Monday, October 9, 2017
REFLECCIÓN DE LA SEMANA: I remember reaching the Saddle on Mt. Timpanogos. As I came to the ridge, the rock face on my right hand side dropped away, and suddenly there was rushing air and a vast landscape to behold. Reaching that point of the mountain, I was rewarded with a fresh perspective of how far I had come and a reinforced vision of where I was going. I still wasn’t done with the climb – the summit lay ahead – but it would be a much shorter path.
As I reach the midpoint of my mission, it has become ever-clearer to me how the Lord has guided and directed me to reach new heights of achievement, look beyond small failures, and shape my destiny on this earth. I know that He is always by my side to mentor me in my weakness. He is my strength; I need only give what little I have to Him.
The second year will be much shorter, I know, but don’t go thinking that the climb will be over! I’ll search for other challenges, new heights, and thrills of spiritual development. Contrary to popular Mormon media, these will not be the Best Two Years. They’ll be the first.
I invite you all to join me (starting NOW) in making these next 52 weeks the best 52 weeks of your life.
· Our dear friend Orquidia brought her friend, Amparo, to church!! We set a baptismal date for the 21st of October, and she’s gone to EVERY church activity this week! MEMBER MISSIONARIES RULE!
· I’m working with President to schedule a special interview for an investigaor who was involved in illegal drugs and robbing! Woohoo! Fun!
· I visited a great family of investigators in one of our areas and felt the Lord’s hand in helping me extend a direct invitation regarding the Law of Chastity. We’re now organizing their baptismal service!!!
· I gave a blessing to our favorite Italian, Giorgio, in the hospital! A big chunk of brick fell on his head and caused a lot of blood and stuff.... it was ugly, but he joked with us as if everything were normal. Great guy XD
· We organized a last-minute meeting with the missionaries of our zone, President Reynoso, and the Stake Presidency at the request of the Stake President. it was a little stressful to get everything organized, but it turned out well. :)
· We stayed last night in the house of some elders to help them move to their new house at 6:00am! Fun!!
Thanks for everything friends! I love the mission, I love life, and I love YOU ALL!!! I honestly feel incredibly lucky to have the friends I do. You guys have been a net of support in the hard moments, and I appreciate each and every one of your letters.
Geovana´s baptism. Honestly the most EPIC BAPTISMAL SERVICE EVER!!!
Posted by Jason Carson at 4:27 PM
Monday, October 2, 2017
That about sums it up.
LECCIÓN DE LA SEMANA: I loved ALL the messages from General Conference this week, and I thought it was interesting how Elder Uchtdorf talked about our instinct to return home to our Father in Heaven. Later, Elder Holland said that we should offer our help to EVERYONE who walks the road home, even if they do so "drunkenly". I was reminded of the dogs we see in the street here in Mexico, always frail and abused by the people. Sometimes we’re like that - like Bobby the Wonder-Dog. As we try to take the road home, we will encounter failure and difficulties. But apart from these personal factors, the world will also turn against us. Remember what was said about the World? "Because ye are not of the world, the world hateth you."
The recurring theme in this General Conference tells me that the time is NOW. We have to accept that from NOW on (if we haven’t started already), we will be different from the world. Not for some hipster-philosophy, but because our values remain CONSTANT while those of the world shift. And we’ll only become more and more different with time. Let’s stand up for our values NOW, while it’s easiest, so that our foundation and testimony remain secure despite the coming storms.
- Had to resolve a behavior problem with one of our District Leaders. I don’t like repremanding, but it was good to feel the trust of President Reynoso.
- We had our Zone Conference! Due to a schedule-shift, President cancelled our part of the teaching (...-_-) but that’s okay, because his part was super edifying!! :D
- GENERAL CONFERENCE WAS AWESOME. Just want to say that again. I watched in English with the turists.
- GEOVANA GOT BAPTIZED!!! It was the AWESOMEST service we’ve ever done! We coordinated with the whole stake to organize a viewing of "Meet the Mormons" for ALL the investigators of the zone. Immediately following the spirit of the movie, we invited EVERYONE interested to come and see a REAL baptism. The room was PACKED FULL!! Standing room only!! And they sang well, which was a tender mercy :)
- I finished my 8-month long journal! Annnnnd just started a new one that will probably last 500 years unless I can find a creative way to fill space.
