Monday, May 22, 2017

Week 26 in the field!!!!!

Man, the weeks are FLYIN’!
This week was a little slow on the numbers side of things, but I’m focusing on what really matters - the people - and I feel good about what we’ve done.
LECCIÓN DE LA SEMANA: It’s what you do in your spare time that counts. This is something I’m learning little by little through experience - that preparation is EVERYTHING. Preach My Gospel talks about a lot of things that we should do while we’re teaching (ask for referrals, ask questions, invite members to lessons) and we like to hyper-focus on these things, but I’ve seen a lot of missionaries who leave the house of their investigators and immediately start to behave inappropriately. As a result, it doesn’t matter what they do in their lessons - they misbehave in the street, the Spirit isn’t there while they teach, and their investigators don’t FEEL the message the way they should. No Spirit - no success.

What we do in our spare time reflects our true desires. If you spend a whole day teaching a class about the importance of the family only to come home and spend the afternoon on Facebook, what are you really saying about your family?

This week, I’m going to try and schedule an appointment during PDay. That’s oe of my committments to show God I really want to share the Gospel. I invite all of you to make a change in your lives to fill your spare time with the things you REALLY care about.  

I FINISHED THE BOOK OF MORMON CHALLENGE! It was awesome!!! I started reading on the 1st of February, highlighting the names of Christ in red and doctrines in blue, and I finished on Tuesday of last week. I was filled with a desire to repent of all the things I’ve skimped on and re-dedicate myself to be the best missionary I can be.

Marbel called us on Wednesday and asked us to go and give her a blessing! It was a great opportunity to serve. She’s starting a new business so that she can be more self-sufficient, and she’s worried that it’ll go badly. The Lord promised her that she could have success to the measure of her faithfulness and dedication to His commandments.
MIRIAM SEPARATED FROM HER BOYFRIEND. After we taught about the Law of Chastity, she talked it over with her boyfriend and, concluding that he was unwilling to have a temple-worthy relationship, chose to separate! That means that she can get baptized!!!! :D
We played basketball with the young men!! It was super fun and refreshing. Pdays are awesome!
Thank you all for your love and support. This week, I hope to get lots of emails about how you’re demonstrating your sincere desires to God!!! He will shape your lives to give you more happiness than you ever thought possible.
Elder Carson

No photos this week....... forgot my camera.... hasta la próxima!

Week 25 in the field!!!!!

Hey, week 25! That’s a quarter of 100! And that’s important because..... I said so!

Ahh, friends, what a pleasure it is to write you again this rainy Monday in Cancún. I have loved every second of this hard, hot week because I can see the mission shaping and redefining the man (child-at-heart) that I will be following my return. I hope you have all had such a wonderful experience as I. 

LECCIÓN DE LA SEMANA: Work closely with those you can trust. I know, I know, it sounds like a business tip, but I’d say it applies to just about every aspect of life, including the spiritual, so I’m gonna go ahead and share it. 

There have been various phases of the work here in Palmas, during the 3.5 transfers that I have spent here, but one of the most impressive things I’ve seen happened this last week in the private-residence area Chacah. We began by visiting the Sandoval family, who we consider to be one of our "anchor" families, because they don’t let anything impede their progress in the Gospel. We trust them, becuase when they say they’re going to do something, they DO IT. We scheduled an appointment with one of their friends, and it went SUPER. We were able to teach about the Restoration, and the sister accepted a baptismal date! 

But that’s not where things went nuts. Later, that sister went home and told her neighbors about how great the Mormons are and how excited she is to get to know the church. Those neighbors CAME TO US to ask us to visit them! Among them, there were several new investigators with Mormon family-members, and one family of less-actives that we didn’t know existed! The Sandoval family (like the wonderful angels they are) took it into their own hands to visit these people on their OWN TIME and strengthen them with their testimonies. They brought several people to the Friday-night church activities, and arranged further visits to these families with OTHER sisters. 

Wow. My companion and I were blown away by the power of working with the Sandoval family, thinking something like, "Uhhhh.... can we help?" 

The truth is, everything is better when we work together. 

Everything is awesome.


The daughter of the Pech family just got home from her mission! It was a ward fiasco!! She served in Temple Square, in Salt Lake City. Maybe some of you guys even saw her without realizing it. I should of let you know beforehand..... aw, well. 

