Monday, August 3, 2015

Week 43 - August 3 - Charleroi, Belgium

Month 11

Hey Fam,

This week has been pretty good!
The first Pday we had on Monday was pretty chill. There is like absolutely nothing to do here in Charleroi so we just kind of hung out in the apartment and watched the 2011 and 2012 general  conference's. On Tuesday we found a couple! First investigator of the white wash! Their names are Anatazi and Valeri. They are super solid. We taught them the restoration and they loved it. The  appointment lasted an hour and a half. and they told us to come over the following day to teach them again more stuff about it. 

Wednesday we taught Anatazi and Valeri again about  the Book of Mormon and watched a little bit of the restoration video and it went well. She said she wants to be baptised and she said she couldn't wait to go to church on Sunday. But she actually didn't end up coming... still pretty golden investigators though! After that we taught this super cool recent  convert named Tibault. We taught about trials and  why we are here on earth. 

On Thursday I went on an exchange with Elder Quist. it was a pretty good exchange. we taught a few  lessons and found a family that wanted us to give them and their kids English lessons. We told them  that we weren't permitted to do classes anymore but that we could come over, share our message and help them out a little bit with English. The mom was pretty pumped. 

Friday we passed by this super old members house  and he was there with his 19 year old grand  daughter. We shared with them a little bit of the restoration and told them how we know the church is true. The grand daughter liked it a lot so we set up another appointment to teach her again the following week. It was a miracle. After that we went over to a  Madagascar family in the ward and they fed us like 4,000 pounds of food. They were so nice and really  loved the missionaries over. The members here in  Belgium are all like that. 

Saturday we helped a guy move out of Charleroi to a safer place to raise his family in another part of  Belgium. He had a ton of stuff so we were there for like 6 hours. It was cool though, we were able to become pretty good friends with a dude in the ward that was helping him also. 

Sunday was so sick. The ward is by far the best ward I have served in. All the meetings and the lessons were so good and almost all the appointments with members we have this week were the members coming up to us to set the appointments! This city is super dumpy but the ward is sweet. These last 3 transfers have been flying by and I am learning so much. I thank God and my  family for giving me this opportunity to serve and to help me become the man I want to be. Love you guys!

love, Elder Carson

 Dinner with the District!

 The streets of Charleroi.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Week 42 - July 27 - Charleroi Belgium

My week in Belgium!!

This week has been super nuts man. I met my new companion and he is a Super nice guy.  We got white washed which means basically we have 0 investigators and 0 knowledge of the huge area that we are in. We walked like probably 25 miles already to find places.. maybe more. But it is a pretty good experience. The 40 members in the ward were so pumped that we were there on Sunday. In the sacrament meeting we went up to give our testimonies and introduce ourselves to everyone and when it was my turn to go up I just felt like this love for the ward and starting crying, telling them that I loved them and wanted to serve them and that I would do everything I could do to strengthen and grow the ward. The next two speakers after that talked about how grateful they are that they finally have good missionaries in the ward, and all the members came up to me after and told me how grateful they were for my testimony and that they would do all that they could to help us the missionaries out in our work. It was probably the most boss thing I have done on my mission haha.

The city that I am in right now is a strait up dump man.. ha like maybe the most ghetto places I have ever seen. But the food is amazing and the people are nice. I will send you pictures of what things they eat here. and also that boss guy Patrick is in the other Charleroi ward sadly... He is so cool though. He picked us up with all of our bags at the Train station and brought us to our apartment. He apparently takes us places on P-day.
Love you!

Love Elder Carson
This thing that I am eating is called a Meetriette (Machine gun) it is a giant baguette filled with a ton of meat, fries, veggies, and like a gallon of their special sauce. It was amazing. That will probably the last one I will ever eat though.. I was so full and I don't want to get fat in Belgium like I heard every other missionary that comes here does.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Week 41 - July 20 - Transfer week to Belgium

                   Hey Fam,

This week was pretty nuts! Monday we went and played the worst sport in the world (soccer) and my comp got pretty hurt in the shin and he thinks a ligament is torn or something so that sucks but he is still grindin' so that is good. If I had to sit in the apartment all day for like three days like I had to when my second comp was sick I would go nuts. Hopefully everything will be fine.

