Saturday, November 29, 2014

Missions are not easy, but they're certainly worth it.‏

 November 24, 2014

Good morning folks!

It's been a pretty great week in Carolina Norte. We definitely taught some great lessons this week and I continue to learn more about the Gospel and about myself.

I'll just go through the highlights of the week for ya:

Tuesday we helped with the baptism of an 8-year old in the branch. Being in a branch is super fun because the missionaries do EVERYTHING. We set up the Sacrament on Sundays, we interpret for all the meetings, we give blessings, we clean people's yards, counsel recent converts, and even escort old ladies to the pulpit. It's really a blast. But this baptism was different because it was in Spanish, which means the interpreting was done in English. I had the honors of interpreting. It felt kind of strange, but it worked out nicely. Something I've definitely seen on my mission is the Gift of Tongues and the Gift of Interpretation of tongues. Whenever I interpret, I feel the power of those gifts. It's like the words just flow. But the baptism was great and very spiritual. I enjoyed having the opportunity to serve.

On Wednesday we didn't do too much, nothing to report at least. But we did visit a man named J. He stays in assisted living because of cancer and some mental disorders, but he's great. We go over and talk with him and share spiritual thoughts, and give him blessings of comfort. It's funny, every time we go he either asks for a dollar or some candy. I usually carry some Werther's with me, so I always give him a few. But that's not the point. The point is that when you visit the sick and afflicted, you feel something very special. You're just filled with love that you can't even really describe. I left his room feeling very uplifted and I went to bed with a smile on my face that night.

Thursday we had a great lesson with our baptismal date, A. We talked about the Holy Ghost and the Gift of the Holy Ghost and how to recognize answers to prayers and things like that. At this point, he really REALLY has a desire to know if the Book of Mormon is true. He says he hasn't received an answer yet (that he knows of), but he will keep reading. I think the key with him will be getting him to church. We're hoping to get somebody over there to fellowship with him this week so he doesn't have to go alone. But please pray that he gets an answer to his prayers! That will make all the difference in the world!

On Friday we did a surprise visit with our old friends O and P. We got there and they hadn't changed a bit. They're old and unhealthy, so they don't move much haha. O just loves us. She calls us her "adopted sons." She said something really funny. "When I"m healthy and can get out of this chair then we'll dance." But she's super exaggerated especially when she feels the Spirit. She always talks out loud and claims it's the voice of God speaking through her. I still don't know whether to believe her or not. But we gave her a blessing of health and she was really happy that we stopped by. We talked briefly about prophets and she said "I hope you two become the greatest prophets that have ever walked this earth." We'll see about that haha.

Sunday was a pretty big day. We had been preparing for a few months for a fireside that we had last night. Brother West, the branch mission leader, wasn't expecting anyone to show up. So we originally set it up in the relief society room. But people just kept coming and coming! We weren't even expecting thirty, but I think we had almost sixty in attendance! That made me super happy. So the fireside was great! We had a member of the stake presidency speak to us about conversion. And I sang again! I sang "I Need Thee Every Hour." The song was great, and actually in my range this time. I really enjoyed it. I think between that and the great speaker and fellowship, the fireside was a big success. Definitely made my night. Well week, actually.

So that was my week! We had a lot of fun this week raking up leaves and teaching lessons! Although serving a mission is by far the hardest thing I've ever done, it's all worth it for the joy that it brings.

Have a fantastic week!

-Elder Landon Carroll
Landon received an "orange" package from his family for Halloween!
Landon saw this "tractor-tron" on the road.

Monday, November 24, 2014

It's A Miracle!

 Landon is visiting a funeral home in this picture.  I really didn't get the story, but a little odd!
November 17, 2014

Pues....good morning!

Another week has passed in the missionary life of Elder Carroll. I can call myself that now because there's only one Elder Carroll ;) It's been a pretty good week. We didn't do too much this week, but we did witness some miracles.

I'll just go ahead and get right into it. Y'all know our investigators M and A? Well three weeks ago they were bombarded by anti-Mormon information. We thought they were gone, but the Spirit told us not to give up yet. So here's the news. M is still indifferent about the church, but A has a baptismal date for the 3rd of January! He started to read the Book of Mormon and with that I guess he forgot about all the negative things he read on the internet. In his prayer at the end of the lesson, he said "Lord also please bless my brother M. Even if he doesn't decide to become a Mormon, please help him to find the right path." That implies that A is planning on becoming a Mormon! How great is that? So we'll have hopefully a quick visit with him tomorrow and then a church tour on Thursday to really help him dive into progression. So that's the miracle for the week.

