Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas!

Well I hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas!

Thank you for all the goodies and gifts, I really appreciated them.

Christmas this year was so good.  We had a mission-wide devotional on Christmas eve.  It was full of wonderful musical numbers and a message from President and Sister Palmer.  It was such a great thing to help us get in the spirit of Christmas. 

We spent Christmas eve with our investigator Socorro and with the Martinez family (I didn't get pictures).  They had family from Mexico that aren't members so we shared a message with them and sang some Christmas hymns. It was so much fun.

Christmas day I got to talk to my family which was crazy because the next time I see them will be in person.  We then had dinner with some members, went and sang hymns to another member that is in a nursing home, and then had a second dinner with Al and his fiance.  It was amazing to spend a Christmas so focused on the Savior and giving rather than taking.  I missed my family but it was an experience I wouldn't trade.

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

Love,

Hermana Carpenter





Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas all!!

I can't believe I am already celebrating my second Christmas on the mission.  The time has just flown by.

This transfer is already off to a great start.  We had a last minute change and I ended up with a different companion than I said last week.  My new companion is Hermana Waters.  She is from Utah as well.  We are already becoming great friends.  She has only been out of the MTC for one transfer so I am facing new things as a missionary.  It has been such a good week though.  

We are getting ready for the baptism of one of our investigators (pictured with me below). She is so excited.  She seems like she is already a member of the church.  One of our other investigators, Al, also excepted a baptismal date for January.  I feel so blessed to be working with these two. We have so much to look forward to and it is only the beginning of the transfer. 

This week I have been thinking a lot about repentance and charity.  We talked about them in one of our leadership meetings this week and since then it has been floating around in my head.  They are so connected.  I know that I can obtain charity without repenting.  I've been doing a lot of that on my mission. I need it though. We all do.  I can feel the difference though as I strive to repent daily.  I can feel the spirit more in my life and through that the love of the Savior.  This love allows me to love his children and to serve them as he needs them to be served.  I'm so grateful for the teachings of the Savior and for his life.  I'm grateful for the chance to celebrate it and share that spirit with others.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas! Be safe!!

Love,

Hermana Carpenter

Photos: Hna Waters, me with blondie bars, yum, me with our investigator at a christmas party




Monday, December 14, 2015

I'm never coming home.... Another extension

Hello everybody! 

Well it turns out that I may be on my mission forever at the rate I'm going.  Okay, not really but I did find out I received another week long extension for my mission (that makes three weeks total). They are switching things up in the MTC with all native speakers and that means our transfers will be affected. I guess that just means one more week I get to serve the Lord and help his children. Who could be disappointed by that?

This week is also transfer week. I will be staying in Modest another 6 weeks and Hermana Arevalo will be heading up to my old stomping grounds in Stockton.  I'm sad she will be leaving but I'm excited to be working with my new companion Hermana Aburto.

I am really relieved to be staying. These last two weeks things have finally picked up and we have some awesome investigators.  We have one, Socorro, who accepted a baptismal date for this month.  She is a gem.  Just being around her makes me want to be a better missionary and a better person.  Her outlook on life and her faith in God are inspiring.  I feel so blessed to be able to continue to work with her. 

We have also started working with a young couple that just moved here from Mexico. She is a newer member and he is not a member.  They were both at church on Sunday and are excited about learning more. 

This week as I was studying in the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 25:26 where it says:

"And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins."

As I was studying this and thinking about the role of Christ in my life this verse took on a new light to me.  I've always just seen it as more of a verse talking about the purpose of the Book of Mormon (which it is) but as I was thinking about it and put myself in Nephi's place I realized the deeper meaning of having a Christ centered life and the importance of that.  He talks about all of the ways we can include Christ in our lives and it is not just a casual, one day a week at church type of thing. To me, what Nephi is talking about is letting Christ, his name and influence, into everything we do. He should be a natural part of our everyday life and conversation.

He talks about his children knowing to where to turn to. The word children can be replaced with any person in our lives. It could be our spouse, or parent, brother or sister, or even neighbor or co-worker.  As we talk, rejoice, preach, prophesy, and record those things pertaining to Christ everyday then we will be able to help others come closer to him.

I love being on a mission and being able to talk about the Savior so much.  I love being able to see people feel his love and understand the Atonement. I am so grateful for the Savior and the role of the Atonement in my own life.

Well I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

Love,

Hermana Carpenter

p.s. I finally have some more pictures...They are from an activity we had last preparation day. The one with the empty bowls was of a cereal eating contest between me and one of the Elders...let's just say he was talking smack before but not so much after.  It was a lot of fun though!




Monday, December 7, 2015

A Savior is born

Hello everybody!  I can't believe that December is already in full swing and with all that comes with the Christmas season.

The new Christmas initiative for the church started last Sunday and we have been sharing it like crazy.  For those of you that haven't seen it yet you can check it out at christmas.mormon.org. It is titled "A Savior is Born" and highlights the Christmas story from Luke 2.    

