Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lessons Learned from Zone Conference

This last week we had an amazing zone conference all geared toward the restoration and how we can teach and apply it more effectively.  It was amazing and I must say my testimony of the Restoration grew stronger.
We have an investigator we have been teaching for two months.  His member girlfriend helped him get started.  He's been working on getting an answer about the Gospel but does not feel he has received an answer yet.  The day after zone conf Elder Blad and I read the story of the First Vision to this investigator, testified, sang a hymn, and let silent pauses be enjoyed.  We had a very powerful lesson. The Spirit was very strong.  It is now revealed to us what we need to focus on to help this specific investigator.
On a gate in our city
I'm just so grateful for the chances I've had to learn and grow -- to change and do better -- every day.  I'm grateful for the hard work our mission president, his wife, and other leaders put into helping us learn how to be more successful in this work.

Til next time, from New England with love,
Elder Dustin Carr

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

You Choose Your Happiness

Well, this last week was still rough in the ways of missionary success, but I sure did learn tons, and the week ended with one of the greatest weekends of my mission!
First off, Stephany's Baptism went great! Plus President and Sister Wilkey came, so that made it all the more better.  And as if that wasn't enough, Sunday was one of the best Sundays yet; I got to talk to our Stake President, President Watson, for a long time, and I feel really connected with him, and I learned a lot from him.  Then just the whole day was so great - we had a super successful Ward Council meeting and made a lot of progress with things, we got to be a part of Jose Reye's farewell party (and it was awesome cause I actually knew him back at BYU-I), and his girlfriend came (obviously having a tough time dealing with him leaving). 
I've really felt like I've been learning and growing a lot and been able to be a positive impact in others' lives, and that is one of the most comforting things to me.  Being a part of Stephany's conversion process has been a HUGE testimony builder for me, and I have learned so much from it all - I truly have been blessed to have been a part of it all. 
Also, before I run, I want to tell you of one of the things I've learned so much more these last few months than ever before: You Choose Your Happiness.  I've learned a ton of this on my own, and I got to talk about it a lot with President Watson, but basically I've learned that I can't blame things on anyone but myself.  If I am frustrated, then I chose to be frustrated;  if I am discouraged or depressed, then I chose to feel that way;  but if I want to be Happy, to Love, and to feel pure Joy, then that is a choice that I must make.  Everyday now, I don't complain about how tired I am when I wake up, or mope around all sleepy, instead I smile and enjoy the fact that I get another chance to do better than I did the day before, and to ultimately find more happiness.  In all things in life, in every moment and in every decision, remember: the outcome is a result of your choice; so choose wisely :)
From New England with Love,
Elder Dustin Carr

Monday, February 6, 2012

Failure to Plan = Planning to Fail

 First things first - Elder Blad and Elder Carr are staying in Lawrence for another transfer! WOOT!
Well this week we did OK...but we could've done better, and that was really frustrating to realize.  We didn't guard our planning hours and things came up (a funeral, a baptism, teaching appointments, phone calls, etc.), so our weekly planning got shot and our nightly planning struggled.  And as a result, we had a OK week, but we didn't really progress much in the work.  Part of it was a lack of focus on seeing past the transfers, but part of it was also just not getting done what NEEDS to be done.  So we have set many goals and plans for ourselves now as to what we will do this week to change this issue and become better "escalator missionaries".  It's great to see how repentance can be applied in many ways, and in all ways the essence of repentance is CHANGE - so this week we are repenting, changing, and refocusing our efforts to achieve our goals.  I know that our God is a god of high expectations, and His are the expectations I want to meet.
In other news, Luis's baptism was excellent!  We had 4 investigators there!  And afterwards, one of them said, "I want to get baptized next!" and we've barely even started teaching her! So nearly everything went smoothly, and he was confirmed the next day in church.  We learned a bit about the influence of women this week and the righteous influence Luis's friend Melanie (Bishop's daughter) out at BYU-I has on him.  When we came over the night before Luis's baptism, we noticed that he was still wearing his earings; we explained what the prophets have taught us and how men should not have any body piercings, but he rejected it in a light/sarcastic way and figured that "if our bodies are temples, then this is just how [he] likes to decorate it."  Well a few minutes later, he was skyping Melanie, and with us in the background he asked what she thought about his earings.  Thankfully, this valient and virtuous woman politely told him that he should take them out, and a minute later Luis's ears were back to looking the way God intended them to look! Haha.  It sure was great to see how much of a role Melanie has played in his conversion process, and she really has helped him in so many ways by encouraging his righteousness - it was also pretty funny to see how easily influenced he was by a female - it's no wonder now why Satan chose to tempt Eve first ;)
Well, our female investigator's baptism is set for this Saturday at 11:00 a.m., and we are SO excited and happy that we get to stay for this transfer so we will both get to be there.  I am so proud of her and her journey in her conversion process - I've learned many things from her example, and she sets a very high standard for others in the ward now.  She is so engaged in our clases - in fact, yesterday in Gospel Principles she was responding to several doubts that other people had about the Fall of Adam and Eve, and she was answering with clear and true doctrine that I don't even remember teaching her!  I can't wait to see where Luis and she will be in the next few years, but I know that they will be of great strengths to the ward and so many others.
Well I gotta get running, but I hope you all are doing well and I hope you had a great Groundhog Day!!!
From New England with love,
Elder Dustin Carr