Letter from Carsten - December 10, 2012

December 10, 2012
The week I baptized Olivia Bustamante in freezing water

Yesterday we had the great opportunity to baptize our awesome investigator Olivia Bustamante, the neice of our other awesome recent convert. The hot water in the font was broken so we were there from 1:30 to 4 boiling water in the biggest pots iv ever seen until it warmed up a little bit. so it wasnt frozen solid, but that water was still dang cold! I performed the baptism, my 2nd time ever, and it was good. The first attempt her foot came up tho, so that sucked haha. but in the end she did it and were stoked to confirm her next week!

We've also been making Christmas preparations with some decorations and a TREE in the house, compliments of MOM. Oh, and lottttts of egg nog. of course.

We should have a baptism almost every Sunday for the rest of this month! so were keeping busy haha. this is a good area to be in!
Thats the update for today, love you all have a good week!

Letter from Carsten - Decmeber 3, 2012

December 3, 2012
The week we set a baptisimal date for Aldo

Weathers been pretty strange here in good ole Palmdale! Extremely windy (almost fell off the bike on many occasion) and yesterday we had horizontal rain...that was weird. But i kind of enjoying riding in it, i have a sick jacket so who cares! ill tell ya who, Elder Reed - he hates cold and hates bikes even more. But things are good! just marvelling at the fact the Christmas is so close!

We've  had some good success! Set a baptismal date with a guy named Aldo, and it turned out to be the 23, which turned out to be his birthday! Birthday, born again, pretty cool meanings there. But yeah. Olivia is definitely getting baptized this weekend! were very excited. and Katie fell back to her old i want to move in with my boyfriend and yatta yatta so she's not getting baptized. well see what happens there.
Anyways, love you all have a good week!

Letter from Carsten - November 26, 2012

November 26, 2012
The week I made a promise

This week has been a crazy one! it literally feels like the last time i emailed was a month ago. On Monday, we played basketball for like 5 hours and then played volleyball as well. and then Thursday we had a zone turkey bowl in the morning with some football Americana. Then Friday night while i was on exchanges with Elder Martinez, we played soccor indoors for an investigator activity, and then Saturday morning was the ward soccer activity. so this week we played a TON of sports haha, its been crazy.

On top of that craziness on Tuesday night we were cruising super fast down a giant hill, when i ran over a very large and abnormally sharp rock, which of course slashed my tire. I was pretty mad, these dang roads are absolutely filthy and full of big sharp rocks. So the next day I drive us all the way to Walmart to buy a new tube, and get home and find out i got the wrong type of valve! I didn't know that there was a different type of valve! but i sure do now. so we had to wait all day for them to take us back so i could get the real deal, and we were pretty out of commission for that day.

Thankfully, we had many great opportunities this week! Katie on of our closest investigators to baptism, had a large decision to make, one of which would keep her from being baptized. but through lots of prayer she was able to choose to stay and get baptized, and that was a big deal! and on top of that, we talked on 2 occasions to Isabel about baptism, to which she asked the question "if i WERE to get baptized, what would i have to do?" which is a question i like very much. and at church yesterday she was like what? oh sorry i didn't hear you, iv been thinking a lot about that baptism thing. so that's awesome! and on top of that, she has a lot of financial problems, and for some crazy reason the words came out of my mouth that if she would do what we suggest and follow what god wants, she would never lack money for rent or food on the table. pretty scary promise to make, but i know it'll come true! i wouldn't have said such a thing otherwise.
Hopefully we could have 4 baptisms for December. merry Christmas!
So things are doing well :) have a good week everyone!

Letter from Carsten - November 19, 2012

November 19, 2012
The week I have a belly

Its true! i have a belly for the first time in my entire life! i hate it, but were super busy and I'm always exhausted, so i don't have any desire to work out. The members feed us way to much and its never healthy. My only saving grace is the bike. I hope i never go back to car ill become obese.

This week was another interesting one for us, the sickness that had me knocked out all week 2 weeks ago was passed to Elder Reed, which means yet again we accomplished very little work. Lots of naps and extra study which was nice, the problem was that all those days stuck in a house takes away your desire to ever leave again lol. so i started getting up at 6:30am again and that helped get me excited to work better.

So this week, were gonna work our butts off. Theres tons of good things going on in the area nowadays, we just have to be well enough to visit them. Our main investigators Katie and Olivia are doing well, but Katie hit some huge trials and wont get baptized on time. But Olivia will! and then hopefully soon after our new investigator Isabel as well haha. So things are good nonetheless.

