Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Communication, Selflessness, and Love: The 3 Keys to a Happy Companionship

Elder Ahumada and I have been doing great, working hard, and progressing with success.  But from last week into this week we weren't as happy as usual.  We talked, and both found things that we needed to work on, and committed to doing so.  These last few days since that talk have been so much better/happier than the week before.  I have learned a lot about how important communication, selflessness, and love are in a companionship.  So I'm learning a lot out here about effective relationships, and how to be happy with someone all the time; I'm blessed to have Elder Ahumada as my companion - one who will work on issues with me to better our companionship.  A mission really does teach someone A LOT!  haha.

Well, we're out with a local member and the Portsmith Elders for a district p-day in Portsmith, and since the libraries are closed today we are emailing in Best Buy, lol.

But as for an update.  Things are still going great! We are working hard and finding new ways to be busier and busier everyday!  Also, one investigator is still going strong towards baptism on the 18th, and abother is progressing well towards his baptism for the 25th.  Plus, the members here are just the best!  They are really treating us sooooooo well, and they just love us!  I love this ward so much, and we were super excited this weekend because transfers are tomorrow, but we never got a call, so we are staying in Georgetown for at least another 6 weeks!!! 

I love missionary work! I Love this Gospel! and I LOVE MY LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST!!!!

From New England with love!

Elder Dustin Carr

Monday, May 23, 2011

Still Here!

Well I'm still here, looks like I didn't float away in The Rapture, but I'm not complaining :)

Saturday sure was a funny day for us missionaries.  Our district is really close (especially after district p-day and zone conference together), so we had a lot of fun joking about Judgement Day and The Rapture on Saturday.  Starting at 6:00, we were all calling each other and sending voice mail jokes about how we were so shocked that we weren't lifted up with "the elect."  And we all figured maybe it was set at Pacific Standard Time, so we figured things would look better for us around 9:00...but we were sorely disappointed (haha, not!).  It sure was fun though getting to explain to people who asked about it how that man had no credibility, that no man knows the specific time of any major event (such as the Second Coming), and that there is a living prophet on the earth today who is the only one that can receive that kind of revelation for the world.

This last week has been amazing!  Thursday was Zone Conference, and it was such a spiritual day.  I'm not sure if I've told you about Matt before, but he is an awesome member who was baptized about 3 years ago, is now 22, and is looking forward to serving a mission this year.  He's been working with us often and we have really enjoyed helping him prepare to serve, and he came with us to Zone Conference (which was up in Agusta, Maine.)  Gosh, Zone Conference was so amazing.  We had some great doctrinal discussions, we got a bunch of new supplies for stuff we needed, I had a lot of fun getting to meet other missionaries and get to know them better, and I got to see/talk to President and Sister Wilkey again!  Also, we had such a great time just getting to talk about things that we need to work on as a mission, and ways that we can do better in all that we do and see more success in our work.  It was such an awesome day, and we left so spiritually fed and fueled towards missionary work!  Afterwards we got to stop by Matt's uncle and aunt's house for dinner.  We had our Zone Leaders with us, and we just had such a great evening with them talking about missionary work, what we do, and why we do it :)

We've had some great lessons lately with investigators.  Both are really set and on the right path towards baptism!  It's especially amazing to see how much they already understand things such as how to pray and how to receive answers through prayer.  It's amazing to see how people change when we teach them the gospel and they accept it into their lives.

