Monday, December 7, 2015

4 For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;‏


 December 7, 2015



Mis queridos hermanos y hermanas,

I am pleased to inform you that we had an amazing week! One of the most rewarding weeks of my mission.

I don't know what it is, but lately it's been hard to be consistent with my work ethic and obedience, but with small goals and some reevaluation, I am able to see the Atonement work in my life. What's wonderful about the mission, and even life, is that every new day is an opportunity to be better than the person we were yesterday.

So after my little spill at the hospital on Sunday night, I spent a couple days just taking it easy. I was really worried that what had happened was more serious than the doctors' diagnosis, but after taking my potassium pills every day this week, I've seen a noticeable improvement in my health and I've been able to go out and sweat again. That was really the story of the week. It was kind of like pulling back a sling shot toward the start of the week and then releasing it toward the end of the week. And it all started with my exchange on Wednesday.

After district meeting I was able to go with Elder Shearer (a new elder) on exchanges down to .....you guessed it!....Clinton! Clinton has been my home away from home since I've served there and this exchange really made my feel happy and at peace. Our first stop was an investigator who is getting baptized sometime in the near future. His name was.....CJ and he has a very strong testimony of the restored Gospel. We testified boldly of the blessings of the Lord and really emphasized the principle of "don't wait." We can't let ourselves get in the way of the blessings that the Lord wants to give us. Sometimes we like to delay those blessings by not acting on what we're supposed to. It's like putting an umbrella over our heads and letting the blessings slip away. So that was good.

After that we went to the church and visited with some of the members that I know and love. They all remembered me and were happy to see me! I guess when you spend six months in an area, especially a small branch like Clinton, you really get close to the people. Like I said, it was just like coming home after a long trip. Next stop was dinner with my convert Josefina and the Cruz family. It was so nice seeing the Gospel working in Josefina's life. She's a much happier person than she was when I met her and I can see that the church and the Gospel have really filled that hole that existed before. And it was also nice seeing my progress as a missionary, particularly in Spanish. While as before I left Clinton I struggled sometimes to understand what people were saying, I was able to understand every single word! That felt super good! And Josefina is still the best cook in the mission.

Later that night we went and stopped by the Tyndalls. The Tyndalls are like my favorite people in the world. I really built a special relationship with them and it hasn't changed a bit. We still told the same jokes, stories, and Sister Tyndall still admires the growth that I've experienced as a missionary. As we were sharing a message with them, Sister Tyndall mentioned that I've grown a lot spiritually and that it really shows. So that's a nice compliment. After that we ate ice cream and granola. The funny thing about the granola is that my mom sent it to them! They told me it's the best granola in the west....which is funny because we're in the east. Ni modo. So everything was fine and dandy over in Clinton. The place has grown a little bit since I left, but other than that it hasn't changed a bit.

The next day I went on ANOTHER exchange down close to Raeford. Hope Mills to be exact. I went with Elder Brown, my good friend and zone leader. We had a great exchange and I was able to learn a lot and motivate my self for when I returned to Dunn. When I got back to Dunn, Elder Christensen has done a lot of great work. He found some new investigators and really set us up to have a great rest of the week. This weekend we were able to teach about eight lessons, some of which were just amazing. We have an investigator who was introduced to us by a young man in the ward. Alberto's home situation is not the best, so the church has really been a refuge for him in recent months. I read him a verse out of Alma chapter eighteen and asked him what he had against being baptized. After learning the doctrines of the plan of salvation, he told me "I have nothing against it. What else do I need to do to get there?" Golden! So we set a date with him for the 23rd of January and are anxiously awaiting the day when he can enter into a covenant with the Lord. I know he'll get there. If we play our cards right and trust in the Lord, he'll be a very strong convert.

Our other miracle lesson involved a family....can't remember the last name....but nonetheless, they're basically golden. We taught them the Restoration super clearly and powerfully and even involving they're young children, and they were just blown away. The mom's name is C and she just fell in love with what we taught her. I asked her "Is it hard for you to believe that a young man would be visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ and be called to restore the true church of God?" She said "Not really. God calls whoever he decides to call." So we introduced the Book of Mormon as evidence and told her how to receive her answer and she just ate it up. At the end of the lesson, she asked us "Can you go visit my mom so we can all go to church together next week?" Golden! This lesson was super powerful and I feel confident that this family will be baptized within the coming months.

This week was amazing and I'm super grateful for the experiences we had. I hope that we can continue to be diligent and obedient so as to allow the Lord to use us to work miracles. I know He lives and am grateful that He allows us to improve over time, rather than demanding perfection all at once. Please continue to pray for our success. My goal is two more baptisms before I go home. If I can reach that, I'll be a happy man.

Love y'all.

-Elder Landon Carroll
We went to a cotton gin with President and Sister James and the rest of the district!

"Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house....of order"‏



November 30, 2015

Well this was another crazy one. The work unfortunately slid to a bit of a halt due to some unexpected and hard to control circumstances.

We started the week with absolutely no miles left in the car, so that left us with an obstacle. We tried getting exchanges with us, but no one was available. And then most of our appointments fell through due to lack of organization and agency. And on top of that, every time we planned a good night, some crazy thing would happen that took us out of the work. Allow me to share with you a few examples. I'm not writing this to give excuses, but rather, showing you just how unpredictable life is!

So on Monday and Tuesday our car wasn't working, so the few miles we had left were unusable until we fixed our car! We drive a 2014 Chevy Cruze, so it shouldn't have been giving us any problems, but it was! The battery started to die each day for about the last week and a half, and then finally it got to a point where the car wouldn't even start. So we called a young man named Peyton and he came to the rescue. He jumped our car and then we drove it around for a while to see if it would do anything. Then we got to Kohl's to buy Elder Christensen a new coat and when we got out of the store, the car wouldn't start again! So some nice man jumped our car and then we headed back home. We turned off the car again and then we called for one more jump. Bishop came and jumped our car and then we went off to Autozone to get it checked out. Turns out our two year old battery was completely fried! So we decided to take it to the dealership so we could take advantage of the warranty the car was under. And that took FIVE hours. So we sat in the waiting room trying not to watch whatever was on the TV. Sadly, we were unsuccessful on that one. So once we got our battery fixed, we drove back and we were officially out of miles! Woooo! That means bringing out the bikes.
The next crazy thing involved Thanksgiving. We ate too much food! We had dinner with the Lykins family so that was super fun. They have so many kids I thought they were all cousins when we got there. And one of his brothers, the other Brother Lykins was there from Pinehurst (my first area), so it was nice catching up a little bit. Also, this family really loves pies. There were sixteen pies set out for dessert and I only got to try two of them I was so full. So we grabbed some leftovers, played some basketball with the kids, cleaned up, and then headed out. Then we went to a random grocery store and passed out some cards because we’re not allowed to proselyte on holidays like that. We were pretty successful with that.

The next crazy thing involved dinner on Saturday night. We went over to the Christensens for dinner. It was pretty fun being at their house. They have a farm in their backyard, so I got to pet their very tame cow named Emma. She was pretty cool. We had Thanksgiving leftovers (of course) with them and the food just made me sick. That last piece of chocolate cake was just too much for me to handle. Ten minutes later, I just felt horrible. When the Christensens finally took us home, I told my companion "I'm gonna go lay down. No me siento bien." So I laid on my bed writhing in pain for about an hour and a half until I finally went to the bathroom and threw up that chocolate cake. Bleh. I felt a little better after that, but we ended up staying in for the rest of the night, despite our awesome plans.

