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. 

I'm a father!

Note: This is a late entry from Aug 3, 2011

Hey, I don’t really have a lot of time this week, but I felt I should fill you in on what happened during the transfers.  I am officially a father.  That’s right, I'm training this cycle.  My new companion is Elder Hulme.  He's from Orem Utah, and is a really cool guy.  We're both way excited for this next cycle, and we really have some high hopes for what’s gonna happen this cycle.  unfortunately Elder Hampton returned to his house because of personal reasons, so that’s sad for him. 
Those pics of Sarah and stuff look pretty sweet.  I also see that she got a new laptop.  What’s going on with mine?  Is it in storage?  The pic of the sign looks really nice, as well as the weather.  Is it very humid there at all?  Anyways, I really don’t have much time right now.  SO I hope all goes well, and I'll be sure to have more time next week.
Love Elder Dilling