Monday, January 22, 2018

Year 2, Week 14

I know, I know, IT’S EARLY! 

BUT... I didn’t know I was gonna have PDay on Saturday this time. I thought for sure that I was going to stay in Kukulcan Ward and that Elder Walk was going to leave me, but President called to announce my transfer to......

The mission offices!

I’ll have Saturday PDay as long as I stay here, so adjust your calendars, phone alarms, refrigerator-door-reminders, etc. (That’s a joke).

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LECCIÓN DE LA SEMANA: A goal, if it is to be effective, has to be a revelatory process in which God shows one his potential, and the individual chooses to triumph. Love is the only leadership style that can inspire this in a person.

I was listening to Elder Uchtdorf’s talk about using fear to manipulate people, and I realized that the way I was trying to motivate the elders of my zone was, at least in part, based on their fear that I would not trust them if they failed to produce better results.

After repenting and using other methods, such as sharing relevant scriptures and insights with the District Leaders to help them arrive at their solutions, we saw a BIG leap in success finding investigators. They had heard our Zone-goals many times, but only after leading with love did they choose to APPLY those goals through prayer and personal revelation.

With which do you choose to lead? Fear, or love? 

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My new companion is Elder Vergara, a 25-year-old from Chile. He’s an International Business graduate, and he’ll be attending BYU after finishing the mission in May.

We’re buds.

Highlights from our first week together:
·         We picked up the new missionaries from the airport.
·         We attended the farewell dinner for the dying missionaries in the (super fancy) mission home.
·         We planned and executed a Leadership Conference for the Zone Leaders in the mission.
·         We had a baptism!! :D It’s a guy named Ulisses who has a small business bringing a trampoline to the park and letting the littluns jump for 10 pesos. He reminds me of Willy Wonka.
·         We had a planning meeting with President Reynoso. President is a really, REALLY good and funny human behind the scenes XD
·         We bought cake for the secretaries. 

Elder Vergara calls me Elder Spongebob because I’m an innocent square (-_- ayy...jaja) and I call him Elder Druggy because he hauls his personal pharmacy around for his headaches X) I love the guy.

Anyway, we’re working hard to make sure the mission baptizes!! I hope all of you are having joy, satisfaction, and success in your daily affairs. Until next Saturday!!

Love,
Elder Carson

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When President says "Get in the trunk!" because there´s not room for us and the returning missionaries. (feat. Elder Spongebob)

Elder Druggy in his corner of the trunk.

Year 2, Week 13

Happy half-week!! Once again, I forgot to remind you all about the Saturday PDay. Ni modo!

LECCIÓN DE LA SEMANA: I would like to re-emphasize the need to make valiant decisions BEFORE seeing a sign from God that it was the right choice. 

In Alma 56:44-46, the army of Helaman demonstrated great courage in choosing to face their enemies and defend their country. It was only AFTER making the decision, back-tracking a fair distance, and entering combat with the lamanites that God showed them a sign. In verse 50, we see that Antipus and his army was about to fall be the sword - Helaman’s 2000 stripling warriors arrived just in time to defend their brothers and win the battle. 

I’ve heard from many of you who are making valiant decisions in your lives, whether it be in your studies, personal lives, or in the choice to serve a mission. The funny thing is, in the mission, time is like a movie in fast-forward, and it gives me such joy to watch as the Lord blesses you for your faith and courage. 

Keep consulting with the Lord in all things! 

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I still haven’t received the news about transfers, so that will be a surprise for next time! I imagine that I’m staying here. President told me that the original plan was for me to come to Kabah in January, but I came early because of special circumstances with the previous zone leader.

This week, I had plenty of adventures. We peacefully defended the faith against a rather contentious Bible-basher (hint - we didn’t Bible-bash). We chose to obey a rather "trivial" rule even in the face of scorn from members and were later blessed by finding a WHOLE family that accepted a baptismal date in February. We fixed some behavioral problems in the zone, and it total, the missionaries of Kabah found 30 people to baptize next month! 

I believe that our success can be attributed to our focus in responding to first promptings of the Spirit. I can’t tell you how many times this week I thought "that guy’s busy, I’ll leave him alone", only to follow the Spirit and discover that (1) he was taught by the missionaries before, (2) had attended church before, or (3) is a less-active member that just moved in. God really does know better than we do WHO He puts in our path. 

And, our house is very clean, and it makes me happy :D

Love, 
Elder Carson

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Brother Berry (Hno. Mora) and his family!!

Exchanges with the beloved (and incredible) District Leader, Elder Cuautle! Once again, I´m offering professional photography services XP haha.

Year 2, Week 12

Hello my friends!!

