Tuesday, December 27, 2016

December 26, 2016 -- Christmass!!!

Today I feel happy, tired, happy, sick, and did I mention happy. Tired form Christmas day yesterday. Sick because I have a sore throat and happy because I got to Skype my family yesterday. 

Christmas was amazing yesterday. I know it's not good to say but growing up I wouldn't enjoy having Christmas on Sunday because that meant going to church and delaying the normal Christmas activities. Little did I know that it's one of the best ways to celebrate Christmas. It's truly Christ that we should remember on Christmas -- his birth, his atonement, and many of the other things that he did for us. Remembering this and living the principles he taught brings so much more peace than any gift or material possession the world has to offer. Elder Crandall and I enjoyed singing in the church choir. Marie and her fam even made it to church. Afterward Elder Crandall and I went to the Rodriguez's to skype and call our families. Elder Crandall went first and I built some legos with Jared. That really made it feel like Christmas. I was a huge lego lover as a kid if you can't tell. After that came the most exciting part of the day.... SKYPING THE FAM!!!! It was so great to talk to all of them and hear their voices as well as seeing them. I felt like I was coming off of a Joy high when I was done. Next was dinner at the Cutler's. Sister Cutler's cooking didn't fail us yet again. After that we went caroling with the rest of the missionaries and some ward members. That was pretty much the night and it was one well spent if you ask me.

One other crazy thing this week happened at our Christmas conference this past Tuesday.  I ran into Journey Hagberg. We went to Jr. High School together in Orem. She was at the Christmas conference with the sister missionaries from Watertown. I was tripping out so I went and talked with her about why she was in New York. She said that her sister called and asked if she would drop everything to move to New York to help her out so that's what she did. In the process, she friended the sisters in Watertown and now is preparing to serve a mission. It really is a small world. You never know who you are going to run into from your past. 

Anyway I have to get going but the sky is blue, the Church is true, and life is good.
 
Elder Carlile
 
An Old Friend
 

Monday, December 19, 2016

December 19, 2016 -- Merry Almost Christmas!

The snow continues to fall in Elmira. It's great because it actually feel like the Christmas season unlike last year where it was 65 degrees outside. It was so nice out that I skyped my family outside. I really am loving the Christmas season. It gives people all the more reason to listen to our message of Christ. Elder Crandall and I have been seeing a lot of great things happen this week but the one I want to share happened this past Saturday.

Elder Crandall and I went to go visit April. April is a member who has not been to church in a while. She wants to come back but, due to her depression and social anxiety, she has a hard time finding the motivation to come to church. We went to visit Saturday night and started off by following up on a commitment we left with her last time to read the Book of Mormon everyday. She began to tell us all the thing that had happened to her in the past week. She was hit by a car. No broken bones luckily. Lots of family drama has been going on and the list goes on. I noticed throughout the whole thing that, in spite of everything that happened to her, she always listed the positive things that came from these situations. The best part at the very end was when she said that she smiled at work for the first time in a long time. She told us how she was feeling joy again and it was all because she read only a few verses out of the Book of Mormon every day. It's amazing what blessings come from such a small change in someone's day to day life like reading the Book of Mormon. There is truly a power that comes from reading it and I am grateful that I can feel it daily when I read.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and remember to turn outward and serve others as the Savior would.

The sky is blue, the Church is true, and life is good.
 
Elder Carlile
 
Christmas Week Tracting with Elder Crandall
 
 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

December 12, 2016 -- Snow. . .It's Cold!!

Well... It happened.... I had to break out the winter gear this past week. The heavy coat, hat, scarf, thermals, heavy wool socks, gloves, and finally the golf ball for knocking doors. After getting all this gear on, I stay pretty warm when we're out working. I'm just glad that I have car instead of a bike this year. I slipped one too many times last year in the snow. The snow has been great though. It's really increased the Christmas spirit. Elder Crandall and I are having a great time here in NY and we are very busy.

I think one of the biggest lessons this past week has been the importance of members in missionary work. Yesterday the Sedlac's, our ward mission leader and his wife, had Marie, our investigator, and her two kids over for lunch and a lesson after church. When we teach Marie at her house, things get chaotic and distract from the teaching environment; so we came up with the idea of having a lesson at a member's house so she could be focused. The Sedlac's were more than willing to host it and provide a meal with it as well.  So that's what happened yesterday. The lunch was delicious and Sister Sedlack connected very well with Marie. That's one thing the Elmira Ward is great at -- fellowshipping. When it came time for the lesson we discussed the 5 things we need to have a testimony of in the gospel. They are God, Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, Thomas S. Monson, and temples. Marie was very focused and took all of it in. At the end of it all, Brother Sedlac brought up baptism and we set a solid date for Marie -- Jan 26th so she has time to prepare. The lesson could not have gone better and Marie truly has a desire to improve herself though the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for the ways Heavenly Father helps us to help our investigators. It really is His work and I am just a tool in his hands.

I know that this Church has the fullness of the gospel and it is the only way to everlasting joy!

The sky is blue, the Church is true, and life is good.
 
Love, Elder Carlile
 
 
Our Festive Apartment

 
 
 

Monday, December 5, 2016

December 5, 2016 -- Who Said Surprises Are Bad Things?

This week has been full of surprises!  The biggest one came Monday night when I got a call from President Rogers informing me that the missionary I was going to train had to go home for medical problems; so, instead of me training, I would be getting Elder Crandall.  I was a bit bummed when I heard the news.  I had mentally come to terms with the fact that I was going to train.  As I was praying and studying the next morning, I received a very clear message that I shouldn't question the inspiration President Rogers received from Heavenly Father.  After that, I felt at peace about the whole thing.  Now that I've spent almost 5 days with Elder Crandall, I can say that we were meant to be companions in Elmira.

The day that I dreaded for weeks finally came this past Wednesday. . .transfers, because that meant  I had to say goodbye to Elder Rasband.  I am so grateful that I had the chance to train that goob.  I'm going to miss all the jokes and good laughs we had.  He is going to do great in Schenectady!  We said our goodbyes to each other and parted ways in the Utica Mission Office. One good suprise was seeing Elder Wawro!!! We gave each other the biggest hug and caught up on old times! It was refreshing to get the update on how good old Orem was doing.  On the drive home from Utica, I got to know Elder Crandall.  He is from Mesa, Arizona.  He likes to play piano and sing specifically in A Capella groups.  We have been singing Christmas music for days!  He has been out on his mission for 16 months, only 6 more weeks than I have.  He is a very genuine person and best of all has a great desire to do missionary work.  Like I said before, this week was full of surprises.

