Monday, August 12, 2013

12 Agosto 2013, Guasave Mexico

Mi Querido Familia,

Hey! Well things are going pretty good here as usual. I feel like I´ve been learning a lot this transfer. There have been some challenges here and there but I´ve realized lately that every challenge we have in life can serve for our own good. In addition to challenges, I´ve also seen some of the best blessings throughout my whole mission! I´m excited for what the Lord has in store for me and have a testimony now that HE always completes HIS promises! We´re the ones that sometimes don´t complete so well, but the good thing is how willing he is to forgive us when we turn to him with a broken heart. It´s amazing :).. It´s weird thinking about how fast this time will be coming to an end but I know I´ll always be able to apply the things I´ve learned at this time. I´m excited for this week and know that it will be one of my best.

I´m glad everybody has been doing well at home. Summer time is a great time of the year to get together with the family, work, and play. The weather here has been pretty crazy lately. It´s super hot all of the sudden and then it rains, then it goes back to be hot, and right now it looks like it´s sprinkling. Today it has been a pretty cool day though so that´s good. Guasave has been needing the rain too.

Our investigators and the members have been doing pretty good too. Unfortuantely, Hugo and Uva, still haven´t decided to get married. We trust that the Lord will help them decide what they´re going to do and for now we´re going to rely on the help members can give us and continue encouraging them to keep the Lord´s commandments. One of the cool experiences we had this week is when we were talking to a lady in a little store. We were teaching her a little bit and a kid, named Luis Carlos, came and tapped me on the shoulder. He felt embarassed afterwards when he realized I wasn´t the person he thought I was. He told us about how the missionaries used to visit him and his family. Later on we stopped by and met his mom, Flerida, at the door she told us that she wasn´t really intersted at this time and we mentioned that her son had told us about them. As soon as we mentioned her son she said okay and told us to pass on in. We taught Luis Carlos (he´s 11) a little bit about who God is and why we should obey him. His mom listened while we taught him. We invited them both to church after teaching a little more and said that we´d pass for them on sunday. When we passed by sunday morning nobody left after several attempts knocking on the door. We went to church as normal and the second hour of church Flerida, the mom, walked in to our class to our surprise. She had brought Luis Carlos and her older son Oscar too.. During the class she payed attention well and told us her experience about when we arrived at her house. She prays pretty frecuently but the night beforehand she said she had prayed a lot more sincerley that normal. She begged the Lord to help her and her family and that she could know what path to take for their happiness. She recognized later on that us arriving to her house the next morning was an answer to her prayers. She had no idea that we had talked to Luis Carlos the other day.

I´m thankful for the experiences the Lord has blessed us with like these. I know that Heavenly Father answers our prayers and have witnessed the ways that He works. He can help us many ways but a good amount of the time he blesses us through the service of other people. Each and everyday that we choose to serve someone we can be that angel that Heavenly Father sends to help us in our struggles.. I pray that we all can serve on another and trust more in God than in our own talents and habilities. Have a great week! I love you all and appreciate your prayers, love, and support.

Elder Carlson

P.S. Photos: Lunch with an hermana in the ward, Our ward mission leader invited us to eat carne asada on sunday!


Monday, August 5, 2013

5 Agosto 2013, Guasave Mexico

Mi Querido Familia,
Well this week has been quite eventful and there´s been some good changes going on in the ward and in the mission work. We had our meeting with Pte. Munive tuesday and it was really fun. We had a good time together and then afterwards started having our different subjects we were going to talk about. I enjoyed the plans we made to work more with the members and a good reminder of how we should be obedient. I know that we are more happy in our lives when we are obedient to God´s commandments. I think one of the best blessings that we can recieve from Heavenly Father is a clean conscience. It doesn´t mean we´re going to be perfect but I know that the power of the atonement is real. I know that Jesus Christ can help us to change any error or mistake we have made. It´s that love that we continue trying to teach our fellow brothers and sisters, whether they´re members or a man standing in the street.. At the end of the meeting I got the chance to bear my testimony along with a couple other missionaries that are going to finish the mission together with me. I could feel a special spirit and I know that the Lord pleased with us. The challenge now is to continue applying everything we have learned, and to keep on searching for spiritual experiences even one day when we don´t have a missionary tag on. We can always have it on our heart. And that promise is for everyone, inculding those who haven´t gone on missions for the church.
My companion and I have been doing well. I´ve learned a lot from him this transfer and I hope I can learn a lot more. I know everybody has special gifts the Lord has given them, and we can even help people to recognized the gifts they have or can develop.. Our zone meeting went pretty well too and all the missionaries left with a good spirit. Sometimes those meetings start out and you can see where people are at emotionally and spiritually by the countenance on their faces. I was worried that a lot of them are discouraged right now. I think the practices we did helped them to realize the potential we can achieve and remember our purpose here as missionaries.
I´m proud of all the good things that are going on at home and love hearing about all the activities going on. I know that their is no greater joy that we can have, than with our own familys. The joy can only be greater and eternal if we strive to practice righteous principles and teach one another to do what is right. Keep enjoying all the time you can together with your families.
Hugo and Uva are doing well but they still haven´t decided when they want to get married. Hugo wants to but the mom, Uva, has been skeptical even though their family relationship has grown distinctly. We keep praying for them and are going to do all that we can. I think everyone will have a few moments that the spirit inspires them what to do. The Lord is never that far from us, but He waits for the moment that we humble ourselves before Him and fall into His arms... I love you all and I know that Heavenly Father has a perfect love for his children.
Keep it up.
Elder Carlson
P.S. Photos: We got to go bowling with President. And play some ping pong. Here´s the guys in the Zone Guasave.

Monday, July 29, 2013

29 Julio 2013, Guasave Mexico

Mi Querido Familia,
Hey!!! Well things are going super good here! I´m really excited and happy today for some reason haha.. We´ve seen some good progress here in our area and I can tell that the Lord is blessing us. I pray that we can continue to progress spiritually and help out as many people possible to follow the path of the gospel.
This last week we were able to visit several less active members. We had some special experiences with them and I feel like the Lord put them in our path. We also are continuing to find new people to teach and are working with the familia Loredo. They´re doing great!.. We had a Family Home Evening last week with them and it turned out well. We were able to watch a video about the family, and everyone talked about how they could contribute to be a more unified family. The role of each person in the family is very important. The next visit in the week we planned on verifying how Beatriz has felt with her testimony of the church and inviting her to be baptized. We had a good conversation about the spirit and how it testifies to us, and she told us she believes that this is the only true church. She had been a little afraid of the commitment with God after baptism, but she told us on monday she was going to tell us she wants to be baptized. She just felt a little embarassed about saying it front of one of the members that was there with us. We asked her if she wanted to be baptized this week or the next week, because she is already living the commandments necessary and she decided to be baptized this last saturday! The baptism turned out great even though we had to fix everything up pretty fast and didn´t have much time to invite people. Several people attended the baptism and everyone gave Beatriz a warm welcome to the ward.
Besides that, the youth continue to be really motivated lately. Fernando bore his testimony on sunday, it was short but sweet. It´s great to see the progress people make and you can definitely see a new spirit in people after their baptism when they are baptized with a broken heart and a contrite spirit... E. Casimiro and I have had some good conversations this week. We´re setting more goals together to live up everymoment we´ve got. We´re going to help the ward organize a ward mission plan, so that everyone can get a little more involved. We´re starting to invite families to make lists of people they would like to share the gospel to, and are helping them learn how to compart the gospel.
I´ve felt very greatful with my Heavenly Father this week. I know that he is control of everything even when the world seems hecktic to me, and this week was a good reminder of that. We´re trying to follow the will of the Lord, and we are going to ask Hugo and Uva how they´ve felt about marriage lately. They seem like they have made a lot of progress as a family this week, and we´re trying to figure out where they´re at.
Thank you all for you love and support. I love my family! It´s really helped me throughout my mission and continues to help me. I pray that all is well at home and that we can count our many blessings. You´re in my prayers as always.
Elder Carlson
Photos: Celebrating 23 months, Baptism of Beatriz, Hot Dogs!


