Monday, August 27, 2012

Birthday Wishes Come True!

This last week, our Zone Conference was themed "Repentance as a part of Real Growth," and I really learned a lot about Repentance and how its truly an inward turning towards God and his will, and not only limited to the turning away from sin. Another key point that was stressed was "Faith unto Repentance," which really helped me to see how as our understanding of the Atonement increases, and our faith in our agency to choose and change grows, we really can come to the point where we desire to repent, even daily, and it will become delicious to us!

I saw this principle come to life after a lesson went really sour and was saved by Elder Kalahiki-Anthony – with whom I was on exchange. Basically, I had been relying on my own strengths - explaining a principle through logic and reasoning - but that frustrated those we were teaching, and Elder Kalahiki-Anthony was able to explain it by listening to the Spirit and explaining the same principle with the focus on its sacred importance and true meaning. It was amazing to see how well he was led by the Spirit as to what he needed to say, and how well it remedied the situation. I was so inspired by this, and I began a very humbling process. Then, applying all that was learned at Zone Conference, I started to repent everyday of anything in my conduct that was not in accordance with the Lord's will or ways. I have seen that since then, it has helped me to be more humble, charitable, and receptive to the promptings of the Spirit. I have also seen a greater change in the power of my testimony as I seek to listen to, and speak by, the Spirit :) cream and rice krispy sandwich
Well, I turned 21 this last week, and I was concerned that it wasn't going to be so fun with the expectations I have for a birthday with a party and all; so instead, I made a goal to set one baptismal date and find one new investigator! So first off, when we went to go teach Ava, we found that she actually had stopped drinking coffee completely since our last visit, but her date was set for the 1st, and that was 9 days away, and it's required that people are living the Word of Wisdom for at least 2 weeks before baptism, so we taught her about Faith unto Real Repentance and asked her how she felt about her baptismal date and the need to move it back. She contemplated it, and then expressed how happy she was because that would give her more time to show the Lord that she is prepared and dedicated, and so her family can all be there; so we reset her date for Sept. 8 and so technically it was a new date, haha.

Then later we went to stop-by the Smalls whom we didn't get to teach on Thursday due to Zone Conference, and Brother Small gladly accepted us in to teach him and his daughter, Kayla, as usual; except this time his other daughter, Kierra (who previously was against learning about the church), got excited about the lesson we taught and she too wants to learn and come to church now! It was sweet! So all in all, the Lord blessed us to have my birthday wishes come true! and it was the best birthday I could've asked for :)

And to top it all off, Heather Woods is going to be baptized this next Saturday! I'm so excited for her and so blessed to have been able to teach her, witness the changes she has made, see how the gospel has affected her life, and have some part in her conversion process! :)

From New England with Love,

Elder Dustin Carr

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Revelation, Real Zone Growth, Promises, and Optimism!
This last week I found out that for several reasons my flight group will be returning home January 5th, which gives me the option of going back to BYU-I for the Winter semester.  Striving to take care of this decision quickly so as to keep me focused on my purpose here and now, I prayerfully sought for the right choice as to whether I should just right into school or stay home and work for a bit first; I got right into the decision-making process and set the goal that I will have my answer by the end of my personal study time.  Sure enough, after being lead through the topical guide under the word 'seek', I found D&C 6:7.
It immediately became clear to me that I needed to first seek wisdom, but wisdom comes from applied knowledge (which is what you get from college) and applied wisdom leads to eternal life, which is where true wealth lies :)  So it became obvious to me of what I should do, and I found that in this case my choice between two good options was solved by revelation from my prayers and scripture study.  :)
I also learned this week of how "a group will rise no higher than its leaders".  These last few weeks, Elder Craig and I have been progressing so well - in our work and our companionship unity – and the Zone's progress correlated; this last week the Bangor Zone hit record highs of 36 Baptismal Dates, 32 people at Sacrament Meeting, 79 Member Lessons, and 38 New Investigators - bringing us to a total of 46 Standards reached! It was SO EXCITING! and even more exciting was how President Wilkey felt about it all.  He left us a special promise that as long as we continue to improve the unity of our companionship, and progress in our work here in Brewer, the Lord will bless the Bangor Zone and it's missionaries to continue forward in reaching our vision, increasing our faith, and bringing more of our Heavenly Father's children back to him.  WE ARE SO PUMPED ABOUT THIS WORK!

Lastly, I saw two different views the other day from leaders in our ward council meeting - the difference was between optimism and pessimism, or faith and doubt, in reference to one our investigator’s
potential to progress.  I realized it is true to while being full of faith we must remember what is reality, but when it comes down to it, I would prefer to go forward with faith, because that's one of the
roots of happiness, and that's what brings Miracles!
From New England with Love,
Elder Dustin Carr

Friday, August 17, 2012

I have seen some change in myself - it's probably more prevalent from others' points of view - and I am happy with it.  I have become more serious in many ways, and sometimes it bugs me to think that I might be losing my humorous side, but really, I think I'm just going through a different phase of change where my humor is turning from light-mindedness to light-heartedness  (something President Wilkey has taught us so much about).  I am grateful for change - it's the only way we grow!  Change requires leaving your comfort zone, but that is the only way that the Comforter can enter in to lift and shape you into who our Heavenly Father wants us to be.  I think my favorite thing about change is how it fits so well into His Plan - if we didn't need to change, we wouldn't be here! but we didn't have a body as God does, so that needed to change; we aren't perfect like Christ, so that also needs to change until we come become like him; and the whole point of the Atonement was so that we could repent, or CHANGE - that through his sacrifice we can break free from the chains that bind us to being a "natural man", we can be refined and tested to become someone who reflects His countenance.
I love all of the things I am learning on my mission too, and I have changed the way I write my journal now too; instead of just keeping a record of the things I did, I am recording all the significant things I learn, the miracles I witness, and now, the changes I notice in myself.  I know that the things I am learning, and the work I am doing now, are a beautiful part of the great plan my Heavenly Father has for me - to someday become someone like Him, worthy to live with Him, and in whom He can see His own countenance.
With love, Elder Dustin Carr

Monday, August 6, 2012

From California to New England

From brown to green, and arid to humid;
From consistency to constant change, and hot to freezing;
From mountains to flat lands, and huge trees to dense forests;
From clear skies to ever-changing rainclouds, and sky blue to the perfect blue;
From bear to moose, and shrimp to lobster;
From ocean to ocean, and West to East;
From California to New England, this is the land of my mission.

From Massachusetts to Maine, and Spanglish to Mainglish;
From 6:30 to 10:30, and meetings to conferences;
From tracting to teaching, and disappointment to success;
From new investigators to baptisms, and proud hearts to humble spirits;
From normal to "what is normal anymore?", and faithless to faithful;
From member frustrations to fellowship success, and hole to whole;
From miracle to miracle, this is the life I experience on my mission.

From believing to knowing, and loving to being sincerely concerned;
From prideful arrogance to loving assertiveness, and dreaming to living;
From loudly obnoxious to dignified fun, and stress to serenity;
From nonchalant to anxiously engaged, and goals set to goals achieved;
From weakness' to strengths, and follower to leader;
From fulfilling to magnifying, and good to better;
From Jan, 2011 – Aug, 2012, this is the missionary I have become on my mission.

As you can see, my mission is special to me; the things I've viewed
and experiences I've had have changed me, and I can joyfully say, I'm
happy with whom I have become, and full of hope to progress continually.

From New England with Love,

Elder Dustin Carr