Elder Carter's Argentinian Mission

for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – all comments sent to Jared!

Prove Him Now

August15

We have been very blessed here in Lastenia! Ramon Rodrigez was baptized this past Saturday! It was a great experience and I know that he will be a big support to the branch. Here’s a picture from his baptism:

Ramon's Baptism

Ramon's Baptism 2

Here we are a bit closer! From left to right: Me, Brother Luna (who helped us teach Ramon), Ramon, Blanca (Ramon’s wife), Jesus (Ramon’s son), and Elder Nuñez.

Ramon has been a huge example to me of faith, prioritizing, and the importance of families. He also taught me a lot about tithing . . . wait did I just say tithing?!

The law of tithing was the very last commandment that we had left to teach. We arrived last Thursday for our final lesson before his baptismal interview. As we started to teach him, a big smile came over his face. He chuckled to himself as he breathed a sigh of relief. We stared blankly at him because that isn’t normally the first reaction we receive when teaching about tithing. Then he started to explain . . .

The very first day he attended church he brought money with him so he would be able to donate. Our branch president talked about tithing during the meeting and he waited patiently for them to start collecting but nobody asked for anything. The next week he couldn’t attend but Blanca (his wife) came prepared to donate as well. Nobody mentioned anything. She left just as confused as her husband and when she arrived home they talked about it. Why wasn’t there a money plate? Where was the box to drop your tithing? He knew that tithing was a commandment and had felt the Holy Ghost confirm it, but had no idea how he could be obedient! As he told us the story, we realized that he was worried because he knew that he should pay tithing, but didn’t know how. He and Blanca have been looking for clues ever since so that they could be obedient to the commandments. We explained how everything worked and told him that he could pay his tithing the Sunday after his baptism. He quickly agreed to faithfully pay his tithing for the rest of his life.

I was amazed at his willingness and desire to be obedient to God’s commandments. He understood the doctrine long before we taught it and the Spirit testified of the reality of the Law of Tithing. He knows that God loves us and that He has prepared the way to be able to bless us when we do our part. I know that if we want to know of the the truthfulness of a doctrine, the Holy Ghost will ALWAYS testify of it when we are willing to live by the law. One of the best ways to show that we are willing to live by a law is by actually living it! God made it very clear when He said, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:10, italics, underline, and bold added =D. See also John 7:17).

I know that we should prove Him now with every single revealed doctrine. He won’t ever let us down and is waiting to be able to prove His faithfulness as we prove ours. No matter what we do for Him, He will always give us much more in return. It’s ALWAYS worth it!

Thank you all so much for all that you do! I hope you all have a great week and I can’t wait to hear from (and see) you all soon! Take care!

Love,
Elder Carter

P.S. We also had another visitor in our baptism. He didn’t make it outside for the picture because he preferred staying in the corner of the baptismal font =D
Baptism Visitor

Cliff Notes

August1

Hello Everyone!

We just got here with 15 short minutes to write!  Wow!  Here are the “Cliff Notes” for the past week:

  • Elder Nuñez is my new companion.  He is from Santiago Chile.
  • Elder Miranda got a new companion who lives in the USA but his parents are Mexican.  His name is Elder Breton.
  • They are both super awesome and the four of us are working really hard.
  • There are still lots of changes from the new mission president and the whole mission is changing (which is a good thing…not that it was bad before, but changes help a lot.  It’s like a new year even though the old year wasn’t a bad one =D)
  • We have a lot of investigators and very little time.
  • Ramon Rodrigez is the closest to his baptism and he is very excited.
  • Our biggest challenge is helping people to attend church.
  • Suddenly, everyone started giving us references (By the way, if you know anyone who you can invite to recieve the missionaries, invite them!  It never hurts and the worst they can do is say no.  Even when they aren’t interested, 99% are grateful for your thoughtfulness rather then offended by the invitation).
  • My companion sprained his ankle and we had to go to the hospital.  That is the biggest reason that we are here late (in the internet café).
  • He is doing fine and will get to study with several of the members in our branch while I go work with one of the priests that is preparing to serve a mission.

Well, that’s about all the time I have.  Thanks so much for your letters*!  I can’t wait to see you all soon!  Have a fantastic week!

