Sunday, May 31, 2015

There's Work to Be Done

May 25, 2015

Good morning!

What a busy week it has been. With the combining of the two areas there's plenty of work to go around. In fact, there's so much work that we weren't even able to work in Chapel Hill at all. The focus this week will be finding a balance between both sides of the area so that we don't let anything slip through the cracks.

So this week we managed to teach a lot of lessons. Fifteen actually. Those include active members, less actives, recent converts, and investigators. We got a fairly good balance of each. It was especially nice finally being able to meet some of the other elders' investigators that they've told us so much about. This week we taught a man named Antonio, Lupito, Marvin and Eva, Chazz, and some other people as well. It was all pretty exciting and I really enjoyed teaching in the trio. We teach with a lot of power and clarity and the people really like us.

Unfortunately we were unable to meet with any of "our" investigators this week. We had appointments and everything, but they just all fell through. We'll make a better effort this week!

Oh...and part of the reason we were unable to meet with these people was because of all the service we did. Well, moving I should say. It's that time of year and every missionary in the U.S. is getting swamped (blessed) with opportunities to move people's furniture. Remember that talk by Elder Ballard? If you need help, ask the missionaries! Let me tell you, the people here do not hesitate. We helped move Hermano Clemente to a new apartment (actually in the same complex as us. He's feeding us on Wednesday :)) And then we helped move some more of his stuff on Saturday. And then after that we went to help move what we thought would be just a couch or something...but turned out to be a whole house. So we moved for six hours on Saturday and nearly missed our member dinner. The good news is the people we helped move are non-members and they are very interested in the church. They like what we do as missionaries and are very open to learning. And even better, they live two minutes from the church! The only bad part is that we won't be the ones to teach them. They actually moved out of our area. So we got the elders there involved and apparently they had a great talk after we left. So let's hope and pray that something happens with them. They truly are a great family.

We also had some fun experiences playing soccer with members and I accidentally dropped my Venezuelan accent at the wrong time. For those of you who speak Spanish, Venezuelans have a very distinct accent. Well, after some practice I think I've got it down. So here's the funny part. We were eating with President Sequera the branch president and his family. We were sharing our little message after dinner and we started teaching in English because they all speak mostly English. Halfway through the lesson Elder Teeples switched to Spanish. Well, I kept speaking in English and President Sequera said in Spanish "Elder, I don't understand. I don't speak English." So I switched to Spanish at that moment and spoke EXACTLY like President Sequera. It was completely unintentional. So then I stopped halfway through the lesson and looked down and everybody just stated laughing. President thought it was hilarious. He says I'm probably gonna end up on Studio C one day cause of all the voices and impersonations I do. We'll see if that actually happens.

So that was our week. I had a lot of fun and I think this will end up being one of my favorite companionship. Hopefully we can get out to Chapel Hill a little more this week.

Con mucho amor,

Elder Landon Carroll

Monday, May 18, 2015

By the mouth of two OR three witnesses...‏

May 18, 2015

Buenos dias a todos!

It's been a decent week in the Chapel Hill area. This week we've just really been working on getting the area ready for next transfer. We've got some interesting work ahead of us. Tomorrow we will be combining two areas. We usually cover mostly just Chapel Hill, but this next transfer we will be covering both Chapel Hill and southern Durham. We will also become what we call a "tripanionship" with Elder Lowham, Elder Teeples, and I in one companionship. I think it'll be super fun and it will be really nice having a full time car for a change. My thighs look really good, but you can only bike so much before it just gets monotonous.

So to prepare for this big change we have rearranged the apartment a little bit. The beds are now in the front room right when you walk into the apartment. There are three beds just sitting there right when you open the door. Think of it like a hotel...that's what it feels like. It's pretty nice, actually.

As for the investigators, we did have a little progress. We were able to teach some great lessons and we finally followed up with some potentials we had. A has peaked a little bit in her progression. She reads and loves the Book of Mormon and what we teach, but she refuses to come to church. She gives us all these excuses about how she can't be in noisy places or she gets headaches (church is not noisy. At least, ours isn't.), she has diabetes and can't sit very long, she can't drive and doesn't have transportation (members have offered her rides), and she has to watch the grandkids (bring them along! We love kids!), and she's Catholic. So we're not really sure what to do with that. I think right now we''ll work on giving her spiritual experiences and helping her gain a testimony.

We also taught our friends A and C. We read Alma 14 which is a super violent chapter, but they seem to have lost interest in what we teach. The kind of don't see the purpose. Nevertheless, our relationship is super good. We just REALLY need to meet with their parents so the whole family can partake.

