Monday, July 25, 2016

I Am Nothing

Oh my GOODNESS, this week was a ROLLER COASTER!  So many feels right now.  I'd say that I have learned and grown the most from my whole mission in the past one week.  Lots happened, but I want to talk about the highlight things that I learned.  I feel like I was hit with a spiritual fire hose this week! It's the best!!

Wednesday night there was a YSA fireside with Hank Smith, Michael McLean, and Brad Wilcox.

I wish I could tell y'all everything I learned but I will just give you highlight phrases that I got in my notes. :)

Hank Smith: (Hank is sooo funny and an amazing speaker!  This was the first time I have heard him, but I'm pretty sure he's going to be like the next John Bytheway. haha  I am looking forward to hearing more of his talks in the future!)   He talked about when Christ's apostles were on the ship in the storm and when they saw Christ walking on water, the first thing he said was, "Be of good cheer!"  What? That would be hard to do when you feel like you're about to DIE in this storm.  His motto was, "Be of good cheer! It's not a pep talk, it's a commandment!"  Life is hard, but even during our deep trials, we can "be of good cheer."

Michael McLean: After quoting Christ saying, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?

Michael said, "The greatest intelligence in the universe did not flee because he could not sand to see His son suffer, but He did it on purpose because He had faith that His son could do it on His own.....  When you feel left alone and abandoned maybe that's because the God of the universe has faith is you."

Funny story! After the fireside, we got to meet all three of these fantastic speakers.  We were with Rosselyn! She still has her neck and back brace on.  Michael McLean said to her, "What happened?! What'd you do??"  Without hesitation she replied, "I jump off bridge."  The way she said it was hilarious and adorable, so we started laughing!  Then she says, "What? I don't want to lie to people!"  Then Michael just walked away. hahaha  That was FUNNY.

Brad Wilcox....Ohhhhh man.  I've got lots to say about what I learned from him.
"Grace is not the Atonement. 
Grace is the power that flows from the Atonement.  
Grace is Christ's extended arm.  
Grace is not the absence of commandments.  
Grace is the presence of His power."
That is a very brief summary of some things he talked about.

Okay, now I've got to add some details from the rest of this week.

I got to go on exchanges with my missionary grandma, (my trainer's trainer:)  Sissa Ray! I  replaced her in this area 7 and a half months ago, and she served here for 7 and a half months too!  It was fun to be with her for her to visit people in the ward and people that she taught.  We taught a lesson to Elijah and set a baptismal date for August 27th!!!  The kid absorbs everything like a sponge and has such a great understanding when we read the scriptures.  I love that kid!!

We also visited Rosselyn, because Sissa Ray was the first sister that taught her.  Rosselyn's family is taking English classes and it's so cute for them to try to tell us the words they are learning with their thick Spanish accents. :)

Yesterday at church Bishop Root (one of my favorite people) asked me to share my testimony in sacrament along with an invitation, because it is my second to last Sunday in the ward.  Can I just say, I was a mess!!! I felt like I was giving another farewell, leaving home!!!  I have loved this area so much.  It has become my home, because my heart is definitely here.  I'm excited to find somewhere else in Idaho that will become another home to me!  I gave an invitation to the ward, and I want to give the same invitation to you:

Find one person or family on your street or in your neighborhood to fellowship.  Love them. Serve them.  Become their friend.  LOVE THEM INTO THE GOSPEL!  Invite them to meet with the missionaries. :)  Love works!!

Okay, now on to the part that I have been most excited to share about.

Ponderize: 2 Nephi 25:23
For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

On Thursday night, there was another fireside with Brad Wilcox for our family stake.  I'm pretty sure this changed my life.  He helped me gain a greater understanding of the Atonement and grace.  

Brad went through each word of the last part of the scripture giving it different emphasis and a whole new perspective of the scripture!  I really really wish I could send you everything he said, but I'm out of time, so I will share my favorite part.

