Monday, October 29, 2012

Just Do It!

So this has been a fairly crazy week with an interesting exchange, tons of time spent planning and making calls for our Zone Meeting tomorrow (which might be postponed due to the storm), a ward Trunk-or-treat party with a cornbread failure, a big disappointment and embarrassment from finding out during Ward Council that our newest solid investigator is actually a Less-Active Member, and time just flying by so fast that we often prayed to be most effective with the few short minutes we had.
Note from Editor: Map shows Sandy vs Dusty forecasted showdown on Thursday and Friday. She's no match for him!!
It was tough, too, because we have been working so hard and seeing almost no success coming from it, but it wasn't frustrating/discouraging, it was more just puzzling. Unfortunately we didn't even get to teach most of our investigators this week, so our lessons struggled a bit, but we did find that the Ward Council was very supportive of us in working on getting the Oval Chart running - really all the credit for that goes to our amazing Ward Mission Leader, Chris Norcross.
After an entire week of finding no new investigators - and the one we thought we found was actually a member - we were determined to not end that way. With only 45 minutes left on Sunday night (8:15) - during a time we intended on using to further our plans for the Zone Meeting - we decided to go out street contacting. As we got to the city's main intersection, Five Corners, we waited until we knew which way to go to find someone. Then as we decided to take a route that led a loop back to our apartment, we noticed 2 guys across the street. At first I thought to look to the side and avoid the awkwardness of calling out to them across traffic, but then I felt the need to open my mouth, and I told myself "just do it!" After asking if they had spoken with missionaries before, we no sooner found ourselves in a small conversation about their beliefs. Although the visit was brief, we gave them our number on cards and thanked them for a moment of their time, and even though we didn't really get to teach them, it gave us the confidence and energy to then call out to the next lady we saw just before she got into her car. We ended up teaching her for a while all about how the Gospel truly can bless her life. While we taught there were two men that were listening from a nearby upstairs apartment window and they came down to join our conversation. It was so sweet to see how their countenances changed over that half hour discussion which ended with a prayer, and a return appointment to teach her today at 12:00 :) It was such a sweet miracle, too, because she wanted to move back up here, but was just here last night to make that decision and after speaking with us, she really became interested in how the Gospel can truly bring her more happiness. After meeting with us last night, this self-described wild and faithless woman who believed more in science than in God's powers admitted that it was in God's divine plan for us to meet that night.
I am so grateful for the choice we made to go out and not let this last week end with another zero, and I am so grateful that we waited until the prompting of where to go, and then acted and opened our mouths. I find that in every case when I am faced with a decision that has the potential to do good, if I fail to act then I may never know what could have happened, but if I heed the prompting - no matter how small it may seem - I always find God's plans unfold as prayers are answered. I hope the next time you feel a prompting to do something that could yield positive results, that you will say to yourself, "Just Do It!", and then watch as you may be an instrument in the Lord's hands. :)
Note from Editor: As Miguel Cabrera no doubt would advise today, "Just swing!"
From New England with Love,
Elder Dustin Carr

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Faith-filled Fresh-start
Well, things have been great here this last week. I'm now serving with Elder Wright, from Howell, Utah. He is awesome! I knew him already from when I was serving as a Zone Leader in Bangor and he was serving as a District Leader in Skowhegan and we got to go on a few exchanges together.
Wash, wax and shine
We've really hit things off on the right foot and got things running. We spent quite a bit of time this week with cleaning/organizing the apartment and all of our records, and we still have plenty of work to do with the records we have. It's been really fun working together and we've not only been enjoying all of it, but we have been working VERY hard on finding every little way in which we can improve in this work - to not just fulfill, but magnify our purpose. We have found so much joy in being obedient, diligent and working with the members - especially when we had several lessons this past week where the members provided perfect fellowship for those we were teaching :)
So things have changed quite a bit again, but in a great way - a smoother way with much more faith and desire towards repenting and doing better every day! We are excited as we have set high goals for ourselves, and we are committed to doing EVERYTHING - even stretching beyond our abilities - to reach them! I have to run for now, but I look forward to sharing with you the miracles that are to come from our inspired new ways of going about this great work!
From New England with Love,
Elder Dustin Carr

Thursday, October 18, 2012

October 15, 2012

Well, there isn't too much to say for this last week. Still having a difficult time seeing great progress, but we did get a new investigator who expressed a ton of confusion and lack of faith in religion, but a desire to understand truth and come to know her Heavenly Father - everything The Gospel of Jesus Christ has to offer her is EXACTLY what she needs!
Z.L.'s w/Mission Pres
This last Friday we had a rough day - only one lesson, out "finding" all day with no success - but we felt great about it because there were two times where we truly made the correct decision to be diligent and we were blessed for it. The first one was while we were going to our appointment with a gentleman and he wasn't home yet; Elder Weaver mentioned that the man will be home soon so we can just wait, but after inquiring about the past missionary work on his street, I suggested we start tracting. So at 7:00, with no light left, we tracted, and although we didn't really get to teach anyone, we did get to share a scripture from the Book of Mormon with lady who previously was very closed off to the church - and afterwards she began to consider things more openly, and the Spirit was very strong there. Then, our 8:00 appointment fell though, and as we pulled into our parking lot, the posed options were to go walking in the cold and street contacting or going inside and find something to do...immediately I suggested we brave the cold and go find someone to teach. And although nobody talked to us on the street, we walked all the way to a gas station where Elder Weaver went to use the restroom, and the cashier lady started a conversation with me. She had known previous missionaries, and as I later came to find out, she was a former investigator! It was a wonderful contact and we even got a free hot chocolate :) but best of all, we found another one of God's lost sheep that was seeking her way home, and we will get to visit her again soon :). Oh how I love being diligent, it really makes every sacrifice for this work well worthwhile :)

