Tuesday, December 24, 2013


So she had p-day today instead of Monday. We get to Skype with her tomorrow for Christmas. I’m just a little nervous about that. I had a hard time saying goodbye the first time. It is interesting she is with the same companion as when we said goodbye in the airport. I’m not sure if I have shared this tender mercy that happen for Kaela and us when we dropped her off at the airport in Salt Lake City, bound for the MTC in Mexico City. The story helps give context to the relationship with her current companion. Kaela was really nervous about the whole travel thing to Mexico City, so was I, badly. She is not an experienced traveler and had only been on a plane a couple times in her life and nothing international and she’s so little the thought of her dragging around a bunch of luggage as big as her in a foreign country about gave both of us a panic attack. So after we got her luggage checked in we were just waiting around in one of the passage ways between the parking and security, basically working up the courage for the goodbye. Kaela wanted to get a photo of all of us on her camera before we said goodbye. So we look down the passageway towards parking and see another sister missionary coming towards us. She is a little petit thing like Kaela and she is with what looks like a mom, dad, and little brother. As they approach us Kaela stops her and asks if she would mind taking a picture of all of us. Seeing her name badge in Spanish I asked her, “So where are you going on your mission?” “Quito, Ecuador,” she replied. Kaela about fell over, “Quito? Not Quito North, but Quito?!!” she asked. “Nope, just Quito,” the sister answered excitedly sensing what Kaela was about to say. “That’s where I’m going!!!” They both squealed and gave each other the biggest hug like they were long lost friends. That is when dad started to get really choked up. I was so grateful. After we took pictures of her and her family and quick introductions it was time to say goodbye. With the new friendship it was so much easier. There was quick goodbyes and hugs and then they ran off together laughing and excited. We looked at the other set of parents, who were looking at us with the same gratitude spread across their faces we had on ours and we all let out a sigh that could be heard for miles around. Well that sister in the airport is her companion now. They are a couple of little Hobbit women.

So the subject is Jingle Bells in Spanish. That`s all I know of the song pretty much. And yes! My third baptism this week!!! Woo!! This means I`ve officially had more baptisms than I had dates in college. Bacan.

SO I`M SUPER EXCITED TO TALK TO YA`LL TOMORROW!!!!!! Hehe even though I already talked to Mom, Stockton, I`m sorry I woke you up. But yeah here`s how I feel in the mission. It`s like AMBATO IS ALL I HAVE EVER KNOWN and then we go to Quito for random stuff and I`m like oh wait the mission actually exists outside of Ambato and then I call home and I`m like oh wait there is actually a world where I don`t wear a skirt every day and I can watch movies. Speaking of which enjoy this picture.

Yeah, speaking of wearing a skirt every day, I was hoping to make it through my whole mission without wearing jeans but yesterday we had a random service project of washing a less active member`s car so I had to wear jeans. The good news is they still fit. The bad news is I felt like a freak.

So yeah, we had a baptism this week!! Anibal was baptised!!!! Haha it was the most chaotic week of my life. He`s super great, he came to church 3 out of 4 Sundays so we haven`t been working with him very long but yeah, I love baptisms, but for as much as I wonder why I don`t ever have any, this week basically explained why. So what we did wrong was we didn`t tell people about the baptism soon enough, I guess, because we ran into the Bishop on Friday and we were like "hey we have a baptism tomorrow" and he said "chuso" (not sure what Chuso means, maybe great, or ok) and nothing else, so we were like...okay cool so maybe the Ward Mission Leader will help us? So we called our WML, also known as Morgan Freeman/Lucius Fox and he was like "okay, I will do all I can to help you, what do you need? I`ll be there on time, no, I`ll be there early!!!" Haha he`s super cool. And yes I will try to get a picture of him because he totally looks like Morgan Freeman. So Saturday came and luckily there was a baptism right before us from the magical ward of Pradera who literally has a baptism every week so we didn`t have to worry about cleaning or filling the font, and we frantically called our ZL´s and DL`s because we don`t know how to do baptisms and they said they would come, which was good, because in all there ended up being 8 missionaries, 4 members, and Anibal. Haha the cool thing was that Johanna and Domenica came!!! And our WML and one other member. And then the bishop came for the closing prayer. And I was feeling upset about how there were hardly any members there, but then I had this feeling come over me that it was okay, the ordinance is still valid and good in the eyes of the Lord and He is happy with my service. So that was really nice.

Okay a MIRACLE just barely happened. So you remember Maggie, right? She was one of our super great investigators, but her fecha (baptismal date) fell because her boyfriend cancelled their wedding, grr, and she dropped off the planet and we could not find her, and she just barely walked into this internet and was like "hermanas, que miraglo (milagro miracle)!!!" and it turns out she lives one block away from us. so cool!!!

So yeah, tomorrow we are going to make this lunch for Johanna and her family, I`m super excited. So we got everything together and then we were like wait, we don`t know how to cook any of this, so we decided to call Hermana Ghent and she was super excited about what we were doing but she said in their family it`s Pres Ghent who makes the mashed potatoes and gravy, so she gave the phone to him and explained to us how to make mashed potatoes and gravy, and he was super excited about what we were doing too, so that is the story of how I called my mission president because I didn`t know how to make gravy.

Okay, so what I learned this week is that asking for references is how to get a billion investigators. Our super wise Zone Leaders, who are equally hilarious, came with us because we were like hey we don`t have investigators help. And they just asked EVERYONE for references and filled up our appointments for the next 3 days. It was so cool. It was also super funny because we always see people here making out in the street and cual quier (whatever) location, and our running joke is always "hey, do you have a ley de castidad folleto (law of chastity pamphlet)?" So our ZL was like "hey, I'm going to give that couple over there a castidad folleto" and we were like, wait, really? And he totally did, and their reaction was hilarious. Haha so that is what I learned this week in terms of the work.

And now for the story of why I started crying in MegaMaxi (supermarket/grocery store). First we found out they sell Campbells Chicken Noodle Soup so that was a miracle. But no, Dad, it was your story! You have to know my side now, okay there isn`t much of a my side but here`s why it made me cry. The thing is, I already knew that story because Grandma Devona, your mom, was the one to tell me about it. And she just told me that Devona, your cousin, disappeared and they had no idea what happened to her or if she was even still alive, and so for some reason I wondered about her a lot, like if we would ever find her. like for me, it meant that there was another Devona somewhere in the world, and we didn`t know where. So the fact that you were able to contact her this week just knocked me off my feet, like it was seriously the coolest thing for me. I obviously don`t know her, but now I`ll be able to meet her, and yeah! Super cool!!!

So me and Hermana M... were wandering around a little bit lost trying to find the limit of our sector and a reference, when we ran into this white girl, and we were like "hey what are you doing here?!" and in broken English she responded that she was from Alemania (Germany) So we were like ah super cool! And she spoke Spanish but not English, and we spoke Spanish but not German, so we talked to this German girl, Nelli, in Spanish, which was super cool. Speaking of which I need to email her. Anyways, we talked to her a bit about her beliefs and stuff and she seemed suuuuper prepared she just wasn`t super interested in receiving missionaries, but she told us how she thinks a lot of the churches are corrupt and just formed by man, and we asked her what she believes about Jesus, and she told us that she believes that he lived, but he was killed and that was the end of it, so then we testified of the resurrection and she was like "wait, what is that??" and we testified that Jesus lives again and knows her personally and stuff and she was like wow, that`s super cool!! So yeah, it was nice to talk to someone with different religious beliefs haha.

Well, I think that`s about it. I can`t even tell you how excited I am to talk to you tomorrow!! Just think, in exactly 24 hours we`ll be seeing each other!!! Aahhh!!! Well have a great night with Chinese food tonight, where are you going? China Lilly? well enjoy your egg drop soup and whatever else you get, maybe get some spicy garlic pork, extra spicy and without veggies in my honor. Haha love you all, see ya TOMORROW!!!!!

Love, Hermana Carter

p.s. Mom, sorry I scared you today/made you cry, haha I love surprising people like that, haha and I hope you enjoy that I left like 2 more messages of me saying "WHY DON`T YOU ANSWER YOUR PHONE" in your voice mail haha.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Hey family I hope you had so much fun watching the Hobbit.


But seriousy, I went trunky out of my mind when you told me about it. Eso es pecado (that is a sin). So for this pecado (sin), you have to wait to see the third movie until I get home. There. That`s what you get.

