Saturday, February 21, 2015


February 16, 2014

Good morning everyone!

It was a wonderful, crazy week here in Clinton. I have some big news, and you probably already guessed what it is, but I'll start with the craziness of the week.

Monday was fairly normal, but Tuesday was just interesting. We had one of the members, Nick, drive us thirty minutes away to visit a part member family. Well, we got to the family's house and they let us in right away, but they kind of pushed us aside. We walked in and the little girls led us to the living room and we sat down. Well the husband was on the phone and the wife was washing dishes and we just waited patiently while the little girls entertained us....for almost an hour. We literally sat on the couch for almost an hour until we were finally acknowledged by the adults. A little awkward, but okay. Turns out they're going to church in the Wallace branch which is fifty minutes away, when they should be coming here in Clinton. The little girls asked about baptism, and the non-member mom understands the importance of it, so we're hoping to start working with them a little more often to see if we can bring them into the fold.

On Wednesday we planned for J's baptism. We got the program made, figured out the baptismal clothing situation, and made calls to make sure people would be there. Then, later that night we had a lesson with J. We put the finishing touches on the cake with her and made sure she was taught everything. She's very accepting and says that she will do whatever the Lord asks of her. I don't doubt it! This woman's got faith!

Thursday was RIDICULOUS. We were planning the night before and I had a feeling that we needed to weekly plan in the evening instead of during the day like we usually do. Well, that had some good reason (tenia razon). We got home from interviews with President around 3, and then we left for an hour. When we came back around 4:15, the apartment was flooded! The toilet had leaked out a bunch of water. The bedroom had about an inch all the way around, the kitchen was a slip n' slide, and the living room was a beach (half dry, with a nice tide coming in from the bathroom). So we spent about three hours trying to get all the water up. We moved all the furniture and then attempted to get all the water up with a mop and bucket and two shop-vacs. Turns out the septic tank backed up or something and all four apartments in our unit got flooded. But ours was the worst, of course. So we had a large fan blowing on the carpet for four days and our sleeping situation fell to pieces. Luckily, the Wests were nice enough to allow us to sleep in their place, so we've slept there every night since the incident. I wouldn't mind staying her. The queen sized-bed is incredible. But I figure this is all just some form of opposition before the baptism.

On Friday we had an excellent lesson with K. He's the man that believes the Israelites are black. The good news is that subject did not get brought up and we were able to have a great lesson with him. I gave him the large print scriptures (thanks mom!) and he ate em up. We read a chapter with him and it really opened his mind to the doctrines found in the Book of Mormon. He says that from what he's read so far, the Book of Mormon has helped him "fill the holes" that he had before. That's what it's supposed to do! So we invited him to start reading and he should be more motivated now. I'm hoping to see him hit the water one day, once he drops his absurd beliefs. Later that night we had our last lesson with J before the baptism. We made sure everything was set and that she was all ready. She said she wasn't even nervous but that she just felt "ready."

And now....for Saturday! So we did studies at the church, had some Papa John's, and then filled up the font! It took a few hours to fill, and the water wasn't getting warm very fast, but we did it just in the nick of time! The baptism started at 4 pm, but at that time, the only people there were us, the sisters, J, and the Wests. We got a little nervous about that. But fifteen minutes later the room was filled with people there to support her. So we sang an opening song, had a great talk on baptism. And then she got baptized! I had the privilege of baptizing her. She insisted, so I took the honor. It was really a great program and she was very happy to be there to take that step. After the program, all the members came up and hugged her. That's what made the difference in her conversion. We had a member there every single lesson and they really took her in at church. She comes to church like she's been here for years. That's how it should be.

On Sunday, we had A and K at church and Josefina got confirmed by Hermano Navas. J wore heels for the occasion. She was very happy after church, and we plan to visit her on Wednesday to see how things are going. We're hoping that she can influence her family to join the church in the future.

And that is the joy of missionary work. Just because we decided to talk with Josefina in the park, she entered the gate through baptism and is now on the path to Eternal Life. It's been a joy being a part of it, and something I will never forget.

And that was my crazy, wonderful week. And I'm thankful for it.

