Monday, February 24, 2014

Week 23- Showering from a bucket for Eternal Families

Hey family, Thank you for the emails, again I know I say this a lot but Im really appreciative of you guys taking the time to email.  It sounds like this week went smooth for Dad and Colb but Mom had a heck of a time haha!  Dad Im glad the plane is coming along and you have found something to keep you busy.  Colb I am thinking about getting a fishing pole here and fish on Mondays, but I haven't seen a pole since I have been here so I might have to African style one and make one. Mom take a deep breath haha things happen in threes I guess so I hope it has settled down a little! As well we have a new mailing address now so let everyone know please its

West AFrica

Well this week was such a great week for us we had a ton of success, its amazing how when you get with someone that you can relate to and know how to work, how successful you will become!  This week though was a ton of fun, we saw a ton of miracles, and had a crazy amount of success.  We had 11 NEW investigators this week, with 21 contacts, 20 total lessons and 2 investigators at church...the lord has really blessed us.  The thing is even with these numbers which I'm proud of I dont take credit for any of it,  literally I just feel like an instrument in the lords hand it amazes me, its hard to describe but this isnt our work. A funny thing that happened this week was on our way home from accra we were riding in luxury...not haha in the tro tro and Elder Bigler and I were just talking on the way home in the back just staying entertained, well all of a sudden this woman turns around and tells us that we talk to much, she doesnt like talking and we should shut up...haha it was so funny.  As well this guy she was sitting by got mad at us for literally just talking but what you have to understand about ghanians they will never fight they only yell and use words haha but it was super funny.  They started speaking twi and I could understand most of it then they realized that I have been here a while so they quit talking about me but you know me I'm kind of a smart alec some times, So I was talking to Elder Bigler and I was like I love talking and they all started to laugh, then I yelled at the tro tro driver to turn the radio off because we don't like talking in the back and again they all started to laugh so I smoothed it out.  The lady said she was really tired after I smoothed things out so I told her all she had to do was ask us nicely and so it smoothed out and we stopped talking for her to sleep.   Dad don't worry, I know Ghanaians and I know Ghana now, the people say my English is very understandable
and some believe me when I tell them I am a half cast from Ghana and they say that's why my English is good haha I love Ghanaians!! Well for one day we had the branch missionary and he speaks twi so we took that to our advantage.  We took him to S's compound (the boy we are preparing to get baptized on the 15)  well we walked in their compound, they gave us the usual wood stools to sit on, and we began to teach.  Well we invited everyone that was around, and by the middle of the lesson we had around 15 people surrounding us, listening to us as we taught the restoration.  The branch missionary did a great job I was really proud of him, we had a ton of fun and the spirit was so strong there.   Just in that sitting we had 6 people accept baptism and had 7 new miracles!!!!    We were just laughing and it was such a powerful lesson, we then had a couple straglers come in and had the investigators teach them and they were teaching it perfect it was great, they asked us to come everyday.  We went another day and I decided to teach them the law of chastity and Word of Wisdom and it was perfect because a bunch of the teenagers in the compound were going to go out and club and they stayed and listened to us! Well S is still progressing really well, and so is s and another serious investigator K.  They all are wanting to get baptized, so I am very happy for that!!! 
Well Family this was great for me!!! I am super happy!! Time is flying by, I feel I just buckled up and I am just trying to hold on to the time I have.  I cant wait for the day to give you all a hug again!   Mommy B and the family extend their greetings to you, and say they love me very much!  I know that was my purpose for coming to Oda was to baptize them and I'm so glad that I came here.  It reminds me of what I told Tan one day when he was struggling with his mission and I said It may not make sense now but it will when you look back when your finished.  I didn't know why I was showering out of a bucket, fetching my own water, and adjusting to this culture, plus dealing with all the other distractions of being a missionary, but now I look back at it and realize the lords purpose for me here and It was all worth it!  I would shower out of a bucket the rest of my life if it meant that a family would be with each other for eternity! Family I love you all so much!  I love you all tons, miss you like crazy!!!

