Friday, June 28, 2013

I love Sundays!!

Saw Bob Manning singing with the choir at the World Wide Conference
, and we got to listen to several Apostles and the
Prophet! That was one of the coolest experience on my mission.

President Barry is going to be released next week I think. Since they
live in Provo, you should consider going to their homecoming!

So much has happened this week!

On Tuesday we met with the G family again. They actually dropped us.
Sister G has been going to another church with a friend of hers and
she likes that one better. It really came down to reading. They are
not big readers, and they just didn't want to do the things we were
asking. I was thinking about entitling this letter "Mine Eyes Water My
Pillow by Night" but then the Worldwide Training conference happened
and most of the sadness is gone now. That was not a fun day. We met
with Maggie right after that appointment. I'm so glad we did! Feeling
the Spirit there and seeing how much she's changed made me feel that
at least I was making a difference in someone's life.

Wednesday we met with Linda. She is having some problems with the Book
of Mormon. She hates the sentence structure, and every now and then I
get the feeling that she's not very interested.
But she's still putting her best foot forward.

Thursday we had District Meeting and went out right after to teach
this lady and her daughter. It was a really great first lesson, Sister
Atkinson and I really practiced the 'how to begin teaching' a lot.
They both committed to be baptized, but then we realized that one of
them (the daughter) was already baptized in our church. She still
wants to be baptized again... We'll see how it goes. They didn't make
it to church yesterday...

Friday was meh. Weekly Planning went O.K. but we didn't have any
appointments so we spent the whole day knocking on doors. Met some
interesting people.

Saturday was AMAZING. First thing in the morning at 11am we go out and
the second house we go to, we spy a man outside doing yardwork. He was
trimming his bushes with a machete. That was an easy conversation
starter. He gave us some cold water bottles and sat outside on his
porch with us talking. Turns out, S is a major construction guy.
He made houses for a really long time, but the crowning achievement of
his career was making a palace for a Shaikh an hour south of Abu
Dhabi. But the great part, is that he's a Faith Healer. A Legit one.
He's not ordained to anything or a part of any particular religion, he
just studied from the Bible the correct way to do it. You can't have
any fear, it all is by faith. I wish I could write more about him, but
I'm short on time. Y'all wrote a lot of emails. After visiting Scott,
we ate lunch with a member. After lunch we met with this lady across
the street named Tami (it's her birthday today). She's got two cool
birds who talk named Kikoo and Baby. She's so spiritual and in tune
with the Gospel, she is Elect squared! She said in passing that she
was going to have the whole book of 1 Nephi finished by the time we
met with her again! She committed to be baptized, but she's also in
the process of moving and everything in her temporal world is up in
the air at the moment. We'll nail down a date hopefully.

Then yesterday happened! We almost spent the whole day with Maggie.
This time for Sacrament, we sat in the gluten free section where we
got a stale rice Pattie (Maggie's allergic to gluten). She also went
to the Broadcast (President Barry recommended we bring Investigators).
She really liked the new YW Pres.'s testimony. Fantastic day!

Love y'all!!

~Sister Carlson

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Today is my 100th post day since I started the "Carlson Custodians” blog, back in December of 2011.  I first named my blog "Carlson Clan" because GW wants to go to Scotland someday and I have Scottish ancestors. My favorite part about the Provo 4th of July parade are the bag pipes! But I liked the sound of Custodians better, so thus the change.

To celebrate this historical event I’ve decided to begin another post on, "Journey to the Gym”.  GW bought a 12 month family pass to the Provo Rec. Center, and it has made this summer so far really fun. The pass was a little on the expensive side, but, since we are not taking a vacation trip, we thought it was a good splurge. I know last year I journeyed to a different gym and almost ruined my achilles heel by running too hard on the tread mill.  After a six month membership I could hardly walk bare foot because my heels hurt so bad.  It took me almost three months to recover and I didn’t think I would ever be back to a gym again.

Thanks to my neighbor, who mentioned to me at work one day that  her husband was helping other women in our neighborhood with weights, exercise, and a diet program. Well, I decided to join the ranks.  I started on May 1, 2013.  Yes that was almost two months ago.  It has taken me this long to try and get over the addictions I have acquired in the last fifty-four years!  My trainer suggested that I stay on low carbs and only have a moderate treat once a week.  Well I found out I couldn’t even do that so two weeks ago I went to a 12 step addiction program sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The spirit was so strong in the meeting that I actually felt a little touch of hope.

It has been nice to report to my trainer so I can be accountable.  He is very positive but truthful about what needs to be done to live healthier.  I am very careful with my cardio exercises, and lifting weights has been a new adventure (since I’ve never done it before).  Mr. Trainer started me out on very light weights.