Here's a funny story. You know that man we talked to who claims he's Moses reincarnated? Well we went over to help him rake leaves on Thursday. He's under the impression that God has called him to save people's lives. He says "when I go to sleep at night, I leave my body and I go around the world to save people. I appear in their rooms as a beam of light and then save their lives. Like one time I went to the home of a woman in India. She was sitting at her desk in her office and I go and whisper to her that she needs to leave the room. So she left and then about ten seconds later a tree comes and destroys the whole room." Crazy, right? We're under the impression that he's either super out of his mind, or was visited by and angel of light (of the devil) or both. We attempted to teach him the restoration, but he thinks he's a prophet himself so we'll definitely have to approach the situation at a different angle. He said "God give me power to do things. Hopefully next month he give me power and I can bless you." So...we'll see what happens there haha.

Right now as a missionary, I'm working on building my confidence back up as a teacher. These last three weeks have been pretty hard so I'm trying to rebuild myself a little bit. Satan has a way of confusing missionaries into thinking they're inadequate, not good enough. But it's our job to push out those negative voices and do what we were called to do! That is, bring souls unto Christ!

We've been studying a lot lately as a companionship about what it means to truly be converted to the Gospel. Have you ever asked yourself if you are truly converted? Do you have no disposition to do evil? Are you constantly seeking to be like Christ? Do you constantly seek the companionship of the Holy Ghost? Are you not just "going through the motions," but actually living the Gospel with a purpose? If not, then figure out what you need to do to be more converted, and do it! (I take the liberty as a representative of Jesus Christ do do missionary work even on my family and friends. Ha!)

But that was my week. We're having a lot of success and witnessing miracles. Even though this work is hard, it's not impossible. We just trust in the Lord and keep walking.

Have a fantastic week!

-Elder Carroll
Landon thought the little geese in this picture were strange...they kind of look like some sort of turkey or hen to me.  Any thoughts from the blog readers out there?

Another Week Already?

November 10, 2014

Good morning!

Here I am trying to think about what I actually did this week. It's kind of hard to just think on one week when they all seem to just mesh together. So I'll start with the investigators/work.

So Monday was just preparation day, nothing to report. But Tuesday we had some good stuff. All of our appointments fell through during the day, but we definitely had some success in the evening! We had an exchange with Brother Lowrimore. He's 78 years old and is in the middle of fighting stage 4 cancer. Pretty impressive actually. But he was super funny. I don't know what it is, but I love talking with old people. It just makes me happy. So he went to an appointment with us and when we asked him to introduce himself, he just started bearing his testimony. That works I guess! The name of the man we visited is J. He's a referral from the sisters who is supposedly golden. The only hang up he has is that he doesn't believe in modern day prophets. Brother Lowrimore's testimony really helped diffuse some of that. He's a convert of about three years, so he was able to tell his conversion story and invite J to "soften his heart" and listen to the Spirit. I think J felt the Spirit that night, so hopefully he gains a testimony soon.
On Wednesday we taught a young man named M. I think I might have mentioned him last week, but he's 14 and we had a great lesson with him. Brother West, the branch mission leader, was with us, so the lesson was super powerful. M has a hard time believing in God because he "allowed his grandpa to die from cancer" so we really tried to hit on a few key points of the Plan of Salvation: "Why is life full of hardships?" and "Where do we go after we die?" We might have actually blown his mind with some of the doctrine we were throwing down, but he's a smart kid and he understood everything. We had him say the prayer and invited him to start praying to God every night, so hopefully he comes on top with a strong belief in God.
Thursday we had interviews with President. Let me tell you, President Bernhisel is an inspired man. With the keys he possesses, he basically knows exactly what each missionary is going through and what kind of missionary they are. But that was a good interview. He helped me to address some concerns I had about myself and about the mission and now I feel more ready to move forward and continue working. After that, I went up to Dunn for exchanges with Elder Mora. Elder Mora is a really great missionary and we had a lot of fun together. From the exchange, I definitely learned that I need to learn to invite the Spirit better during lessons. We have a few investigators who would really benefit from a spiritual experience. *hint M and A*

On Friday we had a great lesson with a new investigator named G. She's an old black woman who was just curious as to what we could bring to the table. So we taught the Restoration and it was REALLY spiritual. She understood everything, including the great apostasy, and when we asked her when we could come by again she said "I was actually gonna ask y'all when you could come back." That's a good sign! That means she felt the Spirit!

Not too much to report about the Weekend. Just church and eating food haha. Nobody came to church this week, so we definitely need to work a little harder on that.

So that's about it. We had a lot of success this week and I'm glad to be part of this great work.

Until next week,

-Elder Landon Carroll

Exito...Mucho Mejor

November 3, 2014

Hello everyone!

Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween. Mine was definitely pretty.....missionary-y. But I'll get into that later.

So last week in my letter I talked a lot about investigators that we had discontinued teaching, lack of interest, lack of success, and some unfruitful hard work. But this week was not like that! We were able to really go out and work and we found nine new investigators! And they're all pretty well interested! That just goes to show that the Lord promises success to those that consecrate their lives to Him and work hard.

