Monday, June 25, 2012

Remember Him

It would be nice to take say that today is p-day and I get to relax -
especially after this last week -- but that's not the case, nor does it need to be.  This week was full of supervising an elder who desired nothing more than to go home, spending a full day driving him to Manchester and coming back with another missionary, visiting Eastern Maine Medical Center nearly every day to give blessings to the sister missionaries and other members fighting illnesses, dealing with investigators who will not make the choices necessary to progress and find more happiness, being dropped, struggling with flaky members, and a whole lot of lessons learned - one in particular that I know I was prepared to learn from last week's trials.  So ya, it's been a good week, and I'm just glad to be doing this work.

I've been so blessed to have the opportunity to give of myself this last week.  Often times I feel like I lack skills and have nothing but a smile, so I give that away as well.  I've found joy in simply
searching to relieve someone else's burden, striving to fulfill my priesthood duty, and seeking revelation as to how I can make someone else's life better than it was before I came in.  Throughout this last week, I have learned many things about the gospel - most especially about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and it has fueled my desire to share His Gospel more.

Last night, after an investigator dropped us, with my heart in despire I allowed doubtful feelings to enter in.  Amidst my frustrations and questions, I asked, "Why is this so difficult?  why is it so hard for people to see the truth and grasp it when we put it right in front of their eyes?  If this Gospel really is true, then why doesn't everyone just accept our message and commitments?"  My companion, Elder Craig, simply said, "You wanna know the answer? this is why," and he popped in a cd that had excerpts from talks from President Eyring and Elder Holland.  As I listened, I learned a principle from each one.

I learned that when we are stretched and pulled, fatigued and sore, worn out and simply desire to rest, we must make this rallying cry, "REMEMBER HIM!" and remember our Savior, the One who was stretched beyond comprehension, but never gave in and never rested until his task was finished.  He completed the Atonement, and in order for us to understand the Atonement more fully, we must also go through some form of what He went through for us.  I learned that Salvation is not a cheap experience - there was an infinite price paid for us, to which we are eternally indebted.

So why is this work not easier?  Because neither I, nor my investigators, would deserve the blessings promised - on which you could not place a price tag.  And I'm happy to say that as my understanding of the Atonement has increased, my desire to share The Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ has increased as well, and I look forward to every short minute I'll have this week to do so.  :)

From Maine with Love,

Elder Dustin Carr

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Power of The Atonement
    Well, this last week has been a bit stressful, but I found great strength and support as I relied on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and sought revelation through prayer.
    I had been quite stressed out at different times with all the things that we had going on and not enough time to get to it all.  The first week of a transfer is always difficult due to transfer planning and Zone Goal planning and such, but it was also piled on top with training a new Zone Leader.  My new companion is Elder Craig from Middleton, Idaho; I just love this elder, and he and I work well together.  Also, he has an amazing voice, so we've been singing in many of our lessons, and it's really brought the Spirit into every environment we are in -- including our companionship!
    During the first few days of the week, the load of responsibility stressed me out, but then we had two back to back appointments where we taught about the Atonement, and I think it was more for me than anyone else, haha.  As we taught, I felt the need to rely on the Lord more, as I had only been relying on myself and my own strengths.  I had been taking everything upon myself and not allowing Him to lift my burdens.  During each lesson, I shared the scripture Mosiah 14:4, "Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows...", and I testified of an experience I had during the beginning of my mission.
    Around the middle of last summer, while still being trained by Elder Ahumada, I had been going through an intense personal struggle – being too hung up on not understanding the "why" of my trial, and feeling utterly helpless.  As I was venting one evening about my frustrations, my loving trainer listened, and listened, and listened some more; then he gave me his heartfelt and sincere advice.  He tried to put himself in my shoes, but could only go so far, so he led me to understand more of the One who could -- that is, our Savior, Jesus Christ.  He gave me a talk to read that referenced Mosiah 14:4, and I learned more at that time of the power of the Atonement and how Christ's sacrifice was not only for our sins, but also so that we may find peace in Him.  That lesson I learned carried me through the rest of that summer, up through now, and has taught me more once again this week; I owe a great debt to my trainer, Elder Ahumada, and I am truly grateful for him taking to time to teach me how to understand and apply the Atonement.
     So a few nights ago, as I reflected on our Savior's sacrifice for us, and prayed for revelation as to how I could cope with my stress and overwhelming responsibilities, I found my answer.  It came by promptings from the Spirit and was centered on my need to focus more on my companion.  I have followed the counsel I received and have witnessed a change in myself, my companionship, and my renewed attitude towards the work.  I know that our Savior, Jesus Christ, suffered for US in the Garden of Gethsemane, gave up His life for US upon the cross at Calvary, and conquered death - - arising from His 3-days tomb - all for US.  This He did, "...that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." (Alma 7:12).  And if we will remember Him, rely on His Atoning Sacrifice, and seek help through prayer, our Heavenly Father will answer us and teach us what we should do by the power of the Holy Ghost, and we will find the peace we so desire.
    Looking forward to a great week full of faith, hard work, and miracles : )
From Maine with Love,
Elder Dustin Carr

