Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Good Week

Landon helping with the U.S. Open golf tournament a couple of weeks ago.

June 23, 2014

Greetings people!

So this week was another quick one in Pinehurst. By now the U.S. Open is over and the town is finally starting to settle down. The Women's U.S. Open was not quite as exciting. The crowds from the men's weren't here this week.

Some interesting things that happened this week: We moved! The trailer is no more. Now we don't have to stay in a honey moon suite anymore! That trailer was just awful. Let me tell you a little bit about what I had to live in for almost four months. There were mirrors everywhere, the carpet is dark purple, there's a bathtub in the MIDDLE of the bedroom, yes, the middle. Like I said, think honey moon suite. Ughh. The trailer was just too big for just two missionaries. It was near impossible to keep clean and we had to do lawn work. So when the contract expired we had Brother Gross, the ward mission leader find us a new apartment. The new one is SO much nicer. It's two bedrooms and one bathroom. And we have a doorbell, a garbage disposal, a dishwasher, a gym, a fireplace that we can't use, new carpet that's not dark purple, and just a better spiritual environment! It's also only five minutes away from the church as opposed to twenty for the trailer. 
So this week we just spent every day cleaning and packing. We had some good lessons with all of our investigators. I and F continue to be slothful in their progression so we're gonna hit em hard this Thursday and see what happens. If they don't progress, we may have to drop them. 

We also had a good lesson with A. This week we visited him a couple times and addressed some concerns he had. He's basically just a dry Mormon at this point. It's funny, we teach him all this stuff and he's like "that's great, but I really just want to know the doctrine so I can live it." I guess that's a pretty good thing. He was even really excited to live the law of tithing. The only thing we're waiting on is an interview with president about A.  And then we'll be sailing away into the waters of baptism with him!

Something else interesting we did this week was receive a new missionary. He replaced Elder Perse. He's from San Antonio, TX (how fitting that the Spurs should win the finals just after he leaves.) He's a good guy and I'm excited to be working with him. He says he's pretty good at basketball. We'll see about that haha.
So something else interesting that happened this week was we went up to Robbins to establish an English class. We went to the library and they said we can do it! So we'll be having class starting July 11th every Friday from 4:30 to 5:30 pm! This will help us so much and I'm really excited to teach these people!
Well those are the highlights of the week. Pinehurst is about to get a spurt of energy with a new Elder and a new apartment, so be looking for our success coming up! I love missionary work and I'm really starting to love my mission. I love that there's no culture shock to worry about, and I still get to learn another language! Who says foreign missions are better? Haha just kidding. All missions are great.

Well I hope you all have a good week! Oh and Dallin, I got your package! Thanks for the stuff! I'll have one coming your way soon!

Love you all.

-Elder Landon Carroll

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What a Week

June 16, 2014

Hello Friends and Family!

There's a lot to talk about this week so buckle up and enjoy the ride!

So Monday was just your average preparation day, but Tuesday was a lot of fun and an adventure. We went biking around Southern Pines to try and find people to teach. All we did was teach a couple of less actives that we came across. Even though we didn't find anyone new to teach, I sure enjoyed biking around in the 102 degree heat. Ha! Pretty hot huh?

Wednesday we did some weekly planning, but were unable to finish because we had an early dinner with the Howell family. They're Alabama fans, so naturally I felt a little out of place there, haha. I was just trying not to make any snide remarks about Alabama and the people that go there. So that's good! It was a yummy dinner. They're a great family. Later that night we taught English class to Irma and Fausto again. It went well! We helped them with English, and they helped us with Spanish. One thing I've been working on for a while is being able to roll my r's consistently. It may take a while to sound like a native in doing it. I just try to really practice it during my language study each day. I'm getting there! Afterward, we played some basketball. It's such a big stress reliever for me. When you're playing, you don't think about anything but where the ball is and the hoop. So it's super fun! I was draining everything. That always feels nice.

Thursday was another great day. We mobilized the mission again, not for Elder Anderson this time, but for Elder Corbridge of the Seventy. He gave the talk about Joseph Smith and the Restoration this past conference. So that was our Zone Conference. He taught so well, very blunt, but very helpful. He told us some things that will really help us. One thing that really stood out to me as that if we truly TRULY understand the doctrine, there will not be any hesitation in teaching. If we do our part in studying the doctrine, the words will come to us. We will not have to worry about what to say, because we already know what to say. He also talked a lot about the law of chastity, and how important it really is. Because the Lord has bestowed upon us some of His creation power, we are to hold it as sacred and holy. The relationship between a man and a woman is ordained of God, and a man cannot receive his full potential without the companionship of a woman, and vise versa. I don't know why he would be talking about marriage with missionaries, but it just really stuck out to me how important it is to get married in the temple so that we may receive our divine potential.

