Saturday, November 7, 2015

Exciting News!

 November 2, 2015

This week FLEW by! Well, I guess they all fly by with how old I am in this mission. I have a little over four months and as I've said before, time is not slowing down. I just have to continue to give it my all so that I can be proud of what I will have accomplished at the end of my mission.

This week went really well. Despite not teaching as many lessons as we wanted, our investigators continue to show their willingness to put the Gospel to the test.

L (young one) was unable to come to church, but read seven chapter in the Book of Mormon last week. He said he hasn't felt anything, but we assured him that if he continues to read, he will gain the spiritual confirmation that the Book of Mormon is true. L set a new goal this week to not only read seven chapters, but to really pay attention to his feelings and write down which verse he liked the most in each chapter. I think with that mentality, he will have spiritual experiences. He said that his manager is still being a turkey, but he promises to come to church during fall break. We're praying that he has a spiritual experience at that time so that he can have the faith to find a new job or something. We pray for and expect miracles here in the NCRM. (North Carolina Raleigh Mission)

L (old) is also progressing. He did not come to church yesterday like he said he would, but at least he's beginning to read and pray consistently. We have a lesson with him tonight, so I'm hoping to make more progress. It''ll be my last time seeing him, so I will try to testify my heart out. (foreshadowing)

I tried to make progress with our old man R, but he is the most hard-headed man I have ever met. I try not to argue with him, but sometimes I have to raise my voice and talk over him because he just doesn't listen. I bore my testimony and committed him to read AGAIN, and we're bringing a different member every week so that they can tell their conversion stories. I wrote him a letter this morning, so maybe it'll touch him.

We also have this new investigator named Amado de la Cruz. He's a super humble man from Guerrero, Mexico. He's a man that truly recognizes us as servants of the Lord. In fact, he wouldn't come to church yesterday because he spent the whole day making tamales for us. He said he wanted to "celebrate us," so he made us some food. We went over that night and had some delicious food and a great lesson with him. He has a lot of real intent and has been praying to know if what we tell him is true. Unfortunately, he prayed to Joseph Smith, so I spent the first ten minutes of the lesson clarifying who we're supposed to pray to using the Bible. Halfway through the rest of the Restoration he finally says "so we don't pray to Joseph Smith, only God? And Joseph Smith was just a man called of God, nothing else?" I was so happy that he understood! That way I wouldn't have to leave Elder Flake with that issue. So we introduced the Book of Mormon and he said he would read and pray every day. And then we took a picture! And then he went and got his phone and we took ANOTHER picture! Really good, humble man. 

So now that I've foreshadowed enough, here's the news. I got a call from President James on Friday and he released me as district leader . :( BUT!....he gave me yet another assignment. No, I'm not going zone leader. This assignment is special and I guess he sees something in me. He wants me to train again in a different area, but the elder I'm training will have had no Spanish training whatsoever, meaning he did not learn any Spanish prior to coming to the mission. Not even in the MTC. So it's my job to train him and to teach him Spanish. It'll be weird to train again and not be district leader anymore, but I'm excited to be in a new area and to train another new missionary. I've learned a lot from training Elder Flake (and I hope that he's learned from me) and we've had a lot of success here. I'm sad to be leaving, especially with the way our investigators are going, but I trust Elder Flake and his new companion to follow through on what we've been doing and get these people in the water. I'm sad to leave Raeford, but there are new adventures elsewhere. Please pray that I can continue to progress as a missionary and that the Lord will give me the ability to carry out His work in the way that He wants.

I love each of you and hope y'all have a great week!


Elder Landon Carroll

Monday, November 2, 2015

Let's Just Baptize Again

 October 26, 2015


This week was not TOO eventful, but I am happy to report that we are doing well and that our investigators continue to make progress toward baptism. I am extremely grateful that Nubia was able to get baptized last week and I pray that the Lord will bless her and bless us with more opportunities to bring people into the fold.

Our investigator L(young) is doing well. We fasted a couple weeks ago that he would be able to come to church yesterday, but his manager said no, maybe next time. So we will continue to pray that he can take that step. In the meanwhile, he has read a chapter a day this whole week! We set that goal with him and reminded him every day and he's been doing it! Hopefully he can continue to have spiritual experiences that will strengthen his faith in the Restoration. We will continue to pray for and expect miracles. God works in mysterious ways, and He will with Luis too.

Our other L (older) blew me away on Friday night! We brought a member there with us to teach and testify about the importance of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration and it just came out super well. Turns out that Luis has also read every day and has started bringing the Book of Mormon to work with him to read when he has nothing to do. He says he's really enjoying the stories of Nephi and loves the faith that he shows. We've had some difficulties getting him to church, but not anymore! L promised us that this week he will come! He told his daughter and his grandchildren that he can't come over on Sundays anymore because he has to go to church. He continues to show his faith and he is beginning to feel the Spirit in his life. Let's just pray that we can continue to help him on this road.