Unfortunately though, one family we are working with still hasn't come to church (so we are still trying to help them develop the desire to do so), and abother family is moving to the Dominican Republic.  So that was pretty sad this week, but we'll still do what we can to help them choose to come closer to Christ and His Gospel.
This last Sunday was so incredible.  As we sat down for stake conference (it was broadcast from Salt Lake to our chapel in Georgetown), I felt like I was a part of this ward.  I felt like I actually belonged -- like we were a family.  Matt sat by us and later his Dad came too!  It was a special day because both Matt and Michael Watson (the stake president's son to whom we are close) were both being ordained as Elders and receiving the Melchizedic Priesthood.  So stake conference itself was already amazing, and afterwards we had such a great experience being there to support both Matt and Michael as they were ordained and as they now continue to prepare for their missions.  Afterwards, we were invited to the a home for a small get-together and lunch.  It was so great to be a part of their family/friend gathering;  I felt so comfortable there, and I felt like I was actually loved, cared for, and welcomed.  It's so great to feel this close to the members of our ward here.  Plus another family from the Exeter area came down, and it was pretty funny how they instantly recognized my name.  
After that get-together, we had the opportunity to go over to Matt's house where we had an afternoon of full of fun converstaions and a meal.  It's so neat because his Mom, Dad, and brother are not members, yet since we've been here, we've gotten to know them a bit, and they've really opened up to us.  Earlier this week, we got to go and help with some of their wood spliting/stacking, and it was a great opportunity for service, as well as a chance to build a bond with them.  We love the family and really look forward to being able to share more of Christ's Gospel with them in a hopes that they will desire the truth and the blessings that come from it.
The rest of Sunday was so sweet with a meal at the another great family in our ward, and then a lesson at the Bishop's family home; we're teaching their youngest son before his baptism).  So as you can see, we get fed WAY too much on Sundays, but we're not complaining :)  it just means we have to go work out more :)
This week my testimony has grown so strong in so many different ways simply by studying the gospel and applying it more in my life.  It is my prayer that you all will do the same, and see the blessings that come in your life as you share your growing testimony with others.
From New England with love,
Elder Dustin Carr

Monday, May 16, 2011

Progressive Success is Impressive!

Elder Ahumada and I have had another great week here in Georgetown.  We continually strive to be 100% and to work as hard as we can, and we have definitely seen the blessings that come from it!
As of now we have 4 investigators with baptismal dates.  We are so excited for them all to make their first big covenant with the Lord, to turn towards Christ in everything they do, and to recieve all the blessings and happiness that come with baptism and keeping the commandments!  We also have several other investigators whom we hope will soon accept the invitation to be baptized, as well as a few others whom we are still striving to contact to begin teaching : )  Our work here is going great, and we are loving it!
Sometimes I think about how different it would be in Mexico (I heard that their mission has an average of 260 baptisms per month, whereas we only have about 26), and it makes me feel like I'm not doing enough.  I often look at this as a way to possitively boost me to want to work harder, and that's a great thing.  But sometimes it strikes me negatively, as if I'm just not doing good enough, and this last Thursday changed all of those negative perceptions.
Last Thursday, I went on an exchange with Zone Leader Elder Anderson, in Exeter.  I was excited to be with this awesome missionary, but apprehensive to leave my area and not get to be a part of the work that we had planned, though soon found out how much of a blessing it was for me to go on that exchange.  Elder Anderson and I talked a lot about the work that Elder Ahumada and I have been doing, and how it wasn't like that before in Georgetown.  He said that the amount of success we have already had in the last 4 weeks has been more that there has been in the last 4 months.  As we talked, I didn't feel prideful, but rather that I'm actually doing a lot of good here;  I felt like my efforts are actually able to make a difference, and people are noticing that.  This helped me so much, and it has filled me up with so much more determination and energy to work even harder everday.
When I was with Elder Anderson, we had one lesson with a man who has been taught everything.  Missionaries have been meeting with him for over a year or so now, but he still hasn't even read the Book of Mormon or prayed to know that it is true.  Elder Anderson was planning on dropping him, but as he went to do so, he found himself speechless.  As I sat patiently, I felt the need to be bold with this man, and so I told him, with love and claarity/straightforwardness (is that even a word?), what he needed to do.  As we talked, I was striving to be bold, but not overbearing, and I learned a lot about the difference between the two, and how they are often separated by a fine line.
Another great thing came from this exchange!  So since I was first planning on going to Mexico, I only had one suit, but I need some more for being out here where they are worn often.  And it is tradition for the Elder that you go on you first real exchange with to give you something (typically a tie).  Elder Anderson noticed my need for a suit, so he had me try on his black pin-stiped 3-piece suit (that he got from a trade), and it fit, so he gave it to me!  SO AWESOME!  and then, on Friday morning, before heading back to Georgetown, we stopped by a sweet thrift store, and I got a grey suit and a blue suit that fit perfectly for just $14 total!!!! (and the blue suit is Christian Dior, which apparently is super expensive).  It was like the greatest thing ever!  I'll get some pictures for ya'll soon : )  oh and you want to know another cool thing!?  I found a typewriter there for just $3! and it's so legit!  it's like the very last thing that came out before a computer, so it's all electronic and stuff.  It works so nicely, and so now I'll actually get to write back to the few people who wrote me with all the time this will save, haha.  Oh and even better yet, I figured out how to program it to type our name and number perfectly, and I've been printing it on the back of the Mormon.org cards that we pass out : )   SO basically, thrift store shopping is amazing.  I can't believe I wasn't into it before my mission, because it really is like the best thing ever, and it saves TONS of money!
Oh and today we're going to have a district P-day, so maybe you'll get to hear about that next week : )
Thank you for your love and prayers and for keeping me close to your heart : )
From New England with love,
Elder Dustin Carr