Anyways, that's the update!
Love you all and have a good week :P

Letter from Carsten - November 12, 2012

November 12, 2012
The week we taught using jenga blocks, angry birds and the scriptures

Well, it was in the 80s one day, and the next it poured and was in the 50s. And its still cold!! I mean, of course I'm manly and all and can handle the cold, but when I'm riding on a bike down a hill against the wind at 9:30 every night (and this place is windy) things get cold! And i think that's the reason i got cold myself.

I've been sick since Tuesday when the weather changed. it stinks, but SOMEHOW we managed to still teach a lot! Which was awesome. we contacted a referral we got but a few days late cause we were busy, and she answered the door with, "iv been waiting for you." well that's the best thing you can hear as a missionary! her name is Isabel and she is super awesome. Her friend from Arkansas referred her and she loves the Mormons so far lol. she came to church and everything! so that was good.

Things have been really good - yesterday we set up this amazing activity for the young single adults of the ward, and lot of people came and it was perfect! We taught about building our testimonies using jenga blocks, angry birds, and the scriptures :) and then we played Pictionary and had hot chocolate and smores! It was awesome.

Anyways, that's the update for today! have a good week everyone :)
Con AMor

Letter from Carsten - November 5, 2012

November 5, 2012
The week I had dinner with family, the Olivia's

So I had a pretty sweet experience! I ate dinner with La Familia Olivas on Wednesday - turns out they are kind of like my grandparents or something! Their daughter Anjolina married Mike Wiser, the brother of my step dad Steve. So I have family in the ward, and my real grandparents an hour and 45 minutes a way, talk about weird! It was super trippy seeing pictures of my cousins and uncle Mike in someone's house, it was pretty cool. And ohhhhh man does she cook good! on the list of top 3 best meals of the mission haha. it was that good.

As for the work, i cant believe that its only been a week since last Monday! I feel like its been over a month since last p-day. Idk why but this week went slow! at least looking back, it didn't seem slow when i was in it lol.
Things have been really good tho. Our main focus, Katie and Olivia, went to church this week! they hadn't showed up and sacrament started, and we were blessing the sacrament and i said a prayer that they would be in the foyer so they could be here. and at the end they opened the doors and Katie was the first person i saw! so i was pretty happy about that little miracle.
Unfortunately tho they had to move their b-date back AGAIN because of stupid stake conference. I'm pretty worried about that, who knows what other trials will come with all that time. 
Other than that its been a pretty normal week haha. And today, we get to go hiking!!! sorry mom, still don't have my camera charged.
Well, that's the whole shabang. love you all!

Letter from Carsten - October 29, 2012

October 29, 2012
The week the age limit for Missions was lowered

Well, our recent e-mail from President Hall showed us some pretty cool statistics! Before general conference the average for missionary applications per week had been averaging 300 per week. There were 4,500 the first week after General Conference - WOW!

Palmdale is still great. I love this ward. The people are super nice and really helpful. It's easy to get members to come with us to lessons, and the youth are super awesome! A bunch of them want to go on missions in a year or two so they give us lots of referrals and come out with us to teach.

The work is good. This week's been kind of weird. We taught a lot of lessons, just not with the people we've been trying to focus on.

Our best investigator is Rosa, her daughter Katie and niece Olivia. Rosa was confirmed a member my first week here and Katie and Olivia are going to get baptized sometime in November. They are super awesome.

That's my week. Today, we will play basketball for a few hours, then Elder Reed and I are going to play tennis on the court in our apartment complex then play indoor soccer. Later we have a few appointments.

Have a good week everyone and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
Elder Ellsworth

Letter from Carsten - October 22, 2012

October 22, 2012
The week I landed in Palmdale California

Well, here i am in the family history center in our church right next to our pad (convenient much!) in good ole Palmdale California! And i am loving it. I always manage to be in the desert for the winter, i hope it snows again! oh wait I'm on bike...oh well i still hope it snows.

My new comp is Elder Reed from Utah. He seems quiet at first but as it happens is quite a lively jokester haha. hes a really good missionary and works extremely well with people.
The area is very good too, we had a baptism the Sunday before i got here and she got confirmed yesterday, her name is Rosa Bustamante. ANd she is super awesome and loves us! and her daughter Katie and niece Olivia are also awesome and getting baptized on the 4th of November! so that's coming up soon :)
Other than that theres quite a few good investigators here, and the ward is sweet too! especially the youth, a lot of the young men will be serving missions in the coming years and bring their bikes and come out with us all the time. And on Friday nights, we play soccer here at the church with all the youth and teach a lesson to all the people that come! double the soccor!
So things are really cool here i really like it. and the weather is great! its super windy which makes riding bikes difficult, and its fairly cold too haha. but i like it. so yeah! love it here for sure.
I cant believe Brant went home already! that fools in his house right now the bum! I'm jealous. but that's okay, cause i got good things going on here so i wont be too trunky.
anyways, that's all i got for today! love you all have good weeks :)
Con Amor,

