Friday, December 31, 2010

Missionary work is SNOW GOOD!

This week was awesome.  I just want to start off, by thanking everyone for the Christmas gifts and letters.  It made my Christmas here great.  Christmas doesn’t really feel like Christmas as a missionary.  It really just felt like another day.  The biggest difference is the fact that I'm here, and how that ties into the Christmas season.  Teaching people during this time of year seems so much more special, because they are thinking about the Savior more.  And people seem kinder.  Although Spanish people tend to be more welcoming as it is.  I love how much they want to feed the missionaries.  It’s kinda amazed me.  We'll go to church, and after Sunday school is over, all the Spanish wives come over to us, and start asking us when we can come over.  Not if we can come over on this or that day, just when we can come over.  It's amazing to feel of that love, especially since most of them are in humbler circumstances than the English speaking people in the ward.
I had also been asking for snow recently, and was slightly disappointed by a non-white Christmas, but it worked out better that way.  On Sunday (Boxing Day) we went to church, and they were saying that we were supposed to get about 15 inches later that day.  This I was thrilled about.  It started to snow at about 11 O'clock, and by 6 there was already 6 or more inches on the ground.  Whenever it snows in the upstate mission, the cars are grounded, meaning that we can’t really do much missionary work.  At about 10:30 we were getting ready to go to bed, when we heard a car alarm going off right outside our apt.  So we went to investigate, and found that a lady had gotten stuck in the snow on the hill right beside our apt.  So, we bundled up, and went outside to dig her out, and help her get her car to a better spot, since she was almost home.  By the time we were finished only Elder Wendel was tired.  So myself, Elder Jairl, and Elder Maldonando went outside and started shoveling off our front porch, and the stairs.  By now, there was about 12 inches of snow on the ground.  As we were shoveling and just having fun outside, we noticed that another car had gotten stuck going up the hill to the Inn that is beside our apt.  So we decided to go down and help them get unstuck.  The person lived in another town, but didn’t feel comfortable driving in this storm, so they decided to rent a room for the night at that Inn I mentioned.  After getting him unstuck and turning down the payment that he offered, we went back to our apt and re-shoveled the front that we had shoveled before.  It had collected about 5 inches again!  We decided to go to sleep after that.  In the morning we woke up and found that we had received about 21 inches of snow total.  This storm we were told was the worst December storm they’d had in New York, since 18something!!!  It was soo awesome how much snow we received.
Since them we've been grounded because of icy roads, and haven’t able to do much work.  But we did walk around the next day, and help people to get their cars out of the snow, which they were very grateful for.  I think we touched a lot of peoples hearts, and it was not only a great opportunity to do service but also missionary work.  Almost everyone offered to pay us, because normally people who do what we did ask for money.  But when we turned it down they'd ask why, and we'd explain that we're missionaries, and get to share a bit about what we do.  We’d then leave them with a pass along card, and tell them that if they called the number they could get a free DVD about Christ.  Unfortunately there were no Spanish people, but the English missionaries might get some new investigators. 
Anyways, that’s it for now. I love you all.
Carson (Elder Dilling)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas in Manhattan

Alrighty, so as of today I have officially finished three months of my mission service, which is ridiculous.  Where has the time gone?!?!  I'm really starting to understand what people mean when they say that the mission goes by too fast. 
Anyways, this week has been great as well.  I don’t remember what I said in my last email, so excuse me if I repeat some things.  We recently had to drop our investigator because she would consistently set and break her appointments, so unfortunately there's nothing we can do really.  We’ve told her to call us when she has some time.  I wish there was a way to force people to use a calendar rather than living day to day.  But unfortunately everyone has their agency.  Since we've "dropped" our investigators we've been focusing on trackting a lot, and we've found a few really cool people, one of whom seems pretty excited to meet with us, but she runs a daycare out of her home, so we can’t go there when the kids are there, and that in itself is pretty unpredictable.  Her name is Sibelis.  We don’t really know anything about her yet, but I'll keep you posted.
Manhattan was also really cool, we met brother Fischetti (the member that took us down) at our church building, and then he took us around Manhattan a little, and then home.  The Temple is really sweet, although rather small.  The building itself is big, but the rooms don’t fit much more than 40 people total.  You could fit like 6 of the rooms in each of the Cardston rooms.  Afterwards we went to the Rockefeller Center and saw the tree.  It's so big, and the crazy thing is that it doesn't grow there.  They bring a new one in every year, and tie it to the surrounding buildings.  It’s right across the street from Saint Patrick's Cathedral  And just off of 5th Ave (which is where all the rich people shop).  And I'm not just saying that.  Brother Fischetti was telling us a story where he walked into a jewelry store on 5th Ave, and after he entered, an armed guard closed and locked the doors.  He then looked at a pair of really small inexpensive looking ear rings, that turned out to be $5000.  Ridiculous eh?!?  After that we left and on the way home drove through Time Square.  Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures.  They have it closed off to traffic pretty much except for driving across it.  No one can drive through it anymore.  So yeah, our trip to Manhattan was great.  Also, I can’t wait to serve in the city.  I hope I can serve in North Manhattan sometime. 
During a recent youth Temple trip, Brother Fischetti challenged the youth to try go outside the Temple and give away a pass along card.  One of the young women went and gave it a try to no avail.  After that he gave her a 5 dollar bill, and told her to try and give that away.  And once again, she couldn't do it.  Figure that eh?  People are too busy there to even bother stopping to take a free 5 dollar bill.  I know, it's crazy!!
Yesterday we I went on a split with my Zone leader.  He is from Hawaii and also going home with my companion.  His name is Elder Otuafi, and he's pretty trunky (Dad will know what that means).  He's been serving for 25 months so far.  And he has served in two different missions.  He started out in Guatemala, and got sick after 8 months, so he had to come here, and now he's spending his 3rd Christmas in the field.  During our split we went to a Peruvian Members house for FHE, and I taught the lesson in Spanish.  I was pretty amazed by how much I could understand them.  The biggest thing I think right now is expounding my vocabulary.  Also, they said that my Spanish is very good, and that I don’t have a "Gringo accent" which definitely is a good thing.  The daughter of the family was amazed by how well I can rrrrroll my rrrr's, which just comes naturally to me.  I guess I was born to speak this language.  She was saying that I speak with a Chilean accent.  And that I look like I could be from either El Salvador or Argentina, which I think is funny because we come from German decent (although so did the Argentines).
I got your gifts yesterday.  I've stuck them all under our tree, and the star thing I put on the top.  And I'm ready to open them on Christmas morning.  It's so hard to wait, especially when most of the missionaries tend to open their gifts early.  So I'm trying hard to resist the temptation to open mine too.  Elder Maldonando did open his gift though, and he says thank you.
Also, I've been talking to some missionaries about sending my memory cards in the mail, and they were saying that if you plan on doing that, it's a good idea to back them up somehow.  Elder Maldonado suggested that I buy a Hard Drive.  And before I send my pics, to transfer them to that.  So I was wondering if you could send me my hard drive sometime in the future.  It's not too important, but just a way of making sure I don’t lose any pics if it the SD card gets lost or broken somehow in the mail.
That’s all for now though.  I love you all, and I look forward to talking to you on Christmas.  4 o'clock should work great.  Our Mission Christmas thing ends at 2, so we should be home by then.
Love, Elder Dilling

