Monday, December 18, 2017
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!
Posted by Jason Carson at 2:32 PM
Monday, December 11, 2017
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!
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!
Posted by Jason Carson at 9:49 AM
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.
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.
Elder Erickson - Ready for Rain
Zona Playa del Carmen!!!!
Posted by Jason Carson at 9:44 AM
Monday, November 27, 2017
SO MANY THINGS TO TALK ABOUT.
- I had my 20th birthday. I thank you all sincerely for sending me good wishes. I hope you all receive (edible) blessings for that.
- I had an appointment in the Immigration offices in Cancun that I forgot until the night before. I think I broke a world record getting from our house to the mission offices. 50 minutes.
- CONFERENCE AND LEADERSHIP COUNCIL WITH ELDER PINO OF THE SEVENTY.
- Marlon’s baptism!!!!!
... and much more. BUT I wanted to write you all personally, so I used up my time... O.o
I hope you all have a blessed week.
Elder Carson (Your favorite Mexican-boy missionary)
Posted by Jason Carson at 12:03 PM
Monday, November 20, 2017
I never thought I’d have to put on my "deal or no deal" face, but Sister Reynoso told me to do just that with the owner of our house. The owner didn’t want to accept responsibility for some pre-existing damage, so I had to pull out the receipts, call other missionaries, aannnnnnnnnndddd LOTS of other fun stuff.
Remember. Everyone is a child of God. Deep breaths.
More than mundane details, this week was FULL of miracles!!! Elder del Toro and I found THREE complete families (father, mother, children), and one of them went to church without any help. It was one of the happiest feelings when I saw them all getting out of their taxi dressed up Sunday-style. The dad’s name is Rodolfo, and the mom is Rosi. They have angelic qualities, honestly.
We also taught Pablo and his family. After teaching somewhat of a mix between the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation, he said, "well I don’t know about my family, but I’ve already decided to go through with this." Awesome. The family was a referral from a member in Cancun.
During an activity with the Relief Society, we were able to get 23 referrals in 20 minutes. The sisters were super excited to tell us about their friends and family who are "probably ready" to accept the Gospel! We told them to bring their friends to church while we work to set formal appointments with all of them. XD
ANND as part of the Christmas program we’re organizing, we talked to the councilor in the stake presidency about options for food. He said "I’m so glad you came to my family to ask about this. We’ve wanted to give a gift to the missionaries for many years now. We’ll make all 28 of you dinner, and we’ll bring you piñatas to break, too."
*jaw drop caused by pure generosity* That’s pioneer-calibur faith and devotion there.
Anyway, I’m happy, and the Christmas spirit is here (in rain-form instead of snow). I hope this week is an excellent week for all of you. May you all be showered with buckets of fun and blessings.
Posted by Jason Carson at 1:34 PM
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Things are very very VERY wet here in Playa del Carmen!!! We’ve had a ton of rain, to the point that E. del Toro and I took off our ponchos because they weren’t helping much. We got wet, but it was fun and we sang himns loudly as we walked to our appointments.
I thought it was touching this week to see how some neighborhood kids helped a new member family. They had just come down from Veracruz to make a living, but their new house didn’t have ANYTHING - electricity, water, gas, NADA. We rallied up some ten-year-olds on the same street, and they came ever-so willingly to help us clean the front yard by cutting the grass, collecting stray garbage, and stuffing the yard-waste in trash bags. As a result, we have FOUR different families of references to contact! The Lord blesses us when we work together with our brothers and sisters to "bring to pass much righteousness."
We’re working hard to train the Elders and Sisters of the zone. We did a small study of their teaching-skills by inviting recent-converts to pretend to be investigators while we observed with a criteria sheet. Then, we visited their areas to help them based on their needs. Our goal is that each companionship learns to teach like the sons of Mosiah, with "power and authority".
Elder Pino, of the Area Presidency, is coming down on the 22nd of this month for a special conference. We’re preparing the missionaries to behave like adults so that the wrath of President Reynoso doesn’t descend upon them. We are also responsible for organizing the Christmas program for Playa and Cozumel - Himns, talks, theatre??, piñatas, food, etc. Lots of details to put in order, but it’s gonna be FUN! Anyone who says the mission isn’t fun... hasn’t come down to the Cancún México Mission!