Letter from Carsten - October 15, 2012

October 15, 2012
The week of transfers - where will I go?
Well, we got transfer calls Saturday night AND I'm transferred! haha. idk where to yet, but i do know it'll be to bike. there are a lot of areas opening up that are bike so really theres quite a few possibilities. we will have to see what happens at the transfer meeting Thursday morning. I'm pretty sad that I'm gonna have to leave Elder Marcal, the kids a beast. and this area is the most fruitful ive been in, we have a lot of good working going on right now. but I'm excited to get out at the same time and experience a new area. my pattern my whole mission has been 2 with one comp in an area, then one other comp, and then i leave. its just funny tho cause now it'll be 2 times that i leave an area to Marcal.
Other than that missionary work is sweet! Our super awesome investigator Betania came to church again (she walked, its 4 miles and hot) and she liked it. it was the first "normal" church meeting shes been too cause the first time there was a weird ward training thing and then was general conference. she liked it a lot tho. and were still working with her baptismal date on the 21st, i just hope i don't get transferred too far away so that i can be there when she gets dunked. I'm sure it'll happen, and probably on her date too, so that should be sweet! were just working on getting her lots of member friends, turns out theres a lot of good ones in the ward. but i don't have to worry about that anymore since I'm leaving.
We had a big district meal the other night too, we made fantastic burgers and fries together. but the mountain of dishes to do after about killed me haha. that took some time to deal with. anyways, that's the update for now!
Just the usual going down every day! the good news, i haven't had any popped bike tubes yet this transfer! tho I'm sure my saying that just cursed me on the way home! We will see. love you all have a great week :)

Letter from Carsten - October 1, 2012

October 1, 2012
The week Betania Paredes walked 3 miles to church
Oh my goodness i think this is the 5th week of the transfer, which means its almost the 6th week, which means its almost next transfer! things are really jetting by these days. But that's cause were busy and lots of good things are getting done!
Our best investigator, Betania Paredes, is super awesome and walked to church through the ghetto 3 miles. and she asked us for BoM reading chapters every night! so that's really good :) me and Elder  Marcal are getting along very well. Its so fun to be in a companionship where every lesson the unity is flawless, we already knew how to teach together so every transition and doctrine is really good. i love it i hope i stay one more.
Today for P-day we played soccer, but this time it was different cause i bought cleats! really good brand from Ross for 20 bucks :) so that was super fun. and we had a zone activity and got to play some fun games too.
That's pretty much it this week tho! i don't really remember what happens every week they are all just blurring together lol. love you all have a good week :)

Letter from Carsten - September 24, 2012

September 24, 2012
The week of the missionary skit
well, this week went by soooo fast i literally cant remember a thing that happened! OK let me think for a sec...
oh yeah, so i went on exchanges with my close friend Elder Fike! it was a weird day, nothing went according to plan, but we found one of his investigators during the hardest time of her life and were able to help her make the right decisions and promised lots of blessings, which are already coming true for her! so that day was sweet!
Yesterday night we had a stake wide missionary activity, there were 4 rooms where we would cycle the investigators and they would learn about the 5 principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then after we all went to the chapel and heard a sweet talk by Stake President Gomez on enduring to the end. Our  room was on the gift of the holy ghost and we did this fun skit thing with acting and it was hilarious. I narrated and taught the principles and then Elder Marcal, Christensen and Johnson did the skit, and it was sweet :) kept people from being bored real well.
Thursday Elder Marcal got really sick from eating a bad pupusa, and slept from 4 until 10 at night, and woke up at 10 and was like "what time is it"? so i told him it was 10 and he freaked out cause he still thought it was 4 haha. and then he slept through the night. But yeah, things have been good! if your reading this email, i love you. byE!
Other than that, i cant remember what else has happened lol. But i remember it being a good week!

