Monday, March 9, 2015

What a great way to Monday! (This has nothing to do with my letter, I just thought it sounded creative so I put it there.)‏

March 9, 2015

Check out that subject tho! ^^

Good morning folks.

It's been a MUCH better week in Durham. I'm finally starting to adjust to everything. It was just super mind-blowing last week being in such a large city when the biggest thing in Clinton was Walmart. Like literally, that was the mall where people would go to hang out on the weekends. But the good news is that I'm adjusting. It'll definitely take me some time to get accustomed to the bus system and everything, but I'll get there.

This week we didn't teach too many people, but we did manage to set up our week fairly well with return appointments. The problem here is that people don't know their schedules and it's very difficult to get inside. My companion and I are really working on having good door contacts so that the Spirit touches the people and they let us in. That's really the key.

Most of the work that we do right now is in these massive apartment complexes full of Hispanics. Like there's a lot of people to talk to here, but the problem is consistency. We're trying to find those that we can meet with consistently. No investigator will progress properly if you don't meet with them on a regular basis. So that's why we're working on getting return appointments with everyone!

I'll tell y'all about one of our investigators. Her name is M and she's about 50 and Pentecostal. If you know anything about the Pentecostals, you would know that they're very faithful in their church. They're all about speaking in tongues, praising the Lord, falling over when they "think" they feel the Spirit. It's all just a load of nonsense to me. But that's besides the point! She's very stern in her beliefs and attempts to Bible bash, but we will have none of that! She started spewing scriptures out at us, so we just kind of agreed with her, found some common ground, testified, and then her heart softened. She was somewhat contentious before, but she's definitely changed. We saw her in the parking lot the other day and she asked us for some help. So we went over and she had us interpret for her to a man about getting tags on her car. She then looked at me and looked at the man and said "El es mi amigo." So we must have hit it off pretty well! We plan to teach her tonight, and she's super excited for us to come back, so I'll keep y'all posted on her progress. 

Also, I finally got to go to church yesterday and meet the members! The branch president is good so far.  He's musical, so maybe I can get a foot in the door. The missionaries in the past have almost completely lost his trust, so we're trying to build it back up. All of the other members seem great. There's a family that cooks opossum for dinner, a watchmaker who doesn't like or wear watches, a woman from Venezuela, and a return missionary family that attends the Spanish branch. So yeah, things are great. I'm excited to work with them.

And seeing as the weather is finally great out here, we've decided to take advantage of it and go to the UNC basketball museum. It's free and I'm gonna take lots of pictures! I'm excited.

Well that was my week. Things are starting to really move forward. We're gonna baptize next month. I have faith in that.

Have a good one,

-Elder Landon Carroll

More Cold and A Transfer

Landon finally found the gravesite that he's been looking for in Clinton, North Carolina.....this is where Elisha Carroll is buried.

March 2, 2015

Well it's been a cold one here in North Carolina, especially in Durham. That's where
I am now by the way. I have to say that this city is WAY too big. I never thought I'd miss Clinton that much, but I really do miss it. It's actually been pretty difficult trying to adjust to the size of this place...not to mention the melting pot of different cultures. We cover southern Durham and most of Chapel Hill, so you can imagine that sitting right between UNC and Duke would bring lots of different backgrounds of people. We've got Muslims, Hispanics, blacks, rich white people, and Asians. A lot different from Clinton where it was just a group of small-town people with a bunch of close-knit relationships. This one probably takes the cream of the crop for adjustment.

Oh and did I tell you who my old, I mean, new companion was? It's my trainer Elder Lowham! I don't know what bright idea President or the Lord has up his sleeve, but it's definitely unexpected. The good thing is we've both grown a lot as missionaries and it'll be great this time around. All I could think of when President told me who my companion would by was "what didn't I learn the first time?" So I'm hoping I learn whatever it is this time. The good thing is Elder Lowham is super good with directions and navigating, so that will definitely help me being in such a big place. I struggle with that stuff. It took me like fifteen years to learn how to get to Wal-Mart from our house at home.

