Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Dec 29, 2014

Hey everyone it was great to hear about all of your awesome christmas
experiences! I had a great time on christmas, was able to talk with my
family, and went to a branch christmas party at one of our favorite
member's houses. She has a really cool upper floor on her roof with
glass ceilings and there were a decent amount of people shooting
fireworks, it was a good night overall. Just a couple days after we
went with the young adults of our branch to visit a bunch of less
actives in our area, and then after went to the center of paramaribo
to look at the giant christmas tree, i'll include pictures but i was
impressed by the size of it, it was obviously fake, but if you squint,
and mabye tilt your head just a little bit, it actually looked quite
nice. (That actually goes for pretty much like all of Suriname) there
was also a cool view of the giant bridge they have here in suriname,
i'll actually be going over it today so i'll take some cool pictures
to send next week. We're going to a place called new amsterdam that's
supposed to be pretty nice. I think I might be a little sick today,
but hopefully it's nothing that bad, although coming down with dengue
fever would probably make for a cool story im not really that excited
about the actually catching it part... it's crazy to see (there is an
old man on the computer next to me singing and i feel uncomfortable)
time flying by back home i miss you guys and hope everything keeps
going as well as it has. And last of all happy birthday to Bailey! I
hope you have an awesome birthday today sixteen is an awesome age to
turn! Oh and best of luck trying to see over the steering wheel :)


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

1st Christmas in Suriname!

Hi and merry christmas everyone!!! I hope everything is going great
for you all and that youre having a great holiday season. We have
plans today with the other missionaries to meet at a members for lunch
and play some games and then once every year we're allowed to see a
movie! hahah i won't lie that's going to feel so weird as a
missionary. But it's legit i promise im not just going rogue out here.
In other news our branch had a big christmas party this past week, it
went great and we had a couple investigators who came and they got to
meet people which is always great. Along with that i was also dragged
into helping a few other missionaries sing a musical number, they knew
i sang in general conference and i guess that just somehow made me
qualified enough to help them with their musical number here, it was a
pretty intense song we did, its from a vocal group called pentatonix,
and while we certainly didn't sing of the same caliber the people
definitely loved it and we got lots of compliments surprisingly! hahah
Elder Dom has been trying to open his gifts early but i keep telling
him he's going to ruin christmas so he seems content to wait these
last three days. 
As a missionary you spend a lot of time just studying, (3-4 hours a day) 
and it's quite easy for someone with an
attention span as short as mine to get bored, despite my best efforts
i will admit that on occasion i get distracted, the good news is i am
now a lethal card thrower. and can throw a regular playing card
probably about 30 yards. it's a feat im quite proud of. Im so jealous
of all the new stuff coming out im going to miss out on! You guys will
have to let me know what's worth and not worth getting! In other news
'R' now has a baptismal date for the middle of january!
unfortunately he has a conflict with work and church so it's been a
struggle trying to get him to come. We have another investigator named
'M' who was in church this last week and i like him a lot. he has
word of wisdom trouble but is a great guy and im hoping we can
continue to make progress with him! 
This christmas is going to be a
bizarre experience for me on thursday but luckily as a missionary i've
taught the true meaning of christmas more than suriname doesn't have
snow (a lot) so comforted by that im certain i can look past the
things im missing out on. there are so many here with so little and i
think thats helped me gain a much greater love and desire to serve
these people. I hope all of you can find someone to serve or help
someone who needs it this christmas! it makes it much more enjoyable.
I love you guys and once again i hope you all have an awesome
Elder Carpenter

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15

hey everyone! So great to hear how you all are doing! I had a great week and especially one funny day in particular. That was when me and elder B went on exchanges, we were both in the mtc together and so we're both relatively new missionaries to go on exchanges, but we figured we could handle it. First thing in the morning we get ready to leave and elder b locks his apartment and bike keys inside xD We had no idea what to do since his other companion with the only other set of keys was so far away. Luckily me and elder B are a creative couple of missionaries, we found the keys on the kitchen table, here in suriname all the windows have bars so people dont break in so it wasnt as easy as going through their window, we looked around and i found a broom to use to try to reach in, but it was so far in the middle of the room we couldn't reach it. We find ANOTHER broom, but have no idea how to stick them together until it dawned on me to use our ties, we roped them around and made a super broom with our ties, problem was, we still couldnt grab the keys... about after 5 minutes of brainstorming i found a dustpan with a really long handle by some trash out back, and using that we were able to stick both through the bars of the window and meticulously sweep the keys into the dustpan. An epic celebration followed, and we taught a bunch of great people that day. I also fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine to school foreign kids in basketball while serving a mission. Not going to lie i put some moves on these kids. And their friends videotaped it so you guys may or may not want to look for me starring in a famous youtube video. Other than that this week has been pretty good 'R' continues to progress and we met an awesome previous investigator named 'J', if she comes to church this sunday I think she has awesome potential. Another announcement is that theyre splitting our mission! Starting July our mission will include just trinidad, guyana, suriname, curasou, aruba, and the bahamas! since i speak dutch i was told that almost for 100% certainty i'll be sent to either curasou or aruba! so that was really exciting news! Our christmas plans aren't anything too crazy, they let you watch a movie with all the other missionaries, and im sure we'll have a big dinner at one of the members houses, so that'll be cool, anyways i love and miss you guys and love hearing from you! I hope everyone is enjoying their time as christmas is getting closer and closer! And happy birthday shoutout to my big sister tomorrow! I hope you have a great day Marley!
Love, Elder Carpenter