I’m super happy. You guys have inspired me day by day to be better and ACHIEVE MORE. Life is an incredible opportunity that God has given us, and every day should be filled with love and with the Spirit. These two things can exist despite hardships. I hope this week treats you all well.
My companion was full of the Spirit when the gringos arrived.
Birthday party with investigator family!! Estas soooolas mañanitas....
Making trophies for the Zone... dundies!!
Posted by Jason Carson at 10:25 AM
Monday, October 30, 2017
That’s something to be very grateful for. I’m proud to say that I’ve put "calender-watching" behind me, and I’ve come to deeply appreciate every day of my mission. No two days are alike - when we follow the promptings of the Spirit, He guides us to new places and new people who need the light of the Gospel.
I liked this quote from Elder Holland:
I feel small, sometimes, when I think of what God and my Mission President expect of me, but I know that by doing everything I can and relying on the Savior, He will transform me and make me capable of the task at hand.
Economic / cultural questions! :D
Q: How do most people live where you are? Is there much affluence? Poverty?
A: There are many people who can’t afford to put their kids in school. That’s the most notable thing for me, because it’s a destructive cycle - without an education, it will be much harder for the kids to put THEIR kids in school, and so on throughout the generations.
On the other hand, there are plenty of people who obviously have a lot more than I ever did, despite economic differences between America and Mexico. Where I live is like the "California" of Mexico - everyone comes to start their business and find their niche.
Q: How are homes different in Mexico versus Other places you have lived?
A: I feel "one" with the jungle in my home here. I have four walls, but I don’t feel insulated from nature like I do in the states. Everything is cement, there are cockroaches, and in a flood, the water would easily enter the house and bring garbage/dirt with it.
BUT if we think in terms of what really makes a home home, things are excellent. The members are loving and the family is everything to them.
Q: Have your "American" views changed in light of living outside of your own culture?
A: I have lost my appetite for "things", really. I don’t care much about having a big house or a big lawn anymore - I’ve seen how these people get along, and it makes me realize that humility brings out the best in people. My career will be more focused on what I want to learn and accomplish in the world rather than "making it big".
Hna. Amparo - she was doubting her baptismal date just one week before, but we had an excellent lesson with the her and the Ward Mission Leader that convinced her.
Lil´ Fernando. The kid´s smarter than I am.
Posted by Jason Carson at 10:39 AM
Sunday, October 22, 2017
Things are gettin WEIRD here! I had begun to think that I was Zone Leader of the Twilight Zone.
LECCIÓN DE LA SEMANA: Opposition is real, folks. That’s what I have to say. Allow me to list some strange occurrences that have (coincidentally?) preceded our six-person baptismal service today:
- Some elders saw demons in their house and we had to go rescue the two of them at 1:00am with President’s first councilor (who lives close to us).
- Yesterday morning, other elders woke up to find their house flooded to KNEE LEVEL.... it hardly even rained that day....
- Several elders and sisters suddenly got sick.
- Some loco started calling the sister missionaries and making threats.
More questions, because that was fun :D
Q: What have you learned about Mexican culture that you think is really interesting?
A: They don’t shy away from expressing their thoughts. It’s funny (and endearing) when they say things like, "not to brag, but I’m basically the best chef here in this neighborhood," or, "which one of your companions are we talking about, the chubby one or the one who looks like skin and bones?" And nobody gets offended!
Q: What have you learned to live without?
A: Tech. The mission is the best Facebook there is, because we see more faces and read more books than ANYONE :D That, and the mountains. I always used them (and Siri) to help me with my terrible sense of direction.
Q: How have your social skills developed?
A: I’m not afraid of talking to people or expressing an opinion that might not be popular. I ENJOY being social. I’m more direct when something needs to be done. I’ve learned to be more humble and trust the judgment of others (when the situation is appropriate). I embrace the idea of making decisions based on correct principles. I talk openly with President and with my companions about problems. Among other little things. I’m still an awkward turtle with phone calls.
