Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas 2014 in Santa Rosa

This week started with 2 flash mobs on Monday and Tuesday night Both of the Santa Rosa zones as well as a ton of members from the stake went to the mall to sing Christmas carols from the hymn book. At exactly 7pm one elder randomly started singing in the mall and we all slowly joined in until everyone in that part of the mall were singing with us.

The whole month of December the sisters in our apartment did the 24 days of Christmas. We had an advent calender that one of our moms sent with a passage from the NIV Bible for all 24 days leading up to Christmas. We made a game out of it and made up a song for every night leading up. Then we would read the passage of scripture complete with actions.
Posing in front of the "Christmas tree"


Christmas Eve was so fun. Sister Petersen and I got to spend the evening with the Kitchen family. It was so fun! We had a wonderful Christmas dinner, played a bell game, the present game, and acted out the nativity. Sister Petersen and I got to be wise men. Elder and Sister Seely came too and when we were all introducing ourselves to each other the Seelys claimed us as their granddaughters. It was the best. I almost cried. I felt like I was with my family consisting of Sister Petersen, Sister Seely and Elder Seely. It was great.




Christmas Eve night was hilarious. We got word from President Alba that we could sleep in to 8:00 AM on Christmas morning. We were so excited. The problem is that we were so excited to sleep in that morning that we couldn't sleep at all. Then at 4:30 in the morning we got woken up to someone doorbell ditching our house with candy. It took a good hour and a half to fall asleep after that. It's funny how on a normal missionary night as soon as the head hits the pillow we are out like a light, but the moments we get word that we can sleep in we are so focused on sleeping in that we can't sleep.

Christmas day was awesome!!! We did service cleaning and weeding a park in the morning and afternoon.  Before that we opened presents and ate tons of junk food! GOT TO SKYPE MY FAMILY!! Best Christmas present ever!!
I got stuffed silly eating 2 Christmas dinners. Then we finished with a member taking us out to look at Christmas lights. it was so great!!






This is how close I am to going home.. My picture is right near the top

I haven't done a moment of the week in a while so here's one:

Moment of the Week:
"Elder Heil, what do you think of when you hear Victoria, British Columbia, Canada?"
"I think of a moose, tea, gross sesame candies, and those soldier looking guys in red suits and fuzzy tall black hats."
"Sister Gowens, what do you think of when you hear it?"
"I think of Canadian Bacon, and the TV show How I Met Your Mother"

I cant even count how many times I have had missionaries inquire about if Canadians eat Canadian Bacon. For the record we call it ham in Canada.

Last year I served around Elder Heil and got a package in the mail from my family with some cool assorted Mediterranean candies in it. They were fun to try but not what I would consider a tasty treat, so we made a game out of them. We put them in the computer room at the stake center for all of the missionaries with a rule on it: once a candy enters the mouth it stays in the mouth. Everyone was so curious so they wanted to try one. It was so entertaining watching them put the candies in their mouth, deciding that they didn't like it, but having to follow through with their commitment. It was especially entertaining when they would go for a different one in hope that it would taste better but being equally disappointed and having to finish that one too. Elder Heil got the one that had sesame seeds in it, and has forever associated Canada with weird sesame candy.


Well love you all. Happy New Year!

Sister Carter

Monday, December 22, 2014

Double dating and our Christmas Party

Last Monday sister Petersen and I spent almost an entire day in jeans. It was so weird. We ended up doing service the whole day. Our poor office missionaries were overloaded with work to do because of transfers, Christmas and the Christmas party all happening around the same time Sister Petersen and I took pity on them and helped them out for a couple hours. By the time 6pm rolled around we were skirt trunky and happily changed back into missionary cloths.

