Monday, January 27, 2014

Last Week in Postal

This is it! My final stand against the adversary in this part of the battlefield! My ultimatum of righteousness! My ace in the hole! LETS BAPTIZE DAT GENTE!

Okay, so maybe that's a little overboard, but seriously, I'm pumped for this final week. Why, you may ask? Well, let me enlighten you.

First off, the word Planched that I used is from the spanish word "Planchar" which means "to iron" or "to destroy someone's religion." On the mission, or at least, all the missionaries, use it like, "to punish" or "to destroy in a debate." So basically, when I say I got Planched by Preach My Gospel, basically that just means that Preach My Gospel destroyed me. Like, usually it follows definitive statements. For example:
In PMG there's a quote by George Albert Smith. He says that we cannot reach the Celestial Kingdom unless we share the Gospel. PMG just planched me.

Another one by Joseph Fielding Smith. He says we cannot reach the Celestial Kingdom without reading the Book of Mormon thoughtfully at least once. JFS just planched the church.

That's what it means, for all those wondering.

Okay, now, cool stuff.

1.) There was this SUPER thick fog one day. It was last Tuesday. Absolutely insane. It was so thick, you couldn't see past around 4 feet. It was so cool. Literally, you couldn't even see lights. I love fog.

2.) I was on exchanges with Elders H and C (companions of Elder M) and we were trying to get some sleep, when Elder C went to the bathroom. I woke up a bit, but then went back to sleep. Around 20 minutes later, I woke up, and Elder C was still in the bathroom. He was throwing up hardcore. Not going to describe much more because I'm pretty sure no one wants to read about throwing up.
Anyway, the next morning we gave him a blessing and then we went to the hospital, where they gave him an IV and some pills and sent him on his way. Poor guy was just dying. Looked terrible all that day. He's much better now though, so I guess it worked.

3.) I ate a starfruit! It tastes like Apples. No joke. It's super weird. I didn't take pictures though. Sorry. I kinda just enjoyed them. They were super delicious.

4.) I am starting to like spicy food. Not like, just so spicy that all of your mouth is burning, but like, a little bit of spice is really good. Don't ask me why. I just love it now... you guys should try some of my favorite sauce. It's the Sriracha (not sure how to spell it) hot sauce. Super good stuff.

5.) I finally figured out what "my best" means!

So let me explain first.

For the past few weeks I've felt very inadequate because Elder M is doing super well in his sector and knows basically everything. It's just nuts how good that little Peruvian is.

Anyway, I kinda got a little discouraged, but then I was reading in Preach My Gospel and got an answer from God.

It says if you work hard and do your BEST, you are successful. I thought that my best was where Elder M is, so I thought I wasn't working at my best. Then, I realized something:

My best is the absolute best I can do with the knowledge I have. I've learned a ton the past 6 months, and he's got a full 7 more on me. I'm doing the best I can with the knowledge I have. He's learned a lot more than me, so he can do more than I can. My best is the best that I can offer with what I know, not the best that someone ELSE is offering. I will reach that potential with time, but for now, I should just focus on doing my best right now. So that revelation has helped me a ton.

6.) I gave another talk in Sacrament meeting! Much better this time because I'm finally able to speak Spanish. I dunno how much my talk helped, but I know it was really good because there were times where I just kinda sat back and let the Spirit talk. Pretty cool actually.

7.) Later that day, we had Elder's Quorum. It consisted of
Elder Carter
Elder R

And that's it.

Great stuff. We just planned our lesson for that day in the chapel to have with an investigator that showed up.


He's kinda crazy, and he is ALWAYS telling people bad stuff, like for instance, the Child of Sin thing, but at least he works. He at LEAST knows what he has to do. The other one never did anything. Returned missionary of a year and he's already dead. It was really frustrating, but whatever.

So he's a good ward mission leader, but ME VOY in one week. Oh well. I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

9.) Nery hasn't gone to church at all! We have to drop his baptismal date for another month or so. He is just so close. Frustrating, but it's his choice.

That's all for this week. Hope you've all had a great one, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATIE! (again.)

Good luck in all your doings, and I hope you're still reading the scriptures.

See you later!

Elder Carter

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


So, yeah. This week was like, Planch city for me. But I'll talk about that later.
First off, my last letter home. It sounded a little bleak and that I was just beyond reason.
I'm fine.

That week was more complaining than cool stuff that happened. Don't worry this week is much better.

1.) So, you guys remember that huge bunch of trees that I showed last week? Someone lit 'em on fire. Yup.
FFFFFTTTTT with a lighter and then ran. It was nuts. The flames were like, 30 feet high. The heat was so intene that about 50 feet away we felt it. INSIDE A CAR. Pretty cool though. Not gonna lie.

