Monday, August 29, 2011

A Trainer, a Mentor, a Friend.

So I got the call two Saturdays ago to be a trainer, and I was quite shocked, but I didn't question this call from the Lord.  I was pretty nervous and a bit stressed out, but I knew that through my faith the Lord would bless me to be able to succeed in this calling. 
Last Tuesday I said goodbye to Elder Ahumada, and I have to admit, it was HARD.  I'm no good at goodbyes, especially to a friend who I have grown so close too - heck we were with each other 24/7 for the last 4.5 months!  But all is well, and I am happy to see all the blessings that have come from our companionship, the work we did, and the way he trained me.  He has definitely prepared me to be able to train my new "son".  So thank you Elder Ahumada, and I hope you never forget how great the work was here as the Dynamic Duo in Georgetown :)

Carr, Ahumada, Busby...
with apologies to the First Presidency

Well, meet Elder Busby from Tucson, Arizona!  Fresh from the MTC, alive and ready to work, and full of desire to serve.  He went to BYU for a year before his mission and is very well prepared for this work.  He's mature and very mindful of being 100% obedient and dilligent.  (Trying to find a humble way to say it, but he reminds me of myself! haha).  We're already working really well together and learning how to do better and better each day.  It sure is a new thing for me to be a trainer, and I was quite nervous ahead of time (scared about who I would get and such), but the moment it was announced that we were going to serve together, I felt so much peace and reassurance that everything will be ok.  And not only is everything ok, but it's GREAT! 
I'm learning a lot about the example I set and how I can lead, but learn at the same time.  As I studied the white handbook this last week on Leadership, I realized how much humility and love it takes to be an effective trainer.  President Wilkey mentioned that he doesn't like the word Trainer, but rather prefers the term Mentor.  I have taken it a step further to say that I'm not only a Trainer or Mentor, but a Friend, because a true Friend loves and teaches someone as Christ would, and that is what I am striving to do.
Well, Thank you all so very much for my birthday wishes and cards!  I loved getting to hear from you, especially those of you who haven't written me in a while, so thank you so much!  I will try to get back to you all a.s.a.p.  Oh and btw, the storm was nothing for us here in Georgetown, just hard winds and rain, but not that crazy - didn't even lose power :)
So I'm safe and sound and on my feet running to the work!
From New England with love,
Elder Dustin Carr

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Storm Irene Update

This post is written by Dusty's dad:
We received a very nice e-letter from the New Hampshire Mission President last night assuring parents that thorough precautions were being taken and an all-safe phone tree was in place.  The missionaries were directed Saturday to ensure they had on hand all the food and batteries and such as listed on the emergency supplies instructions posted in each missionary apartment.

Missionary car travel is restricted.  Those in coastal and low lying areas (Georgetown is 79 feet above sea level) had already been relocated to higher elevations.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A New Call From The Lord

This week was my last week with Elder Ahumada, and we had the blessing of being assigned to train a new missionary that came in a week early - Elder Cordova.  It was a great blessing, because I learned so much, and I got a lot of experience in teaching a new missionary of all the skills and knowledge that I have gained, and it prepared me for my new calling.
This last Saturday we got our transfer calls, and as Elder Ahumada was thanked for his service and was called to come home, I was given the calling to be a Trainer.
Well I have no time to talk, but I'll hopefully get to tell you all about it next week! 
Love you all!
Elder Carr

