Monday, July 30, 2012

Miracle Growth!

We have done so great lately and this last week we would've hit all our standards if only we had 1 more investigator at sacrament meeting :) Plus we hit 22 total lessons - and half of them were with members present! This was super exciting because our new Zone Goal that we came up with is called Miracle Growth - which revolves around having each area hitting their member lessons standard each week by focusing on 'Real Growth', prayerfully seeking for real fellowshippers, and by following Preach My Gospel to "...ensure that members are present at every lesson..." -PMG 216. So needless to say, things have been going great! Also, Elder Craig and I are working so well together and really making a great team - which makes the work a whole ton of fun! We have 3 people preparing for baptism on one day! It's going to be so exciting!

Our biggest desire now is to help people to be truly converted to the gospel and not just to get high numbers - in doing so we hope to see 'Real Growth' and Miracles - which brings MIRACLE GROWTH! :)
Stay tuned for more Miracle Growth next week!

From Maine with Love,

Elder Dustin Carr

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Start of Transfer #14
Well, we had another great week here and nearly hit all four of our standards.  As of now, we have 3 solid baptismal dates.  They have been coming to church for the past few weeks and they love it; they also got to see an 8-year-old's baptism yesterday after church and they got super excited for their own baptisms and have already started planning the services.
We've found a lot of success lately with our member lessons by teaching either part-members, or just seeking to teach those that are really close in relationship to members so they will always be taught
in the member's home.  Also, we had 5 investigators at church yesterday - the most I've had since I've been here - and we think that's due to us teaching more solidly the importance of attending as a preparation for baptism, and by making church attendance more of an expectation and not just an invitation.  Also, we got a new Ward Mission Leader, Brother Wilkerson, and he is on FIRE! He is assertive towards making sure this work is going the way it should and that the ward is working with us and doing their part.  He really understands this work  - he even took most of the time during Ward Council to reteach the leaders how things like the Oval Chart need to run.
So things are really looking up here, and we are expecting to have a few baptisms this next transfer.  I'm excited because of all the new changes and things going on - and because transfers time is a time for
a fresh start :)  I'm also excited because this is the first transfer where nothing has changed amongst the dynamics of our companionship, so transfer planning and Zone Goal preparations and such will run much smoother.
This is the start of Transfer #14, and ever since I got here it's been high adventure, and as President Wilkey has counseled it'll stay that way from here on out - so wish me luck! : )
From Maine with Love,
Elder Dustin Carr

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Week in the Life of Elder Carr

This week was great.  We got a lot of time to work in our area, allowing us to have 25 lessons, 5 new investigators, 10 member lessons (hitting both those standards), and almost reach our baptismal date and sacrament meeting attendance standards!  It was awesome!
I feel that in this last transfer I have changed a lot as a Zone Leader in my focus on other missionaries needs.  I got to go on two exchanges this week and really enjoyed getting to focus on the missionaries I was with in striving to uplift, encourage, and inspire them - as taught in the white handbook.    A lot of it probably came from when we were constantly taking care of the Sister Missionaries in the hospital and it really taught me some things.  Since then I've focused so much more on following the leadership goal in the white handbook which "... is not merely to supervise or motivate, but to lift, encourage, inspire, and bless."  It really is a Book of Blessings!
We had a sweet miracle this week with an older lady that is a close friend and neighbor of a good member friend of ours.  She has been taught by the missionaries since a few months before I came, but she would never accept a baptismal date because she was afraid of what her children would think.  She had also been concerned about how she could just "turn her back on her old church" which she has been a member of most of her life, but one of the biggest things she desires is to be sealed to her beloved husband who passed away a few years ago, and Christ's true and restored church offers that.  : )
So this last Tuesday, during a lesson with her about prayer, the conversation turned towards her joining the church, and I felt impressed to ask our gentleman friend what he thinks his neighbor still needs to do to know this church is true and decide to be baptized.  His answer was, "She already knows it's true! She's just nervous about what would happen.  So she just needs to make the choice and go into it with faith!"  We then asked her if that was correct and she replied, "He knows me too well."  She asked us a few more questions and then made the decision to be baptized and to pray about a date.  She then said the closing prayer - telling Heavenly Father that she has made her decision and she is ready.  On our next visit, she explained that she wants to be baptized as soon as possible, so we set her date for Aug. 11th. : )  She also has the goal of making sure that she can go to the temple in a year so that she can be sealed to her husband for time and all eternity on their anniversary date.
This was quite an amazing experience and it was incredible to see how much the Spirit directed those lessons and her decision, because without it, none of that would've happened.  : )
From Maine with Love, Elder Dustin Carr

