Saturday, November 14, 2009

November 9

Kelly's note: Arvid and I are making plans to take David and Ryan to Taiwan at Christmas. Things aren't in place yet, but we hope it works out...


Taiwan
is way awesome. It's still in the 80's here, so it's way nice. You'll really love coming to visit here in the Winter. Hmm... I wonder if that means I'll be down here on the East Coast for a long time so that I don't run into you.

So this Transfer started today! Elder
Youd was moved out to a place called ZhongLi, and he's a Zone Leader. I really was trained by a great missionary. Elder Youd is really going to go far with his career. My new companion is Elder Lindsey. He's from Wisconson, and he's a really funny guy. This is going to be a really good transfer here in Yuli. I really hope you got my pictures! Again I'm sorry about the biking one :P

Something cool that happened this week is when we went to Fuli. (Fuli is really close to Yuli). We were walking to a member's house to meet some less-actives, and out of no where, a lady on a scooter stopped us. She looked at us, got off her scooter, handed each of us a 2-liter bottle of water and some snacks. We asked her why, and all she said was: "Yinggai de", which being interpreted means: Should be. She then took off. It's just so awesome to see the charity of the people here in Taiwan. As David always mentioned, these people don't have much, but they are so giving. Rarely would you go into someone's house and they not give you fruit or some sort of drink. What a charitable people!

Last week, Dad gave me a chapter to look up. John 14-16 is what I read about the
Holy Ghost and other things that Jesus taught. It's really cool to see the Holy Ghost's roles. The other thing I liked was in Jesus's Intercessory Prayer. He said to Sanctify us with truth, and God's word is truth. It really made me thing of how we are sanctified through truth. I'll have to think about that more and what it means for us; what we have to do be sanctified.

I'm still doing great here. I love doing work here and just helping people wherever I can. Probably one of the other most profound experiences I had this week is when a Former Investigator wants another try and stopping his addictions and coming to church and all. He set a baptismal date (my first!!) saying he will do his best to prepare for baptism. Usually when we invite people we get the following answers (from not very strong commitment to very strong): I'll try, give it a try, sure, will, deffinity will. We got the "will" from him, so we were really excited.

Anyways, I want to tell you that I know Repentance is true. It really is a change of heart, and no matter where we are spiritually, repentance can be used and make us better people. It will heal our lives and make us happier. It really is the only way to find everlasting happiness in life.

Friday, November 6, 2009

November 4, 2009

Notes from Scott's Mom: Elder Watson is in the Asia Area Presidency (one of the main church leaders in Asia). In a letter this week, Arvid referred to John 14, thus the comment on that.


Elder Watson's conference was yesterday and it was amazing! He gave us advice by giving us his Top 15 Tips to become an even more successful missionary. The Top 2 of those were "Writing to your family weekly" and "Shining your shoes Daily". I know I'm on the Lord's errand, so I'll work harder on representing him. I'll be a better example, and I'll work hard to help bring salvation to people. I'll be more mature and overall just represent the Lord better. Elder Watson then gave us personal interviews, and one of the best things I've learned from that is about the Atonement. There's a promise in Preach my Gospel that says that the more you understand the atonement, the more you want to help others, or something about that. Also, my patriarchal blessing told me that I should desire for a greater testimony and knowledge of the Atonement. Elder Watson told me that I shouldn't be focusing on reading all I can about the Atonement right now, but just reading Preach my Gospel's Atonement part, and then imagining myself in Gethsemane and then just thinking about the pain the Savior has to bear on my behalf. It's something I'm really going to have to work on.

I'll definitly have to read John 14! I think the scriptures and Preach my Gospel are awesome things to read now. Thanks for that!

Sooo... Some really cool things have happened this week that we really believe were divine intervention. We were in an area called Ruisui, and Elder Youd had something fly into his eye. He stopped and we decided to go back to a bathroom to get it out of his eyes. On the way back... we ran into a Former Investigator! She had 3 Baptismial dates set, but she held herself back because of the word of wisdom. We're going to try to meet with her later. But one thing Elder Youd and I are convinced... Heavenly Father sent that thing into Elder Youd's eye, so we would have to go talk to her. We also found another guy like that the next day. It was perfect timing, and it was awesome to see how the Lord puts people in missionaries' paths.

OH YEAH! This week is the end of the 1st Transfer. So now, I have 14 more Transfers. My next Preparation day is monday, so I thought I should let you know that. I still don't know if I'll be transferred or what will happen, so I'll tell you Monday.

Also, when Elder Watson came, I had a CD burned with all my pictures on it, and... I'll repent, but one of them is me biking without my handlebars. I know that's not a smart thing to do, so I'm repenting and just wanted to say sorry ahead of time.

