Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January 25, 2016

Hi everyone!!

To start off yes I am safe and warm here in DC. It's been a very low week as you can probably guess. We had to be in apartments from Friday at noon until today. But since there was some lead up we got to call and get permission to stay where we wanted. So take a wild guess at where I stayed. Yup.. Capitol Hill apartment with Elder McDonald, his kid Elder Norris and then we even got Elder Mellen! It has been such a party.. But we have had some cabin fever so we did go out for a little bit of adventuring. And it's been pretty much a 4 day birthday bash for me so it's been a great birthday! Only downside I think we all gained like 20 lbs from all the junk we ate.. Pretty much everyone's justification was, "hey it's Carroll's birthday" as we down more Oreos, Nutter Butters, Candy, Cookies, birthday cake etc. Let's just say there will be lots of running in the mornings to come haha

Only highlights before the storm was the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast. Overall it was pretty much just General Authorities running through Preach My Gospel, but as always when you hear from apostles you hear some good stuff. And then on Thursday we had a training meeting for Trainer and Trainees.. Elder Schank finally has his iPad! Whoo.. No more having to take him to the church to email and back to just laying in bed to email on Monday mornings

So I guess highlights from the snow storm was Saturday night when we all decided we just needed to get out and we were sick of the apartment. So we bundled up and took off.. We found a Subway that was still open. I know super random.. But we stopped there for some dinner. And the we stopped by to see two of the Capitol Hills Recent Converts and then we went to go see another one. But on the way we walked past this assisted living complex and saw one of their potential investigators that's in a wheelchair that was trying to get to her apartment and this guy was trying to help dig a path with a shopping cart (use your imagination). So we stepped up and helped.  So we dug her to her apartment using a crappy shovel we broke half way through so basically it became a hand shovel, a rake, and a turned over shopping cart. (Once again, use your imagination). My back and shoulder are pretty wrecked from the hour plus we put in to it, but it was so worth it! (Mosiah 2:17) Plus I'm sure it had an impact on her and hopefully they can start teaching her more and she will always remember getting dug into her apartment by 5 missionaries during the DC Blizzard.  All the pictures and videos I'll send are from that night we went out but it was tons of fun. 

Then for Sunday morning, church was cancelled, we got up and had a huge breakfast of cheesy eggs, bacon, and pancakes. It was soo good and it felt like a good old breakfast at home. It's been tons of fun with all these guys and a great weekend wind up to the birthday!! All fun and games except for the 5 hr game of Risk last night that about ended friendships between me, McDonald and Mellen. Not pretty, haha

Overall it's been a great birthday here in DC! So much fun to hang out with some of my best mission buds, but obviously I can't wait to celebrate with all of you! I miss you all tons and love you lots!!


Ps. Today we got told we can only use cars from 3-6 and we have no clue if we get to go back out tomorrow. They are still in the process of digging DC out. So kinda bummed. 

Elder Mellen, McDonald and me in SE DC! This is a pretty ghetto part
of SE but the snow doesn't make it feel that bad!

January 18, 2016

Hi everyone!! It's good to hear from you this week.. Well I mean it's good to hear from you every week... You get what I mean haha

But like you said, the mission shares the disappointment in the change but we know if we linger on it, it does no good. We still had Why I Believe last night and Ismael came so we got to go. So we still got to see a lot of the missionaries. It was so nice to see some of them I haven't seen since Christmas.

I had heard about the Bama-Clemson game.. Man why can the team I want to win never win? But heard it was a good game. I missed the football and sure missed all the Bowl Game spread!!

As far as my week.. Not much happened so rather than giving you run downs on days I'll just hit a few highlights.

So on Tuesday we had interviews. First off it is so amazing President Cooke puts in the time and effort to talk to all of us each transfer. He is amazing. I'm realizing more and more how much I am going to miss him. But I'm sure President Johnson will be just as great. But in our interview he just did the usual ask how the work and companion is going and then give a few compliments that always make me feel like a better missionary that I give yourself credit for. Then he just made a few comments about how I'm in an interesting spot to be splitting right in half my time with presidents. Then he said that he knows our interviews are short and that I'm pretty self sufficient, but "Even thought we talk for only about 5 min. There may be times we need to talk for 20. But know just like I told you the first night you were here in the mission, I'm always here for you. My phone and door are always open to you." Gosh I love that man!! He has put so much into making sure he does all he can to help us!

Then Tuesday night we did an overnight exchange with the Traveling Assistants. Elder Parker was who I got to be with so it was so much fun! He goes home in 2 weeks and I'm so sad to see him go! I've got close with him and love him tons!  But Elder Parker and I had a great time and taught a great first lesson to this guy who had ordered a BOM in Tamill (some language from India). But we now are scheduled to have a Visitors Center lesson with the guy this Friday so I'll let you know next week how that goes!