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Let it snow...Please!

Hola Mi Familia!
I'll start off with the Christmas party.  It went great.  We started on Thursday by helping to set everything up, and get ready for Friday night.  That was awesome, because it took us like 30 minutes (all 4 of us) and we got free pizza out of it.  The thing about the pizza here is just how good it is.  When I come home, I don’t think I'll be able to eat pizza again.  NY pizza is, well it's ridiculous how good it is.  Anyways, the party went great.  It was a family party, and there wasn’t any main meal.  It was all desserts.  The primary kids put on a little Nativity thing while reading the Birth of Christ from the Book of Mormon.  And they had some crafts and stuff for the kids as well.
I should be getting your package on Christmas day.  Also, I was reading an email I got from President Smith today, and it was saying that people whose families live outside of the United States need to call their missionary on Christmas Day, because it costs a lot more for the church for missionaries to call home.  I will let you know next Wednesday, as to when is a good time to call me on the 25th.  That’s when I should be getting the details on our mission Christmas party.
 So far we have only gotten maybe a 1/4 inch of snow.  It really sucks because I feel that if the weather is going to be cold, then it better snow too, which of course it's not doing.  But I've heard that we're supposed to get a bunch of snow this Sunday so…fingers crossed.
Once again something came up and our investigator wasn’t able to meet with us, but we're still praying for her, and we'll keep trying, but she really needs to put an effort into it too.  We did meet a potential this Monday though.  His name is Klever.   We haven't met with him yet, but we have a meeting with him this coming Friday.
It's good to hear that the Calgary Custom Closets and Primary Christmas parties went well. 
I have run out of time for today, but just remind me about the temple next week.   I'll tell you about it, plus the other stuff you asked about in your email.

Love you all, Elder Dilling
 This is a picture of me with Pres. & Sis Smith taken Nov 22, 2010 (the day I got to New York)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mom and Dad told me this would happen.

Hey Mom, sorry this is a little late.  I was gone all day yesterday.   This is our backup plan because we were juked by one of our appointments :(
This last week was pretty good.  We've had an investigator who we're both pretty sure will get baptized eventually, it's just been hard to meet with her  because she's looking for a new Job and taking English classes so we haven’t been able to see her for a little while.   She really wants to meet with us and it is exciting because she is a friend of a recent convert family and has been to church a bunch of times already.  So cross your fingers, pray for us and remember to invite your friends to meet the missionaries and to come to church.
Also, I've had a dinner appointment almost every night I've been here.  I'm not sure why, but Hispanic people LOVE to feed the missionaries.  My favorite food so far is Peruvian Food.  Wow, Jaren is so lucky to be going there.  They cook SOO well.  You wouldn’t believe what I've eaten since getting here.  I'll make a little list:
- Corn (First time since I was 8)
- Olives
- About 15 pounds of Rice
- Tomatoes,  (Large Chunks)
- Avocados
- Onions (Large Pieces)
That’s about it, but I'm quite proud of myself.   I promised myself that after I left the MTC I would eat everything that a member or someone gave me and so far I have.  These aren’t just small amounts either, when they feed you these things they are in large amounts.  So yeah, I've been eating a lot of things that I wouldn’t touch before my mission and I realized that I actually kinda like tomatoes, and even ketchup (although they are much better fresh than cooked).
I also sent a letter to Sarah and Daniel Finally.  It took me like a month to do it though.  I also got Dad's letter and Elder Maldonado says your Portuguese and your handwriting are both really good.  But he can’t write back because he doesn’t know how to write in Portuguese, only speak it.  He says that the Elder Maldonado you knew on your mission is his uncle.  Elder Maldonado was born in Brazil, but only lived there until he was 6, then he moved to Chile where he learned Spanish and forgot most of his Portuguese.  Then when he was 11, his family moved to Provo, which is where they are living now.  He relearned Portuguese while on his mission here as he served in the Danbury Connecticut, Portuguese speaking area.  He also said that he thinks he met Hugh Hanneson (not sure if that’s spelt right),but anyways he says thanks for the letter.
As you noticed in the picture, yes, Sister Smith is a fair bit younger than President Smith.  He's a lawyer in Rexburg, and apparently he's got one of the largest farms in Idaho.  He has a helicopter to fly around his property!!  So he's a pretty well off man.  It'll be pretty sweet to go to school, and have my mission president living right there.  I will get two mission presidents though.  President Smith finishes in July of 2012 I think, but whenever it is, it's before me.
We have our ward Christmas Party tomorrow night and we, the four missionaries in our ward, have been recruited to set up some of the stuff for the party.  Also, Elder Maldonado and I are kinda excited because one of the members is bringing her non-member daughter and son-in-law to the party so we'll get a chance to talk to them.  Hopefully that turns out well. 
Anyways, I love you all and I look forward to reading your email next week.

Love, Elder Dilling

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Spanish is a piece of cake...NOT!