In this scripture we see the word "WE"  By grace WE are saved after all we can do.... Maybe WE isn't in reference to all of us people as a whole, but WE as in ourselves with Jesus Christ.  Without him, I am not worthy.  Without him, I can do nothing. Without him, I AM nothing... But TOGETHER, with Christ, WE are worthy, and WE can do anything, and WE are saved.   This is a lesson that I have been learning over the past two weeks.  It was emphasized more after this fireside.

I love my mission.  I love all the areas that I have been able to grow.  I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and all that He has done and continues to do for me.  Without him I AM NOTHING!

From Idaho to you,


Sister Carling

Brad Wilcox, Michael McLean, and Hank Smith! Great men!!

Sissa Ray, my mission grandma!

There was a big huge fire in the foothills!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Can You Feel the Love?!

Hey y'all!

Every week when I think of what I'm going to write in my group email, I look back in my journal to see what happened this week.  When President Bartlett got here he committed us to write in our journal every day for the rest of our mission.... since then I haven't missed a day! So now every week for my email, I always have lots to say! (Hey that rhymed...haha)

Last Tuesday, July 12th, was Dress Like a Cow Day at Chick-fil-a! No, we didn't dress like cows, but we happened to go for our district lunch after district meeting.  We got free food anyways! haha #PerksofBeingaMissionary ;)

We finally got to meet with Elijah again.  He is our 16 year old investigator.  He was hilarious when we were teaching him! Although he was all over the place and acting kind of crazy, he was paying attention and interested in everything we had to say.  We read the introduction to the Book of Mormon.  He totally understands why it is important to know why it is true.  I hope that he will put forth the effort to read it and pray about it!!

Wednesday was Sister Davis's birthday.  I put a few decorations up for her when she fell asleep so she woke up to a little surprise. :)  We went to lunch with our black lady friend, Julia.  Again, there were lots of hilarious conversations.  When we got home that night, Sister Rotz (the lady we live with) put on a mini surprise birthday party and invited some people from the ward over.  It was so nice of her!

Barbara is still progressing in the gospel!  She loves it and wants to be baptized so bad.  She just has so many problems that she is being tried with right now--physically, emotionally, mentally....... She just needs to stay spiritually strong!  I am excited for her to be baptized in 2 weeks. :)

Every week I think I talk about the Osuna family.....4 weeks ago they were baptized for themselves....this week they went to the temple to do baptisms for the dead!  It was so beautiful! I'm so grateful for my 2 years of high school Spanish because I've retained it pretty well--well enough to communicate with them a little bit. :)  They are hilarious.  But with that aside, it was beautiful to see them perform baptisms in the temple. I have so much love for that family!!!

CRAZY DAVE HAS AN OFFICIAL NAME TAG!!!!  He is now a service missionary for the bishop's storehouse. In the 7 months that I have been working with him, he has come extremely far!!!  I am seriously so proud of him.  He's trying to be a full time missionary.... He even went to the mission office and met with President Bartlett to ask questions! haha  He's doing missionary schedule and studying for hours a day.  Dave is on a ROLE!!! It's amazing.  I love Crazy Dave so much.  We took some pictures of him at the temple.  He's so precious.

One of our YSA people has a friend who is now taking the lessons with us.  Her name is Emily.  She is super fun, cute, and has great morals.  She is from Boise, Idaho so the majority of her friends were LDS but she never looked in to the church... A decade later, she is now interested in being baptized!  She came to church this Sunday.  We mentioned that we need a place to live and she asked if you had to be LDS to house missionaries.  The answer is No! She might even be interested in letting us move in with her!!! We'll pray that that can happen. :)

Yesterday we had the opportunity to speak at an assisted living place for sacrament meeting.  Even though there were only about a half of a dozen people, I felt the Spirit and realized even more how important the sacrament is--even for old people who can't do too much with their lives.

I LOVE the people here so much more than I can express!!!! As I see people progress in the gospel, I gain a love that I haven't felt anywhere else!  I wish all y'all could have the same love for these people that I have, because it is just amazing. 

