Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Week of Miracles (like not getting hit by a bus!)

Hey ya´ll!! Ah, I love you all a ton. I wish I could express to you just how much support I feel from your letters. You guys are my rock. I wrote you a letter but I didn´t get a chance to send it....hopefully next week.

Okay, this is going to be scrambled, and I hope I remember everything I wanted to tell you. First, specific prayer miracles!!!! Wooo!!!!

First, I should say that the work is a lot slower than I thought it would be. Our key indicator for baptism is 2 baptisms a week, and I was like, okay, this is Ecuador, land of the Lamanites, everyone raves about how the gospel is growing so much, 2 baptisms a week is doable.

Yeah, we´ll see. Hahaha basically our numbers are...slow. This only bothers me when I wonder if I´m doing enough. Because if we invite all our investigators to church a billion times, and fast and pray and all that good stuff, and then they don´t come to church, have I done all I can? This is the question of the century for me. If I felt like I´ve done all I can, then I don´t get discouraged, but I wonder a lot if I´m doing all I can.

Well basically earlier this week we had next to zero investigators. Like, 1 and two halves, basically. This is a new area, so we needed to find people. Also, we still didn´t have hot showers. P.S. I got your package, thank you for the dry shampoo, now I don´t have to shower every day!!! (solo un chiste...sort of). So, I said a specific prayer, one day as I was crying before my shower....because freezing showers are the worst and it´s sort of a despair thing. So I specifically prayed that if we could contact 25 people, which is 10 more than our daily goal, which we never make anyways, and find 2 families to teach, which is 1 more than our daily goal, also which never happens anyways, then that next day (Thursday) we would have hot water for our shower. Again with the mean girls thing, I had no idea how it would happen, but I had faith that it would. So that next day (Wednesday) we contacted like crazy and contacted 28 people and taught 2 families, so I was like yes, Thursday we will have hot water. So Thursday night came and long story short it´s been a process but we figured out how to work the hot water, and last night I had my first shower that was warm all the way through. It definitely isn´t hot, but I´m surviving a lot better now and now I don´t cry before every shower!

Other quick prayer miracle. Basically I pray over every meal we have with our mamitas that the food will be sweet to my taste (1 Nephi 17:12) and that it won´t make me sick. Well I had my first nasty food experience. I don´t know what I ate, haha I don´t know what anything is that I eat. There is always something I don´t like but if I mix it with rice it´s usually fine. This thing was just nasty and mushy and there was cheese in it, and the cheese here is disgusting. So I decided to just swallow this food thing whole, take it like pills. Afterwards, my stomach was like "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME" and I was like, crap, I´m going to die later tonight. Well, I didn´t. I haven´t gotten sick at all this week, and I´ve been able to eat everything. Also the avocados here taste like candy, and I normally don´t like avocados. Or maybe it´s that whole sweet to my taste thing. Either way, Dad, can you send me your guac recipe? I want to make guac for my district one day. Oh, and I am going to send pictures today, I promise!!!

What else what else. Okay, yeah, I got the package, your rice krispy treats are the best. And they were still good! I was worried they would be hard after several weeks in the mail. sent the wrong white shirt. But, it´s okay. I´ll survive. I´m going to experiment with only wearing one skirt a week so I can do less laundry and so I can feel more dirty than I already do.

Well, I´ll compart something I learned this week. I mean share. I basically can´t talk English anymore. Wait, I  have to compartir another frustrating thing. This can go on the blog, unless you think it´s too racist.

Basically I work hard every day to speak Spanish. I am trying tanto hard to learn this language, and it isn´t hard, it just takes time. I did have a holy crap I learned the wrong language moment one day, but then I realized the person was speaking Quichua. Also, Otavalo is in the other mission, darn. Anyways, I always try my hardest to speak the best Spanish I can to people. And without fail, this happens at least several times a day: "I´m sorry, I can´t understand you, what did she say?" They ask my native companion. She proceeds to repeat exactly what I just said, in the exact same language. "Oh, okay, I understand, blah blah blah."

PEOPLE. I AM SPEAKING YOUR LANGUAGE. GIVE ME A CHANCE. I asked my trainer why this happens and she said it´s because I´m white, and it still happens to her too, and her Spanish is fantastic. UUUUUUUUGH. Also we get charged more in taxis a lot because we´re white. I learned this week how important it is to love the people, and I´m working on doing that better, but it´s pretty hard when they do stuff like that.