Monday, December 8, 2014

Dec 8

Hey Americans, I'm still alive and hope youre all doing well! it's
been a good week and some cool things happened! I met the vice
president of suriname the other night! He came to our church to make a
public speech about health care, apparently theyre modeling their
health care system after what America has been doing, but it was
pretty cool to be able to see and meet him. The meeting itself was
boring but we got a couple contacts from other people who weren't
members who came to see him so it was cool, the highlight was probably
me drawing pictures for people. hahah the other elders figured out i
can draw so it's a pretty constant stream of people asking me to draw
various things for them, I don't mind though its pretty funny. What
else was cool was we went to a tailor this week and I got a pair of
custom pants made, thats one of the things missionaries do here
sometimes, you can choose a fabric and have him measure you and get a
brand new pair of pants for the equivalent of about 25 us dollars! So
its a pretty good deal, we have a couple new investigators, namely
e, m, and r. They've all received two lessons now and if
all goes as planned they should all be in church on this coming
sunday. (But with surinamers things rarely go as planned) hahah but
i'm holding out hope. We're trying to get our other investigators
M and S married, but its a slow process to get them motivated,
one thing about suriname is that almost NO ONE is married! So when we
teach couples and families that almost always seems to be a priority.
I've come to realize that this *slaps mosquito with dangerous jungle
virus* is a tough area to serve in sometimes! Many investigators are
very lazy, and to get someone to try to come to church is proving to
be a big challenge, but I know that there are people out there who
will be willing and I won't stop looking until I find them! Me and
Elder Dom are making an increased effort this week to get people to
church and put them on date so hopefully with our support we can help
some of these people make a lot of real progress this week! I hope
you're all having a great holiday season so far! It's been a
completely different experience for me to be out here during it but
i'm grateful for it nonetheless. Love you guys and talk to you next
Elder Carpenter

 There WILL be Christmas in Suriname this year!
 New pants!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Three months!

Hey guys! The three month mark has come already and time is flying by!
Thank you all for the happy Thanksgiving wishes it was a tough time to
be away from everyone but it was still a great time. And it was also
filled with a couple of cool experiences! I was on exchanges with our
zone leader the other day and we weren't having a ton of success and
it was a pretty boring day. But we both decided to change our moods,
and in between appointments decided that we were going to find someone
prepared to teach today! Our very next contact was an amazing lesson
on the restoration, definitely the best one i've taught so far, and he
received it very well, I have hopes that he turns into a promising
investigator, and I also discovered that attitude makes a huge
difference! Staying upbeat and positive is by far the best way to go.
Our transfer also ended and im staying another transfer with elder
Dom! I know that Christmas is just around the corner but it really
doesnt feel like it, but thats probably a good thing so I don't miss
anything too much. My dutch is continuing to grow and i learn new
things about the gospel everyday ive already read the book of mormon
twice and the doctrine and covenants again! :O hahah i'm extremely
grateful ive begun the habit of scripture study out here. I know it's
helped in every aspect of my mission so far. Right after this i have
an appointment to meet a potential investigator to play some
basketball this p day! hahah these people are terrible at everything
except soccer so i anticipate a good time xD And before the end of the
letter this week i'd like to wish my youngest sister Sydney happy
birthday!! I'm so excited for you and hope you have an awesome day
tomorrow Syd!
Love, Elder Carpenter