Love,
Elder Carter

P.S.  Here’s a picture of me and Elder Nuñez.  He is super awesome and will be my very last companion.  We are already best friends!  Enjoy!
Elder Nuñez
*Two quick apologies for overdue letters:  First, I am searching for postcards but I didn’t think they would be so hard to find.  I found some but they weren’t that great.  Don’t worry Jace, I’ll find some cool ones downtown once my companion gets better.  Second, I forgot to send a letter that I wrote about 2 months ago to Courtney Dickson – Sorry! (it’s a long story, but right now the letter is in the chapel…)  Everyone else, if I haven’t replied, send me a quick email and I’ll try to write… I’m a bit disorganized and I’m sure I haven’t responded to a few other people.  Please forgive me!  Thanks!  You’re all super awesome!!!  Have a great week!!!!!

A Baptism to Remember

July11

This past week was amazing!  Hilda (Hilda del Valle Mena de Galvan) was miraculously baptized!

The miracle wasn’t that she decided to get baptized because she has been extremely excited for her baptism for over a month . . . the miracle is that we had a baptism at all!  There hasn’t been a baptism in our branch for a really long time.  We had trouble with the interview and she was finally approved for baptism at 8:30 at Friday night.  That left us with Saturday to make all of the preparations.

We woke up and went directly to our Branch President’s house.  The three of us started to make all of the preparations.  When we got to the chapel, we found the faucet to fill up the baptismal font was broken.  There was absolutely no way to fill up the font!  We left to assign a talk to a member that lived nearby while President Jimenez kept working (yes, we had to assign the talks the same day, too!).  I don’t know what he did while we were gone, but it started working.  Water was coming out but the water heater didn’t turn on.  The font started filling up with freezing cold water!  It is winter here and without central heating it is very dangerous (especially for someone like Hilda) to get cold and wet.  When we got there, he closed the valve and opened it one last time and the water heater miraculously turned on.  We still have no idea how it started working, but it was obviously another tender mercy.  In any case, we couldn’t fill up the font until we cleaned it.  A small window to the font had broken earlier.  It was sealed off from the rest of the church, but it had filled with millions of bugs.  Most of them had long since died, but there were still many living amongst the cobwebs.  It looked exactly like something out of Indiana Jones.  We killed them all and spent the next two hours in an “Extreme Makeover” of our baptismal font.  With (even more) heavenly help we got it clean and started the 8 hour process of filling up the font*.  Later we continued looking for an adult baptismal dress that we had lent out to some missionaries in another area.  We called several people looking for a delivery service.  Nobody answered.  We couldn’t have a baptism without any baptismal clothes!  While desperately calling to find someone that could drive across the city to get the baptismal clothes we found a member who happened to have a baptismal dress in her house.  I have no idea why it was there, but I was so glad that it was.  We went by and picked it up.  We spent the rest of the day inviting and giving assignments to the other members of the branch.  Everyone came and it was an amazing baptism.  The spirit was really strong and that is one of the things that I was the most grateful for.  Everything else worked out fine, but if the Spirit hadn’t been there everything would have been in vain.  Nevertheless, a loving Father in Heaven provided for everything – from the most critical needs to the smallest detail.  He is in control and when we do our part, He will always do his.

Here are a couple of pictures from the baptism.  The first is me and my companion with Hilda and the second is with her family and a couple of the members that attended.
Hilda's Baptism
Hilda's Family

Also, here are some from the past couple of weeks that I couldn’t send earlier:
1- Argentine Flag
This is the Argentine flag in the Plaza in Tucuman.  Sorry it isn’t more majestic . . . there was absolutely no breeze.
2- Elder Serón
This is Elder Serón, he is from Chile.  It looks like he is yawning, but he actually posed like that for the picture.  He is a really funny Elder and an awesome friend.
3- Elder Miranda
And this is his companion Elder Miranda from Perú.  He is super nice and always really happy.  He is also the perfect example of Christlike service.  He has cooked us meals, cleaned the dishes, made our beds, cleaned the bathroom, ironed our shirts, cleaned our desks, washed our clothes . . . you get the idea.  He is an awesome example for me!  (we normally all take care of ourselves, but somehow he does it when we aren’t looking!)
4- Our Patio
This is Elder Miranda on our patio while I was on the roof.  The roofs here are different than in the USA.  There are stairs up to a landing with chairs and everything (don’t worry, I was perfectly safe).
5- Argentine McDonalds
We decided to go to McDonalds last week.  I picked the cheapest thing on the menu and it came out to $27 (yes, the cheapest meal was a Triple Mac)!  I was surprised by the price, too!  Then, I converted the price from Argentine pesos to US Dollars and realized that it is normal . . . (although still the most expensive food in town – remember the sit down Chinese buffet for $25?)
6- Enjoying Lunch
Here we are enjoying our meal.
7- My Friend Ronald
…and me with my good friend Ronald McDonald.
8- Very Old Orange
Here is an old orange that nobody ever took care of.  It wasn’t so orange after a month or so.  I finally threw it away but when I grabbed it it launched green dust everywhere!  It was really crazy!
9- Tie Collection
And last, but not least, my tie collection (several of you had asked what my ties are like).  I still have some originals to trade, but about half are from other missionaries and members.

