Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Costco Muffins

Well, it's definitely been a much better week. :D I'll say that right off the start.
So several good experiences this week. Lots of learning. ONE: I came up to a man on his scooter after Zone Conference and on the outside he looked like, well, like the devil had gotten to him a bit... ;) He was smokin', drunk, eatin beetle-nut (turns your teeth red, cuts your gums, and does that so the drugs inside can absorb into your mouth), and just living a not so happy life. I rode up next to him. And felt prompted to talk to him about his cigarette. I told him, "Ni zhidao nage chou yan dui nide shenti shi---" (You know that cigarette for your body is...) And before I could finish, he finished for me "Bu hao. Wo zhidao." (bad. I know.) I laughed simply, affirmed his answer and took the cigarette out of his mouth. Dropped it on the ground, and stamped it out. He sighed, leaned over his handlebars with one hand on his face, and pouted for a second. I put my hand on his shoulder and said that he could forget all this pain, and follow in God's footsteps. I got his name, and number, and he added(We think “added” means a person agreed to have the missionaries come teach him/her), but haven't seen him again. That's ok. I know I helped the Spirit prick his heart. 'Cause I didn't know how to say "You can forget all this pain" when I talked to this man. But an overwhelming sense of love for him came over me as I talked to him, and it is returning right now. He may have looked like a man that would never be worth talking to, but when you realize that all people are God's children, and you realize that he loves all of them, it doesn't matter what they look like.
Speaking of…White people. (Elder Carter tells us you can’t always trust foreigners in Taiwan because their intentions are not always pure.) Anyway, this one white person... Yikes. Scariest, hardest contact I've ever had. Never thought this would ever, or could ever happen to me. I rode up to him as he was getting on his scooter by the COSTCO (yes, there is a costco by my church, and yes I have had costco muffins- my two favorite foods are right here next to me. I love it here), anyway, he was getting on his scooter, and I started speaking to him in Chinese. No response, so I asked if he speaks Chinese, a little shake of the head, and then I asked, "Cool! So what are you doin' in Taiwan? What brings you here?" He immediately answered, "Trying to stay away from you guys." My heart dropped, and my stomach disappeared.
Old Kevin Carter would have gotten contentious and rude, but I immediately started praying for help, because I am ELDER Carter now. I am a different person. I begged for the Spirit to be with me and help me be kind and touch this man's heart. "Why?" I asked... "Because all you teach is Devil-worship. And I don't want to talk to a devil-worshipper." "Why do you think that? We could sit down and discuss it if you want, and I could help you understand our beliefs" Interrupted-- "No. That right there proves that all you want to do with me is take me aside, sit me down, and try to become my friend so that you can preach your devil worship. When you want to talk about religion, come find me and we'll talk, so I can teach you how wrong you are." "Ok, so could you tell me what you believe?" I was trying to stay so simple. I didn't want to run away, because I wanted to stand firm in my testimony. "No, you just want to teach me devil worship." "No, I-- I promise I won't say a word. We'll sit down and you can tell me everything about what you believe and your evidence against mine. I won't say a word." "No!" By this time, he was just finding excuses to leave and not talk to me. But I've never seen a more furious face on anybody in person. Every word was throwing daggers at my testimony. But I did everything I could to smile. See him as a son of God, and pray my heart out that he remembered me and the words the Spirit spoke through me. As he was leaving he said, "I pray for you. I'll pray tonight, that you change your mind. Cause I care." I stared him straight in the eyes and replied, "Thank you for your care, sir. I appreciate it. I really do. Just know that I care for you, too (he blows me off and starts walking away), and that is what we preach. You're a brother to me." "Yeah, ok, whatever--" "I love you." Three simple words. Never more power behind them. Even if you don't quite feel perfect love for someone like this man, just saying the words makes all the difference. I smiled, told him to have a good day, and rode off.
