Monday, May 24, 2010

Short Timer...Taiwan is Calling

Greetings to all...more great stories from Elder Carter...


Ni Hao!!!
One of the best weeks ever. I loved it this week!! It was SO hard. I broke down at least 2 or 3 times. But you know me. That's what I do. I break down. All the time. ;)
So Friday I got beat up in soccer. I got my first black eye ever from Elder Westfall in the Spanish districts, who backhanded me (on accident) as I stormed him from behind. My fault. Then, I chased Elder Nelson all the way to the street from the field for that stinkin' ball and we ended up tripping over each other. I have a reputation as a fantastic goalie (not true), and I let in about one (or two, let's be honest) on average per game. And this time I had missed about 5, and Elder Nelson scored on me, and he can't shoot worth beans :P. So I was pretty upset, and switched to midfield. We tripped over each other and I landed right on my shoulder. Pulled some sort of tendon and it hurt for the rest of the day and into the next morning. I also messed up my left knee a little in trying to dribble past a scholarshipped, BYU Soccer defender (I'll have you know, I did get the ball past him). Then about 5 minutes before gym was over I ran at Elder Westfall from behind and he jumped to stop the ball right when I came on him (that was the plan, this next part? not so much). When he jumped his arms came up and my right eye met his right hand. You'll see the effect in my pics soon (I took the pic a day and a half later, so not as tough looking). But the broken blood vessel still shows today. And I'm proud of it, actually. It almost ruined my mood that day. Oh well.
TA. I taught a new convert this weekend with Elders Nelson and Jensen. It went well. We introduced priesthood blessings to him, and taught the second lesson. I shared Shelby's priesthood miracle in Chinese, and it was fantastic! In her letter, I asked her if it was alright that I did that. I sure hope so!! That story brought the Spirit so strong and it stayed the rest of the lesson. The man we taught had a HEAVY Taiwan accent, and, unbelievably, I understood him. And now that we can ask people to repeat what they said, it was easy to understand him when we couldn't quite catch it. It was always the accent that messed us up, but we only had to ask to repeat twice! :D
We have two TAs left, and after that we'll have a million a day in Taiwan. Two weeks from today, I will be packing to get on the plane the next morning. So weird!!! It'll be here before I know it, and I don't want to go yet, either! I'm so excited, but now that I really do love my companions and the people I serve with, I don't want to leave right when relationships start getting solidified. :(
I was asked to teach on Book of Mormon in District Meeting yesterday, which was great! I have never felt like anyone really enjoyed a lesson I taught except for yesterday. I felt so good about it, knowing it wasn't perfect, and I definitely could have involved people more, but they did come up to me and tell me that it was a good lesson after.
Also a big hug and a thank you to the Watters, and the Blackburns! Thanks so much! I may be gaining weight everyday (I think I finally broke 200, but I'm not gonna check ;), but I love getting packages with treats, it makes me feel great!!! So I have now, a drawer full of taffy, and three boxes full of cookies and chocolate (no joke, no exaggeration). It prob won't get all eaten. :D
No worries about plane stuff, I should get info this week, along with my visa and passport next week. I don't know. But I will let you know right away.
I will try to see if I can get out of ticketed areas with enough time to get back, to see family. But I don't even know if that's allowed yet. I will ask President Baker. Keep your ears open for info. I love you all!!
This church is true. God loves all of us, and really is with us and watches over us 24/7 for eternity. We just sometimes forget it. And it's at those times that we need to pray.
Sorry this is rushed, but I have 2 minutes left ;D !!! Love you all, stay strong, love the pictures! Don't EVER forget who you are. Keep going to the temple. All the time!!

-Elder Carter

Monday, May 17, 2010

Prayers of Faith

Note from the editor: Just a reminder that we have created a flicker account to show whatever pictures we receive from Elder Carter. You can find them at

On to this week's adventures...


This week has been yet another tough week, but it was full of blessings as well. I have been switched around companions for a couple weeks lately, and that's been hard on my success, but it's inspired of God through my teachers and all is well. I look for the blessings in their decisions everyday. This last TA was successful, but I wasn't teaching with (my companions). Our investigator last week had just lost his wife in a car accident recently and turned to drinking to get away from the pain. So, we taught the second lesson which is the Plan of Salvation. It went well, and I've never understood Chinese so well. It's all thanks to tinglihuodongs. Gotta love listening activities.

Our investigator this week is a recent convert and just got baptized a week ago. We are teaching the Second lesson again as an "after baptism" lesson. So (my teaching companions and I have decided to have them teach us. So all we will be doing is asking questions, and maybe sharing scriptures. No baptismal commitments to mess up this week (I messed it up last week... :P) because this week is a recent convert. So no worries.

