Monday, December 30, 2013

MI FAMILIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Acabo de hablar con ustedes... Que extrano

HELLO MAH FAMREH! SUP PEEPS! WHAT BE HAPPENIN DAWGS!

Okay, enough with that.

It was so awesome to talk with you guys on Wednesday! I felt really happy to talk to you guys and I'm sure you guys shed tears for me. (I didn't cry. Of course not. I'm a GUY. They don't do that kind of a thing.)

Anyway, It was super great to talk with you guys and share a little bit of life here in good ol' TJ of BC of CM. (Tijuana of Baja California of the Country of Mexico).

I actually felt a little sad afterwards, because you guys talked to me about stuff that I currently couldn't do, and I felt a little... left out? Yeah. That's the only way to describe it. But yeah, it was still super awesome.

So, I just have a few points of interest that I want to cover in today's meeting.

1.) I feel super bad for my district leader. His name is Elder Mejiah. He's currently training 2 North Americans. Poor guy. The North Americans don't talk to him at ALL. They only talk to themselves in English. Their Spanish is actually not bad, but they just don't use it. Not only will they not learn Spanish that way, but they aren't actually going to learn to get along with people of a different culture. I'm gonna planch 'em the next district meeting we have.

2.) I finally can say I'm bilingual. Now let me explain this before you guys say "YOU ALWAYS SAY THAT"

I can finally qualify myself as bilingual because I have had every single native speaker that I know tell me that I know the two languages.

Previously, I said yeah, I know Spanish, but I still have a long way to go. And I always looked at other people here who speak the two languages and thought "that's what bilingual is". But now, everyone that I know (not even joking. Investigators, and members alike) has told me how lucky I am to be bilingual.

To be honest, I'm not even trying to bring it up. They ask me how much more time I have in Postal (4 weeks) and then they tell me how long I've been here and on the mission. The answer is always 5-6 months, and they tell me "YOU'RE ALREADY BILINGUAL? ARE YOU SERIOUS? UAU!" It's actually pretty neat sometimes to receive compliments like that. I feel like I'm actually able to speak freely with them.

Okay, enough with that.

3.) People here Christmas HARD, man. They just go hard all day. It's nuts. Look at this picture. Like, almost every single Nativity is like this here. Everyone's in a competition to Christmas harder than the other guy. It's nuts!

4.) I'm starting to grow complacent.

We are really good friends with the Hermanas. Elder Romero and I have talked with them almost every night just because they're super fun and all that. Anyway, we were talking with them at a Dairy Queen and Hermana Rivera talked about how long 6 months is in a sector.

She told me that she was in her 1st area for 6 months as well, and she said this that really made me think:

"After around 5 months, you start to think that you cannot offer more to this sector. You've already worked to your max, and you're unable to offer more assistance. As far as teaching goes, you don't really teach as effectively because you don't see how you can help them any more after you've been helping them for 6 months."

It got me thinking:

Am I doing that? After a bit of a review, I noticed that yes. I am not working as hard as I did when I got here.

I got here and I just did everything possible for these people. I went hard. But now, I'm starting to go on the downhill slope. I've baptized all the people I was here to baptize, and I feel as though I've already had all of the success possible. It made me reevaluate how I'm working, and I started again trying to go as hard as I could.

It was a great eye-opener.

Oh, and Savanna, I have a better mission story for you.

So, one night, we were REALLY far away from home. In fact, we were the farthest away from home we could possibly be. It was already 9:30 at night, and so we were SUPER late getting home.

I wanted to take a taxi, and the members that we were with offered to give us the money, but my companion insisted that we take the bus, and so we had to take 20 pesos only to pay for the bus, and not 60 to pay for a taxi.

We stood on a corner for around 20 minutes. No buses. Nothing. Not even a single bus. 2 taxis passed, but that was it. I began to grow very scared.

On the mission, we have to obey rules to receive the blessings. As missionaries, we are blessed to have protection of the Lord. Nothing can harm us as long as we obey Him. Well, we are to be in our house at 9:00 and we didn't comply with this rule, so we didn't have the protection of the Lord.

I was really scared. I felt very alone, very small, and VERY vulnerable. It was easy to identify me as a non-native, ESPECIALLY because I had my missionary clothes and name tag.

I prayed to Heavenly Father, and I said:

"I know we didn't obey the rule. But it was to give a blessing of health to one of your children. Please, we just need one bus. The last one of the night. Please."

I felt very strongly that the next car that would pass over the hill would be a way home. I looked and saw a taxi.

We only had 20 pesos. That's it. And a taxi.

My companion and I entered the taxi, and to our surprise, this man actually knew us and told us that he would give us a ride for 20 pesos!

Normally, taxis cost around 50-80 pesos to use, so for 20 pesos, basically that's just outrageous.

Not only did the Lord prepare someone to protect us, but he even guided this person to find us so that we could get home without walking, and without danger.

It was a great testimony builder to me that not only does the Lord watch over his missionaries, but he also knows HOW to watch over them, and he will prepare them from the beginning of their lives if he must, just so that his missionaries can help them one day.

Dunno if that's any better, but it was really cool to see that happen.

Okay, well, that's it for today. I'll write more on Wednesday!

Be safe, be happy, and READ THE BOOK OF MORMON. NOT JOKING THERE. GET IT READ. GEWD STUFF.

Love you all. Really.

Like, THIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIS MUCH.

Elder Carter



Monday, December 23, 2013

Okay, hi.

Hello family. This really makes me mad. I had this HUGE letter all typed up and pretty, and then it just straight up disappeared. Not even joking. It literally just up and disappeared off the screen. Like, literally doesn't exist anymore. Makes me very angry but whatever. I'll try to hurry.

First, I wish to write a letter to the ward. I want it read in sacrament meeting. No joke.

Dear 5th Ward,

I don't know how many of you know me, but I'm Elder Coby Carter, currently serving in the Mexico Tijuana mission.

I recently received a package from my family that contained many gifts. One of these gifts was a poster that had inscribed on the top: "Merry Christmas Elder Carter!" This poster, along with that, had the signatures and notes of almost every member of the ward.

When I took this poster out and unfolded it, I put it on my desk and just cried. The amount of work and effort put into this poster was minuscule, and yet, I couldn't help but feel as though I had everyone in the ward pulling for me.

My dear friends, there are no words to describe how incredibly grateful I am for this small contribution you have made to my mission. Above all else, I really feel as though each one of you has personally told me that I can do this. Unbeknownst to almost everyone at home, I've been having a very hard time these past few weeks, and this poster helped to elevate my spirits.

Please accept my sincerest, most humble and heartfelt thanks I can offer you. I deeply desire to give everyone who wrote on that poster a hug and tell them how much I appreciate it, but I don't think that'll be possible right now. So, for now, this letter will have to do.

I now feel more ready to continue on in the Work of the Lord. Although I can't hear it, I feel the support in every step from each and every one of you good people. I know that in Twin Falls there are hundreds of men, women, and children praying for my success here in Mexico, and I'm going to work even harder to be worthy of those blessings of which I am so desperately grateful.

Sincerely, humbly, and gratefully yours,

Elder Carter

I'm serious now. Get that puppy read.

Okay, now, stuff that happened this week:

1.) I had a breakdown kinda. I didn't quite get the difference between a numbers missionary, and a regular missionary that helps people. Finally, one of my Zone Leaders, Elder Mills, talked to me about what the difference was. He told me he felt the same way at one point, and that it was perfectly natural. I finally understood it after talking with him. I felt much better.

2.) I saw Grandpa! He came to sacrament meeting, and sang the closing hymn! It was so funny how he sang it:
"Sfo savn shel flas sfom fal schvee". Just downright hilarious.