We got yelled at by a drunk guy! Normally they don’t get mad - they just try to prove us wrong by grumbling things at us - but this time the dude was enraged. He told us that we were disgracing the name of God and our families by serving (don’t worry, nothing surprises us these days), but my companion pulled out his scriptures and started sharing something from the Book of Mormon about the Atonement. It must have struck a chord, because the man started nodding and agreeing with everything we said. 

We finished as friends, with a big, smelly hug. Then, we took the long route home so that he wouldn’t follow us. Good feelings. 

We taught a former crack-addict who likes using bad words! He does it jokingly, but it was still disruptive to the Spirit.... anyway, we were able to teach about the Book of Mormon, and he looked like he really believed the words we were saying. He even said, "there I go, believing this (nonsense)!" and invited us back to teach more on a later occasion. 

The other night, we arrived home a little early, so we decided to look for an opportunity to teach closeby the house. We came upon a fruit stand that one of our neighbors operates. They were closing down for the night, and we offered to help. It reminded me of my many nights at Day’s Market, stacking crates and putting away fruit. We weren’t able to share a message, but we shared some service, and sometimes that’s what the people really need. Besides, they live close, so the next time we pass by we can schedule the appointment. 

Like always, there’s about a billion things I wish I could share with you, but I had to choose. The rest we’ll save for later, don’t worry. Remember: work with those you trust. And when you’re making the hard choices - the ones where you feel alone, like nobody is there with you - you can ALWAYS trust the promptings of the Spirit. Always be sensitive to His influences, and you won’t go astray. 

Elder Carson


Homecoming of Hna. Alejandra Pech! I think half the stake came! O.O

Guess what I found??? Looks like my little brothers, no? :)

They tell me I'm from Chihuahua, but I wouldn't know - I never look back.

Week 24 in the field!!!!!

My dearest friends and family, 

Looks like Christmas came early this week! HA I know you all love my letters........ but seriously, PDay is today, and I forgot to tell y'all last week. Kindly excuse the air-headedness. 

It has been a wonderful week of miracles, and despite having to leave a bunch of investigators last month, the prospects for THIS month are looking good. We’ve got several families in which the parents are gonna get married, and the new rules regarding church-attendance have allowed us to continue setting baptismal dates for May 2017. WOOHOO!

LECCIÓN DE LA SEMANA: Specific prayers are the BOMB DOT COM. I remember when Presidente Tenorio of the CCM gave a talk about specific prayers, but this week, as E. Coello and I watched The District (five-star missionary programming), I was reminded how important it is to pray for each of our investigators, specifically. We made it a goal to do so, and also to ask God for help in achieving each and every one of our daily tasks. 

Yesterday, we asked God to guide us to one person (outside of pre-set appointments) that would be ready and desirous to receive the Gospel. That evening, a man flagged us down from his taco-stand and began talking at us excitedly. He presented himself as Jonathan Guzman. He told us that his brothers and sisters are members of the church, and for the longest time he tried to resist, but that his curiosity had led him to speak to us. "Come and visit me! Please!" he begged. 

We arrived at his address, annnd he wasn’t home when we got there, but his NEIGHBOR welcomed us into her house, and we began to teach. She told us that she had been praying to God that he would send her someone to invite her to church. She accepted a baptismal date and went to the Friday-night Ward activities THAT SAME EVENING. Her name is Ligia, and she is wonderful. 

Just after we got done with Ligia, Jonathan arrived, and he welcomed us into his house. We didn’t have time for a lesson, but he told us quickly that he had already finished the pamphlet we gave him and that he wants to attend church. We gifted him a Book of Mormon and set another appointment, promising to pass by on Sunday with a member to help him get to the church building. 

It works, guys. We asked God for one person, and he blessed us with two who are absolutely dying to feel the light of the Gospel in their lives. He’ll help you, too, as you seek to align your desires with His will and demonstrate the faith to ask. 


We got the news about the transfers, and GUESS WHAT??? I’M STAYYYIINNNGGG!!! WOOOHOOOOO!! I figured President would keep us here, considering the fact that I’m training and all, and to be honest, I’m super happy to continue in Palmas. These people are wonderful, and I’m super excited to work with my friends and family here. 

