I’m Home

Hello, Everyone.

I’m home. I miss serving the Lord as a full-time missionary, and I miss the wonderful people of Peru, but it is great to be home with my family and friends. Thank you for your tremendous support over the last two years.

As my final message, I bear my testimony that Jesus Christ truly is our Savior and Redeemer. He paid for my sins, for your sins, and for the sins of every single one of God’s children. I testify that He died for us, and rose on the third day. He lives today, and I have felt the love that he has for me personally. I testify that this is His church, and that it was restored on the earth by the young-prophet Joseph Smith. I love the Savior with all of my heart, and I am so grateful that I have been able to represent Him during these two amazing years.

Speaking on Sunday, August 20, at 9 a.m.

I’ll be speaking in the Vista View ward on Sunday, August 20, at 9 a.m. The address is 900 Eaglepointe Drive, North Salt Lake, Utah. Please join us if it fits your schedule.

Open House on Saturday, August 19, from 6 to 8 p.m.

My parents would like to invite you to join us the evening before on Saturday, August 19, for a light dinner and to say hi. Come any time between 6 and 8 p.m. Our address is 681 Vista View Lane, North Salt Lake, Utah.

 

My Last Email

My dear family,

It’s incredible for me to think that this will be the last time I write you all. As I’ve thought about what to write in my last letter, I realized it is hard to know what to say in a hard moment like this. To even think that my mission is coming to an end brings tears to my eyes and many mixed feelings into my heart. Hopefully, with this last letter, I can express a few feelings I have about what I’ve learned during two years of missionary service.

A Mighty Change of Heart

In Alma 5, Alma asks quite a few questions that have helped me to reflect on my time here in Peru. In the beginning of the chapter, Alma talks about the experience of his father and of his “change of heart” that he experienced. Alma had been a wicked priest that persecuted the prophets and lived contrary to God’s commandments. But, thanks to the teaching of Abinidi, Alma experienced a change of heart that anchored him in the gospel for the rest of his life. Before my mission, I wouldn’t say that I was quite as much of a “wicked priest” like Alma, but I don’t feel that I had ever experienced that “change of heart” that Alma did. I’ve always had a testimony, and I’ve always strived to keep the commandments, attend church, and follow the gospel “steps” that we always talk about, but deep inside, my heart focused on other things and the gospel wasn’t the number one priority of my life. School, friends, and other things had a greater focus than my relationship with the Savior or my personal discipleship.

I came on the mission because I had sincere desires to share the gospel and serve God’s children. I was called to the work and assigned to labor in Trujillo, Peru. And despite some fear to leave my family, I was excited for the opportunity to serve. Arriving in Peru as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was a drastic change in my life. Scripture study, prayer, and bearing my testimony became daily habits that helped me in my own spiritual progression, but that change of heart still hadn’t occurred. When I arrived in the mission field, those good daily habits that I had developed were mixed with new struggles and lots of sweat and tears, but I was happy because I was sharing the gospel and helping others to come unto Christ.

Trying to Be Like Him and the Beautiful Members of His Church in Peru

Day by day, I learned and grew. I experienced the joy of teaching the gospel and of serving others. I have met so many amazing people and I have been so blessed to see many of them be baptized and become active members of the church. I have learned what charity really is, and I have felt that pure love of Christ for those I teach. I’ve also learned what it means to work. I’ve walked so many miles, often late in the day when every step hurts, but I knew I needed to continue forward. I’ve never been so constantly engaged in tiring work, but I’ve gained a true appreciation for “putting your shoulder to the wheel” and pushing. I’ve developed life-changing habits that I know will be a great asset to me in the future and in all aspects of my life.

During these two years, I have also had many experiences that have helped me to become, at least a little bit more, like the Savior. I’ve learned the importance of humility and how to better recognize and acknowledge my faults and weaknesses. I’ve gained a better appreciation for the importance of obedience, not for obligation, but for my personal desire to do what’s right. I´ve learned what it really means to have faith and trust in God’s promises and to look forward with a “perfect brightness of hope.” (2 Nephi 31:20) I’ve developed patience: patience with others, patience with God’s timing, and patience with myself.

