Monday, December 31, 2012

Ringing the Bell

(When a rock climber reaches the top of the wall)
I am so happy with where I am at now; I wouldn't have my life going any other way. I am so happy to say that I have done all that I could, learned what I feel I was supposed to, and followed God's plan in fulfilling His will. I am so happy for all the lives that I have been able to help find more happiness. 
These past two years have been amazing, and I wouldn't have traded them for anything. Although my service as a full-time missionary is coming to a close, my mission is not over. I may not wear Christ's name every day on a little black tag, but I committed to wear it on my heart, daily, and that's what my mission has helped me to learn to do. My mission is not over, just a mission is coming to an end, but the next chapter of my life's mission will begin this next week, and I am confident in saying that I am prepared and ready to do my best!
In thinking of what golden truths I've learned on my mission, I could write forever about all the miracles I have seen, and all the ways I have seen the Atonement change my life and the lives of so many other people I have worked with; but, I think most of all, the total encompassing of all my mission experiences has become the golden truth that will shape who I am forever.
I loved my mission, and I will miss it, but I am excited - and more prepared than ever - to start writing the next chapter of my life, and helping to write the next chapter to the greatest story ever told.
Sprinting through the finish, I will return tired; and through a telescope lens, I'll see you soon.
From New England with Love,
Elder Dustin Carr

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Eve

Things have been AWESOME here lately.  The Lord truly has blessed us with so much work
and so much success.  The last week Bill and Loretta decided to move their marriage date up to January so that they can be baptized on February 9th; then they came to church this last week (shown here) for the first time (and Loretta's sister, Sally, came too) and they loved it!

Also, Derek just soaked up the whole message of the Plan of Salvation and he committed to preparing for baptism on March 16th!  It has just been such a sweet week; we hit 3 of our standards, taught 15 lessons, and we were just moving quick every minute - I loved it!

So ya, things are going great here.

Love, Elder Carr

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dec 17, 2012

Well, this last week sure has been interesting. We had a BLAST at the Trainer's/New Missionaries' meeting in Manchester, and we learned tons. I've really been able to see what kind of an influence I can have for good with other missionaries since so many of them now recognize me as one of the oldest dozen in the mission, so in a sense it's nerve-racking to feel like so many people are watching me, but I love it because I am just so FULL of energy and enthusiasm about this work that it rubs off on people, and helps them to do the same. I have also had several experiences with other missionaries where I was able to share something I learned from my mission that helped them.  I just love the opportunity I get to serve - and in such a variety of ways!
Elder Keller and I have really been progressing well together, we are constantly working on improving together and seeking counsel from one another. Our teaching has been excellent, my only problem with it is that I always have to hold myself back or else I'll hog the whole thing! haha, I just love teaching so much!
We had a neat experience this week where Elder Keller had been having a rough morning, and at the beginning of our weekly planning session, he asked me to give him a blessing. I feel like I had underestimated the power and the privilege that lays within those opportunities, but I learned quickly of why we have that opportunity and how essential it is that we are worthy of it - especially when we are asked to use it in a moment's notice. I am grateful for that unifying experience and for the privelege I have to hold the Priesthood authority from God.
Massive Southern wings party @ Parkers
Well, it definitely does look like it's going to be a white Christmas afterall! we had about 6 inches drop last night, and it will continue on through tomorrow - and I LOVE IT!!! haha. I think it is so beautiful, and it provides such a great opportunity to serve and to really get us all in the spirit of the Christmas season! I'm also hoping my cheerful enthusiasm towards this winter will melt it all away! - or at least just bring smiles to others' faces as they experience the light of Christ :)
From Maine with Love,
Elder Dustin Carr

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sprinting to the Finish Line

As for the families we found last week -- unfortunately one of them had a death in the family and wanted the week alone, but wants us back this next week.   The other family had been hard to get hold of : (   so that has been tough, but luckily we aren't getting down about it.
 I would definitely say that I am much more cheerful and outgoing than when I came out. I felt like I did great as a new missionary, and I progressed a lot, and at times I fell, but picked myself back up. My last area brought some of the most difficult discouraging feelings that really sapped the energy right out of me, but being in Lewiston-Auburn as my last area, with my last great run, with a great young missionary, has really helped me in my quest to sprint-to-the-finish to return tired. I really have hit my peak, and pushed beyond it, with my teaching, contacting, and just about everything; I've never had so much energy before to do all the things we are trained to do - even the little things. One of the things I feel I struggle with is being constantly focused on fulfilling my purpose of bringing others closer to Jesus Christ, but I recognized something that I do which is quite similar; I've found myself praying for the ability to bring more cheer and happiness to every person I see, and then I go about doing just that - hoping to bring a smile to everyones' face as they feel the light of Christ.
I've thought a lot about why I am here for my last transfer -- I mean, it's only a one-transfer area, and one transfer really isn't enough time to be able to get any large projects running, or to see such a huge change/progress in a teaching pool.  I have come to believe that in most cases, the inspiration for a transfer is not nearly as much of a matter as "where" but "with whom."  I have found this last week that my #1 calling that comes first above all other priorities is to help Elder Keller be the very best missionary possible - thereby helping him to be a better instrument in the Lord's hands in His great work; I have only have 4 weeks to do my best, and I am absolutely committed to that.
Luckily he is already such a great missionary, and together we are about to be the means whereby the Lord has brought to pass some sweet miracles. And it is our hopes to continually bring every brother and sister we see unto Christ, especially during this month, because He truly is the Reason for the Season!
From New England with Love,
Elder Dustin Carr
p.s. we've been sharing with everyone, and we are encouraging people to share it on facebook, twitter, etc. - so be a modern missionary and post it to the world! : )

