Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A dream come true. I am now serving in Maine.

Watch out, Elder Esplin!
     Ha ha, ok so serving in Maine has always been a joke down in Massachussetts, but honestly, now that I'm actually serving here, I just LOVE this land!  The people here are generally very humble, typically a bit wacky, but so funny and loveable. being called as a Zone Leader has been quite amazing, and I am loving every bit of it.     I have been called to serve in the Brewer, ME area with Elder Esplin, and it was definintely inspired.   Elder Esplin is from St. George, UT; he has been a ZL for 1 transfer now, and he is very musically talented.  We connect so well, and we had a strong spiritual experience at transfers when we talked with President just after being called to serve together - it was definitely an inspired calling.
     Elder Esplin and I have been having fun, working hard, and enjoying every minute of serving together.  This last week we didn't get much time to do actual work due to Zone Leader responsibilities and such, but if  the first week is always the roughest, and I enjoyed it this
much, then I can't wait to see what the next few weeks have in store for us!!! 
My "Family" of Elders:
Gaunt, Busby, Blad, Cordova
     I still barely know the area and our investigators, but we have 4 baptismal dates right now, so we're doing pretty good :)  Being a Zone Leader is A LOT of extra work, and way less time for myself,
but it brings so much more happiness.  A few of the things I love the most are that I get to share the yolk (yoke?) of responsibilities equally with my companion, we get to work with the specific needs of district leaders and their missionaries' areas, I feel love for each missionary in the zone, we get to talk to President Wilkey every week, and in this area we are absolutely spoiled, lol (we have the greatest apartment, a legit mini van, a sweet ward, and so much more!).
     So ya, things are really going great, and I am just loving every bit of it.  This morning, as I walked around getting ready for the day, I started just naming off all the wonderful things I have been blessed
with, and it felt so great!  I truly am blessed to be here, and I can't wait to tell you of the miracles we will witness here in Brewer, ME.
     BTW, my address is:
     58 Perkins St. Apt. 2
     Bangor, ME 04401
     (ya I know, it's confusing, I'm in the Brewer area, but we live in Bangor)

 From Maine with love,
 Elder Dustin Carr

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A donde me mandes ire'

This last week was amazing, and it finally opened my eyes to see why Elder Blad and I still needed to be here together for this last transfer. We had some sweet miracles this week that really set us on fire, and our unity kept that firing blazing everyday!
On Tuesday, we were walking around after an appointment dropped, and we found ourselves with only 30 minutes until service time at the Cor Unum Meal Center. After several failed backup plans, we began knocking doors. At first we weren't going at it with much faith or enthusiasm - just trying to kill time in an obedient way - but then we realized that this would bring no success or happiness. I stopped and said, "Ok, Elder Blad, we're down to just 15 minutes till we go to the Cor Unum; now we are going to get to talk to at least 1 person and get a return appointment!" Upon his excited approval, we went to the next door. Full of faith in miracles, we knocked, and Mary opened. We explained who we were and she immediately invited us in. Unfortunately her husband wasn't there, so we gave her a Book of Mormon and set up a time to come back next week. Then she asked us what parts she should read before our next appointment, and committed to starting from the beginning! We left her with a prayer, and she left us with our hands full of Lindt chocolates! She's such a sweet and humble lady - I can't wait to see how she and her family progress in this gospel!
Then on Wednesday, we were meeting with E and N, our investigators, and we watched the Testaments movie. It was super powerful and really helped him gain a testimony of Christ, the Book of Mormon, and that He truly visited to people in the Central America's as recorded in 3 Nephi 11. After the movie, we were discussing what we learned, and E mentioned that he and N have set a date to get married! Then, to our astonishment, he proceeded to tell us that he has decided he wants to get baptized the following week! Such a miracle! I'm so excited to see him make his first covenant and receive all the blessings promised!
Lastly, we spent Thursday evening with another investigator and his family. It was the first time meeting with the whole family, so we made it legit - we had Noche de Hogar (FHE)! It was awesome, we had a super fun lesson that taught about following the counsel of the prophets - perfect with General Conference right around the corner. It was great because the family had so much fun getting together - which they never really do, plus they were able to see that we are fun and yet still see that our purpose is to teach them the Restored Gospel. Another big success was bringing the Spirit into their home, and getting to really connect with the whole family and develop a relationship in which we can now start teaching them all. What a miracle of applying the Prophet's counsel of holding weekly FHE! I'm so excited to see how this family will strengthen each other in their path towards recieving the fruit of the Tree of Life!
So as you can see, this week has been quite amazing, but there is a twist...with all these great things to look forward to, I won't actually get to see any of them - I'm being transferred. I got the call this last Saturday, and although I'm not sure where I'm going yet, I will be called to my new area tomorrow and will be serving as a Zone Leader. I have many thoughts and feelings about this, but overall, I would say that I am contently excited....if that even makes sense, haha. It has been wonderful here in Lawrence, and I've been so blessed to be here, but I understand that it is time to move on and work in other areas and in other ways. There were a few that it was quite difficult to say goodbye to, but I fully intend on staying in contact and keeping these friendships I've made alive.
I know that wherever I am to be sent is where the Lord needs me to be, and my testimony of that is firm. I know that our God is a God of miracles, and I am excited to get to share will you all about the miracles, and other great learning experiences, I will witness in the coming weeks as a Zone Leader.
Adios Lawrence, y mis dominicanos, y mis guatemantecos, y mis puertoriquenos, y mis salvadorenos, y mis mexicanos, y mis colombianos, y mis ecuatorianos.
Oro que "para siempre dios este con vos."  iViva los hispanos!
(Note from Dad: Google Span/English Translator tells me that last part reads:
Why is Gold that 'forever god this with vos.' approach hispanics!
Hmm... keep studying that Spanish, Dusty! and keep approaching hispanics!)
Elder Dustin Carr

