Monday, May 19, 2014

Buenas Tardes

May 19, 2014

Hola Amigos y Familia!

This week was just grand, and I'll tell you why.

So Monday and Tuesday were uneventful, but the rest of the week was great.

Wednesday we ate at a family's home. The W's. Their house is absolutely massive. Brother W just happens to be a Anesthesiologist. But anyways, it was super funny and kind of awkward. I was on exchanges with Elder Wolf and we were looking to share a message about prayer and missionary work. When it came time to invite them to do missionary work, I said "so maybe when you're at school or with your friends...." And then they were like "we're all home schooled. and the only friends we have are members." So then we just kind of awkwardly closed it. Oh well! How were we supposed to know?

So Thursday was weekly planning day. Something that Elder Wolf talked to me about during exchanges is how I need to take more charge in my companionship because planning takes forever and it doesn't have to. He told me that I shouldn't let the slothfulness of others affect me and the work. And that's exactly what I did. I took charge of weekly planning and we knocked two hours off our usual time of five hours! So there's a valuable lesson there. Be diligent! Take charge!

Friday we went and found a family out in Vass. Hopefully this is the family that we've been praying for. We have an appointment with them on Friday so hopefully it goes well!

Saturday was the best day of the week. And A is the reason. We went over to teach a lesson to him and he let us in his house. The plan was to teach "The Gospel of Jesus Christ" with an emphasis on Baptism. So we taught it well and he was really open with his input and questions, and then the time came for us to invite him to be Baptized. I did the honors with that one. I invited him and he said "Yes, but I want to be sure I know it's true before." We can help him with that! So the date is the 14th of June, which is a Saturday of course. It'll be exciting seeing his progression and knowledge of the Gospel increase! The only problem is he's on Parole right now, so hopefully we can get permission from President to baptize him. I think he'll pass the interview. He's a good guy and he's doing a lot of this for his son, J.

So that was the highlight of the week. Hard work truly does pay off, and the Lord blessed us this week with a Baptismal date.

This week, I got a lot of compliments on my Spanish from native speakers. They were all so amazed that I can speak as well as I can with only being out here for eight weeks. I guess that's what happens when you put in the time and practice and throw in some Gift of Tongues into the equation. :) It's just nice to see my progression right in front of me. It's not easy learning Spanish out here in Pinehurst because everyone's American, but I'm doing my best! I can speak really well, I really just lack vocabulary. So that's the focus right now! And also understanding people is difficult. It'll all come with time though!

So that was my week. I truly do love it out here in Pinehurst. The people are awesome and the work is great. I'm seeing a lot of growth in myself, but I'm also seeing what I need to work on.

Love you all.

Tengan una buena semana!

-Elder Landon Carroll

Working Hard and A Little Golf

May 12, 2014

Hey Yall,

So this week was a little unproductive. We still do a lot as missionaries, but as far as lessons go, we weren't "on fire" so to speak.

Monday was Preparation Day. We went golfing! It was really fun and the golf course was beautiful. Every time I swung the club, I thought "what would dad do?" The other three Elders kept saying that no none is good at golf. I was like "my dad is." And he really is. Golf is super hard and it takes a lot of practice. I could see myself playing when I get older, but while I'm young, I'll stick to basketball :) 

Tuesday was transfers! Of course I'm staying here because I'm green :) but Elder Sohler left and now we have a new district leader. I'm really gonna miss Elder Sohler. It's amazing how fast you can become friends with someone out here on the mission. I experienced that a little bit at BYU-I, but not to the extent of the mission. Anyways, his companion, Elder Perse (He's the black elder in my pictures on facebook) is having some trouble adjusting to his new companion, Elder Wolf. So I gotta make sure I'm there for him. We're like best friends. We have the same kind of humor, so that's where we really click. I'll definitely hang out with him at BYUI when we get back.

Wednesday was interviews with President Bernhisel and District Meeting. Interviews went really well. No big deal, just a "check up." 

Thursday we had dinner with Irma y Fausto. They're investigators and we eat with them every Thursday. They're slowly progressing. Irma is such a good cook. We'll walk in and she'll be like "han comido?" No. And then she freaks out and just starts cooking stuff haha.

Friday we did weekly planning.

Saturday we ate dinner with Travis Scrivner, who is less active, and then we went and visited the Escobedo family. They're also less active, but we did some magic and got them to church yesterday! Yay!

Sunday. We went to church and stuff. The E family came and also A and his 6 year old son J. So many members reached out to A and the E's yesterday. Because it was mother's day, third our was mixed up as far as Priesthood goes, so we, and a couple of Spanish speaking members, taught A a lesson out of the Gospel Principles manual, mixed with Missionaryness of course. You could visibly see a change in A. He just looked so happy. He's almost ready to be baptized, so I'll keep you informed on that. He goes to court on Wednesday for some parole stuff, so pray that he doesn't get deported back to Mexico!
Well that was the week. I love being here in North Carolina. This place is awesome! So beautiful here in Pinehurst. I'll send some pictures of golfing and stuff. I love you all and appreciate your love for me. Thanks for the emails! They make a difference!

And HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to my mother. I love you mom and I'm so thankful for everything you do for me. You're the best! Enjoy Mexico!

Tenga una buena semana!

Con amor,

Elder Landon Carroll

Gaining Testimonies

Landon and his district leader, Elder Sohler

May 5, 2014

Hello Everyone!

