Monday, December 30, 2013

1st Christmas away from home!

Christmas morning!! 

Have I mentioned that one of my companions is a hobbit? We call Sister Beach the hobbit and she calls us the two towers. We have so much fun together. Sister Beach usually gets all the short jokes, Sister Eisert gets all the tall jokes, and I get all the blond Canadian Jokes... We balance each other out pretty well. People always laugh at us in church because no matter how we sit in the pews we look hilarious! We always manage to sit tallest to shortest so that we look like steps going up or down. Glad we can be a source of entertainment.

I experienced my very first Christmas away from home this last week. There were brief moments of sadness, but in all it was one of the most fulfilling Christmas's I have ever had! I had so much fun opening packages, reading letters, singing Christmas carols, serving and teaching people. We had Christmas Dinner at a non-member family's home. It was so much fun! At dinner appointments I always manage  to spew out all of my life's embarrassing moments and stories. The family that fed us got some great entertainment while they learned about My "Native Name." They laughed and laughed and laughed as I shared with them all of my families native names. They especially laughed when I got to mine... Which will remain unknown... Sister Beach and Sister Eisert want native names now…

One of may favorite gifts was an advent calender that Cheyenne sent me. It was a plain ol' advent calender that you could buy at walmart... but she made it special. When I opened the first one it said, "Malia I know you have a really bad memory, so for Christmas I decided to send you some of mine." I really do have a TERRIBLE memory. If I don't write things down I WILL forget. I was so touched to read that first one. As I went through I laughed and laughed at all the hilarious Christmas memories that I had forgotten about until Cheyenne reminded me. For example she reminded me about the Christmas when Cheyenne and I accidentally told Tanisha that Santa wasn't real (Sierra don't read this part), and how we tried really hard to re convince her that he was real but failed miserably! And how awkward that Christmas was... Haha Poor Tanisha, We always managed to ruin her joy. I laughed so hard as I read that memory.
As I got near to the end of the days of Christmas I got to one that read (paraphrasing), "Malia, I am really going to miss you this Christmas, Promise me that you will make some special memories, and write them down so that when you come home you can share them with us and they can be our memories too." I went from laughing to crying. That advent calender was so thoughtful. I will always treasure that gift, and I will always treasure my Christmas as a missionary.
Having an ugly cry!

We got to be part of so many incredible lessons this week!
I got to witness a member of the YSA ward decide that she was going to serve a mission because of the lesson that she joined in on with us. The spirit that we there was so powerful! I seriously love being a missionary. I wish I could write about all of the lessons I was a part of, but one lessons in particular was amazing! It was with Patti who I talked about last time. I love patti so much! Patti has been through some awful trials. it breaks my heart to think about. Because of the experiences in her life she has a really hard time believing  that God exists. She meditates a lot to be able to cope with her trials. We taught her a powerful and simple lesson about the Book of Mormon and prayer. We challenged her to pray to know if God is really there and listening. So she took on the challenge again. That night, ( few nights before Christmas) She we feeling really depressed. She wanted so badly to be with her family for Christmas because it had been years and she really needed them. She remembered the challenge we had given her, so she got knees and poured her heart out to God, telling him the desires of her heart. That night her mother called her and told her that the whole family was coming to be with her for Christmas. Her mother didn't know why, but knew she needed to so she did. Patty KNEW that it was a direct answer from God! I thanked Heavenly Father so much that night for the miracle that Patti was able to experience through prayer.
Moment of the week x 2:
1. I think I have discovered my new favorite animal. On our way to the mission Christmas party we got talking about our favorite animals. I proceeded to talk about my favorite animal the goat. Don't judge... Goats are hilarious.
When I was finished the other sisters talked about their favorite animals... For some reason someone mentioned a manatee and I pretty much jumped out of my seat in excitement! I LOVE MANATEES! I would not shut up about how much I love manatees and how they are the greatest animals in the world! And how hilarious they are. I realized how crazy I was sounding and got kind of embarrassed, so I stopped talking. The car went silent for a second... Then all 5 sisters burst out laughing, and sister Eisert said, "Sister Carter, I think your real favorite animal is the manatee..." Haha I think my face went a little red.
2. I have a mission tradition that every night when our district leader calls I make him give us words of wisdom. I thoroughly enjoy words of wisdom! In the past 5 months I have heard all sorts of interesting words of wisdom. It's always very entertaining. The other night our words of wisdom went like this: If you light a man a fire he will be warm for a night, if you light a man on fire he will be warm for life. -Elder Cowley. Haha, I thought that was pretty clever... In a putrid sort of way.