I probably felt every emotion you could possibly think of this week. Saying goodbye to missionaries on their last day in the mission was soooooo weird. Weirder than other times before. They are the missionaries I have known the longest, meaning that I and the other sisters I go home with are the next oldest missionaries. They were scared, worried, excited happy, and sad all at the same time. It freaked me out to see them go home.
Saying goodbye


The Christmas party on Wednesday was awesome! I got to reunite with some old companions. I managed to get wrangled into playing the violin twice. once at the Christmas party in front of the whole mission (SCARY) and once at church with a days notice (SCARY). Sister Finlinson and I put together an arrangement of Greensleeves/"What Child is This?" It was so fun putting it together and so scary playing it. But we did it! Then I played along with a congregational hymn at church on Sunday.
Each zone at the Christmas party put together a skit. They were all so funny. Our zone did a skit with Elders portraying Sisters and Sisters portraying Elders in three different scenes: contacting, companionship inventory, and P-day. They were hilarious. Everyone laughed as they watched the Elders act like stereotypical sisters and vice versa. Sister Peterson and I with some other elders did the P-day scene and acted out what elders are like sending emails and playing sports on Monday.
President Alba and the AP's did a skit and danced around in elf costumes. It was so great!
These funny guys are dressed for their Christmas skit

Elder Prince has rocked  the ugly sweater look

Sister Harper reunion



I went on a double date this week... Let's just say it was as awkward as it sounds! Let me explain:

Three of us missionaries had doctors appointments in Stockton. Two sisters and an elder. A senior couple drove us and they were both in the front with the three of us packed in the back of a two door car like awkward sardines who couldn't remember the last time they touched someone of the opposite sex. Luckily I was on the outside and the other sister got to protect me from physical contact with the Elder. We felt so incredibly awkward, a trio of two sisters and one elder. Then on the way back we had to drop off the sister in her area and for the last hour it was just me and another elder with the senior couple. The senior missionaries thought it would be a great idea to take us out to dinner cause we were all starving. So there we were; me, an elder and the senior missionaries on a double date in A&W. I felt more awkward that words can describe.

Well time is up.
Love you family! Cant wait to talk on Christmas!
Sister Carter

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Silliest Letters from Home... a good giggle

Just had to share these funny letters from home... My Aunt and Uncle are more like my Siblings so maturity isn't their finer points.. but neither is mine.

Me and my Uncle Jonathan, just before my Mission

Malia,

 it has been way too long since you have had the pleasure to recieve communication from me, also known as the good word of Jon. I admit I am the worlds most amazing infrequent letter writer, it's actually pretty incredible, I know, you are probably already incredibly impressed by my abilities, nevertheless I must type on. I shall give you an account of my current state of being me, but due to the immense amount of amazingness I have to share with the world about me I shall have to limit myself to the highlights and most profound details. First, I recently becamed the most smartest man that has ever lived in my house. Second of all, I ate 17 perogies a few days ago, which pleased me greatly. Last Wednesday I ate a banana that had two bananas inside a single peel, a new personal record. Also, I am considering running for president of my house, for which I would kindly ask for your vote over my opposition, the infamously crazy Dana Adams. My platform consists of incredibly meaningful wedgies, dancing like fairies in the kitchen while Dana is cooking, and recording peoples snoring at night for research purposes and telling friends about it and laughing. Plus, I will give all voters $1,000,000 in bank notes from a board game of my choice upon successful inauguration.

Well, I know that's a lot to take in, I hesitate to even mention such wondrous achievements but I have come to the conclusion that I have a duty to encourage others to aspire to greatness.

Anyways, how do you feel coming to the end of your mission? Don't let me make you trunky, but When you get home in a couple months we're gonna party it up and do like every fun thing ever in the whole wide island of Vancouver.

We had a real treat yesterday and today, we had Elder Bednar come to our stake conference, so we are pretty much apostles now so if you need us to come like tour your mission it's totally cool. Seriously though, it was the most incredible mind blowing, brain exploding, heart forming, spiritually conforming, and totally not boring, sessions with one of the 15. Wow, I think I'm still looking for the missing pieces of my medulla oblongata that got plastered against the wall when he started speaking. I wish I could upload it all to your brain but I thought that you probably need your brain intact right now so maybe another time. One thing that was super neat to hear was that he said that the way the growth of the church is going means that the church as we know it, in terms of how the programs run and things work, have to and will change as time goes on. The doctrines and teachings of the church will always remain the same, but the church will change. The work of the Lord is hastening, He is the one whoo hastens it, not us, we simply are to do what we can to keep up. I love it! He also talked a lot about how important covenants are and about the atonement; it was all so incredible.