Okay, so this week was one of the less productive weeks of my mission. Like we hardly taught or contacted at all. On Tuesday we FIIIIIIIIIIIINALLY moved into the new house, and YES I STILL HAVE BEDBUGS I brought them with me from the other house. -sad face- But Tuesday we were moving and packing all day, and I just stayed packed cuz I figured I would be leaving Ambato, and then Wednesday the maintenance man of the mission came to fix up the house because I guess light bulbs aren`t my thing, and I managed to crush one in my hand while trying to take it out of the ceiling. Luckily we were like miracle protected, and I only have a few cuts on my fingers. There is also one gigantic room in the house so we decided to put our beds, the desks, and fridge all in this room but then we got in trouble so...yeah.

Thursday we went to Quito to have a Christmas dinner with President and Hermana Ghent. I`ll be honest, it was probably the best, most spiritual night of my mission. It was so cool. First, we had an AMERICAN, NORMAL, CHRISTMAS DINNER with corn, ham, potatoes, rolls....mmmmm AND SALAD haha I miss salad so much. It was super cool though cuz all the hermanas got to sit at the table with President and Hermana Ghent and I loved talking to them, seriously Hermana Ghent is like amazing. I super want to be her when I grow up. Then after dinner we had a family home evening together and we had some spiritual thoughts about Christmas, and then we played games, but the coolest part was we went caroling! It was my zone and one other zone, and we stood outside an apartment building and sang christmas hymns and people were like coming out and waving at us and filming us and all this crazy stuff, but the spirit was SO strong, the whole time. And then we came back for hot chocolate, which was super delicious. AND I GOT YOUR CHRISTMAS PACKAGE. Oh my goodness, that christmas tree, and all the lights, are absolutely adorable. I am super happy. 

Okay so now for cambios news. So, things have been...not super great in this sector. I feel like I`ve knocked every door, talked to every person, and the ward is becoming less and less helpful for us, so I prayed my MIND out that I would leave Ambato. Literally every waking moment.And I really felt like I would. But then, my comp got suuuper sick on Friday, like she couldn`t even walk, so she ended up getting transferred to be comps with the mission nurse and I`m staying here. When I found out, I just cried and cried because...I don`t really feel like I`m fulfilling my purpose as a missionary here, like I`ve done all I can here and these people need someone else to help them.

There is good news to all of this though. MY COMPANION!!! Family, you remember Hermana M..., who I met when we said goodbye at the airport?? She`s my comp now!!!!! That`s such a tender mercy, that I get to pass Christmas and New Years with a good friend. I don`t know what kinds of success we`ll have here but we get along super well so that is really nice.

As far as the work was going, my heart probably shattered at least twice this week. First, Ecuadorian Randy (Eddy) for his work, won`t be able to come to church until the new year. But, his wife should be coming during the holidays so I`m pretty certain he`ll at least get married, but if I`m staying here it looks like I`ll be able to see his baptism. Also, Anibal, is getting baptised this saturday. He`s our only investigator, haha, but he`s super fiel. But, the WORST is that Maggi, our super great investigator, had to cancel her wedding, 10 days before she was going to get married, because something happened with her boyfriend. When we came over she was SUPER upset, so I don`t know what`s going to happen, but I feel so bad for her cuz she was so excited and everything. But she isn`t going to be baptized either :( So I don`t remember if I`ve told you this yet, but there are 3 wards that meet in our building. Ambato, Pradera, and Mira Flores (mine). Ambato and Pradera are like the golden wards that get tons of baptisms because they are super good at giving references and hermanamiento and stuff like that, and my ward is not. Haha. So whenever we find suuuuper good, prepared people, they are always in those other wards. It`s super funny. And a little bit frustrating, haha, but yeah, I`ll seek inspiration to see what I can do to help build up the ward in which I`ve been placed.

Okay, so I think mom had some questions. Haber.

1. Christmas in Ecuador is a lot different. There is no snow. There is no Christmas music except for what I play on my iPod and whatever is playing in MegaMaxi. The tradition is that they have a dinner on Christmas eve and that`s basically it. haha.

2. Insights into how to feel the Spirit. Hmm. Be worthy. Repent. Ask the people to turn off the TV during lessons. Ask people to turn off their phones during the sacrament. Haha okay in all seriousness, I can get back to you on that one, I`m still working on that whole thing myself. But everything in chapter 4 of PMG is what I would say.

3. The rice krispy treats are always nummy, especially the one that had chocolate in it. Um, homemade cookies would always be good, although I`m not sure how long they would keep. Pero no se, I`m always good with anything homemade that isn`t rice. Also, can you send me a couple of those things of Steven`s hot chocolate? Like the flavored kinds, raspberry and mexican chocolate are my favorite, but yeah all the hot chocolate here tastes not so delicious, but we found one american brand in Megamaxi today.

4. YES. All of my no show socks are starting to go missing. It`s a super tragedy. They sell them in WalMart (that beauty) and have a little sticky thing on the back cuz they always fall down...sock drama. Haha but yeah that more than anything. Actually if you find cute skirts that are on the longer side, all they sell here are mini skirts and I`m starting to realize that all I have is 4 of the same skirt in different colors.

5. It`s just a super dirty city with a lot of apartments and dogs. Quito has more architecture, it`s like all historic and cool and stuff. They name all the streets after famous people or famous dates in history, quito doesn`t have street names which makes it impossible to find people, Ambato does which is super nice. But there are never house numbers so addresses don`t exist. Things I have taken for granted. Regular addresses. Haha. Okay well I sort of lied, there are actually a lot of cool looking churches here. That`s basically it.

6. I wish I could bring back the view, and Johanna. One day in relief society I thought the entire time about if it would be possible for us to adopt her. I actually prayed about it cuz I was that seriously considering it but then I remembered that we speak english in America and she may not enjoy that too much. And yeah the view here is amazing.

Okay, I think that`s it. Mission Tweets:

-Finding surprise money in your pocket: Good. Finding a mango you forgot about in your pocket: not as good.

-Just realized that I`m wearing brown shoes with black socks with a grey skirt... *throws self into incoming traffic*

-How many missionaries does it take to change a lightbulb? Two! Because they always have to stay together! #reasonsmycompanionhatesme


oh yeah and emails should be 3:30 ecuadorian time, I`ll confirm next week because we have pday on Tuesday which means YES I will join you for chinese on christmas eve...in spirit...probably eating chinese in the mall because it`s the only place that plays christmas music.

love you all so much!! Have a great week!!!

Love Hermana Carter

Monday, December 9, 2013

An Interesting Week

Haha okay yeah, fam, I did buy your Christmas presents today! They probably won´t get to you until the second coming, and it might cost a fortune to send but it was totally worth it because they are super super cool. No hints, you´ll just have to wait. Unless they don´t get to you in which case I still won´t tell you because then you´ll just be sad because they are super cool.

Well this week is super interesting. I´ve got to be honest in this email, but I shall also do it with as much humor as I can, because that´s how I hide my pain. Hahahaha jk jk jk not really, I mean, I just think it´s funny for how completely crazy this is.

So we have no investigators. Well not zero zero but basically we hardly have anybody. Haha we contacted every day, searched and searched and we got to Saturday and we were just like....uh....like we legit had nothing to do, so we just went to the Church because it´s in our sector and there´s usually other missionaries there or something going on, as it happened there was a baptism so we literally just walked into the church, talked to the missionaries for a bit, and their convert, and then decided to take a walk around the block, so we passed by one investigators house and she told us not to come anymore and then we went back to the church and that was how we lost our last investigator. Haha. But it´s okay, we have pretty good spirits about it, we have cambios this week and I´m thinking that my time has come to say goodbye to Ambato, so I think this week we´re just going to try to do what we can to salvage our area and visit a lot of less active members and do a lot of service. Basically every night this week we´ve gone over to talk with Joanna and Domenica because they are like my life here and also Domenica´s mom is starting to be a little more receptive to us, okay that´s actually a cool story so here it is.

So Paola, Domenica´s mom and Joanna´s aunt is super nice, she´s just like super sweet and loving to us but usually doesn´t sit in the charlas because she´s busy or asleep, but something crazy happened in their family that we don´t know what, but ever since she´s been a lot more receptive to us. Well one night we taught them the Plan of Salvation and then we asked her to say the closing prayer, and she did but then just started crying and crying because she really wants to repent and change, so we shared with her Alma 36 when Alma talks about his conversion, and it was like 9:10 so we were about to leave but then she asked us to stay a little longer so we could sing some hymns with them, so we did, and the spirit was pretty strong, (and yes we did get home on time haha) but it reminded me of the story in the bible, the road to Emmaus, when they asked the Savior to tarry with them a little bit longer, and then say, "did not our heart burn within us?" or something like that. I´m not saying we´re like the Savior or anything, haha not even close, but it was cool to see somebody really feel the spirit and want more of it.

