Thursday, January 30, 2014

Week 19

Hey Guys!!!  I can’t tell you enough how grateful I am for my family
and for you guys!  I love you all so much and miss you all like crazy.
I have to say though I feel settled in and feel at peace with this
whole mission deal.  I was thinking about it today as I washed my
clothes by hand and as I have taken bucket baths, ate fufu and done
many more African things is how it all feels normal now.  I am used to
not having certain American foods or drinks and used to the living
conditions as well in Africa!  I can honestly say that it’s starting to
feel like home.  I have thought how weird it will be when I go home
and have to adjust back to the American lifestyle I know you guys will
give me a hard time which is all right but it won’t be as hard as
adjusting to Africa.  Thank you for the emails I always love Mondays
and reading them, I really love the dear elders when I start missing
home I just read those and I feel like I’m actually talking with you in
a sense! It amazes me because while serving your heavenly father on a 
mission it seems that the reason they take away all of these worldly 
distractions is to just rely on the Lord only!  Seriously he is the only person that I
look to it seems because quite frankly I can’t call and get advice
from my parents so it’s just Him and I have really gained a testimony
of prayer!  He has blessed me with comfort and with the mindset to
realize that he knows what is in my heart and he knows my desire to
serve him with all my heart, mind, and strength!  Now however I am
fully settled in so I don’t have to worry about anything else besides
serving him so that is nice! This week though it amazes me how my mentality has
changed from a worldly perspective to an eternal one. I don’t really
care about much of this worldly crap but I focus on my family being
sealed here on earth and living with you all forever as perfect
beings.  I am so thankful for the both of you being worthy to partake
of this ordinance and to know that we will be with each other forever
and ever!!!  This week though I figured even though I can’t share
something about my investigators is to share with you something that I
have learned!  That is the importance of Faith!  As we know faith is
things hoped for which are not seen (heb 11:1)  but I like the
description Alma uses in Alma 32:34 as to not have a perfect knowledge
of things but to hope for things that aren't seen which are TRUE! 
There is one thing I know that men aren't perfect but God
is and this is the true church of Jesus Christ and the teachings are
perfect!  I know without a doubt in my mind that this is the true
church and that we will live and see our families forever.  However a
very important thing we must do is exercise our faith as well as alma
describes in Alma 32 37-38 .  I know that I haven’t been the best
example of this throughout my life but I now know the importance of
it!  Truly as I read the book of Mormon every day I learn something
new and I feel I can answer almost any life questions people have
right out of that book!  What a great privilege and blessing we have
to have the Book of Mormon in these latter Days!  Well it’s not to long
but I feel I need to share a quote that I love from president Uchtdorf
he said Our destiny is not determined by the number of times we
stumble but by the number of times we rise up, dust ourselves off, and
move forward.  No one is perfect and we all stumble but it’s
how we bounce back ha dang I love that quote!  I am so excited for
this week though to meet elder Bednar and Elder Clayton.  We will
leave Wednesday and stay the night in the temple apartments with AC,
and WARM Showers haha I’m so excited!  As well we are planning on going
to shop rite and which means I may be able to get a mountain dew ha
it’s hard to believe that I haven’t had American food or a dew in 4
months but it is going fast.  Like I said I don’t know whether to be
happy or Sad with how fast it is going, I know when the day comes I
will be sad to remove my name tag but so happy to hug my family again.
It will be the biggest bitter/sweet moment in my life!Thank you so much for the prayers
and the support!  Dad know that I am safe and that I am always aware
of my surroundings and listening to the spirit!  I have been prompted
many times to just move from a certain location or to not go to a
specific house and to this day I don’t know why but I am always
listening and discerning from my feelings.  Thank you for the advice
dad.  If you have any more concerns or worries please ask as many
questions as you can!!:)

I love you all so much and miss you all tons, I think of you all
daily.  Please continue to be safe and do what is right!  I am proud
to be a Carson!  Give thanks daily!!:)

Love you all Tons!!
Elder Carson


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Week 18 continued

Etesen family!! How are you all doing?  I am doing so good haha im
just killing it out here in Ghana haha I have to say I almost feel
like this is my home it’s kind of different haha and these are my
people!  I am sorry that I didn’t get to email you yesterday very well
but we had a zone activity and then had some errands we had to do
after and by that point the cafe was closing down!  You all sound
great I can’t believe the weather is this out of wack something is up.
I am a little nervous about it but know that you are always in my
prayers. Dad I am glad you are able to stay busy while you can’t
snowmobile dang it get that ole plane fixed up!  Mom I can’t believe the
school year is half way over what the heck its flying by I was just
talking with elder dike and I would have been out 4 months
yesterday...haha its flying.  I am glad the boys were able to come and
visit they are a handful but I miss them a ton I am glad you were able
to see them and they have the desire to serve their heavenly father.
I always pray every day Father if there is one thing I would want in
return for trying my best in this mission would be to bless my family.
So I am glad that lord is keeping up with his end of the bargain like
I know he would! 