Well, that’s it for now.  Have a great week and I’ll talk to you all soon!

Love,
Elder Carter

*There isn’t any water pressure here in Argentina so everyone has tanks on top of their houses and other buildings that require water.  All of the chapels have a water tower, but it still takes over eight hours to fill it up the font.  We should have started at 11:00 but we couldn’t because it was filled with bugs.  We started filling the font at 12:00 and it was still filling when we entered the font at 8:00 at night.  Hilda was baptized with the faucet submerged and still quietly filling it up.

Changing Lives

June20

I am an uncle again! WOOHOO!!!! Congratulations Scott and Meghann Slaugh (aka: Sceggy) and Savanna Rose (Sceganna?)!!!! I am excited to see all three of really soon! Good luck with everything! ¡¡¡¡FELICITACIONES!!!!

This past week was a very emotional one for all of the missionaries here too. It was the last conference with our mission president, President Dan Northcutt, and his wife Cynda. We learned about several things that will help a lot in the field (like always) and then we had lunch (normal right?). Then, after lunch we got together and listened to several missionaries sing a hymn and then watched as our president made his way to the front. He started teaching us of the Savior. He explained many things from the vision of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price and then taught us many things about the universe and the creation. He helped us to understand who Christ is, what He did, and most importantly – why. Then he moved on to share two very personal spiritual experiences from his life and what he had learned from them. I won’t share them here, but they make up part of what I wanted to share with you. They really impacted me and left the deep impression that I need to do better in order to be worthy of the blessings waiting for me.

What made the biggest impact on me was the preparation that our president had to go through in order to receive the life changing experiences that he had. He spoke of years of preparation and obedience. He also went through all of the details of what happened and how everything fit together perfectly. He had been listening to the Spirit and did exactly what he needed in order to have his experience. Also, each of the experiences was coupled with him pouring out his heart in prayer. Not one of desperation in time of need or one of fleeting words muttered by tradition. He really gave everything he had and expected an answer.

Signs and miracles are never given to prove divinity of Christ or the validity of his doctrines. Doing so would destroy faith and testimony. Christ Himself made it very clear when he said, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it.” (Matthew 12:39) Nevertheless, we should be diligently seeking spiritual experiences through faith. Such experiences are necessary for our personal growth and conversion. We are encouraged to seek gifts of the spirit, personal witnesses of divine truth, and faith building experiences. But how can we become worthy of such a gift? Just like our mission president, we all need to carefully prepare for our own spiritual experiences.

* He was obedient to the best of his capacity up until that point.
* He prepared thorough consistent study and prayer.
* He knew how to recognize and follow the spirit.
* He prayed diligently in the moment that he was prompted.
* He was worthy of what he received.

I wish I could talk about this for longer, but I have run out of time. I am going to include a couple of pictures – one of our zone, and the other of me with President and Sister Northcutt. Prepare the best you can so that you will be prepared for those special experiences when they come. It is definitely worth it! As the President gave the closing prayer, he started to pray on our behalf. The spirit was so strong and I cried. Do everything as perfect as you can and no effort will ever go unrewarded. Have a fantastic week!

Love,
Elder Carter

La Zona Tucumana

The Northcutts

Thanks! Happy Birthday to you, too!

June6

Thanks so much everyone!  I got a ton of Happy Birthday messages throughout the day in many different forms – in person, text messages from the ward, Facebook messages forwarded by Kristen (Thanks, Kristen!), emails, pillowcases, photos, etc. . .  You guys are all awesome!  My birthday was amazing – especially hearing from all of you!  Thank you!!!!