But wait, there's more! I was feeling well enough to go to church on Sunday morning, so we did that. Church was excellent, by the way. Really great talks about the power of tithing and fasting in our lives. Pay your tithing and feed the poor! Anyways, we went home after church, ate lunch, and did a little bit of training. Meanwhile, something was happening inside of me. My hands fell asleep while I was standing up, so I went upstairs and sat down for a little while and everything was better. Then our exchange came over and picked us up so we could have a good successful night. Well, our appointment cancelled, so we decided to go to the hospital to visit a member named Brother Link. He was having some tests done on his heart, so we figured we'd pay him a visit. We got there and checked in and then headed up to see Brother Link. He was doing alright and really appreciated our company. But as we were talking, I started to feel weak, so I pulled a chair over and set down. Then everything got progressively worse. My hands had fallen asleep again and it was progressing to my chest, feet, stomach, and head. My whole body was tingling like I wasn't getting enough air or circulation. So I started to breathe deeper, thinking maybe that was the problem, but things weren't resolving. Brother Link said "You okay? We can hook you up to this thing if you need it" pointing to his machine. I said "Nah, I'm good." Things didn't get better and I felt like I was going to pass out. I told everyone in the room "I feel like I'm about to pass out." So our exchange, Brother Dominguez, grabbed a nurse and I was quickly put into a wheel chair and wheeled down to the emergency room. The people at the desk were so confused because we had just checked in to visit someone and now I was in a wheel chair. So they quickly called me in, had me sit on a gurney for a while, and then they started testing me for stuff. They took my blood, checked my blood pressure, took a urine sample, and then we waited for the results. They had me set up to receive an IV, but that apparently wasn't necessary. The doctor came and said I was extremely low on potassium, probably from the vomiting. Weird, but it is what it is. Hopefully nothing more serious happens in the future. So they gave me some potassium supplements and a prescription for the rest of the week and now I'm here! I've never felt anything like that in my life and I pray that it doesn't happen again. I seriously thought I was going to pass out.

So there you have it. Our crazy week. All of those things really impeded the work, minus a few miraculous showings at church. The plan this week is to organize ourselves a little better and attack things more directly. I feel that I've been slacking as a missionary and I plan to turn that around. Repentance is real. We can improve each day if we set specific goals and plan to reach them. I've gone through sloppy phases on my mission and have found ways to turn them around. This is no different. Please pray for our success and our organization.

Love,

-Elder Landon Carroll

Soul Harvesting

 November 23, 2015

Wellllllllllllllllllll......it may not be easy, but we keep trudging along as we try to build this area from the ground up. The good news is we've actually started to find people. The investigators that the previous elders left us are either unreachable or just flat out have no potential. So we've discontinued the majority of them.

We had a couple miracles this week. Allow me to share them with you.

First off, we had some great experiences tracting. I took Elder Christensen to a trailer park that I assumed was filled with Hispanics, but was actually filled with a bunch of white folks. So we knocked some doors and then the miracle happened! We knocked the door of a woman named K who seems to be at a turning point in her life. She said that she was pondering how to bring God into her life when we knocked on the door. She mentioned that she just wanted to feel comfortable in the presence of God and we testified of the Atonement and the power that it has to cleanse us of our sins. We testified of the Restoration and gave her a really spiritual experience. We made her cry! She said we made her night and that she was looking forward to our return.

Unfortunately....K made her way to the internet and saw some things she shouldn't have. She found a list entitled "Top ten reasons not to be a Mormon." and the things that she shared with us indicated that it was very far stretched and just flat out false. But regardless, she felt a little freaked out from the situation and told us she would think about letting us come by and teach her. So we left her with a Book of Mormon (which we should have done the first visit. We were carrying Spanish stuff only) and invited her to read and pray. She held the book to her chest and said that she would, so I've been praying every day since that she picks up that book and has a spiritual experience. The feelings she felt were real and they were from the Spirit. That was a miracle and I hope that the Lord answers my prayers....otherwise we're just gonna have to go over there again. 
The next miracle, among finding a bunch of new people to teach, involved a less active member named Sister F. She's less active for a number of reasons, the main reason (I believe) is because she doesn't feel she can change or overcome her past, so the church doesn't really offer her too much. I gave her a talk that I had read entitled "In Times of Trouble" by Elder Holland and it made her cry! If we keep making people cry, we're gonna have to start carrying a box of tissues around haha! (I realize that was the lamest thing you've ever heard. If you can think of a pun, please let me know) But I hope that we can lead her to greater peace and happiness by helping her understand the Atonement a little better.

The work is slowly progressing here and we're starting to find people and gain trust with the members. I'm not the best at working with the members, so that's something we'll be working on, especially with a ward like this. The members are treating us very well and I might actually gain some weight in this area.

Training has also been exciting. Elder Christensen continues to learn and I continue to give him opportunities to learn and grow. The Spanish is coming along slower than I'd like, but Elder Christensen is working hard and it definitely shows. I just need to organize myself a little bit so I can be a better trainer and companion. The Lord is putting me to the test here in Dunn, and I hope that I can live up to my potential.

Please continue to pray for me. Pray that we can be successful and happy and work with the Spirit.

Que les pase una buena semana,

-Elder Landon Carroll

From the Ground Up



November 16, 2015

Buenos!

It's been a busy week as we've tried to learn Spanish, how to be better missionaries, and tried to find new people to teach. It's a little difficult to be starting from scratch, but it's not different from any other area I've been in. We just have to work and pray and expect that the Lord will bless us with miracles and with people to teach. And he has started doing that this week.

Lately we've been teaching a lot of less active members. The people are kind of interesting here. It's basically like I'm teaching people from Clinton all over again. It allows me to embrace the southern culture again haha! I love southern people. They're kind and they remind me of home. And they really bring out the best in me!

But I do have to admit that my love for Americans has decreased significantly after working with the Hispanics. Hispanics are just.....nicer. And they're much more open to hear us. I came to Dunn with Elder Christensen and we knocked our first door here and it was a white man. He basically said we don't have time for you and that we should get off his porch. I felt terrible! And then the people from my last area flashed through my head and I just felt discouraged. I missed them. I missed working with Hispanics. And now I relish in the opportunity to speak to another one. I've met a few Hispanics here and they just make me feel happy. I don't have to worry that they'll hardcore reject me because they already like me! As long as you speak their language, you can relate to them. And then you start talking about their food and they just light up! It brings me so much joy! And now I'm in an English ward and it just isn't the same. The Hispanic culture has defined my mission and has taught me so much about how to love and serve....and eat haha. 

So we will continue to work on finding Hispanics. This ward is just too.....white haha. It's full of military people and medical students from Campbell University. It needs more color! Plus, President advised me to focus on Spanish work so Elder Christensen can learn Spanish.

Speaking of President James....this man is awesome. He's my hero. It's through him and the love that he has for me and all the other missionaries that has inspired me to keep going when I don't feel like I can. I had an interview with him on Thursday and he just blew me away. He gave me counsel that warmed my heart and I will never forget. The words he spoke to me comforted me and gave me the assurance that everything will be okay and that I am not alone in my struggles and never will be. He's an inspired man, no doubt. And he's certainly inspired me.

There is nothing to report in the work other than the fact that we are making progress and hope to have some great successes this week. Please keep us in your prayers. I need two baptisms before I come home. Help us make it happen!

Have a wonderful week,

Elder Landon Carroll

Change is....Good?


November 9, 2015

Well I'm in a brand new area with a BRAND new companion and life is just grand. Things are tough as always, but I continue to push through with the help of the Lord.

So I told y'all last week that I was getting transferred....and I did! I'm now in Dunn, which is one of three Spanish areas in this zone. I've now served in all three haha. This zone definitely defines my mission. I've spent over a year here already and I wouldn't have it any other way. I love serving here. The people are much more humble and everything is a little more relaxing. Just the way I like it! 