Letter from Carsten - September 18, 2012

September 18, 2012
The week of my most spiritual experiences of my Mission
Well, things have really picked up here in good ole Arleta! Elder Marcal and i are working together really well and in a week we went from 0 baptismal dates to 4, with 2 of the most spiritual experiences of my mission,
Lots of good stuff going on. It sure makes a difference to have unity and the spirit, all the difference actually.
The spiritual experiences were with La Familia Vasquez, where i couldn't even tell you what was said, it was just amazing. The spirit spoke through both of us with quite a lot of power, and we set 2 baptismal dates with them. She went from being a church going catholic (rare) to telling her husband that we were only asking them to be baptized if they found out it was true. and it was super powerful. it took 2 hours but we thought it had only been an hour.
The other was with a family la Familia Paredes. We taught the mom, her oldest daughter and youngest son whom live with her. And it was also super powerful, and they really liked us too. We were sure they had learned more in that hour with us than they had ever learned from going to their church -  again, i couldn't tell you what was said, but it was freaking awesome. We both felt spiritually constrained NOT to give a b-date to them. so that was cool.
We've been having lots of good experiences. we also had a really cool guy at Jack in the Box. there were like 14 of us missionaries eating there and he asked if he could sit with us and he was a really cool guy who had honest genuine questions. he works with youth for his baptist church, but he was very open and non judgemental.
Well that's the cool stories of the week! haha have a good day i love you all :)
Elder Ellsworth

Letter from Carsten - September 10, 2012

September 10, 2012
The week of TRANSFERS - Elder Marcal
I was gonna get on and write that i cant even remember what happened this week cause its been so weird, but then i realized, oh yeah! I have a new companion lol.
My companions name is Elder Marcal.
Sound familiar? That's because he was my comp in Van Nuys my 3rd transfer! Pretty awesome right?Its sweet, he's a really good missionary and he has a lot of great ideas for the area, plus we already know how to work together when we teach. So I'm way excited for this transfer, things are gonna be very good.
Elder Marcal was born in Brazil, but now lives in Utah. He looks like hes like 18 but hes 21, and hes crazy good at soccor and enjoys video games. And hes super funny.
So yeah, I'm very excited, this will be a good couple of weeks. We didn't have too much missionary work of note go down this week, mostly cause of these new way they do transfers, but this next week we are PACKED with appointments, which hasn't happened in a while.
This morning we all woke up early and had a crazy good few games of soccor at 6 in the morning! it felt good. I scored 2 goals, both only using my chest. I'm not sure how that happened, but it did. But yeah, that's been the week! Love you all!
Elder Ellsworth

Letter from Carsten - September 4, 2012

September 4, 2012
The week of new procedures
So the big news this week is that transfers are all different! Before, we got a call on Saturday of where we ere going and who was our new comp, and then Monday we would go to the new area. Now we find out on Saturday if we are being transferred, but not to where or with who. And then on Thursday there is a big meeting in Santa Clarita and we all learn about our areas then.
Its cool ,its just an interesting change. So we know that 3 of the 6 in my district are leaving. I am staying, and on Thursday i will get a new companion! So that's pretty crazy, ill be spending some more time in the roach infested Arleta! We all figured i would stay. This is still Elder Gabriel's greenie area so this is his first move.
This weeks missionary work was...challenging. but good! It's just that no ones ever home anymore lol. probably something to do with the holiday. But next week will be better. We finally have a few investigators, not just a ton of potentials. And a few others we've had for a while that are also cancelling a lot lol. Tis the life of a missionary!
In other news, me and my good friend Elder Mcphee are making poppy seed muffins. We want to try to make better ones sold at Costco. Hasn't happened yet haha but the ones we made last night were super good!
Anyways, that's all folks! Good weeks to everyone :)
Elder Ellsworth

Letter from Carsten - August 28, 2012

August 28, 2012
The week of the bike pump
Man this transfers been rough on our bikes! i got my 6th or 7th flat a few hours ago for this transfer alone! its pretty annoying and inconvenient - I've had lots of problems with that and spent way too much money on tubes and stuff, and elder Mcphee who lives upstairs has had lots of brake problems and 3 flats.
Elder Gabriel had his first flat since hes been here! (the very day he was bragging that he hadn't had a flat tire yet mwahahahaha that was actually kind of funny)
AND i broke elder Mcphees nice bike pump in the middle of us popping all these tires, and Elder Gabriel broke his little one too - so i went to Walmart on the Poppins (the crappy beach cruiser that we named the Mary Poppins) and bought a nice brand new pump for Elder Mcphee for breaking his and bought myself a nice portable one, but when we got home we figured out the big nice one didn't even work!
So that's been our reality the last few weeks haha.It's gotten to the point of ridiculousness that we just had to step back and laugh at the situation, cause it was so dumb it was funny. The good news is my nice little portable pump works great and even has a pressure gauge - so there's a ray of hope, that saved my life on the street today.
As for missionary work, it continues the same! Still finding lots of people, and then being unable to ever find them again haha. we find some legit people but its so hard not being able to ever teach them again.
Speaking of change, we get transfer calls on SATURDAY! We have a board full of predictions for all the missionaries in the mission, BUT we predict that I'm staying and training (YIKES) and Elder Gabriel is going to the desert. Well see what happens!
That's about it tho - love you all have a good week :)
("Holy Bike Problems Batman!")