That’s all!! Thanks for tuning in. I can’t believe this transfer is half-over!! ...Speaking of half over.... well, tune in next time :D
I LOVE YOU ALL!! And just because I would extend my mission 6 months doesn’t mean I love you any less XD Things are fantastic (and wet) here in paradise!!
(My camera literally got robbed while I was writing you guys last week... I have no idea how I didn’t notice, but fortunately I have my photos backed up on another SD card).
Posted by Jason Carson at 12:52 PM
Monday, September 25, 2017
Wow. Deep breaths.
There’s no way to completely describe the way it feels to be a zone leader. If I weren’t so happy, I would be going nuts!! :D haha.
LECCIÓN DE LA SEMANA: The Lord will magnify you. Our job is to be worthy vessels.
I think I must have spent more time on my knees this week than in any other, because there are a lot of things that are not under my control, namely: whether the investigators in our zone decide to show up to church, whether the missionaries decide to be obedient, whether the bishop decides to allow investigators to be confirmed this weekend (with Conference and all). In short, we can’t control other people’s decisions.
BUT. We are ALWAYS in control of our own actions. The more I chose to be exactly obedient to the mission rules and trust in the Lord, I saw miracles in the zone. There was a couple who barely got married, and the wife decided one day before her baptism not to go through with it. We decided to say a prayer as a zone, and the next day the sister missionaries were able to discern her need, calm her fears, and help her make her first covenant with her Heavenly Father.
I am extremely grateful for that miracle. I feel like it was a test to see whether we would turn to Him. When we did, He was more than happy to help His daughter take that first step towards eternal life.
- Evelyn, our investigator who got in a motorcycle accident and had her leg amputated, passed her baptismal interview! We’re planning her service for this Friday.
- We did exchanges with Puerto Aventuras. Elder Jimenez, my old friend from Haciendas, stayed with me and showed me a few things about my area (because he was here before).
- We found a guy named José Alberto who lived in Chicago for 15 years. He speaks English with a cool accent and accepted a baptismal date!
That’s it for now, friends!! Not much time. :D I love you all and I’m grateful for the love you send me in your letters!!!
(SD card problemss......)
Posted by Jason Carson at 11:19 AM
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Hello my friends!
I’ve learned a lot of new things this week, including that being a Zone Leader is (exhaustingly) fun!
LECCIÓN DE LA SEMANA: One has to lead from the front of the pack.
Our bishop in Peten Ward, Bishop Mario, is SUPER. (Super Mario.... hehe). It’s no suprise to me that his ward achieves incredible things. Every other Sunday, he sets apart his ENTIRE evening and brings the ENTIRE bishopric to visit member and investigator families with the missionaries. The members of the ward, consequently, are excited to help out with the missionary work and give us lots of referrals!
It makes sense that the Savior led in the same way. Was his frequently-repeated line not, "Come, follow me"? If we want to lead well, we can’t be pushers - we have to be pullers.
- E. Tellez is super friendly and helpful!! He does me favors before I even think to ask him! He’s an example to me of service and humility - it would do me well to be more like him.
- We traveled to Cancun for the Leadership Council of September. Good news! Playa is set to be the highest-baptizing zone in the mission! Not for what E. Tellez and I have done, of course (having just arrived), but it was definitely a boost of enthusiasm!!
- We had an INCREDIBLE stake activity to celebrate Mexican Independence Day (VIVA MÉXICO, WOOOO!!) There was a stage, cool lights, a beefy sound system, and a TON of investigators!!!! I didn’t even think to take pictures because I was too busy contacting everyone.
- Exchanges with one of our three district leaders, E. Escorcia. The Lord blessed us to find SIX new families to teach in one day. Honestly one of the coolest days ever.
- We had a great lesson with Erik and Alex, two young adults who are investigating the church. They want to be marine biologists, so we told them about how the young single adults in the ward are doing Scuba classes! They got super excited and agreed to all the committments we extended!! XD
There are lots more stories from this week, but I’ll save them for when we see each other face to face. Remember that everyone is meant to be a leader, and we should strive to do so in the Savior’s way. I promise each of you that as you give it your 110% effort, you’ll find that the Lord shows you who you really are and what you can become.
PS - Lots of love for yall in the States, but I can’t claim loyalty or they’ll hunt me down for being a Trump-supporter! XD VIVA MÉXICO!
The latest on the tie collection - the majority are new, from companions and friends in the mission. :) The love evolves, people.
Goodbye Garcia family!!
Goodbye, Mission-Leader Oscar!!
Goodbye Bishop Herrera!!!
