Letter from Carsten - October 31, 2011

October 31, 2011 - AKA HALLOWEEN
The week my Spanish gets better

Hello family!

Well, its Halloween, which just means that tonight people are too busy trick or treating to feed us or listen to us, so we don't have anything planned today. Basically we have the whole day to ourselves. Which is kinda nice. I got plenty of stuff to clean at the apartment. And later today a bunch of us missionaries are getting together in Halloween costumes and playing kickball somewhere, so that will be fun hahaha.

As for me, life is going great - Elder Troy and I are having a plant growing war, and i am dominating him. we bought seeds at a store last week for some flowers, and put them with some dirt in plastic water bottles we cut up, so were professional gardeners now. But mine are totally dominating! i have a bunch of big huge sprouts of my flower, and his is all tiny! but, they are different types so i guess you cant judge. but were gonna have one of our member family friends judge which plant is better in the end. I know, were pretty cool like that.

But planting flowers isn't all we do as missionaries! believe it or not we actually work a lot too. The last couple of days have been awesome (except yesterday, which was a little tougher) but we don't go knocking anymore. we just go finding. Almost without fail, every time we went knocking to find people to teach, the first door we knocked on let us in right away and we taught them awesome first lessons and got return appointments and all that jazz! so that's WAY awesome.

We found tons of people this week to teach. And we found this awesome guy named Steve who was the only white guy in the neighborhood, and he ended up being super interested. he quit smoking 7 days ago and is working on quitting alcohol, so we gave him a picture of Jesus to hang up to help him overcome his addictions, and he even said the closing prayer for us, he was awesome. 

We keep finding the BEST investigators, and they are either not in our area or speak English, and we take care of the Spanish speaking, but that's okay cause we have lots of pretty solid investigators so far. things are going well there.

And my Spanish is greatly improving, now I'm really working on understanding what people say to me perfectly cause if i can do that i can reply faster and not look stupid cause i have no idea what they just said. but some people here are REALLLLLY hard to understand. i don't think i would understand most of them if they were speaking English either. So that's a struggle, but ill get better at it. I'm getting a lot better at expressing better what i have to say tho, and that's really fun. so life's good, Spanish is good, the people are good, I'm resisting the temptation to be lazy, and its awesome!

Well, that's all i got, i love you all have a good week :)
Elder Ellsworth

(Carsten with his companion Elder Maxwell from the MTC) 

Letter from Carsten - October 24, 2011

October 24, 2011
The week we were stopppd by cops

Hello family!

Hows life? Same old same old I'm sure. Thanks for all the  letters I've been getting and your emails too.

Things are going well in  California. We have had some amazing days and some pretty downer days.
But we don't let the loser days get us down! Ya just gotta keep at it,  and not give up.

We had some fun experiences this week tho, one of  which was we were getting our backpacks out of our trunk to go to an  appointment, and these two cops in a cop car pulled up right next to  us, stopping traffic behind them, and started talking to us. One of  them was a member, and had family in Mesa last name of Larson! (mom) they were cool. They first pulled up and said "hey, you guys
 got a permit to be doin what your doin" trying to intimidate us or  something. But we were like well, yeah actually we do! cause we have a  little card that proves that we are representatives of the church and  have the duty of preaching and proselyting and its all legal and  stuff, so we busted em out and showed him, it was cool. He was a  member tho so he was just messin around :)

We met plenty of cool  people too. Especially Hugo and Rosa, they both made it to church with
us this Sunday which was amazing! Hugo is temporarily blind, but we  taught him twice this week and hes super great. He wants to learn  more, and Rosa is like 76 and is getting baptised November 6th :) shes  super great too.

We found this amazing lady named Erika, who's  husband died 5 months ago, and shes having some trouble. But shes  soooo interested in the gospel, shes super golden. We taught her a  little of the first lesson and answered some questions, but the sad  thing is we wont get to keep teaching her, shes not in our area so we  had to give her to other guys in our district, sad day.

We saw Pedro for a few minutes, the supppper  intelligent catholic guy, and he actually read some in the BoM! Which  is rare lol. So he is progressing, and he had a tomato plant, so he  picked some and handed to us so we would eat them, and i HATE  tomatoes, but i sucked it up and ate the whole thing right in front of  him so he wouldn't think i was just some picky white kid. It was  disgusting. But i did it! HAHA.

On Sunday we gave 2 people  blessings, my first time. i didn't even know what to say in English, so  i failed pretty bad on my part. but ill practice.

We are working with a lot of really incredible people and I'm having a good  time. I cant wait for Wednesday, we have a bunch of awesome  appointments set up then!

Well, I'm not sure what else there is, so ill just say that i love you  and i miss ya! But I'm glad to be here serving the lord and the city of  Van Nuys :)

 Love ya all!
 Elder Ellsworth

(picture from the MTC with one of our Spanish teachers Amanda Nelsen)



Letter from Carsten - October 17, 2011

Elder Carsten Ellsworth
7057 Haskell Ave Apt. 222
Van Nuys, CA 91406
 
October 17, 2011
The week that time goes slow then BAM it's another week!
Hola mi familia!
Hows life? Every body still sick of the heat of Arizona? I'm sure all is well in the desert.