3.) I got my package! It was full of warm stuff, Hi-Chews, and more warm stuff. And the ties! MOM! THE TIES ARE GORGEOUS. HOLY COW. But I can't wear pink or orange ties here on the mission! Dunno why. So, the pink tie you gave me will have to wait until I come home, but man. I just fell in love with them. I'm wearing the green one as we speak.

4.) I actually really stink at Spanish. Did I tell you guys that? I'm really bad at it.

Anyway, this is kinda short because I really just don't have a lot of time now. The draft just up and disappeared.

I'll send more pictures too.

Thanks for the support family. See you on Wednesday.

Elder Carter

PHOTOS!

You guys already know what they are.








Monday, December 16, 2013

HOLA PERSONAS

Well now, how about that? December's about to come to a close! What happened? I think someone just like, scrapped the first week or so, and we started on the 10th, because that's the earliest of December I can remember.

Anyway, How's everyone? I'm still working hard, and I'm having a bit of trouble, but I'm still hanging in there mas o menos.

Next, some awesome stuff that happened this week!

1.) I got my packages! It was great! One from my familia and the other from Taylor! Really kind of you guys. I'm so happy right now. And fat. I'm getting fat from that candy. Seriously.

2.) We had a gift exchange! I gave Elder Mills one of my favorite ties, a multi-color pen, and a yo-yo, and Elder Rendon gave me a Pokemon named Piplup, and a pocket watch. Pictures included here.

3.) I'm starting to learn how to talk in "Yofo". Basically, it's talking Spanish, but placing an "F" in front of all the vowels. For example, if I want to say

"Yo quiero ir al cine" (I want to go to the movies)

I would say:

"Yofo qufuifieferofo ifir afal cifinefe."

Pretty legit huh? Most people here don't use it, but teenagers sometimes do just so North Americans and other people can't understand what they say. I'd like to learn it so that I can still talk in code but in Spanish. It's really hard with words like "hablar" "entiendo" and "conocimiento".

4.) CHRISTMAS CALL IS COMING UP! I'M STOKED!

Here's the plan. I got permission to use Google Hangout, so I'm gonna try and put everyone in a group on Gmail and invite everyone to the hangout that wants to join. But, I have to know what time, and how everything is going to work out in that aspect. So, here's what I want to do, let me know what your plans are.

10:00 AM (Tijuana Time) on the 25th of December. I have around 2 hours to talk, and I'll have a webcam, but most likely slow Mexican internet. That means from 10:00 AM Tijuana Time to 12:00 PM Tijuana Time, I'll be talking to you guys. I think that's 11:00 AM Idaho Time to 1:00 PM Idaho time, right? It's only an hour difference? I can't quite remember. Look it up for me if you can.

Also, I want to invite a lot of people to talk, so if you want to join in on the call, get in contact with my parents, and they'll try to work a lot of it out. I can't really do much on my end because I'm focused more on the work of the Lord, so they're gonna do more of the planning that I will.

Other than that, it was a pretty bummer of a week. To be honest, I was super discouraged. We've been doing our part like none other. Calling the day before, and even the day of, to confirm citas, and nothing happens. They aren't there. We call them about 2 hours before, and they tell us they will be there, and they aren't. We found 5 new investigators this week, and only 1 of them was actually home, and it's a girl that's so far lost in technology that she doesn't even want to listen to us right now. The mom is just making us teach her.

Not only that, but we've got no baptismal dates right now. We haven't been able to meet with our investigators much to place them, and when we do place them, they just don't go to church because they dont' have the motivation. I mean, I understand that there's a lot I can do, but I can only do so much. As far as I can go still isn't enough because they have agency. Like, honestly, I think if everyone just had a drive to get stuff done, we'd have baptized around 15 people by now. No joke. But almost EVERYONE is just SO LAZY. It's ridiculous sometimes!

But enough with excuses. I am not perfect, and so there's still more I can do. Excuses do nothing but waste my time and the Lord's. The most I can do still hasn't been done, so I gotta work harder.

More pictures to follow in a sec. Thanks for the support, love, and above all, the candy. (Okay not above all, but man. I love candy)

Keep safe, and remember that some kid still needs your prayers in Tijuana.

I love you guys. Well, almost all of you guys. If Andy gets a higher score on the ACT than I did, I'll have to stop loving him. I can deal with Tennis, Piano, and Jive if he's better than me, but the ACT is the last straw.

I really do love you. Thanks for everything.

Elder Carter



Picture of me, Elder Giles, and Elder Johnson. Sorry it's super Blurry, but the Elder who took it really wasn't at fault. It was the guy behind him who bumped him. Elder Giles and Elder Johnson leave this transfer. They're both really cool guys. We already planned to meet up after the mission and have a total bro-party in Spanish. It's gonna be great.



Monday, December 9, 2013

BUENOS DIAS. CREO QUE YA ESCRIBI HACE 2 DIAS NO?

Hola familia! Muy buenos dias! How is everyone? Good? Good? Alright. Good. Now lemme talk. I got good stuff this week.

So, first, I had to give my first blessing to someone in Spanish! Talk about nervous. Not only did I have to talk in the "Tu" form, but I had to give a blessing of comfort, not of healing. Healing is much easier because I don't have to talk about THEM very much. I can still use the "Usted" form because I need to say "he" or "the Lord", so it's much easier.

Anyway, I gave the blessing, and to be completely honest, I felt like I butchered it hardcore.

Oh my gosh. I felt like I was just slaughtering the poor man's blessing from God. The guy is super like, energetic about the church and... Well, let's just say he's a VERY bad person for converts to talk to, and I was blessing him. I felt so bad after, but thankfully, my companion told me exactly where I messed up, and he told me the ONLY mistake I made was that I said Usted once instead of Tu.

I'll explain that here really quickly for those who don't quite get it.

In Spanish, there's 2 forms of the word "You" There's "Usted" which missionaries ALWAYS use, for everyone, and there's "Tu". If you're giving a blessing, or performing an ordinance like baptism, you use the "Tu" form because that's how the Lord wants it. So, for a blessing, I have to use the Tu form of the word you. That means I have to conjugate words completely different. Instead of saying Usted esta bien, I have to say Tu estas bien. It's super hard to switch like that right now. But yeah, that's how that works.

Second thing, I had some random J Dub (JW or Jehovah's Witness) start Bible Bashing us. He stopped us and asked us what we believed in. We started to explain a little, and he started being SUPER rude to us like:

Cuantas personas se van a salvar?
(How many people will be saved?)
Pues todos! Todos tienen la hablilidad...
(Well, EVERYONE! Everyone has the ability...)
Cuantas? CUANTAS? Ciento cuarenta y cuatro mil como dice la Biblia.
(How many? HOW MANY? 144,000 like the Bible says.)

Super rude guy, and it was hilarious how we terminated the conversation. We were about ready to just walk away when he said:

Ustedes neccesitan estudiar mas la Biblia.
(You guys need to study the Bible more.)

My companion and I just said as fast as we could while shaking his hand,
Si. Vamos a estudiar la Biblia. Gracias por ayudarnos.
(Yup! You're right! We're going to study the Bible! Thanks for helping us!)

Like, really? He thought he could convert us? We're the LAST PEOPLE ON THIS PLANET that he should try to talk to about stuff like that! Oh yeah, because we're suddenly going to be like,

ELDER! OH MY GOODNESS HE'S RIGHT! WHAT ARE WE DOING? OF COURSE ONLY 144,000 PEOPLE ARE GONNA BE SAVED! WOW. WE'RE JUST DUMBER THAN A SACK OF HAMMERS HUH?