I love watching this short video.  I have already seen it a dozen or more times and it still doesn't get old to me.  Each time I watch it I can feel the Spirit strongly testifying that every word of it is true.  That a Savior was really born and that we really have cause to rejoice because of that. Sharing this video so much has caused me to reflect a lot on the birth of the Savior and what it means personally to me and to the rest of God's children. 

To me it means hope.  Because he was born I have the hope that I can change and that this world can change.  I know that it is possible if people allow him into their hearts and follow his example.  

I'm so happy to be able to spend a second Christmas on the mission.  I can feel a difference this year. I can feel the effect of his birth touching my heart and my desire to work and share his message of the restored gospel.  

This week has been so good though.  We have seen the miracles flowing in, especially in regards to people we are teaching.  We had one investigator at church who it was her first time and she cried and cried and cried during sacrament meeting. Oh, she also bore her testimony and it was awesome! We have just started working with her but we are so excited to teach her more and help her to feel the same spirit she felt at church!

Well I hope you all have a wonderful week! I hope you will all watch "A Savior is Born" if you haven't seen it yet.

Love,

Hermana Carpenter

Monday, November 30, 2015

Elevating Faith



Hey everybody!

This week was such a good week. We had Mission Leadership Council, which was great, zone training, which was good, and Thanksgiving.  Can't get much more than that in one week.  

I think my favorite part about this week is what happened over the course of Mission Leadership Council and zone training in regards to faith. As the end of the year is approaching we have begun to prepare for next year regarding what our goals will be as a mission and as individuals. We have approached this topic multiple times and each time the feedback has been about the same.  This time however we had a very interesting experience.  We all came to the Council fasting and having prepared with studying the topic that had been given to us.  As the conversation progressed we began to discuss our goals.  It started out about the same as normal but then the conversation quickly changed as we truly began to focus on what it was the Lord wanted for his vineyard, especially in regards to how the gospel relates to the family.  Immediately the spirit entered and testified to each one of us that our vision was too low.  It was amazing to see how with each person you could immediately see their faith grow and their vision elevated to match that of the Saviors.  Later in zone training's we saw the same thing happen with new and old missionaries a like as they put their faith in the Lord. I'm excited for what is coming in this mission.  I truly know that the Lord is directing the work hear, just as he will direct each on of our lives if we let him.

Because of this I have been thinking a lot about faith.  I love what President Monson said on this topic in this last conference about being an example of faith to those around us. He says:

"To be an example of faith means that we trust in the Lord and in His word. It means that we possess and that we nourish the beliefs that will guide our thoughts and our actions. Our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in our Heavenly Father will influence all that we do. Amidst the confusion of our age, the conflicts of conscience,and the turmoil of daily living, an abiding faith becomes an anchor to our lives. Remember that faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other. I reiterate what we have been told repeatedly—that in order to gain and to keep the faith we need, it is essential that we read and study and ponder the scriptures. Communication with our Heavenly Father through prayer is vital. We cannot afford to neglect these things, for the adversary and his hosts are relentlessly seeking for a chink in our armor, a lapse in our faithfulness. Said the Lord, 'Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good.'"

I know that this promise is true, that with our faith firmly planted in him that we can face anything that comes our way.  He will guide us and strengthen us and elevate our faith when we need it so that we may become more than who we think we are and do more than we think we can do.  

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Love,

Hermana Carpenter

Monday, November 23, 2015

Greatful for Baptisims

Hey Everyone,

I can't believe it is already Thanksgiving.  I feel like on the mission the holidays just sneak up on you. 

This week was a good one. Fast and filled! We had the baptism of one of our investigators, V. She is a 13 year old girl and the friend of one of our members.  She is awesome, and excited about the gospel. The first time we met her we asked her why she wanted to meet with the missionaries and she said to us "Because I want to get baptized".  Thirteen is young but she recognizes the importance of the step of baptism and making that commitment to follow Jesus Christ. She is excited about prayer, and about the Book of Mormon.  We had about two and a half weeks to teach her everything and plan the baptism. We were a little nervous about it happening but the Lord definitely provides.  Her friends are awesome and have been such a great support to her.  It has been amazing to see her open up and start applying the gospel.

With all of this going on I have been thinking a lot about baptism and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  We meet so many people that don't have a true understanding of what these two things are and why they're so important.  Yes, it is a commitment to follow Jesus Christ, but it is so much more than that.  Through these two ordinances is how we gain full access to the Atonement, and through that is how we can truly change, be refined, and become perfected.  Not only do we become clean, but through the process of enduring to the end, we become someone completely new and better.  I'm so grateful for these covenants and how they allow me to become who the Lord wants me to be.  I would hate the thought of having to be stuck with every wrong thing I've done or never have the chance to change who I am.  I know I have so many imperfections and I know that I cannot change them on my own.  I know that it is only through and in Jesus Christ and his Atonement that it is possible. I'm so grateful for that.  I'm also so grateful for for all of my family and friends that have taught me about these things and helped me to make those covenants. I just want to do my best to pass that on.

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Be safe!

Love,

Hermana Carpenter


Monday, November 16, 2015

Faith, Hope, Charity

Hey everybody!

Everything is going well here in Modesto.  We have been having some rain which is great!