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Happy Suriname Thanksgiving

happy thanksgiving week you guys! we had a thanksgiving dinner at a members house earlier today and because she used to live in America we even got a real turkey and everything! hahah All the other missionaries were saying that it was really good, I was super grateful we were able to do something for thanksgiving, it's Suriname independence day this week so even though they don't celebrate thanksgiving there's still lots of celebrations going on which is pretty cool, they have tons of those crazy chinese fireworks that sound like cannons. With any luck I can get my hands on some of them through a member or maybe some other means yet to be determined... hahah the work continues to move forward here in Suriname we had a really cool activity just this saturday, we set up tables outside the church in the city and also around a couple shops members of the church owned and did a lot of contacting working together with the members, it was really successful and together we contacted over a hundred something people for all the different areas, our area in specific got 12 new people to see! hahah provided they all accept a follow up appointment, but at least a couple should turn into decent new investigators I hope! My favorite part of the activity was when someone had the idea to draw a diagram of the plan of salvation on the sidewalk, but they needed someone to draw it. My name was immediately suggested, hahah and so we bought some chalk and I drew a cool diagram on the ground! people were really interested by it and I was able to explain what it meant to a lot of people! It was a very effective and creative way of contacting! I'll attach a couple pictures of it. I continue to be impressed how warm it can be here this time of year but whatever, hahah at least im slightly more tan proportionately, so that's nice. I really miss the fall time over there, it's just endless summer here and it's beginning to make me feel a little out of place, I have no idea how my body's going to adjust for the winter, hahah but I can cross that bridge when I get there. Thank you all so much for your love and support! It wouldn't be possible without all of you. and have a great thanksgiving!
Love, Elder Carpenter

Monday, November 17, 2014

It's a jungle out there! No. Really. It's seriously a jungle.

hey guys! this week marks a month in suriname already and a lot has
happened this week! we had a great lesson with one of our
investigators named 'b h' over the restoration and he's
been progressing pretty well in my eyes, our investigator 'J',
with a baptismal date, has been out of town and so we haven't been
able to see her recently unfortunately :( It is still super hot here
hahah, I don't think I have yet to be cold once so far and from what I
hear that's not going to change the entire time! we've had a few rain
storms, we're beginning to enter the small rainy season, and we had a
pretty big thunderstorm last night which was pretty cool. A few funny
things have happened this week, the funniest of which was probably as
follows: During the middle of sacrament meeting yesterday, a lady
walked in and sat down, she immediately raised her hand and told the
speaker she couldn't hear, a few moments later she got up and sat in
the front row, we were all trying to find out if it was someone else's
investigator but none of us knew who she was! in the middle of
sacrament meeting again she got up and handed elder W a 90s
house phone with a cord she was carrying around and asked him to pay
her phone bill... hahahah but the funniest part was definitely as
follows, at the conclusion of sacrament meeting she came over to us
and shook our hands, when she shook my hand, she immediately started
going off and telling me her life story. She told me she didn't have a
relationship and didn't know anybody, and asked if i'd be her friend.
Or at least that was what I picked out from the conversation, she was
speaking fast and her accent was tough to understand. But when she
asked, "zult u mijn vriend zijn" (will you be my friend) I said,
uhh... ja (yes) and a little boy next to me started laughing, I asked
him what was so funny and he told me I'd just agreed to be her
boyfriend..! hahah according to the context she was asking me to be
her boyfriend and I agreed! hahah hopefully this lady won't remember 
it the following week if she comes back...
Something really cool I also want to share with everyone happened just
today! For p-day we went up to one of the tallest mountains in
Suriname! It was a long and humid hike but we found a beautiful view
and ran into some amazing waterfalls! It was literally in the middle
of the jungle! I can't describe how pretty it was in their so I'll
just show you all the pictures! hahah and we saw a pretty big snake
too! It's literally a jungle out there the second you leave the coast
and it was pretty crazy to be out there in the middle of it. Things
are so different here and im still getting used to it, and missing a
lot of the things in america, hahah but its starting to fade out. Its
like a whole different world out here but I'm thankful for the chance
I have to be here and the awesome work I've been called to do! until
next week! Love you guys

Elder Carpenter
 Literally a jungle
 Tunnel?  Well?  IDK
 He must've been exhausted! haha
 Blurry but cool
 Elder Carpenter!!! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Nov. 10

