Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Coming Home!

I can't believe that it is my last Monday in the mission. There have a been a lot of lasts this week. Yesterday was bittersweet as I said goodbye to all of the members yesterday. I am going to miss them.  I was glad that it was fast and testimony meeting because I was able to bear my testimony. 

This week I have thought a lot about my testimony. Where it was at before my mission, where it is now, and where I hope it to be 1 yea from now, 5 years from now, and so on.  I just want it to be able to continue growing. I know that that will only come through consistently living those same principles that I have been teaching for the last year and a half. 

I know I will be seeing you all soon so I just want to leave you with my testimony. It may sound similar from the beginning but I hope that the spirit can transmit the difference in the feeling behind it.

I know that God lives. I know that he loves all of his children, no matter who they are, what they have done, or where they are at in their lives. He loves them still and I know that his work is to help all of his children to one day have the same joy that he has. I know that Jesus Christ lives. He is my Savior, my redeemer, and my friend. He has been there for me every step of the way. Has lifted me when I didn't have the strength to do so and has cheered me on when I have been discouraged. I know that through his Atonement we can all find the strength to do hard things, to change, and to become who it is he wants us to be. I know that through his Atonement we can find peace in our lives. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church upon the face of the earth. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that he was called to restore that church. I know that with that restoration the priesthood was also restored to the earth and that because of that we can receive those ordinances that will allow us to return back to live with God and with our families. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet and that if we follow his counsels we will be protected spiritually and physically in this world.  I know that this work is the Lord's work and that as we do it we will find joy and peace. 

I hope that we can all seek to grow our testimonies through living the gospel every day.  

I'm excited to see you all soon!


Hermana Carpenter

I'm getting transferred home! (Feb 29th)

Well I am sure by now it is spreading like wildfire, at least among my family, but for those of you that haven't heard, this week will be my last week in the mission.

So you are probably all wondering why I will be home a transfer earlier than initially planned. It all started with President interviews this last week. As I sat down for my interview the first thing President Palmer said is, "I have something I have been thinking about that I would like to talk to you about..." he then preceded to tell me that it had come to his mind the possibility of me going home at the end of this transfer instead of on April 27th. He said he hadn't thought about it before but that it came to him multiple times and that he said in light of my health situation and with the extensions that I should give that option some serious thought and to get back to him in a day or two. 

I have to say I was a little, no a lot surprised but when your mission president says he has been receiving a prompting and that you should think about it "seriously" that is what you do. So that being said, I agreed to think about it. I spent the rest of Tuesday and most of Wednesday thinking and praying about that option. I thought through both options, the pros and cons of both options. As I made the list it appeared that the list for why I should be at home was a lot longer than the list of why I should be in the mission. I felt though that all of the reasons to be at home were selfish reasons, even if they were good.  I just didn't want to feel like I was giving up at the end. More than anything I just wanted to do what the Lord wanted regardless of what it was.  I received a blessing and thought some more.  As I pondered on what it was I was supposed to do I felt the really strong impression that it was time for me to go home. 

Even though I was/am sad about not being able to be here until April I feel a lot of peace about the decision. The thing that is interesting to me though is that I feel like the ending of my mission came much like my call to serve. My soul has been conflicted over something, although I did not know what until now, much like before I made the decision to serve.  As I sought out the will of the Lord in his time his will was made manifest, just as clearly as before.  My decision to serve was clear and the change was fast. It was a whirlwind of emotions and getting everything in line to submit my papers. Now, here I am almost two years later going through a similar experience but on the other end.

I'm so grateful for this chance the Lord has given me to serve. I feel humbled by the trust that he has given me during this time. I know that he has a work for me to do at home and more than anything I feel excited to be able to go home and continue that work. I want to take all that I have learned from the mission to go forth and bless the Lord's children and build up his Kingdom. I know that even though my full-time mission is coming to an end that my work as a missionary is not. That will always continue. 

For those of you that are interested, my homecoming talk will be Sunday, March 13th at 11:00 a.m. The address of the church is 1552 East 750 South Spanish Fork, Utah 84660.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week. I will be seeing you all soon!


Hermana Carpenter

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Family History

Hey everyone,

Sorry this is going to be a short one...my increasing interest and desire to do family history work took up most of my emailing time. Basically I spent most of my time perusing familysearch.org and requesting the patriarchal blessings of my ancestors. Productive I know. Every time I get on though I realize there is so much more work to do than what I thought before my mission.

I think a lot of my increased desire has come from serving and teaching people who have hundreds of people waiting on them to do their work for them.  I feel such an urgency for them and they aren't even my family! In a way though they are depending on me as well. They are depending on me to be worthy of the spirit so that I can find, teach, and baptize their decedents so that they can have those precious ordinances of salvation preformed for them.  