Do you remember the Prayer of Faith? I want you guys to study that... Well, not last Friday, but the Friday before that, I learned about a Prayer of Faith from (my teacher). So I tried it out. It consists of telling God what the desires of your heart are, acknowledging your weaknesses and understanding why he may not grant the particular blessing, then converse with the Lord about it. Literally discuss with Him why you think you qualify for the blessing and why you think it is a good thing, and understand from Him why He thinks it is good or not good or maybe why it's not something you need right now, or even at all.

After conversing with Him and coming to a knowledge of His mind and will, you mention how you qualify for the blessing and what you will do to qualify for it. I did this because I really wanted to Host for Elder Leyva. (Hosting is what the missionaries do on Wednesday when new missionaries come in. They wait at the curb for families to pull up and then they help the missionary get his luggage and say goodbye to family. Our hosts were awesome!)
It wasn't something amazing that I needed, and if it didn't happen I was gonna be fine. But I knelt down and told God just how I was going to qualify for this blessing. Through my conversation with Him (Them, actually) I realized God's mind and will and knew exactly what I needed to do. The blessing was promised to me on conditions of Faith (hence, Prayer of Faith). I wanted to see if my faith was strong enough for a Prayer of Faith to work and bind God to His promises.

Out of 400 new missionaries and about the same amount of Hosts on Wednesday this week, the chances were pretty low that I would actually see Elder Leyva and catch him. I hosted one Polynesian Elder from Alaska headed to Texas, then two sisters (one in Elder Leyva's district, the other, Spanish speaking) and finally got back to the street to host for others. I waited and waited. I had told Heavenly Father that I would go where I was assigned, and if I wasn't assigned I would stand at station 7. That's what I did. No more cars came, and I was worried that I missed him. I wasn't too depressed, because I knew the reasons why I might not have been able to claim the blessing of hosting for one of my best friends.

So, knowing where his classroom was, I ran up to that floor (it's only 5 or 6 doors down from my classroom) and he wasn't there, and no one knew if he was coming. Before I went to his classroom though, I had a prompting outside to wait for a few minutes. So I stood there, all the other Elders had gone in and the traffic Elders were cleaning up. You are allowed to be alone when hosting, so I was. Then I went to the classroom- not there, and I decided, since my companions had not returned yet, to try one more thing. I was getting worried that he wasn't even coming in.

I went to look for his bag of materials in the bookstore, and found it. I decided to just write a note, slip it in his bag, and hope I found him at some point, accepting that I might not see him, and that my faith wasn't strong enough. I said a quick prayer of thanks for the learning opportunity, and turned around to leave.

A split second later, Elder Leyva walks through the bookstore doors. I take over his hosting and was never happier for the rest of the day. so cool!!! My prayer was answered! Not in the way I expected, but I listened to the promptings of the Spirit and I was able to claim the blessing. It may have been a small thing, but it affected me for life.

I am so happy that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me. And even more happy just to know that. So I want everyone else to know that, too. It kills me that not everyone knows that. That's my mission. To help people know that.

If I hadn't have waited like the Spirit directed me, I would not have claimed that blessing. I would have seen him later, of course, considering he is down the hall, but still. I was on a super spiritual high that day. 

I love you all!

Monday, May 10, 2010

More Pics added to Flickr

Updated pics from  Elder Carter on "Flickr"

Click HERE

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I will update here and Facebook every time there are new pics.


Only a month left in MTC

Only a month left in the MTC! We can hardly believe it! If you haven't written to Elder Carter yet, be sure you do! You can email us and we will forward your emails or you can go to and type up a letter. They will print it and send it to him in the mail. After he leaves the MTC it will cost just regular postage to send a letter that way, but before then it's free! Well on to the note...