Q: What does a typical day as a zone leader look like?
A: It’s more improv! We do our planning as normal, but then the elders and sisters start calling us and we have to go on splits and do 3 things at once. Lots of technical problems come out of the woodwork (things I talked about above) and we have to communicate a lot of stuff to the assistents and to President. We end the day talking with the District Leaders about the challenges they’re facing and how we can help them, etc. In short: more craziness.
Q: What do you do for fun or to just relax and destress on a daily basis?
A: I bought a giant new journal with blank pages (instead of lines). I’ve been combining my love for doodling with my somewhat-obsessive need to reflect in 4K-clarity the mission experience in a journal, and those 10-15 per day prove critical for my sanity. :)
Keep sending questions! I love knowing what you want to know!! There are so many things that happen in the field, it’s hard to keep track until someone reminds me!! I love you all and hope you have an excellent 9 days beating the adversary and achieving your goals.
This week, I feel like doing something different. I’ve gotten several requests to talk a little bit about daily items - things that compose my life here in the Misión México Cancún.
So, for some FAQs (which my parents kindly put in a list for me):
Q: What do you eat most of the time??
A: MEAT. The members are incredible and save money during the week so that they can give us the best food México has to offer. Some dishes to look up: Pozole Rojo, Tamales, Chile Relleno, Mole Dulce, Chicharrón con Chile Verde, Empanadas con salsa picante. They’re some of my favorites!
Q: Will you be able to live without Mexican food?
Q: What’s the weather like?
A: It’s always hot and humid, with an occasional breeze (that’s a blessing when it comes). There’s sporadic rain showers on a weekly basis. I got used to it within a month and now it hardly bothers me.
Q: What are the people like?
A: Angels. Or drunkards. Sometimes both! It’s a very family-oriented, Christian culture here. Lots of people say "God bless you!" when we walk by. We can sit down and start talking with a stranger and he will happily engage in casual conversation with us.
They’re also very superstitious, which leads to some minor cases of apostasy which we lovingly correct.
Q: Do you get grumpy?
A: Like all people, yes. But ask a member what Elder Carson looks like and they’ll do a goofy grin (with double thumbs-up). I don’t think a grumpy missionary leaves a good image with the people.
Q: Do you get to play the piano?
A: Sometimes, while we’re waiting for a baptismal service to start, I play a little prelude. But that’s about it!
Q: How many miles do you walk per day?
A: What’s a "mile"? I think I walk some 15 kilometers per day.
Q: Do you spend a lot of time in hot, crazy busses?
A: Ha! Yes, but that’s one of the best places to contact because the people have to listen to you for at least 5-10 minutes.... BWAHAHA
Q: How much of your time are you spending on exchanges?
A: I try to get to know the investigators of the zone. Depending how many the Elders and Sisters find in a given week, I may spend more or less time out of my area.
Q: Are your experiences making you rethink your work aspirations?
A: If by that you mean I may open up a small Mexican restaurant to compliment my other work, si. I think I’ve read the scriptures and my patriarchal blessing enough to know that I need to always prioritize my family and my calling in the church.
What did you think??? If you guys have more questions for me, I would love to answer them! These letters are for YOU, so tell me what you want to hear! :D I love you all. You have wonderful lives and wonderful experiences that you share with me each week. Thank you for uplifting me every Monday.
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
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
What a wonderful, stormy day!
We’re entering September now, and that’s rainy season on this side of the Yucatan peninsula. Things are great, actually - I enjoy the chance to (literally) cool down.
LECCIÓN DE LA SEMANA: There’s no time in this life for negativity!!
I went on splits with an old dude (Hno. Cortéz) on the high council assigned to missionary work in Bacalar. It was a LOT of fun, and I think it was because the guy didn’t speak ONE WORD of negativity the whole time. Personally, I didn’t even realize how optimistic a person can be until that moment.
Lots of people his age don’t leave the house or spend all day sleeping, but because of his attitude, he’s been able to fill his time with productive things. He’s taking cooking classes, getting licensed to open a barber shop, and always putting God (and his calling) first!
