Monday, August 31, 2015

Ohhhhh Mexico. It sounds so simple I just got to go.‏

August 31, 2015


This week was pretty awesome. We taught some good lessons, a lot of things fell through, and we got to hear from a general authority! And we ate some food! And I got to sleep at night! And we got to do weekly planning! And I'm training! And....okay that's enough.

The week started out a little choppy. We didn't teach any lessons on Monday, but we did find a Jehovah Witness man. He said he could get us some bibles and a bunch of free stuff, so we insisted. So we went back on Friday and he gave us some materials and his little shpeal. It's all a bunch of bologna if you ask me. They think Jehovah is God the Father, when we clearly see in the Bible that Jehovah is Jesus Christ in ante-mortal form. He taught us some weird lesson and I just wanted to slaughter all his false doctrine, but I promised before going in there that I wouldn't, so I didn't. But now we have their bible and a book and I'm working on disproving everything so we can got back and show him the truth. Jehovah's Witnesses are very deceived. The only way I can accurately sum up what they believe is "the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture." That's exactly what it is! We're going back someday to teach the Restoration and if it gets argumentative, I'll have the evidence to back up our doctrine.

Through this experience I've really come to love the Book of Mormon even more. I go through and compare my Bible with the JW bible and eventually I end up in the Book of Mormon and I can literally feel a change in my attitude, the Spirit, and the clarity of the doctrine as I begin to read it. Not only that, but the Book of Mormon makes it VERY clear who Jesus Christ was before He came down to the earth. The Book of Mormon shows us what God's plan for His children is and what we need to do to be happy in this life. It's a book that can change your life if you let it. If you're not reading it regularly, start now!

Something else I've learned this week is just how great of a blessing it is to have the knowledge of the full Plan of Salvation. We're teaching an old man and he just doesn't get it. He thinks that Adam and Eve ruined God's original plan of having us in paradise. My thought can the most intelligent being in the universe's plan be thwarted by a couple of naive dust made humans?!?!?! It can't! So as I've attempted to teach this man some true doctrine it's been very difficult to explain to him that the Fall was all part of the plan. So as I contemplated how to show him that it was meant to be, I thought about the doctrine of the premortal life. We know from the scriptures that we existed before this life and that we lived with God. Our Father in Heaven presented us with a beautiful plan to allow us to experience a fullness of joy like Him. The Plan was that we would come to earth, gain a body, make choices, experience happiness and sadness, learn and grow, and sin. That was what was presented! And God knew that we wouldn't be perfect, so He promised to send us His son Jesus Christ so that we could repent and become perfect like our Father in Heaven. Once we understand this doctrine, we understand why the Fall was necessary and why sin, sadness, and mortality had to enter the world. Without these things, we cannot become like our Father in Heaven. So that's what we plan to teach when we come back on Thursday. That is, if he lets us talk. He's pretty long winded in his old age. He came to the branch barbecue and just enjoyed himself , so I'm hoping he progresses nicely over the next few weeks.

We also had a church tour with our investigator. He said he didn't feel the Spirit, but I don't believe him. He said he wants to see the church full of people, so I think he'll be coming to church next Sunday. We're visiting him tonight and hoping to give him a spiritual experience.

The rest of the work is going nicely. We're building this area from the ground up, and it's proving to be very rewarding. I'm just hoping we can be consistent enough to have some progressing investigators.

Whelp, I gotta get going. I've reached my quota. Please continue to keep me in your prayers so I can finish out this mission strong.

Love y'all,

Elder Landon Carroll

I yanked these photos off of the Raleigh, North Carolina Mission Facebook page.  You can just see Landon in the back by the stage.  Not the best photo but we take whatever we can get!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Another Week in the Bag

August 24, 2015

Well time certainly isn't slowing down here in North Carolina. It feels like I just left for my mission a few weeks ago and now I have 6 months left....What's up with that?!?!?!? Part of me wants it to end so I can go have fun with my family and friends at home, but most of me just loves being out here and doesn't want it to ever end. The mission has changed me and it's brought a lot of joy and change to my life. I will never go back to the person I was before. To do that would be to mock God and the experiences He has given me. Without the things that I've gone through, I don't think I could have ever gotten to the point I'm at now. Let me just tell you that there are things that you cannot learn unless you go on a mission and dedicate your life to the Lord's service. You cannot experience true happiness until you've helped someone come into the Gospel. You cannot truly become a disciple of Jesus Christ unless you are willing to as the scriptures say "take up your cross" and follow the footsteps of the Savior. Doing that has made me a better man and my greatest hope is that when I come home, I will still have the same desires to be a servant in the Lord's hands.

