Sunday, September 27, 2015

Carless, but not careless.‏

September 28, 2015

The title says it all ladies and gentlemen. We were without a car this whole week, but that did not stop us from, being successful. We were still able to work hard and teach some really great lessons. We're really starting to establish ourselves as a companionship here and I'm really excited about the direction the work is heading.

Some of our successes this week included....

Getting N to Stake Conference and making sure that she had a great experience. I can see that she is just getting happier and happier as her baptismal date approaches. We were not able to teach her this week apart from Sunday school at church, but I have full faith and confidence that she will make her baptismal date. That's on the 17th of October by the way.

We also had a great lesson with R. He's our old man from the Dominican Republic. He says that if he comes to know the Book of Mormon is true, it would mean to him that this is the correct path. He says he hopes that it is. I know that it is.

Stake conference was wonderful yesterday. We had a general authority visit, Elder Zwick of the seventy and he was just amazing. He gave a wonderful talk about how to come to know Jesus Christ personally. He gave us four things to do: 1) Read and study the scriptures daily. 2) Pray daily. 3) Go to the temple. 4) Follow the prophet. He told a great story about a time he accompanied President Monson to go do a hospital visit (yes, even the great prophet does those) and he said that when they walked through the halls, people would get very quiet. A couple people asked to shake his hand, and he ended up taking them to separate rooms and blessing them. And then he gave the blessing that he went there for. He's just a perfect example of Christ-like love and service. We need to follow him. I know we only hear from him every six months, but just imagine what he does when we're not looking. His life has been an example of service, and we need to follow him as we try to become like the Savior. Oh, and I got to translate his whole talk to the Spanish speakers. That was pretty cool.

Another thing! We went and visited our Jehovah's Witness guy M and had an interesting engagement with him. I brought another elder on exchanges who knew a lot about the bible and things like that, and we just kind of went at it. I told him to go at it subtlety, and he did his best. We did our best. Their beliefs are EXACTLY why we need the Book of Mormon. Because without it, we cannot understand the Gospel. Sure, the Bible contains the fullness of the Gospel, but without the Book of Mormon, we could never understand everything it's saying. Actually, I got up and gave my testimony of that very point during district meeting. I brought my JW Bible and held it up for everyone to see. I said "This book right here has changed my perspective on everything. It's because of things like this that we need the Book of Mormon. People are lost chasing after worldly philosophies when the truth is right under their noses. Let's give it to them Elders and Sisters." Unfortunately I got told on by some missionaries for that, but President James says it was an awesome testimony. But that is the truth about things. M shared with us a bunch of false information that is accurate supposedly because they went back to the original transcripts to verify everything. The only flaw with that is that THERE ARE NO ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPTS. So he tried to indoctrinate us, but failed miserably. We're going back this Friday to teach him the Restoration and see what he thinks.

Well, I am running out of time so I'm gonna close. Please continue to pray for us as we try to bring souls to Christ. The Gospel is true and Jesus Christ lives. Don't ever forget it.


Elder Landon Carroll

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Well, the leaves have come to turning and the goose has gone to fly...‏

September 15, 2015

Fall is in the air! I walked out yesterday to knock doors and I was just smacked with Deja Vu. I kept telling Elder Flake "It feels like my birthday. Like all my childhood birthday picnics and stuff." And then it turned into "It feels like Halloween." The weather has been beautiful these last couple days and I just have this familiar feeling right now. Like...I'm home or something. I guess this time of year has always kind of been my favorite so it's only natural.

We had a lot of success this week. I talked about some of our investigators last week. Now I'm gonna fill you in on their progression.

N has skyrocketed! She had some doubts about some things last week, but I was able to clear those up in Gospel Principles on Sunday, so I knew she was progressing. She really loves all the doctrine of the Plan of Salvation. She has a lot of concerns about death, so the restored truths of the restoration really help her to understand where her loved-ones are and what's going to happen to them. We went to teach her on Thursday night and she had a lot of questions about the Restoration through Joseph Smith, so before she asked any more, I popped in the Joseph Smith movie and we just went. After the movie, she didn't have any more questions and I could tell that she felt the Spirit. After explaining that she will get baptized, but wasn't ready, I asked her what was holding her back. She didn't really say anything, so then the conversation magically moved to the fact that her son is being deployed in January, so if she wants him to baptized her, she needs to get baptized soon. So we set a date for the 17th of October....and it's super solid! She will be baptized on that day. No doubt in my mind (uncle Rico voice). Now we just have to teach her the commandments and get the members involved and she's good to go. I'm excited!

We were unable to meet with our golden investigator, L this week, but we dropped by and gave him a Plan of Salvation to read. Apparently he hasn't been feeling well, so hopefully next weekend is promising.

R is still well....R. He's got so many weird ideas in his head and he's just a little hard-headed. He didn't come to church for some reason, but he says that he loves meeting with us and he asked a super good question on Thursday. He asked "If we all lived with God before this life, then why did God even put Adam here on the Earth?" That means he's starting to process things a little bit! This is the key to destroying his false beliefs about the Fall. I'm hoping to make a lot of progress with him this week, so we'll see what happens. He's just sooo hard-headed it's not even funny.

