Monday, March 21, 2016

March 21, 2016

Well this week was an interesting one.. I'll give the transfer info to start out, I'm leaving Laurel this week. 

Sounds like it was a good week for you all! And I'm glad that the temple dedication turned out so great! Hope it's a great Easter for you all! Funny about Caleb mountain biking lots, We have actually been biking a little bit around since it's been pretty warm this week and it saves us come miles. Never felt more like a missionary then biking in some short sleeve shirts hah 

The week was pretty good.. I'm just gonna hit some of the highlights.  So on Wednesday we went to the Temple. I love getting to go to the temple, and yes Elder McDonald and I extended the streak haha. I sat in between McDonald and Jenks and Mellen was next to McDonald, it was the best haha! But after the temple we took a trip to one of the three Cafe Rios in the mission! That pork burrito was so amazing haha. 
So I didn't mention it, but last week we got a call from some of the Spanish elders and asked if we had some time to come help them out. Then we ended up helping get a refrigerator up two flights of stairs for their Obispo (Bishop). After he told us he wanted us to come to a BBQ and so we went on Friday and it was AMAZING!! I mean I might not have understood what was going on the entire night, but it was tons of fun to be adopted into the Spanish Program for the night haha. Plus there was a girl that just returned from a mission in Peru and knew Cole Parkinson!! 

Saturday night a single guy in our ward took us to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner and it was amazing!! Then after that the Call Outs came! So I am leaving and Elder Schank is staying. Elder Mellen is training, then McDonald and Jenks are both leaving their areas and Coombs was just called as a traveling assistant. 

Sunday was kinda hard to say goodbye to people in the Ward.. It was rough. The hardest was telling Ismael, at first he thought I was kidding then he tried to keep it under control then started to cry. It broke my heart!! Plus he came over after church and said "I'm not going to go to Young Men's Tuesday so you can come say goodbye and be with me your last night.." Let's just say Tuesday I'll probably bawl like a baby. After church we had a Why I Believe and it was pretty good and then we came and slept over at Elder Coombs again. So I'm spending the P-Day with them and of course Elder McDonald came! Elder Mellen is from Payson and Elder Jenks is from Washington State. And all 3 (McDonald, Jenks and Mellen) are going to UVU so we can keep being friends after the mission!!

So update on investigators.. So Archibald and Yassa had to cancel their appointment this last week but rescheduled. So I still have hope they will get baptized eventually. They are both really amazing and humble people. Susan and Sarah fell off the face of the Earth.. We haven't heard from them for about a week! Super sad, but I'm sure they will turn back up. They were so solid and I can't see anything that changed them. So Elder Schank and his new comp have their work cut out for them. Lots of people that are close but still need some work. I can't wait to hear about their success and get to come back for some baptisms in the next few months! 

I have some guesses of where I'm heading, but I'll find out later today. So stay tuned! I'm a little mixed, I'm sad to see some people go here in Laurel, but at the same time I think it's time for me to go. I'm ready to have a little change. I've done lots of good things here in Laurel and hopefully the next guys keep it going. 

I'll talk to you all soon! I hope you all have a great week leading up to Easter! Crazy to think going to conference was a year ago!! I love you all and miss you tons! And a few weeks until we get to talk on Mothers Day!

Love you tons!

Temple Trip

Elder Call and I after the temple and some Cafe Rio!

Adoption into the Spanish Program for a day! Elder Ord and Elder Smith are on either size of Obispo and they go home this week! Elder Ord was an AP when I got to the mission and he's an amazing missionary! Such a good example.



Story behind this picture.... So the pink cowboy hat is a posterity gift. Meaning it gets passed from father to son, so it will be Elder Schanks later this week. I got sentimental and sad I'm parting with it so I wore it for the rest of the night after I got the call I was leaving. I'm on the phone with either Jenks, McDonald or Coombs I can't remember. Haha I was on the phone with people for a while trying to figure out where I'm heading.

March 14, 2016

Hi everyone!