We have a couple we are teaching, they are older, and have 9 kids.  My greatest desire right now is for them to continue on this path so that one day they can be sealed to one another and to all of their children. I want that blessing for everyone.  It is sad to see how many people don't realize that being with your family forever is even possible. That or they want it but don't realize that there is a price to pay to have that.  Are we paying that price? Are we paying the price so that others can have that blessing that means so much to each one of us?  I hope that we are, because our salvation depends on it!

Well I hope everyone has a wonderful week. Go do some family history or talk to someone that doesn't yet have a forever family!


Hermana Carpenter

A hamburger as big as my face!

Inspiring Words (Feb 15)

Hey everyone! It has been a crazy week this week with lots of exciting stuff going on.

First off, Socorro had her baptism and confirmation this weekend. It was beautiful! You could just see the peace and joy radiating for her.  She is such a light and everyone has just embraced her (which is not hard to do). 

We also had a regional conference this weekend for the northwestern region (Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia). It was really good. The speakers where Elder C. Scott Grow, Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Elder James J. Hamula, and Elder Dale G. Renlund.  All of the talks were so good.  

Elder Grow talked about "Patterns of Faith, Staying True". He talked about how the patterns of faith are reading the scriptures, praying, and going to church.  Those things they teach us about from primary.  He went in depth though with each one of them and how each should be more than just a surface level going through the motions type of thing. He counseled us to study gospel doctrines every day, and suggested using the index in the triple combination to do so. He said that this will help us focus on the doctrine of the Book of Mormon, and understand it in a deeper level. With prayer he talked about how if we want revelation our studies should always be combined with prayer. He then talked about church and the Sacrament and how preparing for and partaking of the Sacrament will help us to stay true.  

Sister Oscarson talked about "Being a True Disciple of Jesus Christ". The thing that stuck out to me the most from her talk was a question she asked. She asked us if we were to spend a couple of hours around some non-members would our actions and words define us as being a true follower of Jesus Christ, or would they be able to collect sufficient evidence to condemn us. That got me thinking about what would happen for me, and what changes I need to make accordingly.

Elder Hamula talked about "Don't Fear, Only Believe". He talked about how we should keep our sights fixed on the Savior, trust in his Atonement, and then trust in and support the leaders he has called to guide us.  

Elder Dale G. Rendlund talked about responding to gospel questions.  He told a story about he and his wife when they were on vacation and received some tough gospel questions. He said that while he was pondering a good response his wife chimed in and said, "Well it all started with a 14 year old boy that had a question..." and explained the restoration. She then turned to Elder Rendlund and said "my husband will explain more". Then he explained the doctrine within the context of revelation and the plan of God.  He taught that without the context of revelation and the place within the plan of salvation it is very difficult to respond to doctrinal questions.  This is something I am excited to use the next time I get a tough doctrinal question from a non-member!

We have also started teaching some really awesome women. We are being so blessed!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentines day and that his next week holds wonderful things.  I love you all!


Hermana Carpenter

16 Months!!! (Feb 8)

Hello everyone!

Well today marks 16 months in the mission field. Weird. Sometimes it feels like the mission is the only life I have ever known, but at the same time it does not feel like it has been over a year since I was with you all.  Time is just strange.  

Life is going well though.  We have seen so many miracles this week.  

So we started teaching two new women this week. They are awesome.  One was a referral from a member and she is actually the aunt of the young girl that got baptized with me and Hermana Arevalo in November.  She was at the baptism and everything! She is soaking everything up though and has a date for the next Saturday! The other is also connected to a member. She is the grandma of the boyfriend of one of our less active members.  We just found this member for the first time this week. The grandma came in at the end of the lesson and asked if we by chance could get a hold of a bible for her.  We said of course and invited her to sit in with our next lesson.  When we came back the member was not there but this woman was so we taught her.  She is amazing! She talked to us about how she doesn't have much background in religion but how that she would like to learn more.  When we taught her about Joseph Smith and the first vision she told us "I feel something in my heart, something happy". We are excited to keep working with her and hopefully with more of her family.