Thursday we got to teach this crazy African women named Terreza. She was like the nicest gentle person I have ever met, but when she started talking about Jesus she was like literally yelling her testimony, it was kind of hard not to laugh but I kept it in. After that we taught a young 12 year old boy named Jenisse who is the son of a less active guy in our ward and it was a super cool experience. We
taught him the plan of salvation and he was super interested in it. He said he really wants to know if it is true and wants to feel the spirit. super cool kid.

Friday we went to a huge family's house in the ward and it went super well. One of their kids is less active and their family just hates each other. We talked about the Book of Mormon and what it can do for them if they read it every day as a family. We asked all of them to share their testimonies of the Book of Mormon and not a single one of the kids had a testimony. We were able to share our testimonies of the Book of Mormon and how it changed our lives. I was tearing up pretty bad and the dad was crying. Super cool experience. I really hope we helped that family out a lot.

Saturday we taught our most solid investigator Kevin. We taught him about baptism again and asked him if he received an answer that the Book of Mormon is true and he said yes. He said when he prayed one night before bed and was impressed to look in the Book of Mormon. It was a scripture that really touched him and answered his prayer. We set a baptismal date for the 8th of August, and he is pretty excited.  Also that day we got the news of who is going where for transfer day and I am going to a place in Belgium called Charleroi! My new comp will be Elder Shenkal and we will be white washing the city also, so it will be interesting.. I also heard that it is the most ghetto scary city in the mission so I might not make it back alive.. jk mom.

love you guys!

love, Elder Carson

Monday, July 13, 2015

Week 40 - July 13 - Nantes

                Bon Jour Famille

What's up guys!  This week was pretty sweet!  On Monday we played some basketball with one of our African investigators,Terrance and the other Nantes Elders. It was a while since the last time I played some B-ball. After that I bought a sick french suit for 130 bucks so that people wouldn't laugh at my giant
American suit anymore..

Wednesday we went to one of the members houses that has been going through a divorce and we shared with him the video "The Refiner's fire" and told him that God gives us these tribulations and difficulties because he wants us to progress and learn. I have learned on my mission that one of the main purposes of this life is to learn. And one of the ways we learn is having hard times and tribulations in life. God really does love us and he wants us to become like him one day. But in order to become this perfect, all knowing God, we must obtain all the wisdom and knowledge that we can to have a head start going into the next life. This principle that I have learned on my mission has given me the desire to learn and experience as much as I can.

Thursday we taught a new investigator named Anderson and his story is nuts. He is from Cameroon and he doesn't have a family. He said that he was a slave in Egypt for like 8 years. In order to get here he said he crossed a desert for 2 weeks without any food or water and almost died. He also never went to school so he doesn't know how to read and write. The first appointment we had with him we just watched the restoration video on the Ipad and he really liked it. Without the Ipad he wouldn't have had been able to understand what we were trying to explain because he doesn't understand well. This guy is super cool though. He told us that he just wants a peaceful life and he wants to be a good man, but he just doesn't know how. We then bore our testimonies of how the gospel has brought so much joy to our lives and how it has made us the good men that we are today. He is super excited to learn more of the gospel and Jesus Christ.
Also that day we had another super important appointment that night that I was super nervous for because it was a members boy friend that believed in god that wanted us to answer some of his questions about Joseph Smith. I prepared spiritually as much as I could the week before to be able to have the spirit there with us as we spoke and it was one of the most spiritual lessons I have given on my mission.  Everything was so smooth. Every question he asked we answered perfectly and the french that I was speaking was the best I have spoken on my mission. It really was the spirit that was teaching the lesson through us.

