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.