Letter from Carsten - December 19, 2011

December 19, 2011
The week of Christmas
It's ALMOST Christmas!
Well, before i forget mentioning it, we get to go to the temple tomorrow! YAY! So I'm super excited. We don't get back till like 4, its gonna be nice. It will be a good little half day field trip.
And so far our Christmas plans are, dinner with the Hernandez family! We have dinner with them every Sunday night ha ha. but this time its Christmas, and we are gonna bring our investigator Rafael with us.
Christmas morning we have church, and then probably just hanging out with a few other missionaries and making phone calls home! it'll be real good. Ill try and take pictures - promise mom!
This week has been a good one for sure. Its been REALLLLLY slow the last couple of weeks, so the weeks were dragging on. But this week flew by, which means we were busy - pretty great.
We have this couple were teaching named Gabby and Francisco, who are reallllly nice. I'm super excited to teach them, Gabby was talking about how she just doesn't have faith anymore and doesn't know where to start to regain it, and we were like, "oh don't worry were good at that, its what we do". So were gonna teach them Tuesday. They are both are very receptive and like to talk. They always seem like they feel a giant whole in their lives. Like they aren't really happy. Which is where the gospel comes in, so I'm excited about helping them.
Were also teaching Rafael and Manual a lot, they live in the same apartment. Rafael is disabled and has is working on an alcohol problem, but is always positive minded. He is struggling lately cause he sits around at home all day alone, so temptation comes strong. But i think he will be okay. And Manuel is very nice. His work hasn't called him in a few weeks so hes working on making ends meet, its sad. and his mother died Saturday. But he has expressed interest in us and wants help, and he came to church with his little daughter Blanca, so i hope good things happen.
So i love you all and i wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Con Amor,
Elder Ellsworth

Letter from Carsten - December 12, 2011

December 12, 2011
The week I ate Beef Trip!
So have you ever heard of beef tripe? Well, tripe is like sheep stomach, so i guess beef tripe is like cow stomach. I'm glad i didn't know what it was until after I ate it, because that's super nasty! I took one bite (i thought it looked like squid tentacles) and i didn't even know what it really was. I almost threw up. So i wont lie, i definitely hid the rest of it under some lettuce leaves on my plate.
Yesterday we went to the Coleman's house (as per usual) and had a lunch thing with some members and some of the district. Its been pretty good lately, been moving up with the success! we can actually find people in their homes these days! And we have managed to schedule a ginormous amount of appointments this week, so that will be awesome.
Some notable things this week were we went to find our investigator Rafael, he's super cool. He had 2 strokes a while ago and is pretty crippled, and forgot how to write in English. But he's off crutches now and has a dream to run. Last night we went to his house and he wasn't home, but his roommate we always say hi to was and invited us in. We talked to him and set up an appointment. He has no friends so we are gonna get him to church to make friends. He's a year sober from alcohol, its cool. But then Rafael stumbled home, and we knew something was up. He told us that he drinks and he really wants to stop, so we are gonna visit him tonight and help him out, i feel like it will be a good opportunity for him to see the power of the Book of Mormon.
We also found a really cool couple, Juan and Julieta, who were really nice and let us in. we were gonna share about Jesus' birth and all, but she brought up the BoM so we were like okay, restoration lesson time.
And we got to teach the Reyes family again! they are the 3 kids that want to get baptized, but their dad is super Catholic and wont allow it. So were gonna keep teaching and waiting for a miracle, we've got some ideas.
As for Hugo and Rosa that I've talked about before, Rosa is the super old lady that was really solid and almost got baptized. But her mom who's 102 years old is against it, and so Rosa has been super avoiding us. I see her every time we go by, and she pretends shes not home. its pretty sad. And Hugo is doing OK. The "Virgen Guadelupe" is still "his mother" (we tried to share about not worshipping anything other than God, didn't sink in) and turns out he doesn't like our church. But, we had a great lesson about his relationship with God and talked about church.
I also got to go on splits with Elder Suarez. He was sick so we didn't get to go out and work till 3pm, but we still had a good time. I really enjoy being on bike, although days like this when its pouring rain all day I'd rather be in a car!
President Martin showed up at the church yesterday which was cool. He's so great. I don't remember if i told you, but i wrote him in my weekly letter about my Dear John, and he called me a few days later and made sure i was doing alright and to see if he could do anything for me. Hes super great, i love the man.
And today we played some hardcore free for all dodge ball with some 30 missionaries for 1 1/2 hours. It was crazy. Elder Ely brought his investigator, Nefi, and he played too.  BTW - Nefi is Spanish for Nephi, as in book of Mormon prophet. Legit right? His parents used to be Mormon, and now he is investigating the church, he's really awesome.
Well, that's all. Thanks mom for the Christmas gifts! I'm super excited to open them all up on Christmas.
I love you all, have a good week!
Elder Ellsworth

Letter from Carsten - December 5, 2011

December 5, 2011
The week my companion Elder Ely is sick
La Vida,
Well, this weeks been a  roller coaster, and really fast and slow all at the same time. The highlight was definitely Wednesday, we had a zone conference with lots of other missionaries, and then worked from 4 till the end of the night.
Yeah, guess who got 5 baptismal dates set in that small window of time? WE DID! yeahhh! it was a suuuuper awesome day. Sadly tho, 3 have already fell through. The Rey's kids who want to be baptized had to ask their dad for permission, and he is super catholic and said no. Were praying for miracles.
I don't really remember much else, it's been such a long week. I didn't get to go to church cause Elder Ely was suuuper sick, so i stayed with him while Elder Troy took Elder Suarez to church so they could take care of all our investigators there. It was fine, i read the book, Our Heritage, watched church videos, and then read the P90X manual and now want P90X haha. It was funny.
Anyways, not much else to report, we have a ridiculously high failure rate lately for finding people when they say they will be home. Maybe its just the season! Either way, no worries. Nothing we can do but work our butts off!
Anyways, sorry that wasn't the best email, but it's all i gots!
Have a great week i love you all!
Elder Ellsworth