Monday, June 15, 2015

The last of them all.

Well, my family, friends, and all others who are on my list here, this is it. It has finally come to an end. My mission as we know it has officially reached a closing point.

In one week, I shall be once again as a normal person. I will be Coby once more.

This week I just want to talk about the blessings I have received and talk about how I feel and stuff like that. Just basically, finish my mission emails with the best one I've got.

So, to start off, I just want to say that I honestly didn't expect the mission to be this way when I got here. I honestly didn't think that I would have so many difficulties or heartbreaks or setbacks or low points.

However, I didn't think I'd ever get to the point I'm at now. I never thought I'd be the person I am after 2 years of service.

Looking back, i can see that there are a couple things I wish I could have done different, but they aren't things that are really big, such as contacting more, or trying to just find anyone possible using every last bit of willpower, strength, knowledge and wit to do it. Like, honestly, I wasn't a perfect missionary in that sense.

But I can also see that there are many things I wouldn't have any different. I wouldn't change my companions, my converts, my experiences, my friends, or even my wards.

I can see now in my mission that I've changed a lot not because of me, but because I've let God change me. I've come to understand a little more what it means to let God change you.

I came to understand this doctrine a little while back. I believe it to be 100% true:

God doesn't send us on a mission to baptize. He sends us on a mission to change us, and make us who He needs us to be.

Just think about that. God doesn't need me to baptize anyone, because he can do it on his own.

Besides, at the very end of everything, every single person will have had a baptism, either on the earth or in the Spirit World, and every single person will choose to reject or accept that baptism.

So honestly, me being here doesn't really mean a whole lot. Especially since there are SO MANY PEOPLE in this mission.

However, He DOES need me to serve Him later on in other capacities, and unless I am in His service, I will not be the Servant he needs.

Now, I'm not saying that it's not important to baptize, of course it is, and of course, I'm here to help people come unto Christ.

But if I had worked with all I had and brought not a single person to the waters of baptism, it wouldn't matter, because God just needs me to give effort so He can change me. That's the whole point of the mission. Not baptize a ton, but to save your soul.

I believe that God has done that here. I believe that Heavenly Father, although hopeful that His sons and daughters will accept me, sent me here to turn me into the person I am today. That's what this was all about.

I've received a lot in His service. I honestly thought that by serving a mission, I'd pay off the debt I owe Him, but that proved completely false, because I can never repay Him anyway, but even then, I just accrued more debt while on the mission anyway.

For starters, I've learned a second language, and I've become very proficient at it. Everyone says that apart from the people who learned Spanish and English together, I'm one of the best North American speakers in the entire mission. That's a great blessing that has been given me.

Next, I've become much more charitable. I know I wasn't so nice before, but I feel like I've grown a lot and learned how to love. Before, it took me quite a bit of willpower to even give a compliment to someone, but now, I love doing it. It's a big change, but an even bigger blessing.

After that comes knowledge. I've come to know SO MUCH about a lot of things: The culture of Mexico (which includes anything from government to manners to standard food), bikes (I have learned a lot about bikes here in Ensenada. I know the names for almost all the parts, and I can probably fix the majority of the problems there are), Scriptures, clothing, cleaning, studying, and a slew of other things. I could just sit here all day talking about it. But God has definitely blessed me to come to understand a lot more about many things, and I feel that this knowledge that I have will be put to good use later.

Another thing I've been blessed with is patience. Honestly, if I were to pick any one thing that I have received in the mission more than anything else, it would either be humility or patience. I've grown SO much more patient than I was before. Not saying I'm perfect in patience, but I endure a lot longer than I did before the mission, and I am able to hold out under pressure a lot more than I did before.

Something else I want to mention as a blessing is good friends. I've met a lot  of people on my mission. Missionaries and members and investigators alike. And almost every one of themn has become a very dear friend to me. Many of my companions are still excited to talk to me and see how I'm doing. In fact, there are 3 of them that are writing me even after their mission, and that are excited to talk to me when I'm home. I've got people who want me to come back and see them ASAP so they can say goodbye to me, and I know there's a bunch of others that I've met that would gladly accept me in their home once more.