So there's a few of our success stories this week. Our diligence continues to pay off and the Lord is continuing to bless us with miracles. We do the work, he supplies the sheaves. It's that simple.

The Lord has been trying my patience lately. I just want every lesson to go perfectly so I can baptize, but it just hasn't been going that way. I start teaching and people just start talking about absolutely nothing. It's incredibly frustrating. My gospel principles class was taken over by talkers yesterday and a lady who asked "why is Joseph Smith's name not in the Bible?" Does she even know what she just asked? Hmmmm maybe because the Bible was written two-thousand years ago? People just don't like to think logically sometimes. That's something that I love about the Gospel. In its fullness, it makes perfect sense. There are no holes in any of the doctrine, unlike that of other false churches. Sometimes I just want to force my understanding of things down people's throats, but we all know that it doesn't work that way. Christ never did it that way. He asks us to be patient and teach the people exactly what they need to hear to progress in the Gospel. It's hard sometimes, but that's really what makes a convert. Unless people understand the personal relevance of the gospel to THEM, it doesn't matter what we teach them. That's my testimony of the matter.

Well. enough of the rambling. It's been a good week and I hope to continue to have success. Please pray that we can stay diligent and that we can figure this difficult week out. We have to turn our car in for repairs for five days this week, so it's gonna be very hard to get to some of our investigators. Please pray that the members can step up and that the Lord will provide for our needs.

Have a good one!

-Elder Landon Carroll

Thursday, September 10, 2015

We are bound together by the task that lies before us...‏

September 7, 2015

What a week!

Hard work, good planning, and diligence have been the story as of late. We had a lot of great successes this week and the area continues to progress. I'm grateful for the miracles we're seeing and the people that we're helping.

Some updates on investigators:

1. R.
R is the 80 year old man from D.F. Mexico. He's been a round a while, so naturally he has quite a few interesting ideas. Some of them are rather twisted. But we've done well combating his little arguments and helping him to understand true doctrine. He says a lot of offensive things, but with a chisel and some polish, we might be able to round him out a little bit. He came to church on Sunday, but I could tell he didn't have a good experience. We were sitting toward the back of the pews and there was a kid that was RUNNING around the chapel and screaming. And all his mom did was look at him! There's no way Rene could have heard the testimonies or even have felt the spirit. I certainly couldn't. So yeah. We'll have some explaining to do tomorrow when we visit him. Hopefully we can get him to come again.
2. A
A has been incredibly busy lately with fixing up his house and getting a new job. But we did manage to meet with him last night,. We taught him the Word of Wisdom because I felt that it was right, and his concern came out. He said that he doesn't believe Joseph Smith was a prophet. So we testified of the restoration and the Book of Mormon and challenged him to read and pray. He said that that was what he needed to do, so we'll follow up in the future. He really needs the Gospel in his life. He says he feels peace every time we come, so we're trying to help him have peace all the time.
3. N
N is doing well. She's progressing in her own time. We couldn't meet with her last week, but she seems to be reading and praying on her own. I got to teach Gospel Principles on Sunday, so the lesson really helped resolve some of her concerns and build her testimony a little more. It sounds like she knows the church is true. We just have to get past her little doubts and concerns so that she can get in the water. Sooner or later she'll just start to feel the desire to be baptized. We just need to give her more spiritual experiences.
4. L
L is 18 and going to community college. The missionaries have been teaching him for a really long time. We're slowly chipping away at his doubts and concerns. He just really needs a testimony of the Book of Mormon. I read him the verse in 3rd Nephi that he had felt a lot of peace from the week earlier. He said he's expecting God to give him a sign to know if the Book of Mormon is true. I said to him "could that peace be a sign from God?" And he said "maybe." We invited him to be baptized again and he said he still wasn't sure. Honestly, it's all on him at this point. We've testified, gotten members involved, taken him on a church tour, and watched countless videos. He just needs to use his agency and seek an answer from the Lord. That's all he needs to do. Now we just have to be there to encourage and challenge.
5. L(Golden)
We found this man a few weeks ago, but we were finally able to teach him on Saturday. Turns out he's golden! He's a 67 year old man from Puerto Rico who's married, but separated from his wife. I could tell that he was depressed and just down on life. So we taught the Restoration very clearly and promised a lot of blessings and he began to light up! We invited him to be baptized and he said "if that authority is really and it's what God wants then yes." So he has a baptismal date! He said at the end of the lesson that he was super happy that we came by to visit him. There's a man who recognizes us as servants of the Lord! I'll keep y'all updated on him.

Training is also going well. It's fun seeing Elder Flake progress as a missionary. He's getting better at Spanish and his teaching ability has improved a lot. And he seems to be having fun! Staying busy is the best thing we can do to have fun. The more lessons you teach, the better you feel. That's the key to being a happy missionary. Just stay busy and focused and the Lord will work miracles.

I'm really enjoying my mission right now. It's so incredibly difficult, but there's joy in every moment as long as I remember who I am and why I'm here. Life is hard, but I have to keep an eternal perspective on things and trust that the Lord will mold me into who He wants me to be. I trust that He will in due time. I have no doubt about it.

Thanks for all the prayers and support! Please continue to pray that we can be successful and happy here.

Take care,

Elder Landon Carroll