Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Good Morning!

April 20, 2015

Another week has flown by! It really is true that once you hit your year mark, the roller coaster begins.

It's hard to keep track of what we do every week so I'll do my best to include all the details.

Monday for preparation day we played basketball with ten other elders. It was super fun, but I'm definitely not in shape for that. My everything is sore. Except for my thighs. Those things are massive since I've started biking full time again. There's so many hills in Chapel Hill and I have no problems getting up them. An awesome bike helps a lot as well. Speaking of, my back tire is basically bald. I need a new one cause when I brake in the rain, I slide like five yards (only when I make it do that of course). But the bike is still amazing. I might even call it beautiful.

On Tuesday we headed up to what we call the thumb (because it looks like a thumb on the map). We just reopened this area after giving it away to the sisters. We gave it away my second week here because I absolutely hated it and it wasn't yielding anything. But it's proven to be effective since the reopening. I guess the dust has settled a bit. There's an investigator named Sylvina who's about seventy years old. She's super nice and says that when I read the scriptures I sound like "the voice of God." People have complimented me on that from the start of my mission. I guess it's some sort of talent? But Sylvina is great. She believes everything we say and she's definitely golden. We just need to consistently meet with her and she'll be baptized soon enough. Maybe it'll be a repeat of Josefina? That would be awesome.

On Wednesday we had a great district meeting and I went on exchanges with Elder Searle. He's from Utah. We had a great time and I enjoyed doing English work for a short time. A member took us out to Panera, so that was a nice treat.

Thursday we headed off the the Centro Hispano again and we finished organizing all the bookshelves. It's not proving to be very good for finding. In fact, I feel like a little kid doing chores. So we're probably gonna finish with what she has us doing and then pull the plug on the situation. After that, we went and ate at Pizza Hut with Pedro. Their Hershey's cookie pizza was super good. Y'all should try it!

Friday we did some tracting and ran into a couple of kids: Calvin and Angle. They're both thirteen. So we ended up teaching them a little bit. They had a bunch of crazy questions about Satan and Aliens and stuff, so we answered them and then gently taught the Restoration. We met with them again on Saturday and taught them the Plan of Salvation. I was actually very impressed with how well they comprehended everything. So we invited them to pray to know if it's true and we plan to meet with them again this week. Hopefully this will eventually allow us to teach their families.

Sunday was pretty normal. We caught a MASSIVE spider in the baptismal font. Now it's in a Tupperware and we're feeding it moths. It's pretty disgusting. I'll send some pictures.

And that was my week.
Christ lives. Come unto Him!
And that's the spider. Her name is Sally. Pretty, isn't she? She's about the size of my palm. 

And that was my week.

Christ lives. Come unto Him!

-Elder Landon Carroll

Welp It's Sneezing Time Again!

April 13, 2015

I can't decide if allergies are worse here or in Georgia. Probably about the same. Spring is definitely here. There's pollen EVERYWHERE. There's inchworms hanging from trees, crickets chirping at night, and nightly thunderstorms. Spring's good and all, but why the pollen? Like we ride bikes for ten minutes and our black slacks are no longer black, but rather, a hazy greenish yellow. I sneeze every thirty seconds and my eyes itch like crazy, but hey, what can ya do?

Good news! The work is finally starting to progress a little more. We were finally able to make contact with our former baptismal date, E. We stopped by yesterday and taught him a nice lesson. We set expectations and he's ready to begin learning again. So we invited him to start reading and praying again, and then we're gonna watch the testaments this Thursday. Hopefully we can build his faith to come to church and maybe even involve his older brothers. That would be great.

We also met with our Cholito friend A. We taught a really great lesson on faith, because he thinks he has none, and we really emphasized that if he does not act in some way, his faith will not grow. So we invited him to think about coming to church and he said he would, but then he quickly changed the subject. So, we kind of just need to be straight with him. He finds some peace when we come over, but if he wants lasting peace, he needs to act on our invitations.

