Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Foot in the door? I think YES!

Something my companion and I discussed during our studies was the whole "rules" thing. The reality is, God doesn't command only members of the church to do things. These commandments are for the whole world, but we are the only ones that follow them. So that has been our approach, and it seems to work better than trying to explain that they aren't restrictions.
We haven't been able to meet with J this week, due to being kicked out of his apartment after the owner raised rent, so it's been nuts. We had an appointment with K and D, but when we knocked on their door, they didn't answer, so we called them, didn't answer, so we left. We got a text from K apologizing about it, they just forgot about it. JE still wants to meet with us, so we're really pushing attending church so that she can come to know whether it is true or not, but it's really hard for her. We taught JK finally! We have been trying to get together with him for over a month now. He was interested in Family History, so we set him up an account During our lesson, which we didn't really teach any doctrine, just about Family history, he said "Now, I know that your purpose is to convert me, and I'm not saying I never will, so maybe some time we could have a little chat and you can tell me all about what you believe." Foot in the door? I think YES! Crazy! this week we met another man in the Vault (did I explain what that is? If not, it's a self serve coffee shop. Talk about integrity!) and we stopped and talked to an older gentlemen who was sitting at one of the tables. As we talked, he sort of seemed interested in what we did, but as we talked he expressed his concern about not being able to "Prove God", and we told him that we can't prove him, but that's not what we're here to do. We're here to invite you to find out that he is real on your own. we had him read Enos, and to pray, and when we met again he had read it along with the introduction to the Book of Mormon (crazy, right?), and he seemed even more unhappy about the whole God concept. He's from Russia, so it's kinda hard to understand him, but we are hoping that he prays this time (we told him to read Moroni 10:3-5 and to pray) and hopefully he recognizes his answer!
Another great Mormon Message to anyone that is going through trials (if you're not going through trials, watch it anyways! It's good!) "Mountains to Climb". Pres. Eyring is the man!
Quotes for the week:
"There is no cure for the ills of the world except the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Our hope for peace, for temporal and spiritual prosperity, and for an eventual inheritance in the Kingdom of God is found only in and through the restored gospel." - Joseph Fielding Smith in Conference Report, April 1930, 13
"Keep the commandments of God. Therein will be the salvation of individuals and nations during these troublesome times." - Francis M. Gibbons, Harold B. Lee (1993), 459
(This one is for mom) "There are few things more powerful than the faithful prayers of a righteous mother." - Pres. Boyd K. Packer
"30 But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe thecommandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of yourlives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not." - Mosiah 4:30
Well, I love and miss you all!!! Have a fantastic week!
Elder Carter V

O be wise; what can I say more?

I think I should explain myself real quick... Yesterday was MLK day, so it was a proselyting day, so P-day got pushed back this week. Just fun tidbit haha!
In answer to some questions, we haven't really had a lot of member help this week, but it's usually better. it's hard to get members to lessons because a lot of our investigators have crazy schedules and pretty much just ask us to come over a few hours before. That makes it pretty tough to schedule member withs haha! The Curtis's are amazing! Bro. Curtis teaches gospel principles, Sis. Curtis is the Relief Society Pres. and they help us all the time. Anytime they run in to us throughout the week, they ask us to dinner. they never sign up, but if they see us they say "do you have dinner tonight" which we never have dinner appointments haha! We sang our district musical number at Zone Training Meeting, and it went pretty well I think! Not only that, while I was practicing the song in the Vault, we got 2 new investigators! Crazy how the Lord works. So, for service, we always keep our eyes pealed, but every Wednesday we help out at a consignment shop, doing heavy lifting and moving stuff. It's not a requirement, but it's a good way to find people to teach and to show people that we aren't aliens or anything.