So that was my spiritual experience of the week. Now for some not so spiritual experiences but nevertheless they were a little bit funny. And frustrating. We´ll say funny to give it a more optimistic touch haha.

So first we were tocando and this guy was like well I don´t really want much to do with my religion, but my mom does, so he called her down and she was like "PASEN PASEN" so we went up and she´s like filthy rich. I expected Ecuador to be super poor, and I´ve seen poor people for sure, no extreme poverty, but mostly I´ve seen a lot of super rich people. Anyways so she invites us in and then gives us tea and we were like so....we can´t drink this. So that was how we offended her part 1. But then we tried to do the preguntas del alma (questions of the soul) with the book of mormon and she was like wait wait wait what is this book, and so we showed her the bible and she was like okay reina valera good and then we showed her the book of mormon and she was starting to act a little anxious so we were just like don´t worry, it´s the word of God, it was written by prophets and everything, and it has all the answers to your questions but I think she still thought it was the bible or something, at any rate she started quizzing us and testing the book of mormon, so she was like "what does it say in Isaiah 54?!?!" and I was like....well let me look in the Bible. So I pull out the bible and I had no idea what she meant by her question but I just read the chapter heading and she said "that is correct." And then she started telling us how she lives like a queen and her church is perfect so we were like okay....let´s go. So we said a prayer and then she gave us a watermelon and a thing of toilet paper and some propaganda, which we then gave to a less active member. But not the propaganda. 

So the second story. I´ll admit this was a little more frustrating than funny, but asi es. So there is one street that at first we thought was gold but turns out everyone on this street super hates us, but there is always this one little kid who is like "my mom is home, you can go visit her!" so we finally did on Saturday, and she was suuuuuuuper super nice, and then she asked us what we preach, and so I said something about how God has revealed more of his word through modern prophets and it was the craziest thing....she just like stared at me and said "what do you mean by prophets? There is nothing outside of the bible." So we explained how because God still loves his children, he is always going to give us more of his word and always call people to guide us and me and my comp both testified of the Book of Mormon and she completely freaked out. I´ve never seen anything like it before. She was yelling, and even pushing us a little bit, and telling us that we were confused and worse than the catholics and we need to get out of this devil path because satan has us in his power, so we asked if we could say a prayer so she could ask God if any of this is really true, or at least calm down the situation, but she refused and then kicked us out of her house.

I´ve never experienced anything like that on my mission, it was super weird. But, it actually increased my testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. It hurt, because I thought back to all the times that I´ve gained a personal testimony of the truth of the Book of Mormon and how she told me that all of that is a lie. What I love about being on the mission, though, is how much I get to bear my testimony. And the difference between us and everyone else is that I don´t have to say "I believe this is true" I get to say "I KNOW this is true" and of all the propaganda I´ve been handed and for all the people I´ve talked to with the billions of other religions I´ve seen here, not once have I seen an invitation to pray and ask God if it´s true. But that´s what we do, every day. We invite people to ask God themselves if it´s true, because we know they´ll get an answer if they ask with real intent. I know it because that´s how it happened with me, I felt, I have felt a thousand times that this is the truth. That´s how it all started, with a 14 year old boy praying to God to find the truth, with the faith that he would receive an answer, and that´s how it is now, we pray to God to find our answers. I love it, I love being able to testify of that truth, because nobody else does!!! I´m so grateful for all the answers I´ve received through prayer, because even though there are enough physical evidences of the truth on the church, my strongest evidence is all that I have felt through the holy ghost. Pretty cool.

But speaking of physical evidences, GUESS WHAT. Okay so I´m like behind on the times so this is probably old news, but a member showed us this article the other day (okay so it´s probably a sin that I looked at a material that isn´t the standard works but it´s church related so hopefully not) but National Geographic released an article about how a third of Native American genes all trace back to....guess where.... JERUSALEM. Hahahahahahahahah the article was like yeah we´re pretty shocked about this recent development and I was like BOOK OF MORMON = TRUE.

Well I don´t have much else to say, I always forget awesome stuff but let´s be honest my letters are like way too long anyways AH I ALMOST FORGOT SOMETHING SUPER IMPORTANT.

First, we have an investigator, kind of, she isn´t a member and never comes to church but is one of those poco a poco, but her daughter is a member and I love this family to death and we usually go over there when it´s raining and we don´t have umbrellas but the mom, Jackie, is seriously Ecuadorian Donnie. Haha Dad I´m slowly but surely finding all of your family in Ambato haha. Speaking of Donnie tell her to write me and send me Europe pictures. Okay so that actually was just on my mind not the important thing.

CHRISTMAS IS COMING AND I´M GONNA SKYYYYPE. Except maybe can we google chat because I forgot my skype info? Well whatever works best for you, but yeah, if I stay in Ambato i´ll either do it at Ecuadorian Donnie´s house or with Flia Guerrero, if I leave I´m sure I´ll be able to find a member there, if not...sorry. haha jk jk don´t worry there´s like a billion internet cafes. But I only get 40 minutes so write down all your questions so we don´t waste time talking about how I´ve had bed bugs for 11 weeks haha. I can do it whenever, it just has to be on Christmas, obvs, so tell me a time and I´ll work my super free schedule around it. Also Christmas day is a normal work day....which I´m a little sad about but I decided that instead of normal work me and my comp will just do lots of service and caroling or something because we´re not allowed to tract that day. Also the day before will be our p-day so yes I will be eating chinese food with you, in Spirit.

Ah, okay, done. Haha I love and miss you all so much, I think about you all a lot and I hope you are doing so well. Stockton, I hope you get better from your sickness soon, unless you already did, I don´t know these things haha. But seriously, I hope you are all enjoying the snow! And winter, all that good stuff. Haha it rained today....okay yeah. I love you all a ton, and you are always in my prayers!!! Have a fantastic week!!!

Love Hermana Carter aka kela aka kaela aka I actually forgot my name until my zone leader said it today.

p.s. dad you´ll hate this, I was with Ecuadorian Donnie yesterday and she was telling me all about how she loves candy crush and then she started playing it in front of me and I was just like okay compy let´s go haha it was super funny. but yeah. sorry. hahaha. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy Birthday Dad


hehehehehehe ;) aw I love you Dad!!! I hope you had a wonderful birthday!!!!!

This week....ahahahaha um yeah. So I´m not sure where to begin!! Okay so really not much happened this week. I always have a billion things to say and then I get to the internet and I´m like wait...whut.

But thank you SO MUCH for that picture of the roof going on the temple!!! Eeee I can´t WAIT to be able to go!!! I hope sooo badly I´ll be able to go to the dedication but yeah I love watching my little temple grow!!!!! Also I am super sad that I am not in Utah right now for a super freaky cold winter, not. Haha I am thoroughly enjoying living directly under the sun and not getting as tan as I would like to. Except I rock the cardigan and 3/4 skirt all day long so yeah that´s what I get.

Dad, I loved that story about what you did for Christmas on your mission. I have a few ideas, but send me more if you get any!!! Today I accidently bought two combo meals from Tropi Burger because I actually don´t understand Spanish as well as I think I do so I gave one of them to a homeless lady and it was like the happiest thing that happened all week. But yeah service is like the best thing ever because that´s like automatic happiness, it was actually super cool with this lady because I bought a gigantic supersize meal cuz I was fasting, and then they doubled it so I was able to give this giant meal to this lady and she was like 90 and super cute. So yeah, I just want to give up on converting people and go find all the less actives and go do service and nothing else but I think my leaders would all toss me off Cotopaxi if I tried to do that because everyone wants baptisms and I´m just like yeah....sorry. My ZL was telling me today how his hardest transfer was when he only had 5 baptisms and I was just like -bashes head into a wall-. I also had a member get mad at me yesterday, when I asked her if she could help us find more of the less active members of the ward and she told me that I shouldn´t be thinking about them, because they´re already baptized and it´s their fault if they don´t want to stay active. -bashes head into wall again-

Also Dad, thank you sooooo much for the hobbit quote. You have to copy and paste it into the blog post here because I love it to death.
Gandalf: Well, why does it matter? He's back!
Thorin Oakenshield: It matters. I want to know - why did you come back?
Bilbo Baggins: Look, I know you doubt me, I know you always have. And you're right... I often think of Bag End. I miss my books, and my armchair, and my garden. See, that's where I belong, that's home. That's why I came back... 'cause you don't have one, a home. It was taken from you. But I will help you take it back if I can.

