Monday, December 19, 2011

Working With a Few Cool People

Well, I'm glad you liked the Photos.  First off the short guy is Carlos.  He's one of my two recent converts.  The Five elders with me are Elder Hulme, Elder Anderson, Elder Smith, Elder Peterson, and Elder Kropf.  That’s my current district.  And since that picture I've given myself a haircut.  So you don’t need to worry about that.  The family with the two girls is the Sanchez Family.  They're one of my favorite families, but the night we took the picture was unfortunately the night we helped them move out of the ward.  But they're super cool.  I love Mexicans; they're awesome, and way chill.  When we took the pic at Tom's, we ate there too, but the inside is nothing like the prop on Seinfeld.  But we did find that Pass-A-Long card on the wall.  The long really cool advent calendar that was spread along the wall in one of the pictures I sent was actually from a friend of Elder Hulme.  But I did get Grandma and Grandpa Smigel’s advent calendar.  And I wrote them back.

But yeah, things here are really going awesomely right now.  We're working with a few cool people, but unfortunately a few of our people have kinda dropped off the face of the world it seems.  So yeah, it's slowed down a little, but that’s alright, because it gives us time to focus a little more on contacting and finding people to teach.  So that’s good.  We're working with this one guy named Ramon.  He's an older Puerto Rican guy who's kinda home bound right now, which is hard on him, but we're hoping that eventually he'll be able to get baptized.  I was told that as long as he can make it to the church for his baptism then it's cool.  He's gonna be getting another surgery on his leg soon, and he's hoping that after that he'll be able to walk, even if it's with the help of a walker.  But yeah, he's one of the cool people we're teaching, and then we're also teaching Mark and Angel, who are also both way cool, and things are going well with them.

So that’s about my life right now.  Yesterday we had a Christmas program with half of the mission, because the Church doesn’t want us having whole mission wide meetings, so that was cool.  But it would have been better if the whole mission had been able to be there like last year.  While I'm on the topic of Christmas, unfortunately I still can’t give you a firm plan for our Christmas Day phone call because our day still isn’t completely planned.  But I'll let you know for sure next week.  Plan for around 3:00 your time though.

I hope all is well, and that you all have a great week.

Love, Carson

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Some Pictures Finally!

Alright family,  I don't have a ton of time today but I just wanted to at least let you know what has taken place this transfers and also Grandpa Smigel asked me in a letter to tell you what I wanted for Christmas chocolates.

So first Transfers.  Elder Hulme and I are staying together for a forth cycle which is cool.  Even though I wanted to leave and see something new, I didn't want to leave and meet new people, so I am more than happy to stay here again.  As for the chocolates,  I love the chocolate dipped pretzels, and the ju jubes (chocolate dipped - especially the red ones.), and finally of course the toffee, that's a given.

Anyways, so we're doing awesome,  unfortunately one of our investigators moved to the Dominican Republic without telling us and they won't get back until January. On a high note though, Alejandro is now ready to progress.  He's finished with the stuff that kept him from coming to church on Sundays and now he is able to come to church and everything, which is awesome.  The other day Angel came to church (one of our 17 yr old investigators) which was awesome and we're gonna meet with him and Mark, his neighbor, tonight after our P-Day is over.

I sent some pics for you as well, and Mom Elder Hulme is in a couple of them, but it's not just the two of us (actually I think one of them is).  So now you can stop harassing me for them.

Brunilda's doing alright.  She didn't do her reading, but we're gonna go and see her on Friday, teach her the Plan of Salvation and extend her a date.  We are also going to extend dates to Alejandro, Mark and Angel.  So this cycle should be way super awesome!!!!

But yeah, as I said I really don't have all that much to say this week unfortunately.  My Spanish continues to improve and I'm doing my best to learn three new words a day.  I'm also still trying to write in my journal more, even though I'm still not that good at it.

We're also going to be having the Christmas party for the mission soon.  I believe it is next week, but that's about all I've got for this week.

I hope all is going well and that you have a great week.
Love, Carson

P.S.  Where's my letter Sarah?  I thought you said you were going to send one today.  Well I'm still waiting, and Frankly I'm a little disappointed..  JK :)

My current district: Elder Hulme, Elder Anderson, Elder Smith, Elder Peterson, Elder Kropf and Elder Dilling

                       This is the location of Monk's Cafe from "Seinfeld"

Baptism Day with Carlos

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas in the Big Apple

Hey everyone!!

So things here in the Big Apple are really good.  The Last two weeks have just been really good for Elder Hulme and I.  So transfers are next week, the 7th of December.  As for the questions about my Christmas Day phone call, I'll have to get back to you on because I'm not sure what’s happening with transfers yet, so I'll let you know within the next few weeks.  You might have to remind me though!

Anyways, for your other questions:

1.       What is Christmas in New York like? 

Well, to be honest I really can’t remember.  Mainly because the last one was my first cycle, and everything was new to me.  But it's definitely different here in New York.  For one thing, people don’t have houses to decorate, so they normally just put a bunch of wrapping paper on the door.  The other day I saw a giant tree of lights that someone set up in the courtyard of a building.  That was pretty cool.  Maybe if I remember I can get a picture of it.  Tomorrow we're going to put our Christmas tree up, and so that’s one thing I guess, but really it's a lot different than back home.

2.       Are you able to speak with more people during the Christmas season?

I'd probably say no.  Mainly because there are so many people here in New York, that there are always people to talk to.  I would imagine though that people become a little more accepting of things pertaining to Christ, because the holiday is all about him, but in reality, I don’t think it's possible to try to not run into people and stuff.  That’s one thing that really makes this mission unique.  Especially here in the city.

3.       When are transfers and if you could choose, where would you like to be transferred?

As I said, next week is transfers.  If I had to be transferred, then I would want to either go to Manhattan or the other side of the Bronx, mainly because I want to stay here in the city.  But then again, if I were to go upstate I'd want to go to Stanford Connecticut, because I've heard it's pretty cool over there and it's a bit bigger of a city so it'd probably be a little bit faster.  But we'll see what the Lord has in store for me on Monday.

