Tuesday, November 10, 2015

First Baptism

Fereza's baptism was amazing. All her family were able to attend and support her decision. Elder Skouson baptized her and I confirmed her the following day in sacrament meeting. As Elder Skouson baptized her, the Spirit filled the room. As we were waiting for Fereza to change and return to the program, I sat there and thought back on my baptism. I remembered three specific things about my baptism. First, how warm I felt inside after I was baptized and confirmed. Second, how nervous I was when I sang by myself in front of every one who attended my baptism. Finally, Aunt Pam's yummy green jello that I requested her to make for my baptism.
The next day Elder Skouson and I were talking with Fereza after sacrament meeting and she said the previous day was the happiest day of her life. I know that our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are separate beings that are one in purpose. That purpose is to bring us back to our Heavenly Father so that we can become like him.
Love, Elder Carlile


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Fasting Is Powerful

I want to share an experience Elder Skouson and I had with fasting.  Yesterday was Fast Sunday, so Elder Skouson and I decided to fast for the people in our area that their hearts would be softened. We were able to fast the two meals, and believe me, that was hard.  I wanted to feed my two hollow legs.  I made it, however, because I was fasting with a purpose.

After dinner we weren’t feeling that great and considered not going out to tract that night.  But we took a leap of faith and relied on the Lord for strength. As we started to tract on our first street, we both felt weak physically. At the first door we knocked on, we picked up a new investigator. We had a great open-minded discussion about the gospel. His name is Aaron and we are visiting him again on Tuesday. The next door we knocked on we got a return appointment. A couple of doors later we got another return appointment. A few more doors and we got yet another return appointment. This was all on the same street and I know this was a result of fasting.

So that is the awesome experience I wanted to share with you this week.
 Love, Elder Carlile
The following picture was posted by Sister Rogers from a training meeting last week:

This is ZTM in Saratoga.  This is a picture of the little and the big in the mission.  Elder Beck is maybe 5 ft and might weigh 100 and Elder Carlile is 7 ft. 2

Monday, October 26, 2015

Fall is Beautiful!

The fall in New York is beautiful! Everywhere you look there are mixtures red, orange, yellow, purple, and green on the trees. You could say the leaves are about as interesting as some of the people here in New York. Along with fall comes New York's famous apple cider and apple cider doughnuts. They are delicious! Fall is probably the best time of the year in New York.

 Now on to Fereza. She is our investigator that is getting baptized next week. She has been seeing the missionaries for about 8 months. Elder Skouson and I have been teaching her for the past 4 weeks. In those 4 weeks, we have gotten to know her and her wonderful family. She, along with her parents and brother, are so kind to us missionaries. They are from Guyana and came here to New York about 4 years ago. She will be the first in her family to get baptized and I'm so excited for her.

Love, Elder Carlile

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Adjusting to Mission Life

I'm going to start off by telling you a little about my area. I was assigned to open the Rotterdam/Schenectady area. We are located a couple of miles northeast of Albany. We are a walking mission but we do have access to cars from the other elders in our district. The neighborhood Elder Skouson and I live in is a little rough. The apartment we live in is nice but the rest of the neighborhood is pretty trashed. There are a lot black and Indian people. There are a lot of broken homes in the area around us. When I walk around the streets, it just feels like there is no hope. I think that is why Elder Skouson and I are here... to restore that hope and help people turn their lives around with the gospel. We are also trying to reactivate some members in our area. The neighborhoods around us are more middle class, it just varies depending on where you go. 

Because we are opening a new area, we do a lot of tracting.  It's fun to go and connect with the people. I connect with a lot of the black people because I play basketball. They love how tall I am.  They are always wanting me to dunk it for them, so I do. Elder Skouson and I have played basketball a couple of times while we were out tracking and it's been pretty fun. 

I had the chance to go to stake conference last week and I made some cool connections. Many members and missionaries knew Chris Miles while he lived here in Albany this past year. I wish I would have had the chance to see him and his family here in Albany but they moved out west a couple of months ago.  I just barely missed them. Brother Fredette is actually in the stake presidency there. He is Jimmer Fredette’s dad. This past pday I had the opportunity to play basketball with a couple of other missionaries in the same gym Jimmer grew up playing in.  That was pretty cool. Those are just a couple of the connections I've made in the Albany First Stake. 

The work is great.  We had and investigator named Fereza commit to baptism on October 30th so I'm looking forward to that. I'll tell a little more about her in next week’s email. 