This is the first time I had my birthday on Preparation Day and so it was much different from my last birthday.  I wanted to go on an adventure but we woke up and it was raining.  Here is what happened instead:

01 Cross-eyed Well, this picture doesn’t really fit in . . . but in case you are wondering what I am doing, I am trying to cross my eyes by looking at the bridge of my nose instead of the tip of my nose.  I thought that I was doing it but my companion took a picture of the dumb look on my face to prove that I wasn’t even close.  Oh, and I know you are going to try it now . . . don’t worry, nobody is looking!

02 Birthday Surprise

I also got to open my birthday package!  It was awesome and had everything I need including several exotic extracts (maple syrup and root beer – they don’t exist here), tongue scrapers, a spare camera battery, a pillow case, super sour candies, pictures, etc, etc, etc!  It was really fun and reminded me of home (but don’t worry, I’m not trunky – that is one of my main goals =D).

First, we went downtown to the Tourist Center of Tucuman (it´s just a visitor center but they call them tourist centers here).  We got a bunch of maps and information for future p-day adventures and also saw a cool place to eat.  We got lost on the way to the restaurant, but luckily found a nice police man with his friend (in a Delta Airlines jacket) who helped us out.
02 The View
It looked really upscale.  They used wine looking glasses and all of the waiters were in formal clothes.  This is a picture of the table next to us.  What kind of a restaurant was it?  A Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet of course!  Each plate was $6.50 USD (isn’t Ärgentina great?)
03 Sushi Delight
This is me eating some sushi – yum!*

04 Getting StartedHere we are together.  Elder Serón is on my right and Elder Montaño is in front of me.

05 First PlateThis was my first plate, notice the tasty looking octopus!

06 Yum, Octupus!Here I am giving it a first taste.
07 Octi-sandwich
It was tasty so I decided to make a sandwich out of it.  I decided to include a sauce that was almost like sweet-and-sour without the sour (kind of like jelly but with a sweet-and-sour sauce taste).

08 Chinese PlateThis was my second plate with a Chinese theme . . .
09 Argentine Plate
. . . And my third with an Argentine theme.  There are two different empanadas, a potato casserole thingy (above), milanesa (the breaded chicken thingy by the pepper), and a bomb (the thing in the middle).  Yes, it is really called a bomb (bomba).  They make it out of different things, but it usually involves deep fried potatoes, cheese, and flour.
10 Dessert
This was my dessert and I didn’t theme it at all, but almost all of the food was Argentine anyways.  The banana is coated in Dulce de Leche (caramel which they call “Milk Sweets” or “Candy of Milk”), cake, flan (it is on the far left and is a cross between jello and pudding), jello, fruit salad (in the bowl) and a mysterious fruit (some sort of plum?).

Anyway, it was all really delicious!  I don’t have much time for anything else, but I hope you enjoyed the birthday tour.  I promise I will share something more uplifting next week, but until then – here is a thought that sort of fits with my email:

Don’t get so caught up in the destination that you forget to enjoy the journey.
(paraphrased from a picture in my Mom’s bathroom)

Thanks again for everything!  Have an amazing week!  I love you all tons and tons and I can’t wait to see you all soon!

Love,
Elder Carter

PS  I got my travel plans and like I promised here they are:  I will leave Buenos Aires at 10:30 pm on Tuesday September 6th and will arrive in Salt Lake City on Wednesday at 4:40.  See you then!

*OK, it is really my place mat, but it made for a great photo!

Welcome to Tucuman (again!)

May30

Transfer day again…kind of…

Elder Loughmiller received an emergency transfer. He left for Salta yesterday to be the new office elder over finances (they always get transferred early so they can receive training before transfers). That leaves the three of us . . . working two different cities. I am a little bit stressed out – but I am excited at the same time. I’m stressed because we need to maintain twice as many people in half of the time which comes out to four times as much work – instantly. I am excited because the last trio that I was in was an awesome experience and I know that it will be the same this time. We will just have to see what happens!

Anyway, I haven’t sent pictures of Tucuman yet (oops!) so I decided that I should do another batch picture email. I hope that you don’t mind . . . anyway, here goes nothing!
Pepitos!
This was a great find! You’ll be surprised to know that peanut butter is very rare here and less then 1% of the population has tasted it. There are a couple of candies with peanut cream, but that is about it. When I saw this, I had to buy it. They are Chips Ahoy! brand cookies filled with . . . PEANUT BUTTER! Awesome.

Last week we went to San Javier. I had already been there once, but it was at the very beginning of my mission. Needless to say, we were all really excited. When we got there, this is what we saw . . .