Anyways, keep doing your best, and know that despite not seeing fruit fall from the tree, as long as you shake it, you are doing your part to make the fruit fall, even if it's not on your side of the tree or from your branch.
Your most amazing genius uncle ever in the whole universe galaxy,  Jon Adams
 P.S. I know you're busy so I wont be offended if you cant write back :)


The Next letter in my inbox was from his wife.....

Sister Carter,

I am pleased that you have the opportunity to read from your Supreme Highness. I have purposely not written to keep you in suspense and so you can more fully appreciate my most excellent awesomeness.
I know you would do anything for your Greatest of all Aunts, waiting on my every word and would spend all your P-day reading about how glorious I am. BUT I am feeling generous and will not take all your time.

I have a matter of great importance that I need to address with you. You may have received an email from your deranged Uncle. He believes he is the better candidate for President of the House. If he becomes president our house will never be the same. We would all be forced to speak in mathematical equations while being chased from his ultimate wedgie giving power.
I ask for your support and vote, I know you'll see it in your heart that I'm the better candidate as my platform consists of rainbows and unicorns, pretending to be great painters and rocking out to songs we can't remember the lyrics for.

I know you'll see reason and not be bribed by the game money he offered. All my voters will get a ride on the unicorn while it jumps over the rainbow.

Well, other than being spiritually slam dunked by a special witness of The Lord today and yesterday, that's all for now.

I shook Elder Bednar's hand! I spoke with him, I never want to forget this feeling of floating in spiritual warm goodness of Christ. I can testify that he is an apostle!

I can't wait to see you, but don't think of us. Keep working hard, Satan will be working just as hard to distract you.

Love you my sweet and wonderful, vote for me, niece.
Bye for now!
Dana Adams

Monday, December 15, 2014

MY LAST TRANSFER.. My Last Companion.



Christmas Party with the Wilson's, I Love them!
Fun facts about this week:

1. District meeting turned into "America's got Parables." It was so funny!
2. Sister Petersen and I got called Feminaries
3. We got rained in on Thursday and it is still raining! I might float away before I go home.
4. I found out there is a Santa Rosa California mission blog that is run my the missionary moms and am convinced that my mom is the co-president.
5. The mail man payed for the customs fee on my package as Christmas gift. It was so nice.
6. I AM STAYING IN RINCON VALLEY FOR MY LAST TRANSFER.
7. This transfer is a 7 week transfer.
8. SISTER PETERSEN IS MY LAST COMPANION.
9. Her and I get to be companions for 2 transfers.
10. I AM 6 MONTHING IT IN MY LAST AREA.
11. Mike blessed the sacrament for the first time!!!!!!!!!! I about cried I was so happy.
12. Joe (his son) gave his first talk in sacrament meeting.
13. Our investigator that dropped us 3 days before his baptism showed up at church yesterday.
14. We are teaching the most legit family right now who are preparing to get baptized on January 24th, my 18 month mark.
15. I get to skype my family next week!
16. I am playing a violin duet, Greensleeves for the Christmas devotional on  Wednesday with Sister Finlinson and I am so excited!

Doing some Serious Yoga

These guys are Naturals!! lol


I was so happy this week. Sunday I could have cried at any moment seeing all of our investigators so happy and feeling the spirit. I love the people we are teaching with all of my heart. My greatest joy is seeing them happy.

Well I gotta go. Love you all.
Love Sister Carter

video
This is me finding out I get to stay with my darling companion for my very last transfer before I go home. What an amazing blessing I love her and my area!

Monday, December 8, 2014

A quick update

I'm soaked to the Bone!! Serious rain in Northern Cali ... yay the drought is over!

Rockin the wet dog look!
Hi everyone!

Yesterday was the greatest day ever. I was so happy. Seeing our investigators happy makes me so happy. They are shining. It was one of those days. We had 5 investigators come to creche (Creché is a display of nativity's from all over the world) and they all loved it -Some cried. Our recent convert Olivia was in the performance. She was so beautiful up there. I could have cried with joy to see her shining so bright up there.