Another week has gone by and it was very successful! I finally got a
new bike! It's bright red with white tires, I guess they thought I
wasn't already sticking out enough as is, the good news is it matches
my helmet so when I attract attention at least I won't clash. When I
got here our teaching pool wasn't very large so that was our first
goal, so far we've picked up five new investigators! Which has been
great to see, our favorite is a fifteen year old girl named Jelissa,
she's the friend of a less active and during one of our visits we
asked her if she wanted to come and sit with us, we scheduled a return
appointment where she accepted an invitation to be baptized! We were
super happy for her and i'm really hoping it goes through and she
sticks with it! I also wanted to talk about some of the service
projects we've been doing! last week we got together with all the
members and helped raise awareness about chikungunya and how people
can stay safe from it, we had pamphlets and showed people safe ways to
store water and protect themselves from mosquitoes. The members were
also super helpful with getting referrals at the same time and the
missionaries in the area of the project got about 22 new people to
see! hahah so that was cool, but the service project this last week
was even better, we got to go to an orphanage and help construct
furniture to refurbish it, the owners of it are a wealthy dutch couple
and I could tell they were super grateful to have us all there, it was
a really cool project to be apart of! It's hard to believe how long
i've been gone already the time certainly does go by quick, i'm
technically almost done with my second transfer! Elder Dom said that
there's a pretty good chance we're not going to move our next transfer
and that he'll probably train me the whole 12 weeks but that's fine
with me, I like my area a lot and elder Dom's an awesome companion to
work with. In other news I still search diligently for a sloth but so
far to no avail... Lizards and huge bugs and crazy fruit are
everywhere though. One member always gives us mangos from her tree in
the backyard which I think is pretty cool, we also saw what was
probably the largest spider i've ever seen in person, I have no idea
what kind it was but its legs were only a little smaller than my
hand.... oh and also a truck hit me! hahah he backed right into me
while leaving his parking space it was a little sketchy but hey im
alive :p I love what it feels like to be a missionary so far, there's
no greater feeling than being led somewhere or to someone you just
know youre supposed to teach. I almost count it as a small miracle
every time. i'm certain it was for people like that I was called here
for! I love hearing from all of you, i'm so glad you've all been doing
well and I miss you guys always, don't take for granted everything you
have! I know that you hear that all the time but to experience it...
its almost a lesson you can't learn any other way. Love you guys and
talk to you again soon!!

Elder Carpenter
 New bike!! Mom and Dad can sleep now! ;)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Nov 3

Hey everyone! Another successful week of surviving out here, but first
off happy halloween! I missed it terribly this year, they don't do
ANYTHING for it here so it was just a regular day, it is HOT out here
as well hahah I could really go for some snow right now I have no
doubt we're both envying each other a lot. I still dont have a good
bike, they havent caught the guy who stole our bike money hahah so
it's been a bit of a patience trial getting along with a broken bike,
but other than that I don't think I can really complain! These people
are so different from me, I'm such an obvious minority people just
stare at us. Less than 1% of Suriname is white! Despite these obvious
differences the people here are also a bit more relaxed and love to
just do and say whatever comes to their mind, its not offensive to
call someone fat here, we were asking for someone yesterday and a man said,
 "Oh yeah, the fat one, she lives downstairs." he didn't sense the slightest
 thing wrong about that. I guess theyre not huge about building
each others self esteem here hahah, another funny story that happened
this week was with an investigator we met on the street. We were
biking home and it was getting dark when a man called out to us,
sometimes we don't stop if it looks sketchy (this guy was the
sketchiest) but we felt like we should this time. His name was Herbie
and he wanted us to teach him a couple days later. A couple days went
by and we went to his address, at the gate was a man who we greeted
and said his name was herbie, and for the most part he really did look
like the herbie we met the other day, especially since it was dark, we
told him we were here for an appointment and he seemed like he
remembered and invited us in. Immediately he seemed different, he
seemed... a little slower... than the herbie we talked to before, we
taught a short lesson than decided it was probably best to leave, no
sooner had we gotten on our bikes when the Herbie WE KNEW came biking
from down the street yelling "Ik kom!!!" or I'm Coming!!
hahah turns out we had just taught an entire lesson to Herbie's
younger brother with special needs, and he didn't say a single thing the
whole time, hahahah so we ended up teaching the REAL herbie and it was
a great lesson! I thought that was a pretty funny experience. In other
exciting news I GOT TO PET A MONKEY! hahah it was someone's pet and
they let me play with it it was the cutest thing ive ever seen! they
have such a personality and love jumping and climbing on you it was
hilarious. The way they do everything just makes you smile it was
awesome, I cant wait to see more of them! I hear theyre pretty common.
When I pictured my mission, I never could have imagined what it's like
here, but the longer ive been here, I can definitely see why I was
called here. I think these are some of the best people on the planet,
and i've never seen a group of people better at fellowshipping,
especially when it comes to people in church, they've all been nothing
but nice to me and from what I can tell just everybody in general!
Although it has its own challenges, like heat and the fact people find
white people so strange here, I'm convinced im going to keep having
some great experiences. I know that this church is true no matter
where you go and our message is simple and easy to understand. These
people are not all educated and sometimes I try to over explain when what
they really need is a simple testimony. I'm grateful for this humbling
experience and for these awesome people. I miss you all and love you a