Love you all so dang much!!

Elder Duke
Elder Carson

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Week 22- Doing the Lord's work

Hey family I’m on!!  I opened my presents and loved them!!!!!! Thank you so dang much I loved all the gifts, the cards, and the pictures awwww!  Well just for short everything this week was great we had a ton of success and S came to church it was the greatest Sunday haha I loved it!!!   I loved the pictures so much and the memories, thank you make sure everyone knows how much I loved them!!:)    This week was amazing and I told my heavenly father all I wanted for my bday was for an investigator to come to church and sure enough S did and she is wanting to get betcha baby!!!:)  I'm still freaking happy and I will fully enjoy my bday on Wednesday because elder bigler and I are going to stop by shop-rite on the way home, get some steak, food, everything, then go home, settle in, email you guys, and then just celebrate. I'm excited for Elder Dube and excited to email you more about my week...if anything though I just want you to know how truly blessed I feel to have such a great family!!! I am indeed so thankful for the gifts and I love you guys so dang much!!!!  Know however that I am safe, happy, and just overall feeling way blessed. 

Love you tons!!!
Elder Duke
Elder Carson

Grandma and Grandpa,
 My companion and I are getting along great!!! We are working hard and doing what the lord expects out of us and we have already seen so many miracles and jaw dropping moments!!  I think I was working him a little too hard though he is losing weight, and has been super tired so I will slow down a little this week, I don't want to kill his spirit!  Overall he is a great guy and we will stay in touch when we go home!  This week though at the beginning we had a ton of distractions, one day it was our water, the next it was our sink, but now we have everything fixed and the house looks great so we can just focus on the work I love showers though 4 months of taking bucket baths was getting old I am so grateful for showers haha.  Anyway we finished the week so strong it was great!  We taught a total of 24 lessons in really just 4 days one day every person we met wanted us to teach them!  We have so many new investigators and we extended two serious dates and preparing S and I for baptism on the 9 of march!  S Came to church it was so neat, we had to take the long way though to dodge her pastor though haha I'm so proud of her it’s not easy going to a new church but she has had a ton of courage!  As well I have the best relationship with the branch so I'm going to set up classes after church or on Wednesday to teach people how to invite friends to church and how to contact so hopefully we can get Oda into a stake by the end of my mission!  This week though has really strengthened my testimony on being patient and trusting in the lord!!  When we had a ton of distractions at the beginning of the week I was like Heavenly father help us please finish strong and feel successful and sure enough he blessed us and this work really isn't our work it’s the lord work, all I am is a servant and he directs me it’s so neat!!   
Something I ate this week was a mars candy bar, it is basically a milky way it was so good and ate the dried apples Jen sent and my companion and I are eating these sweet heart things they are so dang good!
I am sorry if this email seems spotty or with no flow but I only had one hour!!  Anyway I wanted you to know how much the gifts meant to me I loved them so much!  I love the memories and the pictures they are something I will cherish for my entire life!!  I love you both so much and I'm so blessed to have the best grandparents in the world!  Elder Bigler says he is jealous about our family and the love we have haha we truly have the true love of Christ in our family.  I love you both tons!! This week as well I have gained a testimony on how the lord supports, benefits, and carries us as missionaries as we do this work! Investigators ask us all the time how we walk (by the way we walk now, it’s easier) 10 miles a day in this hot sun just sweating all day and still have the energy to teach about the gospel.  The only answer I have for them is, it isn't me, this is the lords work, and I love the lord

Love you both tons!!!:)
Elder Duke
Elder Carson

P.S One birthday down, only one more left!!!:)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Week 21-Witnessing miracles daily!!