I'm so glad to do the Lord's work. The moments I'm happiest on my mission is when I'm biking to a lesson, singing hymns, knowing I'm a missionary and I'm hopefully doing good for the people here in Taiwan. It's awesome here. This really is the Lord's work. The Holy Ghost WILL guide us if we pray for him. If we have faith that he'll guide us and show us where to go, he will. I have a firm testimony of that even thus far on my mission. I love it here in Taiwan! But I want you two to know I love you and miss you both. I hope you all stay safe while I'm gone (and hopefully after when I get off my mission). I'll pray for you both daily.

Love,
Elder Carlson

Oct. 28, 2009

So yeah, I just like telling what's going on here in Yuli. It's a great place :) It's really beautiful and language is pretty good. I've not really had too many thoughts about "ahh! I can't get this language down!". I just always remember that the Lord will provide as long as we do our best and show our faith.

Monday and yesterday, we had exchanges (where I go to Taidong and change companionships for a day) and being there really made me appreciate what I had in Yuli. The apartments in Taidong are awesome, the food is awesome too, and they have a beach. Yuli is in the mountains, really poor, rural, and not much variety of food. But Yuli has awesome missionary work. No matter where you are, you can do missionary work as long as you have faith for it. I truly believe in that, and that the Spirit will guide us where to go and what to say. After getting back from exchanges yesterday night, Elder Youd and I went out finding less-actives and former investigators, and that's where we saw miracles. I'm starting to talk more in the language and be able to testify of the gospel. Preach My Gospel teaches that the best arrow in our quiver (as missionaries) is our personal testimonies. I know that testifying of truths to our friends and other people is more productive than just saying "This gospel/our message is really important". I know the spirit will give impressions of truth to the people we teach.

So, Brother Wu has like no interest in the gospel :( He just wants to be friends. We are going to be working with Peter and Chao Family mostly though. Peter really feels like a great guy and I feel so good about him. We're meeting him again tonight (hopefully), and we'll teach him about the Book of Mormon more, or whatever he needs at the time. He's such a good guy. Oh and yesterday, we found about 2 more great families in Yuli that wouldn't mind us coming back. So I'll tell you how those go!

But as for this transfer, it's almost over. I'm on my 5th week, and after this week is my last week. This last week, Elder Watson is coming to Hualien for a Zone Conference. So, because we're in Yuli and always have to travel far places, we have District Meeting all day Monday, Zone Conference on Tuesday, Preparation Day on Wednesday, Service Day/Proselyting Day on Thursday, and Weekly Planning Session on Friday. So... That's pretty much the rest of the Transfer. If we get called in 2 Fridays, we'll know if my companion or I are being transfered. So it's exciting :)

Only Elder Youd and I went to the waterfall. It's a 40 minute bike to it and 40 minutes back. It's sooooo pretty, so we're going to take our Zone of 14 missionaries to it next preparation day. I'm excited!

It's still as awesome as ever here in Yuli :)

Love,
Elder Carlson

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oct. 21, 2009

Hey Family!!

Taiwan is an awesome country. It's just so great and there's a ton of great people here. The food is awesome and it's really beautiful here.

Today, Elder Youd and I are going to bike up to a waterfall in the mountains to see how hard it is to get all 8 members of our District up there. That's definitley going to be fun! And as Dad said, this is probably the most beautiful part of Taiwan. There's only 10 Elders and 4 Sisters that get to serve on the east coast at a time, so I feel pretty blessed here.

So here are some statistics.... I've been chased by about 15-17 dogs now... and it's still counting... Yeah... I don't know what else to count up. But yeah, the work is going great, I get to talk to people about Jesus Christ and his Gospel, but most importantly how it can bless their family.

We met this really cool family 2 weeks ago, and it's so cool to see how interested in the gospel they are. The Chao family lived in New Zealand for a few years and worked for a LDS church school up there, so they already knew a bit about our church. We just met with them yesterday and it was so interesting. We decided to share the message of the restored gospel, and why it's important to us today. They seemed most interested in the Book of Mormon and its significance to us today. We gave them a Chinese edition of the Book of Mormon. It was actually really funny because they talked about how we can't really understand the full meaning of the Bible because it's been translated a few times. They then wanted the English Book of Mormon because that would be much closer to the original meaning. It was just really neat to see the desire to read a book that I really believe came from God. We opened it up and shared a verse from Moroni, but from that verse, they kept on reading and reading.

Elder Youd and I really feel like these are REALLY good people. They seek for the truth and are willing and humble enough to test out different ways to find that truth. I know that Christ's gospel is true and is the way for the salvation of men. I know that when we read the truth and pray about it, we will know that something is true. It's just really cool to see all the little miracles that happen every day that witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of us all.

