next week is full of the spirit and tender mercies from a loving Heavenly Father.

I love you all.
Sister Carter

We are freezing cold!! Our apartment is Sooooo Cold!

Monday, October 7, 2013

The unimportant silly little things

DID YOU ALL GET TO WATCH GENERAL CONFERENCE THIS WEEKEND?! SOOOO AWESOME! If you didn't watch Elder Ballard's talk, watch it! And if you did, watch it again! Did you notice all of the emphasis put on member missionary work? As a missionary we value the members and their contribution so much! We are really just here to facilitate learning, but the wards that see the baptisms are the wards where the members are involved in the missionary work. They are the ones who do the fellowshipping, and the ones who know the people in the area.

 So much of our time is wasted on trying to find people to teach when the members actually know people for us to teach. My dream is to be able to fill my time with teaching lessons, instead of finding people, because teaching lessons is where the magic starts. You member missionaries have no idea how valuable you are in the Lords work of salvation. All too often people think that missionary work is only for the missionaries, but it is SO not! I challenge anyone reading this to take the council from Elder Ballard and kneel down in prayer sometime this week and ask sincerely for the Lord to help you find opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no greater joy that comes than by inviting others to taste of the fruit of the tree of life.

(Continued from last weeks posting)
So before I continue on with how amazing Julie is (For the record, all of the people we are teaching are amazing), I have to tell you a little more back ground information on the process of finding her.

Satan does NOT like missionary work. That is FOR SURE! One of his favorite tactics is finding silly ways to put contention between a companionship. It is a sure way of severing any spiritual unity that a companionship has.
A few weeks back the adversary was really working on us. Out of no where I was suddenly starting to feel annoyed with my companion for the silliest little things. I found myself so tempted to be judgmental and critical of her. It was a real struggle to keep the spirit constant. I finally knelt down in prayer a couple mornings into it and pored myself into prayer. I prayed so hard that I would be able to see her as the Lord sees her. That I would be full of love for her, and that I would stop getting caught up in such unimportant silly little things. I suddenly felt an overwhelming amount of love for her, and the temptation to judge her was over come with the desire to serve her. I then got a very distinct impression that Satan was trying to put contention between us because we were about to meet some very special people. I knew that if he was able to succeed in destroying our unity that he would accomplish his design to deny those special people of the gospel of Jesus Christ, of the healing powers of their Savior's love, and the chance for them to realize their true potential in this life and in the life to come. It was a powerful feeling, and I was determined that Satan was not going to win! That day we met 2 of those people! And the next few days we met 2 more! Jennifer was one of them.
I am out of time again, so I will continue next time. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is so powerful. Prayer is so powerful! Missionary work is so powerful! I am so grateful for the opportunity to share that with others.

Moment of the week:
Sister Van Wie and I walked into the convenience store at a gas station to pick up some tic tacs for Julie (she is trying to quit smoking).
When it was our turn to pay the lady at the cash register looked at me, then looked at my tag, then looked at me again, then burst out so loud that every one could hear say, "ARE YOU A NUN?!" Sister Van Wie and I laughed so hard! We assured her we weren't nuns and explained to her who we actually were. The best part about it is that I accidentally pocket dialed the elders, so they got to hear the whole thing. So great!

For those that would rather sent letters to the mission office than to the address I posted last week here is the address:

Sister Malia Carter
California Santa Rosa Mission
5301 Badger Rd
Santa Rosa CA

**Don't forget my first name since there are now 2 Sister Carters. Apparently this mission collects them.

Yours truly,

Sister Carter

P.S. Keep being patient with me while I try to write everyone back. I don't get much time to write letters, but I will do my best today.

Another Great Gospel Discussion

Running into one of our new Friends