Monday, April 25, 2011


Wait until you see it! (Close to the bottom) Who knew this is what parents wait decades to hear from their children? I didn't even know, but now that he's said it...the rewards are SWEET! Missions are AWESOME! 

Hello World!!

I feel like I say that every day! To EVERYONE.
I just took an inventory of my numbers over my mission... and I found out a lot about myself. (I need my first 3 planners. They are in one of the two boxes I first sent home last summer)
It's VERY interesting to see the progression I've had over my mission represented through numbers. And it's nice to know just how many THOUSANDS of people I talk to every 6 weeks. Can you believe that? 2-4000 people every month! The difference between areas is evident, the difference between companions is obvious, but what I love the most is that the MOST important key indicators you can have as a missionary are staying consistent and slowly improving. I've been doing this for a year now! I feel SO good! Like I'm actually doing something right. I also found periods of time where there were no baptisms, like 4 or 5 weeks without one. I'm currently in one of those periods and it's getting REALLY hard, or it has been until this weekend's miracle.
But when I look back at those periods and remember how I got through that and how I felt, it makes it WAY easier to just keep pushing through this one. PLUS we had Zone Conference based on the Atonement, AND a special Church History Conference held by the two top Church Historians, and presided by Area Authority President Watson. He testified that the best missionaries the Lord has are sent to Taiwan Taichung mission. And he's the Asia Area Authority. ;P Lol, I dunno, maybe it's cause he was a Gaoxiong missionary... but it still made me feel good. But the two historians were AMAZING. I learned a WHOLE lot about Emma Smith and her life, Oliver Cowdery and his life, Porter Rockwell, and now have a whole newfound desire to learn Church History. They told us to start in the Doctrine and Covenants. I also know what I will be doing on Sundays and other times for a while. More than just family history, but digging into church history which the Church History Library is putting everything online next year. SO excited!!!
Sister Xu and her kids come to church every week. Her daughter Lia is 12 and not baptized. Her son is 9 and not baptized. Mom is a member, Dad is not. We only need one signature of one parent to let them get baptized. Missionaries have been pushing for these kids for YEARS. And Mom wants to respect Dad's authority as father of the home (to help him better accept the Gospel) and won't do it unless dad is willing to sign. And for the longest time Dad would NOT sign. Grandma protests because of Buddhist beliefs, Dad is scared if he signs he will lose his inheritance... etc. Dad basically just needs to grow up a bit.
I came into this area and the first people I saw were Sister Xu and her kids. The first thing I did was ask Sister Xu about her kids, she rudely avoided me and walked off. Leaving me with a real bad impression. I had a feeling to just leave it be, and be myself, and continue doing my work. A Sunday later, I give my welcome talk and Sister Xu comes up to me after, apologizes for being rude, and compliments me by saying, "A lot of people think missionaries are all about numbers. You're not. You make this ward feel more comfortable about WHY missionaries push for baptisms. You're doing it to save precious souls, your brothers and sisters."
Can you imagine how I felt? Only a week and a half after I had moved. A week and a half of me beating myself up and not having any success (yes there were three baptisms in that week and a half that I was part of, so you see how horribly I beat myself up?), a week and a half of me feeling like I've got no power or authority anymore, and I hear this from Sister Xu? I felt REALLY good. And God was happy with me.
3 or 4 weeks later, I'm talking to Xu Didi who answers all the baptismal questions better than any investigator I've ever taught, and we decide to put faith in God and set up a baptismal interview for this last Saturday. (we met with Xu Didi on Thursday). Setting up a baptismal interview for long-time investigators has a TON of power. It worked for Li Baba back in Tanzi. AND... it worked for this beautiful family!
Xu Didi passed his interview. Dad signed the paper 10 minutes later. Lia wants an interview now, and I will be doing that tonight. Dad already signed the paper.
Elder Turk and I talked with Sister Xu for 45+ minutes last night. (not the best)... ;)
But I finally understood. I shared Matthew 19:29 with her. And we left unsure about this interview that wouldn't be happening until Sunday morning.
Sunday comes, no one is there in the morning. To be honest I gave up on the idea. Then Sister Cooper pushes Xu Didi in for an interview right after church. And it all came together after that.
I don't know what happened. But after Saturday night, talking with Sister Xu and knowing that Xu Didi was begging dad to let him get baptized, to Sunday afternoon when Dad came and signed the papers. I am NEVER more Grateful. I love Heavenly Father. And if we just show even an ounce of faith, EVERYTHING works out JUST FINE. Stop worrying so much, dork!!!
This family now has these two children being baptized after pushing for 4 years. And Dad's heart has been softened. It took 6 current missionaries and 4 years worth of other missionaries, and God, but now, they will be baptized on Saturday night, after the ward gets back from the Temple. There's no stopping it. The papers are signed, and it's meant to be. It's been meant to be for 4 years. And now dad just might have another place in his heart. And my heart goes out to Sister Xu and her strength, her motherhood, and her faith. I also learned, that MOM IS ALWAYS RIGHT.
I love you. All of you.
Remember the Savior. Grandpa, as you go to church, remember what Christ did for you. And remember what I'm helping people out here come to realize. Your temple clothes are still in our basement. Love you.
Another thing I learned is how badly I want and NEED to be a good parent to my children and for my family. I will do EVERYTHING in my power to accomplish this goal. But I won't take it too far. I have to do it with the Guidance from God. Yes, I got a C in Child Education at BYU. But that was without God helping me out. I'm gonna get 200% with the rest of my life.
90% attitude, 10% skill, 100% depending on the Spirit.
May God be with us all!

