Monday, June 22, 2015

So I don't have a brain tumor...probably

Hey everybody! So this week has been a very interesting week for me.  I will start out by explaining the subject so that you can stop freaking out, if you are.  

This week I went to the emergency room. Yay.  So sometime the week before last I started getting this weird shooting pain/sensation through my head.  It only happened like once a day but it definitely was not normal.  It would leave though as quickly as it came so I was just making a note of it every time it happened.  Then on Friday it happened three times and then I was also feeling dizzy and nauseous so I called the mission nurse to see what I should do.  I was thinking, this is really weird but there is a chance it is a migraine I just didn't know for sure because I have never had one and also my head didn't actually really hurt.  Anyway so I called her and explained what was happening and she said that she would get me a doctors appointment forMonday.  About thirty min later though she calls back and says "So I was talking with the medical director and we decided it is best that you don't wait until Monday since it is happening in your head" and so I was sent to the emergency room.  Now up until that point I was trying to convince myself it was just something minor but then because the medical director thought it could be something serious my mind skipped over everything minor it could be to "I have a brain tumor".  

We proceeded to go to the hospital while also canceling all of our appointments for the evening.  My wonderful companion Hermana Porter and I were trying to laugh about it but at the same time trying to brace ourselves for the worst.  We make it to the hospital and I get checked in and then they call me up to ask me about my symptoms and take my vitals and of course it was a 25ish year old guy taking my vitals and at this point I am at that stage where I don't know how to interact with any men that aren't elders or short and hispanic. So I just sat there awkwardly.  Then he goes, "hmmm it looks like your blood pressure is a little high" to which I am thinking "hmmm well I might just have a brain tumor and I am kind of freaking out inside so of course my blood pressure is going to be high".  Really though I just said, "Oh".  Then I had to wait a little bit to be called again.  When I got called it was another 25ish year old guy who had been assigned to take a CT scan of my brain. I awkwardly followed him back to the scan and the whole time he is referring to me as ma'am which was weird because I am not old but like I said I am now an awkward sister missionary who doesn't even know how to make small talk to be polite so I just didn't say anything.  He took a picture of my brain though and then they sent me back to the waiting room until there was a room ready.

Finally my room was ready and they took me back, I had to change into one of those hospital dress things that are super awkward and then they put on a heart monitor and took some of my blood (I hate needles).  Finally the doctor came in and boy wasn't she a ray of sunshine...she told me though that she had looked at my scan and that it didn't appear that I had any tumors in my brain (sigh of relief) but that I probably just had a migraine (reassuring, but pretty much had that figured out except for the fact that I couldn't look at my brain to be sure).  My mission nurse wasn't as reassured as I was and my companion and I thought they might have at it right there in the emergency room...needless to say it was a pretty anticlimactic ending to my day.  Turns out though that I have probably had a migraine all week and still do because since I have no pain the pain medications that the doctor prescribed did nothing. Yay.  I am alive though and probably don't have a brain tumor although I never actually saw the picture of my brain to be sure.  I can't wait until I am a doctor and can analyze all of my own stuff.  I don't trust other people to do it right, especially when they seem like they are mad at the world. 

Other than that though my week was good.  I am just trying to get to know my new area and the ward.  My companion is awesome and I am so excited to be with her for the next 8 weeks.  

Update on the mission split: next week I will officially be part of the California Modesto Mission. Part of this also means that I just got my mission extended for an additional two weeks because of how their transfer schedule is (also the reason I will be with my current companion for 8 weeks instead of 6).  I am sad but also excited to be part of this new mission.  

Well I hope every one has a wonderful week! I love you all!


Hermana Carpenter

Monday, June 8, 2015

Eight Months Gone!

Hey everyone!

Well today is my eight month mark of being in the mission, crazy!  I know I say this every month, but I say it because it is true, where is the time going??  I can't believe I am already to the point where I can count the months I have left on my hands! I am just plugging along though and trying to make the most of my time here. 

This week has been really great.  We had zone conference which is always wonderful but was made even better by the fact that we got iPad's at the end.  Whoo! We are in stage one right now which means we really only get to use the Gospel Library app and some other study tools but it has been a blessing for studying for investigators.  It is so amazing how many tools the Lord has given us in this day and age to learn about and share the gospel.

