Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Still Fishing

July 20, 2015

Good morning,

It's been a good week, with lots of ups and downs, but we had our successes for sure.

Some good news:
1. I got my stitches out! The wound looks good and is healing nicely. I just need to remember to keep sun screen on it so that the scar heals smoothly. We weren't in the hospital for nine hours this time...just one.
2. The family we're teaching from Puerto Rico is progressing nicely! We brought a Puertorican member with us and they all got along really nicely. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and they understood everything! We invited them to church, but they said it's too far away. There's a new building opening up and they said they'll go when that one opens. Should be a couple weeks or so. The new building is incredible. I've never seen anything like it. I'll send some pictures when I can.
3. Pedro, a member from Durham, came down to have lunch with us! He came down Friday evening and took us to a fun Mexican Restaurant. The food was good. That was a real treat.
4. We went knocking in a rich looking neighborhood and found a Hispanic family! They're pretty Americanized, but we'll still teach them. Hopefully we can get up with them soon.
5. We had a great zone training meeting on Wednesday. One of the zone leaders, Elder Mann, gave a very powerful training on being consecrated and said that that's what the mission needs in order to go to the next level. We need to give up those things that keep us from having the Spirit or giving the Lord our all.
6. We had a great lesson with a couple of eternigators we're teaching. an eternigator is someone who has been meeting with the missionaries for a long time, but doesn't really progress. But we had a good lesson with these two! Their names are L and D. L is hard of understanding, but we're doing our best to break things down for him. I used a Rubik's cube as an analogy and that seemed to help out a lot. Hopefully they can progress soon. I'd like for them to come to church, but L seems to always have work on Sundays. 

Something that was reemphasized to me this morning was the fact that if the Lord commands us to do something, he will provide a way for us to do it. Like Nephi says in chapter 17 of 1 Nephi verses 50 and 51: "And I said unto them: If God had commanded be to do all things I could do them. If he had commanded me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done. And now if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?" This is something that hit me. If the Lord tells us to do something, we can do it. It is possible! The only thing stopping us is ourselves!

Annnnnnd...that was my week. Hopefully my letters are still interesting to you.

Ya'll take care now.

-Elder Landon Carroll

PS  I say "Still fishing" because we're trying to find elect investigators.

Crazy Week!

July 13, 2015


This week was quite interesting. Our numbers don't show it, but we made some great progress in the work the past few days.

Last Friday we got rear ended while waiting to turn left. A man in a Honda Prelude hydroplaned and nailed the back of our car. The bike rack dug into the bumper and the trunk and it's looking to be about $1,100 worth of damage. So that's how we spent our Saturday. The man who hit us didn't even have a license. Hopefully the church will be merciful toward him with that.

This week we met some fantastic new investigators. Their names are A, A, J, and his wife. They're all from Puerto Rico and they're all super intelligent and keeping their commitments. A is the main one we're teaching, and he read two pamphlets and watched the Restoration DVD before our second visit. He understands everything and seems to be recognizing the Spirit. We've visited them twice more since then and we explained the first half of the Plan of Salvation yesterday and they actually understood the Fall! It's clear that the Lord has prepared them to receive the Gospel. We have a member who is from Puerto Rico as well and he's coming with us on Thursday to teach them. I have full confidence that they will be baptized in the near future. A already agreed that he would be baptized when he gains a testimony. Now we just have to pray that that happens soon.

I'm finally getting the hang of being district leader. We won't be having another district meeting for another two weeks, but I'm really enjoying accounting with the Elders and Sisters and helping them resolve their concerns. And I got numbers in on time to the zone leaders last night for the first time! I guess that's what happens when you put a little preparation into things. Something I've learned while being out here is that hard work and preparation pays pay off. Before my mission, I used to just do the minimum in a lot of things and although things were generally done well, with a little preparation I could have taken it up a level. My mentality has changed and I'm a much harder worker than I was when I left. That's just one of the few things that I've improved on my mission.