It seems that the theme of what we have been teaching people this week is the power of the Book of Mormon.  It's the keystone of our religion and the reason that Christ's true church stands today.  There is a converting power that comes when people read it sincerely.  The times I see our investigators progress the most is when they are consistently reading the Book of Mormon.  It's the same thing in my life as well as everyone else.  I am thankful for this great tool that we missionaries have to use.  Overall the work is going great in Elmira.  I guess you could say Elder Crandall and I are lighting the world ( pun most definitely intended!)

The sky is blue, the Church is true, and life is good. 
 
Elder Carlile out
 

Elder Crandall - New Companion

Elder Wawro - High School Friend

Final Christmas Picture with Elder Rasband

Thursday, December 1, 2016

November 29, 2016 -- A "Stuffed" Week

This week was crazy busy. I guess you could say it was a "stuffed" week. The biggest news is that Elder Rasband is getting transferred to Shenectady, which is right by were I started out in my mission!!  We both thought I was going to be leaving Elmira because I've been here the longest, but I guess not.  I'm going to be training another new missionary and I'm PUMPED!!  Training back to back is going to be awesome!  I'm really going to miss Elder Rasband though. We've become pretty good buds in the past 12 weeks and I'm going to miss all his jokes.  Some of the other big things that have happened are a Zone Training Meeting and a Thanksgiving of course!

Elder Rasband and I have been teaching this guy named Neko.  He's about the same age as us and is super cool. We've been teaching him awhile now and he's been having a problem that a lot of upstate New Yorkers have.... they don't keep their commitments.  Neko has the best intentions but he has a lot of negative outside forces acting on him.  Sometimes I feel like we missionaries are the only good force acting in his life.  Anyway we got real with him in one of our lessons this past week and once again committed him to read in the Book of Mormon. We came back the next day and he had read the first 100 pages.  Elder Rasband and I were stoked!  Later that week, Neko invited us over for a Thanksgiving lunch with his family.  It was great and definitely tasty. There's a picture of us with Neko attached.

Thanksgiving was fun. We played in the turkey bowl with the ward and yes, my team won.  Elder Rasband and I combined our baking skills and made some chocolate chip cookies for our investigators . For dinner, we went to a member's house. Sister Barnes makes some of the best home made rolls I have ever tasted... sorry Mom.  Overall it was a good Thanksgiving.

Some people were baptized in the Elmira ward this past week and somehow I was roped into singing a solo for it. The song was called "Ancient Words".  It reminded me of when I got baptized and, instead of having all the cousins come together to sing a song, my mom thought it would be a good idea to have me do a solo. That's a nerve racking thing for an 8 year old to do. I did it and am still traumatized from it to this day... Just kidding but I still remember it.  Anyway it went well and I was happy to help contribute to making it someone's special day.

The sky is blue, the Church is true, and life is good.
 
Love, Elder Carlile
 
Winter Has Arrived
 

Thanksgiving With Neko
 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

November 21, 2016 -- There's "Snow" Way It's This Cold

Saturday started out a warm Fall day but as the night progressed it stared getting colder and colder. Sun turned to rain, rain turned to snow and that meant it was time to put on the winter coats. The snow is sticking around so it looks like we're in for a chilly winter.  Otherwise, it's been a week just like any other.

Last night Elder Rasband and I had an amazing lesson with Louie. Elders have been meeting with Louie for just about a year. He is a great guy who knows a lot about the Bible and was very religious in the past. He has had a rough life in the past but is doing very well with his family now. Due to some past experiences, he questions God's authority.  That makes it pretty hard to teach since the first point we teach is God is our loving heavenly father. Everything builds on this simple but important truth. Sometimes our lessons get a little heated because of how passionate he is about his views. He doesn't do it to Bible bash with us but he is a very passionate guy. At our lesson last night, we decided to go around and say some things we are thankful for before we started our lesson. That instantly invited the Spirit and set the tone for the whole lesson. We read some of the Book of Mormon with Louie and bore our testimonies of the forgiving power of Jesus Christ. Louie stayed calm throughout the whole thing and we could see his heart soften. I know that having a thankful attitude is one of the best ways to invite the Spirit.

The sky is blue... kinda... the Church is true and life is good.  Have a great thanksgiving!! 
 
Love, Elder Carlile

Monday, November 14, 2016

November 14, 2016 -- Sound the Trump!!!

Sound the "Trump"... at least that's what everyone's been talking about since he's now our new president. This week has been Crazy with a capital "C"!! I was so ready to hit the hay last night. My brain was not working and teaching was a struggle.  Doing better today though.  It's been getting a lot cooler which means... sweater season as well as leaf raking season!

So one of the things I'm super grateful for this week is Marie coming to the Book of Mormon class we do every Wednesday night in the Elmira ward.  While she was there, she asked a question about  repentance and the whole class helped answer that one. When we missionaries go teach her, we meet on her porch and things get a little hectic.  We can loose control of the situation easily. That's why it's so great she came to the Book of Mormon class.

On Friday, Elder Steven E. Snow spoke to us for mission conference.  It was in Liverpool just north of Syracuse.  Elder Snow's wife spoke about the importance of hymns in our worship on Sundays. He spoke on recognizing the Spirit in our work as missionaries. Overall, he spoke on very simple stuff but it was still nice to hear the words of a Seventy. He said that our mission is doing very well and that we should keep up the good work. He is a very kind man with a good spirit about him. When we were shaking the hands of President and Sister Rogers and Elder and Sister Snow, President told me to tell Elder Snow that I was President Rogers favorite 7 foot missionary. It's a little joke we have. When I shook Elder Snow's hand I delivered the message and he got a good chuckle out of it. I was pumped to see all the mission buds and reconnect with them. 

The sky is blue, the Church is true and life is good.
 
Elder Carlile
 
Fall Is Beautiful

Leaf "Raking"
 

Monday, November 7, 2016

November 7, 2016 -- Another Week, Another Wonder

Another week another wonder... more just me wondering what in the world went on this week. In a nut shell this week included leaf raking, teaching, exchanges, talking with some peeps about the Gospel, getting a bit of a cold, Stake Conference, and last but not least some good laughs here and there.

So we have been teaching Margaret for a little while but we have been meeting with her less because she wants to be in "her hole" most of the time.  But on Friday, Elder Rasband and I were out working in the afternoon and I had a feeling that we should go see her. We went over and sure enough she was having a good day. She gladly invited us in and, as usual, we sat and had a good lesson. That was neat. It was nice to have that feeling that you are in the right place at the right time. Now Margaret totally knows that the Book of Mormon is true and so the next step for her is getting ready for baptism. Elder Rasband and I knew that, but, after that lesson, I really think Margaret came to know that as well.
 
Yesterday we had Stake Conference in Owego. Elder Dunigan, who is the area authority, came and spoke. He is an excellent speaker and very involved with the congregation. He randomly calls on people in the congregation to come up and participate. Elder Rasband and I went and sang in the choir so that meant that we had to stay alert or at least look like we were... it was good though. I got to see a bunch of the Binghampton ward members!! It's always comforting to see people from your past area. It's weird to think that it has been almost a year since I was there.