As soon as I crossed the street, I lost it. My barriers fell, my tear ducts decided to burst the dam I thought I installed a while ago... All in front of Elder Krantz. I quickly overcame that, and talked with him for a minute. We were on exchanges with Elder Taylor, one of the assistants, and he came over and talked about it with us, too. Apparently that doesn't happen a lot, and every missionary can count on one hand the amount of times something like that has happened to them. Phew!!! SOOO hard. But I got more adds that day than I had as of yet. I relate that as if I knew what I was doing. I don't. I didn't. It wasn't me. The Spirit acted through me, and that's the power of God. I prayed so hard for that man that night. And I can only hope and have faith, that one day, I might find him again and ask him how he felt. I keep prayin' for him, and the Spirit is always there.
Next story.
Bike got stolen.
Anyway, about the food I've been eating here, I've eaten all sorts of weird things, but it's very interesting just how much I'm already familiar with it.
Ok, ok. I'll tell. Bike got stolen. I didn't lock it. Of course. Duh. You're in a 2nd world country with a $300 bike that's nicer than any bike I've had in America. If you don't lock it, it's gonna be gone. Well I didn't lock it. I don't know who, in their right mind (which, obviously, they weren't) would steal a bike that said JESUS CHRIST on the side, and MISSIONARY on the front. Hmmm.... So I got to ride a little girl bike with a basket on Saturday all day!!! It hurt my knees, because I couldn't extend them bigger than 90 degrees, but it had it's blessings. Luckily I was in a good mood that morning. So when I woke up and walked out and it wasn't there... well, I said a quick prayer and went to do something about it. We checked security cameras, but that was a waste of time, 'cause what are you gonna do if you find it? Nothing. You can't. So I grabbed up the girl bike and proceeded to ride the daily 10 to 20 miles. My butt still hurts. But it was short enough, that it made contacting cars a lot easier! I could weave in and out with my feet and I was level with them. I got a couple adds that way :P I was enduring well, until that night.
This bike that I was borrowing had no brakes, couldn't change gears, no big cushy seat, no lights, broken pedals, a bent basket, bent handle bars... all the things I was complaining about on my (old bike at home), I got worse on this one. To the bolt. Lol. Funny how things work sometimes, yeah? Anyway, I almost died like four times that night because that dinky bike had no brakes. And taxis are way worse here than in NY.
So by the time I got back to the apartment, I was in a bad mood and a little frustrated with Elder Krantz. Spirit was gone. So I tried to repent of my feelings and bring the Spirit back so we could accomplish our goals. But I didn't do very well. That was a bad night. The next morning wasn't any better. Until I humbled myself and said a fervent prayer right before we left the apartment. Just prayed that it would work out, and I said I was fine riding that little bike, but in getting a new bike, to help the process go smoother, and not cost a lot of money. The Spirit came flooding back, and I felt a lot better. I got up, said companionship prayer with Elder Krantz and left the apartment.
I passed the bikes where Elder Krantz parked his bike to go get the girl bike again. I looked for my bike. It was NOT there. I promise. I could not see it. Elder Krantz said something and I stopped. I turned toward him and looked up. Then, he forgot what he was going to say because he saw something else. He let out one laugh. I looked down right in front of me, and there it was. Still shiny, still clean. Still new. Still there. No, it wasn't there the whole time. I know that, because I looked for it. It was bu zai. Not here. Not spraypainted, nothing. The bike was back. But. The lock was gone, the water bottle was gone, and my rain jacket was gone. Yes, the rain jacket and my bike lock got stolen. Even the seat was still on the bike. So. I am happy. I've learned to be a little more patient, and humble, and seek to be one with my companion. God loves me. My bike is back. That's what matters. I wonder where my bike went... I kinda want to find out. Elder Krantz and I decided that it needed a break. It was sick of me pushing it's buttons, and twisting it's gears, yanking it's chain, sittin' on it all day... etc. But it's back, and I'm not complaining about it anymore! :D
There's my stories for the week. More detail in a couple years, but no worries. Don't worry about money or anything, because all we did was buy a less than perfect living person in Taiwan a 95 dollar Rain coat. Service. :D sorry...
So cool about all the missionaries!!! Can't wait to hear stories. Wish them all luck. Love Eric!! Lol, so good.
(We asked Elder Carter what their service projects are each week.) Service is English Class. I teach Intermediate English every Wednesday, and it's fun! The English names people have are great! And Chinese people are absolutely the best. I'll tell you more about them in my next letter or email.
Love you all! I'll write soon, sorry about the delay in time... but not much I can do about it. :P
Keep writing, keep strong, don't give up, and you'll live long!
-Elder Carter