So on Wednesday we had a branch fall festival. The saddest part about that is that more people attended than we ever see on Sundays. I imagine it has something to do with free food? I don't know really. Maybe if we just made the Sacrament bread a little bigger, more people would come to church. We often talk with our branch mission leader, Brother West, about how we need to go out and baptize people that will "stick." You know, the kind of converts that don't just get baptized and then fall off the radar. It's really sad when that happens. Right now we're focusing our efforts on truly finding the elect who will hear the voice of the Lord when He calls, know it's Him, and then hold onto the iron rod all the way to the end. So with that being said, one convert who is truly committed to living the Gospel is far better to have than ten converts who don't ever come to church. But enough of the rambling. Let's talk about the investigators we saw this week....

A and M: So we went over to their house one more time just to really hold them accountable for judging the church by what they read on the internet and then choosing not to act on the information given directly from the source. So we invited them to really investigate and find out if Joseph Smith truly was a prophet of the Lord. So they will have hopefully started reading and praying about the Book of Mormon.

M: He's a fourteen year old boy who claims he's agnostic. I believe it's more of just a "I don't see the importance of God so why believe in Him" kind of thing. We had a cold lesson with him last night outside his apartment and we talked a lot about the purpose of life, God, and commandments. We left him with a Plan of Salvation pamphlet to read so hopefully he comes to us with some good questions. He's a very logical thinker, so it should all make sense to him.

F: F is a black man with dreads who believes in Rustufarianism. If you're not familiar with that religion, I encourage you to look into it. It's actually quite interesting. Basically he believes that life is what you make it and that everything is somehow an illusion that we have to overcome. So we're gonna teach him the Restoration next time. The funny thing about him is when he introduced himself he said "My name is can call me Cowboy." Haha so now we just call him cowboy haha.

C: C is a twenty-one year old who's life is just not where it should be. From the sounds of things, he has no clear direction of where he wants to go. He said that he's investigated many different religions, but never ours. So we taught him the Restoration yesterday (in the cold) and invited him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. We're hoping he gets an answer because he said if he comes to find out that this is the way God wants him to go, he'll get baptized.

So those are just a few of the investigators we're working with right now. Of course we have more, but to keep things concise, I'll just focus on the ones that you don't know about.

As for Halloween, it was pretty fun. We didn't do anything apostate, but we were able to enjoy the day still. I remember the whole day I just had this feeling that I wanted to go to a haunted house. I'm not the biggest on those, but you want what you can't have right? But we didn't do that. We went tracting for most of the day and had a few very solid contacts. President told us not to do anything after 6 pm unless we had appointments scheduled, so we stayed in for the night. We went to the church and finished weekly planning and then afterward....BASKETBALL. I kind of miss being able to play every week in Pinehurst, but I don't think my body does. As we speak, my back hurts, my knees are aching, and my ankles are stiff. I guess that's what happens when you go all out for two hours not having played for a month. But it was still fun! Definitely a good stress reliever for me. Speaking of basketball, I was thinking about the NBA on Halloween and about how obsessed I was before my mission. Something that I've come to realize since being on my mission is that there are more important things in life. Am I ever gonna stop loving basketball and video-games and stuff like that? Probably not. But there are better things to do. We really should focus on spending time with our families and enjoying the time that we have with them. I guess YOLO would apply in that situation haha. I wish I had realized that before my mission.

There I am rambling again. Well overall, this was a great week. It felt long, but now that I look back, I see what I learned and how I've grown. My testimony of Christ has definitely been strengthened this week. It took me a long time to actually comprehend the fact that Christ is my personal Savior. He knows me perfectly because He's experienced everything I have and ever will. Through His Atonement, everything that is unfair about life can be made right. Living the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way for us to be truly happy, and it's absolutely the only way that we can return to live with our Father in Heaven.

I hope y'all have a great week. Thanks for all the prayers my way. And once again, WELCOME HOME DALLIN!

-Elder Landon Carroll

Monday, October 27, 2014

Back to the Drawing Board

October 27, 2014

Good morning everyone!

Another great week has passed in North Carolina. Every week here presents its own challenges and difficulties, but I always come out having learned something new! Whether that be emotionally, physically, or spiritually, the experiences I have here present great opportunities for growth.

So about that subject up there ^. The reason I say "back to the drawing board" is because that's where we've come to. Over a series of events, most of our teaching pool has been depleted and we have a lot of doors to knock!

So here's a few things that happened.....

O and P, the people we thought were GOLDEN attended their own church last Sunday and...they apparently loved it. They hadn't been in years so returning rekindled the excitement that they used to have for their church. So O gave us a call (while I was napping during lunch. Yes, we're allowed to nap. In this mission we get an hour break for meals so I wasn't being disobedient I promise! If you don't agree with that, I encourage you to read Mosiah 4:27 :)) and she said that she appreciates all that we taught her but she'd like to stay with her church. We then visited P the next day and he said the same thing. He knows the Book of Mormon to be the word of God, but he won't take any action. We plan to visit them again when O is there to see if we can save their souls :)

A and M had an interesting experience as well. They gave us a call and told us that they had read some stuff that they were just weirded out by (such as becoming a God, temple ordinances, etc) and that they had a lot of questions for us. So we met with them and they're convinced by all this anti Mormon stuff they're reading that Mormonism is a Satanic cult and that we are a lost people. He said he wants proof that the church is true and that Joseph Smith was actually a prophet. We explained to him the need for faith and asking God if these things are true, but he doesn't like that answer. So we plan to see them one more time and be a LITTLE more bold and see if they take some action in reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. So I'll keep y'all posted on them.