Okay, so for the thing that I learned. About loving the people. After my little rant. Go and read John 15, it´s about abiding in Christ. I learned this in the MTC a little but basically it goes like this: To be successful missionaries, we need to abide in Christ. And how do we abide in Christ? We need to walk as he walked and do as he would do. And how do we do this? We must love. Everything we do must be out of love. This has motivated me a lot more to really truly love the people. And I do, I feel something very different for these people, especially the people I teach. I hope they can see it, but maybe that´s what I´ve been doing wrong, they can´t feel my love. I´ll work on it more this week.

So, there are about a billion dogs here, right? Well I made friends with one, and now he thinks it´s the greatest thing in the world to literally attack me, and only me, whenever we contact people. Only when we contact people. I was going to name him Sam or something but now I´m thinking maybe I should name him Satan.

Algo mas...oh, Dad, I love what you said about member missionary work. I´m going to use that I hope sometime soon. It´s frustrating because people here in our ward don´t understand how important member missionary work is. We need people coming with us to every lesson and we usually only get a few people every week. It is pretty frustrating, especially since the only people we can teach in their houses without a member present are women older than 18 and families.

Also, Dad, you said you found Grandma´s Patriarchal Blessing? When I read that I about started crying in the middle of a soccer field. If that´s something you think you could send to me, would you?

Also I got in trouble for playing piano guys...I´m going to have to hold off on that until I get a new comp. Hahahah

Mom, I don´t remember what happened Wednesday except my contacting spree, but thank you for your prayer. I feel like I should be in a lot more danger here than I actually am. I forgot to take a picture of the creepy alleyway I live in, but there are worse places, and everyone here lives in a creepy alleyway so I guess that is normal.

And, just incase you all are forwarding this to other family members, to Drew and Michelle: Drew, that talk by John H. Groburg also made me almost cry in the middle of a soccer field. Thinking about the support I have from my family really keeps me going, but that talk made me realize that I have your prayers too. Like, I knew that, but I imagined my own family in family prayer just simply saying "bless Kaela on her mission" and it made me realize that I´m not totally alone out here, so thank you so very much for that! Also, sorry I didn´t reply. The last two weeks were chaotic. But this bit here is for your two!

Okay, I think that´s it. At least that´s all I can remember. Dad, if you have any suggestions on how to amp up member missionary work, that would be awesome. Also, I got a letter from Kathy Roberts, could you send her my thanks? I had the goal to reply to every letter I receive, but I literally have the time to write letters never. P-days are always super busy. Like today we played soccer with our Zone, which was nice because I got to hang out with Hermana S..., my comp from the MTC: I miss her like crazy, and I hope we are companions on the mission at some point because we teach really well together. But yeah hopefully next week I can just write and do laundry and study and take a nap.

My comp is using my picture thing, so I´ll send pictures soon.

I love you all with all my heart!!! Thank you for your prayers!!! I pray for you all every day!!!! And tell Tulga I say hi!

Much love, Hermana Kaela Carter

Also, you got rid of the couch?!?!?!!? Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 haha esta bien, I´m over it. I hope the other one has working recliners. And the first movie I watch on it will be The Hobbit 2

Monday, August 19, 2013

"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

Hola Familia! I have very little time because we took forever doing otras cosas today. Just know that my laundry has not been done in a significantly long time. Thus is the life of a missionary.

I`ll answer your questions first: I have no idea where my address is. Nooo idea whatsoever. I know that I live in a dark alleyway, but my apartment is nice-ish. It is brand new, but there is no hot water to be found so every time I take a shower I decide that it`s time to come home but by the time I get out I just write in my journal and repent and go to bed.

I am in a trio, my trainer is Hermana F.., and she is from Texas so luckily she speaks English, which helps me stay sane. The miracle here is that the night before we got our companions (we stayed in this hotel thing for 3 days, and there was no water for those 3 days so showering has become sort of a rare thing for me) I said a specific prayer that my companion could help me a ton with my Spanish, and also be super animada and help me be animada, and also trabajar duro but have fun as well. So then when we got assigned our companions, the first thing she said to me was "I`m super animada that we`re companions! We are going to work hard and have fun!!" So I know for sure we`re supposed to be companions. My other companion is Hermana L... She is from Peru, and does not speak any English, so we don`t talk much. I`m working on that too.

