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.