Saturday was super sweet. We first taught this Muslim guy named Ishmael from Russia who spoke English. It went super well. We taught him the plan of salvation and he was super open and potentially the nicest person I have ever met in my life. I really had a different view of Muslims from that day on, because before I met him I really just did not like Muslims and their culture at all. I thought they
were all just mean, bitter and don't actually live the principles that they teach in their religion but there really are some good Muslim people.
Later that day we found a gold mine. While we were knocking doors one day, we found this giant African food store with millions of Africans talking outside of it, so we went in for like 2 hours and talked to some Africans about god. It was probably the highlight of my mission. We are just going to go over there now every day to teach Africans and get recipes for African food. One of them invited us over to make these African dress things called Boo Boos for us and eat some famous food from Africa called foo foo next week. Super pumped.

One last cool thing that happened that week is that on Sunday we went over to this guys house and taught him and his wife the restoration and they are super interested. We showed them part of the restoration video and brought our money African member to come with us and teach.  It went super well and I think they have a ton of potential.

Our boy David still has his baptismal date and is really starting to grow a testimony of the church.

Love you guys!

love, Elder Carson

 Me and Elder McBride at the Beach.

My District at District meeting.

 Playin ball with the Elder's and our Investigator!

 Elder McBride and I playing Ball.


Monday, July 6, 2015

Week 39 - July 6 - Nantes


This week was pretty good.

Monday we set two baptismal dates and taught a sick african family with a member. The first baptismal date we set was for a guy named walter. He comes from central africa and he speaks fluent English. He
understands super well and keeps all of the commitments we give him. He calls us like every day to see how we are doing and sets appointments with us. He is definitely goin' in the water.

The second one is a dude from Nigeria named David. He is a super cool dude. We had to explain every principle we taught him out of the Bible, but he believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that we are the only church on the earth with the priesthood of god. The only problem is that he can only speak english so church is hard for him.
We had to translate for him the whole time and I don't think he had the most spiritual experience. He said that church was pretty good though so we'll see.

The other appointment we had that night was super sick. We met this one guy on the tram a while back called Moise and said that he wanted us to come by his house some time. So we took this sweet African
member with us to his house and when we got there he had 4 kids, a wife and a friend over. We taught the Book of Mormon and it went super well. He still has a lot of questions but they have a lot of

Tuesday we went to zone conference and it was pretty sweet. We had a training on the Ipads and then we got Ipads at the end of the meeting. Originally we were supposed to get individual ipads but I guess someone stole one hundred Ipads from the mission office the day before the conference so now each companionship shares one Ipad. They just
ordered some more so that we can have one for each missionary but Ivthink it will take a while. The Ipads have been so nice. We have been showing super good Mormon Messages to everyone. It has been working super well. We have had some muslims and catholics that were super closed before we showed the video, but after the video they are open with us and we end up having a really good conversation and get to bare our testimonies. Usually we show the video "Because of him". I'ts so good. God is so smart.

Friday we got to help a non member move. She had so much stuff and we were there like almost all day. She was so thankful and super nice. We didn't get to share with her anything, but I hope we will get to
another time. We are going to try and knock on her door one day to see if we can share a message with her.

That is about all that happened this week! love you guys! I will send pics.

love, Elder Carson

 The Beach with Elder McBride!

                            Our new Ipads!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Week 38 - June 29 - Nantes


 This week was pretty good. Last Monday we went to a super cool beach called "Le Baule" about an hour train ride from Nantes. There was like no one there. Just some old people and a ton of condos. We hung out there, ate some crepes, and walked like the whole beach. Sounds pretty gay but it was pretty fun. haha

This week we set two baptismal dates with a guy named Jhislain and a guy named David. Jhislain is a pretty cool African. He is a super smart guy working as a nurse in the hospital of Nantes. We taught him the Restoration and he liked it a lot so we set the baptismal date the first appointment. It was pretty cool. David is a Nigerian that only speaks English and he loves the bible. He told us that if it is in the bible he will believe us. So we brought with us a Nigerian member in our ward who served in Nigeria and knows the bible like the back of his hand to come and prove the things we said in the bible and it went super well. He came to church the following Sunday and he said it was pretty good. We are teaching the Book of Mormon to him tonight and the Nigerian member said that it is the hardest lesson teach to Nigerians, so we will see how that goes.