4.       What was a spiritual experience you had this week (or in the last couple of weeks)?

And finally the spiritual stuff.  So yesterday we met with one of the people who attend the English class we help teach.  Her name is Brunilda and she's from the Dominican Republic.  Anyway, we started teaching her about the restoration of the Church and it went really great.  We taught up to the Great apostasy and then decided to watch the restoration video with her to explain the Joseph Smith story and all that.  While we were setting up the DVD she brought in a fan because the room was pretty warm.  So we started to watch the movie and she asked us if we were cold, and that if we needed to we could move the fan.  We said we were fine (because we were) and she said she was as well, but then about 3 minutes later she asked us again and we answered that we were fine, but she said “no you’re not”.  She told Elder Hulme to turn the fan a little so that it wouldn't blow on us and consequently her either.  So Elder Hulme moved the fan and we finished watching the movie.  When the movie finished (she didn’t want it to end) she mentioned how she was feeling all goose bumpy and that the reason she asked us to move the fan was because she wasn’t sure if it was the cold air from the fan or something else.  She said when we moved the fan it continued so she decided that it was God touching her, and after she shared that with us we talked about the Book of Mormon a little.

She shared with us that her and her husband have been having some problems, and that she really hoped things could change and so we promised her some blessings.  We're just really excited to continue teaching her and helping her progress in the gospel and all that, but it was just a really cool lesson.  Beforehand I really didn’t think that she would be all that interested, but that thought has changed.  She is so prepared for this gospel, and I'd sure appreciate you including her in your prayers so that she can work things out with her husband.

Anyways, I hope everything is good and that you have a great week. 

 Love you all!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Greatest Missionaries on Earth!

Note: this email has been posted a week late

Ok, before I forget, one idea I have for Christmas is Cinnamon Spread. 

Anyways, sorry I didn't write last week.  We went to the temple, which was super great because I hadn't been in like 8 months, and I was really missing it.  When we got back we didn't have time because of an early appointment of ours, so don’t feel bad about not writing on time.  But I do have time this week.  And to start off, President Smith told us all to email home and say that we are the greatest missionaries on earth. 

So congratulation on getting the job Mom.  And to Dad for getting the white tail, and to Daniel for surviving the scout camp that I'm excited to hear more about.  And to Christina for doing so well in her "clase de costura" (fashions sewing class).  And as for talking to Grandma and Grandpa Dilling on Christmas Day I was thinking the same thing.  This year there's not gonna be one big Christmas thing.  It'll be the upstate missionaries and the city missionaries at two separate events.  As for finishing with President Smith, I believe he finishes his time as Mission President in July, just barely before I go home.  I've also decided that I'm not gonna come home early at all.  So you'll have to tell BYUI that I'm not gonna be able to return in the fall semester of 2012.  And as for your question about whether or not Elder Hulme gets packages and letters, that’s a big "AFFIRMATIVE" he gets like 5 letters per week.  As for me, about 2 or 3 per month...  but that’s ok, I don’t really enjoy writing, so it's all good.  I do return notes and stuff to those who write me.

So for Thanksgiving we're going to have dinner with the Lucero family, a somewhat less-active family in the ward.  They plan to have some non-members for us to talk to, so hopefully we can find some new investigators while we're enjoying the night tomorrow.

So yeah, this last week was super great.  We found ten new investigators, and have some pretty solid people we're teaching.  One of them is Mark.  He's 17 and just seems to really love the church and has a firm testimony about prayer and the Book of Mormon that he's even shared with a few of his friends.  He's just way legit - unfortunately he wasn’t able to make it to church this last week, so the date we extended to him for the 3rd won’t work because he has to come to church twice, but all is well.   I feel pretty confident that he'll get baptized eventually.  And then we've met a few other pretty cool people that we'll start working with in coming days.  So hopefully we'll see a few more baptisms soon.  I really don’t know why, but I can’t think of all that much to write about.  Most of the people we've met seem pretty cool, and I'll be able to tell you more in the coming weeks. 

Today we went and played football in Harlem with some of the missionaries from over there, which was a lot of fun.  It started out pretty cold, but it seemed to warm up a little, and the rain stopped which was nice.  The weather hasn't been all that nice here for a while, so hopefully it clears up a little tomorrow, it's definitely nicer to walk without an umbrella.

So yeah, I'm not really sure what I want for Christmas.  Maybe a few more socks, some ties. Maybe some pens too.  (I use the Pilot Precise V5) That would also be a specific request.  "V5" is mandatory.  The V7 is too thick, so there's something.  Maybe a CD or two as well.  Umm... I was thinking about getting another jacket as well, but I'm not sure.  Not because I need one, but because I like variety.  All my suits are in nice condition though; I think I've actually gotten a little skinnier around the waste.  At least it seems that way, because I gained a belt hole.  But yeah, I'm really not all that sure.  So anyways, I hope all continues to go well, and I'll talk to you next week. 

Love, Carson

Monday, November 7, 2011

I Still Don't Like Public Speaking!

Hey everyone! Glad to hear you all enjoyed Halloween.  We really didn’t really do much, we had to be in early which was kinda boring and we couldn’t go asking for candy so..  Yeah, it was alright I guess.  As for your district Leader question, I don’t think I'll miss it, I'm just going along with whatever it is the Lord would want me to do.  So yeah..  As for my talk though, it went pretty good.  I actually lost track of time and spoke for like 15 minutes (I was only given like 7).  It was the first talk I’ve done without writing it down word for word, but I still don’t really want to ever speak again.  This was just a refresher of how much I hate speaking in front of large groups of people. 