-Elder Carter


Hurrah for Israel!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

One Year Left

Da Jia Hao- 大家好
Well, it's been awhile. Or has it? I now have 364 days left. Maybe it's still 365 because next year is leap year...
We have a bunch of progressing investigators. They are all pushing, and it's gonna be difficult to help them push all the way through. But I have my first female progressing investigator!! So cool! She's 20 year old and is the girlfriend of one of our recent converts. Don't worry, she'd get baptized even without him, so all we have to work on now, is making sure she'd still be able to get to church with out her boyfriend. If they break least she'll still come to church, but she'll have to find another ride, or just be awkward with Huang DX. Lol, it's fun working in this way, and it's super fun to work with a sister! Since the opportunities are minimal in this mission (for good reason... ;)
Not much to say, and not a whole lot of time, so a couple business items. 
I want the Prince of Egypt soundtrack. :D
HAPPY BIRTHDAY RAQUELLI!!!!! You thought I'd forget.... I do forget a lot of our family's b-days...which is WHY I NEED THE FAMILY'S BIRTHDAYS, TOO!!! :D
Thanks, mom! But don't overload yourself this week, you're too busy... Be nice with my taxes.... ;) I need a job when I get home, the new Mazda 3 for my car, money for school, textbooks, planning on getting married QUICK (Editorial eye roll…good grief)... etc...
I don’t know how I went from birthdays to marriage. But I guess both anniversaries come around once a year... similarities found by a Missionary...
Anywho... After conference (it's not like I could AVOID Elder Scott's talk, or President Monson's exhortations in Priesthood...) I have heightened sense of priorities after my mission. But that's for then. And for then, don't worry too much ladies, I won't push TOO fast... ;) (Another editorial eye roll…sigh…at least we know he is still our KJ)
Anyway... that's about all for business.
I LOVED conference. If you look at my Patriarchal Blessing, EVERY talk applied DIRECTLY to it. It was weird. Like Conference was meant for me. Or I'm just actually paying attention this time, and taking SWEET notes (seriously, they're sick!), so I just got more out of it, or SOMETHING. But I got more out of the first session than any other conference I've ever been to. All I could think of was which investigator I was wishing to be there. SO many good talks. One of our investigators needed that Sabbath talk... ugh. Wait for the magazine I guess, and try and get him to go online. Sigh...
The work has changed dramatically for me. The investigators I have now have a lot harder challenges than I've ever dealt with before. It's become HARDER to work with them and help them progress. Contacting has gotten loads more difficult, and I've broken down more than once on the streets.
But I move forward in faith, and love for my God. It's important, and the simple, silent tender mercies, the quiet reassuring brushes of Spirit that God gives me when I'm down are what keep me going. I'm being motivated by people from home a LOT, and pushed on by my fellow missionaries across the world. The magnificent 7 are going to ALL make it out into the field!! You never told me where Tyler Romney was headed, by the way... I keep hearing he got his call, but no one ever tells me where.
But I'm learning lately how to depend on God, because that's all I've got in my new area. I still brush up against feelings of not belonging, because of my "interruption into the area". But the transition is great, and learning a WHOLE lot more about what it's like to be a Zone Leader. I'm not a Zone Leader, btw. I just have Zone Leaders in my district, so I get to talk to them a whole lot more and understand what the work is like in their shoes. It's a little scary, because I know the more I learn about that, the more available I am for that position, and I don't want it, so I try not to ask questions, so Heavenly Father can't call me as Zone Leader, cause I don't know anything!! ;D (said in a sing-song voice). Lol, just kidding, but really, I don't want to be that tired. I'm already exhausted.
It's great out here. I run into hardship every day, and am recently focused on a whole lot of PATIENCE and HUMILITY. I guess I've got to take a step up again. :D
Anyway, got to read my letters from President, so I'll write soon.
About Shelbs... She just needs to not overthink what people say and do. I don't want her assuming that some boy likes her when he doesn't. That's even more embarrassing. Or anything like that. But she's being herself, and doing what she likes, so God WILL bless her for it. As long as she's praying, and reading, and going to Church, God does everything else. It really is that easy. It's ourselves that make it difficult along with the Devil making us think too much.
Just remember that it feels GOOD to overcome a trial that you've failed before. THEN you know you've improved, and progressed. YES!!!
I love you all, more next week, after Zone Conference. Victoria's coming to visit today, can't wait!!! 