And then throw our nametags away to follow this one random dude who's misinterpreted the Bible. Yeah. Genius logic there.

Anyway, yeah. That was pretty cool. The funniest part was that I had like 3 scriptures to destroy all of what he told us. Pretty legit stuff mang.

Also, I'm starting to hear random explosions every couple of hours or so. People just like blowing stuff up here. Especially in Winter when a lot of people have fires and stuff. We'll just be sitting in a lesson and say something like:

Se que Jesucristo pago por sus pecados, por mis pecados, y por todos los pecados del mundo.
(I know that Jesus Christ paid for your sins, for my sinds, and for all the sins of the world.) and then

BOOM

Like, super weird, but whatever. As long as we don't lose focus, we're good. It's pretty cool, actually. I feel like I'm actually having experiences on my mission now that don't happen in any other culture but here.

Okay, now before I go:

IT'S SO COLD HERE.

I recieved like, 4 emails saying IT'S SO COLD. IT HURTS TO GO OUTSIDE!

I completely understand that, and yes. That's super cold, but answer me THIS, my friends:

IS YOUR HOUSE COLD?

Our house is cold. We wake up in the morning, and not only do we not have hot water, but it's around 20 degrees in the house. No joke. I woke up this morning and could blow my breath out like I was smoking (of course I wasn't, but it was THAT COLD.) There's no escape from it either. Our blankets offer warmth, but only the inside. Not only that, but we have no hot water, only lukewarm at best.

So no, it's not freezing cold, but at least you guys have some form of indoor heating, to ease the cold. I'm sitting in my desk shivering every morning in my hoodie, underarmor BYU shirt, and long sleeved dress shirt. It's so COLD.

During the day, it's not so bad. Like, just a sweater and I'm good. But at night, I have to have my hoodie on, socks, and a long sleeved shirt and pajama pants, or I won't be able to stay warm or sleep. It's just dumb.

So yeah, I feel ya on the whole "hurts to be outside" cold, but be grateful for indoor heating to make your lives a whole lot better. It's one thing I took for granted that I really wish I hadn't.

Finally, I'm starting to practice piano again! I'm trying to learn hymns so I can sit down and play whatever hymn I want. I'm super bad at piano, did anyone know that? I seriously stink at playing the piano. I can't sight read well, I can only play PARTS of SIMPLE songs, and I don't even have many hymns that I can play! I'm really frustrated with it, but I'll practice more. Right now I'm trying to learn "Que firmes cimientos" (How Firm a Foundation). Super awesome. Love that song.

Anyway, that's all for this week.

Things for Christmas:

I'd love to have my heated blanket. Is there someway I could get it? Well, now that I think about it, I really don't have room in my suitcase... But at the same time, I'd REALLY love it... I don't really know how I'd manage to take it with me everywhere.

A Scripture marking kit. I'd like to have one. That'd be pretty cool. It'd help a lot with my scripture reading. I have markers, and I HAD other stuff with them, but I used them all up, so I'm using a card to mark them.

Yeah. That's about it.

I'm uploading pictures, so I have to type so they're uploaded faster. Lets see what I've got here....

Elder Romero is utterly hilarious. He says stuff that just is so funny. He and Andy are really similar. It's kinda scary sometimes actually.

OH! plan for the call on Christmas!

The plan is to use Skype. I've been told we cannot use Google Hangout specifically, but my District Leader's going to ask again. He had heard that it was that way, but not from the Presidente himself. Anyway, I'm going to call on Christmas Day, I think, from the house of a member. I've got a total of 3 hours to talk with family. So, what I'd like to do is:

1 hour with Mom and Dad
1 hour with the whole Family
1 hour with Jack. (Okay, no not really.) With the kids. Like, a few minutes individually with them, you know?

We'll see what happens in a little bit. I'll keep you guys posted on that as time goes on.

Okay, pictures are up! I'm done!

Keep praying for me. I really really REALLY need it right now. We're in a crisis in our ward, and it's pushing me to my limit.

Con afan, amor, y un poco de la gripa,

Elder Carter




Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Okay, so Spanishing is fun and all but...

HOLA FAMILIA! How are things back in the good 'ol US of A?

This week I actually had a lot of problems. I was constantly seeing ways that I could improve, or in other words, ways that I was just messing up completely, and it got to me on Sunday.

We had a meeting with the Stake President, and he actually asked all of us as wards where were certain people. I had ignored my instructions to tell them they needed to go because I was so used to just seeing them there. Little did I know that the entire time that I was doing other stuff like reading Jesus the Christ or eating, Elder Ponce would answer that call to tell them and call every single person that needed to be there. I was called out actually, kind of, because the 1st counselor of our bishopric (still no bishop somehow) said that the people didn't know they had to come.

I felt terrible during that meeting. They had not shown up because I was just straight up awful at notifying people. I'm not gonna fail like that again. No way.  Mess ups happen, but they shouldn't happen more than once.

Anyway, now that that's out of the way, I'll say some good things:

We have been finding new investigators! We're almost out, actually. We've baptized nearly all of them, or most of them need to get married. It's really dumb because we have 5 people that are just so strong in the gospel it's unreal, and THEY AREN'T MARRIED. They can't be baptized because they aren't married. It's so FRUSTRATING when they're like, super listo para bautisar, and then they say they aren't married. So hard.

But yeah, we've found many new ones, and I've started to get the hang of contacting on the street. We'll see what happens.

We were in a Zone Conference and we talked about a lot of cool stuff, but the thing most important to me was that it doesn't matter if people don't want to listen to us, they'll feel the Spirit and want to feel that again. It was a big help, because lately, I've been thinking that the people we meet just don't interest themselves enough to even want to join. (Or aren't interested. It's my Spanish brain taking over. The word is interesarse, which translates to: to interest yourself.)

Apart from that, I also learned that my Spanish is actually really good. One of the assistants was talking, and I was listening and he said some stuff wrong. For instance, after the words "so that" in Spanish, which is "para que" you have to use a subjuctive form. For example:

We need to go to the church so that we can meet them.

Necessitamos ir a la capilla para que podamos conocerles a ellos.

Normally it's podemos, because that's how it's conjucated, but because of para que, it's subjuctive.

Anyway, after I realized that he was making mistakes, I started realizing that EVERYONE that wasn't a native made mistakes. I told my companion that, and he said:

You realize you speak better spanish than the American Assistant right?

I was blown away. I asked him again and he said:

You're more fluent in the language. Sure, you get gender confused, but if the gender sounds wrong, it sounds much better than if you get the type of conjugation wrong. The gender is understandable, but if you say para que podemos, that just sounds like you don't have any clue of how to speak Spanish.

It completely changed my outlook on how I speak Spanish Just completely changed it.

I'm fluent in Spanish! WOOT! (For the most part)

okay, that was a good thing. What else happened that was good........

Dunno. We actually had a lot more bad that good in terms of investigators. My District Leader told me to tell my investigators to go alone to church, instead of have someone take them, and just like I thought, no one showed up. I was humble enough to follow the District Leader, because that's what he told me to do, and even though I KNEW no one would show up, I still did it. I felt good on the inside because I was right, and that I followed, but at the same time, I felt just awful because EVERYONE that had a fecha now has to change to a week after. We had 5 baptisms planned in december, and now we're down to about 3 POSSIBLE.

That happened, and I learned that I probably need to reemphasize the importance of the church. Maybe they didn't come because they just don't understand why it's so important. It's not the DL's fault. He's actually right what he said. If the investigators have a ride, they can just say that they didn't have a ride and not go to church. They have to show their faith. This week we're going to reemphasize that with everyone we've got that needs another fecha.