Monday, June 11, 2012

iHasta Luego, Triumphant Trio!
We’ll I'm going to be short because we already had tons of stuff to do today, and we've gotten two different calls from investigators needing us to help them (one to track down their dog with them, the other is in the ER and needs a blessing); so it looks like the Lord is chastening us for selfishly caring only for our needs, as we are now being called to serve, haha.
So I'll skip the surprise, cause it wasn't much of one, haha, but I have survived transfers again, and will stay in Brewer, ME.  But there are some other changes - the Triumphant Trio has come to an end; Elder Esplin and Elder Niebergall are being transferred.  It's bittersweet, because I'll miss them, but Elder Esplin is going to be an Assistant, and Elder Niebergall will be a Zone Leader in Augusta, so I'll still see them both at least once a month : )
As for me though, I will remain here and receive a missionary who will be new to being a Zone Leader, so I get to experience the fun, joyous, and stressful moments of training again.  Haha, really though, I'm sure it will be great and I know he will be an excellent missionary, because the Lord has to give me a companion that can shape me up! : P  I'm super excited though because it's a fresh start with a fresh view and outlook of things here for our area and for the Zone, so I look forward to all the new revelation my new companion and I will receive.
Well, our area is rockin' solid right now, and I am glad to say that we have successfully hit each of our 4 Standards of Excellence at least twice during this transfer!  : )  It wasn't easy, but it was an inspired goal, so therefore the Lord provided a way for us to accomplish it.  I have learned through it all that these Standards of Excellence were inspired to reach our vision and increase our faith -- and that is exactly what they have done for me! : )
I'm excited to get to tell you more about how this next week goes with my new companion and all the exciting things we'll learn together!

From Maine with Love,
Elder Dustin Carr

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Week's Learnings

This week has taught me a lot! We held companionship inventories (where we discuss the issues and then offer help/advice and set goals to improve) and we've been able to improve our communication and have the Spirit to guide us more as we are more unified! : )
Investigator gave us new ties!

We've also been in some interesting situations that have really opened my eyes a lot and helped me appreciate the Gospel more; for instance, we've met with a bunch of different kids lately - many our age - who just have nothing going on in their lives and they have no true happiness, plus we went to support one of our less-actives at his wedding, as well as stopping by in downtown Bangor for Open Mic a bar...haha. So it's nothing to be worried about, we've been obedient in all cases and focused on fulfilling our purpose as missionaries, but it sure did show us just how much you miss out on when you aren't a member of Christ's restored church, and especially when you aren't living his commandments! I realized how much I had been taking this Gospel for granted, and now I have a much greater sense of gratitude for it, and a much stronger testimony of the joy that comes from living it!

Lastly, we had some sweet miracles this week and found a total of 7 new investigators! and the best part is that we found a family! We only counted the Mom and Dad, but they have two daughters that are of baptism age as well. It was pretty special because they were very sweet to us, yet when we offered them a Book of Mormon and invited them to learn they kindly tried to deny it, but then I testified of our purpose, and I told them, "We have a unique message for you, and that the most important part of our message is how your family can be together forever," and they gladly accepted our invitation.

The family as an eternal unit has been one of my favorite things to testify of on my mission, and I KNOW that families, when sealed in the temple, can be TOGETHER FOREVER!

From New England with love,

Elder Dustin Carr