So this past week had an interesting twist as I got an email last Monday from President Cooke asking how much ASL I know.. So I spent the next few days thinking I was getting a language reassignment and freaking out. Long story short, they might be bringing some Elders out of the ASL program to English to get trained up and go back because the ASL program is struggling. So whew.. No foreign languages for Elder Carroll.🏼️

The rest of this week was pretty regular, but Saturday was by far the highlight!! It was the monthly recent convert temple trip and we got to go again with Bob from our Ward. When I walked into the temple waiting area I saw Brother Heath (WP2 Ward Mission Leader) and he was so excited so see me! It was so fun to see him and reconnect! He's an amazing man. Plus Elder Coombs walked in a few minutes later so it was a White Plains reunion! Then we find out who they brought.. Scott Jenkins!! Ahh I was so happy to see Scott! Scott holds a special place in my heart as he was the very first person I ever met with on my mission. We had tried to get him to the temple when we were down there but between health problems and other things we never could. So it was actually his first time at the temple this past week! Talking with Scott was so great! All he cared about was Elder Coombs and I for the time we had in the waiting room! Asking all sorts of questions about our missions since we had left. Then he made comments like it was just like the good old times sitting at his house! Then the experience got even more special! Elder Coombs and I were assigned to confirm together and without planning it, Scott came in our room. So it was his old missionaries who did the confirming his first time in the temple. Scott got emotional as the spirit was pretty strong and he has such a big grasp on spiritual things. Then after he looked and me and Coombs and said "I wish I had come earlier like you guys tried to get me too. It's amazing here. But I couldn't have planned a better first experience. I'm glad you guys were here for me.  I love you guys". Coombs and I almost cried. Scott is amazing!! Then he made us promise we would see him again soon.

I love serving in a mission where I can stay connected with people from the past. Like I was talking about that with Ismael last night how we will stay connected even after I get transferred. Plus staying close with other missionaries like how close I am still with Elder Coombs! You guys will have to drive all the way up to Cache Valley for his homecoming!! It's going to be so sad this summer to see all those solid guys go. But at least I have my best buds here the whole time with me like McDonald, Mellen and Jenks.

Anyways I'm off to play football in the Mall in the rain! Know I love you all lots and think about you tons!!


PS Archibald came to church and they seem to be doing good! Susan and Sarah have slowed down a little and missed church and won't commit to a solid bdate but are still doing good! John and Danisha couldn't meet with us this week. Transfer calls are this Saturday 

This is a picture Austin sent of Scott Jenkins (who he saw in the temple) in November when
he was saying good bye before he was transferred from White Plains to Laurel.

Austin sent me an email later on p-day and said, "Pictures from today after football at the Mall! Guess who was at the Lincoln Center...Ozzy Osborne".  He said there was a bunch of security with him and he was pretty much on "lockdown" and everyone just sat and watched. Wouldn't that have been funny if they could have gotten a picture with him.  Ozzy and LDS missionaries!!! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

March 7, 2016

Hi Fam!

This week really isn't much to talk about until yesterday. The week was a pretty same old, same old week. Knock some doors, teach some lessons, knock some more doors. But yesterday was amazing!! So we ended up having 10 investigators surprise us and come to church!! We had 2 kids from the Jamaican family come, Susan and her mom/sons, then Archibald and his wife surprised us by coming and then a member brought these two people from her apartment complex that she doesn't really know but invited to church. (It's a long story maybe I'll tell it another time).

It was crazy trying to juggle taking care of all of them! I also don't think I've prayed so much during a Fast and Testimony meeting for no one to say anything off the wall haha. Why do investigators always decide to make fast Sunday their first! But it was all good! Archibald and his wife Yassa left after sacrament and then we took Susan, Sarah (Susan's mom), Rochelle (Jamaican family adult daughter), and John/Danisha (new people), to second hour and had a great Gospel Principles class taught by yours truly. After, we talked to John and Danisha and he looked at me so sincere and said, "I've never been baptized. And I felt so good as you taught, will you teach me and help me get baptized". It was amazing! So we went over in the evening and had a full lesson. It went amazing and they loved it! They accepted to be baptized in the first lesson and we are setting their B-Dates this week! Totally been prepared for the gospel by the Lord! 

I'm thinking I might leave this transfer since I will have finished training Elder Schank.. But I am hoping I can stay at least one more as I have seen the areas potential be revealed. It would be hard to see the hard work I've put into the area show right as the time I might leave comes around. And I've grown to love Laurel lots, so much is finally happening and there's lots of people it would be tough to say bye to. But if the Lord needs me to serve somewhere else, than I am happy to go. So whatever happens this transfer (Mar 23rd) I'll try to make the most of it!

Since it's a shorter email I'll share a spiritual thought, so this is an experience that happened a few weeks back. But made a big enough impact I've thought about it and built on it a lot since. So I was having a rough day a little back and was just struggling to feel like I was a good missionary. Was I really doing everything I could and stuff like that. It was the evening so I was laying on the couch watching videos on my iPad and I watched the Bible video, "Feed my sheep". Of course we all know it as the one Elder Holland gave a great talk about and is all about Peter and Christ's talk about feed his sheep. But it's what comes after that really was my answer. In John 21:21-23 it says,

21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?

