Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Hot, sweaty, and happy!!

January 25, 2016

Hey guys!

This week went really good! It was really hot! Haha - probably half my letters are talking about how hot it here! But that's because it's really hot!!! I think it was around 42 degrees this week! Man, 42 and 100 percent humidity makes it feel really really hot! I am drinking tons of water so don't worry Bita! On the up side, I would be getting a nice tan, but the only things that are tanning are half of my neck, half of my arms and my face. Other than that its just the same! I am very grateful that we have ac in our pension or I would be dying! We moved our beds so that we are sleeping right underneath the air conditioning! It is great!! But it still gets a little hot sometimes! They cut the lights here because everyone is using ac or filling up their pool. So it gets kindof annoying when we have to make food and there is no water! But it's alright! We are surviving!!

This week there was a conference for all the missonaries in the world! There were a couple of apostles that spoke and some 70s! It went really good! I really enjoyed it!!! It would have been better if it was in english, but it's alright. They talked alot about Christ and that we should really just try to teach the people about Christ, which I really like! When you dont have something to say, talk about Christ! I thought that was really cool and I am trying to apply everything that was said! I guess the last one that they had was about 10 years ago so these world wide missionary conferences don't happen every often! It was super good! It was fun to see everyone as well!!

Then an area 70 came and visited us on Friday! That went really well also! Lots of talk about patience and the conference with the apostles! It was really cool! You can really tell that those guys have the spirit! We talked alot about how we need to have patience with the people, ourselves and with our companions! What I thought was really cool is that we must have patience through our trails and problems! Thats why Christ has a perfect pacience. He was completely patient through out his suffering and just waited. It was really cool to learn and think about this!! 

This week we have also been visiting some of our investigators, Betty and Santos. They are really awesome!!!!  They are an older couple and really don't have much.  At times they don't understand too much, but are willing and ready to listen. We found them through a member referral, after much prayer on our part. These members called us a couple of weeks ago, worried for their friends.So, we headed over and have been visiting them a ton and now they have a baptismal date! They have to get married first and she also has to get a divorce, so that will take a little while but you can tell they are ready and willing to change their lives! It's pretty incredible!!! When we first showed up, Santos didn't want to talk to us and told us to leave, but we kept persisting and finally were able to talk to him and told us who sent us (his friend)! Now they have stoped smoking, drinking, and are trying their best to read the  Book of Mormon even though they can't really read that well!They love when we visit and have even offered to feed us even though I  am certain they are just barely scraping by! What aweosme people! They love it when we call! It's pretty sweet to work with people like them!!

Anyways, this week has been good! Hot and sweaty and happy! We are slowing getting more invitations for lunch, which is great! I am still cooking a lot, but its alright!

I love you guys!
Elder Carter

Sunday, 24 January 2016

A wedding and a funeral

January 18, 2016

Hey guys!!!
This week went well! It went by really fast!!!
This week the new elders came but we did not have the keys to their new apartment! So, they stayed with us all week until we got all the furniture and the keys to the apartment! The mission wrote me a check for like twenty five thousand pesos which is the equivalent to about $2500! Hahaha - we were walking around with alot of bills! It felt kind of cool! Haha- we went shopping and bought all the stuff that they needed and got them settled pretty good! It's nice to have another set of missionaries here since we are in the middle of no where! They are really cool as well and it's fun to talk to them!
The big new this week is that Daniela and Luis were given a day to get married at the register! They have the date for the 26 of feb! It's pretty far in advance but it's pretty awesome that they went and did that! We have been trying to get them to do that for over a month now and they finally went and did it!! I was pretty happy!!! Its weird how long they have to wait. They are however, facing alot of challenges now which is too bad! We are encouraging them to keep pushing!! Satan always has to get his head into the good stuff- its pretty annoying!!! They are super cool! They live really far away, in the country along a dirt road. It's about 30 mins from our pension! Anyways,q we usually go at around 8:00 pm, have an hour lesson and then they feed us dinner! It's' pretty awesome! She makes really good food! But its also a little bit of a problem because we have to eat really really fast and run back to be able to get back on time! Haha! Since its so far it's tough to get back on time when that happens! Buts it's pretty awesome when you get to eat with your investigators!! They always make really yummy stuff!! They are such good people!!!
With how hot it is, the dirt road really dries up so when you walk its like there is a cloud of dirt that comes up with every step that you take! It really gets annoying because you end up getting tons of dust in your shoes and on your feet! Then it also gets on your clothes so its annoying to wash! But the people we teach make it all worth it!!

