Mis queridos hermanos y hermanas,
I am pleased to inform you that we had an amazing week! One of the most rewarding weeks of my mission.
I don't know what it is, but lately it's been hard to be consistent with my work ethic and obedience, but with small goals and some reevaluation, I am able to see the Atonement work in my life. What's wonderful about the mission, and even life, is that every new day is an opportunity to be better than the person we were yesterday.
So after my little spill at the hospital on Sunday night, I spent a couple days just taking it easy. I was really worried that what had happened was more serious than the doctors' diagnosis, but after taking my potassium pills every day this week, I've seen a noticeable improvement in my health and I've been able to go out and sweat again. That was really the story of the week. It was kind of like pulling back a sling shot toward the start of the week and then releasing it toward the end of the week. And it all started with my exchange on Wednesday.
After district meeting I was able to go with Elder Shearer (a new elder) on exchanges down to .....you guessed it!....Clinton! Clinton has been my home away from home since I've served there and this exchange really made my feel happy and at peace. Our first stop was an investigator who is getting baptized sometime in the near future. His name was.....CJ and he has a very strong testimony of the restored Gospel. We testified boldly of the blessings of the Lord and really emphasized the principle of "don't wait." We can't let ourselves get in the way of the blessings that the Lord wants to give us. Sometimes we like to delay those blessings by not acting on what we're supposed to. It's like putting an umbrella over our heads and letting the blessings slip away. So that was good.
After that we went to the church and visited with some of the members that I know and love. They all remembered me and were happy to see me! I guess when you spend six months in an area, especially a small branch like Clinton, you really get close to the people. Like I said, it was just like coming home after a long trip. Next stop was dinner with my convert Josefina and the Cruz family. It was so nice seeing the Gospel working in Josefina's life. She's a much happier person than she was when I met her and I can see that the church and the Gospel have really filled that hole that existed before. And it was also nice seeing my progress as a missionary, particularly in Spanish. While as before I left Clinton I struggled sometimes to understand what people were saying, I was able to understand every single word! That felt super good! And Josefina is still the best cook in the mission.
Later that night we went and stopped by the Tyndalls. The Tyndalls are like my favorite people in the world. I really built a special relationship with them and it hasn't changed a bit. We still told the same jokes, stories, and Sister Tyndall still admires the growth that I've experienced as a missionary. As we were sharing a message with them, Sister Tyndall mentioned that I've grown a lot spiritually and that it really shows. So that's a nice compliment. After that we ate ice cream and granola. The funny thing about the granola is that my mom sent it to them! They told me it's the best granola in the west....which is funny because we're in the east. Ni modo. So everything was fine and dandy over in Clinton. The place has grown a little bit since I left, but other than that it hasn't changed a bit.
The next day I went on ANOTHER exchange down close to Raeford. Hope Mills to be exact. I went with Elder Brown, my good friend and zone leader. We had a great exchange and I was able to learn a lot and motivate my self for when I returned to Dunn. When I got back to Dunn, Elder Christensen has done a lot of great work. He found some new investigators and really set us up to have a great rest of the week. This weekend we were able to teach about eight lessons, some of which were just amazing. We have an investigator who was introduced to us by a young man in the ward. Alberto's home situation is not the best, so the church has really been a refuge for him in recent months. I read him a verse out of Alma chapter eighteen and asked him what he had against being baptized. After learning the doctrines of the plan of salvation, he told me "I have nothing against it. What else do I need to do to get there?" Golden! So we set a date with him for the 23rd of January and are anxiously awaiting the day when he can enter into a covenant with the Lord. I know he'll get there. If we play our cards right and trust in the Lord, he'll be a very strong convert.
Our other miracle lesson involved a family....can't remember the last name....but nonetheless, they're basically golden. We taught them the Restoration super clearly and powerfully and even involving they're young children, and they were just blown away. The mom's name is C and she just fell in love with what we taught her. I asked her "Is it hard for you to believe that a young man would be visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ and be called to restore the true church of God?" She said "Not really. God calls whoever he decides to call." So we introduced the Book of Mormon as evidence and told her how to receive her answer and she just ate it up. At the end of the lesson, she asked us "Can you go visit my mom so we can all go to church together next week?" Golden! This lesson was super powerful and I feel confident that this family will be baptized within the coming months.
This week was amazing and I'm super grateful for the experiences we had. I hope that we can continue to be diligent and obedient so as to allow the Lord to use us to work miracles. I know He lives and am grateful that He allows us to improve over time, rather than demanding perfection all at once. Please continue to pray for our success. My goal is two more baptisms before I go home. If I can reach that, I'll be a happy man.
-Elder Landon Carroll