Monday, December 26, 2016

Week 5 in Cancun!

Hola, Friends!

Much love to you all this Christmas season. I hope you all got fat with candy and presents but that you remember the true meaning of all this. It feels good to give, doesn´t it? And our Savior gave us the greatest gift of all.

LECCION DE LA SEMANA: Stay out of the comfort zone. FLEE the comfort zone. The comfort zone is death, and we cannot grow when we are stuck in its ruts. I have already felt the temptation to develop habits as a missionary that would prevent me from growing. Things like talking to people in the street only if they meet certain criteria of readiness. The Lord is gonna prompt me to talk to a busy, grumpy, and rich guy surrounded by other people someday, and when that day comes, I need to be ready.

Even our Savior progressed when he stepped away from safety and into the immense pain of the Atonement. I invite you all to compare Matthew 5:48 with 3 Nephi 12:48 and ponder what that might entail. Also, consider what habits you have developed to stay comfy and think about things you can do to stretch yourself. Pray to know your weaknesses and to have experiences that allow you to grow. The Lord will round you out and craft you into the person He intends for you to become.

  • We had a Christmas Dinner as a ward, and Miguel Angel came! It was awesome - we gave him a tour, showed him the baptismal font, and introduced him to members. He found out that he used to work with one of the brothers in the ward! 
  • My companion and I sang a rendition of Homeward Bound in front of everyone at the beginning of the Christmas dinner.... first time I´ve ever tried THAT... XD It was lots of fun.
  • We passed a primary school of kids dancing to All I Want For Christmas is You in English. Made my day x)
  • We tried to make a piñata with Hna. Elizabeth for Navidad, but I have no experience and it turned out pretty ugly! Woohoo! What´s more, her son arrived halfway through the process, and he makes piñatas for his job.... He picked up our piñata to inspect it and half the little colorful papers fell off. We died laughing.
  • There´s a blessed bench next to the statue of Guadalupe, I swear!! We´ve contacted three people on that bench and they´ve all agreed to fixed appointments! One of the latest was Cristina, a girl who saw us pass and had a feeling that we were going to return to talk to her.... how cool is that?? Turns out, her WHOLE FAMILY is interested in our message! (Fingers crossed...)
  • Kids like blowing stuff up here. It´s like their favorite pastime besides futbol. They throw M80s out there like candy and run around screaming when they go off. My companion and I have had to dodge the little grenades-for-kids on more than one occasion.
  • We saw two drunk guys fighting (FROM A DISTANCE, MOM) on Christmas night... it was a little scary, and we got out of there as quick as possible when one dude got his machete... it´s sad that there´s this kind of violence in the world. That´s one reason we´re out here - to bring light into the lives of those unfortunate victims of poor family circumstances. 
That´s it for this week, guys. I love you all. Stay righteous and remember who you are (mom mode activated). I wish you all a wonderful, happy New Year!!!
Elder Carson 


Christmas Present from the Stake President´s Family!! WE LOVE LOS RAMÓN!!
My friend, the iguana, otra ves. This time, he´s trying to be sneaky and blend in with some leaves... not so fast, Iggy!
.... our handiwork. (alternative title: what happens when you give a gringo a piñata) 
Our friend, the pro, correcting our handiwork. 
What happens when you forget the water for your oats. 
THE ZONE! This was a happy birthday photo for the Hermana front and center. 
Practicing for the performance en la casa. :) 
The little kids outperformed us by a longshot! 
Fernando y Juan remind me of my brothers, mostly Oli. Guess what they´re playing? It starts with M and ends with -inecraft!
They had to pause... I love them X)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Week 4 in the Field!!!! (right? I think?)

Hola, friends, Romans, countrymen, 

This week was great! We had lots of fun times to celebrate the season and I got to meet more of the wonderful people of Cancun!!

LECCION DE LA SEMANA: Communication is clave. I always knew this conceptually, but I never truly understood it at an emotional level until the mission. Within the ward, we have to maintain constant communication with our leaders, or things fall through and the work doesn´t get done. It´s a HABIT that needs to be developed, and that takes time. I was talking to some Hermanas who have had a lot of success in their ward, and they told me that the communication they have with members is SPECTACULAR. They have a designated period each night for calling each family or individual who is going to accompany them the following day. The members expect and respond to these calls. 

Also, don´t forget communication with God. We should always have a prayer in our hearts - a constant link to the greatest source of inspiration and direction and wisdom couldn´t possibly do you harm. I apply this when we contact in the streets as much as possible, and I feel the guidance of the Spirit in who to approach, and how. 

When we are in a habit of repenting frecuently and communicating our desire to improve always, that is when we RETAIN a remision of our sins and qualify ourselves to eventually enter into God´s presence. 




