December 4, 2011

This is it...

To all my loved ones.....

AAAHHHH!  It doesn't seem real that I am on my LAST full week in the Philippines teaching these AMAZING people!  I can't get it through my head that I am going home....I guess that's a good thing so that I don't dwell on it and get distracted.  It sure has been the BEST 18 months FOR my life.  But we'll talk about that when the time's still not finished!

This last week was Christmas Zone Conference at the mission home!  First of all, let me talk about the temporal things before the spiritual hehe....I can't believe it's been 1 year since I've been able to take a HOT shower with RUNNING water and you can just STAND there and enjoy it....without flip flops on :)  Holy moly, that is something taken for granted....unfortunately, since there were 10 of us my time was limited to about 3-5 minutes, but I could've stood there for HOURS!!!  Man, the ride home though was less than desirable.....we left the mission home at around 4 and had a 6 hour buss ride on a windy road while it was raining and cold because it was air conditioned and we were exhausted after not getting any sleep the previous 2 nights.....we got home at 10pm and had a baptism at 10AM the next morning.....what a WEEK!

The zone con was amazing though....full of feasting on awesome food and the Spirit :)  The first night we went caroling at a hospital which was a neat experience, I really felt the Savior's love for the sick and afflicted and thought of the scriptures that talk about Him healing the sick and bringing joy to the broken hearted.  After we would sing in a room, we went and shook everyone's hand....they were very happy and grateful, it was special!  The new theme for the transfer is found in Joshua 3:5 "...sanctify yourselves for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you"  President gave a really great training on we need to make sure that before every meeting, every teaching opportunity, every time we read the scriptures (basically every time we do ANYTHING) we need to take a moment to sanctify ourselves...repent, commit to change, then go into the meeting prepared for personal revelation and manifestations of the Spirit....and that's not just for missionaries.  We ALL need to do this if we desire to progress.  Repentance will be THE MOST important thing we will do every day.

So we did have a baptism last Saturday which was AWESOME, of coarse!  Sister Aida was baptized...she was the one who started progressing the first appointment when we gave her a Book of Mormon.  She is incredible, I know she is one of the ELITE, the Spirit is so strong with her, she is different from the other investigators and even from members, she really stands out.  She started paying tithing the Sunday we taught her about it, and she didn't even have to yet!

 So, with this being my last chance to email I'd like to reflect on some worth-remembering lessons I've learned:

--I am not perfect, and this doesn't mean I am any less of a person, it only means that I need my Savior.
--There are good sacrifices, and there are BETTER sacrifices.
--To know and not to do, is not to know.
--Seeing more of your weaknesses only means you are coming closer to God, not going further away.
--If things don't work out the way you wanted or planned, it just means you need to show more faith because God has something much better in store.
--God can make a lot more out of me than I can.
--Whether I am being watched or not, whether people know it or not, I should ALWAYS obey the laws and commandments of God.  If I act differently at home than I do at church, I am doing something wrong.
--Fear will keep us in the same place, doing the same thing.
--As much as we try to fight it or deny it, in the end it is requisite that a man give up everything for the Lord if he wishes to obtain the riches of eternity.
--To love yourself in and out is to know that God loves you.

This doesn't even scratch the surface of the things I've felt and experienced, but they are precious treasures to me.  I am learning that the important things in life are the things that are found in our hearts....for that is what we are going to offer to our Master at the last day.

May we constantly strive everyday to purify our hearts and live after the manner the Savior has laid for us, which is the ONLY way.  It can be done, just remember that progression happens over a lifetime.  Elder Nelson told us to not demand too much of ourselves, but to demand improvements.  Until we meet again....  ;)

Love you ALL!!!!  And I can't wait to see you :)   Your love, support, and prayers mean more to me than you can ever know.

