Monday, August 25, 2014

An earthquake survivor

I am the luckiest dad in the whole wide world. Sister Harper is great. We have lots of fun together.
Here she is my darling Greenie!! I love her already!!

Guess who's in my zone?!
Elder Prince AND Elder Taylor (Friends from home)!


The Canadians are taking over! Next zone meeting we are having a Canada party. Elder Taylor is going to make poutine, and I am going to make nanaimo bars. Mom, if you haven't already sent that package; wonderbars, ketchup chips, and any other Canadian food you can think of would be AWESOME!
These Americans won't know what hit 'em.

I'm officially a gluten free, dairy free sister missionary. You know those annoying missionaries that move into the ward that no one knows how to feed because they have a gazillion food restrictions...? yeah that's me. I was completely clean of it for 5 whole days until Sunday came along and I needed to partake of the sacrament... But I feel GREAT! I feel healthier than I have in a long time. I knew I would without the dairy in my body because I am allergic to it, but I thought I would try no gluten for a while and see if I notice any differences.. One thing is for sure, It has really cleared my head. 

You should all be pleased to know that I am a 6.1 earthquake survivor. 

I sleep on the bottom of a bunk bed, and Sister Harper sleeps on a bed on the other side of the room. Sunday night I woke up at about 3:20 in the morning to the feeling that Sister Harper was on the top bunk shaking my bed. I called, "Sister Harper?" and heard her respond on the other side of the room so I knew it wasn't her. I asked, "Do you feel that?" She said she did so I knew it wasn't just me. Then I ask, "is this an earthquake?" She had never felt one before but said, "Yeah, I think it is." I rolled over and sat up and felt it moving beneath my feet too. It was the strangest feeling. I had never felt an earthquake before, that was my first one, and it lasted about 15 seconds. It really wasn't bad, no damage was done in Santa Rosa, but apparently Napa got it bad.

Santa Rosa is beautiful. As much as I loved Eureka, it definitely made me appreciate a nicely groomed neighborhood a lot more. 

Sister Harper and I call these Santa Rosa trees. They are everywhere! Last year I wanted to take pictures with them because I thought they were so pretty but I didn't act fast enough. I didn't think I would be back in Santa Rosa at the same time of year ever again so I was sad. Turns out I was wrong and got to come back at the exact same time of year. This was one of the last ones that was still pretty that we could find.

There is an INCREDIBLE family we are teaching here. I mean incredible! They have gone from the very worst to using the atonement and being the happiest family in the heeling process. Their baptisms are set to be next month. I feel so honored to be able to be a part of their lives and watch them grow.
Facebook has boomed for me. I just decided one day that I wanted to be more productive on Facebook and work just a little bit harder. That week I picked up 5 new investigators. One guy I am teaching in Africa is super solid and went to church this last weekend. He said he loved it and felt that he had a family there. I am friends with about half the Philippines, so hopefully I can be able to pick up more of them to teach. If you want to help the work move along on faster on Facebook. You can help by prayerfully choosing one of my Facebook posts to comment on and share. Then not only my friends will see it, but then your friends will too.

Anyway. I love this work. being a missionary is so cool!
GO if you can!

Sister Carter

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Training Again… Yay

I might even miss my sister's cat Phoebe….

 am going to be a DAD!
...Awkward, I know...
A sister missionary's follow up trainer is their dad. I get to be companions with a 6 week old little new born greenie named Sister Harper. I am such a proud father.
I am getting transferred to SANTA ROSA! Yaaaaay. I will be serving in the Rincon Valley Ward in the same stake that I started my mission in. I'm so excited.
I am so sad about leaving the people I've been teaching, this crazy town, the wonderful ward, the fact that I never got to go to the Medford Oregon temple, and probably never will now as a missionary, but I feel really good about the new change coming.

Just a few Pictures of the people I have come to love so much here in Northern California

Sister Buckner, some other missionaries and I donated blood this week. Some lucky person out there will get to walk around with nice clean Mormon Canadian blood. I almost passed out 3 times and made the nurse tell me as many jokes as she could to keep me from thinking about that fact that there was a piece of metal in my arm that was taking all my blood from me. Gross! I got to half consciously tell her all about what I do as a missionary and about the restoration. I couldn't stop talking because if I did I would think about the blood too much and get queasy. It was so hard to focus though so the nurse probably got all sorts of random jumbled information about who Mormons are. Then I started to pass out and they tipped my legs way up and my head way down. Passing out is NOT a comfortable experience. It feels awful. When I finally started to get over it, I looked over and Sister Buckner was laughing at me. I'm sure I was quite the show for everyone. Well I definitely won't be doing that again... Especially not as a missionary... We ended up wasting a ton of time because every time I tried to get up I would start to pass out again. I did get to take a sticker home that said, "I tried to donate blood."

