Thursday, March 24, 2011

A golden contact...finally

Hello family,
Yes like you said in your email, I'm about 25% done my mission.  Hard to believe it has gone so fast!
That’s awesome that Sarah and Christina did so well in their provincials.  Also, for dad, my P-Day schedule is pretty open.  We do emails at night, and then go proselyting.  But before that we do our shopping, laundry, and play some card games.  I've gotten all the people in my apartment addicted to Rook!!  As far as your question in relation to conference, I'll probably be watching at the church.
In response to your question about Amanda, it has been really unfortunate, but we have not yet had the opportunity to speak with her again, so that’s really been unfortunate.  But on the other hand, we had an appointment with another investigator who was AMAZING.  But she's got a bit of a story.  This is how it goes:  We were on one of the streets in Peekskill, trying to find a house (that ended up not existing), and so Elder Lopez decided that we would go knock on the door of a family he had taught before, but they had moved, so we contacted the Lady who lived there.  Her name is Nube.  She seemed pretty cool.  We set up a time to go see her and then continued on the day.  Her appointment day came, but when we went, she wasn’t there, so we called her and talked to her, but we weren’t able to set a time then.  So... she asked us to call her later that day.  Unfortunately we both forgot to do so... he he, our bad.  Anyways, about ten days go by, and we don’t have any contact with her.  Then one day, we're being juked left and right, so were kinda running out of plans, and we run across her name again.  So we called her back.  This was when we figured she was a little better than we thought, because she was saying that she wasn't sure what happened, because we had never called her back, and she was waiting for us (she had lost our number).  We made another appointment with her, and she juked us again (her son was sick).  Once again we set up an appointment.
The date is now March 21.  This all started about the 3rd of March, and we have an appointment with her.  We knock on the door, and to our dismay she's not home!  We're not sure what to do, so we call her, and to our joy, she was just on her way home from buying groceries.  So we wait till she gets home.  So we go in, and start getting to know her.  She's an Ecuadorian from a town about and hour or two outside of Cuenca.  She has two children, a 6yr old boy and a 4 yr old girl, and has been living here for 7 yrs.  Her family is all Catholic (which as soon as someone tells you they’re from Ecuador, you know they're Catholic).  Anyways, so we're getting to know her, and she commits herself to coming to church without us even asking her to.  Sufficeth to say, she seems pretty dang good.
So we start the lesson.  The hard part is her two kids.  They both have ADHD, and are a nightmare to teach with.  I mean it, as cute as little kids can be, they are of Satan.  He uses them in such a way that their parents can’t focus on what we have to say.  So I pretty much start focusing entirely on the kids, and eventually get them to settle down enough that I can keep their attention, and Nube could focus while Elder Lopez taught her.  So about halfway through the lesson, the question of baptism came up, and we answered it pretty frankly, that her Baptism wasn’t valid, and that she needed to be baptized by someone who holds the Priesthood, which amazingly she was fine with.  She seemed rather excited to hear that.  But the pivotal moment was when we were talking about the Book of Mormon, and testifying to her that the answers to her questions were in there, and that if she read and prayed she would receive and answer if what we were teaching her was true.  We continued a little more, and then told her that she could have the book.  At this point she almost broke down into tears.  The way she reacted when we said the book was hers, was almost like no one had ever given her something so special.
Elder Lopez and I are so happy to have found her, but Elder Lopez is a little disappointed, only because he seems to find these elect people just before he's going to be leaving an area.  But we're both quite sure that she'll be baptized next month.  Finding her was just such a testimony that there are people out there, and not just that, but I know that she was a blessing that we received for all the work that we have been doing, and the diligence with which we have been doing the work, even though it's been hard. 
Anyways, I've gotta get going but I just want to all to know that I love you, and I hope you have a good time in Las Vegas,  but... unfortunately you’re not going to have as much fun there as I am having here.
Con Amor, Elder Dilling
This is one tough tree!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Spirit Testifies!!