I really love the words of Nephi when he says, "I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in him forever." As we trust in the Lord, he will give us what it is that we need and what others need. That is super useful as a missionary as we are focusing on the needs of our investigators. Our trust with our Father in Heaven goes two ways though. We trust him and do his work and in turn He trusts us with more promptings as we act on the ones he already gave us. I know who I trust and I will try my best to serve him forever.

The sky is blue, the Church is true and life is good.

Elder Carlile
 
"Swinging" Service in Elmira
 
 

October 31, 2016 -- Trick Or Treat

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!! I hope you all have your costumes ready. I sure do..... I'm going out as a missionary, but if I was going to dress up out of the norm then I would dress up as slender man. I actually did dress up as him the other night but that was just to scare the living daylights out of another missionary. BTW it totally worked but that's another story for another time!! 

In the spirit of Halloween, our ward had a trunk or treat on Friday and Marie and her kids came. We have been teaching Marie and her family for about a month now. The ward was super friendly, kind, and welcoming to her. Her two boys loved it as well.  Her little 7 year old was running around talking to all the kids and sharing his candy with them as well. Elder Rasband and I grabbed some BK crowns while we were getting some dinner so that we would have some costume. We called ourselves the kingsmen as a little joke. Some people got a good kick out of that.

We haven't been meeting with Margaret as much this week. She is struggling with some depression. We still stay in contact with her but she has better days than others. We fasted with her yesterday for it. I am grateful for this gospel and how, because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, our burdens do not have to be carried alone.

The sky is blue, the Church is true and life is good.
 
Have a great week, Elder Carlile
 
Slender Man

The Kingsmen
 

Monday, October 17, 2016

October 17, 2016 -- Things Aren't Going to Change For Once

This week has been a pretty typical week in Elmira. Something good to know is that, for the first time in nine months, I will not be getting a new companion. I'm pretty excited for things not to change. It is a rare thing for me. You know what they say, the only thing consistent in life is change. The other Elders in the ward will not be changing as well so another six weeks with the crew.

We have been teaching Marie for the past couple of weeks and that's been great. Marie's mom, Pam, has started to sit in on our lessons and is becoming more and more interested. At first, when we went over to see Marie, Pam would avoid us like the plague. But one night, Pam came back from walking the dog and sat in on our lesson on the porch. It was awesome because Marie helped us teach her about the Restoration. She has now accepted a Book of Mormon and started reading it. That's the best thing she could be doing. Nothing can match the converting power of the Book of Mormon!

Elder Rasband and I had an appointment fall through this past week right before dinner. We had half an hour so we said a prayer to ask the Lord to take us where he needed his missionaries. Then we drove to a random street, parked the car and got out.  Before I even had a chance to get my bag out of the back seat, this guy yelled to Elder Rasband and I, "So you're the new Elders in town." We had parked right in front of this guy's house. He was out working on his car so we went up and got to know him a bit better. His name is Brady, he is a machine fixer, the Elders used to stop by and  meet with him, and he believes that he is going to Hell. He is blunt and down to earth, but was very polite to us. We talked for a bit longer but then had to go.  We are going to stop by this week some time.

We do a lot of service in Elmira. On Wednesdays, we go to Catholic Charities.  Thursdays we go to the public library and Fridays we go to a food bank.  We also have other service opportunities that pop up. Each is for two hours. We are encouraged to try and do 5 to 10 hours of service a week because President Rogers wants us to serve around great people that already have the light of Christ glowing in their lives. We were at a dinner at the Farnsworth's this past week when Brother Farnsworth told us a neat experience he had. He volunteers at the library once a week as well and he was telling us how one of the librarians started asking about what missionaries do and why we come on missions. That was cool to hear. I guess you never know how your example affects others. 

We haven't been able to meet with Margaret this week because she has been sick, but the ward members missed her at church.  That's a good sign. The fall is still beautiful as usual and the weather is still cooling down.

The sky is blue, the Church is true and life is good.

Elder Carlile
 
A Serious Group
 
 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

October 10, 2016 -- This Week Went By "Fast"

Things are going really well here in Elmira. The temp continues to drop and the leaves continue to change. It's amazing to stop and just enjoy the beauty of it all. Elder Rasband and I are doing really well together. I know it was meant to be that he was called to be my trainee and I was called to be his trainer.

One morning, Elder Rasband and I were doing our companion studying when, all of the sudden, he looked over in the kitchen and said, "Elder, I think we have a mouse problem." We grabbed our broom and machete and cornered it in the closet but sadly that crafty mouse got away.  So then we resorted to Plan B. . .lure him out with cookies and then trap him with a box hanging on the chandelier with some floss while we weekly planned. That didn't work either, he was too smart for that.  So we resorted to plan C. . .going to the store and getting a mouse trap. With some trial and error we finally got him and now we are mouse free (hopefully), but we put out another trap just in case. 

Elder Rasband and I went to return and report in Utica this week. It's a meeting they do for all the new trainees one month after they come on their mission to make sure they are doing alright. We went and picked up the Ithaca sisters ( Sisters Blomquist and Jones) and then headed to the Mission home and met up with President and Sister Rogers and all the other missionaries. The next day, we went and had the meeting. It was good! I got to see Elder and Sister Lee. They gave me an update on how things are going in Oneida. It was reassuring to hear that some of the people I taught when I was there are still being taught and progressing towards baptism. We had Utica's famous dish, Chicken Riggies, for lunch as well as garlic knots. Let's just say it was delicious.
 
Margaret is doing really well. She has been struggling with smoking most of her life but has wanted to overcome it as she has learned more about the gospel. We had a great lesson on fasting this week and committed her to fast to overcome smoking. She was totally for it and so on Sunday she fasted. We fasted with her as well. We just got a text from her informing us that she is now smoke free and does not have the desire to smoke anymore. When Elder Rasband and I read the text we freaked out and started doing our celebration dance. Fasting has never been one of my favorite things in the world but time and time again I have seen the miracles that come from fasting. As we make a sacrifice to the Lord of something as temporal as food, he magnifies our efforts. Reading that text made every second of hunger that we felt worth it. If you think about it, fasting is such a small thing for the Lord to ask for what we get in return. I know that miracles happen when we turn things over to the Lord. 

The sky is blue, the Church is true, and life is good.

See ya peeps next week,
 
Elder Carlile
 
Elmira Sunset

Return and Report
 

Monday, October 3, 2016

October 3, 2016 -- The Best Season in New York

Again a busy week. Big surprise there. The leaves are turning blood red, orange orange, and mild yellow. The temp continues to drop continually and everyone in upstate knows what that means..... apple season. Apple fritter donuts, apple cider, and just plain apples. You can just smell fall in the air and life seems blissful when you take a moment to enjoy all the fall aromas. But even sweeter than all the apples in season was General Conference. I guess this wonderful season in New York and Conference have more in common than I thought. They even talked about the "FALL" in conference as well. 

