Thursday, May 28, 2015

There is no room for anything BUT hope as we rely on our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

This week has been an interesting week.  We didn't really teach many people, but we got to help some people.  We helped a lady garden and deliver flowers to her families graves around the area, helped a local shop deliver some furniture. It was good.  Then, on Thursday, we had Zone Conference again! So good! You will get to see some of my notes at the end of this email. After Zone Conference, which went till almost 5, we had interviews which wasn't over till almost 9 (and Zone Conference is in Fargo, which is an hour away), stopped to have dinner cause we hadn't eaten since noon, and had to go shopping since we don't have a place to shop in Valley City! We didn't get back the apartment till 11:30........ It was miserable, cause we still had to plan for the next day.... But, it was so worth Zone Conference!!

But for those that we did teach!  G is good. We're going to talk to him about drinking this week. Not much has changed with him, just a lot of questions and I think he's slightly drunk so he's not feeling the Spirit.  K, we haven't seen in a long time. But, we'll keep trying! As far as doing something fun on Memorial day, we didn't do anything fun.  We went and visited some older people cause I'm sure they were lonely, but other than that, we attended a Memorial Service in a local club.  Other than that.... Nothing really happened.  This week is a blur.  It just flew by.

Well, there is something I've learned this week. It doesn't pay to be pessimistic.  People like to say "I'm not a pessemist, I'm a realist", but in reality, they're not.  To be a realist would be acknowledging all the factors (including and especially God), which means all we can have is hope.  There is no room for anything BUT hope as we rely on our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  I have never been told that my optimism is frustrating before this week, nor do I get where they are coming from.  I can't afford to be anything but optimistic, because I know that I am part of Jesus Christs restored Gospel, and I know that I am a son of God.  What more can I need.

Alright, next thought.  This Memorial Day we had the opportunity to go to a Memorial Day service in town, and it was pretty good.  I remember the feeling of reverence shown throughout the whole thing to those who had passed on, especially who had died in defense of our country and freedom.  Until the prayer was said.  The prayer was the most irreverent part of the whole ceremony. In our country, we have become more reverent towards our servicemen and our dead than towards our God and His Son who died that we might have Everlasting Life.  The mission President's letter this week was focused on the Sabbath day, and there was special emphasis on it during Zone Conference this week too. So few still reverence the Sabbath Day.  I heard this week that it used to be called the "Holy Sabbath" than it turned to just "the Sabbath," than to Sunday, and now it is the weekend.  We have become so lax in our Sabbath day observance that we have lost the reverence that our Father in Heaven and Savior deserve.  As nations stop Sabbath Day observance, all other aspects of life, particularly religious life, are drastically changed.  I was reading in "Jesus the Christ", and he talks about how the Jews of the day had lost sight of the reverence of the Temple and the Sabbath, and had become vain, making the Temple a beautiful master piece rather than a house of prayer and worship, and the Sabbath a day to show everyone but God how devoted you are.  They had the house, but the Deity it was supposed to contain was not present.  The Sabbath had, and again has become a convenience for men, a way to gain control over them, rather than a day of rest and worship.  Even God rested when He finished the creation process. We read in the Old Testament that He established the Sabbath as a sign between us that we might know that He is the Lord that doth Sanctify us.  Religion has lost its savor, because man has stopped keeping the Sabbath Day holy, which is one of the 10 commandments.  How can we expect to get the most out of church and religion if we are not keeping Gods commandments?  We were asked by a man why so many bad things are happening in his life, why God would let those things happen to him.  Our answer was simple.  Why should God bless you when you are not doing what he has asked you to do?  If He did, He would not be a just God, and if he wasn't a just god, we could not have faith in Him.  He will not break His promises, but we will break ours.  God is so willing to give us so many blessings, and all He asks is for us to keep His commandments.  That's it.  Simple as that.  No more, and no less.  Funny thing is, as we keep His commandments He blesses us, which will make us want to do so even more, and we will become happier and happier.  We were told that a man wanted nothing to do with us because of our "restrictions", the main one being no alcohol.  I don't know about you, but the restriction comes when you have lost your ability to choose because you are so drunk you don't know what you are doing.  The restriction comes with the addiction, whether to drugs, alcohol, tobacco, pornography, immorality, whatever it is.  But, as we live Gods law, we are made free. I believe it was Elder Packer that said "Obedience to law is liberty."  