The experiences I have had and the changes I have seen in myself are amazing blessings Heavenly Father has given me, but the greatest blessing I have received was being able to experience that change of heart just like Alma did. I’m not exactly sure when it happened, or how it happened, but what I do know is that it DID happen. It could have been when I saw the Bardales family, dressed in white, entering into the waters of baptism—or the numerous times sitting in a stranger’s living room and feeling the Spirit testify through me of the restored gospel. It could have been every time I knelt in prayer and felt the love that Heavenly Father has for me in a unique and personal way. Or it could be thanks to a number of other miracles I have experienced here in Peru.

My Savior Jesus Christ

All of those things have been incredible faith-building experiences for me, but I think that “change of heart” came only thanks to one Person. A Man who, in Gethsemane, bled from every pore to pay for my sins. A Man who suffered death so that I might live again. And a Man that has given me the amazing privilege of representing Him for the best two years of my life. Before my mission, I had always had a testimony that Jesus Christ is my Savior, but now I have come to KNOW Him personally, and that is the greatest blessing of my mission. That change of heart for me wasn’t a change in how I live my life, but was a change in my desires and the reason I live my life. Now I can truly say that I do what I do because of the love I have for the Savior Jesus Christ. I am eternally grateful for His example in my life, and for His atoning sacrifice. Without Him, I would be nothing; but thanks to Him, I am who I am today.

I bear my testimony that Jesus Christ truly is our Savior and Redeemer. He paid for my sins, for your sins, and for the sins of every single one of God’s children. I testify that He died for us, and rose on the third day. He lives today, and I have felt the love that he has for me personally. I testify that this is His church, and that it was restored on the earth by the young-prophet Joseph Smith. I love the Savior with all of my heart, and I am so grateful that I have been able to represent Him during these two amazing years.

I love you all,

Elder Carman

The Book of Mormon Is What It Purports to Be

Hello, Family.

It’s been a great week here in Cajamarca, and life is wonderful. Elder Cuellar and I have been doing great together and just focusing on the work here. Every day we pass by so many people that need the gospel in their lives, and I am so thankful to be here sharing the news of the restored gospel to the people of Cajamarca. This week will be my last traditional letter, so hopefully it’s a good one.

Here are the highlights of my week:

Basic P-Day

Last Monday, we had another good P-day. We played soccer in the morning, wrote the fam, and then got haircuts. In the afternoon, we went and bought a few more things that I want to take home for you guys. That night, we had a few lessons and just worked like normal.

Fourth of July

Tuesday was the Fourth of July, and so we decided it would be fun to do a little barbecue for lunch with the Carrillo family. We bought the food in the morning and then helped them cook up the barbecue, and it was fantastic. They are an awesome family, and we spend quite a bit of time with them. The rest of the day we spent time proselyting and had a few good lessons. That night is when the real fun began.

Midnight Bus Rides and Cricket Infestation; Sleeping on the Pews in the Chapel

We went with the entire zone to the Royal Palace’s bus station at about 9 p.m. and got on a bus at 10 p.m. We went with the whole zone down to Trujillo, and we all had a pretty rough night’s sleep on the bus. We got to Trujillo at about 4:30 a.m. and then walked over to the chapel in Primavera. Very lovingly, the secretaries had set out a few benches in the chapel for us to sleep on, so we all tried to sleep for another hour or so before the zone conference. The problem is that there is a huge cricket infestation in Trujillo right now, so those were jumping all over the place and didn’t seem to want us to sleep at all.

Multizone Training 

At 6 p.m., we got up, and everyone in the zone got flu shots. After flu shots, they gave some breakfast of cereal and yogurt, and then we took our seats for the zone conference. We were together with the Casa Grande and Guadalupe zones, and it was great seeing them. The zone conference was excellent, and I learned a lot of important things that I can apply, even if it’s just for the last three weeks of my mission. Elder Cuellar and I gave a training about how to help our investigators get to church, and President Marble talked a lot about finding new investigators. The training for new mission president’s is going on right now, and President showed us a few clips that were super touching. After the zone conference, they gave us quick lunch, and then we were back on the bus at 1 p.m. to come back up to Cajamarca.