-Elder Landon Carroll

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Gonna Have A Baptism!!!

February 9, 2015

Good morning everyone!

As the transfer approaches an end, and I don't know if I'll be staying in Clinton or what, but I have to just look back at everything I've done while I've been here. It's been much harder than Pinehurst, no question about it, but it's been equally rewarding. I've met so many good people and I've truly learned how to put myself before others. No, I'm not perfect at it, but I'd say I'm a hundred times more loving now than I was before my mission. Just working with the humble people here and seeing how much they rely on the missionaries has brought me to that. I left Pinehurst before I was able to see Max and Alberto enter the waters of baptism, but this time I'll get to be here for the baptism of Josefina! I look back at all the hard work we've put in here, and we've tried really hard. A lot of the people that we've taught love our message, but they just refuse to act and then you end up just running around in circles until you finally have to just discontinue teaching them. That isn't the case with Josefina.

We found her picking pecans at the park before playing soccer with some members. We saw her there so we decided to go talk to her. She said she was Catholic, but she still said we could come by. She actually told us about that the other day. She said that she would always tell missionaries to go away when they knocked on her door, but for some reason, and she doesn't know why, she decided to say yes. And now she's happier than she's ever been in her life. She's involved with the branch, she loves the Book of Mormon, she overcame her life-long addiction to caffeine in three days, she makes us dinner and cakes every time we come, and she's just open and ready to be baptized.

We've worked really super hard out here in Clinton, and the members know it. We have different people at church every week, but the just don't "stick" as the members would say. That's the difference between an elect individual, someone who's truly prepared to receive the Gospel, and someone who's not. Josefina, as well as Max and Alberto in Pinehurst, recognized the Lord's voice when He called. This just goes to show that there really are people out there that are looking for the truth, but do not know where to find it. It's OUR JOB to bring it to them. Not just the missionaries, but more importantly the members. When you have something so precious that you love and cherish with all your heart, something that has brought you more happiness and joy than you've ever experience, why would you NOT share it? I ask myself the same question sometimes. Why is it so hard to just open our mouths sometimes? It's only the everlasting Gospel after all.

So what else did we do this week? Well we laid down a hardwood floor, ate a bunch of food, found some new investigators from Cuba, restarted teaching some former investigators, had a zone training meeting, drove 200 miles in one day, contacted the largest Hispanic house I've ever seen, had some companion exchanges, and laughed a lot. But really we didn't do much.

So that is all for this week. Please pray that Josefina goes through with the baptism! She's really excited, but you never know what Satan has up his sleeve.

Love yall,

-Elder Landon Carroll

Crazy Week

February 2, 2014

Good morning,

This week was exceptionally crazy. We moved apartments, had some exchanges, took Jack Holloway out to eat again, helped the sisters move apartments, and had some more success, despite all the business.

So we moved apartments because our landlord, a member, had a smaller apartment for us and he had a client who needed the extra space of our apartment. We had three bedrooms and a massive front room, but we didn't need any of that space. So we moved to a smaller, one bedroom apartment, and it's actually a lot nicer. We made it super homey! So that took up most of our week. Between the cleaning and the moving and the organizing, we had our hands pretty full. Then on Saturday we helped the sisters move as well. And we didn't even get paid.

On Tuesday we took Jack out to eat with us again. He's the one that we visit that lives in a nursing home. He's fifty years old, but he has the mind of a ten year old. You can't help but love him. So we took him to help us with a lesson, he bore his testimony, and then we went to Hong Kong City, a Chinese buffet. I'm not the biggest fan of those cause frankly they make me sick, but it's what Jack wanted so we went. He filled up on their fried chicken. I attempted to not fill up on too many fried donuts. Whoops.

On Wednesday I went on exchanges with Elder Valencia in Dunn. We contacted some referrals, ate too much food for dinner, and then taught a few less active members. It was actually a pretty fun exchange. I really like Elder Valencia. He's super humble and I like to listen to his broken English. He's from Mexico so he had to learn it when he got here.