Hey, so everything is still pretty great here.  I'd definitely agree with you - I am fairly spoiled with everything that I have in my apartment.  And our Sound system consists of a CD player with 6 CD changer and 5 large surround sound speakers.  Total price was $15 - most of it was received from members.  And we listen to it a lot, mostly just Josh Groban, and musicals.  We also have some EFY CDs and some other random CDs with appropriate music.
The Jacket I have should be fine for know, especially since I have a car to drive around in as well.  So far, it's never gotten cold enough for me to need anything else.  And this jacket is pretty much water proof too since it’s wool.
Let’s see, what did we do this week?  We've had a couple of lessons, but most of our lessons have been with part member families, and less actives.  That’s a big focus in this area, because the Spanish people live so far apart from each other, and we only have a limited amount of miles per month for driving.  The people of New York are pretty crazy drivers, and the roads are super narrow.  It’s crazy, but the speed limits are all fairly slow.  The fastest speed limit I’ve seen is 55 mph.  Of course, everyone goes at least 65 in that area.
The language has also taken quite a twist too.  In the MTC I was able to understand more than I could say, but here it's the exact opposite; a lot harder.  It's great having a companion who's pretty much a native speaker.  Although Elder Maldonando was born in Brazil, his Spanish is better than his Portuguese, and he speaks Portuguese with a Spanish accent.  It's been ok though, because he's able to help me a lot more when I don’t know words, or need help having principles explained to me.
We're gonna be meeting a part member family this coming Sunday, and the husband is the non member.  Our goal is to baptize him before Elder Maldonando goes home, which means getting a date within the next couple of weeks.  We haven’t met with him since I got here though because his family from Ecuador was here, and they hate the church.  They're evangelical.
I haven’t written any letters back to Sarah or Daniel yet because I haven’t really had a lot of time, so just so they know not to be expecting anything really soon.  But I’ll try to get some letters off soon - before next Wednesday for sure.
We've been trying to re-contact 10 people from the area book a day, and it's kinda funny, because it seems like no matter what time we go no one is ever home.  Also, here after it gets dark the people don’t like to answer their doors.  So that certainly doesn’t make it any easier.  We plan most of our appointments from 4:00 on so that we have the earlier time to find people, and we try get a lot of referrals from the members, because those are the ones that are most likely to stay active after the missionaries leave.  A lot of that though falls on the shoulders of the members.
Also, just as a final side note.  When you have the missionaries over, they Love to get leftovers.  It's a little harder if they don’t have a car, but it's still possible.  It helps a lot with the limited funds we have. 
I love all of you, and I look forward to hearing from you next week.
Love, Elder Dilling
P.S.  Continue to be an example to everyone, and invite them to come unto Christ.  (i.e. attend church and stuff)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Big Apple (AKA Ossining)!

Well I'm in New York now.  I made it safely, and both my flights went without a hitch.  I landed in NYC LaGuardia at about 5PM on Monday, and President and Sister Smith were there to meet me at the airport along with the Zone leaders.  After that we went to the Mission Home (which is very large and quite beautiful).  It's just outside the city, not far from the Bronx.  After we arrived, we had dinner and then some of the office missionaries came and talked to us about our bank cards, and about driving.  We had to watch a driving video so that we could drive in the future.  After that, we took some pictures with the president and his wife, and then went to bed early so that we could get used to the new time change.  In the morning, we woke up and had a little meeting with the President, and talked about the mission in general, and then after the meeting, we went to the Kingsbridge chapel which is right in the Bronx.  It is a huge chapel, and has a parkade underneath it.  There we dropped off some of the new Elders and Sisters who were going to be serving in the city, and picked up the Elders that were getting transferred to the upstate area.
That’s where I'm now serving.  I've been placed in the Ossining area.  It's the largest area in the whole mission, like 50/60 Miles tall and 30 miles wide.  It's definitely a driving mission.  When we got to the Ossining chapel where I was meeting my new companion, we all piled out, and got together with our new companions.  After I met my companion, Elder Maldonado, President Smith pulled us aside because he wanted to talk to me.  This was probably the most exciting part of the day.  When he pulled us aside, he asked my how my driving skills were, and then proceeded to tell me: "I've never done this before, but you are going to be the driving Elder in this companionship" (that’s not exact, but more or less what he said.)  Anyways, I'm the Elder who has to do all the driving, and it's still only my first day in the mission field.  It's pretty sweet.
Anyways, after we had gotten my car, and I had driven the 20 minutes from the Church to our Apartment, I unpacked, and then got the idea of how things go in this area.  Because the Spanish people are so spread out in my area, and the ward is English / Spanish, it should be pretty interesting.  But Elder Maldonado was saying that we end up with a lot of free time, because of how far apart the members live. 
Also, on Tuesday night we had two dinner appointments (the Spanish members love to feed the missionaries!).  The first place was super good.  We went to a member’s house from Peru.  She and her son live here in Peekskill, NY and her daughter goes to school somewhere further upstate.  Being here in the upstate area is amazing, you wouldn’t even think that the city is like 45 minutes south of here; there are SOO many trees, and the towns are all quite tiny.  We need to drive about 20 minutes to get to the Town of Ossining where most of the Spanish people live.  It’s a cool area.
My apartment is massive; my whole district lives in it (but that’s only 4 people).  It's half English, and half Spanish.  We're pretty much the outcast missionaries, because we never really see anyone around here.  I have some pictures that I've taken of the Apartment.  We also have an amazing view, a back porch, a BBQ, and a fireplace.  The missionaries have also set up a pretty sweet sound system in the living room as well.  The only real down side is that the floor boards creak like crazy.  It overlooks the Hudson River.
Anyways, that’s about all I've got for now.  I look forward to hearing from you, and I love you all. 
Love, Elder Dilling

I am here!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Just a little update

This morning we received a phone call from Elder Dilling!  He called from the Salt Lake airport.  He and a number of other Elders and Sisters were on their way to the New York North Mission.  It was exciting for our family to gather around the speakerphone and speak with Carson.  He shared some Spanish with us, which sounded very good.  He also shared an experience he had while at Temple Square last Friday.  He told us that as he was leaving the Celestial Room in the temple, he ran into Elder Jeffrey R. Holland!  Elder Holland is one of his two favorite apostles (his other favorite is Bednar).  Elder Holland shook Carson's hand and chatted with him briefly about his mission.  Carson said this was one of the highlights of his mission so far.  We know Elder Dilling will be a great missionary.  We are impressed by his testimony and love of the Gospel.  He has really grown over these past two months.  We appreciate that Elder Dilling has been blessed so abundantly by all the love, support and encouragement he has received from friends and family.  We look forward to posting Elder Dilling's first email from NYC!

