Monday, April 20, 2015

This lovely week for Elder Carlton

​This week was a pretty interesting week. A lot of things happened and so now I get to share them with you. It started out with my encounter with a toko. They are about the size of my forearm so like a foot in length and are a lizard. So if you know me and my love for creatures of that sort you can prob imagine my love for it. I freaked out when i saw it and my companion just laughed and laughed at me.
This week was really fun with having to stay up and do laundry for 4 hrs. My hands were so raw. Not to mention that i was super tired the rest of the week and i just really wanted to be done with the days and come home and sleep. 

We started to cook some pretty decent meals now  so I think i will be starting to gain some weight back. Good thing but not good.

The area I am in is next to tacloban so it is an area that got hit by the typhoon. Still 2 years later it is still struggling to get back to how it was before. I met one of the members that had a sad experience with the typhoon. In the area I am assigned there were 8 deaths and out of those 8, 2 of them were from his family. His wife and his son died in the storm. I was almost in tears as he told the story of how much he loved them and how he wished he could be with them again. He said his wife was in the process of becoming a school teacher and how she loved to teach. Then he said that he knows his wife is teaching children in the spirit world.

These people here have such a strong testimony of the gospel and so do i. I really am glad that i have the knowledge that I do about the gospel. Especially the Atonement.

Sorry this is short. not a lot of time today to email. 

Love you all
 Elder Carlton

Monday, April 13, 2015

A week in April

HEY guys! This week was pretty awesome. We got to watch conference! Such a spiritual, uplifting time.

I really was touched by the talk about how music is the gospel and how we need to share it with others. When the prophet sustaining was going on and one person objected, my heart sank. I wondered in my head as to why someone would do something like that? Was it for laughs or to get a good kick out of conference? I don't know the reason as to why they did that but for me it really strengthened my testimony for me to know that we have a living prophet on the earth today. He is called of god and we need to head to his council. I sustain him and follow the council he gives.

This week was kind of a struggle with transfers and conference. We worked as much as we could in the time that we had available.
Its been a lot of fun walking every where. We have talked to lots of people as we walk. Even though it may take longer to get to our designated place we are planting seeds in people that may soon want to have the gospel in their lives.

Elder Magtanum and I are getting along really well. We have had a few things that we do differently and when one of us does it we look at each other and just laugh. Its still an adjusting phase, but when we can just laugh and accept another way of doing something we learn something that may be easier than how we would have done something or we learn that we can find ways to make things easier for people.

The work here is going pretty well. We have had a rough week teaching, but numbers are not important. Sure they show maybe how effective you were in the week statistically, but I learned this week that although we didnt have a ton of lessons. We still were able to bring people to Christ.

For the first few weeks of my mission I was under the impression that we had to have lessons to show how effective we are. Its true but the most important thing is bringing people unto christ. Maybe the circumstances were not appropriate to teach at that time so we would show our love and appreciation for them and ask for a time we could come back.

We visited so many people and invited them to conference and we tried to incorporate the He lives video into our teaching.

Its amazing how the lord works sometimes. When I got the assignment as district leader I was really shocked that I was being called to serve as district leader. I felt so unqualified and inadequate for this assignment.(still do) But as I thought about it, this is exactly what the lord wants. Someone who will rely on him to guide his people in the way that the spirit wants not in the way that the missionary knows everything and is just telling others what he knows, but in the way that the spirit directs.

Its funny how it all kinda works out. I had been praying for a way to better understand and recognize the spirit guiding me in teaching and where and what to do and my prayer was answered.
Hope all is well for all of you.
(or in waray ELDER CARTON)

Change is always the answer

This past week has been a really fun week for me. I had the opportunity to work with my branch mission leader for the week. He is a really funny guy. He is in his 30's so it made it a little awkward for me some of the times when we were at the house at night. He made me laugh so hard one morning when I woke up. He woke at like 5 and he just sat in his bed playing games on his phone. Well he forgot to turn the sound off so his shooting game was a nice awaking for me. I tried really hard this last week to visit everyone that I had ever come in contact with in the area and try to share something about the gospel with them. It was really fun to see the smiles I brought to some peoples faces.

Sad to say I have been transferred to a new area. I am super sad to leave San Isidro. I received a letter from my father and in it he talked about how you will always love your first area. It is the place where you learn to do missionary work. Where you first learn to love the people. He went on to say that it is always hard to leave at transfer time. It is so true. I really grew to love that area and to love everyone there. Even the water bill lady was sad to hear  that i was leaving. I only saw her 6 times. I was assigned there for about 6 months. 1/4 of my mission done and in the past. 