I went on an exchange this week with a sister that has only been out for two weeks.  It was like going in a time machine. I could relate to so many things she was feeling because I had been in her shoes.  We had a great time though. I learned so much from her!

Sorry this is so short, I have to get going, but I wanted to share one insight from my studies this week. So this week as I was studying I had this cool insight in between Ether 12:28and Moroni 8:25-26. The Savior tells Moroni that "faith hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness." and then in Moroni 8, Mormon ties these three into the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Living the gospel of Jesus Christ is what allows us to have charity which without we are nothing...We NEED the gospel. Of course I know that, but I love being able to find those connections within the scriptures.

I love the gospel and I know that as we live it as taught in Moroni 8 that we really will recieve hope and feel the love of God.  I feel it every time I repent and strive to live the commandments of God. I know that God gives us commandments because he loves us and wants us to be happy.  I know that the only way we can truly know this is by living them.  It takes faith to do it but once you feel the influence of the spirit and see the blessings that are poured out upon us then it is hard to not want to keep them. I love being able to share this with everyone I meet.

Well I hope everyone has a wonderful week! I love you all!

Love,

Hermana Carpenter

Saturday, November 14, 2015

13 months and Modesto

Well another month has come and gone...how does it happen so quickly?? 

Anyway, as I said last week I got transferred to Modesto.  My companion and I are  both new in the area so we have spent the whole week running around meeting people and trying to learn where everything is.  Modesto is great but it is a city so there is more traffic and more area to cover.  It has been good though and we have already gotten to know a lot of people and had some wonderful lessons.  

This week I have been thinking a lot about what things keep me from giving my all as a missionary.  The list is longer than I would like it to be.  After thinking about it all pretty much all of it was either selfishness or pride in some way or another.  Things like being too tired, being scared of what someone might say or do, forgetfulness, not having my mind focused on the work.  Anyway I have had my mind turn back to D&C 4:2 which says:

"Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day."
As I have reflected about the time I have left on my mission I have been thinking a lot about what more I can do to serve with all of my "heart, might, mind, and strength".  I know that as I set goals to accomplish this I am going to be seeing more changes in the way I work, live, and even think. One thing I have learned about missionary work and about life in general is that if we are not constantly looking for ways to change and improve and to align our will with the vision of the Lord's then we are doing what Satan wants us to do which is to be complacent and content with where we are at.  This however does not show faith and a true desire to serve.  I know that this work can not be accomplished without those two things but more importantly without the Lord.  I know that it is through serving him within the parameters that he has set that we will have him by our side as we do his work, all of us.


I'm grateful for the Atonement and how it helps me each and every day to be able to do that.  I hope that we can all reflect often on what more we can do to better serve the Lord and do all we can to do it and then watch to see  how the Lord is working with us.  It is amazing.

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!!!

Love,

Hermana Carpenter

p.s. I know I have been bad at sending pictures...Here is one of me and Hermana Arevalo with our car and all of the planners I have had since being in the mission field.  They are all custom made by yours truly.  Do you notice a theme?






Saturday, November 7, 2015

Transfers

Well it is transfer time again, duh duh duh.  

We got the calls last night and I am being transferred to Modesto! I will be finishing up training Hermana Arevalo as well as training her as a Sister Training Leader. Oh and we are opening up a new area! These next couple of weeks are going to be busy.  I am sad to be leaving Manteca again but I am excited for the work ahead.  President Palmer said that the branch we will be in is close to becoming a ward.  Hopefully we will be able to help that to move forward through our efforts!

This week was good though.  We were instructed to stay in and find a way to "fulfill our missionary purpose" without leaving the apartment.  We took that to heart and went through our area books and cleaned them up a bit more and figured out what more we could do to help use them as a tool to find people.  We then cleaned a little bit and ate some Halloween candy.

Recently we have been putting a lot of our focuses on part-member and less-active family.  Many of the families in our ward have both of these so we have been trying to figure out what we can do to reach these members that are not participating in the gospel.  We decided with one of the families we would start holding a weekly Book of Mormon study.  Hermana L. who is the only active member of her family was delighted at the idea and so we commenced.  Last week was our first session and it was really good. Her non-member daughter-in-law joined us and her less-active husband who usually hides out while we are there came out and sat in for the closing prayer. This week the daughter-in-law was there again and hermano sat in for almost the entire reading session!  Hermana was all a glow.  I know it may not be anything huge but I just loved the feeling of sitting with the family reading from the scriptures and feeling the spirit. Hermana Sheffer and her new companion are going to keep working with them and hopefully there will be more from that.

Well that is about all I can think of for this week! Love you all!

Hermana Carpenter

Monday, October 26, 2015

God knows all his Children

Hello, hello!!

Minus the fact that I have had a cold this week has been a pretty good one.  The biggest thing I got from this week in both my studies and from experiences is that God knows all of his children and he has a plan for each one of them.  Don't get me wrong, I already knew this, but I love having moments that just re-confirm that.