Family of Elder Dilling

  

Friday, November 19, 2010

New York City here I come!

Alrighty, well my time here for learning at the MTC is almost done.  I leave on Monday the 22nd.  I get to the Travel office at 5:00 in the morning, and then here are my travel plans:
 LV. Salt Lake, UT - 8:45
AR: Minneapolis, MN - 12:30
LV: Minneapolis, MN - 1:00 (thats right, only a 30 minute layover which sucks)
AR: New York Laguardia, NY - 4:48

Well, that’s my travel plans.  If I call home, it will be in the morning before my first flight.  Hopefully security doesn’t take me very long because I definitely want to have the time to phone.  I'll try to phone from Minneapolis, but I doubt that will end up happening because I have very little time there.  Well that’s about all I can think of that you'll need to know.  I sent you a letter with a better representation of my flight plans.  It should get there any day now.
Alrighty, so Jessica is bringing my jacket.  Hmm… I've been told that people aren’t allowed to drop stuff off at the MTC on their own.  But maybe they'd let her and make an exception because I'm leaving on Monday.  Make sure she knows that.  Also, because I am an international missionary, i.e. from Canada, I get to go to Temple Square for a while tomorrow morning, so I won’t be at the MTC from 6:30 - 1:30.  I get to go to Temple Square, have a little tour, and then do a session in the Salt Lake Temple again.  I'm excited for that.  But yeah, make sure that Jessica knows that so that if she drops it off, that I am there.  Hopefully they let her drop it off for me somehow.  It's not that I've been cold; it'll just be nice to have a coat to wear in New York where it does get cold.  I hope my Mr. Mac jacket arrives soon.
Did you get the pictures I sent?  I sent them last Wednesday, so you should get them soon if not already.
On Tuesday we had Elder Kevin W. Pearson of the seventy speak to us.  He gave an amazing talk.  I wish I had my notes with me right now, because he has a couple quotes that I'd like to share with you.  But he gave a great talk about forgetting who you were, and becoming a disciple of God.  It was kinda funny, when he first took the stage, the first thought I had was, "Oh shoot, here's a sleeper!!"  I ended up being completely wrong.  His was one of my favorites again.  Really, it was a great talk.
I met a guy from Rexburg the other day when I was hosting the new missionaries.  He was telling me about how cool my Mission President is.  Apparently he has a really big house in Rexburg and is quite a well off guy.  I thought he was going to be a farmer or something.  But who knows, maybe he is a farmer?  And I'll have him for my entire time in New York because he hasn't been out that long.
This week on Sunday my district and I will be singing.  Whenever a district leaves, they sing a final song.  We're going to be singing "Because I Have Been Given Much."  Mainly because it's the only one that our district can sing together well. 
Oh, I just thought of something.  There are companies around that do MTC deliveries.  If Jessica can't get it to me herself, then she could use one of those companies.  Just if she does it on Saturday, the mailroom closes at 2:00 in the afternoon.  So I'd need it before that, because I won’t have any other time to pick it up.  So as long as she can get it to the MTC by Saturday morning, or Friday anytime, I should get it.  Hopefully she has no problems getting it here.
Love you lots.  Bye.
Elder Dilling

Elders and Sisters from my District at the MTC

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Four Apostles...it's a record!

Alrighty, well, only about a week and a half left.  I still haven’t received my travel plans, but I will be getting them this weekend.  It's snowed a couple times, but it pretty much stopped after 15 minutes every time.  Yesterday I got to be one of the New Missionary hosts, and I helped some of the new missionaries get settled and figure stuff out.  One thing I want to let you know before I forget is that I might be able to call home when I get to the airport.  Missionaries are allowed to call their families when they're at the airport. So I’ll let you know more about that when I get my travel plans (next Thursday).
When I said for Jaren's stomachs sake in my last email I just meant that the food isn't very reliable for being tasty, and it gives you really bad gas, so that’s what I meant in regards to that.
Three Elders in my district are still waiting for their Visas.   I think they'll either have to stay here for some extra time, or they'll get temporarily reassigned. 
This last Tuesday’s devotional was once again really good (although I've yet to see an MTC speaker that isn’t very good).  We were talking to President Smith (MTC president) about the last few speakers, and he said that there had never been three apostles at the MTC in a row.  And guess what...that record just got made four.  My favorite apostle came and spoke, Elder.....David A Bednar!!!!!  Man, it was such a great talk; although I'll admit after it was over I had a bit of a headache, because his talk was so full of doctrine.  He talked to us about our teaching and the kinds of things we need to do to have our teachings stick.  He explained that you need:

1. Doctrine - which answers questions of why
2. Principals - which answer questions of what
3. Application which answers questions of how 
He explained using the example of Home Teaching, he said you can come up with all sorts of ideas that can get the elders to do their Home Teaching, but that’s just focusing on application.  You need to teach the doctrine, and if they understand the doctrine, they'll want to do Home Teaching.  He said that in the church people focus too much on application when they need to be focusing on doctrine, then principal, then finally application.  Anyways his talk was really good and had a ton of info in it.  But I don’t think I'll be getting any more apostles or prophets while I'm here.  He also left us with more apostolic blessings which are too long, so I won’t include them in this email.
So far my MTC experience has been nothing like I'd expected.  The hardest thing about the MTC is that every building looks pretty much the exact same with a couple of exceptions.  My classroom is in one of the newer buildings, and has the nicest desks and chairs of any other building at the MTC (that’s pretty sweet to have).  The food here is pretty bad sometimes, although you do get some good foods.  My favorite breakfast is the biscuits and gravy.  Every other day they have waffles pancakes, or french toast.  Lunch and dinner are very similar, not a whole lot of good.  Pizza night is every Friday, and we get ice cream on Wednesdays and Sundays.  The best ice cream is Strawberry Sundae Crunch.  It pretty much tastes exactly like strawberry cheese cake.  The other elders in my district are Elder Lee form Kaysvill, UT; Elder Mower from South Jordan, UT; Elder Barton from Peoria, AZ; and Elder Garrett from Fullerton, CA.  Elders Garrett and Barton are the other ones in my room.  I got some pictures printed off, and I'll be sending them out today.
When I teach people like Bro. Arnell it's in a thing called the teaching evaluation, I teach them while they pretend to be an investigator from their mission and then give you feed back through your teacher.  It’s a super great resource for missionaries to practice teaching.
Oh yeah, please go ahead and sell my car.  But I wouldn’t complain of you didn’t sell my amp and sub...  but anyways go ahead and sell it.  It does need an oil change soon.
That’s about all the time I have for today.  Again, I look forward to hearing back from you.  I love all of you.
 Elder Dilling