Nothing Better Than Sharing the Gospel

The rest of the week we just worked hard proselyting and teaching people. That’s really the best thing to be doing and where I find the most joy during the week. There really is nothing better than sitting in a stranger’s living room with a family that is prepared to receive the restored gospel. As we teach, and the Spirit testifies through our words, I feel that I am doing what the Lord called me to do, and that is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Every day we meet new people, and I have come to love so many of the wonderful people that I have taught.

Finished the Book of Mormon for the Sixth Time; Another Confirmation of Its Truthfulness

This week, another important thing for me was being able to finish the Book of Mormon for the sixth time in my mission. Every time I read the Book of Mormon, the Lord once again confirms my testimony that it is true, but it often doesn’t come in the way that I expect. When I finished the Book of Mormon this week, I knelt in prayer and asked to know if it was true, but I didn’t really feel an answer. I was a little disappointed, but I decided to just put my trust in the Lord’s timing and continue with faith. That night, while we were teaching a young couple, we had just taught the Restoration, but they had a lot of doubts and questions about Joseph Smith being a prophet. We explained to them the importance of the Book of Mormon, and when I bore my testimony, I felt the Spirit so strongly, and I knew that the Spirit was giving me the answer I had been waiting for. The prayer I had offered at 10:00 a.m. was answered at about 7:32 p.m., and the answer was the same as I have always felt. I know the Book of Mormon is true, and it comes from God to help us navigate the trials of today’s world. I am thankful for the spiritual strength I receive each day I read and apply the things I know to be true.

I love you all,

Elder Carman

Sad: The “Lasts” Are Beginning

Hello, Family.

I hope you have all had a great week, and I’m sure you have some fun things planned for this week with the Fourth of July and everything. Things here are great, and every day is a blessing. Elder Cuellar and I are working hard and seeing lots of miracles, and that’s really the best possible thing to see in the work.

Here are the highlights of my week:

Last Zone P-Day

Last Monday, we had a great P-day. We received permission to have a zone P-day, and so we took the whole zone out to this place called El Zarco. It’s a restaurant that is close to the airport that has a bunch of soccer fields and open area. We ate lunch as a zone and then the elders played soccer, and the sisters played other games. We also played ultimate Frisbee and some fun stuff like that. We don’t have zone P-days very often, so that was definitely my last one, and it was good to end it well. That night we had a few quick lessons and then packed our stuff and got on a bus to go to Trujillo!

Interchange with Elder Babbel

Monday night, we came down to Trujillo and got there at about 5 a.m. We went over to the assistant’s place and slept for about an hour. After, we got up and started our exchange with the assistants. I went with Elder Babbel, and it was great. In my mission, I have had lots of interchanges with Elder Babbel, so it was fun to go out again and work hard. We had a good day contacting and teaching, and that night we ate pizza.

Last Leadership Council and Saying Goodbyes to Wonderful Leader Missionaries

Wednesday, we had our leadership council, and it was pretty emotional because it was my last one. Ever since April of last year I had gone to every single leadership council, but this was the last. They recognized the zone leaders and sister trainer leaders that were ending, and I got to share my testimony, which was pretty emotional. It was so weird sitting there and looking around and seeing so many amazing missionaries that I knew so well that I would be leaving so soon. After the council, I said a few goodbyes to missionaries that I wouldn’t see again, including Elder Espinoza. That was definitely a sad moment. After, we got on a bus and headed back up to Cajamarca.

Room Inspections with Sister Marble

Thursday, President and Sister Marble were here in Cajamarca, so President had interviews in the morning. In the afternoon, Elder Cuellar went out with Chelo to proselyte for a few hours while I went with Sister Marble to go do room inspection in most of the missionaries’ apartments here in Cajamarca. We spent a good four hours going around to all the rooms, and it was fun to spend some time with Sister Marble. I sure do love her a ton. After, I hooked back up with Elder Cuellar, and we spent the rest of the night proselyting.

Cinyta Is Getting Baptized

Friday morning, we helped a family in our ward move, and so we carried boxes and furniture back and forth for a few hours. It was fun. That afternoon we had a lesson with Cintya, and it was awesome. She is a referral from one of our recent converts and has come to church a few times now. In the lesson, we felt to extend a baptismal date for July 15, and so we did, and she accepted. She is very excited about her baptism and is already inviting people and everything. We are super excited for her.