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

First Night in Taiwan

This video was produced by the Taiwan Taichung Mission. It was sent to us and includes video and still pictures of Elder Carter's first night in Taiwan. The Taichung mission tradition is to take the new Missionaries to the Night Market and have them stand on the "Dan Jones box" and bear testimony and preach the gospel. This part is in the middle of the video. You can see Elder Carter several times during this portion of the video.
The "Dan Jones Box" is named after a missionary of the church who served in Great Britain in the 1800's. He was one of the most prolific missionaries the church has ever had, baptizing and helping in conversion of many many people. At that time in Great Britain anyone that wanted to preach or talk about politics or whatever could stand on a box in the town square. Elder Carter's Grandfather participated in this practice when he served in the Irish Mission circa 1962-1964. You probably can't quite make it out but there is a scripture written on the box under Dan Jones' name. It is in the Book of Mormon, Alma 13:22 and reads:
Yea, and the voice of the Lord, by the mouth of angels, doth declare it unto all nations; yea, doth declare it, that they may have glad tidings of great joy; yea, and he doth sound these glad tidings among all his people, yea, even to them that are scattered abroad upon the face of the earth; wherefore they have come unto us.

Anyway, enjoy the video!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Water and Honey

Here I am again. Writing. Writing, writing, writing. As quick as I can, 'cause a computer can't comprehend just how much there is to write. WOW. That's all I can say.
Sending letters from Taiwan should arrive in America around a week to 10 days from when I send it. Also Sending stuff from America to Taiwan apparently takes 2 weeks or more. Oh well. Just do what you can to keep writing letters, and if you want to send anything in a package, make sure you do it through US Mail. Not UPS or anyone, 'cause they won't forward it. If it's cheaper to do it through Fedex or UPS, only do that if I am in an area close to the mission home. 'Cause the package is stuck there until the assistants or office elders can bring it out or until I can come get it. And don't send meat! Or I have to send it back, and it's expensive. Don't do it.
I am in Zhongming. "chungming" I guess you weirdo English people would say it, and specifically in an area called Xiqu, Nanqu, Wuri (xi= "shee", qu= "choo" kind of... wu = "woo", and ri= the rrr in "grrr") Three areas all in Taizhong south. (This is a suburb, if you can call it that, of Taichung. He is a couple miles from the mission home. Believe it or not, we got to see his area and we think even his apartment building on Google Maps Street View. SO COOL!) Our chapel is not the one by the Mission Home. It's in Nantou, "toe", and that is outside our area, but we have permission to go there, obviously. Three wards meet there. Our ward, one other ward, and the singles ward. Our's meets at 9 in the morning. And the members are amazing. Unbelievably helpful and very good missionaries. They come to our lessons with investigators all the time!!!
PROBLEM: NO SINGLE MEMBER IN THIS CHURCH IS DOING THEIR JOB. The prophets have spoken, that missionary work should one day be like this. We are at the church all the time, and members bring investigators to us. I'm serious. That's how it should be. We are not supposed to be finding. Weird, huh?
People, bring others to Christ. It's your job. Your duty. You can't just sit in the church as a member and only think about your own progresion. That's not the point. You do need to think about it, but there are 6.986 BILLION people who don't have this Gospel. Not to mention the billions in the Spirit World. God will finish his work, but He would like to do it with the help of members, with the help of His blessed children. So do it! Help Him out! Yes, He could do it by Himself if He wanted to. But He's not. Have you ever thought why?