Email from Elder Carter Dated May 3rd 2010

Well, here I am again!! Love you all! Sorry it's taken so long today. We decided to wait until laundry time to do email (bad idea) so I got on as soon as I could.
A few things real quick.
Like I said, treats are fine!!! Just not too much. Actually, I don't care anymore. It's impossible to lose weight here. I might just see how much weight I can gain, and maybe beat the record. jk The licorice was great, I brought it to the classroom and the class devoured it. They're gone. Best thing I ever did. Thanks so much! I did eat a lot of them, so don't worry, I appreciated it! I had one of the rice crispy treats and loved it! The problem was that they get hard real quick, so I couldn't eat the rest of them... sorry!!!
I save the fiber bars like I did at home, which I ate one every morning. I still have a cliff bar, and don't know when I'm going to eat it, because I love them, and I don't want to not see a cliff bar on my desk anymore and not get excited that I still have one to eat :D.
Oh, and if you guys do anything that you think I won't find out about? ... ahem.... I have my sources.... lol
I won't mention what happened recently that might throw me for a loop when I get home. I just might have to look up Brother Brady a little more often though... (Apparently someone leaked to Elder Carter that we sold our piano to the Bradys. Ahem, could it be Kendall? It’s all good. We should have told him anyway)
I have a list of things to mention, so here goes..
Last Sunday, not yesterday, I performed (through the priesthood of God) a saving ordinance in another language!! So cool! I gave the sacrament prayers in Chinese with Elder Nelson. So cool! And I was called to pray that day as well.
I have been able to catch the people I wanted to here at the MTC before they headed out. An answer to prayer. Remember Justin Crandall? Headed to Hungary, I caught his district at the mailroom and ran to his building to find him. He was leaving in an hour for Hungary. I barely caught him and got a pic. So, hopefully soon, I can send that home. I also caught Neils Hazen from my floor at BYU, two days before he headed out and got a big hug from him. So cool to see them all heading out in the Spirit. The difference in demeanor is fantastic. I can almost not believe it.
I sent Shelby's characters in the mail! Love you sis! Keep writing! I promise I'm trying to get letters to you as much as possible.
I would love to be able to keep up on the goings on in the world. I've heard of several things that have happened that I otherwise had no idea except for my teachers. So, like you did on your mission, Dad, could I get news every now and then? I would like to keep up.
My journaling is an unbelievable success. Although I write really fast, so I may not ever be able to read it, but that's ok. It's the thought that counts :P But I have only missed two days. The two hardest days I've had here. No worries, I wrote about it the next night. I love journaling. It helps so much. I don't know if I'll be able to keep it up after, but I definitely will while I'm here on my mission, serving the Lord. I never want to forget the feelings I'm having, and the closeness I feel with my Savior. I hate the idea of not having this privilege. I don't want to take my nametag off in two years.
Ok. On to a couple other things.
It seems that serving your companion works, when you can find ways to serve them. But what happens when they don't return the favor? Grrr.... It's all good, I know, and I will continue to do it, because it helps us all realize that we really do care for each other and want each other to succeed, and NEED each other to succeed. I think we're lucky to have three people. Because with three, you have a fourth (the Spirit). And it's good to learn how to teach with three, because in the field you have to learn how to make sure the Spirit is involved.
This last weekends TA experience was BU HAO (According to Dad, this means “very bad”). The Spirit left 3 quarters of the way through and we just struggled through our last few memorized lines. Elder *** barely got to speak, and was frustrated. I blew it out of proportion and sunk deep in a bad mood under Satan's influence. It obviously affected the district and the zone, as there was contention the rest of the day. When I figured out what I was doing, swallowed my pride and apologized then repented, everything went back to normal.
We are so immersed in the Spirit here, we take it for granted. When we get to the field, and back in the real world, it's gonna be weird.
Have you ever heard about a "Prayer of Faith"? It's an actual thing, and I explain it a little in my letter to Mom. sorry, I will write again with more info, cause it's COOL. Check out Ether 20 somethin, Nephi, Enos... etc, they all offer these types of prayers (Brother of Jared), and I offered one myself on Friday. I hope to be able to host for Alexx when he comes in Wednesday, and I conversed with my God about my desire. I acknowledged my weaknesses, related my desires, discussed with Him why I should be blessed with this and why I shouldn't, I qualified myself to receive the blessing, then asked for it. I was told several things to do from Friday til Wednesday that I feel I have done, and hopefully my faith is enough. But If it doesn't happen, at least I know why, 'cause He told me that too.
I'll write again soon. I love you! Study Prayers of Faith, and keep going to the Temple!!! I miss y'all!!!
Zai Jian!
-Elder Carter

