Monday, September 19, 2016

September 19, 2016

Hi everyone!! 

Okay to answer your questions- Elder Zocca has been out for 17 months so just a little longer than me. And he was called French, he's served in the French program and Amharic program before going English to serve in leadership. But like you said super cool about him getting to teach in Swahili. And no there are no sisters close to our Ward haha. Nor do I think there ever will be. Just the 6 elders in the ward here. And Elder Zocca had been in the area for one transfer before I came here. So the bed bugs got taken care of.. We threw out the mattresses, bed frames and box springs from the room and did a spray treatment. And it's now been a week and a half with no one getting bites and no bed bugs seen so I think we are in the clear. 

Well this week has been a whirlwind trying to get things going. Going to a new area is always interesting because you know how to do the missionary work, but you are re learning the people in the ward, the people you are teaching, and your area. But it's been good. This past week Elder Zocca and I gave a Zone Training on missionaries extending and following up on commitments. I'm happy with how it went and President was there and really complimentary of how it went.

Then the story I wanna tell this week is about the investigator we are working the most with. So her name is Kiawanna. She's had a pretty rough life, she was using crack-cocaine for a while but has since gotten off of that. She is a pretty accurate representation of what this whole area is pretty much like. But she has such a desire to change, and ever since she first stared meeting with missionaries she has wanted to change. And slowly she is, we have her on baptismal date for October 16th along with her two twin kids Issac and Kyana. We are super excited and hope we can resolve a few more W.o.W. problems and get them all baptized! Elder Jenks was actually one of the missionaries that found her, and at Why I Believe last night I got to tell him about how she was on Date and he was so excited just grabbed me in a huge hug and told me how glad he was that I was down here to finish what he started! When we both got called as Zone Leaders at the same time he came down here before he was called as an AP last transfer.  

Sunday was our other hi light. So we got asked by the Stake Presidency to be a part of this panel Q&A at a Stake Mission Prep fireside and it was tons of fun! Plus I saw some familiar faces from WP2 there! After that we had to fly up to the VC late for Why I Believe. And it was a blast! We are holding onto that since its about the only thing they haven't taken away... yet. We are hoping they won't. But it was so nice to see some faces I haven't for a while like Elder McDonald, Elder Cowan, Elder Chapman, and all the other great friends I've made out here! I love getting to serve in DC North, there's no mission like it in the world. So unique and truly "The Greatest Mission in the History of Life"!! 

Love you all!! Hope you have great weeks!! Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers, you guys are the best support from back home!


Elder Zocca and I found a license plate this week.. It's now a souvenir for me

Reconnecting with DC Zone! 

September 12, 2016

Hi everyone!!

Mom why did you have to google Anacotia.. It was better you didn't know haha. But I'll talk more about the new area in a second. But yes Scott is the one I saw in the temple. And being over Suitland stake now I'm gonna for sure try to visit him and some other WP2 members when I get the chance to! 

Well as you would expect with a new area and new companion it's been quite a bit of adjusting! But it's good!! It's fun to be back down in Suitland stake, while staying in the city as well! It's a great combo. Plus as well getting to serve with Elder Zocca has been a party and a half. I have known Elder Zocca since about February and have been great friends.. having a friend as a companion makes doing the work so much better. Elder Zocca is from Tanzania and came to the states for college. He went to the U because he's going into medicine and he was baptized while he was there. So he's only been a member for about 3 years and is the only member in his family, he's a little older so he's 25. But he's a stud, such a great guy! 

Our area here is super weird. So part of it is in Anacostia, SE DC so super ghetto and everything. But then we have some surrounding Maryland so it's like southern Maryland, nicer neighborhoods. So just a really weird combo. So when it gets dark we can go work in really safe areas. Also don't worry, in the ghetto people really respect clergy and Jesus so they don't really mess with us. They sure love their Jesus people around here haha. But there's a lot of work going on here so that's super nice to be really busy! Also the ward is more of a branch. No joke 40-50 people TOPS in sacrament meeting yesterday. 5/6 people who participated in blessing/passing the sacrament were missionaries. So it's gonna be an experience here!