A Great Sunday with Lots of Investigators at Church

Sunday was fast Sunday, and it was a great sacrament meeting. I played the piano, and luckily all the hymns turned out well. I also felt to bear my testimony and that was a good spiritual moment for me. We also had quite a few investigators at church, including Cintya, who is even more excited for her baptism.

The “Lasts” Are Beginning

Overall, those were the highlights of my week, and although it was a great week, it was kind of emotional for me. This week brought a few of the first lasts. I remember vividly all my firsts of my mission—my first lesson, my first district meeting, my first companion, my first everything. Now I’m remembering the lasts. The last month, the last leadership council, my last fast Sunday, and lots of last goodbyes. However, I’m thankful for everyday that I have left, and for the blessing I have to be a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I know this church is true, and I know without a doubt in my mind that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I love Him with all of my heart, and I am thankful to be his servant.

Love you all,

Elder Carman

Rose Gets Baptized; Yummy Guinea Pig; and Two Guys from Centerville

Hello, Family.

I hope you are all doing well, and it seems you have all had a great week. Things are going great here, and I will tell you about it right now.

Here are the highlights of my week:

A Guinea Pig P-Day

Last Monday, we had a pretty great P-day. We got up in the morning and cleaned our room and wrote you guys. Then my peruvian stomach got the best of me, and I was craving cuy (guinea pig.) So we went to a nice restaurant and got our fried cuy with wheat rice, spicy potato, and diced onion. So tasty. After we went out and bought a few things that I need to take home, and I found a really cool necklace for Mom. She will love it. That night we went out proselyting with Marcelo Carrillo and it was great.

Elder Harrison’s District

Tuesday, we went to Elder Harrison’s district meeting and got to spend some time with the missionaries there. Elder Harrison did a great job, and he invited a convert to come and talk in the meeting, which was really neat. After, we just spent the day proselyting and working hard in our area.

District Meeting and Working Hard

Wednesday, we had our district meeting in the morning, and that was really great. We talked about some good topics that I feel were really helpful for the district. After, we once again spent the day proselyting, working hard, and giving our all to the Lord.

Interchange with Elders from Banos del Inca and Rose’s Baptismal Interview

Thursday, we had an interchange with the elders from Baños del Inca, and I got to spend the day with Elder Rosas (from Lima.) We had a great day together and contacted tons of people and really just worked hard. Elder Rosas has five months in the mission, and is really humble. I learned a lot from him, and it was a great time to get to know him better. Thursday was also an exciting day because Rosé had her baptismal interview, and we planned her baptism! Rosé is great, and it has been cool to see her conversion process. She was very ready for baptism.

Rose Gets Baptized—During a Power Outage

Friday was the most exciting because Rosé got baptized! But let’s just say that it wasn’t the smoothest baptism I’ve had. The baptism was supposed to be at 7, and at 6:45, there was a major power outage in all of Cajamarca. We went running to the closest store and bought two soles of candles and went back to the chapel and got everything lit with that. Once we had all the candles lit, we were about to start, and then the light came back on. But at least it helped set the mood with a bunch of candles around the baptismal font. During the baptism, the water was ice cold because the heater stopped working when the power went off, and the water went cold again. So Rose was shivering when she came out of the water. But either way, it still was a good service, and Rose felt good, so that’s what matters.

Playing for the Choir; Meeting Two Guys from Centerville, Utah

Sunday was pretty busy, and we were kind of all over the place in the morning. We first went to our sacrament meeting in Aeropuerto to take our investigators there and make sure Rose got confirmed. After that, we hurried out to Baños del Inca to be there for their ward conference. The choir conductor had asked me the favor of playing the piano for the choir in sacrament meeting, and I did it. I played a few hymns, and it all turned out really great. There in Baños I also met two guys from Utah who had come to do some charity work for a few months and were staying in Baños. They were from Centerville, and I asked them if they knew the Jolley’s, and they said they did. I don’t remember their names, but they are two brothers who will be here until August. I will be home before they are! But anyways, after church, we had lunch with the Canchai Coayla family, and they gave us fried chicken, which was good.

