Friday, January 29, 2016

January 25, 2016 -- Worldwide Missionary Training

Today for fun I overstacked my froyo. It was so overstacked that the person behind the counter asked if she could take a picture and I just might be on her facebook page now. This also helped the sisters since they are trying to teach her and pick her up as an investigator. 
Now onto a more hyped note for this week.  Our investigator J... (we call him Jay for short) continues to amaze us every lesson. We've had two lessons with him this week and the Spirit continues to manifest itself strongly through his desire to find a better life. He is one of the most giving people I've ever met and he tries to help everyone around him through his actions. I'm excited to see him progress to his baptism date because we know that will be such a life changing progression for him.
We watched the world wide missionary broadcast this week. It was the first one they've done in over a decade and it was pretty sweet. The focus of the whole meeting was the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance in our investigators lives. Afterward I felt a little drained spiritually but that's always a good feeling because you know that your spiritual knowledge is progressing. 
The Church is true, the sky is blue and life is good.

Love, Elder Carlile 

January 18, 2016 -- Snow Can't Stop The Work

It's actually been snowing this week and yeah, it's been cold!  Don't worry though, I only slipped twice on my bike.  It was a graceful fall... but on to more important things this week; we had our second lesson with our new investigator JB.  He's my black homie like a brother from another mother. The lesson went really well. His focus is unbelievable! We taught him about the Book of Mormon and how this book can literally change his life. He kept the commitment last time to read it and continues to do just that. It's amazing to see how the Lord will put people in your path so long as you're out doing His work as a missionary. 
We had another investigator this week who we've been teaching for a month and a half.  He finished the Book of Mormon and finally committed to baptism, which is such a blessing.  The thing that got him to commit was being able to do temple work for his deceased wife.  Every lesson we have the Spirit is so strong and we know that his wife is waiting for him to do that work. His experience was that he was thinking about it all night and finally at midnight it came to him, he had this epiphany that his wife and mom were waiting for their work to be done so that they could get into Spirit paradise. So we asked him what the next step was for him and he said "baptism." He's committed to February 27th. 

On Sunday we had two of our investigators and they brought one of their friends. We've been praying for each of these investigators for the past 2 months and it just goes to show you what the Lord does for His missionaries as they ask him. We are so grateful to be a part of their progression and to know that the Lord is blessing us so we could have this experience. We were also able to have a potluck on Sunday which is where after third hour of church we get to eat and enjoy each others company as a ward. Our investigators who came just loved it and want to continue to come to church. Josh, our recent convert, seems like a member already - he's just got that vibe about him. 

It's been a blast this week and the sky is blue, the Church is true and life is good. We even topped it off today with all you could get in a 12oz cup of froyo.
Love, Elder Carlile

Monday, January 11, 2016

January 11, 2016 -- New Bikes!!

This week has been been full of unique experiences.  First off, Elder Ayre and I got some more bikes from the mission because our last bikes were stolen. Don't worry though, we made sure to get a chain lock this time so nobody can break through it. Having the bikes cuts down travel time and I'm very grateful for that.

On Saturday, Elder Ayre and I went to meet a lady we met on the street the other night. We pulled up to McDonald's (because she wanted to meet there) and, as Elder Ayre and I walked in, we saw our investigator and two other people sitting with her. We went and introduced ourselves to them. One was an older guy and he introduced himself as Pastor Ralph. The other person was his wife. Pastor Ralph wanted to come with this lady that we had met the other night and find out what we were all about.

As the discussion started, we were able to resolve some misconceptions that Pastor Ralph had about the Mormon church. As we each told one another what we believed, we were able to find similarities in each religion. Pastor Ralph is a non-denominational Christian and has a great love for the Bible. We both had a central belief in Christ and we both believed the bible to be the word of God. However, he did believe in the trinity... that was one of the differences that we have.  It was still okay because we were just trying to build bridges of understanding between the religions. After about an hour of this discussion, while trying to balance talking with Pastor Ralph and talking with our investigator, we were able to end on a good note --  leaving the Book of Mormon with our investigator and bearing testimony that she shouldn't just take our word that this was true but instead pray to God to know if the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Elder Ayre and I were PUMPED coming out of the lesson and can't wait to meet with our investigator again and also have good discussions with Pastor Ralph. Hopefully we'll be able to meet with him separately though so that there isn't so much confusion. 

One other miracle, and cooler experience we had, was coming out of a lesson on Friday.  We were getting ready to head to our next appointment when we received a call from a number that we didn't recognize. We answered the phone and the man introduced himself as Jay.  He said that he didn't know who else to call and that we had left a card with him when we met him on the streets a couple of months earlier. He expressed that he felt as though he had hit rock bottom, so we offered to meet with him the following Sunday. We went over to his house on Sunday night to meet him which resulted in an amazing lesson. We got to know him and he just expressed how badly he wanted to change his life and find that hope that had been missing. He had a rough childhood and is now just trying to find work again. He feels like he has nobody to count on right now. We left him with a Book of Mormon and bore strong testimony that this book could change his life and bring him closer to God. Elder Ayre and I look forward to meeting with him in the next couple of weeks.
I know that the Lord puts his missionaries in the right place at the right time. I have seen that throughout this whole week and I'm glad the Lord trusts Elder Ayre and I enough to put these people in our path.