Hola Familia!!
 Ok, I'll start off with Last Wednesday night.  After I had gotten off the computer last week we went to the house of the Antola Family.  They're a family from Peru and they also have a son on a mission right now in Chicago.  He left about the same time that I got my mission call.  Their Daughter, Maite, who's in high school invited one of her friends over to meet us.  On Tuesday we talked to Maite a little about what her friend might need out of this lesson and Maite thought that something about being self conscious would be good.  Wednesday morning we did our personal study with her friend in mind.  We had kinda decided a little bit on the lesson we were going to use the night before so I kinda knew more or less the stuff we were looking for.  The lesson we planned was going to be on being steadfast and immovable.  We were going to use a Mormon Messages video that I had watched like 5 Times in the MTC.  The Lesson seemed great.  So anyways, we got to the Antola's house and met Amanda, Maites friend, and just kinda talked with her for a little while.  We also spent some time talking with Brother and Sister Antola as well and just broke the ice with Amanda.  Before we got into the lesson I went on their computer and looked for the video we were going to share with Amanda about halfway through the lesson and guess what!  I couldn’t find it at all!  That definitely wasn't that greatest bit of news for our lesson plan, but oh well.  So we started the lesson and it was going great.  The spirit was there and Amanda really liked what we were sharing with her.  I mean, it was just flowing.  At about the end of the lesson we could tell that this was really getting into Amanda's heart.  But the best part I would say was when we were bearing our testimonies to Amanda.  Elder Lopez and I each bore our testimonies and then Maite bore hers.  That was the best part.  It was such a heartfelt expression of love and I could see that it really touched Amanda.  We asked her to come to church on Sunday, but unfortunately Amanda wasn't able to make it because it was her sister’s birthday and her parents wanted her there for that.
We had also brought along the game “PIT” to play with Amanda and the Antola family.  (There's a reason for this.)  Brother and Sister Antola are the kind of husband and wife that like to playfully bicker a lot, so we thought that PIT would be the perfect game for them.  And it was!  It was so funny watching them fight over the cards and having everyone yelling "FOUR, FOUR, FOUR!" "THREE,THREE,THREE!"  It was just such a great night.

This last Thursday we also had a Zone meeting were we went over the stuff we had learned from when Elder Bednar had come and spoken to us.  I recently have been having the spirit tell me more and more that my prayers need to be more personal.  I've found that growing up, I've really taken praying for granted.  I want to refer you to reading Enos and think about your own personal prayers and how you can learn from Enos.  This is one of the scriptures that I've been reading recently and has really affected me.  I've always known that prayer was the way we have of communicating with our Heavenly Father and really truly receiving our own personal revelations.  Although it's not easy to change, I'm still not nearly where I want to be and I can promise you that by really putting forth an effort to communicate with God, you will see more blessings in your life.  Also, you should read a talk that Elder Bednar gave in conference not long ago, called "Ask in Faith” It’s a great talk about how we should be praying and the kinds of things we should be praying for.

Anyways, once again I've gotta be going.  But I look forward to hearing from you next week.
Love, Elder Dilling

P.S.  You can give that talk to the missionaries in the ward and tell them to use it in their member lessons.  It's a great missionary tool as well.  Who knows, maybe It'll help with the work there.  Also, who’s this new convert?  Make sure that you do all you can to keep her active.  That really is the responsibility of the Members.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Look Up!

Well, I’ll just start off by answering a few of your questions about the pictures.  The reason I don’t have many pics with me in them is because I don’t really have any, but I'll try to get some more in the next little while.  Also, the picture with the roof is just a picture I took because in my area, it can be fairly mixed, and a lot of the houses that were here first have been converted into apartments.  You might wonder why a roof is important in my area.  Along with keeping out the elements it is also an indicator of a Spanish house.  A roof that has a bunch of satellite dishes on it, is a pretty good sign that the house contains Spanish people.  The larger pic of a bunch of houses is the town of Ossining.  That’s were we've been doing most of our work so far.  It is a really run down town, but then again most of the Spanish people live in the more rundown part of town although there are nicer communities .  The tree is also in Ossining.  It's right in front of the house of a couple Ecuadorian guys that we taught for a little while.  And yes, the videos are quite self explanatory.

