Monday, January 30, 2017

Week 10 in the field (DOUBLE DIGITZZZ)

Helloooo my glorious friends, neighbors, and acquaintences (spelling?), 

This week has been a week of change and a week of learning. Lots of good experiences, and (fortunately) not too many bad ones! 

LECCION DE LA SEMANA: Optimism brings a happiness that transcends the challenges we face in life. DON´T ROLL YOUR EYES IF I´VE ALREADY TOLD YOU THIS BEFORE, because this time the message isn´t coming from my experience, but what I saw in an old less-active member we visited. 

The guy´s name is Margarito. For many years, he worked in construction and had a lot of success in his job. He was one of the guys who climbs up some giant, tall machine and uses it to move big pieces of hardware around. One day, in his tower, his body had a freak reaction to something (who knows), and without warning, he lost his sight. Everything went red. Imagine that. He had to call for help, panicked, to get down from the machine and to a hospital. They had no idea what happened. 

With time and some sort of laser therapy, he was able to regain 20% of his vision. One eye sees color-blurs, and the other sees a relatively-clear black-and-white image. If it were me, I would go nuts. But from the time he opened the door to the time we said hasta luego, he had the biggest smile on his face. He laughed after almost every part of his story, and thanked God about a hundred times for the 20% vision he had. He said he´s found a passion teaching at the University of Chicago, where he travels periodically. I can only hope to find the happiness that I saw in his face. 


We had a broadcast - all the missionaries in the world - where they changed a few things about the mission. We now have more flexibility in our schedule. We can study when we choose and our planning session takes place in the morning. We can choose to go to bed an HOUR EARLY. We also have a whoppin TWO HOURS more of PDay, which is super significant. It means we´ll actually have time to play basketball with the zone in addition to the normal, weekly tasks X) 

I tested a "water initiative" where I planned, each day, several points in which I would drink a bottle of water. The result is that I feel more energized and more talkative in basically all situations. So, yeah, that´s a keeper. 

I realized this week how great an example Mexico is for people like me who eventually want to start their own business. THERE ARE SO MANY SELF-STARTERS HERE! They start from basically zero - a bike and the ability to make bread - and they slowly work up to opening stores, 
internet cafés, and other services. I´m taking careful note of the fundamental principles, you better believe it. 

We worked a lot this week with the members, and it was a success! Specifically, we worked with members to help them plan their own activities with neighbors and friends in which we, the missionaries, can be introduced. We found six new investigators and fixed several baptismal dates!

Even with the new investigators, it´s difficult to have a turnout at church. We´re trying to adapt better to each member of each family to help them understand the importance of church attendance, but even so, we had one investigator out of the TEN we focused on show up. Oh Marvel, how we love you and your sweet family! It´s a manifestation of the agency we all have, I suppose! The work continues!

Speaking of Marvel, we started teaching her kids, Luis and Blanca, this week! While helping Marvel and Paul with the details of their marriage, we´re catching the youngsters up on the lessons. They´re wonderful. 

I got ROULETTE-PICKED for a talk on Sunday! The bishop noticed that the speaker hadn´t showed up, at which point he looked over at me, smiled, and pointed to the pulpit. Mayyyybe not so random. That was fun, though. I talked about obedience and the members said it was great and surprisingly organized, so I´m happy XD 

That´s the news for this week, folks! Tune in next time for the latest Cancún drama, funny puns (the odds don´t look too good), and FREE CANDY (forget it). 

Elder Carson


Elder Melena re-enacting my legendary fall. Adam and Eve got NUTTIN on that one. 

I thought the view was interesting. Life is different, here, in it´s own special way.

..... I´m different in my own special way.... 

Who´s that? He´s right behind you! It´s SHIA LEBOUF!!! 

Week 9 in the field!!

Hello all yall goofballs!

This week was great, and there were lots of interesting bits, so I'll get right to it. 

LECCION DE LA SEMANA: So, I told you I'd report on the goal we set last week to talk with more people in the street, and guess what? THE LORD BLESSES US FOR THE SMALL THINGS. We reached the goal several days in a row, and as a result we had more lessons, more investigators, and more baptismal dates (and more sueño! woo! good sign!). The truth is, very few of those little successes came from the contacting, itself, but the difference in performance was undeniable. At times, the Lord asks us to do things that seem silly so that He can bless us. 

"Really? You wan't me to go without food or water for 24 hours? What for?" Truth is, the Lord isn't looking to starve us with the fast, but it's a way that we can show Him our willingness to obey. 

"Really? You want me to pay 1/10 of my earnings to the church? What for?" Equally, the Lord has no need for our tithing to accomplish His purposes, but it's a way to show our gratitude for what He has given us.

Think of a commandment of which you have questioned the value and dedicate yourself this week to living that commandment better than you have been. I promise the Lord will make it worth your while. 


HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY BERTIE, YOU DA ROOTIE TOOT TOOT! Have lots of fun (and candy) and give momma lots of hugs for me!!!!


We had a day that I will hereby remember as "Code Red Day" - not sure what happened, but President Reynoso called us and told us to hold up in the casa FOR THE WHOLE DAY. WOO! It was a little boring not to have work, if I'm being honest, but we studied a lot and I had the chance to do a lot of writing! I finished my first journal written completely in the mission and started a new (bigger) one. 

I did my first stress-management review of the mish! It was fun, actually - I was able to look at all the areas in which I find myself stressing out a lot and read through lists of suggestions to help me with each part. I felt super relaxed afterward! Also, it has me trying a "progressive relaxation exercise" every night and each time I do it I feel like Buddha.

We had a coordination meeting with our ward mission leader, Hno. Rolando, and at the end, he asked me to give the prayer IN ENGLISH. I've never had such a hard time with a prayer in my life. Not even when I was first learning Spanish, because I wasn't expecting to do well. I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT WORDS TO SAY, GUYS. I mean, it means I'm immersing myself in the language, which is good, but really.... scary.... Elder Walch, the other gringo, was there, and I'm sure he thought it was hilarious.

We found a family of four kids and all but the youngest (who's not 8 yet) and the dad (who was working) agreed to be baptized on the 24th of February! They had such a good time in the lesson, and at the end, one of the little boys, named Yael, asked us if we could come back the next day!! The family is Yara (mom), Samuel (dad), Kevin, Aaron, Yael, and little Yaime. 

While in a lesson with Abel and his sister, Arely, I was explaining that Arely, due to her age, would be interviewed for baptism by the bishop instead of another elder. She didn't know what a bishop was, so in an attempt to describe him as the father of the ward, I tenderly told her that she would be interviewed by a potato. We all died laughing.

We had a lesson with Marvel and her spouse, Paul, about the Law of Chastity and, as it turns out, they're just living together. But before we could even respond when they told us, Paul spoke up and said, "well, Marvel, looks like we're getting married!" Ahhhhhh.... burden relieved. That was a super happy lesson. Marvel told us that shes convinced of the truth of our message, and after that, she showed up for all three hours of church WITH her non-member cousins on Sunday!! Woo!! More people to teach!

I felt like we should pass by the house of someone we had contacted in the street, and to our surprise, they let us in and we had a lesson with the mom and the kids. They didn't take it super well because they're mega-Catholic, but they said we're welcome in the house whenever we have time to come back. That's not the funny part, though - the mom offered us some flavored water, which is very normal, and we started sipping... interesting, I'd never tried this flavor before... I looked over at E. Melena and his eyes got all wide. He pointed to the counter (subtly), where a giant box of BLACK TEA was sitting open....... Oops. We had to explain awkwardly Word of Wisdom stuff, which set a weird tone for the lesson and yeah.... at least I know what the stuff looks / tastes like now..... 

We accidentally shut off the water for a whole apartment building while trying to lend service to a menos-activo member.... also a little awkward, but fortunately the neighbors were nice and helpful. 

That's all for this week, folks! As always, I love receiving your letters and hearing your thoughts. Stay righteous my friends!

Elder Carson 


​Eating a food-sandal.

​When you find a cat meme in real life. The one on the left is saying "ETEEEERRRRNAALLL MARRRIAGE"

​"Welcome to the jungle"

​This was a fun little adventure.

​"One thumbs-up increases voter loyalty by 12% - double thumbs-up makes it 27%"

Monday, January 16, 2017

Week 8 in the field!!! I think!

Estimados amigos, 

This week I´m comin’ to ya from the grand area of PALMAS 2, which is grand both in support from members and in physical size... whew. I want to thank you all for your letters and support - it means a lot!

LECCION DE LA SEMANA: Aim for the center!! Maybe you´ve already read the Liahona of the month and done your home teaching, but I thought the message from President Uchtdorf was really awesome. ESPECIALLY as a missionary. Actually, I´d even call it an answer to a prayer, because I´ve been trying to mentally juggle all the novelties that come with working a new area as missionaries FRESH as the ocean wind.

There are good things, better things, and best things. As Jesus taught, the BEST thing we can do is to love our God with all our being. The next best thing is to love our neighbor with equal effort. As I go along this next week, it is my goal to calm the storm of my mind and simply ask myself, "does what I´m doing right now show God that I love him? Does it show those I serve that I love them?"

I know your lives are also crazy. That´s just how it is sometimes. But if you hold onto these two commandments, I can promise you that the Lord will deliver in all of the other aspects of life. I can already feel His calming influence in my service.