Ok, enough of that. That just exhausted me. Siiiighh.......... Deep breath.... ok.
 Anywho. Yes, I love it here. It just gets better. I have felt like I want it to go faster, but then I know that I will be changing my mind about that pretty soon.
The RAIN! Oh my goodness. Nope. Doesn't stop. I was entreated to 4 or 5 days of sun, and got a sweet Missionary/Golfer tan, and then ever since the middle of last week, it's been raining. BUCKETS. No wonder the Earth flooded. I don't doubt for a second that flooding the Earth is possible after seeing what kind of water can come from the sky. Holy cow. It's all about WATER.
Imagine dipping yourself in a bucket of honey, coming out, trying to wipe it off with a small handkerchief or a hand towel. Ain't gonna work, now is it? Then, try having a fan blow (oh don't forget it’s HOT honey) on you for the whole day. Now you're dry. But you are covered in crustiness. Then you get rained on and it washes off. But now your clothes are soaked. Then get into the church and have the air conditioning dry you off. Now you're sort of clean. And it's nice and chilly. Then you leave the church at 8:30 and it's dark. Coming from Utah, you expect a little bit of a chill. Nope. A GINORMOUS fan with honey all up and in it is blowing 200 degree wind at you. Guess what? You're sticky again. And when you go to pick up your helmet and put it on, you get dumped on with a load of water that soaked into the pads while it was raining. Now you've got wet, sticky, hot honey running down your face and in your hair. Then you get back to the apartment and dry off. Still crustiness and sticky. And your shirt looks about the color of your skin, or some gross green moss you somehow washed it with since you left the apartment that morning. Then you go to bed. Because of the honey all over you, your are frozen into one position, and it cracks when you wake up. Then go running. Sweat all over and get your clothes sticky and the honey all runny again. Boo-yah. Oh, and it's hotter this morning than it was the afternoon before. Oh, and it's raining. And the garbage trucks are singing kindergarten tunes and Fur Elise (SO annoying), and then you have to go run up 12 flights of stairs. Then you can shower. Can't take a warm shower anymore. Has to be below freezing. So you wash yourself off, and then you walk out into the apartment and a huge bucket of hot gooey-- you guessed it-- honey-- gets dumped on you. Lets add that cockroaches are running around to get out of your way. Sounds great, yeah? Except the cockroaches are the size of your foot. (GROSS! editor commentary) Then go talk to people again on the street. I wonder what we look like. Drenched in honey, with a tie that used to have color-- I think-- and green collared shirts. Probably pretty funny. I hope they can read "JESUS CHRIST" under all that goo.
Anyway. There's my day for you right now. Plenty more to say, not enough time to say it. Keep writing. Keep pushing forward. Thanks for the stories and the info, Dad, super great!
 Cool scripture cases I can get for you guys if you like. Tell me if you'd like some Chinese scripture cases, and I'll get some. Make sure you tell me what size your scriptures are.
I love you all! I promise I'll write more about my investigators and things like that next time instead of being so preachy teachy. But still---- GET TO WORK!!! :D With all the love I can send :D
-Elder Carter
ps-I feel a lot better this week, than last. If you can't tell. Oh, and if you send something to me (This goes for everyone) please write my whole name, so they can know which Elder Carter (if there is another one) to send it to, k? Thanks!!! (Elder Kevin Carter I think'll be just fine) Love you!!! Pray and fast for my investigators! They need it!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mission President

