Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter and Happy Funerals

Our New Car!

I went to my very first Mormon funeral ever. Actually it might not have been my first but my memory
is so bad that it is the only Mormon funeral that I remember. Anyway, Mormon funerals are the happiest funerals to probably ever exist! Yes there were tears, and yes there was grief, but it was all swallowed up in the joy of the Savior. We know that we will see our families again. We know that our loved ones will live again in the flesh, and we know that death is not the end, and that is all because of Christ. It was very fitting that Easter was this past Sunday. A choir of missionaries sang "I know that My Redeemer Lives" at the funeral. As I sang I felt myself get emotional.

I got to give an Easter talk this Sunday. That was exciting. Especially when I had about 4 spread out hours to prepare for it. But that's okay because I like giving talks.
Easter Miracle:
3 of our investigators and 3 less-active members came to church this Sunday!!! YAAAAAAAY! We took some Easter Sunday pictures with 2 of the 6 of them that I am attaching to this email.

Sister Whimpey and I had some pretty sweet lessons this week. We taught a woman who's Ex-husband is in jail for murder and buried the body in their back yard. Umm...Okay. She is incredible though. She cried and cried at how happy she was that we found her and how hard her life has been. She wants to turn her life around so bad. I felt so much love for her. The new missionaries who will be teaching her will love her too.
We also had a crazy throw down lesson with another one of our investigators. I am not a fan of bible bashing because 1. I am not good at it, 2. it is the very least productive way of teaching, and 3. it is just stupid. This lesson felt super boarder line bible bashy though and the crazy thing is that the spirit was there POWERFULLY, and the words that were coming from our mouths were NOT our own. I can't even remember the things that we said. All I know is Sister Whimpey and I walked out of that lesson speechless. I am definitely not a fan of that approach, and don't intend to doing that any time soon, but the Lord will use you how he needs to use you when the time is right. 

Moment of the week:
One of our investigators is such a crack up! He has gone through some really hard things in his life and has learned to laugh and find joy in every moment. He comes to just about everything we invite him to and is now on day 5 of quitting smoking. He is amazing! There is a particular member who attends our ward who is very intelligent, but whenever he starts with one of his rants you always have to wonder how long it will take. Usually because he is so intelligent his conversations can be a little difficult to follow for somewhat "less-intelligent" people as myself. His name is Brother Hillburst (I changed his name). Anyway, our investigator made the mistake of asking a question to Brother Hillburst a week ago after church about the apostasy and ended up standing there in the hall for the next 2 hours after everyone left (no lie) trying to follow his explanation. Yesterday after church we asked our investigator how Elder Quorum went and what he learned... He said and I quote, "I've been Hillbursted." 
We laughed and laughed! But he thinks it is so funny and next said, "I have some more questions, I'm now going in for round 2!"
Haha, He kills me!

Love Sister Carter

PS. We are teaching an INCREDIBLE guy who is the epitome of a golden investigator. The best part is he his 6'9!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Screaming and Crying on Transfer day!

When Sister Whimpey and I got the transfer call on Friday we screamed and cried at the news! The whole transfer I was convinced that it would be my last one in Davis. I have already been here for 3 transfers and it doesn't tend to be very common that missionaries get to do 4 transfers (6 months) in one area. So I was pretty positive that I would be getting transferred. By about week 2 of last transfer I started to prepare myself emotionally to get transferred. By Thursday before transfers I started to panic! I realized that my heart was breaking. I realized how much I loved Davis and how badly I wanted to stay. I Love my companion, I love our investigators, I love the area, I love the ward, stake, and town, and I felt like my heart was beginning to break at the thought of leaving. I realized that I wanted to stay so bad! I started to get my hopes up that maybe I would get to stay another transfer. I prayed so hard knowing that the Lord would take me wherever I was needed, but expressing the true desires of my heart. My heart is in Davis.
We got the phone call at about 9:30 at night. We didn't get the voice message so the zone leaders called us. He told us the whole zone, then he got to us and started it out by saying,
"Sister Carter, I'm sorry to say but..."
My heart dropped and Sister Whimpey started to cry.
We both screamed and jumped into each others arms. Then he said,
"Sister Whimpey, You are getting transferred."
The look on her face was shear terror.
"Just kidding, you are both staying."
Zone leaders!!!! They are the worst! :p
That night I laid awake in bed for three hours because I was so excited and couldn't sleep. My joy felt so full I could burst!