The biggest thing that confirmed that to me is an experience we had that all started a long time ago.  I came into the picture a couple of weeks ago when I was on exchanges in Turlock. While I was there we ate dinner with the Branch President. While there he mentioned that he had a less active brother that lived in Manteca.  I know all the names and most of the faces of everyone on that list and I did not know his brother.  I asked if I could get his address so that Hermana Sheffer and I could go visit him.  They didn't have his address though on hand but said that they would get it to me. I left with only his name and the street he lived on, which is a pretty long street.  Fast forward a couple of weeks...still haven't received the address.  On Wednesday we went with Eliseo, a recent convert in our ward, to visit some of his family that are not members.  We decided to stop by his aunts house who we had met before and with whom we had also had a lesson.  When we got there an unfamiliar face answered the door, her son-in-law whom we had not met yet.  He greeted us though like, "Hello sisters, how are you? How long have you been on your missions for?" Things that only members or people very familiar with the missionaries ask us.  (Also to our knowledge, Eliseo had no family that were members).  Anyway, we quickly find out that he is a member and return missionary. He then mentioned that he had a brother that was the Branch President in Manteca. It then clicked! We had found the less active brother...and he is related to our recent convert! Out of all of the houses on that street we had been lead to his house.  He gave a beautiful testimony about the church and shared some stories about his mission.  It was wonderful.  We are planning on returning to have a family home evening with them tonight

This whole experience was a testimony to me that God does not forget his children.  He knows where they are and he knows what they need.  I don't know what is going to happen with this family but I do know that God is preparing them.  I know that he works with all of His children and when the time is right he gives us what we need to make those changes that will help us to draw closer to our Savior Jesus Christ.  I hope that we can all recognize the hand of God in our own lives and how he works with us to help us better live and accept the gospel in our own lives.

I hope everyone has a great week!

Love,

Hermana Carpenter

The Simplicity of the Gospel (Oct 19, 2015)

Hey everyone!

So this week has been good. Busy again, but good.  We had zone conference this week which was great.  We talked a lot about simplicity which was something I think I needed as I enter these last 6 months. I just want to take things back to the basics of missionary work.  I was studying in 2 Nephi 33:6 where Nephi says: "glory in plainnessglory in truth; glory in my Jesus,for he hath redeemed my soul from hell." 
Truth and plainness, that is what I want in missionary work. I want to teach the gospel with simplicity because that is the gospel!  

I also had the chance yesterday to speak with my companion and President and Sister Palmer at a Single Adult Fireside.  The topic was how can members help missionaries to fulfill their purpose.  We talked a lot about the examples we can be as we live the gospel.  I talked about how as we let the gospel and the Atonement become a part of who we are and everything we do then sharing the gospel can become a natural part of what we say and do.  I have thought a lot about this and how I want to be a different member missionary after my mission than I was before.  There are so many more opportunities to do missionary work than I realized.  It makes me excited for the rest of my life because even though my "Full-time" missionary service will end, the missionary work I will have to do as a member will be endless.  

Sorry this is a short one this week!  I hope you will all think about ways that you can simplify the gospel in your own lives and then share that with someone you know!

Have a great week!

Love,

Hermana Carpenter

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Good ending to a crazy week!

Hello Everybody!

Wow, can I just say that I think that this week has been my most exhausting week as a missionary.  I feel like I have been running all over with hardly a minute to spare! 

So Monday night we started out with a back to back exchange, Thursday morning we were in our area and then had another exchange. Friday afternoon we were in our area and then had another exchange which finished just before the baptism of our investigator Carlos Jr.  So basically I spent only half of my week working in my area.  By last night Hermana Sheffer and I just wanted to drop.  Today has been a much needed break and then we are back to week two of exchanges, whoo!

Even though it was exhausting it really was a good week.  All of the exchanges went well.  I love being able to see how the Sisters are growing and applying what they are learning.  I love the fire that they all have.  It inspires me to work harder and be a better missionary so they can learn all that I have learned but faster and better.  The work is hastening in Modesto.  I felt that so much this week, especially with one of the miracles I experienced while I was on exchanges.  I will just call this my one year miracle, since it happened on Thursday, my one year mark!