We set FIVE baptismal dates this week!! I feel great! It´s because the hermanas who were here before had a bunch of investigators that, for some reason, had not been offered the invitation. It was a simple matter of visiting each one, introducing ourselves warmly, having a brief lesson about faith and being very clear about our purpose. I love hearing those "yes"es! The people here are very humble and ready to follow their Savior.

One of those five, a ten-year-old named Abel, CAME TO CHURCH WOOOO EVEN BETTER!!! It´s the first time in my mission that someone I´ve taught has followed through with that particular commitment, thus entering the "progressing investigators" section of the area book! I´m not counting Gabby because she already thought she was a member XD

Anyway, Abel has a TON of excitement about the church. He loves soccer, his family, and hymns! We always sing when we have lessons with him. Also, his mom is an inactive member. Her knowledge of the Gospel (and her support for Abel) is invaluable.

E. Melena fell in a manhole full of water!! It was kinda funny, to be honest, ESPECIALLY after he laughed when I hit my head last week, but we had to return to the house and reschedule an appointment, which was a bit of a bummer. He was a good sport and he, too, had a good laugh after the fact.

We had a zone conference for the month of January where we set the goal to talk with 15 people in the street each day!! That´s a lot for what we´re used to as a mission, but the point was that as we show the Lord we´re willing to do the small things, He will do the big things. Tal vez next week I´ll report on how it goes for us - so far, I´m loving it!

We passed two guys in the street pouring a cement patio and suddenly, without really intending to, I offered to help them. It was a surprise (because we were on our way to visit someone we had contacted in the street), but the bigger surprise was that they said YES! No one agrees to let us help!!! It was awesome and we got our clothes all dirty, but I think they appreciated the help. Also, they agreed to visit with us later on. Their names are Domingo and Antonio. When we called the person we were going to visit, they told us that they weren´t even home that day, anyway. So, I guess that counts as a tender mercy X)

Ate some really good meatballs, yo. Reeeaaaalllllyy good. Members are the best.


MEMBERS FEED US TOO MUCH, YO. They call this, "mal de puerco"

Our rush to pack after being told to get ourselves to Palmas. Notice that not one bit of food was left behind.

 The view from the new house! Farther from the beach, closer to the jungle.

 This bread is called "rozca" - they hide little porcelain dolls inside when they bake it, and everybody takes turns cutting their slice. If your piece has a doll, you have to buy tamales for everyone sometime in February.

That's.... that´s the bread, folks. Also, that´s what you get for being too tall, Elder Walch!!

".... and Vladmir collects ceramic uuunniiiiiicooooooorrrrnnnnnns" *clink*
(I got the doll.... twice. Sigh.)

Week 7 in the field!

Okay, people, this one´s interesting. 

Lot´s of stuff happened, but I´m typing on a rather sticky keyboard, so we´ll see how much I get out. 

LECCION DE LA SEMANA: ALWAYS pray to have the strength to follow the guidance of the Lord. Aligning your will with the Lord´s is a lot harder when you don´t expect to have to. This week, after I told you all that we were going to stay in the area Chac Mool 1, there were emergency changes, putting E. Melena and I in Palmas 2 - just about the biggest area in the zone. It´s the first time either of us has changed, so neither of us really knew what to do. In addition, we said rushed goodbyes to our investigators, which was surprisingly difficult. I think I had put it solidly in my mind that we were going to stay another 6 weeks, and for that reason, it was much harder to get the phone call. 

Now, we´re here, adjusting, and still loving the missionary work. But who knows what the Lord will ask us to do next? Next time, I´m going to be better prepared!! :D I hope all of you, too, will include in your prayers a request to be sensitive to the will of the Lord and strong enough to follow it. When you do so, the Lord will magnify you and show you where He wants you to go and what He wants you to do. Your life will be blessed. 


There´s been some unrest in Mexico!! Gasoline prices are on the rise and apparently people in Mexico City have been protesting and getting crazy. SO, the presidency of the church over Mexico sent out new regulations. We have to be in the house by 9:00 at the LATEST. We also have to avoid shopping malls and gas stations if at all possible. I also suspect that this is the reason for the emergency change. Palmas 2 is a little more dangerous than Chac Mool and I imagine President Reynoso didn´t want the Hermanas here. 

I got sick!!! Woohoo! First time in the mish - I managed to survive almost three months without the bug, but when it came, it came! I had a night that was comically bad.... let´s not talk about that. I´m taking medicine now and it´s helping.

On our first day in the new area, we were doing a bit of exploring and it started pouring. DUMPING CATS AND DOGS AND ELEPHANTS. I was a bit preoccupied with not stepping in potholes full of water that I didn´t pay attention to the top of a goal post at head-height. WHAM. Oh, it was glorious to watch, I´m sure. I went airborne and landed in a puddle like the cartoon-iest of cartoons. It hurt, but I was too busy thinking of how I could relate that to the Gospel afterwards to care... 