Anyways, that's just been the highlight of my week and something that I've learned. Miracles don't have to be huge things. But I know each one of them is a piece of evidence that God loves his children and always wants to help them.

By the way! I heard Dad's name on the Asia Area Broadcast thing this sunday... I was so excited!!! It was my Dad!! But I was listening to English so I don't know what the Mandarin translation was.

I love you all! I hope you all are individually doing well and are safe. I pray for you all every day.

Love,
Elder Scott Carlson - Kong Wei Yan Zhang Lao

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October 14, 2009

My trainer is Elder Youd (pronounced yaod, so Yao, with a "d" at the end). He's really cool. In some ways he's like David too, so I get along with him. He's a western missionary from North Carolina and he went to the Air Force Academy for a year. He's a great guy. And really trusted in the mission. From what I've heard, because the East Coast missionaries are so far away, they're the ones President can trust. I guess he really wants us to learn well from the ones down here how to do missionary work, be obedient and learn good skills for the rest of my mission. We work hard, but I always feel there's a lot more I can be doing. Last week we only had 15 proselying hours because we had Zone Conference, then General Conference. So LOTS of learning, but it was great, and now we're back to our normal schedule.

Elder Youd has been here in Yuli for 5 months! It's kind of crazy. He and other missionaries he's been working with have really pulled up the ward. The final goal of the ward is to make the 2nd Counselor (currently Elder Youd) a member of the branch, and to have the missionaries focus on missionary work. So that's going to happen hopefully at the end of the transfer. So it's all progressing and we're starting to find people to teach.

This really cool guy, Brother Wu, is 60 years old. His only problems that we know of right now is smoking and... mostly a knowledge of how the church can help him. Compared to most other single Taiwanese guys, he doesn't go drinking, he doesn't chew binglang (Beetlenut), and etc. He's a really good guy and always happy. By the way, Beetlenut is such an interesting drug. It turns your mouth blood-red, it smells foul, and probably has a stimulant in it. But, lots of people chew it and it's a big part of the culture.

The first few days in Taipei were hot, sticky, and I had a difficult time with the language. I still struggle with it, but not as much as a firehose it was the first few days. It's coming along and it's going good. Oh, it turned out that David talked to his friends in Taiwan and his bike broke. He wasn't sure what they did, but they said they weren't going to send it because of that. So it's all good. I have my beautiful bike here in Yuli. Oh, and just to make it less likely to be stolen, I put on a huge "No sucess can compensate for failure in the home" sticker in Chinese. I think people will be able to tell that its a stolen bike from that :).

Wow... Trees were uprooted in Hong Kong? We don't have that problem where we're at. We have mountains on both sides so we're pretty safe. We have earthquakes and lots of rain, but we're good here. In some ways, I'm really excited if a disaster happens. We'd get to go out and do service... but at the same time, that'd be really terrible for lots of families here. Like David used to say, lots of people here really don't have too much money. They struggle at times because of their situations. It's great to always help where we can though.

In Yuli, we live 2 floors above the church, and it's pretty big. The kitchen sink is completely clogged right now, so we'll fix that, and we've got AC, so it's comfortable. It has 1 main room, and 2 smaller side rooms, but we sleep in the main room because that's where the AC is. I have pictures that I might have sent to you of the mountains, and that's our view outside our window. Yuli is really small, but nice. For food though, all we can eat is rice and noodles. If you're in Taipei, you can eat dumplings, KFC, Subway, McDonalds, etc... But we're just stuck with noodles. But hey! There's a great Tea shop we sometimes get drinks at.

Aww... I wish I could've wished Erika a Happy Birthday. I still don't know if I can send her emails, or if she can send me them, so could you tell her I wish her Happy Birthday?

Anyways I probably need to run. I love you though. I'm glad to hear things are good over there. Things are great here too, sometimes difficult, but that's expected. The work and the Gospel is true. I know it is. Haha, I'm glad you love missionaries. :)

I love the gospel and I'm so thankful I can be serving here. I'll work hard.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Earthquakes and Typhoons

This is from Scott's mom, Kelly...

In the early hours on Sunday, Oct. 4, an earthquake of 6.3 magnitude occurred in the ocean just 14 miles off the east coast of Taiwan, where Scott is living. See below what he says about that. Meanwhile, the latest typhoon has passed Taiwan and they are currently enjoying some nice weather.