22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.

23 Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?

It's the phrase, "what is that to thee?", that was my answer. Christ tells Peter not to compare his calling to that of Johns. They both have a key duty in preaching the gospel, but different roles. Just like each of us. We all play our individual role in Gods plan, but that doesn't mean the differences make anyones calling more important or better. We (I) need to stop comparing ourselves (myself) to others and just focus on what our Heavenly Father needs from us (me) specificity. It's easy to compare as that's how we measure things in this world. How do you know I'm a better football player than the next guy? Well you run faster, lift more, catch better, run crisper routes. How do I know my business is better than the competition? I sell more, have a better profit margin, and have more of the market share. But that's not how the Lord measures our success, it's never out of comparison to him. No matter what role we play in this life the calling from Christ is the same to us all, "Follow thou Me". 

I hope everyone has a great week! I love and miss you all! 


Ps. Hit 7 months this last week.. How crazy is that!? Feels like I got here yesterday..

This is Jayden and Darnell (Susan's sons). They are crazy and a complete handful,
but they are great! They love us tons!

My boy Darnell!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

February 29, 2016

Hi all!

Like you said it was an amazing week and followed up with a pretty good one this week. So this Jamaican family is kinda interesting. So it's a single mom with 7 kids under the roof. But like 4 of them are over 20 and they are all American kids. Like they claim to have just come from Jamaica but from what I can pull they have been here for between 5-10 years. So the kids are all American cultured. And we haven't had the mom come yet, and only 3 of the kids came this week. And they never return our calls or will meet with us during the week so it's kinda weird. Susan is doing awesome!! I'll talk about her later!

I was gone like half of the week in other areas on exchanges so I pretty much felt like a traveling trainer this week with how much I didn't sleep in my own bed haha. So Tuesday I went to the College Park Area with one of my zone leaders. I went contacting with him and taught this homeless guy at a metro stop and he loved it and since he's homeless he has tons of time to read the BOM haha.  

Wednesday was good since we taught Archibald again and set up a time to finally meet his wife and teach her too. But our night got cut short with a crazy thunder storm that President called out and said we had to be inside because it was a tornado warning I guess. So it cut a lesson with Susan off the table but luckily we met with her the next day. 

Thursday was Zone Conference and it was so amazing! All of the workshops given were really great. President talked a lot about patience and how he knows it is hard to have to wait for things as a missionary. A quote he said I loved was "Humility doesn't mean you are weak and patient doesn't mean you are indifferent. You can still care immensely while waiting on the Lords time". I love that, we still care so much, but just need to add patience better to it. Later that night we taught Susan again. As well as her mother and two sons (who love us by the way haha) we taught the Plan of Salvation and they loved it!

Friday I was on exchange again to an area as our District Leader went with Schank to Laurel.. Not much to say from that day. 

Skip to Sunday. So like I said 3 of the Jamacians families kids came. And then Susan came the 2nd and 3rd hrs. But she didn't come to sacrament because my comp texted her the wrong time. But it's all good because her, her mom Sara and her two sons Jayden (8) and Darnell (6) came and they all loved it! Plus I guess Susan stood up in Relief Society to introduce herself and I guess she said "My name is Susan and I am meeting with the missionaries and going to get Baptized as soon as I can" Ahh when I heard that I could have cried! They are so awesome! Plus Jayden and Darnell love me! They only have met me like 2 times but after church they came running up to me and tried to tackle me and showing me the stuff they made in primary. Ahh I was just so happy after church Sunday. Sunday night we met with Archibald and his wife Yassa. She loved our message but kept saying this is a spiritual journey and she just wants to take it at her own pace and we just told her exactly we are just here to help her. But she really like what we talked about and even asked tons of questions about us as missionaries and other things which were super awesome. 

Overall another pretty great week here. Transfers are in about 3 weeks and I'm scared I'm gonna go because I've finally got to the point where I like my area I serve in. And my work is finally showing in the area. But hey, leave the area better than you received it and serve where the Lord needs you. It's amazing to see the Lords hand in our lives everyday. I know he blesses the work we do for him here in Laurel, MD. I've grown to love so many of these crazy Marylanders out here. 

I love and miss you all!

Ps. Sorry no pictures this week
February 22, 2016

Hi all!

So it was an AMAZING week! We have been putting in hard work these past weeks but worked our tails off this week and the results and blessings have come. As missionaries we really shouldn't focus on numbers as the indication of our success, but our numbers were crazy good this week! First off we had 5 investigators at Sacrament meeting (first time w/ an investigator at church here in Laurel for me!), they were some members of the Jamaican family! I'll talk more about them later on.. Plus we taught 7 investigator lessons this week which is awesome! 