Here's the ridiculous story for the week. So on Friday we talked to these two black men smoking on the porch of their apartment. Their names are M and J. So we just had a nice conversation with them and they really commended us for our service. So then we left. Well, the next day we came back to the same apartment complex and M was there again. He's a big black man with dreads. So we're having a good talk with him. He shares his beliefs and how he respects latter-day saints and how he'd like to get back in to church again. A few minutes later, this squirly looking white kid comes up and sits down next to us. He was super skinny, had gross yellow teeth, was covered in dog hair, and was frankly very trashy. The only good thing that came from him was the Lord of the Rings music coming from his phone. Anyways, so turns out he's Atheist. Actually, he's much like Korihor from the Book of Mormon (if you're not familiar with the story of Korihor, see Alma 30.). So he's just super blasphemous and disrespectful, dropping a swear word every three seconds. He begins to explain how God does not exist and how we're crazy for doing what we're doing. Turns out he has a horribly incorrect idea of who God is, but that's usually the case with non-believers. They usually think God just wants power and glory, when in actuality, He's merciful and loving, only seeking the well-being of His children. Well, we tried to explain everything, but he wasn't listening. Then he keeps saying "I really gotta pee" and he asks our friend M to use is bathroom. M wasn't having it, so he ignored the request. So Mr. Korihor contemplates going behind the building, but we told him there were kids there. Then he asks us if it would be a good idea to pee on the bush that was right next too us. M says "I wouldn't do that if I were you." So then Mr. Korihor sits down and we talk for another five minutes or so. Finally he gets up and starts toward his house, but then comes back toward the bush and pees on it, right out in the open for everyone to see. So Marcus turns to us and says "Y'all need to leave." We're like "what?" "Y'all need to get outa here. I'm about to beat this kid's face in." so we just got up and walked away. So big M gets up in his face and everything, and then eventually Korihor sprints away with a scared look on his face. So then M comes up to us and apologizes for the situation and explains that ten years ago, he would have stomped the kid out. I'm glad he didn't. It was very disrespectful what Korihor said and did, but hey, he's still a child of God. Maybe he'll come around one day when he realizes his life is miserable. Funny thing is, he had a date that night. Hahahaha poor girl.

So that's our week and the story to go along with it. On another note that same day some nice kids fed us hot dogs. Opposition in all things, I suppose.

And that's why I love missionary work, especially in North Carolina. North Carolina is home to some of the weirdest, strangest, most disgusting people on the planet. Good thing we shower every morning.

Well I hope y'all have a good week.

-Elder Landon Carroll

Monday, April 20, 2015


April 6, 2015

Good morning everyone, and happy post conference Monday!

It's been a good one here in Durham and I'm excited to tell y'all about this week's adventures.

First off, some highlights from the week:

1. We were able to help at the Centro Hispano, an outreach for Hispanics in the area. We helped this lady organize their bookshelves because we (mission rules) can't use computers to help people fill out job applications and we can't work with children to tutor them and stuff. So yeah, that's what we did.
2. Hermano Vargas, one of the members who really loves the missionaries, bought two retro trucks. One is a 1970 Ford Ranger (blue) and the other is a 1968 Chevy S10 (green). He's been working on these while he's out of work with an injury. He plans to fix them up and see if he can sell them for a profit. We're gonna help him out sometime this week, so I'll take pictures.
3. Some of you probably saw on Facebook that we were able to help our friend Ken with his yard finally. He had us move some piles and then we went to work on the rose bush. That thing was absolutely crazy. More thorns than I thought there would be. My arms kind of look like I got attacked by mosquitoes, but no, they're just from the thorns. Let me tell y'all a little about Ken. He's just a hippie, tree hugger, botany major. He is so good at his job that he was actually recruited to be the director of Calloway Gardens, but refused to shave his beard, so they denied him the position. Now he teaches classes in the botanical gardens at UNC and helps hug trees around the community. But he's great. We worked hard and then he bought us gourmet Italian pizza and real ginger ale. Have y'all ever had real ginger ale? Like with real ginger? It's super strong and super good! Try some!
4. GENERAL CONFERENCE! If you missed conference this weekend, you really missed out. It was one for the ages for sure. It's evident that we are living in the last days and we need to be prepared for the second coming.

A lot stood out to me this run around. Let me go through my notebook real quick...

Saturday morning session was all about the family. Remember that this Gospel is all about the family. God's purpose for us in this life is "happiness in the home and being sealed in the temple." It is only through the restored Gospel that we can reach our potential as families and eventually be celestial parents in the eternities. And let's all please heed the counsel of Elder Oaks. "No phones during Sacrament meeting. Put it away. We go to church to be converted, not to lazily sit through a meeting. Also watch out for materialism. Materialism causes spiritual dormancy.