Finally, I learned that to be a missionary, you can't be easily beaten. If you have trouble standing back up after a rough push, you're gonna have a tough time on your mission.

The first month or so of hitting the field was just rough. I've learned now that if you want to survive the stresses and be a good missionary, you've gotta suck it up, grab your scriptures, fill your agenda and just get your rear in gear. It's really hard. Really really hard.

This mission is probably the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, but I can honestly tell everyone right now that I've learned more in these last 4 months of my life than I have in almost all 18 that i lived in the US.

Yo quiero mucho cada uno de ustedes.

Elder Carter

Monday, November 25, 2013

This week is nuts

So yeah, this week is nuts. Super fast, super busy. What in the world is going ON?

1.) We finally baptized Agustin! That was probably one of the best moments ever! I was so happy for him. But, I completely failed as a senior companion. Here's what went down.

As the senior companion, I'm in charge of basically everything for the baptism. Invitations, program, filling the font, everything. I completely and totally failed. I invited like, 2 families, and neither of them showed up so only the family of Agustin was there. I felt super sad because our ward wasn't there to support him. Also, I didn't make the program very well, so the program was a little bad. Also, the boiler in our chapel is just straight up dead, so we don't have ANY hot water at ALL. Poor Brother A. Still cold water. We gotta fix that. I mean, that's just off the top of my head. I wrote down around 15-20 things that I just completely spaced and I was a complete failure as a companion. But, that night, I sat down at my desk and began to write every mistake I made.

I resolved that I would learn from those mistakes, and never again in my mission will I have such a failure of a baptismal service. Brother A really appreciated it, and for that, I completely felt humbled, but I will never let the baptismal service end up the way it did again. I will not fail.

2.) Dad, did you get sick on Thanksgiving? Every single year you told me that you get sick around Thanksgiving so that you can't taste the food? Did you hold out this year?

3.) Okay, so now that those things are out of the way, I'm gonna talk about cool stuff that happened this week.

First, I got a visit from Grandpa! That was probably the happiest moment of my mission so far. The baptisms and all of that were great, and I was super happy, but now that I see someone from my family, and I was able to share with him the joy that I felt, and he was able to see it, I cannot TELL you how incredibly happy I was.

In Alma, there's an experience when Ammon meets with Alma after converting the peopel of Anti-Nephi-Lehi. The joy he had was so full, so incredibly obsolete that it exhausts his strength and he can no longer stand. That is how I felt when I saw my kind and loving Grandfather. Never in my life have I felt the joy I experienced. I have felt happy. I have felt super glad to have done things. I have experienced much joy in my life, but nothing. Not Jive, not piano, not football games, not family reunions, not wake boarding, not ANYTHING can compare to how I felt when I saw Grandpa.

Family, a mission is more than anyone can possibly comprehend to me. I'm still green. I'm still in training. i have barely 4 months in the mission, and already, my mission means more to me than anything else in my entire life.

That was a great experience.

Also

WE HAVE A BAPTISMAL DATE FOR SARAH! HALLELUJAH SHE WILL FINALLY MAKE THIS COVANENT WITH THE LORD AND I WILL BE ABLE TO REJOICE WITH HER IN THE KINDGOM OF OUR LORD AND MASTER

I am just so STOKED right now it's incredible!

Great week. Great week family.

I'm over my time, but it's okay because I'm uploading photos and I had a lot of phone calls during my internet time. >:D

photos:
1.) Agustin's Baptism! WOOOOOOO!
2.) The top of the hill to go down to Buena Vista. It's really big. Like, biggest hill in our sector.
3.) There's a little girl that got REALLY sick a few days ago. Her name is Jessie Navarro. She had convulsions and was like, really in trouble. She recovered and is back to normal, but she really likes playing with me for some reason. I don't know why, but every time we visit, she's always trying to get me to play with her toys and stuff. She's super awesome. This photo is a picture of a painting she made for me. Can i get a frame or something to put it in? I want to keep it.







I'm really bad at taking photos. I know. But seriously, I wish there was like, a video camera in my brain so that I could record my entire mission for you guys. It's nuts how awesome it is here.

Anyway, I gotta get going. Before I go:

Anyone have questions for me? If you have ANY questions, make a list of them and email me! I LOVE answering questions. It lets me share the specifics that YOU want with you. I hope you guys are all well, and that you've had a good week.

Keep up the good work family. I'm working hard here, and I know you're working hard there. WORK THROUGH THE PAIN. FEEL THE BURN! THE BURN OF THE SPIRIT. THE LORD WILL PROVIDE

And all that jazz.

Love you. No seriously, I love you. STOP LAUGHING I'M TRYING TO HAVE A HAPPY TIMES HERE.

But yeah, really. I love you all to bits.

Elder Carter

Monday, November 18, 2013

TRAINING. HELP ME PLEASE I'M GONNA DIE

HOLY COW MUCHO HA PASADO. SOMEONE GET ME A BAG I THINK I'M GONNA HURL.

Okay, great. So, everyone form an orderly line to know who my companion is, because I know that you guys are biting, scratching, stabbing, shooting, and every other good gospel practice just to get to the computer screen first to read the name of my new companion. And his name is.....

Elder Romero! He's from Mexico City, Mexico! He's been on his mission for a total of 3 weeks today! He doesn't speak ANY English. Like, Elder Ponce understood a LOT of it, but Elder Romero, I ask him how he is in English and he literally doesn't know what I said. He wants to learn though, so I'm going to teach him all that I can, and I have my ways.... I have my ways.... MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

So yeah, that's whats up wid dat jank.

I've finally started picking up Spanish on a native level. Like, I still can't speak like a native, but I'm starting to be able to speak like a native a little. For the most part, I'm starting to understand that it's better to use the infinitive form of a verb in most situations than the gerund form.

Infinitive form in English is like: to run. The Gerund form in English is like: running.

In Spanish, it sounds really bad to say something like: I like running. In Spanish, that translates to: Me gusta corriendo.

That just sounds bad. It's better to say: I like to run. Me gusta correr.

So little intricacies like that are starting to stick, and DANG I love speaking Spanish. Did I ever tell you guys that? yeah. I llove it. I feel like I'm speaking in code with someone else. I can tell jokes now. I can explain funny things now. I can FINALLY BE FUNNY IN SPANISH. HOLY COW I MISSED THAT.

Okay, enough with that. Time for good occurrences:

1.) I got my companion. You have a bazillion questions for him, so I'll just let you guys ask them.

2.) My companion on his 3rd day in the field got bitten by a dog! Like, I just sat there and watched because I didn't know what to do. I'm just a dumb gringo I don't even know if I'm saying "Hello how are you?" correctly. Poor guy. He's tough though, and kinda just shook it off.

3.) We're going to baptize Agustin this week!

WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I don't think anyone will ever be able to fully comprehend how incredibly awesome it is to baptize him. When we started talking with him, it was SO hard to imagine him being baptized. The Atonement of Jesus Christ changed this man so much it's crazy. He probably one of the kindest men I've met here in Tijuana, and seriously, he has never looked happier. When we met him, he had problems with coffee, and his family was a little hard for him to get a long with. Eventually, after meeting with us, his family problems resolved. He read the book of mormon a TON. Like seriously, I think he read like, 20 chapters in one day if I remember right. like, he's going to finish the LdM in about a month. It's just absolutely insane how prepared he his. I'm so stoked to see him in those waters.

4.) We finally have permission to street contact, and man, it's hard. You gotta try and find the right people. So far, I've contacted about 8 people, and 6 lived in Rosarito. Seriously. 6. Super bad luck. Dunno how that happened.