I don’t know about you guys, but I would would like to be so happy when I get old. :D
- We did LOTS of splits with the elders of Chetumal this week! On one of my favorites, we caught the (rebellious) son of a desperate mother in JUST the right moment to start teaching him, and the message of the Atonement really struck him. THE (big, tough, tattoed) DUDE CRIED. It was a very spiritual moment. Cool stuff.
- Some baptismal dates fell through in our area and in the zone - we’re working on a training for the zone about how to retain those investigators better.
- We ate in the house of some... very well-off members, and their son wanted VERY BADLY to show us his toys. He would fit perfectly in Comic-Con, to put it shortly.
I’m gonna cut it short for now because time’s a little thin! I love you all and hope that, with the start of the semester, you’re all working hard and doing your homework. Whether it’s that, your career, or your family, remember to ALWAYS keep a positive attitude!!! The Lord blesses those who refrain from murmuring!!
(Next time, I’ll show you the photo of that kid’s insane Kylo Ren lightsaber... :DDD)
WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT!
And by that I mean, we didn’t get ANYTHING of the hurricane! I was all ready to see some lightning and thunder and wind and stuff, but all that came was LIGHT RAIN!
Oh well. I didn’t come here to be in an action movie. ;D
LECCIÒN DE LA(S) SEMANA(S): Fill your life with the word of God!!! The assistants came to live with us for about four days this past week, and with five people in the house (as you can imagine) it was somewhat easy to get distracted talking and telling stories. I soon found that we were losing too much time, and I felt bad about it, so I made a commitment with God to fill the little gaps of time reading the Book of Mormon. WHAT A DIFFERENCE I SAW! I was more prepared in our lessons, I set baptismal dates, got references, and (quite possibly) made a really good impression on our leaders!
I can bear my personal testimony that the impact of a consistent study of the Book of Mormon goes far beyond the letters on the page. It provides us with knowledge, teaches us wisdom, and fills us with the light of Christ.
- I got new companions! Elder Mun is on the downhill (he leaves in October) but he continues being a great example of hard work and dedication. He’s from Oaxaca, Mexico. Elder Tello (that’s right, we’re in a trio), is from Argentina, and is a great teacher of the Gospel. He’s got a way of accomplishing everything he says he will, and I admire him for it.
- The Leadership Council was postponed two days (for the storm that never came), so we had to cancel a bunch of appointments to make way for the travel. the good part is that Elder Tello was able to stay behind with other missionaries and cover the majority of the appointments.
- Elder CarLson went home with honor! And he left me a tie in the offices, which was cool.
- We had a lunch appointment with our bishop, in which I learned that he’s a network programmer with experience in Space Agency systems!!! Anyone who knows me could guess that (after fanboy-ing a little) I took notes of his information so that later on we can talk space. :D
- I did another baptismal interview for an investigator of some sister missionaries in our zone! It was my second time. She was super prepared, so there were no complications. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to attend the service, but I felt happy for their success anyway!
- We set a baptismal date with Juan, the brother of one of our former investigators. Previously, he hadn’t wanted to listen to us, but he went to his aunt’s house on Sunday, all dressed up, and told her, "I want to go to church. Will you bring me??" Turns out he’s a great (and smart) kid. He understood everything from our first lesson without problems!
- I TURNED 10 MONTHS OLD IN THE MISSION :D
Well, that’s all for now. Over these last two weeks, there were plenty of things to talk about, but y’all know the drill - give me 14 months and we’ll have a nice conversation around the fire with a cup o’ chocolate.
I invite all of you to participate with me in reading the Book of Mormon in your spare moments. Carry it around in your backpack. Have the strength of the Lord with you always. I promise you that you’ll find a greater and more meaningful happiness in your life.
His name is Esau. He`s a champ.
I was gonna take a picture of our Burger King splurge, but I ate everything too fast... O.o
A thoughtful gift from the former assistent (and name-twin).
Saying goodbye to my bruddah from a different muddah!! He`s off to Cozumel to enjoy the beach ;D
Yuri got baptized!! :D Elder Mun is the one who looks Korean, E. Tello is the other.
Our buddy Jahir. He just needs to get married, yo.
It`s a grape-like fruit with a shell that looks weird.