Mom, don´t worry about safety. Only the elders in our ward have been jumped yet, funny it was the same street as the church is on. Haha but seriously, don´t worry about me. Yesterday was pretty bad, because all of our citas (appointments) fell through and me and my comp were just like...well what do we do now...so we headed over to the church and a bunch of the missionaries were there, so we asked one trio of elders if they wanted to contact with us and they were like "yeah, but we don´t really know how to contact" and we were just like "yeah it´s okay we don´t either" so that´s the only time I´ve worked on danger street. Okay so actually every street after the sun goes down is danger street but nothing has happened to me, just everyone else.

Actually something incredible and awful happened on that street. So we were knocking doors and we found a couple of teenagers who SPEAK ENGLISH BETTER THAN THEY SPEAK SPANISH BECAUSE THEY WERE RAISED IN THE UNITED STATES so we were able to teach about Joseph Smith and the Restoration IN ENGLISH and it was the most amazing thing ever. And they wanted to learn more, but live in our ZL´s sector, so we wrote down their number and went to give the reference, but THE NUMBER WAS WRONG. So we went back to the house where we found them the next day, but the only person there was their grandmother, and she told us that she wouldn´t help us at all because the whole family is Catholic, and the boys are too, and they don´t want to listen to us. Aaaaahhhhh so we´re going to specific prayer it up to find them again.

Another crazy thing happened. So we were contacting Tupac again, the street that we just always to go to contact half because of the name and half because of the view and we found a deaf lady, and my comp sort of speaks sign language and I have a gospel art book so we were able to sort of communicate with her but she asked for our number, and we gave it to her, and that night we returned early to do our weekly planning (and to celebrate thanksgiving part 2 with the amazing cheesecake that we secretly bought) and SHE CALLED US. It was like the scene in the best 2 years when they´re praying and the phone rings and the hallelujiah chorus starts playing because that is basically how we felt. And it was actually her daughter who called us, but we got the address and I think her family doesn´t want us to come because we haven´t been able to actually get into her house to teach her but we´re going to keep trying. But seriously, super cool, the spirit was actually way strong during that contact.

And mom, I TOTES DEFS want to go visit you and go to the DC temple after my mission. Haha I can´t believe it, today is my 5 month mark. I feel like a baby but I only have a little over one year left!!! It´s crazy, the time goes by so fast.

So I should tell you about some of the people in our ward. La familia G... is my favorite, by far. They speak a little bit of English, and have family living in Utah as well, so they´re like pretty normal but Hermano G... is amazing, he showed us the house of a less active family and he basically taught the lesson and they´ve been coming back to church ever since, so we basically want to bring them to every lesson. There is also the J... family, they are technically less active because they don´t really come to church but they always give us lunch and we´re teaching their daughter, who is basically Mormon already without the baptism, but they have a bunch of dogs and the other day we came for lunch but it wasn´t ready yet so the mom was like here let me put on a movie for you guys and we were like uhhhhhh so that was a little awkward. Who else who else. Well yeah that´s all I can think of right now, but I love the ward. They take care of us, but not our investigators or converts or anything. Haha not at all.

So we´re trying to put together a district choir for I´m not really sure why but we did a practice today, and you know how it is with Latin America and singing....haha yeah it was super funny.

So I´ve been starting to go a little crazy while contacting, because nobody wants to listen to "dos gringitas" so they just tell us that we are speaking English and they don´t understand us. But yeah maybe pray for me that I can actually find some people without risking my sanity.

Also, to all the people who are reading my blog who are return missionaries, or who are even missionaries, or even if I don´t know you but you read my blog or letters because they are just so hilarious and everything SEND ME YOUR FINDING WISDOM. Seriously email me, it´s kaela.carter@myldsmail.net if you have any creative ways of finding people that don't include knocking on doors or chasing down people in the street ENLIGHTEN ME. Hehe. Yeah but really. Thank you.


Okay I´m breaking out the mission tweets:

-Things I´m thinking while I´m watching the District

  -1% I´m really excited to apply what I´ve learned here into my daily work

  -99% I think this ward is actually located in the Celestial kingdom.


-So I'm thinking the reason I wasn't called Stateside was because I would order a pizza during the weekly planning session.

-How crazy is it to think that someone here in Ecuador is playing music from a band that was started in my very own city. In other news, yes, people continue to blast all my favorite songs during my morning studies. #somuchforspirit

-Things I have never said: "I sure hope a whole bunch of creepy men are standing next to me when this bus jolts to a stop and I fall over."

-So it turns out the guy who lives next to us is a super big fan of really bad Ecuadorian karaoke.

Well, I love you all so much. As far as something spiritual, I´ve been studying chapter 4 of PMG so I can have the spirit in our lessons, and I´ve been studying the conversion process and it turns out the people who have the strongest conversions, like Alma, all went down the exact same path of Faith, Repentance, Baptism (or making covenants), Receiving the Holy Ghost and then not Enduring to the End but actually jumping right into missionary work. Also Alma 5 is a beautiful chapter, go read it with the Work of Salvation in mind. Also this is a scripture but on a less spiritual note my roommate found 2 Chronicles 21:15, 18-19 and it reminded me of my first transfer in the mission.....haha yeah I´m glad I´m not sick anymore, but the fleas are back, grr. haha

Well, have an amazing week, I love you all so much and STOCKTON POR QUE NO ME ESCRIBES but seriously, you are always in my prayers. Thanks for all your support!!! Enjoy these great pictures, and your week!!!

Love, Hermana Carter

Me with my new megamaxi card!!! Super official.  aaaand I bought a coconut and broke it open just because I wanted to see what was inside.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Contacting Tupac

Wow, this might be a long email. Haha a lot of funny things happened this week.

First, the picture should explain the subject hehe. Well yeah we contacted like 1 door in this street and there was a lady who was like yeah....I'm pretty busy aka I don't want to listen to what you have to say and we asked if we could do any service for her and she was like well I need help setting up my Christmas tree and we were just like uh, yes. So this year I did get to help set up a Christmas tree, not all is lost.

Speaking of Navidad, we finally broke out the Christmas music on my iPod. The day of "Thanksgiving" (seriously how did I miss that one) but I guess it's okay because that means we'll just have to celebrate it again. I'm really glad I have a companion who appreciates my sense of logic. And humor. Haha. But yeah I'm loving the Christmas music, it's giving me a great excuse to listen to J-Grobes and Elder Darchuleta. Aaaaand more Mark Geslison. Haha somebody tell him that I have like all of his CD's on my iPod I don't even know how that happened it like multiplied within my iPod or something anyways it's that for the next 13 months haha. And Lord of the Rings. hahaha.

So, a few things happened this week. Thursday we had Elder Alvaro from the 70 come!!! It was like a surprise, like I learned about it on Wednesday so we had a big zone conference with him and the Ghents and it was sooooooooooooo good seriously I'm trying to think...I don't really remember right now but I do remember that he served his mission in Bolivia, Dad!!! He talked about better ways to plan, and our purpose in why are we here in the mission, like not what do we hope for after the mission but what do we hope for right now in this very moment, and he said that we should all be thinking the same thing, to cry repentance!!! He was super cool, and his wife was super sweet, she talked about her mission and how it just blessed her life so much. Like, not in a trunky way, but I'm pretty excited for life after the mission, like I know it'll have it's trials just like the mission but I just have a feeling like I'm going to be able to see so many blessings after my mission thanks to the work I've done here. The Ghents also spoke, and they are seriously wonderful. I don't remember what they talked about though, but we got to have a mini meeting with just the hermanas with Hermana Ghent and Hermana Alvaro and they were so sweet, seriously Hermana Ghent is like my role model.

Friday...our lunch fell through, so luckily I have a companion who likes fun so we decided to probe the unknown waters of Ecuadorian Chinese Food. Well basically we couldn't read the menu so we just had to guess, Hermana Sellers scored and got some pad thai looking stuff, I have no idea what mine was but it was super gross and yeah. With luck, I'll have a companion who likes having fun for Christmas so we can get Chinese on Christmas Eve tambien (also).