But anyway, can someone ask Tom what his methods are for street contacting? I have only one, which is to write down certain Colonias and then ask if the people know where they are. After that, I ask if they live here, and then after that if they've talked with missionaries. Basically that's all I've goty right now. Super weird right? Anyway, yeah. If I could get some tips for that from Tom, Dad, Aunt Kari, anyone who has ideas, just lay 'em on me. I'm willing to try anything.

5.) I'm really the senior companion now. It's super scary. I have to do everything right or else it just doesn't get done. I'm praying a lot, and I'm honestly hoping that I can set a good example. It's really hard sometimes to be the fall back guy, but dang, I'm learning a TON.

Alright, I gotta terminate my email now. (Terminar) I'll talk to you guys later.

Con afan, amor, y a veces un poco frustrado con su espanol,

Elder Carter

Photos:
1.) My new companion and I!
2.) Hermana Maria de Jesus and Carolina when they were baptized
3.) A branch of platanos that Sarah has. I thought they were really cool.








More photos will be coming, I'm just kinda struggling a little bit to remember to do that because I'm constantly thinking about what I'm doing, where we need to go, and what we're going to teach or do. Constantly constantly constantly trying to do everything.

Don't worry though, I'm not gonna die I don't think. As far as I know, I'm gonna be just fine, but we'll see. The Lord is doing a lot to help me, and I've seen His Hand more times in this week than I have in weeks past. It's really cool.

So, I think what I'll do is just talk a little about what we actually do with investigators so that you guys can understand.

We, as missionaries, are just in the ward to help it with the work of salvation. We are there to do the things that the members cannot. One of the things they can't do is teach lessons, so that's what we do.

There are 5 lessons in total, with lessons 4 and 5 broken up into parts.
Lesson 1: The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Lesson 2: The Plan of Salvation
Lesson 3: The Gospel of Jesus Christ
Lesson 4: The Commandments
Lesson 5: Laws and Ordinances

Each lesson has specific points that MUST be taught in order for a person to pass the baptismal interview.

As I said, they have to pass the baptismal interview to be baptized right? So each lesson has specific points that people must know in order to pass this interview. The points are as follows:
Lesson 1: God is our Heavenly Father, The Gospel Blesses Families, God has revealed his Gospel through Prophets, Jesus Christ established his church, the Grand Apostasy, The Restoration through Joseph Smith, The Book of Mormon, How to know the truth
Each one of those points has other points that have to be explained so that a person understands what they are doing.
Each lesson has points like that, and so as the senior companion, I have to make sure that they are all taught. Sometimes that doesn't happen, and I have to reteach what my companion taught so that they understand.

For that reason, it's really hard to be the senior companion.

I have been on the computer for 1:10 minutes, so I need to leave now. Thanks for your support, your encouragement, and your prayers. Keep up the good work fam. You guys got this.

Elder Carter
I really do love you. When I say that, I really do mean it. Like, it ain't no joke.




Monday, November 11, 2013

Last Day of Transfers

Okay, I gotta type fast. I got 7 minutes. Here we go:

1.) We had another baptism! 2 actually! A woman and her daughter. Hermana Maria de Jesus and Carolina. I don't have the pictures because I forgot to bring the cable to upload them, so I'll get them to you guys next week.

So, during the baptism a few things happened that were hilarious. First, we had to fill the font, but the boiler to heat the water is broken, so it was icy cold. As we were filling the font, the water was yellow. The font was so dirty that it was almost brown. So, after about 30 minutes of filling it, we had to drain it and start over, after cleaning the font a little. After we cleaned it, we had to start filling it with pitchers of water that we had. There was also a hose, and we took a garbage can, removed the bag, and poured water in it with the hose to take it to the font. It takes about 1:30 to fill the font, and we did it in 30 minutes with our little pitchers of water. Literally pitchers. Like, to drink. yeah. Fun times.

The water was green too. We don't exactly know why. So yeah, that happened, and then Carolina, who was baptized by Elder Ponce, had to be baptized 3 times. The first 2 times, her clothing and hand were above the water. The last time, during the prayer, she was shaking so badly that everyone could see it. Pobrecita.

2.) I've recently started to get into reading Jesus the Christ. What a book. Never in my life have I learned more about the Savior. It's crazy cool. I love reading about the scientific evidence, or why something is significant, or explanations about stuff. It's awesome.

3.) Tuesday and Wednesday I had the darkest time I've ever had on my mission. The realization that I was going to train, and the idea that I would have to do everything myself shut me down. I didn't want to do anything. Not sleep, not eat, not work, not read. Nothing. I was a disaster. Thankfully, Elder Ponce gave me a blessing and after a day, these feelings left. It was seriously the scariest thing I've ever felt in my life, and I felt as though I was falling into a really deep depression that I was never going to escape.

4.) I'M GOING TO TRAIN.

It was announced Saturday, and I'm getting my new companion in an hour. I hope I can do everything required. If not, I know the Lord will help me. My best is all I can give, and if it's not good enough, the Lord makes up the difference.

Love you all. Really. Just like, imagine a really big thing, but bigger, and that's how much I love everybody.

Elder Carter

Monday, November 4, 2013

I GOT THE PACKAGE!

I GOT THE PACKAGE! I GOT IT!

I'm so extremely happy right now I can't even describe it. I've got so much to say about it but I can't really say it because none of that matters.

I SAW THE TEMPLE! In person! It's pink! (Seriously. I don't understand why it's pink, but it's pink) and working it's way up. I'm so excited to see it starting to take shape! Many members are starting to realize that the Temple is a reality and that it can bring blessings. There have been many talks on the Temple here in my ward, and I've been able to bear my testimony and promise many blessings to people in our priesthood group.

This week was really quite bad. We had probably 20-25 lessons planned with members present, and we ended up with 8 total.

Yeah. It was awful.

We had cita (appointment. Cita is faster to type.) after cita after cita fall through, and eventually, we ran out of stuff to do. This happened about 3 times this week.

It was really rough for us. I don't know why, but I know that the Lord wanted me to learn something.

Also this week, we had Agustin's baptismal date fall through. In order for a person to be baptized, they need to go at least 5 times to church, and 4 if it's reasonable that they couldn't go one time. He has gone 3 times, and he missed 1, so we had the chance to baptize him still if he only had 4. He didn't come this week. We have to visit him again. If he slept in, we can't baptize him. If he actually had something come up that's reasonable, we can still do it. We're praying hardcore for this man. I have seen his life change before my very eyes.

When I first met this man, I'll be honest, I was kinda scared. He has a tattoo of a ring on his hand, and he is pretty buff. I was actually pretty intimidated the first time I met him.

During the lessons, he seemed interested, and he was honestly trying to do whatever we asked him. He is one of the kindest people I've met, and I started to grow to love him.

Eventually, he agreed to be baptized. (There was a problem that he had to fix with something I don't exactly remember, and he fixed it). I remember when I saw him after that. I was on exchanges with the Zone Leaders, so he agreed to be baptized when I was on that exchange. I was a little mad.

I saw him two days after that, and he was a completely different person. He laughed more, he was more open, and he was completely and totally changed. The Atonement of Jesus Christ has saved this man, and I will never be able to comprehend what must have taken place.

He is my investigator that I am most happy to see baptized. We have worked with him, read with him, and talked with him about almost everything in the Church that there is, and he's finally going to be able to make this covenant with God and show his faith. I'm so happy I can't stand it.

Also, Elder Ponce and I are about done as companions. This is our last week together, and to be honest, I've got mixed feelings.

Elder Ponce has speech impediments that really drive me insane. I've prayed a lot these 3 months to have patience and charity with him, and I've actually had quite a bit of it. I've been able to grow to love him just like everyone else.