This week though we were able to do a little service for the church they
cut down a bunch of trees on the church premises.  So we chopped the
wood (African style) and moved them up this hill!  I think I mentioned
last week how they did it but we did more of it haha they get a piece
of steel, place it on the log and then use a big hammer looking thing
and hammer it in until it splits haha its just different.  L wasnt
around this week dang it so we weren't able to teach her.  However our
investigator S came to church and we extended him a date so that
marks 3 times visiting church and he accepted it with great desire so
I think we will baptize him next week.  Again this isn't me doing all
the work with my investigators it’s the lord and the Holy Ghost.
Literally the Holy Ghost just does all the work and I just speak with
as much love as I can!!  Ha I got a haircut and Africans lol they don’t
know how to cut white man’s hair haha so basically I have a mullet lol
so I proselyted with a mullet lol it’s funny the boys in the zone were
laughing at it when they came down!  Jonesy said I look freaking old
though it’s funny the Africans think I’m in my thirties for the most
part and married so I always have to clear that up right away and some
still don’t believe I’m 19!!   I don’t think I have mentioned before but
it’s kind of different most of our lessons take place outside at least
for me!  You contact a house and they bring out chairs or stools and
you teach it’s so cool I love it but it doesn’t really give you a rest
from the heat!  You really have to work smart in this mission because
you don’t want to be out in the sun too much so you have to work
diligently!  Dang this is random but I love the pineapple here and
man I love fufu it’s so good!
I wanted to let you all know though that I am so proud of the family!
I wouldn't change this family for anyone else’s. I love you all tons! 
A message I wanted to share with you this week is something
that has helped.  Personal study is so important and truly I have
been inspired to study something and literally will teach that same
thing usually not that day but within the week it’s wild.  I had a case
last week I shared with you Nephi and how he didn’t murmur and that was
something I studied on Saturday well I taught that to my recent
convert family on Wednesday ha the lord works in mysterious ways.
Well again I have really come to understand the importance of
patience.  When I was going through trials and obstacles I learned how
important this is!  In the book of alma when alma and Amulek, or alma
the younger, or anyone else in alma was going through a hard time the
lord would always say bear with patience (alma 26;21)  and I will
grant unto you success.  Never does the lord say okay your trial is
gone but he always says bear with patience and I will ease those
burdens. I have come to realize that Heavenly Father has a plan much
greater than we can understand which reminds me of the scripture in
Isaiah 55, 8-9!  Part of that plan is for us to be tested, maybe to
the point where we might quit but if we bear the trial with patience
he will surely grant unto us success and show us the light at the end
of the tunnel!  Overall we have to rely on faith and trust in the lord
and he will direct our paths which is one of my favorite scriptures
Proverbs 3, 5-6,  if we have faith in him and his plan for us I
promise that he will deliver us out of our trials.  I know he answers
our prayers, and he I know one thing he loves us beyond our
I forgot to tell you though we have water but it doesn't fill up our
polly tank as fast as it used to I think because when they dug it, it
was rainy season and now its dry season so we don’t have as much water.
 It has rained small so I hope we can get more water but I’m back to
bucket baths, I truly love them though I get my music going, sit on a
stool and just listen to music, ponder the day, and take my bath haha!
 As well for dishes we fetch water than put bleach in the water to
kill all the germs and then wash the dishes haha don’t worry though I
am getting an iron stomach and I am striving to be positive every day
and find the joy in the work every day!!

Family I love you all beyond any word to describe!  I miss you all
like crazy and am so proud to be a carson!  I sent dad a birthday card
and some letters so dad don’t open it until your b-day!  Be safe!!