Well, here's a more triste (sad) note. So remember how last week we found a billion people and I was like yeah this week we're going to have tons of success!!! nope. Haha this week was not the greatest in the number area, Saturday we did a bunch of service so our numbers were super bajo (low) and my district leader was just like, what in the world did you do all week. Also on Saturday we found this incredible lady who wanted to get baptized suuuuuper badly into our church, but she doesn't live in our sector so we wrote down her number but I wrote it WRONG. So we can't find her!!!!! And we went looking for her and found her husband and he was super rude to us and just told us that he doesn't speak English so we should leave. Grrrrr. So then on Sunday I was feeling pretty discouraged about that, and we were in the church studying because we went to another ward with Ecuadorian Randy and one of the Elders gave us a reference, of somebody who was IN CHURCH that day, like what a miracle, but it turned out the ref was for my old comps. But the trials of Sunday weren't over. After church we went to a transmission about the Work of Salvation, which was pretty cool, and then somehow right after the transmission i LOST MY AGENDA. My agenda is my life haha it has our entire world, and my money too so I was pretty sure I had been robbed, but I was like how in the world was I robbed during a meeting full of bishops and relief society presidents, but we searched and searched for like an hour, and that was about when I had emotional breakdown #2, I was just thinking why in the world is this happening, could today be any worse, but the 1st counsellor in the bishopric here, and his family, the familia G... are like the sweetest family in the ward, and they came back to help me look for my agenda, and eventually we found it in a bishop's office somewhere, and then they took me to their house and we had a Noche de Hogar with one of our investigators and they made me American food. Haha so Sunday ended on a pretty good note.

Anyways, that's all I can really think of right now. Here's my mission tweets for the week!!

oh just kidding I just found my notes of things I wanted to tell you guys. Haha. First, this is my missionary compromiso  (challenge) for you guys this week. GO TO THE TEMPLE EVERY WEEK FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIIIIIIIIIIIVES seriously there is no such thing as not having time for the temple. And I'll even follow the formula in PMG for making compromisos. (Testify) I know that when I went to the temple every week before my mission, I received so much strength and I was so much happier, and I could tell the difference from the weeks that I missed and the weeks that I went. (Promise blessings) I promise you, Dad, that you'll have more capacity to handle your crazy job. And mom, I promise that you will have more strength to do the millions of school things you have to do. (verificar) Entonces, what do you have to do every week? [Go to the temple!!!] Exactly!! Bien hecho (good job).

Also, uh, there is a quote in the hobbit where Bilbo says something like "I miss my home, I miss my garden. I have a home, but you don't. It's been taken from you. And I'm going to help you get it back." Because Hermana S... and I have decided that's like our missionary purpose but I don't remember how it goes exactly and I like to put motivating quotes in my agenda, haha.

Speaking of motivating quotes, here's one I found. "You can count the number of seeds in an apple, but you can't count the number of apples in a seed. The harvest is the Lord's, your responsibility is to thrust in the sickle."

Also, Alma 26:27-29 is like, my life, and a super great scripture for "Talk to Everyone." and I want 3 Nephi 17: 21-23 to hang up on my wall in my home when I'm a mother.

Yeah okay now here's my mission tweets.

-One of the hermanas just told me that I should start counting my family of recent converts as one of my 5 less-active families #hasteningtheworkofsalvationprobs (and yeah about that...haha yeah not much more to say about that....)

-Doesn't know a word in Spanish- Oh it's okay I'll just wait until Monday so I can Google Translate it...nope.

-They say that the last song you had stuck in your head before your mission is the one you'll have stuck in your head your entire mission. Not really, but that's what I'm assuming, seeing as I've had the Sherlock theme song stuck in my head for 5 months.

-To the vecino who is blasting the Teenage Dream CD by Katy Perry right outside our door during companionship study WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU TRYING TO DO TO ME. -starts blasting "Come Thou Fount" like a maniac

-Well, I just had a craving for 5 guys fries so...yeah. Not much I can do about that one.

Hehe I love you all sooooooooooooo much!!! Thank you all for all your support, and love. I've been spoiled with the greatest family in the world. Love you all, until next week!!!

Love, Hermana Carter


Monday, November 18, 2013

A Week of Miracles

Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamiry :D y amigos!!! :D


I got a letter from Hermana Flores!!!!!!! She was super sweet, and chuso, I miss her a lot. It´s crazy how some companions you end up developing such a strong love for, but only after transfers. Like with Hna F..., and Hna S..., sometimes I would feel impatient for no reason at all, and I took for granted the fact that they are seriously human angels. Hermana S... taught me one of the best lessons of my mission, and that was service. I still remember so vividly when I asked her, "how do you do it??? How are you so mindful of every opportunity to serve??" and she just said "I don´t always know if I´m doing something right, or wrong, but I know that every time I serve someone, I´m doing something right." And then Hermana F... taught me charity through and through, and those have been the best two attributes I´ve learned my whole mission and the ones I want to absolutely perfect. And patience, haha. Okay so that was a really long way to say I got a letter from Hermana F..., but also something this week I´ve just been thinking that I want to make the best of the companionship now, the fact that I´m not in a trio (but seriously) the fact that she speaks English, we have a bunch of similar interests, yep, Hermana S... is pretty bacansisimo. So I´m determined not to take that for granted.

I should explain the weekend of miracles part, haha. This week has been a little rough, well, number-wise...we´ve been working pretty hard but haven´t really seen many fruits from it, so Friday our DL went tracting with us and to a lesson with us, well, the lesson was interesting, I am pretty sure America is never going to speak to us again but I guess we´ll see tonight, but he taught us the importance of street contacting, which I hated doing before, but now I love it because the people can´t hide behind their doors, lying about how their cat just died or whatever. So we made a ton of contacts, and then took to practice this concept on Saturday, and at the end of the day on Saturday we had EIGHT people who accepted a baptismal date, my mind was seriously blown cuz 8 people in 1 day has never happened to me. But the next day none of them came to church so that was a little bit of a bummer, but I´m super excited to start working with them this week because some of them are seriously oro (gold). Like a couple who is MARRIED but yeah I´m super excited for this coming week.

However, it was still a weekend of miracles because we are having RAGING success with the less actives. Seriously, this week I came to the decision that my calling here in Ecuador was not to bring people to the waters of baptism, but to find and bring back to the fold the people who have already been baptized but lost their way. Seriously, I love teaching the less active members, they are so great, they all have testimonies already, we just have to help them rekindle them, and the bonus is that a lot of times there is someone in their family who isn´t baptized yet, but have been raised, at least a little bit, in the principles of the gospel, and are way receptive too. They usually have friends who are members, so they already have hermanamiento and everything. Also, with the less actives, the goal with them isn´t baptism, but it´s getting them to the point where they can take the sacrament and the best is getting them to the temple!!! That is such a wonderful goal to have in mind!! One example of a story. We found a less active family, they have daughters in young women's and everything, and we taught them one time on a Saturday night a couple weeks ago, and they´ve been coming back to church ever since, the girls are even going to young women's and the little boy was in the primary program this week! And they were inactive for 4 years!!! I´ve been saying that I haven´t been seeing any miracles, but I´ve just been looking in the wrong place. I was totally called to my mission in the right time, for the Work of Salvation. I still want to help bring people to baptism, a lot, and I have a lot of hope for some of the people we´ve found this week, and we also received a ton of great referrals, but yeah, those are my thoughts on success this week. Also on the fact that success is measured in personal conversion, it makes me so happy to think how much I´ve changed on my mission, and I´m only sitting on 4 and a half months. I know I just need to keep pushing myself harder and harder to develop all the attributes I want, haha pray that I can learn patience because the bed bugs keep biting and our hot water broke again, haha, but seriously, I´ve learned a lot, and that is way more important to me than baptisms right now.

Today was actually pretty fun, we had a zone activity, we went to the parque de la familia and played kick ball, I think I killed myself from running so much at a gazillion feet altitude, and I also got a picture of me breaking the biggest rule of the mission so far, haha we found a zip-line for 12 year olds and we were just like...well...when are we going to get the chance again to zip line in Ecuador. So that´s my goal, to still obey with exactitude and all that good stuff, but also have fun, seriously, I´m living in Ecuador, the opportunities are endless. But since Thanksgiving is this Thursday, we had a big thanksgiving dinner with our zone and the zone right next to us, it was pretty good, I had bacon so I can´t complain, but it was definitely not what I´m sure you guys are looking forward to. But some elders found a guy from Canada who makes pie for government officials so we´re going to buy some pie from him, and...yeah.  I hope your turkey burns this Thursday. Not really. But really. Also our ZL´s found a place called Waffle House that sells milkshakes so we´re going there today too...I hope.
Okay one last funny story. I´ve told you all the scariest stories of my mission, but this one right here has earned the place of #1 most awkward experience of my mission thus far, and that´s with all the times that I´m just super awkward around all the elders because I don´t even try it just happens that way, haha. Anyways, on Saturday we contacted a guy outside of his house and asked if we could come in and share a message with his family, he told us to wait one sec and went back into his house, so we waited a couple minutes and then he came back out and he was super excited, he told us that he was Evangelico and loves hearing the palabra de Dios, so I go to shake his hand, but he just grabbed me and straight up kissed me on the cheek and said "Dios te bendiga!!!" like not even a social kiss, it was the real deal, I was like in shock, I was just thinking to myself okay, let´s just teach them lesson 1 and then get out of here and never return but they all ended up accepting fecha so we´ll see what happens this week. It was super weird. Super, duper weird.