Saturday, August 20, 2011

An Elevator That Ends On The Top Floor

This week has been rather difficult, stressful, and frustrating at times, but we have also had many high points as well.  All in all, I see it like an elevator - going up and down all the time - but at the end of each day/week, it ends up on the top floor.
As we did our planning this week, we realized that our area really isn't progressing nearly as much as we have felt like it was, and this became very tough to take in.  As we struggled to brainstorm why things haven't been going so well forward, and how we could improve, my optimism and confidence went way down.  I tried really hard, but as we went about our day, we kept on running into very sad situations (such as an investigator of ours that might have to move south due to a loss of her job and apartment), and I found myself in a rut.  But later we went to a correlation meeting with our Ward Mission Leader, Brother Kufell, and he really had some great advice and words of comfort to help me see our situation in a positive light again.  Plus, Elder Ahumada was really pulling things through that day, and if it weren't for him, we would have totally failed that day.  He and I have really gotten close and we are working SO WELL together.  It's awesome, and we are really enjoying these last fews days together.  It sad to see that he is leaving soon, and he can't stand how everyone brings it up pretty much everytime they see him.  I'm not good at goodbyes, but I guess that's just life, and I gotta get over it.
Well, Zone Conference was this last week was amazing and I loved it a ton.  I really felt like I'm a part of this mission now and that I can connect with all the other missionaries here.  Plus it's just so great to get so much spiritual upliftment from President Wilkey and our other leaders.  Oh and next Zone Conference is going to have a special guest...Elder C. Scott Grow!!!  I can't wait!!!
So even amidst all the stresses and difficulties of this work, we are able to persevere and press onward everyday.  I must say, it's one of the greatest things I'm learning on my mission.  I also find how much it is essential to rely on not only your own strength, but the Lord and my companion as well.  Oh and btw, Josue decided to be baptized and feels that he we be ready by the 27th!  Plus, our Ward is continuing to help us so much more every week and it is amazing how close we are to them! 
So no matter how much the elevator of missionary confidence can go up or down, it always ends up on the top floor when I decide to rely on the Lord and my companion.
From New England with love,
Elder Dustin Carr

Monday, August 15, 2011

Birthday Request!

Elder Carr's birthday is next week, August 24th.  Flooding his mailbox with birthday cards, letters, pictures, testimonies, notes of encouragement, ANYTHING at all will make his day!  I'm asking everyone who reads this to pick up a pen and paper and write him a letter to say "Happy Birthday!"  Let him know we're thinking of him and care for him and make his day, well, awesome
I hijacked his blog to make the request, so help me out with getting as many letters to him as possible for a great little birthday surprise!  Heck, ask anyone else who knows him to also send a letter!  His address is at the top right-hand column of this blog.  I mean, c'mon, could I make this any easier?!  I gave you the date, the idea, and the address, just find a stamp my friend!  :)
Thank you so much for reading and supporting our missionary son, brother, cousin, grandson, friend.  My love to all, Amber Dudley (Dusty's sister)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mission Calls, Ward Support, and More!

Both Michael Watson and Matt Wood got their mission calls this last Friday, and we got to be a part of all the excitement.  Michael Watson has been called to the Nevada, Las Vegas Mission; and Matt Wood has been called to the Argentina, Buenos Aires Mission.  It's awesome because their calls just fit their characters and personalities so perfect;  the Lord sure does know what He's doing.  I reflected back on the video of when I got my call and recalled the feelings I had at that time and the support of all my friends and family there.  It sure is neat to see that even though I didn't go to Mexico, the Lord had a plan for me, and He has placed me in the New Hampshire Manchester Mission so he can carry out that plan.

Lately we have been doing TONS of "less-active hunting" work.  It basically starts with plugging in every name on the ward roster into my Garmin, assigning each address a color icon according to their status (referral, less-active member, investigator, member, etc.), and then when we are in an area, we can just look at the map on my Garmin and got to every Less-active member and try to contact them.  Often times we find that the people have moved (sometimes up to 20 years ago)  and so we do our best to figure out where they moved to.  We take that information, along with any other updates to any on the ward list data and work with the Ward Clerk to clean up to ward roster, send records to correct areas, and eventually help be more organized and have better ward statistics : )  So anyways, this last couple of weeks we've been doing a lot of that, and last Thursday we some great success.  We actually got to meet with 2 different people who were so sweet to us and really wanted to come back to church; plus we've gotten tons of updates and such for the ward list.  One of the greatest parts about this was yesterday when we got to work for a few hours with the 2nd counselor and the ward clerk on updating MANY things on the ward roster, as well as discuss in depth the needs of our investigators and more; we gained so much respect, support, and trust from the ward for being able to show them all of the work that we have been doing in this area and for helping them so much.

Well I gotta get running, but things have been so great here lately.  It's sad with Elder Ahumada's time coming to an end in 2 more weeks, but we just keep working hard and make the most of every day.