Why is it that when I get going, it just keeps going? it all just floods out, One after another!

Well, That's all I've got time for. Love you all!!

Elder Carter

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Week 26, and I've killed my first companion!

Well, I killed Elder Edwards (missionary term for "was his last companion" or "sent him home"), and my new companion is Elder Allen.  He is from Arizona, and likes sports. He has been out on the mission for 18 months now.

So, for a quick weather report, we have had quite a bit of rain for the past couple weeks, but yesterday the clouds decided to open up and let loose! We got back from Stake conference and had a companionship study, which was interrupted by the discovery of a wet carpet. Our apartment was flooding! It was crazy! We through everything out of the way, shoved the couch and chair to the other side of the room, told the Adams what was going on, and started drying it up as best we could! We had a sump pump in the corner that had the biggest puddle (maybe a half an inch of water), but we discovered it had rusted and wouldn't pump the water out. So, we put a different pump in there and pumped it out our window than started the process of sucking the water out of the carpet with a Rainbow vacuum and a carpet shampooer. It was not exactly how I expected to spend my Sunday. We ended up drying it up real well, than we flipped the carpet up over some buckets and put some fans on it so it would dry. It still looks like that now, but it's almost dry! I love it when a plan comes together!  Then, to make things even better, it is currently snowing... Again...

This week we had a lot of appointments fall through. When we went to Gs house, he was as drunk as can be. Not very conducive to the spirit. We met with L, and he is doing amazing. What can I say more? We talked about eternal marriage and he really liked that (who wouldn't?) and we invited him to be baptized. He said he doesn't know for sure if the church is true yet, but he has definitely seen too many "coincidences" to ignore. S is such a great support to him too. She answers his questions pretty darn good from the looks of it! They are just amazing people. We were supposed to meet with G this week, but when we got to his apartment, he was super drunk and I couldn't understand a word he said.  But, we'll stop by again and help him stop his bad habit!

We had a super cool Family History experience this week! There is a guy named S that we told about Family Search, and he is super excited about it. He is retired and he doesn't do much any more, so he spends a lot of time working on his tree (often times staying up till 4 in the morning before he realizes it's that late).  He got stuck in the mid 1800's due to the immigration of his family from Norway, and has been getting a little disappointed that he can't go back any farther. While we were talking to him about it, Elder Edwards asked "have you ever started with a prayer and asked to find this relative?" He looked at him for a second, than said "you know, I never even thought to do that. I didn't want to bother Him with such a little thing." So, we invited him to pray this next time, because we know how important the family is to God. We saw him a few days later, and he got all excited and told us that a lady from Norway contacted him about his family tree. She had a letter supposedly from the child of the people he couldn't find any information on. So, now he has some information to go off of, but it is kind of vague. Than, after we  left his house, maybe a few hours later, we got a call from him. He was in tears, and said "you will never guess what just happened." he then told us about that lady in Norway and how she had found more information, including birth dates and their parents names, so he was able to find them and continue his line pack to almost the 1600's (i think he said that... Pretty sure that's how far it went). It's amazing to see the fruits of Family History. Our Father in Heaven truly does love families and wants us to search our ancestors out and learn of them.

Well, we had Stake Conference this week, and there were 2 things that really stuck out to me. First, one man talked about the story of Esther and what Mordichi (was that his name?) told her. He basically said "Esther, this is what you need to do. Now, the Lord is not going to take away your agency, so you can choose to do this or not, and if you choose not to, the Lord will provide a way for his people to be saved. But, you will be deprived of the blessings that will come if you decide not to do this." He talked about how we are all a "Plan A" in the Lords plan. Will we be like Esther, and change the lives of those around us by doing what is right, even though the odds are far against us? Or will we deprive ourselves of the blessings that the Lord is so ready to bestow by not doing as he asks?  The other thing that stuck out in Conference was something someone said about mothers.  He said "It is a great thing to be a mother. God has entrusted mothers with His children." He then went on to ask are we worthy to be trusted so by God? Are we going to raise our children the way God would have us? that is why it is so vital to have a good family setting. God has provided us the perfect place to learn and grow, and that is the family. It is no wonder why Satan is attacking the family so vigorously today! He has destroyed the bounds that children are to be reared, saying that the sacred procreative power that God has given us is something that we can use for entertainment, or to satisfy our worldly pleasures and desires. No matter what the world declares marriage to be, it is far more than a piece of paper saying that we are married. Marriage is a sacred covenant with God and with our spouse, and God promises us in that covenant that if we keep our end, which includes being married by those holding proper authority, that we can be together forever, not just "till death do you part".