Our recent convert Laure is doing super well. We had her teach to us the whole plan of salvation and she did super well. She backed up each principle with a scripture from the Book of Mormon and explained everything perfectly, and at the end she bore her testimony of the Book of Mormon and the plan of salvation. Sick appointment.

Our blind less active Pedro from Congo, Africa is doing pretty well also. We decided to center our lessons more towards his 14 year old kid named Joao. He is a stud. He helps his dad do everything because he is blind. he makes every meal for him, cleans the house, and goes with him everywhere he wants to go holding his arm directing him so he doesn't have to use a blind cane. We taught about having good friends and reading the scriptures every day to help us make good choices. He shared an experience with us about his friends making wrong choices and how hard it is to make good choices around them. But he bore his testimony about the happiness he has when he obeys the commandments. We bought him some really nice scriptures with a leather scripture case with our testimonies inside and a picture of me, Elder McBride and Joao. I think he will like it a lot.

This week I also started this thing called "purification of the soul". It is basically a 40 day fast from all the things that could be even remotely hindering the spirit for 40 days, and he gives the promise that if you do the 40 days you will not have the envy of doing it any more. he says to start the 40 day fast, you fast from food and water for 24 hours to know what you should write in a list of things that could be hindering you from the spirit and to give you strength to accomplish the fast. So I am starting that today. I'll keep you guys updated on how it goes. 

love you guys! thanks for all the support!

love, Elder Carson

(A letter written by a Stake President to his children in the Mission Field. This talk is also known as the “40-Day Missionary Fast talk. Take it as you wish.)

One day, a member informed us that he had an investigator that was ready to be taught and he volunteered to attend the first discussion. The discussion went along as usual. At the conclusion my companion and I bore witness of Joseph Smith and then turned to our friend. He paused for a moment, looked at the young lady and said, “I know that Joseph Smith was and is a Prophet of God.” The room was filled with an extraterrestrial force. The investigator started to cry.
As we walked home, I was baffled. That man said the exact same words that we had said, but the result was dramatically different. When he spoke, he had an influence that we did not have. There was no question that the influence was the Holy Ghost, but this man seemed to have it in a different way. There was still something to be learned. I had to find out what the secret was, so I returned to the scriptures. It seemed like we were so close to being effective and yet we just could not make it happen.

A Challenge to Purify

After several weeks of searching and praying, we attended a meeting and heard a well known Church leader. He spoke about the scriptures as a source of strength and about the process of spiritual influence. His words caused a burning in my soul. When he finished his address, I intentionally lingered behind. When I was finally alone with this man, I asked him for a few moments of his time. I explained my desire to be effective. I told him about the lesson I had learned. I told him that something was still missing. Finally, I asked him if he could tell me what it was.
He looked into my eyes and said nothing. Nearly a minute went by and I began to feel very uncomfortable. Finally he spoke. He said, “Elder, when those pretty young ladies pass you on the street, what do you think about?” Before I could answer, he asked, “Do you ever speak sarcastically to your junior companion?” “Do you get up at the designated time every morning?” “Do you keep every mission rule?”
His list of questions grew longer. Finally he said, “These are the things that keep the Holy Ghost from being your companion. If you want the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, then you must purify yourself. I will tell you how to do it. Go home and fast for a day. In the attitude of fasting and prayer, make a list of every behavior that pokes at your spirit. Once you have made your list, then go to the Lord. Covenant with the Lord that you will fast from the things on that list for 40 days. In other words, for 40 days, you will do nothing that appears on that list.
“You cannot just stop the old behavior and start the new ones. You need the help of the Lord. So each morning, go to the Lord and specifically promise Him that you will start each item on the list. Ask for His help so you can have extra strength and then, at night, go over your list with the Lord. If you failed on some items, figure out why. Tell the Lord. Ask for more strength the next day. Go through the process for 40 days. If you do, you will find that your most basic desires will change. Your spirit will flourish and the Holy Ghost will become your constant companion. You will become an effective tool in the hands of the Lord.”