Monday, July 22, 2013

22 Julio 2013, Guasave Mexico

Mi Querido Familia,
Hey! Well things are going pretty fantastic here right now in guasave. There was a lot of rain this week so things have cooled down with the clouds. Sometimes randomly itエs super humid too and still pretty hot, but maybe I just feel more used to it also? Haha.. Itエs great to here about all the progress going on at home and the adventures that have been going on this summer. Itエs good to take a moment and enjoy life :).
This week Fernando came back from EFY and he had an awesome time. Even though he has just a little over a week baptized he got up and bore his testimony in front of everyone he told us. He made some good friends and overall the the whole experience sounds like it was a success. The youth all came back spiritually recharged and energized.. Luckily with the familia Loredo too, Uva came back home and things are going pretty well with her and the dad Hugo. We had a great lesson with them in the beginning of the week and talked about the importance of families. We talked about how marriage is ordained of God, and the purpose the father and mother have in raising a happy and successful family. She decided itエs time to put her trust in the Lord and they seem like since then they have had a lot more unity at home. Weエre just praying that theyエll put a date on getting married soon! Weエve got a family home evening activity with them tonight.
Besides that E. Casimiro and I are doing good. Ever since we decided to sit down and make some plans together we have had a lot more unity. Weエve had some great lessons this week and I know the Lord is blessing us for working together with the same purpose.. In general that seems like what the theme of this week was in my life. Everything was tied to unity. Weエve got some good goals and plans we talked about to help the zone to be more unified and set and complete our goals... Itエs amazing to think about how the Heavenly Father works in unity with Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost too. Theyエre 3 seperate beings with the same purpose. ィFor behold, this is my work and my glory葉o bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.ィ Moses 1:39.. Like them we must also work together in unity to help fulfill the purpose of God.
Iエm excited to continue working at this time and know that thereエs a lot more to be learned. Sometimes I want to know more about my purpose or exactly what the Lord would have me do at this time. Iエve learned that itエs good to study it out in our mind first and then ask the Lord if itエs okay.. Prayers are needed for us to recieve guidance in our lives. ィBehold, I say unto him, he exalts himself and does not humble himself sufficiently before me; but if he will bow down before me, and humble himself in mighty prayer and faith, in the sincerity of his heart, then will I grant unto him a view of the things which he desires to see.ィ D&C 5:24.. Iエve recieved a cleaner view of things through prayers and I know that it can help us to figure out what exactly we should be doing in life. It makes us stronger and able to appreciate life in a way more similar to the Lordエs view of things.
Have a great week and I pray that we can all humble ourselves and seek the counsel of God in our decisions. Surely he will help us to do what is right and to find true happiness. I love you all!
Elder Carlson
Photo: Spicy pizza time.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

15 Julio 2013, Guasave Mexico

Mi Querido Familia,

It´s good to hear how well everyone is doing at home. Sounds like it´s been a successful summertime so far from what I´ve heard. It´s a good time for some warm memories.. Well things are going pretty good here. This week we have had some good visits with the people we´re teaching and we have been getting to know the members a little better. I was thinking it would be good to talk about service the first sunday of the month during testimony meeting but I didn´t get to bear my testimony. This week the ward gave me and my companion the chance to talk though, and I got to talk about missionary work. I added some of the things I was thinking about saying last week in my testimony about how service is needed in missionary work. It was great to see how the Lord gives us opportunities to grow and share spiritual insights with our brothers and sisters.

We´ve been visiting the familia Loredo Soto and they´re going through some problems right now. Hugo and Uva don´t know if they´re going to continue together or not. It´s sad because the gospel isn´t meant to break families apart but everyone is going to make their own choices too.. Although the family is going through a rough time, Hugo and the kids have been staying pretty strong spiritually. Fernando felt the desired to be baptized and we helped him to prepare for the promise he made with the Lord. He was baptized on friday and he seems like a good teenager that´s going down a good path in life now. He´s also excited because today him and some of the youth in the ward left for EFY (a church youth activity week). I´m sure he´ll have a lot of fun while he´s there and he´ll feel even more spiritually strengthened.

The members here are really supportive. I just wish I could make everyone feel the potential they have as children of God. It´s a little hard to do though, because I struggle trying to find out how much potential I have as a child of God. But I know that even if we only had that little bit of knowledge, nothing would be impossible to us. If there´s something you want to improve in your life, now is the time to do it. Nobody is else can force you or prevent you from doing what you put to mind. It´s just a matter of thinking upward, not down.

I love you and thank you for all the support and prayers. Keep up the good work. If you think you can´t make the world much different don´t worry about it. Because what you can do, is make a difference in somebody´s world.
Elder Carlson

Monday, July 8, 2013

8 Julio 2013, Guasave Mexico

Mi Querido Familia,

Hey! Well time keeps passing by and it´s been pretty crazy but things
are going good.. This week we had another little confernce in Los
Mochis but this time with all the elderes in Sinaloa. It´s nice
getting to know Presidente Munive more. He´s an awesome guy, and a
great mission president so far. Hermana Munive is really nice too and
has a soft attitude, she takes the motherly role very well. We got to
know their 2 youngest kids too, they have 2 daughters and 1 son. Their
other daughter we didn´t get to know because she´s in Idaho right now
but will be coming to visit soon before she leaves on her own
mission!.. They´re a great family and I can´t wait to get to know them
even more and work together with them. Pte. Munive told us some
experiences from his mission and I liked his advice on enjoying our
time here in the mission. It passes by really fast and it´s important
to enjoy each moment.

I´m getting to know my companion better, E. Casimiro. He´s a
hard-working elder and we just had transfers because the new mission
here is on a different transfer schedule. It´s been weird having it
all soak it, I can pretty much count on it now that he´s going to be
my last companion and that this is my last area... Aside from letting
that information sink in everything has been going quite well! The
people here in guasave are very friendly. It´s easy to enter in a new
house and we´re constantly getting to know new people. I´ve been
playing the memory game trying to memorize everybodys names and
getting to know the members too.

