Saturday, January 29, 2011

Another week in the life of a missionary

Okie Dokie.  So another week has gone by in the life of a missionary.  Things have been going pretty great here.  This week was a little bit harder than the past week.  It started off quite good, but fairly quickly got harder and harder.  The reason being that all our appointments were getting juked, and that we've had to drop a couple of our investigators.  But on the bright side, we had a couple investigators at Church on Sunday.  We've been teaching a family recently and they all seem pretty excited about everything.  Elder Lopez was teaching them the last time that he was here, and so here we are teaching them again.  It's a single mother with four daughters, 3 of which are old enough to get baptized.  So we're working really hard with them.  We've been working with a family in the ward to help fellowship them, and that’s going really good.  The mom’s name is Yudelka (I know, it's a little different.  But apparently in the Dominican Republic they like to give their kids different names).  Her daughters are Laura 18, Reinisi 11, Reina 8, and Juliana 4.  Recently we've been trying to focus a lot on how the gospel can really help her with whatever stress she has in her life (her daughters make things hard for her sometimes).  But that’s what the focus of our lessons has been with them.  Another thing we've been doing is bringing Brother Antola and his Daughter Maite with us to teach them, and then when we do the actual teaching, we split, and Maite and I teach the Kids while Elder Lopez and Bro. Antola teach the Mom.  That’s been working great, because it allows her to focus on the lesson, and to really feel the spirit and allow it to reside there during the lesson.  Tonight we're having a FHE activity at the Antolas house, and we're hoping that it can really help them too, and bring them closer to baptism.  But yeah, I and Elder Lopez would really appreciate it if you included them in your prayers; especially so that the girls will start understanding why it's important to help their mom.
Anyways, in response to your questions, the Mr.Mac Jacket sleeves are fairly short.  Like 2 inches too short.  I was talking with Elder Lopez about the rain, and he was saying that you barely wear a jacket when it rains, because it's so warm anyways.  And I could buy one here if it really came down to it.  But let me know for sure what you want me to do.  I still haven't taken any tags off of it, and I have the box they sent it in. 
In regards to your package question, I'd say it's best if you send it to the mission home.  But you can send it to my home address if you want.  The only thing I'm not sure of is what they'll do with it if I'm not there when they drop it off.
That’s kinda sweet that you got a new car and all.  As for selling my car, try and keep my sub and amp if you could, cause it'd be nice to put in the car I get after my mission; unless Grandpa wants to give me his Acura TL (wink wink nod nod...  JK).  But yeah, I have no problems with you selling that.  Hopefully you can get a good bit of money for.  Like $2000 ish, maybe $2500.
In regard to your question about challenging investigators to baptism shortly after starting to teach them, the reason it's better to give them a date sooner, is because that’s normally when the spirit is testifying to them the strongest, and it gives them something to work towards.  Of course you always need to let the spirit guide, and if it's not the right time, then you don’t do it.
We still have a pretty good amount of snow, and I've heard that we're supposed to get like another 20 inches or so in the next day.  It's snowing a fair bit right now.  It hasn’t started collecting on the ground, but when it does, there’s going to be a lot of Ecuadorians receiving jobs.  And it'll build up fast.
Transfers happen in about three weeks of so.  Hopefully I'll be able to stay with Elder Lopez, because it’d be best for this area.  He goes home at the end of next cycle though, so if I stay with him, I'll also be killing him too.  If you referred to it in mission terms, I'll be killing my Dad and my Mom (trainer and follow-up trainer).  And yes, I'm still the driving missionary, which I love.  I'm hoping to get a new car soon, because ours is dying on us.
Anyways, I've gotta get going for now.  I look forward to hearing back from you.  And let me know what you want me to do with the jacket.
 Love, Carson 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ceviche is amazing!