Here is the first picture we have received from Taiwan. This is Elder Carter with President and Sister Hoer. President Hoer is the President of the Taiwan Taichung Mission.
This was taken in the first couple of days Elder Carter was in Taiwan as he participated in orientation and training before being assigned to his first area.

Monday, June 14, 2010

On the ground in Taiwan

Well. I have no idea how to start. I've been thinking all week about what I could say to start this letter. The truth is, there is no way to do that. I don't know where I am, what anyone is saying, where anything is... If I didn't have a senior companion who'd been here for 9 months, I'd be a tad bit LOST. Although, I could probably find the mission office.
The plane ride was long, but beautiful. The ocean was covered by clouds the whole time, so maybe I'll get better views on the way home. We flew over Alaska on our way home. Some "seek" (don't know how to spell it) religious guys sat behind me. They had turbans and robes on and everything. They looked out the window and saw snowy mountains. They were so confused. It was funny. I had just looked at the plane compass on our tv screen, so I knew where we were, but they didn't. "Are we over Hawaii? Does Hawaii have snow capped mountains?" No! silies, look out a little farther than down, and can you see an ocean? No... so it must not be an island. When I told them it wasn't Hawaii, they were all weirded out. "So where are they taking us?!! Ahhh!!" I calmed them down, laughing the whole time :P, and told them we were over Alaska. Going that direction was the fastest way to Taipei. It was funny, and gave me a chance to ask about their religion, which, in turn, they asked about ours. It was great! They were impressed with 2 years, since they were out for 3 weeks to Singapore. I don't remember exactly what they were doing, but they were great people anywho. They even had the beards.
Anyway, we get to the airport, we had a friendly escort from UVU(Utah Valley University) who was a friend of one of our teachers at the MTC. He spoke Chinese with us and helped us find where we needed to go at the airport. It was dark when we got there, as well. You could feel the humidity getting stronger and stronger as you progressed through the airport towards the bus stops. Customs was simple, and quick. That made me happy.
When we walked into the lobby, President and Sister Hoer (pronounced HUR) were waiting with the Assistants. Elders Prier and Taylor welcomed us, as did the President and his wife. WOW. He's crazy. He's done SO much with his life. He has been everywhere. He's found lost tribes in Tibet, dived 300 times looking for a rare whale, slept overnight with his wife on an erupting volcano... and pictures to prove it. I wouldn't believe it, but you have to when you see the pictures. He's only like early-50s? So how, in the world, could you do all the things he's done in that short of a lifetime?
Anyway, they welcomed us warmly, and we had a 2 hour devotional all the way down to the Taizhong mission office. It was dark and rainy the whole way (I'm loving the humidity, by the way) so we couldn't see anything. :( So we didn't get to see Taipei 101(This is the tallest building in Taiwan and was the tallest in the world for a time). Oh well.
We went to the Mission Home for training the next day, and it was BEAUTIFUL. Big and beautiful. Sister Hoer is amazing, as is President Hoer. They both are so in love, and so in love with the mission. President Hoer served in Taiwan, and actually opened up a couple areas when he was serving. They're great. And their family is great. Their son was graduating from a high school in Taiwan on Friday, so they weren't there that morning. Whatev :P. President and Sister Hoer served us Youtiao ("oil stick"- fried, dipped in hot soy milk) some kind of onion sandwich (good), and fresh fruit. Watermelon, and pineapple. Love the pineapple. SO good. Not one word of Chinese yet, by the way...
We sat in their family room and watched a couple videos about them, and the mission. It was great!!! Lunch was... uh.... I don't remember right now. :) OH, don't forget the wonderful run we took that first morning. 4 hours of sleep, and a beautiful 30 minute run through Taizhong city in the morning. It's quiet, it's beautiful, and nothing could feel better. Running in the humidity was fantastic! It reminded me of the Naval Academy.
Just tons of training on Thursday (wednesday for you guys). And after dinner the first night we were there was Dan Jones night. Holy cow. Carazy!!! Tons of people everywhere! And we sang a Chinese hymn in the middle of the market together, with a whole ton of older missionaries watching, with Taiwanese people watching, too. Then, one by one, we stood on top of the Dan Jones boxes (Dan Jones was one of the first successful missionaries to England and had great success. In his honor, the missionaries stand on a box in the market and bear their testimonies).