I had exchanges with Elder Jimenez, my District Leader, and ALL of our appointments fell through! They say that there’s an "exchanges curse" in this mission, and so far, I haven’t seen any evidence to the contrary. Nevertheless, we WERE able to find several potential investigators and set appointments with them. 

- We found a guy who studied at Harvard! It surprised me when he said so. He addressed us really formally and in an overly-dramatic voice, and began to tell tales of the Boston campus. It was funny. 

- We got caught in a storm on our way to an appointment! It was sunny and hot, but all of the sudden the clouds came, and it began to pour BUCKETS. Of course, having predicted a nice, oven-sort of day, I hadn’t brought my umbrella.... we got to the house of the investigator soaking wet; the sister who answered the door looked surprised and said, "hold on just a minute!" and disappeared back into her house.................. "ok, we’ll be right here...." we said. Fun stuff. 

- Ana Camas is progressing again! We had to leave her for a while because she needed to get married and didn’t really want to, but her spouse stopped us in the street on Thursday to ask us about the details of the marriage documents. We called our people, and our people called their people, and eventually we were able to get the hermano the information he needed. Looks like they’re gonna get hitched!   

That’ll be all for this week, folks! Thanks for being such a support to me and my family! I know that God lives and that He’ll answer your specific prayers with specific replies sa you exercise faith in Him! 
Next week I WON’T have PDay, so it’s goodbye until the 15th of May! That rhymed. *Mic-drop*

Elder Carson


When you get drenched for serving the Lord. #worthit

I think my companion took this photo because he admires my shoulder-bag?


Friday, May 5, 2017

Week 23 in the field!!!

Yo, friends, we got things cookin here in Cancún, literally and spiritually. I hope you guys aren't suffering heat stroke over there in the states!
LECCIÓN DE LA SEMANA: ALWAYS be thankful for what you´ve been given. The message is something that I´d heard before, but every day I´m absorbing it at a deeper level here in México. I was talking with E. Coello, and he described to me life in Honduras. Drug Cartels owned his life. He had to walk where he was allowed to walk, say what he was allowed to say, and hear what he was allowed to hear. Those who failed to do so continue to be killed on a daily basis. And the biggest problem is, NOBODY can do anything about it. The "bad guys" are those who grow up with you. They're your friends from kindergarten, your upstairs neighbor, and even your uncle Juan. You've got to pretend like the evil doesn't exist, or you don't stand a chance.

After hearing that, I reflected on my life in the states. Maybe there were some bad influences, some mistakes, and some hard times, but I NEVER walked the streets fearing for my life. I grew up in a home where my parents loved me and cared for my interests. The blessing of an amazing family extends to my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I grew up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I've always had friends that support me, and I was educated in good schools. I consider myself among the most fortunate individuals in the whole world.
We had E. Coello's Generation Meeting this week!! It was so interesting to see my Chan-Hijo enjoying the same time with his CCM buddies that I enjoyed not so long ago. At the same time, I spent time with my papi, E. Melena, and participated in a training session from our dear Presidente Reynoso.
THEY CHANGED THE RULES!! We were on our way home one night when the Zone Leaders called us and let us know that now, in ALL of Mexico, investigators only need THREE Sundays attending church to be able to get baptized! TWO, if the bishop knows them and agrees that they are ready. WOOHOO! The news gave us lots of energy and we´re excited to find new investigators at an ever-increasing rate!! :D
PRISILA AND CAROLINA GOT BAPTIZED!!! Who knows why we ended up teaching a bunch of little girls this month, but I was super happy to participate in the process! These two girls come from families where the parents and siblings are less-active, so we also got to help the parents revive their faith and come back to church. Super cool to see all the emotions of the family-members in the baptismal service. I actually had the privilege of baptizing Prisila, personally (but only because she asked me specifically - as a rule, it's better when the Priests do the baptisms)...
We were in a lesson with a less-active couple that needs to get married when a dude arrived to deliver a nice hammock chair. The sister's eyes got wide. "THAT WAS A SURPRISE!" she said, rushing to attend to the paperwork. Her boyfriend's jaw dropped when he saw the chair. I HAVE THE BEST GIRLFRIEND, is what he was probably thinking. The sister returned to the house, but the delivery-man called back, "Hey, I still need the signature of... Enrique Gonzales?" The astonished smile of the boyfriend, Enrique, melted into comic horror, and we all died laughing. Turns out, he had bought himself somethin real nice. "Would you like a pen?" offered Elder Mendoza. "It's for signatures only, brother Enrique, NOT MURDERS."
There's lots of other things I would like to share - tales of forgetting house keys, losing my agenda (missionary's worst nightmare), and getting "blessed" by an evangelical priest - but we'll save it for the autumn of 2018 :)
Elder Carson


We have SIX ELDERS in our ward, and E. Jayer had a birthday!!! CHEESECAKE!!!!!