Sister Carroll

"And verily I say unto thee that thou shalt lay aside the things of the world, and seek for things of a better"  D&C 25:10

mom:  I think we can just go to granny's after the releasing, that would be fine....the plans you have made sound PERFECT!!  Thanks!!  And you can email me again....I might check my mail one more time before I leave!  hehe

November 27, 2011

A trashy day

Greetings family and friends!!!

Well let me just tell ya mom, there WAS a reason you thought about me a lot this last week stomach AGAIN!  I will start off with that story, it's a fun one....
So, last Sunday night we ate at a member's house and on the long walk home my stomach started screaming at me for an emergency exit...awesome, it continued until Wednesday because I was stubborn and didn't want to go on a liquid diet but was eventually forced to....its stinken hard to work with an LBM--the toilets are LIMITED!  So I started the liquid diet on Thursday morning nothing changed and i was frustrated because of coarse i just wanted to top off the morning something awesome happened....hahha, I was the first to open the back door and walk outside....when i opened it i saw that our cats and dogs scattered our trash AGAIN, so i just chuckled and took one step outside and slipped (it had been raining) and fell flat on my side in our bathroom trash.....i love life, all i could do was laugh at my pitiful state haha.  The next 2 days I still had LBM but was now eating bread, rice, apples, bananas.....the only things i could eat without my stomach hurting!  By Saturday morning i was sick of that food and just wanted FLAVOR but followed the diet because i knew the consequences (even though nothing had changed with my stomach situation) by Sunday....yep, still there, and still being careful with my eating except we were out of apples and bananas :(  this morning was the first time that was okay so i figured it'd be okay to eat normal food again so i did for lunch and about 5 minutes ago it all wanted to come out.  Why me?!  Lol, it's actually funny, I'm not annoyed anymore, just amused.  We have Christmas Zone Conference Thurs and Fri so maybe I'll talk to Sis Odgers. 

It came to no surprise to me that almost all of my personal studies were mostly about patience in affliction haha....i wasn't looking for it, but that's what the Lord was showing me, which i am grateful for because i think it really helped me not get worked up over the little things.  Today, in my studies I learned from Amulek's experience in Alma 15 that as much as we fight it and deny it, in the end it is requisite for man to forsake ALL things for the Lord if he wishes to obtain the riches of eternity.  I was led to connect what I learned over the last couple of days and today.  The Lord "seeth fit to chasten His people, yea he trieth their patience and faith"  He will first try us to see where our faith we turn to him or turn away?  Then, once He has determined we are fit and worthy, He will require all that WE have only to give us all the HE has.  Our patience MUST be tried first then our desires must be tried.  What do we truly desire most?  God or Gold.  That is only for each of us to decide and show Him. 

Speaking of patience......i know mine has truly been expanded as I pour ICE COLD WATER on myself every morning....I have no idea how I do it, it actually amazes me everyday as I am bucketing.   It is seriously hypothermia-causing coldness!  The weather has been chilly too!  It's just been raining and raining and I have no sweater because I didn't bring one and just haven't thought to buy one... oh endurance. 

Mom, I don't know if I've told you any of the comments people make about you when I show them a pic of our family.....but let me fill you in....some think you are just one of my sisters, some thing you look like a model, and EVERYONE comments on how beautiful you are :)  Just thought you'd like to know that!  I agree with them of coarse!  I think we have a VERY attractive family!

As for what I want when I get home.....haha, still not sure.....I think i do just want home cooked instead of restaurant, its not really I've tried thinking about the food i miss and want to eat, i can't really think of anything specific.   I don't know, i don't know what I'll want haha maybe you can suggest ideas and I'll just agree :)  i know for sure though that that night i want dessert with friends probably at our house since they know where that is.  But as for dinner....just as long as there is family there :)

That's all for now!!!  AH!  Next week is my last week for emailing!  Well, I think i will get one more in the week i leave, if i have time.  But I love you all and want you to know that I receive so much strength from each one of you!!!!!

love always,
Sis. Carroll
"Not any of us can take refuge in past righteousness or service"  -Elder Theodore M. Burton

November 21, 2011

It's a Wonderful Life

Gandang Tanghali!