  • We´re teaching a family of recent converts and trying to really strengthen them. RCs can be extremely helpful in missionary work. Anyway, Hna Erika is a single mom with a Get-Things-Done attitude and a spunky attitute that reminds me of a dear friend of mine (hi Alisha Clayson!!) Her sons, Fernando and Juan, are like my own brothers, good-hearted, sweet, and also whiny, at times X) They always hug me when we come over. 
  • We try not to talk to all the millions of Jehovah´s Witnesses unless so prompted by the Spirit, because they don´t want to listen. Only talk. One woman just quoted scriptures at us for about half an hour..... Lots of people confuse us for Witnesses. We frequently have to explain.
  • We have an investigator named Alejandra who has been taught all the lessons about four times but can´t progress because she doesn´t want to marry the guy she lives with. We´ve tried lots, but we think it´s up to the Hermanas in the ward to show her how much she´s loved. Pray for her, guys!
  • We are teaching another sister (lots of sisters because the men work all hours of the day to support their families - we teach on the porch or just inside with the door open) named Sandra. She confided in us this last visit that she knows everything we teach is true, but she can´t convert because her spouse and his family dont want her too... again, prayers are necessary. 
  • We had a SUPER FUN Christmas multi-zone activity where we broke piñatas and ended up with way too much candy. Great food, great people, and a great devotional by our beloved President and his spouse. 
  • Our Stake president is great. He lives right across the street from our house and makes sure we have everything we need. He graciously gifted us a plunger (....) and, just yesterday night, brought us each slices of OREO CAKE :DDD.
  • I missed home one time this week. We were using the Reference Manager program online last Thursday in an internet Cafe. There were two youngins next to us playing a match of Halo. I thought of all the good times playing online with my brother Stoney, and that was a little difficult. Refocused afterwards and we´re all good now :) 
  • President Reynoso attended our ward yesterday!! And, he attended Gospel Principles!! (Which I taught, having been notified by my companion only five minutes earlier that I would be teaching...) Talk about pressure. It was great though. I tried to talk as little as possible by asking questions, and the members took up most of the time. There were a few mintues at the end where I wasn´t sure what to say, but President Reynoso and his wife swooped in to save the day. Afterwards, President gave me a big hug and told me I did great. Whew. Love that guy. 

Merry Christmas to all. You are wonderful, and I love hearing from you. I hope your holiday is filled with all that gooey happiness. 

Elder Carson


Choppin' grass with a machete. Not the most efficient, but it feels really cool.

La Guadalupana otra vez, with a little me in front. 

We built a fence for a less-active Hermano. (in 30 minutes!! Woohoo!) 

Thank you Hno. Santiago Pech!! You da bomb!! (Took us out of our zone - with permission - to a restaurant a little closer to the beach. Still didnt see the water though....) 

Up close: main dish. See those purple things?? That´s what we call pulpa. Not bad at all. 

Haha.... this ice cream honestly made me feel a little touristy.

All smiles.

A dashing choir at the Christmas Activity. 


My family sent me food. It was wonderful. Still is. I don´t eat THAT fast.... 

Monday, December 12, 2016

WEEK 3 IN THE CAMPO-FIELD-THINGY (I just can't English)

Hola, dearest friends,

This week has been wonderfully uplifting, inspiring, difficult, easy, hungry, full to the brim, and all sorts of everything. I want to share a LECCION DE LA SEMANA because out here in the campo-field-thingy, there´s less dedicated study time and more DOING. Having a single leccion de la semana will give me more time to tell you what´s actually happening around here. I hope. 

LECCION DE LA SEMANA: Patience is infinitely important. 
My companion is wonderful. I love him. BUT he definitely bugs me at times. He likes to make the decisions, and that poses a problem to a new missionary whose primary learning mechanism is making decisions and experiencing the consequences. I had one day where I reacted to this conflict in a rather typical manner (my parents could tell you about it), and I gotta say, that was not a great day. We didn´t have as much success and we couldn´t agree on what to do or how to do it. I went to bed that night feeling rather gross. The next day, though, I determined to change my approach. I was reminded of Bishop Payne and how he wished all us priests a hard companion so that they would learn how to deal with conflict. I asked myself what the Savior would do, and then spent the day LISTENING to my companion, asking questions, respecting his experience, and offering relatively humble suggestions. It was hard because I wanted to see things done my way, but when I had the patience to put off my desires for the greater good - to have the Spirit in the companionship - we were able to teach in unity and have more success. 

Think about it, guys. Where do you find yourselves impatient? Dedicate yourself to being patient for ONE WEEK and compare your experience with the norm. If you feel like it, shoot me an e-mail with your results. :) 


FIRST BAPTISM, YO! Her name is Gabby, she´s fifteen, and despite the fact that she was already baptized (discovering only recently that her records magically don´t exist), the Spirit was super duper strong during the service. She was glowing when she came back into the room.