This week we had a 48 hour fast from cars because so many missionaries were getting in car accidents. Heavenly Father thought to enjoy the show by making it rain the entire day for us. Sister Petersen and I were probably the most pathetic scene you you have ever seen. We looked like wet dogs. It was pretty fun though.

Sorry this email is so short. I am so distracted today by other missionaries in the room around me. There are so many missionaries talking and writing letters home, I can't seem to stay on task.
Forgive me.
Love,
Sister Carter
It Appears I'm a lost dog.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Trunky, I am not



Coolest thing ever!! I know the missionary who baptized the Sala family (Family Friends) before they immigrated to Canada from Holland. Sister Koehle! She is an awesome member of the ward. She is our gospel principles teacher and we ate with her whole family for thanksgiving. She asked me if I knew the Sala's who immigrated to Canada. She is the missionary who found, taught and was there for the baptism of the Sala family. She was so excited to hear how they were doing, and I was so excited to hear about that experience. She loved knowing that their daughter Ira was my Young Woman's leader and that my mom was friends to many of the other children. It was a beautiful thanksgiving tender mercy!

Thanksgiving was so fun! I played foot ball for the first time in my life for 3 hours! It was awesome! I can't say I was much of an asset to the team I was on, but I had TONS of fun.




I hit my 16 month mark last week. It doesn't feel real anymore. my mind has been so busy and Sister Petersen and I have had so much going on in our area and as Sister Trainer Leaders that I keep forgetting that I only have 2 months left as a missionary. It doesn't feel real yet, and I like it that way. It keeps me from getting trunky. Nobody likes a trunky missionary.

I made an extra effort to prepare for the temple as much as I had time for and I was amazed at how much I learned today. Our p-day got moved to today (Thursday) because of our temple trip. So that's why I'm writing today. Don't worry I'm not being disobedient.
Anyway. that temple was wonderful. I was amazed at all the insights and revelations that I was able to receive.

Sis Seely our Mission office Mama


Our Apartment



We officially get to go on Facebook again this week. I am so excited. We are calling it Facebook 2.0

Gotta run.
Missionary work is da bomb.

Love,
Sister Carter

How a Sister Missionary Changes a Lighbulb




Monday, November 24, 2014

I'm TWENTY-TWO years old now and 16 months in!


A BIRTHDAY PACKAGE FROM HOME!! YAY

Ahh Chocolate I can eat!!
Happy P-Day, and 16 month mark to me!

I turned 22 this week. Weird. Someone asked me in a lesson this past weekend how old I was and I about choked on my words as "twenty-two" exited my mouth. Mom, Dad, you are the parents of a 22 year old... Who's old now!
Thanks for the packages! I had so much fun getting and opening them! Especially thanks for CD's! Sister Petersen and I have been jammin out to Christmas Motab with David Archuleta for days! Who thought I would ever be a David Archuleta fan? Hey when all you get to listen to is Mormon Tabernacle Choir for a year and a half, any voice will melt you.


We had MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) this past week with all of the Zone Leaders and STL's in the mission. It was a 7 hour long meeting! That was fun. I got to spend a whole day with Sister Petersen and Sister Whimpey. We have all 3 been companions with each other and are the best of friends! It was so fun. We got to meet Elder Brent H. Neilson of the 70 there. Being instructed by him was amazing! It was so neat to be in the presence of a general authority and to feel the spirit and the Savior's love emanate from him. Just being around him made me want to be a better person.
Sister Petersen and Sister Whimpy!!


Guess what?! I get to go back on Facebook! I'm so excited. President and Sister Alba are only putting the Zone Leaders and Sister Trainer Leader's back on for now to see how it goes. We are no longer teaching outside of our mission though, instead we will be completely focusing our efforts in our own areas. I am so excited! I'm not sure exactly what will happen with friends and family outside of the mission but I think we will be deleting them... We will see.

We picked up another family to teach this week. Miracles are happening. One of our families are absolutely adorable. They have so many questions and can't wait for us to come back. Let's be honest, I'm the one who can't wait to go back. There is something so special about teaching a family the gospel.
Since the Woodd's have gotten baptized we have taught two other families who they have invited into their home to meet with us. They are on fire with missionary work!


Well, time for me to go. Have a wonderful week!
Sister Carter
Always good to Harass my Roommates!