Letter from Carsten - August 20, 2012

August 20, 2012
The week of flat tires

Its been a crazy busy day - my bike tire popped on the way to the library again. That's my 4th bike tire this transfer. The work has been picking up, we keep finding great people to teach! The only problem is finding them a second time! Anyways, that's it sorry its short love ya all!



Letter from Carsten - August 13, 2012

August 13, 2012
The week of the record player and ward activity
Well, our apartment building always has really random stuff being thrown away, and the elders that live upstairs found a sweet record player! so its in their pad and they use it to listen to the classic music radio station - but elder Gabriel has a few records so we threw his Areosmith record in there, it sounded way good! I want a record player now when i get home. but then we turned it back to the classical station, we only listened to Areosmith for a few minutes lol i promise!
As for missionary work this week, there wasn't much success. It was around 107 and humid all week, and on bike that gets really tough - no one opens their doors when its hot cause it'll let out the cold air, so we didn't do much teaching and we can't find any of our investigators -  but its okay cause this week its only gonna be in the 90s! so more success to come!
But we did have a great ward activity! The ward has been struggling with that cause there's never activities so no one ever bonds, but we had a big activity with lots of carne asada and pinatas and soccer and tug of war it was good. we missionaries played soccer too, in white shirts and ties and tennis shoes! that was super fun. 
That was my week! More stories to come next week, stay tuned


Letter from Carsten - August 6, 2012

August 6, 2012
The week of "The Dream"
So, you know you are trunky when you've had a few dreams about being home after the mission. Other dreams I've had where I was home weren't very realistic, or in them I didn't even go home to a house I even recognized.
Well, my dream last night was SUPER real! I was at Mom's house hanging out with Mom, Steve, and Gabrielle (like i will be when i get home) and it was like super real! I seriously thought I was home already, and i was like "dang, my mission went by really fast"! Then I went to sleep in my room, and thought "oh no wait!!! why cant i remember the second half of my mission?!?!?!?!? - oh no that might mean that I'm dreaming"! But no, this isn't a dream it's so real, and then I opened my eyes and turned my head over....and saw Elder Gabriel in the next bed over and went...
Anyways, other than trunky dreams, things are doing good in good old Arleta! not really teaching anybody super golden yet, but we have put in countless hours of knocking and finding. It pays off every now and then.
Right now we are teaching La Familia Rubio, the mom referred her son to the missionaries so he could learn more about God, and we ended up teaching all of them. (love it when that happens) It was cool. She was really interested in going to church, which hasn't happen yet for whatever reason, but oh well! She has cancer, which is pretty bad. but she looks good. The dads name is Arturo (Arthur in English) he's a funny old guy. He asks questions like "why isn't there more about the apostles written in the bible"? (which by the way, i don't think he has read past john in the bible, since more than half of the New Testiment are the happenings of the apostles) He also wants to know "why don't we know if Jesus got married" and all sorts of other questions. (the point? the bible is incomplete, hence another testament out of the mouths of 2 or 3 witnesses - if someone honestly read the bible, they would realize that it completely backs our church)
Anyways, that's about it so have a good week everyone!
Love you!

365 DAYS as a MIssionary - August 3, 2012

August 3, 2012
The week Carsten's been on his mission 1 year!

That's right, Carsten has been on his mission for 1 year now! I'm so excited he's hit this mark and I'm so proud of the progress he's made serving people in California.

Carsten's met such great people in the field. In letters he always tells me he wants to go back to visit everyone he's met after he's home and settled. From his letters he writes me I'd say his favorite area so far has been Lancaster, California. He just loves the members up there - they took such good care of him while he was there!

Thank YOU everyone for your love and support of him while he's gone. He appreciates every letter, care package, and e-mail he gets. He LOVES staying connected to those he loves back home, so keep the letters coming!

Well, here's to another succesful 365 days!
LOVE & HUGS to you Carsten!

Letter from Carsten - July 30, 2012

July 30, 2012
The week of MEGA knocking

Hello! I figured i would write this email before i wrote all the other ones so that i don't forget to write it again LOL.
This week, we knocked doors for at least 4-5 hours a day. Which is kinda hard, BUT on the bright side I'm no longer anxious when we knock! I could even say i almost, kind of sort of, LIKE knocking. Well, almost. It's still hard when you do it all day!
We've been knocking so much because all the great investigators we were working with got BAPTIZED last month - So our teaching pool is not big anymore! Its a great problem to have i guess. Now we have lots of new investigators and lessons with members. so it was still a good week. And i got to do the confirmation for Barbara, so that was good!
Other than that, not much to report. Played soccer this morning, had a heck of a time.
Anyways, love you all!