We´ve been drenched with rain twice now!! Turns out, the weather is just as mercilessly unpredictable as I had heard! The first time, the storm brought us to the door of Miguel Angel, a promising investigator who´s read a ton of the Book of Mormon already (I think I told you last time). The second time, we had just finished a correlation meeting with the ward mission leader, Hno. Angel (lots of Miguels, Angels, Miguel Angels, Miguel Lopez Angel Cortezes...) and we had to sprint back to the casa to make it home on time. 
Just... why.

WELCOME TO ANIMAL PLANET. Lots of creatures here, of all sorts. 
Roosters everywhere!! Also, dogs and cats that look like they´re starving.

Big ol´ iguana under a crack in the sidewalk. 

Found in a dirty dish when we woke up.... que triste.
Not pictured: locusts six inches long, THE SPEEDY GECKO (DARN IT, IM GON´ CATCH ´IM), the cucaracha, and A TARANTULA that we found sticking outside an investigator´s house. I didn´t have my camera, unfortunately. BUT I touched it. 

AND NOW, for the food network.
Things I´ve LOVED here:
  • Carnitas
  • Pombasas (sandwich things)
  • Pozole (like... soup with... stuff?)
  • Mexican Pizza
  • American Pizza (thanks, Hno. Santiago Pech)
  • Calgos (soups)
  • Canchas (the bread they drive around selling out the backs of their cars)
  • Pastel de tres leches
Things I have neutral or slightly negative feelings for (de verdad, I haven´t hated anything I´ve eaten):
  • Chapulines (just.... look it up)
  • Chiles Rellenos
  • Agua de Jamaica.

Love you all,
Elder Carson.
La Guadalupana... She´s a God thingy?? I don´t understand it yet.
You can play I Spy in the stores.
I think this dude´s famous (the one on the wall, too).

Monday, December 5, 2016

Week 2 in the Field, Yo

Mis amados amigos, 

I have way too much to write for the time I have, so we´re going to have to shave it thin today and save the rest for dinner table conversation in two years. You can hold me to that. 

LECCION 1: Would the Lord send a general authority to some random stake in Cancun to console a newbie elder who´s feeling a tidbit overwhelmed?? Apparently, the answer is yes. We had a conference with Elder Pieper, President over all of Mexico in the church, and he gave us great advice about sticking to CORRECT PRINCIPLES and ditching opinion-matter when we teach. Afterwards, he chose a handful of elders to interview personally, and I was one of them!! Wow, I needed his council. He sat me down for a short get-to-know-you session. He listened to my concerns and worries, and assured me that I am doing great for a guy with two weeks under his belt in the field. It was a short meeting, for sure - the dude´s busy - but I´m positive it was heaven-sent. I was feeling overwhelmed, and after that meeting, I was almost completely at peace with my situation as a missionary. 

LECCION 2: Don´t shut out the shut-outs. Please. We visited Miguel a second time (the one without legs), and talked to him about his life. We shared a brief message, but mostly we were just trying to get to know him. At one point, he pulled out his old, beat up guitar an played us a BEAUTIFUL mexican ballad. Turns out, he´s got an amazing voice. We sang along as best as we could, enjoying his talent in his quiet (and tiny) little corner of the universe. Just goes to show that everybody is special, and when you take the time to realize that, you´re left with these wonderful memories and relationships.


I´m gonna cut the lessons short today. Sorry guys. Time budgeting is a thing and I´ve got like ten minutes. I´ve been asked to include a few day-to-day details, because I tend to wax a little philisophical and leave out names and places and other things that you want to  know.

  • We´re teaching these two kids named Pablo and Julian. They like to skate. We joke around and treat them like pals because that´s how they relate. They seem super enthusiastic to learn about the Gospel, which is awesome, of course. I don´t know how many youth in America want to sit down and deliberately talk about religion. X)
  • We found a guy named Miguel Angel (different Miguel) and, before our first appointment, he read to JACOB in the Book of Mormon, which is more than the members will do a lot of times!! Haha. Seriously, this is what they mean when they say our job is to look for the CHOSEN ones. 
  • We set up an appointment with a taxista who had a vision....? I wouldn´t be surprised if he was drunk. The people here luuuurve their 5 o´clock. (and their 5:00 is all day). But here´s to hoping.
  • We´re teaching these two little girls named Frida and Rosa to read. Their wonderful spirits, but MAN, they get distracted easily. It´s a good opportunity, though, to learn a little Spanish from their workbooks.  
There´s way more to tell, but alas, the time has come. Like I said, you can interrogate me about it in a couple years if you´d like X) 

Love all of you. Each and every one.

Elder Carson

TONS of cool grafitti here - but it bugs my OCD that someone colored the eye of the tiger completely white.... 

Poverty, yo.

Wealth, yo.

Our neybuh-hood.

Our church building. Ward: Chac Mool

Behind the church. Basquetbol. That was this morning. I didn´t know it was possible to sweat so much...

After playing, we all went into this room in the church where the air-conditioning units are. Ahhhhhhhhhh..... I forgot what cold is.