Another new adventure is the Zumba Class that my friend Valerie talked me into taking at the Rec. Center.  Some of the moves are difficult, but I like the Latin feel of dancing and working out at the same time.  I don’t think I will ever do all of the moves, but I like how much fun it is.  It’s nice to work out with familiar faces from the neighborhood and encourage one another.

So, I will continue to report my progress and hopefully accomplish the goals I have set for the summer of 2013!

Happy One Hundred, Opa!!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Girls Camp Part 2

Photo’s taken by Lara Hinckley


Go 6th Ward!

Sister Libutti, Stake Young Womens President getting her hair washed.


GW and I towards the back wearing our hats.

Jess had too much fun.

 Julz of course took this photo and the photo of Brooke.

We appreciate our stake leaders!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Helloooooooo Family!!!!!!!
I just love all ya'lls guts! I loved reading Julie's Sacrament Talk and hearing about how Fathers Day/ Mom and Dad's Anniversary went! Love it! We're doing emails, next to me Sister Atkinson seems to be laughing and crying at the same time reading things from her family. She hasn't had a P-day in a week and a half and has only been out a couple of days. I love her guts! She's an amazing missionary.
Sister Atkinson (like Atkin's Diet) is from Washington State. She comes from a family of six children with her being the oldest. Her family lives ten minutes out of a small town right next to the Canadian Border. She doesn't like to call it a farm, but with a bunch of cows, 50 chickens, and pigs off and on, that's what it sounds like. She is in love with Golf, and played it at BYU for a year before coming out. On one hand she's so excited to be in Florida, since there's a Golf Course in every other area, but on the other hand she's mad about it because she can't play. She is a very bold, blunt person where most of the time I think she came out with six months experience already. She's really funny and hates wearing skirts. We get along just fine :)
I need to get the biggest thing that has happened this week out of the way before I can continue... M came to church yesterday, and she set a firm Baptismal Date for June 30!! She even brought her parents to church! Sunday was all about the Preisthood, and we haven't covered it much, but after Young Womens, she said that she didn't get half the words that were said, but she felt really good. Yay!
Another interesting thing, we actually dropped Sister May (the 95 year old lady) last Saturday. Right after explaining that we won't be over to her house anymore, she gave us doughnuts. Then the next day, she came to church as well.Don't know what to do with her. She loves the church, but just doesn't want to be baptized again. We'll leave her up to her family, the Ward, and the Lord and go and find those who are ready to act upon our message.
Our new District Leader's name is Elder Gao. He's from mainland China and was baptized four years ago when he was in the U.S. for school. He hasn't been on his mission for a year yet, and he is still shaky on what a District Leader does, but he's doing a really great job :)
Saturday we went back to see the LA lady who lives on that farm where we did the service project at. She herself referred to the piece of land as the 'Crazy Farm'. I can see why. She has a horse that thinks it's a dog - it walks around the front yard, chases the Aflack duck around, and the dogs practically run themselves into the front of your car. We talked a lot with her about how our families can be together forever. She had thought because she was the only member in her family and that she was single, that wouldn't happen. We talked about Patriarchal Blessings and about how those blessings are promised to us, even in the next life if we are true and faithful.
Another cool story about a LA: Tuesday for P-day, we were shopping at Dollar Store for some last minute things. Our cashier was a nice man who asked what church we went to. We started talking with him and it turns out that he lives out in Newberry, and is a member, but hasn't been able to go to church because he doesn't have a ride. We got his number and gave it to the Elders, who went to visit him. Automatic re-activation. Apparently, his records were in the wrong ward and so no one knew where he was or where he went. We have it all straitened out, and he will be getting a home teaching assignment presently.
On the note of other Investigators... we haven't seen the G family this last week... they keep cancelling. Ben has been going through a rough spot and we haven't seen him this last week either. L is out of the care facility and walking on her ankle. We saw her Yesterday and read Alma 32 with her and talked about how she can gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon by 'experimenting upon these words'.
It's been a crazy, but good week. I'm really missing Sister Pettingill and Sister Major, but the Lord helps out in so many ways! Sister Pettingill wrote me a ton of notes and hid them all over the place before she left. But I love my new Companion Sister Atkinson! We're gonna have a blast :)