I really enjoyed all the talks in Conference this time around. As always, I was able to find specific direct council to me in the talks that were given. So far, my favorite talk was given by R Todd Christofferson. Apparently his name was changed to R Todd in the sustaining of the leaders of the Church. The talks seemed to be centered on simple doctrines of the Church -- the Gospel of Jesus Christ, The Plan of the Salvation, and the Restoration. For priesthood session, our ward did pie and ice cream before the session and then enjoyed Conference with a full tummy. I think that's the way they should do priesthood session from now on. Can I have my pie and ice cream and watch conference too... Yes, definitely!

Margaret continues to come closer to Christ as she acts on the commitments we have left her. This past week she stopped smoking. We went over the day she stopped and she had been baking all day. She told us that she had to be doing something with her hands all day since it was her first day off smoking. She fed us some of the treats that she had made as we had our lesson, and let me just say, tasting the fruits of her striving to keep the word of wisdom never tasted so good.

The sky is blue, the Church is true and life is good.

Keep on keepin on,
Elder Carlile
 
Beginning of Fall in Elmira
 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

September 26, 2016 -- Sometimes Things Get "Heated"

It's been a cool week. Literally it cooled down a lot this past week. That's okay with me though because it means that the leaves are going to change soon. . . very soon.

The missionary work has been great this past week. We started teaching a lady named Marie. It's really neat how we found her. It was one of the first days that Elder Rasband was here and we decided to go tracting. It was his first time. We said a quick prayer in the car asking the Lord to guide us to those ready to receive the gospel and then we started tracting South St. We walked up to the first house and knocked on the door. I can only imagine what Elder Rasband was thinking tracting his first house. We knocked and Marie answered the door and we had an awesome conversation about religion. We had to get going so we left her with a Book of Mormon and plan to go back later. That was how we met her and luckily we found her on our first try. Thank the heavens. That rarely ever happens. Anyway teaching her has been great. She has a ton of questions and shares a lot of the same views that the Mormon church does. She is a Mom and has been through a lot in life but has still remained a kind-hearted person.

Margaret is doing great. We continue to meet with her and she continues to read the Book of Mormon and coming to church.

The most painful decision Elder Rasband, Younger, Baker and I made this week was at our ward mission leader's house. After dinner, we were challenged to eat a habanero pepper. We all took a bite of our peppers and things got a little heated. All of us were crying it was so hot and then laughing at each other because we were all crying. We all ran into the kitchen and started chugging milk. The burning sensation went away after about 15 minutes but we sure felt the hot pepper in our tummies for the rest of the night. It's amazing how the IQ in the room goes down the more Elders you have. 

I know that the Lord is the one who forwards his work. We just have to choose to be a part of it. If we will seek his guidance in how to do his work, then we won't fail. People might reject the gospel but his work will continue. Those we are meant to find as missionaries are those who are ready to accept it.

I'm looking forward to conference this weekend and I will miss Mom's conference breakfast, but the spiritual feast will be good none the less.
 
The sky is blue, the Church is true and life is good.

Elder Carlile
 
 
Boo Hoo!
 
Habanero Pepper Challenge

 
 

Monday, September 19, 2016

September 19, 2016 -- Hump Day!!!

This past week has been up, down, and all around (pun definitely intended).  One thing that I learned is Nathan Wawro just got called to my mission and will be arriving in November. We graduated high school together. I'm super stoked!!

We had a Zone Conference on Wednesday. They taught about planning and working with ward members. The biggest surprise was at lunch time. They had half of the missionaries go get food and the other half go to the relief society room to get a flu shot. They gave us no warning that this would be happening prior to the Conference. Alot of the missionaries weren't too happy about that. 

Friday morning Elder Rasband and I had some appointments fall through so we decided to track a street with the 30 minutes we had. A couple of people answered but things didn't seem too promising . . . just a house that reeked of weed and people that were either not home or too Catholic to listen. As we walked up to one of the last houses on the street, I thought to myself is this really where the Lord has people that are ready to act on the gospel? Knocked on a door and again the lady was comfortable with her faith but we continued to talk with her. As we talked, she talked about her daughter that was going through a rough time in her life. We asked if we could come back and teach the daughter about Christ's gospel. She optimistically said yes and that she would want to sit in as we taught her daughter. She started telling us that she had a friend that was Mormon and has seen the Hill Cumorah pageant. Anyway, Elder Rasband and I will go teach her and her daughter this next week.

Later that night, the Capners had Elder Rasband and me over for dinner. We had Cafe Rio style burritos that were to die for. If there is one food that New York is lacking, it's Cafe Rio or anything remotely close to it. Like seriously, I've been dying on the inside for the past year for some Cafe Rio. Let's just say I was in food heaven that night. On top of that, they had made a huge sign that said "One Year" on it because it just so happened to be my one year mark.  After dinner I ran through it with a sparkler in each of my hands.

Aside from being sick the past two days from a lame cold, it's been a great week. I am grateful for the past year I have had in the mission field. I have grown in ways that I never thought I would. The lessons I've learned couldn't have been learned any other way. Aside form everything I learned, the most important thing I have gained is a closer understanding of and a relationship with my Heavenly Father. Very simply, He knows me perfectly and the greatest act of love He has done for me is sending his son, Jesus Christ, to atone for me as well as everyone who has, does, or will live on this earth.

The sky is blue, the Church is true and life is good.
 
Elder Carlile 
 

Monday, September 12, 2016

September 12, 2016 -- Mean, Green, and Ready To Work

Holy moley it's been a crazy good week! To start with, I got my new trainee. Wednesday was our transfer meeting and since I was training I had to be in the Utica building at 9:30.  That meant that I had to leave Elmira at 6 for our 3 1/2 hour long drive.  Wednesday morning Elder Hubbell and I woke up to the Elmira Central elders in our apartment saying, "We need to get going -- why haven't you been answering your phone?" Elder Hubbell and I had forgotten to plug in the phone the night before and it had died. We set our wake up alarm on the phone so we slept in. I jumped out of my bed to get ready realizing that it was 6:40. Let's just say that it was probably the worst morning ever to wake up late. I drove the soccer mom van to Utica and I was driving as fast as tiwi would let me. Tiwi is this tiny box in all the mission vehicles that monitors our speed so we don't drive to fast. Luckily we made good time and I was able to get there at 10, so I only missed a little bit of the trainer training. It was fun to see all the mission buddies at transfers. I said goodbye to Elder Hubbell and sent him on his way to Scotia.