Elder Carpenter
this is a super old cemetary

cool graffiti

Elder Carpenter's new pet monkey ;)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Suriname at last

HELLO EVERYONE! WORRY NOT FOR I AM ALIVE! i've had a couple close
calls on my bike already but ive made it thus far! hahah I should
probably start with Trinidad, What a beautiful place, the beaches were
so clear (I didn't go in) and the view from the top of one of the
mountains we climbed up (on the way to meet an investigator) was
breathtaking, hahah despite only spending a few days there I loved it.
I met President and Sister Mehr and they were awesome, they made us
food like 4 times a day and the mission home was beautiful, in
Trinidad it had to be a few million dollar home. President Mehr gave a
really awesome lesson about how he knew our families would be taken
care of while we were gone, it just hit especially hard with me when I
heard how well Grandpa was doing right when I left. That really meant
a lot to me and helped me not be afraid to focus harder on what I'm
doing here. I'll send some pictures of everything in a little but
first let me tell you about our first lesson. Immediately out of the
car someone ran out with a bible to argue with us, I saw a
hummingbird, heard a gunshot, and fed a stray chicken (all during the
first lesson outside their shack) and later that day I saw an iguana!
It was huge! lizards are a common occurence im still getting used to
seeing all the time, hahah and the bugs too are pretty huge. What was
crazy about trinidad was how beautiful and gross it was at the same
time, the landscape and ocean were amazing but there was so much
poverty and trash it made me a little sad to see, my experience there
was still really cool though. The people were so poor yet so kind at
the same time, almost like they had no idea what they were missing,
which was another powerful example to me of how you don't need money
to be happy. Anyways, now for Suriname! Customs took forever but once
I finally made it through the elders were there to greet us at 2 in
the morning! Theyve all been great and theres not a single one i
didn't like. My first companion in particular is awesome, his name is
Elder Dom from Utah, he's been awesome and I think he's a really solid
missionary to learn from. Something funny about him is that in dutch
"Dom" means stupid or dumb, so he had to get his nametag changed to
"Dam" The very next day he had me teach a lesson! I taught a less active
named sister p.... about the Sabbath Day, after he said my dutch was really good!
I can't communicate without making a lot of mistakes but people
understand me and i sort of understand them! hahah he said that for
starting out that was excellent, and i can tell its improving a little
every day. Suriname is beautiful, im in Paramaribo South, although its
still pretty 3rd world here i see some people with some modern stuff
like flat screens and smart phones, whats funny is that they have
those things but live in a shack, its really weird sometimes. But its
just what people here are used to. Some parts are cleaner than others
too, sometimes theres just muck on the side of dirt roads, and we saw
a dead dog on the street the other day (*tear) but people are so mean
to dogs here anyway I don't think it bothers them, there are strays
everywhere and sometimes they're not so nice... (I've ran from like 3
already hahah) But anyways let me tell you about my favorite
experience so far, we were on a bus (SOOO gross we normally bike) and
elder Dom lost the phone! so we had to go allll the way to the store
and then alll the way to the mall to get a new one, and then just our
luck my bike broke. We were there for awhile trying to fix it, and the
day was passing away pretty fast we weren't super happy with the
current situation, but it was just then a little twelve year old boy
came over and started talking to us! And what do you know he said that
his parent's had wanted to have the missionaries over! we gave him our
information and turned him over to the missionaries in that area (we
had to go super far out to get the right kind of phone) We both
immediately said afterwards we knew why we had been put there, I'm
sure it will be the first of many times that happens but I never knew
quite how it would work until now. As the Lord gives us trials, and we
endure them with patience, we'll be blessed, and despite how difficult
things can be here sometimes, I know that when I keep my head up and
keep working experiences like the one there will be plenty. There's so
much more I could say (like the people who yell at us in Srnan Tongo)
((Then we respond and they're super surprised we know it)) but I'll
save it for another time when there's not so much to say like today,
hahah, it's been a crazy adventure here so far but i'm already
beginning to fall in love with it, especially the people. I love you
guys all so much and I want to make that especially sincere because
I'm still not used to riding a bike with no lanes on the road and
people who arent afraid to get REALLYYYYYY close to you, hahah but I
do miss you guys and hope all is well
Love, Elder Carpenter