As for Alejandro I'm not sure yet, he’s supposed to talk to them today and I'm definitely keeping him in my thoughts and prayers throughout the day.  We taught him the Word of Wisdom on Monday and he accepted it with no problems, as well as all the other commandments.  We'll give him a date this next week so that he has a goal to work towards.  He still needs to come to church though.  Fernando is also doing quite well, he's had to work late recently so we haven’t really been able to see him all that much, but he's doing well from what I can tell.  Our Last progressing investigator is Carlos.  He's from Guatemala and we've given him a date for the twelfth of November which he says he'll be ready for.  He's come to church the last two weeks in a row and the last time we were there he was asking us how long it takes to get baptized.  So yeah, his girl friend who is a member is also helping a lot too and because he's investigating she's getting much more active than she was.  So he's been a blessing for many people.  Hopefully one day they'll get married in the temple.  I’m pretty sure that’s what she really wants.

So yeah, that’s what is going on here in the Bronx.  As for your question, you could say "como estan" - how are you; "como les ha ido" - how has it been; "Como le van" - How’s it going.      So yeah, that’s some ways for you to say hello to more than one person.  I'm doing my best to learn three new words a day, it's not perfect yet, but I'm trying to improve every day. 

Anyways, that’s about all I got this week, I hope that all is well back home still and that you all have a great week.

Love Carson

P.S.  The day of the snow storm was one of the most successful days I've had on my mission so far.  It was awesome!!!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Still in the Bronx!

Hey Family!!
Well one thing I forgot to add last week was that transfers were today, and I'm gonna be staying with elder Hulme here in Kingsbridge.  The only difference is that I am no longer district leader.  President Smith released me to let someone else have a chance to take that role.  So that’s cool.  Aside from that this week has been pretty uneventful.   I don’t really have any stories for you, but we did have a really cool activity at the church.  It was a Night of Nations, which is simply a night where they have all the members from different countries do a cultural presentation.  Most often it was a dance from their home country and then they also supplied some food for everyone.  That way everyone gets the opportunity to try what others eat and learn a bit about where everyone comes from.  Of course they asked that the missionaries do something as well to represent the United States, so we put together a dance and that was a lot of fun.  We danced to "Eye of the Tiger" and made up a line dance (we had someone make a CD for us so we could do the song).  Maybe next week I'll be able to send home the video.  It was quite the hit.  So yeah, that was the fun thing we did last Friday.  Also you'll be happy to hear, Mom in particular, that I have to speak this coming Sunday.  Needless to say, I'm not excited.  It will be my first talk so far in the mission and we'll be talking about missionary work and how the members can help out and stuff.  I've no idea what I’m gonna speak about in particular, but it should be fun.
Anyways, this morning I ate Golden Puffs.  They’re just puffed wheat that has been sweetened, so it wasn’t anything all that special, just cereal.  Normally that’s what I eat for breakfast.  Occasionally I'll make fried eggs and ham and put them on top of an arepa, and then put some queso fresco on top (it's a Mexican cheese) and it is a really good breakfast, but it costs more.  I also learned from Elder Anderson that a peanut butter sandwich with scrambled egg and syrup makes another pretty good meal.
The most interesting person I've seen so far is the Bird Man.  He’s just this guy who walks around making bird noises.  He wears a hat with a bunch or bright feathers stuck in it which is really funny.  I don’t see him that often, but you know when he's around.  The amazing part is that the sounds he makes are SO realistic.  I'm amazed that a human can make sounds like that.  It’s way cool.
I think the coolest thing I've seen this week is once again with Alejandro.  We went over on Sunday and were teaching him about the Ten Commandments, specifically about the Sabbath day and right now he has a commitment that takes up his time every Sunday with some type of organization that he belongs to.  So we were talking to him and he just strait up said “Alright, I'll go talk the president and ask if I can switch with someone else so that I can have those Sundays’ off.”  It was just way awesome.  He's gonna speak to the guy on November 1st.   His eyes have been getting better too.  He still can’t read, but he can read some larger print things if there’s a sufficient amount of light.  The other person that we're working with right now is Fernando.  He's another Dominican who we've been teaching and who seems truly interested in what we have to say, which is always really nice.  So far we've taught them the plan of salvation and the restoration which were both great lessons.  He's been doing the reading and stuff and wants to meet with us, so that’s always awesome.   I definitely appreciate it when people are willing to listen to us and take time out of their schedules so that they can listen to what we have to share with them.
As for the vocabulary idea of learning two or three words a day, I definitely think I'll make a more conscious effort to do that, but that’s about all I got for today.
 I hope your week is going well, and that Dad and Daniel get the chance to go hunting and also find something.  I definitely agree that it's more fun when you find something.  But yeah, I love you all and I look forward to hearing how everything is next week.
Love, Carson

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Baptismal Date

Hey Family!!
Glad to hear that you enjoyed my latest email, the questions definitely help me to write better and to think about what I'm going to write.  I'll start off this week by answering the funny story question from last week since I didn't have one. 

So yesterday I was on a split with Elder Hermosa my ZL from Canada and we were walking through the Bronx on the way to an appointment, when elder Hermosa said "Is that a (mumble)?"   I didn't hear what he said, so I answered "what?" "I think I see a (mumble)" he replied, "What?!?" I asked again and finally I understood his response "Is that a chicken?!?"   Sure enough, there was a chicken just chillin' on the side walk minding his own business so we walk back towards it and it doesn’t even move, so we snap a couple of pics with it and then moved on, but we were just laughing over this chicken that neither of us could figure out how in the world it ended up where it did.  I mean, there's nowhere for a chicken to live in the Bronx.  I guess that mystery will never be answered.  I guess that’s my funny experience for the week.
So we've been teaching Alejandro a little more, he's way cool and really wants to learn it seems.  We planned him as a backup on Sunday and when one of our appointments fell through we weren't sure if we should actually go to his house because we didn't really have all that much time before our last appointment for the day.  After some discussion we decided that we could be a little late for our last appointment since it was a member lesson.  Anyways, we arrived at his house and he let us in, which is always nice when you've just dropped by and were only really expecting to set up another time to come by.  So we get inside and we decide to teach a restoration lesson in order to introduce the Book of Mormon and the lesson went great.  We bore our testimonies, ended the lesson and set up another time to pass by the next day, so that we could read a little more with him.  We also asked him to pray to know if it was true.  The next day, Monday, we passed by again and started reading some selections from 2 Ne 31 about baptism and after reading verses 5-12 we asked him if he had prayed the night before and whether or not he had received a confirmation about the book, to which he answered "yes" and "yes!"  So we extended an invitation to be baptized on the 12th of November, which he accepted!!! Woohooo!!!  So that's freaking sweet, all the hard work that Elder Hulme and I have been doing is really starting to pay off for us. 

