Elder Carter's Argentinian Mission

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

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

Yup . . . Transfers

June13
You know the saying, “I’m not losing a daughter, I’m gaining a son”?  Strangely enough, it describes exactly how I feel right now.

We have been working as a trio for the past two weeks in two different cities and two different wards.  It has been absolutely crazy, but also completely amazing.  As for the quote (above), Elder Serón got his new companion and won’t be working with us any more.  I am really going to miss him – but the good news is that his companion is here and is a really great missionary (it’s like gaining another son!).  His name is Elder Miranda and is from Peru.  He is really excited and has nine months in the mission.  That means that I am with three “young” Latino missionaries (The three of them have 15 combined months in the mission and I have over 21).  Their excitement is contagious and I know that the four of us will get along great!

Well, I haven’t written a lot about the work in the past couple of weeks so here is a quick overview*.  As a trio we worked really efficiently together (something that was more difficult in my last trio) and one of the main reasons is because we divided up the time and the responsibilities.  Everyone understood their part and completed it.  In our companionship and in our respective wards, I learned a lot about delegation and trust.  We had to coordinate a lot between ourselves and also between the members.  Also, one of the best things that I learned from this experience is that “You can delegate tasks but you can’t delegate responsibility.”

Almost everyone will agree to help you with the intention of completing, but committing them do do something doesn’t transfer the responsibility to them, but rather the task.  This is also in the scriptures.  Here are a couple of examples:

When the earth got to a certain point of wickedness, God needed to destroy the earth with a flood.  He called Noah to the task of warning the people (which he did for a VERY long time) and then when everyone had been given the chance to repent, He commanded Noah to build the ark.  God had delegated a task upon his servant, Noah . . . but who was the one who was responsible for saving the human race?  Noah had the task (and in some sense, the “responsibility” to complete his task), but God still had the responsibility of saving the human race even though He wasn’t in charge of completing the task.  In other words, if Noah didn’t build the ark God would still have the responsibility to look for someone else because he still had spirit children to be born on this world.

There are a couple of interesting things here:
  1. Noah still faced the consequences of fulfilling his task (had he not done it, he would have been punished).
  2. Noah was carrying the task while God carried the responsibility.
  3. God stayed in contact with Noah while he was building.
  4. God made sure that it got accomplished – no matter what.
From these three things we learn:
  1. There is responsibility for the assigned person on the “task level”.
  2. The one with the task is responsible to the delegator and the delegator is responsible for the outcome.
  3. There needs to be communication between the two parties (commitment, verification, follow-up, etc).
  4. The responsibility cannot be delegated and the outcome depends on the delegator.
There are many other examples in the scriptures with some of the most notable being the Creation, Moses leading the Israelites, the 2,000 stripling warriors, the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, etc.  In each one, there is a higher power guiding a lesser power and in many cases it gives the outcomes if they succeed through obedience or if they fail through disobedience.

Each of us play a leadership role in our lives.  There is no way to avoid it – but that is the beauty of it!  I am reminded of when I was doing my Eagle Scout Project and one of my leaders taught me something very important.  He said that the point of the project isn’t so that we work hard by ourselves, but rather to coordinate and help everyone to lift together.  When we do that, we can do much more then we can ever do alone.  We have been sent to earth in order to learn to become like our Father in Heaven through the example of His Son.  One of the great things that we must learn is to coordinate and manage to help everyone to lift together.  That is why we have been given marriages.  That is the point of families.  That is the purpose for quorums.  Everyone we associate with can help us to help others.  We have the responsibility to magnify what we have been given in life, and our associations with other people is one of those things.  Someday we will be held accountable for everything that we accomplish in our lives – each according to our capacity.  We will speak with our Father and also with everyone that we have (or could have) associated with.  Let us all do everything in our power to move God’s great work along in every way that we can.

“For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”

Thank you all so much for everything!  I love you all so much!  I hope you have an awesome week and do many great things!