Love from Florida!
~Sister Carlson
P.S. Could yall send me a printed version of my Farewell Talk? I want to be prepared in case Bishop asks me to speak. Also, feel free to send me other talks. (My Grace is Sufficient...ect) Just make sure you don't write them into your actual text in your letter or I can't read them during the rest of the week.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hey Ya'll!
Hope you all had a great time at girls camp! It has been an interesting week.
First of all, there has been lots of rain. They have these fields out here called 'retention pools' for when it rains a lot. One day it's a nice green field, the next day, there's a lake. Lakes have been popping up all over the place. Especially after that huge tropical storm. It had a name, like Amanda or something. We even got a warning text that there might be tornados! There wasn't any in our area, but some down next to Tampa or something. You think weather in Utah is bipolar, come to Florida where one minute, its sunny and nice, the next minute, you can't even see 10 feet in front of you car because it's raining so hard. It's so hot that when the rain hits the ground, it evaporates so everything is steamy. I get out of the car and my glasses fog up.
Second of all, the love bugs are gone, but every other kind of bug is now present. We don't know if they're cockroaches or not, but these brown bugs keep trying to get through our door at night. I don't think there are very many mosquitoes yet, but they are on the rise as well. Sister Major got a tick the other day. Apparently ticks are big in Gainesville.

We had a lot of meetings last week! The first Sister Conference where working with Elders was discussed and unhealthy perfectionism. Some of us, without naming names, found out that they were unhealthy perfectionists. President Barry also came and did a training on things relating to the 'life is hard, get over it' motto. It was really good!
After that meeting on Tuesday we met with a new investigator named Miss E, who lives with some members and is a really big author. She wrote 'Road to Damascus' and several other Science Fiction and Religious books. She's really nice, but has some interesting challenges with the Book of Mormon and the 1st vision. We went through the Introduction with her and one of her concerns was the genetics of the Native American population and how they were asianic and not somitic. I really like the way she talks and her vocabulary though. She's got one of those soothing voices that you could listen to all day!
Since I've been called to train a new missionary, on Wednesday we had to go to a Trainer's Training that was done by President Colvin. He's President Barry's 1st counselor and lives at the very bottom of the mission in Ocala 2nd ward. I guess one of the best ways to describe him is to liken him unto the Pixar short of the man playing chess with himself. He's got a lot of personality, but he's quiet and speaks really softly.
That night, we were at the Book of Mormon study class and the Stackhouse family (recent converts) were there reading. One of the sisters there was reading a verse in 2 Nephi starting off "the Lord does not" - one of the kids there turned off the lights, when we got them back on, she continued - "work in darkness". It was really funny!
Thursday was our Zone Meeting. It was really fun, but the senior couple who had always made fresh bread for us at the end of the meeting had finished their missions. Kind of missed that.
Last month our goal for baptisms as a zone was 15. It was a really spiritual experience because after the mighty prayer, that was the number in everyone's minds. It was surreal. We only made 5/15 and I think that hurt a lot of some of the missionaries pride so when we went to set a goal for this month, there was a lot of contention. They probably didn't realize it, but that goal of 15 made us work harder than ever before and prepared us for the month of June, the last month President and Sister Barry will be here.
Friday we had weekly planning, but we did it a little differently this week. Sister Hale and Jensen, our sister leaders and sister major and sister toledo came over to our apartment and they taught us a lot of stuff about how to make weekly planning more effective. A lot of things are being lost now that brand new missionaries are training brand new missionaries. It was a really good experience and we discussed things like boulder planning, and something new called ward inventory and disney parking.
Saturday we taught a bunch of people and Sunday we went to church and tried to teach a bunch of people again. I'm being kind of short, but I don't have a lot of time left.
Monday we did a really fun service project where Sister Major almost ran over a dog, Elder Caulder almost shot a gun, and Elder Foresyth almost burned himself. But we met a less active lady who wasn't on our roster!

Monday night was Transfer Conference Call! That night we had just finished teaching M about the Plan of Salvation when at 9pm, we called in. We listened to it on the car ride back. Sister Pettingill is 2nd half training and is going to the Ocala 1st ward, so she'll still be in our zone! Elder Jenkins is going to St Augustine, and Sister Major is going to Atlantic Beach. I'm kind of sad. And nervous. Cause I'm gonna train... There's gonna be a big worldwide missionary announcement for anyone who wants to watch on the 23rd. Sometime in the evening or something. Some big changes!
My goodness! Time just flies! I'ma be a trainer! I've been through three transfers already! Ahh!
Anyway. Fun times in GV.
~Sister Carlson

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Girls Camp

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hey Ya'll!!!!!
I hear that Sister Crowton came by! I got all the pictures that Jess sent. Love it!!