So transfers came and I am now assigned in Jaro. Its pronounced with the Spanish way like Jose. Made the mistake of saying it the american way. oops! My new companion is Elder Magtanum. He is Filipino. He is super funny and really loving. We are about an hour outside of Tacloban. Way better than the 7hr trip I had to make from my last area. I dont know much about the area yet. The apartment is really interesting. It is nice. Its totally an elders apartment. Not the cleanest thing but its good. No more laundry shop in the area so I will have to be doing all my laundry by hand now. 

We took a jeepney to the area and the people put my luggage on the top of the jeepney, didnt tie it down or anything. Sure enough i look out the window and see my suitcase go flying off the side. I think one of the miracles of a mission is that you are protected. Even the luggage. Nothing happened to the suitcase or anything inside. just a little scuff mark on top. The lord was really watching out for me. 

I got assigned as District leader in my new area. Im excited for the opportunity to serve others but I definitely feel the pressure.

Im doing well, im healthy and doing my best I can.

Love always,
Elder Carlton

March 30

So this week was full of all sorts of good things to tell. It started first with P-Day where we went to the beach and I got attacked by a monkey. Forgot to add that in last weeks letter. Then Monday night we headed back to our area to work. We taught one lesson to a Less active. It was a good lesson. He had a good time asking us lots of questions.
Tuesday we woke up and went to a Community Service Project where we helped a family pour cement to level out the floor in the house. I am glad that I had the opportunity to work in the hot sun before my mission. It really trained me to be able to work now  where the sun never goes away and you feel like the sun is never going to go away. We then had exchanges with the other elders in our district. While we were on exchanges we got to teach a family that is less active and bring the spirit into the lesson. It was really neat to see that they were able to feel the spirit and for them to really understand me because I still struggle with the language and really understanding people.
Anyways, we continued with exchanges Wednesday because we had to sleep in Allen that night. We got punted all day Wednesday. Every house we went to no one was home or they were busy, so it made it really hard for us to be able to teach anybody. We stopped at a hut that over looked the ocean and I said a prayer to please help us find one person that we would be able to teach. I was for sure that we would be able to find someone right after that. Well we didnt. We were on our way back home at night and we ran into a older member that is partially blind and was trying to find his way back home so we helped him find the way back home and the family invited us in to share with them. We felt prompted to share about the restoration so we did. Its amazing how the spirit works. I dont know why we shared about it or if it really had an effect on the people we taught but it was a lesson that we really had the spirit with us and I was really grateful for it. The restored gospel of Jesus Christ is really here on the earth today and I am so glad that i am apart of it!
Thursday we had zone conference! we talked about the missionary schedule and how important it is for us and how we can really have success as we follow it. 
Thursday night we slept in one of the other elders apartment. No rides going back to our area. 
Friday we traveled back to allen and we stayed for lunch then by the time we were ready to go it was pretty late so we came back and we went and supported some of our investigators at their high school graduation. They held the ceremony in English so it was really good for me. I understood everything! Everyone stood up to sing the national anthem and I stood up to find out that i was sitting in a pile of red ants. I got bitten pretty bad so my arm itches and is kinda swollen. haha. 
Saturday we had a CSP in one of the other areas and we helped  a family cut roots. It was alot like trimming bushes. Hard work. We were supposed to have interviews for our people getting baptized this coming saturday but we were late getting back and so we missed the interviews. 

The zone leaders were not very happy with us. mainly my companion because he acted like it was no big deal. 

My companion has not wanted to work at all this past week so our area has struggled a little bit. Long story short. He is no longer my companion. I have spent the past few days with the Zone leaders working in their area. Hopefully this week I will be able to go back and work!

This week was a week that I will remember from my mission. While we were in Zone Conference we talked about Easter and the new mormon message that has come out. Its called because he lives. It is really good! I hope all of you have the opportunity to watch it. 

Lastly, becasuse of the time difference I will not be watching conference live like most of you so please hold off on sending the talks and favorite quotes and things from conference till the next week. I will get to watch it the 11-12 of april. 

Love you all
Elder Carlton
- I got really sunburned this week. I look like a lobster
-I had ice cream almost every day this week!