We´re teaching the familia Loredo Soto still and the dad, Hugo, and
his son, Fernando, are doing awesome! They´re both progressing more
and it looks like the son will be baptized soon. Hugo and Uva still
need to get married and we had a good lesson with them. We found out
that she still has a lot of fears of Hugo going back to his oldself.
We had a good discussion mainly focused on forgiveness. One of the
scriptures we shared was D&C 64:10

9 Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for
he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned
before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.
10 I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is
required to forgive all men.

Hugo has been showing fruits of his repentance and his wife, Uva,
began to realize it´s going to be necessary for her to set aside her
resentment and bad feelings towards him... We have a few other
investigators who are coming along too and others that haven´t been
progressing quite as well. We´re going to set some good goals to keep
finding people and help the people we´re teaching prepare to make
covenants with the Lord.

It´s great to know how well everything is going at home. I appreciate
all the love and support you show me. I hope that everybody is
enjoying the summer time :). I love you.

Elder Carlson

P.S. Photos: 1. The best zone ever, Guasave! 2. Cool guys from Sinaloa
and with the Assistants! 3. Riding on the bus.

Monday, July 1, 2013

1 Julio 2013, Guasave Mexico

Mi Querido Familia,

Hey! Well things are going pretty good here in guasave so far :). I´ve
been adjusting to the new atmosphere here.. This week everyday the
majority of the people we´ve been seeing have been new for me. It was
nice going to church on sunday and being able to know a lot of the
other members we didn´t have to the chance to see during the week.
They all seem very nice and I feel like they´ve given me a very warm
welcome! Right now I really want to get to know everybody I can so we
can work more with the members and so that I can know more about the
people we´re teaching.. The members seem to be pretty motivated and
easily persuaded. I´m sure we´re going to have a lot of success and
joy working together here!

As far as the weather goes it´s been really hot! I don´t know if it´s
much hotter than la paz, but it´s definitely a more humid hot. We ride
bikes pretty much everywhere in this area because it´s pretty big and
that´s been pretty fun. There´s always a nice breeze in the shade
too... Right now we´re teaching several people and they all seem like
they have a lot of desires to change. We´ve been teaching the family
Loredo and we had an awesome lesson with them my first day working in
the area. Uva, the mom, still hadn´t come to know if the Book of
Mormon is true but really enjoys going to church. We got to know more
about what´s going on with her and found out how she has a little bit
of fear and seems like she´s afraid to get married still. We invited
her to ask to know if these things are true and to really think about
what she wants for her family. She told us about the experience she
had later on when she asked to know if it was true, kneeling by her
bed that night. She said she felt peaceful and that the Lord had
answered her! They said they´re going to decide on a wedding date and
we´re going to check up on that soon.

There´s several other awesome people we´re teaching and one of them,
Esteban, was already prepared for baptism. I was really impressed with
the faith he had the day of the baptism. We had problems with the
water and it smelt kind of stanky, so we tried to fix it with clorox.
The smell disappeared but then it started turning yellow. We tried to
fix that by throwing in some blue cleaning tablets. That just ended up
making the water turn more brown though! Bad idea haha. To top it off
several of the members were busy with graduation parties and etc. so
there wasn´t anybody there besides our ward mission leader.. We told
Esteban that another option we could do is to drain the baptismal
fount and fill it up again on sunday, he´d have to wait another day
then and depending on the hour might not get confirmed until a week
later. He told us ¨no¨ and that ¨we might as well do it right now, I
can take a shower when I get home. and I want to sleep peacefully
tonight¨, referring to the clean conscience he´ll have.. We went
forward with the baptism and the bishop and his daughter ended up
coming before the baptsim started. Esteban felt and looked rgreat and
very happy. I felt touched by his faith and great attitude.

I´m going to ciudad obregon today for are monthly Leadership Counsel
with the new presiden, Pte Munive. I´m excited to get to know him and
the rest of the missionaries. There´s several people I already know
and I´m going to get to know more of the zone soon (this change
everyone in the zone are people that were in the culiacan mission
anyways). I know the Lord loves each and everyone of us and that he
really answers our prayers. It´s funny how even some of the little
prayers that I think might be something kind of insignificant, He

I love you all and thanks for your prayers and support. We need them,
and I know you all need blessings too! I´ll keep praying.

Elder Carlson

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

26 Junio 2013, Guasave Mexico

Mi Querido Familia,

Well there have been a lot of changes which has been really kind of
bittersweet this week! The week went pretty well and we have been
pretty busy. We visited several of the people that we're teaching and
went on divisions. I got the chance to visit a few old investigators
too with Elder Mejia. On saturday we had are farwell with Presidente
Cantú. It was a really great conference but obviously a little sad to
see him go.

I enjoyed the conference a lot. We got to see his two youngest kids
and they bore their testimonies. There oldest son, Brandon, wasn't
there because they accepted him for some summer program at Harvard!
He's graduating high school and I think he'll be leaving on his
mission sometime soon.. I really love their family and it was nice to
hear their kids testimonies too. You can tell they are all very strong
spiritually and they left us all a great example of what we'd like to
achieve in our own lives... I heard my transfer on Sunday morning and
had the chance to bid farewell to some of the members at church and
take pictures! As you can tell I didn't have a chance to write
yesterday because I got to my area really late. I'm in Guasave Sinaloa
now. I'm going to finish my mission in Obregon City!

I was glad I got the chance to say goodbye to several people before I
left but it was also sad to leave them. We went to church and there
were a 2 new investigators that came! One of them was an lady that
Elder Nieto met on divisions this last week. I really enjoyed this
transfer with Elder Nieto and felt pretty sad as I was heading off to
the airport. We were hoping we'd be able to finish the mission
together because he's from the same generation of missionaries as me..
I flew to culiacán yesterday and we took a bus to guasave. I had to
wait on some other missionaries in the offices before I left and we
ended up getting to guasave at like 10:15pm!.. I'm with Elder Casimiro
now and he's from Veracruz. I knew him a little bit just from seeing
him at conferences in culiacán and he seems like a great elder. We had
our District Meeting this morning and our district seems pretty
awesome. I'm pretty excited about the zone we have too. It looks like
we have a lot of hard working missionaries! I'm excited to get to know
my new mission president. We had the chance watch the world training
meeting at church on sunday too. I enjoyed all the videos and really
think it helped the members out too.. I know we all can help spread
the gospel and it's amazing to see how many ways we can do it. It's a
great blessing to be part of this work at a time when the Lord is
really preparing the hearts of many in these last days. I can tell
there's a lot of changes going on for the better!

I feel like one of the things I learned with Elder Nieto was the
importance of enjoying the work we do. If we do something we shouldn't
just do it because we are told too or because it's expected of us.
There's a lot of responsibilities we have and the Lord does expect a
lot from us, but the choice we make shouldn't be in between doing the
right thing or not. The choice is between doing the right thing with
the right attitude or not. Men after all are that they might have joy,
and I've felt a great joy serving as a missionary.. I know that this
is the only true church of God! I know that Jesus Christ lives and I
feel like I've recieved more answers from Heavenly Father in this time
than I have at any other point in my life. I love the people here and
I pray to God that we can all begin to feel the same love for all of
those around us. Ask yourself, what would He have me do? What can I do
to change? And if you feel an answer in your heart, just do it!