Exciting news!!! our mission is getting split!! In July it will become the Bismark ND Mission, and other parts of the mission are getting absorbed by the Fort Collins Colorado mission, Omaha Nebraska mission, and billings Montana (I think). Crazy!!!! Who knows where I'll be when that change happens! Well.. I'll probably still be in Valley City haha!
So, due to ZTM, we spent a lot of time in Fargo of Friday, didn't get much done than, but the rest of the week was pretty darn good! J is doing about the same until church! Revelation through church attendance strikes again! J struggles with following the prophet, because it's "just a bunch of restrictions, and I spent my time being restricted", and we tried to explain that it's actually a protection, but he didn't really buy it. Gospel Principles was about "Freedom of Choice" and it explained commandments and what they are and why we follow them (besides that they are commanded from God haha). Amazing!! JE about dropped us, but we didn't let her do so so that we could address her concerns with more time, rather than having to leave for another appointment. We still haven't met with K, but she went to a relief society meeting where they had dinner and watched "Johnny Lingo" and learned how to become an "8 cow woman." She loved it!
For all you Provo folk, a member her suggested you all go to Stans on 9th E. and try the Iron Port (no worries, it's not an alcohol). Don't really know what the foods like, but he loved it haha!
Quotes for this week:
"12 O be wise; what can I say more?" - Jacob 6:12 (thank you Jacob, for those words of wisdom!)
"Ignorance is bliss, and what I don't know won't hurt me. Let me say to you with all the intensity that I have, that nothing will hurt you more than what you don't know." - Jeffrey R. Holland, BYU Devotional.
"Often we assume that [those around us] must know how much we love them, but we should never assume, we should let them know." - Pres. Thomas S. Monson
"There is absolutely nothing in this world that will provide more comfort and happiness than a testimony of the truth." - Pres. Thomas S. Monson, "See Others as They May Become"
Well, on to the next week!!! I love you all and miss you!! Hope all is well!!
Elder Carter V

Saturday, January 17, 2015

True happiness comes when you make others happy.

Week 7

Well, A's baptism was amazing! Her husband baptized her and he decided he is gonna totally change his life!! So, J dropped us. He basically told us that when we teach him, he understands some things, and others just don't make sense to him because he doesn't think he is educated enough, so he gets frustrated and angry, and he doesn't want to put up with it anymore. We still see him periodically and say hi, but that's about it. M didn't come to church, but she does like meeting with us. She said that she doesn't want to convert but she loves our company and "she loves talking about Jesus!" J didn't understand that the experience in Priesthood was an answer, but in my email to President, he said to ask him "If prophets weren't important as God's connection to his children why would he call them?" Words of wisdom, for sure! This week wasn't very productive in a teaching sense. All of the lessons we had planned bailed on us, so we made other appointments, and we spent half the week in Jamestown. On Wednesday we had District Meeting, and we shop after district meeting since we don't have anywhere to shop in VC (We have special permission to do so, no worries), and that takes up most of the day, so we got back and did as much as we could. Friday was A's baptism and we had to get there 2 hours early to fill the font, then the baptism started at 6, and afterwards some members took us out to dinner, than it was time to get home. Saturday was another baptism of an 8 year old boy, which also took a while, and afterwards we did some service. Sunday we had to be to church early for Ward Council, and after church we did our studies than did weekly planning, and had our meals in there as well. We didn't get to leave the apartment yesterday because of the crazy schedule changes. It was miserable, but we got our planning done, which needed to be done, considering the week had just started haha!
Well, the weather has been a little better. There still isn't a lot of snow on the ground, but it stays pretty chilly most of the time.
So, this last couple of weeks I've realized how much I miss my music.... like, a lot... I was reminiscing about the time I sang with Johnny and Mckay, and I wanted to cry! that's the first time I've been truly home sick (I love the rest of you too, but this hit me hard that day haha). Than I started thinking about choir, and band, and Provo, than I went farther back to Bethel, and band and choir there, and man.... That was a ruff day. I miss singing "Sure on this Shining Night" with the Chamber boys, and I could just go on and on, but I won't. I didn't really how hard it could actually be, but, it's so worth it! There really isn't anything like dedicating you life to the Lord, and helping others come closer to Jesus Christ, and seeing how happy they are as they make that journey. True happiness comes when you make others happy. Nothing else really compares. Man, I love this work!!!
Ok, I'm done!! Here are more quotes (well.... quote....)!
"How much wiser and better it is for man to accept the simple truths of the gospel... and to accept by faith those things which he... cannot understand." - President N. Eldon Tanner, General Conference Ensign 1968, 49
Well, I love you all and hope all is well back home(s)!

Elder Carter V

P.S. I don't know if I mentioned this before, but there is a talk by Brad Wilcox called "His Grace" I believe. That talk is absolutely amazing, and I encourage you all to listen to it!


Week 6!!!!!