He's got a certain way of doing things, and anything different is just dumb in his eyes, so everything we've done so far is basically his ideas. I've been also praying for humility, so that I can accept that he knows more than I do and be willing to follow what he tells me.

He is also very aware of others. He knows a lot about other people, especially our investigators. He can tell you where everyone works, what time they leave to go to work, and when they return. He can tell you where they live, what they do for fun, and pretty much he could live their lives. It's pretty nuts.

Anyway, he's got a lot of problems, but I've got a lot too. I really don't need to go on more.

When we switch, I'm going to have to be the Senior companion, maybe. Dunno yet. But, if I am the senior companion, I'm really scared. I honestly don't know much Spanish. I'm finding that sure, I can understnad about everything, and I can pretty much talk to people just fine, but MAN, I don't know any Spanish. I'm using the same phrases all the time, and I'm constantly lost when there's stuff I'm unfamiliar with.

Anyway, yeah. He's been a good companion, and to be honest, it's going to be hard to just leave 3 months behind me like that.

I really don't want to talk about it right now. This is the last week. Gotta finish strong.

EXITO.

Elder Carter



Monday, October 28, 2013

Family

OKAY I HAVE SO LITTLE TIME. WHY DID YOU ALL EMAIL ME ALL AT ONCE! I LOVE IT BUT AT THE SAME TIME IT'S REALLY HARD BECAUSE THEN I HAVE LIKE 3 MINUTES TO WRITE MY BIG ONE!

Okay, I'll try to type fast. Lets see how this goes:

1.) I was the senior companion for a day with Elder Giles! I had to do all the speaking again. That was really scary, but I think it went well. I trained him the best I could. I'm scared though, when I have to be the senior companion completely for 3 months to train a new elder. I hope I can do it. I'll be praying a lot.

2.) I got to finally play the piano in priesthood! I loved it so much that I finally got to play "Dulce Grata Oracion" (Sweet Hour of Prayer) after a long time. Man I miss tickling those ivories.

3.) I have a couple things that I need, and I hope you guys have some way to send them to me (if you can)

1.shoe shining kit

2. hangars

3. A NEW BAG TO CARRY STUFF. Mom, remember that laptop bag that you bought me to use? It's already falling apart after only 2 months of use. It's really dumb. So I'm gonna try and take it to Hermana Porfiria to see what she can do, but I think my only solution is a new one. Is there some way you could send me one? Thank you so much.

4.) I'M MEMORIZING SAM MCGEE AGAIN! Don't worry Grandpa, I'll have it down so well I'll be able to say it upside down, backwards, and sideways. :D I love reciting it. It makes me feel accomplished.

5.) There's an investigator named Sarah, who has investigated the church for around 2 years now. She's finally going to be able to be baptized! She has a problem with coffee, but she's one of the kindest people I've ever met. She's constantly asking how she can help me, and when I told her we had no food, she very nearly took us to the store to buy some right then and there.

It's really hard to help her sometimes, because she really has a desire to stop, but she's really addicted to coffee. I'm praying night and day for her, but it's hard for her sometimes to hear how other people quit drinking it, and she can't.

That's all for today's letter. I'm sorry it was so short. Thanks for all of your love and support. I'll talk to you guys soon.

Elder Carter

Pictures: #2 is of my Zone right now, #1 is of me trying to steal a Liahona that some members made for a play.






Monday, October 21, 2013

Hola Familia!

This week has been very hard, but I don't want to make these letters super sad, so I'll just send the fun stuff to you all.

1.) I had my first experiences translating Spanish into English for other people! During General Conference, there was a video right after the session that talked about a family that tried to do geneology more. It was all in English, so I had to translate for Elder Tunion (one of the Elders in our Zone). That was so hard. I would translate perfectly one sentence, and miss half of the next one, so I had to guess what was at the beginning based on the end, and then translate that. Just super hard.

We also have a North American named Keith Burr here. He speaks English, and his wife speaks Spanish. We had a lesson with his wife, and so we had to give it in Spanish, but Brother K doesn't understand it, so he had to just sit there bored for a few minutes. After we said the prayer, Keith asked me if I could translate. I did what I could.

I can actually do it! I can understand Spanish, even spoken very fast, and translate it to English to another person. I have become bilingual. I can communicate with almost anyone.

2.) I was about to get into the second thing there. I AM FINALLY ABLE TO SPEAK SPANISH! I was on splits this week with an elder named Elder Giles, and I was the only one of us two who could speak Spanish and English. He's unable to understand. I had to speak to all of our appointments that day, and I finished the day having gained 2 references, given 2 lessons with a member, and 2 lessons to less actives. All me.

The Lord has blessed me in more ways than I can count to prepare to speak Spanish. He has given me more than anyone could ever hope for to be able to learn this language, and now, I can speak it pretty fluently, and understand almost everything. I still mess up here and there, but for the most part, I'm now able to speak Spanish.

I hadn't ever thought about it before, but the Lord has seriously prepared me to speak Spanish. He gave me my ability to memorize, my Father (you pretty much saved my life on my mission), my school teachers, my gift of imitation (most people that I've met so far on my mission cannot speak like natives, and most of the native Spanish speakers here say that I speak nearly like I've spoken it my whole life). The Lord has been doing everything He can my entire life to make sure that I could speak Spanish right now. It's been only 2 months since I entered the field, and I'm already able to speak my mind (kinda).

That's all for today! I gotta get a couple more things done on the internet, so I'll cut this one short.

I love you all. I pray for you every day, and I want all of you to know how much joy this work brings.

Pictures:

1.) We had another baptism this week! Her name is Sister Linda Piceno Solis. She's really awesome, and it's my first baptism that I actually knew the person! I was really happy to finally be able to perform the ordinance with her and help her take the steps necessary to progress further in the gospel!

2.) A small chihuahua that reminds me of Simba. He acts just like him, and follows me around the house of the member. Love this little guy.

3.) Picture of me and my trainer, his trainer and the new Elder that his trainer is training.

That's it! See you all later!

Elder Carter







Monday, October 14, 2013

Q&A

Do you guys get a phone to use in the mission?
Yes. Every companionship has one. Basically it's because Tijuana is really large, and to try to wait for emails takes forever, so phones are almost a necessity.

Do you ever sing for your investigators?
No. But to be honest, I haven't really had a chance. We've not had a single baptism since my first ones, and I don't even count them because I just showed up on the week of the baptism, so the other Elder taught them all and stuff.

What media do you use to help you teach the gospel?  VHS?  DVD's?
Zero. We don't use any because mostly we can just teach without it. Plus, it's kinda risky to carry around a DVD Player. (Most people are too poor to afford DVD Players)

It looks like you had your hair cut.  What that an interesting experience?
The only thing interesting about it was that the lady hand-shaved my sideburns and neck. Other than that, it was just generally the same. I managed to place a folleto.

Have you used the BofM reading charts?
Our 1st counseller already placed another one to everybody, so I haven't been able to place a single one to anyone. Hopefully in my next area. Could you send me a link or a place where I could print it off? That way I could have like, an infinite supply.

Gracias por su sabiduria sobre LdM. Estoy tratando, pero el problema es que cuando estoy leyendo, a veces no puedo entender muy bien, y es en la manana, entonces empezo a dormir. Para ayudarme, estoy leyendo en LdM primero y luego BoM. Entonces puedo entender MUCHO mejor lo que paso, y tambien entender las palabras dificiles.

Mi parrafo arriba parece muy bien, pero en verdad, toma mucho tiempo para pensar y escribir en espanol. Todo via es muy deficil hablar espanol.

EXITO!

Elder Carter

Pictures of stuff

Here's some pictures of stuff.