So the miracle happened near the end of the day with the exchange I had with Sister Neeley. So we were working in her area and were on bike, which was so much fun.  We were able to talk to so many different people that day.  Near the end of the day we had an appointment set with a member. We were on our way and had stopped to talk to this nice girl. After that we hopped on our bikes and started towards our appointment.  As we had been talking to said girl this family had walked past us but since we were already in conversation we didn't talk to them.  Anyway, so back to the bikes.  We didn't want to be late to our appointment and so as we approached this couple I rationed in my head "We need to talk to everyone, buuut we don't want to be late, so don't have time to stop." As soon as we passed them my concience, or the spirit, started kicking in saying, no you need to talk to everybody.  So I was feeling guilty.  About 200 ft. ahead we spotted the family that had passed us earlier.  They had stopped and were taking pictures of the sunset.  Once again a rationalization popped into my head "Wow they look busy and we are going to be late if we stop and talk to them".  However I also heard the "Stop and talk to everybody".  So we stopped.  We started this nice little conversation with them and before we knew it they were asking US where and when church was because they wanted to come. It gets better though. When we asked if we could come by and teach them the mom, Sue, said "Our house is right up the way, why don't you come over now." Sister Neeley and I exchanged looks and said, OK. On the way we texted the member and told her that we would be late.  During the next 45 min I had one of the best first lessons I have ever had. This family of 5, (Mom and 4 boys), listened intently, asked questions, and felt the spirit.  As we showed a picture of Jesus Christ with a lamb and asked them how they felt to see it, the 10 yr old boy said "I could trust that guy".  When we offered them the Book of Mormon they immediately started talking as a family as to how and when and how much they would read of the Book of Mormon, each day. We invited them to be baptized if they came to know that it was true and they agreed.  We scheduled another appointment for the next day, the 9 yr old offered the closing prayer, and then left. The next morning we practiced extending a baptismal date because we had not done that.  When I followed up with the Sisters on Saturday they said that the whole family had excepted to be baptized on October 31...in just 3 weeks! Then to make it even better I was able to see the whole family at church on Sunday for their first time (our wards meet in the same building).  You could just tell they were so happy to be there. Needless to say I am thrilled and bummed at the same time.  I am thrilled because all my mission I have been praying to find a family like this however I am bummed because I won't be able to teach them. These last couple of days though I have just been thinking about what would have happened if I hadn't have followed the spirit and stopped to talk to them.  I feel bad about missing the couple but at least I and Sister Neeley learned an important lesson about talking to every person you see.  You never know who is going to be ready to accept the gospel until you have actually talked to them. It just makes me want to go and talk to everyone!

The baptism of Carlos Jr. on Saturday and his confirmation on Sunday.  He is so tall his dad had to try three times before he finally got him all under.  My favorite part was his testimony, especially when he testified that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet.  I know that is true with all of my heart.  I am so excited for him and this journey he is beginning.  I am so grateful for the gospel in my life.  I just can't wait to see all of the blessings he and his family will experience from this.  He has a 6 year old brother who looks up to him and I know who will want to follow in his footsteps.  

I'm just so grateful to be here and to be able to be a part of these peoples conversions. I know that it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the Lord and the work He is doing to prepare them.  I am just lucky to get to be the instrument he uses to help them discover the gospel.  I feel more than ever that the clock is ticking.  I just want to work hard and do all that I need to with the time I have been given.

Well I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Love,

Hermana Carpenter

Pictures: Me and Hermana Alcaraz on exchanges, delicious Pumkin Curry I had to celebrate my 1 year, and the last from left to right is: Hermana Sheffer, Carlos Jr., Carlos Sr., and Me!

Conference & 1 year! (October 5, 2015)

Hey Everybody!

I hope that everyone enjoyed conference as much as I did.  As always, by the end I felt like it had all gone by way to quickly and was left wanting more.  I know though that we truly did hear the word's of the Lord this week through his servants.  I am so excited to get to work and start applying all that I learned. 

I can't say that I had a favorite talk. I felt like so many of them spoke to me in many different ways.  I walked away with so many of my questions being answered and feeling as if the Lord was talking directly to me.  I walked away from conference pondering in my heart, as a daughter of God, who it is I really want to become.  Even more so I have been pondering about who it is God wants me to be.  I feel like so many of the talks spoke to me about that and then also gave me the tools I need to get to work!  As I am entering into my last six months of service I was also pondering a lot about what more I can do to lose myself and do the work that the Lord wants/needs done in this area.  This week I will be setting goals based off of what I learned so that I can do that. I don't want to waste a minute of the time I have here, however I know that because I am human it happens all to often.  Fatigue, mean people, laziness, and more are always there knocking at the door.  It is hard not to succumb to them, but I loved what was said about self control and how the more we exercise it the easier it gets.  I know that this is true and I am going to keep working hard to overcome those natural man tendencies so that I can become the servant the Lord needs in His vineyard.

As far as the rest of this week goes it all seems like a blur.  We had the Mission Leadership Council which was great. It is amazing to me to be a part of those councils and to be able to see where it is that the Lord want's this mission to go. The spirit is always so strong there. We then took what we learned there and also had a zone training. This is one of the best zone training's I have been in. You could tell from the start that everyone had come prepared. The spirit true spoke what needed to be said to the hearts of each missionary.  Saturday morning we watched conference with Carlos, our investigator and his family.  We were so happy to see them together as a family listening and learning.  I hope that they were able to take something from it and will see great things.

Well I love you all. I cannot believe it has been a year!

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Love,

Hermana Carpenter

Monday, September 28, 2015

Stressed but Good!

Hey there everybody!

So this week has felt so long.  We are really really busy.  We got our assignment and we are covering 14 Sisters all over the mission.  Other than that nothing too exciting going on.  I loved the womens conference.  It was definitely what I was needing after the long day we had Saturday.  We were driving all over the mission trying to fulfill needs for our sisters and didn't spend any time in our area.  After that I was just feeling overwhelmed about how in the world we were going to be able to fulfill our roles as Sister Training Leaders and take care of our area.  After the conference I felt renewed and just had a sense of peace about everything.  I know that as we lose ourselves in the Lord's service he will take care of us and our area, all I need to do is work hard and follow the spirit.