I love you all. Merry Late Christmas, and a Happy early New Year!
Sister Carter

Please Bless NEHOW

I love my companions! we are ALWAYS laughing. I hope last week I didn't make it sound like they were just a big ol' trial for me, because they aren't! We have so much fun together. I love these girls!

There are so many Asian people in this town. We are teaching a man named Chenyang. Sister Eisert is hilarious! She can never remember his name. we always pray for our investigators, and whenever sister Eisert gets to his name she can not for the life of her remember his name, so every prayer he gets a different name. Usually she is really close though, and will say something like chinyong, orchanyung. The other day it was her turn to pray again. She went down the list of investigators in her head, naming and praying for each one individually, then she she got to Chenyang. We hear,"Heavenly father please bless Nehow." Normally we are really good at holding our laughs in when she prays for him... Oops.

Mom, if you thought dads corny puns were good, you should hear Sister Beach. It is hilarious how awful they are, and she doesn't just stop with one, she goes on and on and on! Sister Eisert and I have gotten to the point of rolling on the floor laughing. Sister Beach kills me. One of these days I will record her.

This week we had a number of amazing lessons. We are going to spend part of Christmas with one of our investigators who is going to be alone for Christmas. Her name is Patty. I love Patty! We had an incredible lesson with her. The spirit was so powerful during that lesson. One of the most terrifying things I have discovered as a missionary (which has happened more than once) is making promises that we literally have no control over. It scares me to death when I really really care about the person I am teaching and I promise them that they will receive and answer to their prayers, and that they will come to know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, but don't really know if they will in fact get their answers. It takes a lot of faith. I have found myself on my knees praying so hard that they will receive answers, and have what we promise confirmed to them. We promised these things with Patty. This woman has been searching for answers to some of the most painful experiences a person could go through, and has never been able to find them. To promise her that she would find her answers was bold, and scary, but I knew that she would. Yesterday we met with her for a second time this week. At the end of the lesson she said she wanted to tell us about her experience praying. She has never prayed before, nor has she ever wanted to pray before. But she told us that she felt something while she read the introduction to the Book of Mormon. She actually wanted to pray. So she knelt down and asked God if what she was reading was going to help her. And so she prayed. She she said she felt something, very subtle, but very noticeable, and it felt good. She got her answer. She told us that she didn't know if she would get all of her answers, but that she would read the book and that she would come to sacrament meeting because she knew that it would help her find some answers. Heavenly father not only answered this woman's prayer but he answered my prayer. It was a miracle.

Moment of the week:

I went on exchanges this week to Woodland. We called our dinner appointment ahead of time to let them know that I couldn't have dairy. They assured us it wouldn't be a problem. When we got to dinner the Lady who cooked was so sweet. She said, "Sister Carter since you are allergic to dairy I replaced the milk in the casserole for yogurt..."
Haha. Well dinner was delicious, but I definitely had a stomach ache that night. I sure feel bad for all those wonderful people who try to accommodate a sister with a dairy allergy. What an adventure it would be for someone who hasn't had to deal with this their whole life.

I love you all!
Merry Christmas!
Sister Carter

A little message we left this week for our neighbors who love to party!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

You Only Live Once - YOLO County

YOLO!! Fun fact, I now live in Yolo county! If I were to have named a county, I probably would have named it Yolo county too.