Ooo, I am actually excited to watch that movie when I get home....It's a Wonderful Life.....well anyway, it is.  It's a hard life too.  The Lord is not gonna let me outta here on an easy foot.  Haha, we've seen some challenges as we've tried to find new people to teach and progress in the gospel.  However, its still fun for some reason!  We have 2 baptisms coming up on Dec 3 and that'll be the final ones for me....I am so proud of all my investigators who have given up so much, humbled themselves before God and are willing to accept His will.  Hopefully we can all do that, daily.

So in the last 2 weeks I think about 5 people have told me that I've gained weight...thanks everyone.  Haha, so hope ya'll recognize me when i walk off the airplane!  However, one of the members (married man) did tell me that out of all the other American sisters who've served in that area i am the pinaka-sexy.  Or in English the most sexy sister.....don't worry, they don't really mean sexy like we do, they just mean fit, or skinny haha.  But it was good to hear after all the fat comments!

Yay!  Happy Thanksgiving!  Hope you eat a lot of American food for me!! 
So I came across Alma 7:15 in my studies this week and one part of it reads "...fear not, and lay aside every sin"  I thought to myself why do we need to fear not to lay aside our sins??  Then as I thought more, I realized that it can be scary to give up sin or bad habits....we get in comfort zones and don't like to leave them....sometimes those comfort zones are dangerous for us but the thought of leaving or quitting that one thing is frightening.  What are we going to feel?  What if we can't do it?  I know I'm gonna miss it or want to keep doing it, and that will be torture.....
However, this sentence in Alma offers comfort from our Saviour....He tells us to not fear and not worry about it for He has already done it.  It takes great faith to lay aside sin, especially "every sin."  The Lord promises countless blessings of peace, joy, comfort, hope, understanding, those who will do this.  Fear is not from God, it never has been nor ever will be, for fear will keep us in the same place doing the same thing.  That is not what God intends for His children who are heirs of His kingdom.  He intends for us to "press-forward steadfastly" so that we can obtain that life eternal of which He so often speaks.  We can all do it, and we all agreed to do it before we came here.  So my dear family and friends, LET'S DO IT!! 

Have a great Thanksgiving, and remember to give thanks to the One who loves us unconditionally.

Sister Carroll ;)

November 14, 2011

Hot, hot, and hotter!


Holy moly, I feel like I am working in an OVEN! Is it really November?? It's supposed to get a little cooler, but the last week has just been straight up HOT! I LOVE it when people don't have electric fans and you all just sit there wiping off sweat with your hanker-chief and comment about how hot it is throughout the whole lesson, hahaha. But of coarse, I love it and it will probably be very hard living in the cold weather when I go home! Mom, I'm gonna have to borrow that heating pad you use that smells bad!

This was just another week in the making.....nothing really exciting on my part.....It was actually a bit of a rougher week for me. I don't know why, I really just didn't feel it. It was frustrating, I felt very off my groove and not in tune with what the Spirit was prompting me. We didn't find much success either in our finding and realized that we didn't have many progressing investigators anymore.
However, yesterday we went on splits and we were both able to have success and I was able to feel the Spirit more strongly in our final lesson with a family who I started teaching back in March. They are coming to church finally and last night they said they'd be baptized!
I love this family!! We also had 2 baptisms on Saturday!! Those two
15 year old girls who started working with us weeks ago! Now they are members and are more powerful and glowing than ever! There are ALWAYS blessings amongst the hard times, we can't forget to look for them.

I am SO happy with my living situation right now! I LOVE the 3 other sisters who I will spend the last 4 weeks with!!! They are SO fun, SO cute, and VERY hard workers! Couldn't be better! The members all love us and love working with us, I am blessed on every front! Yeah, how many more emails will I be sending?! 3? Not gonna lie, that makes me really sad too, its been fun sharing my experiences with all of you, and reading about your lives and seeing the growth and blessings that have come to you. We need another missionary to get out into the field like ASAP! I can't be the last one!