Hello Elder Tellez!! Mi chan compita.
Posted by Jason Carson at 10:16 AM
I must say, I never thought I would arrive at the answer to life, the universe, and everything, but here I am: week 42 in the field.
LECCIÓN DE LA SEMANA: Specific prayers WORK, yo! This week I had a really intense personal study and was feelin the faith juice, so I ended with a specific prayer. I asked God to help me find a family of FIVE people at 5:00pm who would come to accept the gospel in their lives. To recognize them, I would look for a mom dressed in RED with THREE little kids walking home from school by her side. The father wouldn’t be there in the street with them, but he and the mother would be legally married.
At 5:00pm ON THE DOT, I scanned the road around us and spotted the family I was looking for. They were a ways off, so I had to drag my (confused) companions half-running on a detour to reach the mother with her three kids. The mother had red jeans on, and the little ones had on their backpacks from school. We gave them the run-down, and they were very friendly. The mom commented that her husband was waiting for them at home. They got married in Guatemala. We gifted them a pamphlet and tried to set a return date, but the mom explained that, because of work, they’re almost never at home.
It didn’t matter to me, really. I KNOW they will come to know the Gospel in the Lord’s due time, and His time is perfect.
LECCIÓN DOS: When saying specific prayers to find investigators, the wise elder will think to specify that the investigators accept a visit.
- ALEJANDRO GOT THE BAPTISMAL DUNK! It was a combined service with the sister-missionaries of Chetumal, and it went very well. Alejandro was a little nervous beforehand, but after the ordinance, he was beaming.
- I went on splits with Hno. Cortéz to cover appointments somewhat far away from the house. We arrived comfortably in his car and set a baptismal date for a young pregnant girl named Marla who’s finalizing her plans to get married. At age 15. Wow.
- Our district leaders bought us pizza because we reached our goal for baptisms this transfer! That’s good leadership.
- I got a free haircut and.... well, the dude almost cut my head off with the little razor. You get what you pay for, I suppose.
- WE GOT THE TRANSFER NEWS! I’m going to Playa del Carmen as a Zone Leader! The area is called Puerto Aventuras - "Adventure Port". I’m certain that plenty of adventures await me there and that they’ll be good ones.
- We bought a tub of Oreo ice-cream between the three of us. Worth every peso.
That’s it for now. This was a short week. As always, the first week of the transfer will be WITHOUT PDay, so I’ll be writing you all in nine days! It’ll be a good-un with an extra 48-hours of adventure.
Keep the idea of specific prayers in mind. Prayer is like a harmonica - it seems a little useless until you dedicate the time and effort into learning how to use it. LEARN HOW TO PRAY, YALL, and it’ll be the greatest source of blessings in your day-to-day life.
Squad selfie while packing up the house. All three of us are getting transferred!! (PS - Military hair-cut feels good in the heat).
Combined baptisms, combined POWER!
The little one just after being spiritually cleansed.
The Chan-Distrito. We´re a happy family.
Posted by Jason Carson at 10:12 AM
My dear friends and aquaintences (spelling?)
As you have likely noticed, I’m forgetting English. It’s a fact. But I’ll be sure to serenade you all in South/Central America’s love-language when I get back!
LECCIÒN DE LA SEMANA: The Lord gives more to good stewards!!!!
This week, I was testing a theory: to find success, you’ve got to prove your stuff. Often, the Spirit prompts me to talk to people in the street who aren’t at all interested in our message. Does that mean it wasn’t the Spirit?
Why? Two reasons: (1) We’re planting a seedling in that person, and (2) the Lord’s preparing us for the guy across the street. The second guy you talk to is going to be MORE AWESOME than the first. And the third more than the second, as long as we take courage each time the Spirit prompts us.
On exchanges with Elder Vera, I was following a "chain" of people in this manner when a taxi suddenly stopped on the side of the road. I went to talk to the guy, and said, "hello, good sir, what’s your name?"
"What do I look like?" he asked, making me guess.
I thought he was joking, so in the same tone, I said, "your name is Jorge, and you want to hear about the Gospel, right?"
The dude looked surprised and let us into the taxi. He introduced himself as Jorge Campos (yes!), and proceeded to tell us that he’s having family troubles and has been looking for a church. He also told us that his son is Mormon, and that it seems like a good option to him.
The Spirit will never misguide you. Trust Him, and you’ll find the success you’re looking for.