Well, I'm out of time! Love you all!

Elder Carter

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

It's snowing in the middle of may....

Yep, you heard me. Snow. May 11th. Snow! And not just a flake here or a flake there, it's coming down hard! Now, it doesn't stick, just turns to slush and starts to melt, but still...
Well, Mothers day was awesome! Miss my fam like mad.... But that's okay! I'll get over it in 18 months (wow, that is super short.... weird). Plus, my companion goes home on Thursday, so that's even weirder! My new companions name is Elder Allen, He is in my Zone, so I saw him every other transfer. I'm pretty excited! It'll be super good!
So, the lady I talked about last week was baptized, and it was super awesome! The spirit was so strong, and she was so happy. She just beamed afterwards! 
As for the people we are teaching, we still have had no contact with D, despite the many things we have tried. L and S were at church, and Lance is doing so good! he is just super happy, and I'm actually really glad i get to stick around a bit longer to see him continue on this path! We didn't get to meet with the L's this week, but we are planning for it this week. J also cancelled, her son sprained his back on the trampoline. We met with a guy named G who is super awesome!  He meets with the JW's, but he doesn't like the things they teach. He wants to be a part of a religion that he "actually has a chance of getting to heaven", and so far he has really enjoyed meeting with us! He is super funny, and when we came over for our first appointment he had already looked up our beliefs and he had a lot of questions, but we were able to answer them and he thought it was really cool! We've done a lot of Family History with guys around the area, so i'm becoming a pro..... sort of....

Other than that, I can't think of much else to report on, and I'm out of time! Love you guys!

Elder Carter

Monday, May 11, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

We got to Skype Elder Carter yesterday! What a handsome fellow! This young man is so thoughtful and kind and super spiritual. It was wonderful to spend an hour talking to him and listening to his voice. I sure miss this kid! When the Skype call began, his voice was like a chipmunk which lasted for a good 15 minutes. We all got a good laugh! We were able to take a family picture before we had to say goodbye. Gotta love this kid! He wants us to tell you that he loves you all and hopes that you are enjoying his mission as much as he is!

Bring it on!!