OK, well to begin, I need to say, that I did get my jacket, but I hadn't tried it on until after your email last week, and the sleeves are a little short.  So, I don't know what you want to do about that, but I still have the box, so I am able to send it back if need be.  Don't worry too much about it either, because I've been talking to people, and they've been telling me that it doesn't get much colder than it is now, and my jacket from home is plenty sufficient for this cold.  Plus the scarves help a lot.  So let me know what you want me to do next week.
This has been another great week!  We’ve been keeping really busy, and Elder Lopez and I get along quite well.  This last little while has been just amazing.  We had a companion goal to find 4 new investigators, and through our hard work and faith, we were able to find 9!!!  Most of them seem pretty solid too; some more than others.  Unfortunately we weren't able to meet with Luis, Fernando and Jorge because they had to work.  That's one thing that is really hard in the Spanish culture.  They work a lot, and if they can get work they don't care what else they miss.  But we'll keep trying with them.  The family whose basement they rent should be able to help a lot, especially with bringing them to church. 
We also met with Soledad, it was an amazing lesson, and I think she definitely felt the spirit during the lesson.  We also had a member come with us, which I think will help her a lot because now she might feel more comfortable at church.  We're planning on extending an invitation for baptism the next time that we teach her.
So far all the stuff I have has been working great, my shoes are still plenty comfortable, and my feet are staying nice and dry, even with all the recent snow, and freezing rain, which by the way sucks.  Yesterday I had to clean the whole car off, and that involved my chipping ice of the whole thing.  It was covered from top to bottom (not fun).  But anyways, I really am enjoying the weather.  It's not too cold, but the humidity definitely makes a HUGE difference.  The coldest we've had was like -15 Celsius, but it felt more like -25 or so.  The humidity just goes right through you, especially if you don't have a scarf.  They're life savers here.  My missing button isn’t too much of a problem.  It really doesn’t serve much of a purpose other than style.  I'm using a safety pin for now.  The only problem with going to a dry cleaner is that I doubt they have buttons that would match mine.  Mine all say American eagle on them and stuff.  But whatever… the last place I might have seen my extras back home is on the kitchen window, or on the thing above the desk in Daniels bedroom.  There should be two different sized buttons.
We’re teaching two guys right now who are an Uncle and Nephew, who left their families in Ecuador, and came here to try and start a life so that eventually they can bring the rest of their family, which can be a pretty hard thing to do.  But the good thing is that they're progressing a little, and if they accept what we're teaching them, and receive a testimony of their own, I know it'll help them so much.  That’s the wonderful thing about this church.  We can know that through our faithfulness, we will be blessed, and that God wants nothing but the best for us.  I know that it would bless their lives in such a great way.
Also, I had some ceviche this week.  Once again, those Peruvians got me to eat something that I wouldn't have thought I'd ever eat.  But I must say, it was amazing!!!  I've been told that Peruvian ceviche is the best too, and I don't doubt it, cause it was good.  If you could find a Peruvian restaurant in Calgary, I'd go.  They also have this really good food called Jalea (Hu-lay-uh).  It's battered and fried ceviche pretty much.  But it's SO good.  They eat it with a homemade salsa, and some kind of hot sauce.  But yeah, if you can, get some Peruvian food.  It's really good!
Anyways, that’s all I have time for today.  I'm gonna write some letters to you, and I need to clean the apartment a little bit.  I love you all, and hope you all have a great week. 
Con Amor, Elder Dilling

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hard Work = Tons of Blessings