Those were the highlights of our week, and things are going great. I’m just trying to work hard and keep my mind focused on the work.

I love you all!

Elder Carman

I Love Cajamarca

Hello, Family.

I hope you guys had a great week in Lake Powell and that you all got home safely. Things are going great here in Aeropuerto, and I’ve got some great news that I am going to save for the end.

Here are the highlights of my week:

P-Day, KFC, and Giraffe Races

Last Monday, we played soccer in the morning like usual. I played pretty terribly. After soccer, we cleaned a little, showered, and wrote you guys. After writing, we went to lunch and got a huge bucket of KFC chicken with Chelo, one of our friends here from the ward. After eating, we paid to ride these little animal cars that you can ride around the mall. I rode the giraffe and won the race. Normally only little kids do it, but ya know, we’re kids at heart. That night, we got packed and had to head over to the Dias bus station at 10:00 to get on a bus that took us to Trujillo. We rode down on a pretty crappy bus, but I actually slept ok.

Leadership Council and a Broken Bus (Three Times)

When we got to Trujillo at about 4 a.m. on Tuesday morning, we went to the assistant’s room and slept for another hour before getting up to get ready for the leadership council. We ate a quick breakfast and headed over to the chapel in Primavera to be there for the council, which started at 8 a.m. The leadership council was really great, and we made a lot of decisions for the mission that were important. Being there, I realized it is close to my fourteenth leadership council, which makes it pretty normal.  After the council, we hurried over to the bus station again to make our bus that left at 1 p.m. We got on the bus and we got about three hours into the route when the bus broke down and we got stuck on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. We were there for about an hour, and then they got it working, so we got on again. Twenty minutes later, we were stopped again because they said that there was no oil, so we waited another hour for that. Once that problem was resolved, we got back on the bus, and 20 minutes later, we were once again stopped. They said that something in the engine had gone wrong and the bus wasn’t going to be moving. We waited another hour for a bus from Chiclayo to pick us up, and we ended up getting to Cajamarca at about midnight.

Good Proselyting Days

Wednesday and Thursday were just normal proselyting days, and we are just working hard to keep working with our investigators and also to keep finding new people to teach. We are seeing lots of progress, and we should be seeing some baptisms in the next coming weeks.

Friday, we also had another day until that evening when we got a call from the office with the transfers. I will tell you about that at the end.

Ward Activity and Peruvian Singers

Saturday, we went to a ward activity in the afternoon. The young men and young woman of the ward did a talent show, and it was fun to see some of their numbers. They, for the most part, just danced because, as I’ve mentioned, the Peruvian voice isn’t the best. It’s not terrible, but I mean, well, yeah, it’s pretty terrible.

Sunday and Home Teaching

Sunday, we had a great sacrament meeting and the classes were prepared very well. We didn’t have the best turnout of investigators, but it still was a good church day. After church, we had lunch with the Campos family and then went to a few visits that we had. In elders quorum meeting that day, they had talked about why a lot of the home teaching visits weren’t getting done, and we offered to help anyone with their visits if their companion wasn’t able to go or they were out of town. So, that evening we went out with one of the priesthood holders of the ward to help him do a few of his visits, and it was a good opportunity for us to get to know a few more of the members.

Staying in Cajamarca to the End

That night we went to the bus station to send off the missionaries that had transfers, and that brings me to my big news. The secretaries called us and gave us the transfers, and I found out that I am going to be staying here in Aeropuerto to end my mission! I am so excited, and I was a little stressed leading up to the weekend, but now that I know I am staying here, I am so happy to keep working as hard as I can for this last transfer.

I love you all!!

Elder Carman

  

Investigators Progressing Well

Hello, Family.

I hope you are doing well, and I am so happy to be talking to you today. If I remember correctly, the kids are out of school and summer officially started! I’m sure you are all having tons of fun and enjoying some extra sleep.

Here are the highlights of my week:

Easy P-Day

Last P-day was, once again, a super laid-back day. We played soccer in the morning and then went to have lunch with a few of the elders. After lunch, we were going to do internet, but we decided to go to the chapel first and just hang out for a few minutes. I went and sat at the piano for about an hour and just had fun practicing a few hymns and songs from the Children’s Song Book. Also, we had so much fun with our comp date the week before, and so we decided to repeat and got ice cream with crepes and played Uno. Overall, a great day.