Hey you guys!!!:)  Things are going so great, I can’t even begin to describe the difference in my attitude, and my overall feeling wow I’m so happy!!  It sounded like your guy's week was pretty good, I understand things don’t really change that much week to week but I love your emails and the stories.  Dad’s emails always make me laugh haha, grandpa is so dang funny haha that sounds like something that would happen in Africa.   I am so relieved that we got some snow I hope it keeps coming, we really need a lot more than that but I’m grateful for what we  got!   Mom thank you for keeping up to date on things, has Albertsons changed much?  I am so excited about everyone going on a mission that’s so freaking cool, let them know they are in for an adventure and showers of blessings.   I’m so proud of them!   

This week was so great I can’t even begin to describe it!   Monday we went to Big tree and it is supposed to be the biggest tree in West Africa but it wasn’t that big haha.  As well they charged the Blacks we were with 1 cedi and the whites 10 cedi but we got them down to 5 cedi a person but I told the guy he was racist and he is lucky I’m a missionary or I would have beat him haha!! Tuesday we said a lot of goodbyes for Elder Dranii so we got fed pretty good to say the least!  Our investigator J fed us baked potatoes and stew and she knows I liked coke and Dranii like fanta so she got us each are own.  Then we went to B and ate again, rice and stew, and Don Simon which is like a great smoothie, then went to N's and he fed us Yams, and plantains haha it was great.  It reminds me mom, I think B would love something but send it pronto I think I will leave after this transfer.  I think she would love that picture of me when we took it outside with my suit coat if you could please send two of those I would like to give one to n as well!   Thank you for doing that as well you do so much for me and I’m so grateful for it! I did get my packages and I’m excited to open them only one more week haha!:)  Elder Bigler came on Wednesday!  He is a great guy, he is from Blackfoot Idaho, he is 19 years old so he just graduated and he works hard, likes to be clean, and yeah we are just going to kill it out here in Oda.  I’m in fear that I will be leaving next transfer, who knows though, but I really just want to get Oda heading in the right direction, and back on track. My goal is to get them heading in the right direction to achieve the Branch's goal and split the branch by the end of the year, I know Elder Bigler and I can do that!  Well I will tell you more next week but he works super hard, and we will do great!  It was crazy this week we had 20 contacts in just three days, 10 lessons, and had 4 new investigators haha I think I’m going to kill this kid haha but I’m just ready to work and the lord has really prepared his children for us.  It seems like I have witnessed a miracle almost every day this week!  

This week we found so many things lol haha guess what????? They had mountain dew in ODA what the heck haha I was so pumped so I bought 6 haha so I have plenty for my bday and then guess what????  We found DR. PEPPER haha and it was straight from America.  The mountain dew tastes a little different as does the coke, everything in Africa tastes different but the DR. Pepper was just like home haha it was so dang good.  They only had two so it worked out perfect.  It was wild it was just in this random shack/store haha it was a sweet surprise!

This week though as we were contacting we contacted this woman named V, and she didn't speak English very well, but we still decided to go back there the next day!  Well when we went back she told us to wait and she went and got this other woman.  This woman’s name is S.  S then expressed to us that she was kind of a wild girl and wanted to get back on track, she said she has really been searching the scriptures, and trying to find the right church!  She said after we contacted V she immediately ran our pamphlet to her and she read it that day and had so many questions for us!  A dang miracle the lord has really prepared her so I’m praying that she will keep commitments, I have faith that she will!  Then another woman we contacted was a woman named E she is around 40 years old and has 3 children, and is married.  She had a nice house on the top of this hill overlooking oda and we just sat outside and got to know her.  I have been able to see my personality magnified here I love it I now can just chat with anyone and get them to laugh and just get them to trust me I am so grateful my heavenly father has gave me that gift,  I will use it definitely to invite as many people to accept Christ as I can!!  Anyway she was a great woman and offered to make us FuFu you betcha jack that’s my best food here!  
I am so excited for my new companion Elder Bigler we will work hard these six weeks and just turn a new leaf here in oda.   Well those were the highlights of my week.  I am so grateful for Heavenly Father preparing his children and answering my prayers with a good companion that’s ready to work, I may have to slow down a little I was working hard haha but I am truly so blessed, I have gained such a strong testimony of prayer, and faith since starting my mission.  I have gained a testimony of the both of them together as well as we pray with the faith that our heavenly father will answer our prayers and trust in his will, I can assure and promise you this day that he will!!!!!   I am just super blessed and I am enjoying sweating my behind off in this hot sun haha it’s been a blast though!  We have been walking too not riding, I think I like that better it builds companionship and allows us to talk more about are plans for the day, Dang I am freaking happy!!!