I was reading in the bible dictionary about conversion and there was one sentence I really liked:
"complete conversion comes after many trials and much testing"
The Lord promises us: "And after their temptations, and much tribulation, behold, I, the Lord, will feel after them, and if they harden not their hearts, and stiffen not their necks against me, they shall be converted, and I will heal them." D&C 112:13

I can TESTIFY this is true! My conversion to God didn't really start until I got here haha and have learned to turn to the one true source of strength to overcome challenges. He IS there for us, but we cannot harden our hearts or else we will think that He has left us alone to deal with life. He never leaves us.....we just become blind and hard to Him.

Let us harden not our hearts, look up to God and press forward, we came here to conquer, not to be conquered!

Love you all,
Sister Carroll

November 7, 2011

Prayer and an unexpected answer

Mabuhay family and friends!!!!

I've got the BEST news ever!!! For my last 5 weeks in the mission field, I will be spending it here in Lal-lo WITH Sister Francia!!! I couldn't be happier with this!! It has truly answered my prayers, I know we both still need to be here. So many wonderful things are happening in this place and I only wish I could write it all. Let me just say that your prayers and faith are a HUGE help on this side of the world.....thank you :)

This coming Saturday we will be having 2 baptisms....two 15 year old girls who are amazing! They are the investigators who like to work with us! We also have a couple coming up in December that I will be here for. Oh man, God loves me.

So I have a cool experience to share with ya'll that was faith building for me....

Monday night Sister Francia and I were working and it was raining, no big deal but then it kept getting harder and stronger, we also had 2 fellowshippers with us. We ended up at their families house to get out of the rain and after teaching a recent convert we decided we should go home but the rain was very heavy and we were cold and there was a flood around their house. I kept thinking we should pray but at first I thought, well they might think we're funny for praying, then I realized that was a stupid thought, we needed to pray. So I suggested it to Sis. Francia and we said a prayer. I prayed that the rains would calm so we could make it home safely and comfortably (we had about a 25 minute walk). After the prayer nothing changed in the weather and it was only getting closer to 9 o'clock. Then I thought about faith and how it is an action word. If we REALLY wanted to show our faith, we couldn't just pray and expect something to happen, we needed to ACT. So we decided to leave and with a prayer in our hearts we set out into the cold rain and flood. Nothing was changing....we made it to the highway and after about 2 minutes of walking a tricycle pulled up on the other side of the street and was waiting for someone. I had the impression to ask if he was headed our way and he was! Now let me just say that at that time of night, there are NEVER tricies available and if they are they are just full of drunk men. However, I knew this tricycle driver, he was an old investigator and very nice. We were given a safe and comfortable ride home while the rain was still pouring down......

So many lessons were learned from this small miracle we received on Monday night, God is a God of miracles and He works in mysterious ways.
"The Lord hears and answers prayers. Sometimes we tend to give up too soon when we pray to Him. We need to persist." -Elder Robert F. Orton

I have truly seen my capacities as a human expanded to limits beyond description. My endurance, patience, love, understanding, acceptance, and so much more have all been deepened and broadened. It's so true that the Lord can make more of you than you can. Let's not try and do things on our own--we'll never make it anywhere good. We can look to Joseph Smith as a GREAT example of one who endured all things because of his testimony. We just watched the Joseph Smith movie they show at the visitor's center and holy cow, it is a great reminder that this life is only preparation for the next and if we endure the challenges we will be worthy to sit down on the right hand of God. If we need a wake up call or reminder that no matter how many trials are before us, we can still be that movie and read about the persecutions our beloved prophet faced for the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can all be made free.

LOVE you all so much!!!! Keep your heads up!