So about my new companion....His name is Elder Christensen and he's from Sugar City, Idaho. I like Idaho. It reminds me of the good times that I used to have up at school. Maybe the Lord sent him to me so I could prepare to go back. That's what I feel about it. Elder Christensen is great! He's waaaaayyyyyy different from Elder Flake, but that's not a bad thing. He's a lot younger, so naturally this will be a different experience from the last. And he doesn't speak Spanish, so teaching him has been an adventure so far. He's actually learning quite fast, despite not having the study materials.

Dunn is a wonderful place. It's really beautiful, full of evergreens and grassy plains. I've been here before from when I used to be in Clinton. I used to come up to Dunn like every other week, so I actually already know some of the members here. They're great! They're really helping us out. We need as much help as we can get considering we're "white-washing" the area. That means that no missionaries stayed to keep the area going. We're basically starting from scratch! Thankfully I know the elders that were here last and they took a lot of notes for us. Things have actually gone pretty well so far. I ain't even mad. 

I'd love to tell y'all about our investigators, but I don't know enough to be able to say. Just know that we have quite a few people with the potential to progress and that we will be doing our best to make sure that happens.

I wish I had more to write, but everything is just so new.

But if there's anything that I could say, it's that the Gospel is true and that it has really power to make us happy. It's not just something we believe in or a group we're all part of. It's literally the "power of God unto salvation." I'm truly grateful to be part of this great work and I know that I will be blessed for my efforts after my mission. It's been the hardest time of my life so far, but also the most rewarding. I'm just hoping that I can continue on this path for the rest of my life, because it truly does bring joy and happiness.

Enjoy the pictures!

Love,
-Elder Landon Carroll


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Exciting News!

 November 2, 2015

This week FLEW by! Well, I guess they all fly by with how old I am in this mission. I have a little over four months and as I've said before, time is not slowing down. I just have to continue to give it my all so that I can be proud of what I will have accomplished at the end of my mission.

This week went really well. Despite not teaching as many lessons as we wanted, our investigators continue to show their willingness to put the Gospel to the test.

L (young one) was unable to come to church, but read seven chapter in the Book of Mormon last week. He said he hasn't felt anything, but we assured him that if he continues to read, he will gain the spiritual confirmation that the Book of Mormon is true. L set a new goal this week to not only read seven chapters, but to really pay attention to his feelings and write down which verse he liked the most in each chapter. I think with that mentality, he will have spiritual experiences. He said that his manager is still being a turkey, but he promises to come to church during fall break. We're praying that he has a spiritual experience at that time so that he can have the faith to find a new job or something. We pray for and expect miracles here in the NCRM. (North Carolina Raleigh Mission)

L (old) is also progressing. He did not come to church yesterday like he said he would, but at least he's beginning to read and pray consistently. We have a lesson with him tonight, so I'm hoping to make more progress. It''ll be my last time seeing him, so I will try to testify my heart out. (foreshadowing)

I tried to make progress with our old man R, but he is the most hard-headed man I have ever met. I try not to argue with him, but sometimes I have to raise my voice and talk over him because he just doesn't listen. I bore my testimony and committed him to read AGAIN, and we're bringing a different member every week so that they can tell their conversion stories. I wrote him a letter this morning, so maybe it'll touch him.

We also have this new investigator named Amado de la Cruz. He's a super humble man from Guerrero, Mexico. He's a man that truly recognizes us as servants of the Lord. In fact, he wouldn't come to church yesterday because he spent the whole day making tamales for us. He said he wanted to "celebrate us," so he made us some food. We went over that night and had some delicious food and a great lesson with him. He has a lot of real intent and has been praying to know if what we tell him is true. Unfortunately, he prayed to Joseph Smith, so I spent the first ten minutes of the lesson clarifying who we're supposed to pray to using the Bible. Halfway through the rest of the Restoration he finally says "so we don't pray to Joseph Smith, only God? And Joseph Smith was just a man called of God, nothing else?" I was so happy that he understood! That way I wouldn't have to leave Elder Flake with that issue. So we introduced the Book of Mormon and he said he would read and pray every day. And then we took a picture! And then he went and got his phone and we took ANOTHER picture! Really good, humble man. 


So now that I've foreshadowed enough, here's the news. I got a call from President James on Friday and he released me as district leader . :( BUT!....he gave me yet another assignment. No, I'm not going zone leader. This assignment is special and I guess he sees something in me. He wants me to train again in a different area, but the elder I'm training will have had no Spanish training whatsoever, meaning he did not learn any Spanish prior to coming to the mission. Not even in the MTC. So it's my job to train him and to teach him Spanish. It'll be weird to train again and not be district leader anymore, but I'm excited to be in a new area and to train another new missionary. I've learned a lot from training Elder Flake (and I hope that he's learned from me) and we've had a lot of success here. I'm sad to be leaving, especially with the way our investigators are going, but I trust Elder Flake and his new companion to follow through on what we've been doing and get these people in the water. I'm sad to leave Raeford, but there are new adventures elsewhere. Please pray that I can continue to progress as a missionary and that the Lord will give me the ability to carry out His work in the way that He wants.

I love each of you and hope y'all have a great week!

Love,

Elder Landon Carroll

Monday, November 2, 2015

Let's Just Baptize Again

 October 26, 2015

Hello,

This week was not TOO eventful, but I am happy to report that we are doing well and that our investigators continue to make progress toward baptism. I am extremely grateful that Nubia was able to get baptized last week and I pray that the Lord will bless her and bless us with more opportunities to bring people into the fold.

Our investigator L(young) is doing well. We fasted a couple weeks ago that he would be able to come to church yesterday, but his manager said no, maybe next time. So we will continue to pray that he can take that step. In the meanwhile, he has read a chapter a day this whole week! We set that goal with him and reminded him every day and he's been doing it! Hopefully he can continue to have spiritual experiences that will strengthen his faith in the Restoration. We will continue to pray for and expect miracles. God works in mysterious ways, and He will with Luis too.

Our other L (older) blew me away on Friday night! We brought a member there with us to teach and testify about the importance of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration and it just came out super well. Turns out that Luis has also read every day and has started bringing the Book of Mormon to work with him to read when he has nothing to do. He says he's really enjoying the stories of Nephi and loves the faith that he shows. We've had some difficulties getting him to church, but not anymore! L promised us that this week he will come! He told his daughter and his grandchildren that he can't come over on Sundays anymore because he has to go to church. He continues to show his faith and he is beginning to feel the Spirit in his life. Let's just pray that we can continue to help him on this road.

R is just ridiculous. We were with him last night for WAY too long, but at least we got somewhere. He loves to argue and pick apart our words for some reason, so we have to work through that. But basically we rebuked him for doubting so much and not keeping his commitments, and then showed an increase of love afterward. We invited him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon because it's the ONLY way for him to know the truth. He doesn't understand how to get his answer, even with our explanations, so we plan to bring a different member every time we go so that they can all tell of their personal testimony of the Book of Mormon. That's the last thing we can do for this man. I love him, but we can't continue to try to teach a man whose heart is harder than stone. All we can do at this point is pray that he accepts our invitation with a humble heart and with a willingness to search the scriptures through study and prayer. After that, we will be forced to say "Nos vemos!"

My mission has been quite the adventure. I wouldn't trade the experiences I'm having for the world. Sure, everything is incredibly difficult, but it's shaping me for eternity. Elder Flake and I are getting along well as a companionship and I'm hoping I can stay another transfer in this area. We're having so much success right now! People that other missionaries gave up on have now started to progress and one even got baptized! I just want to get another one! 
I'm grateful for the Gospel in my life. Without it, I would be lost. Even just the knowledge that I am a child of a loving Heavenly Father is enough to carry me through on hard days. It's that knowledge and that joy that makes me want to share it with others. People are lost without the knowledge that we have. Surely you know someone with whom you can share the Gospel. I invite you, as a representative of Jesus Christ, to do so.