As a Sister Training Leader though I have become much more aware of my work as a missionary and just who I am in general.  I know I need to be an example to the rest of the sisters.  I have learned so many things already from the newer sisters as well as things I need to change so that I can be the best example I can be to them.  It is hard, especially because things don't just change overnight.  In companion study today we were studying Christ-Like attributes from Preach My Gospel.  One of the first things it mentions is that without the Atonement we cannot change.  I know that in order to change what I need to and become more like the Savior it is going to take humility and repentance every single day. I know that by doing that I can magnify my calling both as a leader and as a missionary.  

Yes I am stressed but I am grateful. I'm so grateful for the trust the Lord has in me as well as for the opportunity He is giving me to grow.  I know I am here for a reason and I hope I can do all I can to fulfill that purpose.

I'm looking forward to conference this weekend! I hope all of you will take a chance to ponder the words in Mosiah 2 and D &C 21 4-6 and then seek to apply those words by watching all the sessions of conference! I know that as we do we will be blessed by the inspired words we will hear.  
I love you all! Have a wonderful week.

Love,

Hermana Carpenter

p.s. We made lunch for all the new and leaving missionaries this week. We washed a lot of potatoes...it was fun though!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

With Trust Comes Responsibility

Hey everybody!

So this week has been a good but crazy one. So Sunday morning we got transfer calls, duh duh duh. So all of the sisters in the mission are training EXCEPT me, Hermana Sheffer and one other companionship. Hermana Sheffer and I will stay together in Manteca as Sister Training Leaders. The other companionship will be STL's as well. We will be the only two sets in the mission and with a total of 32 sisters that is a lot of work! That is what happens when somehow you and your companion become trusted by the mission president. I am nervous to say the least. A lot of the sisters training are new to the mission but because of the huge influx have been called to train regardless of jow prepared they are. Because of this we are being asked to do a lot more exchanges tham normal. This means we will be BUSY! I can tell already that this transfer is going to stretch me. Even though that scares me I know that with that comes a lot of growth. I don't want to let President Palmer down but more importantly I don't want to let the Savior down. After all this is his work. I know i just need to rely on him and find more ways that i can be obedient so that i can have his spirit with me.

I also had the blessing of attending the baptism of Ana, my investigator from Lodi, this week. She is the granddaughter of Beatrice and Enrique who where baptized last month. She is great. It was such a blessing to be able to see their famoly and see how the gospel is working in their lives. Beatrice is working on preparing family names to take to the temple and I am so excited for her. I can't wait for more of their family to catch the spirit of the gospel so that they can all go to the temple to be sealed.

We also have an awesome investigator here named Carlos. He is the son of a recent convert and is currently praying for a baptismal date. It is amazing to see how he understands and has been applying what he is learning. We are excited to see what comes from him and his progress!

Things are good thoughm i am excited to be staying in Manteca another transfer! I hope you all have a good week!

Love,

Hermana Carpenter
Me and Hermana Sheffer
Eliseo a member
Leslie
My Zone from last transfer

Baptism

Missionaries from the ward I am in and one of the members Leilani





Tuesday, September 15, 2015

11 Months and the Tragedy of Pride



So this past week I passed my 11 month mark of being on the mission.  I think that this transfer has been one of my fastest transfers.  It has been a pretty good  one though.  Hermana Sheffer and I already know we won't be companions this next transfer due to all of the new sisters coming in so we are going to work hard and enjoy this last week together.

This week has been pretty good.  We have been focusing on working with our recent converts to find new people to teach and it has been a wonderful experience.  One of the converts, Eliceo (he was baptized before I got to the area) is one of the people we have been focusing on.  He has so much family here in Manteca.  We had lessons with 8 different family members and we just were barely touching the surface.  We are really excited to follow up on those lessons and work with those of his family members that have been prepared.

The reason for the title though goes back to a less active family that we met this week. We met them later on in the week and were able to talk to them and learn about why it was their entire family was less active.  It broke my heart when I learned that at the root of it was pride.  Ever since then I have been pondering about this and about how choosing to be humble or allowing pride to overtake us can be the difference between enjoying or missing out on the eternal blessings that the gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ offer to us.  I know that each one of us have been and will yet encounter those moments where something is done or said, true or untrue, that could cause the seed of pride and offence to become planted in our hearts. It is then that we will have to make the decision of whether we are going to let it remain and grown into a great plant that will overtake and maim every good thing in our life, or if we will make the decision to dig into our hearts, however painful it may be, and pluck it out before it has a chance to grow.  This experience led me to ponder on what seeds of pride may be in my own heart and what it is I need to do to pluck them out.  I want to be a humble servant of the Lord and I know that can only be possible if I am consistently seeking to be humble and to change my heart and any habits that are not in harmony with the teachings of the Savior.

As conference once again draws near it can be a good time for us to reflect and prepare our hearts for the words that will be spoken.  During this time we will be instructed and edified, but also I know that in some form or another we will all be called to repent and I guarantee that some of it may even be slightly uncomfortable.  During this time we will have to decide if we will humbly submit to the will of the Lord and change our hearts or let that voice inside our head that tells us that we really know best do the talking.  I know that without a doubt submitting our will to the Lord's is what will bring us peace and joy and a continued and deepened conversion to the Lord's gospel.  