Thursday we had another opportunity to eat gourmet pizza, I mean, serve Brother K. Haha, it was fun again, This time he had us weeding and mulching around some of his trees. Then we had some great pizza...a Florentine chicken one and a Philly Cheese-Steak one. The second was my favorite. Seriously, if y'all ever make your way up to Chapel Hill, Amante's Pizza is the place to go. We have not had the chance to teach Brother K, but he's getting ever more curious each time.

We have a new potential named R. Turns out his cousins are members of the church in California and he loves everything we teach. We said we could come by whenever, but e works a lot (surprise). We'll get up with him.

And here's the low down for the food I ate this week.

1. PBJ
2.Burger King
4. Pizza
5. Hamburgers and Hot dogs
6. Rotisserie Chicken\, Spaghetti, and Tortillas
7. Hot dogs wrapped in bacon
8. Carne asada and grilled chicken

And that was it! It was a good week and I'm looking forward to the new adventures ahead of us this transfer.

Have a good one!
-Elder Landon Carroll

Monday, May 11, 2015

Are We Tired Yet?

Landon is with his mission president, President Bernhisel
May 11, 2015


This week was a tiring one. I say that because of the amount of biking and exercise we did. For example, on Friday we biked about 28 miles all throughout Durham and then into Chapel Hill. Then on Saturday we biked 6 miles to the other elders' apartment so they could drive us over to play soccer for two hours. After that, we went and biked in the heat, went up the two biggest hills in Chapel Hill (massive) twice. Then we got lost in something called Merritt's Pasture (photo attached) which is just basically this little secluded area of grass and trees on the edge of Chapel Hill. It was really interesting. We went from busy highway to calm nature. Super relaxing. We'll probably be going back there someday to actually look around. We just passed through. Isn't it beautiful though?
So after that adventure we headed back over toward Durham and taught our friends A and C. I think the doctrine is starting to bore them a little bit, so we definitely need to rethink how we teach them. C looked especially disinterested. So we had a quick lesson and then played some basketball with them. So that was fun. After that, we biked home and headed over to have dinner with Pedro. He took us to a restaurant called "Cinco de Mayo" and I ordered some flautas(taquitos) and some Chimichanga cheesecake. I was gonna get the Choco Taco, but unfortunately they were fresh out. Next time though. 

We also had the opportunity to meet with A, our Mexican gangster. He's doing well, but all lesson plans went out of the window. Part of the problem with teaching him is that we let him dictate the lessons too much. He always just brings up a concern and then we end up talking about that the whole time, without actually addressing his needs. What he really needs is the forgiveness of the Lord. He's expressed the pain that he's in and how he feels like he's running from his past, but we have not been able to address it directly. At least, not how I'd like to. So next time we'll be a little more bold so we can actually help him.

We also met with S, but all lesson plans went out the window when she didn't have a DVD player to watch the Restoration. So we ended up just reading the Book of Mormon with her and really helping her understand everything. She actually told us that it really helps when we break things down for her because she is getting older and just can't quite think like she used to. So that was actually a decent lesson. We invited her to an activity the branch is having on the 16th, so we're hoping she can bring her grandkids as well.

This week the focus will be getting people to that activity because frankly, they don't want to come to church. We're hoping that our investigators will feel a little more comfortable being in such a relaxed environment so they can meet some people. And that's where the members will come in. Hopefully we can have some great success.

And that was my week! Oh wait, the highlight. I got to talk to my family yesterday on Skype! It was really fun talking with everyone and seeing the changes that have happened at home, which aren't many, but still. I just really enjoyed it. I miss my family terribly, but I know that sacrifice brings blessings on their part and my part. And we will be together again. And for eternity.

I hope y'all have an amazing week!

Elder Landon Carroll

The following are pictures taken at Landon's Zone Conference:

Monday, May 4, 2015


 May 4, 2015

I titled it "Pizza" because of all the pizza we had this week. We had some on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. This happens a lot. Elder Lowham and I have noticed that when we crave a certain food (pizza in this case) we get an overdose of it. So now we have a box in our fridge for lunch today! What a treat!

So this week in general was full of food and service. We ate a lot of pizza, twice in one day at Wendy's, had an early mother's day feast, and got some free catering from MI Peru, a Peruvian restaurant. This was all in a good day's work, of course. 
We helped move a couple families. First, the Venturas. They didn't have much, so it only took about an hour and a half. And then they gave us pizza. And some extra for the fridge. They moved to an apartment complex called "Colonial," which just so happens to have no soliciting signs all over it. We actually already got kicked out of there. But now with the Venturas in there we have an excuse to go in and knock a few doors. The guy that kicked us out is a Mormon-hater anyway.

