Thursday, March 21, 2013

This week was a sweet week. Really busy, but sweet.
 
To start off I'll update you on Gwen! So on both Monday and Tuesday we had lessons with her in members' homes! Which is how missionary work should be and is most effective. The Members here are so awesome and helpful, they genuinely care about her and want to be her friend. She even mentioned how in other churches people act like that but that during the week they ignore her and dont act that way. But being with us members are inviting her and her kids to activities and texting her through out the week asking her how she is doing and stuff like that. So they are making it really easy on us! But a cool story about us and Gwen this week... So Saturday Elder Jensen and I were super tired, so for our dinner break we decided to take a nap. We were both knocked out when Gwen knocked on our door! I was asleep in the Bedroom, but Elder Jensen woke up all confused and not knowing what was going on, so he answered the door all funny. Which made Gwen laugh, but then she gave us some chocolate Jesus fishes and asked if we wanted to read with her from the Book of Mormon! Wow, an investigator, coming to our door, to give us a a present and to ask if we wanted to read with her??? Pinch me I'm dreaming! Hah... literally, So E Jensen came in and woke me up and I was all super confused too, but finally we wiped the sleep out of our eyes and read with her. She is doing so great, she even got an answer for what day she wanted to be baptized! April 13! Gwen's daughter (who is 9) asked her this last week when she can get baptized. So we will start teaching her daughter here soon. Blessings upon blessings. The Lord is good to us, even when sometimes we don't deserve it. 
 
Something cool that I started doing this week is trying to apply what we learned from Elder Packer when he came and visited us a couple of months ago. He taught us that the path to conversion is Hear, Remember, Understand, Act, Become. I have just recently finished the Book of Mormon, and so I decided that I would take a plain paper back BoM and read it all the way through, highlighting each time someone, Hears, remembers, understands, acts or becomes. That way I can see the conversion and none conversions of the people in the Book of Mormon. It's been really cool so far. The first big instance is in 1 Nephi 4. Mainly 10-19. He listens to the spirit, remembers what the Lord has said, then he understands why he needs to kill Laban, and then he does it. He learned a lot from that experience and was able to grow. I thought it was so neat that all the parts of becoming converted were in that one experience. Of course, the becoming converted will come later, but that was just one step towards it.
 
Before I forget, Congrats Olivia for winning the National Championship. That is 10 times cooler than anything I've ever done or any award I've ever gotten. I'm proud of you for sticking it out and not giving up! I love you lots!
 
 

We had a great week here in Albany! I absolutely love it here. The
Ward is so supportive and spoils us, we just found 2 new super awesome
people to teach, we are helping the other missionaries in our zone and
the Lord is just blessing us like crazy. So life is good for chubby
ole Carter. Speaking of which I have 3 weeks to lose 6 more pounds,
looks like I might have to start jogging in the morning :/ but Elder
Jensen is going home in about 6 weeks so we wants to lose weight as
well, which helps. We are cutting back on the fast food and we hope to
throw the football around more since the weather is warming up, it was
pretty chilly this past week. But this week should be warm and sunny.
 
So as far as the work goes... Last Sunday we helped a lady move in
right across the street from us, just wanting to help her out. We
stopped by a day or so later to see how she was doing and if we could
do anything for her. Well turns out she just got out of a bad
relationship, is a single mom of 3 young girls and is going to school
and working. So needless to say she has a full plate. But she was
really friendly and open to talk with us, so we gave her a Book of
Mormon and invited her to read it. A couple of days later we stopped
by and she has read the chapter we had left with her and she said she
really enjoyed it! So we taught her the Restoration and she felt the
spirit big time! It was such a sweet lesson and she really enjoyed it.
So we invited her to come to church, and she actually came! That
rarely happens the first time you ask! hah Well it was fast and
testimony Sunday, and as a missionary you are kind of scared to have
someone come to church for the first time and witness a fast and
testimony meeting. But luckily a member of our bishopric
was conducting and started off the meeting by bearing a super powerful
and spiritual testimony. He is a boss, he even threw in some stuff in
there because he knew Gwen was there for the first time. The whole
meeting was really good though, Gwen said that she even cried
during some. So I see nothing but white clothes and a full font in the
near future. We are starting to see miracles like this one more and
more. The Lord is good to us, very good.
 
A short thing about my studies this week. I was reading in John where
it talks about His association with Pilate and the Jews. Pilate finds
nothing wrong, yet the Jews still wanted to kill him. He said "Shall I
crucify your King? " And their response was "The chief priests
answered, We have no king but C├Žsar." It's sad that His own people
didn't recognize Him as their Savior. Sometimes I wonder if we, as his
faithful followers, sometimes do the same. We don't recognize Him as
who he really is, our Savior and Redeemer. Our brother and friend. I
know for me, I get caught up in so many other different things, that I
forget that sometimes. But, even with the Jews not accepting him, and
even with me sometimes not putting him first, He still loves us. He
still died for us. And he still continues to cheer us on. Imagine how 
much love that is, cause I know that I cant evenimagine that! That 
really hit me hard the other day.
 
This week has been pretty crazy, I hope that I cover everything. Well
first things first, I did get my new comp. His name is Elder Jensen.
He is from Murry Utah. We have been really busy. We got a new set of 
sisters in Hammond area and so we had to help them move in. We are 
getting so many new missionaries that we don't even have enough beds 
for them! So the sisters didn't have beds, but don't you worry Elder 
Jensen and I drove to our place and threw our beds in the back of the 
truck and brought them to their place. So it's the couch and the floor 
for Elder Jensen and I! 
 
The BYU baseball team came and played LSU this week. Pres Wall knew 
one of the coaches so he set up a fireside in Denham Springs. It was 
really cool. I enjoyed it a lot. And I got to see Keaton (friend from 
home ward who plays on BYU baseball team), it was so sweet. I also saw 
Colin Braithewaite, we went to Elementary school together. He plays for 
them too. I went to the BYU SE Louisiana game on Saturday. BYU didn't 
play very well, but I guess they beat LSU which was a big upset. 
 
We got to put our truck to good use. A less active member got stuck in
the mud at his house, so we just turned on the 4wheel drive and went
back in this super wet muddy grass. They tied a rope up to both
trucks, but sadly it was too wet and his truck was really stuck. But
hey at least we got the truck a little muddy!  It was sweet. 
 
Now that Elder Bennett is gone, I'm just trying to get use to the area 
and training my comp on how to be a Zone Leader (I'm still learning
for myself). 
 
But something that I learned this week... I've been reading the New 
Testament and 3 Nephi side by side, and it's remarkable how much you
can get out of the Savior's teachings that way. But something that I
read this morning out of John 15, the Savior says in vs. 2 "Every
branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch
that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more
fruit." This was a little confusing to me at first, but as I pondered
and used the footnotes, I learned that the branch is us, and that the
fruit are our good works and our faith being put into action. When he
"purgeth" us means he tests us, or lets us go through trials and hard
times. But why does he do that? So that we "may bring forth more
fruit." So that from our trials our faith and conversion will be
lasting and that "our fruit should remain" as it says in vs. 16.  From
being purged, we know that it's only because our Father in Heaven loves
us and wants us to learn and to grow. From these trials, we will
remain, we will be truly converted and we will gain deeper
understanding of the Gospel and our relationship with our Father in
Heaven.
 
I miss and love ya'll like crazy. I can't beleive it's 8 months until I
come home, I'm most likely going to be that weird awkward return
missionary that just wants to talk about his mission all the time. Haha!