Later that night, we had dinner with the A family. We brought Travis Scrivner. He's 24 and he served his mission in Peru. He has a Ford Raptor, so that was fun to ride in. So we taught the A's the lesson before we ate. We really wanted to stress the importance of reading the Book of Mormon and praying. "I" gets it, but F does not. We need to approach this a little differently next time. We need to find out what he really wants in life. Something the Zone Leaders taught me the other day is that the easiest way to relate to Book of Mormon directly to someone is to find out what their big goal in life is, and tell them that the Book of Mormon, along with Gospel, can help with that. So we'll try that next time! Anyways, dinner was delicious. Sister A is an amazing cook. She made us some pork with salsa made from cactus and Jicama(Hibiscus). Fue muy rica!

Friday we got to help with the U.S. Open! We have some hookups in the ward, so we were helping out a man named Tim St. Germane with Pinehurst village, which is a little smallish town that just happens to connect to the course! Our assignment started from 3 and ended at 8:30. We had to reserve parking spaces for some VIP's coming in for the governor's reception. It was super fun! I loved being able to talk to people and attempt to share the Gospel. We had to wear a uniform, but we still got to wear our name tags so we got a lot of questions. I talked to one man who moved up here from Atlanta. He asked me what I was doing and what church I was working for. So I explained about my mission and what I do. Then we got on the topic of sports. He asked me if I played any. I told him basketball. So then we talked about basketball and the finals for like 15 minutes. Then the topic of "what makes your church different" came up. So I taught him about the Restoration and authority and the Book of Mormon. He was super interested! I offered to help him with his yard, so hopefully he gives us a call soon! So dad, that's why it's important to keep me updated with sports. So I have a way to relate to some people! That contact/lesson would not have gone as well without that relationship. So anyways, we continued helping people find places to park and talking with various senators, etc. It was really fun. There was a big screen with the U.S. Open playing on it, so I was able to take a few glances at the leader boards. That's what we call a "tender mercy." Sounds like the Open was super exciting. Who was it, Dustin Johnson who got a hole in one on the 9th? Crazy! So that was Friday. When we were done working, Tim gave us a couple of collectible coins for our service. They have the Pinehurst coat of arms on one side and U.S. Open 2014 on the other. Cool little treasure! I'll send pictures of it later, along with the uniform that we wore.

Saturday we went up with Brother Williams to Robbins to find a place to have a weekly English class. We talked to some Peruvians that own a little tienda and they told us to go to the city hall and talk to them. The city hall was closed so we'll come back tomorrow. Later that night, we helped with the U.S. Open again! We were kind of doing the same thing, but instead of helping park cars, we were helping to park people. We were what they call "Pinehurst Village Ambassadors" So we stood by the place with the big screen and directed people and passed out maps. The event tonight was 100 bagpipers from Scotland! It was so cool! I have a video, so maybe I'll get that to y'all somehow. We met the mayor of Pinehurst, who commended us for our service. That was kinda cool. This was just a super fun night. I liked interacting with lots of different types of people. There were a lot of people from England, so that was funny. I took lots of pictures. I'll send those later.

Sunday was a normal Sunday. I got to pass the Sacrament! There weren't enough deacons. That was exciting and refreshing. It was Elder Perse's last day in Pinehurst, so I helped him take pictures with families. He says he's gonna miss Pinehurst, and I don't blame him. This place is just awesome. So many good people, and as you've seen from the U.S. Open and the pictures I send, it's just absolutely beautiful. I'll definitely be coming up here again after my mission. Hopefully with my dad so he can be in golf paradise!

Well that was my week. It was certainly a good one. I loved helping with the Open. That was just so cool! Hope y'all have a good week and I hope you had a good Father's day as well.

Until next week,
-Elder Landon Carroll

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Be Bold

June 8, 2014

Good morning everyone!

It's good to be writing yet another letter. As I said earlier, writing in my journal as well as typing these emails gives me a good opportunity to reflect on the week and the blessings that the Lord gave us.