Letter from Carsten - July 23, 2012

July 23. 2012
The week of 2 baptisms and Transfers

So last week i was writing my emails, hoe de doe de doe, and i went well, anything else to write? NOPE! and i logged off and left. But it had skipped my mind that i didnt write my big family email to everybody, so oops!

From last week, we had 2 baptisms! Freddy and Jacki Moreno, 2 kids ages 11 and 8. they are the best kids ever! super smart, super obedient, and they LOVE church! their mom was already a member. so they were super excited to get baptized last week, and this week they got confirmed too. but it was my first time actually doing the baptism! i baptized jacki, it was really cool. so that was great haha, the only bad part is that on wednesday they have to move to georgia for work for their dad. so they wont be able to stay :( but at least we were able to baptize them and now they have the info for the other ward as well.

This week, we had ANOTHER baptism for Barbara Penate, the daughter of Irma, who was baptised a few weeks ago. Barbara decided she wanted to be baptised as well, and she studied everything very well. next week she will be confirmed. so that was super cool!

Also, Transfers are today! i am staying here, along with Elder Gabriel for one more. Everyone thinks i will be leaving next transfer cause we are getting 16 new missionaries in the mission. But yeah, im staying another here, and im getting a good friend Elder Fike in the district, he is one of my favorite missionaries ever. so that will be really cool :)

Other than that, i cant really remember much else to report!
Love you all, have a good week!
(Elder Fikes and I at the Temple)

Letter from Carsten - July 9, 2012

July 9, 2012
The week of 2000 water baloons

Well, Irma was confirmed on Sunday. BY ME! It was super scary, especially since i had been super busy and scatterbrained, and forgot that i had to do it. so i borrowed a missionary handbook in Spanish and figured out how to do the prayer really quick. don't think i messed it up TOO bad, the important part is that she has the gift of the holy ghost now. The other cool thing, her daughter, who i didn't think would want to get baptized for a while, told me that she wants to get baptized soon! That's always a good thing to hear from an investigator. But yeah that was good.

On Wednesday we had our sweet district BBQ -  i made steak quesadillas, the best thing i have ever made. anyways, that's really the whole thing this week!

Oh, and also, today were having a sweet zone activity! Its a giant water balloon fight!!! we already filled up just about 2000 balloons, we are gonna destroy! So that'll be fun haha.

Okay -  that's all i got,
love you people!

(I'll post the name of this family after Carsten lets me know who they are)

Letter from Carsten - July 2, 2012

July 2, 2012
The week of Irma's baptism
Hurray Irma got baptized! Were super excited for her - she was so ready its not even funny. She was prepared from the start. now next week she gets confirmed, and hopefully we will get to teach her daughter and husband too. we will see what happens there - but she is super happy. I took pictures - I'll have Mom post them as soon as I get them to her.
And The Moreno's came to church! She is the mom - a member and very nice. Her husband isn't interested right now, but says he doesn't care if we teach and baptize the kids (ages 8, Jackie, and 11, Freddie) and these kids are AMAZING! they are the best behaved kids iv met, they are super smart and always ask great questions. and they got to go to church for the first time and absolutely love it! Jacki already has her mind made up that she wants to be a teacher in the church. And during sacrament, i passed notes to them and we had a question and answer thing over the notes, it was really fun - they rock. should be baptized on July 22nd.
And Jose Ulin should get baptized this month too (we hope) he's awesome! His wife is a member. So yeah! things are going really well.
We also had a sweet missionary activity where we shared a lesson and then played volleyball with the ward, which was really fun! that was Saturday. Next week we have a zone conference with the new mission pres and then interviews with him too - so things should be good!
That's all i got!

Letter from Carsten - June 25, 2012

June 25, 2012
The week of Elder Gabriel's BIRTHDAY
Well, what more can i say other that, things are going very well in the hood! We have a few baptismal dates, one of which is this Sunday! Her name is Irma, and she is SUPER golden. She even went to the bishop just to ask how long she needed to get baptized. Its perfect. we are stoked. And we should be setting a few more dates here soon. But yeah, the work is great, and lots of people like to listen to us, probably cause my companion Elder Gabriel is from Mexico and clicks with like everyone! Hes good, we are doing well.

(Elder Gabriel with his Birthday Cake - just before it went all over his face)
It was Elder Gabriel's birthday on Thursday, so we went to our favorite family, la Familia Navarrete to have a second dinner and some cake and party - it was way fun, and the best part was Elder Gabriel getting cake shoved ALL over his face and white shirt!