Sister Carroll

November 1, 2011

"Pray lest we enter into temptation"

My dearest family and friends,

Well, this surely has been an emotional morning as I've read the emails from Kiki and mom.....the emotions are of joy don't worry :) Gosh, family you have no idea how amazing it is to hear of your growth and steadiness in the paths you are walking. Your faith in our Heavenly Father fill me with such hope and peace. I know I was sent to just the right family. Thank you so much for your examples and for striving to become better and overcome obstacles. I'm very excited to meet my new nephew who looks ADORABLE and you all are right, he totally looks like Kiki, technology is awesome. I cannot express how happy I am that Kiki and Curtis were sealed!!!!!! I know that our progression in this life happens little by little, day by day. We cannot grow frustrated by looking at ourselves through the scope of one day or even on year. I know that we will be very surprised and proud of ourselves when, after a lifetime, we look back and have reached the potential we've always heard about.

Oh and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!! I love Halloween, I hope you all enjoy it later.....after family home evening of coarse because that must come first ;) I am wearing orange and black to celebrate....unfortunately that's as far as it goes....I can't even eat candy at the moment because I was woken up in the middle of the night with LBM, sweet! Haven't had that in a while, but all morning long its been a real treat running the the bathroom every 5 mins!

My first picture is of my investigator straightening my hair :) First time in over a year!!! How fun, she has a straightener and let me borrow it too!

However, because of the humidity it gets fluffy like instantly. What am i gonna do in dry weather?! So yesterday we had the primary program in our branch which we helped with cause sis Francia has worked before with the primary and is an awesome teacher/leader. They were SO cute!! haha, its definitely different than the primary programs i grew up was done acappella cause the primary songs are hard to play and they don't know some of the songs very well so sis. Francia's voice was what you heard some of the time haha, but they were all way excited to give talks! How fun, i love these kids!

So in my studies the other day I learned about prayer and temptation. How many times throughout all the standard works, are we told to "pray lest we enter into temptation" .... A LOT! I didn't count but we see it all over.....well, it actually hit me that prayer is more powerful than we think and it will totally serve as our defense when faced against temptation. Example: our recent convert who is awesome, Erril used to be a major drinker but has turned completely around. Of coarse those temptations still follow him and his friends and co-workers always come to him offering him stuff. He told us the other night that when that happens, he closes his eyes and folds his arms right then and prays to escape temptation....then they all leave when he opens his eyes. What a perfect example of someone who fears God more than man. Of coarse one might say "how embarrassing if you pray in front of people like that, what will they say, what will they think?" But who do we fear with those comments.
Have we ever tried that? Do we have faith enough in God that when we asked for deliverance, He will do it immediately?! God will never leave us hanging or never leave us alone to face temptation, but we must ask first, and the way to do that is through prayer. It's powerful and can be used with ANY temptation we face in this life. Try it.

Well family, thank you so much again for EVERYTHING, I cannot list the reasons I am grateful for you, I am pretty sure i am more blessed than anyone else :)

Until next week,
Sis. Carroll
"The refiners fire is real, and qualities of character and righteousness that are forged in the furnace of affliction perfect and purify us and prepare us to meet God" -Elder Quinton L. Cook

October 24, 2011

All is Well

Hey all!!

Happy day, all is well......Hope things are going great for you all on the home front! We had a pretty good week this week! I got the package you sent mom, thank you VERY MUCH!!! I am now glasses free again and have gotten comments from people that i look much better without them, thanks for informing me. One even came from a tricycle driver haha! You don't even know me!

So great news, Aida is amazing and is getting baptized on Dec 3!! In just one week she has just embraced the gospel and loves all of it! She always feels the spirit so strong and yesterday she came to church and cried during one talk and then told us she is going to invite everyone she knows to come! That is the true spirit of a converted person.

We had interviews this week with President. He's just the greatest person ever, there's no doubt he was supposed to be my mission president at this time. I asked him how I was supposed to cope with going home and being separated from all these people I love and not know if/when I'll come back and see them. He said it will be painful, but it's a good pain, so just to enjoy the pain haha. Gosh, it's all so bitter-sweet. President and Sis. Odgers told me to start planning and thinking about home so the transition will be a bit smoother. It's weird to think that i wont be doing this anymore, i don't feel like I'm ever going home haha. Like my past life was just a dream. I just wish I could take all these people home with me!!!!