We taught the word of wisdom lesson to one of our investigators who stated that he needs cigarettes more than he needs water. When we taught him he said, "alright, I will quit smoking and drinking this Thursday." Wow! Miracle!

Another one of our investigators got up this Sunday and bore her testimony for the first time ever. She said, "I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, and I know that families can be together forever." I cried! Miracle!

One of our "Born Again Christian" investigators was going to get dropped this week. When we met with him, something in his heart had changed. We told him we can't keep teaching him unless he is willing to follow through with his commitments. So he said, "Okay I will do it." We committed him to read the book of Mormon, pray to know if the book of Mormon is true, and come to a fireside that Sunday night since he couldn't come to church. He said, "Alright I'll do it." That was HUGE!!! What was better is that he actually came and set another appointment up with us. MIRACLE!

Another investigator has determined to finish the Book of Mormon this week, and I have no doubt that he will do it. Ahhh, so many miracles!

I love these people so much. I never thought it could be possible to love someone who is not connected to you as much as I do. I have gotten a glimpse of how the Savior must feel toward God's children. It is hard not to Love when you are so invested in them.

One more miracle... Friday night! We met a Lady and her husband outside their yard. She was sitting in a lawn chair drinking beer watching the kids play, while her husband worked on his truck. When we approached them we noticed right away a huge bruise on her left eye. as we talked to her husband we noticed he had a really strange attitude towards all of the things we were talking about. He kept on talking about about how he does everything right and how he prays every night to God and how much of a good person he is. His wife just sat there very quietly staring down at her bear glass. As we kept talking she started to cry. It was obvious that she was using all of her will power to keep her tears in. Finally we started talking to her and she started crying harder. We asked her if everything was alright and she said yes. she kept looking at her husband for approval and then said I just feel like God is calling me to come back. We set up an appointment to meet with her this Wednesday morning. Sister Whimpey and I walked away with the worst pit in our stomachs. We couldn't shake the feeling of the spirit telling us that this woman was being beaten by her husband, that God loves her, and that we were sent as angels in her life.

Where there is good there must always be opposition. This weekend was Picnic Day. College students can be so nasty! We saw more drunk student butts and cleavage than any one person should ever have to endure. Sick!

Sister Carter

Ps. This transfer I will hit my official half way mark, I get to go to the temple, and I get to SKYPE MY FAMILY!!!!!

7 Minutes to tell everything and 4 Ft of Fun

Dinner and a lesson at a salon!

Happy p-day,
I had a really sweet week! Basically I love my companion, I love my area, I love my investigators, I love the ward I am serving in, I love General Conference, I love learning about the Savior, I love teaching about the Savior, I love when I don't get fed spaghetti, and I love being a missionary.

15 Fun facts of the week:

1. We ate in the back room of a hair salon.... That was cool. The boss was AWESOME. We got to share a sweet message with him that got him really excited about the book of Mormon and general conference... I love being a missionary.

2. We taught Friday Forum this week. Friday Forum happens every Friday afternoon at the institute building where there is a home cooked lunch and dessert for $1, and a half hour spiritual thought.

3. We handed out about a half million flyers for Friday forum while tabling on campus and someone actually came. :) That always makes a missionary happy.

4. We had 4 investigators at General Conference this weekend! Harraaaaaay!

5. We picked up 3 new investigators :) And dropped 2 :( and are now teaching 14 of God's children!

6. One of the investigators we picked up was while tabling. We approached a guy and started talking to him. He opened up right away about his faith in Christ and how he came to develop that faith. We invited him to increase his faith by learning about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. He look at his watch, looked at us, then looked at his watch again, and said "Okay, I only have 7 minutes, tell me everything!" After we shared with him a very quick version of the restoration he looked back at his watch and looked back at us, then back at his watch again and said, "I have a few more minutes, tell me more!" So we did for a few more minutes. Then he looked at his watch again, then at us and at his watch one more time and said, "I'm already late for work, how about a few more minutes?" We chuckled and decided it would be better to set up a return appointment. so we did. He gave us his information and we are set to meet him again in that same spot this Wednesday. I love miracles.