Transfers are very bitter sweet. Saying goodbye to investigators is not fun. In fact it is kind of heart breaking. I love them all so much. 2 of the investigators that Sister Van Wie and I found together are getting baptized in the next few weeks. They have grown so much. Funny story: Julian is the 2-3 year old little brother of our investigator Julianna. When I first got to Windsor he did not care for me in the slightest. By the end of my 4.5 months there we were pretty much BFF's. So on the night that I came over to say my goodbye's he was devastated when he realized I would not be coming back at all. I gave them all hugs, then opened my arms wide to give Julian a hug. He frowned at me, called me a word that rhymes with itch, and stormed out of the room. Probably the first time a 2 year old has ever done that to me... It was partially hilarious, and partially heart breaking. I did manage to get my hug after his mom gave him a good chastizing.
Right before I got transferred Sister Becker started teaching this incredible girl on facebook from Uganda who is soaking up everything about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. She could never get enough she wanted to learn it all! She told sister Becker that she was going to preach the gospel to her whole village. I believe the closest church to her was 2 countries away. Sister Becker and I prayed for a miracle that as we set a baptismal date with her that the Lord would provide a way for this sweet girl to be baptized. We are teaching people all over the world right now. Uganda, Gambia, the Philippines, and all over the united states and Canada. Miracles are happening!
My new area is AWESOME! It is definitely still an adjustment, but I love it. I am serving in 2 wards. A YSA ward and a young married student ward. There is something so neat about teaching your piers! I love Sister Eisert and Sister Beach! They are some rock solid missionaries! Anyone who has ever served in a trio before would know that there is definite adjusting though, even with the most amazing missionaries. We had a very interesting experience the other day. There was a little bit of tension/frustration in the air, when we were about to go into a lesson. We said a quick prayer and asked heavenly father to allow us to have the spirit. We got into the lesson, and lets just say, the spirit was NOT there. It was probably the worst feeling I have felt on my mission so far. Here we were, servants and representatives of Jesus Christ and couldn't even have the spirit. We talked about it a little bit after and resolved a few things. We promised to never allow there to be another lesson like that. That no matter what we did we could not teach a lesson until we fully could have the spirit with us... Later on that night we were about to go into a lesson with 3 guys that we met on the street the previous night. They were very interested, and something inside me felt like this was going to be a very important lesson. We said another prayer and started our way into their apartment. While we were in the parking lot I had this almost sick feeling that we could NOT go in there until things were fully resolved. I stopped cold and asked if we could say another prayer?! This time we prayed pouring our hearts out to heavenly father, pleading with him to forgive us for the contention that was still being felt. We asked him to let us feel love and compassion toward one another, and pleaded for the spirit to be with us. It was short, heartfelt and powerful. The spirit was back! And the feeling completely changed. The lesson was so incredibly powerful. I can honestly say that we did not teach that lesson. The spirit taught it. We were all so unified. And we knew that the hearts of all three of those guys had been pierced.

I LOVE CHRISTMAS! We pretty much Buddie the Elf'd our apartment with snow flakes galore!

Moment of the week:
Last night while contacting we met this guy named chad. Chad was probably as wasted out of his mind as a person could get. We didn't know it until we started talking to him though. The conversations went a little something like this:
"Merry Christmas, My name is Sister Carter"
"I'M CHAD!" he yelled, raising his arms into a huge bear hug and proceeding to move towards me."COME HERE LETS HUG!"
"Oh! Chad! Hand shake! Hand shake!" At this point Sister Eisert is laughing pretty hard! But it worked! I managed to get by with only a handshake instead of big stinky beer smelling man hug.

"we are sharing messages with people about their Savior, Jesus Christ"

Lucky for us we managed to get our high fives and get out of there in less than 30 minutes. It was a struggle but we did it!

Love you all,
Sister Carter

Monday, December 9, 2013

Peanuts and Transfers

Transfers are like the reaping from the Hunger Games. ANXIETY MUCH!
It's official, I am finally leaving my greenie area. WAAAA!!! I love Windsor! I love my companion! I love my area! I love the ward! I love the investigators! I love the missionaries I serve with! I love my stake! I love being so close to the mission home! I love the people who give me weird looks and slam the door in my face... I even love my freezing cold apartment...
That's okay, I'm over it. I'm excited for a change. Change = Growth = Happy Sister Carter!

I am getting transferred to the college town of Davis. I will be in a trio with Sister Eisert, and my MTC companion Sister Beach, serving in a singles ward. It is just barely west of Sacramento, on the outskirts of the mission boundaries.

Last P-day we went to the Peanuts museum. Charles Schultz grew up here in Santa Rosa which explains why I see Ceramic Snoopys and Charley Browns all over the place. The museum was so fun! I went crazy on cheap post cards to send people. Don't be surprised if you get one in the mail sometime in the next few months.

