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

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Last Week in Pinehurst

This family had a collection of stuffed otters that the Elders just had to have their pictures taken with.

September 1, 2014

Good morning everyone,

Sorry I'm writing a day late this week. It was Labor day yesterday, and we have permission to email on Tuesday so we can get more done on preparation day.

So for starters I'll tell you the big news. I'm getting transferred next Tuesday! President called me last Wednesday before district meeting to tell me that I would be training in a three man. Could be super challenging working with two other missionaries, or it could be amazing. I'm just hoping I get along with the other trainer so that we don't pull the greenie's hair out. I'm hoping we're on the same page as far as training goes too. So with this, I'm super excited for some change to happen, but I'm also really sad considering we have 5 baptisms this month. That's okay! They're still my baptisms (well technically the Lord's), I just don't get to be there to perform or witness them.

So with that, M and A are almost ready for baptism. We have a lesson with them tonight to wrap up a little, and then hopefully their interview tomorrow sometime. I can't tell you enough just how amazing these two guys are. So humble, so ready, so Christ-like.  Sunday at church they had to leave early. A came up to us and told us: "I'm sorry I have to leave today. We have to go work so we can help pay for the bills of a man who has cancer. He's been out of the job for two months and he has a family of 5, so we have to help him." They're literally giving up most of their paychecks just to help out this family that they barely even know. They plan to, if necessary, let the family move in to their (M and A's) apartment while M and A live with a friend. Like, they're not even members yet, but they do all this stuff that the church teaches. We suspect that their dad might have been a member or something. Whenever we teach them, they understand everything well, and they say it's because their parents taught them everything.

As far as R and K go, they're still progressing nicely. Their focus is on the temple and Eternal Marriage, and they want it bad. So we taught them the Plan of Salvation this week and they understood everything well. They're happy to hear about how we make mistakes in life, but because of Jesus Christ, we can overcome all of them and be made clean. They'll be baptized on the 20th.

This week in general we visited a lot of members, did a lot of service, and played a lot of basketball. MY call must be inspired or something, because I get to play a lot here. It's actually a really great way to find investigators. You go into the ghetto or wherever the court is, you play a pickup game, and then you share the gospel after you beat them. Simple as that.

We also had a ward activity Friday night that we attended. We all met at a park and barbecued, played basketball, ultimate Frisbee, and softball. I was super fun, and it wiped me out. 

Yesterday we got to play some more indoor soccer with some of the youth and members. We just play in the gym. It's super fun! I love bouncing the ball off the walls and stuff, and it actually gets really competitive. Maybe a little TOO competitive at times. But I enjoyed it.

So that was my week in review. I hope to finish out strong with Pinehurst and somehow manage to take pictures with all the members. We'll see how that goes haha.

-Elder Landon Carroll