Monday, January 26, 2015

And than there were three

Hey everyone!!

So this week has been a really crazy and really long week. So first of all my trainer went home on Thursday for medical reasons.  She had been suffering in silence basically with back pain for a long time and it was just getting worse.  She finally made the decision at the beginning of the week that she needed to go home and get it figured out.  Wednesday night the President and his wife picked her up and Thursday she was gone.  Now that means I get to be in a trio until the end of this transfer.  I have been put with the Hermanas that are in Tracy (one city away from Manteca) and we are now working both areas.  My new companions are Hermana Torres and Hermana Cavazos.  It is definitely different being with them than with Hermana Poulsen but so far so good.  I know a lot of people dread the trios but to be honest I am a little excited (I think knowing that it is only for two weeks helps) because I know there is so much I can learn from both of these girls and I know that I can also help each of them.  Right now I am just trying to focus on serving each of them and keeping a positive attitude.

My investigators are doing well.  Benito attended church again this week which is great.  I am so glad that he is progressing.  We also added two new investigators this week that could end up being miracle investigators.  They were a reference from the English Elders.  The wife Gloria has actually had the missionary discussions before and loves the church and the missionaries.  She wanted to join when they lived in L.A. but her husband was against it so she didn't.  She still wants to though so now our job is to work with the husband so he will at least allow her to be baptized.  I know though that the Lord works miracles and that in time I think her husband, Lorenzio, will also be baptized.  It was interesting to see how the Lord is already helping.  The first lesson we had Lorenzio just talked, and talked, and talked and tried to argue so it was hard to say anything.  We came back the next day though and before we went in we said a prayer and asked Heavenly Father to help him to just listen to what we had to say.  It was really funny because during the lesson he would start to say something or want to ask a question and then he would say that he forgot what he was going to say...needless to say we were able to teach them the whole first lesson and challenge them to pray. Lorenzio agreed to pray about it and he seemed sincere so we will see.  I am excited to keep working with them.

We also visited our less active family this week. They really are the sweetest family.  We are finding though that most of them joined because the mom wanted to join and that they don't really have their own testimony.  It makes a lot more sense why they have fallen away.  A testimony is so essential in having that desire to live the gospel. It was cool to actually listen to there oldest son though talk about why he got baptized.  He talked about how he wanted to be closer to God and that he felt that after he was baptized.  He is 21 so we are going to hopefully help him to start going to the YSA ward. I just have so much love for this family already. I feel like I was sent to this area for them and I just want to do all I can to help them find their testimonies and return to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. From this family I am also really starting to see how important it is that we reach out to those less active families around us.  My challenge to each of you this week is to think of someone in your ward that may be less active or may seem like they are struggling. If you are not sure then say a prayer and ask Heavenly Father to bring a name into your mind.  Once you have the name then you need to act.  Go over and visit them, give them a call to see how they are doing, invite them to church or over for dinner.  Often times these people want to come back they just don't know how because they feel they don't have a friend. Well guess what, we can all be that friend!  Anyway I know that if you do this you will be able to feel the love of the Savior more in your life and you will be able to help bring that love and joy into the life of another.

Anyway, I love you all and hope you have a great week!


Hermana Carpenter

Craft Day!

New Companions!
Hermana Torres, Hermana Cavazos and Charlie (the dog)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Lord loves all His Children

Hey everyone!

So this week has been great!  So the investigator I was talking about last week, Benito, he is progressing greatly. We extended a baptism date to him this week for February 21 and he excepted.  He and his wife also came to church this week which was awesome (and necessary).  It is so amazing to see how much has changed since before Christmas.  Before Christmas we would invite them to do stuff and it always seemed like there was an excuse. Now though it is more like, of course we will do that, why wouldn't we do that? It is a testimony to me that the Lord truly does work with his children and knows what they need in order to come unto Christ. It is sad that it took losing his job but I know that the gospel will bring him a thousand times more joy and will help him to find a better job and have a better life. 

We also found this less active family last Sunday that we are going to be working with.  They are an awesome family that were baptized a few years ago but that let the questions and doubts they had get the better of them.  We hope we can help them to come back to church and realize that the only way we can find spiritual answers is through the spirit and through the gospel.  They might not come all at once but I know that as I pray and study the scriptures and words of the prophets and as I attend church I receive answers to my questions.  It has been amazing to feel too how much Heavenly Father loves this family and wants them to come back.  Every single morning mine and Hermana Poulsens studies were filled with revelation that was directed towards that family and how we need to help them. One talk that really stuck out to us is "Trifle Not With Spiritual Things" by Elder Kacher.  It talks about how when we have questions we need to have patience and turn to the Lord and that in time the answers will come.  I know that as we follow the spirit we will be able to help this family to remember why they joined the church and help them to come back into the fold.

One non gospel highlight of this week is the dinner we had yesterday with our members. We had Carne Asada and it was amazing! I love love love Mexican food (most of it  I definitely want to make more of that when I get home.  Also we did service at a members ranch which was fun! That is where the pictures are from.

Anyway, hope you guys have a great week!


Hermana Carpenter

Trunk permanently stuck in the mud

                                                                      Service Day!!!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Received the gift of "tongue" this week...