R is just ridiculous. We were with him last night for WAY too long, but at least we got somewhere. He loves to argue and pick apart our words for some reason, so we have to work through that. But basically we rebuked him for doubting so much and not keeping his commitments, and then showed an increase of love afterward. We invited him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon because it's the ONLY way for him to know the truth. He doesn't understand how to get his answer, even with our explanations, so we plan to bring a different member every time we go so that they can all tell of their personal testimony of the Book of Mormon. That's the last thing we can do for this man. I love him, but we can't continue to try to teach a man whose heart is harder than stone. All we can do at this point is pray that he accepts our invitation with a humble heart and with a willingness to search the scriptures through study and prayer. After that, we will be forced to say "Nos vemos!"

My mission has been quite the adventure. I wouldn't trade the experiences I'm having for the world. Sure, everything is incredibly difficult, but it's shaping me for eternity. Elder Flake and I are getting along well as a companionship and I'm hoping I can stay another transfer in this area. We're having so much success right now! People that other missionaries gave up on have now started to progress and one even got baptized! I just want to get another one! 
I'm grateful for the Gospel in my life. Without it, I would be lost. Even just the knowledge that I am a child of a loving Heavenly Father is enough to carry me through on hard days. It's that knowledge and that joy that makes me want to share it with others. People are lost without the knowledge that we have. Surely you know someone with whom you can share the Gospel. I invite you, as a representative of Jesus Christ, to do so.

I love each of you and am grateful for who you are and that love that you show me.

Have an excellent week!

Elder Carroll


 October 19, 2015

Good morning folks!

It's been a crazy and wonderful week as we've been preparing for Nubia's baptism. We almost didn't have time to teach our other investigators, but still managed to have one of the most successful weeks of my mission. These past couple transfers have proved to me that if you work hard and put your trust in the Lord, He will work miracles. And that's exactly what He continues to do for us.

L (Joven) progressed this week. We were finally able to fast with him so that he could come to church next Sunday. He went through the fast with faith and real intent! We have really built a desire in this young man, and it's showing in his prayers and that way he talks about the Gospel. He's still definitely a work in progress, but with some time and some church attendance, I think he'll progress toward baptism.

"Other" L has been sick this week, so we were unable to meet with him. We scheduled an appointment with him tonight, so let's all pray that it doesn't fall through. He really just needs to come to church and show some real initiative. We'll get there!

The rest of the week was focused on getting Nubia prepared for her baptism on Friday. So we taught her the remaining lessons she needed, got her some baptismal clothing, set up the program and made all the calls, and addressed any doubts or concerns she had. Let me tell you. This woman is amazing. She's been through an amazing conversion process and is fully committed to the covenants she has made with God. She hasn't wavered since she made the decision to be baptized.

Let me tell y'all about the baptism on Friday. So we got there early so we could fill up the font. This new building is awesome! The water heater is tank-less so there was never a shortage of hot water! We ran the water for over two and a half hours and the temperature never even dropped! But that's beside the point. So we filled up the font, set up the chairs, pulled out the TV, and made sure that the programs were set out. And then.....the baptism. We were so happy to see so many people attend. Nearly all the branch members came! That's how much support Nubia has. So we had our opening prayer, hymn, and baptism talk, and then it was time for the actual ordinance. Nubia's son, Edgar, got to baptize her. I was so happy to see that it went perfectly! And then right when she came up out of the water she gave her son a huge hug. It was a beautiful thing to see. Then I sang a special musical number "SeƱor, te necesito" (or in English, "I need thee every hour.) It went super well! I was proud of myself! Music always brings the Spirit, so we made sure to have a special musical number. After that, Elder Flake gave a talk on the Gift of the Holy Ghost and we had some closing testimonies and welcome to the branch. Everything went beautifully. I'll attach some pictures. 

So here's some of Nubia's story. She's 54 years old and she's been searching for a church her whole life. She's always had a good heart and a lot of faith, and she was searching many years for a place to show her faith. Six months ago, she wanted nothing to do with the church or the Book of Mormon, even after the sisters invited her to read and pray about things. She just refused. So then they gave her to us, hoping that maybe we could work some magic. So we started being bold with her and answering her questions about the Plan of Salvation, particularly the after life, and her eyes began to open. We then started showing lots of videos (because they bring the spirit and teach very simply) and she just started to understand everything. She then started to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and was able to receive multiple answers about its validity. As we continued to answer her questions and give her the hope of another chance to see her loved ones, she couldn't say no the baptism. So we set a date and the rest is history. I think what really made the difference with her is realizing just what the Gospel can bring her. She had the hope of seeing her loved ones again, and she used that hope to motivate her to action. Now she no longer has that hole in her heart, or that thing missing in her life. I remember during the talk on baptism, Sister Pouliot (sister missionary) said that Nubia's family was smiling down upon her. During that moment, Nubia just began to cry. She knew what she was about to receive and that through being baptized, she could perform saving ordinances for her loved ones. In fact, she already did THREE family names in the temple. That's how serious she is about this! She's just amazing.

And that's the story of Nubia. She was confirmed yesterday and is now a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. All of that because of our diligence in teaching her the truth and in her diligence to seek out answers from God. Simple, but beautiful.

And that was our week! Now we just have to get out there and continue to find those that will receive us!

Thank you for your prayers in my behalf. Y'all have an awesome week!

Elder Carroll