So fun to get to see some some my favorite missionary friends from various areas I worked in. Love all these girls!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Being a Sister Trainer Leader with a best Friend!

Hey fam jam and friends!
I LOVE my new companion. We get along so well. It is so fun being an STL with her. It's like being with a best friend all the time. She is awesome. She has been out for almost 9 months. I am learning so much from her! She is so humble and so stalwart! This whole STL thing is a little bit scary and and very intimidating, but I'm grateful to have her doing it with me.
We live in a new apartment now which is an exciting adventure. We have 3 bathrooms too. What more could a sister missionary want? One of them was so disgusting though! Since we moved in I have avoided using it as much as possible! Today I scrubbed that thing to a pulp and now it sparkles. Now we have three sparkly bathrooms. What more could a sister missionary want? I have met and grown to love so many wonderful girls from around the globe. Being a missionary is such a blessing!
Not my new companion.. But a Sister Missionary I love!!

Since moving in we have killed 8 black widows. I have only ever seen those things on TV and I wish that was the only place I was ever going to see them. Turns out they love our house. We claim them as our pets... Even though they are all dead. We named them all Peve.


I turn 22 on Thursday! Weird.

I got accused of breaking a guitar string at a members house for dinner this week and then they called me a lair and made me cry... That was sad.

We picked up the most incredible family ever this week! I can't wait to go back and teach them!

This week was awesome!


Love,
Sister Carter

Monday, November 10, 2014

Transfers and new assignments

So many great things happened this week. I have been basking in the
spirit and having so many "wow" moments where I felt so blessed to be
a missionary. Lately my greatest joy of missionary work is seeing
blessings of the gospel pour into our investigators and recent
converts lives. So many moments my joy has been full. One of my
favorite moments was watching one investigator tell another
investigator at church that she was in the right place, that she was
welcome there, and that this church was going to change her life.
Everything is bringing me to tears these days.




Sister Harper is transferring to Davis, and my new companion will be
Sister Peterson. I've heard so much about her so I'm really excited.
We are also moving into a 4 man pad that all the missionaries call the
mansion, we are moving into a 2 bedroom house, and will be living next
door to my favorite senior missionary couple the Seeley's they have
been my Mission grandparents. I'm so excited. Sister Peterson and I
will both be STL's (sister training leaders) together, which should be
a lot of fun.

An older lady rode by us on her bicycle this week and glared, with a very mean look on her face and said, "you disgust me." That was nice.

Sorry, not much from me today. Love you lots
Sister Carter



Monday, November 3, 2014

The dreaded pink slip and flirting 4 yr olds

This week I got what no missionary looks foreword to in the CA Santa Rosa mission, the dreaded pink slip. Every missionary gets a bright pink pierce of paper in the mail when they are coming close to the end of their mission stating the date I will be flying home and wanting to know my official travel plans. Worst day ever. I waited until I was at my favorite members home (the Woodds) before opening it, so that I wouldn't get depressed. It helped a lot. I officially fly home the 3rd of February 2015. I now have 2 transfers left. The next one is only 5 weeks long instead of 6 so that missionaries don't have to get transferred on Christmas Eve, but my last transfer will be 7 weeks long.



Oh yeah, happy late Halloween. I have decided that I hate Halloween more than I already did before because it just reminds me that I can't eat chocolate anymore.... Only my favorite kind of junk food... Woe is me.
I'm a combo missionary... Elder/Sister combo (its the best I could do)

Stapling on the costume!!



