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