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Back to Maine for a Month

Well, I am now in Lewiston-Auburn, Maine, and my new companion is Elder Keller! He is from Corona, CA and we click so well! We also have a great connection because I am his follow-up trainer, and his trainer was Elder Busby - who I trained last year! We are serving in the Auburn Ward.
This last week has been AMAZING! Elder Keller and I have seen some great miracles in the work! In short, we had a lesson fall through on Wed., but as we walked out the door, I said hi to a lady who's name was Michelle and we got into a conversation that led to her sharing some spiritual experiences with us. She then told us to stop-by sometime, and as we did so the next day, we found her exhusband, Dana (who is still her best friend), there, and we were able to teach them both our unique message of the Restoration. It went so well and they are both committed to meeting with us again this week! Then, also on Wed., we got a call from a member saying he has spoken to one of his patients in the hospital about how to restored gospel can bless his troubled life, and he wanted a visit from us! So we called, set up an appointment for Friday, and when we arrived that afternoon we found his fiance' and her sister were both interested in learning as well. We had another excellent restoration lesson and they all accepted our invitation to be baptized - and they are looking forward to setting a date for their baptisms during their next lesson this week! Oh and at the end of the lesson, we asked if they had any more questions, and he asked, "How can I learn more and investigate more deeply into this?" I couldn't think of a better question than that! And to top it off, we assured that they will have more questions, but that their primary sources should be and us; later that night she called with a concern about our doctrine and we were able to clarify and reassure her of the truthfulness of our doctrine and faith, and this helped her gain so much more trust in us and faith in what we teach! : )
Noyes Fam - Converts
So it was just an amazing week, and Elder Keller and I have been teaching in such great unity - it really brings so much power into our lessons! I very much so admire Elder Keller for his willingness and desire to learn - not just from me as his trainer, but in every instance possible. He is a hardworking missionary that truly desires to do his best, and I am already seeing his potential coming forward and helping strengthen and sharpen his skills as a missionary. :)
I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity I have to serve, and finish my mission, with him and in this area. I know that this is exactly what I needed to be the best missionary I possibly could be - to finish out strong with a sprint. I have been blessed this this great opportunity, and with so much energy towards it, that it has truly been such a testimony builder to me in helping me to see how well the Lord really does know me.
I am happy to be serving here, happy to be serving with Elder Keller, and so happy to have one more transfer to help as many people as possible to find the same happiness I have everyday :)
From New England with Love,
Elder Dustin Carr

Briss Experience Nov 2012

These are the pics from a Jewish Briss that we were invited to. The mother of the baby is a member (return missionary, too) and the father is a very liberal, "unorthodox" Jew. Very sweet couple and they wanted us to be a part of this special...ceremonial circumcision. ya it was interesting, and they'll have him blessed in our sacrament meeting in a few weeks...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thank You

     I know this is a day late, but we had a Zone Conference yesterday that took all day, so our p-day was moved to today (Tuesday) : ) speaking of the Zone Conference - it was awesome! It was held in South Royalton, VT in the chapel at the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial, and Elder Marcus B. Nash of the Seventy (he spoke in the last session of the last Gen. Conf.) and his wife came to tour our mission. It was a great day of learning and we spent a lot of time working with Elder Nash on solving/overcoming the issues that impede the progress of the work here in our mission - it was sweet! He even held a leadership meeting with us afterwards to learn how to continues teaching the principles we learned and keep them alive in the mission.
    He was tons of help and we all truly appreciated his visit and assistance. As for me, I was blessed with being spontaneously called upon during the opening session of the conference to speak for a few minutes on How to Teach with Power. It was a bit nerve-racking, but I simply drew from the scriptures, Preach My Gospel, my own experience, and anything I felt directed by the Spirit to say. Although I was worried I didn't deliver the best message, the comforting words of a job well done, that came from Elder Nash and President Wilkey, were quite reassuring, and as I realized that this would be my last Zone Conference, I felt pleased that I had done my best to inspire so many missionaries for the last time in such a setting. :)
    Well, last week was quite jumbled up with our Zone Meeting, Zone Leader Council, exchanges with the Assistants, painting our apartment, etc., but it was amazing to feel the strength I received, from all those of you who have included me in your fasting and prayers, carrying me through each day. Each day we were still able to find success and progress with lessons and such. Several times I found myself pondering about how it was even possible, and I felt, and sincerely believe, that I was strengthened by the Spirit according to the prayers and faith of each of you supporting me - and that made last week so special to me.  Thank you, to each of you who have supported me in such ways.
    I am happy to report that we had excellent success, especially in the end of the week with 7 investigators at church! 4 of them were one family that we had been inviting for over a month and a simple stop-by visit the night before with our 1st Counselor made all the difference. And another was one of our new investigators from last week, who had formerly been investigating, and had told us she would not commit to any Sunday because she likes to surprise people, and sure enough we were quite surprised this last week! : ) So it overall was a great week with great work, learning, and success - and it definitely has given me much to be thankful for during this Thanksgiving season : )
From New England with Love,
Elder Dustin Carr