July 21, 2014
Greetings to all!
My name is Elder Carroll, and I'm serving a mission in the best mission in the world, the NCRM (North Carolina Raleigh Mission). I absolutely love it here, and this week I took a turn into a greater conversion and a greater love for missionary work. Sometimes you have those experiences that just allow you to glimpse into Eternity-just enough to give you the hope of a lifetime.
So this week we were able to do some quality work with people. On Monday, we played Frisbee golf with Cullie Bayless, who's 18 and getting ready to put in his mission papers. It was super fun, a lot better than that PS3 move game. I got some pictures so I'll send em!
On Tuesday we went and helped Tony again with his mess of a property and I just gotta say...it's lookin a lot better! It's amazing what four missionaries can do in a matter of hours! I got pics of that as well. It was a lot of work and we had to wear masks just to be sure that we weren't breathing in insulation particles and stuff. We're good, don't worry! After that, we went down next to the old trailer and attempted to make some contacts. We didn't have much success, but we did have a nice conversation with a black preacher who was trying to sell us a piano. We're just walking around and he's like "wanna buy this piano? 300 bucks and I'll let you take it with you right now." I guess he wasn't thinking cause how the donkeys are we supposed to transport a piano back to our apartment without a car? Jeez man. So later that night we went and helped Brother Swope move some giant logs next to his house. He lives on the lake that we've fished on a couple times. So as we were moving these logs it started raining and we got absolutely filthy. I mean just filthy. I just wanted to go roll around in some mud or something! So brother Swope let us shower in his house and then he took us to Golden Corral. They may not have the best food, but the variety is incomparable. I had a bunch of stuff that filled me up pretty fast, and then we headed out to go with Brother George and teach a lesson to Oscar and another guy named Adrian. Oscar speaks English, but Adrian doesn't so we taught in Spanish. We taught them the Restoration and it all was apparently new information to Oscar, even though we had already taught him the Restoration. I guess he didn't understand the first time. Might have been the English that got him or something. We'll be sure to start teaching more for understanding from now on. Brother George speaks Italian, so he understood everything we taught. And then he said the closing prayer in Italian! Spanish and Italian are very similar, but Spanish is better. It's just a little more masculine sounding. So that was Tuesday.
Wednesday we had our weekly district meeting and then we went on blitzes with the zone leaders! Blitzes are when the zone leaders come and you split up into two companionship to try and do as much work as possible in one day. It kind of lets you be in two places at once. So Elder Lowham went with Elder Moses and I went with Elder Holt down to Hoffman. Elder Lowham has refused to go to Hoffman for months now because according to him it's dangerous, but I wanted to go down there. So Elder Holt and I embarked and what do ya know, the whole place is Hispanic! Every single trailer, minus like 4, was Hispanic! So Elder Holt and I knocked every single door on one street and were able to meet some great potentials and teach a couple lessons. I learned a lot from Elder Holt and his contacting strategies, but the thing that I was most amazed by was my ability to speak Spanish. I've never spoken so well in my life! I understood every single little thing that people were telling me and my communication skills were better than they've ever been. I told Elder Holt that my Spanish was on fire and he told me that it's because you need it right now. Elder Lowham usually does most of the talking during contacts, but this time it was just me because Elder Holt doesn't speak Spanish. I can definitely say that I've witnessed the Gift of Tongues. After contacting the trailer park, Elder Holt and I went and helped a lady on the side of the rode who ran out of gas. She told us that we were an answer to prayer. So we drove a couple of miles, bought her a can of gas, and then referred her to the missionaries where she lives. Hopefully they teach her and she accepts the Gospel. You could tell she really needed it. So then we went and grabbed some Chick Fil A and headed to the church to help with a youth activity. Then afterward we played some basketball. We're allowed to play because it's such a good way to find people. Almost everyone we talk to is interested in playing basketball. So that was fun, but my shot was atrocious. Oh well, I guess the day was too good so there wasn't enough room for anything else haha.
Thursday we did some weekly planning and Elder Lowham was sick so we stayed in a little bit. Nothing to report.
Friday we went and biked around Aberdeen to try and find some people, but to no avail. Then we attempted to get out to English class in Robbins, but no one would give us a ride! So we had to cancel. :( Then we went and had a dinner with the Welling family. Brother Welling's brother is living next to Emory, so he kind of knew Atlanta. Given, we don't live IN Atlanta, but the connection was nice. Then we went to visit Max and Alberto with Brother Welling. Brother Welling served his mission in Brazil, so he speaks Portuguese, but Max and Alberto speak pretty good English, so we had a nice talk with them. Max said some things that I really liked. 1. He doesn't like to drink 2. He told his boss he won't work on Sunday because he found a church that he will go to every week. How bout that? Max and Alberto are just dry right now. And I love these guys! And they just absolutely love the church!
Saturday we went and did some family history familiarization on the computers. I signed into family search and looked at the family tree thing and the family history lady here was so impressed with how well our records are kept up and how much work has been done....on both sides! Good work family! That's something I want to do when I get home is Family History. It's a great work to be a part of and there's no reason not to get involved! After that I worked with the Chandler family on my song for the fireside on Sunday. I got assigned by Elder Wolf without my consent to do a special musical number but I'm okay with it! So the Chandlers brought this awesome arrangement of Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing. It's just fantastic. Then we went to talk to Alberto and Max again and then some other people. It was fun.
Sunday was by far the most spiritual day that I've had on my mission so far. Sacrament meeting was fantastic. The Chandlers-Madison, Josh, and Sister Chandler, performed "If You Could Hie to Kolob" with Piano, Cello, and Violin. Wow wow wow wow. What an incredible arrangement. I almost cried. Max and Alberto weren't able to come, but we went by after church to visit them. We invited them to the fireside and they ended up coming. The theme of the Fireside was "recent converts." We selected six people to give their conversion stories to the church. I really loved hearing them, and it was very uplifting. Halfway through, I sang Come Thou Fount. It went well, but the song was entirely too high for me. Oh how I wish I could be a tenor again sometimes. Afterward, we talked with Alberto and Max.. We didn't even have to show them around or anything. While everyone was eating their refreshments, they just talked to everyone. And the members talked back! The support was amazing and Alberto and Max loved everything. Consider them baptized. August will be the month of Baptisms here in Pinehurst. Max and Alberto even invited a bunch of people to have a barbecue at their house on Tuesday! What! Like I said, consider them baptized. They're already our best friends, and they have no desire to go anywhere else.
So now for the reason for this letter-what I learned. The title says it all. Conversion is not an event. I did a study this morning on true conversion. Conversion is when your will is completely aligned with God's and you have no desire to do evil. This is brought about by doing the little things and living the Doctrine of Christ. This will be something I am going to work on from now on is becoming truly converted. Sunday helped so much with my testimony. Oh the power of music. I love it. So if you're not truly converted, get there! We can work on it together! I've learned so much on my mission so far and I can't wait for the experiences that I'm going to have in the next couple years!
So that was my week. Incredible right? I love this work and I love this Gospel. Jesus Christ does live and this is His church.
Until next week.
Elder Landon Carroll