The other miracle we had this week has to do with specific prayers. One saying that I have come to love on my mission is that "Specific prayers bring, specific answers". I can't remember who said it but I know it is true.  So we have this potential we met a couple weeks back. She was super nice and seemed interested in the message. She wouldn't set up an appointment but said to come back.  Over the last few weeks we have tried every time we were in that area. The problem is though is that they have a gate, and it is always locked. Also her telephone number was not working...finally we decided that in order to get into this house we needed a miracle.  We said a prayer and asked that the next time we passed by that she would have forgotten to lock the gate and that we would be able to get in.  The next night we had the chance to go by. I decided in the car that even if it looked locked I would try the lock just to see.  As we went up to the gate though we saw that it was closed but not locked.  Finally we were able to knock on the door and were able to talk to her.  It turns out that she had not been able to pay her phone bill, which was why she could not answer our calls or get back to us but she said that she was happy to see us.  We talked with her, left her a Book of Mormon this time, and talked about coming back.  As we were getting ready to leave she made the comment "That is weird that you were able to get in, I always lock the gate but tonight I must have forgotten." Coincidence? I think not! I know that it was an answer to our prayers. I have seen that so many times on and before my mission.  It takes more faith to ask specifically but I know that God answers our prayers if they are good honest desires.  If we ask for general things we are always only going to get general answers.  And we wonder sometimes we feel so frustrated that our prayers aren't being answered? 

It is like in the story of the brother of Jared and the stones.  He had a problem (needed light in the barges), however he did not just go to the Lord and ask, "Hey can I get some light in the barges?" No, he thought it out, came up with a solution and then asked a specific question "Will you touch these stones that I have prepared and give them light?" (paraphrased). It is then that the miracle happened. The brother of Jared saw the Lord's finger and the stones received light. His prayer was answered.  I love the symbolism involved in seeing the Lord's finger.  Due to this specific prayer, the brother of Jared had no doubt that it was the Lord answering his prayer. I would say that it is the same with our specific prayers.  I know that when I receive specific answers to my specific prayers I have no doubt that it is God answering my prayer. Those things just don't happen by luck. 

I hope that we can all have the increased faith to ask God for the specific blessing that we need in our life and then the faith to act accordingly to what we have asked.  As we do so I know that we will see an increase of miracles in our lives and an increased knowledge of the love that God has for us as his children.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!


Hermana Carpenter

p.s. Here are some photos from the dinner we had with Socorro this week. She is the sweetest. I am so excited for her and her upcoming baptism. Isn't she just glowing?

Miracles in McDonalds (Feb 1)

Hey Everyone!

Well this transfer is in full swing and I can already tell it is going to be a good one.  We have already seen so many little miracles this week.

One such miracle happened in McDonald's of all places. Wednesday we had been out street contacting all afternoon after about 3 hours I need to use the restroom and we needed a little change of pace so we decided to go to McDonald's, use the restroom and get an ice cream cone. As we walk out of the restroom to get in line, Hermana Water's yells "Socorro!" I turn around and there is our investigator sitting there finishing up her meal and studying English.  But wait, that is not all.  I also then see this guy in the background waving at us like he knows us (I had no idea who he was). He comes up and talks to us and it turns out that he is a member that hasn't been to church in years.  He had been through a lot but told us that he wanted to change his life around and he knew that he needed to go back to church. He asked if we could help him out.  We got his information and told him that that missionaries in his area would be contacting him shortly.  He left McDonald's quite happy.  We then were able to have a little lesson with Socorro and get on our way.

There were a lot of little things like that hat happened throughout the week.  We added a lot of new investigators as well as received A LOT of referrals.  I think we got more referrals this week than we got all of last transfer. The Lord is blessing us.

We then ended the week with a wonderful stake conference that was Presided by Elder Gary Sabin. It was just one of those conferences where I felt like I received answer after answer after answer. The spirit was so strong. I know I wasn't the only one to feel it either. After the conference we went over to ask Al how he liked the conference, he was glowing.  He was smiling and he said that it was so good. Knowing that he had been able to feel the spirit made me so happy.  

Now I have been to a lot of stake conferences, some that I thought were great, like this one, and others that I walked out of pretty much the same as I went in. As I was thinking about this stake conference in comparison to many of the other stake conferences I asked myself what made this one different than the not so good ones.  Was it the speakers? Maybe, but I'm sure many of those other stake conferences had good speakers as well. While I pondered on it I was thinking about when I actually have the most spiritual experiences and it came down to that I almost always have those experiences when I go into my studies, church, conference, whatever it may be, with a specific question or concern in mind.  Whenever that happens I feel the spirit and the revelation flows.  

What I am talking about here is the difference between being a passive participant and an active participant in any spiritual experience.  Moroni 10:4 says "and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost." The key thing in here if we want truth, or spiritual knowledge is that we have to do something. We have to ask, with a sincere desire to receive and act upon the answer. Joseph Smith did not just happen upon God the Father and Jesus Christ while taking a nice nature walk through the forest. He prepared, he studied, he wanted to know, he went to the forest, he asked. then he received an answer.  