 Tell aunt Melissa thank you for the email they always build
me up and I am thankful for her!!:)  It was great elder dike and I
went and saw mommy B and the girls and the youngest son g
on Wednesday and Saturday!  Well it was so much fun we played games
and shared spiritual thoughts with them.  Mommy prepared us rice and
stew both days and we really had a great time we spent almost three
hours there on Saturday and the girls were asking mommy B if
we could stay until 10 haha dang I love. It was crazy though 
Elder Wall and Sister Well came down and
they brought an extra frying pan and they didn't mean to but I was like
I will take it and so they gave it to me.  Following that we went
right to B’s house and I had the pan and g looked in the
bag when I was inside and showed mommy well she is such a humble
person and told him to return, but anyway as we were leaving g
pulled it out again and mommy said g Chii (stop) (sp?) and put it
back well I came to realize that they needed a frying pan so I was
like mommy please take it we don't need it!  She rejected many times
but I then just took it and put it in her house!  I could tell she was
overwhelmed with gratitude and elder dike and I came to realize that
she needed a frying pan!  I think that the lord knew maybe that she
needed a frying pan and that it maybe was an answer to her prayers but
overall I am glad that I gave it to her!  I love giving!  It was great
though we were really enjoying and having a great time and then after
the spiritual thought elder dike and I gave we realized that fast
Sunday is coming and so we felt that they should all bear their
testimonies so we all bore our testimonies and it was great we were
like who should go first and mommy stood up, fast, and happy and said
I will dang I was so happy!  I was crying as the girls and mommy bore
their testimonies, and then I helped g bear his he is only 7
years old and it went great!  Mommy said elder Carson will you come
back and baptize g?  I wish I could but they need to develop
relationships with different missionaries, and more importantly
members so when I leave they will still stay strong recent converts!
The girls testimonies went we didn't think this church was true, we
were always told this church wasn't true but then they said as the
missionaries taught us and we began to pray we knew that it was true!
It was so powerful here these 12, 10, 13 year old girls gave some of
the strongest testimonies I have ever heard!!!  I know that there
isn't much flow to my emails but thoughts just over flow my head as I
begin to write and I hurry so ignore my spelling and grammar!! It was
neat though after the testimonies I asked every person to say a prayer
and then I followed with the last prayer and it was such a great
compliment to me Mommy said everyone quiet Elder Carson is going to
pray for us and she said it like with the respect that she wanted to
hear it and it just was the tone of voice where she respected me and
desired for me to pray for her and the family dang I love it!!  Again
I apologize for being spotty and writing with no flow!!!  As well
Elder Bednar and Clayton are coming I am so happy he is my favorite
apostle!! They are coming on the 30th I am so pumped I feel like it’s
the World Series!!  The bush missionaries get to spend the night in
the temple apartments as well so I will get to spent the whole day
with my boys Bianucci and Jones and then get to take a hot shower and
sleep with AC holy cow it’s going to be the best two days ever.  And
sleep with carpet.....dang it’s so sick!!!!!  I love you all tons!!!:)

Love You all Tons!!!:)

Elder Carson

Monday, January 20, 2014

Week 18

Family, I apologize for not getting on at the normal time but we had a zone activity today and so we did that and now I am barely able to sit down and email you!  However they are closing in 30 minutes, I'm bummed but I think we will come tomorrow and I will email you a longer more detailed explanation of my week.  I love the emails, and tell grandma I got her package I loved it!  I love you all so much I am healthy, I am happy, I’m enduring this grind.  I love this work and I love my heavenly father.  I love you all so much, hopefully tomorrow I will be able to email you but if I don’t than understand my predicament and know that I will email more next week.  The work is moving on and we are bringing more souls unto Christ.  I miss you all tons.  Please be safe snowboarding and snowmobiling.  I love you all tons!!
Dad real quick transfers are in two weeks, Bednar is coming on the 30th I'm so pumped he is my favorite apostle, I don’t need anything dad I have more than enough.  I love you all tons!!
Love you all tons!!!