Elder Rostedt took forever! Sister Hoer said he took the longest they've ever had. (three years of being mission president and wife, and Elder Rostedt takes the longest? He never talks that much. So cool). Then I got up. Weird, how you're nervous, you don't know what you're gonna say, and then you just take the faith, take the breath, take the step and jump on the box. Open your mouth to say something- ANYTHING- and the Lord filled it. It came to me. It was easy. I wasn't nervous anymore. I said what I needed to say, and then I jumped down. It wasn't an amazing detailed testimony, but it was full of the Spirit, 'cause I don't remember exactly what I said. And it made me feel great.
As soon as I stepped down, I was taken by an older missionary and we went around contacting. EVERYBODY. We stopped couples, fathers, teenagers, single men (we couldn't talk to women as Elders unless they self-contact us first). It was great! My companion and I, at the time, committed 8 people to baptism. Right there. In the market. Wow. And they understood me!!! You will get to see this in a DVD the mission home is sending. I love it. I got to see it the next morning. Please please keep it. I need to watch it again when I get home.
The stats that night were huge. We went back to the mission office (the Senior couple there is great, by the way) and reported numbers--somewhere around 130 commitments to baptism. President Hoer says about 4 or 5 will make it to baptism out of that. I know crazy percentage, but that's what it's like here.
So the next day we ate an interesting breakfast, that I didn't like super well. It was alright. I don't know what I ate, but it was alright. I hate soy milk, by the way. It seems that's all they've got. Milk by itself is expensive.
My first companion is Elder Krantz from Salt Lake City. I've got pictures. This first Move call (transfer) will be with him. I am serving in Zhongming. It's in Taizhongshi. I am still in Taizhong, in other words. For, at least, the next 6 weeks. I was handed a red envelope with Elder Krantz's name in it and our area. When you accept a red envelope, you hand it out with both hands, and the receiver takes it with both hands, bows, says thank you (xie xie) and takes it. Usually there is kuai in it ($) but this time was better.
We then ate at TGI Friday's for lunch (not my choice, we were forced to eat American Food :) But it was nice to have a big burger for once since Five Guys with Dad. MTC burgers, don't count.
Then, I grabbed my big beautiful new bike, and we went to my apartment. The bike worked out fine. I got the money out of an ATM, and it was great. It's pretty. Won't be for long. But it's pretty. :) I like it. It's pretty.
I got a new helmet, too. Finally, a real helmet! I've never had a modern day, real helmet before. :P Mom and Dad's don't count. That's like 70s helmet. Whatev. :P jk
Elder Krantz is awesome. Couldn't've had a better trainer. I'm overwhelmed, and scared to death. But we've taught several lessons already, and, YES, we already had a baptism. Wang Dixiong (Brother Wang) is our age and super friendly. He seemed like he was already a member when I met him. He got baptized Saturday with a Sister. It was beautiful. And being in the church with all members, made me feel right at home.
Our teachers were right. You do contact and commit to baptism on the street. So weird! If you don't, we don't follow up with those people for awhile. Crazy! That's how many commitments we get off the street. These people are ready. Although I've been rejected by about 18 million people already, they seem like they want to hear about it. My first lesson was with a recent convert who was less active. He was funny, but he just would not come to church anymore. And he's started smoking again. It's sad. But we're working with him.
Contacting is scary, but fun. You literally stop traffic. NOT kidding. We talk to every scooter that stops at an intersection (unless it's a woman) and we pull up by cars and trash trucks, and all sorts of EVERYBODY. No one understands what I mean. EVERYBODY. Except single women. I love it. But I hate contacting at the same time. I've gotten very discouraged already, and don't quite know how I'm going to keep it up for 2 years. But I'm gonna keep pushing forward. The work is real. God is out there. Even in Taiwan. I can feel it. I just hope I can continue to find it. 
-Elder Carter
ps- You'll never guess. My first dinner appointment was Sunday night. Last night. We were being served something special. Yes, my first dinner appointment, my first real actual DINNER was..... Japanese Curry (On Elder Carter's short list of all-time favorite foods). No joke. I smelled it when I walked in, and was never happier. I didn't understand a word that night, but all is well. I talked to President Kim who is in Hawaii right now. He is an old Mission President, I guess. That was good. But it was in English. The ward here is great, and they are all really helpful. Expecially Brother Huang, 24, who is a recent convert. He is the Ward Mission Leader, and a good friend. I can barely talk to him, but it's coming, I guess. :) Love you all!!! Write again next week.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Last Notes from the MTC