Honestly, I can't name all the blesssings I've got, bceause I'm sure I'm still going to receive more in the future, but these are just some of the most important blessings I've received.

I want to thank all of you for your support. Every week, my Mom was emailing me, and she constantly told me about how many of you were asking how I was doing, or wondering when I was going to be home, and I know that all of that support has been manifest in prayers. Thank you all for everything.

I hope you've all enjoyed reading my emails these past 2 years. I've come to grow up a lot, and I hope you can see that throughout the letters.

Speaking of letters, I gotta finish this last one.


Yeah, I said it in Spanish.

Luz Elena - She's set to be baptized. She asked me to baptize her, which is very humbling. I'm so excited to be able to finish the mission with a baptism. Everything is set with her.

Juanita - She should be baptized this week, but we just gotta find her and get everything set up. We're planning or, but we're going to see. Everything should be set for her too.

Fernando - Didn't come to church this week, and we don't know why. We're headed to his house to see what happened. He is progressing really well. He's read up to 2 Nephi, so he's honestly doing everything he can to stay in the church.

last time for fun stuff

1.) Well, to start off, last week, right after P-Day finished, we went to visit a guy we had contacted, when all of a sudden, an ambulance tears around the corner and passes by, and stops in front of the house we were going to visit. We went up, and turns out that the guy we were going to visit had a seizure. Well, we couldn't teach him all that week because of that... So, we're going to try a few more times this week to see what happens.

2.) We got rid of the bikes!

That's right. We're going on foot for my last week. Elder Cruz and I decided that it was better to go without them because they were causing too many problems. Also, Elder Cruz's bike was about to break anyway, so we just gave it back to the member, and I gave my bike away to a member that just recently had his stolen. I honestly felt really good giving it to him, because he really needs it. I just hope he chains it up this time...

3.) I played Tennis in the mission for the last time. Here's a picture of me with Jeffrey, one of the members who has been playing with me. I play better than he does, but he gave me a good match because of how rusty I am. I taught him how to serve and he started practicing and was really happy about it.

4.) Last picture is a picture of some statues that are on the top of pyramids in the state of Hidalgo in Mexico. There are som REALLY cool stuff I'd like to discuss about this statue with Mom and Dad later. It's awesome.

Okay, well, that's it. This is the end of the line. Here I raise my Ebeneezer. Hither by Thy help I've come.

May Heavenly Father bless you always, and may you always be close to Him, whoever you are, wherever you are, and in whatever circumstances you may be in.

Love you all dearly. See you next week. Literally.

Elder Carter

Monday, June 8, 2015

Pues ya valio la mision, verdad?


Luz Elena - Progressing super fast. Comes to church, and absolutely loves everything we teach. Pays tithing, and she even is sharing everything we teach her with her friends at work. She says it's the only thing we talk about. The only thing with her is that she asked us what it takes to become a preistess..... (That's how it's spelled right? Spanish has killed my spelling in English, and I STILL don't know how to spell well in Spanish...) So we're going to have to tell her flat out that women in the church can't hold the Preisthood... Who knows how she's going to take that. I'm sure it will be fine.

Fernando - He's a neighbor of Luz Elena that she invited awhile ago but never progressed. He actually changed and came to church this last Sunday. He said a super powerful prayer, and asked to get a triple so he could read Doctrine and Covenants. Honestly, just a really crazy cool miracle with him too.

Candelaria - The old lady that came to the open house. This last week, she said she didn't want to listen, so we showed up at her house, and she accepted again, and then accepted a baptismal date. Really nice, but she forgets everything.... Poor lady. She's 82 though, so it's understandable.

Juanita - This is the last week she's in Tijuana. By Saturday, she's back here. We're going to hope and pray that she returns with Maria de la Paz.


