Monday, January 27, 2014

Soo, don't have a lot of time this week.
won't be able to write much next week cause we're going to the zoo on p-day. The week after that we'll have the ipads so finding a computer wont be a problem like it was today :(
Ipads are so confusing. the Zone Leaders have them now and showed them to us. I got a headache in three seconds. cool note, if someone puts the password wrong a certain number of times, all the memory on the ipad is wiped.

Well, E is progressing towards his baptism! I'm so grateful that I have the privilege of working with him. He has really good questions and really felt the spirit when Elder Neilson spoke at the Regional Stake Conference this past Sunday. His bike was stolen this past week and he's been walking everywhere trying to find a job. Luckily, he doesn't live too far away from the Church, but I feel for him.

There's a girl we've been teaching named A who is preparing to be baptized next Sunday, February 2nd!! Neither of her parents are members, but her grandmother is and she's been taking her and her younger sisters to Church. We've taught A almost all the lessons and we just have a few of the commandments to go. But she's been taught by her grandmother basically everything. It's interesting teaching someone who has a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon in the first lesson. The most I think we've had to do is explain definitions of words she's not too familiar with like"Resurrection" and The reason she hasn't had a baptismal date til the week before her baptism is because she wants her mom to be there, and she lives in Atlanta. We're excited for Angel, she's certainly an example for her parents!
~Sister Carlson

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hey Everyone!
Thanks for writing me mom, Julie, and Dad! 
So this week President wanted everyone to focus on Member Present lessons. So we tried extremely hard to get a member to every scheduled appointment! Blessings! I can't remember if I've ever had over 6, but that's what the Lord gave us! I don't know about other missions, but that's extremely good for our area. The Lord also blessed us to have more Other lessons that I've ever had before. Most of them weren't planned beforehand :) It's really cool when President wants us to focus on things. I can almost always tell an increase of that thing in my personal area and across the whole mission! Like when he had us focus on finding new gators, they just spring out of the woodwork! He's probably prompted that the Lord is going to have a lot of people ready, so he makes us more aware that it's going to happen, so that we can recognize the opportunity.
Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of Heaven! Because we tried our hardest at getting those member presents we were blessed with: a super spiritual lesson where Sister A quit smoking and came to church for the first time in forever! E is making friends and getting to know more faces at Church! Better relationships with members! Members becoming more missionary minded! More dinner appointments! Lessons with gators IN a member's HOME for FHE!! 
Speaking of Blessings the next thing that President wants us to focus on is giving more powerful testimony, specifically to promise blessings. In the scriptures the Lord had the prophets write down specific blessings we get when we keep a certain commandment. President wants us to be familiar with these scripture references so we can help people make keep their commitments. Yay! We need to get that on with Miss P. Goodness. She knows that the ball is in her court and loves what she's learning, but she wants to apply it somehow. But at the same time she doesn't want to come to Church. The last really solid commitment we left her was to pray SPECIFICALLY and ask if Joseph Smith was really a Prophet. It's our bad that we didn't follow up with her in detail about it last time we saw her, but if she hasn't done that the next time we see her, I'm thinking we're gonna drop her and give her more time to work out whatever she wants to do. She LOVES missionaries so I'm fairly confident that she'll be open for them to come by in the future, hopefully she'll be willing to take action then.
That lesson with Sister A was really powerful! It was the member who we took with us who basically committed her to stop. It was so awesome!! ....Sorry, I was going to write more about this but my train of thought was just de-railed by some unexpected information. Sigh. Oh well. I'll get over it. Maybe I can tell y'all about it later. Well, suffice to say that she came to church for the first time and talked with Bishop about what she has to do to be re-baptized (he gives her the baptismal date when he thinks she's ready). She's going to need a lot of support, but I think she can totally do it! The lesson after she quit smoking she was talking a mile a minute. Barely stopped to gasp a breath! Whenever she gets the urge she goes to the computer and plays National Geographic computer games like mad.
The other day we ate at a southern restaurant and Sister Heckel had to sign a waver to eat a medium rare steak. I had a whole catfish fried cooked well done. It was really good!
E is really coming along! He came to scripture study class Wednesday night and was taught the Plan of Salvation by eight missionaries. He loved having better understanding about Adam and Eve and how they needed to leave the Garden of Eden. We certainly have a lot more positive view on that story than anyone he's met :) He's also a lot more conscious about what he does in this life so he'll have peace and happiness in the spirit world. No regrets! No guilt! There's a ton of scriptures I want to link right here, but I don't have time - maybe Jess can link: (one of my personal favorites)
He's even more excited to be baptized!
We're really excited for this Saturday and Sunday! Saturday night is JAX West Adult session of Stake Conference and Sunday North Florida is having a Regional Conference broadcast from Salt Lake City! Elder Nelson is presiding I think. Yay!! I don't know why it took so long for me to write this letter... well, got to go!! :)
~Sister Carlson

Friday, January 3, 2014

Original MTC Group

November 2013 Zone Conference
Gainsville Area

Cambodian Christmas Meal

We had a really great Christmas! I can't stop thinking about that Cambodian food. You never had egg rolls until you've had Sister Son's egg rolls! The noodles and stuff were so good! They were unusually spicy for my taste, so I don't know why I can't stop thinking about it. So good!! We did a lot of Christmas Caroling! MAN does that soften hearts and open doors. I don't think anyone does it down here. We caroled to a referral, and they let all of us in (which was our whole district so there was around 16 missionaries). They said that the whole time they had been married, 30 years, they never had carolers! They told us to come back anytime we wanted! We also made another lady cry. I felt good about that. We got several more potentials from it as well. This week we got an unusual amount of investigators. Six! They are just coming out of the woodwork! The Lord is certainly leading us to those who's hearts have been softened. 

Yummy noodles!

Skype at noon Christmas Day.

Florida in December

Normandy District December 2013

There's an older woman in the ward who is a lot like Momma Odie in Princess and the Frog (that movie describes the South so well). She was a preacher in her previous church and was baptized two years ago. Her name is Sister M. She's not blind, but one of her eyes kind of goes off to the side and, like a lot of people here, has several teeth missing. She's probably one of my most favorite people I've met on my mission!! Anyway... in gospel principles class we were talking about how God knows and sees all... the teacher related a little joke: A robber who broke into a house. There was a parrot warned him that Jesus was watching him. When he turned on the light there was a huge doberman named "Jesus" just a few feet away! This reminded Sister M of an experience she had. There was a cat that she didn't like that kept sneaking into their house. One day she found it in the kitchen and she had had it. She buried it alive out in the backyard. It took several minutes to get back on track to the lesson, but it will be one I will never forget!
Florida Spring 2013

Summer 2013