Anyway family, I am so thankful for the three of you!  I love you all tons, and miss you guys like crazy!   Until next week!  We truly need our heavenly father every hour I love feeling my testimony increase! I love you guys!!

Love you all Tons,
Elder Carson

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Pictures and videos of Taylor in Africa

Taylor sent us a SD card with some pictures and videos.  This was his Christmas gift to us.  It came a little late but it was well worth it.  It was one of the best Christmas gifts he could have given me.  I am attaching some links of some of the videos and including some of the pictures.  I hope you enjoy.

Taylor walked about a mile with these on his head and he said that it was hard but he loved it because he was serving the woman that was carrying them.

Taylor flexing his muscles- he hasn't changed much!

This picture was for Colby because he always takes pictures of sunsets.

It is good to see that Taylor still likes to be silly and have fun.

His companion got him back and took a picture of him asleep!

Taylor loves playing football with the natives.  He says he wishes that he would have listened to mom and played it in High School.

A school in Africa

Taylor says he really enjoys the children.  This one is so cute. You just want to kiss him on his cheeks.

 Click on the following links to watch some fun videos.
Taylor doing his laundry
Eating FuFu a traditional Ghanaian dish
A West African Rain Storm
Making FuFu
Taylor talking to us outside of his apartment

Week 20- Working two-by-two helping the people of Ghana one-by-one

  I am so glad all is well and you are all healthy.  I loved your emails and I love the dear elders!!  Thank you so much for the support and the compliments I really appreciate them.  I am so blessed to have such a great family!! Wow this week has been one of the funnest weeks of my mission! So on Wednesday my companion and I got the okay to go to shop-rite, it was so dang sick I can't begin to tell you how happy I was! They had mountain dew!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It was so good I bought two and drank them as soon as I bought them and then bought 5 more cans for my b-day!  I as well bought snickers, Twix, kit Kat, and donuts haha it really is like a Wal-Mart in Africa!  I literally was holding back tears as I saw the mountain dew and then saw donuts, seriously it was all I could do not to cry I was just overwhelmed with happiness, it’s amazing how many little things you take for granted back home and then realize how much stupid things like that meant to you.  I say I was on an emotional rollercoaster because while I was in shop-rite there were more obrunys and it smelt like home, looked like home, and I kept thinking please someone walk around the shelves that I know but obviously no one would but it felt like mom was going to walk around the corner it was hard and then when you step outside back into the hot humid sun, reality sinks in and you realize that you are in Africa still but it was such a great experience I can’t wait to serve in the city and enjoy it.  I hope I finish my mission in the city! Then we went to the temple apartments and Dranii and I were earlier
than everyone else so we sat in our room with AC, and relaxed until the rest of the bushanaries got there.  Then we just had a blast with everyone.  We had AC rooms with warm showers, I will say I did have tears rolling down my cheek as I took a warm shower wow it felt so dang good and then to step outside into your room and have it be cold was just overwhelming happiness.  As well I was able to hang out with my MTC friends, and we just sat and played card games, talked about home, and it was great.  That reminds me mom record everything I want to see everything it won’t make me miss home! If it does I will let you know!  As well I saw elder Hutchinson he is from Declo and it was great to talk with him, he is in the other mission so I won't see him again until I get home but we talked about a lot of things and it was great! It was just nice to talk and see all my mtc friends and others it was a great couple of days.  