Monday after we got snowed in with some freezing rain the guys had to sleep over again until they could leave Tuesday morning. So we had a mega bed of 3 mattresses on the floor. After they left, Schank and I got to work! And I pushed us to work hard! We taught a lesson to a man named Archibald who is from Liberia. He is a super humble man and when we explained the restoration he loved it. He's been a life long member of Methodist church but said he's felt something was missing. And as soon as we explain the Book of Mormon he felt like he had found it. He then said he wants us to teach his wife also and overall was just an awesome lesson! He wasn't able to make it to church yesterday but we are going to meet with him on Tuesday this upcoming week! 
Then here is our miracle for the week. Really it hit me so hard with this experience how the Lord is putting me in the exact right spot and the right time to do his work when he needs it done. After our lesson with Archibald we went to check on some potential investigators (people missionaries have talked to but haven't taught a lesson to yet). So we knock on this door and a kid says one sec let me get my brother. So we stand there forever waiting then talk to the kid and get a time to come back. And now here's the miracle, as we are walking down the stairs in the apartment complex this lady stops me, points at my tag, and says "mormonos! Missinarios!!" And I'm like ahh crap all I have Spanish wise is a decent door approach, where I can explain who we are and get their phone number to have the Spanish missionaries go by. So I try to talk to the lady and it's just going nowhere. She's blabbing at me and I have no clue what's going on. So I struggle through saying one sec I'm going to call missionaries who speak better Spanish than me. So I call the Spanish Sisters and they were on shift at the visitors center so no answer. So I call up one of the traveling assistants, Elder Patchett and have him talk to her! Hahah team work!!! And I talked to to the Spanish sisters a few days later and they are now teaching this lady! Honestly if we had been 1 min later or faster we would not have ran into this lady. It truly was the Lord putting us in the right place to talk to her.. Well to be able to call other missionaries for her that is haha 

Later on Tuesday we were tracting and I knocked this door and and a guy answers the door and after I say we are missionaries he stops me and says "Hey man me and God aren't straight right now so I don't wanna hear it" and I don't know if I was feeling bold or this was the spirit throwing words out, but I look at this guy and say, "really man? Why do you say that?" And I was like what!? Did I just say that to this huge dude!! And he then looks at me and says "I just lost my Mother and Uncle to murder last week" So then without a second hesitation again me or the spirt, just goes into Plan of Salvation. And he cut me off and said he just really wasn't ready to talk and wanted to try to be nice, but he took a BOM and our number. So who knows, another moment where the Lord needed this man to be comforted in his time of need. Too bad he didn't let us talk to him then, but I hope he will actually open up the BOM and find comfort and call us. 

I've already written tons about this week so I'll tell you about one more awesome thing this week. So we finally met with this referral named Susan! It has been so many dropped appointments she should have gotten dropped. But I could never do it. I just felt like we had to keep trying. So we met with her Friday night and basically the story is her sister is a member and she told her that if she wanted to find a new church and have her questions get answered to talk to the missionaries. So we met with her and taught her the Restoration and she loved it! She kept saying it made so much sense and she couldn't wait to pray to know its true. Then said she wants us to teach her sons (8 and 6) and also her mom. Then I asked if she has any questions and said asked what we believe about the life after death. And we said we would teach about that next time but yes we will live! Then she opened up and said she had twins both who passed away right after birth back in December, and I was almost in tears. As we read Moroni 8 with her and gave her a short answer about how she would see them again the spirt was so strong. I am glad we have the knowledge we will be with the ones we love after this life. I know it's true. 

The week was topped off with Saturday night getting a call from Mercedes (Jamaican family) asking if they could still get a ride to church.. What!? We had tried for 2 weeks to get in contact with nothing! So they ended up coming, all 5 of them! It was great except it was Ward Conference so I had to explain lots of stuff like why everyone was raising their hands so much (during the sustainings) hahah. And then on top of that it was Why I Believe last night!! And to top that even more I slept over at Coombs apartment last night. So I'm with the Rockville ZLs, APs, and then we brought McDonald with us too.

It's was an amazing week this week! There are times when it gets hard and you ask why you are even out here doing it, but then their are weeks like this that remind you that like in the mission call letter says, never such happiness awaits you then when you are in the service of the Lord. There are rough times, amazing times and the in between. And I'm so glad I get to top the week off with hanging out with tons of my great mission friends. Especially since Coombs and all those guys leave this summer!

Love you all, miss you tons!!

We were walking through an apartment complex and found this spray painted on the wall