1.) Picture of the top of 1 of 3 sets of about 35-50 stairs we have to take to climb up to our sector from the bottom half.





2.) Picture of some different chocolate. Dad, Bocadin isn't my favorite. THIS one is. OOHHHH my it's so good. Like, you pretty much can just eat it and feel your cholesterol raise. Sooooooo bueeeeennnnooooo.


Okay, so while they're loading, I think I might talk a little bit more.

I've been thinking a lot about what's going to happen when I return. Is that bad? Is it bad to think about what I'm going to do when I go home? I mean, I don't really feel like it's bad, but should I just stop worrying about something like that? I don't think like A TON about it, but every now and then I think about what I might do.

Also, THANKS FOR THE CONFERENCE TALKS! I needed those.

OH. And my last thing before I forget:

I read a talk on my intercambio con Elder Mills que habla sobre la gracia de JesuCristo, y como necessitamos entenderlo diferentemente.

Oh my gosh. I actually just wrote in Spanish without actually thinking about it. Woo!

So yeah, it's a really good talk entitled: His Grace is Sufficient. I'm printing it off now so that I can read it later. It's so good. I love it.

Adios Familia. Por una semana mas.

Elder Carter

This week was.... weird.

Okay, so, I have a list here of things I want to talk about. Hopefully I can do it in these next 15 minutes.
1.) We had a testimony meeting, and I forgot to tell you guys about the last one, so here's the things about this one:

It's really weird because everyone gets up to do it. There's no personal experiences, there's no one who just drones on about nothing. Everyone bears their testimony, and there's a LOT of people who do it.

You know how in the church, everyone says the same thing when it starts: I would like to bear my testimony that I know this church is true. It's different here. Everyone states with the words: "Yo quiero compartir mi testimonio que se que Dios vive." Every person. Every time. Really weird.

2.) Mom's gonna love this one. When we were visiting a member, one of their teenagers talked to us about games. I said I knew a lot about them, and he asked me about a game called "Call of Duty: Black Ops 2". Obviously I said "yeah, I know a lot about that game. It's a fun one." He proceeded to turn on his Playstation and ask me to play with him.

I denied, because I was a missionary, but he played and let us watch. As I watched, I just kinda thought something like this:

"This looks really fun, but man... I just don't really want to do it. I don't feel like it would be as FULFILLING."

THAT is what I learned. Games are fun. I love them. They're great. But they aren't FULFILLING. I finally understood (though I will still like games) that games are just that: games. They aren't really worth anything. It's fun to play, but I won't feel as fulfilled. Something really cool I learned.

3.) We were trying to visit a less active, and just a bit below the hill, there was a church meeting with guys in a rock band. They sang a song that was really loud, and it was a rock song. The title was "Hay Viene El Fuego" which translates to "Here Comes the Fire." That was a great experience, let me tell you, to hear a guy singing about how everyone's gonna burn, so we gotta save ourselves. Fantastic.

4.) MEXICAN SWEETS ARE SO GOOD. OOOOHHHHH MY. Dad, we're gonna visit Mi Pueblo almost every day when I return, you realize that right?

Tristes chocolates. There's just no way to describe the sweetness. I will never see Mexico the same way again.

That's it for today! Sorry I didn't have many spiritual experiences to share with  you guys this time. Really, we didn't have very many. A lot of appointments fell through, and mostly we've been trying to work with active members to increase our references.

Love you all to death, and then some.

Elder Carter

Monday, October 7, 2013

3 MONTHS!

I'VE BEEN ON MY MISSION FOR 3 MONTHS ALREADY. WHAT IS HAPPENING. I WAS TOLD IT WAS A LONG TIME. SOMEONE TELL ME MY WATCH IS WRONG!

But seriously, there's a lot I have to say, and only about 13 minutes, so I'll try to type as fast as I can.

1.) General Conference in Spanish hurt my brain. I really didn't want to listen to any more Spanish after it, but dang, I understood a LOT more than I thought I would.

2.) I found out that I actually have a VERY VERY VERY high chance of training a new missionary after I finish my training. I'M MIGHT BE A SENIOR COMPANION WITH ONLY 4 MONTHS ON MY MISSION. HOW WILL I SURVIVE?

3.) One of our Investigators, his name is Agustin, had an experience with the PdS (Palabra de Sabiduria/Word of Wisdom). He told us (remember, this is all in Spanish.) that he works a nighttime job, and before, when he drank coffee, after about 3 or 4 hours, he would drink another, and then another after another 4 hours or so. When he decided to live the PdS, he told us that he was NEVER tired. He drank water and that was it, and NEVER grew tired. That was such a testimony builder to me that this is the truth. God will do whatever it takes to help us bring people to him.

4.) Richard G. Scott speaks Spanish. We heard his voice speak Spanish during General Conference. Talk about weird.

5.) EVERYONE HERE DRINKS COCA COLA. THAT'S LIKE THE ONLY SODA ANYONE BUYS. There's other sodas, but there's like, 5 or 6 displays of Coca Cola everywhere, and maybe 1 of other sodas. It's so annoying. It's like, super gross too.

I wanted to write a little bit about the spiritual experiences that we've had, because I've mostly not sent any, so here we go:

1.) Agustin's experience above. (couldn't wait for that one. That was just awesome.)

2.) One of the old ladies here (all the old ladies are so nice. I really feel terrible when I show up because I'm not able to help them more than give them a blessing or get something on top of a fridge) named Hna. Gomez told us that her only desire is to live long enough to see the Temple in Tijuana finish, and serve the Lord in it. I don't care what anyone else tells me, I will return one day after my mission to see her dressed in white serving the Lord. I left her house that night in tears because of how incredibly sincere and faithful that woman is. She made me want to be much better than I am.

3.) One of the families that we visit named Fam. Leonor, has a friend named Manuel that is a non-member, but very religious. He is a devout Catholic, but open to other religious beliefs, and is looking for God. One night, Elder Ponce and I were headed to an appointment at around 7:00, and Elder Ponce and I stopped at an intersection.

"I really don't feel like we need to visit Fam. Solorio." He told me. (REMEMBER. THIS IS IN SPANISH. I'm just saying that to make myself feel proud. :D)

"It's what we scheduled. Don't you think we should follow it?"

"I just don't feel like we should. I think we should visit Fam. Leonor." (We were pretty close to their home.)
The instant he said that, I felt like we needed to go there as well.

"Nos vamos." I said.

During the past like, MONTH, we have been trying and trying to contact Manuel, and never had success. We showed up to their home and guess who was in there?

Manuel. I'm so glad that Elder Ponce was able to follow the Spirit and be guided to that home to find our investigator. It made me rethink just walking blindly, and try to listen for any promptings or feelings that I have.


Finally, I just want to say this to everyone who's reading:
I am a representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. As a representative of that church, I am also a representative of Jesus Christ. My purpose is to invite others to come closer to Christ by helping them receive the Restored Gospel. If you want to learn more, or if you have any questions, which include questions such as "Who am I? Why am I here? Where did I come from? What happens when I die?" I can answer these questions, and so can other missionaries of this church. If you want to know the answer, contact the missionaries in your area.

Okay, I just wanted to put that out there for anyone who may be reading and are not members. It's important for them to remember why I'm here.

Thanks, everyone, for writing me and asking questions. I absolutely LOVE answering them for you. It makes me feel like I'm sharing my mission with you guys!

One thing more and I'm out:

When you have a lot of questions, make it easier for both you and I and do this:
1.) How many times a day do you eat waffles?
2.) Are you of the house of Hufflepuff?
3.) What kinds of shoes are the best to sniff polar bears?
etc.

That way, I can just number my answers and print your email to read later! Thanks so much!