I love each of you and am grateful for who you are and that love that you show me.

Have an excellent week!

Elder Carroll

Baptism!!!

 October 19, 2015

Good morning folks!

It's been a crazy and wonderful week as we've been preparing for Nubia's baptism. We almost didn't have time to teach our other investigators, but still managed to have one of the most successful weeks of my mission. These past couple transfers have proved to me that if you work hard and put your trust in the Lord, He will work miracles. And that's exactly what He continues to do for us.

L (Joven) progressed this week. We were finally able to fast with him so that he could come to church next Sunday. He went through the fast with faith and real intent! We have really built a desire in this young man, and it's showing in his prayers and that way he talks about the Gospel. He's still definitely a work in progress, but with some time and some church attendance, I think he'll progress toward baptism.

"Other" L has been sick this week, so we were unable to meet with him. We scheduled an appointment with him tonight, so let's all pray that it doesn't fall through. He really just needs to come to church and show some real initiative. We'll get there!

The rest of the week was focused on getting Nubia prepared for her baptism on Friday. So we taught her the remaining lessons she needed, got her some baptismal clothing, set up the program and made all the calls, and addressed any doubts or concerns she had. Let me tell you. This woman is amazing. She's been through an amazing conversion process and is fully committed to the covenants she has made with God. She hasn't wavered since she made the decision to be baptized.

Let me tell y'all about the baptism on Friday. So we got there early so we could fill up the font. This new building is awesome! The water heater is tank-less so there was never a shortage of hot water! We ran the water for over two and a half hours and the temperature never even dropped! But that's beside the point. So we filled up the font, set up the chairs, pulled out the TV, and made sure that the programs were set out. And then.....the baptism. We were so happy to see so many people attend. Nearly all the branch members came! That's how much support Nubia has. So we had our opening prayer, hymn, and baptism talk, and then it was time for the actual ordinance. Nubia's son, Edgar, got to baptize her. I was so happy to see that it went perfectly! And then right when she came up out of the water she gave her son a huge hug. It was a beautiful thing to see. Then I sang a special musical number "SeƱor, te necesito" (or in English, "I need thee every hour.) It went super well! I was proud of myself! Music always brings the Spirit, so we made sure to have a special musical number. After that, Elder Flake gave a talk on the Gift of the Holy Ghost and we had some closing testimonies and welcome to the branch. Everything went beautifully. I'll attach some pictures. 

So here's some of Nubia's story. She's 54 years old and she's been searching for a church her whole life. She's always had a good heart and a lot of faith, and she was searching many years for a place to show her faith. Six months ago, she wanted nothing to do with the church or the Book of Mormon, even after the sisters invited her to read and pray about things. She just refused. So then they gave her to us, hoping that maybe we could work some magic. So we started being bold with her and answering her questions about the Plan of Salvation, particularly the after life, and her eyes began to open. We then started showing lots of videos (because they bring the spirit and teach very simply) and she just started to understand everything. She then started to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and was able to receive multiple answers about its validity. As we continued to answer her questions and give her the hope of another chance to see her loved ones, she couldn't say no the baptism. So we set a date and the rest is history. I think what really made the difference with her is realizing just what the Gospel can bring her. She had the hope of seeing her loved ones again, and she used that hope to motivate her to action. Now she no longer has that hole in her heart, or that thing missing in her life. I remember during the talk on baptism, Sister Pouliot (sister missionary) said that Nubia's family was smiling down upon her. During that moment, Nubia just began to cry. She knew what she was about to receive and that through being baptized, she could perform saving ordinances for her loved ones. In fact, she already did THREE family names in the temple. That's how serious she is about this! She's just amazing.

And that's the story of Nubia. She was confirmed yesterday and is now a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. All of that because of our diligence in teaching her the truth and in her diligence to seek out answers from God. Simple, but beautiful.

And that was our week! Now we just have to get out there and continue to find those that will receive us!

Thank you for your prayers in my behalf. Y'all have an awesome week!

Elder Carroll

Monday, October 19, 2015

We did it! Or I guess...she did it!‏


 October 12, 2015

Good morning!

It's been an awesome week serving the Lord. We had a lot of great successes this week and I really enjoyed being part of the teaching of so many of Heavenly Father's children. I have found that most of my joy as a missionary comes from teaching a powerful lessons to investigators and just seeing the Spirit fill the room as their faces shine with excitement and with the love of God.

We were able to experience that this week with a couple of investigators. The first is N. I've kept y'all well informed about her progression toward baptism. A few weeks ago she accepted a baptismal date and began preparing herself spiritually for that day. This past week we were able to complete the teaching process (for now) with her to be baptized. She's been super motivated, keeping commitments, and "one hundred percent" as she says. So we taught her a couple of lessons, set up a baptismal interview, and she PASSED with flying colors! I was able to sit in there during the interview to translate and she just blew me away. Elder Brown, the zone leader who was interviewing, thought I was faking the translation to him her answers were so good! She's definitely done her part in learning and studying the doctrine of the restored Gospel. So she will be baptized this Friday at 7 pm. I would love to see you all there! 

The next one is L. He's the 18 year old. We had a great lesson with him about the Sabbath day and he seems motivated to keep it. We went to his house and he had watched some general conference talks on his own. I guess he just liked conference that much (or felt the Spirit) so he made the effort to watch some more. We plan to visit him tonight and start a fast for him to be able to make it to church next Sunday. He's really progressed these past couple months and I can see him being a great member. We just need to remember to pray and give him spiritual experiences.

We've also been meeting with M, our Jehovah's Witness friend. Lessons with him require a lot of patience just due to the nature of the situation. He's a missionary, and we're missionaries, so naturally we all just want to talk. The important part is that we make it a discussion, not him just reading out of his little books. We've gotten into a lot of good discussion about why their doctrine isn't correct and who God really is and it's opened my eyes to just how true the church is. I understand pretty well the JW doctrine (having studied it a little bit) and it just doesn't make sense at all. It's almost tragic how much it takes away from our potential as children of God. They claim that we don't have spirits, didn't exist before this life, cease to exist after we die until the resurrection, and that the purpose of God is to have us all living happily on a paradisaical earth forever and ever. Allow me to expound upon our doctrine a little bit.

We are all spirit children of our Heavenly Father. We lived with Him before this life as spirits. We loved and honored our Heavenly Father and wanted to experience a fullness of joy just as He did. In order for us to do this, God presented a beautiful plan. In this Plan we would come down to Earth, obtain a physical body, make choices and experience trials and hardships, but also experience joy and happiness. God also knew that because we would be given the ability to make choices that we would make decisions that were not in harmony with His teachings. In other words, we would sin. He knew this from the beginning, so He provided for us a Savior, who would enable us to overcome the consequences of sin and overcome the world with would live in. Through our obedience and through accessing the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we would one day be able to return to live with our Father in Heaven with a fullness of joy, having gained experience enough to truly understand the meaning of happiness.

Doesn't that sound pretty good? We have a divine potential and it comes through our obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. Part of the Great Apostasy was the removal of these plain and precious truths, which in turn, limits people's potential. Even just the simple knowledge that we are children of God and that we lived with Him before this life opens our eyes to the possibilities of our existence. Without it, we cannot even begin to comprehend who we really are and why God put us here. He just wants us to be HAPPY. We have to be here so that we can one day be eternally happy. That's it.