7. I have started keeping track of all the people I have met from different countries. in 6 weeks I have met people from 24 different countries.

8. We met a lady who was convinced that she was black, but she was about as white as they come. (kinda like my sister, Cheyenne)

9. I laughed sooo hard watching Sister Whimpey get hit on by a Mexican man. He didn't notice her at first because she was kind of behind a palm tree, but then mid way into our conversation he noticed her and blurted out "MMMMMMM, BONITAAAAAA" and a whole bunch of other Spanish words at her that we didn't understand. We ended that conversation pretty quick.

10. One of our suuuuper stubborn investigators heart is softening sooooo much. He told us not to get excited, but that he agrees with most of the things that we have taught him. He is from a baptist back ground.

11. We are already in week 6 of the transfer, meaning this transfer is almost over.... :( Poo. I will probably get transferred too so that stinks. I have been here for about 4 months now so I have a feeling it is coming to an end... :( Double poo.

12. I have dreamed about a different investigator every night this week...When a missionary say they eat sleep and breath investigators, it's not a lie.

13. Sister Whitney won 4 feet of fun this week. (My mom sends shoelace licorice from Canada and we have a family game we play a lot with it) You basically have to eat it as fast as you can without using your hands at all and if it drops to the floor you have to pick it up with your mouth. It really is 4 feet of fun!

14. One night when we had barely any time left we still needed to contact at least 20 people but it was late and pouring with rain outside. We said a prayer and within 5 minutes we contacted 24 people, and were still able to get home on time. Hurray for obedience.

15. We had a mission wide hour of prayer on Tuesday. We call it "Sweet Hour of Prayer." Normally we do it on fast Sunday's but this week we get to do it twice so that we can have an extra boost in trying to reach our goals. I LOVE sweet hour of prayer! It is such a special time to be able to talk to Heavenly father about anything and everything!

Love you!

Sister Carter

P.S... Who knew you could find love and romance so easily on Facebook. Maybe the Lord  Prompted these Guys to add me!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Too much spaghetti,but it really is the BEST 2 YEARS (18 months)

Have I mentioned we get fed spaghetti a lot? 'Cause we do.
In my last area no one fed us spaghetti ever because everyone thought we ate it all the time! Well we didn't until this transfer. This transfer we have been fed spaghetti more times than I can count. When I get home I solemnly pledge not to feed the YSA missionaries spaghetti EVER! We normally get fed 1 of three things: Spaghetti, sandwiches, and breakfast food... But mostly spaghetti. I really am so grateful though to get fed, what an amazing blessing it is when members serve by feeding us! No matter what they serve we are so grateful - we really are.  Funds go fast when members don't feed you, and with finals week and spring break happening, our dinner calender sign up sheet was looking pretty sad. So I am definitely happy to eat even if it does mean the same thing over and over again. Although I don't think I can EVER look at another peanut butter sandwich again... We had no money left and that was all we could afford. I'm so glad the students are back now. Yay food!

We picked up an investigator who is LEGIT! He comes to everything! He drove 40 minutes on Saturday to come to a baptism. Last night he texted us asking, "So when is this General Conference I keep hearing about?" We are so excited for him to come listen to the Prophet and Apostles. I can hardly wait for General Conference this weekend! 