It's a pleasure to be writing you today. I really love sending these emails out because it gives me the opportunity to reflect on my week. Every week out in the mission field is good in its own way. And this helps me recognize the successes that we had!

Overall, this week was uneventful. Like seriously, we had like four just "nothing" days. Tuesday was just nothing. We made some goals and didn't really accomplish anything. Like not even an Active Member Lesson. Three of our meals this past week were drop of meals. PIZZA. Three days in a row haha. That's okay. I'm just happy when we don't have to make our own food.

Wednesday was District Meeting. We didn't do anything else because we ended up spending the rest of the day with the English Elders. Thursday was weekly planning. This usually takes around four hours or so because you're making specific plans for the next week. But we actually ended up giving a blessing. Being a mere ten miles from the hospital, we get a lot of calls to go give blessings. So I did the anointing and one of the English Elders gave the blessing. It's always nice to be able to use our Priesthood, especially on the mission.

Friday we....well I don't remember. Which brings me to this point. I don't have my planner with me because......I have a new one! I've been out a whole transfer (6 weeks) already. Can you believe that? Time really does fly out here. Friday night we got a text from the District Leader that Neil L. Anderson, yes, Neil L. Anderson was coming to speak to us! So President Bernhisel mobilized the mission to be able to get up to Knighdale (east of Raleigh) to hear him speak.

I really enjoyed listening to him. He's a great speaker, and absolutely an Apostle of the Lord. Three Seventies were also there. Elder Piper (from Atlanta!), Elder Carter, and Elder Martinez. They were great too. I love how the Church is really cracking down on these Feminist "Ordain Women" people. One thing that Elder Carter said was that "the full power of the Priesthood is obtainable only when men and women work together." He then went on to share some of Elder Oaks' talk from this past conference. It just blows my mind that these women would feel oppressed in our Church. I mean, if you have a testimony, then why question the Doctrine? It's the Lord's Church, and He'll make the decisions.

But anyways....that's just a tangent. What really stood out to me was the words of Elder Anderson. He talked a lot about the "Enabling Power of the Atonement" and how we should be using it every day as missionaries. Elder Bednar explains this really well. There's a talk he gave last year called "In the Strength of the Lord." I would definitely recommend that one. Elder Anderson also talked a lot about the role of the Book of Mormon in conversion. If Investigators, and we, don't have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, then we are not converted. It's so important that the people we teach out here know that the Book of Mormon is true before they get baptized.

And that was my week. Skyping on Saturday was really fun! Guess what...My family looks EXACTLY THE SAME! I never would have guessed haha. Everything seems to be good at home.

Thanks for all your prayers and all your emails! Thanks for not forgetting about me! I really do enjoy your emails. They help keep me going out here.

Have a fantastic week.

Con Amor,

Elder Landon Carroll
Landon with his district

Monday, May 5, 2014

Visiting and Teaching

April 28, 2014

Greetings friends and family!

This week was another good one. I learned a lot about myself and I took another turn into becoming the missionary and man that God wants me to be.

The guy I told yall about last week, A, came to church again! He really just wants this for his boy, so we sat in Primary with them. Kind of fun. We sat right in front of the piano. Made me think of you in your calling Mom! Must be a good time. The only problem with A is that he wants to go to church, but he doesn't want to take the discussions. So it's a little backwards. We'll get there! We just need to gain his trust, and I think we're doing a pretty swell job at that.

We also visited a less active family, the E's. They haven't been to the church in probably a couple of months. We stopped by just to see how they were doing, but Hermano E just seemed to think we were there to chastise them. So he made up a thousand excuses as to why they aren't coming to church. And then they asked if they could go to the Temple if they don't pay their tithing. That's obviously not our place, so we told them to talk to the Bishop. The main problem with the E family is that Hermano E works on Sundays. They're struggling a lot financially so it'll take a lot of faith to get them going again.

With that, I learned some very valuable things.
1. I need a college education
A lot of the families I've met out here have been struggling financially somehow. It's so important to get an education and find a good job that suits you. So as I've thought about that, it really makes me want to continue to further my education. Like who wants to do manual labor their whole life? Not me. All of the Hispanics we talk to work in manual labor, and these guys are working their whole lives and they work so hard.  I respect them for that, even the old men continue to work! I now really have the motivation to work hard so I can get a good job to support a family one day. Not to sound prideful or anything. It's just the truth. I've been blessed with so much in this life and I know I can be anything that I want to be. I just have to have that motivation.
2. Fatherhood is more than I realized
I guess I never fully comprehended the role of a father in the family. The whole family looks to him for protection, income, leadership, the Priesthood, and much more. That's what I saw as I visited the E family. That whole family (wife, kids) relies on him. It's like I just saw him carrying their weight on his shoulders. And that's what I'll be doing one day! One day!

Well that was my week. Sorry for another long one. Or maybe you enjoy them. Not sure. I love the mission field! It's a good time and although it is difficult, it's brought me a lot of purpose and happiness so far. Studying the scriptures has definitely been good for me. I always read at home, but I can't say I ever studied. I'm almost through the Book of Mormon for the second time on my mission. It's a good book haha! I'm learning the scriptures better than ever before, and I see it helping me in my teaching. The Book of Mormon is our sword, and that's exactly how we should use it.

Hope you all have a good week! Just let me know if anything crazy happens. I'm sure life on the outside is just boring and uneventful as usual, minus a couple things of course. You know that those are.

Love you all.

-Elder Landon Carroll