So for preparation day last Monday we were able to help a lady named Beulah. The great thing about being a Spanish missionary is that even though we only teach Spanish in this area, we still get to experience both sides of the culture. Beulah is a black woman that we found tracting in Pinebluff(say that with a southern accent). She's super nice and is ALWAYS doing service. One might call her a dry Mormon. So we helped her move her friend's furniture to a storage unit. So that was fun!

Tuesday we didn't do much. Just helped a lady in the ward bag pinestraw. There's no shortage of PINESTRAW in PINEHURST haha. But the rest was just another unproductive day. I'll talk about being unproductive later.
Wednesday we had Zone Training Meeting. This is where the whole zone gets together and we just have a giant meeting with spiritual thoughts, role plays, questions, accounting for numbers, and address concerns. This one was especially spiritual for me, and I think for everyone else as well. The part that got to me the most was the testimony of Elder Langford. He's the zone leader and he leaves this week. He laid down a testimony about love and the changes he went through on his mission. One thing he said was that he has developed Christ-like love and can look at everyone through the eyes of the creator. That's one thing that I'm striving for as I work out here. I know I don't have it right now, but it will come with time. Later that night we taught Fausto English and then played basketball with the ward and a couple non members. Super fun! 

Thursday was weekly planning day.  Nothing else interesting.

Friday I don't even remember what happened.

Saturday we did a lot of biking around Aberdeen without any real success. We talked to an Atheist for about an hour and a half. He had some interesting views. His justification for Atheism was that he doesn't think we should be good just to try to please a deity. He thinks we should be good just because it's the right thing to do. I tried to explain that we do good things not just to please a God, but because that's where happiness is. I really wanted to share the Plan of Salvation with him, but held back a little. We plan to play tennis with him sometime soon so hopefully we get a foot in the door.

Sunday was another great day at church. I love Sundays because church is just so refreshing after a hard week. Also, the Pinehurst ward is just awesome. The members are fantastic. The leadership is great and the youth are active and strong. It actually reminds me of my home ward. So we had a great sacrament meeting. Elder Perse gave a talk about covenants. It was very enlightening. He's a convert and black and he taught with energy. The members loved it! He's getting transferred on Tuesday so I'll miss him for sure. We also had the opportunity to give C a blessing. She's going back to Spain for two months so it will be very difficult for her. Just a lot of drama that I don't want to get into. Speaking of drama, missionaries are at the heart of it. Being involved in PEC and ward counsel is tough. You just hear things that make your heart hurt. As missionaries we try to help everyone we can, including struggling members. We're "publishers of peace" and we publish not just for nonmembers, but for family members as well as struggling church members.
This week I learned to be bold. Just be bold. Lack of boldness and productivity has caused some of our investigators to slip out of progression. So I did my best the past couple days to be bold and have a sense of urgency when talking to people! So we were bold with Antonio and it payed off. We were also bold with a man named Carlos and so now we have a foot in the door with him. Being bold always pays off as long as you're also showing love! So make sure family, that if you receive a prompting to talk to someone about the Gospel, follow it! The Lord needs us to do our part in His work!
Something else I realized was how great my parents are at teaching the Gospel to me. Something I've noticed out here is that sometimes missionaries try to complicate doctrine. But that's not the way I was taught. I was taught that all we need to do is follow the Savior in all that we do, making and keeping our covenants and making a concerted effort to live like the Savior, and the blessings will come. And I've definitely seen that! The blessings of joy, happiness, and the Spirit really do come! The Gospel really is so simple. You don't have to over-analyze things in order to understand them. The doctrine of Christ is incredibly simple and the Gospel is for everyone. No one enters into the Kingdom of God save it be through Jesus Christ. I know that to be true. 

I also wanted to talk a little bit about the U.S. Open which starts on Tuesday. Pinehurst is starting to go pretty crazy. Lots of people in the ward have rented out their homes out to ESPN and such, and the excitement is building. They've closed down one of the major roads here to keep people from clogging up the areas around the course. Arnold Palmer arrived yesterday in a limo! How cool is that? The roads are all ready for the Open. And here's the most exciting part: We get to help! Some members in the ward own a tour bus company and we're volunteering to help them out! We get uniforms and everything! No, we're not working on the course. We're actually helping to greet people who come into Pinehurst Village. That's this Saturday. So that'll be fun for sure. I'll take picturesThursday was weekly planning day. Nothing else interesting.

So that was my week. Missionary work is wonderful. It's bringing me a lot of fulfillment. Hope y'all have a good week. Love you all.