From the Editor: Elder Carter left as planned on Tuesday, June 1 from the MTC. We got an email late the next day saying they arrived in the airport okay. This email is long this week, but so full of neat stuff I couldn't figure out anything to edit...so I hope you all enjoy.
On to Elder Carter

So- Everything is going as planned- so far. It seems things are fitting in my bags and the weight is pretty alright. Got a couple things to flip around, but all should be well. I tried getting all the stuff I'm sending home in one box, but that didn't work. It's two. Sorry.
Wo ai ni- means I love you--- wo ai nimen- means I love you ALL. :D No, it doesn't mean turnips. Lol. Love you Mom. (I tried my hand at a little bit of Chinese and I was sure I was saying I love turnips) A little nervous for the calling situation, considering I've never called from a payphone before. But God will help me. Somehow....
YES! Keep going to the temple! Especially since today was Memorial Day and I didn't get to go, you gotta go once more for me! For all else, try to get to the temple every other week! It's my challenge! I know it may be hard for some, because of distance, but at least try, k? Make it once a month according to the 4x4 plan, right? Keep it up! Thanks Mom, Dad, for trying. I wish I could go to Oquirrh and Draper! We'll have to go the day I get back, k? Sounds great!
No worries Shelbs, I still love you. Sorry I haven't been able to get a letter to you anytime lately... But I'll write you my first P-day in Taiwan, k? Love ya!
Tell Sister Byers I will write her soon, and that I'm super grateful for her kind words :D I like the Momma Carter name... it fits :P
Elder Gibson(new companion for the last week) is also in the other district. So I switched environments completely this week. That means I went from inexperienced Chinese learners(Elder Carter's previous district) to advanced-already had 3 years- learners(in the other district). Yikes. But I kept up and my Chinese is increasing daily, when I SYL(Speak Your Language). Elder Gibson is a wild, short, fiery, weird Elder. lol, but he is a joy to be around. Always brightens my day and makes me laugh. He is from Mesa, Arizona, and is very active, very spiritual, and reminds me of Peter from the New Testament. Remember how Joseph Smith described him? The short one, with fire in his eyes? That's Elder Gibson- but maybe a little more hyper, who knows. :P I love it, though. We get along great. It was hard to transition however. From district to district. But it's good to prepare me for the transition to Taiwan. I guess transfers are kinda hard sometimes... I miss my old district. But I've been 100% welcomed into the new one. Elder Gibson goes to Vancouver Canada, Mandarin and is sick of waiting. He leaves in a week. He teams up with Elders Near and Faulkner from my old district for the next week. Elders Near and Faulkner leave in a week for New York, as well.
Just so you know, I really want to start back up in some kind of soccer when I get back. I love that sport. Why did I ever quit? It is so fun! I get a little too competitive though (pride) still, and I gotta get over that soon... stinkin' Spanish Elders.... :) Love 'em.
(Last week, when I heard Elder Carter's voice, I wasn't sure what he had said)On the phone at the MTC clinic the other day. I just said "Hey Mom" lol, I was laughing, so it was prob hard to hear. Yes, I got a wave of homesickness for about two seconds, but I'm happy to report that I was back to work in the next 5 minutes. :D So no worries.
I have no fears coming to leave the MTC tomorrow. I am a bit nervous, but am ready to do some work. Elder Gibson and I, while at the Podiatrist's office, walked outside and contacted everyone we saw in the parking lot. A couple old people, the lady had broken her hip and it felt SO good to help her from her car to the sidewalk. And to help the man find the sidewalk... ;) Elder Gibson held the door, and asked them if they were members. We're in the middle of Provo, so of course they were. :P But it still felt good to talk to real people outside of Mormon boot camp.
The next man we contacted was an oldy who had been to "Formosa"(Taiwan used to be called Formosa) on his mission. some 44 years ago. He was working construction "too long" he said, and it was really a joy to talk to him. It was so cool! When we came up to him, he didn't look very happy or excited to be awake that day. But we shook his hand and talked until our shuttle came. By the time we left, he was smiling, laughing, and a light I hadn't caught before shone from his eyes. It was a marvel to see. Elder Gibson and I were unfailingly happy the rest of the day, because we knew that we had helped the Spirit make someone's day a tad brighter. That's our job. Tell people who they are, remind them of Christ and bring them closer to Him. I think we did that. It felt good. Especially since we were outside of the MTC for the first time in 2 and a half months. Hoo-rah!
Mine and Elder Gibson's TA last week went allright. I didn't speak much and got chastised for it, but I did good when I did speak. It's fantastic to see progress and know, right before I leave, EXACTLY what I need to work on. I like knowing that when I enter the field, so I can focus on those things and immediately get where I need to be, or at least closer to it, the week I get in the field. I don't have specific goals yet, but one. I want to see an entire family from baptism through the temple while on my mission. Which means I need to baptize a family in the first 9 months in the field. Yahoo! Can't wait! This work is golden! I've never been so excited to do anything like this before! I love it! Why do we have to come home at the end? Meh. I don't want to.
I love you all! Wo ai nimen!!! Keep it real! Keep it strong! Keep the faith! (I'm talking to everyone, not just members)
May God be with you, and May the Lord bless you, I pray for you every night and morning and meal.
I'll be on the other side of the planet in a couple days, and I can't wait to be there. I've been prepared for it for thousands of years, I have no doubt.
The Church is true. Joseph Smith is a good friend, a strong man, and mighty prophet, don't let anyone tell you different. Stand firm in your testimonies, and let the world hear them. Zai Jian! Jia you!

-Elder Carter
-Kong Zhanglao

Thursday, June 3, 2010

New Pictures added to Flickr

See updated Mission pics on Flickr.

The final MTC pics have been added to the "Missionary Training Center" set.
Go to the URL below:

A Week Left

Notes from the editor: This email is from Elder Carter's P-Day on May 24...sorry again for the delay. It's gotten so easy to wait until the next Sunday to send this stuff. Anyway, we got a call this week on Thursday, May 27, from the Medical Clinic at the MTC that he needs to see a podiatrist to get a wart removed from his foot. (I'm sure you can all imagine, knowing our Elder Carter, how relieved we were that he didn't have a broken leg or something.) And Momma Carter got to hear Elder Carter's voice! It was GREAT! Anyway, apparently they take these warts on their feet pretty seriously, because when we asked the nurse if this was going to affect Elder Carter's departure to Taiwan this week, she jumped into high gear(apparently she didn't yet know how soon he was due to leave) and said she would get him in with a podiatrist the next day. Depending on how deep it is, there can be follow ups needed, so in short, we are waiting to get Elder Carter's email today to find out if this has had any affect on his departure plans.