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thinking...in Spanish

Holy cow, I can’t believe I've only got like 2.5 weeks left here in Provo.  I should be expecting my travel plans this weekend or on Monday.  I am super excited for that.  The weather here has still been pretty nice, but now that Halloween has come and gone, I think it's time to bring on the snow.  I want to see some major snow before I leave Utah, because it's gonna be so wet in New York.
I spoke with Jaren last Sunday.  He told me that of the 24 people going to Peru, 6ish of them had their papers lost, and he unfortunately was in that group.  We were joking after that it would be funny if he was temporarily reassigned to my mission.  But there's definitely a reason for that to be happening.  Hopefully for his stomachs’ sake he doesn’t have to stay for 11 weeks - preferably just 9.
Spanish is still coming.  We've started talking a lot more in Spanish, and I am trying to start thinking in Spanish and speaking only in Spanish and then using an English word only if I don’t know the Spanish one.  On Tuesday we taught a guy named Juan in the TRC (His real name is Hno. Arnell).  He was probably the hardest person I've ever taught, because of the person he is.  But yesterday he took me and my companion and gave us some feedback and helped us to find different ways to understand someone who speaks really fast Spanish like he does.  His TRC character is really quite hard, but Hno. Arnell himself is probably one of the more helpful teachers myself and Elder Maybury have had at the MTC (except for our actual teachers of course).  Anyways, Spanish is going pretty well all in all.  My companion is still struggling a lot but I've been trying to help him as much as I possibly can.
This bed bugs thing does not sound very nice.  That could make my time in NY a little less enjoyable.  Hopefully I have clean companions and we can keep those things out of our apartment, although I don’t even know what they look like.  I will be going to NY before thanksgiving.  My estimated departure date is the 22 of November, so I'm in the MTC for a total of 9 weeks, but my first week was only like 4 days long.
It's been sweet to have the apostles come and talk to us.  And guess what?!?  We had a third one on Tuesday.  This time elder M. Russell Ballard came and spoke to us.  His talk was definitely the favorite one I've heard so far, it was all about becoming a great spiritual communicator.  He also left us with some apostolic blessings.  1. To have a realization of how great the work we are doing is, and 2.  He blessed us that we would have the ability to become great communicators.
What was everyone for Halloween?  I'm sorry to hear about the blue truck.  Tell Sarah that I approve of her driving Shirley [Carson’s car] as long as she is careful and practices a lot.  But she better not hurt her anymore [as she learns to drive standard].  On the bright side, if she's driving Shirley, she'll have a much easier time driving in the winter, because the truck sucks for driving in the winter.  It slips everywhere.  Or what you could do is sell the Honda and my car, and then get a nice little SUV, preferably something like a Rav4 (Toyota).  That, or don’t get anything and have her take the bus to school; she has barely had to all three years!  JK 
I've been getting a pretty good amount of treats, but if I were to say something, I'd say that I love tootsie roll pops, and pretty much anything that is gummy  i.e. Wine Gums, Fuzzy Peaches, Swedish Berries...I don’t need anything really, and I've been getting at least one letter a week, so I'm happy.  I just can’t believe how long it took for you all to get the first letters I sent.  I sent Sarah’s and Dad’s a week after Daniel’s first one.  Did Sarah like that Spanish chart thing I sent her?  Hopefully it helps in her Spanish class, I know it's helping me a lot.
Love you all, and I look forward to hearing back from you.
Elder Dilling

Friday, October 29, 2010

Almost 6 weeks!

Alright, so I sat down at the computer today and I had planned out ahead of time, a lot of what I was going to say, and now my mind is blank…
First of all, we're now two for two (that’s two Apostles in two weeks).   Elder Richard G. Scott came and spoke to us on Tuesday on how to feel the spirit.  It was so cool, because after his talk was over he told us that he had left a copy of all the points he talked about in his talk for each of us to have for our own personal study.  It's got like 41 points that he has learned through his life on how to feel the spirit, how to get the spirit more often, and what to do when you do feel the spirit.  It's pretty awesome!
I've prepared a talk every week I’ve been here except for during conference.  And I'll be writing at least 3 more before I leave.  That’s so cool that Jaren is District leader too.  I haven’t seen him since that first week, and if he's going to the Peru MTC, then I may not see him again, but it was sweet to get the chance to say Hi.  When I saw him I was thoroughly impressed by how good his Spanish was.  His High school Spanish has helped him a lot.  Kinda made me wish I’d taken it, but that’s ok, cause my Spanish has picked up a lot in the last little while.
I loved the Ensign this month (I think cause there wasn't too much to read).  But the pictures and the articles were so awesome.  I can't believe they didn’t give the Cardston Temple a bigger picture.  You can’t even tell it's the coolest looking temple!  But it was kinda cool cause the Bolivia Cochabamba temple was on the same page, and that’s where my companion and another companionship in my district are going.  P-Days have definitely been my favorite day here at the MTC because of the opportunity I get to go to the temple, and relax.  I did sealings in the temple last week both as a witness and as a proxy.  That was pretty cool, a lot different, but cool.  Today I'm planning on just doing a regular session.
That’s nice that Stacey and Steve commented on my blog.  I'll have to write them; it’s awesome to receive all the support I do.  Kendall and Karla sent me a little care package this week as well.  I have a bunch of candy now, and those cinnamon buns you sent me are pretty delicious too - especially after they've been heated up in the microwave. 
On Tuesday it snowed here for the first time.  I was so excited to see it, and just wanted to be out in it, but I was stuck in leadership meeting, and by the time it finished, the snow was already done.  I don’t know why, but I've really been craving a good snow storm recently.  Have you gotten much snow?  What is everyone being for Halloween?  I'm gonna be a Missionary, I was thinking I would call myself Elder Garrett (one of the other missionaries in my room).
Tell Daniel my whole district wished him a "Happy Birthday!"  I hope Christina’s and Daniel’s basketball is going well.
I taught for the first time entirely in Spanish this week.  It really wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but then I keep getting told that I'm one of the best in the district by some of the other people in the district, which is humbling and surprising.  When Elder Scott was here, he gave everyone an apostolic blessing of courage, and the Gift of Tongues, which was so cool.  Of course I need to have faith for that to work.
Anyways, love you all !!!!!
Elder Dilling