- NEXT PDAY WILL BE ON SATURDAY, QUERIDOS :)
- Celebrated E. Tello’s birthday in Burger King. He’s addicted to the chocolate milkshakes.
- We had a FANTASTIC Family Home Evening with Dr. Toledo, our new Elders Quorum President, and he treated us to an american classic of burgers and fries afterwards. A noble man, surely. We committed his inactive son to go to church.
- OSVALDO GOT BAPTIZED! And the program was LEGIT. The primary president pitched in and made a program where the KIDS gave talks/did the music/prayers/EVERYTHING. Honestly one of the best things I’ve seen. I think the ward mission plan we pitched has helped a lot - the ward leaders are super excited to help us now :D
- On Saturday, we started a special fast with the whole zone to help us achieve our goals. It was great to see a new sense of unity on the face of each missionary. Fantastic idea from E. Mun.
- We visited the ruins of Ox-Tan-Kah today!! What an incredible experience! Honestly, these are some of the smaller ruins in this mission, but I was blown away by the mystical ambience that was felt on the grounds. Like walking through the remains of a fairy-tale.
- THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE MAKING OF THE PACKAGE I GOT. EVERYTHING WAS WELL-APPRECIATED BY ME AND MY COMPANIONS. :D
Loves to you all! Until Saturday! Follow the Spirit and be really happy!
OSVALDO THE CHAMP! He gave a great testimony at the end of the service about the Gospel and the temperature of the water.
A spanish chapel (built many years after all the other structures in OxTanKah).
Our dear friend Hno. Cortèz (the optimistic guy I told you about)
"ARREPENTIOS, OH VOSOTROS, EXTREMOS DE LA TIERRA"
Toledo family - excellent in ALL aspects, but the big man`s got a firm hand for injections. (PS they don`t inject you in the arm here).
Posted by Jason Carson at 10:08 AM
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
WOW! That’s 40, everybody. It’s weird living in a time-machine.
LECCIÓN DE LA SEMANA: Baby-feeding is toxic in positions of leadership.
When I arrived to this ward, I noticed a lot of negative feelings that the members had towards their church leadership. They complained that the bishop didn’t do ANYTHING! I even began to believe some of the rumors because they were so prevalent.
This week, I got a little insight into the bishop’s perspective, and it’s actually brilliant. He doesn’t want to do what the auxiliary leaders can do because they need the experience to become more independent.
We held a Talent Show this week, and I was able to see how well the bishop’s theory worked. He deliberately stepped out of the picture, and when the members began to notice the problems ("nobody set up chairs!", "we need a speaker to play music!", etc) THEY began to take initiative and fill in the gaps.
The show was a little rusty, but I count it as a SUCCESS, because I’m absolutely sure that the members learned a valuable lesson from the experience. There’s no doubt in my mind that the next activity will be much slicker, and that these leaders will be more prepared to take part in the work.
- We had a great Family Home Evening where we played a Plan of Salvation board game! I have some pretty creative companions!!
- Our Zone Conference went well. My companions and I thought of a series of practices that we did with all the missionaries. President was impressed by the presentation we gave, so I count it as a win. :D
- I gave Alejandro, our young investigator, homework - he was supposed to read the first chapter of first Nephi (but only the "small" verses because the big ones scare him). When we arrived, he had conquered the fear and read ALL of first Nephi!!! What a stud!!
- We gave a training to all of the Primary Presidencies of the stake. It was a lot of fun. We tried to incorporate dynamic experiences so that the Presidents and their counselors would catch the "mission-fever" and get excited about the work. With that training, they’re going to do an activity with the kids, teaching them how to be missionaries and giving them the chance to share their knowledge and testimony with REAL investigators!!!
- We did a service project for one one mother that was one the verge of giving her son permission to get baptized. We cleaned her yard and moved a giant cement water-tank into a hole in the ground. At the end of it all, she gave us empanadas (mega-yum) and signed the paperwork, giving her approval!
Thanks for tuning in, friends! I hope you all have a wonderful week. I want to let you all know that I know this Gospel is true. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true church upon the earth, and it is only through her founder, Jesus Christ himself, that we can come to live with God and our families in the next life. May we all be valiant in the faith.
COOL TOYS :D
COOL TOYS :D
Our zone! (Serious edition)
Our zone! (too-real edition).
We go forth in pairs, combatting evil with light and an invisible force. Would it be too much to say that we´re Jedi?? (I stole the sword from the last sith I slayed).
Sun-burnt but happy!
Posted by Jason Carson at 12:46 PM