Investigators Progressing Well

On Tuesday, we went to Elder Tarqui’s district meeting and got to spend some time with the missionaries there. The best part of the meeting was when Elder Wilson (an elder from the district) pulled out a huge bag of Jelly Bellys and shared with everyone in the district. After we went back to our area and just had a full hard day of proselyting. We have a lot of investigators that we have found that are progressing well. Vilma and Samira are two investigators we are teaching that we found in the lemonade stand. They are progressing really well and are fulfilling their commitments. We are also teaching Ana Teresa who we found just knocking doors, and they are also progressing well, and Ana Teresa came to church on Sunday. Rosé is another investigator we have that is progressing very well and is probably the closest to baptism. She has come to church three times now, and we are working with her to set a baptismal date.

Got Sick

On Wednesday, the real fun of the week started when I got some pretty great stomach sickness. I’m not sure if Kevin showed up or it was just something that I ate, but either way, I spent all of Wednesday and Thursday in the bathroom and I couldn’t eat hardly anything. I lost close to 10 pounds in those two days. After Thursday, I started to feel a lot better and my appetite came back and things went back to normal, which was good.

Interchanges and Flea-Invested Beds

Friday, we had an interchange with the elders of Baños del Inca, and it went super well. I spent the day with Elder Irrazabal, who is from Argentina and has the same amount of time in the mission as me. We had a good day contacting and teaching. He is a really great friend because we have been together for quite a long time, so it was fun to spend some time with him. That night we slept the night in their room. I slept on the top bunk of a bunk bed they had and Elder Cuellar slept on the floor with a mattress that was flea-ridden. He woke up with a bunch of spots and bite marks. Poor guy.

Regular Day

Saturday, we just had another normal day with some more service in the morning and a normal afternoon proselyting. It’s crazy how fast the time goes when we are just going through the normal routine, and normal days always fly by.

Loving My Mission and Testimony of the Book of Mormon

Really those were all the highlights of my week, but overall I am doing great and loving the work more and more every day. Elder Cuellar and I are doing well, and we are having fun working together. I hope you all know that I pray for you daily, and I am always thinking about you. I hope you keep doing everything you can to draw closer to the Savior and become more dedicated disciples of Him.

This week in the Book of Mormon I read in Alma about the sons of Mosiah and the missionary work they performed among the Lamanites. They are such great examples of dedicated service and helping others accept the gospel in their lives. I love reading about the blessings the Lamanite people received through their conversion, and the truly unbreakable testimony that they all had after having been converted. The Book of Mormon is such an amazing tool to help us strengthen our personal testimonies and draw closer to the Savior.

I love you all,

Elder Carman

Seeing as how everyone is taking engagement pictures, I decided to take some of me and the closest thing I have to a girlfriend. Ha ha.

“Free Lemonade from the Elders”

Hello, Fam.

Yet another week down here in Aeropuerto, and things are going great. We (Kevin and I) are doing great, and time seems to fly faster and faster each day. I’ve noticed these days that I have become pretty Peruvian, and I feel like I’m just another one of the people here.

Here are my highlights of the week:

Haircuts, Banana Splits, and Uno

Last Monday, we had a pretty mellow P-day. We played soccer in the morning, and I was pretty much the Lionel Messi of the group because of all the goals I made. Just kidding. After we went and got haircuts, and I think haircuts are pretty funny here because they are super cheap but they do a good job. When I say cheap, I’m talking about 3.50 sol, which is a little over US$1. After getting haircuts, we went and ate lunch, and then wrote the fam. We finished off the day with a nice comp-bonding-time sharing a banana split while playing Uno in the mall. That night, we had a family home evening with the Bringas family, and we played a game called The Eternal Plan, which is pretty much a church board game with questions from the scriptures and stuff like that. It was about as exciting as it gets in the missionary life.

Interviews with President Mable and Interchanges

On Tuesday, President and Sister Marble got to Cajamarca, and we had our interviews that afternoon. After our interviews, we had an interchange with the elders from Cajamarca, and I spent the day with Elder Rojas. We had a great day together, and it was fun to teach a few lessons with him. Elder Rojas is from Chile, and we are ending the mission together, which has helped us to become pretty good friends.