Elder Carson

Monday, January 13, 2014

Week 17

Thank you so much for the emails I always love reading
them, moms gives me the details, dads make me laugh, and Colby’s help
me know things are usual;)

This week was great it amazes me how the lord prepares his children
and it seems that we as missionaries are just reaping in the reward.
It amazes me how we set a goal and have no idea how to achieve it but
somehow we seem to achieve and accomplish our goals.  As missionaries
if you stay close to the spirit and work hard the blessings will come
it seems the lord does most of the work and we are just there to be
the messengers!  We were able to find some good people this week a
woman named L who just lost her mother and so we discussed the plan
of salvation with her but it’s so frustrating they don't understand that
there is only one true church it’s just like well I go to church, I'm
blessed so we really try to help them understand hey there is one true
church, it’s this one, we have the priesthood but of course we do it in
a loving way!  We have seen many miracles since being here and things
that would take too long to write down but the lord is always with us
as missionaries and if we trust in him and just lose ourselves he will
do the rest. I am so thankful for the holy ghost and the role it plays
for us a missionaries but more importantly the role it plays for
conversion of investigators!!:)    B's baptism was beyond words
to describe.  I love her so much and I love her family so much!  When
I leave Oda there will be tears for sure.  I am almost crying writing
this with the love and joy I have for her!!:)   She was so happy for
me to baptize her as well it was funny there was a little lizard in
the font so we baptized the lizard as well haha!!:)  She was glowing
with the spirit and the lord really has prepared her now my goal is to
get the father into the waters of baptism as well!! This week we will
continue to focus on finding more people, I should say more serious 
people, we could literally teach 20 lessons in one day just because the 
people it seems just always let us in but we are trying to find serious 
people we are hoping for this girl L. As well a boy has come to church 
with his father he is around 16 years old so we will extend a date to him 
and baptize him at the end of the month again the lord is just preparing his children!!:)

I know I have really been focusing on gratitude and not thinking about
ourselves but it’s something that is really important to me.  I have
really seen the importance of expressing our gratitude and to never
murmur.  I hear a quote in the last general conference doubt your
doubt before you doubt your faith!!  It is true at times we face tough
trials or persecution but before we turn to murmur and ask why just
give thanks instead.  I have made it a personal goal that whenever I
feel like murmuring or complaining instead I will turn to the lord and
express to him how grateful I am for the blessings I have.  It reminds
me of a story in the book of Mormon when I’m sure we all know the story
but when Laman and Lemuel bound Nephi up on the ship on the way to the
Promised Land.  When they untied him poor Nephi had swollen ankles and
joints and I'm sure was suffering from exhaustion, hunger, thirst and
many more things.  However Nephi said that through his trials he did
not ever murmur against his god.  Wow what a great example of a true
testimony and a man that trusts in the lord.  I hope and pray that I
can strive every day to follow the example of Nephi!!:)

This week though was usual I wish I had more to share but we are just
trying to find more investigators and serious people to teach.  All my
other investigators are baptized and are strong converts of the
church.  They come almost every Sunday and we are working on getting
them callings:)  I love my family so much Mom, Dad, And colb man, I
love you guys tons!!:)


