Monday, December 8, 2014

"He is the Gift"

Alright, I'm playing catch up... weeks 2-7 will be up soon!
If you would like to receive notification every time we add a letter to the blog, please message me with your e-mail!

Week 2!
Well, in answer to many questions: My ward building is in Jamestown, about 30 minutes away, it became a ward the week before I arrived. Our ward bounderies are a large chunk of the west side of ND! It's crazy big! We have a set of sister missionaries in our ward too, cause it's that big an area! There are about 150 I think? It's smaller than my Provo ward... maybe about the size of Shawnee ward? sorry if I miss some of them.... I'm kinda rushing through so that I still have time!!! Just keep reminding me about them haha!
So, this weeks update!! Lots more missionary work haha! If you haven't noticed, the church bought out the advertisements on youtube and are advertising "He is the Gift". It is amazing. I feel the spirit so strongly every time I watch it! That has been our main focus this week, is introducing that. I invite all of you to share it with friends and family! It's a non-denominational video, so everyone will love it!
So, update on J. He has a firm testimony in the Book of Mormon! We were talking to him about President Thomas S. Monson as being our prophet on the earth today, and he was kind of skeptical. We invited him to pray and ponder about having a prophet on the earth, and he said he would. We set up an appointment with him for the next day, and about 2 hours before, he calls us. Before we could say more than "Hey J" he bursts out and says "I know there is a prophet on the earth today!" He prayed, and decided he would flip open to the scriptures randomly, and the scripture that he opened to was 3 Nephi 8. Somehow that scripture spoke to him and he was sooooooo excited that God had called a prophet today! He said he doesn't quite know who it is yet, but he knows there is one. We're gonna watch some conference talks with him, specificly ones with the Prophet speaking, and see what his reaction is!
Well, each week we get an hour of "media time" which is time to go to the library and use the internet to watch church videos or read talks. pretty much anything on church websites. I was watching a bunch of mormon messages, and one that I absolutely loved was called "men's hearts shall fail them". It was amazing. Absolutely amazing.
In my studies, I've been noticing something that keeps popping up. In the Ensign Dec. issue, there is a talk about "the answer to all the hard questions". The answer to every hard question is a question as well, and that is "Do I trust God more than everyone else?" There are so many rumors spread about the church, and it causes people of great faith to fall away, because they forgot what they believed in and forgot WHO they believed in. This week I was in a lesson with a couple who had a lot of questions, and they were all the crazy ones that are assumptions and half truths. When we explained to the best of our ability, they wouldn't accept the answer. It made me think of what my MTC teacher taught. She drew a stick figure, and had dots on the board, than started to draw circles and it started to look like a solar system. She said that each dot is doctrine. The circles are our level of understanding. We first have to gain a testimony (which is absolutely KEY) of the close dots, which are God and the love he has for all mankind, Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice so that we can live with our Heavenly Father again, and that God loved us enough to restore the church of Jesus Christ on the earth once again through a humble 14 year old boy who had enough faith to do as it says in James, which is to "ask of God". Once we learn, we must pray to know for ourselves, having faith that God will reveal to us the truth of these things. Once we know of these truths, then our understanding widens, and we learn about these other dots. If we try to learn about the dots way off in the distance, if we try to expand our level of understanding prematurely, we will not understand because we don't have that foundational understanding. People talk about "deep doctrine." There is no such thing. Doctrine is basic, but what is basic for one, passes another's understanding. There are things that we won't understand, but there is one who knows everything. When you put your trust in God, and God alone, than nothing else matters, because He will Never, let me say it again, NEVER, lead us astray. Follow president Uchtdorf's counsel, and doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. as we continue to live God's commandments, he continues to bless us. Often times we wont see those blessings till much later. Remember that God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his only son, and Abraham didn't question him, but did as commanded. He had no idea why he was commanded to do that, but he trusted the Lord. He was blessed, and was taught, and we are blessed by his example. 
Ok, I'm getting off my soap box (for now hehe). Sorry if it was kind of scatter brained XD
So, Christmas devotional?! Yeah?! Wasn't it great?! Now I know why every missionary I've ever talked to says that general Conference is so great, and this wasn't even Conference!!!
Well, gotta go! I would love to hear from everyone! I may not respond very fast, but I will eventually for sure!

I love and miss you all!!!!
Elder Carter V

Monday, December 1, 2014

He's in Dakota!

