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