So now that I'm done rambling, just remember how blessed you are to have the restored Gospel in your life. Remember that because of it, you know where you came from, why you're here, and where you are going. That's a priceless blessing. I'm just hoping that we can help Monty see his true potential as a child of God. I'm sure we'll figure it out.

Thanks for listening.

-Elder Landon Carroll

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Tell me what kind of man would I be, living a life without any meaning...‏

 October 5, 2015

So....if I remember correctly, this was a great week! Time continues to speed up as I approach the end of my mission. In the beginning of my mission, the days were like weeks and the weeks were like days, but now it's just "everything is like an hour." Needless to say, I still have a lot of work to do.

We have a baptism coming up on the 17th for N, and I am fully confident that will go through. Our job at this point is to teach her everything she needs to know and make sure she is on the path to LASTING conversion. The last thing I want is to baptize a less active. She says that she is 100 percent and I can see that light in her eyes. She's just happy! When I got here, she was kind of "bah humbug" about everything, but she truly has gone through a change as she's learned about restored truths that have calmed fears that she has held on to for years. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be here to bring her into the fold.

We also had a lot of success with our other baptismal date L. He's progressing nicely. We got a member over to visit him and it went really well. We continue to promise blessings and ask him how he feels and he always says things like "if those blessings are really there for me, I want them. I know that baptism will be a good thing and will only bring good into my life." I hope that we can continue to help him progress toward his date. We've been trying to get him to church, but he has not made it yet. I think this weekend could be it. We just need to fast and pray a little more.

OTHER L is doing well. He's the 18 year old who's been investigating for a while now. We finally got him to church! Well, conference. But for what it's worth, he really enjoyed it. He really liked what the Apostles said and even found some things to apply in his life. We plan to fast this week with him so he can come to "real" church on Sunday. I think he's starting to get a little excited about the Gospel and I'm almost positive he has a testimony now. I really hope that he can continue to follow the Spirit so that he can make sacred covenants with the Lord and receive life-changing blessings. 


Conference was very enlightening. I always enjoy listening to the words of the prophet and apostles. As some of you know, conference is like Christmas for missionaries, so we really enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed D. Todd Christofferson's talk about the need for the church. I've met so many people on my mission who look at the message of the Restoration and say "the church doesn't matter. It's not the church that saves us, it's Christ." Or "we are all part of the church of Christ. Anyone who believes in Him is part of that church." Or "we don't need apostles anymore. They left their message and now it's our job to study their words." We don't need apostles? We need apostles simply because us "Christians" are not unified under one body! We believe in different things! God called the apostles to proclaim truth, correct error, and administer the ordinances of the Gospel. The church has those same purposes: 1) Proclaim truth 2) Administer the ordinances 3) and keep us under one head, that is Christ. If we all believe different things, we cannot succeed. I liked one thing that Elder Christofferson also said. He talked about people who don't join a church because "spirituality is something personal and can simply be done in the home." His response? There are things that God cannot and will not accomplish unless we are all together to carry out His purposes. Look how he mobilizes the members and missionaries to spread the Gospel! He needs everyone working together. It's our job to be part of the work.

Sorry for the rambling. I just get excited sometimes. Some other things that stood out to me were the age of President Monson, the sustaining of three new apostles, and the testimonies of the Atonement and sincere conviction of the apostles. President Monson looked a little tired this session. In his talk yesterday morning he was struggling to stay standing. I'm sure we were all praying for him as he delivered his powerful witness of the Savior and of following his teachings. I'm grateful for his service and I hope that we can all continue to keep him in our prayers so that he can finish his earthly mission with health and happiness. I'm grateful for the sustaining of the three new apostles, Elder Rasband, Elder Stevenson, and Elder Runland. The only one I really know of is Elder Rasband, so it'll be nice getting to know the other two through the years. I love the apostles and I'm grateful for the words they share and the revelations they receive. They are commissioned by the Lord and hold the charge to carry the Gospel to the world. It's our duty and privilege to follow their counsel and learn from their examples. For a long time, President Packer has been dear to my heart. I've always loved his words and his witness of the Savior and the Atonement. In my heart, he was truly a witness of the divinity of the Plan of Salvation and of the reality of the Atonement of the Savior. All of the apostles share the same calling, and we need to be sure to heed their words so that we can experience the blessings of eternity.

There I am rambling again. I tend to do that a lot. Well....I better wrap this puppy up. It's been a good week and I have been uplifted spiritually. I hope that you all were as well. Please continue to keep me in your prayers as we strive to find the elect and bring them home.

Love,

Elder Landon Carroll

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Carless, but not careless.‏

September 28, 2015

The title says it all ladies and gentlemen. We were without a car this whole week, but that did not stop us from, being successful. We were still able to work hard and teach some really great lessons. We're really starting to establish ourselves as a companionship here and I'm really excited about the direction the work is heading.

Some of our successes this week included....

Getting N to Stake Conference and making sure that she had a great experience. I can see that she is just getting happier and happier as her baptismal date approaches. We were not able to teach her this week apart from Sunday school at church, but I have full faith and confidence that she will make her baptismal date. That's on the 17th of October by the way.

We also had a great lesson with R. He's our old man from the Dominican Republic. He says that if he comes to know the Book of Mormon is true, it would mean to him that this is the correct path. He says he hopes that it is. I know that it is.

Stake conference was wonderful yesterday. We had a general authority visit, Elder Zwick of the seventy and he was just amazing. He gave a wonderful talk about how to come to know Jesus Christ personally. He gave us four things to do: 1) Read and study the scriptures daily. 2) Pray daily. 3) Go to the temple. 4) Follow the prophet. He told a great story about a time he accompanied President Monson to go do a hospital visit (yes, even the great prophet does those) and he said that when they walked through the halls, people would get very quiet. A couple people asked to shake his hand, and he ended up taking them to separate rooms and blessing them. And then he gave the blessing that he went there for. He's just a perfect example of Christ-like love and service. We need to follow him. I know we only hear from him every six months, but just imagine what he does when we're not looking. His life has been an example of service, and we need to follow him as we try to become like the Savior. Oh, and I got to translate his whole talk to the Spanish speakers. That was pretty cool.

Another thing! We went and visited our Jehovah's Witness guy M and had an interesting engagement with him. I brought another elder on exchanges who knew a lot about the bible and things like that, and we just kind of went at it. I told him to go at it subtlety, and he did his best. We did our best. Their beliefs are EXACTLY why we need the Book of Mormon. Because without it, we cannot understand the Gospel. Sure, the Bible contains the fullness of the Gospel, but without the Book of Mormon, we could never understand everything it's saying. Actually, I got up and gave my testimony of that very point during district meeting. I brought my JW Bible and held it up for everyone to see. I said "This book right here has changed my perspective on everything. It's because of things like this that we need the Book of Mormon. People are lost chasing after worldly philosophies when the truth is right under their noses. Let's give it to them Elders and Sisters." Unfortunately I got told on by some missionaries for that, but President James says it was an awesome testimony. But that is the truth about things. M shared with us a bunch of false information that is accurate supposedly because they went back to the original transcripts to verify everything. The only flaw with that is that THERE ARE NO ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPTS. So he tried to indoctrinate us, but failed miserably. We're going back this Friday to teach him the Restoration and see what he thinks.

Well, I am running out of time so I'm gonna close. Please continue to pray for us as we try to bring souls to Christ. The Gospel is true and Jesus Christ lives. Don't ever forget it.

Love,

Elder Landon Carroll

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Well, the leaves have come to turning and the goose has gone to fly...‏

September 15, 2015

Fall is in the air! I walked out yesterday to knock doors and I was just smacked with Deja Vu. I kept telling Elder Flake "It feels like my birthday. Like all my childhood birthday picnics and stuff." And then it turned into "It feels like Halloween." The weather has been beautiful these last couple days and I just have this familiar feeling right now. Like...I'm home or something. I guess this time of year has always kind of been my favorite so it's only natural.