My area is....interesting. I`m in major, major culture shock right now. I sent a letter today that may have erred on the negative side, but it mostly just talked about my challenges here. I`ll compart a little bit about my area though. Basically, everyone lives in apartments, so for tracting, it`s basically standing outside and yelling at windows, or whenever we find something that looks like a door we knock on it. People here drive like they are trying to kill each other. Times I have almost said swearwords while crossing the street: 5. Times I have actually said a swearword while crossing the street: 1. Times people have heard me swearing or almost swearing: Luckly 0. But I`m getting used to it. There are also dogs EVERYWHERE. You know me, I love dogs. Once I got close enough to pet one and it started growling and barking at me so that was the end of that. The area is new, so we only have 3 investigators, and they all were here before we got here. We found one guy who we were sure was going to be baptized, but it turned out he only liked talking to us because he "enjoyed the intelligent conversation." NO!!! Look, I`m not here living in survival mode in this crazy city to have nice conversations with people. I`m here to bear testimony and bring people unto Christ because I know the gospel will make their lives happier. That is essentially what I told him.

No issues with the altitude. We have to exercise at 6:30 every morning though, which is not my favorite time of day to exercise but it wakes me up. My companions both love running, but I told them my asthma would kill me if I ran at this altitude, which is true. Running is the only problem I`ve had with the altitude. When I played soccer in the MTC and sprinted a lot, that was why I got sick and it was the worst. So....I try to take it easy. Walking all day isn`t a problem though, and after the mission my legs are going to look like a man.

The food is....interesting. Basically I`ve been here for one week, and twice I`ve woken up in the middle of the night with the worst stomach pain known to man. Remember the time I had to go to the hospital cuz I had that bad stomach pain? It`s basically like that type of painful, but luckily we have a bathroom and then the next day I feel queasy but then I get over it. I pray every day that I`ll be able to eat all the food I`m served, and luckily I haven`t had any problem with that. I`ve lowered my standards quite a bit since I got here. I would eat anything because if I don`t, I`ll starve.

They speak a different Spanish here than in Mexico. For some reason, I could understand basically everything the people in Mexico were saying, but here, I don`t have a clue. Some days I feel like my Spanish is worse, but I`ll pick it up sooner or later. Whenever we teach or contact, my comp asks the person who they would like to say the prayer, and they usually pick me, I think because they want to see a white girl speak bad Spanish, or maybe they think I`ll say it in English. Ha I wish. It`s okay though, I just need to speak more Spanish and be okay with the fact that I will probably always sound like a tonta. Thank you for your prayers, I need them a loooot.

Money.....I`m fine. I have no idea how much I have on my card though, if you put 50$ a month on my card I think that would suffice. I get 90 bucks every two weeks from the church, and I try not to use that for personal stuff, like 3 packages of face wipes so that I can clean my face for once. (Whoever can guess how long it`s been since I washed my face wins a prize!!!)

Ward....there are 500 people in the ward, and 150 who come. It is so funny. People answer their phones during Sacrament meeting, funny stuff like that. The sacrament they used Sparkling water and I almost spit it out because it shocked me so much. Haha. That would have been worse than last week. Weird stuff always happens during the Sacrament, it`s weird. Redundant sentance. Side note, since I got on the mission I have been having the WEIRDEST dreams. All of them are sooooo weird. Maybe it`s the garlic pills, or the food.

Typical day: Okay, wake up at 6:15 or 6:30, pray on my bed (my letter will explain why), and then while my comps are showering I do my hair and get dressed, and then I usually make breakfast. I try to be serviceful to my companions. The apartment is freezing, people here haven`t invented heaters or air conditioning yet. Also I need to learn to enjoy companionship study more. I  love language study though, I`m reading the BoM in Spanish and marking in different colors all the different grammar principles, like subjunctive and passive voice and whatnot. It is really helpful, but the most helpful thing will just be learning to understand all these fast talking people and speaking the language more. Then we leave around 12 and go to lunch at a mamita`s house, more on that in my letter I think, and then we do random stuff...I can`t remember. A lot of stuff we do doesn`t seem to have a point, but mostly consists of talking to people. Sometimes when we have off time we contact, but in the evenings is when we teach the most, which is good because walking here at night is the scariest thing in the world. Walking at night in Provo was scary. Walking at night here is so scary. So so scary. Usually I think I`m going to die. Sometimes my companion wants to contact at night, and I usually think that is a bad idea. The sun sets way too early.