My new trainee is Elder Rasband.  He is some distant cousin to the apostle but he has never met him. He is from Clearfield, Utah and graduated high school this past year. He grew up in the Church and comes from a good family. He is about 6'1" but doesn't look like it in our pictures together. We get along pretty well. Luckily he can take my teasing well and even dish it back out. Don't worry though, I'm not teasing the new greenie to much. He is adjusting well to the missionary life. We have been teaching alot which has been great for him as he develops his teaching skills and gets comfortable.

We had a neat lesson this past week. One of our investigators was feeling like the LDS church wasn't the right direction. Anyway, long story short, we shared Alma 32 where it compares faith to a tree. We talked to her about how to know it is true. We have to be doing the three simple things -- going to church, reading the scriptures, and praying. She had a total epiphany and told us that she would start doing those things more consistently. It's the little things we do every day and week that make the biggest difference. That is how we nurture our tree and keep it growing.

One of the greatest parts of the week was on Sunday. We had four of our investigators come to church. One of the biggest struggles in this mission is getting investigators to church because a lot of them don't have cars. Luckily, the Elmira ward is awesome about giving rides to people and we were able to coordinate some rides for two of our investigators. The other two investigators drove themselves because they owned their own cars.

Anyway, it was a great week. The sky is blue, the Church is true and life is good.
 
Until next week,
Elder Carlile
 
 
Elder Rasband

Rocking the Soccer Mom Van
 
 

September 5, 2016 -- Life Is So Good It's A Blur

So..... we got transfer calls last night. Elder Hubbell will be leaving Elmira and be going to Scotia and serving with my MTC companion Elder Harvey. I will training a new missionary in Elmira!!! I'm super stoked!!! It's been a good transfer serving with Elder Hubbell. I'm going to miss the kid but I know I'll see him again. All the Red Robin trips with the other Elders where we had a few too many fries are going to be missed. 

Church was amazing yesterday! Bri came to church. We have been teaching her along with her family for the past little bit. She had a good time at church. We went to the high school-aged Sunday School class with her, so that was a nice change up from the gospel principles class we usually go to. Elder Younger and I had the chance to teach the Teachers and Priests some mission prep during the third hour. It was funny to see how uncomfortable some of  the Priests got when we were role playing some teaching situations.

We had our last district meeting for this transfer on Tuesday. We did a fun activity called scripture basketball with the 42 basic points of the gospel. We had two teams. I would say a point of the gospel and they would have to find it in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Then the winning team would get a chance to shoot on a nerf basketball hoop I had set up. Anyway we all had a good time.

To be honest I can't remember the past week too well. It just seems like a big blur. I know I saw the Lord's hand in the work, I just can't quite remember the specifics. Good thing I have my journal entries.  I'm excited to see how this nest week goes.
 
The sky is blue, the Church is true and life is good.

Elder Joshua Carlile
 
Elmira District

 

Monday, August 29, 2016

August 29, 2016 -- See The Little Good Things In Life

Well I guess this week was a what you might call a normal week if there is such a thing in missionary work. On Saturday all the missionaries in Elmira Ward manned a water station for a big 10k that they do every year in Sperr Park. We all had a good time handing out water and encouraging the runners. Brother Rodriguez, a member in the Elmira Ward, ran in the race and stopped to take a selfie when he ran by our water station. Afterward, some police officers did a short presentation with their K9 unit. President Rogers in encouraging the missionaries to do two hours of service on our weekdays (minus pday of course). 

Elder Hubbell and I were super excited to have three of the people we are teaching come to church this week. We try and invite all our investigators to church every week but we were really feeling good about the three we invited to church this week. As we were waiting in the foyer, the time for sacrament meeting to start got closer and closer and our investigators didn't show up. They wouldn't answer our phone calls and texts.  This was a little disappointing, but surprisingly, some that we didn't plan on seeing showed up to church. One is named Jordan. He is friends with some members and investigators that Elder Hubbell and I are teaching. We have talked to him here and there about the gospel but he seems to take a little more interest in the gospel every time we see him. We are going to start teaching him officially this week. I'm excited to see what he thinks of Church.
 
Overall, things are going great in Elmira. The ward is very generous with the missionaries. There are tons of people that need the gospel and are willing to talk with us missionaries. I  know that God is preparing people to receive the gospel and all we have to do is go find them and have the Spirit with us. 

The sky is blue, the Church is true and life is good.
 
Elder Carlile

 

Monday, August 22, 2016

August 22, 2016 -- The O Zone

This past week has been a hoot. To start, we celebrated Elder Hubbell's birthday on Friday. He turned 19!! The Farnsworths had us over for dinner, which was wonderful by the way, and they even made a birthday cake for Elder Hubble.

On Wednesday, we had our Zone Training Meeting. We rode to Owego with the Elmira Central Elders and the Corning Elders in the Soccer Mom van and had a blast. We came up with the perfect cast for a Book of Mormon movie for fun. Yes, as missionaries, this is what we do in our free time. The meeting was on using to Book of Mormon in our teaching as missionaries. There is a certain pure power that comes from the Book of Mormon. Because it was only translated once by the power of God, the plain and precious  truths about the gospel are there. That is why the Spirit is so strong when we teach using the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith is right in saying it is the most correct of any book on earth and a man can get closer to God by abiding by its precepts. Over all it was a good meeting and I enjoyed getting to see some fellow missionaries in the O Zone (Owego Zone)

We have been teaching a lady named Margaret but, due to her life being crazy in the past couple of weeks, we were not able to meet with her. We were finally able to continue teaching her this week and a miracle has happened. She wants to be baptized!! But, when the elders taught her about the Word of Wisdom, she was fine with giving up smoking and staying away from other bad things except she said she wasn't going to give up her coffee. When we met with her this past week she was super excited to tell us that she starting to cut down the coffee because God was pushing her to pull away. She continues to cut down on those things and is progressing towards her baptismal date. It's awesome to see how the Spirit works on people over time. If they will continue to draw closer to our Lord, then he will soften the hearts of those we teach. It really is the Spirit that does the work, us missionaries are just along for the ride.

That's just a little snipit of what went on this week. The picture of me under the shower head is at the Elmira Bishop's house. We all got a pretty good kick out of that.

The sky is blue, the Church is true and life is good.
 
Elder Carlile out
 
Elder Hubbell's Birthday

The "O" Zone

 
Shower Fun



Monday, August 15, 2016

August 15, 2016 -- Hot and Humid

So.... It really has been hot and humid this week and it wasn't like Elder Hubbell and I could just cool off in our car.  It was in the shop for the majority of the week having a dent in the driver's side door repaired. That didn't happen while I was here but the story goes the elders were teaching a lesson and some guy backed up into their car and dented it. Nothing too serious but it needed to be repaired. We were able to survive between the walking and Elmira Central Elders giving us a lift in their soccer mom van when needed. Shout out to Elder Younger and Elder Crapo for rocking the soccer mom van.