-Elder Landon Carroll

P.S. Sorry this was so long.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Serving Others

June 2, 2014

Hello Everyone!

This was a long week due to uneventfulness, but every week in the mission field has the ability to be filled with miracles.

So Monday was preparation day and Memorial day. We went to a member's home to fish and eat barbecue and it was just so relaxing. I didn't catch any fish, because apparently I'm a terrible fishermen, but hey that's life! It's still fun!

Tuesday we did a bunch of service for a member in the ward who's trying to get her house ready to move. So we raked pine straw, pressure washed her house, and painted a bathroom. Elder Perse and I did the honors with the painting. Jeez! We are just terrible painters! We put like a thousand coats on the walls, but it just kept looking worse and worse. So we just kind of gave up and left it. But Sister Elias called us later that day to thank us for our hard work and that the bathroom looks SO GOOD. So I guess we were being a little hard on ourselves or something haha.

Wednesday I went on exchanges with Elder Perse while my companion, Elder Lowham, went with Elder Wolf. It was just so fun! I love Elder Perse. He's just hilarious. We taught English class at the church. It went really well. We're using it now to be a little more spiritual, so we assign our students, Irma and Fausto, to do a spiritual thought each week. So hopefully that helps their progression.

Thursday was weekly planning day. We knocked it out in less than three hours again! It's amazing what happens when you just focus on the task at hand. That's something I learned while up at BYU Idaho. Just get the job done! Later that night we had dinner with Irma and Fausto at the Barbours. The Barbours are an older couple who kind of remind me of my own grandparents, Mama and Papa Carroll. The Barbours are both in their seventies and I just love em. They help us so much, even though there's a language barrier most of the time. We were able to have a lesson that night with Irma and Fausto and finally find out their problem. They read the Book of Mormon, but not for Spiritual enlightenment or to know the truth, but to learn intellectually. So we will address that next week. We didn't want to be too bold with the Barbours there :) It's amazing how good a spiritual lesson can make you feel. The mission can be infinitely difficult and we can be in a horrible drought as far as work goes, but just one lesson or good contact makes it all worth it! The blessings we bring to the lives of the people we teach are far greater than anything I had to give up to be here.

Friday we ate dinner with the Flores family. They're members, and they only speak Spanish. That's the best! Sometimes we go up to Hispanics and we talk to them in Spanish, but they attempt to talk back in English. Like, I got called to a Spanish mission, just talk to me in Spanish please! But dinner was great. One thing that I love about this mission is the food. We get a combination of genuine Hispanic (mostly Mexican) food and also the good ol' southern food! And then of course we have the occasional traditional Mormon mom style food, whatever that means haha. So after dinner, went with Hermano Flores to teach Antonio. I really wanted to bust out the Restoration finally, but we ended up just finding out more about him and helping him recognize the Spirit. So that went really well. Perfect setup to teach the Restoration next lesson! Antonio no longer has a baptismal date because of some rules with parole and the church, we have to postpone that for a while. We'll get there! He's elect, I just know it! He even said it himself that he's been to a lot of churches, but feels something different at our church. That is fantastic news.

Saturday we did a bunch more service. That's one of my favorite parts of the mission, being able to serve all the time. We went and helped a lady named Beulah transport some food bank items from Food Lion. She's a nonmember, but hopefully the English Elders are able to get a foot in the door with all this service we're doing for her. After that, we went to the Barbours to help them clean up their yard a little bit. I just love them, And they love me because I'm what we call a "southern boy." People here appreciate where I'm from. I'm proud to be from the South! I wouldn't have it any other way!

Sunday we held a mission wide fast, and church was great. Church is a little different when you're on a mission. It's more spiritual and you're way more involved. I mean we go to ward counsel and everything. I feel so important! Antonio was also able to make it, so that was nice. We had so many people in the Spanish class today that Elder Lowham and I weren't unable to go in. So we had Travis Scrivner work with Antonio. Thank goodness for members. I love it when they do they're part. Please make sure you do your part as a member! If there's one thing I've learned on my mission so far, it's how important the members are to the work. Our ward goal for Baptisms in this ward is 33 by the end of the year. There's no way we can do that without the members!

So that was my week. I love this work, and I'm here to give the Lord all that I have. Everything has been laid upon the alter of sacrifice to be here. I love the Gospel and the peace that it brings me. I know that Christ lives and I know that He is our perfect example back to our Father in Heaven.

I love you all. Have a good week!