On Saturday we went to a funeral of a daughter in law of some members. It was really sad. She was young with two little kids that she left behind. There were tons of people there and all were crying! When we got there I was still in normal missionary mode, all happy, trying to talk to everyone, asking them how they were doing, and I quickly realized that it was not the place nor the time to do that! So we sat at the back and waited until people came and talked to us! Then afterwards we went to the cementary! Man it was crazy!! It's way different from back home! Back home its like a big field, but here they put the bodies on top of the ground! There are like 4 bodies by 12 and its super weird! They also bury people in the ground but it's really unorganized and they don't dig very deep! It was really sad, but also an interesting experience to see. Alot of the family were members and alot of them were not members. It was kindof neat because you could tell that the non members were a lot sadder, than those who are members. They members have the hope that they will see her again, whereas the non members don't really have that hope. They think that she is gone forever. That just makes it really really sad. I wanted to give everyone a plan of salvation pamphlet, but it wasn't really appropriet. It was a neat experience!
We have been working really hard, trying to help everyone that we can! This week there is an area 70 who is coming to the mission, which will be good! We are working hard, and my dirty clothes are really showing it!!
Love you!
Elder Carter

Sunday, 17 January 2016

A Prayer Answered!!

January. 12, 2016

Hey guys!!

How is it going? This week went by fast and was good! There were transfers this week, but Elder Magby and I are both staying here, which will be good because we have a lot of people we are working with. I am excited to help them out a little bit more! Even though we don't eat very much with the members it's alright because we have some really good quality people that we are working with!! It makes it all worth it!  

The biggest thing that is happening is that they are going to put two more elders here in Villa Ramallo! So, this week we have been busy all week finding them a place to stay. Once we found them a place to stay we had to go and figure out all the furniture they will be needing and price it out.  It was kind of fun, actually! We went and looked for a while and found some pretty nice stuff! We still have to buy it though! The mission sent us a big check to go and buy all the stuff for it, but we have to wait until the mission has enough money in the account!! It'll be good though!  It will be kind of nice to have more missionaries here because being in a remote and small pueblo can feel pretty lonely. There isn't anything for miles!! Its definitely a different life! The challenging part though will be the fact that this is a pretty small area. My last area was split as well and it was pretty tough cause you have to make an area that can support two missionaries in terms of work and then change it into a area where it is required to support 4 missionaries and sometimes it is tough! We are sad to loose our one solid lunch every weeek, since it will be in the other area! So that's a little disappointing, but hey thats life! I am not here to eat (although it's great). So it will be good over all. I am excited for the change!!!

Lately Elder Magby and I have been praying really hard that we will be able to find new people to teach through references that members give us. We really have not been getting that many references! It's pretty tough because based on my experience, member referrals is the most effective way to do missionary work. Or atleast that's what has worked for me in the past. So we have been praying really hard lately that maybe something would pop up so that we could help this little branch out! Well, on Thursday morning we got a call during studies. An Hermano wanted us to go over to his house and said that is was urgent! I thought it was going to be like a family problem or something! I was a little bit worried! We quickly got our shoes on and headed over to his house! Well, when we got there what he so urgentley had to talk about was that he had a reference for us!! That night we went and contacted that reference and they are pretty awesome! They are an older couple and he hasn't been able to sleep and eat. He claims that the devil has control over him. SO we gave him a blessing and he said he slept amazing that night! They came to church on Sunday and now they have a baptismal date for Feb 13th!!! It's  pretty awesome!! I was pretty excited! It is true - God does hear our prayers! They loved going to church and won't stop talking about it!! I am super excited to teach them!!
This week we were contacting people a little bit in order to find some new people to teach. We found this one lady that said she had a trip into the other life. I am not sure if it actually happened, but she said that God told her that she had to come back to earth for a purpose, but she didn't know what it was. She told us that God said to her that he needed her. I do not know if it happened or not. But it made me think alot. I was thinking about how God really does love all of his children member or not, rich or poor, tall or skinny. He loves every single one! It doesn't t matter what you have done or what you are going to do, he loves everyone. That was pretty cool for me to stop and think about. He really does love everyone! Pretty awesome huh!!