Saturday afternoon session was all about hope and healing through the power of the Atonement. It is through the Atonement that we can become saints. As we seek to follow Jesus Christ, live His Gospel and keep His commandments, and make the necessary changes in our lives to live in more harmony with God, the Atonement will not only wipe away our past, but it will give us strength to become "new creatures in Christ." But this is not easy. It's much easier said than done. Dale G. Runland's talk helps us with that difficulty. It's hard to change, but with the help of Christ, we can. For "a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying." Satan tells us to give up. He tells us we can't change, but the Spirit of the Lord tells us to keep on trying. Even when we slip and fall, "the moment that we decide to try again, the Atonement begins to work in our lives."

Priesthood session was all about living up to the responsibility that we have. I'm a missionary so I live the Gospel pretty fully, but it's important that I continue to live it fully when I get home. Those of us who hold the priesthood have a duty, and God expects us to honor the covenant we've made. M. Russel Ballard drilled us pretty hard with that. His PPI questions were perfect. President Eyring emphasized the importance of honoring the call. As a young missionary, he was asked to give a blessing to a dying child. Can you imagine if he weren't worthy? Would he have been able to speak in behalf of the Lord? That's why it's so important that we live worthy of the Spirit so that we can be prepared for situations like that.

Sunday morning session had a mixture of topics, but the overarching theme of it all was Christ's Atonement for us. He conquered death for us. He lifts us up with His arms and just hold us. He keeps us from falling into physical and spiritual death. And let's not forget about the words of President Uchtdorf. I love what he said. Yes, in 2nd Nephi it says "for it is by grace we are saved, after all we can do." Does that mean that Christ won't help us until we've done everything we possibly can? No! He helps us as soon as we take the first step. So let's show our love and appreciation for His grace by being obedient to His commandments!

Sunday afternoon was all about enduring to the end. The talks given during this session give us a lot of tools and points of counsel to follow so that we can continue on the path of spiritual growth throughout our lives. It really just comes down to doing what we know we're supposed to do, and doing it with a willing heart. Scripture reading, praying, keeping the Sabbath Day holy, home teaching, fasting. These are all things that will keep us on the path throughout our lives.

And those are some of my thoughts about conference. I hope y'all enjoyed it as much as I did!

Stay faithful and have a great week!

-Elder Landon Carroll

Good Morning

March 30, 2015


Here I am sitting in a chair writing all my friends and family and my legs are throbbing. We biked a TON this week. Up giant hills (Chapel Hill is full of them), down giant ones, through the mud, over rivers, and even in the rain of course.

Hard work and organization has been the theme of this area so far. We've definitely been working hard, but I think our organization skills and diligence are lacking. We'll fix it, don't worry!

We weren't able to meet with any of our consistent investigators this week. They were all just kind of busy. But we were able to find some new ones that have a lot of potential!

We're teaching a man named R. He's from El Salvador, Seventh Day Adventist, has time for God, and has a wife that doesn't want anything to do with us. Whenever we come to teach him, his wife just leaves and goes to a back room until we leave. And when we knock on the door and she answers, she gives us random excuses for why R can't meet today. We scheduled and confirmed an appointment and when we knocked on the door to teach him she said that he hadn't come home from work yet. Then the little girl who was with her said "he's taking a shower." So yeah, we'll be sure to communicate more with R so he can be ready when we come. Other than that, he's great. He's open, humble, and ready to learn. The only problem is sometimes he talks too much, in which case we have to sneakily interrupt him to begin teaching again.

Those are honestly all the highlights of the week as far as investigators go. We need to do better at meeting with people consistently. We'll figure it out, I'm sure. How's the weather where y'all are by the way? North Carolina has the mind of a woman-keeps changing its mind, that is. I guess she's allowed to do that. But yeah, we had great weather most of this week and then Friday it started to get cold again and then Saturday night it was down in the 20s (yes, we biked in that). It's supposed to rain all day, but at least the temperature is gonna start rising again. That will hopefully make for a great week!

Bardle doo!

-Elder Landon Carroll

Another Good Week

 Elder Fowers, Josefina, and Elder Landon Carroll

March 23, 2015

Well it's been another good week here in Durham. This place is a little monotonous, but the work is progressing slowly.