Now - from Scott:

October 7, 2009
So I'm down in the middle of Taiwan to the East, in a small town called Yuli. I can bike from one side to the other in about 10 minutes, but that's not only my mission boundries. We have about 4 other districts with lots of tiny small towns that we can't even get to. But here in Yuli, my companion, Elder Youd, and I's job is to build up the branch. We have about 12-14 that come every week, and that's a lot more than there used to be. So we're both working on activating lots of the members again and showing them why church is so important. At the same time, we're still looking for people to teach and actually had really good success so far. There's been a typhoon in the area south of us for a while, so we've been getting the wind and rain from that. Oh and that's one thing really funny about Taiwanese people. Taiwanese people really don't like rain and its an acceptable excuse not to go to school, work, or meet with people because its raining.

It's really fun here, but pretty hard work. Especially when I can't really speak Chinese still. I try and struggle though so it's going good. The Taiwanese people here are really nice, humble, and just great people.

Oh, and I actually slept through my first 5.3 or so magnitude earthquake. My companion in the morning said it was going on for about 25-30 seconds, and while he was on the floor for cover, I was just sleep talking away to him... Haha, I found it kind of funny. I remembered having a dream about an earthquake, but don't remember actually being in one.

I'm doing great here and just wanted to say hi to all of you and that things are going great!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Arrival in Taiwan



September 28, 2009

So! For my first area, I'm in a small township called Yuli. It's on the east down, about halfway down south, so I'm way far away from the Temple and Taibei. After the first 2 orientation days, my trainer had to fly up from Taidong (South part near Kaohsiung), pick me and Elder Adam up and fly down to Taidong. Elder Adam (my MTC companion) is serving in Taidong, so after we arrived there in the 25 min airplane (crazy I know), we took a 40 minute train to Yuli. What's so insane is that in that whole area we're in, it's only my companion and I. We have like 300 square miles in our whole area. We're not sure if that's true, but I wouldn't be surprised if it is. When we go visit people, we have to take a train, then at every train station we have bikes locked up to trees. We get those bikes and bike 10-30 minutes to the place. It's all fun though. East Coast Taiwan is SOOO beautiful. Pictures with a camera will never do it justice.

Yesterday (Sunday), We biked over to a member's house to visit them, and we biked next to an old railroad track. On both sides of us were vast rice patties. Then on both sides of the patties were just huge mountains with clouds veiling them. It's so amazingly pretty here!

What's interesting about this area I'm serving is that the last time a person was trained here was 2 years ago. Our area is really special. Right now, its not so much as doing tracting and contacting and finding people, but here its more of instituting the church. We had probably, 12 members at church yesterday and there's more than 30 in our branch boundries. My trainer is the second counsellor in the Branch Presidency, and he's been working hard to get less active members back to church and have the leaders do their job better. Because everything is so spread out, we have maybe 2-3 lessons a day, and most of them are members. So it's a really interesting area and its a great experience. The members though are so loving. I can barely speak down here because the accent is hard to understand and plus I don't know lots of words. But even though I'm a stranger to them and I can't speak their language, they still are really nice to me. David was really right. These people really don't have too much here, but they are so giving and polite. I think a lot of it is because of their love of missionaries. They have what they call "fuyin de chuanjiaoshi" which means "gospel missionary", which is basically the missionary(s) that helped them get baptised. The people here just have tons of love. It's really awesome. Always helping out and sharing.

Anyways! Sorry I'm talking so much. I'll just say that the first 2 days were really tough here in Yuli. I felt so lost with not understanding the language, having a new companion, and not knowing anyone or being in the city. But hey, it's fine. I think I'm all good now. I just need to work hard and get the language and things will be better. I at least know I can help my companion by showing faith and being optimistic about missionary work.

My Preparation day is on Monday instead of Wednesday. Taibei Elders have theirs on Wednesday, but we don't.

Anyways I hope things are going great for you Mom and Dad! Tell Ryan I hope he's doing well!

Love,
Elder Scott Carlson

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Scott arrives in Taiwan

Late Wednesday night, September 23, 2009, Scott arrived in Taipei, Taiwan to begin his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was able to call me yesterday (Tuesday afternoon in LA) before he boarded the plane to Taipei. We had a nice talk for about 25 minutes. He sounded so good!!! He had a great experience at the MTC and was really excited to get to Taiwan. He said he spoke with the airline's workers at the check-in desk as they were all Chinese (it was a Chinese airline). He spoke it fine, but had a lot of trouble understanding them, so he reverted back to English. He knows it will take awhile to get used to the accents and the speed in which they talk. He bore his testimony to me in Mandarin and it "sounded Greek to me!" He was with his MTC companion, Elder Adam, and their two roommates, one of whom is the son of the ex-Governor of Utah (Mike Leavitt) - he's also the former Secretary of Health and Human Services in George W. Bush's presidency. I don't know if I ever mentioned that, but I know Scott did.