The Process of Purification

We went home determined to make the concept work. We began to fast and we began to make a list. It proved much harder than we assumed it would be. I would pray and then I would feel impressed to write down some item. Then, arguing that there was nothing wrong with the particular thing, I would fight the impression. For example, I felt impressed to put golf on the list. My response was, “There is nothing wrong with golf. We only play on preparation day.” I ignored the fact that on the other six days, my mind continually dwelt upon how to play better. I wrestled with the Spirit and then finally wrote golf on the list. It is interesting that from the moment I wrote it on the list, I experienced the most intense desire to play golf. Everywhere I turned, there was some reminder, some temptation to break the commitment. So it was with each item on the list. Each day, I had to fight all my natural inclinations and turn to the Lord for the help necessary to overcome myself. Sometime between the 30th and 40th day, I suddenly realized that my desire for the things on the list had disappeared. It was as if a great anchor had been cut from me.

The Process of Surrender

The last morning, my companion and I knelt in prayer and then started out the door. I was impressed to go back and again pray. With unusual confidence, I addressed the Lord, “Father, these are thy children. We are now doing everything within our power to live the gospel. We turn the burden over to Thee. Please carry us the rest of the way.”

The Gifts of the Spirit

We went to our first appointment. Halfway through the discussion, our investigator began to make an excuse that he could not be baptized, because he did not believe that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. I interrupted him. “That is untrue. You do know that Joseph Smith is a Prophet. Your real fear is that your mother will disapprove if you join the Church. In the name of Jesus Christ, I promise you that your entire family will embrace the Gospel because of your courageous example. The Lord wants you to be baptized now and it is necessary that you comply.” I never before had done anything like that. In fact, I knew nothing about his mother. He had hardly mentioned her. While I could hardly believe what I had said, a familiar spirit filled the room. This brother began to weep. He committed to be baptized the following Saturday.
The experience repeated itself. At our very next meeting with each investigator, there was a celestial manifestation and everyone one of them was committed to baptism. In an eight-week period, sixteen people were baptized. It was an unusual number for our mission. While the number of baptisms was large, the truly impressive thing was the change in my companion and I. We were different people. Our most basic desires and motives had been altered. Credit and recognition were no longer of any consequence. For the first time in our lives, the things of God were more important than the “things of this world and honors of men.”
Our sensitivity deepened. We noticed how often we would cry. Several times a day we would be brought to tears by a prayer, a talk, a discussion, a scripture, or almost anything would deeply touch us. Our concern was continually focused upon others. For the first time, we could understand Nephi’s claim, “For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night” because of them. We could understand the statement because for the first time, we could understand Nephi’s motives.
The Holy Ghost became our constant companion because our motives had changed, because we had an eye single to the glory of God, the Lord could trust us and we experienced the power of the Priesthood and became effective tools in his hands.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Week 37 - June 22 - Nantes

He just wrote a personal letter this week.

Mom and dad,
Hey I don't have a ton of time because we just got back from the beach. It was super cool.
The beach that we went to was so rich. There was like these crazy super sweet cars there and super nice houses right next to the beach. There was like no one there either. It was super calm with like only old people.

The mission is so great. I can't believe how much it has changed my life already. Its been hard but I have learned so much. In every ward I go in I work with and bear my testimony of the mission and the gospel with the young men in the ward because I know how much it can help them.
The other day I thought about what kind of person I was before the mission and how far I have come, and I have come so far man. it is nuts. Thank you for raising me up in the gospel and encouraging me to go on a mission. Love you guys!
love, Jax