I have been having some amazing experiences with my scripture study lately. A lot of people I have been teaching have had a lot of doubts about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Their doubts about Joseph Smith, about the Book of Mormon, the restoration, the commandments, the temple.. etc. Even though it makes me sad when people doubt, I am so grateful for the doubts of others because it has given me the opportunity to search my own testimony of these things. The answer is READ THE BOOK OF MORMON! Study the scriptures. But don't just read to read, search! Study! And Pray! I don't know how I could possibly doubt something that has brought me such immeasurable joy and happiness. I love the advice of Elder Uchtdorf "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." But it is okay to doubt and question, as long as you don't run and hid from them. Face them with the help of heavenly tools. Questions give us the opportunity to grow.
I felt like I feasted on the New Testament and Book of Mormon this last week. The spirit taught me so much as I read and prayed about what I was reading. I testify in the name of Jesus Christ that the Book of Mormon is in fact the word of God. Through it, we can come to know that Joseph Smith was in fact the prophet of the restoration, and that Jesus is the Christ.

Christmas is coming up. that means family Skype call is coming up! YAY! I will let you know more of the details as time gets closer.

Well I am a human shaped ice cube right now. it is probably warmer outside than it is inside. So I am going to head pretty soon. Forgive me for such a short email this week.

Sad news:
Getting phone calls from President or Sister Alba has a tendency to give you anxiety. Either they are putting you into a leadership position or they have bad news. Today we got a phone call from President Alba. Sister Becker's Grandma Passed away this morning. If you need someone to pray for today, pray for her... this is a hard day for her.
PLEASE don't give president Alba a reason to call us. Both of my companions have dealt with a lot of death and/or family members in the hospital. Mom, Dad, could you please just do me a favor and not die. I would really appreciate it. Thanks.
I love you all,
Sister Carter
P.S. Only send mail now to the mission office:

Sister Malia Carter
5301 Badger Rd
Santa Rosa CA

This week Malia Monopolized the Super Feast Board notice all the Canadian Flags

Monday, December 2, 2013

Why walk when you can roll to your next appointment?

If anyone doubted that 2 thanksgiving dinners back to back was possible, think again. I endured it well. There were moments that I would have preferred to roll than walk, but I toughed it out.
First dinner was at President and Sister Alba's house. They had 2 zones over. LOTS of missionaries.
The second dinner was at the Snyder's. The same family that had us for my birthday. We got to officially break out the Christmas songs too! no more waiting. YIPPY!!! I LOVE CHRISTMAS!
Sister Becker and I are probably going to hit some thrift stores today to see if we can find us a ghetto Christmas tree.  Yay Christmas.
DAIRY FREE EGGNOG TRULY EXISTS! And it doesn't taste as freaky as it sounds either. Believe it or not is tastes great! There is nothing quite like warm pajamas, a cup of egg nog, and a space heater to help me pretend it's not freezing cold in our apartment at the end of the day. Heavenly Father probably thinks he is hilarious for putting a sister who LOVES the heat and a sister who LOVES the cold together. The best is when the car windows are rolled down with the heat blowing at full blast.

I really hope we stay together. We are actually really great together. But I have a big feeling I will be getting transferred. All the district and zone leaders keep telling me I will. But I LOVE Windsor. Waaaaaa.
Sister Becker and I demanded that Elder Bettridge (our district leader) tell president Alba in his weekly email that he should keep Sister Becker and I together. He laughed at me and said "haha, that's funny." I looked at him in the eyes, and said, "Elder Bettridge, you WILL send that email to president Alba." "He smirked and said "Hah, we will see." As he was walking away he called out "Women! This is what happens when you get married." I called back, "You better believe it Elder Bettridge!!"
We have a lot of fun with the missionaries.

Did I ever mention that the mission has a blog?... Oops if I didn't. Not sure what you would have to look up to find it, just Google Santa Rosa California Mission Blog or something. When you find the blog and scroll forever you might see me as a fresh greenie coming off the plane.

We had an incredible bunch of lessons this week. By the way, Facebook is coming along. Slowly but surely, it is coming along. It is hard work piloting, and takes a lot of faith. Together Sister Becker and I taught 6 online lessons in a total of 5 hours Though. We are getting better. It is a work in progress. The amazing thing is that I get to take my online investigators with me throughout my entire mission. When transfers come, they transfer with me. :)

In Windsor we taught a family that I love. They are a part member family. Sister Becker and I got there expecting to only teach the mom, but instead we invited the whole family including extended family who was there for thanksgiving to sit in on the lesson and we taught them all. There is nothing more powerful than teaching a whole family. A goal I have is to see an entire family on my mission enter the waters of baptism. As I was surrounded by this beautiful family the thoughts of my own family overwhelmed me. I could almost cry to realize the incredible blessings that my family gets to enjoy through the gospel of Jesus Christ. I had the strongest desire to see this family partake of those same blessings. Sister Becker and I got to share our testimonies of the Book of Mormon and how it can bind their family just as it has ours. The spirit was powerful in that home.  At the end of the lesson they all miraculously committed to read the Book of Mormon as a family together before they all went back home after thanksgiving.
We floated out of that lesson.
Making taking this down super difficult! Ha ha hee hee!