As for the question about the language stuff this week, I haven’t really done all that much special stuff. We try and speak between each other as much as possible and I'm reading almost everything in Spanish. I was reading the Bible in Spanish, but that was just a bit much, especially in the early Old Testament (Leviticus and stuff) and then I'm always trying to learn new words, but I still haven't been able to find an effective way for me to learn new words.  I'm still learning a lot and I can definitely notice my Spanish improving, so when I get home we can plan another trip to Mexico as a family.

Anyways, that about all I got for this week, I love you all and miss you, and finally hope you all have a fantastic week.
Much Love,


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Answers to Your Questions

Alright well to start out this week has been very good, we've had a lot of good stuff happening.  I guess I'll begin by answering your questions:
1.  How are your investigators doing?  Well unfortunately, most of our investigators have been dropped at the moment we really have very few people to be working with and it's been pretty hard on Elder Hulme and I, but that is alright.  We've just taken it as a message that we need to do more finding and that there is someone out there that Heavenly Father wants us to find and that he is preparing someone for us as long as we are willing to do the work and to be worthy of that gift.
 2. What ways are you finding people?  As we've been working to find that person we've been doing a lot of knocking doors, but that’s not all we've planned on doing.  As part of the plan we've made to find this prepared individual/family we've put aside one hour everyday to knock on doors and that was something that we both felt we needed to do because no one likes to knock on doors.  So we're going to push ourselves to do that and then after we've knocked for an hour at least, if we have free time, we're trying to work through the area list and meet all of the members here as well as find those less actives who might have gotten lost a little.  We've even found an active family who the missionaries stopped visiting for some reason and they've kinda been forgotten.  So that’s another thing we're doing and then we’re always looking for opportunities to constantly give service to those we see. 
 3.  What are you doing for your service hours?  Some of the things we do to serve people are as follows.  Every week we go to a senior center and feed them lunch and then afterwards we play a little pool with a few of the older fellows which is pretty fun.  They're even teaching me a good bit about how to play which is fun.  Aside from that we're constantly trying to look for those opportunities to help people whether it is to carry some groceries or their baby carriages up to their apartment and just trying to see opportunities to offer our assistance.  We always end each lesson by asking if there is anything we could do to help them before we go.  For me service is one of my favorite things to do, although most people here in New York don’t like to accept service it seems.  Most of them think there are some kinds of strings attached, which there are, but it's only us talking about the church and that doesn't cost them anything.  So yeah, we are trying to offer our service in that respect but nothing has come so far.
 4.  What spiritual experience did you have this week? As for spiritual experiences I'm not all that great at recognizing them and I'm really trying to get better at that right now.  The other day we had a day where not all that much was happening so we (having planned to knock for one hour a day) started looking for a building to knock in an area that we haven’t really worked in before and two buildings kinda stuck out in my mind.  I asked Elder Hulme what he thought and he just responded “which ever”, so I decided on the one that was closer because it would take less time and I didn’t want to walk the distance to the second building.  I would have though, if I had really felt impressed to go, but I felt equally good about both and so we went into the building that was right beside us and started knocking.  For the most part the building really wasn’t all that successful, we knocked the first three floors and had lots of no's and only one person that seemed alright, but didn't really have time for us.  Then we got to the second floor (cause we always start from the top and work our way down) and on the third door this man answered who at first didn't seem all that interested, but he let us into his house and we started talking to him and we found out that his wife had died a while back.  At this point we decided to teach him a plan of salvation lesson, which went really well.  One thing that I found out was that a while back he had been contacted by some missionaries and they never came over and he wasn't really sure why.  I know that the reason I had the impression to knock that house was so that we could knock on his door. It also proves me that the Lord can even work through someone’s laziness!  It was just a way good lesson.  So that’s my spiritual experience.  I really do think that I was guided by the spirit even though I wasn't really feeling super strong spiritual impressions which would be cool, but I've decided that I really need to focus on following the thoughts that come to my mind and that through said thoughts I can know what the Lord would have me do.
 5.  What funny experience did you have this week?  As for funny experiences this week I've got nothing.  It was a rather dull week in the way of funny experiences.  So for this week I got nothing.
 Anyways, I'm glad that everything is going well back home and I hope that you all have a great week.  I miss you and love you all.
 Love, Carson

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I read "Jesus the Christ". No joke, I really did.

Well another week has come and gone.  Unfortunately this one has been much duller except for General Conference.  I don’t know which sessions you watched, but most of my favorite talks were during the Saturday sessions.  I really enjoyed the talk by Elder Scott on Saturday morning about the scriptures and about how they can provide so much to us.  That’s definitely something I've learned during my mission.  Yesterday I also finished reading Jesus the Christ, which is a ridiculously long book that I'll probably never read again in my life, unless it's in parts (for a talk or something).  But I will say it was quite interesting at parts, so that made it pretty enjoyable.  My next reading project I'm starting is to read the Bible in Spanish, while at the same time restarting the Book of Mormon, because I want to make it a habit of constantly reading the Book of Mormon; something I never really did before my mission.  But yeah, conference was awesome.  And I really loved it.  What were your favorite talks? 

Unfortunately I really don’t have all that much to write about this week.  We haven't been able to get back in touch with William yet, and the lady we met for Monday had to cancel because her schedule has changed a little bit, and she had to work.  But we're gonna keep trying to meet with them.  Hopefully we can see William again soon though. 

In answer to your question about taking pictures, I'll try and take better ones.  The problem is that I just hate taking them, and I especially hate taking pics with me in them.  But I will make a more honest effort to get them.

Also just a quick question, how many Gigs is the new Xbox?