Anyways we are doing good here! Just doing the normal missionary work! Daniel and Luisa are going this week to go see if they can get married, which we are really excited about! I am so excited for them!! it should be really good!
Thanks for everything!

I love you guys!!

Elder Carter

Monday, 4 January 2016

Happy New Year!!

Hey guys!! Happy New Year! 

 This week was good!

It was a little bit slow because we could not leave for New Year's. We had to be in the pension by 6:00 pm on the 31st and then home all day on the 1st.  Some other elders came and stayed with us for a little bit so that was really fun! New Year's here is crazy... well not so much in Villa Ramallo, but more in Rosario! I guess it gets pretty dangerous and nobody wants to talk to us since they are all hung over or they have family over. Its just like a massive party! We heard music going all night and so that's probably why we couldn't sleep! I remember Christmas morning hearing a bunch of drunk guys right outside the pension. Kind of funny! Anyways, the two other elders came and stayed with us which was really fun! We spent a long time talking and hanging out. There is not much else you can do when you have to stay inside a little apartment for 2 days. We did get to sleep in, which was really nice! It was awesome actually, but it also makes you feel really lazy because you don't do anything! I slept in till 11:00 am and it felt good to get caught up on sleep, but it was annoying because half the day was already gone! We made some french toast and also some empanadas. They were yummy! I have really come to like flan as well!! It was fun all overall!

I have been thinking a little bit about this past year and I think 2015 was super awesome! It was tough, but super awesome! I feel like I got a little bit of everything! I would have to say that throughout all my life, all the schooling I have been through, all the work I have done, this has been the year that I have learned and grown the most. Sometimes to learn and grow you have to do things you don't want to do and I have done lots of that, but you also are able to see some pretty cool things!! I am excited for 2016 too! It will be a pretty big year as well! I will be finishing my mission and then starting school! I am kindof nervous, but also kind of excited!

We have been working with a woman named Yamila. Yamila comes to church every week with her two daughters. She is not a member and neither are her two daughters, but her husband is a member. He is inactive and doesn't really want too much to do with the church. At first he was avoiding us whenever we went over, but now he has started to talk to us which is really cool! He still does not want alot to do with the church. Unfortunately, this sister cannot be baptized because they are not married. It makes me sad. I want all the happiness the gospel can bring for her.  

Being on a mission has helped me decide what kind of person I want to be. It has made me think about lots of things. Other than that, nothing really happened this week! This next week should be a lot better!!  We have transfers next week, so I will be emailing on Tuesday! 

I love you!
Elder Carter

Sunday, 3 January 2016

A Memorable Christmas

December 27, 2015

Hey guys!!
It was fun to talk with you guys for Christmas! I sure lost track of time! I think I went a little bit over!! Haha - it's alright though!! It was really fun! Those minutes go by very fast! It made me excited for when I can talk to you guys face to face when I get home! Everyone looks good! It seems like bita forgot a little bit of English! Hahaha - but I must say it was very cool to talk with Bita because it was almost as if I could see another side of her that I have never seen! I am excited to share some good stories with her when I return! I will be able to get to know her alot better since we do not have the language barrier!

As I mentioned on our phone call, we were invited for Christmas Eve dinner by some me,bears who live in a little town, about 30 minutes away (by bus).  This town is very very small. You could probably walk from one end to the other in under 15 minutes. If you blink while riding in a car, you might miss the town completely.  Due to the fact that so little people live there, the buses do not run very often. We thought that there was a bus that came at 5:50, but ended up waiting until 7:00 pm to catch it. I was just happy that we made it!! The Hermana really put a lot of time and effort into this dinner! I was very grateful for her efforts and it will be a Christmas that I will remember for the rest of my life because of all the sacrifice that went into that Christmas Eve meal.