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Last MTC week

Hey guys! Today's the start of week 7 and also the last week here at
the MTC, we've been learning our new jungle language called srnan
tongo and it's been quite the experience, although fun it's a very
strange language, luckily theres almost no conjugation which makes
things a little easier on us. Being responsible for two more new
languages is challenging but I feel like my understanding of dutch is
good enough to be an effective missionary once I get out into the
field. I thought today that I would share a little bit of a spiritual
thought we learned about in class, and that begins with the war in
heaven, we discussed the differences between the plans of Satan and
Christ, and discussed the jealousy and power Satan desired to have, by
saying "The glory be mine" Satan truly desired to dethrone God, his
plan seemed easy, and our salvation was guaranteed. At first more
chose his plan than that of God, but through faith in Christ, and
belief that through his atonement (Which hadn't even been done yet) we
could be saved and return, missionaries went out, and a war of words
was fought. Because of the valiant testimonies of God's elect the more
part of the children of heaven were brought back onto the true road to
eternal life. We know God is omnipotent and omniscient, all powerful
and all knowing, so why allow Satan to do this? The truth is we think
our test started here but in truth it started long ago when we used
our agency to choose good or evil, the plan of christ or of the devil.
There has been missionary work before this life, I am doing missionary
work in this life, and I know there will be missionary work to do in
the next life as well. The war that started in heaven is still going
on and I'm very grateful to know I stand on the right side, I
understand that out in Suriname I will be fighting for the souls of
these people. As it says in the scriptures that the heavens wept when
Lucifer fell I now understand a little better why missionary work will
be challenging, even as I do my very best people will still fall, and
I have no doubt I will have heavy days when someone we have been
teaching loses the battle. But I know that in the end the people who
are ready to come unto christ combined with the joy I find in serving
the Lord will more than adequately make up for that, I want you all to
know how excited I am to be a missionary and that I know this church
is true, I've been very blessed to know that and grow up in a family
who taught me these principles very well. Because I've been blessed
with so much it's my responsibility to share this happiness with
others and I am extremely excited to do so!

In other news our district has begun interpreting dreams, hahah we get
people from the entire zone asking us what their dreams mean now
(apparently everyone has strange dreams in the MTC) I'm not going to
lie we've blown a few minds with some of our interpretations hahahah.
Also due to the fact we have one additional week than normal all the
people we came in with left, we aren't completely alone but I do miss
everyone we met! our four square crew was officially disbanded last
week (*tear) However life goes on and I know that just like us this
monday they're off to bigger and better things. Monday is the day im
leaving, by the way, 3:30  A.M. (wow) first to houston then to
trinidad where we spend a few days in training!! I'll take lots of
pictures! Ive heard it's a beautiful island, anyways I should probably
get going but thanks to all of you for your continued support you've
been amazing! You'll be in my thoughts as I'm serving and I have
definitely felt your prayers.

Love, Elder Carpenter

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Week 5 Movin' right along!

Hey everyone! Its been an amazing week here at the MTC first and
foremost due to the fact I've been lucky enough to sing in conference!
Ive never normally been one for singing but this was honestly an
amazing experience. The chance to actually see our prophet and
apostles speak and from so close was freaking me out i won't lie. I
hope you all enjoyed conference as much as I did this year I thought
some really inspiring messages were shared, I especially liked Elder
Bednar's last talk on the sunday session where he spoke to
non-members. As a missionary it was pretty cool to see that he
perfectly lined out our purpose, I think that talk was almost just as
directed to us as it was to non members. I'm very grateful for the
work ethic I've learned while here as well, at a devotional last night
someone had a really cool analogy in comparing us to rose bushes, they
said that every year, they have to go out and prune their rosebushes,
they trim away everything except a tiny little stick, so that the
plant once again has room to grow and flower. They then compared us to
a rosebush, and The Lord as the one pruning us when we go on a
mission, he takes our cell phones, house, family, friends, and ships
us off into a foreign land to preach his gospel as little sticks, I
thought that was a pretty cool story. Ive certainly been pruned quite
a bit and I think whats started to grow is better than anything ive
ever accomplished in my life so far. Something else that was cool was
we had a speaker named Vai Sikahema, you might recognize him he said
he's on ESPN a lot! he used to be a professional football player for
Green Bay and played in a lot of pro Bowls, he was an awesome speaker
with some amazing missionary stories! including one about how on a
flight to Salt Lake City him and a 9 year old youth were teaching
discussions to a woman on a plane which I thought was funny, they were
talking about adam and eve and original sin and Vai said, our doctrine
is so simple even kids know it. the lady absolutely didnt believe him
so he turned to the kid and asked him to recite the second article of
faith, the woman was absolutely shocked! We also had a big
armwrestling competition in our dorms the other day, I beat everyone
except one person, im not normally one for excuses but he was like 6'3
and 200 pounds. hahah --Just FYI, Elder Carpenter is 5'8"
anyways something else I think you guys might
find funny is that we've instituted a 10:30 prayer time, so when the
announcement comes on saying lights out we all run to our room and
kneel and the last one down has to say it, exactly like my family used
to do at 9, hahah we've already had some funny experiences with that
and it really helps us get to bed on time. What I find so interesting
about being a missionary is the change in desires I've had, things I
used to find dull and boring have suddenly become fascinating and I
truly look forward to studying scriptures and doctrinal topics on my
own. It's amazing the new things you can learn when you show Heavenly
Father that youre ready to receive more information. I learned
something new that would take this entire paragraph to describe and
its really just been blowing my mind! I know that the Lord has amazing
and endless information ready for us and to receive it all we have to
do is ask and show the Lord how much it means to us by studying with a
purpose and with intent. I still miss you all but want you to know how
happy Ive been out here and wish you all the best!