Under Construction

It turns out that it was under construction. I don’t know exactly what they are going to do, but it looks like they are just renovating the base.

At the construction site

Here I am with my companion on the construction site.

Eye Single

Afterward, my companion took a picture of me as I was looking at the statue. This reminds me of Doctrine and Covenants section 4 “an eye single to the glory of God.” =D

Our District

This is our district (from left to right): Elder Muñoz, Elder Michaelson, Elder Montaño, Me, Elder Loughmiller, Elder Serón (Yes, everyone has funny names. I like it.)

At the construction site

Here I am admiring the statue with my companion. It reminds me of when I was first here with my trainer!

We can fly!

And . . . the day wouldn’t be complete without one of these. Yippee!

Complete

Speaking of complete . . . that is what this is called. Normally, they aren’t this big but Elder Serón was really excited (it’s from Chile and would be like me eating peanut butter). To turn a hot dog into a complete you need to add mashed avocado (like unseasoned guacamole). If you’re wondering how he is going to pick it up . . . I was wondering the same thing. It turns out that it broke and so we just cut it into pieces and ate it. It was really good though!

Home Sweet Home

This is where we live. Don’t get too excited though . . . we live in an apartment around back. We have a couple of windows, but you can’t see any of them here.

Goodbye Loughmiller

Here we are right before Elder Loughmiller left. We were a great group and I am going to miss him . . . until I see him at BYU next year. It’s a small world after all!

Trunky Papers

And last, but not least [. . .drumroll. . .] my “Trunky Papers”! The dreaded yet sweet letter marking your death-date. Mine? Tuesday September 6, 2011*. See you soon!

As always . . . have an amazing week, continue improving every day, and keep being awesome! Just remember, life is great!

Love,
Elder Carter

* I will be going to Salta Monday the 5th to have my interview. On September 6th I will be flying to Buenos Aires and then we usually board an overnight flight for the United States arriving on Thursday, September 7th, 2011.

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

May9

My first week in Tucuman was awesome! I got to meet lots of great new people and talk to my family (the great…classic people). My phone call home was definitely the highlight of my week and for the first time in my mission, our president has authorized Skype video chat. I got to see my new nephew and my soon to be niece. It was absolutely wonderful! My companion is really nice and is a very hard worker (I don’t know why I say that every time…it seems like all of my companions have been hard workers. I guess that’s because they are missionaries!) Yesterday, we went to church and I got to know all of the members. There aren’t very many members in our branch (there were about 40 members in church), but all of them are really nice. Many of them have already helped us teach some of our new investigators and we are hoping to be able to baptize several people in June. I am really really excited and can’t wait to see what’s in store!

I wasn’t able to share my goodbye pictures, so I picked a couple of random ones to share. There were tons, but to keep it brief, here are some of the people that many of you know (through my letters). Also, I put a couple of old pictures on that I haven’t shared yet…just for fun!
They Prefer...
I really enjoyed being able to knock this house. Nobody was home, but we saw something interesting in the window…

MasterCard

They prefer MasterCard! I don’t exactly know where they got that sticker from because MasterCard isn’t very popular here…it was a really random thing to see. I decided that it would be a funny as window sticker for college though!

Last Activity

This was our last activity before we left. We made a giant maze in the gym out of masking tape (several rolls worth) and everyone had to push their tangerine around and collect several numbers (with a different order for each person) without running anyone else over. It was really fun! The prize?…a nice juicy tangerine that you had just rolled all over the church!

Downtown Jujuy

This is a photo that I took with my companion in my area. That is downtown Jujuy behind us. We were at that house to pick them up for church and decided to take a picture of the view. I think that it was a great spot to put a house!

And now for the goodbyes…[sniffle]. To be as efficient as possible, I will list the names of each of the people from left to right starting in the back and then moving to the front if there are two rows.