Friday, October 22, 2010

A month has gone by......really?!?!?

So far, being a District Leader hasn’t been too much trouble.  Coming up with questions to ask in the interviews can be a bit of a challenge, but that’s the hardest part so far.  I probably won’t be the District Leader for long, because my Branch Presidency likes to give as many people as possible this opportunity to be a leader.  On Tuesday during my leadership training with Brother Bankcroft, (not sure if that’s spelled right) he was talking about how to let people know they doing something wrong without embarrassing them.  He gave us a definition of being tactful:  The ability to step on the toes of an individual without ruining the shine of their shoes.  I just thought this was interesting, and felt like sharing it with you.  He gave us another definition last Tuesday after the devotional.  It was a definition of a missionary:  Someone who leaves their family for two years, so that others can spend eternity with theirs.  This is probably one of the best quotes/definitions I have ever heard, because it's so true, and I never really thought about it like that.  I just can’t wait to get out of here, and into the mission field (although I know I'm nowhere near ready to start talking Spanish to people.) 
In the TRC this coming Tuesday (the TRC is a training thing where you practice teaching people the lessons) I have to teach the entire first lesson in Spanish.  And all I've been thinking is “holy crap I am not ready for this yet”.  I understand most of the principles, but it's the memorizing of words, and verbs that’s tricky.  But it is certainly going to be a good experience.
I got a postcard from Grandma Dilling the other day, but there was no return mailing address.  I was wondering if you could send me some addresses.  I was thinking of addresses for all our family, and then the Harris's.  They sent me a Halloween package through Dear Elder, and I'm missing their zip code and stuff.  But if I see Jaren I'll just ask him. 
Oh yeah!  At the Devotional on this most recent Tuesday, we had a great speaker!  I think his name was Russel M. Nelson, or something like that…  He was an amazing teacher, but I was surprised how short his talk was.  He talked a lot about missionary work, and how we need to teach as simply as we possibly can.  He told us, that if we're teaching someone, and we run out of things to say, just to say four words, "we follow Jesus Christ."  I just thought that this was really cool, the way that we need to be teaching people, and with the ultra simplicity. 
On Monday, during my class, we had to practice resolving people’s doubts.  My teacher pretended to be one of the investigators that he had on his mission, and we had to take turns as companionships resolving the doubts and concerns of the investigator.  I thought that it was a really helpful practice.
Gym is great, I haven’t done much running this week, but I have definitely been getting better at volleyball.  It's been a lot of fun to play with all the other Elders.  The Polynesians are super good, but everyone’s a good sport, which helps make it fun.
The district that left was replaced and we have another district leaving on Monday again.  It's crazy to see everyone leaving, and to think that I've already been here for a month, cause it certainly doesn’t feel like I've been here for that long.  Maybe two weeks.  I lose sense of time here.  It's as if time just speeds up the second you get to the MTC. 
Anyways, that’s all for now.  Love you all, and I look forward to hearing back from you.

Elder Dilling

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Leadership Opportunity

Once again this week went by super fast.  The DearElder.com letters definitely help me a lot when I'm trying to decide what it is I'm going to say in my email.  Unfortunately the MTC is really restrictive on how we are able to use the computers, so I won’t be able to get any pictures to you unless I send them through the mail as actual pictures.  Jaren isn't in my zone.  In fact, my zone after this week is gonna be like a ghost zone, because we're not getting anyone in for a while and a couple districts are gonna be leaving us.  It's kinda sad.  And the chances of me getting picked to give a talk in Sacrament meeting have just increased exponentially.  I was looking for Jaren yesterday, but I probably won’t see him until sometime after Sunday, because for the first week the schedule is so packed full and all messed up, and not normal - but I'm keeping an eye out.
Anyways, Elder Mayburry is from Roy, Utah.  He's going to be serving in the Cochabamba Bolivia Mission.  When it comes to his Spanish learning I'm not sure if I'd say he was at the same level as me, but he definitely is not ahead of me.  I am to him as my old companion was to me, where the language is concerned.  Hopefully that makes sense.  But he's a great guy, and has a solid testimony.  He just needs to work on his teaching skills a little bit.  Everyone keeps telling me that I'm a great speaker and a great teacher.  I think they're all loco, but I have to say it has been fun doing all the teaching and learning the language.
My Spanish talk on Charity was pretty good, but I never had to present it.  At the beginning of Sacrament meeting President Estes, my Branch President, called me out into the hallway.  I was scared because I thought for sure he was going to ask me to present my talk, but he didn’t.  Instead he asked me to be the new District Leader!  This requires quite a bit more work :( - but it'll be fun.  Before Sacrament meeting I read my Patriarchal Blessing, and it was talking about having leadership opportunities in the church, and being a teacher and I thought, “Huh!  My patriarchal blessing really is coming to pass”.
That’s unfortunate that Tanner broke his collar bone, but I'm sure it was a good story...  How is everyone else?  I assume everyone else is doing well.
This past Monday we had a zone activity where we had to prepare a lesson on Pres. Uchtdorf's and Elder Kearon’s talk from the Priesthood session of Conference.  It's was surprisingly easy to teach about those topics for ten minutes.  The hard part was teaching to the need of the missionaries we were teaching.  But anyways, you should definitely watch Elder Kearon's talk.  It's only like 10 minutes and it's fantastic.  It's about obedience.
It’s been nice to run into people who went to BYUI.  I just met a guy who actually lived in the apartment below me in Idaho, and another really good friend from school too.  I kinda wish that I had gotten more people’s addresses.  It kinda sucks not being able to write other friends on P Days when there is not a lot else to do.
Here at the MTC they don’t do the whole scheduled fitness thing anymore.  I have a scheduled gym time, but they don’t tell you what you’re supposed to be doing.  I've been playing a lot of volleyball lately, and I run about a mile a day, and every day I add 1 more lap or so depending on how I feel (1 lap isn’t very long, like 1/10 of a mile), but gym time is one of my favorite times.
Anyways, hope everything is going good at home.  Keep on sending the letters.  Handwritten ones are always nicer to get, but all letters are appreciated.  I'll try to get some pictures printed out so you can scan them and put them up on the blog.  That’s all folks!!!
Elder Dilling