I know that the greatest gift Heavenly Father has given us is our free
agency. We don't need to just live good enough to make it to the
Kingdom of the Lord. We can get used to living in the Kingdom of the
Lord hear on earth. We don't need to be like the rest of the world.
Have a great week and I love you all! Thank you for all your support
and prayers! It's all the little things that make the difference.

Elder Carlson

P.S. Some photos. The last photo with several people of my generation
(because several stayed in culiacán). Elder Baltich and some buddys.
Presidente and Hermana Cantú.

Monday, June 17, 2013

17 Junio 2013, La Paz Mexico

Mi Querido Familia,

This week was pretty good and kind of crazy at the same time! We´ve
been pretty busy and have been learning a lot together.. I had the
chance to do some divisions with E. Velasquez this week. We had a
great experience together and I learned a lot more about the
importance of having a good companionship study.

As missionaries it´s important to study the scriptures and in
particular the things that we may be teaching that day. We look at the
challenges people are facing and try to look for answers from Heavenly
Father on how to help them with their circumstance.. We´re teaching
Cruz right now and he hadn´t come with us to church yet. He visits his
Father on sundays and this sunday he was going to be visiting his
father too. We prepared some scriptures for him and focused on the
importance of the book of mormon, because up until now it had just
been a nice book to him. We visited him and were able to help him
understand the importance of reading the book of mormon and the
testament it gives us of Christ.. Later on in the week he expressed to
us his desire to change and the desire he has to return to our
Heavenly Father one day. He was worried about being able to overcome
the temptations that come upon us daily. He has a particular weakness
that he´s trying to overcome at this time. We taught him more about
the church and the importance of repentance and baptism. We invited
him to show his faith unto God and to come with us to church. And he
did! He didn´t even give us an exuse to not go and was still able to
visit his father afterwards :).

I know that we all have priorities in our lives and that God should be
our first priority! Sometimes we're worried that we're too weak or
incapable of following him, so it stops us from even trying. The great
thing about His love for us though is that when we repent He doesn't
remember anymore the mistakes we have made. And He never gives up on
us, even if we don't think we can change!

We also had a little activity that has been going on so that took up a
good amount of time. It was another one about a plane flight crashing
and what happens after this life hah. I liked this one a little bit
more than the one I did at the beginning of my misison. The Hermana
missionaries planned it out pretty well and everyone had a great time.
It's awesome to see how people feel when they come to know the plan
Heavenly Father has for them in this life and forever.

Besides that things are going good and we´re going to be having
transfers next week. Presidente Cantú is going to give us his farewell
this week and it´ll be good and sad! But changes are for the better...
I love you all and I'm glad I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and
each and everyone of you. I hope you all had a wonderful Father's day
and are able to express the love you have for your fathers and family

Elder Carlson

P.S. Here's some photos of the activity and a photo of the zone. We're
going to give a photo to Pte Cantú when he comes to visit us this

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

10 Junio 2013, La Paz Mexico

Mi Querido Familia,
Well this week has gone by pretty fast and things are starting to heat up here. Luckily it's not as hot here as it is in Sinaloa.. This week we went on divisions with a couple areas and we have had some pretty cool experiences finding new people and teaching lessons.
The beginning of the week I went to an area with E. Calleja. We ended up visiting an investigator that we had met here in our area and we had sent to them as a reference. We got to know here husband more and hopefully they get to see some more progress with them. E. Calleja is in my generation of missionaries and it was good to get to know him more because I still hadn't really known him too well even though we started the mission at the same time... Later on here in our area I went with E. Castañeda. We've had a goal as a zone to do more street contacts there is a big cemetery in our area. We decided to go into the cemetery and look for a couple people to contact. There was pretty much nobody there because it was hot and in the middle of the day, we had said a prayer to find 2 people with familys we can visit. The plan was to find someone visiting there, but we ended up finding a few guys working on a little house their constructing for a grave site. It's pretty common here for them to build little hut things for the gravesites. We contacted them and got to know them a little bit and left them a couple handouts. We got their addresses and it turns out one of them lives their in E. Castañeda's area. I don't know what's going to happen with them still but it's amazing to see how Heavenly Father really answers our prayers. At the end of that day we were heading back to the house when a guy called us over and told us his brother has been wanting to talk to us. We met him, Alfonso, and his brother, Arturo, it turns out E. Castañeda had ran into Arturo in his area the other day and they talked to him but didn´t find out too well where he lives. They both began to express to us their desires to come closer to God and to repent of their past lives. They were kind of scrubby looking guys but as they talked my perspective of them began to change. I realized that God loves them too and the potential they have. They both accepted on preparing to be baptized and making the changes necessary in their lives, starting with going to church... Alfonso went to church on sunday and ended up going to the the first session (the other ward´s schedule). I felt bad because I honestly did recognize him at first as we were walking in with a couple investigators down the hall. He said ¨hey you don´t remember me now?" and I told him of course I do a little embarassed haha and realized who it is. He came to church in his nicest looking clothes and looked really happy to be there.
We're excited for them and two teenagers that came with us to church. We're getting to know the parents more of the teenagers, and right now they're working on sundays but we had a great lesson with their Mom last week.. Alfonso and Arturo look like the Lord has something prepared for them in the future too and we're praying to do our part in following the spirit!
I love you guys and I'm proud of the good decisions you are all making. I know that Heavenly Father loves all his children and wants our families to be more united and together forever. I've visited a lot of families in the time I've been here and I can definitely say the most happy ones I've seen are the ones that are really trying to come to know God! The amount of money they have, the number of kids, whether they are pretty looking or not too pretty, etc. has really not had much of a difference!.. I'm thankful for the knowledge I have on how to be happy. I pray that we all might be happy and come to know Heavenly Father more! :)
Elder Carlson

3 Junio 2013, La Paz, Mexico

Mi Querido Familia,
Well it has been quite an eventful week here in the field and at home. Lots of things are changing and the Lord really expects and hopes more of us. I can tell that He really is preparing us for all the changes and trials that we may be going through. I´ve been learning more about the importance of seeing things through Heavenly Father´s eyes and have been pretty busy with my companion!
This week we went to culiacán for the last counsel meeting with Presidente Cantú. It was a really good meeting and we had our Zone Meeting on saturday. It has been really weird thinking about how Pte. Cantú will be leaving us soon. I know that what we have learned from him will always be with us and with me in a special way. It may sound weird to some but I really have come to love and appreciate the leaders the Lord sends us to help us here in bringing forth His gospel. I never really expected to learn so much from someone in such a short period of time but am so thankful that I have!
One of the things that we were talking about that stuck out to me is the ability we all have to choose. With every choice we make we literally can begin to have more light and truth. It makes it easier for us to feel and follow the promptings of the spirit. Like David from the Bible we all will face a few ¨goliaths¨ in our lives. If we are prepared like he was and are obedient we will be able to overcome them. David did not fear in the presence of goliath because he had the faith in the Lord and knew that he could do ANYTHING that the Lord commanded of him, and he had done so from his youth.. Faith is more than just a belief. Faith is knowing and following the will of the Lord. For example, we as missionaries of the Lord may have the faith, authority, and power to heal somebody and they may have the faith to be healed. But if the will of the Lord is that this person needs to pass on to the other side, then it will be done... It´s important for us to continue to nurture and strengthen our faith. We loose light and truth slowly from little decisions we make, that lead us to make bigger and worse decisions. It may be a little decision like choosing not to pray. Choosing not to wake up on time to go to church, etc.. We all can feel the light of Christ and it will help us follow the path of the gospel. It will help us to show love to one another. This will allow us to discern the specific and quiet promptings of the spirit.
I know that Heavenly Father loves all of His children. I know that He is a God of mercy and justice. I know that He respects our agency and will allow us to choose to follow Him and His Son Jesus Christ. I pray that we all might be able to come to know His love and really learn to know him. If we can come to love those around us, it will be easier for us to learn to love Him even though we cannot see Him.
Thanks for all the love and support I feel from you all. I pray that you all might feel the love and comfort of the Lord in your own lives.
Elder Carlson