Love,
Elder Carter

*PS  It was going to be a quick overview, but it turned out to be a sermon on delegation and coordination . . . I’ll talk more about our investigators next week.  If you would like to keep them in your prayers, we are focusing on three families:
  • The Galvan family (she is having some health difficulties and her daughter needs some motivation to attend with her)
  • The Ibañez family (they are progressing well, but are in a difficult financial situation)
  • The Rodrigez family (they are very excited, but are face obstacles each time they try to push forward)
Thanks so much!!!!  Take care!!!!

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.

Divine Preparation

May23
This past week was amazing.  Many great things happened but I wanted to share something that really stuck out to me over the past few days.  To explain, I am going to use three of the most prominent examples:


Flia Ibañez, Rey, Marcelas sister


The first happened several days ago.  We were clapping doors and got to the fourth or fifth one.  Their yard was only about 1.5 meters wide and their house was back down in an alley.  We clapped and quickly a man appeared.  He took one look at us and said, “You’re from the park downtown!”  We looked at him (slightly confused) and my companion replied that we were from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and explained that our chapel was much closer then downtown.  He started talking to us when his wife looked outside.  She, too, came out to greet us and said, “Look, the boys from the park!”  We stood there staring blankly at them as she shook our hands with a big smile.  Her husband explained that we weren’t from the park, but that we were from The Church of Jesus Christ.  Then she turned to us and (finally) offered an explanation.


They had been walking downtown when they had come across the missionaries that were working in that area near the plaza.  The couple spoke briefly with them and explained to them that he had been out of work for a while and were facing a very difficult situation.   The missionaries explained a little about the church and said that there was one close to their home.  Then, they offered to pray so that he would be able to find work soon.  The next day, he went out to find work and immediately found it.  Then, several days later, we came by and clapped their door – something that hadn’t happened in years.


The next example that I have is a man named Rey.  We were knocking doors in another part of town and he came out to talk to us.  He had to go to work right then but invited us back another day.  We passed by several days later and he let us in.  What followed was a very spiritual lesson with him and two of his grown sons.  Rey explained that he had attended several different churches but that he felt “empty”.  His wife was going through some serious health complications and was looking for help.  His son told us about how he had been looking for the true church.  He wanted to explain many things to his girlfriend about why he didn’t believe the church that she attended was true but he didn’t “have the right authority”.  He had been asking Heavenly Father for someone to guide him so that he would know what to do.
The last person I wanted to talk about came through a recent convert named Marcella.  In September her sister, Veronica, had very serious complications while giving birth which put her into a coma.  She was near death on several different occasions and was miraculously saved many times against all odds.  While going through this very traumatic experience, Marcella met up with the missionaries.  She asked them why her sister had to go through this, what happens if she died, and what is the purpose for even being here.  The missionaries answered all of her questions and challenged her to read The Book of Mormon and pray to know if it was true.  She did and was baptized shortly afterward.  Since that time, she had been taking her niece and nephews to church and they had learned all about the Restoration and the basic principles of the gospel.  Now, eight months later, Veronica was finally able to return home.  Before this experience, I doubt that she would have received the missionaries . . . but after all she and her family had gone through, along with the preparation her sister and children had received, she listened to us.  We explained the restoration and she understood.  We challenged her to read, pray, and be baptized once God answered her prayers.  She accepted and will attend church with her sister this Sunday.


What do all of these stories have in common?  They each went through a very personalized and divine preparation long before we even knew them.  Was it a coincidence that we clapped the door of the Ibañez family several days after recieving a miracle through a “random” encounter with missionaries after not seeing us for years?  Was it a coincidence that Rey and his family had been looking for the true church and we come along right when they are facing their most intense emotions coupled with the health complications of a loved one?  Is it a coincidence that Marcela was looking for answers right when the missionaries found her and that she was able to prepare Veronica and her children to be baptized?  It would be statistically and logically impossible for one of them to happen let alone all of them in the past five days.


This is God’s work.  He is preparing His children in the best way possible.  Those who make the choice to accept the help when He sends it are blessed with something that changes lives.