On Saturday the Owego Stake had a giant get together at Walkins Glen. All the missionaries in the stake were able to attend as well. It was a great chance to see a bunch of past missionary friends as well as members from the Binghampton ward. It was one of my past areas I served in. There was tons of food because, of course, if you are going to have any Mormon gathering there will never be a lack of food. They did a volleyball tournament and lots of the missionaries and members participated. We made a team that consisted of all the four elders in Elmira including myself, the Corning elders, and the rest were members from Elmira ward. With a front line that consisted of Elder Younger at 6 foot 5 and good old 7 foot me along with two wonderful back lines, we won the tournament. I know we are supposed to be humble as missionaries, but this means we have bragging rights on all the other missionaries in the zone.

The work in Elmira it going really well. We are teaching this guy named Lee. He just graduated high school and looks like he is in his late 20's.  Anyway, we have been meeting with him more consistently and he is taking some good steps in coming into the fold of God. He has a baptismal date for next month. We get along pretty well because he is a big baller. He fills me in on who is playing for team USA in basketball and how they are doing.

Overall, I have been reminded of God's love for us and everything that he does is for us. He is the best father we could have watching over us (sorry dad). Just kidding. . . He loved me enough to let me have you as my father. I know my Heavenly Father loves me.

The sky is blue, the Church is true, and life is good.
 
Love, Elder Carlile

August 8, 2016 -- Sometimes We Assist With Divine Intervention

I'm really coming to love Elmira. There are all kinds of people here and definitely no lack of diversity. You can always find people on the ball courts playing, or walking on the streets, or on their porch enjoying the nights when it cools down.

We started teach a lady named Michealeen. It's pretty interesting how we started teaching her. About a month ago, the other elders in Elmira tracted into her house. She was not interested but they left her with a Book of Mormon. Two weeks later those elders were talking to some random guy on the street when this car pulled over. The lady in the car started testifying of the Book of Mormon. The lady in the car was Michaeleen. The elders weren't able to get her info before she drove off again. Two weeks later, those elders and Elder Hubbell and I we doing some service at a local farmers market. It was my third day in Elmira BTW. Anyway we were doing our thing when lo and behold Michaeleen showed up and we started talking to her about the Book of Mormon. She had been reading it, but when we asked for her address to start teaching her, she just smiled and said if we are supposed to meet again then God would have us run into each other. She only told us that she lived in Southport, which is in Elder Hubbell's and my area. After she left, the other elders said they overheard her say that she lived on Maple Street. That gave Elder Hubbell and I a good point of reference. We had seen her car and knew what it looked like. So one night, Elder Hubbell and I got in the car and started driving down Maple looking for her car so we could pop by her house. After about two minutes we found it but we didn't knock on the door because it was late. We went by the next day. We knocked on the door. Michaeleen answered it and just started laughing. She was surprised but in a good way. After a small conversation, we sat on the porch and taught the restoration. We have been teaching her all week and she loves the Book of Mormon.

It just goes to show you that the Lord prepares people over time. You never know what good you do as a missionary when you hand someone a Book of Mormon even when they are not interested. It could lead to someone saying yes to the gospel. You never know, they might just randomly pull up beside two missionaries talking to a person and testify of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.

The picture below is of the missionaries I am serving with in the Elmira ward.
 
The sky is blue, the Church is true, and life is good.

Love, Elder Carlile
 
Elmira Ward Missionaries
 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

August 1, 2016 -- Elmira . . . Here We Go

So much has happened in this past week. First off was all the goodbyes to the people in Oneida. After being there for six months, I became very comfortable. It didn't feel like I was leaving as I was saying goodbye. It didn't hit me until the night I was in my first area. I am going to miss Oneida. The branch was amazing and the people there were awesome as well. On transfer day, I went to Utica and then drove all the way to Enidcott to pick up my new companion Elder Hubbell (yes it sounds like the telescope). He was working there for the day. That was about a three hour drive to Endicott but I got to drive through Johnson City, one of my past areas, so I was good with that. Once I picked up my comp in Endicott, it was another hour drive to Elmira. It was a good chance to get to know my new comp Elder Hubbell. He is from Northern California and is farly new in the mission. He converted to the church at age 14 and has been going strong ever since (except for the time he was less active one month. . .but that doesn't count in God's book because he was out of town). We get along pretty well and joke around sometimes.

Elmira is a pretty decent sized city. It's a bit of a college town and there are plenty of people.
Elder Hubbell and I live in an apartment that is in this cool green house. It's amazing because I don't have to duck under the doorways because they are 8 1/2  feet tall. I still do out of habit but it's nice to know that I don't need to. . .in the apartment at least.. We drive a 2015 Toyota Corolla and surprisingly I fit in it pretty well There are three sets of missionary in the Elmira Ward, which is amazing by the way. There are the  Elmira central elders -- we go over there for lunch a lot of the time because they live close.  Then there are the Horsehead sisters who are in the area where the church building is. The Elmira ward is pretty good sized and they feed the missionaries about five or more times a week so thank heavens there. I'm super excited to be in Elmira!! We are teaching a bunch but there is still a lot of good work to be done.

Now for a cool story. Last night Elder Hubble and I got back a couple of minutes before nine so we decided to go tract two houses really quick. The first guy said he was all set but the second guy was open to talking when we knocked on the door. We started talking about the Book of Mormon and how it could bring him closer to God. He recognized that Joseph Smith translated it. Turns out that some relative of his was a Mormon so we asked if we could stop back and share more because it was late and he agreed.

The sky is blue, the Church is true and life is good.
 
Love, Elder Carlile
 
 
Elder Hubbell
 

Elmira Apartment
 
 

July 25, 2016 -- Riding With Style

This week has been simply amazing.  All the way from the Palmyra Temple to transfer calls to riding in a fancy smancy car.

Elder Burton and I went to the temple with Elder and Sister Lee on Friday.  I was crazy excited!! Driving in and seeing the Bishop's storehouse, Hill Cumorah, and the visitors center gets ya super excited. Then, driving up to the temple was amazing. It's been 10 months since I have been able to attend the temple. Ten months feels long enough to me, glad I didn't wait a second longer. The temple session gave me just the recharge of energy I needed. After the temple, we needed to go to the bishops storehouse so the Lee's could pick up a bunch of food for a Stake in our mission. They were kind enough to make a quick stop at the visitors center so Elder Burton and I could grab a picture. We ran into the visitors center to and asked the sister missionary who was working there if she would be kind enough to take a picture of Elder Burton and me in front of the Christ statue. She gladly said yes. I hurried into the room with the statue and then looked to my left to find that there were a bunch of people just staring at me... I realized when I saw the other sister missionary that they were in the middle of a tour that I had just interrupted. All the people were probably thinking, who in the world is this random tall dude? Anyway I told them we just needed to take a picture really quick. They were very understanding and let us take the picture. That was my awkward moment of the day. We went to the bishop's storehouse after that and loaded up some food. I was able meet some church service missionaries so that was a neat experience. On the way home, we enjoyed a wonderful lunch provided by Sister Lee and had some good laughs plus naps.