This last week has been kind of slow. We did great on getting and contacting referrals, but that was just because everyone canceled on us. We received 15 and contacted 10. Elder Jenkins contacted us last night and challenged us to set a goal of 20 and 10 for this next week since it's the last week before transfers.
Monday was so fun! For Memorial Day we went to Lake Alice. A kind of wildlife reserve in the middle of UF campus. Saw my first Gator since coming to Florida! We saw two kind of smaller ones (4ft long) and a bunch of snapping turtles. The Zone Leaders have an investigator who is also named Sister May (who was born during World War II, but looks like she's in her 50's) who fed us a picknick that was wonderful! There was this really cool church nearby that could be in the Lord of the Rings. Or Zelda. The walls are all glass and the roof has got some really cool architecture.
Today we are going to have a Zone P-day and have a BBQ and play games.

We didn't do much on Tuesday except take an MTC survey and have two lessons. We read with the G family 3 Nephi 12 and a member, Brother Davis, explained line of Authority. We also met with M and took our beloved Sister O. They connected immedieatly. Sister O used to be baptist as well and shared part of her conversions story. M also gave us a little background of why she loves meeting with us and why she wants to be baptized. Before Sister Crowton and I knocked on the door she was babysitting at, she was thinking about her best friend in Elementary School and how she was so happy back then. She decided that she wanted to try and find that church while she was babysitting and BAM! Sister Missionaries at the door. She even asked us at our visit, "why doesn't everyone else realize that Joseph Smith was a prophet?" Once school ended this week, she got really sick and we haven't been able to see her, but I don't think that a little sickness is gonna be able to stop her!
Wednesday was our last District meeting as a District. It was kind of sad. Elder Jenkins has only been our District leader for one transfer and he's doing really well. We didn't do much Wednesday. We met with a less active family and went to Bible Study afterwards.

Thursday was ok. We had an appointment fall through but we got to go see Sister M. I don't know what to do with her. She is still really uppedy about the fact that we won't recognize her baptism. She thinks the Book of Mormon is great, but doesn't like Joseph Smith and the First Vision stuff. She doesn't think there was an Apostasy and that as long as you're baptized by someone, and are a good person, then you're saved. She doesn't want to keep committments or read from the Book of Mormon. What she wants to read are these pamphlets about interpretations from the book of Revelation and the last days. She kept asking us what the Seven Churches are and trying to get us to read the pamphlets with her. :(
A miracle Thursday night, Sister W (a former Jehovas Witness who burned her first Book of Mormon and investigated the church for 6 years) took us to see a friend who is investigating! Afterwards, she and her husband fed us dinner. That was a miracle because we hadn't eaten yet! Everything was bunched together and we just didn't have the time. They are such a sweet couple! They met in the Provo Temple in their later years of life and got engaged three weeks later! They both told us their conversions story. I love listening to Sister W. She's from Germany and lived in Ireland when she was a Jehovas Witness missionary for 18 years. She went to BYU Idaho and was baptized in Idaho, then transferred to Provo. They are so sweet!
Weekly planning was on Friday yet again. Two weeks ago we had a FHE with a lady in our ward. Her daughter's friend went to the FHE and mentioned she wanted to be baptized. We knocked on her house and met her Grandma on Friday. It was a longer conversation and Bonnie (the girl's grandma) cried two or three different times. We set up a tentative time we could see her in the next week.
Friday night as we were going back into our apartment, Sister Pettingill was kind of disheartened. Earlier that day she said that all she wanted at the moment was to be at a member's house eating ice cream. We stopped by at a member's house 20 min before 9pm. The Lord loves us. They were eating some ice cream sandwiches and some cupcakes! It was a good end of the day.

Saturday was kind of a bummer. We got a text from an investigator basically un-inviting us to her graduation. It taught us a lesson that we always have to make back up plans even if you think that something is going to happen no matter what.
But Saturday night was amazing!!!!!  Mr. S, one of the first people I contacted on the street when I first got to Gainesville, was baptized by Brother John Anderson, a former 70. It was a wonderful baptismal service. The G family went to it! One of the first things Brother G said after Mr. S got baptized was: "that looks scary". It was really fun. We got a lot of the leftover fruit and refreshments after it was over too!

Sunday was amazing! Even though we didn't have any investigators there (M has strep throat or bronchitis or something serious) I had a wonderful time. Sister A(Miss A’s mom, the new RS president) gave a really good lesson on Prayer in RS. We broke our fast at the Nances (Bishop couldn't be there since he was still at the church) which was really fun. Then we headed over to Sister O’s house. She had one of her best friends over, Pearl, who is one of the most amazing people on the face of the earth. She practically had to raise herself. She was thrown out at the age of 13, started her own business cleaning houses and by the end of high school, she had six employees. She has got several degrees, working on becoming a plastic surgeon to fix cleft pallets on babies, and is the nicest person ever! Sister O's put on Elder Uchdorf's talk about light this last conference. It went really well.
Anyway. Time's up. Got to go! 
Sister Carlson