Ponderize: Alma 26:12
Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast
of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this
land, for which we will praise his name forever.

As a missionary, I can't become better or perform miracles without the help of God and Jesus Christ.  I am working on relying on Him to become like Him... I need to give whole self to Him.  I was reading a talk called, "The Fourth Missionary" and one part said, "God cannot work on what He does not have, and He cannot have you, unless you give yourself to Him."  I want to give my whole self to Him to consecrate my work as a missionary!

From Idaho to you,


Sister Carling

Chick-fil-a dress like a cow day.

Sister Davis's birthday at the Cheesecake Factory!

Dave--I mean, Elder Hochstetler! :)

 Osuna familia. <3

Monday, July 11, 2016

Gospel Blessings: Families and Individuals...It WORKS!!!

This week I have come to grow even more love for my area and the people in it.  It's going to be extremely hard to leave, but I look back and am so grateful for all the time I have had to be here.

There is this black lady, named Julia.  She is a potential investigator, but super baptist so I don't think she will be interested in the church soon, but we are planting seeds!  She took us to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory--that meal could have lasted me a month, I ate so much!  Julia is the FUNNIEST black person I know.  Every sentence that comes out of her mouth makes me laugh.  Sister Davis's birthday is this week and she wants to take us again!

We had a lesson with our good ol' friend Crazy Dave and his buddy, Joe.  Joe wants to be baptized July 27th!! :)  We taught Dave a lesson on revelation through the Book of Mormon.  We did an experiment for them and read a chapter with a question in mind.  Both Dave and Joe had their questions answered.  I have a testimony that any question we have can be answered in the Book of Mormon, combined with the Spirit.  It works!!!

We also did some service for "Just Serve" at the International Rescue Committee for refugees.  It's cool to see--and be a part of--some of the efforts to help refugees.

We went to Rosselyn's house a couple of times.....She's home!!  And her family is HAPPY.  The gospel has changed them.  I walked into their house and saw a sign that says, "Familias son para Siempre" and "La Familia: Una ProclamaciĆ³n para el Mundo."  <3  Her dad and grandpa received the priesthood!  :)  They have a goal to go do baptisms at the temple soon!  Rosselyn's sister, Rosmery, left Boise to go back home to New Jersey. She's not baptised yet. but I can't wait until that happens! ;)  Out of everyone on my mission, the Osuna family might be my favorite miracle. 

Our meeting with Jezrael this week was pretty special.  We went to the temple grounds and made goals "to go inside some day..."  That goal is September 20th! I am excited for him because he is working hard to do what's right!  I'm so proud of him. :)

This week was zone meeting.  It was President Bartlett's first training and he chose to emphasize obedience.  I thought it was perfect.  When missionaries understand obedience and are obedient, then they will look back on their mission and be satisfied.

Barbara is still progressing!  She is GOLDEN!  We taught her the Word of Wisdom which is kind of scary to teach sometimes because we never know how the person will react.  Barbara smokes and drinks coffee.... (or I should say *smoked* and *drank*:) We taught the lesson and she said, "I didn't even know I was breaking something!" She was ready to quit so she could keep the commandment! GOLDEN!  I love Barbara.  She is so precious and it's great to see the changes in her over the past couple of weeks.

The gospel blesses our lives as individuals and families.  I am SO grateful to have it and to have the opportunity to share it and see it first hand changing lives. 

Ponderize: Luke 9:61-62

And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.

And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Before consecration, comes obedience and sacrifice.  If any of us want to consecrate our lives to Jesus Christ (right now I'm trying to fully consecrate my mission...) we need to push forward with His will, no looking back at what we want.

From Idaho to you,


Sister Carling

Julia took a selfie at the Cheescake factory.

We took another picture with her and after words she said, "You need a negro light!" hahaha

We parked close to the elder's car and Sister Davis accidentally LOCKED Elder Folau's thumb in his door! It came out pretty smashed.  He went to the doctor and found out it was broken in THREE places!! Haha

 Rosmery! <3