I think that`s all your questions, and that`s basically all I wanted to say. Sorry if this email is a tad more on the negative side. I`m learning to be more patient with myself and the area and stuff. People here are pretty noncommittal. They`ll listen to us, but they won`t do anything we say, like come to church or let us come and teach them. Living here has been the hardest thing I`ve ever done in my life. Every day I`ve wished I could have been called Stateside. But I know I would have had more challenges there. I`m still wondering how I`ll ever survive living here for 18`s so hard. But I`ll pull through. Reading your emails, seeing how many people are encouraging me at home, that has really helped encourage me. I had 28 emails this week!!! And no time to answer any of them!!! :(  Haha anyways, I`ll survive. Still in survival mode, but I will survive.

I love you all soooooo very very much!!!!! Have a great week, please keep praying for me!!! I pray for you all every day!!!

Much love,

Hermana Kaela Carter

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Eaglet Has Landed

Familia!!!! I only have 5 minutes but I'm just letting you know that I arrived in Quito safely. The city is absolutely beautiful, but also big and a little big scary. p-day is Monday so I will be able to write you more then, but just know that I'm doing well!! Except please pray for me a lot because this is going to be the hardest thing I've ever done. It is a big city and I don't know how to live in a foreign country and last night was my first "Holy crap what have I gotten myself into" moment. But I should be alright!!! Start looking for a good water filter bottle though, I gave mine to my companion in the MTC because it made the water taste really bad.


I love you all so very very much!!! I loved getting to talk to you yesterday, Dad, that was such a tender mercy. Mom...............:'(. Stockton, if you were home, you should have answered the phone. Solomente un chiste, I wouldn't have answered a phone call from Panama either.


Be safe!! Pray always!!!


Love Hermana Kaela

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The day that Mean Girls was the answer to my prayer.

Mi familia!!! Okay you have to understand that the movie Mean Girls is a running joke here and I loved it before the mission, maybe someone who reads the blog will get this, or one of the 40 people you send my email to. You probably won´t, but that´s okay as long as you can still see the miracle!!!

So, I´ll start with a discourse about Specific Prayer. We had a devo on this at the beginning of the CCM and it changed my life. The just of it is that if you pray for something specific, with faith, then you´ll receive it and it will be a total miracle.

So, for example, last Sunday was probably the last time we were going to watch a movie on Sunday night because hopefully this Sunday I will be packing. And it had been a difficult-ish weekend, for very stupid reasons, which I will tal ves send in a separate email if I have time, and so I prayed and basically said something to the effect of ¨"I really would not mind if we watched Joseph Smith and the Restoration tonight, I´ll try my hardest to be a good missionary, but yeah, if we watched the joseph Smith movie, that would be really really cool." AND WE TOTALLY WATCHED IT. It´s like magic except it is actually faith. Everyone, God is not an absent being who doesn´t care about us anymore!! He hears every prayer and is willing to answer them if we just have enough faith!!!

Well the coolest specific prayer story happened today: Basically, every day I just want to eat meals with our district so badly, because they are all bunches of fun. But there are 6 elders and the tables only fit 6 people and the rule is the girls have to be sitting on the end, so it never happens, they never, EVER invite us to eat with them. But last week I decided to say a specific prayer about it, and I prayed that if I could be as Christ-like as possible to them for the next 3 days or however long it was, then on Wednesday, our P-day (today) during lunch, the elders would INVITE us to eat lunch with them. This is basically unheard of and has never happened in the entire 6 weeks we´ve been here, so I was thinking all week, how could this even happen?? I´ve prayed for something way out there, I believe that God can make anything happen, but this has never ever happened.