All of the other investigators and potential investigators are either uncontactable or just flat out don't show any interest. And that leads us into this week. We have lots of plans to go out and knock doors(because knocking doors works in Clinton) this week and hopefully we have a lot of success with that. During accounting with our District Leader last night he was like "Your teaching pool went from 17 last week to 5 this week. What happened Elders?" Haha kind of sad but that's just how the cookie crumbles sometimes en la obra misional.

Oh, here's a story for ya. We talked to Moses on Tuesday! Moses! In the flesh! Hahaha it was this black guy from Panama who spoke Spanish who believes in reincarnation. He said that in his last life he was a fish in the Amazon River. I asked him how he knew and he said that God showed him. And then he said "Like I also know I was Moses." So that was pretty crazy. Haha maybe I'll say a prayer tonight to find out who I used to be. I'm hoping I was Nephi!

So that was some of my week for ya. Something I've seen out here is that every day is super hard in its own way, but every night I get ready for bed and I'm able to look back on the fruits of the day and kind of just smile. It's something that's hard to explain unless you've experienced it for yourself, but it is true.

Love y'all,

-Elder Landon Carroll

Monday, October 20, 2014

Changes On the Way

October 20, 2014

Que tal!

Wow I really can't believe it's already been a week. Time really does fly on the mission. I was just thinking the other day that I started college over a year ago...what. I guess those are just symptoms of someone who's trying their best to serve the Lord.

As far as the mission goes, I'm loving it. I'm kind of a non conformist in most things, but I've found recently that just embracing the mission (culture, life, etc) is the best thing to do and the best way to have fun. Something that I learned this week was that there are disappointments all over the place! But it's when we focus on the things that really matter, the constants in our lives, that we're able to look past the negative and find joy.

With that, this week was pretty great. On Tuesday, we had another lesson with O and P and....K. This one went pretty well. We ended up teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them and they ate it up! P was asleep when we got there, but woke up 30 minutes later with a "when did y'all get here?" Haha. Anyways, K was less aggressive this time, so we were able to help him understand some things. He's trying to find out right now if the Book of Mormon is true (which it is) so we'll see how that goes tomorrow. I'm hoping he's able to gain that testimony because he would be a very strong member. O should be coming to church this next Sunday for the first time, so that should be great. Hopefully she keeps the "amens" to a minimum haha.

Small miracle that really touched me. We went to an apartment complex to go contact some people and knock a few doors. We knocked on a door and a black man opened up. His name is D. He said he's not very religious but "she loves to talk religion." So he let us enter. We turned the corner and walked in the living room. A lady was sitting there on a bed watching TV. It looked like she had been bed ridden for a long time. Just to give you an image, she was probably about 400 pounds. It was apparent at that point that she was having a hard time and had had a hard life. So we introduced ourselves and then got to know each other a little bit. She said that she had faith in Christ, but had a lingering question for us. She said, "In the Bible it says God never gives us more than we can take. How is it that He knows how much we can take? How can He really understand?" So I whipped out the Book of Mormon and turned to Alma 7:11-12. I'll quote it for you:
" 11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities."

She then started to tear up and said that that's exactly what she needed to hear that day. She said that she used to have missionaries come over a lot, but she doesn't feel ready or worthy to have us come yet.  We left her the Book of Mormon and left the apartment feeling humbled and uplifted. That really touched me. It's amazing the small miracles that we witness as missionaries. Whether it's following the Spirit to find someone, seeing someone understand the Restoration, or just making people's day, it all builds my testimony in one way or another.

So the rest of the week wasn't too eventful. We weren't able to get anyone to church this week, but we are working hard and seeing the fruits of our labors. We don't have any scheduled baptisms, but be on the lookout :) We'll have some soon.

Hope you all have a wonderful week.

-Elder Landon Carroll

P.S. My companion, Elder Ostergar, has to go home for some time to have a knee surgery done. So we'll miss him for sure. My other companion, Elder Salvatierra, is very very sick right now with a stomach virus. Please pray that he gets well and that it doesn't spread to me!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Great week, but awwwww mannnnn

October 13, 2014

Good morning all!

It's a great Monday isn't it?

It was another eventful week here in Clinton. We had a lot of successes this week, and I'm definitely seeing growth in myself.