Monday, May 9, 2011

So many blessings! Too many to count!

This last week has been so amazing to Elder Ahumada and me.  Things have really picked up here, we have 6 progressing investigators (one with a baptismal date), about 4 other contacts that will hopefully soon be progressing investigators, and we are getting so many blessings - we can't keep up with them all!
Last night I got to call Mom, and she put me on a conference call with Dad who was in St. Louis with my sister-in-law, Chloe, and my little niece, Bridget!  It was so fun.  President Wilkey entends the rule to allow us a full hour of phone call time, and my gosh it sure does go fast!  But it was great to hear from my family and about how they are all doing (I love you all and you are all in my prayers!), plus I got to share some more detail about miracles I've witnessed here, and the blessings I've received.  I also got to get some advice from my parents as to how I can help a Sister in our ward with her smoking addiction, as well as bear my testimony to them and have my father close our call with a prayer.  It was amazing to see how, for the first time, I felt the Spirit while in a conversation on the phone.  Well, next call will be around Christmas, and that sure will be an amazing call to look forward to! : )
So I've been doing really great about staying focused here and working hard, even amidst all the things that remind me about Chelsie.  I'm proselyting in her stake, in an area about 40 minutes from her. Any anxieties that I have had regarding Chelsie are completely gone now.  I know she's fine.  I am full of faith.  And now it's time to get back to work; it's time for me to become the best missionary I can be, and that's what I'm prepared to do!
The rest of Thursday was absolutely amazing.  We had an opportunity to help a couple in our ward move some furniture.  It sure has been a long time since I've done any heaving lifting, haha, that sure was tough, but I love doing service.  Then later, we had an awesome experience teaching at the Fernandez family home.  Sister Fernandez is an inactive member that wants to come back, and Brother Fernandez and their son, Junior (9), are not yet members.  They also had their cousins, Kaelen (11) and Kiana (14) Pinzon, and their friend, Briana (15), with them; and Kaelen and Briana are not yet members either.  We had a great evening with an awesome Dominican dinner, and we had the Stake President's son, Michael Watson, with us.  When it came time for teaching, I realized that this was my first time on my mission actually teaching the lesson of the Restoration in a setting that I had expected.  So at first I was a little nervous, but Elder Ahumada, Brother Watson, and I did great!  We all worked really well together, and the lesson went excellent.  Brother Fernandez and Briana were especially interested, and we were so humbled to have had the opportunity to invite the Spirit into their home; plus I gave out 3 copies of the Book of Mormon, so I think that's a total of 8 so far : )  We are very excited to meet with them again and discuss the chapters that we left for them to finish reading, and to teach them more about The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
One cool thing that we've realized is that in this last week and a half, every single time we have gone into a store for more than just a few minutes, someone spots us out and talks to us.  For example, on Tuesday, we randomly stopped by a little pawn shop, and ended up talking to the owner about the Book of Mormon and how the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored (he's been reading the B.O.M. and we are going to teach him more tomorrow : ).  On Wednesday, a less active member that actually used to have some responsible callings in the church came up to us in Salvation Army and we got to talk a lot with him about meeting with us and coming back to church.  And on Saturday night, on our way home from a full day of appointments in the Newbury-Ipswitch-Essex area, we stopped in a little grocery store to use the restroom, and a man there started talking to us about how he is a former investigator, and we talked with him about meeting with us again and coming to church; we are meeting with him tonight!.  And these are just a few of the incredible blessings we've had lately, and oddly enough they have been from stopping in at a store for a few minutes!
Some of the other huge blessings we have recieved lately have been from our ward (we are in the Georgetown Ward).  We feel so much love and support from our ward, it is just amazing.  The members are always so willing to help us, take us in, feed us, give us referrals, and fulfill our needs.  Seriously, our fridge was almost empty last week, and this week, it is packed full! 
Elder Ahumada (who, btw, is amazing) and I have been doing great out here, and we have been so grateful and to humbled to see all of the amazing blessings that we have recieved from our diligent work.
Thank you all for your love, support, and prayers;  they mean so much to me!
From New England with love,
Elder Dustin Carr