How's the mission you ask? Well its fantastic! Time is so weird here, it goes really slow each day, and then all of a sudden its the next week. Which is nice, we get a lot done that way and it doesn't drag on, i guess 2 years really wont be that hard at all.

I'm still enjoying my time here a ton, and iv made lots of friends. The missionaries around here are great, we just played a bunch of basketball and stuff in the gym.
And the members are awesome too! I had my first real church meeting (my first one we just had a stake conference) So i got to meet more of the members which is great. And i am really good friends with a couple of the families, cause they feed us regularly. Gooood food too.
And we have met so may awesome investigators and potential investigators! Were finding tons of people all the time. Its not the easiest thing knocking doors, but every now and then we find some really prepared people.
Yesterday we were walking after having been shut down again (happens a lot) and this guy asked us a trick question about faith as we walked buy him, and Elder Troy answered it perfectly with an analogy and everything, so that got his attention well. and we stood there and talked to him for an hour about the first lesson, and then went and sat in front of his house with some water for another 45 minutes. He was this super intelligent catholic guy and the best part was he basically taught us about the apostasy and lack of authority and all that stuff, so he really understood a lot, and then we taught him about the restoration, and he seemed interested, so we gave him a BoM and a commitment, hes super awesome!

And theres this old lady named Rosa that we are teaching that is about to get baptized! Shes super great. My 4th day her we taught her and i didn't understand a single word she said she talked too fast for me, but we taught her the other day and i understood all of it this time! So that was really awesome, I'm getting better at understanding Spanish, no i just need to learn how to speak intelligently and be able to respond faster and i will be alright! but there is definitely a lot more improvement when your immersed which native speakers, i have no choice but to learn really fast ha ha ha.
So things are awesome. We've had a lot of great experience this week, i wish i could just call you and tell you every single one, but that's okay. The start of our week was really hard, we taught almost no one because every appointment bailed and no one would let us in and it was a little discouraging, but then Thursday to Sunday have been great, we found a lot of fantastic people and taught some really awesome lessons, i love it.
The work isn't easy, and I'm still terrified before i teach or knock, but it always works out and i am having a blast. And even though i haven't received a single letter this week from anyone (they are probably at the mission office), it was still a great week.  Anyways, i love you and i cant wait to hear back from you all.
Love,
Elder Ellsworth

Letter from Carsten - October 10, 2011

NEW ADDRESS:
Elder Carsten Ellsworth
7057 Haskell Ave Apt. 222
Van Nuys, CA 91406


October 10, 2011
The week I arrived in Van Nuys CALIFORNIA

Guess who is in California! I am! Its amazing here. I love missionary life. Wayyyy better than the MTC!

We get fed by members amazing Mexican food, and get to teach tons of people in
Spanish. The Spanish part is kind of terrifying, but if i ever get in
a bind my companion comes and saves the day, hes an awesome teacher.
His name is Elder Troy, and hes been here a little under a year.

We have a car, so we don't bike around places, which is good and bad. Good
because a car is suuuuuper helpful and convenient, and bad because i
don't want to get fat. And if your in a car, you don't get recognized as
missionaries as easily. But that's okay, ill get to use my awesome new
bike eventually I'm sure.

Teaching people is so much fun! We always have lots of appointments,
and its really scary, but its so exciting. I hate it when m companion
turns to me and says okay your turn, or when hes like okay you get to
knock this door.

But the more i do it the faster i will be, so its really a blessing in disguise. I'm sure i
will grow with my Spanish soon. I'm able to basically communicate well
enough. although the other day we taught this really intelligent guy named Berto,
and it was just sooooo over my head! he was wayyyy smart and i kept up as well as i
could hahaha. We didn't teach what we had prepared for him, so i was
like oh my goodness now what i don't know the words for this lesson
well enough yet! but that's okay, cause as usual, Elder Troy came to the
rescue.

Anyways, my time is almost up, but in short i love it here and
Cali is amazing! I look forward to more mail from everyone too :) Mom,
ill send my new address to you in an email, but ill write you a real
letter in a little when i get home. Oh and i would like Mackenzies
mailing address so i can write her, i have a story for her. :)

Anyways, love you all! Bye!
Elder Ellsworth

Last teacher in the MTC - Time to go to Calfornia to serve my MISSION!

CALIFORNIA here I Come...

Carsten's ON HIS WAY
October 5, 2011

California San Fernando Mission
23504 Lyons Ave   #107
Santa Clarita, California 91321
(mission office)

My boy is on a plane this morning to the place he'll be serving his mission. He called early this morning,
before I was up and had my phone on, but he left me a WONDERFUL message
how excited he was to arrive in California and said to say hi to Gabrielle
and all his family and friends!

As bummed as I am about missing his call, I'm actually pretty excited I get to hear his message over and over as often as I want!

His voice sounded different - more mature I suppose, and yes, it's still very deep! I know my boy loves me, but I'll tell ya,
it was SO NICE to here him say -
"I LOVE YA LIKE CRAZY MOM" followed by "I MISS YA LIKE CRAZY"

Then he reassures me he's doing great and so excited to get to California to
start his mission.

(Carsten's MTC district of Missionary's)
Such a GREAT boy I'm blessed with - he's one of 3 actually, but today I'm thinking
of him and his willingness to go on a mission having really no idea
what to expect - but loving each minute as it comes!

LOVE YOU like CRAZY TOO Carsten!!!!!
Mom