Monday, May 27, 2013

27 Mayo 2013, La Paz Mexico

Mi Querido Familia,
How is everybody doing?! Things are going pretty great here :).. This week I´ve been working a lot with my new companion E. Nieto and we´ve been making a lot of goals together. We had a goal with the zone to teach a lot lessons to members and we completed our goal! It seems like they are getting a little bit more excited about the work too and we had a really good ward council meeting yesterday.. There hadn´t been hardly any work going on with the visiting members, and especially those who are less active. Everybody made plans to work together and to do a better job at visiting people.
One of the things I was talking about with my companion is how much we´ve seen the mission change since we have gotten here. There´s ups and downs in the work all the time but we noticed that there had been some fear in general of challenging people to do things. Fear of being rejected or of not being good enough. We´ve been talking about ways that we can overcome our fears and have more faith.. Sometimes as missionaries, as members, and as children of God in general we´re really conformisits. I realized that I had been conforming in many aspects. Instead of doing what I know I can do, I´d look for someone else to put the example first so that I can follow them. It´s easy to justify lazy habits when we can say ¨well everybody else does it!¨.. It made me think about the story of a homeless man begging for fish. A lot of times we want to help out people and we give them the fish right in the mouth. But what we don´t do, is give them the opportunity to learn. I thought about how if we REALLY love people we´ll be like the man who taught the homeless man to fish. We want to see one another progress and we care about their future and eternity. Then we will choose the longer and more difficult way to help, even though it would be much more convienient to just give them what they want in that moment.
Right now we´re hoping to see some progress with a couple familys we are teaching. A couple members brought people to church and it was really great to see how they are helping out.. I´m learning how to love people and choosing to be happy no matter what the circumstance is. What we need to do whether it´s work, school, helping our family, working out, etc.. We NEED to do! The choice we have is whether we´ll be happy and positive while we do it, or whether we´ll complain and be sad.

I love you all and hope you have a great week. I know each and everyone of you is special and have a potential far greater than you could ever imagine. Your life can be as happy as you choose to make it today. :)
Elder Carlson
P.S. Photos: Missionaries of the Zones La Paz y Comondu. My companion, Hna Tejeda and I waiting in the airport


Monday, May 20, 2013

20 Mayo 2013, La Paz Mexico

Mi Querido Familia,
It´s great to hear how well everyone is doing and for those that are struggling it´s good to hear the ways the Lord is ready and willing to help. I´m with my new companion Elder Nieto from Tabasco now and things have been going quite well.
What a busy and awesome week it has been here! We started out the week visiting a few people and finishing up preparing for Elder Holland´s visit. E. Snow and I had the opportunity to teach a few familys and it looks like we´ve got a few new investigators to teach. We had a lot of missionaries stay at our new house because they came in the day before to stay the night on thursday. They came from Constitution and the missionaries from Los Cabos stayed in a couple other houses in our zone.. We flew to Culiacán the next afternoon on friday. All of us flew out of La Paz and it was a pretty cool sight to see 42 missionaries on one plane together, plus a few bishops and 2 stake presidents! I´m sure people were wondering why there were so many people in white shirts and ties together haha. We contacted a few people along the way.
Saturday morning we got to meet with Elder Holland. We started out the day getting everybody organized for a photo with him. We were all lined up for the photo when he came and the first thing we did was take the picture. Afterwards we all got a chance to shake his hand and it was a touching experience. You could tell that he is a very special person and servant of the Lord, he´s got a good sense of humor too. Later on he told us how he had a little interview with each of us in that short moment and can tell that we´ve got a great mission here and it only seemed like a few of us are struggling but that´s normal to be struggling at times... We got to hear a few short messages from President Johnson, his wife, and a general authority.. Elder Holland started out telling us a little bit about what has been going on with President Monson and with the news of his wife passing away. He said he´s going to be feeling a little lonely during this time and he´s been in and out of the hospital visiting her the week before she passed away. Our prayers are greatly appreciated. He also told Elder Holland to make sure and tell all of us that he loves us and wishes he could be here (which is a typical comment from President Monson)
Elder Holland spoke to us for the next 1 hour or so, with a few questions and answers afterwards.. Some of the things that really stuck out to me was when he told us that we each can promise at least one convert. That convert is each and everyone of us. The Preach My Gospel manual was made with the purpose of converting the missionaries first and then those that we come in contact with. If there´s anyway we can help change the hearts of others, we should first change have that change in our own hearts. We may want the people that we´re teaching to repent. And the Lord wants US to repent.. Afterall what hope can the Lord have in this work if He can´t trust in the sheperds following His path. What possible hope could there be for the sheep if we´re worried about the sheperds staying in the herd.. I left with a desire to come even closer to the Lord and experiment an even deeper conversion to His gospel. When we find ourselves asking why things are so hard? Why does it have to be so hard? We can remember that because for Him it was never easy. Salvation was and is not a cheap price. The road to salvation always has to go through gethsemane and a cross on calvary. If we have the desire to call ourselves His disciples why would we ever think it we wouldn´t experiment at least a little of His suffering. To shed at least one of the tears he shed... I know that we´ll never fully comprehend what Jesus Christ did for us but that as His disciples we should be willing to walk at least some of the road that He walked. Then we will begin to comprehend more about who He really is and what He has done for us. I´m so thankful for this opportunity I have to repent and to follow the Lord´s path.
I´m ready to start a new page and I feel like this is yet another great opportunity to do so. I´m starting to measure time in changes or transfers now, more than weeks and months haha. This has been such a great experience to be hear and I never thought I would do and witness all the things that I am seeing.. I know that Heavenly Father has a great plan for each and everyone of His children here on this earth. And you are one of His children!. Nobody can do everything, but EVERYBODY can do something. I pray that we all can go forward and do something new even if that means it´s hard, to make us grow, and to come to know our Father´s love even more.
I love you all!
Elder David Carlson
P.S. I´ll send photos next week!