This morning I was quite teary as I thought about some of our other investigators. It feels like they are beginning to slip away. They are three roommates who we have been teaching for a few months. I think by far the hardest part of serving a mission is the heartbreak. When you come to truly love your investigators and desire all the blessings that God has to offer to them that you know they can have but don't because they refuse to do the things that you know will give them those blessings. It feels like your heart is literally breaking inside of you. For months we have prayed for them, we have planned for them, studied for them, seen miracles with them, and cried for them. Sometimes a persons agency is the most frustrating thing ever. I can only imagine what Heavenly Father thinks when he looks down at us some days. It must be so hard to know that if his children would just do the things that he has asked that there are promised blessings just waiting to be poured out upon us. Then, to watch his precious children turn away from the blessings must be painfully heart breaking. This week I got a glimpse of that. Agency is such a precious gift. You just can't make anyone do anything. But the feelings of sorrow when they don't is awful. This morning I was reading in Alma 31, as I read verses 24-35 I cried as I felt a glimpse of the sorrow that Alma felt.

Though there are hard times as a missionary I am so grateful for those experiences. Serving God's children is the most rewarding endeavor. I was writing a friend last week and talking about how your mission can be the best 2 years (or 18 months for girls) of your life when you learn to put yourself away completely, and serve God's children. I remember at the beginning of my mission when I kept waiting for it to be "the best 2 years of my life" as they say. I kept waiting for what I could get from the mission. There were a number of empty days because of it. As soon as I learned that it wasn't about what I could get out of the mission but instead, what I could give to the mission, my days began to be full of joy and blessings. To all you missionaries out there preparing to serve, just give your all to the Lord: Everything. The sooner you do, the sooner the blessings.
I LOVE being a missionary!

Moment of the week:
So, as I said, we had zero dollars on our mission cards this week, and lucky for us this week a sweet member fed us salad for dinner. It was really tasty and wonderful, but our bellies were so tired of being hungry all week that we were having a challenge feeling satisfied and full. So after dinner we got in the car and both Sister Whimpey and I looked at each other and asked "Burgers?"
"Burgers!!" We screamed! 


We rummaged through the car searching for any spare change we could possibly manage to find, and found ourselves a grand total of 6 dollars. Then we drove ourselves to Jack-In-The-Box, and raided the dollar menu! Good times.

Love you!
Sister Carter

Eggs and Peanut butter for a week

HAPPY 8 MONTHS TO ME! Today I am a month away from being half way through my mission!

P-days at the end of the month are always very entertaining. We all laughed at the result of our calls. Only 1 of us has dollars left in the double digits. Say hello to eggs and peanut butter sandwiches for the next week. Yay!

Speaking of food, Sister Whimpey and I almost melted with joy last night to get fed something other than sandwiches, and bland spaghetti. Let's just say, college students tend to have a lack of creativity and funds. Plus, when you get a sister missionary in the ward who is allergic to dairy the meal selections narrow down to about 3. My poor companion.
Reminds me of my Home

I ACCOMPLISHED ONE OF MY GOALS THIS WEEK! I made a goal that I was going to use a law of chastity pamphlet in a contact at least once on my mission. Ladies and gentlemen, not only did I give out one law of chastity pamphlet, I gave out three. You have to understand. Not only is it awkward to start a conversation with that topic, but if anyone is familiar with the pictures in that pamphlet you would understand how painfully awkward they are and how hard it is to take them seriously.  Sister Whimpey and I decided one night that the very next person we talked to we were going to hand one out. Lucky for us the very next person was in a group of 4. Yes we did attempt to give them all pamphlets, but one of them kindly sad, "no thank you, this doesn't apply to me." Haha, oh dear.