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Food: so-so. Conference: great!

Well, before I start off this email, I just want to tell you about a website called Dear Elder.com.  It's a website where you can write letters to missionaries, and then they send them for you.  It's free while I’m in the MTC so if you wanted to respond to my emails using that that would be cool.  Then I could know what I'm going to say before I get to the computer.  And feel free to ask me any questions that you want to have answered.

The food here at the MTC is really not all that good.  But I can understand why.  Most of the time the vegetables are either over or under cooked.  But there hasn’t been a day yet where there hasn't been any food that I'll eat.  As far as the ice cream goes, it is only served on Sundays and Wednesdays, which happen to be the days they serve the best food.  I think it's because they're trying to trick the new missionaries.  Overall the food is pretty good, and I haven't been eating too much or drinking very much pop.  But I did find a new drink that I like.  It's a Mexican drink that they sell at the book store here, called Sangria.  It's kinda like a non-alcoholic wine.  it's interesting and has a different flavor.
I can't remember if I told you in my previous email that my companion was thinking of leaving to go to a more advanced class.  But it has happened, my companion is no longer with me.  I am now going to be the companion of Elder Mayburry.  His companion left too.  So I have to move all my stuff into his bedroom now.  This companionship I can already tell is going to be completely different.  He is definitely a lot slower than me, which I think will actually help me learn the language better.  My old companion knew a lot more than me, and I think I know a lot more than my new companion.  Hopefully I can be a help to him in learning the language.
I got to go to the Temple last Thursday, and I'll be going again today.  Since going to the Provo temple, I've come up with a theory, although this isn't really the most spiritual of theories.  Based on my experience in the Salt lake temple, and the Provo temple, I think they try and find the most comfortable couches they possibly can for the celestial room.  They all seem to be like a cloud.  But the temple is nice.  Although you can tell it's been used quite a bit, it is still a beautiful place to feel the spirit.  And the celestial room is sweet.  It's super white, and there's a massive chandelier hanging from the middle of the room.
When the last group left our zone to go on their mission, they left a room open, and it still is open, and I've just been thinking that it would be hilarious if when Jaren comes this coming Wednesday, if he ended up being in my zone, although I doubt that will happen. 
Unfortunately you'll have to wait a little while for me to get some pictures to you, the computers we use are super basic, and it would take a little too much time from my email writing, but I'll try to send some to you soon.
Español is a fairly difficult language to learn, but that’s just because I want to try translating it directly to English.  I am really starting to understand what people are saying to me, but I have trouble conjugating what I want to say when I go to speak back.  I have to write a 5 minute talk this week on charity in Español just in case they call on me in church.  I think it would be easy to do in English, but Spanish grammar and verb conjugating is weird.  But I have to learn sooner or later.
Oh yeah, Conference was great too.  I don’t think a weekend has passed by so fast in my life.  Both of Pres. Uchtdorf´s talks were superb!  And pres. Monson´s was quite good too.  I thought it was pretty cool to watch as a missionary.  I wish I had arrived to the MTC earlier so that I could have sung in the MTC choir during Priesthood session.  It was cool to watch and be able to pick out faces I knew in the choir.  I've also met some people from BYU.  Gotta go – bye for now!

Elder Dilling

My favourite picture of the Provo temple (below)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

First week at the MTC

Alrighty, well I'm not really all that sure where to begin.  Umm, the MTC is definitely not as bad as some people back home made it out to be.  The first few days just dragged on and on and on, but now that I have a more normal schedule, the days just seem to be flying by.  Just in case you didn't guess by the date that this email is being sent, my P-Days are on Thursdays, and I didnt get one last Thursday because I had just arrived here. 

My Companion's name is Elder Mitchell.  He's from Detroit Michigan.  He's a pretty cool guy, alot like myself except he's African American.  He is actually 23, and will be serving in the same mission as me!  But unfortunately he is probably going to be leaving me in the next couple of days, as he has a little more knowledge of Spanish, so he is planning on moving to a more advanced class.  But he has been a great companion over the last week, and part of me hopes that they aren't able to move him, even though I know it will probably be a little better for him.

He will be the second of three people to leave my district.  One of the sisters, Hermana Dunagan (Hermana is spanish for Sister) has already left, and Elder Silva is planning on leaving too.  But the rest of my district is pretty tight.  Four of the Elders are going to be going to Bolivia, and my room mates Elders Lee and Mower are going to be serving in North Carolina.  All of the sisters, Hermana Anderson, Lemke, and Angell are going to be going to New York as well as me.  Everyone in my district accept for four of us are from Utah.  The others are from Arizona, California, and my companion from Michigan. 

My teachers are awesome, Hermana Billin served her mission in Chile, and my other teacher, Hermano Sederberg (Hermano is spanish for Brother)served his mission in Spain.  They are both really great teachers.  Recently we have been learning about conjugating verbs, and I must say that I am thoroughly confused.  But the hardest part is memorizing the verbs and what they mean in english.  The conjugates are the easiest part.