On Saturday I got my transfer call. I am going to Elmira with Elder Hubbell.  He is pretty new into the mission but I'm sure we'll get along just fine. I will go there on Wednesday. I have heard good things about Elmira. It's a college town and some of the best pick up ball stories I've heard in the mission came from Elmira. I had to say goodbye to the Oneida Branch yesterday and let me just say that was not easy. We had a potluck after church so I was able to get pictures with all of them. Sister Lewis even surprised me with a late birthday cake. It was for Elder Lee as well but it was much appreciated. I have been here for the past six months. It has become my home away from home. I have gotten to know the branch very well here. I'm also super bummed about saying goodbye to all the people Elder Burton and I are teaching. It going to feel like part of my heart is ripping away when I'm leaving Oneida. I know they are amazing people and I hope that everything continues to go well with the missionary work here.

Last night Elder Burton and I taught Wayne. He owns some nice vintage cars.  After the lesson last night, Wayne offered me a deal that I had the hardest time saying no to. He offered to let me take his 1975 red convertible out for a spin. We are not allowed to drive other people's cars as missionaries so I had to say no to this once in a lifetime opportunity. We figured out a good solution though. Wayne and his wife took us out for a spin and we rode in the back seat. It was amazing.

Anyway it has been a week full of  tender mercies and I have definitely greatly felt the Spirit of the Lord.

The sky is blue, the Church is true and life is good.
 
Love, Elder Carlile
 
Palmyra Temple

Wayne's Red Convertible
 
 

Monday, July 18, 2016

July 18, 2016 -- Frogs, BBQ, Teaching -- No Matter What, The View is Great

Where do I even start with this past week. Well... lets rewind to last Sunday.  I got to speak in Church so that was fun. My theme was on modern day pioneers so I decided that I would focus on how living the gospel of Jesus Christ makes up pioneers. It sets us aside from the worldly things and we pave the path for others to follow.

We had a lesson with Ann and her friend Andrew this past week.  They are investigating the church and we started teaching them last week.  Ann was kind enough to cook us all dinner.  It was a yummy sausage casserole dish.  For dessert we had Burn Dairy's Heavenly Hash ice cream and lets just say that it felt like heaven eating ice cream as wonderful as that. We had a really good lesson as well. We taught about the doctrine of Christ. When we talked about baptism, they were a little confused but we tried to explain it needed to be done by the proper authority. I think it went very well and they were able to understand it better. This happens a lot with people the missionaries teach in New York because a lot of them have been raised Catholic or Methodist or Presbyterian and so on and so forth. I am grateful that we know the truth. The proper priesthood authority to baptize was restored through Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery by John the Baptist.  It's neat, though, because Andrew recognized our Church through the famous violinist Lindsey Sterling. He is a huge fan of hers and could talk about her for hours. Funny to see how the Lord prepares people to hear his gospel.

During one of our lessons with Wayne this week he said "I think it's time I go to church within the next month."  This was huge!  We have invited Wayne to church a couple of times but he was a little hesitant because of his foot that doesn't seen to get better.  He won't be able to drive but he said he is going to try and get his wife to drive him.

We had a branch BBQ at Elder and Sister Lee's parents cabin in Old Forge, New York. They have a cabin right on Otter Lake. It was super fun to kick it with the Oneida Branch. We were inviting a bunch of non members and less actives as well. We rode up with Berla and Steve to the BBQ and enjoyed the hour and a half ride with them.

Anyway the sky is blue, the Church is true and life is good.

Elder Carlile
 
Latest Frog Catch


Otter Lake

Car Wash Clearance
 

July 11, 2016 -- Celebrate Good Times, Come On

I can't tell you how much cake I've eaten this past week!! I'm one year older and hopefully wiser too... This past week has been amazing though.

Monday was the 4th. We were invited to a little get together by a lady named Penny.  She is not a member. Some people she knew came and we enjoyed some pizza and snacks with some good conversation. We thought it would be a good opportunity to talk to people about the gospel. One man there named Tony brought his bongos and asked if any of us jammed. I thought for a second and then said, "I have a guitar that I can go grab really quick." We just lived right down the street so I went and got it. I went back and played some guitar while Tony played the bongos. I started singing some gospel related lyrics and then other people start singing as well. All of the sudden this lady started singing about how Joseph Smith was a prophet. This shocked Elder Burton and me a bit. A non- member singing about Joseph Smith out of the blue. Her name was Jeanette. We started talking to her about Joseph Smith and what she knew. She recognized who Joseph Smith was from meeting with the missionaries over ten years ago. We continued talking and asked if she wanted to learn more. She agreed and we are now teaching her about the restored gospel. Hopefully all goes well. 

On Tuesday, Berla and Steve took Elder Burton and I out to dinner for an early birthday treat. We went to a sports grill and had some delicious wings and burgers. We had a good time and even had some lava cake with ice cream for dessert. Lets just say I was full after that dinner.

Thursday was my Birthday. Elder Jorgansen was on exchange with me in Oneida. We also had a zone training meeting that morning. It was super fun to see all of my mission buds on my birthday. They were all wishing me a happy birthday, It was great!! I went out to the car after the meeting to find that a big happy birthday sign was on the front of it along with a giant decorated rubber duck with a nice birthday card signed by everyone in my district in the drivers seat. Some sister missionary in our district put this together and it was definitely a huge surprise. I thanked them and everyone in the district for their kindness. After that Elder Burton and I met up with Brother Stevens and Mama Stevens from up north at the Oneida branch for a nice birthday lunch. We had some waffles with bananas and ice cream. They drove all the way from Lake Pulaski just to have a lunch with me. It sure made me feel loved and special on my birthday. That night Elder Burton and I met up with Mama Lise, Papa Lise, Stephanie, and Taylor to celebrate Stephanie's and my birthday. We all went to the Knotty Pine for dinner and afterward went back the the Lise's place for cake. We all had a good time laughing and talking with one another. I am super grateful that Stephanie was kind enough to let me share my B-day with her family. Over all it was a birthday to remember. I experienced some memories that I will never forget.

On Sunday night, Wayne had Elder Burton and I over for dinner. Before dinner we has a lesson with him on faith. We talked about how faith is a principle of power and how it is essential to God's plan for us. Wayne is coming along really well.  He has kept every commitment that we missionaries have left with him.  He is truly the elect that we missionaries have been sent to find.  For dinner we had some delicious steak that his wife prepared. Before we left, we got to see some of Wayne's old cars.  His collection includes a 1967 white Cadillac, a 1970's red Oldsmobile convertible, a 1970's Pacer, and we also saw his 1939 Dodge Durango.  He sold that recently but all these cars are in pristine condition.