The more I thought about it the more I realized that it doesn’t just apply here in the mission.  I know that my wife exists somewhere and that she is being prepared.  I know that those who have gone astray are receiving the best circumstances possible to help them return without infringing on personal agency.  I know that children are sent to their families after an eternity of preparation and are received exactly where they are needed.  I also know that although we cannot always recognize our Heavenly Father’s hand in our lives, it is always there.  He is doing everything possible to help us and we can trust that we are receiving the most optimal experience possible here based on our personal obedience.  He has given us everything and there is nothing more that he can do.  Everything else depends on us . . . our obedience, our works, our prayers, and our faith.  What a sweet principle!  It makes perfect sense!  We have a perfect Father who loves us perfectly and acts perfectly acording to his love!  What more could we possibly ask for?


Thanks again for everything!  Have a fantastic week!  I love you all so much!  Take care!


Love,
Elder Carter

The Hidden Miracles

May16

Hello All,

This past week has been great!  We were able to find many new people to teach and I finally know my way around the area (your first week or two in a new area is a big game of “Follow the Leader”).  The members in our area are really great and supportive of the missionary effort.  It almost makes me jealous to see them so excited for the missionary work because growing up in Utah, I never had missionaries in my ward.  Then, I realize that jealousy is a sin and start singing “Scripture Power” in my mind.  Anyway, I wanted to talk about something a bit more uplifting.

A couple of weeks ago my mom wrote me a letter that said that I should look for a miracle every day in my mission.  I had heard of that before from other missionaries, but it is a lot different coming from your own mom.  A couple of days later I was setting new goals with my companion.  I like to divide my goals up into categories (like key indicators, Christlike attributes, personal improvement, etc.).  We got to the Christlike attributes section and one of them we decided to work on was Faith.  As we were talking about ways to increase our faith I decided to share what my mom had written me.  We decided to record a “Miracle of the Day” after we finished planning each day.  The first day was easy because we received a really obvious miracle (in walking across the street from where we were knocking, down several houses, and finding a family that was prepared to hear us).  The obvious miracles were great but what has impacted me the most has been the hidden miracles.

We got back one night and finished planning.  I turned to my companion and said, “It’s time for the ‘Miracle of the Day’…what miracle did we see today?”  He stared back at me as I stared at him.  It seemed that nothing miraculous had happened.  He asked me what I wanted to do.  I was at a loss – had we not been miraculously helped that day?  Was our Heavenly Father randomly giving us miracles on some days and other days leaving us abandoned?  If that was the case, maybe the miracles were just coincidences…

Shaking the thought from my mind I continued thinking.  The first thing that came to my mind was Gustavo.  This was the first time I taught him and he was a really intelligent guy.  He had several good questions and seemed genuinely interested.  It seemed like a normal thing, but then I remembered what my companion had told me about him earlier – that he was just a drunk.  The first time they had taught him he had been drinking and they just left him with a pamphlet (because it isn’t very effective to teach a drunk person).  To me, he didn’t seem anything like what he was before.  I talked to my companion and he agreed.  The only explanation for so much change in so little time is that it was a miracle!  As quickly as that idea came into my mind I thought of our English class that we had just come from.  Everything went as planned, but four boys came in that we didn’t even know.  One of them was a member and the other three were his friends that he brought along.  Everyone in the class were people that we personally invited as we couldn’t announce it in church or distribute invitations.  I started wondering how they even knew that we were there.  Every other Saturday leading up to our class the church was locked.  None of them were active and none of them knew anyone else in the class.  How did they even get there?  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that God had just dropped them into our laps.  Another outright miracle!  It had first been a hidden miracle, but a minute of mediation and reflection captured what had almost been lost.

We each see miracles every day.  Almost every single miracle that happens in our lives goes unnoticed and fades from our memory.  Ungrateful for His hand in our lives we struggle forward with feelings of insecurity and doubt – although it is completely unnecessary.  It only takes one minute to gratefully record and thank Heavenly Father for his help in our lives and it will fortify our faith, strengthen our resolve, and comfort our hearts.  I am reminded of a talk by President Eyring who spoke about tender mercies.  He suggested keeping a notebook and writing down all of the tender mercies that you see in your life.  He explained that they are all around us, but we just need to take the time to recognize them.  I know that it is true and I am living it every day of my mission here.  You don’t, however, need to be a missionary in order to put it into practice because he was speaking to all of us…not just the missionaries.