So, for the mission splitting, it is already under way. The mission home is now in Bismark, I know a few Elders that got transferred to the Omaha mission, so I think it's happening as we speak! Don't know if it is finalized now or if they will continue to move missionaries till the mission office is moved to Bismark (that'll be in july I think?) But we'll see! Hopefully I get transferred to the Billings, Montana mission so that Garian and I can jam out! Well, it's a bit far fetched, but not impossible!!
This has been a super good week! Had a great experience teaching J the Restoration! We taught it to him, and he seemed to agree with it all, than at the end we asked him how important it would be to come to know that what we taught is true, and he said "you know guys, I'm not gonna lie to you, but I don't take mans word for anything. If God wants me to know something, God will let me know. Now, if I thought you guys were gonna teach me anything but the truth, you wouldn't be here right now, but God already told me to listen to you cause you have the truth." So, J is doing swell! We didn't get to meet with the L's this week. G got called into work. Our lesson with Je went super well! The Spirit was super strong as the 3 of us (Sis. L came with us to the lesson) bore testimony of the truth of the BoM and how important it is to know that it is true, and we'll see where that goes this next week!  well, on a less good note, we haven't heard anything from D, and we've heard very little from L, because they both have crazy work schedules....
Friday we were in our street clothes all day! We started the day off by helping a new member move in, and once we finished that we helped another member move 3 tons of concrete (by hand, by the way. I'm hurting still....) to the dump, than we helped an investigator named M sand his wood floors! It was a good day, super good!
So, there is a lady that the Sisters are teaching who was excommunicated from the church a long time ago, and she stopped coming for a while. Her 16 year old son has been active for a while now, and she started coming to church again. She has realized how badly she needs this gospel back in her life, and she has been working super hard to get back into the church, and, as usual, Satan has been trying super hard to keep her from doing so. Her husband is a former preacher of another church, and he has been loading her full of anti-literature, but every time he does, she throws it back at him (in a metaphorical sense) and shows to him that it is Biblical, that his church should be practicing that too, but they don't. For the past while this has been going on, and when she made the decision to be baptized, she said that she knew the devil was going to throw a lot at her, and she said out loud "Bring it on!! The harder you try, the harder I push back and the more I realize that this is the truth! Hit me with your best shot, and I'll dish it back! Try me, I dare you!" this Sunday (mothers day) she is going to be baptized by her son. She has been such a great example of faith in the face of trials. Trusting God no matter what comes her way. Casting aside worldly fear and letting her love for her Father in Heaven and His son, Jesus Christ, be her guide and her support. Showing how when we rely on the Savior, he will make our stumbling blocks become stepping stones, so that we can grow and become more like Him.
Many people have asked (I have probably already brought this up in the past) why God lets bad things happen to good people. Why he heals some and not others, why some die while others live, yet we have the audacity to call him a loving Father. What kind of Father lets bad things happen to his children? Pres. Spencer W. Kimball answered that very question by saying "If all the sick were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled, and the basic principle of the Gospel, free agency, would be ended." As I said a few weeks ago, our purpose is to grow. The Plan of Salvation makes that very clear. Brad Wilcox in a BYU address called "His Grace is Sufficient", said this. "Heaven will not be heaven for those who have not chosen to be heavenly... As I come to a better understanding of the Plan of Redemption, then the more I realize, in the Final Judgement it will not be the unrepentant sinner begging Jesus "let me stay, let me stay." No. He will probably be saying "Get. Me. Out of here." Knowing Christs Character, if anyone is oging to be begging on that occasion, it will be Jesus, begging the unrepentant sinner "Please. Choose to stay. Please, use my Atonement. Not just to be cleansed, but to be changed so that you want to stay."
"The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can go home, but that, miraculously, we can feel at home there." Earlier, in the same address, he said that the purpose of Grace is change. "Jesus doesn't make up the difference. Jesus makes all the difference. Grace is not about filling gaps, it is about filling us....  No unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God. But no unchanged thing will even want to."
Well, since I've already started using a bunch of quotes, might as well keep going! here are some of the ones I've found!
"Wisdom comes through effort. All good things require effort.  That which is worth having will cost part of your physical being, your intellectual power, and your soul power. 'Ask and ye shall recieve, knock and it shall be opened unto you.' But you have to seek. You have to knock... Evil seeks you and it requires effort and fortitude to combat it.  But truth and wisdom are gained only by seeking, by prayer, and by effort." - Pres. Spencer W. Kimball
"In urging us to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect, Jesus was not taunting or teasing us.  He was telling us a powerful truth about our possibilities and about our potential... Jesus, who could not lie, sought to beckon us to move further along the pathway to perfection." - See above
"Temper tantrums are not cute, even in children. They are despicable in adults, especially adults that are supposed to love each other." - Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
"Think the best of each other, especially of those you say you love.  Assume the good, and doubt the bad." - see above
"Our faith must not be difficult to detect.  yes, in that Great and final hour, if we say we are believers, than we surely better be demonstrating it." - J. Ruben Clark
When a man accused the Prophet Joseph Smith of seeking power, he responded "In relation to the power over the minds of mankind which I hold, I would say, it is in consequence of the power of truth in the doctrines which I have been an instrument in the hands of God of presenting unto them, and not because of any compulsion on my part... I ask, did I ever exercise any compulsion over any man? Did I not give him the liberty of disbelieving any doctrine I have preached, if he saw fit? Why do not my enemies strike a blow at the doctrine? They cannot do it: it is truth, and I defy all men to upset it." - Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 284
A man in the legislature asked the Prophet Joseph how he governed so many people and maintained such perfect order, "remarking at the same time that it was impossible for them to do it anywhere else, Mr. Smith remarked that it was very easy to do that. 'How?' responded the gentlemen: 'to us it is very difficult.' Mr. Smith replied, 'I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.'" - see above
"Profanity... is an evidence of poverty of intellect, and... of vocabulary." - Elder Hugh B. Brown
Well, now that you are overloaded with quotes, I best be going. Love you all!
Elder Carter