So, the function of my new ward isn't too shabby. We're pretty small, but we keep up, from what I know. All of the classes are small, but I think we have someone in every class. I may be wrong, but I think the High Priests meet with the Elders quorum.... Don't quote me on that. My Bishop, Bishop Garr, is awesome. He does a fantastic job. The ward mission leader is amazing!!!! His only problem is he works at the ER in Fargo and works mostly night shifts, so he's never awake during the day... We've taken him to a couple lessons though, and they went STUPENDOUS! He knows so very much, but he knows how to share what he knows in a way that everyone will understand. He's funny too haha. We do not have ipads, but man would it be nice if we did! We could just show people videos left and right! Every week we get an hour of media time. We get to go to the library and watch talks or read them or whatever we want on or It's way nice because you can use those things in other lessons. Once every 2 weeks we get an extra hour to do family history work, which is pretty cool. I would like it better if there was someone who knew what they were doing who could help me haha!
Well, this week was pretty nice weather wise, it stayed in the 20's until Friday it all the sudden dropped to -7, plus a wind chill, and Saturday the wind chill was down to -35, and Sunday bounced between -30 and -50 just depending on how hard the wind was blowing... It was insanely cold, and we couldn't go outside unless we had an appointment. Thank goodness we did for most of the day...
Update on A! She is getting baptized this Friday by her Husband!!! We are super excited, cause this is the first step for them to have an eternal family!!!! S, her husband, started having heart attack symptoms, went to the ER, and found out he had an artery that was spasming, and had they not come when they did, he would have died that night. Keep them in your prayers!
J came to church yesterday and our lesson in Priesthood was all about the importance of Prophets. Revelation through church attendance? I think so. He's still doing pretty good, just struggles with why we need to keep certain commandments and how we know they are commanded from God and not man. 
MG, an older woman we were helping quit smoking, came to church too, and she actually bore her testimony!!! It was awesome! But, at the same time, we all had a pretty good laugh... She likes to tell stories about how God has helped her in her life, which is awesome! But, in most of them, she ends up screaming "HELP ME JESUS!!!" So, as she was walking up to the pulpit, E. Wright leans over and says "You don't think she's gonna yell Jesus do you?" And low and behold, she did. Everyone was awake afterwards though!! And it was a great testimony and the spirit was strong there. She is a wonderful lady!!
Jm: we haven't been able to get a hold of till about an hour ago. He was at the library and we talked to him for a bit. He was smiling and happy the whole time. He told us that he decided to change his life, to become happier and to help others be happier. He said he is done moping around. He is so awesome! He has a nice smile too! it's amazing how just a few plain and precious truths that were lost and now have been revealed through modern prophets can change someones life so completely. He decided he would come to church with us next week, and I think he is going to love it!
K and D are the same. We took the Ward mission leader, Bro. Kauffmen, to their lesson. That man knows so much! and he knows how to share it too! that lesson was the best we've ever had with them!
J M just back from vacation and we meet with her tomorrow, so we'll see how she's doing.
Well, I can honestly say that I am ready for spring. It's way too cold and no one is out on the streets, and they just want to close their doors even faster than usual. but hey! They say that the sun rises about 5 and sets about 9, so there is tons of day light all summer!!!! I'm super excited for that!
Well, we went tracting in an apartment complex and only 2 doors were answered. And we got 2 return appointments. One of them knew one of the members, and the other said he was a former Lutheran, but now he's atheist and not really interested in religion. We told him our message is very unique, that God hasn't ceased to speak to men today, and as we kept talking he started to get really interested. Come to find out, his girlfriends mom is LDS, but she's never tried to talk to him about it, and he said he respected that because so many people try to force their religion on you. it was a good contact! We're stopping by tomorrow to follow up and teach him about the Restoration.
Man, time flies. I gotta go! Thank you all for your letters and cards and all your love!

Elder Carter V

I pretty much do push ups till I can't (so, like, 2?)

Week 5!

