Thursday, February 25, 2016

Family History

Hey everyone,

Sorry this is going to be a short increasing interest and desire to do family history work took up most of my emailing time. Basically I spent most of my time perusing 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