Mike got his first calling as the Young Mens secretary. SO COOL! We were over there the other night singing hymns with Vanessa in the Kitchen. Mike and Olivia walked into the room and stopped dead in their tracks and said  "wow." when we asked what, they said "our home is so different now". Mike and Olivia both said that their home has never been a place where people sat around the table singing hymns and feeling the spirit. They loved it. Music is so powerful. It can either take away from the spirit which is what they have been used to their whole lives, or invite the spirit. 
Vanessa came with us this week to a crazy old guys home to help us teach him for the first time. It was an awesome experience. He is pretty cynical and doesn't like religion much, but after we we left what we call a harvest blessing with him (praying as servants of Jesus Christ for the Saviors peace and blessings to be in his home and for all other blessings he needs in his life) he told us in his own words, "wow, that was a very spiritual experience." He was right. The spirit was so strong in his home and he ended telling us that what we were doing was very good and that we were real and sincere about what we do. He then invited us to come back whenever we wanted. I would have to say my favorite 2 things about that night was when he was telling AND showing us all of his yoga posses. He has to be like 75 years old. So imagine with me an old guy sprawled out on the floor giving us yoga demonstrations. It took all my willpower to not laugh. THEN, he was telling us how he has to get his toe amputated and when Vanessa heard that she got all excited and said, "are you going to keep it?!" I laughed pretty hard when he got even more excited and said, "I really want to! Don't you think that would be a great gift to my grand kids to remember me by? My big toe floating in a jar?" He was such a crack up. I was about ready to adopt him as my own grandpa. Who wouldn't want their grandpa's big toe in a jar?

We met another guy who must have been about 20 years old. He was more golden than a golden investigator could ever get. He basically told us the entire plan of salvation that he feels is true and all we did was confirm to him the truth of what he was saying and attach the correct terms to them. It was so cool! I felt like I was floating on a cloud the whole rest of the night. Sadly he will be getting passed off to the YSA sisters, But that's okay, as long as he gets taught!

I have been getting all sorts of strange dizzy spells the past few days. It has been really weird.

Moment of the week:
Actually i have two of them...
As we were leaving the Woodds house the other day I went to give little Zachy a handshake.
"Zach can we get a hand shake before we go?"
"NO!"
"Hmm okay then can we get a high five before we go?"
"NO!"
"how about we pound it then?"
"NO!" then he gets this devilish look on his face and says, "How about kisses?"
Haha. Take note that he is 4.

Then while contacting on the street this week we met some guy who looked higher than a kite. As we got talking to him we asked. "Do you believe in God?"
"No I'm an atheist. Actually I'm a devil worshiper. actually I'm agnostic" He obviously couldn't make up his mind. "okay can we just give you a card then?"
"No i'll probably just roll a blunt with it," at least he was honest.
"okay well you have a nice day" 
"unless you put your number on it, then I'll take your card."


"Have a nice day!"

Being a missionary is so entertaining sometimes...

Love,
Sister Carter

Monday, October 20, 2014

Allergies, accidents and silly jokes

It finally rained!! I love the rain!

Alright, this was my week in 19 minutes worth of slow typing:

-4 missionaries were involved in an accident and were hit by a drunk driver. 2 walked away fine. One was taken to the hospital in Eureka and the other was flown from Eureka to the hospital here in Santa Rosa. All are okay though. The two hurt were Elder Shen (from Vancouver, Canada), and Elder Makoni (from West Jordan, Utah). Elder Makoni was in the worst shape but should be released from the hospital today. 


-Sister Harper and I found a family who has been inactive and has had a lot of health problem similar to mine. Because of me being able to relate to being allergic to everything, they have opened up their hearts and their home to us and are going to come back to church! Miracle! Turns out God wanted me to be allergic to gluten and dairy for good reasons


-We found a family via tracting who welcomed us into their home, let us pray with them and welcomed us to come back to teach them all about the gospel! It was one of the most tender experience I have in Santa Rosa so far. The spirit filled their home, the love of God wrapped around their whole family, and the best part is I think they felt it!

-Sister Harper isn't a teenager anymore! She turned 20 this week.

-While eating dinner at one of my favorite family's home their 7 year old boy was trying to understand what it meant to be allergic to gluten. His mom said, "she can't have bread or anything with flour in it. You know cookies?"
"Yeah"
"She can't have those"
"Wait! What about doughnuts?!" 
"Nope, she can't have those."
"POOP! THAT SUCKS!"
Haha. His dad's face turned bright red and told him that their were probably more appropriate ways to sympathize with me, like saying that's too bad, or that's unfortunate...
I laughed so hard!

Sister Harper's joke of the week:
Q: How do you make holy water?
A: You boil the Hell out of it!

Why is it that Mormons laugh so hard when another Mormon uses the word hell. I died laughing. 
Well, time is up.

Love, Sister Carter