We also had another lesson with J. She's progressing wonderfully! We taught her the ten commandments and keeping the Sabbath day holy. She's at the point where she just accepts whatever we teach and lives it. She also made us another cake. This one was a layered Bisquick sort of cake with strawberry jelly in the middle and fresh strawberries and peaches on the top, with a pink frosting. She said it took her four hours to make that cake. She said she doesn't have anything to do, so she just makes us food whenever we come over. Her baptismal interview should be this Saturday and she'll be baptized on Valentine's day at 4 pm. Looking forward to it!

We talked to a man this week who claims he speaks 13 languages because at night his spirit leaves his body and goes to save people in other countries. This is the same man that thinks he was Moses in a past life. Ha!

But that was our week. Not too eventful, really. Just a lot of moving and packing and cleaning. But definitely looking forward to Josefina getting baptized!

-Elder Landon Carroll

A Splash of People at Church

January 26, 2014

Good morning!!!

It was another great week in the mission field....much better than last week, actually. Last week was kind of slow and with the stress of transfers and all, a little uptight.

As for investigators....J is still progressing wonderfully. We had two lessons with her last week. We're coming down to the end with all the teaching we have to do. The only things we have left to teach are a couple commandments and laws and ordinances. This week we talked about following the prophet, reading and praying often, keeping the law of chastity, and keeping the Sabbath Day holy. She just accepts everything we teach and continues to read like a champ. She started the Book of Mormon from the beginning and read seven chapters in two days! Not only that, but she actually understands what she's reading and enjoys it. She also made us a delicious Tres Leches cake for my companion's birthday. She's known Elder Fowers for just over a week now and she spent two hours making that cake just for his birthday. A perfect example of Christ-like love and service. She said she talked to her kids about being baptized and they said they support her 100%. We'll probably finish up teaching her this week and then have the baptismal interview next week and then SPLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASH. (Chris Smoove Easton and Dallin)
We also had some success with K. I think I told y'all about him. He's the man that believes the Jesus is black. But we're actually having a lot of success with him. He's very open and is what we would call a "humble seeker of truth." He came to church on Sunday, as well as J and A. He said he really enjoyed himself. I stayed with him the whole time and was able to explain the things that he didn't understand. He wants to study deep doctrine, so we gave him a triple to read. But I recommended that he start with the Book of Mormon first. He said that he'll read so we'll follow up with him on Thursday when we see him next.

Church was also excellent. This Sunday was our mission wide "Invitation Super Sunday" so we made sure to get everyone we could to church. We had three investigators and a bunch of less actives come, and the meeting was very spiritual. I opened it up with "Lead, Kindly Light" which got everyone reverent and really invited the Spirit. Then we had some very powerful testimonies and a great speaker from the State Legislature. He spoke a lot about the Atonement. He shared an interesting story from the life of a 9 year old pioneer girl from the Willy Handcart Company. This girl was always walking on the side of the wagon, envying the people who got to ride inside. One day the man who was driving the wagon asked her if she'd like to ride in the wagon. She said yes, so he grabbed her hand and urged the horses to a gallop. The man continued to hold her hand as he dragged her beside the wagon. The little girl wondered why the man was being so cruel, because she could barely keep up with the wagon and her feet were beginning to drag. Just as she was about to give up, the man lifted her into the wagon and wrapped her in a blanket. It was years later that this woman realized what the man had done. Having her run as fast as she could beside the wagon like that allowed her body to generate the heat necessary to keep her alive in the cold. She would have never made it otherwise. The same applies to us. Sometimes the Lord allows us to struggle so that we can generate heat to be able to stay alive. It's our struggles, and then overcoming them with the help of the Savior, that get us through life. I've definitely see that be the case with me. It's the struggle that allows us not only to grow, but to learn to rely on the Savior to overcome our difficulties.

Because of our efforts we were able to have 97 people at Sacrament Meeting on Sunday to hear that talk and to feel of the Spirit. That's more than the branch is had in almost 10 years. We truly put our efforts in to get people to church, and the Lord rewarded us. That's something I love about this work...just the amount of miracles that occur if we look for them. The Lord is truly in this work and it's just my privilege to be a part of it.

Also, I played with seven puppies last night. That was amazing.

That is all. Have a great week!

-Elder Landon Carroll