Elder Hulme and I try and get fed like every night if we can; although our investigators take precedence.  We do have one member who called us the last couple nights and asked if we'd like to eat dinner with them which was cool, so yeah, we get fed pretty often.  And I try to eat somewhat healthy, but it doesn’t always turn out that way.  The only thing I really lack is fruits and vegetables.  But I've been eating more of those too. We have a store in my area where I can get like three of whatever fruit for only 1$ which is sweet, so I normally pick up a few plums or something every now and then.  But I am going to go to the store today and buy a Yankees hat, so that'll probably put me down close to $750.  And then there's a few other things I was gonna buy, spend maybe like $50 or $70 dollars Max.  I'll be spending here, but I try pretty hard to be frugal with that personal money.  And as for the Christmas question, I really am not sure right now.  Just if you send me some more ties, (which I'd definitely be fine with) I don’t want any more red ones.  Pretty much everything else is good.  It’s just that it seems when I look at my ties, half of them are red.

So yeah, that’s about all I got for this week.  If there is anything you want to know, you could always ask me, or just send an email full of questions.  Anyways, I love you all and I hope you have a fantastic week.

Love, Carson

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Awesome Week!

So another week has come and gone, and this week was pretty awesome.   Especially the cool finding stuff we had happen on Monday.

We had a District meeting on Monday and then went to all our appointments, but unfortunately they all fell through, as well as all of our back-ups.  We were not so sure what to do so we decided we were going to knock (on doors) but we weren't really sure where to go, so elder Hulme suggested that we go down near our next appointment, and find a building down there.  We started going down, but the thought came that maybe we should knock the building of a new family that recently moved into the area.

Unfortunately, when we arrived we had no way of getting into the building, and there was no buzzer we could use to ring a random door.  So we waited a few minutes and when no one came we started walking down the street a little until we came to this one building that is more like two.  And I thought hmmm, maybe we should knock here but that was after passing the first entrance, so we got to the second and we agreed to knock the building.  Anyways, we started knocking and didn’t really have much success on the first few floors.  We got one person who took a pamphlet but told us not to come back because she really wasn't interested.

Eventually we made our way down to the second floor, and found a pretty cool person there who said she'd like to come to watch conference this weekend and seemed interested in learning about a modern prophet, so we set up a time to go by on Monday and we're also going to call her to come to conference this weekend.  And then finally we got to the first floor, and started knocking and the second door we knocked I spoke in English (because the guy looked like he spoke English), but he didn't, and he asked us if we spoke Spanish, so of course I said yes we did, and he instantly said come in.  For a second I just kinda stood there like uhhh...  but eventually I returned to normal and we went in and taught him a first lesson which was way good.  His name is William and he's from the Dominican Republic.  He lives here with his family and he wants us to come back and teach all of them about the church as well, which would be way sweet.  Elder Hulme and I have really been praying a lot for someone to teach who is interested in learning more, and we definitely think that he is that answer.

So yeah this week was great, and so was the game.  The Yankees won 4-2 against the Rays of Tampa Bay.  I'll post some pictures online today. 

And then finally me and Elder Smith had an awesome pillow fight last night, it was freakin epic.  And we got it on camera, so I'll try and upload it eventually. 

But yeah, everything’s going good here, and I look forward to hearing back from you next week. 

Much love, Carson

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Off to see the Yankees!

Hey, so I do have a few minutes to write you today.  We're about to go down to the stadium to pick up the tickets that apparently are really good, and we only have to pay a fraction of the price.  One of the members in the ward works there and offered to get us some cheaper better tickets.   WOOHOO!! So I'll let you know how they are next week, because we really have no idea where they are, but that’s cool.  We'll find out in a hour or so.   

Aside from that everything is good here, and I'm happy that everyone is doing well back home.  Hope you all have an awesome week, and I look forward to next week’s email.

Con Muchisimo Amor,


Cool lesson experience

Note: This is a late entry from Carson's Sept 14th email

Alright hey, well I am here again, another cycle come and gone I remain here in the Bronx, and I'm still with Elder Hulme.  Not a whole lot has changed this cycle, neither has a whole lot happened this week.  We still continue to do all we can to help our investigators progress and get closer entering the waters of baptism.  We've just been working really hard on finding news, and doing what we can to make time with the investigators we have to help them make and keep commitments.  I got a letter from the Lawlor family today, so if you could tell them thank you for me that would be awesome. 

That's so awesome that Christina was able to make the team.  Everyone seems to be growing up a lot since I last saw them.  Maybe you could send me a slightly more recent family pic.  Maybe something from Waterton.  But I'm still the same height, and apparently I've gotten a little bit skinnier since coming down to the city.  Although I've also been told that I've gotten a little bit fatter.  So I’m really not sure what to believe.

But I guess I'll share a cool lesson experience that we had this week.  We recently found a less active member and have been working with her to get her and her family to church, and hopefully to baptize those who aren't members.  But this last week we really weren't sure what to share with her, and so I was thinking about it a lot in my personal study and kinda made a lesson plan for her about the Holy Ghost, and how it blesses our lives.  And the lesson went really great.  We (the missionaries) didn't have to talk too much, and at the end of the lesson she said the prayer, and in the prayer she just promised that she'd go to church, which I thought was really cool, and after we just talked a little more about her family and how the church could bless them.  So yeah, it was just a really good lesson, and we're going to go back on Friday to remind her, and just see how everything is going. 

So yeah, sorry this is a short letter, but just know that I love you all and miss you all.