2.) This probably is only funny to Dad, but it's just so funny I had to share it. I don't know if many of you remember Madagascar, but in that movie, there's a part where Marty the Zebra says "OH SUGAR HONEY ICED TEA!" In Spanish, Dad, he says "MIERCOLES". I died laughing, and my companion didn't get it. Oh well. Just something funny for Dad I guess.

3.) We received our first North American girls this transfer! It was really weird to see one of them for the first time in 6 months. Kinda forgot they existed in North American, to be honest. (Is that bad to say?) Just kinda something different that was pretty interesting.

4.) So I got planched hardcore. PMG pages 10-11, and then later in Helaman 10:4-5. Great stuff man. Planched me to the bone.

5.) There's no time on the mission! I mean, I have like 2 hours total every day that I can use for whatever I want, and I have a bunch of stuff I gotta do! At home, i'd just study Preach My Gospel for those 2 hours, but here, I can't do that! I gotta get ready for bed, eat, read the BoM, and a bunch of other stuff. There's just no time to get anything personal done.

6.) Some member told Sister C, the little girl that was recently baptized, that she's a child of sin because she isn't white. She was scratching herself to look white when we showed up. Poor girl. We gotta do something about that member too. Not the first time we've had problems with him.

7.) People in Baja California don't draw Florida when they draw a map freehand. Like, when they need to draw the Americas, they just don't draw Florida, and draw baja California instead. It's really weird looking.

8.) Savanna and Katie, do you remember that there were like, a Gajillion dogs here in Tijuana? Do you know what else that means? That's right: a gajillion little dog poops everywhere. I think I've stepped in more dog poop than in all my life. It's so gross to show up at the end of the day, and smell something really bad, look at my shoe (AGAIN) and see that dog poop has just lovingly appeared on the bottom. Great stuff.

Anyway, I gotta get moving. Thanks for your support, and sorry for sounding like I'm so bummed out here. It's just been a little hard for me. But I was just being a little wimpy for about a week. I'm good now. Ready to just start drowning all these people in the font.

See you guys later. Thanks for praying for me. I really needed it.

Elder Carter

Monday, January 13, 2014

Grueling week. Absolutely exhausted.

Have you ever had a week where you just felt so exhausted that you cannot even imagine how you will get through the next day?

I felt like that all week.

Honestly, one of the hardest parts of a mission is the fact that if you lose ANY sleep, you lose it for 2 years. This week I've lost around 3 hours. I'm exhausted, but I cannot sleep. It's so hard.

Anyway, thanks for the letters of encouragement from you all. It makes me feel at least a little better to know that there are people who will tell me I'm doing my best, when every other person in this mission will tell me no.

Anyway, cool stuff that happened.

1.) I accidentally drank the tap water. It's horrible for you, and nothing happened. I'm officially immune to Tijuana water. Does this mean I can come home now?

2.) Elder K, the only other Elder in my Zone in the MTC that went to Tijuana besides my companion, got moved into my Zone from special transfers, and we're finally talking about cool stuff that happened. Funny guy. It feels good to reunite with him after around 5 months of straight missionary work.

3.) The end of the Christmas season finally hit Tijuana. Look at the picture of all of the trees just thrown away. Really weird actually.

4.) We found a soccer ball on the side of the road and took it home. I can finally practice soccer for my personal exercise every morning. I love it. I'm actually starting to get really good at it.

5.) Elder M finally left my Zone. He was here in this Zone for around 7 months. Poor guy. Finally left to go to San Luiz. Again, poor guy. Whatever. He's a baws. Sure he'll do just fine. He's actually sitting on his last 6 months and he has the funniest saying:

When you arrive on your mission, and for around the first 2 months, it's super hard to get up at 6:30.
When you hit a year, getting up at 6:30 is heaven. It's super easy and almost fun.
When you hit your last 6 months, it's impossible to get up at 6:30.

He actually refuses to say to Americans that he's on his last 6 months. He kept telling me he had just over a year. Really dedicated.

6.) I think I finally figured out the difference between a conversation and talking. I was talking with Elder M on an exchange, and we were pretty quiet. He and I are both naturally quiet, but I didn't want him to be quiet. He knows a ton about missionary work, and so I started to ask him questions about missionary work.
He gave the answers, but he didn't really sound too interested. I began to ask him about his personal life. He started talking a TON about stuff he did at home, and I just sat back and listened. Only if he asked me a question did I relate to him anything about at home.

I'm not saying this to brag, but to be honest, I was really proud of myself for finally understanding that people like to talk about themselves, and the more they talk, and the more you listen, the better your friendship gets. He's a really cool guy, Elder M.

I also found out that after listening to him for around 10 minutes talk about a girl he's hoping to marry at home, he asked me about girls back home. I just said a few sentences about my life, and he immediately offered words of advice about it. He was so willing to help me out I was astonished, to be honest.

