Monday, November 7, 2011

Hello again

Hi there, everyone! Our week was great as well, but as usual super busy.

I learned something funny last week: it's apparently very bad luck to give someone a clock as a gift. You never ever do that. It apparently sounds like a curse that you want the person to die. I don't quite get it, but some people take it very seriously. Seems a missionary once gave one of our investigators a clock because he said he had trouble getting up on time for church. He told us he was seriously weirded out by it.

By the way, I'm jealous of the fuji apples. Good fujis are really expensive here. Then again, I won't complain, because where in America can you find guavas or mangoes?

This week we had a meeting with Elder Gerritt Gong of the Seventy. It was a really great meeting, and he emphasized that all of us need to learn the first vision and the invitation for baptism word for word as it is written in Preach My Gospel so that we can tell them to investigators with power and feeling. "Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by one holding priesthood authority from God?" I also learned a lot about leadership, because he held a Q&A session at the end and one Elder asked exactly the question I wanted to ask--what makes a good leader, or what are some attributes I can develop in myself to be a more inspiring leader? Elder Gong didn't even say this, but the Holy Ghost brought to my mind President Monson. Have you ever heard anybody say they don't like President Monson? No. People will follow him to the ends of the earth for two reasons: one, they feel that he truly, completely, and honestly loves them, and two, because they trust him and believe that his counsel is inspired of God. So I really pondered that a lot and thought about how I can emulate him in any way.

This week we saw some miracles (there I said it again...) in finding. I went on exchanges twice in a row, both times bringing the junior companion to our area. It was an adventure, because I didn't really know the area very well still. However, with both missionaries we contacted a person who turned out to be really awesome and very well prepared to hear the gospel. One is a 19-year-old kid. He came to church on Sunday and heard the law of chastity in his first Sunday School lesson. I was kinda worried that he wouldn't take it well, but after church he told us how great he thinks it is, and he said "I learned an important truth today. I agree with this law."

The other guy is about forty-something and unmarried. He told us in our first meeting that he met with us because he wants to know his purpose in life. He said usually he comes home from work and smokes and drinks and watches TV until it's time to go to sleep, then he wakes up, goes to work, and repeats day after day. He felt like it was pointless and self-destructive, and then we happened to talk to him and invite him to come unto Christ and he accepted. I remember that contact. I saw him standing outside 7-Eleven and the Spirit nudged me to talk to him. I kind of rode past him and the Spirit pressed again (still very gently, but distinctly), so I hit the brakes and turned around, getting to him just as he was starting up his scooter and getting ready to go. Elder Haag, the Elder I was exchanging with, came over with me and we taught this man about the restoration of the one and only true church on the earth.

He set up to meet, and on Saturday night we learned just how prepared he is to receive the gospel. We introduced the Book of Mormon, and before we even had time to say we would give him one, he said, "Can I buy one from you? I really want to read it." Few things put a smile on a missionary's face like teaching somebody who's that willing and desirous to draw near unto God. It makes a thousand rejections worth it. It makes me feel like Aaron teaching the Lamanite king in Alma 22, when the king says "What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God...Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy." That's the mark of an honestly repentant soul. He's willing to pay any price to be reconciled with God.

I think the biggest challenge of being a zone leader is that I feel a strong personal burden to help my zone members succeed. When numbers are sinking, faith is diminishing. I want to be a good leader and rekindle the fire of faith in those I serve. I'm just not sure I know how. However, I have faith that Heavenly Father will be with me and will inspire me. He always has in the past. He's pretty reliable that way. ;)

Well, I'm basically out of time now. I love telling miracle stories, though. Miracles, miracles, miracles. They really build my faith. I think I said the word about five times in this one email. :)

I love you all so much. I love this work so much. I know that Heavenly Father is blessing all of us in diverse ways. He lives, and His Son Jesus Christ lives. I know they appeared to a young boy named Joseph Smith in a grove of trees. I'll talk to you all again next week!

Love, Carter

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