At LAX, Scott also spoke with a police officer that was waiting for her flight. She had heard about our church but didn't know much, so he explained things to her. He is excited to go teach more.

He said his P-day (preparation day - basically a day off to do laundry, relax, write letters, etc.) is on Wednesdays. That's Tuesday for those in the US. It's somehow nice to know that Scott is on the same time zone as we are. I liked that with David, too. I hope that won't bother me when we move.

Just now when I spoke with him, he still sounded good, but very tired. I also got to speak with his mission president for a couple of minutes. All is well. (Arvid and I met his mission president and his wife last month when they were here for training. They're from Utah and he is a teacher in the Alpine School District. Nice people.)

Write to Scott! He would love hearing from you!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Scott at the Provo Temple

I "hijacked" this photo from Elder Alex Nightingale's blog. Too bad they're parting ways this week. I may not see any more pictures from Scott! Alex is leaves for Singapore Sunday, Sep. 20, another branch member Liz Clark (in the front row) leaves for Taichung, Taiwan on Monday and Scott leaves for Taipei, Taiwan on Tuesday. The three entered the MTC together on July 8. Bon Voyage!

If you go to Alex's blog, you could click on this picture and actually SEE it as it comes up in a large format. His blog address is: elderalexnightingale.blogspot.com

templecrowd.jpg

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

September15, 2009

Yeah!! I'm so excited to be going soon! I have about 8 days now. Then on to the plane, and in Taiwan!

... one thing that I've been thinking that I need when I teach. I'm only a small 19 year old, but I know if I'm humble the Lord can make me strong. I might not be the smartest person, or the best scriptorian, but I hope I can help others know of the truth through my own testimony.

We had Elder Hinckley (President Hinckley's son, if you didn't know that, but you probably did) come for the MTC Devotional on tuesday and he talked about a lot of different things, but probably one of the things that stuck the most was a short line he said. "Pay attention to your mission president, but special attention to his wife." It just made me rethink about how important women are in our lives. I'm pretty sure lots of the General Authorities wouldn't be where they are now without their wives. It's also really cool to see how important women are on a personal scale for the Temple. So I guess I just really need to thank you again Mom for all the things you've done for me and helped me grow up. And thanks too Dad for the example and kind guidance you've shown me during the years. I read something in an Ensign yesterday that showed me what kind of parent I need to be. It said to not control your kids, but to guide them to eternal life. I've never felt controlled by you two, but always guided to do the right choices always.

Arvid is flying in to Taipei for business the day before Scott arrives. Regarding this, Scott writes:

That would be soo cool to see you though Dad! I would love to run into you accidently on the street. I'll deffinitly keep my eye out for you while there! I'm glad to hear that all things are going good :) Not to stressful is it?

I'm so excited to go. I can give both lessons in Mandarin now, but my Plan of Salvation one is deffinitely better than the message of the Restoration, but they'll both get better and I still have to remember that I don't know much at all still. Thanks for the advice. I know I need to work hard and I'll do my best to serve the lord and not waste his time.

Hey, I need to go now, but I want to let you both (and Ryan) that I'm always thinking of you and that I love you all!

Love,
Elder Scott Carlson, 孔长老

Pictures!

The Carlson boys, David, Scott and Ryan. As this picture was taken, David had been a returned missionary (from the Taiwan Kaohsiung Mission) for 11 days. Scott had been set apart as a missionary for about an hour. It was nice for the 3 brothers to be together for a little while at least!















On July 8, 2009 Scott and Alex Nightingale entered the MTC. Alex and his family, from Australia, are in our branch in Hong Kong. They said goodbye to Alex in HK and we got the honors of escorting him into the Mission Field. After all the goodbyes, Arvid, Ryan and I took them to the MTC (Ryan drove!) for the now-famous "drop-off." No more big, showy farewells. We literally dropped them at the curb and said "So long!" Note the casual clothes - I'm even wearing jeans.










I was able to snatch this picture up of Scott and Alex in the laundry at the MTC - taken sometime in July or August. Alex has an extra memory card for his camera and sends it home every so often for his mom to download pictures. She sends it back, and so on. Lucky them!

More pictures will be posted as I receive them.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

September 8, 2009

Wow!!! Ryan broke something again? Well, I guess our family was due sometime... David or Ryan was the last thing broken right? I still have my perfect streak... but then again I'm not playing rugby or doing other crazy stuff... but hey, I'm on a mission. That's pretty crazy I think... giving up 2 years of my life in my prime ages... but hey, It is totally paying off and I love it here. Please tell Ryan I miss him and I hope he gets more girls going after him because of his sweet tackle and injury... haha... actually take back the girl part. He's already got enough running after him.