-Elder Carter

Friday, April 15, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tomb Sweeping Day

SOMEBODY's back from the dead.
Or at least half-way out of the tomb-pit (like I know what to call it, I'm in Asia).
That's funny that I'm talking about death and tomb-pits... tomorrow is tomb-sweeping day in Taiwan/China, and our church knows the truth about the Spirit World.


Have I told you about the worries I've been having lately?

1) I had a dream that I got given/found a new Bible and it had all sorts of weird names in it all brand new and some cool ones that I'll have to write down. Maybe it's some kind of cool prophecy, or maybe it's just cause the white South African man (named Rudi) that we're teaching right now told me they found some new ancient records written on metal plates. I dunno. I guess this doesnt' really count as a worry.

2) Did the Guads fall off the planet? 

Try this:

A 16-year-old. His girlfriend is 23. She's pregnant. To those of this church, you might just start to understand the change and repentance that must come to help these two out. The young man has been rejected by his family, they set him up with the 23-year-old, un-educated young woman, and now he lives with this young woman's family, calls her mom his mom, and watches as the brother rides around town on a fancy scooter with no sleep, high on drugs... etc...He does have a 3000-year-old pet turtle to pass the time...Did you know Asian turtles could live that long?
Anywho.... the week went pretty ok. Wang Sheng Jie was finally confirmed yesterday, so now he is a full-blown member of the church. Zeng Jin Yin is nearly 70 years old, I love him half to death, and he's getting baptized in two weeks. He's expecting to receive an answer about whether or not this church is true at conference, where he'll be attending ALL 5 sessions.
Speaking of Conference (oh, and Brother Zeng plays croquet internationally, he sacrificed that pasttime to come to church), in America, Conference is held in the first weekend in April, and October. It then takes the translators a week to translate, copy DVD's and CD's, update the website...etc. and then we Asian people over here get to see it the next weekend. So this Saturday and Sunday, I get to watch conference!!! The last time that happened was in my 3rd move call, now I'm on #8... wow. Got 8 more!
But we're not talking about that.... (except that I need a job when I get home, and need to IMMEDIATELY get involved in politics, and this job needs to have Chinese as a big part of it, and I better have a chance in the future to come back to Taiwan and China SEVERAL times, and the politics part? Well, when two LDS members are running, one the uncle of a previous companion, I think I just might want to get involved.) I'm not really supposed to talk about politics....
Moving on.
Did you have any other questions? Forget.
I need floss!! Like, REAL floss. That Johnson and Johnson REACH stuff. That's the best kind. Those tooth-pick thingies hurt. I need two journals. The ones you've sent and bought for me before. The same kind. I need two more. And I'll need a few more by about August, September, October.
That's all I can think of.
Victoria helped me send the boxes home. It was a little expensive, but it's alright, they got there. Next time I'll just slow boat 'em again. I was just checkin' out all the options. Too expensive. Don't worry about it. I'm fine.
If you wanted a name stamp thing-a-ma-jig, it depends on how nice you want it, or how cool (the one I got is just a piece of wood 100Kuai (3 bucks American)), some of them have sweet engravings or cool characters, and some are metal, others are Asian Jade, or Asian Marble, or the tusk of an Elephant, or a really rare Indian wood... you name it. If you want a good one that isn't too expensive, roughly 40 dollars American. Up to you!!!
I KNOW this church is true. Even though, every day, every point of my testimony is tested, I KNOW this church is true. In fact, here's how I think of it. There is a TRUTH in the Universe. There is a way the earth came to be, there is a way we came to be, there is a way of life, there is science, there is space, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints knows the way. No other church, person, scientist, or random psychologist knows the fulness of the WAY. It's not some Spiritual "MAGIC" that this all came to be. There is a GOD, and He knows EVERYTHING. If you want to get down to it, there is a science to the Spirit. But the Spirit still exists. And when you feel guilty? That is the Spirit literally working to help you clean your Spirit. LITERALLY. And our bodies feel uncomfortable and weird when that spirit element cleaning takes place, so we feel bad, and is sparks those thoughts of things we've done wrong, SO THAT we can then change. If we don't want to change because of those feelings, that is the devil. The Science is there behind the TRUTH. But the only thing I want you all to remember is that God loves us. And all these feelings are for our good. Sorry, no time. Love you!