Monday, May 13, 2013

13 Mayo 2013, La Paz Mexico

Mi Querido Familia,
Well it´s been yet another great week! We´re getting really excited for the visit of Elder Holland coming up this week, and we have had yet another busy week going on.. We moved houses (the other one was really ugly, etc), we baptized, we had a ward Talent Night activity and I got to make my last phone call home yesterday! I´m definitely enjoying all the changes going on and know that it´s for the better :).
Our new transfer would have started today usually, but we´re not officially going to be changed until next week. They already told us about our changes though. My companion, E. Snow, is getting ready to head back to Orem UT and he seems a little excited but I´m sure he doesn´t know what to expect either. His family got to tell him about what´s going on when goes home though so he´s looking forward to his next mission haha. I´ll definitely miss him but I´m glad that I have had this time to work with him and we get to have this extra week together. We´re going to try and work hard this last week finding more people to teach and working with the members.
We´ve been teaching the Familia Medina, a less active familiy in the ward and they have been reactivating this transfer. They have two little twins, Luis Angel and Jose Luis, and they got baptized on friday. We taught them the lessons and they commited to read the Book of Mormon and had to quit drinking coffee. Before they got baptized it had been more than a month since they drank coffee and they learned that they really are making life changes, and that it´s not something you should play with... The day of the baptism we had a lot of problems filling up the baptismal font but the bishop of the other ward brought a pump to help us pump water from a tank into it. Haha, there always has to be a few last minute problems but everything turned out great. The whole family showed up to the baptism and they seemed to have a great experience.. The next step is to get the members to head on over and teach them and we want to teach them the importance of preparing to go to the temple. It´s great to remember that baptism is just the beginning and that we really are entering on the path to Heaven when we are baptized. The next steps will come with time, patience, and learning how to choose the right and lift ourselves back up when we´re drifting downward!
The talent show turned out pretty awesome too. The other ward planned most of it but several people in are ward put on some good talents. We saw some people dancing, singing, acting (kind of), and playing instruments. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and it´s good to remember that we all have special talents and can use them for good.
I´m glad to hear that everything is going well at home. Things are starting to get pretty hot here but we´re doing well. I pray that we all can come to appreciate more the blessings that God has given us and learn to be a blessing to those around us! I love you all. Thanks for your support and prayers.
Elder Carlson
Photos: Baptism of the twins, Mexican talent, Us with the Hna. Pedrin, and us in our new house (now organized!).

Monday, May 6, 2013

6 Mayo 2013, La Paz Mexico

Mi Querido Familia,
Well this week was pretty crazy!! We´ve done a lot of traveling and running around but it turned out pretty good.. The beginning of the week we went to culiacán for a meeting with president. Then later on in the week we had our Día del Niño activity on friday. We´re still trying to figure out if we´re going to move or not this week, and we had a zone meeting on saturday!
One of the things I learned this week is the importance of keeping things simple and being unified as companions and with the spirit. We saw a video of a couple elders teaching a family in the field, like the District:1 and 2 videos. One had just 6 months in the field and the other 1 month and they taught very well.. The important thing we need to work on is teaching the gospel simply and always with the spirit. I could feel that the missionaries in the video really cared about the people they were teaching and had powerful testimonies. The only way to gain a powerful testimony is through living all the principles you are teaching. It was good to remember the need I have to always be strengthening my own testimony and relation with our Heavenly Father.. We´re going to do a better job studying as companions and have to focus on the pure gospel taught in Preach My Gospel!
The activity was really fun too. We went to an orphanage and got to do a little skit for the kids. I just was the person that announced the skit and my companion, E. Snow, and a couple other missionaries acted in the skit. It was about a dad that teaches his son he should always tell the truth. The mummy (my comp) would move one hand if somebody said the truth, and both hands if they said a lie. So the kids would yell out if they were lying or telling the truth, haha... It turned out great and we got to play with them for a little while and break some piñatas and do some other games.
I´m loving the area that I´m in and want to get to know them members even better. We´re starting to work more with them but I can tell that we still need to plan better together. It´s hard to coordinate that stuff sometimes but somebody has to get things done. I´m really glad we ALL can help out in the work of the Lord, and now know that it´s not only the missionaries who do that work. The members are an essential part it making the gospel go forward!
Thanks for everything you guys do for me and I pray that we can keep striving to live like Heavenly Father would want us to. We´re not perfect but it doesn´t mean we have to give up either. The road to heaven is a step by step process and if we´re not climbing up we´re definitely going down. When we make a mistake we always have the choice to learn from it, or to repeat it with the same results or worse. The good news is that Jesus Christ made it possible for US to change! We don´t have to give up and I know He never gives up on us.
Have an awesome week!
Elder Carlson
P.S. Pictures: The La Paz zone! Some fun activities going on.


Monday, April 29, 2013

29 Abril 2013, La Paz Mexico

Mi Querido Familia,

This week we have been doing pretty well! We´re actually in culiacán right now because we´re having another meeting down here. We got to culiacán today and the meeting is going to be tomorrow.. One of our cool experiences this week is when we were looking for a house to rent. We´re thinking about changing houses and we talked to one of the ladies that lives there, named Daniela, and at first she didn´t seem too interested at first. She told us she doesn´t believe in God too much. We began to talk to her about God and focused on our relationship with her family. She told us about how they were having problems and it didn´t seem like they would be able to last together for eternity, like we teach, if they don´t even get along right now.. My companion showed them a picture of his family and we began to talk about how the gospel has blessed our own lives and we´ve seen the blessings in our familys. If we have things that aren´t going too well with our relationships right now, that´s even more of a reason for us to come closer to our Heavenly Father! If there´s anybody who can heal the wounds of a broken heart it´s through Jesus Christ and his eternal sacrafice for us. She ended up letting us in and we got to talk about the gospel of Jesus Christ. We taught her the importance of faith, repentance, and being baptized for the remission of sins.. Daniela and her 15 year old daughter Anet accepted to prepare to be baptized. Daniela in particular told us about how she had been asking the Padre in the catholic church about being baptized, but she still hadn´t gone through the process to do so. She realized that baptism is more than just becoming the member of a church, Jesus taught to be baptized so we may be cleansed from our sins. Daniela and her 3 kids came with us to church on sunday. They seemed to like it and we´re hoping to get to know the husband soon.

Besides that we have been working with some of our other investigators. Unfortunately, Vidal kind of has disappeared of the face of the planet. He moved back to where he lived before he was in the apartments we were visiting him, and have kind of lost contact. Hopefully one day later on he´ll come back into contact with missionaries but it looks like right now might not be his time... I´m getting excited for the visits we have coming up. May sounds like it is going to be an awesome month. Tomorrow is Día de los Niños, it´s like mother´s or father´s day but for kids. We´re doing an activity with the stake on May 3rd visiting an orphanage and we´re going to have a little skit and play with them and stuff. Sounds like that will be pretty fun too!

I love being a missionary and I love the opportunity we have to get to know people and to compart this knowledge that we have. I know I can always dedicate myself more to be a better son of God and I´m really glad he is patient with us!.. I enjoy all your e-mails even though I´m sorry I don´t always get the chance to respond to them all. I know that Heavenly Father knows each and everyone of you and whatever you´re going through he is willing and ready to help.. That´s one of the biggest things I´ve learned during this time is that we´ve never really been that far away from him. We just need to be willing to listen to His voice and follow His son´s example!

Have a fantastic week and I pray that everything continues to go well at home!