Elder Letters

Email from Elder Carter dated April 26th 2010

Hey everyone!!
So good to finally be back on the computer. It feels like last week took forever, but here I am! Yes, last week was definitely one of the hardest weeks I've had on my mission so far, so I can't wait to see what the rest of my mission has in store... yikes! lol, jk
Yes, there were times when I wanted so bad for someone I knew to talk to. Last night's fireside with Brother and Sister Seamons from a branch presidency here at the MTC, had a lot of good points. They mentioned that a missionary is in a place he/she doesn't know, a companion he's never met, a language he doesn't understand and has never spoken, a whole new ward full of people you don't know and probably won't see again, a people that you have no experience with and no understanding of, and a purpose that you've never equaled the responsibility, dedication, work, and knowledge it requires. It's true, I have to open up to complete strangers for this to work properly. I'm not as trusting as I thought I was, but I find that I, for the first time, have actually dug down to the core of the matter, and know exactly what I need to improve on and what to do about it.
The last week hit me from every side with trial after trial after trial. Add on to that that I had to speak Chinese for an hour straight Saturday morning with the vocabulary of a Chinese adult, after only 5 and a half weeks of learning it. But here I am, still at the MTC on Monday morning, typing away to my far away family (yes, you are far away), and I continue to push forward with the work. After sweating, grumbling, breaking down, sighs, frustrated noises coming out of my mouth that I've never heard before, and after 100% nonstop study, I made it. Past another week. I understand why missionaries put down the MTC a lot. Like I said before, the field is 100% better, because after working on you for 3 to 12 weeks, you finally get to help other people. And for me I get to help them know who Christ is. 'Cause they don't even know.
I am starting to feel the anxiety of wanting to get out in the field. It rips at me every time we talk about Taiwan in any case of the word. Especially when we talk about the food. Every returned missionary and every teacher I have sighs, their mouths water, and their eyes roll back towards heaven in daydreams about the food. Not exaggerating. Ugh. The food looks SO good, too! And after eating MTC food (worse than Cannon Center, if I haven't made that clear) for 6 weeks, I'm getting trunkie- for Taiwan.
The week started with initiatories at the Temple and a long P-day where I didn't have enough time to write all the letters I wanted to write. All week I studied 8 principles out of PMG and translated questions, statements, scriptures, and other things into Chinese. I can find scriptures in the Bible and Book of Mormon now! It's easy! I can recognize several different characters now, even though we haven't been studying them. My favorite words are still Zai Jian! (see ya later), Ni Hao (hello), shenme (what?), ting bu dong (hear no understand), and weishenme? (why?) Lol. Love it!
Our teachers now speak to us 100% Chinese, and we get the gist of all of it. 24 new missionaries come in on Wednesday. 3 Sisters and 21 Elders. That's 4 new districts, and it's going to be very hard not to show off. :P
At our mealtimes, we sit together as a branch and it's interesting to see. All of the Chinese Elders and Sisters sit together and we are surrounded by the Japanese. SO many natives, and I never thought it would be so easy to tell the difference in Asians whether they are from Hong Kong, Mainland, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Mongolia... etc. I can recognize all of those! Plus, Cantonese and Chinese are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. I do not like how Cantonese sounds, but Mandarin has a certain flow to it, that can't be explained unless you are learning it. Korean and Japanese are similar, but thanks to Dad, I can tell the difference! :D
Not much to say, except that on Saturday, our TA went all right. We were successful, and felt good about it, but we weren't anywhere near where we had wanted to be. I was able to get to the First Vision, and FINALLY I felt like I wasn't focusing on speaking, but on teaching with the Spirit. We taught a real investigator again this week, and found out that he comes here a lot. Howard knows the church is true, but he just won't take the leap of faith and get baptized. It's a family problem. He's not sure what his parents will do. It was super interesting to hear him speak Chinese with us (he's a native Taiwanese). I can totally hear the accent now, and am excited to take it on. I think it's funny :P Even though the mainland speakers think it sounds feminine. Whatever. I think it sounds cool, (but I can see where they're coming from... :P)
Thanks Dad for the Dear Elder this week. You have no idea how much I needed that. It hit me so hard, and turned me right back onto the right path. It was powerful, what you told me. God is with me, and I can feel your prayers. Mom, thanks for yours too, as they both helped me realize that if there is a peaceful Spirit in my home, then I must be doing something right. Even Raquel commented on it.
Sorry to those people that I couldn't get on the letters last week! I tried, I really did! But I needed to write my family first and make sure I figured the things out I needed to this week.
James Harris wants me to give you his email, but I forgot his letter, so I will write it to you. Make sure he gets on the email list. Also, I need Guads, Cathryn and Dave's, Tersta, and Grandpa Carter's addresses so I can write them. And I would love to hear from any and all of them! Especially Mike and CJ and the fam in Cali. I'm missin' them a bunch, and working so hard for the Lord out here just makes me think of them.
I found out that we are most likely going to be flying through LAX in June, and then on a straight 14 hour flight to Taipei with a 2 to 3 hour drive to Taizhong. So, if Mike and Nise and them want to come say hey (if possible) that would be fun!
My branch president has told us that we can call as many people as we want at the airport, as long as we make the flight. He also told us not to study, and just to relax until we get there. I can't wait!!
The church is true. I've never been pushed so hard in my life, and I'm sure it's harder than it was in the Pre-mortal one, too. I even wrote in my journal last night after a companionship problem, that it's IMPOSSIBLE!!! It's hard to be working so hard, and also having a hard time seeing the blessings. I know they're there, I just am not recognizing them as well as I'd like.
I have a lot more respect for people who get married and stay married now. After learning to deal with a companion for just six weeks? I had no idea I am and was so unprepared for that kind of commitment. So I'm just glad that I can serve the Lord and learn how to do it right. :D
I love you all!! And look forward to my letter. It's a little crazy 'cause I wrote like three different ones all week and they all say different things according to my Spiritual progress last week. Shelby, your name is coming in the mail, and I will send the characters soon. Kong Yu Lan, is your name. Love you all! And I loved the Peter Pan picture-- Keep 'em comin'!!! 
-Elder Carter