But in other news, what did we do this week? Well I met a couple members and made contact with the branch president by phone, but other than that we just mostly stayed inside. I don't know about you Georgians, but we got hammered with winter weather this week. Actually it's been going on for about two weeks now. Transfer day we could barely get to Raleigh for transfers. The good news is Brother Tyndall had a truck, so we almost had now problems. The snow has been on the ground since. On Thursday we got hammered with more snow and it actually stuck quite a bit. I've probably counted over one-hundred snowmen since that day. Friday it all kind of turned into ice and rained a little bit. Saturday it melted a little bit because the sun decided to poke its head out, but later that night the rains came down and the floods came up again. This left a bunch of water on the road for the next day. Well, Sunday's forecast did not go above freezing, so church was cancelled. So President told us to make calls and tell all the branch members not to come. So then we stayed inside until it cleared up a little bit, then went out with a recent convert named Pedro. Then we had some pan dulce and called it a night. Oh and did I also mention that we're in an all bike area? Makes it real nice with this weather haha.

So overall this week we played in the snow (not really), helped some Muslims move, taught a few Hispanics (6 total lessons I think?), hung out inside, ate some rice and beans, and did a lot of area book work.

And that was it! Was definitely not the best week of my mission, but as they say "not every week is great, but there's something great in every week." Just have to try to stay positive!

Hope y'all have a good one,
Elder Carroll

Landon with A.D. Norton

Monday, March 2, 2015

Welcome to Rexburg...I Mean Clinton

 The Centeno Family
 Elder Carroll with the Navas family
Rudy, Yomara, Yoisa, Jordy, Joel and Elder Carroll

February 23, 2015

Good morning!

You're probably curious to know why I titled the subject "Welcome to Rexburg...I mean Clinton." Well it's been a cold one here and the only thing I can really compare it to is Rexburg in the winter.

If you don't already know, we had some ice storms this week. Actually it's kind of been icy-cold the whole week. Monday night was the actual ice storm, and the power did go out in our apartment for about five minutes. But the rest of the city varied...some never lost power, others lost it for over fourteen hours. Josefina was one of those unfortunately. But she's okay no worries! So needless to say the weather made the work a little slower. We definitely didn't go out knocking doors or anything like that. Last time we tried that, people told us to "go home, it's too cold." You would think that they would say "Come in and get out of the cold!" but that would just be too logical. This is Clinton, and people's logic just may not be quite up to par.

But in other news, the work is going great! We had some really great lessons with some of our investigators. We've been teaching K a lot lately, and he's actually starting to progress. I've definitely seen a change in him since we started teaching him. He went from "Jesus is black" to "what's your belief about this?" He said that the things that we teach him really fill in the holes that he has. I have never taught someone so knowledgeable my whole mission. Because he knows the Bible so well, it leads him to believe in everything that we already teach. There's nothing that we have taught him, even deep doctrine and Doctrine and Covenants, that he hasn't agreed with. I just wish I could be here to see him get baptized (foreshadowing). He actually came to church on Sunday and he loved it. He was involved in discussion and everything. Originally he was worried about the church not accepting him because of his skin color, but I'm sure he feels plenty comfortable now. Everyone welcomed him in and there seemed to be no prejudice of any form. So that's good! He says he really respects me and I firmly believe I was sent to Clinton to help him receive the Gospel. For some reason, black people really like me. I don't know what it is, but they just do. It didn't say anything in my patriarchal blessing, but maybe it's a spiritual gift?

But regardless, the work is great. I really love the people here in Clinton. The place itself is an armpit, that's for sure, but I would serve my whole mission here just for the people. You've got your basic southern folks, blacks, Hispanics from all over the place, and you're occasional Filipino or Haitian. It's quite the selection. It makes things interesting.

And now you're probably wondering about the foreshadowing up there ^. Yes, I'm getting transferred. After six great months, the hardest six months of my life I might add, I'm getting transferred. Did I leave the area better than I found it? Absolutely. We have begun a period of serious growth in Clinton. With the baptism of Josefina and the eventual baptism of her children and siblings, the reactivation of various members, and the changing the slightly racist views of the branch, I'd say we've done a great job. The future is bright for Clinton if they continue to work hard, fulfill their callings, and do missionary work. I can't wait to come her after my mission and see how things are going. Hermano Centeno told me "When you get home, come over here. When you get married, come. When you have your first child, come. When you have your second child, come. When you have your third child, come. When you have your fourth child, come. When you have your fifth child, come. When you have your sixth child, come. When you have your seventh child, come. When you have your eighth child, come." At this point I'm thinking "How many kids does he expect me to have? Jeez." So yes, I will return one day. I think the fruit of our labors will truly manifest itself when I do.

So tomorrow I go to Raleigh to find out where I'm getting transferred. Wherever it is, I know it will bring new laughs, adventures, people, and challenges. I'm gonna miss Clinton for sure, but bring on the change!

I love y'all and hope you have a great week! Pray that my companion is awesome!

-Elder Landon Carroll