Elder David Carlson


Monday, April 22, 2013

22 Abril 2013, La Paz Mexico

Mi Querido Familia,

Well yet another week has passed by and it looks like April is flying by before I even realized it started! In the beginning of the week we had a few guys stay at our house from the Zone Comondu because they had their interviews with Pte. Cantú monday night. Tuesday we had our interviews and it was a great opportunity for us to receive guidance from our Father in heaven. Presidente announced to us that we´ll be having the visit of Elder Holland in May, which was also great news to hear. It will be the first time having an apostle of the Lord here in the mission field since I´ve gotten here. We´re all really excited and are looking forward to what there is in store for the mission Culiacán México! We´ll be doing our part to prepare spiritually for whatever there is to come and I´m quite eager to find out. :)

We´ve been preparing some more people for baptism and trying to find more people who need the gospel in their lives at this time. Vidal and Flor are really close to getting to their baptismal date but it looks like we´ll need to push it back a little back, maybe for the beginning of may. They needed to come to church with us this sunday before their baptism but both of them didn´t show up for whatever reason. I was a little worried but know that everything will work out as Lord has it planned if we do our part. It is pretty frustrating the last minute problems Satan always is scheming to put in our way though! Haha... Besides that we´re also teaching a family and theirs two little twins who are going to get baptized in may. They´re named Jose Luis and Luis Angel, they used to drink coffee and black tea but haven´t been drinking it since we committed them to give it up. They´re excited and pay attention pretty well during the lessons we teach. It was pretty awesome because their family has been less active for awhile, and their mom started going again. And this last sunday the whole family went! The dad and a couple older brothers were there too. We´re trying to help them remember what they felt when they entered in the church and create a firm foundation so that they wont fall away later on. We´re planning on having a Family Home Evening activity with them tomorrow.

I´m learning a lot from Elder Snow and we´re always laughing together. We´re putting some goals so that we can be a little bit more organized but I´ve felt pretty good with our unity and teaching... One of the things I have been learning a lot about is the importance of consistency. For example, it´s better to work out a half hour a day 6 days a week for a month, than try and work out once a month for 6 hours all at once. The consistency is what makes us strong physically and we can apply it spiritually too. I´m trying to develop better study skills and glad we have the opportunity to study everyday! I know I can take advantage of that time better though.

It´s good to hear that things are going well at home and I pray that we all can have our own spiritual experiences with the Lord. One thing Hna. Cantú told us that I really likes was that when Christ came here and visited the people in the Americas that it may have been cool to see him give a big speech or talk to everyone as a group telling them about what they need to know. But he made sure that each of them had the chance to touch the marks in his hands as he walked by them. He knew that it would be even more powerful for them to all have their personal testimony of his divinity.. We all need to look for our own special connection with Jesus Christ too and gain our own testimonies. I know that He lives and I have felt his love in my life. This should be enough to get me through any day or task the Lord puts at my hands. I invite you all to do the same! I love you!

Elder Carlson

Friday, April 19, 2013

15 Abril 2013

Mi Querido Familia,

Well this week has been pretty good! We have been finding some new people to teach lately. Ana Jazmin´s familiy gave us a reference of some other family and we started teaching them. The dad seems a little crazy, but at least not mean, and the mom and 2 daughters seemed pretty interested. We´re going to see how things go this week with them but hopefully they´ll come with us to church this next coming sunday... We stopped by and visited Vidal and Flor (another reference from an Hna). Vidal and Flor are both preparing for baptism but haven´t been reading much in the Book of Mormon yet so we decided to read some with them. We read in Alma 7 and it seemed like they were able to understand a little bit more about what Christ has gone through to free them from their sins. They both have the desire to recieve a remision of their sins and have commited to read daily in the Book of Mormon to know that is true and learn more about what God has in store for them personally. Are Ward Mission Leader went with us to that lesson and it was pretty cool... His name is Hno. Nieto and he´s a really good guy and he was telling us stories about his mission later on.

Besides that things are getting a little bit hotter here but not too bad. The house was pretty dirty so I was cleaning it and thinking about how we feel so much better when a house is cleaner. We feel the same way, but even better, when we´re clean spiritually too... Elder Snow and I want to start running in the mornings this week so we´re hoping to form that habit. We get along super well and we have been joking around a lot together (when it´s appropriate) but at the same time we´re making sure to keep working hard. We have been praying to find more investigators that are willing and able to go with us to church on sundays! I´ve really noticed throughout the mission that the people who go to church always progress while they are going. And those that have a really hard time going to church take much longer to progress.. The example we put sometimes is that the church is like a hospital. People go to a hospital because they are sick and need to be cured. People that go to church, don´t go because they are perfect, they go so that they can be cured spiritually too! I know that Heavenly Father loves us no matter what, but we are the ones free to choose whether we´ll let him in our lives or not. There is a scripture in Luke 15 that I really like that talks about the joys of repentance.
6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
7 I say unto you, that likewise ajoy shall be in heaven over onebsinner that crepenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
Thanks for all the love and support from home. I´m thankful for all the answered prayers of Heavenly Father and for the help that he is always willing to give us.
Elder Carlson

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

8 Abril 2013, La Paz, Mexico

Mi Querido Familia,

Well yet another busy week has passed by! Things are going well here. We went up to culiacan for the concilio and came back here to la paz. I am with my companion Elder Snow now. He´s from Utah. We had the chance to go to the general conference this weekend too.

The beginning of the week I was with a couple different missionaries working with them in the areas until we went to culiacán on wednesday. The concilio was thrusday and we flied back that night in the afternoon. We had several missionaries sleeping over at the house to because they we´re heading over to their areas the next day on friday... Then on friday we had our Zone Meeting. It went well and it´s pretty exciting having Hermanas in the zone now. They seem like they´re already helping the areas progress very well! A couple of them were in my district from when I was in culiacán too so that´s cool.

We got to teach a few people yesterday though and E. Snow got to meet Ana Jazmin and Carlos´ family. We taught them about the word of wisdom and the husband commited to start living the commandment. It was great to see that he could understand the importance it would be in keeping this commandment for the good of his health and his family.. Vidal came with us to the conference sunday morning too and is excited for his baptismal date. He´s preparing to be baptized and reading in the Book of Mormon. We´ve got an appointment with him tomorrow and I´m excited to teach him, since this week we didn´t have the chance to visit him too much.

In the conference we learned a lot about the spirit and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. We all have the ability to the feel the spirit, because it testifies of the things that are true. We all have something called the light of Christ too. For example, a person might see an old person boarding a bus and offer the elderly person to take their seat up front. Some people might say it´s just good manners or human nature, but it´s the light of Christ that inspires us to act out of love and care for others. It´s a force that inspires us to do what is right... The thing is that a person who recieves the Gift of the Holy Ghost has the ability to make someone else feel that spirit and recieve personal revelation for their own lives and those who correspond under their authority. This gift is something that we have to earn though. We have gift after we recieve it through the laying on of hands, but it is not active in us unless we a worthy of it.. I learned a lot about the importance of continually repenting. We have to be actively repenting and keeping the commandments to be worthy of such an amazing gift.