LECCIÓN DE LA SEMANA: Continuing on the theme of "FRUIT", this week I was pondering how we can give good fruit in our lives. I found a good example of when Moroni makes the Title of Liberty. 

1) Alma 46:11 – Moroni feels the need to defend the church. BUT he doesn’t stop with his feelings. 
2) Alma 46:12 – Moroni makes a PLAN to solve an important problem. 
3) Alma 46:13,16 – Moroni prays and begs God to consecrate his plan. 
4) Alma 46:19 – Moroni EXECUTES his plan with complete faith, not doubting the power of God. 
5) Alma 46:20 – Moroni leads by inviting others intrepidly to follow the Lord and make COVENANTS. In this way, he wins their loyalty.

As we face problems and challenges in our lives, let’s avoid begging God to solve everything. Instead, let’s follow the example of Moroni and BRING our dreams to fruitfulness!!  

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I don’t have much time, but I’d like to let you all know that I’m HAPPIER THAN EVER here in Cancún! 

We’re teaching the grandkids of an active sister, who range from 12 to 15 years old. They have been taught many times, but Elder Walk and I were determined to give them a special impression. We planned a game to play with them that involved shouting like a Mariachi to explain the importance of following the prophet, and we EXECUTED the plan, trying not to doubt the power of God at all. The result was AWESOME - not only did the kids have a blast, but we attracted neighborhood kids with our Mariachi screams!!! 

Apparently it’s funny when a white guy screams VIVA MEXICO!!! 

I also had time this week to reflect on the life of President Monson. It is impressive to me how much loyalty the members here feel towards the deceased prophet. I saw many tears and heard many tender feelings expressed during Fast and Testimony meeting. 

Anyway... that’s all for this episode! Stay tuned, and READ YOUR SCRIPTURES!

Love, 

Elder Carson

Year 2, Week 11

Well howdy-doo, friends! What an inspiring week it’s been!

LECCIÓN DE LA SEMANA: I was once again reading in Alma 32 when I learned something new about faith. Notice that, in the analogy that Alma gives, faith starts as a seed and grows into a plant that gives fruit. Why fruit? Why not flower? Why not vegetable? A fruit, scientifically speaking, is a vehicle for seeds, which later become new plants. As we spiritually mature, it is inevitable that we will plant seeds of faith in those around us by our words and deeds. Like a fruit entices us to eat and "participate" with its rich flavor, we should let the flavor of the Gospel be evident to those around us so that they, too, feel a desire to come and "participate" of the fruit. This is the essence of missionary work. 
How will you let others know how tasty the fruit of the Gospel is this week?

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This week was fun with all the celebrations we witnessed. The people really do come together in this time of year to show love to others. We saw more smiles, we felt more love, and had more opportunities to serve.

I felt the Spirit especially strongly yesterday when we went WAY out of our way to give a blessing to an elderly sister. I think when we sacrifice for others, we become much more sensitive to inspiration and personal revelation.

Hmm, what else? OH! It was a blessing to talk to the family on Christmas Day! I’m not sure why, but as I spoke with them, I felt an increased desire to continue serving in the mission field. I’m ever-grateful for the 9.5 short months that I still have to give the Lord my all. There’s honestly nothing like it. (For those considering mission service.... just.... DOO IT!! Shia Le Bouf style).

Unfortunately, our investigators were all on vacation, BUT we spent time doing a Book of Mormon project with members. On a not-so.related note, there are a LOT of celebrity look-alikes in our ward!!! We have Toby Maguire, Lenny Kravitz, and Jack Black, to name a few. I’ll try to get photos with all of them :D

That will be all! Love you to death!

Elder Carson


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Our Christmas activity involved..... this.

Enrique Felipe Gallardo. It was a pleasure.

DINNER FROM ECUADOR! :D​

Monday, December 18, 2017

Year 2, Week 10

Merry Christmas everyone!!

I was just remembering how my dad is famous for wishing every passing stranger a Merry Christmas during these precious weeks, and now that I’m in the mish, I find myself doing the same thing. Funny how that is, huh?

This week was FULL of fun! We had our Multi-Zone Christmas program (which was a beautiful disaster) and our White Night with several baptisms.

In the Christmas program, we put on a show and dressed up for a modernized missionary-nativity. We sang himns and ate good food. I decorated a new missionary in flashing Christmas lights becuase he was the angel. President Reynoso told dumb jokes between the acts that made us laugh far too much. We destroyed piñatas and filled the empty spaces of our stomachs with candy.

The season is bright. We live in a nice area right now, so the Christmas lights are good. Next week I’ll try to send photos, but I can’t make promises.