Well transfers are coming up soon and I am excited and nervous about the changes I know that will be coming.  I will keep you all posted!  Have a wonderful week!

Love,

Hermana Carpenter

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

General Authorities and Ambulances

Hey everyone!!

This week was awesome. We had Elder Hamula from the seventy here for a misison tour and we were able to have a mission conference with him.  With the forming of our new mission there have been some problems in parts of the mission with unity and coming together (thankfully I have not had any encounters with that, but apparently there are some real big problems in other parts of the mission) and in lieu of that the conference was largely focused around how we can change our hearts and let go of "unrighteous traditions".  I thought a lot about what it is that I need to leave behind and change in order to help the mission and the work here move forward.  I've got a couple of things to work on.  One of my favorite things he talked about was the pattern he gave us for changing our hearts.  There are three steps:

1. Accept that you have agency in all things.
2. Act outwardly the way you want to be inwardly.
3. You must avail yourself the grace of God.

He just talked about how we won't change unless we accept the fact that we have to and can make the choice to change.  Sometimes we have to fake it until we make it but nothing changes until we act. Grace is the key though because without the atonement we can't truly change or become more than what we are.  When we do all that we can though to develop those Christ like attributes then Grace will step in and give us the power to change.  I know I have seen this in my life as I daily try to change those natural man characteristics that I struggle with.  I have seen though how as I try my best to act in accordance to those principles that through repentance and with the help of God's grace that I am slowly changing.  This is a pattern though I want to continue to use for the rest of my life.

This week I also had a really cool experience with the spirit.  So on Wednesday we were out working and no one would talk to us. We decided to go to the house of a lady we had talked to the previous week but when we got there I just had this really off feeling.  I turned to Hna. Sheffer and told her that I didn't think we were where we were supposed to be.  She agreed that she felt the same so we decided to pray about it and see what came to mind. As soon as we began to pray the thought came to my mind that we needed to go try and contact a referral that we had gotten and already tried to contact. After the prayer the thought came again so we said that I thought that is what we needed to do.  We both felt good about it so off we went to the other side of town to contact this person.  When we got to the house though there was no body home.  We decided since we were there we might as well try knocking on a couple of doors. Nothing.  We had an appointment coming up so we started heading back to our car when all of a sudden we heard some hysterical cries coming from down the street.  We look down and we see this hispanic lady run out in the street holding something, cry at her neighbors house saying, in Spanish, "Help me, Help me, my baby!" and then she ran back towards her house. At that we started running towards her.  When we got to her she hysterically was trying to talk to the paramedics in broken English.  We got there and told her we were there to help.  I took the phone from here and then translated to the medic what was going on and where we were at.  Thankfully the baby was breathing but you could tell he was pretty sick.  Anyway we were able to calm her down and wait with her until the paramedics came and then we translated for her.  The baby had had a seizure but they said he was doing alright and would most likely be fine.  We left her with a card with our number and told her we would be back the following day.  When we came back the next day she was waiting for us and was so open to all that we had to say.  We will be going back tonight to teach her and her family.  I was so humbled by that experience and so grateful that I was able to be in tune enough with the spirit to be there for one of God's children.  Had we ignored the feeling we were getting we would have missed out on an opportunity to serve someone in need and also a chance to share the gospel. Always listen to spiritual promptings!!

Anyway things are going well.  I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Love,

Hermana Carpenter

Love is ALWAYS the Answer ( August 24th)

Hey there family and friends!

This week has kind have felt like a blur.  It was a really fast but really slow week at the same time. 

So I had my first exchange as an Sister Training Leader this week. I was really nervous going into it.  There is definitely a lot more pressure when you know others are looking to you to set the example.  It was also a little nerve racking because the Hermana I was with, Hermana Hopkins, is in her last transfer so I felt like it should be going the other way around.  I hope she was able to learn something. I know I sure learned a lot, she is an awesome misisonary!  It really is humbling to serve in a leadership position. I am learning so much about Christ-like love and selfless service from it.

My companion, Hermana Sheffer is as awesome as ever.  This week we felt like we had a huge break through in the work.  About half way through the week we had an awesome experience with one of our less-actives.  This woman is someone that I visited here in Manteca when I was first here and Hermana Sheffer has visited her over the last 7 months as well and all of it with little to no progress. We both felt like how we sometimes felt like broken records while in the lessons with her. After the lesson we had with her this week though we realized that a lot more of it may have been us than her.  For whatever reason when we were talking to her this week, instead of launching into our whole church is important spiel (which for some reason we as missionaries love to do with less actives) we just started asking her different questions. It was amazing to see the change that happened in her and us as we just learned about her. For the first time since both of us have been there we received the actual reason as to why she was less active.  We as missionaries had made all of these assumptions about her and why she wasn't coming to church based off of the fact that we would teach her and then nothing would change.  We definitely were humbled but we came out of the lesson feeling a greater love for this Hermana and with a greater understanding of what it is we need to do to help her to gain her own testimony. It was a lesson to me on the importance of just loving God's children and not making unfounded judgments. 