 This week was a week worth remembering. It was filled with all kinds of stories to tell. But I only have a little bit of time so I will tell the story that I liked the best. So this week we had a district activity at some of the most beautiful looking water falls I have been to yet. It was so pretty. You could walk behind it and take some really good pictures. So I took a lot of pictures. Its better to have more than not enough. You can always delete pictures if you need too. So I took some really good pictures. It was really good. It is starting the summer season here so there is hardly any rain. Different than 4 months ago where the rain was never going to end. Well it's just the opposite here. It has been so hot. It feels like summer every day here. Its been crazy. I spent most of my week on exchanges in Allen this week. It was a lot of fun. I got to have a good missionary working hard all day experience! It was really awesome! Anyways, so the awesome story!!! So while I was on exchanges I finally decided to contact my mission presidents wife about this infection I have had for the past 2 weeks. So she told me to take picture and send it to her. So I did. I ejected my memory card from the computer and then I forgot to upload a picture so i plugged it back in. A little problem occured. My memory card said it had an error. So I tried it again and again. But nothing. If you havent picked up yet my memory card had been wiped. No pictures. It made my heart sink. I had taken over 2000 pictures and it was the first 6 months of my mission. Gone Just like that. So my companion at the time said lets go see if we can get it recovered. So we fould a guy that tried to recover it but he only could recover every other picture. It was like ugh. So sad. Then I remembered that I had backed up my pictures to my flash drive 2 weeks ago just to be safe. So I only lost pictures from like a week. Good thing. It was really a scary moment I freaked and was really sad that I didnt get to have all my pictures but as I thought about the situation I decided to look at the positve about everything. So it is with life. We have things that happen to us that we can not control or we can not fix or are just out of our reach to understand at this point in life. So it is our attitude that has to change about the way that we view every thing. We have the opportunity to change ourselves and the way we view the things that happen to us. This transfer has been really hard for me and has been a transfer of trying really hard to look at the positve of things and how I can adjust myself to make things work for the best of everyone around me. Para sa imo, how can you make the situation you are in better? Change your attitude!!! 
So for the update of the area I am in. This week we found out that if we tried really hard and taught a lot of lessons we could have 5 baptisms by the end of this transfer!! Crazy to think that we could have 5. One of the kids was baptized when he was seven. The mistake of the missionaries. They got the birthdate wrong. So he needs to be rebaptized. Then we have 3 kids from a family that I have been teaching for a while that are ready and a daughter of a part member that is ready as well. Although they are only children and are all under the age of 15 it is still neat to think that we will have those baptisms. The cool thing about all of this is that most of these baptisms are going to soon complete families or be in families where the gospel is strong and has a big part in their lives so Im not super worried about them going less active in the near future. So its been really neat teaching them. We actually get the opportunity tonight to teach them again. It cuts our P-Day short but thats a sacrafice that Im willing to make. Something else that is neat is one of our recent converts will have the opportunity to baptize them!
That sums up my week. Its been a rough time with the language but I am getting it. Maybe another few months and I will have it down. Just maybe!
Anyways, I hope that you are enjoying the letters Im sending. If there is stuff you want me to send that im not including then let me know. Transfer day is April 7. only 2 weeks away. Crazy how time goes.
Love always your favorite,
 Elder Carlton
Fun facts- It hasnt dropped below 85 degrees here at night. Super hot!
- Im turning into a red lobster. the sun here burns me really bad. not the nice tanning I got back home.
- I still have my super sensitve hearing at night so i hear everything. It great!

March 16

This week seemed to go by pretty fast. It started on monday where we
got to go to a waterfall. It was pretty cool. It was really neat!
Tuesday was Zone training meeting and we learned how to be better
preach my gospel missonaries. then wednesday was exchanges with the
zone leaders. IT was really neat to hear how the lord inspires some
people with things to say sometimes. I said goodbye to one of the
youngmen in my ward. It was really sad to see him leave for his
mission but i know that he is doing what he needs to do right now.
Sorry this is short. there really wasnt a lot that happened this week.
SO much of personal growth and development that I dont really know how
to explain through email. It was really neat for me! I am greatful for
the challanges that the lord gives me. It really is a pain but i know
that the lord will bless us for our obedience to follow what he has in
store for us. It really is hard especially right now for me to see
what the lord wants me to learn but I am willing to learn and keep
growing and being the best that I can be

March 9

Its been a month since my birthday!!! Its crazy how time flies. So this week I hit my six month mark. I am officially now past the 6 month mark!! It feel like it has been forever but at the same time it feels like it has been a week or 2.