Much love,


P.S.  I won’t be here next week to email you.  We're going to a Yankees game, so I’ll fill you in and all in two weeks.  Hope this finds you all well.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

New Skills

Hey Everyone.
Well this week has been pretty good.  Nothing really exciting has happened, but it's been a lot of fun just getting out and doing the work.  I have noticed though that I’m developing other skills aside from missionary skills.  I'm working on my pool skills every Tuesday, now don’t go thinking that I'm slacking off, cause I'm not.  Every Tuesday we have a service activity at an old folks care center and we feed them lunch.  But before lunch gets served we go and play pool with a few of the old guys which is way fun. They also teach us how to play better as well.  The best one is actually from Roatan which I thought was pretty cool.  Anyways, yesterday we were there and playing the last game and my partner Elder Peterson broke it and then after a few go rounds I had two balls left including the black one and they had seven including the black one ( this was the best game I'd ever had).  Normally my partner sinks all the balls (when I'm playing with one of the old guys) but I just kept on hitting them down like nothin.  It was like shooting fish in a barrel.  So yeah that was a lot of fun, even though it really has nothing to do with missionary work.
We got the opportunity to meet with Gabino and Sandra again which went really well.  We decided to watch the Testaments with them and then talk about the importance of the Book of Mormon, which went really well.  The Spirit was definitely there quite strongly and Elder Hulme and I both left the lesson thinking that they will be baptized eventually, but hopefully sooner rather than later.  The only problem is that Gabino is trying to make plans to return to Mexico this month. He keeps pushing his departure date back, so there's still hope that he won’t.  In the mean time though, we're just doing our very best to make sure that we help them progress and show them our love. 

The work here recently has been a little bit slower too.  It’s kinda funny because every time that Elder Hulme and I go contacting we don’t seem to find anyone, then I'm on a split with another Elder and he finds a bunch of English referrals for the other missionaries.  I've been having a lot of fun bugging him about that because we're here to find Spanish people and it doesn’t seem to be happening for some reason not yet apparent to me.  That’s alright though, because there's always a reason for it, I just haven't found it quite yet.  Well that or I just haven’t realized it and it's staring me in the face. 

As for the things you mentioned about the reno/move, I’d say reno.  Unless you want Christina and Daniel to go to school with more members, in which case I’d say move.  Whatever you do I want to have my own bedroom when I get home.....  jk.  But yeah, I think it'd be cool to come how and see all the cool changes.  It's also good to hear that the weather has gotten better. It’s really cooled down here the last couple of days, which is a little nice, but it also means that winters on its way and I'm not looking forward to that at all.  That’s crazy that you got changed in the Bishopric.  What happened to the old 1st counselor?  Although I don’t even remember who it was at all.  So yeah, what happened there?  Also congratulations on the weight loss.  I've been thinking about it lately and I'd like to gain about twenty pounds (of muscle of course), but that’s definitely not gonna happen in the mission, so I guess that’s one of my goals for after the mission.  Finally that’s super crazy about the whole bear thing.  That seems like something you just don’t hear about in Calgary.  Sure we get deer in Pump Hill, but BEARS?!?!?  that’s just weird and cool all at the same time.  As for your comment about Todd, I doubt I'll miss him.  His birthday is far enough into the year I think that I’ll get to see him.  I haven’t heard of many elders who left on their availability date.  So yeah, I think I'll see him, but if not, that’s cool to.  Mahogany is a pretty nice area too, but I would agree about the backyards, they're tiny.  Unfortunately I can’t remember the names of most of the communities down there otherwise I'd give you some ideas, but I think in general most of the new neighborhoods have small back yards.  At least that’s what I saw while working at Spruce It Up.   

Anyways, I'm gonna get going, mainly because I've ran out of things to say.  I'll try and send you some more pictures home soon.  Love you all a lot and good luck with the new school year and Jr High/High School.

Les Quiero Mucho,


P.S.  I dont know if you have much contact with the Harris' but could you ask them to ask Jaren if received my letter.  I just wanted to make sure that I had the right address or if it actually made it through the mail.  And don’t worry about my shoes mom, they're still looking great. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Weather Report

Bueno Familia.

This week was great too.  I'm glad that you all had a good time in Waterton and that no one got hurt from all that hiking.  I know that I'm dying right know from walking like 12 miles a day, mainly because my metro card ran out and we cant buy a new one until tomorrow.  It’s been quite tiring, but good exercise.

Unfortunately the "Hurricane" was really nothing.  All that happened was a little more rain than normal and some wind, but we were still cooped up in our house for like two days with pretty much nothing to do.  It was SOO boring.  Mainly because we didn’t have any games to play and  and I can only read the scriptures for so long before my attention starts to wane.  It was kinda funny because we live in a basement and we we're all kinda hoping that it'd flood and there'd be some kind of action, but nothing.  So now we're all hoping that another hurricane comes because the season doesn't end until October, so..fingers crossed.  As for the earthquake I didn't even feel it, which was also a bit of a bummer, but hey, we're really hoping that these things soften some people's hearts and that we can find those who are now ready.

Unfortunately because we we're told to be inside, we weren't able to meet with Gabino or Sandra this week and they're super busy during the week, so that makes things hard sometimes, but I'll let you know the next time that I see them.  Hopefully that will be this week.  Aside from them we're working with a couple of nine year olds who are both pretty much ready for baptism.  Their older brother is a member (less-active) so we're trying to baptize them and reactivate the brother.  Their names are Christian and Crystal.  They are twins and really love going to church, so we're working with them to hopefully baptize them sometime in the near future. I hope that it will be before my hump mark, which is right around the corner. 

I can't believe that tomorrow is already September again.  It's crazy! I've kinda been thinking a lot about my mission so far and how I’ve changed and I really don’t notice a huge change, but that’s partly because I'm me and I never really notice change.  What I've heard from all of you is that you have noticed changes in me, I just hope that they are good ones.  I did want to change in some ways, but don’t worry, I'm still the same Carson

Anyways, my time is up at the library for today.  Hopefully I'll get a second or two later to write a little more at the church before English class, but if not I hope you all have a great week and that all goes well in the transition to school next week.