Let's see here....
Ah ha! So I'm sure most of y'all have seen the group on Facebook we made entitled "Project: Lose Thyself." This will be our focus for the next couple of weeks. The goal is to do as much service as possible and spread it on Facebook using the hash tag #losethyself. The idea is that with this, everyone will be able to see the love of Christ during this Easter season! So....get on there and do some service. It starts the 29th, so you have six days.

Update on investigators: We found a man named J who appears to be golden. We found him squatted down next to an apartment building using his phone. It was an awkward position to find someone in, but he seems to be elect, so we're gonna start teaching him either this Saturday or Sunday. His uncle is a member in Mexico and his friend is a member here, and he wants to see in his life the changes that he sees in his friend's.

Then there's I. I is 25 years old and was trying to go into the military, but without papers, it's a little difficult. Now that he's not pursuing that anymore, we've begun teaching him again. He says he's not interested in being baptized, but just wants to listen and learn about the religion. We have other plans for him. He's meeting with four other religions: Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptists, and Pentecostals, so we've definitely got some competition. He said he's just looking for truth and wants to know about each one because they all claim they're "the one." We asked him if there was a different feel between each one and he said "yeah you can tell which ones are really of God and which ones aren't." Then we shared a scripture and told him that he would be able to recognize the voice of the Master when He calls. So we're gonna keep visiting and help him to gain a testimony.

A is our Cholo friend. We actually met with him Saturday and he fed us pizza. He lets us listen because he's trying to find solace from our message. We read some of the Book of Mormon and he's really enjoying it. He's gonna take work, but we can't leave him. He needs help.

We were not able to meet with our baptismal date, E, this week. He was busy with school work.

And that was pretty much our week. We worked super hard, but we weren't able to get as much success as we would have wanted. Dang Hispanics and their schedules (or lack of)! We set a lot of appointments, but nothing.

Please go on Facebook and view "Project: Lose Thyself." It'll be worth it, I promise.

Have an excellent one.

-Elder Landon Carroll

Good Afternoon!

March 16, 2015

Good afternoon!

Sorry I'm writing so late. We went to the Duke basketball museum this week and then played basketball for a couple Elders, so we're just now getting around to it.

So after visiting both UNC and Duke, here's my verdict. UNC basketball seems a little more high energy and fun, while Duke seems more fundamental and strategic. There's just a different energy surrounding both teams. Still haven't really sided with either one yet. But both museums were cool! It was nice seeing all the Michael Jordan stuff. I'll post pictures next week. As for the campus, I'd definitely have to go with Duke. UNC seems more like just part of the city, but Duke has it's own architecture and everything. It kind of reminded me of Princeton a little bit. But both were pretty nice. A lot bigger than BYU-I haha!

As for the work, it's going. Little by little we're starting to build a rhythm. Member trust has gone up since I've been here and we now have some fairly solid investigators.

E is an 18 year old boy who now has a baptismal date for the 11th of April. He's on page 100 in the Book of Mormon and says that he'll do anything to follow Christ. He just needs to come to know that these things are true and he'll take the plunge. We also talked to his older brother, R yesterday and he seems very open. He'll sit in on the lesson tomorrow.

A is an ex cholo (Mexican gangster) and seems to be running from the pain of his past. He's 28 years old and is married and has two little girls. We've really been trying to testify of the Atonement, but he's the kind that likes to tell us everything he knows when we teach, so we may have to break down a few walls before we can really help him. We mentioned church and he seemed a little turned off, so we'll see what happens. I hope we can help him. He suffers from depression and anxiety, and that's not fun stuff.

I don't have my planner with me so it's hard to tell exactly what happened! But the work is going. It's going! We should have a baptism next month if our calculations (faith) are correct. Also, I gave a talk yesterday. It only took about thirty minutes to prepare, but I gave it and my Spanish was flawless. I can definitely say that I'm fluent at this point. I have absolutely no problems expressing myself, and even if I can't understand all the words, I can understand what people are saying by their body language, tone of voice, etc. Speaking Spanish is fun!

Well that was my week. Nothing too eventful happened, but we try to have fun. We're going to a Salvadorian restaurant tonight to eat with a recent convert Pedro. It's his birthday and if he's not with the missionaries, he's not having fun. Haha he calls us his "sons."

Well I better wrap this up. It's good to be here in Durham for a time and I'm looking forward to the miracles of this next week.

Take care,

-Elder Landon Carroll
Homemade Chile Relleno
Hump Day cookies that Landon's Mom sent