We had a lot of success this week. I talked about some of our investigators last week. Now I'm gonna fill you in on their progression.

N has skyrocketed! She had some doubts about some things last week, but I was able to clear those up in Gospel Principles on Sunday, so I knew she was progressing. She really loves all the doctrine of the Plan of Salvation. She has a lot of concerns about death, so the restored truths of the restoration really help her to understand where her loved-ones are and what's going to happen to them. We went to teach her on Thursday night and she had a lot of questions about the Restoration through Joseph Smith, so before she asked any more, I popped in the Joseph Smith movie and we just went. After the movie, she didn't have any more questions and I could tell that she felt the Spirit. After explaining that she will get baptized, but wasn't ready, I asked her what was holding her back. She didn't really say anything, so then the conversation magically moved to the fact that her son is being deployed in January, so if she wants him to baptized her, she needs to get baptized soon. So we set a date for the 17th of October....and it's super solid! She will be baptized on that day. No doubt in my mind (uncle Rico voice). Now we just have to teach her the commandments and get the members involved and she's good to go. I'm excited!

We were unable to meet with our golden investigator, L this week, but we dropped by and gave him a Plan of Salvation to read. Apparently he hasn't been feeling well, so hopefully next weekend is promising.

R is still well....R. He's got so many weird ideas in his head and he's just a little hard-headed. He didn't come to church for some reason, but he says that he loves meeting with us and he asked a super good question on Thursday. He asked "If we all lived with God before this life, then why did God even put Adam here on the Earth?" That means he's starting to process things a little bit! This is the key to destroying his false beliefs about the Fall. I'm hoping to make a lot of progress with him this week, so we'll see what happens. He's just sooo hard-headed it's not even funny.

So there's a few of our success stories this week. Our diligence continues to pay off and the Lord is continuing to bless us with miracles. We do the work, he supplies the sheaves. It's that simple.

The Lord has been trying my patience lately. I just want every lesson to go perfectly so I can baptize, but it just hasn't been going that way. I start teaching and people just start talking about absolutely nothing. It's incredibly frustrating. My gospel principles class was taken over by talkers yesterday and a lady who asked "why is Joseph Smith's name not in the Bible?" Does she even know what she just asked? Hmmmm maybe because the Bible was written two-thousand years ago? People just don't like to think logically sometimes. That's something that I love about the Gospel. In its fullness, it makes perfect sense. There are no holes in any of the doctrine, unlike that of other false churches. Sometimes I just want to force my understanding of things down people's throats, but we all know that it doesn't work that way. Christ never did it that way. He asks us to be patient and teach the people exactly what they need to hear to progress in the Gospel. It's hard sometimes, but that's really what makes a convert. Unless people understand the personal relevance of the gospel to THEM, it doesn't matter what we teach them. That's my testimony of the matter.

Well. enough of the rambling. It's been a good week and I hope to continue to have success. Please pray that we can stay diligent and that we can figure this difficult week out. We have to turn our car in for repairs for five days this week, so it's gonna be very hard to get to some of our investigators. Please pray that the members can step up and that the Lord will provide for our needs.

Have a good one!

-Elder Landon Carroll

Thursday, September 10, 2015

We are bound together by the task that lies before us...‏

September 7, 2015

What a week!

Hard work, good planning, and diligence have been the story as of late. We had a lot of great successes this week and the area continues to progress. I'm grateful for the miracles we're seeing and the people that we're helping.

Some updates on investigators:

1. R.
R is the 80 year old man from D.F. Mexico. He's been a round a while, so naturally he has quite a few interesting ideas. Some of them are rather twisted. But we've done well combating his little arguments and helping him to understand true doctrine. He says a lot of offensive things, but with a chisel and some polish, we might be able to round him out a little bit. He came to church on Sunday, but I could tell he didn't have a good experience. We were sitting toward the back of the pews and there was a kid that was RUNNING around the chapel and screaming. And all his mom did was look at him! There's no way Rene could have heard the testimonies or even have felt the spirit. I certainly couldn't. So yeah. We'll have some explaining to do tomorrow when we visit him. Hopefully we can get him to come again.
2. A
A has been incredibly busy lately with fixing up his house and getting a new job. But we did manage to meet with him last night,. We taught him the Word of Wisdom because I felt that it was right, and his concern came out. He said that he doesn't believe Joseph Smith was a prophet. So we testified of the restoration and the Book of Mormon and challenged him to read and pray. He said that that was what he needed to do, so we'll follow up in the future. He really needs the Gospel in his life. He says he feels peace every time we come, so we're trying to help him have peace all the time.
3. N
N is doing well. She's progressing in her own time. We couldn't meet with her last week, but she seems to be reading and praying on her own. I got to teach Gospel Principles on Sunday, so the lesson really helped resolve some of her concerns and build her testimony a little more. It sounds like she knows the church is true. We just have to get past her little doubts and concerns so that she can get in the water. Sooner or later she'll just start to feel the desire to be baptized. We just need to give her more spiritual experiences.
4. L
L is 18 and going to community college. The missionaries have been teaching him for a really long time. We're slowly chipping away at his doubts and concerns. He just really needs a testimony of the Book of Mormon. I read him the verse in 3rd Nephi that he had felt a lot of peace from the week earlier. He said he's expecting God to give him a sign to know if the Book of Mormon is true. I said to him "could that peace be a sign from God?" And he said "maybe." We invited him to be baptized again and he said he still wasn't sure. Honestly, it's all on him at this point. We've testified, gotten members involved, taken him on a church tour, and watched countless videos. He just needs to use his agency and seek an answer from the Lord. That's all he needs to do. Now we just have to be there to encourage and challenge.
5. L(Golden)
We found this man a few weeks ago, but we were finally able to teach him on Saturday. Turns out he's golden! He's a 67 year old man from Puerto Rico who's married, but separated from his wife. I could tell that he was depressed and just down on life. So we taught the Restoration very clearly and promised a lot of blessings and he began to light up! We invited him to be baptized and he said "if that authority is really and it's what God wants then yes." So he has a baptismal date! He said at the end of the lesson that he was super happy that we came by to visit him. There's a man who recognizes us as servants of the Lord! I'll keep y'all updated on him.

Training is also going well. It's fun seeing Elder Flake progress as a missionary. He's getting better at Spanish and his teaching ability has improved a lot. And he seems to be having fun! Staying busy is the best thing we can do to have fun. The more lessons you teach, the better you feel. That's the key to being a happy missionary. Just stay busy and focused and the Lord will work miracles.

I'm really enjoying my mission right now. It's so incredibly difficult, but there's joy in every moment as long as I remember who I am and why I'm here. Life is hard, but I have to keep an eternal perspective on things and trust that the Lord will mold me into who He wants me to be. I trust that He will in due time. I have no doubt about it.

Thanks for all the prayers and support! Please continue to pray that we can be successful and happy here.

Take care,

Elder Landon Carroll

Monday, August 31, 2015

Ohhhhh Mexico. It sounds so simple I just got to go.‏


August 31, 2015

BUSY!

This week was pretty awesome. We taught some good lessons, a lot of things fell through, and we got to hear from a general authority! And we ate some food! And I got to sleep at night! And we got to do weekly planning! And I'm training! And....okay that's enough.