Washing Dogs and Preparing for Zone Conference

Wednesday morning, we were still on our interchange with Cajamarca, and we went and did a service to wash the dogs of some members. It reminded me of all those times that we washed Lucy and she would freak out when we put her in the sink. Good times! That afternoon, we did a few things to get ready for the zone conference the next day and then taught a few lessons that night.

Zone Conference

Thursday was a pretty long day. We had the zone conference, and to make sure everything was ready, we were there at the chapel at about 7 a.m. and got everything ready for the conference. Once we started, it was great to hear some of President Marble’s thoughts, and I really learned a lot. Elder Cuellar and I also gave a training about how to teach our investigators to pray. After we had lunch as a zone and then left. But we didn’t end up getting out of the chapel until about 3:30 p.m., which was a long time to be stuck in the church.

“Free Lemonade from the Elders”

Friday, we had an awesome morning and got to do something pretty fun. We had been thinking in our weekly planning of new things we could do to contact people, and we came up with a killer idea. So Friday morning, we got a 20 gallon jug and filled it with water, lemons, and sugar and made a whole bunch of lemonade. Then, we went over to a popular park in our area with a table, a bunch of contact cards and pamphlets, and a big board that said “Free Lemonade from the Elders,” then we just sat and waited, and we actually had a bunch of people that came to drink lemonade. I think we talked to over 150 people and got over 30 people’s names and addresses that live in our area and wanted us to visit them. It was definitely a success.

Quick History of Church in Peru

Sunday, we had another great sabbath day, and we had some great meetings at church. In Gospel Principles, the lesson was on baptism, and that was great for our investigators to hear. After in the third hour, it was all combined, and they talked about the history of the church in Peru, and it was actually really cool. The church is actually really new here, and the first branch and first missionaries appeared in Peru in 1956. That means that the church has only 61 years in Peru, but because of missionary work, it has grown to thousands and thousands of people.

Overall those were the highlights of my week, and because of all the busyness, it went superfast. I can’t believe that everyone is getting out of school this week, I remember that being the most exciting time of the year.

I love you all so much!

Elder Carman

Consider on the Blessed and Happy State of Those that Keep the Commandments of God

Hello, Family.

What a week it’s been. Things are great here in Cajamarca. The weather seems to be having an identity crisis because it doesn’t know if it should keep raining or bring out a burning sun each day. It seems to differ on a daily basis. I just realized that I start pretty much every email off with a rant about the weather. I guess I’ve become “that guy.”

Here are the highlights of my week:

Cumbemavo

Last Monday, we had a pretty great P-day that involved getting to see some cool sights in Cajamarca. We went as a district to this place called Cumbemayo, which is about an hour outside of Cajamarca. We went with the stake president who is a tour guide, and he helped us understand a lot of the cool stuff there. To explain very simply what Cumbemayo is, picture a bunch of rocks, and you have a good idea of what it is. That may sound pretty lame, but hearing it all explained and everything actually made it seem pretty cool. The rocks almost reminded me a little of Bryce Canyon—nowhere near as cool as Bryce, but it was still fun. I sent pictures of that last week, so check that email for the pictures of it. After, we came back to Cajamarca and had some nice lunch and wrote the fam.

Stretch Goal for New Investigators

Aside from that, we spent most of the week just going crazy with our proselyting here in our area. Last week, we decided to put a real goal of faith and had set the goal to find 30 new investigators during the week. We had decided that we wanted to take advantage of the old-investigator forms we had and also spend more time contacting in the street and knocking doors. During the week, we did everything possible to accomplish our goal, and we were amazed to see that the Lord put people in our path, and we found lots of new investigators. We didn’t accomplish our goal of 30 investigators, but we did manage to find 13 new investigators, which was a major improvement from past weeks. It was cool to see how setting high goals can help us more fully unlock our potential to accomplishing the Lord’s will.