I guess that leads to the only other big news this week was on Friday. I had to eat another pepper at Sister Mayes. It's tradition if you are training in Silver Spring Zone (those who get to go to Sis Mayes) you have to eat the pepper with your child. It sucked, but not quite as bad as the first time. Plus I got to have golden Oreo ice cream!! I didn't even know thay made that stuff!! But with how much I love Oreos and especially golden Oreos you can guess how much I enjoyed that. Anyways I'll try and send the video we got but it might be too big to email.  She's awesome and me and her are starting to get really close, I even finally got promised one of her famous crocheted blankets before I go home!!😊

I love you all! And I'm sending some pictures this week!


We finally got some snow... Kinda. It was gone after like 30 min. But
Elder Schank was mesmerized by it haha

It's a tradition that after lessons and stuff when we get in the car
Elder Schank and I throw up a casual fist bump

We got to go to the Why I Believe and Ismael came!!

Monday, January 11, 2016

January 11, 2016

Hi all!

Sounds like it was a tough but good week back home. That's kinda like how I would describe mine. I'll run through all. Elder Schank seems to be adjusting pretty good. He gets along pretty good with McDonalds kid. I wish we had roommates so he could see other missionaries do things their way. Because I have to show him that the way I do things is not the only way or the right way to do things. All missionaries have their own style to things. And overall he's doing alright. He is a really good kid.

Yeah about the picture some lady was there and was just like oh I'm a missionary mom can I text your moms a picture of you guys.. So of course we said sure haha. And yes that was with Ismael at the Temple! Lucie just got a job (which is really really great!!!) so she wasn't able to come but it's all good we will take her next month! Lucie has been a member since November 1 so only about a month longer than Ismael.

I heard about the CC basketball game!! Ahh that's so great.. Especially after they got us in football.

So this week was pretty tough.. Long story short the missionary department in Salt Lake came down hard on missions meeting all together as a mission. They told us (and others) that we waste too much time on days like transfers. Which all of us are confused because our transfers actually work easier than others. So the whole mission is kinda mad and trying to deal with the fact that we don't get to be together as a mission anymore. We don't even know if we get a Christmas party!  So even like Why I Believes, if you don't have a recent convert, less active or investigator they will send you back to your area and you can't stay for the fireside. Like everyone thought it was so cool our mission was so close and we did things all together and got to see each other, but their take was we are wasting time. And really there are plenty of missionaries who hit their breaking point with areas/companions and things like transfers and why I believes are what help them push along and stay on their mission.. It overall is just super sad to think that we will never sing our mission song as an entire mission or be able to say goodbye to all the departing missionaries.. It will be an adjustment for sure..

Okay I'm don't ranting about that.. Back to our week. It was honestly one of my most successful weeks in Laurel. We added 2 new investigators and 3 that just need to call us this week and set up return appointments! That's 5 new investigators!! I just that the whole "New Year, New Me" approach here is real. And people realize they need
to love Jesus more so they will talk to us haha 

Other than that it was a pretty low key week. I love you all!!

Love Austin

I was sent this picture by text by a member who happened to be at the DC temple when Austin, Elder Schank were at the temple with Ishmael on Saturday.  What a nice surprise for a missionary mom!
January 4, 2016

Hi everyone!

Here's an earlier email because we are running to meet up in DC to go to some Smithsonian's! 

It's great to hear from you guys!  Sounds like you all throughly enjoyed the holiday! Oddly enough it's kinda a shaking off the holidays as missionaries too since we had some time off with days declared no proselyting. But I'm glad you guys had tons of fun all together. 

I think to answer hopefully all your questions I'll just give you the normal week run down..

 On Monday after P-Day we had no plans, so we actually went to Capitol Hill with McDonald and his kid to do some public contacting. We got special permission/were told to by the Traveling Trainers that it was ok to do that since they wanted my kid to experience public contacting since our area is mostly just tracting. So that was tons of fun! Plus it was basically like being companions with Elder McDonald in the city for the night. And it was awesome!! But it made me just want to serve in the city more.