Love, Elder Carpenter

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October 1 = 4 weeks!

Hey everyone! A whole month has already passed in the blink of an eye!
Its started to get a little colder here in Utah and I can see snow on
the mountain peaks already. Everything continues to go well and im
meeting tons of awesome new people. I don't think there's anywhere
else on the planet you'll find so many great people than at the MTC. I
got an email from someone headed to my mission who left a few weeks
ago and they already had a baptism! They sent me pictures of it with
the ocean in the background and it was beautiful. I'm loving my time
at the MTC but seeing that picture has just put a new desire in me and
I can't wait until we're out there teaching. Another he sent there was
water up to his ankles! The houses are on some sort of stilts and the
streets get flooded quite often so that's definitely something i'm
going to have to prepare for! What I've learned most this week is how
to find joy in what I'm doing out here. Our zone has had some issues
recently and a lot of people have been down and a little depressed,
our district hadn't had that problem and we were asked by our branch
presidency why we thought that was the case. We told them that we
loved what we were doing and knew without a doubt we were where the
Lord wanted us to be. In a way i think i'm the happiest I've ever been
right now. I've never learned so much so quickly and that includes my
testimony and knowledge of the gospel. I've sacrificed so much and
thats why im almost surprised at how I couldn't care less about what
i've left behind (Excluding friends and family xD) because I've
already been blessed with more than I ever had and I know that's a
trend that's going to continue throughout my whole mission. I know
without a doubt I was foreordained for this work and Heavenly Father
has a job out there for me to do, and I know for certainty that the
message I share can bless the lives of every person I teach. That's
why I'm happy. I miss and love all you guys! Until next week!
Elder Carpenter
No pictures  :(
Keep an eye out for Elder Carpenter at the Pristhood session of 
conference in the choir!  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Week Three of the MTC!- it rhymes!

hey guys, its day 22 here im pretty sure and things are still going
great, we were really lucky and had ANOTHER apostle come this week, I
think theyre all in town because of general conference. M Russell
Ballard came and spoke to us just last night about how to be a
successful missionary, goal setting, how to prepare ourselves, and how
to let your mission carry you into success later in life. It was a
great talk, I especially liked a part at the end where he said that
every morning he wakes up to his alarm clock and says, hmm... im still
here... (He's 86) so I guess that means I better get up and do all I
can today to help build the lord's kingdom, and i feel like i should
apply that attitude to myself especially when im out here. Something
else I think you guys are going to find exciting is that I'll be
singing in the priesthood session of general conference! the elders in
the choir were invited to sing this year and we had to fill out a
survey and I got the letter yesterday saying that i made it, so thats
pretty awesome, hopefully they get a good shot of me. Ive pretty fully
adjusted to life here, it wasnt too horribly difficult, I feel like
the time is going by fast but being at home feels so long ago at the
same time its a little weird. During gym time me and my district have
started playing 4 square, we decided to try it just messing around but
somehow it got really competitive, really fast. so we've begun to take
dominion over the court. It was an elders birthday here the other day,
he plays tennis and is really cool, he got a tie with a piano on it,
that actually plays piano, I already have food sufficient to last me
through a winter or two so if you were thinking of something to
send... idk im just throwing ideas out there. Also something cool was
that we met someone who lives in suriname! he was here in Utah and our
teacher got him to stop by, we were supposed to teach him a lesson,
but instead he just sat us down and talked about life and what we're
going to find in Suriname, hahah he was so laidback and funny and when
my teacher found out we didnt even teach a lesson he wasnt surprised
and called him a "free spirit" hahah i hope everyone is like that
because he was funny and i loved talking to him, from what he
described suriname sounds like an awesome place. I hope everyone at
home is continuing to do well, everyone is obsessed with byu or utah scores
here, anyways i miss and love you all hope to hear from you again
(So, we'd LOVE to know what that survey asked that got him into the Conference choir, 
but we may need to keep wondering!  4 square? Really?!! Somehow we aren't surprised!) 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

