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