Tuesday was a normal day until we had a really weird run in. So we have these recent converts who don't come to church so we go read the BOM with them every week. And they both are honestly not all there, there's something off about both the lady and her son. Anyways so she tells us she now has a boyfriend (I almost fell off the couch when she said that.. I know I'm a terrible person haha) but he lives in Oregon and she wanted to know if that would effect anything. I told her as long as they don't move in together she should be fine. But then she says that he doesn't like Mormons.. And I'm just like soo why are we dating this guy then? So we kinda just brush it off and say we will talk to him on speaker phone next time if she wants.. Long story short we get a call from this wacko that night and he keeps calling his girl friend his wife "because I love her so I can call her what I want". Overall he was actually super nice, but yeah so he's Buddhist and told us to stop meeting with his "family". So all in all a really weird experience. But we are going over again this week to figure things out since he has no say for her and her son so yeah... I love crazy people I get to deal with!

But Tuesday night ended on a high note! We went to the visitors center and I saw Elder Jayden Dyer from the Baltimore mission, who was down at the visitors center with an Investigator for the Temple Lights. I don't think you'll recognize the name, but we played football together junior year and he was close with some of those guys I hung out with in HS! It was so cool to see him and talk to him for a little bit!

Then I guess the only other thing that happened this week was New Years. So New Years Eve was no Proselyting after 5 and New Years Day was just declared no Proselyting all day since all of DC and Maryland is recovering from the major hangovers. So we got permission to sleep over at the Capitol Hill Apartment with McDonald and his kid and we also got Elder Mellen!  I love those 2! They are my closest mission friends! I'm sad that a solid group of my friends will leave this summer, but I'm glad I have McDonald and Mellen who will be with me my entire mission and also Jenks and Torgeson who will just leave 1 transfer before me! But back to New Years.. So we ordered some pizza and just all hung out. We played some pool in their apartment lounge and tried our hardest to not watch the football game that as on in the other room. But I'm glad we didn't watch cause my Michigan State got spanked. After we went and rang in the New Year with some sparkling cider and hung out. So for New Years Day we hung out at their apartment and then went and saw some other missionaries during the day. It was lots of fun, but honesty my trunky-est days so far. I think it was just cause unlike Christmas we didn't do much so we thought lots about home (and lots about college football). Plus all the time to hang out we spent lots of time just talking about stuff of home and what not. But like always we kicked it back into gear and got to work to end the week.  

The week ended on a high note when we got to ordain Ismael a Deacon on Sunday! I'm so proud of that kid. He is awesome. And along with his ordination we got him and Lucie interviewed for temple recommends and we are going to go do baptisms with them on Saturday! So awesome!!!

Hope you guys have a great week back on the normal schedule of things! Happy New Year!! It's crazy to think I'm in my only full calendar year as a missionary, plus 5 month mark tomorrow! It is flying!! I love you all!

Love, Austin

Draper Reunion with Elder Dyer

Happy New Years from DC. This was taken at like 12:02 and if we all look exhausted its because we are. We aren't use to staying up and plus at the end of the day as a missionary you are just beat.

December 28, 2015

Hi Everyone! 

Ah it was so great to skype!! It was so fun to see all of you, it was amazing that it really didn't feel all that different after almost 5 mo of not seeing each other. Of course there are some changes like Calebs deeper voice and getting taller, but our relationships don't change! I was so happy to see you all and I was surprised I really was not that emotional as we ended. Of course now my date I'm looking forward to is Mother's Day! I was also pretty happy to find that it wasn't hard for me to click back over to missionary work the next day. I was worried I might be a little homesick or trunky because of the call since some missionaries struggle with that after calls home, but really it seemed easy to jump back into the swing of things!

I'm also really glad that I was able to go back down to White Plains, there are some amazing people down there. And it's great to keep working with the Chamberlains even though I'm out of the area. But like you said it's clear that there is a plan in everything. Being here for Ismael and other things has built my testimony of needing to be here at this time.  

It was great to see all the pictures and to see mine and Garret's stockings still hanging up! Sorry for the shorter email.. There really isn't much to talk about since we talked tons on Christmas! I love you all!! Have a great New Years and week off of school!


DC Temple Lights

Just like the good old days! Back I'm White Plains with Elder Coombs

 Here's when we surprised them for Christmas!! Ahh I love that family!! Coombs 
and I will baptize them eventually. Austin and Elder Coombs went to visit a split member family
 they taught when they served together in White Plains.  They surprised them with a visit 
on Christmas Eve. Sister Chamberlain sent the following picture and this 
nice email to Austin and Elder Coombs)  

I was thinking about you and figured I should probably send you this picture. I am so glad that you were able to come by and see us. I have missed you bunches. It was a wonderful surprise and Christmas gift! I hope you guys can come back soon. I have to go but I wanted to let you know that I was thinking about you. Tell me about your Christmas and New Years when you get a chance!!


I'm not saying we tried to fit all 3 of us on a twin bed for Christmas Eve, but I'm also not saying we didn't haha My Boys Elder McDonald and Elder Mellon!