I can't believe I'm leaving in 15 days! I'm sooo excited! Part of the reason is that I get to bike again, another is that its my companion's first time out of the country (hehe I get to see him get culture shock), but a main part is just serving the people. There's something about going the extra mile to help someone that just makes you love the person. I was at the Church's Referal Center taking calls today, and This one guy called for a Together Forever DVD. He said he found the pass along card on the ground, so he called for it. He's blaming himself for being a bad husband. He said his family is falling apart because he's not a good husband. I sent him the DVD and moreover I talked to him about how our church and Jesus Christ could help him with his family. Family really is one of the core things of the church. I've learned that from both of your examples. After talking to him a bit how missionaries could help him find more happiness in life, he asked if we prayed for people over the phone... I would've been more surprised, but this was my second prayer I've given someone over the phone. The Spirit is so powerful. Even over phones. I really felt it and I wished with every part of my soul that I could help him, but in reality I'm a few thousand miles away from him and I'm just a small 19 year old. It's really neat to witness how much the Spirit is the helper and not the person. I really hope what I said to him helped him. But the thing I took away from that phone call was that it's possible to love someone even though you don't know them. I'm really excited to teach the Chinese people. I don't know them, their culture too well, but I know I have something that's personally helped my life.

I'm doing great though :) This mission is awesome.

I really hope things are going great for all of you though! I love my family :)

Love,
Elder Carlson

Thursday, September 10, 2009

August-Sept. Update

Hi Everyone,

I'm so tardy on updating Scott's blog, but no worries, he is doing fabulously! The following are excerpts from his letters the past month. Enjoy!

Aug. 11

So two days ago, We were "SYL"ing (Speak Your Language) at dinner and so everything we said had to be in as much chinese as we knew. I wanted to know the word for chicken, so I stabbed a piece with my fork and asked my table "Zhe shi shei?" (This is Who?)... I asked people who the Chicken used to be instead of what it is. We got a good laugh at that. And then, at night, apparently I sleep talk a little in Chinese. One of my roommates has a "General Authority" voice that he uses every once in a while and my companion said that he was using it as he was sleep talking. It's fun!

Yesterday my companion and I watched a talk from a Richard G. Scott on the Importance of Prayer. It was so amazing because it talked about what I needed to know. God answers our prayers, but not like we'd think he would. He talked about how we'd get an answer by a feeling, through someone else, or by being prompted to open to a scripture and get an answer that way. IT IS SO TRUE. Just about 3 days ago, this was wild. I was reading in Preach My Gospel on the Book of Mormon Chapter. On the last section, it talked about Moroni's Promise. It said that even us as members should pray about things in the Book of Mormon to keep our testimonys powerful. I did, and I expected a feeling, or maybe a thought, but instead, my eyes were directed to the other column of the page on Moroni 10:3-5. It said "My Son, have faith in Christ" and it talked about what I needed to hear in that verse. What I should work on in my life. Anyways, it was just cool to have that experience.

I hope you have a safe trip to Hong Kong this week. Be safe!

Aug. 18

I'm starting to have a great time with my companion and I found the trick to it. Charity. If you just have charity and love the person, stop noticing faults, and serving them NO MATTER what they do or not do, you'll find love and you'll care about them even if they're hard to get along with. So things are great between Elder Adam and I. We're starting to work well with each other.

I love the temple so much! It's just amazing the stuff in it. And how it focuses on the Atonement (or so I've been told). It just has really cool symbols and I learn to appreciate it more and more as I go.

Things are going great! Elder Adam and I taught our first lesson in Chinese this Saturday and I almost taught David, but got a room switch so I would teach someone else, because I dont think David would like that too much.

Haha, so you're still not over Jetlag? Dang. I mean... bu hao yisi! It's the chinese way for saying "I'm sorry/that stinks".

Aug. 25

I really think these past 2 days (Saturday and Sunday) have been the hardest so far. Saturday my companion and I didn't do very well during the teaching practice in Chinese. We just didn't feel like we answered their questions and understood them. Their chinese was SOO fast and hard to understand, but I guess that's what the field will be like. But at the same time, I think yesterday was one of the best days too in a way. I guess God really had to shake me for me to understand how good it is to give service and love everyone you meet. Over the past few years, I haven't been good at that. I used to do it alot as a kid, but these days, I feel like I've been slacking. So yeah, Sunday was a big waking up for that and it feels so great serving. Taking trays, checking up on the new Missionaries (OH YEAH! We're the old group of missionaries now. We're 7 weeks in and they're on their 2nd week now... SO OLD!!), and just doing things to help others out. Our district has been getting sick, and I was privilaged to be able to give a blessing and anoint a blessing for another person in my district. It was a great experience...