So on Monday night we had a dinner and "bible" study with a couple members. The dinner was yummy! Sister Tyndall made homemade biscuits and some yummy beef/cheese/sausage dip! So good. Then we ended up studying Preach My Gospel because it was only members there. We're gonna try to invite nonmembers this week so that next Monday is productive with that.

On Tuesday we had Zone Training Meeting to learn and account as a zone. Kind of like zone conference, but no President or assistants. I learned a lot about....missionary work haha. I did learn, but I can't think of what what was talked about at the moment. After that, Elder Wilkinson (one of the zone leaders) came to our area to help Elder Ostergar and I out. Elder Salvatierra went to their area with Elder Dewey. Oh and I forgot to tell y'all, Elder Dewey is my zone leader. He actually stayed at our apartment a couple weeks ago and I traded ties with him! He heads home next week actually, so we'll be getting a new zone leader I think. So anyways, we had a great lesson with O and P...and K. We walked into their trailer and K was there sitting on the couch next to O. Turns out he was O's brother and came to learn. So we started the lesson out and K just starts blazing! He just screamed southern baptist with the way he handled himself. He was drilling us with questions and concerns and we didn't even get to teach to the needs to O and P. So eventually he calmed down because he realized that we (like good little missionaries) didn't want to bash. So we started to teach him the Restoration. We taught all of the points and throughout the whole thing he kept asking us where the Book of Mormon came from. Finally we got to that point and were able to answer that question. So in the end, he was quiet and I think he felt the Spirit. He agreed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. I was really proud of myself after that lesson. We managed to keep the Spirit in there, regardless of his attitude toward it all .So he'll be there tomorrow so hopefully he feels good about the Book of Mormon.

On Wednesday we went to the Temple! This time was especially spiritual for me. I definitely caught some things that I didn't notice before. One thing that was emphasized to me was (not to reveal anything) that Christ truly did and does the will of the Father. There was nothing done in the Plan of Salvation without instruction given to Jesus Christ from Heavenly Father to prepare something. I just thought that was interesting. I also felt very peaceful in the Celestial room this time. I was just sitting in there and I felt nothing but peace. No worries, no grief, no anxiety. Just pure peace. And that's just a piece of what is to come in the eternities. After the temple we ate lunch and then later ate dinner with Rudy and Yamara. They're the people that tagged me in a picture on Facebook(but I wasn't there). We had some carne asada and it was super good!

Thursday nothing special happened.

Friday we got two new investigators and we were convinced they were golden! We had a good starting lesson, and they agreed to come to church. Their names are L and T. We were looking forward to seeing them!

On Sunday, all three of us Elders were assigned to speak on testimonies and how to get one. We spoke really well and definitely feel like we helped the members grow a lot. But L and T left during the rest hymn. I thought that was strange. They called us later that day and L left a message that said "Hi this is L. I'd like to cancel my appointment that I have with you guys at 4:30. I appreciate y'all inviting me out to come check out your church and see how your establishment works. I am interested no further." That really broke my heart. The truth was right there in front of them and they wouldn't accept it! They probably thought we worshiped Joseph Smith or something because of the talks we gave. Something I've learned from this is to respect people's agency. It's a real bummer, but that's how to we know who is elect and who's not.

The good news is that I'm feeling good about the area and myself as a missionary. The work is great and I can already say that I've changed a lot just from being out here and serving the Lord.

Love you all,

-Elder Landon Carroll

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Zone Conference and General Conference

October 6, 2014

Muy buenos dias!

It was another great week here in Clinton, NC. I thought I would never be able to replace Pinehurst, but this place is definitely living up to standards. I love how much work we do and how the branch is so dependent on the missionaries here. This puts a lot of pressure on us that we're willing and ready to take care of the needs of the members here.

The first thing to write about is Zone Conference on Wednesday. We had the opportunity to head up to Fayetteville to the Scotty Hill building to meet with President and Sister Bernhisel, the assistants, and the rest of the zone to receive instruction to better ourselves and our areas. It was really uplifting and I learned a lot about the importance of teaching to the needs of investigators. That's something we as a companionship have been working on and we've definitely seen the effects of it. As we really listen to the investigators and the Spirit, we're able to deliver our message much more effectively, to the point that it changes lives. I've really grown as a teacher here in Clinton just from having more experience and learning from Elder Salvatierra. He's a really good teacher, and it's helped me a lot listening to him. The other highlight of the meeting was....wait for it.....we got to watch MEET THE MORMONS early. President Bernhisel got a copy and it was fantastic. Family, the candy bomber guy is one of the the six people the film follows. His story is great! The others were great too, and I know y'all will enjoy it in theaters. After Zone Conference, I went up to Dunn to go on exchanges with Elder Mora, the district leader. We had some fun times and I was able to help him out in his area WHILE learning of course. Then we switched back the next day and continued on.