From New England with Love,

Elder Dustin Carr

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


That's right, last Tuesday marked 6 months for me as a servant and representative of Jesus Christ and His church.  And to celebrate, I followed the missionary tradition and burned a tie.  Of course I chose a green one (to symbolize burning off my greenie-ness, lol) (and don't worry, I got the tie from a thrift store for $1).  It sure was fun to celebrate with Elder Ahumada, and it was great to reflect on the past 6 months and see where I've come from and where I am now.  There's so much to say about how I've changed and what things I've learned, but overall, I must say, I am quite well-pleased with the who I am and who I am becoming : )  I do have to admit, though, it's super weird to think that I've already been out for 6 months...that's a whole 1/4 of my mission!!! AHHH!!! TIME REALLY DOES FLY!!!
Well, anyways, at the beginning of last week, we got a call from the ZL's in Exeter stating that President Wilkey felt like Elder Ahumada and I should go on exchanges with other Spanish-speaking Elders this week (which usually doesn't happen only because the main Spanish-speaking Elders are in Lawrence and Methuen and they are not part of our district).  So I was blessed with a full 2 days with Elder Harward!  It was so awesome because we were already familiar with each other from my few days spent with him in Lawrence, and this time we got to work together here in my and Elder Ahumada's area.
At first it was really tough because Elder Ahumada and I have been working super well together lately, things were really going forward in our area, and we had some great success Tuesday.  So Tuesday night we begrudgingly said goodbye and exchange companions.  I didn't realize until the next day, and again during the day after, how much of a blessing it was to get work with Elder Harward for a few days.  Elder Harward has already been out for a full two years, and has extended his mission for another 30 days because he felt that it was something he needed to do.
When Elder Harward and I made our daily plans, we made sure that we had backup plans as well, but even when the first plans and backup plans failed, we still kept working to find people by either searching for less-actives in the area, stopping by old potentials, or just talking to EVERYONE we saw.  I watched very closely at everything Elder Harward did so that I could learn from his example and better my own missionary efforts.  I observed how quick he was to speak to people, with confidence and boldness, and he never just gave them a soft invite to learn or a question meant for a yes/no answer.  He was always able to teach people simply as he talked to them, and he was able to apply the message to their lives and get them to really think about it before they could say "no", or the famous New England line, "I'm all set."
He was so bold, too; he never argued with people, but instead he testified to them, and then invited them to learn more (at one point he even invited a man to repent and come back to Christ, haha, it was awesome!).  I noticed that the things he said, the way he said them, and the way he presented himself, made him be someone that people actually wanted to talk to. 
So I learned a lot from Elder Harward this last week, and as I reflect on the example he set for me in just the 2 short days I had with him, I try to pick out the things I can do to improve my missionary efforts.  Since Elder Ahumada and I have been reunited, there have already been several instances where we have been talking to people, and as soon as they start to argue with us, I simply testify of the things that I KNOW to be true, and leave them with an invite to regain their faith in Christ.  I've finally realized that we aren't out here trying to convince people of the truth, but we are searching for those who are seeking the truth; so why waste the Lord's time with people who don't want to hear His message?  I've also tried my best to not let a moment go to waste; at any time that an appointment fails, or we find we have nothing to do, I am quick to find the next possible solution by stopping by other investigators, less-actives, potentials, or just knocking the door next to the house where our appointment is/was.
I've grown a lot from Elder Harward's example, I've learned so much this past week, and I've seen the success that has come from it.  In fact, we got 2 new investigators just a few days ago.  Oh, and one has been wanting a Book of Mormon for the past 25 years!!!  what an incredible miracle is was that the Lord directed us to where we could find them.
Dusty: blue dots are potentials, red dots are less actives.
Dad: dinner appointments or investigators??
Also, from the early birthday present Mom and Dad sent me last week - Garmin GPS - we've been able to be way more organized, save a lot of miles, and always have something to do.  For instance, we plugged in the names of most of our investigators, less-actives, potentials, referrals, etc., and in this last week we have already been able to contact 3 less active families and invite them back to church.  We also were able to have enough miles to spend all of Saturday, after a ward party in Essex, out in Glocester and Rockport area driving to all the less-actives on the GPS that probably haven't been visited for a LONG time (due to missionaries' mileage limit).
Well, things are really looking up for us out here in Georgetown, and I'm continually learning and growing every day.  One investigator we work with won't be getting baptized on Aug. 6th as planned, so as of now we have no baptismal dates, but we're doing all that we can to keep the work progressing forward and to help people come closer to Christ - our Savior and Redeemer.
Thank you all for your support and prayers.  Times get tough, but it's great to know that I've always got a team of friends and family praying for me.
From New England with love,
Elder Dustin Carr