Goodness, 17 months has really taken a toll on me physically. I am so darn TIRED all the time and i feel like I'm losing my mind haha. I have become SO forgetful, always leaving my umbrella or water bottle where ever we are. Good think I have Sis. Francia, she always remembers. But I swear, if my head wasn't attached I'd lose that too!

Sorry it's a short one today, we have a district activity and I've got things to plan. I love you all and am so grateful for you prayers and thoughts of me. You too are in my prayers.

Love always,
Sis. Carroll

"Why is non endurance a denial of the Lord? Because giving up is a denial of the Lord's loving capacity to see us through "all these things!" Giving up suggests that God is less than He really is. It is a denial of His divine attributes-and also, a denial of our own possibilities."
-Elder Neal A. Maxwell

1.This is a typical 1st birthday here in the philippines....they go ALL OUT!! Why? Who knows?! The kid is not gonna remember one thing about his first birthday.....but at least WE got in on the fun! And if you'll notice the pig with the apple....thats the best part....and yes, that is a real tradition still being practiced....i love the philippines.

2. Decided to take a try for myself.....

October 17, 2011

Shower surprises...and one awesome week

Fam and Friends,

How are we this week?! Shall I start off with my shower surprise?? Well, this morning I was showering and was washing my face (so my eyes were closed) and I felt something touch my foot....I quickly opened my eyes to find a HUGE roach frantically running around in the tub....I immediately jumped out and called for some bug spray! what a wake up call! I have no idea where he came from and why I didn't see him in the bathroom before that....dang creatures, messing with my alone time haha.

Onto the awesome week we had!!!! It seriously just kept getting better and better...I'll start with a new investigator we found last Tuesday, Aida. She is a mom and a catholic who is dedicated to the Bible. Well, when we first found her the week before, she was busy and so we set an appointment for Tuesday...wasn't expecting anything cause she didn't seem all that interested. But she was there, yay, and we started off by asking her questions about her religion, and how she came to know God. That's where we learned that she is an avid Bible-reader. That gave us an opportunity to introduce the Book of Mormon. The lesson went really smooth and she seemed pretty interested. We asked her to read and pray to know it is true and that our message is true, she said the typical thing "I know its true, its from God, I don't need to ask" however, in order for her to gain a testimony that it is true, she needed to pray and receive that answer from God alone, not from us. So we really encouraged her to pray and she accepted. Well, come Thursday, we returned and she was there (good sign number one) and when we followed up on her reading, she said oh it's good, I read just a little. But then she showed us where she was...1 Nephi 11 and she read the title page and testimonies! Only 2 days and she was telling us the storyline and about the characters...she actually READ it for understanding, not just to say she read it. She proudly said she knows it is true and that the things we are saying are true. She has already fallen in love with the Book of Mormon. So we taught her about the apostasy and Joseph Smith and the Restoration and she took it all in. We asked her to pray about this church to know it's true and she agreed then we asked when she knows it's true, will she be baptized and she accepted! Oh man, that book has power that we cannot see or describe. The honest seekers will truly be enlightened and will find.

Moving to our baptism candidate, Erril.

He is a true convert to Jesus Christ...because of the Book of Mormon. He has the strongest testimony. He's been an investigator for over a year and used to have lots of problems with the word of wisdom. Now, he's a changed man, and this change has gone all the way through. He's only 24 and has had lots of experiences in life that aren't the best. But now, the glow of the gospel shines from every part of him. And on Saturday/Sunday he officially accepted Christ through baptism and confirmation. I cannot express my joy when I see a humble, repentant person submit to the Lord's will, in any manner, but most especially through baptism. This is the GREATEST of the Lord's work here on the earth. Nothing can replace it. Did you know that as we preach the gospel and help others become qualified for exaltation, our own sins are forgiven and we help ourself into God's kingdom. That just shows how much the Lord values this work and the life of every soul.

