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

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