We did some other service that was a little bit more productive. We went dog walking for an animal shelter. It was great because we got to contact the whole neighborhood as we did it, AND advertise adoptable dogs! 2 birds, 1 stone! So much win. Sister Buckner and I renamed them Mormonita and Josefina Smith (they were both females).

MIRACLE!!! We Taught Ernest again. 

Oh how I love this man!!

When we asked him how his experience was at the doctors office he told us that before he went in there he said a really deep sincere prayer to God telling Him that Whatever happens he knows it is for the right reasons. Basically he said, "Thy will be done", but told God that if he had any say in the matter, he didn't feel ready to die and prayed for more time. When he met with his doctor they were able to discover that he has more time to live than they expected. he recognized that as a direct answer to his prayers. When we met with him he told us that he feels like God has preserved him for a specific purpose but isn't sure why. he didn't expect to have so much time and doesn't know what to do with himself. He is a wonderful man with SO much faith in Christ and has a very repentant heart. The spirit guided us to leave with him to read Mosiah18:7-11 and to invite him to focus on what the desires of his heart are. It reads:

I won't get to be there to find out how it goes, but the spirit was powerful in that lesson
 And it came to pass after many days there were a goodly number gathered together at the place of Mormon, to hear the words of Alma. Yea, all were gathered together that believed on his word, to hear him. And he did teach them, and did preach unto them repentance, and redemption, and faith on the Lord.
 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
 10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
 11 And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts.

We taught so many awesome lessons this week. They were very guided by the spirit. I'm going to miss it here.

Love you all!
Sister Carter
This is where we go for our morning runs… The Redwoods are so beautiful!

Ive been able to convince my sisters at home to Lick a Slug.. and I've even tried it.. But this SISTER Missionary would have none of it. 

Homemade Naniamo Bars… My mom's recipe.. a touch of Canada for my American Friends

Hiking on the coast and loving a dying friend

Last P-day the zone drove out to Patrick's Point. It was BEAUTIFUL! I felt like I was home. I LOVE hiking. Especially on the coast. I felt like I was in heaven. I got to be me for a few hours and soak up the coastal heaven, then go back to work being the other me, a missionary. 

Sister Van Wie (my trainer) sent me the sweetest letter last Monday. It said not to read it until August 6th, so I had to wait a few days to open it and when I did I about cried. I forgot that August 6th was my first full day as a missionary in the mission field, and it was the day she and I became companions. I was so full of hopes and dreams and fears and worries. That was such a scary but exciting time. As I have looked forward to the last 6 month of my mission I have so many new hopes, dreams, fears and worries. One thing I know for sure, the time spent is most fulfilling when it is consecrated to the Lord. Today Sister Buckner and I are going to write down all of the things we love that are not gospel related onto a piece of paper, and then we are going to burn them. Not that I can't even have those things that I love again, but now is not the time nor the place. The law of consecration is a hard one. VERY hard.

We have an investigator who is Dying. His name is Ernest. I love this man so much. We had a great lesson with him about the restoration and invited him to come to church with us the following Sunday. He was completely committed to coming, and we thought for sure he would. Then Sunday came along and he never showed up. I was so sad. This week we stopped over at his house to touch base with him again and to find out why he didn't come to church. He said that he received a phone call from his doctor with bad news that Saturday involving his heart. He doesn't know for sure, he actually finds out today, but he doesn't think he has much longer to live. Poor Ernest went into the depths of depression and was completely unable to make it to church. When we found him this week we were able to testify of the plan of Salvation to him and set up an appointment to teach him about it. My heart broke as I looked into his despairing eyes. Finally we had the lesson with him and he ate it all up. His big fear is if he has fulfilled his purpose in life. this coming week we get to teach him about the gospel of Jesus Christ. I can't wait. I love Ernest so much. He is the sweetest man. I also love the Plan of Salvation. It is incredible. I am eager to find out the news that he has for us.

Sister Buckner and I have started a nightly 1 minute long vlog. For a minute we record a video of ourselves sharing all of the highlights of the day, it's fun.