(This is what birthdays look like in the mission field)
The missionaries and members here are a lot of fun.. Oh and we also got to go to the temple on Tuesday, which was a wonderful experience. i learned a LOT there, more than i usually do which was awesome. we had a really smart guy give us a talk before we did a session, and i learned a lot. can't wait to go back and learn some more. it was a great experience tho.

So on Friday, our new mission president steps off the plane and officially becomes the new president of the Cali San Fernando mission! I'm gonna miss President and sister Martin a lot, they have been incredible to us, they are basically like our mom and dad out here. No idea what to expect with the new guy, and Pres Martin says he isn't telling him ANYTHING good OR bad about the missionaries - he will have to figure it out for himself! But it will be cool, we have a farewell training from the Martins on Tuesday, and soon after interviews, and a mission wide zone conference with President Hall. It will be crazy times!

Anyways, that's about all i can think of going on here!
love you all, have a good one

Letter from Carsten - June 18, 2012

June 18, 2012
The week of the robbery

This week went by suuuper fast! and you know what that means, means we were super busy! This area is awesome - we have TONS of investigators, knocking is actually semi-effective, we set baptismal dates all the time, we get lots of food, we live in the same complex as 2 cool missionaries in our district, and we played succor today. i love it.

Elder Gabriel is my comp, hes from Mexico and has only 3 months so far on his mission, he's a greenie. but you wouldn't know it! hes a really good missionary and he follows the spirit very well. and he can connect with the people well, because he is funny and hes seriously always laughing! He's a freaking paisa. so that's pretty cool, we have a lot of good work and people genuinely interested in the gospel, just yesterday we set a date for the first of July! shes only been investigating less that 2 weeks and her baptism date is in less that 2 weeks haha that's sweet. her daughter should follow right after her, and maybe even her husband. her name is Irma. We have some other good investigators too, ill give more info on em as more things happen.

The area is super sketchy here. 3 days ago, Elder Shuar got robbed. He was borrowing elder Bentons bike, and they locked it and went to their apartment for a few minutes, and when they came back they left his comps bike, but stole the one he was borrowing from Benton haha it was pretty funny. the missionaries around here are awesome tho.

(my bike)
Yesterday, i ate cow tongue for dinner, and it was actually great! halfway through they were like dude i think this is cow tongue. and i just pretended it wasn't until i finished it. but it tasted great haha. just like regular beef!

So being on bike is really fun actually. I like to ride, the only sucky part is that its wayyyyy too hot here to ride bikes. it gets sweaty quick. but guess what i had to do to my bike :) i wrapped the whole thing, as much as i could, in plastic wrap and then duck taped over all of it. so now its got duck tape everywhere and it looks ghetto, that way it wont get stolen. cause its a freaking nice bike! i changed the seat too, the seat was super nice and they will steal it right off with the quick release. so i changed it for a crappy extra one laying around, so it looks terrible, but it rides like new. :D and we have 2 u-locks, which they cannot cut. i put mine on my front tire so they wont take it. (that has happened to elders a lot here too) its funny!

(Brother Carlon with family)

In other news, on Saturday i managed to get a ride and we went back up to Leona valley to see the baptism on an investigator from my last ward. His family were members, but we taught him when i got there and we just helped him quit smoking. That was awesome, and now he got baptized, and next month he will baptize his son when he turns 8. its sweet. Brother Carlon is his name. I got to see some good people there too that i missed. it was awesome.

(Brother Carlon and his wife)
Well, cant think of anything else to write, tho I'm sure i forgot something important - Oh well! love you all!
Con Amor,

Transfer to Panorama City, California

Panorama City, California
June 11, 2012

Well, it happened! I'm back to Spanish work. I'm so excited. I'm being transferred to the San Fernando valley. my companion will be Elder Gabriel, he is a greenie and a native speaker, so my spanish will come right back. Im very excited!

I'm taking over my good friend Elder Gomms greenie area, and he is moving to my greenie area, its pretty great. I'm excited to be back in the valley. Oh, and I'll finally be on bike too! LOL can't wait to use that new bike of mine.

As for the work here, things are doing really well! We have 3 groups of very good investigators that are awesome! and we are going to ask them all to take the lessons here very soon, and things should go really well with them! too bad i wont be here lol

Anyways, its short today. love you all!

Elder Carsten Ellsworth
14690 Nordhoff St. Apt. #108
Panorama City, California

(driving to new area)

Panorama City is a district in the San Fernando Valley region of the city of Los Angeles, California.