Anyway it has been a good week and I am so grateful for the chance I have to proclaim this gospel while being a dedicated servant of the Lord. The sky is blue, the Church is true and life is good.

Love, Elder Carlile
 
Birthday Duck
 
Birthday Cake

 

New Birthday Basketball Gear

Thursday, July 7, 2016

July 4, 2016 -- Boom Boom Happy 4th

Happy 4th of July!!!  It's a great time to be alive in Upstate.  I have enjoyed hearing the fireworks every night. Since we have been around a holiday this week, the people have been in a better mood. Elder Burton and I have been talking to a lot of the people on the streets. We have been passing out cards about the Hill Cumorah Pageant that is coming up. I am grateful that we are close enough to Palmyra so we can use our pass along cards.

Berla and Steve have been super kind to Elder Burton and I this week.  One night they had us over for some Alaskan King Crab that we helped prepare. Let me just say it was super yummy in my tummy.  We had a good time cracking the crab legs and the slippery crab claw only shot out of my hand once when I was trying to crack it.  They always make sure we missionary are well taken care of.

Elder Burton and I had the most amazing lesson with Wayne this past week. In the lesson the conversation turned to Christ's atonement and what he willingly went through so all of us could return to our Father in Heaven.  As Elder Burton and I told the story of the Atonement, the Spirit filled the room. I am so grateful that we have a Savior who loved us enough to take on the unfathomable task of the Atonement. Willingly he suffered for our sins in the Garden, took on death in His crucifixion, and finally broke the bonds of death by His resurrection. The Atonement is the center of the gospel.  It makes everything possible.

The sky is blue, the Church is true, and life is good.
 
Elder Carlile
 
Elder Burton

Crab Legs with Steve
 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

June 27, 2016 -- One Week Wonder

Have you ever looked back on a week and said, "Did all that stuff happen in just this one week?"  Yeah.... it's been crazy, but crazy good. Teaching, service in a soup kitchen, Zone Conference, painting a kitchen, Amish donuts, doing some more service, playing the bongos, more teaching, putting up Hill Cumorah Pageant flyers, and I even got my eye brows plucked for the first time (shout out to Stephanie for doing an awesome job). I know it's a little weird but you never know what something is like until you try it. Anyway, there just seems to be something for missionaries to do around every corner.

Tasha is doing great! We had a great lesson with her this past week. We were able to reset a baptismal date and she continues to progress towards that. Since she came to church this past week, there has been a total change in her. It just goes to show you how the Spirit truly is the teacher and she was able to feel that unique spirit in church. It is a dedicated building where the Spirit can reside.

Anyway things are going good in Oneida. The sky is blue, the Church is true and life is good.

Till next week,
Elder Carlile

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

June 20, 2016 -- Up, Down, and Everything In Between

Holy moly it has warmed up this past week. Let me just say that the farmer's tan and the collar tan are real. These are some of the sacrifices that missionaries have to make -- pasty white biceps and necks.

My theme that I have been focusing on this week is service. King Benjamin teaches in the Book of Mormon that serving others brings happiness -- small or big acts of kindness that you give freely to others around you. This can be teaching others about the gospel of Jesus Christ, smiling at someone and saying hello or what's up, getting donuts and taking them to a friend and visiting for a second, just being there to listen and many many more things. I always think of what my Aunt Alli taught me. If you take a spoon and hold it in front of you looking at it on the inward side then you will see yourself upside down. If you take the spoon an look at it on the opposite side with it pointing outward then you will see a normal upright reflection of yourself. When we focus only on ourselves then we will find sadness, darkness and life will just seem out of whack. If we focus outward on other people, then we will find peace, joy, laughs, smiles and true satisfaction. "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." That may be hard to believe sometimes but I know that it's true. 

I got a new companion this past week. I picked him up in Utica on Wednesday. His name is Elder Burton. He is a fun easygoing guy and likes to have a good time. He loves to do missionary work and we have been teaching a lot since he got here. I'm super excited to see what this transfer has in store for us.

We have seen so many amazing things happen this past week but the one I want to talk about is what happened yesterday. TASHA CAME TO CHURCH!!! We have been teaching her ever since I got here and this is the first time she has gone. Barbara, her Grandma who joined about a year ago, brought six of her other primary age grandchildren so there were a lot of people there. Elder Lee had to hurry and fill up another tray of water in the middle of the sacrament because of all the people. It was a good problem to have. Tasha loved church and was very surprised how well her three kids did in primary. We look forward to continuing teaching her about the gospel.

It has been a good week overall and I am excited for this next week. It looks super busy but for a missionary busy is good.

The sky is blue, the Church is true and life is good.  Till next week. . .

Elder Carlile
 
Elder Burton Has Arrived
 
 

Monday, June 20, 2016

June 13, 2016 -- We Found Sasquatch!!!

Last Monday, Elder and Sister Lee, a senior couple that works in the office, got a bunch of missionaries together and took them on a hike to Bald Mountain and then took us all to their cabin for a BBQ. The hike was amazing!! It's in the Adirondack's (which are huge by the way). I took over 60 pictures and made some crazy videos and we even found Sasquatch!!! I took a picture and got him on camera (see below). The BBQ was delicious. We had hot dogs, burgers, potato salad and many more yummy things to eat. Overall the company was good and the hike was flamazing -- definitely the best P-day activity I have ever done. 

The coolest thing happened to Elder Smith and I this past Tuesday. We were on our way into Subway to get some lunch when a lady stopped us. She looked like a mess but she asked us if we were church people. We said yes, of course, and then she asked if we had a second to talk. We said yes and found a place to sit down and talk. She started telling us about the situation she was in. Let me just say it was a rough high stress situation. Elder Smith was able to relate to her and that really brought comfort to her. After about a half hour of talking, we were able to counsel her on the best direction to take. Most importantly, we encouraged her to pray and talk with her Father in Heaven. We testified that she had a Father in Heaven who loved her perfectly and that he wants to communicate with her. She felt a lot better after our talk and we said a prayer with her and went our separate ways. I know that the Lord sends his children in need to us missionaries because of the experiences we have had in our lives. We are prepared to help these people to connect with their Heavenly Father.

Last night I said goodbye to Elder Smith. He is heading out of the mission at the end of the transfer this week. I will always remember the laughs and the funny videos that we made together. Through thick and thin we stayed together in the past 7 weeks. I love you man.

Since I will not be getting a new companion until Wednesday, my temporary companion is Elder Wright. My new companion that I will pick up on Wednesday is Elder Burton. He will come back to Oneida with me. I'm excited to see what this next transfer holds in store.

The sky is blue the Church is true and life is good.
 
Elder Carlile
 
 
Bald Mountain Hike

Sasquatch!!!