Just some information on some of our investigators. O and P are an old black couple(actually bro and sis) who live together. P is 70% blind and does not let people in the house. Interestingly enough, he told us that when we knocked on his door he could feel that we were good and he let us in. That was almost four weeks ago. They're both progressing amazingly because they're humble and ready. O is already in 2nd Nephi in the Book Of Mormon and he says "I don't understand how anyone can't believe that this is the word of God. All you got to do is read it and the truth speaks for itself." She's awesome. She then looked at me as I was teaching the Plan of Salvation and said "You have been through a change. Something in your past has made you a joyful person." I told her that it was because I was serving the Lord and she let out an "AMEN!" " Haha. So then we asked her about everything we were teaching and she said "I know it's all true because the Holy Spirit speaks to me every time you teach me." Golden I tell you! Then she said that she had been praying to find a church that would give her the knowledge she was looking for and then we showed up on her doorstep three days later. Miracle. She was especially excited when we told her about Spirit Prison and that everyone will have an opportunity to hear the Gospel and be baptized. She does this funny thing when she gets excited: "Ay ay ay ay ay ay! Lord have mercy!" She's the best. We have not committed them to a baptismal date yet, but they will be baptized in time. We invited them to pray about baptism and we'll follow up with that tomorrow when we see them next.

We're also teaching M and A. They're both in their early twenties. and they're looking for ways to be successful in life. They're very hard to teach because all they want is money....that kind of success. But they're hilarious and they actually have their own YouTube channel. I'll get the info for that next time so you can watch they're stuff. But they're not progressing very well due to lack of understanding, but we'll get there. I have faith.

So those are just a few investigators. There are many more, but those are just some of my favorite.

The next highlight of the week was General Conference. This conference was excellent. It's clear that we need to:
1. Gain our own testimonies at an early age
2. Listen to the prophets.
3. Fast
4. Understand the importance of the Sacrament.
5. Understand how to receive personal revelation
6. Literally prepare to meet God.
7. Don't get caught up in worldly distractions that limit progress

With that, I especially enjoyed Elder Nelson's talk (I took a little pride in telling my companions that he operated on my great-grandpa.). It's extremely important that we not only sustain the prophet, but follow Him. God tells us what we need to do through His prophet and we need to follow his counsel. I also loved Elder Oaks' talk. He always has an emphasis on "the world may change but God never changes." This is so true. There's so much in the world that just DOESN'T MATTER. We need to focus on what's important if we truly want to be happy, otherwise we'll just end up thirsting forever. We need to focus on the things that help us progress in this life. Is that not the purpose of life anyway? To progress?

So I hope that y'all enjoyed conference as much as I did. I'm really enjoying my mission so far. It's brought me a lot of growth and allowed me to see my potential. Thanks for all the prayers!

Con mucho amor,

Elder Landon Carroll

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Birthday and Popped Bicycle Tires

September 29, 2014

Good morning everyone!

First of all I would like to say that I had a WONDERFUL birthday. Even though I wasn't at home to celebrate with my family, I definitely felt the love of them. My mom sent me the best package ever, I ate some authentic tacos, and went to a Quinceñera! What could be better than that? Haha. 

Also, the work is amazing here. We have so many investigators it's super hard to keep up with them, but I'm sure that's a problem most missionaries wouldn't mind having. We taught a lot of great lessons, and I really saw the importance of teaching to needs this week. The people in Clinton are great, and they, like us, all have different issues/problems that they're going through. As my relationship with Christ has grown since I've been out here, I am now really able to testify of the healing and enabling powers of Christ's Atonement.               Every problem that any of us have can be directly overcome through the Atonement. It was in that dark hour of Christ's mortal life that He suffered every single thing that we can ever go through. I often think of that when I'm feeling down. The fact that Christ suffered everything I'm experiencing means that He's walking right beside me and knows how to help me.

Some funny things that happened this week. Haha get ready for this. On Tuesday, my rear tire popped, so we had to patch it at the apartment. On Thursday, Elder Salvatierra's rear tire popped as well, so we locked it to a sign and walked the 3 miles home. In fact, the bike is still sitting there haha. On my birthday, we rode like 8 miles to the Quinceñera and both of Elder Ostergar's tires popped, so we called the branch president and he took us home. So after Elder Salvatierra's bike flatted, we borrowed one of the sister's bikes, and now Elder Ostergar is using one too. But.....last night one of the sister's front tires popped on a nail! So that's a total of FIVE flat tires this week. We think it's a curse and that it won't cease until all the bike tires are popped. So we are on a journey today to buy new inner tubes. Oh the life of a missionary. 

As far as training goes, it's really fun. It's interesting working in a trio, but it's also really fun because we all like each other. The only hard part is making sure we all get our say in during lessons. But we actually do it really well.

We partied super hard at the Quinceñera on Saturday! Nah just kidding. We just ate some Hispanic food and then headed out. So worth the long bike ride! We sat with Freddy, our investigator, and he was super excited we came. I'll send some pictures of the event.

Well that's all the REALLY interesting things this week. It's not like Pinehurst where I can just write about every single thing we do because we are so busy. It's good to be busy though. It keeps us sane and happy.