On Friday I was able to take Elder Smith out on exchanges. He's a new elder from Sisters, Oregon. He's super great and I really enjoyed my time with him. We did some great work together. We went up and tracted out a trailer park that I was hoping was full of Hispanics, but it turned out to just be full of Americans. That's okay. We had some solid contacts and I'm glad that we were able to work. I'm under the impression that the Lord called me to be a Spanish missionary because English work would just be too easy. It's so easy for me to contact and teach people. And I relate to them a lot better. But being a Spanish missionary has taught me and humbled me a lot. Now back to Elder Smith. He's in a tripanionship with two older missionaries, so I wanted to make sure he wasn't getting thrown under the bus all the time. We had some good talks and did a lot of good work together, and I hope that I was able to help him. I accounted with those elders last night and it seems like they've made plans to improve their unity as a companionship. I hope it goes well.

Saturday was crazy! We had some great plans to go teach some lessons and visit some folks, but we got a last minute call to go help a couple move some furniture from one trailer to the other, so our plans changed a bit. By a bit, I mean a lot. I was helping them move their extremely heavy washing machine out of the decrepit trailer and the deck that we were on just collapsed! It wasn't very high, but after the collapse I looked at my wrist and it was bleeding profusely. Due to the amount of blood, I was worried that I had cut a vein or something, so we quickly headed to the emergency room. Let me tell you, Cape Fear is the worst hospital in North Carolina. We got there around 2:30 pm and waited for nearly nine hours to get treated. So I sat in the waiting room for that long just with a towel and some gauze on my arm. It was about 9:30 pm when I finally got called in for treatment. I got four stitches! The lady numbed my wrist and checked to make sure my tendons weren't cut and then sewed me up! They gave me some instructions, told me to come back in seven days, and then we were on our way. It was 12:30 am by the time we got back to the apartment. So now I have some stitches on my arm and have to refrain from overly physical activities. So that was the adventure of the week.
On Sunday we had a less active member finally come to church. He came in a suit and brought a non member friend with him. After church we were able to teach both of them. I've seen the Lord reward us a lot lately. I'm grateful for that.

And that was my crazy week.

Ya'll have a good one,

Elder Landon Carroll

P.S. We had zone conference with our new mission president. He's super personal and loves the work, and I'm really looking forward to working with him. He's funny and great!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Happy 4th...great excuse for a party!‏

 July 6, 2015

Buenos dias!

Ha sido una buena semana. Tocamos muchas puertas sin respuesta esta semana, pero todavia cumplimos con nuestro proposito.

Oh sorry that was Spanish. So this week was pretty uneventful. We did, however, teach some great lessons. I'm gradually continuing to meet the investigators on our whiteboard. There's a few solid ones, but most of them we just keep right now until we can find people to replace them. Finding has proven very difficult here. Not quite as hard as Pinehurst was, but it's definitely a challenge. Most of the Hispanics that are in this area live in trailer parks near where we live, so you can guess that they've all been talked to a million times by missionaries. I keep wanting to just knock all these trailer parks, but my companion just assures me that they've been destroyed, as we say.

Let me tell you a little about who we're teaching. The investigator I know the best is Rene. He's like 68 and from D.F. Mexico. In other words, he's a Chilango. He's an old man with lots of ideas about religion and no evidence to back any of them up. He claims Catholicism, but you can tell that he just doesn't quite understand everything. His view on the fall is very twisted. That's the Catholic in him. He thinks that women are evil and that we carry the sin of Adam and Eve and thus, we must be baptized as infants. We showed him the bold chapter in the Book of Mormon Moroni 8, but he refuses to believe what it says. He just says that "those books are written by men. They're full of errors." He believes in the scriptures, but believes that he knows more than the people who wrote them. Kinda strange. We testified of what we were teaching, and he loves to listen to us and share ideas, but he doesn't get it. He even had a dream about heaven. He said there were three levels of heaven in his dream and that and angel said he was going to the second level. We've tried to tell him of the Plan of Salvation and that he can make it to the Celestial Kingdom, but he thinks because the angel told him that that was where he was going, he can't alter it. We'll work on it.
We have a few other solid investigators, but none of them have stories quite like Rene's. Most of them have been taught each lesson a thousand times, but they just don't quite get it. It's the Restoration and authority...people just don't understand that Christ set up a church, gave his apostles authority, and then that all fell away. We teach and testify and even go as far as to tell them that their churches are false, but they still say "I've already been baptized." It's really frustrating sometimes. That's really where the Spirit comes in. I have three converts on my mission and neither of them got baptized because they understood the Restoration. They got baptized because of the things that they felt. They got baptized because they wanted to be better and were brought into the fold by loving members who were ready to receive them. That's really what we need to do. We need the spirit and we need the members. That's what makes all the difference.