Be safe, love you all, and don't forget to read, pray, and SHARE the Gospel.

Elder Carter

Monday, September 30, 2013

More Pictures!


 This of my District for the last time before we part ways. If I can remember I think it went like this: Elder Tunion (DL) Elder Ponce, Hermana Chavez, Hermana Maldonado, Elder Castenellos, and me. That's our entire district! Pretty small, but super cool. We all bonded really well together.

This transfer will be taking Elder Tunion and Elder Castenellos to a new District, but same area, Hermana Maldonado is staying in Otay, but Hermana Chavez is leaving to Mexicali (pienso, no seguro) and Elder Ponce and I are staying exactly the same. Elder Ponce is the new District Leader, and I am still going to be training, but we get another North American who's training! I'm so happy! Finally I can feel like I actually KNOW something!

Our new District will consist of: Elder Ponce and I, Elder Hernandez and his North American trainee, Hermana Maldonado and her companion.



This of me and my district standing outside McDonald's for breakfast. Really funny actually. They have NOTHING on the menu here for McDonald's, and they have stuff like a "McBurrito" or "McTaco". It's so funny.



This of some chocolate called Bocadin. It's super good. Kinda like Jet but with a wafer in the middle. ooohhhhh so good.

Translado

So it's my first transfer!

I don't go anywhere.

Elder Ponce is our new District Leader, and we're going to be receiving a new North American on Tuesday! I'm so excited!

Okay, so I admit it, I was pretty roughed up last week. I tried my best to kinda just brush it off, but last week was really brutal.

Elder Ponce has been very impatient with my Spanish lately, and he's been kinda helping me in a way that isn't so loving and kind. I feel bad for him. I'm so bad at Spanish, and he's gotta deal with me saying "Yo sabo" everywhere. (Not really yo sabo, but you get the picture.)

I'm starting to understand a LOT more Spanish in the Gospel than ever before. I actually followed an entire conversation about the Temple! Not only that, but I managed to actually REPLY. Talk about Gift of Tongues!
During this past week, I've felt awful. We have 3 people that really show me what it means to be a Latter Day Saint.

1.) Hermana Porfiria. The nicest, sweetest, kindest little old lady you'll ever meet in your entire life. She lives in a small cement box (pretty much) and has very little money. She works as a maid for the family that we live with (we don't let her clean our apartment because we need to do it on P Day.) She has the strongest testimony I've ever heard in my life. We show up and talk to her, and even though she's paid for this 2.5 Liter Soda, she offers us the biggest glasses she can find and gives us as much as she can. Her husband is Less active, and she says she prays that someday he can return to the church. I left her home one day crying. I love her so much, and I literally don't even want her to have to get our cups for us. She's just fantastic, and I cried because I have been so selfish compared to her. She's really changed me.

2.) Hermano Sergio, is a member, and Hermana Sarah Estrada. Sarah is our investigator. Hermana Sarah has a testimony of the church, but that's not why she's impacted me. What really impacted me was how willing she was to just do anything for us. She won't accept us saying no to anything. All she does is feed us and give us fruit while we visit, because she says "Servants of the Lord are too important to withhold from" (something like that.)

Hermano Sergio. is her husband. He's a member, and he is so kind it's crazy. He has a briefcase where he keeps his scriptures, but more importantly, he has every single certificate of everything. Baptism, Aaronic Priesthood, Melchizedek, and High Priest. He also has his line of authority. I hold him in one of my highest respects. He told us something that I can't ever forget:

"Things of the Lord are first, above any other thing. If the Lord calls you to serve, you do not hesitate to stop whatever you are doing and follow him."

Three great people. I really need to work on my testimony.

Okay, that's all for this week. It's been kinda uneventful. We had no investigators progress this week, so we're kinda sad about that. But we're confident we'll have their progression continue this upcoming week.
I'll send some pictures here really soon.

If someone took all the prayers I've said and wrote them down, you'd probably think I was obsessed with my family I pray about you so much.

Love you all.

Elder Carter



First is of my bowling during one of our activities.

Second is of our District and Zone Leaders at our last District Meeting.

Third is of this ENORMOUS pizza that a family bought for us to eat during lunch. It was so delicious, and quite large.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hello Family!

Okay, this week, I decided I was going to just think about a whole bunch of stuff that's different about here, write them down, and send you the things. Here they are:

1.) There are these people that get on the buses (cameons) and just perform. Tell jokes, play guitar, sing, sell candy, anything. They do this because everyone HAS to listen to them, and EVERYONE will be there listening. Then, they ask if anyone has money to give them or anything. It's really awkward to stand next to a guy who's singing with all of his gusto "La Bamba" on a bus.

2.) The fruit! OH MY GOODNESS THE FRUIT HERE IS AMAZING. Seriously, I even eat the BANANAS here they're so good. Everything is so rich and juicy! I'm not gonna buy fruit in the US anymore....

3.) SD card plan! I need to send the SD Card to you guys, but I can only take about 1 hour total of video, and about 10 minutes worth of video. I'll take videos once a week or so, and send the 6 videos to you guys. However,  I can't send packages to the US. Dunno why, but I can't. SO I'll send them in a letter to you and you guys take all the videos, COPY THEM. MAKE SURE THEY ARE COPIED, and then delete them. Then send me the SD Card once more and I can make more for you.

4.) General Conference is coming up, and I will have to listen to it in Spanish. I don't know if I'll be able to understand everything, so, is there some way you could send me a Liahona or Ensign in English with the General Conference talks so that I could have EVERYTHING they said, not just what I could grasp with my 3rd grade level Spanish?

5.) I want to put some stuff that people can relate to and find kinda funny, like dad, so here's something. We shake hands so many times a day. It's so ridiculous. We enter a home with 50 people. We will shake everyone's hand twice. 100 hand shakes. Oh my gosh. I hate shaking hands.

6.) When I arrived in Tijuana and I heard these Spanish people speaking Spanish, I thought they were talking about eloquent stuff, about how the world is slowly starting to go into an economic depression, and their theories on how we could try to correct the current situation and recalculate the economic indecency.

Nope. They talk about a kid sticking their finger up their nose or something like that. Just junk! It's like talking to normal people! What the heck?

Okay, so I've given you those things, and I'll just talk briefly about what happened today:

We went to the border to get our fingerprints taken for our Visas, and I got to meet up with Elder Hilton and Elder Kessinger!

It was so COOL! I got to speak with them about missionary work and how they were coming along with their investigators and stuff like that! It was amazing! My Spanish is the best out of the 3 of us, not trying to brag or anything. I didn't understand as much as Elder Kessinger, but I could speak more than he could, and more confidently. He caught my mistakes, but I MADE them. >:D

I managed to talk to Elder Hilton a little bit, and man. He and I have grown so much in the MONTH that we have here. It's ridiculous how much a mission is changing my life.

I know this is the work of the Lord, and that there is no other place I should be.

Family, I have heard many stories of relatives dying while someone is away on a mission, and I could not imagine that happening to me.

I say this too much, but it's because I will never be able to be the same if you aren't:

BE SAFE.

Please. It's the only thing I require of you (most of the time). I'm constantly praying for you. I cry sometimes because I think about what you guys do while I'm not around.

I will talk to you later.

Elder Carter

Monday, September 16, 2013

Photos of Tijuana

Below are some pictures that Coby took of Tijuana.


The picture after Tijuana view is a picture of a restaurant that has a completely photoshopped picture of Jackie Chan holding some of the food of the restaurant and giving it a thumbs up. It's so funny to me like, Oh yeah, I'm sure Jackie Chan has sponsored that food. It's GOTTA be good if Jackie Chan likes it. I dunno, I just found it hilarious.