So the 4 of us decided to do a special musical number at the baptism...i don't know why i agree to stuff like that. We found a song on the 2010 EFY CD that we really liked called "Let it begin" the lyrics are incredible and so we split up the parts...solos and all....first of all, i am not a singer, and i don't do well when i am the center of attention haha......needless to say, when it was my part my voice totally cracked like a 12 year old boy going through puberty and it was really embarrassing. Luckily, my comp was there to back me up and finished my part with me.....Heavenly Father knows how to keep me humble :)

Yesterday was Sis Francia's bday!!!

We celebrated at the Pacual's with like the whole branch haha. It was a lot of fun, I love these people TO DEATH!!!!! They have all become my home away from home.

One of our investigators also worked with us yesterday, haha, she is incredible, it's only been 3 weeks of us teaching her and she has a powerful testimony. She's only 15 too! She will be baptized on November 19. Man, we are seeing sooooo many miracles in this place it's not even funny. We are really striving to apply all that we are learning, and also striving for obedience. Those 2 mixed together equals greatness :)

Well, until next week that's all I've got. Life is so beautiful, please know that.
Love you all, your prayers and support of me here in the Philippines is not in vain. You too are making a difference in the lives of these amazing people.

Sis. Carroll

"Let it Begin"
You might think that no ones been through what you're going through
And you might think that nobody's made the same mistakes as you
You are feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders, turn it over..

Just have the courage to take one step, someone's gonna be there to help with the rest.
To start is the hardest but its something that only you can do
Don't carry the burden as the years go by, you don't need that crushing weight in you life.
Have faith to pray for the strength to finally see this through.
Theres one who knows you perfectly He can take the hurt away.
The healing starts within, just let Him in, let it begin

You've tried hard to hide from the past and to bury it deep.
You're overwhelmed by all of the things that you know you should be
Just believe, mistakes of the past don't define you, they refine you...

October 9, 2011

Thorns and Roses


Just thought I'd change up the greeting on this week's are ya'll doin?! Life over here is still goin haha, I've entitled the subject line 'thorns and roses' because that's kinda how I feel life is. I bet you will all agree with me on that one. You really don't appreciate the beautiful and striking rose without the ugly thorns right? What if all roses grew with lace and pearls coming out of them? They wouldn't be as beautiful, their beauty would lessen. However, they grow amongst leaves and sticks and have sharp, ugly thorns coming out. What a contrast that is. And how much it reflects our lives. We have thorny days, weeks, and even years some are sharp and hurt a little but they are only a backdrop for the magnificent roses that God also gives us. We learn to appreciate Him more as we come to recognize the contrast between our own thorns and roses throughout life. I'll tell you this much though, we should ALWAYS be looking for those roses, because I promise, they are ALWAYS there. We can expect miracles in our lives everyday as we strive to be obedient to God's commandments.

This week was a bit of a thorny week, not gonna lie. The last few weeks were awesome, then this week hit and it wasn't much fun. Some of our progressing investigators have taken some steps backward while as we tried finding we encountered lots of rejection. It sure has humbled my heart and I seek help from the Lord, I know I am not invincible and cannot do this alone, we are on the Lord's time and the Lord's errand. I have been visited with peace and comfort as I've turned to Him through prayer and the scriptures, how much solace they offer a broken heart. Sometimes you really feel the weight of your investigator's lives, it gets a little heavy at times. After yesterday I didn't know how much more I could take, but I gave it to Christ and this morning I am walking a little lighter. I still don't know what I'm going to do this week with our investigators and with finding but I do know that I can trust in the Lord. And that's what I will do.