We also had an awesome day yesterday after we decided that we where just going to talk to people and get to know them and then just testify about what we knew.  It was amazing to see the difference in people as we talked to them and to be able to feel the spirit that was there.  As I shared my own gospel experience and testified of those things I could feel the spirit testifying to me that what I was sharing was true.  I want all of the experiences I have with people to be like that.  I know I have so much to learn still as a missionary!

I am really doing well though.  Hermana Sheffer has been letting me work with her amazingly curly hair (just like your's Kylie) so I have been in heaven as far as that goes.  She is just funny and so easy to get along with.  We have some investigators that are really great.  I get home every day and I am exhausted but I love that feeling and I love feeling that I am really helping God's children.

Well that is pretty much it for this week.  I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Love,

Hermana Carpenter

Monday, August 17, 2015

Back to Manteca

I feel like I am at home! Well as close as I can be without actually being home.  I have loved all of my areas but there is something about coming back to Manteca that has just made me feel like I am at home.

This week has been really good.  Hermana Sheffer is awesome.  She is such a hard worker and our teaching styles work together so well. We both have such a good feeling about the work here.  We already know that we only have one transfer together so we both just want to make the most of it.  

So the reason we already know we only have one transfer together is because if all the Sisters come in that are supposed to it means that all of the sisters in the mission will be training...and it is quite possible that some will double train out of the Spanish sisters.  Crazy, right?! As Sister Training Leaders President Palmer has asked that we focus the sisters we are over to prepare for that.  As Hermana Sheffer and I were talking about this we realized how important it is that we are all prepared because this next transfer of training is going to set the tone and many of the traditions that are here in the Modesto Mission.  We want to make sure that we leave a legacy of good traditions.  I hope that this transfer I can be the example I need to be to help that to happen. I am nervous but excited for what is coming.  I know though that this is the Lord's work and that He will be right there with us.

This week was also awesome because I had the opportunity to go back for Beatriz and Enrique's Baptism.  It was amazing.  It was the most well attended baptism I have been too. I think it just shows the love that the ward already has for them.  They are both so amazing.  Hermana Beatriz asked to say a couple of things.  She bore a beautiful testimony and shared how her greatest desire is that her whole family can one day be with her in the church.  She had a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren at the baptism.  I know that they felt the spirit and I pray that they will do all they can to gain a testimony of their own and come into the church.  I am so excited for all that is in store for this family.  They inspire me to be a better missionary and to work hard so that I can find more like them that are ready to receive the gospel. 

I also had my Leadership Training Meeting this week which was also great!  The spirit was so strong.  I just hope I can be the leader the Lord wants me to be.  I know I am going to grow so much from this.  

Well I hope you all have a great week! Love you all.

Love,


Hermana Carpenter

p.s. some pictures with Beatriz, Enrique, and their granddaughters as we said goodbye. A picture from their baptism, and then a picture of Sisters Tua'i'tanu, Boata, me, and Hermana Sheffer at service this week






Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Next up Sister training leader!!

Hey Everybody, it is time for transfers again!!!!

So I found out this weekend that I will be returning to Manteca and I will be a Sister Training Leader.  My companion will be Hermana Sheffer.  I am sad, excited, and nervous at the same time.  All this last week I had a feeling that I was going to be leaving and I was pretty sure it would be to Manteca. I pretty much was just waiting for the call to confirm it.  It is so cool to me how the Lord prepares us. 

I am sad because I am going to be leaving my wonderful investigators right before they get baptized. I will be able to go back for their baptisms and for the baptisms of their granddaughters here in a couple weeks.  We broke the news to them at church yesterday and Hna. Beatriz was so sad.  She just talked about how we had basically become a part of our family and how she was going to miss seeing us almost every day.  I cried. I just feel so blessed to have been a part of their conversion. Even though I am sad to go I know that the Lord is aware of what they need and what I need.  I know that he will take care of them and that the missionaries that will replace me will be what they and the rest of their family need at this time.  I feel like these last couple of weeks I have also gotten a glimpse of what it will feel like to be a parent and to see your kids progressing in the gospel and making those righteous decisions.  It makes me so happy.

I am excited because I love Manteca.  I went on exchanges there a couple of weeks ago and it felt just like I was going home.  It will be a little bit weird because I will know the area but at the same time it will be different. At least I will know all of the members.  

I am nervous because I am going to be a Sister Training Leader.  I feel like I am not qualified for that job.  I know it will be a great learning experience and I am really excited to learn from and work with Hermana Sheffer. She is an awesome missionary!

This week has been really great though. I have had so many experiences where I have been teaching or talking with someone and have been able to feel so strongly how much love the Lord has for them.  I know that each one of us are his children and that he loves us and wants us to be happy.  I know that this work is his work and that it is so important! I am so grateful to be a part of it.

Well I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Love,

Hermana Carpenter

p.s. I LOVE puppies!! I almost took that one home with me.  Darn mission rule about not having pets!