I´m thankful for all that God has given me and I hope we can see a lot of movement here in our area these next few weeks. I´m excited for things that we have to come and know that the Lord loves each and everyone of us... Have a great week! I love you all and pray for you as always.

Elder Carlson

Monday, April 1, 2013

1 Abril 2013, La Paz Mexico

Mi Querido Familia,

Wow! Well, it´s time for changes yet again. My companion, E. Hernandez, left this morning for the airport at 9:30 am. I've been with one of the other E. Hernandez's in the zone today and things have been going well. We got to walk around and take some more photos by the shore and what not.. There were lots of changes here in the zone and there are going to be Hermanas (sister missionaries) here now! They haven't been in the baja for the whole mission from what I've heard so that's cool news.. I'm going to be with E. Snow this change. The funny thing is that I won't actually see him until thursday most likely when we head to culiacán and then we'll come back to la paz after a meeting there in culiacán.

This week we got to do some divisions again and I stayed here in the area with yet another E. Hernandez, haha. There were 4 different ones in the zone. This week was semana santa here and that's when a lot of people remember about when Christ died and resurrected, but the most common tradition is to go party and camp on the beach this week. Although many people were at the beach we had some success finding people and teaching them. We got to teach Vidal more and he's progressing really well! He promised to read in the Book of Mormon and agreed that it would make sense for God to continue showing his love unto ALL his children in these days, and in the times of the Bible. He came with us to church this sunday for the second time... During the week my companion and I also got the chance to teach Ana Jazmin and Carlos' family. They both are excited to prepare to have an eternal family and reading and praying together more often. They're getting legal documents from chiapas gathered so that they can get married in June. We're way happy for them and I hope I have the chance to be here when they get married!

I've been learning more and more about the importance of familys in Heavenly Father's plan for us. I'm glad that God has given us the chance to live with our familys here in this life and know that he wants us to live with them after this life to and to return to him. Everything that comes from God allows us to have a better, happier, and more unified family. Everything from Satan on the other hand makes are family relationship worse, unhappier, and less unified. The way to judge whether something is good or bad can be so clear to us!.. I know that the most important attribute we can develop in this life is charity and the pure love of Christ for our fellow brothers. The best way to do that is by serving them and putting our faith in the Lord... I hope everyone has a great time reflecting about Christ and what he has done for us.

Thanks for all the love and support. I'm glad to hear that things are going well at home and pray that even when we are having hard times, we can choose to be happy and press forward... I love and pray that we all can focus on what's most important and see what great joy there is to come as we choose to have faith, keep the commandments, and love one another.

Lots of Love,
Elder Carlson

P.S. Photos: 1) Our District 2) Companion and Ana Jazmin's Family 3) E. Mejia and I

Monday, March 25, 2013

25 Marzo 2013, La Paz Mexico

Mi Querido Familia,

Hello! Well, this week has been pretty good. In the beginning of the week a lot of our appointments were falling through. We met a few new people and put appointments with them too but those appointments were falling through. Friday we went on divisions and I went to a different area with Elder Rodriguez. We started out the day very well visiting a man they had just met that week before. We taught him and he seemed to have a lot of good questions and we began to teach him and a family member there, who happened to be a member of the church, she was in town visiting him. He told us he had been to many churches before but was interested in finding out more and coming closer unto God. At the end of the lesson we invited him to pray and he felt a special sensation afterwards. It´s amazing to meet people who are prepared to hear our message like him.

When I got back to my area we were really hoping our luck would turn around, or that we could make some changes to see more success in the area. Elder Hernandez said ¨we´re not going to teach many lessons today¨ hoping that would make us teach more, because everyday he´d been saying it looks like we´re going to teach a lot of lessons and then it didn´t work out as planned haha.. Saturday we ended up having several great lessons and it definitely made up for all the slow days in the beginning of the week... We meet another investigator named Vidal. He´s from culiacán and he has been living in La Paz for a little while for work. A lot of the people we meet here aren´t from here, so it´s kind of funny. But anyways, he told us about his life and how he is seperated from his now ex-wife. He said he has a friend in culicán that´s a member and he´d talked with him about the church before and even went with him a couple times. He wasn´t really interested in the church at the time though. Then sunday he showed up to church with us and we´re excited to see how things go from here on!.. We had a great lesson with Ana Jazmin and her family this week too. We read together with them and they're progressing well. Hopefully her husband Carlos can get off work soon though and come to church with us again.

Besides that same old stuff going on around here. Next week there will be changes/transfers and my companion E. Hernandez is finishing the mission. I think he's excited to see his family but feels weird at the same time. I've enjoyed my time with him so far and it seems like it's gone by way fast! It's awesome how many people you get to know in such a short amount of time being on a mission.. We're starting to visit more members of the church to try and help strengthen the ward and get to know more people. We've been seeing some progress there and hope to plan more and more lessons with them! Our ward mission leader, Hermano Nieto, has been awesome and we got an appointment and family home evening activity he's going to go to with us... Glad to hear all is well at home. Have a great week and remember that Heavenly Father loves you!

Elder Carlson

Friday, March 22, 2013

18 Marzo 2013, La Paz Mexico

Mi Querido Familia,
Well yet another week has passed by. This week was pretty interesting and things are going well!
I ended up going on divisions in a trio (3 missionaries) for 2 days this week while my companion went to a part called comundu. It was pretty fun and E. Mejia, E. Hernandez (his comp), and I had some pretty good experiences. They have some great investigators in their area right now and we got to teach one of their investigators friends. He had a lot of good questions and is already eager to read the Book of Mormon and learn more about the gospel. He put a goal for his baptism right there in his first complete lesson too and it was pretty awesome to see how prepared he was! Those people always remind me how the Lord prepares people to hear our messages... I think one of the things I learned during those couple days is the importance of just focusing on the basics. We can talk a lot just about the nature of God being our eternal father and when people really begin to understand that, they know that they are important. They know that God loves them and that their a worth a lot more than maybe how they view themselves from a worldy point of view. For our Heavenly Father all things are spirtitual and eternal. He doesn't see things the way we see them sometimes, with their temporal and earthly attributes.
My companion E. Hernandez and I later on also got to teach a few of our investigators. Unfortunately not all of them were able to come to church for different reasons but Isaac went again and is progressing pretty well. He has a goal to get baptized this week and he's doing what he can to prepare for that goal and we're hoping he can read some more of the Book of Mormon this week. If not we'll read it with him! :) .. We have some goals to work a lot more with the members this week. Our ward mission leader, Hermano Nieto, is going to come with us to visit Ana Jazmin and her family. She's doing great and so are her kids, but we haven't been able to teach Carlos too much because of his work schedule he's had with his military service. They have a goal to get married this year and we're hoping to teach them the importance of being sealed together as a family for eternity in the next lesson.
I'm glad everybody seems to be doing well at home. Things are definitely always changing but I know that all our experiences are for the better. Challenges in life are just opportunities to progress and become stronger spiritually (also can apply mentally/physically). I'm glad that Heavenly Father has given us this opportunity to learn and is so very patient with us! If only we could all, remember to feel his love. Have a great week! You have all my love and prayers!
Elder Carlson