Lai, our recent convert is on fire with the gospel. She does family home evening every Monday night, and lives the gospel in every way. We have started teaching one of her friends in her home. Her friend has said that she loves being in Lai's home because of the feeling that is there. What she is feeling is the spirit. Lai's home is a place where the gospel is in action. it is SO COOL! She is so inspiring. 

Sister Buckner's family tradition drink Its called a "George Randall" Mmmm good!

It was a great week.

Sister Carter


I am a 1 year old missionary now. Pioneer Day (July 24th) marked a whole year since I reported to the MTC in Provo. It is so weird to start seeing over laps and to think about what emotions I was feeling and what experiences I was having a year ago this time. Time flies. 

Yesterday I saw a really cool Miracle:
I was going through the area book and found a girl on our church records named Sierra Carter that I have never met. So I made it my mission to meet this person who has the same name as my sister. We went and knocked on her door, and introduced ourselves. She turned out to be the cutest 25 year old girl, and her and her boyfriend are expecting a baby in January. It was fun getting to know her! When conversation started to get short and awkward we finally asked if we could share a message with her. We talked about how God is her Loving Heavenly Father and how he is watching over her. We shared a scripture with her and finally she perked up and said, "it's really ironic that you Sisters are here right now. A couple days ago I had the thought all of a sudden that I wanted to go back to church. I looked up on where the building was but couldn't figure out what time church started at." She concluded that she was going to try going at 10 and see if she would be able to catch sacrament meeting. Well yesterday she decided at last minute to go to the bead fair instead of church and then we showed up that night to share with her a message about how God is watching over her and loves her. She said she hasn't been active since she was in the 9th grade, and has lived in Eureka for 2 years without meeting the members of the ward or the missionaries.
It is so humbling to be able to be an instrument in Gods hands to be in the right place at the right time for his children to know that he loves them and hasn't forgotten them.

Another miracle:
Last Sunday at the very end of the day we had a little bit of extra time so we decided to go tracting. We knocked on 16 different doors all bringing different results. Mostly they told us they weren't interested, were rude, and slammed doors in our faces. Finally we needed to get going but we decided to knock on one more door. The lady who opened the door was adorable! We didn't have much time so we asked if we could pray with her. She accepted and welcomed us into her home. We knelt with her on the ground and asked, "If you were to ask God for anything right now, what would it be?" She gave us a small sincere list of things and then we prayed. A very sweet feeling filled the room. When we finished we asked if we could come back another time to share a message about Christ with her and she said she would like that. As we left I felt an ever so small but distinct peaceful feeling stay behind in her home to linger. The feeling was very tender and peaceful.

One of our 70 year old investigators has a crush on me. It's kind of funny. Sister Buckner mocks me about it all the time.

Moment of the week:
Actually this was last week.
We were tracting again... We knocked on one door and I heard on the other end, "COME IN" so I started to open the door. Sister Buckner looked at me with a mortified what are you doing look on her face and said no, he said "coming!!" So I quickly slammed the door shut. A man then opened the door and there was no mistaking that we had just opened and shut his door loud enough for him to hear. We awkwardly didn't say anything about it...
He said he wasn't interested. I can't decide if it's because he doesn't want salvation, or didn't realize we were offering salvation, or because we creepily opened and shut his door.

Moment of THIS week:
Sister Whiteley burst through open the apartment door two nights ago with Hermana Underwood laughing behind her. Hna Whiteley exclaimed, "the most embarrassing thing happened tonight at dinner with our investigator." After dinner the Hermanas shared a dinner message from the Book of Mormon that was supposed to be about how God loves us. She talked about it a little bit and then opened the scriptures to expound more on it. She asked her investigator to read Jacob 2:22-23 which reads: 

"And now I make an end of speaking unto you concerning this pride. And were it not that I must speak unto you concerning a grosser crime, my heart would rejoice exceedingly because of you.
But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son."

She tried to cover it up by saying, "God is sad when we break the commandments."
We laughed so hard!

Love Sister Carter

PS. the 4 feet of fun record still stands at 35 seconds. Way to go Sister Ika.

Sometimes I like choosing the sketchiest sounding or looking streets to go tracting down.

Oh and you'll probably never let me live it down, but I bought a cheep pair of mary-janes that I thought were super cute..
A future sister missionary. This little precious girl and her mom are dear to me!