Helping in a Member’s Restaurant

On Thursday, we had a nice little service with a member family in the ward. The members own a restaurant, and they do pretty well with what they do. On Thursdays, their whole kitchen staff has the day off, and so they were a little understaffed. So, we put on some aprons and waited tables for a few hours. It was pretty tiring work, and despite having done lots of services hauling sand and lots of physical labor, taking orders and carrying people’s food seemed to be more tiring than all of the other things we’ve done. It was fun to help out, and now I know how to start up my own restaurant when I get home.

Werewolf

On Sunday, we had an activity with the young single adults of our ward, and we had a few investigators there to help them make more friends within the members and feel more comfortable at church. It was kind of a half goodbye for one of the guys in the ward because he leaves for his mission on Wednesday. He is going to Lima Sur. We played a few games, and I actually led the group in a few rounds of Werewolf. It was fun to pull out my killer narrating skills again, and it was fun to spend some time with the members of the ward.

Consider on the Blessed and Happy State of Those that Keep the Commandments of God

Really, that’s it for my week: just lots of hard work and cool experiences with our investigators. Do you remember my Book of Mormon challenge? Well, I haven’t stopped with that, and I am already into Mosiah. This week I read over the chapters where King Benjamin talks to his people, and I once again felt the Spirit as I read those inspired scriptures. I still feel that Mosiah 2:41 is one of the greatest promises of the gospel and a great reminder for me of why I choose to live the way I do:

“And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.”

I love you all!

Elder Carman

Christian’s Baptism and Mothers’ Day

Hello, Family.

Well, by seeing you yesterday I kind of feel like writing today I’m not going to have a whole lot to say, but I would love to tell you about my week.

Here are the highlights:

Carla and Victoria Accept Baptism

Last Monday, we had another mellow P-day, but that night we went and taught Carla and Victoria, and we extended a baptismal date for May 21, and they accepted! They have come to church twice now, and they are progressing really well. We have faith that they will make it to their baptism this month.

Guided by the Spirit

Tuesday, we went to Elder Rojas’s district meeting in the morning, and it was fun to be with them again. They talked about the Holy Ghost and how we can have it more present in our lessons. After that, we spent the day teaching various lessons and finding new investigators. One family we found was an especially great miracle. About two weeks ago, we had been in a moto taxi and decided to contact the driver. His name was Teofilo, and he told us he was interested in hearing about the gospel. He gave us his address, and we knew that it was in our area, but we didn’t recognize the street he gave us. We took out an appointment for Thursday, but when Thursday came along, we spent over an hour looking for his house, but we couldn’t find it. We asked lots of people if they recognized the street and went all up and down our area looking for it. We looked on our map as well, and it wasn’t there. We thought we weren’t going to find him again, but Tuesday, we decided to look one more time, and thanks to what I believe to be the Sprit, we found his street. We got to his house, and he told us that he had been waiting for us and had been praying that we would come. He is passing through lots of problems right now, and it was amazing to know that we were an answer to his prayers.

Mothers’ Day Event

On Friday, we had an interchange with the elders from Pueblo Libre, and I got to spend the day with Elder Spencer. He is from Idaho and has about eight months in the mission. We had a great day together, and it was fun to teach a few lessons with him. Friday, we also had Christian’s baptismal interview, and he passed! After his interview, we stayed for a ward party that we had for Mothers’ Day. We have several investigators there, and it was awesome for them to get to know some of the members and all of that. Various members of the ward did special dances or numbers, and I got to sing a song as well. I sang “I Often Go Walking,” and it turned out really great. Elder Spencer played the piano for me.

Christian Gets Baptized

Saturday was very special because we had Christian’s baptism. Christian got baptized, and we had a really great, simple baptismal program. A member baptized him, and after he gave a great testimony, and it was a really special moment. Every time I am there in a baptismal service and I am able to see someone that I have taught enter into the waters of baptism, it just fills me with a joy that is indescribable.

Mothers’ Day

Sunday was Mothers´ Day, and we had a really special sacrament meeting. It was actually fast Sunday for us this week, but the testimonies that were given were just very heartfelt, and I felt the Sprit very strongly. After we had some great classes, and it was a great day to remember the importance of Mom. After that, I got to do my Skype! It was so fun to talk to you guys, and I loved being able to hear about what’s going on back home and see how much you have all grown.

Those were the highlights of my week!

Love you all,

Elder Carman