Well, that´s really all I have to report for this week, haha also my Spanish has improved tenfold, I know that´s a straight up blessing from the Lord and a resource I have to use to help my companion learn Spanish. I´m feeling really great here, I´m loving my mission, it´s so incredibly hard, but I´m enjoying myself and determined to enjoy myself even more and work super hard this week!!! I love you all so much and I pray for you every day!!!! Have a great week!!!!

Love, Hermana Carter

Monday, November 11, 2013

Battle of the ed Bugs Continue

Haaaaiiiii! Family! Fraaaaaaanzzzzzzzz!!!!!


*looks around*

Okay, so I`m going to have to work a little harder on that one...

So, Dad, you`ll think this is funny. The guy on the computer next to me has been playing Candy Crush for like half an hour and I`m dying, haha that music brings me back to the days of my addiction. Speaking of addictions, I`ve been doing better with the milk ever since I drank half a thing of expired milk and I finally got the chance to weigh myself. Haha yeah....okay so I`ve only gained like 5 pounds my entire mission which I`d say is pretty good considering the fact that I`m surrounded by food at every second and I`m fed a mountain of rice every day and I drink as much milk as a baby dinosaur. RAWR. Hehe. But yeah...that`s what happened.

So the bed bug situation is...getting worse. This morning I woke up super early with 12 new bites, I wanted to cry, haha it`s pretty ugly, I had a dream that my bishop got mad at me for how bad my legs look and how I have to cover it with makeup and everything, haha but I`m just trying to be really positive and the offices called me and said someone would come this Wednesday to take a look, so I`m happy about that. I`m going to send a picture of my nasty enfermidad because well it makes for a good mission story, haha.

So the big news, I`m training!! Wooo! So Hermana S... is from California, she was in the Mexico MTC too so it brings me back to my CCM days with Hermana S.... We speak way too much English, I`m trying to be more disciplined and speak only in Spanish, like I know that`s what I should do because that`s how I learned from Hermana F..., but I`ll keep working on it. My comp is on fire though, like she studied a ton before her mission and has a super strong testimony, and POR FIN SOMEONE WHO LIKES SHERLOCK I WENT THROUGH 5 COMPANIONS. Ahem, not that it matters, but okay so it actually kind of does. Okay so it matters because I just prayed and prayed this time for a comp who I can be friends with, who has the same interests as me and everything, and I knew it was true love when we were singing the Monk theme song together last night. No but I have to work hard not to take her for granted cuz I didn`t realize when I was in the MTC just how great of a comp Hermana Stewart was and I have to work really hard this time around to make the best of this companionship.

So as for the work, the paradox continues of the more obedient I am, the less *visible* success I have. AKA we`re killing it with the obedience...well okay so we haven`t hit exact yet but I`m still working on making sure she understands the rules...but our investigators are just dropping off the face of the planet. We still have Ecuadorian Randy, he`s supposed to get married this week, we`ll see how that goes, we fasted and everything, and we have a lot of hope...we also have America and her kids, she has a testimony of Joseph Smith and everything and has seen the difference the church has made in her life, has asistencia, but won`t accept a fecha, it`s killing me. And we have Veronica. But Dad, you have to tell me, HOW THE FETCH DID YOU HAVE 25 BAPTISMS IN A MONTH that's like impossible that's been our zone goal and we haven't been able to reach that not even close. Yesterday this guy in our ward was telling us how on his mission he and his comp had a bus that they drove to church with all their investigators because that's how many they had and I was just like....how is that even possible. So Dad, you need to wave your magic missionary wand at me or something because seriously you are like a wizard you're having more baptisms than me right now, haha.

Anyways, that`s about it for investigators, and that`s about it for the work. Nothing super interesting happened this week, except I suddenly gained the magic power of being able to speak Spanish. Like I was reading in my journal from last week and I was saying "I feel like my Spanish is getting worse" but ever since I started training I`ve been able to speak really well, I understand basically everything and I`ve actually figured out subjunctive and today in Megamaxi I realized how Combined Object Pronouns work!!! So it`s a miracle, an absolute miracle. Don de lenguas, everyone.

Also, I`m starting to feel a lot more comfortable about being on a mission, like my brain has finally adjusted to the fact that I live and preach the gospel in Ecuador. I`m feeling good, really really good. I love my testimony, and I feel so grateful for the gospel and how much my testimony has grown out here of the restoration. This is 100 billion percent the true church, I know that with all my heart and not for the billions of evidences but because I can see so clearly how it has changed my life, and seriously I`ve changed out here so much I can hardly recognize myself, I have seen so clearly how much I am becoming like the woman who I`ve been dreaming of becoming and I`m so grateful for that, I know with a surety that this mission is going to help me to become who I need to become for my future family. The Gospel is true!!!!!

Well, that`s about it. I sent you guys a package today. Haha my one for your million. Thanks so much for all you do!!! Get ready for some sweet pictures this week. I love you all so much!!!! Keep working hard in your missionary efforts, friends AND family, you are such great examples to me!!!!

Love, Hermana Carter

p.s. this poor guy has been playing candy crush for like an hour, and I`m pretty sure he`s been stuck on the same level for the whole time, que pena. Hehe.


(Quito Edition)

I`m sorry, I just can`t compete with the Assistants when calling a taxi #iamnotworthy

This bus driver is playing an entire Taylor Swift CD so this is my life for the next 3 hours.

Transfer meeting is actually code for gigantic slumber party where we all obediently go to bed at 10:30

Sneaking out of the house with the other trainers so we can go buy magic bread at the offices.

Well I can now officially say I have wandered around Quito at night 100% lost.

(Back in Ambato)

Lunch cancels on us without notification, some people would get mad but for me that just means it's the new Magnum Menta Icecream in the park.

Tender mercy is when you're feeling frustrated and tired and you get a taxi driver who speaks english.

You know you must be serving a mission in Ecuador when you have a dream about going to Megamaxi with Peter, James, and John.

*Sees something black on bed* "please don't be alive, please don't be alive" *moves* *screams, sets bed on fire* #pulgaproblems

The everlasting joy spoken of in the scriptures is actually the same feeling of finding your anti-itch pen after thinking you left it in Quito

I just got robbed by an 8 year old so there goes all the pride I've ever obtained in my life.

And these pictures I took especially for you guys...bowling for milk, my new comp, and darn looks like I'll have to send the others in a different email. Until next week!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Bed Bugs and New Comp. Not one in the Same!

Inspired by Camille: I´m going to title this email "That awkward moment when you think the 5 week battle with bed bugs is over and then wake up with 18 new bites. *throws mattress out into the fuerte Ecuadorian sun to fry*"

Yep. Thanks Camille for the subject line! Haha story of my life.

Well, I´m just going to have to start with mission tweets so I can stall longer with the companion thing. Hehehehehehehehehehe ;)

Appropriate landmarks: panaderias, schools, street signs. non-appropriate landmarks: dogs, taxis, creepy guy staring at us in the street.

Walk of shame into the mamita´s house after accidentally offending them last week. #soawk

Things I regret saying to my mission president:

1. We should street contact more so we don´t have to knock doors.

2. I´m having an emotional breakdown.

3. Sometimes I feel like a leper.

How I´m trying to learn tu form:

1. Praying in tu form

2. Talking to small children in tu form

3. talking to dogs in tu form

4. Talking to myself in tu form.

The feeling of eating all the food in the house right before transfers is equally thrilling as finishing the bottles of shampoo and conditioner at the same time.

I think it´s about time that I mention that everyone in Ecuador has the exact same car alarm. And the alarm will go off if you so much as breathe on the car.

I think a good way to describe charity is that there is a super crazy lady yelling about mandarinas in the street and I love her a whole lot.

Also here is a sweet quote I found from The Fellowship of the Ring:
"The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest must be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet it is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: Small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere."