hey! so this week was pretty eventful, we had an apostle speak last night, it was Richard. G Scott. We felt really lucky to catch him, all the dutch people before us never got one despite how long they were in here for. So I thought that was pretty cool. He talked about prayer and communication with God, and how God answers prayers and sometimes doesnt answer prayers depending on whats best for us and in accordance with his will. It was a really cool and interesting talk that really made me think about what sincere prayer is. Our district of 5 is the favorite in the zone and our branch presidency loves us. The other dutch speaking missionaries just left so we're already the oldest dutch speakers at the MTC, a new group going to the netherlands comes in today so we're pretty excited to get some new people. I havnt broken the record yet but probably next week hahah, in other news our pretend investigator we were teaching just turned out to be our new teacher at the MTC! they made it seem like he was a volunteer pretending to be an investigator and then one day during class he just walked in and announced he was actually our teacher, hahah it was pretty funny, his name is brother norton and he's the only dutch teacher who's been to suriname. He's awesome and is one of the best teachers i've ever had. Speaking dutch has gotten a lot better for me. A couple days ago we had a water fight in our residency, ill send you a picture or two once I bring my camera down to the email place later today, it was pretty sweet. And since it was p-day eve last night we built a blanket fort with our mattresses and sheets (also epic) so that was fun too. Im still having a great time and have definitely learned a lot. My companions are awesome and we do a great job of helping each other out. I love hearing about whats happening at home so keep me updated with that too! Love you guys!

So apparently, something was wrong with Elder Carpenter's camera, and as I was panicking, he emailed back and said he thinks he fixed it.  We'll see. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

First Pday email!!!

Our first email from Elder Carpenter was a short couple of lines saying, "I'm alive and well"  so this is the first 'real' one.
Things at the MTC have been really great so far, I really like my companions so far and the other two elders in my district are great too. The other dutch speaking missionaries have been super cool and we hang out with them a lot. The schedule is hard for me because I have a hard time paying attention to anything for very long but I'm surviving. The language is coming well so far I think I'm learning it really fast which I'm very grateful for. I sent a letter home to marley and jesse and everyone else let me know if they got it!

We got these really cool water bottles when we got here too that filter water. I wanted to use it throughout the day so I put Lemonade and Sprite in one, when I drank it through the filter I figured it would be filtered, but still sprite and lemonade, I drank through the straw and it was pure water, hahah I was freaking out, at least I'll feel safer drinking the water though. That's awesome seattle won, let me know who wins the Us Open! I'm pulling for federer.

Also on Sunday we had a general authority come for our devotional, his name was Elder Satiti from Kenya, it was a pretty good talk but we were tired, one of my companions fell asleep and started to snore really loud, hahahah we were laughing the entire time, I have a picture of it I'll have to try and send you, I think they have card readers you have to buy to put them on here. They have tons of devotionals and testimony meetings which I can find myself bored in but sometimes there are things that really speak to me I find interesting. The MTC is a really cool place where everyone is super nice and always in a good mood. I've enjoyed my first week a lot so far, in just another week we're going to be the oldest when the other dutch leave so I'm looking forward to helping other missionaries out like the ones before helped us. This is our first P-day and its super nice to have a break. Missionaries make a huge deal out of it. Yesterday was P-day eve and we even had a poem reading for it. It was a little weird but extremely funny. Anyways I hope all is well and that things are continuing to go well for you guys! I'll keep you updated on the latest, Love you guys!
I asked him who his companions were, and if the other Dutch speaking Elders got their visas.  I also asked if he could figure out how to download pictures from his camera.
I'm the only one not from Utah, there are 5 in my district, my companions are cooper and dibb, the other two are bowen and james, they're all super great guys! And I don't know exactly but the other elders know how so they'll show me next week. and yeah they did get their visas