Haha this was the picture RIGHT BEFORE the smiles, but it's the only one E. Coello had on his camera (which I'm using right now because my SD card is wacko).

Week 22 in the field!

Man, these weeks are getting shorter and shorter, aren't they?
This time on the Elder Goofball Channel, we focus a lot on service and have to leave behind lots of investigators who don't want to go to church, but we do it with the hope and unshaken faith that the Lord will guide us to the chosen ones.
LECCIÓN DE LA SEMANA: FOCUS and COMMITTMENT are the keys to success in the mission. This week, we had trouble with investigators not progressing (not showing their ganas) and it was tough to keep going, step by step, hour by hour. While studying a Liahona, though, I read an analogy that made a lot of sense and that I found to be the answer to the problem.
Imagine that we have two fisherman. Both leave their houses to go fishing, and they spend 12 hours outside. One of the fishermen spends ten of the 12 hours with his line in the water, patiently anticipating his catch. The other, distracted fisherman spends only two of his 12 hours with the line in the water, choosing instead to eat and joke around with his buddies. Which will have more success?
Likewise, every missionary chooses to leave his or her family for an extended period of time, but THAT is not what makes him a missionary. It's the time he spends with the line in the water, FOCUSED. After reading that analogy, I began to notice all the little things that can distract a missionary, even in the field. There are LOTS of tiny temptations that deviate us from our course and, though they only cost us five minutes, cause us to lose focus and productivity.
It's the same in life, isn't it? We all have things that we know we have to do, and we can do them about a thousand times better if we weed out the little distractions that plague us. This applies whether we're parenting, working, or serving in a calling. God wants servants who are all-in, and He knows our true potencial when we do so.

We spent one morning this week cleaning the water tank on top of Hna. Librada's house! It was AWESOME! I got to go inside the thing and wash it down with a scrubber and some soap. We had to take turns going in, though, because it was pretty hot inside.
We spent ANOTHER morning teaching the youth about missionary work! They all got up at 5:00 am to go to a mini-EFY activity in the church building, where we instructed them in the ways of exercising, studying, ironing, contacting, and teaching! Afterwards, they made us breakfast in the kitchen. :D
We went to visit one of Elder MELENA's investigators who was visiting the city from Valladolid. It was a special moment to be able to help out my papi with his work. The lady was really nice and her daughter was super intelligent, answering all our questions with brief philosophical analyses.
We forgot to pay the light bill... candlelit dinners, friends.
LET IT BE KNOWN THAT THIS WEEK I ATE MY FIRST HABANERO PEPPER STRAIGHT-UP RAW. Those things are of the devil, but I CONQUERED THE DEVIL!!! It was awesome. I turned red and the other missionaries thought I was gonna die, but afterwards they all congratulated me and gave me Mexican citizenship (they can do that, right?). The Gringo who Lived.
Hno. Rolando, our ward mission leader, went digital! He said he wants to receive messages regarding the progress of our investigators DURING the week instead of just during Coordination Meeting. It's awesome to have a Mission Leader who works hard. I call him Hermano Batman, and he calls me Elder Robin.
We found a new investigator who can get baptized next week! It's the little-girl cousin of another investigator, and she has already gone to church a bunch! She just moved here from Tabasco, where she had attended with her mom. Her name is Caroline, and she´s a timid little one, but very sincere. HAPPY FEELS :D 


Communicating with the chamaquitos: Felipe, Manuel, Angel, and Darwin.

Again with the little goofs. These are the sons of Victor Hugo, and he doesn't let them go outside because he can hardly round them up again afterwards. Energetic, fo sho.

Street food is a rare treat - we're only allowed to eat it if a member takes us with them. This time, the member was the OWNER of the food stand, and they made us special tortas cubanas. That little sandwich tastes like a dream.