I dunno if that's just too much, but I was really proud that I managed to hold back my personal desire to share with him my life and just let him talk.

Hmm... What else is there? I really can't think of a ton.

Oh yeah! No money in the bank since 2 Mondays ago. I'm gonna have to withdraw a few bucks to keep us afloat here. I honestly don't know where my companion's money goes. I have around 400 pesos left from my withdrawal on my Mission Card, and he's literally down to 3 pesos in total. I just don't know how he manages to lose it all. oh well. Hopefully he'll reimburse me. So, in advance, I'm really sorry to have to withdraw a little from the account, but we really won't be able to function without a little help.

Alright. I'd say that's it. Kind of a bum-out letter again this week. Sorry. I should be more positive huh?

I just keep looking forward to the day where I get transferred out. Then the burdens of this ward will be lifted and I can start fresh.

Good luck with your tests, Tennis matches, friendships, jobs, and whatever else you need it for.

I pray for you guys every day. Well, every day but Sunday. Sunday I pray for you guys AND Jack. Cuz, well, he just needs blessings once a week. He's so dang lazy he probably doesn't even use the blessings I give him.

Alright. I'm done. Really. Love you all to little itty-bitty bits. Kinda creepy, but true.

Take care.

Elder Carter

Monday, January 6, 2014

Well, this is just fantastic.

Hola familia! How are things going?

This week was really hard for me. Even though I'm trying my hardest, I still feel like I'm not successful.

Well, before I really get into anything, did I tell you guys that on my way here I saw two dead dogs, with one that had all of it's guts hanging out? Great stuff here in TJ.

Okay, so this week has been one of the hardest I've had so far.
 But I'm not gonna be one to cejarme, so I'll just get to the good stuff.

1.) This first picture is of a testimony of C, the little girl that we baptized. I dunno if you guys can read it, but it's pretty awesome. I felt so happy that she wrote it for us.

2.) This is a picture of a car that has a hole in the window that was made fairly recently. In fact, I'd say someone broke into it the day before.

Oh, and the story about Grandpa leaving his van overnight and finding the battery, radio and spare tire stolen is true.

Yeah. I can actually see that happening. (By the way, the gas station is spelled OXXO, not OXO.) If you leave ANY car in ANY place that isn't secure, they'll just take whatever they want from it. It's Mexico, not like anyone really cares. Heck, that's the same reason why as missionaries we aren't allowed to take out our money or electronics unless we KNOW it's completely safe, or we're inside a house. So yeah, I can see that. I dunno if it was the manager or not. It depends on the size of the OXXO. Some have cameras facing the parking lot, so if it was just a po-dunk barely functioning OXXO that probably had like 5 products total, yeah, I'd bet the manager. If it was a relatively bigger OXXO, I'd say it was some friend of the managers.

Hmmm.... What else happened this week?

We found a ton of new investigators through street contacting, but unfortunately only 1 of them has actually been at their home. That's the most depressing part about this. We can contact people all day and fill our agenda for the next year if we wanted to, but we'd probably find about 2 or 3 people that are home and REALLY want to listen to us instead of just say it so the annoying kids in ties will go away.

I'd say that is the hardest part about my mission. The failure.

I have failed in so much stuff the past few months it's unreal. My ward council isn't doing anything, which is my fault. I haven't been pushing them enough.

I haven't had a single Baptism since Brother A. Again, my fault. I haven't been working hard enough.

I haven't found a single new investigator that got baptized since Sister M. Again, my fault. I'm just not doing enough to get them to church.

I could go on for days.

Do you guys ever have those periods where you just feel like everything you do doesn't matter?

I hit a point like that this week. I literally did all possible. I planched hardcore. I literally told the Ward Council that they don't care about the eternal salvation and welfare of souls. I told Brother I. and Sister M. (two people we've been teaching) that the ONLY way to show to the Lord that his blessings are important to them is by doing what we leave. My companion and I sat down and had one of the strongest, most spiritual, most incredible lesson I've ever taught. I KNOW I was speaking by the Spirit. Nothing changed. Not a single thing in the whole world changed. They didn't come to church. Even though they PROMISED with EVERY SINGLE FIBER OF THEIR BEING that they would, they didn't.

Success shouldn't be determined by things like that, but I look around and see other Elders in my District that are basically in the font all day that I can't even begin to describe how sad I am.

Sorry this is so depressing. I really am, but I just can't help it. This whole week has just been super tough, and I've had to relearn a lot. Heck, I was about ready to head home again.

Thanks for all your support. I really appreciate it. Although it doesn't seem like it, I really do appreciate everything you guys do for me.

Have a good week, and I'll see you all next Monday.

Elder Carter