In answer to some questions, I have adopted my comps work outs, mostly because I never worked out before. I pretty much do push ups till I can't (so, like, 2?) then sit ups till I can't (about 3) then crunches till I can't (about....... 1/2?) then start over. I do that about 4 times in the morning. We used to go running, but it's too cold and slippery and we about died last time haha! 
To all you who are super worried about me, I am much better now! I took a miracle potion that my mom sent a member here, and I haven't had an issue since! Well.... the occasional congestion headache, but other than THAT I'm good haha. Thanks to all the people (especially Rachel Rubow) for helping my mom through it!
Christmas was great!! We were going to eat with a few members, but most of them had to bail, so we just ate with the Curtis's. It was goooooood food!!! The lady fell off the wagon the night we put her on the stop smoking program, but she's weening off now. We're still working with her though. Finding hasn't really happened because we run into someone we've already taught and end up teaching them a lesson, which isn't bad at all!! One in particular is JW. He is in his 70's and has had one of the hardest lives I've ever heard of. When we first met with him, all I could think was, in the words of Elder Finau "Lets go teach them! They need the gospel!!" As we taught him, and he expressed his concerns, we taught him Gods Plan of Happiness. We taught him that he is a literal spirit son of a Heavenly Father. At that, he looks at us and says "is that why, despite being totally and utterly alone, no one to help me, to love me, I have always known Him? Never forgot He was there?" It was amazing to see him change just by this "plain and simple truth" that had been lost over the years. There is one of the many reasons we need a modern prophet to lead us today! That, and, you know, the Lord has always had one to lead his church, His church is a church of order, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth his secret unto His servants the Prophets" (Amos 3:7), a Prophet recieves direct revelation from God which allows him to teach true doctrine, not the speculations of men, and I'm gonna stop there because the list just goes on and on!
So, the weather was a bombing 30 degrees the last few weeks, and yesterday it dropped over night to 0, and today it is -7, and I don't even want to know what it's gonna be like at the end of the week!! 
Well, and update of missionary work!! J is doing.... ok. He needs to understand that God gives commandments to be kept, not decided which ones we want to keep, but that's something that we're working on! He works a lot, so it's hard to get with him very much anymore. JM is about the same, but she is probably gonna come to church in the next couple weeks, K and D are the same, and A has is gonna be baptized on the 9th! Pray for her and her family, her husband just found out about a severe heart problem that will take a lot to fix, but he can do it with enough help!!
Here's an interesting fact! The root of the word "Virtue" comes form the latin word "Vertus" which means strength. Since when did having virtues and morals become a weakness? Why is doing whatever you want the strong thing to do? It just doesn't make sense to me. In the words of a loving father on his death bed to his rebellious sons "Arise from the dust, my sons, and be men, and be determined in one mind and in one heart, united in all things, that ye may not come down into captivity... Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust." (2 Nephi 1: 21, 23) Let us be men!! Real men! Men of virtue, of righteousness. 
Ok, that's the end of my soap box moment haha!
Each week we get an hour to use the internet in our studies, so we watch videos and mormon messages, etc. Best one ever, and you all probably already know it, is Pres. Hollands Testimony of the Book of Mormon. I believe it was in 2010? So powerful!! That man can speak! 
In our apartment we sometimes listen to talks at meals or before bed, and the one we listened to last night was "Getting Stronger in Lifes Game" I think... It was a devotional, probably EFY, and the speaker compares life to a football game. It's really funny, but also really spiritual, and he sure gets his point across. You don't have to know anything about football to like it either! Just know a few football players and you'll be good.
Elder Wright got an MP3 player full of music for Christmas, and one the songs, I'm assuming, is called "our mothers always taught us." I'm sorry if some of you like this song.... But it's hilarious! It's a great moral, but terribly written. There is a song called "the One Note Samba" and it's actually good, but this one..... not so much hahaha!!! It was hard to keep a straight face, cause it came on and my comp goes "Oh, I love this song!!!" and I didn't want to make him angry hehehe......
Well, I actually shared all my quotes throughout, so for those of you that only read my quotes, now you have to read everything hehe!
I hope everything is going good for all of you! I would love to hear from you!

Elder Carter V

Week.... 5? yeah... Week 5...

Every day is kinda running together now....So forgive my shortness.
So, in answer to some questions. K pretty much dropped us. It used to be that she would always answer calls or texts, or even call or text us, but once I got here and Elder A left, she lost interest... So, we've tried to keep in touch and keep teaching her, but she never responds. It's not snowing, in fact it's all melting. It's been super foggy for the last 2 weeks! I think it's beautiful, but everyone else hates it haha!
Next question. Yes, there are a lot of Christian folk around here, mostly Lutheran. Yes! Lot's of good Christian people!
The snow here is almost gone, and there has been an almost constant fog for the last 2 weeks! Every once in a while it will get lower than 32, but not for long. It's kind of weird.
I loved the package, but I had trouble reading some names. Thanks to all of you!! It means a lot.
I talked in church yesterday, and it went quite well! 
Sorry this letter is so short.... Not a lot happened this week... Lots of finding and meetings...
Here are my quotes:
"Our freedom is limited by our conduct. Obedience to law is liberty." - Hugh B. Brown, BYU Devotional.
"The fundamental principles of our religion [are] the testimony of the apostles and prophets concerning Jesus,... 'That he died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended up into heaven,' and all other things are only appendages to these, which pertain to our religion." - Joseph Smith, Elders Journal, July 1838, 44.
Elder Carter V

Jumping right in with the culture of North Dakota! Alligator. Yum!