But wow! Can you believe that in 12 days, I'm 1/12 done with my mission??? THIS IS INSANE! I guess I'll really have to go to work to catch up and so I can actually work more in the field. I really love it here. I gain so much testimonywise.

I had such a good experience listening to a talk by Elder Holland on missionary work. It was sooo cool! He talked about how we all can't expect NOT to have our own Gesthemanes... Like sure, Christ did pay for our sins, but if we really want to reach salvation and exaltation, we have to have a taste of what it was like for the Savior. It was interesting. He related it to how we can't all meet up in a Football Stadium and Shout: "I'm saved! I'm saved!", but we really need to put in our own effort and works in order to be saved. It was awesome!

Sep. 1

Our MTC devotional was amazing! On Tuesday, we had Elder Richard G. Scott come to talk, and about 10 minutes into his talk, he decided to scrap it and just talk to us about something pressing on his mind. He bestowed on us the Gift of Tongues and then proceeded to talk about the Holy Ghost and how we MUST listen to it. It really felt like he was talking to me because so much of what he talked about applied to me at that time. After sharing many experiences of his own with the Holy Ghost, he talked about how he also knew for a fact that Satan is real. His influences are much more real than we'd imagine. He told us to always use the power of prayer and power of the priesthood we are given in order to defend ourselves. The other really cool thing he did was that he said "As an Apostle of Jesus Christ, and I don't use that lightly, I bestow upon you a shield of protection". It was a physical and spiritual protection he gave us that worked according to our faith and diligence. It was a really memorable talk.

Other than that, Elder Adam was sick all week, so one night he couldn't sleep, so we got up at 12 at night and had to go to the doctor. I felt SOO rebelious. 12 o' clock? I felt like I needed to repent. Well, ok not really, but it felt weird. I just found that funny :)

Hope things are going great for you mom! I really appreciate everything you do! If you ever need to send something to me or get a message to me quick, you can always use DearElder.com and I'll get it the same day. It's free too :)

(Scott always writes other things, too - like answering things in my letters. I don't include everything. It's usually things like this below:)

So maybe you're really busy with seminary or something, but I hope things are going great for you! I heard that H1N1 is going around and I really hope Ryan is getting paranoid and wiping down everything. I really pray you all don't get sick. But other than that, how have things been going?

Hey, well I need to go! I'll send grandma a message right now.

Love you all!

Elder Carlson

Friday, August 7, 2009

MTC Beginnings

This is Scott's mom. I will be adding excerpts from Scott's letters during the next 2 years as he serves his mission in Taiwan. Please note his updated MTC address, which includes his box number in case you would like to send a letter.

He is in the Missionary Training Center (MTC) until sometime in late September. He is working hard learning Mandarin Chinese. He reports some ups and downs. Partly, he knows he was missing out on some fun family time as we had all of his siblings, brothers-in-laws, and his nieces together. It was difficult for him, but at least he got to spend a little bit of time with all before departing.

If you would like to post any comments on this blog directed to Scott, I will send them to him.

His first letter includes:
Things have been though these first few days, but I think I'm finally getting set with everything, but its still tough. It's amazing how much you notice in these first few days with how the Spirit works. Especially when you have every missionary in our district praying for the gift of Tongues. And now I can say I have a testimony in that gift of the Spirit which I've never before had.

I wake up early to go study the scriptures for an hour, then for another hour after that, then learning chinese and studying preach my gospel.

I have 11 weeks until I get out into the field, but I hope its goes fast. I'm already 1 week in... but I can't wait to go teach people, but of course I need to learn Chinese first. Right now, I know how to pray in chinese, and almost bear my testimony in it. It's just so neat to see how much of a testimony I really have and feel the Spirit many parts of my day.

Week 2: (He starts with a joke...)
So things have been really awesome here in Provo! Ok, so alot of it is like a prison... I like how Sterling put it: "The difference between the MTC and prison is that in prison, you get visitors." Haha, It was funny when he said it, but not so much when you're here. Just joking, It's still funny.

Yeah, so I've been taking Dad's advice and just working hard. Luckly for me, my companion isn't lazy and knows the true importance of work and focus. We have to relate everything we do to people we're teaching as mock teaching apointments, so it's keeping us working hard and focusing well. I'm doing fine here, I love gym time and just doing personal study!

Anyways, I just wanted to all let you know that Jesus does live and I know that. Through his Atonement, we CAN be saved and live with him in Heaven, with our families, after death. I really know that to be true. God lives and loves us, and I don't think there's a better message than that.