Anyways, once again I have some sad news.  Ruben has decided that he doesn’t want the gospel message.  Well, at least not for the time being.  Who knows what God has in store for him?  Unfortunately, he wasn’t willing to exercise his faith and put God before work, so he's unwilling to meet with us because all of a sudden he's too busy.  Recently I've been thinking a lot about the tactics that Satan uses to keep people from hearing this message and I've come to the conclusion that for the people in this area that work is a very big tool for Satan.  It can be a blessing and me and Elder Lopez try to teach people that Heavenly Father will provide them with work, even better than what they have, if they practice their faith.  However, we haven’t been able to convince anyone of that fact and instead they become too busy to meet with us.  Another thing I found is how spiritually destructive alcohol really is.  We were teaching this really uneducated guy the other week, his name is Julio (hoo-lee-oh) and we could tell that he was a little drunk, and everything we were trying to say to him was not getting through to him at all, so we decided that we'd finish the lesson.  When we announced that we were finished he said that he wanted to say a prayer too.  So I start off by saying a prayer, to kinda teach him how we pray and then this is when it got interesting.  His prayer actually started off pretty good, he was saying what he was thankful for and asking for answers to his questions and everything else a normal person says in a prayer, but that was just his beginning.  He then started yelling about the bible and he jumped up out of his chair, grabbed one of our pamphlets which we had given him and started thanking God for this "bible" that he now had and all sorts of other stuff that neither myself or Lopez really understood.  It was really interesting!  Eventually he quieted down and said "Perdóname Padre" (Forgive me Father) like 5 times and then said amen.  I thought it was quite an interesting prayer but of course we didn’t say anything about it to him.  After that he said he wanted to come to church with us, so we told him that we'd find him a ride, but if he didn’t show, we wouldn’t be able to meet with him anymore and you guessed it.  He didn’t show.  So that’s the end that story.

Anyways I don’t have anything else to add for this week.  I Love you all, and look forward to hearing from you next week.
Les Quiero Mucho, Carson

P.S. I found a coat in the apartment that a previous missionary had left behind, and I’m gonna use that one for a little while, because according to Lopez, the deals in the city are much better, and I'm much more likely to find a better deal.  So that’s what I’m gonna do for now.  (the one I found is just like the one I sent back. just a little older and larger around.)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Awesome week

Anyways, this week was pretty awesome.  Yes we did make it to the Manhattan Temple in time, and that was really nice.  It was a great way to prepare spiritually for Elder Bednar, which was super cool.  Personally I didn’t stand up and ask him a question, but I did come with a question that I had, and the spirit was able to answer it through Elder Bednar.  I also realized that I need to focus on my prayers a little more, not that they're bad in anyway, it's just that he focused a lot on being agents and not objects.  So I need to change my prayers a little to the prayer of an agent.  It was really cool, because he came not with the intention of lecturing us on how to be better missionaries, but to create an atmosphere in which we could receive some kind of personal revelation.  I'm not sure how he was chosen to come, though I do know that him and my mission president are really good friends.  We also got the opportunity to shake his hand.  He related it to the scripture in D&C about “if a messenger comes to you, offer him your hand”.  He said that since he was a messenger, he wanted to shake all of our hands.  Also, Elder L Whitney Clayton, one of the members of the Presidency of the Seventy came with him.  It was just a really cool experience, so I am really going to focus over the next little while to try and make my mission a better experience.
Como Estan?  Hey, this is gonna be another short email, because I spent most of my time uploading some of my photos.  So go check those out.  Also, you don’t need to post all of them on the blog, just the ones you think are cooler.  I also uploaded a few videos for your enjoyment.
Going on, on Thursday we had another appointment with Ruben, and that went great, He accepted a baptism for the 20th of March, and is really excited about that, although we still need to help him with his worthiness worries.  He seems like a great guy.  Also, he can already see that Heavenly Father has been blessing him.  He was able to fix things with his wife, and they aren't going to be getting a divorce after all, which is a huge answer to all of our prayers.
Anyways, it's about time for me to be hitting the ol'dusty trail.  I look forward to next week, and I love you all,
P.S. In regard to the "Polar Bear Club" video, names shall be withheld to protect the innocent :)

Our apartment living room

Our apartment kitchen