Les Quiero mucho, Carson

I'm Getting Old

Well it was definitely a surprise to get on my email today, expecting nothing and seeing all of the messages you were able to write to me.  Sounds like Waterton is just as good as it's supposed to be and that you are all enjoying it a lot with all the hiking and the horse back riding, which yes Madison, I would definitely go when I get back.  One thing that I don’t think I'll be able to accept though, is how much everyone is growing up.  It really doesn’t seem like time is passing in the normal sense here in NY.  Sure, it's flying by, but it almost feels like the time back in Canada should be standing still.  I mean, Sarah's now 18, Christina's starting High School in September and Daniel Jr. High.  Cooper's now riding a bike, I mean everything just changes in spurts it almost seems.  Mainly I've been measuring my time with General Conferences and we're almost at my third one.  The Eleven months I've been gone for so far have just flown by, kinda like this last week.

It's amazing how fast the time flies and if you really don’t use it all as wisely as you can, you lose out on a lot of opportunities to share the gospel, which being my purpose here,is a pretty important thing to master and make sure that I do.  This last week we've been kinda thinking a lot about how we've been spending our time and have definitely found some things that we need to change a little and make better.  For the most part we are definitely doing our best to lift up our voices to all and give everyone the chance to hear this wonderful message that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I have also found during my time here, that things like reading the scriptures and going to church can actually be a lot more enjoyable than I thought they were in the past.  My favorite time everyday is the hour between 8 and 9 when I have an hour to dedicate myself to reading in the scriptures and although some days I'm tired and cant really focus I've found that if I approach my studies with some kind of question in mind I will always find an answer in my Book of Mormon reading.  One thing I've also decided though, is that I prefer to read it in Spanish and that I probably won’t read it in English, cover to cover again in my life.  I'll definitely study certain parts, but I was told of a promise that one of the prophets gave about remembering the language after the mission.  That if you constantly read it in your mission language you won’t forget it and will always be able to use it and Spanish is definitely something that I never want to lose.

Anyways, this last week went very well, we found a couple of new investigators, but my favorite ones are the Sister and Father of a recent convert.  Their names are Sandra and Gabino Camacho and the member is Maggie Camacho.  They were taught a while ago by another missionary, but after he left the missionaries that took his place didn't care about them nearly as much and they lost their desire to be baptized.  That advice that Deanne gave is definitely important.  I can testify that if you don’t really show the people that you are there to help them, they really aren’t gonna have the desire to listen to you.  And that’s definitely something that I am really committed to not getting into the habit of doing.  Especially after talking to the member and really understanding how important this is to her and how hard it was when those other missionaries stopped caring about her non member family.  I couldn't even imagine how hard that would have been for her, especially after her father and sister told her that if the first missionary had stayed just a little longer, they would already be baptized.  So I have really fixed it in my mind that I am not gonna be the kind of missionary who doesn't express that love and I think also the appreciation for them actually listening to you.  I find that some missionaries are a little to unexpressive of that.  It’s definitely important I think for people to understand that it's not just a blessing for them that your there, but for you as well.  It's kinda like my purpose says, "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ through Faith, Repentance, Baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end."  As the White Handbook says, "How great is your calling!"  Everyday I appreciate more and more this time I have to be here serving the people here in NY and am grateful to be here and work hard. 

Thankfully though, along with the hard works comes the P-Days and such is today.  So today we are going to go to the Museum of Natural History.  The one in the movie “Night at the Museum” and so next week I'll have a lot more pictures posted on that website for all of you to enjoy.  As part of that plan to go to the museum we want to have as much time as possible, so I'm gonna end this letter now.  I really enjoyed all your messages and I wish the best for all of you and that you all enjoy the rest of your time in Waterton immensely.  I love you all and look forward to hearing how the rest of your holiday was next week.


P.S.  we're supposed to be getting struck by a hurricane on Sunday, but don’t worry, I'll get some pictures for you.  Plus I've heard it's not gonna be very big.  A tornado was supposed to hit the Bronx on Sunday, but nothing ever happened, so yeah.  I'm kinda hoping and praying for a hurricane, because it'd be super cool and I want to see what it's like.  Anyways, have a good one.

Bronx Zoo

Hey everyone.  This week I really don’t have a whole to say.  We still haven’t gotten back to Carmen's house, but I'm not to worried, she's super busy all the time.  We're still going to keep working with her.  We've done a lot of work for the English program this last week it seems.  Two of our new investigators are ones that we have had to give away to the elders in the English program.  The hard part is that Elder Hulme doesn’t want to because they really are our best investigators right now.  So yeah, it's been a pretty busy week.  On Thursday and Friday I went up to Scarsdale to have some training meetings, one for trainers and the other for DL's and ZL's.

It's always god to hear that things are going well back home, and that I'm missed by the ward.  I mean it doesn’t surprise me, I am just that awesome.  JK.  A question I had though is what is Sam's mission address?  I meant to write him before he left, but never seemed to have the time.  so if you could get that to me that would be sweet. 

On another note, I found out that I can go to a Yankee's game in September, so that should be pretty sweet and Elder Hulme and I are also going to plan some trips to Manhattan and stuff.   So I should have some more pics to send home to you.  The hardest part is that I never remember my cord for uploading the pics onto the computer.  Hopefully I remember next week or the week after.  I'll be sure to include a pic of the chapel/stake center.  Also, what happened to Jason?  Did he move, or was he just released?

And as for dad's question about the Spanish, I'm really bad at it. It’s definitely something that I need to work on improving, not just for me, but also for Elder Hulme even though his Spanish is already really good.  I also need to vastly expand my vocab.  That’s my weakest point right now, as well as a few grammar principles, but overall, I feel fairly fluent in the language, I just lack a larger base of words to use. 

Finally, as for your idea about the talking thing, I think you’re crazy plus the ward has a missionary Sunday every fifth Sunday.  So I'll be speaking at the next one of those which should be great.  I don’t mind the speaking part, it's just the preparation.  I just don’t feel comfortable talking in front of a large group of people without my talk entirely written out for me.  I am trying to change that and my time and teaching here has definitely helped me a lot. 

Finally, like you, I'm amazed how fast the time is going by here.  I'm almost at the hump mark, and it seems like I got to the mission field 2 months ago, not the 11 that have gone by.  It's really crazy.  I've definitely noticed that as you grow up, time goes faster.  I don’t know why and some days I'm grateful for it but others I'm just like "whoa, where'd the time go?!?"  Anyway, I gotta get going, but I love you, I miss you and I hope you all have a great time in Waterton next week.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Lessons Learned as a Trainer

Hey Family.