Now y'all are probably wondering what we did for the 4th. Well...we didn't do anything. I'm in a Spanish branch and the 4th of July just isn't quite to them what it is to us Americans. We walked around some trailer parks in Red Springs and everyone was drunk. Hispanics here use any excuse they can find to drink more. It's really a problem. We were unable to have success there, but we did manage to find a couple new investigators last night, so I'm excited about them.

And in other news...on Monday we got a new mission president! His name is President James. He seems awesome so far. I can't wait to meet him. We have what we call "Hello Zone Conference" on Wednesday, so we'll get to interact with him. Funny thing is, he and President Bernhisel knew each other in High School. They both played parts in the same musical one year, so that's kind of funny. I'm excited for the upcoming changes and I hope the mission continues to thrive.

Hope ya'll have a great week.

-Elder Landon Carroll

New Area and New Responsiblities

 June 29, 2015

Good morning!

I am pleased to inform you that I have been safely transferred and am now in a place called Raeford. It's a little town, much like Clinton, just south of Pinehurst. The good news with that is that Max and Alberto could come down and have lunch with me! They're my recent converts from Pinehurst. It'd be nice to see them again.

My new companion's name is Elder Jaussi. He's from Riverton, UT. He's pretty great. We definitely get along. I'm hoping we can have a lot of success together. We have the same kind of sense of humor, in other words, he actually gets my jokes! This'll be super fun.

The area itself is very similar to Clinton. Lots of farming and chicken cooping. Really the main difference between here and Clinton is that Clinton is a combined English Spanish branch, while here I'm just serving in a Spanish branch. Oh and here's a gem! A bunch of my friends from BYU Idaho were from North Carolina. One of them, Antonio, is from Raeford! I had dinner with his family the other day and his mom remembered hearing about me when I got my mission call! And then...she pulled up Antonio on Skype on her phone and I got to talk to him for a sec. How great is that?

In other news, the work is rather slow here. As usual, I have arrived in the area and there are no investigators. That's just how it's always been for me. So that means we have to go out and find them now. We have a couple okay investigators, but no one is progressing toward baptism for now. We'll fix that haha.

And in other other news, being District Leader is kind of fun. It's just full of new challenges. I barely got key indicators in on time last night. Hopefully the Zone Leaders won't kill me by the end of the transfer. And my first district meeting went fairly well. It was a little choppy, much like trying to water ski on choppy water, but it went well nonetheless. I taught about teaching to the needs of our investigators, more specifically with the Spirit. That's the key to everything, after all. This Wednesday I just need to make sure I have a little more interaction with the missionaries. I'm a super good speaker and I know a lot, but I gotta make sure not to just spray them with knowledge. I have to INVOLVE and DEMONSTRATE. The zone leaders said I did good though. Elder Brown said "you looked like a district leader up there." He's my old district leader, now my zone leader.

Well, that was the week. I appreciate everyone's prayers for me. They're definitely felt over here. I'll keep y'all in my prayers is well.

Take care now.

-Elder Landon Carroll

Last Week in Durham

June 22, 2015

Good morning!

It's been another hot week here. North Carolina is setting records right now! Sometimes I look at the temperature gauge in the car and I think to myself "oh it's probably just because the car has been in the sun." And then the temperature doesn't drop after 20 minutes of driving. Yep! It's hot! It hasn't been under 95 for like two weeks.