-Elder Landon Carroll

Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Door Slammed and Service

May 26, 2014


So this week I have a lot to write about so I'll do my best to get it all in!

Preparation Day. We went fishing up at a private pond (the one in the pictures from about a month ago). My companion caught two and my district leader caught one! With my luck in fishing, it was no surprise that I didn't catch anything. It was still fun though! 
We went with a member, Brother Rampton, to stop by a couple of houses that we were scheduled to teach in. No answers. That's so normal with Hispanics though. They just don't have definite schedules and sometimes they don't actually want you to come back, so they give you a time that they know they won't be home. We went and talked with A a little bit. He lives just down the road, so we stop by often and play with his 6 year old son J. We're really trying to get J to go to primary, but he's just too scared to leave his dad. Baby steps!
District meeting. We then contacted a trailer- park and found a few potentials. We talked with one guy named Martin who would not bend on anything. He wouldn't accept the Book of Mormon because of Revelations. Bleh. And then he told us something about there being only one throne and how Jesus and Heavenly Father are the same person. That doctrine really bothers me. It just doesn't make sense to me. So anyways, we left him a Book of Mormon and he told us to next time bring a person who speaks better Spanish so he can explain everything to us. We'll pass on that one. We aren't here to bash. Later that night we taught English class at the church to Irma and Fausto. They really enjoy it, and sometimes that's the only time we can meet with them because of their work schedules. Afterward we played basketball. Let me just tell you how hard it is to dribble on carpet. I was losing the ball all over the place, but once I warmed up I made like five shots in a row. So that was fun! I always go home super energized and happy after playing. Fausto just loves it, and a lot of the people we contact are more interested in Basketball than even English class.

Weekly Planning! We actually finished in less than three hours again! It's amazing what happens when you focus. Our dinner with I and F cancelled again so we weren't able to go over there like we usually do on Thursdays. It's hard to keep them progressing because they're schedule is just so unpredictable. So we ended up visiting A. We're really gonna work this coming week in getting A on a regular teaching schedule.
We didn't do too much on Friday. We went and contacted the same trailer park from earlier and found more potentials for the English Elders. It's hard doing all this finding, and then having to hand over all these good referrals. We're gonna talk to president about letting us keep some of our English investigators. Later that night, we ate at the Gross's.  Brother Gross is the ward mission leader.  He does an excellent job. We were just expecting it to be the Gross family, but when we arrived at the house, the Eliza's(a less active family) and the Arroyos(Irma and Fausto) were there. It was like WHAAAAAAAT. So one funny thing about Hispanic culture is the wife cooks the whole time and doesn't sit down to eat with you. She just keeps bringing more food.  I love it!  You never leave hungry from a Hispanic home. So we didn't have time to share any sort of a lesson because we were eating the WHOLE TIME.

This was our day of service. We were finally able to get the Barry's house under way with the pressure washing and other stuff. They're an elderly couple who live in Pinebluff. We pressure washed the house with a couple of members from the Elders Quorum and cut her grass among other yard work related things. Later that day, we went and served a man we contacted. Carlos. He speaks English, but he'll probably be ours because Spanish would be better. Let's hope so!
We went to church and the Arroyos randomly showed up! They keep doing this to us! It's good, but I just wish we could get a little heads up! So they enjoyed church and hopefully work will allow them to come more frequently. We then ate dinner at the Brock's. Lovely family. Lots of girls and a son who's leaving on a mission in September for Tonga!  How cool is that!  I'm happy for him.

That was it for the week. One thing I forgot to mention last week was about a Court of Honor we attended for two young men in the ward. All four of the Elders in Pinehurst were there, and three out of four of us are Eagle Scouts. Let me just tell you how happy I am that I became an Eagle Scout. We got to sit in the Eagle's nest during the Court of Honor, and it just felt so good. I'm glad I took the challenge of becoming an Eagle and I'm so grateful for my mom for helping me through the process. Definitely would not have got it without her. So Easton, I can promise you that scouting is worth it. It's a lot of fun, and it will prepare you for the rest of your life.  I don't regret any of it.

Also, I got my first door slammed a couple of days ago. We knocked, he opened, we said hi, and then he slammed. Oh well. I just laughed at it. It was kind of exhilarating actually. Haha.

I love you all and I pray for you often. Thanks for all the prayers coming my way. I can definitely feel them. The Gospel is true and I know it is the way back to our Heavenly Father.

-Elder Landon Carroll