I love you all and hope everything is well at home. You are all in my prayers. The work is amazing here and I'm really starting to find myself as an individual and as a missionary. Thanks for all the birthday wishes as well.

-Elder Landon Carroll
A view from Landon's new area, Clinton

Landon always sends pictures of cool cars and trucks
Landon has always called our Morkie dog "a buddy".  He sent this picture and said it was "a buddy".  
Landon's Mama (that's southern for Grandma) sent him one of her homemade cakes.  It got there all in one piece!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Doing So Much Here

Landon with his friend, Tony that he met at the US Open
September 22, 2014

Hey y'all!

I don't know what it was, but this week seemed really long. I feel like I wrote my last letter like a month ago and that I've been in Clinton for way longer than I have. I guess maybe I need to have a little more fun this week!

First big news of the week is......Max and Alberto got baptized in Pinehurst! I was so happy to see their picture on Facebook on Saturday. They will be SOLID members and will be the source of much growth in Pinehurst. I could see Alberto being the first branch president there.

In other news, my new area is great. Clinton is soooooo busy and we rarely have time to even breathe. With that, I've seen a lot of growth in myself as a teacher and as a missionary. I've had to really rely on the Lord more than ever because now that I'm training, He expects a lot more of me. Speaking of's all great! Elder Ostergar is really solid and he came pre-trained. Training is a little unbalanced right now. Elder Salvatierra is more experienced and has trained before so naturally he kind of takes control of things. So I'm kind of just a support right now. We all have discussions about how to do things and I'm learning SO much from Elder Salvatierra. He's fantastic. Like really great.

The work here is a lot of fun. It's a lot of less-active work and we teach a lot of lessons. On Wednesday we did a split. I went with a member named Nick and the other two went with Brother Tart. Nick and I went over to P and K's to teach them. Their situation is so strange. They've been together for 15 years, but P speaks Spanish and K speaks English. So we have to teach them in two different's super weird. They're also not progressing at all because they're not married, but live together and they can't get married because P can't get a divorce from his wife in Mexico. So we're thinking about dropping them. The other two Elders went to go visit O and P. They're an old black couple(actually brother and sister, but look like a couple) and they're super religious. O loves to prayer talk and she thinks she's super spiritual or something. There was one point in the lesson when she apparently covered her eyes with one hand and held out her other hand and started saying "Listen to the words of this woman. Listen to the revelation she has for you." I love her. She's the best! They said they would get baptized, but wouldn't commit to a date because they wanted to know a little more.

Our only investigator with an official baptismal date is Freddy. He's like 30 and he's from El Salvador. I might have already told you about him. He's progressing well. It's funny the different accents you get out here. He'll be baptized on October 18th if everything goes right.

There's so much to write about! We do so much here! My time on the computer is running out, so I have to close soon. On Saturday we went up to Fayetteville to translate Stake conference. Interestingly enough both President and Sister Bernhisel spoke! So that was fun translating for them. We also translated yesterday, but we stayed in Clinton to watch the meeting being broadcast. Okay I might have to go!

I love the work and I'm feeling satisfied with the way the mission is progressing! Testimony is growing, faith is getting strengthened, everything is great.

Well that was a very short summary of my week. There's seriously so much to write about, but I can't get it all in. So I'll be sure to write lots in my journal so you can read it all when I get home!

-Elder Landon Carroll

 These are the men that Landon helped teach who got baptized over the weekend.  He was so incredibly happy for them.
I grabbed this photo from Facebook last week.  
Landon with the Brock family

So Much to Say, So Little Time

 Landon with his new companions, Elder Ostergar and Elder Salvatierra

September 15, 2014

Good morning folks,

I have so much to say, but so little time to write it.

So first off, I got transferred this week! I'm now in an area called Clinton. It's just a country town and the main industries are tobacco, soy beans, pork, and some other stuff. It's definitely a change from Pinehurst, but a good one none the less.
So as far as the work goes down here, it's incredible! In Pinehurst we were lucky to get over 10 lessons a week, but here we rarely get below 20. That's because of the people here and the humility of the area itself. Most of the people here live in trailers, and it's about half Hispanic. The branch is very small. There's close to 300 members, but only 80 usually attend on Sundays. That means there's a lot of less active work to be done. The Hispanics here are mostly from El Salvador and Honduras, so the culture and accents are a little different here. Needless to say, I'll have to try extra hard to understand these people when they speak. They use some different words and speak with a different accent. 

My new companions are great. My first one, co-trainer, is Elder Salvatierra. He's from Charlotte, NC! He's originally from Mexico so he's a native speaker. That will definitely give me the opportunity to improve my language skills. Elder Ostergar is the new missionary. He's from Holiday, Utah and is barely 18 years old. He has a lot of fire and he's willing to work. Training has been fun so far, but the main adjustment for me is the new area. It's just SO different. Oh and Papa Carroll, there's a lady here that is related to Rosemary Cantrel, who works in the baptistery in the Atlanta temple. Do you know her? Also, mom and dad, this same lady is related to the Clantons. They apparently live in Sugar Hill. Do you know them?