He's in Dakota now! 
Elder Carter called the family from the Denver Airport on Monday the 24th. Little did we know, he would call again in a few hours! We;;, I'll let him tell you why.  We are so happy to hear from him! Missionary Mondays are the BEST!
**Due to Privacy reasons, the investigators names have been changed** (The Adams Family is the same... He liked that joke. :D )

So, Monday at 3:30 a.m. they crammed a bunch of missionaries going to the airport on 2 charter buses. We got to the airport and half of us got the "random alarm" as we go through the metal detector. As we were going through security they swiped these bandaid-like-thingies on our hands to check for explosives. One of the elders with us, Elder White, passed (of course) but when he went to give them his ID (which was a copy of his paper permit back home) they didn't accept it, so he had to go through a deep pat down, and validation of records, and they checked everything for traces of explosives, and his shoes tested positive!!! Which made the process take even longer.... But when they tested again nothing came from it... I still don't understand how that works. Well, we flew to Denver, had an hour lay over, got on the next plane to Rapid city, and once we arrived we just kinda circled above the clouds for about 30 minutes, than the pilot comes over the speaker, saying we were running out of gas and had to return to Denver. Elder Tautaiolefue about wet himself at that, and we all had a good laugh! When we got back to Denver, we tried to book the next flight, but all the flights for the day were being cancelled because of the weather in Rapid City. After much tribulation, we finally got to a hotel, stayed the night, and went back to the airport. Can I just say that Denver Airport is about the size of most cities?! It's HUGE!!!! Trying to get out of there was like trying to write with your toe nail!!! It's possible, but man is it a pain in the behind!!!
Anyway, after that beautiful metaphor... I am in a tiny place called Valley City, North Dakota! We had a very brief training with the Anderson's since we were late, than stayed the night in the mission home, than took what they call "the transfer train", which is 2 11 passenger vans with a trailer, one travels north on an interstate and the other travels East on another interstate, then they eventually pass each other where the other interstates cross, and head back to the mission home, all the while stopping to drop off and pick up missionaries being transferred. It's an all day event for most people. I finally met my trainer at about 5:30 when we stopped in a city called Jamestown. We then hopped in our car and drove to VC (Valley City). I took a little less than an hour to get to our appointment, which was dinner with a member family that reminded me of the Miners! So, being thanksgiving, we couldn't do much proselyting since all of our investigators had plans, so we met with a few members in our area and did service! We had Thanksgiving at the Kauffmens' house (Jackie, I missed your stuffing.... so very much... not that Sister Kauffmen's wasn't good, but it definitely wasn't yours....), then set up their Christmas tree.
Well, that was my first full 24 hours!! My apartment is in the basement of the Adam's family (haha). It's a cozy little place, except for the bathroom, which has no source of heat but a little heater on the floor. Every time I take a shower, it takes everything I've got to take off my clothes!! It's so cold in there! Anyways, my trainers name is Elder Wright from Idaho Falls. He's great! he keeps apologizing for not doing very much missionary work, but I understand since it's crazy with thanksgiving stuff going on. On Friday I met my first investigator! His name is Jake. He's from LA California! He reminds me of Brad Waddell if he were 6'2" and black. We're also teaching a girl named Keri. She's doing really well with reading and praying about the BoM, but she's afraid to come to church cause she doesn't want to be judged for her piercings and tattoos. She needs prayers!
Well, my first morning my comp and I went for a run. It was -16 plus a wind chill of who knows how much. Everything stayed warm, thanks to my thermals, except for my eyes and nose. After a few minutes of running and breathing through my fancy scarf thing that I got in my package, my humid breath froze on the outside of it and I couldn't breath through it anymore.... That was ruff XD When we got back to the apartment our eye lashes had frozen, and my glasses had a layer of ice on them as well..... Can I just thank my wonderful mother for making me buy all that warm stuff? There isn't really a place to buy something more than maybe a sweater.... The nearest Walmart is about an hour away.
So, Monday is P-Day, and we get 2 hours to email. 
849 Hanna Ave. Valley City, ND 58072 is my address, so send me good stuff!!
J. Adam's, son of the above Adam's Family (I think I just like saying that) was taking the discussions before he was baptized because his parents wanted him to make the choice, and to go into it knowing that it is the right thing to do, and he was baptized! Funny thing is we got to the church and the font started to fill, then just stopped all of a sudden. The entire church had no water, and we assumed the pipes had frozen. Elder Wright, just as a joke, turns to Bro. Adams and says "we could call a  hotel and do it in their pool!" and Bro. Adams looks at him, pulls his phone out, and looks up the closest hotel to the church. So, we then started the services, hopped in our cars, drove about 15 minutes away, went to the pool (the hotel had closed it for us) and J. was baptized in a pool that had a huge twisty slide at the other end! One thing is for sure, that he will never forget his baptism!
Well.... That's about it for this week... I probably missed something.....
Love you all!!!! Don't have too much fun without me!
Elder Carter 5th

Alright y'all, you heard the lad. Send him some good stuff!

Elder Carter and Elder Andrew. Old friends from childhood.
Everyone calling home before they leave to Dakota!
It's blurry, but check out that air! Boy can jump!