What was really cool to see what's been happening so far is how much my testimony in prayer has grown. Thanks so much for praying for the gift of tongues for me, I have been to personally and with my district, and it's really cool seeing how far everyone has been getting in Chinese with the lack of classes we've had. Everyone can now read the romanized characters of chinese and get the tones down and pronounciation. It's just really cool. I'm so blessed to have such a good district (my district is basically my class of 10 people). They are just so good, and even our Branch president even said that he's amazed with us. I don't want to be prideful or anything, but it really is good. It's always spiritually strengthening and it leaves us wanting to know more about the gospel and teach with the spirit and power. Elder Adam and I have been getting along just fine, and have been able to teach with the spirit quite a few times now. It's really amazing to feel the spirit, but terrible when you feel it leave.

I love this work and it's amazing how much a person can learn in 2 weeks! I love you all! And I miss you! (but not enough to get off the mission haha)

Week 3:
Yeah, I got over homesickness fast cause we've moved so much... I really do miss you and love you more than ever though. Chinese is tough as usual, but its doable... All I mostly have been learning are gospel terms and phrases... baptism, prayers, the first vision story, etc. It's amazing to see what the Lord can help you do! Oh and I can bear my testimony too.

One thing that's been getting me semi-down is not feeling adequate enough. I was pointed to the scriptures though and that helped a ton. The scripture that says "I give unto men weakness that they may learn to be humble.." then it talks about how weak things will be made strong unto them. I really couldn't be doing all I do right now without the Lord's and Holy Ghost's help. Truly. One day I didn't feel good at all, and it was just like I was out of touch with the spirit and.. I couldn't seem to do anything as well as I usually could. It's all true. God lives as well as his Son and the Holy Ghost. I truly believe I'm out here for the right reasons.

Week 4:
I'm doing ok I guess, I had a rough weekend but its my own fault and I found out what I've been doing wrong. I like how you talked about how humble I was in the email... My problem has actually been pride. I haven't had this much help from the Holy Ghost before, and then I guess I forget to give credit where it's due. I'm just happy I realized that before it got any worse or I just exploded on my companion.

I just need to remember that the knowledge that I achieve while here on my mission, isn't because of the work I've done, but what the Lord helps me achieve.

I'm trying to strive to recieve the best and most blessings I can through obeying rules and really following D&C 4. Memorizing that has really helped. I look over it time to time and realize stuff I can apply to my life to make my mission so much better. Especially the "Remember Faith, Virtue, Knowledge, Temperance, Brotherly Kindness, Godliness, Charity, Humility, Diligence." It tells us what we need to watch out for constantly and it is SO true. It helps and following that will keep us happy.

Oh so I wanna share a story with you that my teacher told. It's really neat. My teacher said that while he was in Taibei, he met this one Canadian guy. He was looking for a job he could do while staying in Taiwan and was having a hard time. My teacher promised that if the guy would set up an appointment to meet with the missionaries, he would get a job. If he did get a job, he could meet them back in the same place a week later. If not, he didn't have to show up. 2 hours later, the Canadian guy came running back telling him he just got a job and set up a time where the missionaries could come over and teach him. It was just a cool story where Missionaries can make promises to people like that and expect God to fulfill them since we're on his time.

I ran into David at the temple today (completely by accident) and we talked for a bit. It was really interesting and cool. I love the temple. So you and Ryan will be with Grandma and the cousins for a while? It sounds so fun! Colorado is really nice! Oh and By the way, I thought 50 F was nice in the winter at BYU, so its not too bad is it? Haha... I'm glad you had fun with Dad's side. Yeah, I wish I knew them better too. I guess I can go on a roadtrip up there sometime after my mission. Just do that for a week, and say hi to everyone up there. I hope it won't be too weird if I just drop by.

I hope everyone is doing great!!
Love,Scott... ahem I mean Elder Carlson

Monday, July 6, 2009

MTC and Mission Address

hey guys, heres my mission address as well as the MTC one! Oh and the Chinese address was meant so you could print off labels if you wanted to and put it on the envelope. David says it doesn't matter and English will get it there just fine! Love you all!

SCOTT'S MTC ADDRESS

Elder Scott Austin Carlson
Taiwan Taipei Mission
Provo Missionary Training Center
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604


SCOTT'S TAIWAN MISSION ADDRESS

孔長老
106-42
臺灣臺北傳道部
臺北市大安區
金華街183巷24號4樓


Elder Scott Carlson
Taiwan Taipei Mission
JinHua Street, Lane 183, #24, 4F
Taipei 106-42
TAIWAN

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Called to Taiwan Taipei!

Hey everybody!
I've been called to the Taiwan Taipei mission and I will be leaving July 8th, 2009. I'll update my blog or have my family update it on things of my mission. Miss you all!