Monday, July 9, 2012

18-Months, but who's counting?
    I felt like just yesterday I was in Lawrence burning my shirt, and yet this week I found myself in Bangor, Maine burning a pair of pants. Yes, this last week I hit my 18-month mark and time is flying.  It's a pretty neat feeling, though, because before, when I hit a mission milestone, I got scared and worried that time was flying by too fast. But now I am content, because I am working my hardest and I am more committed to this work than ever before - so even if the end is drawing near, I have nothing to fear, because I know that I am a successful missionary.
    This last week I have seen the beautiful blessings of serving to my fullest potential.  I have been blessed to help other missionaries improve their efforts while on exchanges, to train many missionaries
during Zone Interviews, to receive incredible help and strength from President Wilkey's teachings and example, and to have one of the sweetest experiences ever in a lesson during my mission.  I have only
had a few instances on my mission where I have taught a whole family, but never have I had the chance to personally invite them to be baptized together on a specific date; but this last week, as I went to see the Schofield family with Elder Gardner in Belfast, I got that chance.
    After serving them (learning to milk cows) and growing to love them, we had a meal and began our lesson.  It started out with a concern that the mother had about the Restoration, and as we answered her concern, and then testified of the Restoration, I could literally feel the Spirit stronger and stronger in their home.  We had previously decided that we were going to invite them to July 28th, and though the idea seemed a bit far fetched at first, we knew that it was the right moment as the Spirit was strongest.  So at that moment, I invited them all the be baptized by proper Priesthood Authority on July 28th.  Unfortunately they had something going on that day where they might not be able to be in town, but they felt so great about their decision that they went ahead and bumped their date up to July 21st!  It was such a sweet moment as we were able to see the light in their eyes and the confirming witness from the Holy Ghost as we testified of the promised blessings they would receive for their decision and their future goal of being sealed in the temple.
    This experience taught me so much, and it gave me such a greater desire to press forward even stronger in this work and in the goal of finding families to bring back to our Heavenly Father's family.  I
know that sweet moments like this, and many others that I've had this week, do not come by chance, but that they are orchestrated by our Heavenly Father, and as we seek His will - following His plan, and
doing His work - will be blessed to have these experiences that will shape our lives forever.  :)
    From Maine with Love,
    Elder Dustin Carr

Monday, July 2, 2012

You Never Know
     This last week we got to go to Zone Leader Council and then for the next two days of this week we'll have Zone Interviews, so we're busy, and we're getting a lot of time with President Wilkey - and I love it!
     We've also had a really interesting week with a lot of make-it-or-break-it moments -- some for the better, and others not so much. It's been rough to see what's going on with our investigators here, and to see the adversary working so hard on them, but it's been a testimony builder for me to see how those who are really seeking truth, and keeping their commitments to read the Book of Mormon, pray, and go to church, are being blessed to feel the Spirit more and come closer to a knowledge of the truth.
     Personally, I've realized lately how this is my only area so far where I haven't had a baptism, and I've been struggling to remember that success is measured by my commitment to the work and not just the numbers. But just as I got on my email today, I read about some news from Dad that really helped remind me of a basic principle.
     As he recounted to me of something I had done 3 years ago that had just now affected and blessed the life of a young man in my home ward, I realized that the outcome of the service we render doesn't always come at the moment we serve. You just never know what impact you might have on someone, and it may take years for your action to impact them, but you should never let that stop you from following a prompting from the Spirit, or simply doing a kind act, because it can greatly bless their life.
     I will continue to work my hardest even if the results seem non-existent, because I know that this is the Lord's work -- and it is a great and marvelous work that he has caused to happen among God's
children. I will do my best to serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength - not being too focused on what is coming from it -- because good may come in the future, and you just never know...
From Maine with Love,
Elder Dustin Carr