It's that desire to serve that has brought me to where I am now. The Lord has blessed me with the opportunity to be a district leader and train a new missionary and I'm enjoying every minute of it. It's interesting being a district leader. There's a lot of things that come with the assignment that I did not expect. For example, I'll get like three texts a week from sisters asking me about clarifications for rules, things to do in certain situations, and other little things that I'm expected to know. They expect me to have ALL the answers! And yet, I don't. Everyone thinks the district leader just knows everything and they expect him to be able to answer all their questions, but oftentimes I don't even know how to help these missionaries. I just do my best to teach and instruct them, be an example, and give them opportunities to grow and improve, and I let the Lord take care of the rest.

Training has also proven very interesting. I'm enjoying the opportunity to teach Elder Flake about how to be a missionary. He seems to be adjusting nicely. The hardest thing for me is giving him opportunities to do the work. I'm a veteran missionary now and I kind of just want to go teach and baptize everyone, but I have to remember to carry Elder Flake with me. He's a great elder and he has a lot of potential. He gave a talk yesterday at church and his Spanish was awesome! I only helped him with a little bit. We had a great week together and I'm glad that we're finding ways to be busy. We taught more lessons last week than I ever have in Raeford, and we're starting to set up consistent appointments so we can get the members involved a little better. We have some great investigators and I expect to be baptizing in the future. The key is going to be effective planning. I'm confident in our teaching ability as a companionship. The focus will just be making sure everything glides smoothly as we help these people progress in the Gospel.

And update on investigators! We found a bunch of new prospects this week, so they should all be new investigators this coming week. We're now teaching a woman from Peru named A, and she seems to be pretty excited about learning from us. She also wants to come to our English class, so that should give us a good opportunity to build some trust with her.

We also were able to visit our investigator N. She's the one who lives with a member family. We attempted to set a baptismal date, but she wasn't having it. She says that she doesn't want to play games with God, so she wants to make sure she's ready to take that step. She's reading the Book of Mormon consistently and her family has been a great support, so it's only a matter of time before she takes the plunge to get baptized. We have an appointment with them tomorrow, so I think we can really make an impact with that tomorrow.

We also successfully taught an eternigator! An eternigator is someone who has been investigating the church for a long time, but has not progressed. His name is L, and we had a great lesson with him. We went in there and really laid down our expectations and used an analogy about dating with the Book of Mormon. We told him that just like you're not gonna marry a girl after two dates, God will not answer your prayer if you haven't even made an attempt to "get to know" the Book of Mormon. So he seemed to like that and actually has read since then. Then I shared with him one of my favorite scriptures found in 3 Nephi 9:13-14 and as I read it aloud, he said he felt a lot of peace. We were able to then use that to help him understand how his answer would come. We're having a church tour with him tomorrow, so I think we can make a lot of progress with him this week.

Hard work and good planning has proven to be the key to this area. We had a successful week and it will only improve as we continue to be diligent in our efforts to share the Gospel. I hope and pray that the Lord will continue to grant unto us success and that we'll be able to find joy therein.

Thank you for all the prayers and support.

Have an excellent week!

-Elder Landon Carroll

Since We're On Our Way Down We Might as Well Enjoy the Ride

Landon and his new companion, Elder Flake
August 17, 2015

It was a crazy busy week here in Raeford. Training and being with a new companion has brought a lot of work to be done.  We're here to teach everyone, so that's what we're gonna do. We taught more lessons this week than I ever have in Raeford and it felt great to be always working. Sitting in the apartment and doing less-productive things kills your motivation and the Spirit. So we will be sure to stay as busy as possible.

So about my new greenie.....His name is Elder Flake and he's from Mesa Arizona. He should have been out here a few months ago, but he broke his foot in the MTC and had to go home to have surgery. And then while he was home he had to get his appendix removed. Talk about trials. I'm so glad he's here now. He's in for a two year experience he will never forget. Hopefully I can make his experience the best possible as I teach him how to be a missionary. And hopefully he learns some good things from me. And yes, he is 6' 4".

Update on investigators! We met with A again right before Elder Jaussi got transferred. We had a great lesson about being obedient to the commandments and reaping the blessing that come from them. We were reading through 1 Nephi 17 and A read a verse and replaced "I, Nephi" with "I, A" so that's how we know that he's actually applying these things to himself. He expressed that ever since we've started coming, he has been more motivated to change and be a better person. We came back on Thursday and taught him about the Sabbath day, but he expressed that he does not want to go to church alone. So hopefully we can begin to teach his wife so that they can come to church together. We really should be putting in an effort to be teaching her anyway. We have plans to bring a member couple over this week, so I think that we'll help with they're progression. If we can get them to church, there's no turning back. We helped A tear some carpet out of the new house he bought, and I think he really appreciated it. We will continue to build more trust with him so he can feel more comfortable with us (and give us more delicious Puerto-Rican food).