Goodbye Calizayas

Daniel Colque, Elder Carter, Elder Singer, Noelia Calizaya, Viviana Calizaya

Goodbye Diaz

Sister Diaz, Elder Carter

Goodbye Federico and Pablo

Federico, Elder Carter, Pablo Vilca, Elder Carrillo

Goodbye Fernanda

Elder Singer, Elder Carrillo, Elder Kingsford, Elder Carter, Maria Fernanda Delgado

Goodbye Jessica

Elder Carter, Jesica Cruz, Sebastian (her son)

Goodbye Juan

Elder Carrillo, Juan Marcelo, Elder Carter

Goodbye Luis

Elder Carrillo, Luis, Elder Carter

Goodbye Karina

Elder Kingsford, Elder Carter, Karina, Elder Carrillo

Goodbye Maria

Elder Carter, Maria Cruz

Goodbye Millan

Elder Carter, President Millan, Sister Millan

Goodbye Ramoa-Ortiz

Elder Singer, Mariana Ortiz, Sister Monica Ortiz, Elder Carter, Pamela Ramoa, Leonel Ortiz (Mariana’s Son), Jose Daniel Ramoa, Jimena Ramoa

Whew! What a lot of great people!!!! I miss them a lot already, but I am excited to be able to see them again when I come back to Argentina someday! Also, I can’t wait until we will all be able to be together in the Spirit World and then in the Celestial Kingdom. It is going to be AMAZING!!!!

Hello Elder Montaño

And last but not least…Hello Elder Montaño! He is diligently working away while I snuck a quick picture. He is a really great guy and I am excited to get to know him!

Anyway… I was glad to hear from all of you back at home! I got to call my family yesterday and yet they all still sent emails today! You guys are super awesome!!!! I love you all so much and I can’t wait to see you again soon when I finish my work here. I hope you all have a great week and I’ll talk to you soon!

Love,
Elder Carter

Latter-Day Saints 101

April25

What a great week!  I was glad to hear from all of you to know that you’re all doing well!  What a great feeling!  This past week we worked hard and had many great experiences.  One of the best experiences happened today when we were able to go teach at the university.

A couple of weeks ago we received an invitation early in the morning.  It was a short letter informing us that a local nursing school was learning about all of the major religions in Jujuy. They wanted to speak with an official representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I asked our Mission President and he gave us approval to go with our Branch President to speak to the students. We left early this morning and got there at about 7:00 this morning. The room was packed with students at each table and chairs in the aisles.  We started off with a short introduction and then watched a movie that explains the basic doctrines and purpose of the church.  What followed was an hour and a half of questions and answers . . . it was great!

The first question was about The Book of Mormon.  Where did it come from?  Is it a version of the Bible?  What does it say?  I could tell that all of the students were thinking the same thing…but the question simply came out “What is the Book of Mormon?”  We started to explain its ancient origins, its divine creation, and its convincing power as evidence of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  With all eyes fixated on us, we explained to a room full of medical students about spiritual things – that which doth confound the wise (Alma 32:23).  I spoke to them through my thick “Norte-americano” accent and yet they all listened to the curious “Good News” of the Gospel.

As we continued, they asked about the persecution of the saints, the seeming conflict between creationism and popular scientific theories, different values of church members in regard to euthanasia, abortion, blood transfusions, homosexuality, and other current medical and political topics.  As each one came, the Church had their established standard.  There was no confusion and everything became clear.  It was as if each of their topics had previously been debated in an indecisive and dividing manner so that all were left confused and questioning as to what should be done.  Through ancient and modern revelation, we were able to shed the Gospel light on each of their complicated problems.  Through divine logic and personal confirmations through the Holy Ghost, solutions became very obvious.  There is no confusion with God because His word is as clear as it is flawless and just.  I was amazed as they began to accept simple answers to complicated questions because of the perfect Gospel that He has restored on the earth.

Each one of them appeared to have enjoyed the discussion and they thanked us several times accompanied by rounds of applause (which was fun . . . as missionaries we don’t receive applause very often).  We continued on and left them thinking on all that we had shared.

After this great experience that I was blessed with, I realized just how valuable the Gospel is as a daily guide for each one of us.  Were it not for the gospel, I would be just as confused and tossed by the winds of opinion as anyone.  With the guiding light of doctrine, however, I know exactly what should be done in any moral conflict.  Not only that, I have the privilege of receiving personal revelation for any other major choice that I encounter in life.  I know who I am, my purpose, and where I am going.  I know my divine potential and exactly how to reach it.  We have each been blessed with an outpouring of treasures of knowledge to help, guide, and lift us each and every day. We need to treasure up everything that we have been given and also share it with others – and in doing so, we will be able to be happy ourselves…and isn’t that the goal after all?

Have a great week!  I love you all so much and look forward to hearing from you all soon!  Take care!

Love,

Elder Carter
LDS Presentation
Here we are at the university.  From left to right Me, Elder Singer, the professor, President Millan (our Branch President), Daniel Colque (Counselor in the branch presidency).  If any of you would like a recording of the presentation, you can ask me for a copy.  Just remember that it is in Spanish =D.

