Elder Carson is serving as a representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Mexico Cancun Mission. He entered the Mexico City Missionary Training Center (MTC) on October 11, 2016, and is expected to serve for two years. Check back here to keep up on his thoughts and experiences!
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?
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!
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.
No photos this week....... forgot my
camera.... hasta la próxima!
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
- 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
- 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*
When you get drenched for serving the Lord.
I think my companion took this photo because he
admires my shoulder-bag?
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.
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
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."
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 :)
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).
these weeks are getting shorter and shorter, aren't they?
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
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.