Sad story! So on Elder Flake's second day we went over to a new neighborhood and knocked on a door that looked Hispanic. Sure enough, they answered and a young girl came out and began to express her love for Jesus and told us how He had blessed her life. So she got us some water and we sat down with her and her little brother and began to teach the Restoration. We taught it super clearly and left a great commitment to read and pray. During the lesson, her uncle showed up and walked by us and asked us what we were talking about. I told him that we were discussing Jesus Christ and the apostles. He asked me "Why did he come?" I said "To save us from sin." He shook his head and walked away. It was clear that there was some tension in the air. So we continued. The girl and her little brother were very excited and agreed to read and pray about everything. So we set a return appointment and then went to go knock the rest of the neighborhood. Well, it was about time for our dinner appointment, so we headed back to the car. As we walked by these people's house, the little brother comes out. "Excuse me!" So I ask him what's up. He says "My uncle said this stuff isn't true. He said the story isn't true." I inquired a little more. "Has he read and prayed about it?" The kid explains "he's a preacher and he studied it and says none of the stories are true. We're not interested in the class anymore." So I take the books and we walk back to the car disappointed. Let me tell you how much I just wanted to barge into that house and thrash that preacher's doctrine! The Pentecostal religion is false false false! The power that they "feel" in their church is not the Holy Spirit. It's Satan. I'm convinced of it. But I didn't do any of that or say any of that. We walked to the car nicely, I said a prayer in my heart, and we headed to our dinner. Isn't it a shame?!?!?! I really wanted to teach those people! If only that preacher knew what he was missing....

But that's my rant for the day. I'm really enjoying the work that's happening here and I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve in North Carolina. It's a great place!

Love y'all!

-Elder Landon Carroll

Some News!

August 10, 2015


What do I write about this week....

Let's see....ooh! We made an awesome breakfast this morning! We had bacon, sausage, waffles, eggs, hash browns, gravy, and I made the best smoothies ever! I'm getting so good at making smoothies and my ninja was such a good investment. I'll send some pictures next week.

Also....I smell like bacon...and smoke. We burned some oil and we had to open all the doors to the apartment. The lawn care guys working outside came to check on us because they thought the place was on fire. Hahaha little did they know....
We also had another great week at the new church building. The members just love it. Our attendance right now is greater than that of the English ward! And they're a ward! A and the rest of the Puerto Ricans were not able to come to church yesterday. They're getting ready to move so they had some painting to do. We'll get over there this week and help them out.

District meeting was great on Wednesday. It took me FOREVER to figure out what to teach, but after much prayer and study in the scriptures, I came to the conclusion that the missionaries in my district needed to be reminded of who they are and where they're going. I talked a lot about eternal progression and why the Lord called us to serve. I think they all felt the Spirit and I think some of them really needed it. Being district leader is tough sometimes because of the responsibility it brings, but that Lord has definitely blessed me with the capacity to be able to help the missionaries in my district. I love being able to account with them and help them and their investigators. 

In other news....I got a call from my mission president the other day and he has called me to be a trainer this next transfer! So I'll be training a little greenie tomorrow. I'm looking forward to the fulfillment it will bring me to be able to help a newly called missionary learn the basics of missionary work and how to teach the Gospel effectively. I don't know what kind of missionary I'll be getting, but I pray for the charity and patience to understand him so that I can help him best. Pray that I'll be able to be a good example to him!

The work was pretty good this week as well. I already updated y'all on our family from Puerto Rico, but we hope that they continue to progress. A is looking for peace and that's our goal. He needs the Gospel in his life. He just needs to have the confidence to accept it and live it. I know it will bring him peace. 

I love being a missionary and I'm grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I've studied a lot of other religions while I've been here, including Jehovah's Witnesses, and nothing comes close to what the Restored Gospel offers us. There are no holes in our doctrine. There is nothing "fishy" or corrupt about the way we live or how the Church runs things. It's pure, beautiful truth. Don't ever forget it. This is the church of Jesus Christ. He is the Christ, the Son of God. He really did atone for our sins. Don't ever forget it.

I love you all.

-Elder Landon Carroll

These are photos that Landon's Mother found on the Raleigh, North Carolina Mission Facebook page.  This is the Fayetteville Zone Conference.

We Are Slowly Figuring This Thing Out!

August 3, 2015

Buenos dias!

This was a good week. It's definitely true to say that hard work pays off. The Lord truly does bless us as we put in our best effort.