Finally I want to talk about my companion Elder Skouson. He is an awesome guy and a great example of trying to be obedient to the mission rules. He is from Enterprise, Utah and has been out on his mission for a year and a half. We are simalar in personalities. We are both introverted, easy going, and like to laugh every once in a while. We have already seen the blessings from striving to be obedient and will continue to do so. The Church is true, the sky is blue (most of the time), and life is good. 

Love, Elder Carlile


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Week One - Rotterdam

Tuesday we got up at 3:00 in the morning and headed to the Salt Lake airport. It was hard driving past all the places that I call home on my way to the airport. Our flight left for Detroit at 7:30 and landed at about 12. We had a 2 hour layover in Detroit. We then got on our flight to Syracuse at 2:30 and arrived at about 4 where we met President and Sister Rogers at the airport. We got our luggage and went to the mission home for the night.

The next morning we got up and went to the mission office where we did some orientation. We then went into the chapel to be assigned to our companion and area. I got paired with Elder Skouson. He is a great trainer. The area we are assigned to serve in is the Rotterdam area. It is a brand new area that Elder Skouson and I are opening up and is a suburb of Schnectady. It is located just northwest of Albany.

After the meeting we had lunch and I met the Armstrongs niece Sister Blomquist. After the lunch all the missionaries packed up and went to their new areas. When I arrived at the new Rotterdam apartment I unpaked and got to know Elder Skouson a bit more. We checked out the area in the next couple of days. We live right by the ghettos and it just seems like the people have little hope where we are. We are going to change that though.

During the rest of the week Elder Skouson and I have had the chance to get to know the members in the Schenectady ward we are in, watch general conference, and get to know our area better.

I've attached pictures of President and Sister Rogers and also my companion, Elder Skouson.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

MTC Week 1: Goodbye and Hello

Wednesday: After I said my goodbyes to my family, I got my mission stuff, dropped my bags off in my room, and went straight to class. There I met my companion and district. My district consists of six elders and three sisters. My companion, Elder Harvey, is 6 foot 7 and loves basketball. He went to Provo High and we have so much in common. Then, we had dinner. I love the food here. You can have as much as you want and there is such a variety. Next, we had some meetings where we met the MTC president and his wife. After a day full of missionary stuff, I went back to my dorm, unpacked, and went to bed.

Thursday: It was a day full of classes and devotionals. I don't remember much of what happened Thursday except that we got to meet our Branch Presidency. Everyone new in our zone introduced themselves and bore their testimony. The spirit was really strong in the room. After that, they interviewed us and assigned zone and district leadership. I was assigned as the district leader, and my companion, Elder Harvey, is my assistant. I was grateful for the calling as it has distracted me from the shock of the MTC routine.

Friday: Today my companion and I had our first opportunity to really teach together. The teaching went really well. I learned that some of the most important things are loving the person you teach and having the spirit when you teach. Throughout the lesson, I tried really hard to listen so that the spirit could speak. By doing that, we were able to have a successful lesson.

Saturday: One of Saturday's highlights was I was able to play basketball. I was glad I had Elder Harvey to give me some good competition. This really helped me to relieve some stress building up from the last couple of days. Saturday was a long day, and I was glad when I was able to get to bed.

Sunday: I was really glad that Sunday came because I was able to have Sacrament meeting. There was such a comforting spirit there, and it really gave me a boost. We had a chance to go walk around the temple where we took a lot of pictures and bonded as a district and zone. That night we had a chance to hear from Lloyd Newell. He's the guy who narrates Music and the Spoken Word. Under the direction of Brother Eggett, we were able to do a MTC and the Spoken Word, with Lloyd Newell narrating in between, just like he would do with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Afterward, I had a chance to listen to the Character of Christ talk given by Elder Bednar, which really me to focus on my purpose as a missionary and what I need to do to become more converted to the gospel.

Monday: It was back to classes in the morning and afternoon. I was able to teach my first TRC investigator with Elder Harvey. That was a really cool experience. We weren't able to really teach a lesson, but we got to know the investigator, so we're prepared to teach him next time. Later that day, I was able to enjoy more spiritual experiences in class, basketball, the elders in my zone, and lots of good food. That night we were able to teach our second TRC investigator. We really had to rely on the spirit to answer our questions.

The people I've seen that I know since I got here are James Wadsworth, Cade Young, Nathan Byers, Emily Kenny, Kate Mitchell, and Annie Wood. It was a comfort to see them, and really cool to see them as missionaries.

Overall my experience in the MTC has been very spiritual. I have been grateful for the many tender mercies as I'm adjusting to the missionary life. The Church is true, Jesus is real, and life is good.