*This is transcribed from a voice recording Carson sent to us. He has been doing that lately instead of letters and we love getting so many details!
Hello Family and Friends!
Yet one more week gone by here in Santa Rita. It was a super fast week. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was writing to you guys. It feels like so much has happened and yet so little has happened. It's funny how that works on a mission. But anyway, I had a good week, an interesting week.
On Tuesday, we prepared everybody to have something really awesome~a Family Home Evening night, but with all the ward members in our area. It was actually my idea, I wanted to do a FHE night with all the new members and investigators together. I've gotten really good at spreading the word and getting people really excited about upcoming activities.
I called it "Chocolate Night", and everyone couldn't wait to come eat lots of chocolate! Of course, everyone loves chocolate. We had a pretty good turn out for just our area, around 12 people. That maybe doesn't sound like a lot, but we are pretty far from the ward building, and we only invited people in our area, so we had a good turn out with 12 people.
We started with a message from P, who is a recent convert. She shared a great testimony, and it was her first spiritual thought given in front of people, so it was really awesome to hear that. Then we watched a Mormon Message and that was great, and then the Chocolate Night!
We played a game that Elder Rolando taught me where you have to put chocolate on your forehead, and without using your hands, you have to get it into your mouth which is really hard to do!
It's really funny because it leaves a huge mess all over your face from the chocolate melting and sliding down your face. It was great integration for the members, new members and the investigators.
Both Elder Malosso and I were very excited about how well it turned out.
So we have some recent converts in our area, and I'm pretty excited for the work we are doing in strengthening Santa Rita's new members. Throughout the week I practically didn't stay in my area.
On Thursday night I went on a division, a split as they call it in the states, and I stayed in the area of Elder Huxford and Elder Gisoza. Elder Gisoza was sick, so I worked with Elder Huxford, who had been a visa waiter. He has the same time I have on the mission, we arrived in the MTC on the same day, but he stayed in the states for 10 months, and I only stayed for 1 transfer. It's a little different for him to learn the language and to start out as a junior companion now, but he is doing really well and getting used to it.
It seems like it is pretty hard to transfer the skills you learn in your stateside mission to the mission here. I'm sure all missions are different. I would guess Austin is learning very different skills and ways of teaching than I am. But anyway, I stayed with him on Thursday and helped him. We had 5 new investigators, so that was awesome, since they have been really working on that.
On Friday, I went to do a baptismal interview in Santana, and I ended up staying the day because the woman wasn't there in the morning. It went well and we did different things to excite the area and the missionaries. I was able to help with their member work. I asked if they had any less active members or recent converts, and we went to their houses and had a mini meeting with them. I asked them to go with us and visit people, and we ended up being with these members all day!
Before we started we had talked about what a testimony was and that you can bear your testimony and influence others, and then they had the chance to share them with members, which was a safe way to share their testimonies. Now hopefully they can go out and share them with other people. It was a great way to excite the members and the less actives and the new members!
The baptismal interview was interesting. I was thinking about how often it is that people have trouble with the 4th question in the interview. It asks about a serious crime, abortion, and homosexual relationship. I've interviewed a person who had had trouble with all 3 of those things, and they had to be interviewed by the bishop, but were still able to be baptized the next day. It seems like there are just a lot of problems with those things here.
All together I was gone from my area for 3 days, which was weird. When I got back to my area, Elder Malosso had already confirmed the people who would go to church, so I didn't have to do anything, which was pretty cool.
On Sunday at church I went to go on a search for our investigators and I felt like I didn't know anybody! We ended up having quite a few people to church. There was one woman named F, she is a friend of a recent convert. F was very excited, she really enjoyed church today, and she said when she arrived home she felt like her entire day was better and that she had a spirit of peace and joy, and it was a feeling she hadn't felt before.
I thought that was so awesome, and what a wonderful thing it is that we can have the spirit stay with us! I remember so much our Sundays growing up, and I know sometimes I was able to honor the Sabbath day better than others. I sure have gained a testimony of that now, to really honor the Sabbath day, and I know that if we do, we will be able to receive the blessings, just as it is in all things, whatever principle of the gospel.
The transfer is coming up! It is just happening so fast...Elder Soares (Assistant to the President) told us that we would have 3 missionaries transferred in our zone...but we don't know which missionaries will go! I'm doing everything in my power to stay here 3 more transfers. I haven't yet stayed 4 transfers in any area and if I could choose I think it would be here for sure :D
I thought it was so interesting the rule in Austin's mission to not baptize children. I think that rule would be very effective here in the mission. In our area we are having some major decisions to make. We had 2 young boys ask to be baptized on the same date...but we decided to not let them be baptized until their parents were also ready to at least support them. We don't want to baptize kids who won't stay in the Church.
we will travel to Belêm for the mission conference. Perks of being a zone leader! :D It will be great...President is doing some wonderful things and we are trying to organize the viewpoint of the zone on the mission--what things we are doing that are working/not working/how we can be better/etc.
I am learning a lot right now about the social conversion. Investigators need both social and spiritual to be truly converted, but sometimes the spiritual conversion takes time.
So it really was a good week and I had some good experiences. I am very happy here in Santa Rita. I hope everything is going very well with the family, and that you guys are all happy, and my friends are happy as well! I love you guys, and I hope that you have a great week! I still don't have an answer on my departure date for the vacation plans. I'll try to get that to you this next week!
Love you guys!
Called to Serve,