Yep, bacansisimo. Well, I only remember one thing from this week and it basically includes me weeping like a crazy person when we had Juanito tell us that he didn´t want to get baptized because he wanted to continue drinking and playing sports on Sundays. I´ve cried three times in my mission, and I was a little weirded out like why am I crying so much about this...but I think that´s a good thing. He came to church on Sunday, so that was pretty good. 

I had better tell you about the last 24 hours. They´ve been a little crazy. Last night we got the call and the verdict is in...I´M GOING TO TRAIN WHUT WHUT WHUT. haha my poor little hija (daughter). So I thought I was supposed to be in Quito on Wednesday, but, I got another call at 11:30 at night from the assistants and they were like hey you need to be in Quito tomorrow so...yeah. And I was like uh....bacan. Okay, back to bed. But then my ZL called me, and he was super funny about it but I basically got no sleep last night, and then at 10 this morning I was on a bus to Quito! Also I was completely alone with Elders and sitting on a bus for 2 and a half hours with an elder and talking to him is just the weirdest thing ever. Like, I know I sound like an awkward missionary here but that is just the truth.

So here´s what I think. I´m just going to have to stay in Ambato my entire mission because I can´t do Quito again. I´m going to have to have a couple more transfers in Ambato, and then Baños, and then Oriente (the jungles!!!) But I don´t want to return to Quito. I love coming to the offices because all the secretaries who are here on their senior couple missions are my friends, so I got to hang out with them all day haha. Also I had Subway and I bought a footlong (or 30 cm cuz I guess we´re in a different hemisphere or something) and ate it in like 4 minutes because that´s what a three hour bus ride does to you. It´s like going to St. George except you don´t have the hopeful prospect of Benjas, but American food and the Panaderia of magic are here so when you´re on a mission in a foreign land it´s just about as good. I also bought like 4 new forros for my agenda and himnario, I don´t even know why. I´m going to send you guys my old one and Dad you can use it when you visit the Spanish ward to declare the work of Salvation to them.

Anyways, I think that´s about all I´m going to be able to say today, sorry for the short letter (ha) but yeah, I´m going to send this along before I get caught for peeking at my comp. Love you all a ton!!!

Hermana Carter

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Week BIéN Cheveré

Familia y amigos! 

Well, this week was BIEN CHEVERÉ because I had my first baptism!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wooooooooo!!! Dominica and Johanna were baptized and confirmed this weekend!!! Seriously, it was an insane Saturday. Haha I think Satan is trying to kill me or something because I drank a TON of expired milk for breakfast, haha I felt so sick I thought I was going to die. But I specifically prayed that I would survive the day so we could have the baptism and we did!!! It was so great!!! But even better was the confirmation the next day!!! That was super surreal, like seeing these people who I love so much and I´ve worked with so long be confirmed members of the church. I didn´t feel like "oh look at this thing I did!" because I legit didn´t do anything, I´ve learned by now that it is the Lord who changes the hearts, not the missionaries. No I felt more like "hey, two of my really good friends are Mormon now!!!" haha but I also felt really strongly just how important the baptism and confirmation are. Like I felt so much like this really is a legit promise that they just made with God. It was pretty cool. The picture is me and Dominica. The other picture is me, Dominica and Johanna and Eliza. I started teaching Eliza with Hermana Flores but it turned out she lived in the Elder´s sector so they finished her teaching. And I didn´t start teaching Dominica or Johanna but I did finish it so it was sort of full circle there. Pretty cool!!!

 Dad, I got the package with more dry shampoo and the rice krispy treats with chocolate. I basically swallowed them, they were so good. Haha I think I´m good on dry shampoo though, and tide to go. Haha but actually if you guys can find a REALLY good Spanish/English dictionary, you can send that in the next package because I bought one here that I lovingly named Basura because it never has any of the words I need and all the words in English are spelled wrong, it´s really funny. 

Well I have more evidence that Ecuador is actually middle earth. Here are my comparisons. My first area in Solanda is Rohan, and where the offices in Quito are is Gondor, and Baños is Rivendell, and Ambato, where I am now, is the Shire. Also they sell Lamnas bread. (uhhh didn´t spell that right don´t have Google sorry)

Well this week we had a special training with President Ghent on the new rules of how we´re supposed to work with menos activos and recent converts. I´m super excited, and during the training I had a realization. Even though in my last area we had zero progressing investigators and zero baptisms, we had INCREDIBLE success with the less active members. Well sort of. I just remember one time where I was talking with one member who had gone inactive because of work, and everything we said about the commandments wasn´t really working, but I felt impressed to ask him if he received the priesthood yet, and he said no, and I bore my testimony of how much of a blessing it is to have the priesthood in my home, and he started coming back to church because of that so he could prepare to receive the priesthood. That is real success!!! Following the promptings of the Spirit to help bring somebody back into the fold!! So I´m super excited for this, and super excited to work as hard as I can so we can meet this new goal of 34 lessons a week!!!

Well, I also had another realization this week. We were studying in the church and I was reading Alma 26 and 29 because that´s like the missionary energy drink of the Book of Mormon, and I realized that I am super, super happy here. Like, sometimes it´s really easy to get caught up in how hard of a task the mission is, but as I was thinking I realized that really the mission is more fun than anything else I´ve done in my life so far. Seriously, every day I get to study the gospel for 4 hours. And then after that it´s more or less socially acceptable for me to stop people in the street (or at times run after them like a crazy person) to take down their name and number, and then I get to make all these great friends and help them to come unto Christ and make covenants and set them on the path to Eternal Life, I get to have the Spirit with me all the time, knowing how many people are praying for the missionaries, receiving more gospel education from great people like President and Hermana Ghent, yeah the mission is actually the best thing ever. Even though it´s SUUUUUUUPER hard, it is still pretty dang awesome. I´m not sure how I feel about this, because I miss you guys so much and I want to be with you, and I want to have a life with education and I think about my future kids a ton and I want to be a mom and all that good stuff but the mission is the best thing ever so I guess the only solution for this is that when my mission in Ecuador ends we´re going to give me a new identity so I can live a double life where as Kaela I have my family and I go to school and I live somewhere where people flush their toilet paper, but then my secret identity of Hermana Carter, (or maybe it could be like Hermana Batman because this is a secret identity after all) will be that I´m actually still a missionary and I go out and do missionary stuff like teach lessons and study and tocar puertas and all that good stuff. I´m not totally sure how I´ll manage that because the missionary life is 24/7 but I´ll figure it out. I guess the other solution is that I serve a billion missions with my husband when we´re old. One of the office missionaries, who is also my friend, has the best life ever. This is her third mission with her husband, the first two were temple missions or something. That is the life. That is what I want.

Well, we get two hours to write and somehow I have a lot of time left so I´m going to keep chugging along with this email, hehe. Time for some good news, bad news.

Good news: transfers are next week. Other good news: I don´t have bed bugs anymore. Bad news: The fleas are back. I think it´s like the Nephites and the Lamanites, like the bed bugs are the Nephites and the Lamanites are the fleas, and for a while they were dwelling in peace and prosperously feasting upon my poor flesh but they have battles and sometimes the fleas win so I just get a lot of flea bites one week but then the next week the bed bugs prevail so I get a lot of bed bug bites and every now and then I have to intervene and smite them with my rod (or Raid, hehe) and they calm down and then volver...thus has been the cycle.

But, before I forget, Dad, I made your guac for our ward, and it was a hit. Everyone comments on it now, haha. Except I accidentally made spicy instead of mild and picante in Ecuador is not a thing so it was hilarious, everyone was like "Aaahhh Hermana Carter muy picante pero muy muy rico" and they couldn´t stop eating it. It was great, yum yum yum. Also all your missionary efforts lately are blowing my mind.

Well, here we part, until next week, and I´ll have news about transfers!!! Specifically pray that I´ll stay in Ambato because I am in love with this place.

I love you all SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a great week and seguir adelante!!!

Love, Hermana Carter
My first volcano eruption!!

Oh, mission tweets, hehe ;)

Me, buying hot chocolate: "Can I add flavors?"

Him: "Why would you do that? That doesn´t make any sense."

Me: I was born in the promised land.

 Let it be known to the world that I am the type of missionary who drinks a quart of milk during weekly planning session.

 My greatest joys on the mission have been as follows: When my first investigator accepted a baptismal date, the first time I saw my family investigators come to church, the day I discovered that mega maxi sells nutella.

Well, the long night of apostasy has ended and there has been a glorious restoration of light and truth on the earth once more. Or, in other words, the apartment now has hot water.