Wasn't conference wonderful?! President Monson seemed extra cheery didn't he? That really brings me hope, if our beloved prophet who carries the weight of the world (pretty much) is happy and can joke and laugh.....why can't we all be the same?! We only have our small circles to worry about, not a world full of wickedness. If we can only see the thorns in our lives, we aren't seeing what the Lord intends us to see. One commandment of the Savior's is to "be of good cheer" now lets do just that! Let's follow the example of our prophet and lift up our heads for "we are not cast off" and just know that whatever trial we face, there's a way up and over. But whatever we do, let us not give up on the simple things: fervent prayer, daily feasting on the word, and actively attending church. The gospel will heal all things, and it is fool-proof. Just try it, and try it again, and then keep trying.

So the bread and pastry things here are super yummy, I love them all!! And there is a young couple in the branch who own a bakery so we all went over there this morning and helped them make all sorts of rolls and bread, it was way fun! But let me tell ya a little of the unsanitary-ness of the businesses here haha.....lots of flies, ants crawling all over the table and dough, and then they get stuck and are baked with the bread and then you eat them. Mmmmm.... haha, seriously, there's no avoiding it I was putting ants into the bread, awesome. But still tasty!

Well, my dear family and friends I urge you to, among your thorns, find the roses God has prepared for you, and may I suggest the scriptures as your source of seeking because in them you will find all the treasures life has to offer. In them you will find countless roses, trimmed and ready for you to pluck. :) LOVE you all!

Sis Carroll

Dinner at Pasquals

My District


Making Bread

October 2, 2011

A whole lot of greatness

Hey ya'll!

Things are just moving along quite nicely, as always....gosh I feel like I email every other day and don't have anything new to write, because its all so AMAZING!!! Seriously, I am being blessed more than I can even imagine. Yesterday at church, we had 22 investigators attend!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is combined, our investigators and the other sisters'. How incredible is that?! What a strong spirit that brings with it, people looking for the the RIGHT place!!:) They are all progressing too, like honest seekers. It's the bomb.
Next week, the 15th two of our investigators will be baptized, one of theirs, and 2 from an area close to ours....a total of 5 in one sitting!!! I am filled with joy. I love this great work...only our one true God could do this.

So random, Sis. Francia's mom is from a town just 30 minutes away and she goes there every year for vacation cause they still have lots of family there.....well, her uncle is the branch president and they are in our district so we saw them a couple weeks ago and also last Monday we went to their house haha because sis francia had some legal things to take care of and President said we could go.. so we totally went to her uncle's house and hung out while taking care of some things.
crazy, i definitely couldn't have done something like that when I was still new, but since sis francia is amazing, there was no problems!
She seriously is awesome, I am so grateful she is my comp. We are great compliments to each other and our work is so good! I love Heavenly Father.

Funny story... back when sis. Whitley was here we saw a crazy naked guy once by a recent converts house haha so i told sis francia about it....and guess who we saw on Saturday?! yep, our good friend, however, he had shorts on this time....until he decided he wanted to take them off in front of us....that was memorable.

So mom you asked a while back if I knew an Elder Maughn.....well I do now, he is my district did you know him? Also, you have an iphone now?! If so, they have the cutest cases here, I could pick one up for ya...they are probably super cheap. And whoever else has one too...I'll take a look.

Unfortunately because of the crazy storms lately I wasn't able to watch RS conference....just gonna have to print and read. Man, these storms are quite annoying not gonnalie....I feel really bad for the people here too....there are flooded houses and farms.....tons of rice fields that were close to being harvested are now turned into lakes, it really stinks. We really need to count our blessings during times like this....and make sure we are living according to God's commandments so that He will continue to bless us when times get rough. I know He will always carry us through and provide for us when we are obedient...but when we are not, we have no promise.

Well, love you all, you are in my prayers and fasts. Thanks for everything!!!!!!!!

Sis Carroll

Dad....GOOD LUCK with your new job!!! How exciting!!! Can't wait to see you hard at work!

Alec.....GOOD LUCK as well, hope you get the job!!