I'm starting to get to know the members here, so that has thrown a positive spin on the work. Just knowing what you're working with out here is half the battle. Now that I'm learning the area and all the members' names, I'm able to focus a little more on blessing them. With us building member trust, we were able to receive two referrals this week! That's a blessing for sure! We went and contacted one of them and that man wasn't interesting, but it's just good to know that the members are putting in their effort. (Ricky Bobby: Ya know I saw on TV the other day they put a pig heart in a man. "Wow that's amazing." Well, he didn't live, but it's just cool to know we're trying stuff like that.) I love the members here, just as I've learned to love all the people I've served. That's the thing I love the most about my mission. I just love being able to meet so many different kinds of people, and getting to serve them is even greater.

So here's an update on our Puerto Rican family. They're doing pretty well. We had a great lesson with them on Tuesday about reading and praying and gaining a testimony of these things. They definitely want to know. They read everything we give to them. We're really just trying to help them get that answer through prayer. They gave us some Boricua popsicles and then we headed out. We tried to have a church tour with them at the new building, but that fell through. A fell asleep or something. Then he said he was coming to church, but that busted as well. Apparently his wife wasn't feeling good. We'll get the members a little more involved this week and hopefully they'll be able to come on Sunday.

Speaking of Sunday....we had church in the new building! I attached a picture of the branch in front of it. It went really well! Everything smells so new I want to eat it! Everything went smoothly and the members feel extremely blessed. That's the beauty of Hispanic culture. They're all so grateful for the blessings they receive. We could all learn a little lesson from them. It was testimony meeting and they all got up and just expressed their gratitude. The Spirit was strong and many tears were shed.

Something that I learned this week as I was reading in Doctrine and Covenants really grabbed my attention. I can't remember who said it, probably Joseph Smith or Martin Harris, but it said "It is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men." I firmly believe that to be true. God has called us here to gather His elect, and we plan to work extremely hard this coming week to see what miracles we can accomplish. I know we can do it! Please keep us in your prayers!

Well, I guess I better close now, but thanks everyone for your wonderful support and for all that you do for me. It really helps me.

Take care now,

-Elder Landon Carroll

I've Seen Fire, and I've Seen Rain

July 27, 2015


I have some great success stories to share this week. Our numbers tanked for a number of reasons, but I'm gonna look on the positive side. No effort was wasted this week. We worked hard and things just fell through.

Now for the successes...

Our investigators A, A, J, and J are progressing nicely. We were able to teach them again this week. In fact, we went and ate dinner with them on Wednesday and they fed us some awesome Puertorican food. They gave us Arroz y Havichuelas, Tostones, Pollo, and Flan for dessert. Everything was delicious. I especially liked the tostones. They're basically plantains that have been fried and fried again. They taste FRIED. And the flan was amazing. Some of the best I've had. Man, Hispanics know how to do it. So after dinner, we shared a great lesson. We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and about baptism. It's definitely something that's been on their mind. They can't have dates because none of them are married, but we expect them to progress exponentially in the next few weeks. We attempted to have a church tour yesterday, but A had some pain in his head, so we had to cancel. But we'll hopefully get Hermano R over there again on Tuesday so we can have another great lesson. They're all reading a praying, so it's only a matter of time before they gain a testimony of these things. I have complete faith that they will be baptized. We just have to play the cards right.

Those are really the only investigators that are progressing in any way. The rest of our people are SUPER unpredictable. We're attempting to set up appointments, but the work schedules here are ridiculous. I think we just need to be a little more consecrated with things. And we need to get out there and SWEAT. I'm convinces that that will make all the difference in the work. I don't care if doors have been knocked a thousand times. We have to keep trying! That's the new vision of this mission. We are eradicating slothfulness and bringing in a new wave of consecration. As a zone last week we found 62 new investigators! That's one week! The work will progress and I am sure that if we put in our efforts, the Lord will recognize and reward our righteous desires.

We got to go inside the new church building yesterday. The thing is massive. I really never have seen anything like it. It has a courtyard in the center and the classrooms are completely separate from the chapel and gym. And the chapel has these really tall windows so natural light is just incredible. We should be meeting there next week. Check the blog for pictures.

Also. My friend from BYU Idaho comes home August 8th. So I'll get to see him in a couple weeks! It's gonna be super weird seeing him again. It doesn't even feel like that was my life before. I've gotten to the point where it feels like everything before my mission was my mission and everything after will be my mission. Like...I've always been a missionary. It's just one of those euphoric feelings you get when you just sit and ponder things. Life's weird.

Well. I hope y'all have a wonderful week. Thanks for all your support and prayers. It makes a difference.

-Elder Landon Carroll