So now some specifics about the work. We have so many investigators, so it'll be hard to get them all in, but I'll do my best to talk about the main ones. So first is F. He's in his 20s, from El Salvador, and has a baptismal date for the 18th of October. Then there's a bunch of others. Oh jeez. Most of the other people are just your basic southern or Hispanic person. Oh and I forgot to mention that. We do English work here as well! It'll be a lot of fun and it will be interesting experiencing both sides of things. Oh and one of the members I sat next to yesterday in church was like "They sent a Georgia cracker here?" And I said "I know can you believe it?" That's the kind of humor I appreciate. Blunt, sarcastic humor. So as far as the other people we taught, there's just too many to describe. But I can assure you that the work is great here and we will be baptizing and reactivating.

I'm running low on time so I'll include more details next week.
Tengan un buen dia!

-Elder Landon Carroll
Landon with the Barbours
Landon with Philip Philips and Elder Wolf
Landon and Brother Swope

Monday, September 8, 2014

Farewell to Pinehurst

September 8, 2014


This week was another good one, but also a sad one. That's because I'll be leaving Pinehurst for another area tomorrow! So yesterday at church I said bye to everyone and bore my testimony and almost cried BUT I DIDN'T. Then I got pictures with most of the people I wanted to. I missed a few, but hey, what can you do?

Landon and Elder Moses

So as far as what went down this week we finished the transfer out strong, with our best numbers in like 4 weeks. On Monday for preparation day we went down to Fayetteville to go explore the mall. Yes, we stateside missionaries are spoiled and get to do stuff that we take for granted. So we walked around and "shopped." The other missionaries bought clothes and stuff, but I didn't feel the need to waste money on stuff that I wouldn't even be wearing. So then we headed back up to Pinehurst.
The Bickford Family

On Wednesday we did a bunch of service and got really sweaty, so not much to report there. We did have the opportunity to play some basketball with a few non members, but no fruit came from that.

Thursday we had Zone training meeting in the morning and then weekly planned and ate at Chili's with a member couple. That was pretty great. I got the honey chipotle chicken smackers and some mac n cheese with chips and salsa as an appetizer. It was also super rainy, so we got drenched in water.
Friday we at lunch at Brother Gross's restaurant, Brix. It's pretty great. I think I've told y'all about it before. It's kind of like Mellow Mushroom, but a little different style of pizza. So that was yummy. Then we went out tracting the whole day. It was a challenge by the Zone Leaders because apparently the missionaries in this mission are lazy and refuse to tract. I actually kind of enjoy it. People say it's not fruitful, but Max and Alberto were found by tracting, so there's no room to argue anymore. Those guys are golden. So we headed out to Southern Pines to see if anyone was playing street ball. No one was, so we left. Then we had dinner with the Bickford family. They're from Georgia, so it's easy to relate with them. Then after dinner, we went out to Robbins to cover everything before I leave so Elder Johnson can take over the area. We went and stopped by Jose and his family, and we invited them to church. They didn't come, but if we can continue to get out to Robbins, they'll get baptized. I love that family. Jose is just hilarious. He's about 65 and he LOVES to talk. He's what we in the mission call a "talker." He just rambles on about stuff and you have to strategically butt in so you can get your lesson in. It's also super funny. He just tells stories about being a police officer in Mexico and stuff like that. I'll miss him for sure. 
Landon, Elder Wolf, Brother Gross, Elder Johnson, Elder Murphey

Saturday we went out to Hoffman to attempt to teach some lessons. There's a few trailer parks out there, so we went searching for Hispanics. It's funny, trailer parks are either black or Hispanic, so whenever they're black, we get really disappointed because we have to turn those contacts over to the English speaking Elders. So that was the trailer park we went to. No Hispanics. Then we went and had dinner with Brother George and Rock, one of the Enlglish Elders' investigators. He's in Special Forces and he boxes so he's just kind of a man. I got a picture of that evening, so I'll send it. We had burgers and while I was holding my hamburger I got stung by a bee, and then I sort of flung my burger at Elder Johnson. Whoops. That was embarrassing....but funny right?

Sunday was just my last Sunday. Full of goodbyes, hugs, and picture taking. I really grew to love the people in this area and ward. They're all just like....I don't know how to describe it. I guess simply put, you love the people you serve if you do it right. And I definitely grew to love them.

I'm excited to go to a new area and experience some change, but I'm also sad to leave. It's weird knowing that I won't be here to take care of the Pinehurst ward anymore, but change is good and promotes growth. I can't wait to meet my trainee and my co-trainer. It'll be good fun! Pray that everything goes well and that I train correctly!

Love you all,

-Elder Landon Carroll

A response Landon received from a Facebook friend request

Landon with Brother Gathers
Landon with the Mellors