Things are going great here.  This last week was really great.  First off, as I said last week, I have a greenie, and he's really cool.  He's from "La Fabrica" aka Utah, but was born near San Francisco.  He grew up there until he was 12.  So yeah, this week has been a fairly big change, and also a great chance for me to increase my patience, and my Christ like attributes.  Patience, because it's all new, and Elder Hulme has needed to ask who and what things are a lot.  By that I mean he asks, I answer, and then like 1 hr later he asks again because it's slipped his mind.  And I've noticed that it bugs me a little, but also as I thought about it, I realized how much of a change it really is for him, and I remembered what it was like for me during my first cycle.   I was kinda doing some thinking this week on what my trainer was like, and how my first cycle really affected the missionary I am now.  And what I realized was that my first cycle really wasn't very good.  Not that I didn’t enjoy it, but I really didn't learn anything about missionary work.  As much as my trainer liked his mission, he really was worn out, and didn’t really want to do all the work anymore.  As part of this realization, and in my thinking process up until now, I realized that as little as my trainer taught me, he definitely showed me a great example of what I don’t want to be, and how I should work and everything with Elder Hulme.  And Elder Hulme has taught me a lot during this week, and being with him constantly makes me want to be a better and better example for him, so that he's set on the right foot to becoming a fantastic missionary, which I have the faith he will become.  As for the whole District Leader trainer thing it's really not a problem.  The District leader "duties" really don’t take up a lot of time, nor do I really have any meetings to go very often.  So yeah, it's really not too much.  I'm just focusing on improving myself and through so doing becoming a better example for those in my district and out.
At this moment we don’t have a lot of people to teach, but we are definitely seeing some success, and we've been finding some new people to teach, or to hand off to the English speaking Elders.  There aren’t really any Caucasians here, but anyone we find who speaks English has to be taught by them, unless they want to attend the Spanish ward.  But the majority of people here in the Bronx speak Spanish, or both.  And the majority of Spanish people are either from Puerto Rico, or the Dominican Republic.  This cycle we have been planning on a way to get to know more of the members in the ward, so we've been making a lot of appointments with them, because in reality the best way to work and find people is through the members.  I really didn’t get to meet any of the members during my last cycle, so we're trying to make a good connection with the members in our area.  The other day one member invited us to come by and teach her aunt.  It was really cool, because they live together and the member was just baptized like 8 months ago or so, and she lives with her aunt and a few other people.  So we were visiting the member one day, and she asked us if we could come back the next day to teach her aunt a little more, and to try and help her accept the gospel.  The name of the Member is Venecia and she's pretty awesome.  She's missing all her teeth too, which just makes her super hard to understand, so Elder Hulme doesn’t really understand her.  He understands most people if they speak fairly clear, but for her, he just looks at me and says "what?!?"  Which to be fair, the same thought goes through my head occasionally with her.  So we went by yesterday, and taught her aunt Carmen a restoration lesson, and it seemed like she really understood the need for a restoration and I think she honestly has a desire to find out if it's true.  So we left her with a book of Mormon, and a little bit of reading to do by the next time we pass by on Monday.  Right now I think our biggest obstacle with her is that she works every Sunday, and her job requires her to be there for 24 hrs 3 days a week, and Sunday is one of those days.  But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.  For now we'll just focus on helping her receive a testimony that this is the true church.  Another thing I noticed during that lesson is how the Holy Ghost can work through us.  My Spanish certainly isn’t perfect yet, and I have lots of things I need to fix.  But When I was really listening to what she was saying, I was able to speak much more clearly, and when I was trying to think ahead on how I would phrase something, it just didn’t want to happen.  So this last week my testimony has really been strengthened on the power that the Holy Ghost offers in helping with the missionary work, and how, really, my Job as a Missionary is to hold open the door of my mouth, and allow the Spirit to use me as a tool to teach the people here.  So yeah, things have really been going good this last week, and I honestly think that this opportunity I have to be a trainer is a huge blessing.
As for the questions about my ward, the Ward here is pretty sweet.  I'd say it's probably a little bigger than Heritage ward (unless it's grown a lot recently).  So that kinda gives you an idea.  We meet in the Stake Center which is in the middle of the Bronx.  It's actually a really cool looking building.  One thing that Elder Hulme and I are gonna do is take more pictures.  That’s definitely something I've gotta get better at doing.  I really don’t have enough pics and stuff.  So far I haven’t had to speak once in church my entire mission "knock on wood".  And I've only had to teach classes at church like twice which is also pretty sweet.  Most of the wards and stuff here are big enough that they don’t really have to call on the missionaries to speak in Sacrament meeting.  The missionaries do speak every fifth Sunday in my current ward, only three of them though.  So I dodged the bullet this last time. 
And as for my journal writing, it has gotten better, still not 100% but probably like once every other day or so.  Having a companion that wants to write in his helps a lot, because rather than talking and stuff we both write in our journals for a little while.  And as for the member meals, we really don’t have a rule.  I never ask for them to feed us, we just ask them if we can come by to share a message with them and stuff, and normally they do feed us just because that’s the way the Latino culture is.  They just like to feed people.  Occasionally even random strangers will invite you in to have a little something to eat.  Something that I thought was kinda funny though this week was as we were knocking on doors in this one building.  We were walking down a hallway towards a door to start knocking, and the first door we came to was this Dominican Woman in only a bra and pants.  It was kinda weird, but we talked to her for a little while.  It was just kinda funny especially the face of Elder Hulme after we left the door. 
Anyways, that’s about all the time I got for today.  I Hope all goes well this week, and that you all have a fantastic week.
Con Mucho Amor,
Elder Carson Dilling
P.S.  If no one is going to use my laptop you could pack it away with all my stuff.  But if they do use it,  NO GAMES, OR LIKE, THINGS ON THE INTERNET.  Ok.  Perfect.