Love, Elder Calile

January 4, 2016 -- A Baptism (A Great Way to Start the New Year)

This week has been full of recovering from Christmas treats and then even more celebrating on New Years.

On Saturday, Elder Ayre and I were grateful that we were able to see our investigator enter the waters of baptism. It has been amazing to see the gospel change his life. I met him the first night I went out teaching in Johnson City. In just one month the atonement of Jesus Christ has brought this man from sorrow and remorse to optimism and clarity. Seeing the true power of the gospel in action is one of the greatest blessings as a missionary.

The baptism went very smoothly thanks to the Binghampton ward. There is always a strong spirit during a baptism because someone is making a huge step in gaining a relationship with God.
The Church is true, the sky is kinda blue, and life is good.
Elder Carlile
Brother Rodriguez - High Councilor in the Owego Stake

Friday, January 1, 2016

December 28, 2015 -- Christmas Gifts

I loved talking to all of you and Katie this past week over Skype. I loved all the presents you sent!  But there were two presents that were the most meaningful to me. The first is the fact that both you and Dad had successful cancer surgery. It truly is such a miracle. The second is the note from Noah. When I read it and saw the picture of the sun he drew I may have gotten a little emotional. The picture he drew reminded me of the light of Christ.

I'm a little sick right now but it's not stopping me from doing the work. The sweater that I got in my package fits very well and the Subway gift cards are helping a lot. They allow Elder Ayre and me to stay out on the other side of town and eat at Subway so we don't have to waste time going back to our apartment for lunch. We also met this really cool guy when we went to Subway the other day. He works there and recognized our church. We started talking about LDS players in the NBA and then it turned to how the LDS church has helped his sister in her life. We are hoping to start meeting with him in the future. Anyway, thank you for the cards and tell Alli thank you also.

Love Elder Carlile

December 14, 2015 -- Ward Christmas Party and No Bikes

I just want to say all went well with the emergency transfer and I love my new companion, Elder Ayre. I'm not kidding when I say he is probably the most experienced missionary in the mission. I am so glad that everything went well with your surgery Mom. Honestly I was so anxious to hear about how it went and when President Rogers called with the good news I knew my prayers were answered. I was in a slump for the past two weeks and I lost some of my drive.  But with my new area, new companion, and the good news about you, my passion for missionary work has been rekindled.

This past week the average temperature has been about 60 degrees in the day. Today it got up to 70. This is very unusual for New York. I'm hoping that it will snow by Christmas. On Saturday, the ward had their Christmas party. The program was short but the dinner was amazing -- ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls, and many more yummy food items. I was grateful for the opportunity to get to know the members better.  I've sent a Christmas picture along for your viewing.

On Sunday Elder Ayre and I were teaching this person in the rougher side in town. When we were done teaching and we walked outside their house, we found that our bikes were gone. We had them locked up so the person that stole them must have picked the lock. Hopefully we will be able to get them back so that we don't have to walk everywhere but only time will tell. I know that theLlord will provide a way for us to do his work though. I love doing missionary work in Johnson City and I know that this church is true.

Love, Elder Carlile

December 7, 2015 -- A Transfer This Week

This has been one of the most eventful weeks in the mission field! Wednesday we had a wonderful mission conference on how to use the Book of Mormon better in our teaching. Thursday is where it got a little crazy. After I got done with comp study, I got a call from President Rodgers. He informed me that there was a missionary in Johnson City that was going home due to some health problems.  Because of this he informed me that I was going to be transferred to replace this elder. He told me that I needed to start packing immediately because the AP's were going to be there to pick me up from Rotterdam at 4 o'clock to take me to Johnson City. President also told me that my companion, Elder Skouson, was going to go into a trio with the Schenectady elders because one of the elders was going to be going next transfer, which is in one week. He also told me that my new companion was going to be Elder Ayre. When I got off the phone with President I had to take a couple of minutes to take it all in. Elder Skouson and I started packing and cleaning out the apartment. I was excited and sad at the same time, excited to go Johnson City but sad to be leaving Elder Skouson and the people in Rotterdam.

After we got done packing we had just enough time to go the Jumans, before the AP's got there, and say goodbye. Only Fereza, her mom and her dad were there, but I was grateful that I had the chance to say goodbye. The AP's came to pick me up and Elder Skouson and I said goodbye to each other.

The AP's and I then went to Johnson City. It was a 4 hour drive so I got to know the AP's pretty well. We stayed in a hotel for the night because  of the mission conference the next morning. The next morning the AP's and I enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at the hotel and then went to the mission conference where I met up with Elder Ayre. Elder Ayre is so awesome. He just came off of being an AP for nine months so you could say I'm with one the most experienced missionary's in the mission. He is a hard smart working missionary. After my second mission conference in the week I finally got to my new apartment in Johnson City.

Johnson City is a really cool place! There are a lot of college students that go to Binghampton University and so many people in our small area. We are a walking area but we do have access to bikes.  We have really needed them with all the people we are teaching. I haven't worked as hard as I have in the past couple of days, but I enjoy every second of it. Elder Ayre and I have really gotten along well and we are laughing all the time. I am so great full for the opportunity to be a missionary.