That same night, we were walking back to the house when a man called to us. It looked safe and well-lit where he was, so we went over to him. Turns out, this guy (named Jorge) was a recent investigator of the hermanas who just left! They didn´t leave us with any way to contact him (no teaching record) so it was a tender mercy that he found us!

Jeremías (de Chac Mool) accepted a baptismal date the day before we left for Palmas! Woohoo! Now it´s up to the Hermanas (previously here in Palmas) to follow up. If he keeps progressing, we´ll get to see him again! Because E. Melena is the District Leader and so he´ll do the interview. 

Annnnnd once again, everyone, we´re in a place that won´t accept my SD card, sooo I´m gonna have to think about what to do about pictures.... I may have to lend the card to a member so they can send photos. But for the meantime, I guess I´m the faceless Elder!

Love you all. Keep pressing forward and the Lord will provide. 

Elder Carson.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Week 6 In The Field

Mah dearest friends n family n stuff, 

I hope you have all enjoyed your holidays and eaten far too much candy and made some good memories. I sure have! 

LECCION DE LA SEMANA: DON´T DO WHAT DOESN´T WORK. This week, I went on exchanges for the first time. I went with one of our zone leaders, E. Walch, who also happens to be a gringo. It was probably one of the most enlightening experiences of the mission so far! I learned that there are many MANY different kinds of missionaries and that all are valid so long as they take the necessary steps to have the spirit with them always. 

In every area, you need to adapt. Every area has it´s strengths and weaknesses. E. Walch explained to me that if you spend your time repeatedly doing things that don´t work hoping that eventually they will, then you are embodying the definition of crazy. That reminded me of my dad. 

It´s true, though, in all aspects of life. We can´t expect results if we fall into habits that don´t bring results. The hard part is deliberately changing our behavior to experiment and find the best methods to accomplish what we need to accomplish. That, and constantly keeping track of the things that do and don´t work (because often times, we don´t even realize that we have bad habits). 


While on exchanges, we went to a certain house to follow up with a street-contact. There was a man there (family of the contact), and we talked for a while. He wasn´t that interested, but we talked until his family (and the original contact) arrived, and they brought a TON of energy and excitement to the conversation!! Everybody was out on the patio listening attentively, asking questions, and accepting committments. They even brought us cheesecake. It felt like a sermon on the mount sorta deal. XD

Miguel left us :( That´s right, we didn´t leave him - he left us. He saw us passing by one evening and told us to come inside for a few minutes, in which he explained that he understands our purpose and the sacredness of baptism, but it´s not something he is prepared to do at this point in his life. He told us that we should dedicate our time to others and continue sharing what we know. It was pretty sad, because I saw his Book of Mormon and it´s marked all the way up to Moroni 10 - he really studied that thing, but I suppose this just isn´t his time. We´re continuing to pray for him and we plan to pass by once in a while to share brief messages and see how he´s doing. 

On the other hand, we passed by Cristina´s house again. She wasn´t there, but her mom was, and she told us to come back on Tuesday. She said she was going to invite her friends and family to listen to us!! Woohoo! We´ve got high hopes for tomorrow. Also, the last time, I accidentally left my Bible in their house, and Cristina´s mom told us that Cristina´s been reading it intently! She really does believe that we´ve come into her life for a purpose - I only hope and pray that we can live up to that responsibility.

We got the news about transfers, annnnnnd IM STAYING HERE WOOOOO!! I´m pretty happy about that, actually, because of the latest promising investigators... also, I got permission to have a coding class with some interested youth, so that´s something I can attempt during these six weeks if they continue to be interested.

New Year´s was great! We had to be in the house by 6:00, but that was great because it meant time to write, read, study, and sleep. Truth be told, though, we didn´t sleep that much on New Year´s. The fireworks were INSANELY loud and, due to the circumstances in our house, we have to have the window open to hang both of our hammocks... also, everybody here likes to blast music on their giant speakers XD. 

BISHOP MOFFAT VISITED ME!!! WOO!! It was such a great surprise. He delivered my Christmas package (THANK YOU FAMILY I LOVE YOU YOU´RE THE BEST) and gave me a big hug and it just awesome. My only regret is that I forgot to get a picture!! 

That´s it for this week, guys. Unfortunately, I can´t send photos this time because we´re in a cafe where the machines don´t have SD slots and it´s not recognizing my USB cord..... GRR. Next time. 

I love all of you! I can tell you that there´s no greater blessing in our lives than the Gospel. Embrace it, and you will feel the loving embrace of our Heavenly Father. Live it, and the Lord will give your life more purpose. Share it, and He will share with you the blessings of eternal life and happiness. 

Until next week!

Elder Carson