This is where Mean Girls comes in. In our district and with some of our other First Generation friends, we have a joke, from Mean Girls, that is basically "on Wednesdays, we wear pink" and in the movie, they say "You´re not wearing pink! You can´t sit with us!" I know this is not making any sense to you, but bear with me. So we throw on our pink, cuz it´s Wednesday. And we get to the comedor, and the two elders who do this "on Wednesdays we wear pink" were both rocking their pink ties. And then basically what happened was the other companionship was late, and they were all like "hey! You guys are wearing pink! You can sit with us!" So we did.

 And that is how God answered my prayer through Mean Girls. Somebody will appreciate that story. Somebody out there. Anybody?

Anyways, that is just one of the many things I wanted to tell you about. Soooooo guess what!!! Finally a familiar face has graced the CCM!!! Kirsten Escobar arrived last night and I saw her at breakfast and freaked out!!!! I was so happy!!! Seeing people you know on the mission is about a billion times cooler than seeing them anywhere else. Also, Dad, I got your letter!!! It was so cool to hear your side of the Obedience letter story!! I specifically prayed about that one too, so it was really cool to see the miracle behind it. I also got a sweet card from the Gillilands!! Are they going on a mission??

Okay, but now to tell some funny stories about Hmo. R.... So we teach him as the investigator "Roberto," and we committed him to baptism a while ago but his date was for August 5th and basically Hma. S... and I are really bad at teaching full lessons, and we don´t always cover all the material, so we had 2 lessons left before his baptism and we hadn´t taught him the 3rd lesson or any of the commandments and he hadn´t been to church on Friday we taught him all of lesson 3, but he broke character halfway through and started laughing at me, because I used subjunctive, which is like, still a big deal, and then we invited him to sing a hymn with us, but dust was blowing in our eyes and we were all trying really hard not to crack was bad. But really funny. But then on Saturday we had 19 things we still needed to check off on his Area book report thing, including every single one of the commandments, so I decided to call it "Bonus round" and we decided to try to knock out all of those 19 checks in one lesson. So we got soooooooo close, we were missing the more important commandments, like law of chastity and tithing, and then  he told us we had to end cuz the lesson was too long. And we had this lesson in a dingy classroom that was being remodeled or something, so as we were leaving he told us to look over and about 3 feet away from where we were sitting what I thought was a pile of dust was actually a dead mouse, and right next to it was a dead cockroach THE SAME SIZE. So we freaked out and ran away and it was funny but also very disgusting. Mexico.

Okay well I´ll send more if I have time but I should try to wrap this up. So to answer your questions, don´t worry about sending me a package...there isn´t really anything I need need...I had peanut butter the other day and it was the most wonderful thing ever. But I´m okay with surviving without luxuries in Ecuador for a while. I still don´t have my flight itinerary, so we don´t know when we're leaving, I want to call you from the airport but I don´t know when that will be or what day. I´m sure I'll be allowed to email you or something when I find out. I´m just so ready to first I didn´t want to because I´m pretty comfortable here and I love all my friends here but I´m getting distracted, I want to teach real people, and not just my teachers, you know? And I feel like I´ll be a lot more focused on the work and less on my own life once I'm in the field, so yeah, I sound like a tonto when I speak Spanish but I can communicate so I don´t even care. I´m SOOOOOOOOOOO ready for my next adventure!!!!! :D

Just a few questions: How is Belle?? Send me a picture of her!!!!! And tell me more what is going on in your lives, please!!! Just like the little things, like if something funny happens at dinner, I don´t know. I just want to know what life is like back in P-town. Just real life, normal stuff. Oh and I loved all of the miracles you told me about this week, like the car, that was really cool. Also, will you forward me Camille´s emails?? I emailed her last week, but I don´t want to take up her time, one hour goes by so fast.

 I think that´s basically all I have time for, just know that I love you all so very very much!!! Give our family my love and tell them to write me!!! And Stockton, thanks for the American flags every week. I need it. Keep your shoes clean, okay?

I´ve never been happier than being a missionary. I used to talk so much about life after the mish but I don´t have that mentality anymore. I never ever want this to end.

Mucho amor!!!

Hermana Carter

Okay, I just want to show you my Spanish skills. So I´ll tell one story in Spanish. Domingo, yo dí mi testimonio en Español, fue muy bien!!! Yo sentí el Espiritu muy fuerte, y muchas personas fueron inspiradas.

 Wow my Spanish is so bad.

 Quito in 5 days!!!