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!


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!


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 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!


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!


Hermana Carpenter