By the time we got there, she had put up decorations outside and everything! For Christmas, Argentines put their dinner tables outside and eats outside since it is so hot inside. There is often music along with it.  Anyways she showed us what she had been making all day - and it was a small pig!! With the head and legs and everything!!  It was pretty sweet,  I thought! I had never eaten one of those!! I am not sure, but it looked like she just took the guts out and then put the whole entire pig on the grill! She had been cooking it since 3 o clock in the afternoon in order for it to be ready at 8 or 9 when we ate. They also ate a little bit earlier for us since we had to be back at 11:00 pm. They would normally eat at around 10:00 or 10:30! I was very greatful! She had also spent hours the day before making tons of appetizers and desserts! There was enough food there to feed 25 people!! Hahaha!  I ate as much as I could and then more!! I felt like there was food in my throat! It was all so good though! I had never eaten pig like that before and I really enjoyed it!! Then she even gave us some presents which was awesome!

 She gave us some deodorant. Hahahaha -at first I thought she was trying to send us a message, but then I realized that she wasn't when she followed the same pattern and gave her kids perfumes and stuff! Hahahaha -but it was pretty fun! We just enjoyed the night and then she drove us home at the end which was pretty nice of her! We stayed up until 12 to see all the fireworks! There are tons which is pretty cool! The dogs go crazy though! We finally got to bed at around 1:00 am and slept in until like 9:00 am since we could not leave the pension all day! All in all it was a fun night and I am very greatful for this family who sacraficed lots of money, time and efforts just so that we could have a Christmas that we remembered after the mission!!
The week was good! It was a little hard getting back into the swing of things! Yesterday was very very hot! They had a warning out that the people shouldn't leave their houses between 2 and 4 because it was so hot! Haha -it was like 37 degrees and the humidity was crazy bad!! We went early in the morning to walk with some investigators to church and after walking for 5 mins my forehead was dripping with sweat! I got to church and it took me 25 mins to stop sweating,since there is not AC. But the heat was definitely worth it, because our investigators came to church! I don't even bother bringing my suit coat to church anymore. It's just way too hot. Nobody wears it in the summer. It was a good Sunday! Hot but good!
One thing I have really realized out here serving the people of Argentina is that I have it made. I have everything and a lot more than what I need! I am very grateful for that and often feel bad for the peopleIi visit cause they really are just getting by, just barely! Yet, here I am complaining that it's too hot, when they are happy with their ripped clothes, and little food that they have! They sure teach me a lot!
Anyways, it was a good week! I love you guys!

Elder Carter

Getting into the Christmas Spirit!

December 21, 2015

Hey guys!!
This week was good! It went by pretty fast, which is nice!! This letter won't be as long since I will be talking to you guys on Friday!

This week we did a zone service project! Hermana and Presidente Zanni came over and we spent the day making cookies and having fun! We spent the morning baking tons of cookies for the seniors in the senior's home! I don't know if they turned out that good, but the dough was pretty good! ha-ha! It was fun to see everyone and hangout for a couple of hours! We then played some games as a zone! It was pretty fun, but it was also a little long! After an hour of playing "do you like your neighbor?" it gets a little old! Some missionaries really get competitive as well which I find very funny! Elder Magby(my comp) broke a chair in the process of winning a game, which was pretty funny! Hahaha. We did get to wear normal clothes so that was nice! I just wore some basketball shorts and a t shirt, along with most of the elderes who were there! Elder Magby went cowboy style! He had his flannel, boots, jeans, massive belt buckle and he was even carrying a knife! He is pretty proud to be from Texas!! 

After we were done making all those cookies we changed and went and delivered them to the seniors at the Senior Center. That facility was in rough shape. It was warmer inside than outside - probably 45 degrees! I was dying of heat! I couldn't help but drip with sweat as I was visiting with the old folks. I don't know why  it was so hot inside, but the Christmas hat that I had to wear was pretty wet after I took it off! I feel bad for the next missionary in the next zone who has to use mine! While we were in there, I sat with an older lady who could not speak. I started to talk to her about my life. She could not speak, but she let me know that she was listening by making a sound! We were talking for a while and at the end I took a picture of us and gave her the cookies we made! After I took the picture she started to cry! I think she was really grateful for the visit and wanted to communicate so badly with us. I was touched by the whole experience. It was pretty cool to visit with her. Last year we did the same activity, but I was so new I couldn't really understand anyone. I am happy this time I understood tons!