If you notice one of those pictures is of Sister Becker and I with one of our flyers that we posted. This one in particular gets pulled down all the time. Sister Becker and I decided that whoever kept taking it down was going to have to struggle. We taped that flyer so much it would have taken forever to get it off. Sure enough after 2 days it was gone, but we were satisfied to know that they had to struggle to get it!

Moment of the week:
While driving
Sister Becker "Umm what is that crossing the road up ahead?"
Me "I don't know, let's get closer.
Sister Becker "are those turkeys?!"
Me "Yes Sister Becker, I do believe we are witnessing a family of wild turkeys crossing the road."

1. Those were some gutsy turkeys to be out in broad day light during the thanksgiving season.
2. WILD TURKEYS! Hilarious!

Love you all,
Sister Carter

They Say it's my Birthday!!

Hola Familia!!

That's about the extent of my Spanish. And it is so annoying! We contact so many Hispanics here, I wish I could speak Spanish so bad. Curse my laziness! I had so many opportunities to learn before my mission, but I never took them!


I have officially become "one of THOSE sister missionaries!" I got a wonderful video from Sister Van Wie with her and her companions (she is in a trio) welcoming me into the world of "THOSE sister missionaries" Then I got a letter in the mail from her saying "Happy Birthday! Oh wait, your 21? Ouch, let me guess, couldn't get married?" Oh man she kills me! Don't worry, it is a joke between us. We think the stereotype of 21 year old sister missionaries is hilarious, especially since that is SO NOT why we decided to serve missions. We both waited so long! At BYU-I we would both avoid people asking us on dates because we were so set and focused on going on missions.
Homemade Naniamo Bars straight from home for my Birthday!!

Anyway, I had a fantastic birthday. One of my favorite families in the Ward fed me a special dairy free meal. They got after me for not telling them I had a dairy sensitivity... So they made a meal especially that I could eat without feeling sick after.

We also gained two new investigators on my birthday. Both were incredible miracles. Monika and Michelle. Both are amazing stories. With Monika we found her in a park, began teaching her and discovered she is homeless and going through some very horrible trials right now. With Michelle I have been led to her so many times, I just keep forgetting about her, while I was with sister Van Wie and now with Sister Becker. Luckily Heavenly Father keeps leading us back to her.  When we found Michelle this time she shut us right down. She told us she wasn't interested and that we should move on. I felt prompted to share with her a specific scripture from the Book of Mormon. So I told her "okay, but before we go may we share with you a scripture? Then we will be on our way." She accepted. Somehow and for some reason it sparked something. After we read it she invited us into her home where we shared with her more about the Book of Mormon and the restoration. She asked us to add her on Facebook, and text her so that we could set up another appointment. Yay miracles!

The next day I got to go to the temple!! I love the temple so much! This was my third time ever going through an endowment session and I learned so much! The spirit can teach us so much in the temple. I literally felt like I was on the edge of my seat soaking up the whole thing. That may have also been because I was doing the work for one of my ancestors. I was paying extra special attention to EVERYTHING! I did the Work for Emily Dalzell, My Great great great grandmother, It was actually her birthday that day. She turned 160 years old the day she got her endowment done.

 Some of the Beautiful Woman that I serve with!
My companion Sister Becker and I!! LOVE this GIRL!!

I got a few new MoTab (Mormon Tabernacle Choir) CD's. Sister Becker and I have been loving life. It is so frustrating that thanksgiving hasn't happened yet. I want to put the Christmas CD in so bad, but Sister Becker won't let me! American thanksgiving... Sheesh. 

New discovery! You can turn the car heat vents into a blow dryer! My life is set! Poor Sister Becker. The things she puts up with.

Moment of the week:
Sister Becker and I really want to stay together for another transfer. One morning this week we were kneeling down for our usual companion study prayer. Sister Becker prayed. She gave a beautiful prayer, but right before she ended she said, "oh, and Heavenly Father, FYI, we really really really want to stay together. Just so ya know, thanks."
I had a good chuckle.

Sister Carter
My Birthday Box from Home!

Now I can cook without getting stuff on me!