Well for the big deal Elder Bednar!  WOW!!  The best, most spiritual experience I have ever had in my life!  Basically we were all sitting down singing hyms and all of a sudden it got quiet but yet he still wasn't there, in the chapel at least.  However it was crazy because it just got dead silent and you could just feel his presence, I knew he was there before he walked in, it’s hard to describe but I was like he is here but yet it still took about ten minutes after the silence for him to come in!   As soon as he walked in everyone stood and he walked to the front, hugged the mission presidents and then we sat down when he did.  His wife addressed us first and she is awesome, she has such a kind, gentle, sweet voice and she gave us some really great advice. One of the things she said that I really loved was "be as good as a missionary as your mom’s think you are" I love that quote so I will always strive to do that!!    Then for Elder Bednar.  Remember there were only around 260 missionaries there.  So he stood up and wow he talks just like you hear him anywhere else I love the way he talks. He stood up and at first we just thought he would either give a talk or let us ask questions but he stood and he asked us questions we would answer and then he would expound!  At first he told us too about writing notes I thought it was great.  He said listen, I just want you listen and pay attention and only write down what you are impressed to write down, that you will remember, he said too many times we try to write down every bits of information we can and we lose the notes and don’t remember it two weeks from now haha so I thought that was great. That man though as he would ask us questions and we would answer he would listen so closely, and you could just tell he was listening to the spirit.  We would answer and he would pause and say Elder Dube, or Elder Curtis can you help me with this, or Sister Bednar and it was crazy every time he did that they had a perfect story or example that fit with the question he truly is a man called of god!   One of things that really impacted me was he said that we don't need a vast knowledge of this gospel to go out and teach it, all we need to know is the 5 principles of the gospel and that’s it and be yourself and teach it.  I loved that!  He answered so many of prayers I can't even begin to describe to you the feeling that was there!  As well he said as an apostle he has learned something that the lord works one-by-one.  He has noticed as he has traveled that he may not influence the whole congregation but it’s one person and its usually a big influence.  He has learned that you affect people and help them one-by-one.  That is so important for us as a missionary.  We work two-by-two to help the people of Ghana one-by-one!    Then we asked him questions and he talked about temple marriages, faith, to never be scared of sharing the gospel, and to replace fear with faith I seriously loved it.  After the conference the Asmankase zone went and got pizza but I noticed there was a burger joint and guess what I got a CHEESEBURGER, it was the happiest day of my life, it tasted just a tiny bit different than the ones back home but it was one of the best cheeseburgers I have ever had.  They put french fries in the middle of it and they served it with french fries, and I bought a coke holy cow I was so dang happy I had the biggest smile as I ate it and I just kept saying this is the best freaking day of my life haha I was so pumped.  I hope tanner enjoys those steaks haha;)  I can't wait to serve in the city!!  I however hate feeling like I'm back home because as soon as you walk out of places like that reality sinks in and you realize dang it I'm still in Africa but I love it here truly I feel settled in and this place is starting to feel like my home! Well this Sunday was a great fast and testimony Sunday. My new companion is Elder Bigler he is from Idaho and he works hard, all I can say is I hope he can keep up.  The lord though has really answered my prayers I am so thankful for him I just kept praying for strength to endure and for a companion that wants to work!  If you are obedient and you follow the commandments the lord is bound to help us D and C 82;10  He will be here Wednesday though so next email I will let you know how he is!!
   Well family all is well I’m healthy, I started working out and I realized that was what I was missing serving my mission!  It feels so good!   I can’t wait to start working and let you know some of the people I am teaching!  I am so proud to say I’m a Carson.  I love each and every one of you so dang much!  I miss you all tons.  You are always in my prayers.  Remember pray hard, work hard, and have fun haha.  There is a quote I love "doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith"  I love you all tons!!

Elder Carson