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!