The week started out a little choppy. We didn't teach any lessons on Monday, but we did find a Jehovah Witness man. He said he could get us some bibles and a bunch of free stuff, so we insisted. So we went back on Friday and he gave us some materials and his little shpeal. It's all a bunch of bologna if you ask me. They think Jehovah is God the Father, when we clearly see in the Bible that Jehovah is Jesus Christ in ante-mortal form. He taught us some weird lesson and I just wanted to slaughter all his false doctrine, but I promised before going in there that I wouldn't, so I didn't. But now we have their bible and a book and I'm working on disproving everything so we can got back and show him the truth. Jehovah's Witnesses are very deceived. The only way I can accurately sum up what they believe is "the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture." That's exactly what it is! We're going back someday to teach the Restoration and if it gets argumentative, I'll have the evidence to back up our doctrine.

Through this experience I've really come to love the Book of Mormon even more. I go through and compare my Bible with the JW bible and eventually I end up in the Book of Mormon and I can literally feel a change in my attitude, the Spirit, and the clarity of the doctrine as I begin to read it. Not only that, but the Book of Mormon makes it VERY clear who Jesus Christ was before He came down to the earth. The Book of Mormon shows us what God's plan for His children is and what we need to do to be happy in this life. It's a book that can change your life if you let it. If you're not reading it regularly, start now!

Something else I've learned this week is just how great of a blessing it is to have the knowledge of the full Plan of Salvation. We're teaching an old man and he just doesn't get it. He thinks that Adam and Eve ruined God's original plan of having us in paradise. My thought is....how can the most intelligent being in the universe's plan be thwarted by a couple of naive dust made humans?!?!?! It can't! So as I've attempted to teach this man some true doctrine it's been very difficult to explain to him that the Fall was all part of the plan. So as I contemplated how to show him that it was meant to be, I thought about the doctrine of the premortal life. We know from the scriptures that we existed before this life and that we lived with God. Our Father in Heaven presented us with a beautiful plan to allow us to experience a fullness of joy like Him. The Plan was that we would come to earth, gain a body, make choices, experience happiness and sadness, learn and grow, and sin. That was what was presented! And God knew that we wouldn't be perfect, so He promised to send us His son Jesus Christ so that we could repent and become perfect like our Father in Heaven. Once we understand this doctrine, we understand why the Fall was necessary and why sin, sadness, and mortality had to enter the world. Without these things, we cannot become like our Father in Heaven. So that's what we plan to teach when we come back on Thursday. That is, if he lets us talk. He's pretty long winded in his old age. He came to the branch barbecue and just enjoyed himself , so I'm hoping he progresses nicely over the next few weeks.

We also had a church tour with our investigator. He said he didn't feel the Spirit, but I don't believe him. He said he wants to see the church full of people, so I think he'll be coming to church next Sunday. We're visiting him tonight and hoping to give him a spiritual experience.

The rest of the work is going nicely. We're building this area from the ground up, and it's proving to be very rewarding. I'm just hoping we can be consistent enough to have some progressing investigators.

Whelp, I gotta get going. I've reached my quota. Please continue to keep me in your prayers so I can finish out this mission strong.

Love y'all,

Elder Landon Carroll

I yanked these photos off of the Raleigh, North Carolina Mission Facebook page.  You can just see Landon in the back by the stage.  Not the best photo but we take whatever we can get!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Another Week in the Bag


August 24, 2015

Well time certainly isn't slowing down here in North Carolina. It feels like I just left for my mission a few weeks ago and now I have 6 months left....What's up with that?!?!?!? Part of me wants it to end so I can go have fun with my family and friends at home, but most of me just loves being out here and doesn't want it to ever end. The mission has changed me and it's brought a lot of joy and change to my life. I will never go back to the person I was before. To do that would be to mock God and the experiences He has given me. Without the things that I've gone through, I don't think I could have ever gotten to the point I'm at now. Let me just tell you that there are things that you cannot learn unless you go on a mission and dedicate your life to the Lord's service. You cannot experience true happiness until you've helped someone come into the Gospel. You cannot truly become a disciple of Jesus Christ unless you are willing to as the scriptures say "take up your cross" and follow the footsteps of the Savior. Doing that has made me a better man and my greatest hope is that when I come home, I will still have the same desires to be a servant in the Lord's hands.

It's that desire to serve that has brought me to where I am now. The Lord has blessed me with the opportunity to be a district leader and train a new missionary and I'm enjoying every minute of it. It's interesting being a district leader. There's a lot of things that come with the assignment that I did not expect. For example, I'll get like three texts a week from sisters asking me about clarifications for rules, things to do in certain situations, and other little things that I'm expected to know. They expect me to have ALL the answers! And yet, I don't. Everyone thinks the district leader just knows everything and they expect him to be able to answer all their questions, but oftentimes I don't even know how to help these missionaries. I just do my best to teach and instruct them, be an example, and give them opportunities to grow and improve, and I let the Lord take care of the rest.

Training has also proven very interesting. I'm enjoying the opportunity to teach Elder Flake about how to be a missionary. He seems to be adjusting nicely. The hardest thing for me is giving him opportunities to do the work. I'm a veteran missionary now and I kind of just want to go teach and baptize everyone, but I have to remember to carry Elder Flake with me. He's a great elder and he has a lot of potential. He gave a talk yesterday at church and his Spanish was awesome! I only helped him with a little bit. We had a great week together and I'm glad that we're finding ways to be busy. We taught more lessons last week than I ever have in Raeford, and we're starting to set up consistent appointments so we can get the members involved a little better. We have some great investigators and I expect to be baptizing in the future. The key is going to be effective planning. I'm confident in our teaching ability as a companionship. The focus will just be making sure everything glides smoothly as we help these people progress in the Gospel.

And update on investigators! We found a bunch of new prospects this week, so they should all be new investigators this coming week. We're now teaching a woman from Peru named A, and she seems to be pretty excited about learning from us. She also wants to come to our English class, so that should give us a good opportunity to build some trust with her.

We also were able to visit our investigator N. She's the one who lives with a member family. We attempted to set a baptismal date, but she wasn't having it. She says that she doesn't want to play games with God, so she wants to make sure she's ready to take that step. She's reading the Book of Mormon consistently and her family has been a great support, so it's only a matter of time before she takes the plunge to get baptized. We have an appointment with them tomorrow, so I think we can really make an impact with that tomorrow.

We also successfully taught an eternigator! An eternigator is someone who has been investigating the church for a long time, but has not progressed. His name is L, and we had a great lesson with him. We went in there and really laid down our expectations and used an analogy about dating with the Book of Mormon. We told him that just like you're not gonna marry a girl after two dates, God will not answer your prayer if you haven't even made an attempt to "get to know" the Book of Mormon. So he seemed to like that and actually has read since then. Then I shared with him one of my favorite scriptures found in 3 Nephi 9:13-14 and as I read it aloud, he said he felt a lot of peace. We were able to then use that to help him understand how his answer would come. We're having a church tour with him tomorrow, so I think we can make a lot of progress with him this week.

Hard work and good planning has proven to be the key to this area. We had a successful week and it will only improve as we continue to be diligent in our efforts to share the Gospel. I hope and pray that the Lord will continue to grant unto us success and that we'll be able to find joy therein.

Thank you for all the prayers and support.

Have an excellent week!

-Elder Landon Carroll

Since We're On Our Way Down We Might as Well Enjoy the Ride

Landon and his new companion, Elder Flake
August 17, 2015

It was a crazy busy week here in Raeford. Training and being with a new companion has brought a lot of work to be done.  We're here to teach everyone, so that's what we're gonna do. We taught more lessons this week than I ever have in Raeford and it felt great to be always working. Sitting in the apartment and doing less-productive things kills your motivation and the Spirit. So we will be sure to stay as busy as possible.