So this was my last week in Durham. It's hard to believe I'm already getting transferred, but I guess the Lord has other things for me to do. Being district leader will definitely be something new and interesting.

After 4.5 months here, I can truly look back and see the good that I've done. Even though I didn't baptize, I can definitely say that the area is much better than it was when I got here. When I got here, there was no member trust, no progressing investigators, no branch activities, and my companion was slightly distraught about some things. But now I look back and I see that member trust is sky high, we have many people that are progressing toward baptism, the branch is now independent of any other ward, and Elder Teeples will definitely have his work cut out for him. Hopefully I get transferred close enough so I can come back for the baptisms he'll have.

But even more than just what I was able to do, I was able to learn many things as well. My understanding of the Atonement of Christ as increased exponentially. And although I don't quite understand it perfectly, I feel that I understand it well enough to be able to help my investigators progress in the Gospel. That is the central focus of the Gospel after all. It's all about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The purpose of the church is for us to be able to come forth and take advantage of the blessings offered to us through Christ's sacrifice. It's up to us to actually apply it. That's the hard part for me. I know that the Atonement is activated through our faith, prayers, diligent scripture study, and putting our best effort in, but sometimes it's just so hard to actually let all that in. It takes time and humility. We have to open our hearts so that He can actually help us. I'm still working on that. I'll let you know how it goes.

Something else I've learned here is how to ride a bike. I don't mean just get on the bike and pedal. I mean get on there and destroy every hill that comes my way. I remember climbing up the biggest hill in our area and just destroying this road biker in front of me. I felt pretty good about myself. And I can probably go up that hill even faster now. I'm definitely looking forward to biking when I get home.

I'm really looking forward to wherever my next area is. Rumor is I'm going back to Clinton, but we'll see what happens. I find out tomorrow at transfers.

Well, that was the week. It was hot for sure.

Have a good one,

Elder Landon Carroll

Some Exciting News

June 15

Good afternoon everyone!

It's super hot in this room cause the AC doesn't work, so sorry if this letter comes out a little sloppy from the rush.

So this week was very successful and FULL of miracles. In fact, we were just at Wal-Mart and a Hispanic man came up to us and asked us to come over and help him so he can quit drinking. So we set an appointment for this Saturday at 5 pm. Hopefully we can help him. Right after that, a member from one of the English wards offered to buy us we got free Subway for lunch. Tender mercy.

We had a lot of success with our investigators this week and they continue to show promising progress. We had some more progress with A. It seems like he's finally beginning to trust us enough to listen to what we have to say. I think the Spirit has something to do with that haha. It has a strange way of softening people's hearts and opening them up. A just really needs to come to understand the Atonement and let go of his sins and his past. I have faith that he can be baptized by August.

On Wednesday our plans feel through a little bit. After Zone Conference, we got a call from a less active member who asked if we could go over and help her move some furniture and do some yard work, so we threw all our other sloppy plans out the window and went over there to help her out. She's been less active basically since her teen years, so we were hoping to get in the door a little bit. Just being there and seeing how she treats her kids and even her dogs really showed how much she actually needs the Gospel in her life. You can just look at her and listen to the way she talks and just know she's not happy at all. She's living in sin and she refuses to change, but she asked us to come over, if possible, once a week to teach her kids. We're hoping to make a change in her life. She's just not happy. Oh, and before that we contacted a Honduran man who was painting a house. He was super interested in our message. We gave him the address for the church and he said he would come. On Saturday he gave us a call and said he would be coming to church and bringing a friend. Then we got to church and he didn't show up, so we gave him a call to see what was up. He said he got sick, so we're planning on visiting him later on in the week. He seems stoked to the max about it.

Friday we were able to meet with our new golden investigator named J. We had a great lesson about the Restoration and he seemed to understand everything. His talkative friend C was not there, so the environment was just perfect for a great lesson. I asked him what he would do if he came to know if the things we teach are true and he said "then I'll continue with this." My prediction is that he'll be baptized a month from now. SUPER elect.