Elder carter

Monday, April 4, 2011

One Sweet Week

Hello everyone!!! It's been a week.

One sweet week.

Business first:
April 10th is almost here. I need about 8 sets of new garments. That would be nice. Just like last time. Everything else is great.
I'm still here in Anping down in Tainan. It's a new move call today, and a brand new start for me. I was training last move call, and now I'm still going with Elder Turk on my 8th move call. I have 9 more to go. Including this one. I'm exhausted. Did I tell you that? I didn't think it would be possible to get more tired than I was. Well, I'm more tired than I've EVER been. And I have a feeling it's just gonna keep getting more and more exhausting.
Wang Sheng Jie was baptized two Sundays ago, and should be getting confirmed this Sunday. We ran into him at the Carefour (a store) this morning, and he was wearing another earring. I'm not sure I told you about him. He's a great man. He's all there we think, but he gets really awkward around people he doesn't know. I guess you could say he is socially awkward. He wears an earring, we don't know why, but he feels really uncomfortable without it. He didn't wear it at his baptism, and we convinced him to take it off last Wednesday, and it's been sitting in my suit pocket ever since. Well, he went and bought a new one. He was doing great and told us his life had no difference with or without the earring, so we thought he had overcome it. But, he's still wearing it. Love him! He's doing great, and he can still get the Gift of the Holy Ghost, so nothing hindering progress there.
I'm setting new goals, budgets, plans, stewardship goals, Spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional goals... etc. Today is a day full of that kind of writing. Even though there's NO time to do it, I've got to get a move on anyway. There's a lot to do now in my new area. Lots of people to take care of and a new trainee that just came into the mission that is in our district, so it's fun to see that all over again. My last Zone Leader, Elder Cocke just got called as assistant, and Elder Krantz was called as trainer again and white-washed Shalu in North Taizhong. It's amazing to me how well we all know each other as missionaries in this mission. We are super super close. It's made easier by being so close to each other in what counts as a "small" mission. The success is still huge here regardless of the geographical size of the mission.

RC: Recent Convert
LA: Less Active

You mentioned that you were wondering about the saints outside of the United States and how they handle the idea that they are not in the center of the vineyard. Well, here in Taiwan, 1) the people here love Japan and America, whether you are a member or not, 2) They know EXACTLY where they are in the vineyard, and they know EXACTLY how important and HUGE their work is. And they are proving themselves in the frontlines of the battlefield. It's amazing to watch, and to be a part of. I feel as though we don't take it seriously enough back home. We sit in our little bubble of Utah Valley, surrounded by mountains, and fights about whether or not a store should open on Sunday, when the rest of the world is fighting to save lost souls who were baptized just a few months ago, when the rest of the world is fighting just to avoid the scam that is plastered all over the windows, doors, billboards/buildings, and when people skip school, work, play, and their lives to go find someone who just went apostate or hasn't been answering their phone. If you don't answer your phone for a couple days... you'll be visited by a member soon. lol.
It sounds over the top doesn't it? A little too much, but it's not here. It's what is needed, and it's part of the culture.
I'm supposed to ask if you got the packages I sent home. There were two boxes. Sent by Victoria. She asked me to make sure you got them. It sounds like you did, because Dad was wearing ties to Church, so...
Just make sure all that stuff is safe and doesn't get spread all over the place, so I can go through it when I get back. There should be another box coming soon, ba.
I love you all so much!!!
Not a whole lot of time, so sorry-- Not a whole lot written. But I've got a great move call ahead of me with a year's worth of goals to start keeping. Just so you all know, I made almost every single one of my goals for the first year of my mission. So, it's kind of a nice feeling. :D

-Elder Carter
Keep smiling, I am!!!

PS Congrats to Dustin!!  Tell him I love him!!!
And Brittany, you can add Henry to your Facebook, he's a great friend of mine from here in Tainan!!!

-Elder Carter