Hey Again!!  Sorry I didn’t get to email yesterday.  The Library was closed because of the snow storm we got.  Once again, we were grounded because of the snow.  At first I liked the snow, but now it's just getting annoying, having to cancel appointments and stuff because we can’t drive, and some parts of our area are too far to walk too.
Anyways, my new Companion, Elder Lopez is totally sweet.  We get along just fine.  He's from Arizona, and likes the same kind of Music I do (metal).  Before his mission he was the lead guitar player and backup vocals for a metal band (and from the sounds of it they were pretty good).  He's toured the west coast twice, opening for "All That Remains" and "August Burns Red", both of which are pretty big bands.  But now he is on a mission, and is an amazing missionary.  Since Elder Maldonado left, the work has gotten much better.  Unfortunately Maldo had a hard time getting himself to do the work, because he thought a little too much of home.  But he tried.  Anyways, I and Elder Lopez have 5 new possible investigators.  We’re hoping that we can get at least 4 at church next Sunday.  The amazing part is that three of them we found last night.  We had a dinner with a recent convert family, and they invited some of the people that rent their basement for dinner as well.  Those friends of theirs all seemed very interested in our church, and they were very involved in the lesson we taught, and listened attentively.  Their names are, Fernando, Luis, and Jorge.  We'll be meeting with them on Saturday, and potentially extending a Baptismal invitation.  I'm very excited for that, and definitely preparing for that.  But yeah, me and Elder Lopez have been working very hard together, and have been receiving tons of blessings. 
This same family that gave us these other investigators also has a friend that is interested.  She has come to church a number of times.  We're going to be meeting with her again soon.  She seems pretty interested too, but we haven’t really taught her yet.  Her name is Solidad.  We're going to be meeting with her tomorrow.
Funny story about that Lady who came up to us at Wal-Mart.  On Saturday we had an appointment set, but she wasn’t able to make it, so we re-scheduled for Sunday night.  At the same time we were asking her if another man would be there, and if so would he be listening too? 
Her answer is what kinda threw us off.  She said, "Oh, we've already tried with him."
That kinda took us off guard.  It turns out that she is actually an inactive member, who just moved into the area.  When she was 17, she was baptized in Ecuador, and then after coming here, she went inactive.  That was about 15 yrs ago.  Since then, she's been married, and now has a young 2 yr old boy.  Anyways, she wants to become active in the church again, so when she saw us, she saw it as an opportunity to start doing that again. 
We found out the reason her husband doesn't want to listen to us is because he is a Jehovah's Witness, and really believes in that religion.  But…we're still going to try and work on him.
So yeah, the work in this area has been going much better since Elder Lopez became my companion. 
I'll include more next week, but we've got to get going to our other appointment.
Les Quiero Mucho, Elder Dilling

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

An Answer to Prayer

So, it's a New Year, and almost time for me to get a new companion.  Last night we got the shot calls (that's what they call the calls that you get when you are finding out who's getting transferred, and what’s going to be happening in the mission).  My new Companion is going to be Elder Lopez.  I met him at the Christmas party, and he was saying that he wanted to come to my area to be my follow-up trainer, and to finish his mission in this area.  Earlier in his mission he served here for 7 cycles, and now he'll be returning probably for his final two. 
New Years was all right, but the best part happened at about 3 o'clock New Year’s Eve.  In my mission we had to be back at the apartment by 6 o'clock on New Year’s Eve, because of the potential of drunk drivers on the road.  So we were at Wal-Mart looking for a board game or something that we could pass the time with after 6 (we didn't find anything).  But, when we were leaving we ran into a less active member who the English elders knew, so we stopped and spoke with him for a little while. 
But first off I need to go back a few weeks.  I got a letter, I can’t remember who from, but I think it was from Kendall, in which he gave me a little advice, and one bit of which I have really focused on.  He was talking about finding people, and about being led to those people that are ready to listen to you at this time.  In the letter he was talking about how us missionaries standout in a crowd, and how it’s great to pray to be lead to people, but it's more likely that people will approach you, and that I should pray for those people to have the courage to approach us, so that's what I started doing in all my prayers.
Well, while we were talking to this inactive member, who was the greeter at Wal-Mart, a Lady walks up to the English Elders and starts asking when we can come to her house.  Although she speaks really good English, she has a definite Spanish Accent, so he asked whether she'd prefer to be taught in Spanish or English.  And she said Spanish, so Elder Jairl pointed to myself and Elder Maldonado and told her that we were the Spanish missionaries, and she could make an appointment with us.  The fact that she could be taught in Spanish seemed to pique her interest.  So we got her information, and told her we'd call her on Friday, because she works all week, and only has weekends off.  So I'm really excited to get to go meet her on Saturday, hopefully with my New Companion. 
It's such a great testimony builder to have these kinds of experiences.  I know that God answers our prayers, in many different ways.  I feel so privileged to be here in New York serving our Heavenly Father, and the people in this part of the world.   I know the church is true, and that this is where I am supposed to be at this time in my life. 
Les Quiero Mucho, Elder Dilling
P.S. Here are some pictures I took when we were in Manhattan.

Me (Elder Dilling) in front of the "HUGE" Christmas Tree at the Rockefeller Center
I assume this sign is for the taxis


St. Patrick's Cathedral (amazing architecture)
Rockefeller Center Tower