Wednesday I went on exchanges with Elder Brown, my district leader. It was actually super fun. And he was telling a story about him and his friends and he said "Kolian, it's your car." Then I said "Kolian? Kolian Rogers? Little Filipino kid?" Turns out his best friend was at BYU Idaho with me! We used to hang out sometimes. So that was fun seeing that little connection.

Here's an update on the Muchachos A and C. They're actually progressing decently. A especially. He reads most of what we assign him and he really enjoys the Book of Mormon. We're really just trying to meet with their parents so that we can get them all to church. I feel a miracle coming. 

Yesterday was also fun. We went to church and then afterward the Priesthood served dinner to the women. It was an early Mother's day celebration because next week is the branch anniversary. We had some oven roasted chicken, tortillas, salad (just lettuce, no dressing haha), and some flan Imposible, which is flan with chocolate cake underneath. Suuuuuper good. After that we went and helped Hermano Clemente move some things to a storage unit. Afterward we went to the restaurant he works at and got a big pan of Peruvian food. So we have enough food for like the next four days in our fridge.

Today we have plans to go to all the bike shops in town. There's like five in Chapel Hill and Elder Teeples is looking to buy a one speed just for fun. Apparently he's looking for a challenge haha.

Well that was our week. A lot of service and some good food. We're always grateful for food.

Take your allergy pills, enjoy the weather while it's still cool, and sniff a flower.

Love y'all!
-Elder Landon Carroll

Great Week

 April 20, 2015

Hey ya'll!

This week was a lot of fun. We had activity zone conference on Tuesday, a temple trip on Wednesday, service on Thursday and Friday, and we helped move a family on Saturday.

For activity zone conference we all went to Chapel Hill to the institute building to receive some instruction and have some fun. I love being with all the other missionaries. It's amazing how you can all be best friends, but you know very little about each other. We just love each other's personality. So we had about two hours of instruction, lunch, and then we played some games. Basically it was a giant chum fest for some Elders and Sisters (meaning Elders and Sisters were flirting like they shouldn't be), but I really just enjoyed being outside and watching everyone relax and have fun. We played volleyball, ultimate Frisbee, soccer, and capture the flag. The field was muddy, so some people got super filthy. I don't know why, but some people just love to roll around in the mud. I'm not the biggest fan of that. I'd much rather stay clean. After the games, President gathered us together and we heard some testimonies, sang some songs, and took some pictures. There's a Spanish missionary picture floating around, so I'll get a copy of it.

The temple trip was also great. We went in, did a session, came out, and took pictures. It was short, but it's always nice to go to the temple and be close to the Lord. After that, it was preparation day. So we just went to the stake center and played basketball. It was a lot of fun and I made some crazy shots and then got a massive dead leg. I was limping since about yesterday. But it was totally worth it!
Thursday we went and helped at the Centro Hispano again. We helped hang some paintings (because Hispanics are so short) and I organized their computer cords and re-set up their computer station. It looks much better now. There's still more to do there and we might even start helping with their English class. Should be fun! I'll keep ya'll posted.

Friday we went back and helped our friend Ken Moore again. He has this bush called multiple arose and it's "diabolical" as he says. Well, we destroyed it! With a couple of bush axes and some clippers we absolutely destroyed it. He was sooooo happy. Family, if you know old Brother Adams, that's who this guy resembles. Same crazy nature, but a little more educated. Hopefully we can start teaching him. We have to be subtle so he doesn't get "on to us" about what our true purpose is. We'll get there.

Saturday we helped the Arevalo's move in the rain. We hauled furniture all up and down the stairs, took like four car trips, lowered a giant couch down a balcony, and then ate some pizza! It was super fun!

Yesterday we went and ate at President Sequera's house for dinner. We're sarting to build a lot of trust with him, and he's turned from "stern branch president" to "light hearted and fun." It's all about how you treat him. He also loves our sense of humor. He especially likes the way I make literal translations from English to Spanish. Like for example "throw out my back" becomes "echar a fuera my espalda." And "we're running out of space" becomes "estamos corriendo a fuera de espacio." And "big fan" becomes "ventilador grande." Like "I'm a huge fan." It's pretty funny as long as you don't actually add these phrases to your vocabulary. That would create an abomination.

And that was my week! It was a lot of fun and I am really enjoying being with the Hispanics here. I love the culture.

Have a a good one!

-Elder Landon Carroll