How often do we find ourselves bored in church or while reading the scriptures? If it is often might we pose ourselves the question, "What am I bringing to this meeting, or this study in form of my desire to know something?" I know that the more I bring to the table the more I receive. The spirit gives to us based off of our righteous desires, not just simply because we are doing the right thing or in the right place.  This is something I am constantly trying to improve.  I want to learn and grow but it takes work. 

I hope you will all think about how you can better your spiritual experiences by thinking about what more you can bring.  

I hope you all have a wonderful week!


Hermana Carpenter

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Warpenter is a Go

Well, another transfer has come and gone which means we got transfer calls yesterday. We got the news that Team Warpenter is a go.  Both Hermana Waters and I will be staying here in Modesto for another transfer. I also got released as a sister training leader which means I get to spend my last two transfers as a normal missionary.  I am so grateful for the time I had as a sister training leader, I learned so much.  I am grateful though that I will not have that burden on my shoulders.  It has been hard not being able to dedicate all my time to my area. I don't know what I am going to do with all of the extra time we are going to have. Oh wait, I do. We are going to get on our bikes and find people!

This week was really good though. Hermana Waters and I have been working really hard on our teaching skills and teaching people and not lessons. One of my weaknesses is definitely letting my own knowledge get in the way of the spirit.  It is amazing to see how different the lessons go as we focus on their needs and letting the spirit guide the lessons.  We come out feeling so edified and with the peace that they actually understood the principle we were teaching and will be applying it in their lives.  We have been talking about all of our lessons afterwards, what was good, and what wasn't so good.  I think that has been a huge source of our growth over this transfer. It is hard sometimes because it is hard to admit that you didn't do well or that you need to improve. It gets a little bit easier each time.

In one of our studies this week we got on the topic of perfection and perfectionism.  The topic was started by Ether 12:27, one I know that many of us are familiar with. It says:

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

We talked a lot about the difference between having the appearance of being perfect and actually becoming perfect as the Savior commands.  We decided that the difference lays in this scripture and in recognizing our weaknesses in front of the Lord and in front of others.  Perfectionism is based in pride and becoming perfect is the opposite and is based in humility.  Interesting how Satan tries to twist that principle and make it something completely wrong.  I know that for a lot of my life many of my actions were motivated by what others were thinking of me.  It wasn't that I wanted to be seen as perfect but I didn't want to be seen as not being perfect, or somewhere close to it. We talked about how destructive that can be and how that that same mindset is what lead many of the Nephites to leave the church and lose their testimonies. I don't know where my perfectionist desires started but what I know now is that I do not want to be seen as being perfect.  I am not and nor will I be during this life time.  I know that it is only through humbling ourselves, recognizing our weaknesses, and striving to develop Christlike attributes that through him and his Atonement we can become perfect. When we obsess about being perfect, whether it be about how we look, sound, appear, then we really are denying the Atonement. If we were perfect we wouldn't need the Atonement.  

Each and every day I become more grateful for the weaknesses that my Heavenly Father has given me. I love them because through them I turn to him and to my Savior.  It is through this turning that I then gain access to the power of the Atonement and the power to change who I am.  I love the peace that comes when the only the only thing I have to worry about is what the Lord thinks about what I am doing and who I am.  I know that he will always be satisfied as long as I am doing my best and as long as I pick myself back up again after I fall.  Acknowledging our weaknesses is where the real strength is.

Life is good though. I can't believe I only have two transfers left.  My time is short and I just want to make the most of it. I hope that everyone is doing well and that you all have a good week. Love you all!


Hermana Carpenter

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Rollar Coaster

This week was a roller coaster.  It was a week filled with ups and downs but then again that is life.  

So we had zone conference this week which was really good. I got so much out of it.  My thoughts were turned to Charity.  I studied the correlation between charity and edification.  A lot of times I know that charity is correlated with what good things we do.  The Bible Dictionary says though that Charity is "The highest, noblest, strongest, kind of love".  The scriptures also talk about how charity will always lead to edification.  If we have charity we should be constantly looking for ways to uplift and edify, not tear down and demoralize.  Hermana Waters and I this week have been really trying to focus on our speech in respects to that.  We realized that we were making a lot more negative comments than we thought about other people, investigators, missionaries.  It's amazing though the difference in our mindset though as we focus on saying uplifting comments in place of negative ones.  It becomes much easier to feel that love for those around us as we do so because it enables us to focus on the good.

This came in handy as we encountered a couple of setbacks this week, especially with respects to our baptism.  Needless to say, it didn't happen.  One day but that day was not Saturday. It was disheartening, especially because we spent all week getting ready for it and we did not find out until the day before that it would not be happening. I know though that things happen for a reason and that even if this person was not ready for baptism, I know that we were able to help him come closer to Christ and start on that path that will bring him the joy that the gospel brings.