Thank you all so much for all that you do!  I am horribly behind on my handwritten letter replies (I am much better at responding to email – jared.carter@myldsmail.net).  Thanks for all of your words of encouragement.  For those of you who have sent wedding invitations – CONGRATULATIONS!!!  I am so happy for each one of you and I pray for all of your success!  Anyway, I hope you all have a great week and I’ll talk to you soon!

Love,
Elder Carter

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

I’m an Uncle!!!!

May2
Another bittersweet transfer.  This morning, Elder Singer and I took the 6 hour bus ride to Tucuman where we will be working together in the same zone.  My new area is called Lastenia which is in San Miguel de Tucuman.  Twenty months ago, I started my mission here in Tucuman (then I went to Santiago Del Estero, Salta, and Jujuy).  Now I am back . . . and this time, I am able to talk!  My new companion is Elder Montaño from Southern Argentina.  He is really great and has only been here for 6 weeks.  We are really excited to work in our new branch (which is small right now with an attendance of 30).  I have some plans and get more and more excited as I think about what these next four months have in store for us.  I am ending my mission on September 6th and I believe that this will be my last area . . . I am going to give it all that I’ve got!!!


Yesterday was another one of the hardest days of my mission.  I really love the people in Jujuy but I had to say goodbye.  It was really hard to go, but I know that there are people waiting for me here in Tucuman.  Something really hit me yesterday when I was in Church. The meeting had just ended and I was walking out with the Diaz family.  Their mother started speaking to me amongst the noise of everyone exiting the building.  “We…[noise]…here…[noise]…you…”  I tried to figure out what she was saying as she repeated again.  I thought I understood and replied “yes” but she knew that I didn’t understand.  By this time we were out in the foyer and she stopped.  She looked me straight in the eye and said, “We are here because of what you have done.  Thank you.”  I had this incredible feeling sweep over my entire body.  It is true that they hadn’t attended church in a long time, but I didn’t realize that they were there because of what we had done as missionaries.  It was a feeling that I can’t fully express but it was great!


We went to lunch and then left for work.  At the end of the day, we decided to go caroling with some of the members to families in our branch.  It turned out to be a really great experience (even though it was really hard to see them for the last time).  As we sang and spoke with the members quickly, I had the clear impression of the importance of the work that we were doing.  What Sister Diaz had told us earlier was repeated in many forms through out the night and it gave me the happiest feeling.  I wondered to myself what we had done that caused such strong feelings in all of the members here.  We were just teachers and hadn’t done anything special to merit the praise that they were giving us.  Then I remembered something that I had been taught a long time ago in Alma 37:6 which says, “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.” Everyone was thanking us for the results that they had seen (a “great thing”).  We were looking at the effort that we had put in to receive such a drastic effect.  Yes, we worked hard, but the life-changing effects compared to our daily labors didn’t seem to add up.  But that is the point!  They will never add up!


God magnifies our effort when we are doing His will.  We don’t need to do great things in order to see great results. All He desires is that we complete with the small and simple things He asks of us.  He then takes our mustard seed of faith with our best effort and turns it into miracles.  Many of you have heard that there are miracles every day . . . and it is true!  What is required?  Small and simple things applied with faith and consistency.  What would happen if you read the scriptures for 10 minutes each day with your family?  What would happen if you made a welcoming phone call once a week?  What would happen if you  left a thank-you note for a different co-worker each month?  They are so simple, but yet our good works always yield more results than the effort.  If we can receive such a great outcome for something so little, shouldn’t we fill our lives with small and simple things?


Keep doing good!  Keep being happy!  Have a great week!


Love,

Elder Carter


P.S.  I am an Uncle again!!!!  Woohoo!!!!  My nephew, Zeke, was born last week and I was able to see all of the pictures today.  Technology is such a blessing!  Anyway, Congratulations Pereira family!  I love you all so much!  Have a great week!

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!).

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