We saw two miracles this week:
First, yesterday at church a lady came up to me that I didn't think I had ever met before and started talking to me. She asked If I remembered her, I told her I didn't so she proceeded to tell me that she met met me a few transfers ago. She told me how she was praying because she lost her dog and was really really worried about it. As soon as she was finished praying she went out the front door of her house and saw us standing there. She said at that moment we were exactly who she needed to see. She said that as soon as she saw us a feeling that everything was going to be alright came over her. She felt at peace and felt that we were god sent. It was so neat that we could have been in the right place at the right time like that. I don't even remember that day, but she remembers it as a day when we were a miracle for her. She told us that she has shared that story several times. the day that the Lord answered her prayer by sending the missionaries to her door. It sure is special that even without doing anything just being a missionary can bring someone to feel at peace. 
As for the second miracle, we got a referral from a couple of the former Davis Second Ward who set up a dinner with us, and a friend of theirs who would potentially be a part of the YSA.
All week we stressed about that lesson. We both really look up to this couple and think pretty highly of them. They also speak their minds all the time. if they are annoyed by anything that a missionary does they won't hesitate to tell them.. They are pretty blunt. Soooo, we were stressed.
When we got to the dinner and met this couple's friend everything went pretty well all up until it was time to give the lesson. We both felt pretty nervous and silently prayed a lot. By the end of the lesson we felt that the spirit was incredibly strong there. We definitely knew that the Lord had helped us and that we did our best. We left and talked about it. We weren't sure what the couple thought, but we did feel like we had been very guided by the spirit.
The next night we saw this couple gain. We kind of avoided them in fear that they would tell us what they thought of us. Eventually they came up to us and we couldn't avoid them any longer. We held our breath as we waited for what they were going to say. They said, "Sisters, We just wanted to let you know that last night that lesson exceeded our expectations. The spirit in our home was powerful as you taught." We let out a huge breath of relief and almost cried at what they told us. They said we are amazing teachers.  That was a HUGE compliment to me as I want to be able to share my beliefs in a comfortable way and that the spirit would do the teaching for us. Needless to say, Sister Whimpey and I floated home that night.

Moment of the week:
Davis is full of special people. 
This week we contacted some guy who was carrying around a ukulele down town. He looked interesting so we decided to talk to him. We asked him if he had a faith in Christ. He looked at us and said, "Oh I have faith in the surfer dude Jesus Christ." My companion and I looked at each other and then back at him without saying anything. He then said, "Surfer dude you ask? Yeah, Jesus Christ walked on water."
He was dead serious.
I love people.

Sister Carter

PS. I am still getting asked if I can eat eggs.  -_-

PPS. We took a survey this week for our ipads that will be used in general conference next month. Keep your ears pealed.

Farmers Market and Revenge on my Greenie.

The Davis Missionary Team
It is getting SO HOT here! It's not even summer yet! I am going to make all those farmers out there so jealous of the farmers tan I am working on. It is beautiful. 
We went to the farmers market this Saturday again to our Family History booth and I got my first sun burn of the year. 

The Farmers market is the most entertaining place to meet people. My personal favorite is the lady who comes up to us every week to take a picture of us to send to her single, Mormon son who lives in Provo. I can't even count how many times she emphasized the the words single, and Mormon in the same sentence. The poor lady might have more success trying to recruit a daughter-in-law for her single Mormon son if she stopped trying to set her son up with women who are off limits... Missionaries.

Stake Conference is the BEST! Stake conference as a missionary is EVEN BETTER! The spirit was so strong. I was a complete mess of tears as I listened to all of the beautiful messages inspired by God. What filled my heart to almost bursting was that we were able to have 4 investigators there! I truly felt like Ammon in the Book of Mormon who speaks about what it felt like to have a fullness of joy. So many times this week I felt that way. Not so much that my strength was exhausted, but enough that there were no words to describe the joy that I felt. I truly had a glimpse of understanding how God's work and glory is in the success of His children. I tasted a glimpse of that glory and joy this week.

Fun Fact:
We contacted a Former NFL player who graduated from UCDavis. It was such a sweet contact - great guy. At first I was so nervous to talk to him, but I prayed for help and we had the neatest conversation. We talked all about families and were able to share scriptures that came to our minds and bore testimony to him about how the gospel can bless families. We walked away from that contact so amazed by the words that were put into our mouths. I know he will think about the things that we talked about.

Moment of The week:
last night while contacting I totally made my companion back me right in front of the great and spacious building AKA the UofB (University of Beer). I laughed so hard! The best part about it was that it was packed. My companions have done that to me so many times, I felt like I needed my revenge. Poor Sister Whimpey is at the tail end of my need for revenge, but she is such a good sport about it! We got to laugh about it together. Being a missionary is so funny sometimes because you are often compelled to be humble, like when you have to get out of the car to back it in front of a huge group of people. Or when you think you look good that morning and then you walk past a bunch of college kids and realize that you really just look like a frumpy missionary. 