This week was a week that was so awesome! I was able to go on splits with one of the branch missionaries and we did amazing things! We taught some really good lessons and had a blast laughing my head off the whole time! 

This week was really neat. It didnt feel like we taught a lot of lessons because some days we were punted ( being rejected all day long) but then other days we taught like 6 lessons a day! It was really neat.

We had the opportunity to go to the bukid (desolate place in the middle of nowhere). The middle of nowhere and do a community service project! We helped a family gather coconuts. It was a lot of hard work.
Did you know coconuts aren't really brown? That may sound like im stupid but i didnt know that before i came on a mission. 

I dont have something really fancy this week to talk about.

This past sunday we had 6 investigators at sacrament meeting. It was so neat to see them come to church. One of the investigators asked me after sunday school what it felt like to be baptized. I paused for a second and had to take a second to think about how to describe the feeling of being baptized. All I could think of was how happy I was when I was baptized and how I knew that it was the right thing. So I told her that and she got the biggest smile on her face. She said she wanted to have that feeling. Pretty neat! There is a rule in our mission that minors have to attend church for 4 months consecutive before baptism. So it means that she cant be baptized till June. Unless her parents are baptized then it can be 4 weeks. 

This upcoming week is going to hopefully fly by really fast. We have Zone Training meeting a party tmrw night. ( No its not a real part, Its an open house for Reyponz)

This week was good for spiritual insight for me. I have been studying the plan of salvation a lot this week and I came across the topic of the fall of adam and eve which led to adversity. As I thought about adversity this week I really came to understand Christ's Atonement for us. Christ faced a lot of adversity in his life. Then on top of it all he took upon himself all the sins of the world so we can return to live in the presence of Our Heavenly Father. As I thought about this and how through the adversities that Christ faced, he did it so he could understand each one of us.We have a father in Heaven who loves us very much. Through the times we struggle most he is there for us. At times it feels like he is the only person we can talk to. It feels like we are all alone and have nowhere to go. But this is only the thinking of the adversary and what he wants us to think. This leads to us making decisions that we regret and puts us in a state of misery that we feel like we can never escape. 

"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. (Mosiah 3:19, The Book of Mormon)

How true this scripture really is. The lord will throw challenges at us that we don't want to face. Challenges that we feel like will never end. We need to become like a child and submit our will to the fathers.

I know that things maybe tough for us right now at the moment but it is something that we need to do and endure and try to see what god needs us to learn. The message that I am called by god to serve is a message that can help us through our trials that we are facing. IT brings comfort and peace and joy to our lives. 

This gospel is something I love dearly and wish everyone would listen to it. It has changed my life.

Love always,
Elder Carlton 

Its March???

Its finally march which means that I have now been gone for 6 months. Wow. that time seems to have gone by pretty quick. Lots of struggles and challenges but lots of fun times as well.

I can think back to my first day in the MTC. I thought what the heck is my teacher speaking? Now I can carry on a conversation ok. Still dont know a lot of what is being said but I can get the gist of it. 

This week has been a perfect time for self-reflection. I had a lot of time to study this week. My companion is sick and he hasnt liked to go anywhere. he just likes to sleep and sleep and hopefully get better. 

We taught a few lessons this week. not a lot but some really good lessons. Its been neat to see the changes in people!

Our investigators close to baptism have t be pushed back. we have more to teach them than we have time for. 

Reyponz (one of the branch missionaries)  leaves for his mission next week. I am going to miss him so much. He is one of the coolest people ever. He doesn't like Americans but he loves me to death. He made a remembrance for me and in it he said he has appreciated all i have done for him. I will miss him and prob cry when he leaves. Especially now when we get along really well.

Its crazy to see the big change that has happened over the past 6 months here in this area. I think all they needed was a big smile to greet them all the time. Some people love it and others are like why is that guy smiling all the time. Its because i love the gospel of Jesus Christ and I want to share it with others.  

2 less actives are almost reactivated. I dont know if it was because of me or not but it has been so awesome to see them come back to church and work with us. 

I love this area. its hard and i want to change the situation I am in but then i think that I need to be here and keep learning and growing. 

Keep smiling!!!   :D :D :D:D:D:D:D:D

Love always
Elder Carlton