Mom, I got the Christmas package!! The first night I looked at all the presents and decided I was going to open one every day and then that would leave me a couple to open on Christmas day! Well, after two days of coming back and seeing all the presents and wondering what they were, I couldn't help it anymore! I had to open them! So, I opened them all the other night! Hahaha!!! Man, they are awesome!!!!  I hope you are not disappointed that I opened them early. It was so hard not to! Plus, I was so hungry and I knew there would be some food inside. Thanks a ton! I liked everything!!!!
After a little more than a year of oatmeal for breakfast, I  have decided to change things up a bit! I like oatmeal and will probably go back to eating it because it is both filling and yummy, but let me tell you that changing things up is pretty flipping good! I am now eating eggs and toast! It has changed everything for my taste buds! Speaking of food, I have discovered a new side of the word of wisdom here on the mission! It is just as important to eat good foods in good portions!! Sometimes at lunches, I literally eat until I cannot  stand the smell of food! ( It is not good to leave anything on the plate as it offends the person who cooked.)Then I get back to the pension and all I want to do is sleep! I cannot study effectively cause I just want to lay down! Or I will just feel sick all day because I have eaten so much! Hahaha! I realized you cannot really feel the spirit at that point. I have been getting better handling a full stomach. The members will feed you and feed you and feed you. They are good people!
Anyways talk to you on Friday! 
I love you guys
Elder Carter

Loving it!

December 14, 2015

Hey guys!
Man, to start off- its getting pretty freaking hot here! The humidity is a killer too! The summer has definitely arrived here! I am constantly sweating! I am very grateful that we have a ac unit in our pension, but I am not looking forward to the bill because I know it is going to be a lot! Haha!! So the hardest part is that whenever we are not inside the pension we are most definitely sweating! When we go into other homes, often it's hotter inside their house than it is outside because the homes are  built out of bricks and cement so all the heat just chills inside! As a result, we are teaching a lot just in lawn chairs outside their house! It's kind of nice! Everyone here has a pool too! Most of them are pools that you can go and buy and set up. Even though a lot of people are struggling for money, they somehow manage to buy a nice big pool! Haha!! Granted it would be awful if they didn't have one cause it gets very hot! Haha - but i like the heat, just not after lunch and on a full stomach! The girls do dress very immodestly which is annoying! They find ways to wear very little clothing which just makes everything a little harder! Haha -and don't worry Bita, I am drinking lots of water! AGUA AGUA AGUA!! Hahaha - and, it's purified so don't worry!!
Last Sunday, we went to visit the home of a past investigator. Well, some dude, all tattooed up, with tons of piercing and super long hair answered the door! His name is Ezequiel. We asked him if his grandmother (who was an old investigator) was there. He said no, but we got talking about the gospel a little bit! Just a super nice guy who seems really interested! We ended up teaching him and giving him a Book of Mormon! That was on a Sunday, then on Tuesday we passed by again! Turns out he had finished reading 1 Nephi and understood basically all of it! Man, that never happens down here in Argentina! I find that often people don't aren't that interested in reading and can't seem to retain things very well! But he did!! It was pretty sweet! We have passed by a couple more times this week and he is progressing a ton!! We went by on Sunday to go with him to church. Turns out we woke him up but he said he would come at 11, which is the sacrament meeting here! And he showed up!! It was pretty sweet! I am super excited for him and really feel that he has been prepared for us to teach! #blessings
On Saturday night we went over to visit Daniela and Luis! Man, they are super awesome! They don't have that much money, yet they went out and bought a super nice big chicken and mashed potatoes for us! We had a super yummy dinner! This was awesome because normally here on the mission we don't really eat dinner! I am always hungry at night! Haha, but I was really grateful because I know that they were making a pretty big sacrifice to feed two hungry missionaries! It was pretty sweet! I really felt their love for the church and us through that act! They also came to church which was sweet! They feel a little overwhelmed sometimes because their 2 year old kid just runs around like crazy and screams, so they feel  bad and feel that he is ruining the meeting! We try to reassure that it's fine! We don't really care at all as long as they are there!! Haha!! They told us that they are going to get married after the holidays because they are heading to Buenos Aires for Christmas! That was super exciting for me!! I can't wait! They are just awesome people! I feel like they are just my friends! They are pretty much the same age as me which I find very cool!!
This past week, I have been reading the Isaiah chapters in 2 Nephi. Man, even with this institute guide I find  its hard to really understand what it is saying. Nephi says that those who cannot understand them are not filled with the spirit of the Lord! I guess I may not be filled with the spirit of the Lord! Haha - but seriously, the biggest problem I have is that I have been reading to get through it and God is not going to help me understand it if I really don't truly want to understand it. The prophets and apostles understand it because I am sure that they have spent days and countless hours studying and pondering and pleading with the Lord to help them understand what they mean. I want to know what they mean too, but I have not come to that point yet! Isaiah is the most quoted prophet in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants so I am pretty sure that it's gotta be pretty important even though it seems like he is just throwing a bunch of words together. Hahaha - but I guess it comes with time and practice!
This week has been good! We are working hard and doing our best! This week we are doing some service project with the zone for Christmas!!
I love you guys!
Elder Carter