Oh, and I forget to talk about E. We knocked on the door of a young man named E this week. It was just by chance because all of our plans had fallen through. E is 18 years old and he's been here for about three years. He came from Los Angeles. He says Durham isn't that different from LA as far as the crime goes. That makes me feel safe haha. But E is also super elect. He said that he's been searching for someone to talk to for the last two weeks and then we knocked on his door, used the gift of tongues, and then taught him a great lesson about the Atonement and the blessings of coming close to Christ. We watched a video and he said "I feel exactly like the man in that video." And then he was super excited when he got to keep the Book of Mormon. SUPER elect. He'll probably be baptized in a month and a half or so.

On Sunday in the middle of church we got a call from a man named A who lives outside of the mission. He said that he has a friend he wants to visit and had been trying to get a hold of us for two weeks. So we went with him yesterday to meet his friends and teach them a lesson. They're going through a hard time financially, so they definitely have interest in the blessings that the Gospel can bring them. Also super elect. They'll be baptized in September.

And that's it for the miracles of this week. There were probably more, but I just don't have time to type them all out! I'll keep everything updated in my journal. Oh, and some other news. President talked to me on Wednesday at zone conference and I'm getting transferred next week, And we're getting a new president next week. And.....I'm gonna be district leader wherever I'm going. So that's exciting. Maybe with the new mission president we'll finally get iPads. That'd be super nice.

Well, that was my week. Oh, and it was super hot. No biking.

Stay cool,

-Elder Landon Carroll


June 8, 2015

The title says it all! We truly had a breakthrough in the work this week. Mainly because of the progression of our investigators.

We didn't have any baptismal dates or people at church, other than a couple of less actives, but we taught some super powerful lessons.

The lessons we taught A were especially powerful. Remember how I said last week that he just changes the subject every time we tried to actually teach him what he needs? Well we finally had a breakthrough. We testified of the Atonement and talked about baptism and he finally opened up to us. He told us that he wasn't ready for baptism, so we read him the baptismal interview questions to see what concerns he has. Turns out he wants to repent, but just really doesn't know how. So we explained a little to him and left him with a Gospel pamphlet. Then, later in the week we talked a little bit more about his situation. He says that he can't sleep because of anxiety and depression and he doesn't feel at peace with himself or with God. So we are now on the quest to help him find peace, He finally agreed to read and pray and we're setting up a church tour sometime next week.

We also found a great new investigator. His name is J and he's 23 and from Guatemala. HE crossed the border a little over a month ago and in the process his wife and kids got thrown in jail. So now he's here just living constantly in worry. He lives with a man named C who never stops talking and is obviously not as prepared as J, but we still teach them both. Actually, the first time we met them C was just blabbering about how the Catholic church is false and things like that. And while this was happening J was reading, not flipping through, the Book of Mormon. He said it teaches the same things as the Bible so it must be true. We've met with him three times so far and he says he's felt a lot of peace since talking with us. He was gonna come to church on Sunday, but he fell of a ladder on Saturday and bruised his face pretty badly, so we'll get him there next week. But he is GOLDEN. He even prayed out loud and it was super sincere. Not to mention we now have a Guatemalan family coming with us to teach him and they're planning on bringing him to there house for lessons there. Should be amazing!

We also served K again. This is the hippie with the crazy yard. And guess what....he finally has a Book of Mormon! The English elders brought it up that Christ visited the Americas and he said "that's what this is all about? Can I have a copy?" Trust is sky high right now. We plan to go over this Friday so hopefully we can strike up a nice conversation about the Book of Mormon and share the Gospel with him. That is our purpose after all.

There's some other good success stories, but I am running out of time. But that was our week! Please pray for these investigators. They need the Gospel more than anything. They need the peace that it can bring them. It's that only way for A to be happy again. That's my hope for him.

Thanks for your prayers as well! They are definitely felt out here. There are times that I just want to lay down and give up, but the thoughts of my family and the strength of the Lord keep me going.

Love y'all!

-Elder Landon Carroll