The week was a good one! Tuesday feels like forever ago.. But it was filled with saying bye to tons of people in the DC 3rd Ward. It was hard to leave, inner city wards are so interesting but it sure has a piece of my heart now. Wednesday was transfers so we had errands that entire day with all of that as well of Thursday had errands. Because we had to deal with bed bugs.. Look the whole cute "don't the let bed bugs bites".. No. don't ever say that again. Bed bugs are Satan. Long story short a missionary in the apartment I moved into had bed bugs in his wood bed frame and was getting bites but they couldn't figure out why until we found them in the frame. Luckily they hadn't spread to the mattress or other beds so we were able to do a self treatment and all is well in Zion again. 

Sunday was for sure the hi light. There was a really big inner-faith walk in DC to remember 9/11 and we had missionaries up there as Volunteers and since we are still in the city we got to go. So we got to walk around to all these churches and help direct people, answer questions, pass out water, take pictures, all of that fun stuff. So it was pretty cool to get to be up in all of that. There were about 45 missionaries as well as President/Sister Johnson there. After that I got to have a super cool experience of going to listen to Elder Zocca teach. I say that cause he has a group of refugees in Silver Spring, Maryland that he teaches in Swahili (his native language in Tanzania). It was so humbling to be in the refugee community and watch these people get taught in their own tongue.  

Overall things are going great here. I'm feeling like I'm on a bounce back from the downer I've been in recently. I'm feeling a lot happier and things are looking up. I'm so glad to have all your support back home. Sure love and miss you guys!!


Inner faith walk. This is from on of the Indian temple where we ran into Pres Johnson

We found Gandhi

 DC 3 Goodbyes
Shawn and Charisma 

An investigator I loved, Sayid. I'll have to tell his story sometime soon!


 JS! What a guy!!

September 5, 2016

Hi everyone! 

Well this week was one with ups and downs. First off the baptisms of both Kyrie and Hailey didn't end up happening. So on Tuesday we went to do the baptismal paper work and Kyries biological Dad showed up and said he couldn't be baptized cause he's not ready to decide and he's a 7th Day Adventist and that Kyrie needs to experience more churches before he decides. Then right after Kyrie grabs me and apologizes he can't be baptized and that he "already made my decision, I wanna be baptized in your church!" Then Sunday came and we get a call from Hayley's Dad during Sacrament saying Hayley won't be baptized cause she's not old enough to decide and also needs to experience more churches. Mind you he's a member. I was soo mad. I tried reasoning with them and showing them that they might not think they are old enough but the Lord does. And then I hate the argument of they need to go experience other churches. Ugh. Super frustrating. So we had a full font and I had to get dressed in Whites to go pull the plug. So that was pretty depressing. 

Also this week, we had another MLC (Mission Leadership Council) where President announced more changes. Like no more zone activities, can't leave your ward boundary on P-Days (so no National Mall if you're out of the city), and no more transfer temple trip (we will go 4 times a year now). So those were all super frustrating. And little petty things like no more colored socks... So it's been tough. But I've realized there is not going back to how things were so I just have to try to be positive and make the most of it. I want to enjoy my mission not just endure it. So for our plans today we are just gonna see some guys from the ward and I have to get packing. 

Okay now that you think I'm in a deep depression here for the hi light of the week! Remember Scott Jenkins? RC from White Plaines 2nd? Anyways so he has super bad health problems, and was taken to the Georgetown Hospital in DC and that's covered by sisters, so as the Zone Leaders we cover it for blessings. So we got a call from the Elders down there asking for us to go give him a blessing on Friday. So of course we went! It was so good to see him! Then yesterday we took him the sacrament and visited with him. It was so nice to reconnect with him and see someone I've gotten to love so much! 

To top the week off, transfers are this week so the call came out.... I am leaving. It's a ton of mixed emotions. After 6 months I'm kinda ready for something new, but also super sad to see it go. This ward is a crazy one, but I love them. Serving in a inner city ward is a special experience. I have 3 options of where I could go, DC 2nd YSA (still in the city), Anacostia (Ghetto of the ghettos), or Annapolis. We will find out tonight and I'll make sure to send another email to let you know where I'm going.

I love you all! Miss you tons, I hope you all have awesome weeks!!


-The quick email we got later that day when he got his transfer information-
I got called down to Suitland as a ZL in Anacotia. So welcome to the Ghetto of ghettos!! Plus I get to be with Elder Zocca who's a way good friend! I'm really excited! Plus I can go on exchange to WP2!!

Love you all, talk to you soon!!

-Elder Austin R. Carroll 
Giving Scott his blessing!

 Since Scott had an infection when we went do the sacrament we had to wear these clothing cover things...