Me and my Greenie

December 7, 2015

Hey guys! This week has been good!
On Monday I said goodbye to Elder Cox who is going to Rosario! I love that guy! I learned a ton from him and was sad to say goodbye! I enjoyed our time together and we had some pretty good laughs! Mostly me laughing though, while he was trying to talk on the phone and nobody was understanding him! Ha-ha pretty good! But he is an awesome guy and has got a huge heart! He really showed me how to love the people and give up what I wanted for them! I am looking forward to seeing him later on in the mission and afterwards!!!
On Monday and Tuesday I was hanging out with another missionary in San Nicolas who was also going to be training! That was super fun! His name is Elder Nielson and I really like him. He plays basketball and everything! We got along really well which made the time go by very fast! San Nicolas is cool, a smaller city but a lot bigger than Ramallo! It would be cool to serve inside the city! The pueblo life is kind of slow sometimes though! But its alright!!
On Wednesday morning we headed up to Rosario to the mission home to get our new companions! I already knew the name of my companion but had never met him or seen him! We had to leave super early at like 5 in the morning to get there on time! Elder Curtis was there(friend of Steven and Triton) which was sweet because we were able to talk for a while! We got there and there was a big breakfast waiting for us followed by a meeting with presidente! It went well! There were about 25 new missionaries coming in, which was A TON. Normally there is only like 10. So, the introductions are really fun! The new missionary goes up to the front of the room and introduces himself. Then the trainer is announced and everyone cheers. It is pretty fun!
My new companion is Elder Magby. He is from Texas and is a full on cowboy!  He brought his cowboy boots and massive belt buckle! He is from the city where the Texas A and M is! I cant remember the name! He is 18 years old and is the youngest of 5 kids! He is short and a little stocky and has got a lot of facial hair! He sometimes talks with a Texan accent which I find pretty interesting! He likes to run, sing and be out in the country! He lives on a farm where he has tons of cows and other animals! He is very proud of where he comes from!
After the meeting we had a big lunch and took some pictures then we headed out! We didn't get to our area until like 8:30 at night. When we got there he just un packed! I had really forgotten how big of an adjustment the mission is! It just all seems normal to me! The schedule, the culture, the food, the cars, the streets -every thing is just normal to me now! But, it actually is so different than home. My companion was full of questions! On the way here, he asked me a few times if that was our stop. But, he is a good guy! He is learning to walk fast and to keep up a good pace. I didn't realize I was a fast walker, Elder Magby even had to run a bit to keep up with me. I am really enjoying seeing Argentina through his eyes. Everything is new again!
This week I have really been thinking about how to be a better missionary. Once you obey so man rules and work as efficient as possible there is not much more you can do. Then it hit me. That you can have a missionary who is exactly obedient, but is doing it for the wrong purposes and he will not be a successful missionary. If I am out here to baptize people just to say that I baptized a certain number of people, then I am doing missionary work the wrong way. I should be working as hard as I can for the one! I want the best for each individual person that I am teaching. I have learned that a a big part of everything is our desires and what's inside along with our actions! It made me think of the parable where the young man asks Jesus what he has to do to get to get into God's kingdom. The kid says he is obeying all the commandments. Jesus tells him that he must sell everything he owns and give it to the poor! The young man does not want to give up his earthly possession and therefor will not enter God's kingdom! This scripture story has caused me to think lots about my intentions and desires.
Thank you for everything! I love you guys!
Elder Carter