Also, some of you have been asking how to go about sending letters and packages to Elder Carter in Taiwan. We have been told by the Taichung Mission Office to ONLY SEND PACKAGES THROUGH USMAIL, not UPS or any of the others. The least expensive way BY FAR will be to ship with the preprinted Priority Mail packaging. The small box is $13, the medium is $27 and the large is $56. Regular letters are way less expensive. As far as I can tell, you can still use www.dearelder.com except now you will have to pay postage and it will be I think $.92 for a letter. You can also send the letters straight through the post office and I'm pretty sure it is the same postage. We'll send the mission home address again in the email later today. Pray for Elder Carter to be on that plane! Or those planes, I guess. :-)

Best wishes to all and on to Elder Carter...
Heya!!! !!!
Wow, it's already five o' clock. Crazy! And only one more week left in the MTC! Finally!! Lol, I love it here, and I will miss it, but I am getting super trunkie for the field. In fact, Pres Baker told us over the pulpit on Sunday about how to handle trunkiness, because he got a sense of it through our letters every week.
(We’ve been having lots of ward changes in callings, in just about every organization)Good to know about all the changes! It's fantastic to see the ward continue to change. I miss everyone! I try every week to maybe pull a letter out and send it to someone in the ward, but I find the importance of letters is becoming all family, and almost no one else. It takes forever to get stuff done on P-day!!!
Info: So, i have a new companion this week. Elder Gibson. Sure to be some pictures coming in soon with him, so keep an eye out. He's short, fiery, and super weird. But I love him. His companion Elder Herlin left for England this morning and since I am in a trio at his same level, I get to be his companion for my last week. I already miss Elders Nelson and Wheeler, but it's still unsure if I am teaching with them or not on Saturday. Lol
Hope you got my flight plans when I sent them. If not....
June 1: Delta Airlines Flight 2441. I leave the MTC at 8 AM for the Airport. The flight leaves at 11:15 headed for LAX. I get into LAX at 12:15 Pacific Time, and leave for Taiwan at 5:10 PM Pacific. I arrive in Taiwan, Taibei at 10PM on June 2, and a three hour drive south to Taizhong. I spend 2 or 3 days at the mission home for orientation, then I head out. The flight to Taiwan is on EVA Airways flight # 11.
I do have a huge layover at LAX, but I don't think it's a good idea to see family, just to make sure that I get on the flight. It's a little more important to get on that flight, since I will see my family again, and it's a lot harder to see the people in Taiwan again :D.
I can't wait to leave!!! I love you all. Don't worry about me, all is well, and it just keeps getting better. I'm finally learning how to handle myself in this environment, and then I'm thrown into another one (completely different). ;) I can send this box home, but it is heavy, and I will try for that box to be the only one. I'll keep an eye out for your mail, since I got about two sentences from Mom this last time... ;P I'll be sending another letter soon.
I sang in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday. A song called "Olive Tree". I loved it! I sang bass and had a solo, and it was great! I am using my talents :D I just wish I could use a Trombone instead... :P
I've sent letters to Nana, and Tersta. I will hopefully get one to Grandpa Carter and Lee, and the Guads today or this week. It might have to be next week. Just remember to transfer my contact info over to Taiwan address (mission home) with instructions for the best and cheapest ways to get me mail or packages.
(Elder Carter challenged his family to bear our testimonies more often to each other and others and “let the world see what a strong family looks like.”)This challenge goes for everyone who reads this. Testify of what you know. You are being selfish if you don't share your knowledge with people who don't have it. They should in return share their own knowledge, because a true testimony digs at others Spirits and makes them want to speak words of truth.
Anyone who wants to, if you have a doctrinal question or any kind of gospel related worry or inquiry, please ask me! With all of my increased resources out here, I have a lot I can get to help answer questions (including directly asking apostles, themselves, for answers).
I love all of you!! I'll know better what times I can call at the airports as the week goes on, I think, so I'll keep you updated. Next Monday is my last P-day :D.
Remember, that when there are lows, you know the highs are coming fast. Love ya
-Elder Carter