We’re teaching a family of Austrians! The Kruscher family. They speak German and English, so we’re trying to learn as fast as we can! If we can’t speak English by tomorrow, we’ll have to bring Sister Alejandra to translate for us. We special-ordered them four Book of Mormons in German so that they would get excited to learn. It worked!! They’re very excited to hear our message.

Anything else? OH! I’ve been learning how to be firm with the missionaries. Elder Juarez (President’s assistent) noticed that I demostrate too much love (..half-joking), so he’s been coaching me in how to make things very VERY clear to the Elders when they need to be. I admire the guy a lot for his ability to repremand with love, and even though I STRONGLY DISLIKE ordering people to do things, I know it’s a necessary skill to be an effective leader. Even Jesus had to do it, but He always did it with the best interest of the other person in mind.

Anyway.... STUDY YOUR SCRIPTURES!! (haha.... just practicing...)

I love you all, and thank you for your continued support. The time goes way too fast. We’ll be seeing eachother before you know it!! Have an adventure this week! Share the Gospel with someone new! It will bring you so many blessings that you can’t even count them!

Love,

Elder Carson

Monday, December 11, 2017

Year 2, Week 9

President called me last Satuday night to tell me that my transfers were changed! I would no longer be staying in Playa del Carmen with my dear buddy Elder del Toro.

And where do you think I went? Well, back to my homeland of Cancún, of course! This time, I’m assigned as Zone Leader in Kabah Stake, where Elder Walk and I are serving in Kukulcan Ward. President, his assistants, and the secretaries are all in our zone.... O.o It’s a little bit of pressure, admit, but I’M SUPER PUMPED. So ain’t nobody gonna bring us down!

We’ve been focusing on the church’s LIGHT THE WORLD initiative. The members are very excited to participate with us, and we’re using that positive energy to bring the Restored Gospel to as many people as possible! I have a personal goal to share the initiative with 50 people every day, and so far so good.

To start off the new transfer well, Elder Walk and I made a bunch of lime pies (Elder Carson’s signature) and rallied some members to help us share it all with the neighbors. The idea is to establish ourselves well with those closest to us. How can we expect to find new investigators miles away if we don’t even know the name of the guy next door?

We’re trying to infect the zone with the same enthusiasm. Sometimes the missionaries seem to be sleeping (even while they’re walking in the streets!), so we helped them set goals to talk with as many people as possible. I’ve carried over some old ideas from Playa and Chetumal to help them be more obedient, as well. We send them questions from the scriptures at 6:25am, and the first ones to answer win points towards a prize at the end of the 6-week period!!

If you guys have more ideas, let me know! Yall are more creative than I am!! :)

I’d just like to share with you guys my testimony. Christ lives. HE LIVES. We would be able to see him and feel the marks in his hands if he weren’t physically distant. He is a person, like you and me, with a body of flesh and blood. He is my Savior and my mentor in this great work.

Remember Him this Christmas, and do your part to LIGHT THE WORLD!

Love,
Elder Carson


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Elder Walk and I chillin in the Ciber-café right now!!

Zona Playa!! We had this greeting-party set up outside the church to raise awareness of the program.

Christmas time in Kukulcan!


Year 2, Week 8

HELLO MY FRIENDS!

I feel like 3.25 seconds have passed since I last wrote you. This week has been rather fun, seeing as we had to find a new house to live in. Lots of miracles in the process.

TRANSFERS NEWS: ....... Everything stays the same, folks! I will have my second Christmas and New Year’s here in Peten Ward with my buddy Elder del Toro, and I couldn’t be happier! This transfer, I will also complete 15 months in the mission. Terrifying.

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Questions!

Q: Most dangerous mission day?
A: Uhm. We’re mostly protected. There was one time that we had to stay indoors for two days for a  shooting in Cancùn, but that’s the only danger I remember! All the tropical storms have evaded us. There was a recent Pink-Eye pandemic in the whole peninsula, but it didn’t get to me!!!

Q: Best day ever?
A: Today, just like every day!!! :D Seriously, one of mym favorite experiences was a mass-baptism we had here in Playa. Seven personas. In one part, a brother baptzed his two parents. Intensely spiritual.

Q: Goofiest person you’ve met?
A: Miguel. In my current ward. He’s crazy, and he falls asleep (hardcore) in the lessons we invite him to. Fortunately, everybody loves him, so it provides a little bit of humor.

Thanks for tuning in! Love you all! The church is true and the Lord is good. Missionary work is the greatest blessing in my life. I hope you’ll all committ to share the Gospel with a friend this week.

Love,

Elder Carson

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Elder Erickson - Ready for Rain

Zona Playa del Carmen!!!!