Love you all tons,

Elder Carson

Monday, January 6, 2014

Week 16

This week was great I have realized that Africans celebrate the New Year more than they celebrate Christmas!  They understand the meaning of Christmas but they don't celebrate it like they do the New Year.  It’s a big deal here!  So Tuesday we had a new year’s party that started at 8 until 12 pm that was fun haha I was so tired but it was great we had the whole branch come and the kids danced, they had little skits, we sang, danced, and bore our testimonies.  N was telling me that it was very important for us to hold an activity because if we didn't we would lose a lot of members because they would go to different churches and celebrate it haha he was telling me that it’s very important to Africans because it’s like starting over in the new year and they really focus on becoming better people!  However the woman whose house just caught fire in our branch came, and N asked me to say a prayer in her behalf in front of everyone I was really nervous at first.  However when I began to pray my nerves settled and I said a really good prayer.  One thing I wanted to emphasize and that I said was that heavenly father knows each and every one of us, he knows what we can handle and what we can't, and as we turn to him for help during our trials and follow his commandments he is bound to help us (D and C 82:10) or 85:10 I can’t remember off the top of my head!  It was a great opportunity I had to comfort her and I could feel the spirit and I hope she did as well!  It was cool though at the end of the activity we had the primary president come and say a prayer for the children throughout the world, then the elders quorum pres, and so forth with everyone saying a prayer in behalf of their callings they were presiding over!  Then the next day we had another branch activity that was at 10am and it lasted all day but as missionaries our purpose as well is to not only baptize and get people to church but as well to strengthen the branch and you could really feel the love we have as a branch we really enjoyed.  It was cool the woman started cooking and they made fufu, kinke, and jollof with chicken, they made so much dang food haha and then the boys and some of the men we played branch 1 vs. branch 2 football haha it was so much fun however we lost 2-0 dang it then we went back and ate and danced and just socialized with everyone!!:)  What I loved most is all of my recent converts were there and all of my predicted baptisms were there as well I love to see my converts fully converted into this gospel and to see them shining with the spirit and making relationships in the church!  As well we had the interview with B and she is ready for baptism so Saturday baby Get eR Done baby haha I’m so happy for her!  As well a member has started bringing his son to church and we are going to extend him a date on Wednesday and baptize him hopefully the lord has really been preparing his children for us and we are just reaping in his hard work!!:)  As well though we dropped all of our investigators, they just weren't making progress so we dropped them all it was hard but it had to be done so we will still continue to call them and check in but not spend time with them.  So this week we are starting fresh I’m way excited for that!  
As well it was so sick family, we were at the market last Wednesday and we ran into one of elder dranii's former investigator she is a doctor so really an intelligent person!  Anyway we ran into her and she said that she would call us!  Well she did and she invited us over for dinner on Saturday well we were expecting just a quiet thing but for her she worked on Christmas so she hadn't celebrated Christmas yet haha so she had her family over and some friends and made a feast for us!  It was so nice of her to invite us over her and her mother, prepared, these hot dog things, two types of jollof rice, pork, POTATO  Salad:), Fruit salad, and she gave me my whole 2 liter coke bottle haha she said she had a feeling I liked coke, and then for dessert we had like this cake/bread and she bought sprinkles, and strawberries at shop-rite, and frosting as well so we really enjoyed haha!  Mostly everything she had purchased at shop rite and as well she had like candy and chocolate throughout the house for everyone to eat holy cow we enjoyed it was by far the best meal I  have had in Ghana thus far!  
It was sad yesterday too we had a member, a recent convert, call us and tell us her daughter at the age of 33 had passed away.  So we rushed over there and she had her family there but her husband and her were telling us how it brings them peace when they hear are voices and see us so we were glad to come and be there for them, we are going to give her a blessing tomorrow.  However it amazes me how respected the missionaries are over here they always are seeking for our advice and in the branch they really admire us it puts a lot of responsibility on me and at times I feel overwhelmed that I need to know all the answers but I just trust in the lord and he will provide me in what I need to say!  The husband though he is blind and we sat down with him and he said why is it elder Carson that every time I hear your voice I become happy? I responded with a simple answer because heavenly father loves you and we love you!!:)

However something that has helped me grow spiritually this week is during my personal study for some reason the lord wanted me to study the early saints and the sacrifices they went through!  I look back and almost all my studies were centered on that!  You know if you ever start taking the church for granted just go back in time and ponder the hardships the early saints and their families endured.  They have the strongest testimonies!  I watched the movie 17 miracles and read the book our heritage and wow the sacrifices they went through to just have a temple to receive their endowments was indescribable. 
However as well I wanted to write to all the future missionaries and incoming missionaries.  Come prepared, don’t go in blind into a mission especially a mission in Africa if you are an obruny(white man)  This mission is hard and to realize that it’s not going to be easy.  Overall though to remember that it’s normal to struggle.  We all struggle in the first few weeks we are here but know that 80,000 missionaries are going through the same thing and many more have experienced it already.  Remember one thing, bear with patience your afflictions and trials and the lord will grant unto you success, Trust in the Lord!! 
I loved your emails though and I love the dear elders. the twi is going great and people are starting to say that I’m talking like an African here and that my English is clear so I’m happy about that, now I can teach and not worry about how I talk or talking slow!!  It is hammer time that’s how I spell it but it’s really hott haha and humid. We don’t get dust storms in Oda though it’s really peaceful I hope I stay here one year!!:) The thing is once you develop the love for the people and for the mission you don’t have to worry about what to say or anything because if they can just feel your love then that is enough.  I read a talk I think by elder Holland and he said "You can’t fail when you are trying your best and serving the lord"  Something like that but I love that don’t have fear about serving your heavenly father or being a missionary here or at home you can’t fail!   I am sorry for the spelling and grammar mistakes I had to hurry to write this email!!     Keep praying!!  I love you three so so much and think of you still every day but I love you all tons. 

Love you all tons!!
Elder Carson