Monday, May 2, 2011

I Believe in Miracles

This last week has been amazing, and I have come to find that our Heavenly Father is a God of miracles.  After praying and fasting to simply find one person to teach, Elder Ahumada and I felt that it would be a great idea to meet our neighbors, introduce ourselves, and share the Gospel with them.  After just a few houses, we came across one in which a man came out and talked to us for a while.  His name is Toby Curtis, his wife's name is Lynn, and his son's name is Dustin (ya I thought that was pretty cool too).  After talking for a while with the humble man (who by the way was standing outside on wet ground with no shoes on a particularly cold evening), he said that he was pretty busy with some things going on, but he would like to meet with us someday.  Toby also said that Dustin was sick at the time, so we prayed for him with Toby at his door.  We came back a few days later, and got to meet Lynn and Dustin (who was healed), and after talking for a bit they asked if we could come over for dinner sometime.  We were thrilled!  And now we are looking forward to meeting them again this next Wednesday and helping them to come closer to Christ : )

Click to Enlarge - Georgetown, MA
 We also had a neat experience this last week with service.  We had been tracting on a street when we noticed a large bag of mortar powder for tiles spilled in the road next to an intersection.  We watched as a man was scooping it with a shovel, and we ran over to see if we could help.  He said he needed a trash bag and possible some help shoveling, so we ran to the next house and knocked (we're good at that) and asked for some supplies.  The man gave us what we needed, but was very apprehensive to even talk to us missionaries.  As we worked with this man on cleaning up the mess, a cop came to slow and direct traffic around us; he just so happened to be the officer that had spoken to us the week before.  When we finished cleaning up the mess, the man whom we had helped tried so hard to give us some money (especially because of how messy our clothes got), but of course we would not accept it; instead, we gave him a Mormon.org card with our number on it : )  The the cop and the neighbor (who were previously not too fond of us) expressed their gratitude for us and the work that we had just done.  It was amazing to see how these men's hearts had been softened so much towards us all due to a simple act of service.  I love serving people!!!
We also had another great miracle last night, but you'll have to wait till next week to hear about that, I gotta write my letter to my Mission President and get going.
Well I love you all.  I'm doing great out here!  Don't worry about me too much, just do all you can to keep your faith strong and grow closer to Christ and our Heavenly Father everyday. 
From the great New England!
Elder Dustin Carr