Serious tweet: I´m beginning to realize that even in the hardest of circumstances, life on the mission is still one of the happiest things I´ve ever experienced.

Somebody tells a joke, search in my spanish/english dictionary, ten minutes later start laughing, everybody thinks I´m insane.

Me: Ah, a nice, peaceful P-Day...



Monday, October 21, 2013

Pura Crema, Nectar of the Gods

My famiry!! And friends!!!

What a week. The mission is crazy. To explain the subject, I´ve decided that I am legit addicted to the milk here. Pura Crema is my weakness. Also I´ve taken up stress eating, but don´t worry, I haven´t been gaining weight because I´ve been climbing the stairs of Cirith Ungol and walking aaaaaaa lot. But yeah, one morning I was stressed or something and I drank a quart of milk. I was so ashamed of myself. And then last night I got stressed so I grabbed my jug of milk and my  jar of nutella and a spoon and then I was like, wait, this isn´t okay. But seriously, I don´t even  use a mug anymore, I just drink it straight from the bottle. For everyone who I´m trying to help overcome their addictions, I am a disgrace. But I can´t help it. Pura Crema is just too good.

Dad, I love that story about grandma and randy!!! Ecuadorian Randy still hasn´t been baptized, because he still isn´t married..... But he´s holding out strong! Dominica was planned for Saturday but her date fell through because she didn´t go to church and because she isn´t really doing anything to get permission from her parents. Johanna still needs to meet with President Ghent but her fecha fell too because she didn't come to church. I wish I could mind meld with people to help them understand the importance of coming to church but since I can´t do that I´m just going to have to start bribing them. Also I think my story of the dead lady is still a little scarier than yours, because she was lying on the table and had died like an hour before. I´m glad you are enjoying the soccer games with the neighbors. I haven´t seen much soccer here (hhahahahahahahaha) okay well my sin of the week was there was a final futbol game between Ecuador and Chile and we went to the B...family to visit them during the game, and they were watching it and so I may or may not have caught a glimpse of Ecuador scoring a goal against Chile........yeah. So I´m a pecadora but I have repented of this grievous crime. And all of my friends like your guacamole. That´s not even a question. Also the pouch came and I didn´t have any packages from you, what is this madness?? You need to step it up a little bit. Hahaha mintirosa, I´m like the most spoiled missionary in my zone, and forgot to tell you last week, but I got the package with all the dried fruit and the picture of the temple!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I´m super temple homesick, I´ve decided that the very first thing I do when I go home is I´m going to go to the temple. Like bring my temple bag to the airport, seriously. And then after that we can watch the Hobbit 2. Priorities. Also I had a revelation about you, I think you´re going to be called to be a mission president after mom finishes school and this is how you´ll quit your job. I know that conflicts with my previous revelation so I´m not really sure, but sometimes I daydream during companionship study and that is what I came up with. Also because the talks you sent me are bacanisimo.

Mom, talking with Sister Hunt is always a mind enlightening wonderful experience. She´s like a wizard of knowledge about all things that are good. It´s okay that your email was a little shorter this week, just know that the people who send me long emails get more prayers :) jk jk jk I hope you all know that I pray for you like a tsunami is about to hit. Speaking of prayers, I´m glad you guys are catching onto the specific prayer magic. I think specific prayer doesn´t work with hot water heaters though, cuz I haven´t had a hot shower in 3 weeks. But, here is my specific prayer miracle for the week. We taught the B... family in the church last Monday, and I felt inspired to read Mosiah 3 with Juanito, focusing on how through the atonement of Christ we can overcome the natural man and our addictions. It was super spiritual and at the end we said a specific prayer that every time he read the Book of Mormon, he would no longer feel the desire to drink. I was certain that it would work...and then the next day he went blind. Literally. Satanas. But, because he´s been blind, he hasn´t been drinking...so I´m really not sure how I feel about all of this. Sounds like Hunter had a great time in boot camp, make sure to tell him that the mission is better.

Stockton, I forgot to tell you this last week but that Kung Fu panda quote made my day. Haha climbing the stairs of Cirith Ungol is always fun. And for what it´s worth, having your fairy godmother companion emergency transferred is a little more emotionally challenging than not getting to dance with a cute girl in your ballroom class, but you keep working on that. And yes, we do tract, or tocar puertas as they say. But good luck on your midterms!!! I hope you had fun at Lagoon.

Well, as far as this week went, I´m still trucking along, working hard. We do divisions a lot, I usually end up calling members of the ward and they come with me to visit people. For one of these divisions, I ended up shuttling the entire B... family to a baptism, more or less by myself. Well of course all the missionaries were there, and they always ask me when I´m going to get a companion, and it was here that I was dubbed with the nickname Hermana Sola. Haha yeah, it´s been interesting, but I can´t even begin to say how much I´ve grown in the past two weeks. I feel like I´ve matured soooooooooo much because so many people are relying on me to work hard and be diligent. I´m not sure if I can still be classified as mature yet, because I still bark back at the dogs and write goofy mission tweets, but thus is the life. This Sunday was a little chaotic because my comps were just chilling, and I was running around doing grownup-y stuff, like making sure the investigators were in their right classes and collecting references and talking to the leaders and the whole time I was thinking "two weeks ago I didn´t have even the tinyest amount of responsibility" but the mission has taught me that the best way to learn is to be thrown into an ocean and told to swim. Haha thus has been my life. I´ve also been learning a ton about compassion, and charity. Yesterday I had to give the Bastantes the "why didn´t you come to church" talk and I felt sooooooooo bad. Seriously, my companions have been telling me that I need to be more harsh, but I can´t. I try as much as I can to think about what type of missionary Jesus Christ was, and he did everything in love. Anyways, if there´s one thing I´ve learned in Ambato, it´s that love is the key. I feel so much love for these people, which is a double edged sword because it breaks my heart into a thousand pieces when they choose not to comply with their commitments, or when they reject us. But then I´m pretty sure the everlasting joy described in the scriptures is the feeling you get when you see a family of investigators walk into church.

Well, as far as personal study, I´ve been studying Joseph Smith. Technically he counts as a Book of Mormon prophet, right?? But wow, WOW. I love it so much!!!!!!!!! I´ve been reading in JSH and seriously I´m learning a ton. Joseph Smith is the most humble guy ever. I think anyone who really reads this account should be able to gain a witness that he is a prophet. My favorite part so far has been when he returns after the first vision and all he says to his mom is "I have learned for myself that Presbytarianism (no way I spelled that right) is not true" that is the essence of humility, right there.

I love the scriptures, nuff said.

Well I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I don´t have fleas anymore. In fact there was a week where I thought I didn´t have anything because I wasn´t getting bit but I think that was just God being merciful the week my comp se fue because the bed bugs are back. But instead of gutting my pillow like Camille, I went a step further and just bought a new house. But really, that is exactly what happened. Okay so our zone leaders told us to search for a new house for me and my new comp, whenever she comes. I´m hoping after this transfer she´ll be someone bacanisimo, like Hermana S.... Except hopefully someone who speaks Spanish because todavia, I don´t. But yeah I´m going to send a picture of my ravaged state, I sort of look like a leper, in church a lady was like "what happened to you??" and I was like "oh I have bed bugs" and then she started to tell me about all of her medical problems. Yep.

My final thought is what happened last night and this morning. I was praying, asking God why I haven´t seen any fruit when I´ve been doing all I can to work hard, be obedient, etc., when the thought/scripture came into my mind, "what more could I have done for my vineyard? Tomorrow read Jacob 5" so this morning I read Jacob 5 and seriously, I think it´s verse 41 or something, go read it and look up all the cross references because it was seriously the most comforting thing in the world.

Well, that´s all for this week. I hope you all know that I can feel your prayers every day and I am probably the luckiest missionary in the world to have a family as supportive as you all are. I love you all soooooooooooooo much!!!!!! Have an amazing week!!!

Love, Hermana Carter

Oh, mission tweets:

Today I just had melted ice cream for breakfast. Not really but I did just discover Ecuadorian chocolate milk.

Locked heart for some means not thinking about boyfriends, dating, etc. For me it basically means giving up on washing my hair every day and not wearing makeup.

Sometimes I wish I had a wordsearch in the back of my agenda. And those times are usually during consejo del barrio.

Acts awkward, trying to be funny. Nobody gets it. Everyone thinks I´m awkward.

"Time for Consejo del Barrio!"

-pulls out snacks, jug of milk-

Okay I´m ready.