Interesting

Here are some pictures of the nearby museum that we visited after the presentation. The exhibit was of historical Northern Argentina.  Here I am learning and enjoying the pictures.

Fancy Stairs

All of the stairs had colorful murals that were really beautiful.

Relaxing

Later, we decided to take a break in one of the conference rooms.

Making History

This is us in one of the final exhibits “Making History”.

Jujuy Train

Jujuy Train

Apartment Spider

And…it just wouldn’t be the same without the most recent spider encounter (this one was crawling on the wall of our apartment).  Enjoy!

Rule #37: You can’t do it alone!

April18

As each great week passes by, another fantastic one comes!  I am starting to see a pattern emerging!  I love being a missionary!  We received yet another miracle this week.  It came after lots of hard work but was definitely worth it.

I would love to say that the hard work was needed . . . but it was actually unnecessary*.  We started the week like any other week.  We were excited and had a clean slate.  We wanted to achieve all of our goals and diligently set off.

The first five days passed by and we searched every single day for people to teach.  We knocked for hours and all we had to show for it was a couple of investigators.  We were devastated.  We had gone through all of the actions that we (in our own strength and knowledge) knew how to do, yet we could only achieve a quarter of our weekly goal.

I didn’t know what we were missing.  We worked hard . . . we were obedient . . . we knew the best approaches . . . yet it still wasn’t working.  Finally it hit me!  We never asked for help!  It seemed like something that was so simple!  Something that I had been doing my whole mission, and yet this week I decided to go out with my own strength.

We decided to pray.  We stopped in the street and asked our Heavenly Father where we should go.  Afterward, we stopped and listened to the whisperings of the Spirit.  Do you want to know the truth?  I didn’t hear any voices and nothing came to mind.

I turned to my companion and asked where we should go.  He pointed down the street and said, “Let’s try that house on the corner of the next block.”  We went and knocked the house.  The father opened the door and we could see his entire family behind him.  We presented ourselves and asked if we could come in.  He said that he wanted to hear from us but we came a bit late because he was leaving.  He asked us to come by at another time and we set up the appointment.  As we were walking away from the house, I saw a door on another corner a little ways up the hill.  I wanted to go there next and asked my companion if it was okay.  He agreed and off we went.  As we neared the door my heart sank.  It wasn’t a home at all . . . it was a business.  I said that we should knock the next door down.  We went over and clapped the door.  As we were waiting, a teenage boy came out of the business that we had just skipped over.  He asked us if we wanted to talk to him and we explained that we would love that.  He took us into his family’s business and we asked if the rest of his family was there.  They came out and we taught them about Joseph Smith.

We continued praying for direction and continued having the same success.  Much of it took effort on our part, but the load was much lighter.  That small miracle opened my eyes.  I never realized how much God was supporting us as we worked!  When we decided to trust in ourselves, our work went up in smoke.  When we worked with His help, we found those who were prepared to hear us as we worked diligently to find them.

I know that our Heavenly Father wants to help us in everything that we are doing.  We still need to work, but the scriptures make it clear that we should plead for help in all of our labors – spiritual and temporal.  Heavenly Father wants our success more then we do.  It is hard to imagine, but I know that it is true.  We just need to do our part and he will make up the rest if we ask and trust in Him.

I hope that you all have a great week!  I love you all so much!  Thank you all so much for all of your letters, support, and prayers.  Stay strong!

Love,
Elder Carter

*Here I say that our work was “unnecessary”.  That is because of the way we worked not the work itself.  It is always necessary to show our faith through our works before we can expect a miracle.  The difference here is that we were working alone instead of with the help of the Lord.  Although we can labor alone, it normally turns up fruitless and frustrates us and our Father in Heaven.

Chijra Hike
P.S.  Here is a picture from our hike today.  We hiked up a trail above our apartment and we could see all of San Salvador de Jujuy.  Behind us is Centro and some of the rest of the city.  Pictured are (back, left to right) Luis, Elder Carrillo, Elder Kingsford, Me, Elder Singer, German, (and in front) Fernanda with her daughter Viki (like my mom!).

Authentic Argentine Photographs

April11

What a great week! We worked hard and it really paid off! Many people are preparing for their baptisms and it is a privilege to be able to witness it. Everyone who has been baptized is doing great and they are faithfully sharing the gospel with everyone around them. Sometimes it makes me wonder, they are teaching me way more then I have taught them. This is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I can’t wait to see what these next months bring.