I love you all,
Sister Carter
All the Sister's in our Apartment!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I love my GREENIE!!

I LOVE MY NEW COMPANION! Her name is Sister Whimpey. Poor girl gets so much hassle because of her name. But she is such a good sport about it, and I LOVE HER!!  
She came to the mission so prepared. She has the spirit so strong with her and is such a powerful teacher. I am constantly learning how to be a better missionary from her. People always talk about a greenie fire that comes with a new missionary and she definitely has it! I am such a proud mother! I LOVE MY BABY!

These are all the new missionaries with their trainers. This transfer the mission went from 30% sister missionaries to 40% sister missionaries! There are so many sister in our mission now it is incredible.

Familiar face from Calgary!!

This is Elder Jordan Taylor, I grew up with him in Calgary, Alberta and haven't seen him in years and now he is in my mission!!!! I flipped out when I saw him! The coolest thing that we found out too is that he has a friend who lives in my area who he has been trying to share the gospel with and it turns out that he is the same guy that my companions and I have been trying to teach as well. I freaked out when he told me the name. It is such a small world! 
Elder Taylor has an AWESOME trainer, Elder Johnson. So if Elder Taylor's mom is reading this, don't worry, your son is in VERY good hands!
I still have yet to see my other friend Elder Bryson Prince from Victoria, BC and it's killing me that I have to go another 6 weeks knowing that he is here and not being able to see him.

Well a midst all the excitement there have been a LOT of miracles, and there has been a LOT of stress. Training is hard work. Not because my companion is a challenge in ANY way, but because I now have to teach, train, lead, drive, call, plan, smile, pretend I'm not sick, and NOT pull my hair out all at the same time.
I saw an interesting miracle the other day. So you know how in the scriptures it talks about leaning on the strength of the Lord and not the strength of man. Well, I had a testimony building experience with that. We were going into a lesson that I was SO stressed about. These particular 3 investigators are incredible and terrifying all at the same time. They know their Bible VERY well and are very devout Christians. But for some reason they keep coming back to learn more about us peculiar Mormons. Whenever they ask their super deep intense questions there has always been at least one of the three of us in our trio to address the question or the member who is with us will address the question. Well, I was pretty stressed because Sister Whimpey is super new, and I felt super inadequate. So I figured the best thing to do would be to fortify myself by having a few really awesome members at the lesson who I figured were bound to be able to address their crazy questions, if my companion and I couldn't. Well we got into the lesson and it was a complete and utter train wreck. The lesson came to the end and I felt so overwhelmed. I prayed and prayed so hard the whole time and nothing seemed to be working. Then finally a miracle happened. I felt like the only thing I could do was to testify. So I did. I shared with them what I knew to be true and the feeling in the room completely changed. You could actually see their hearts softening... As a little back ground information about them: they refused to meet one on one, and would ONLY meet all together. It made it really hard because they would have so many questions and different concerns and we just could address all of them personally. It was hard. Well, after I testified and could see their hearts changing, one of them said, "you know, I think it is time to start meeting one on one" and then they all agreed. I could hardly believe what I was hearing. It was a miracle. What was even more of a miracle is they actually wanted to meet right away even after that train wreck of a lesson.
The next night we taught just one of them. As we were preparing for the lesson I recalled how I had trusted so much in the arm of flesh and knew that I needed to rely on the arm of God. I needed to have faith. I felt so incredibly inadequate but I prayed so hard and studied so hard that I would be able to have enough faith to chase away my fears. 
That night was such a miracle! The lesson was beautiful! Somehow the lord put words into my mouth, and helped me to recall scriptures that I never could have done on my own. The spirit was so strong and so profound as we taught. I believe in miracles because the Lord can take someone like me and use me as an instrument in His hands. I am so humbled by that experience. there truly is nothing greater than serving the Lord.

Well I need to go. But all my love to all who will be reading my email.
Sister Carter