Hola everybody!

So this week has been an interesting but good week. I'll start with the interesting stuff...

First off, I had my first experience with weird this member served this soup called posole, sounds harmless right. Well as soon as it was set in front of me I knew something was up. Sitting there in my soup was a nice bit piece of tongue. And it bounced...I'll be honest in that I couldn't bring myself to try it. The textures just get me. Hermana Poulsen and I just sneakily put the tongue parts of the soup In a napkin and threw it away. Crisis avoided...for now. 

Next interesting of our investigators, Ramone, declared his love for us over text on Friday. We haven't seen him since then so not sure exactly how that will play out...he's in his fifties though. Just a little weird however not surprising with how passionate he is. I'll keep you all updated on that though.

Now to the good stuff! We had Elder Baxter from the 70 come and speak at our Stake Conference this week. He has an awesome dry Scottish sense of humor and is super blunt but really really sweet. He talked a lot about overcoming sadness, trials, and dismay and how even when we are sad we should be able to smile because of the fact that we have the gospel in our lives and what a joyous thing that is. It really is true though. The gospel brings so much joy, peace, and hope into the lives of those who accept it. If I think about the root of all my joy and the good things in my life the gospel is at the root of it all.

We also had an awesome thing happen with one of our investigators this week. So before Christmas this investigator was not progressing because he wouldn't go to church because of work. However over the holidays he lost his job...which is sad but also great because not he is committing to come to church and even came to stake conference. He has been taught almost all of the lessons and believes it. We are going to extend a date this week for the end of the month. Hopefully he will accept! We are also working to reactivate his wife as well. They are the sweetest people and need the gospel! It is awesome though to see how the Lord Works.

Anyway, I am doing great! I hope that everyone has a good week!


Hermana Carpenter

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy New Year!

Wow, where did this year go?

I can't believe that it is already 2015. This year has been such a crazy one for me.  It has been filled with ups and downs and everything in between. Last January I would never have guessed that a year from then I would be serving a mission in Sacramento.  I wouldn't want to be anywhere else though right now.  I love being here knowing that I am where the Lord want's me to be and that I'm helping people to come unto Him.

So this last week or two has been a little hard but really great at the same time.  We had to drop a couple of our investigators because they were not progressing.  They were not keeping their commitments and they would call last minute and cancel their appointments.  It is sad to think that they were progressing and then they just started sliding backwards.  We felt it was the right thing to do though so I guess right now is just not there time.  I know though that the Lord will be with them and keep working with them in other ways and hopefully one day they will be ready to accept the gospel.

The great stuff has come because of all of the new investigators we have found this last two weeks.  We were struggling with our others and didn't want to drop them but as soon as we showed our faith in Heavenly Father and what His will was for them at this time He sent us even more.  Some of the investigators we added were former drops that definitely seem like they are in a different place then they were before.  We also have some that were from referrals that are great. It is so amazing to see how the Lord has worked with them to prepare them to hear us.  Hopefully we will be extending some baptismal dates in the next week and will be able to work towards having a baptism.

So my thought for this week come's from the reading I have been doing in the Book of Mormon.  This morning I was reading in Mosiah 15:10-14 and I love how these scriptures tell us how we can know for a surety that we are the Lord's seed and that we are heirs to His kingdom.  All we have to do to know this is 1. Listen to the Prophet and do our best to apply his teachings 2. Use the Atonement in our life and look forward to His coming 3. Share the gospel of Jesus Christ.  So simple right?  If we are doing these things we can always know that we are on the right path to being with God and our families forever!  I hope that this year we can all seek to do these things in our lives that we may grow closer to God and help others to do the same.

I'll tell you about my resolutions on Monday!

I love you all!


Hermana Carpenter

Beautiful bird we saw this week!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry, Merry Christmas everybody!

I don't have a ton to say or a ton of time because I got the opportunity to talk to some of you today (which was so wonderful).  However, I do want to share a little Christmas message with you all. Christmas is such a wonderful and special day. It is a day we get to take a break from work, school, and other activities and celebrate the most important thing in our lives, our Savior Jesus Christ. 

I am so incredibly grateful for my Savior and for all He has done for me and for every person that has ever lived. The more I learn about Him the more I am amazed by the humble way the King of Kings, the Beloved Son of God, came into the world.  I am amazed by the simplicity of his life and how he lived and how he showed His love to each person He met.  I am humbled by His sacrifice and how he suffered and gave His life for each one of us.  How he suffered so that He could know us perfectly, so that he could understand our feelings, our weaknesses, our trials.  How he suffered so that each one of us, as imperfect as we are, could overcome our sins and return to live with him and our families again.  I will love Him forever for this.

I hope that we can always remember this as we finish Christmas and begin a new year.  May we always carry Him in our hearts and strive to live our lives more like His.  I know that if we do this we can find true joy in this life and in the next.

By love He came into this world and by love He left it.  By love He will come again.  Let us all love like He loved.

Merry Christmas!


Hermana Carpenter

P.S. Today we opened presents, we made french toast, eggs, hash browns, and green smoothies for breakfast, talked with our families, hung out with the members and that is it!   
Opening Christmas Presents

Christmas Breakfast