In other news . . . I haven’t sent pictures (other then a couple from the baptism) in a while. Now I have tons of pictures that I wanted to share. I decided to dedicate this post to “Authentic Argentine Photographs” (name provided in part by Larry the Cucumber). I hope that you enjoy them!

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Here I am at Pablo Vilca’s house. We were waiting for my companion to get out of the bathroom so I decided to take his camera for a spin. Isn’t it great?

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I found this in Pablo’s bathroom. It is a new brand “Él Vive” with the subheading “Reparacion Total”. That translates to “He Lives! Repair Completely!”. I thought it was a great lesson on the redemptive and healing power available through the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

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This is called “Planta del Aire” or “Air Plant”. Why does it have such a strange name you ask? Because it lives purely off of air! Crazy huh? They are all over the power lines here (the cables in-between telephone poles). They live on nothing, but yet keep growing. They are like the cockroaches of the plant world (but much more sanitary and less annoying)!

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This was a nice little spider that we found in our kitchen. And yes, it was huge. Don’t worry, there are more coming up!

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I saw this little piece of art when I came into our English Class. Does it look familiar? Ha ha!

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This is Elder Kingsford (during divisions). He saw a really random sign and pulled that face. Yes, this is a reproduction…but the original was identical. Sadly, I was too caught up laughing and forgot what the sign said. I hope it wasn’t important!

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Another great spider. This one was safely outside . . . and about the size of a pea. Much better!

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Here I am trying to buy three kilograms of mustard (6-7 pounds). Hot dogs, anyone?

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Another inspirational product. It says, “Leche con Fe”, which translated means, “Milk with Faith”. If only it were really that easy . . .

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This is a picture of Pablo as he is preparing to teach the gospel with us. He is a great help to us and served his mission in Buenos Aires several years ago.

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This is another strange looking bug. It is on my companion’s arm. This is a picture of his wrist with his palm down. I know that someone would ask me because it looks really weird (both the bug and his arm). The real intent of the picture was the bug though . . .

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This is a spider that we saw on some concrete. According to my companion, it looks exactly like the Pokemon “Spinarak”. I thought that was pretty cool even though I have never heard of it. It reminded me how exotic looking the animals are here! That is one thing I will definitely miss . . .

Also, I bet that you put your hand palm down to see if it looked like my companions in the last picture…Ha Ha!

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This is my companion trying to play pin the tail on the pig. We found out that some sneaky children can cheat while using a tie for a blindfold so we switched to a backpack. It was very effective!

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Here is a close-up of the pig. Why it was a pig instead of a donkey . . . I don’t know (it was a member’s game).  Also, why the pig looks the way it does . . . I don’t know either.

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This is the horizon at twilight. It looked a lot cooler in real life . . . but you will just have to use your imagination . . . or come to Argentina =D

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This is a concrete staircase that doesn’t look very standards compliant. I give it 1/10 for safety and 10/10 for creativity.

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Here I am with my companion.  And yes . . . we always look this happy.

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This is another weird bug. It had crazy shimmering blue and green colors as it was flying. Luckily, it stopped long enough to take a picture.

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This is Ezekiel with Augustine in the background. They were borrowing my camera during an activity and this is what what I got (along with dozens of other random pictures).

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This is a bridge that is about to fall apart in our area. We think that it is fairly sturdy because we use it all the time…other people say that it is going to collapse soon. Luckily it is only a two story drop.

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This was our meeting place for General Conference. It is wall art with the Trinity on the left and a saying on the right that reads, “My God, you are my refuge and my strength…my aide in times of anguish”.

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Here we are at conference making pizza with the branch. It tasted pretty good even though it was just cooked in the microwave. I invented the recipe myself. All you need is half of a pizza crust with sauce, cheese and pepperoni. Put it in the microwave for 2 minutes and 22 seconds. Then cut and serve… bon appetit!

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We had a great find at the fruit stand last week. It was a double banana! Twice the deliciousness with half the price!

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This was the latest activity. It is called “Pop everyone else’s balloon before they pop yours!” It was lots and lots of fun. I am in the picture trying to pop the balloon of one of our investigators named Juan Marcelo.

Anyway, that is about it for now. I hope that you all enjoyed the pictures. Keep pushing forward and enjoy the journey! I look forward to hearing all of your adventures soon!

Love,
Elder Carter

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