1.) I was sitting on a corner with my companion, thinking about what we were going to do, when all of a sudden, this dog comes walking up to us. He smells a bush, does his business, and then I whistled to see if I could pet him.

He answered my turning around and throwing dirt at me with his paws.

We laughed a ton about that.

2.) Picture of the collection of toys that one lady in our ward has. There's so many things here from Disney and other famous cartoons. It's pretty cool.

3.) I feel bad that I'm sending a picture of me and my companion after a month with him, but here it is. Elder Cruz and I. We almost look like identical twins. Many people have said that.

4.) I played Tennis again today. I'm starting to regain my technique, but my physical condition is shot to pieces. I'm probably going to need more time to just get my condition up again than to get back into the groove of playing well. But I really don't know. I'm just enjoying the tennis, honestly. They want to play again on my last P-Day in the mission, so it's the plan.

5.) I can't believe I have 2 weeks left. It's just insane to think that this time next month, I will be home. Like, my mind just doesn't seem to understand that I will not be going to a new area. Do not pass Go. Do not collect 100 dollars. It will be finish game. I guess that's good though. It means I won't be focused on going home, but on the mission.

6.) We contacted this guy that started telling us he studied Theology and that he knew the histories of almost every church ever, and he began to explain that Jesus Christ is the truth, and therefore, I don't need a church and I don't know what more. But honestly, he was a pretty smart guy, but just wasn't willing to receive spiritual knowlege. The scripture from Nephi came to my head:

2 Ne. 9:28-29 "When they are learned they think they are wise... wherefore their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not."

It was so true with this guy. Super smart, very alert, and honestly, a really down-to-earth guy, compared with the maniacs we constantly find, but he just thought he was much better than God with his secular knowledge. It made a lot more sense to me that scripture.

Well, this marks 2 weeks. Exactly 15 days from now, I will no longer be a missionary. I'm excited, but kinda sad at the same time. I will be working hard until the end though. I'm stoked to get my work done and finish up.

Next email will be my last one in the mission, I believe. If not, it's not that important, because the last one I send 2 Mondays from now will just be saying good-bye to the mission. I think I'll be able to do it, but we'll see.

In any case, I just want to review a couple things I've learned in the mission in this letter, and in the last one, I'll just talk about the blessings.

1.) I've learned to be less proud.

Before the mission, I honestly thought I was pretty hot stuff. I got here and realized that I may know a thing or two, but everyone else knows much more than I do.

I feel like I've definitely learned how to be more humble about what I can do, or who I am. I've learned now that I need not be recognized for things I do good to know that I do them good.

2.) I've learned to be interested in others.

Before the mission, I honestly didn't care much about other people. I was just focused on how I felt, or what I wanted. It didn't even pass through my brain that other people were people too, you know?

Now, I've learned that I'm not the only person who has hopes and dreams in this world. I'm not the only one who wants to talk about cool stuff I have heard, said, or done. I'm not the only one who wants people to know about me. Everyone else has the same desires I have.

3.) I've learned that things happen outside of my universe, and that my perception of things isn't the only one out there.

Before the mission, I never understood that outside of what I perceive, there is something more. I never really quite got the idea that things happen without me being there.

Now, I understand that things happen outsideof what I see or know, and that my perception of things is just what I think, and it's not fact. My ideas and experiences do not change the fact that other people have their ideas and experiences, that may or may not be different from those that I have.

4.) I've learned what a testimony is.

Before the mission, I honestly didn't understand what the term "testimony" meant. I thought I had one, and I thought I knew all about that.

Now, I understand that a testimony isn't just saying things that you were taught, but it is, in fact, a statement of something you truly do understand and know.

It's not that I need to believe teachings, it's that I need to know for myself that the teachings are correct and true and real, and not that they are good things that will logically bring good things into your life.

5.) I've learned how to be a leader.