One of the high points of this week is that my investigator, Leslie, from Manteca did get baptized this week. It was a miracle we have all been praying for since July.  What added to that miracle though is that her husband also joined her in getting baptized.  It was amazing to see the change that had happened in both of them.  They were glowing.  After the ordinance Leslie got up and bore her testimony. She couldn't withhold the tears as she testified about the power of prayer.  You could feel the love she had for God and the gratitude that was in her heart for finally being able to take this step and to take it with her spouse.  They have great things ahead for them.

Life is good though.  The gospel is true! So grateful to be able to share it.

Hope you have a great week!


Hermana Carpenter

Thursday, January 14, 2016

15 Months

15 months what?!?!

Not so sure where those went. My companion and I calculated it.  On a 100 year life scale I am 82.5 in mission years.  That didn't really help me feel better about my situation, ha.

This week has been really good though.  I had some great exchanges with the sisters I am over and some great conversations with some of the others. I have learned so much from the interactions I have had from them.

One thing that I have really been learning and also had may experiences with is concerning the importance of counseling, listening, and asking inspired questions.  This is hard, I am still not the best at it, but every once in a while I get it right and the experience is always amazing.

I had one such experience with one of the sisters this week.  She called me wanting to talk but I could sense she wasn't actually saying what she wanted to say.  We started by talking about her day and I did my best to listen and then say what the spirit told me to say/ask.  I knew that they were inspired because the chain led me to ask something that was very far from where we started.  As soon as I asked the question though she gave a response I wasn't expecting and started to cry.  
We were then able to counsel about it and I was able to share some experiences I had had with the same thing.  She closed by saying "I have some things to think about. I'm just glad to know I'm not crazy". It broke my heart to know she had been feeling like she was alone in something that every missionary, and I would gather to say that every member of the church goes through at some point.  I remember feeling alone with it too at first.  It was a sweet experience to know that because I had listened and followed the spirit I was actually able to address her needs.  

I love this way of teaching and serving.  Every time I am able to create this atmosphere with the help of the spirit I am able to learn just as much as I share.  I am grateful though to be learning this pattern of leadership.  I know that it is the Lord's way.

I am excited to keep applying these principles and being able to see the Lord's hand in working with his children, me included.

This week should be a good one. We have a zone training and the wedding/baptism of Al. We're excited!  

Hope you all have a wonderful week!


Hermana Carpenter

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year!

I can't believe it is already 2016. Where did 2015 go?

This week I have been contemplating a lot about what it is I want to accomplish for this year.  What I want for the last 4 months for my mission and what I want to accomplish the rest of the year after I get home.

I loved the theme we had this week in Mission Leadership Counsel and Zone Training about distractions. I've been thinking a lot about that and about what distractions there are in my life right now and what things have distracted me in the past.  We talked a lot about how our distractions are rooted in pride.  For me much of that comes in the form of fear.  Fear about what others will think of me, fear about not being good enough, fear about not knowing what is coming. The list could go on.  
As I have been contemplating my distractions I was lead to think about the concept of the prize and the price.  I would gather to say that most of us have some sort of prize we are seeking, whether it be spiritual or temporal.  As human beings we are driven by prizes.  Why do you think there is a promised blessing attached to every commandment that God gives? Anyway I have been pondering what the prizes are I am seeking and how with each one of those am I willing to pay the price? If I am not then what is the point of having that be in my vision? We are only ever going to achieve what it is we are willing to pay.  I have been thinking a lot about the price I paid to be here on a mission and the become who I am today.  I have paid quite a bit.  I then have been thinking about if I am willing to pay an even higher price, or even worse throw away what has already been paid to become distracted?  

We all experience trials in this mortal life. That is a given.  Those trials help us to get stronger, to prepare us for bigger mountains.  When those trials come though are we going to let them distract us? Are we going to let our pride get in the way of us moving forward and upward? 

As I was making a list of my distractions and what things I need in order to overcome them I kept coming back to the same three things: Faith in the Savior, Humility, and Repentance. So simple but yet so profound. I know that with these three things we can overcome any distractions the adversary trows at us.  This year my goal is going to be to improve these three things and to put of distractions and focus on the prize of eternal life and all that goes with it.

I hope you all have a wonderful year! I hope this helps as you each contemplate what your own goals will be for this year.

I love you all!


Hermana Carpenter

p.s. you should try replacing the word pride with distraction each time you encounter it in the scriptures. It is quite interesting.