Well, transfer calls were this last Saturday and I survived! - hopefully I'll finish my last two transfers here - Although Elder Weaver will be leaving; so I will be receiving and "training" a new zone Leader starting tomorrow, and I am super excited for it! Can't wait to tell you of all the great miracles that are to come this next week! :)

From New England with love,
Elder Dustin Carr

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Weekend of Revelation

Restroom Mirror Image
Well, the work this last week was pretty rough - we only taught 9 lessons, found no new investigators, received no referrals, couldn't make any contact with any of our previous new investigators, and none of our current investigators made any true progress this week. BUT, amidst all this I have still found joy in serving the Lord and laboring diligently :)

How is this, you might ask? Well, first of all we had an AWESOME District & Zone Leader Council Training Meeting last Thursday (tons of learning and fun! - we really learned how to counsel within councils of leaders), and then we got to watch all of GENERAL CONFERENCE! (which is pretty much like Christmas for missionaries). So all of this was great, and made it an exciting and memorable week, but what helped me the most to enjoy this week was that I was able to witness and feel the love and support of those who are truly praying for me and desiring to see the Lord's work progress, and that I once again learned of how, "We determine our happiness." as President Utchdorf has so lovingly taught. Yes, amidst all the struggles and strife (if it could even be called that) this week, I have chosen to remain happy :)
I must say, though, the other best thing that happened to me this week was that I received SO MUCH revelation and inspiration from General Conference. This year, as I prepared for Conference, I not only prayed diligently for what things I wanted to learn and a knowledge of what my Heavenly Father needs me to learn, but I then wrote them down in the form of questions - leaving a space for answers below each one. After each session of conference I took a moment to reflect on my notes and what I had learned and then write answers as I felt them come by the Spirit. By the end of General Conference I found that I had a full page of questions and answers that were revealed during conference - along with 11 pages of notes, quotes and spiritual insights, and a whole gold mine of inspired resolutions for things that will help me now and forever :)
FH Visit to NY
I am so grateful for General Conference and that we have a living Prophet with 12 Apostles today. We are so blessed to receive guidance from those men, and I know that they are truly speaking what God would have us hear. I hope that each of you watched conference and will study the talks again when they come out, but for those of you who did not, I encourage you to ponder this declarative exhortation, and find the same joy I have in receiving revelation: "Come, listen to a prophet's voice, and hear the word of God, And in the way of truth rejoice, and sing for joy a loud...Then heed the workds of truth and light That flow from fountains pure. Yea, keep His law with all thy might Till thine election's sure, Till though shalt hear the holy voice As sure eternal reign, While joy and cheer attend thy choice, As on who shall obtain."
From New England with Love,

Elder Dustin Carr

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Well, this last week was pretty sweet, on Tuesday I was on exchange with Elder Booth who has only been out 6 months now, but really reminds me of myself. He struggles a bit with pride mostly from his great knowledge of the scriptures, but he has an excellent personality that can open up a gospel conversation with seemingly anyone, and his explanation of things really makes this gospel feel like a living gospel - a way of life. I also truly admired his fire and desire towards this work and I can see how great of a potential he has to be a great leader in this great mission! We had an AWESOME day too! We were able to contact a bunch of people, and for once I enjoyed tracting! haha. The best part was when we got to teach a lady who had been struggling with suicidal tendancies and had been meeting with the Jehovah Witnesses for the past two weeks. We taught her about her relationship with God, being that He is her Heavenly Father, and how she can develop a relationship with him. We also helped her to recognize how the Holy Ghost felt as it truly was present in that discussion. By the end, she said her first real prayer, and felt like the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ truly was the answer she had been searching for - She finally felt a connection with her Father in Heaven. It was a sweet moment, and the week just got better from there on out!
This Friday was Lani's Baptism! It went great! There was a great turnout from the ward and a lot of support, plus Brother Edwin Brown (formerly the Elder Brown who taught Lani) came and baptized her and most of her family were there to support her as well! So it was an excellent week as it ended with the first baptism the Essex ward has had in over a year :) hopefully we'll reach our goal of having 2 more by the end of this year! :)
Lastly, we taught a new family on Saturday. Two weeks ago we went to contact a less-active family who actually had a note on the records that said "do not contact", but we felt to do so anyways and ended up meeting a new family that had moved into that home - a lady and her three daughters. We got to teach them this Saturday with Edwin Brown, and we had the sweetest restoration lesson! it was so great, the kids were into it the whole time, and she TOTALLY related to Joseph Smith and accepted our entire message. By the end the kids were so excited and pleading with her, "can we go to church!?!? please!?" haha. Well unfortunately they couldn't make it due to her husband wanting to be sure that he knew exactly what they were getting into (and he wanted to go with them but had work yesterday). So I don't blame him for being a good Dad and making sure his wife and daughters are into righteous things, but we are just really hoping and praying that his heart will be softened and he will be accepting of our unique message and the decision she and their daughters are making. It sure will be a toss up because this next week will be their first week to come to church together, but with it being General Conference weekend, it could give them the wrong impression of our normal services. So we are really hoping and praying that things will work out well this weekend and that we can find the perfect fellowshipper family for them this week :) Hopefully I'll have some more exciting news for you about them and the rest of the great progress next week!
From New England with Love,

Elder Dustin Carr