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