Spanish altoghether is not the most complicated language.  It's just hard to learn because it is so different from english.  And it requires a lot of memorization.  On Tuesday we went to a thing called the TRC, (not sure what it stands for.) But at the TRC you prepare yourself for a senario, and it has the things you need to do.  On Tuesday we had to go meet three people, and kinda get to know them a little, and then set up a time where we could come back later.  This first part had to be in Spanish.  Then once you've done this, you go and prepare, then return and teach them the first lesson based on the need that you learned in the original meeting.  Although I learned very little about the people because I couldn't understand most of what came out of their mouths.  Lets just say spanish is spoken a lot quicker than english, even my english is slow in comparison!  But I think the hardest part is my lack of vocab.

My zone is pretty cool.  We just had a guy leave last night after having been here for 14 weeks.  Earlier in his MTC he had broken his knee and had to get surgery, but he was finally able to leave.  We just got another new district in last night which is pretty nice, cause we're no longer the new guys of the zone.  I am definitely looking forward to about the 4th or 5th week when we have a little more of a handle on the language, and I can teach and talk to people a little more using mostly spanish. 

Any ways, my time's about up for my email use, I hope all is well at home.   I'm looking forward to next week when I can hear back from all of you.  I kinda miss you.. jk.  miss you love you,
 -Elder Dilling-

P.S. I got a letter from Grandma and Grandpa Smigel on Tuesday too.  It was really nice, and just so you know, if you send a letter to me here on a Wednesday, I'll get it on a Tuesday.  And if anyone wants to send me some packages with some stuff in them (candy and whatever else.) I wont be disappointed.......

Spanish class with Hermano Sederberg (standing in the suit)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

MTC DAY!


We dropped Elder Dilling off at the MTC at 12:45 today.  Surprisingly enough, I didn't cry as much as I thought I would, as I know he is where he should be, so it was bittersweet.  I was less nervous dropping him off at the MTC than I was when we dropped him off at BYUI last September!  I told him this earlier today and he said he has felt exactly the opposite.  He wasn't nervous at all about starting school, but he has been a bit nervous about going on his mission, mostly because it's for two years rather than a couple of semesters.  When we drove to the MTC there were Host Missionaries waiting to welcome the new missionaries.  Everything was so well organized.  It was really nice.  We took a picture of Elder Dilling standing in front of the MTC.  We know he will be a great missionary!  We are looking forward to hearing from Elder Dilling soon, and we will share his comments in future posts.

Lana Dilling (the crying mom)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

One day left

Again, my mom is entering this post for me.  Today was cool.  We started out going to the Salt Lake Temple for an endowment session.  My mom forgot her Temple recommend, so that was stressful for her, but they let her in anyway (it helped that my dad is in the bishopric).  The Salt Lake Temple is an amazing building.  I can see why it took 40 years to build.  We ate at the Temple cafeteria and then went to the Joseph Smith building to see the Joseph Smith film.  While we were speaking with someone at the information desk I ran into my wife (from my BYU FHE group that is!).  Her name is __?___ Smith (I can't remember her first name).  We had a lot of fun together.  She is now serving a full-time mission at Temple Square.  The Joseph Smith movie was great.  What it lacked in action, it more than made up for in spirit.  After that we did some shopping at the Distribution Center and Deseret Book and then went back to Temple Square to tour around a bit.  We spoke with lots of Sister Missionaries.  They could tell from a mile away that I was preparing to enter the MTC.  It was good to hear their MTC experiences.  We also ran into quite a few other missionaries who are reporting to the MTC tomorrow, which was cool.

Once we left Temple Square we made our way back to Mr. Mac to pick up my altered suits and then we changed our clothes and headed out for dinner at Tucanos Brazilian BBQ so I could fill up on MEAT!!!

Looking forward to tomorrow!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Two days to go!

I am here in Salt Lake City with my awesome parents (my mom is typing this entry since I'm not allowed on the computer).  I don't report to the MTC until Wednesday at 12:45.  Today we went to Mr. Mac and I got a bunch of stuff.  We had Craig Sutton helping us and he was great!  An interesting side note is that Craig served with my Dad's mission president in Brazil.  After that we drove to Provo to eat at In and Out Burger and check out the location of the MTC.   My mom was upset because they are doing renovations and there was no MTC sign for me to stand by for a picture.  Moms get worked up about the silliest things.  After that we actually visited my dad's Mission President who lives in Orem (my dad went to Portugal).  We then went to Famous Dave's for supper - awesome ribs!  Now we are playing scrabble.  It's pretty rough not having my electronics.  I'm told it will be easier in the MTC because I will be so busy.   Oh, yeah, yesterday at the airport in Calgary we ran into a General Authority and his wife.  His name is Elder Zivic of the First Quorum of the Seventy.  They ended up sitting behind us on the plane as well.  When I was set apart as a missionary one of the counsellors in our stake Presidency, Pres. Laycock, told me I would see more General Authorities during the MTC portion of my mission than any other time in my life.  I guess I got a head start!  Well, it's almost 10:30 - bedtime.  Goodnight.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Day Before Tomorrow

So this Last week went by way to fast.  I Cant believe that I'll be leaving tomorrow, it feels like it should only be Wednesday.  But that doesn't really matter, I really am excited to be able to get out there and start serving our Heavenly Father as a Missionary in NYC.  But before I leave I want to make sure that my Addresses will be available to whoever might want to send me a letter or something...

My MTC address is:
Elder Carson Lamonte Dilling
MTC Mailbox # 324
NY-NYNM 1123
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

And my actual mission field address is:

 Elder Carson Lamonte Dilling
New York, New York North Mission
700 White plains Rd Ste 315
Scarsdale, NY 10583
(But I won't be there until November 22, 2010)

 This next little bit is just for Jeff Harris who was wondering who I would be giving my iPod to, and I have decided that I will be giving my iPod to the next youngest sibling, unless that sibling has a similar electronic device of comparable age or newer.  Which means that Christina gets it, but only if she also agrees to give her iPod to Daniel.

Anyways, for today I'm just gonna pack up all my stuff into boxes, and pack my suitcases so that I am ready to leave after Church tomorrow.