So this week I have been studying a lot about baptism as we are helping two of our investigators prepare themselves for their own baptisms.  I always love reading the scriptures in Mosiah 18 that talk about the covenant we make at baptism.  It is always such a good reminder to me about what it is I have promised I would do that I have promised with God that I am "willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light. Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death".  I have come to see in my own life and in the lives of others the blessings that come as we strive to keep this covenant.  As we live our everyday lives to help others and stand as witnesses of Christ our hearts are changed and we become more converted to the gospel and also more like our Savior Jesus Christ.  Those around us are also lifted and are able to better feel the impact of these covenants in their own lives  We experience the peace and joy that comes as we in return receive the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.  I am so grateful for these covenants and for the ability they give me to stay focused on a purpose and to become more than I would otherwise be. I hope that we can all always remember our own baptismal covenants and find ways to live them more fully in our lives. I know that as we do blessings will come!

I'm so grateful for the gospel and for the opportunity to share it every day! I hope you all have a wonderful week.  


Hermana Carpenter

iPad's have arrived! (With Hermana Sellers)

The weekly Spider Wed on the car

My Latino Grandma :)

Traditions (June 1st)

Hey everyone!

So this week has been very good.  We had a mission wide conference in anticipation of receiving Ipads (don't have them quite yet).  It was so good and I learned so much about topics that go so much further beyond a piece of technology.  I learned a lot more about how we really can apply gospel principles in every part of our lives.  What a blessing the Lord has given us in our days to have access to so many wonderful things.  Like with any powerful tool though comes the responsibility to learn to be an agent, acting to use that tool to further the work of the Lord and not an object that allows the tool to act upon us.  I think about before my mission and how much time I sometimes wasted on the internet because I felt like I had nothing better to do.  One thing I am learning though is that if I feel like there is nothing better to do then there probably is but I have to be willing to actively go and seek it out.  Before the conference we received a manual talking about the safeguards of technology.  I love this manuel, and although there may be some things that people may laugh and roll their eyes at, there really is so much that will be useful after my mission.  One of my favorite things that it talks about is that before we get on our mobile device (this can apply to computer, tablet, cell phone, etc...) we should first think of what our purpose is of getting on the device.  Once our purpose is established then we can get on and get to work with whatever it is that we planned to do.  It then says that if at any point when you are on the device, you can't remember what your purpose for being there is, then you should immediately stop, turn of the device and either reestablish your purpose or go do something else.  I think this is something that all of us could apply in this world filled with technology.  If we don't know why we are using technology then in reality it is using us to fill our time and minds and take us away from all of the good things in the world such as our families, friends, and service. I'm excited to be able to begin to apply and practice these principles on my mission and after as well.

Another thing I have been focusing a lot on this week is why I am doing the things I am doing here on the mission.  As I approach my half way mark on my mission I really want to be sure that I am doing all I can as a missionary to find and bring God's children to Jesus Christ.  I want to be able to say that I served my mission with purpose and that I did all that God intended me to do.  That being said I have been studying preach my gospel a lot and trying to evaluate what I am doing as a missionary and whether or not it falls under what the Lord expects of His missionaries as outlined in preach my gospel.  As I, and my companion have done this, we have started to realize that there are some things that we have been doing all our missions that really are more of a tradition amongst the missionaries than actually what it says in Preach my Gospel. We do them because that is what our trainer did, and what their trainer did, and so on. Even though many of these things aren't necessarily bad things, I have tried to ask myself if it is really what the Lord would have me do to be His missionary.  Somethings I have actually wondered about for a while but when brought to the attention of other missionaries were quickly dismissed by comments like, "Oh yes, well it's different in Spanish work" or something like that.  Is it really any different though?  I would assume to say that if it really was all that different then the Church would have come out with a Preach my Gospel especially for Spanish speaking missionaries. I have thought about this and how it applies to us in real life as well. How many things do we do in life that are traditions that really have no secure root?  Maybe they aren't bad things, but are they traditions that are helping us to grow and to become the person the Lord want's us to be?  Are these traditions a reason maybe we don't follow the words of the prophet or the scriptures with exactness?  To we sometimes say to ourselves "Well that is really nice and I'm sure it has application to someone else, but I have been doing things like this for years and it's been working for me so why change?" If we find ourselves saying things like that then it may be time to reevaluate why we are actually do it and what it is the Lord would have us do.  I know that this life is about continually growing and bettering ourselves and many times that is going to mean we are going to have to break out of our comfort zones and break traditions. At times this may be difficult but I know as we do it we are able to humble ourselves and receive the spiritual growth that comes as we follow the Savior. I am excited for the time I still have left on the mission to continue to work hard and do what I need to do to be a faithful servant of the Lord. I love this work and I love being a missionary!

