Monday, December 30, 2013

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


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!


Love you all. Really.


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


You guys already know what they are.

Monday, December 16, 2013


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".


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


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,


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


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:


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:


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