So, our car has no heater unless we drive faster than 60 MPH.

3rd week in the field! (or my month mark! Not that I'm counting down, but hey! it's a milestone!)

So, funny thing about staying warm (that's what everyone tells me in their letters), is it's been light jacket weather the last few days!!! I walked around with just my suit, not even a sweater, for the last few days!! I thought it was in the 50's or something! But, low and behold... It was 34. We had a sister in our ward just get back from her mission in Brazil, right on the Amazon, and she kept getting mad at all of us ("us" being the ward) because we were all talking about how warm it was, and she would say "THIS IS NOT WARM!!!!! I'M FREEZING OVER HERE! You people need to learn what warm really is, cause this is not it!" Most of the snow has melted, and it's been really foggy the last few days. I love the fog. i think it's cool.
This week was... interesting. My first week we had a ton of people to teach, my second week was a little less, and this week we hardly taught any lessons. J got a new job, and our other investigators had plans or got sick XD 
So, our car has no heater unless we drive faster than 60 MPH, so we tried to find someone to help us out (with the missions approval, of course). No one in Valley City could help, so we called a dealership in Jamestown, who said we could bring it in on Saturday. So we left early in the morning, dropped it off at the dealership, and a member picked us up and took us to the Christmas breakfast. Afterwards, we helped the sisters in our ward move from Oakes (it's about 2 hours south of us) to Jamestown, and that took almost all day. Once we were done, we went to get our car, and there was a manufacturers error, so they fixed it for free!! Yay!
So, for all you Mistborn nerds out there, there is a place here called "Ellendelle" (it might be Ellendale... I don't quite know). Just a fun little tidbit.
We went tracting yesterday and I had my first door closed in my face!!! It was great! The lady opened the door, I asked how she was doing, and before she had finished saying "good" she closed the door. Not 10 minutes later we walked to another apartment right when another lady was getting out of her car. She saw us, and started speed walking to her door, extending her hand backwards, waving at us and said "don't come to my door! Do not come to my door!" and she closed it really fast. I never thought that 2 teenagers in suits were so scary. Maybe I had something on my face. Maybe it WAS my face! I'm a pretty intimidating guy, what with my huge biceps and shoulders that take up where my neck is supposed to be. Riiiiiigggghhhhttttt (in a very "Kronk"-ish voice).
Sooooo..... I think I'm gonna start sharing quotes, because I love quotes, and there is no one to share them with ( my companion hears them during comp study, but that doesn't count)! This weeks quotes:
"Mistakes of the past don't define you, they refine you." - some EFY song... no idea what year or what it's called.
"What is prayer if not creation? Making something where nothing existed. Creating a wish out of despair, a plea out of anguish. Bowing one's back before the Almighty, and forming humility from the empty pride of a human life.
Something from nothing. True creation." - Navani Kholin, "The Way of Kings", by Brandon Sanderson. 
"I do not wish any Latter Day Saint in this world, nor in heaven, to be satisfied with anything I do, unless the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, - the spirit of revelation, makes them satisfied. I wish them to know for themselves and understand for themselves." - Quoted by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorom of the Twelve Apostles. Original quote by Brigham Young, "Sermon," Deseret News, Oct. 31, 1855.
"God will not act to make us something we do not choose by our actions to become." - Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorom of the Twelve Apostles.
"The good spoken of the Joseph Smith cam slowly; the evil speaking began immediately.  Joseph wrote, 'How very strange it was that an obscure boy ... should be thought ... of sufficient importance to attract ... the most bitter persecution'." - Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorom of the Twelve Apostles.
"I know that it is not a popular thing to teach, that a backwoods boy from Vermont, reared in New England, and trained on the frontier is a prophet. But, popular or not, it is a fact." - Found on under "Stories from General Conference"
"Choosing something bad over something worse is still choosing wrong." - Elder Jorg klebingat of the Quorom of the Seventy.
"Often trials and tribulations are allowed to come into [your life] because of what [you] are doing right." - Glenn L. Pace, "Crying with the Saints".
"I also know that although I may not be my brother's keeper, I am my brother's brother, and 'because I have been given much, I too must give'." - Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorom of the Twelve Apostles.
Most of these exerpts are taken from the November, 2014, General Conference issue of the Ensign. Read it! It is so good!!! Next week I won't have as many quotes, cause this is all the quotes for the last month..... Thanks for letting me share them haha!
Well, that's about the extent of my week... Not a lot happened... sorry guys! Love and miss you all!
Elder Carter V

He wanted a Red Rider BB Gun. You'll shoot your eye out, Kid.