Everything is going well with our investigators.  We had four of them at church this week which was awesome!  I love them all and I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to work with each one of them on their path towards baptism.

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


Hermana Carpenter

Miracles In Stockton (May 25th)

Hey everyone!!

So this week has been really wonderful and busy.  Tuesday we had exchanges with the sister training leaders which was great.  I spent the day with Hermana Cuesta in Lodi.  She is awesome!  We also had interviews with President and Sister Jardine on Wednesday which was great.  I love being able to talk to them.  

So our investigator that is the one that wants to move to the English ward (I will call her C. to protect her identity) is doing great!  It is so amazing to see her desire to learn the gospel grow.  We had two wonderful lessons with her this week about prayer and about the Plan of Salvation.  When we met with her on Thursday she informed us that she is already in 2 Nephi and made the comment that she hadn't read as much as she would like to...If only all of our investigators would say that.  I love being able to see first hand how the gospel has the power to change people.  She talks about how much peace she feels as she reads the Book of Mormon and how much more she want's to learn.  As long as everything goes smoothly she will be baptized on June 13th which is right before transfers, yay!

This week was awesome though because we were able to see how when we follow the spirit miracles really do happen!  It all started during weekly planning last week.  As we were deciding how many people to put on date both Hermana Sellers and I felt prompted to plan for two people with a date.  By that weekend we had two people planned so we thought maybe we were done.  However for whatever reason I felt like there was someone we were missing.  Two days later one of the people we had on date called us and informed us that they wouldn't be meeting with us anymore because of pressures they were feeling from family members and not wanting to cause problems.  This took us back down to one.  We have  multiple investigators right now though so we though that it would possibly be on of them.  As the week progressed though we realized that none of our other investigators were ready to have a date though.  Saturday and Sunday we didn't have any set lessons so we spent both of those days just looking for people.  Saturday the Lord blessed us with the opportunity to find a less active family that had moved and had been lost for a couple of years, but still no one that was ready to accept a baptismal date.  On Sunday, we had some great lessons but still none of them were the ones that the Lord had inspired us to plan a date for.  Finally we were down to our last hour of the week (isn't that how it always works?) and we decided to go visit some potentials we had that were all on the same street.  As we pulled up to the first house there was this cute little family of a mom and her daughters all sitting outside.  We got out and went to talk to them.  The more we talked to them the more I knew that these were the people the Lord wanted us to find.  We taught them about the restoration and them invited them to be baptized if they came to know if these things were true.  They said yes and so we extended them a date ofAugust 1.  The mom's (I will call her C2) was that that was really soon.  She told us "I have been searching for the truth for 30+ years and you expect me to be able to receive an answer in that time?" One of the daughters though (I will call her M.) who had been listening attentively the entire time said yes and then asked us, "If God called a prophet to the earth in 1820, who is the prophet today?"  We finished by bearing our testimonies about how there is a living prophet today who's name is Thomas S. Monson and then set a date to come back this week.  I know that the Lord has been working with this family and I am so excited to be able to work with them and help them to find the truth for themselves.  

I know that when we follow the promptings of the Spirit and trust in the Lord that we will see miracles in our lives.  I love being able to be a missionary and to have the opportunity to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to help bring his children into the fold.  May we all seek to follow the spirit of the Lord as we work to help God's children.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

With Love,

Hermana Carpenter

p.s. IPad's come tomorrow! Oh and here are some pictures from the last couple of weeks! Enjoy :) And yes, those are ducklings, in their awkward teenage phase!

My companion drew me as a My Little Pony