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