So about my new greenie.....His name is Elder Flake and he's from Mesa Arizona. He should have been out here a few months ago, but he broke his foot in the MTC and had to go home to have surgery. And then while he was home he had to get his appendix removed. Talk about trials. I'm so glad he's here now. He's in for a two year experience he will never forget. Hopefully I can make his experience the best possible as I teach him how to be a missionary. And hopefully he learns some good things from me. And yes, he is 6' 4".

Update on investigators! We met with A again right before Elder Jaussi got transferred. We had a great lesson about being obedient to the commandments and reaping the blessing that come from them. We were reading through 1 Nephi 17 and A read a verse and replaced "I, Nephi" with "I, A" so that's how we know that he's actually applying these things to himself. He expressed that ever since we've started coming, he has been more motivated to change and be a better person. We came back on Thursday and taught him about the Sabbath day, but he expressed that he does not want to go to church alone. So hopefully we can begin to teach his wife so that they can come to church together. We really should be putting in an effort to be teaching her anyway. We have plans to bring a member couple over this week, so I think that we'll help with they're progression. If we can get them to church, there's no turning back. We helped A tear some carpet out of the new house he bought, and I think he really appreciated it. We will continue to build more trust with him so he can feel more comfortable with us (and give us more delicious Puerto-Rican food).

Sad story! So on Elder Flake's second day we went over to a new neighborhood and knocked on a door that looked Hispanic. Sure enough, they answered and a young girl came out and began to express her love for Jesus and told us how He had blessed her life. So she got us some water and we sat down with her and her little brother and began to teach the Restoration. We taught it super clearly and left a great commitment to read and pray. During the lesson, her uncle showed up and walked by us and asked us what we were talking about. I told him that we were discussing Jesus Christ and the apostles. He asked me "Why did he come?" I said "To save us from sin." He shook his head and walked away. It was clear that there was some tension in the air. So we continued. The girl and her little brother were very excited and agreed to read and pray about everything. So we set a return appointment and then went to go knock the rest of the neighborhood. Well, it was about time for our dinner appointment, so we headed back to the car. As we walked by these people's house, the little brother comes out. "Excuse me!" So I ask him what's up. He says "My uncle said this stuff isn't true. He said the story isn't true." I inquired a little more. "Has he read and prayed about it?" The kid explains "he's a preacher and he studied it and says none of the stories are true. We're not interested in the class anymore." So I take the books and we walk back to the car disappointed. Let me tell you how much I just wanted to barge into that house and thrash that preacher's doctrine! The Pentecostal religion is false false false! The power that they "feel" in their church is not the Holy Spirit. It's Satan. I'm convinced of it. But I didn't do any of that or say any of that. We walked to the car nicely, I said a prayer in my heart, and we headed to our dinner. Isn't it a shame?!?!?! I really wanted to teach those people! If only that preacher knew what he was missing....

But that's my rant for the day. I'm really enjoying the work that's happening here and I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve in North Carolina. It's a great place!

Love y'all!

-Elder Landon Carroll

Some News!

August 10, 2015

Welllllllll......

What do I write about this week....

Let's see....ooh! We made an awesome breakfast this morning! We had bacon, sausage, waffles, eggs, hash browns, gravy, and I made the best smoothies ever! I'm getting so good at making smoothies and my ninja was such a good investment. I'll send some pictures next week.

Also....I smell like bacon...and smoke. We burned some oil and we had to open all the doors to the apartment. The lawn care guys working outside came to check on us because they thought the place was on fire. Hahaha little did they know....
We also had another great week at the new church building. The members just love it. Our attendance right now is greater than that of the English ward! And they're a ward! A and the rest of the Puerto Ricans were not able to come to church yesterday. They're getting ready to move so they had some painting to do. We'll get over there this week and help them out.

District meeting was great on Wednesday. It took me FOREVER to figure out what to teach, but after much prayer and study in the scriptures, I came to the conclusion that the missionaries in my district needed to be reminded of who they are and where they're going. I talked a lot about eternal progression and why the Lord called us to serve. I think they all felt the Spirit and I think some of them really needed it. Being district leader is tough sometimes because of the responsibility it brings, but that Lord has definitely blessed me with the capacity to be able to help the missionaries in my district. I love being able to account with them and help them and their investigators. 

In other news....I got a call from my mission president the other day and he has called me to be a trainer this next transfer! So I'll be training a little greenie tomorrow. I'm looking forward to the fulfillment it will bring me to be able to help a newly called missionary learn the basics of missionary work and how to teach the Gospel effectively. I don't know what kind of missionary I'll be getting, but I pray for the charity and patience to understand him so that I can help him best. Pray that I'll be able to be a good example to him!

The work was pretty good this week as well. I already updated y'all on our family from Puerto Rico, but we hope that they continue to progress. A is looking for peace and that's our goal. He needs the Gospel in his life. He just needs to have the confidence to accept it and live it. I know it will bring him peace. 

I love being a missionary and I'm grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I've studied a lot of other religions while I've been here, including Jehovah's Witnesses, and nothing comes close to what the Restored Gospel offers us. There are no holes in our doctrine. There is nothing "fishy" or corrupt about the way we live or how the Church runs things. It's pure, beautiful truth. Don't ever forget it. This is the church of Jesus Christ. He is the Christ, the Son of God. He really did atone for our sins. Don't ever forget it.

I love you all.

-Elder Landon Carroll

These are photos that Landon's Mother found on the Raleigh, North Carolina Mission Facebook page.  This is the Fayetteville Zone Conference.





We Are Slowly Figuring This Thing Out!












August 3, 2015

Buenos dias!

This was a good week. It's definitely true to say that hard work pays off. The Lord truly does bless us as we put in our best effort.

I'm starting to get to know the members here, so that has thrown a positive spin on the work. Just knowing what you're working with out here is half the battle. Now that I'm learning the area and all the members' names, I'm able to focus a little more on blessing them. With us building member trust, we were able to receive two referrals this week! That's a blessing for sure! We went and contacted one of them and that man wasn't interesting, but it's just good to know that the members are putting in their effort. (Ricky Bobby: Ya know I saw on TV the other day they put a pig heart in a man. "Wow that's amazing." Well, he didn't live, but it's just cool to know we're trying stuff like that.) I love the members here, just as I've learned to love all the people I've served. That's the thing I love the most about my mission. I just love being able to meet so many different kinds of people, and getting to serve them is even greater.

So here's an update on our Puerto Rican family. They're doing pretty well. We had a great lesson with them on Tuesday about reading and praying and gaining a testimony of these things. They definitely want to know. They read everything we give to them. We're really just trying to help them get that answer through prayer. They gave us some Boricua popsicles and then we headed out. We tried to have a church tour with them at the new building, but that fell through. A fell asleep or something. Then he said he was coming to church, but that busted as well. Apparently his wife wasn't feeling good. We'll get the members a little more involved this week and hopefully they'll be able to come on Sunday.

Speaking of Sunday....we had church in the new building! I attached a picture of the branch in front of it. It went really well! Everything smells so new I want to eat it! Everything went smoothly and the members feel extremely blessed. That's the beauty of Hispanic culture. They're all so grateful for the blessings they receive. We could all learn a little lesson from them. It was testimony meeting and they all got up and just expressed their gratitude. The Spirit was strong and many tears were shed.

Something that I learned this week as I was reading in Doctrine and Covenants really grabbed my attention. I can't remember who said it, probably Joseph Smith or Martin Harris, but it said "It is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men." I firmly believe that to be true. God has called us here to gather His elect, and we plan to work extremely hard this coming week to see what miracles we can accomplish. I know we can do it! Please keep us in your prayers!

Well, I guess I better close now, but thanks everyone for your wonderful support and for all that you do for me. It really helps me.

Take care now,

-Elder Landon Carroll