Before the mission, I thought a leader was the guy who had to take decisions, make people do things, or even try to get people to see things his way so that everything ran smoother.

Now, I understand, since I've been a follower, that leaders like that do not get the best results. The best leader is the one who only wants what is best for everyone, and not according to HIS perspective, but according to EVERYONE'S perspective. If you want people to follow you, the first thing you need to do is let them know that they will follow you in places THEY want to go. The best results come from working in a team, and a leader isn't there to make the team do what he wants done, but to coordinate and help the team to achieve their full potential through constant guiding. Of course, there will be times where the leader understands better than the rest, but the large majority of the time, the leader is there to make sure that everything happens according to what the group wants, and what would be the best for the group.

6.) I've been redeemed.

Before the mission, honestly, I doubt I could have received the salvation necessary in order to be saved. Quite frankly, I doubt I would have achieved anything at all because of who I was, and my attitude.

Now, I've become someone who has been saved. I have become someone who has the chance to achieve a very great potential, and I honestly believe that as long as I just keep the commandments, I will end up okay at the end of everything.

There are a lot more things I've learned, but those are the biggest ones. My mission has taught me a lot more than I could have possibly learned in any other situation or place. And I know that God sent me here to learn those things. They will bless me more than anything else in the world.

Next week will be blessings, and then I'll be home to be able to talk about everything with all of you.

Thank you for all the support, love, and kindness you've all shown me. I honestly have been so blessed to be able to have such a family and friends such as you.

Have a great week. See you soon.

Elder Carter

Monday, June 1, 2015

Working on it

I have just a little bit of time to write right now, so I'll just be as quick as I can.


Luz Elena - progressing a ton. She's definitely going to be baptized my last week in the mission. We're so excited for that. Honestly a God send. She's so awesome. She has some really weird ideas about God and religion, but she said something that just made me understand the power of God. She grabbed a Book of Mormon and said:

"I know what is in here, in this religion, and in what you are teaching me, is all true. And I know that the ideas that I have are not. That is why I'm so glad you teach me."

She feeds us every time we go to her house, and she's invited her whole block to listen to us while we're there. She is so chosen.

This next one will surprise you...

JUANITA! That's right! We returned with Juanita for a last-ditch attempt to put an appointment and see if we couldn't get her to agree. We showed up, and her son had taken her to the doctor, she talked with him, and EVERYTHING fell into place. She has to leave the city for 2 weeks, but when she gets back, she says she will be baptized. Which means, I will have TWO baptisms for my last week in the mission! How awesome is that? We're just waiting on her now and praying that she stays at her current apartment when she returns.


1.) On Tuesday, I found chewed gum in my soup. That was honestly disgusting.

2.) The next day, I got sick and nearly killed myself just going out and working anyway. I had the cold, and I honestly had to force myself to walk all that day. I wouldn't have handled the bikes. Beacuse of that, we didn't contact, and we still got planched. That's always fun right?

3.) I found out that our District Leader HIT A TRUCK on his bike. And left a dent. Our Zone Leaders now know that we aren't kidding when we say he's a little hard to handle.

4.) I'm still sick since Wednesday. Not as bad, but I lost my voice on Friday, and I still don't have all of it today. It's kinda rough, but whatever. I'll deal with it. Speaking Spanish with a stuffy nose is the worst.

Okay, well, I've got 22 days left in the mission. Which means in just a few weeks, I will be back home. It's been a good ride. A hard struggle, a rough battle, but a good ride nonetheless. I've learned a lot in my 2 years, and I've come to understand a lot about who God is, and who I am. And more than anything else, I've got my own (albeit small) testimony of the Gospel. I know that the church is true, and I can finally say that I have received my witness for myself. It didn't come easy or quickly or in a way I expected, but it did come.

So, 2 years is definitely worth the price you pay. Thanks for all the support and the love. I really need it sometimes, and it helps to know that I've got a lot of people on my side.

See you all later.

Elder Carter