A Praise to the Man Who Communed with Jehovah

This last week was great, we had a tough time with appointments and progress of investigators, but the highlight of the week was on Saturday. That morning, we packed up 3 vehicles with 4 missionaries, 2 investigators, 7 recent converts, 5 members, and headed off to Sharon, Vermont. After a fun 2 hour car ride, we arrived at our destination, and with the first step we took out of the car - with the sound of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir whispering throughout the snow-covered trees - we could all feel that we were standing on holy ground - the birthplace of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Our trip to, and tour of, the Joseph Smith Memorial was incredible. It was a very spiritual day for all of us, and it really changed and strengthend everyone. Two of my favorite moments were when one of our invetsigators expressed how much the video touched his heart, and then when a recent convert got to sit on a bench right next to the spot where Joseph was born and just pondered and felt inexpressible feelings.
The aftermath of this trip was also incredible. Our investigator told us that he now believes Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God and that this is the most true church on the face of the earth. Also he came to church even when his girlfriend was sick - showing that he knew he needed to go to at least Sacrament Meeting, and then return to take care of his girlfriend; plus, he even came in a full suit! And our new convert gained a stronger testimony of Joseph Smith as a Prophet of God, and even took the opportunity to share her powerful testimony with everyone in the Gospel Principles class yesterday in church.
Lawrence Ward at Tarde Espiritual
This trip has done so much for our investigators, recent converts, ward members, and me. I, too, felt many things there at the JSM, and learned many new things. One of the things I understood more of this time was that Joseph Smith was a real man, just like you and me. He dealt with real challenges and trials, probably much worse than us. But his faith was unwavering, and the strength he received from his personal relationship with our Heavenly Father kept him strong in his darkest times. This is the faith, and the relationship I desire to have myself, and I have set goals to do so. It is my testimony that Joseph Smith is a true Prophet of God. I know that he truly did see God the Father and Jesus Christ, and that through him the Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored. I know that by the power of God, he translated the Book of Mormon, which is the most true of any book upon the face of the earth. And am grateful for everything Joseph Smith went through, and for all of his wife, Emma's, support in restoring the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. I give praise to that man, Joseph Smith.
From New England with Love,
Elder Dustin Carr

Monday, March 5, 2012

Get B.O.L.D.

Our Zone Goal this last transfer has been to Get B.O.L.D. and its an acronym that stands for:
B - be loving
O - out perform our past
L - learn it, do it
D - don't forget the objective (strive to arrive with 385 - it's a NHMM thing)
Ordering up some McTransfers
I've been learning so much lately about the concept of getting bold, while not being overbearing; I think that is mostly due to the first letter standing for Be Loving. I must say though, that as I have focussed on applying each other the 4 points of "Get B.O.L.D.", I have seen a significant improvement in my confidence level in many aspects of this work. I have found that I am quicker to act on impressions I recieve. I look back on what things have gone well, and in what ways we can improve. I seek to apply all the things I learn from the various meetings we attend and things I study.   I have a more focused vision on what Our Purpose really is as missionaries.
The change that has come from this Zone Goal truly has been such a blessing to me, and I do feel that I have learned how to be a BOLD representative of Jesus Christ. Case in point: this last week we were meeting with an investigator, with whom we have been meeting for 2 weeks now. We hadn't extended a baptismal date to him yet, and I typically wouldn't until he was progressing more. But during our lesson about the Plan of Salvation, just as we were explaining the Celestial Kingdom, I felt the impression to invite him to be baptized on April 14th - and unlike many times in the past, I did not hesitate. I got B.O.L.D.
As I explained why baptism was necessary to enter the Celestial Kingdom, and then invited him to be baptized on April 14th, I could feel pure Christ-like love - charity. The presence of the Spirit was strong, and I knew that I had done the right thing. He accepted the date, and was excited for it and all the things we will do in between to reach that day. Yesterday, he came to church for the first time and loved it - nothing could have made that Sacrament meeting sweeter than the smile he brought in with him.
From New England with Love,
Elder Dustin Carr