Letter from Carsten - June 4, 2012

June 4, 2012
The week of the Leona Valley Cherry Parade

Guess what?! This week, Elder Farmer and i helped out a member at the Leona Valley Cherry parade scoop ice cream to advertise her practice as a therapist! We were there with some other members, and we scooped 600 ice cream cones! haha it was awesome, and the ice cream was free so everyone wanted some, it was really fun. We had a few investigators come and get some too which was cool :) but this thing was a full on parade that all of Leona valley does every year, it was pretty sweet!

After we were done scooping ice cream, Elder Farmer and I entered into the CHERRY PIE EATING CONTEST! we lost - the large man next to me destroyed everyone. I barely even dented the thing. but it was all over our faces. It was pretty great.

Other big news, our investigator brother Carlon is scheduled to be baptized in 12 days! the problem is he still smokes, so if we have to move back the date we will. but yesterday, we brought brother Mintey along with us to the lesson, and gave a super awesome lesson with a stop smoking program! its a really cool program with lots of psychology and prayer all together, and he should be able to quit in this week if he follows the steps! his wife is actually doing it too. but that went really well, and they even destroyed their cigarettes right in front of u haha. it was awesome, keep them in your prayers. if it works he can get baptized and then get the priesthood so he can baptize his son. Hes an awesome guy.

Anyways, thats all for today! off to play basketball...

love you all bye
Elder Ellsworth

Letter from Carsten - May 28, 2012

May 28, 2012
Memorial Day

Well, its a crazy day today for sure. We already went to a huge ward breakfast and ceremony thing this morning (forcing us to wear upsetting missionary clothes on a p-day) and had delicious food and talked with some people - that was pretty fun. Now we managed to squeeze time to email, and maybe shop, and then we have a party at a members house at noon to go to and see a bunch of people, and then, were ditching out of that early to go to the Mormon missionary Monday BBQ that Chris beam ( a crazy member from a neighbor ward) is throwing for our zone. There will be football and fun sports, BBQ, revelry, and a pneumatic potato cannon! we are stoked haha. Then dinner with our ward mission leader. pretty crazy p-day. Too bad i cant spend it at the lake with the Ellsworth clan this morning like usual. oh well a few years from now i will.

As for missionary work, its good! we dropped Leroy the old guy, he really doesn't care. so oh well, not his time. and we are still working on teaching a few other people. its pretty fun stuff, I'm just not good at remembering on a p-day what happened that week, since all the weeks morph together. but things are good! and i expect i will be transferred in 2 weeks and hopefully back to Spanish work which will be good.

Things are good. That's all for today!
Elder Ellsworth

Letter from Carsten - May 21, 2012

May 21, 2012
The week I'm really tired

Things have been good around here lately. WE are basically going through the grunt work about every day of trying to find new people to teach. Its hard, but a good growing experience. We have lists of semi-hostile people to visit and we've actually been knocking lately! its been a while for me. Even though knocking almost never gets you any immediate success, we decided that doing it gives you indirect success. whenever we go knocking, we get shutdown, but later in the day or the week something crazy good happens that didn't ever happen before.

For now we are just meeting with a lot of part member families, trying to see if they want us to teach and or baptize them! One lady, Sister White is really cool. Shes there at church every single Sunday and basically has a calling, but isn't a member. so we have been over a few times to get to know them and share spiritual thoughts with them. We will see where that takes us!
that's about all the excitement this week.
Love you all!
Con Amor,
 (this is my tired look from knocking on doors)

Carsten's 1st Baptism

No letter from Carsten this week since we had a phone call on Mothers Day, so I thought
I'd post the picture of his 1st baptism to a sweet lady named Susie Hammond.
(Elder Ellsworth & Elder Sundrud with Susie & Jim Hammond)

Letter from Carsten - May 7, 2012

May 7, 2012
The week with a new companion - Elder Farmer

The first week with my new companion Elder Farmer has come and gone. Hes a really cool guy from Wyoming. Hes about to go home, 2 months left, and he's a very good missionary. He's also 6 foot 3 haha. we get along very well. We are now just working on better transitions in lessons back and forth, were pretty rocky at it. I guess our teaching styles are just rather different, but we should have it down here in the next week!

(Elder Farmer)

We have very few investigators now a days since they are mostly old folks and seem to have lots of problems lately. so were looking for more people to teach. but we have been receiving a TON of help from the members which has helped a lot. we have lots of lists now on people we need to go and visit, so that will keep us busy real well, and help us find some new investigators.

Anyways, that's all i can think of today! but that's okay, cause i get to call home this Sunday!!! so if i remember anything else, ill say it then. love you all, have a great week!

Con Amor,

Letter from Carsten - April 16, 2012

The week of the RIPPED JEANS
April 16, 2012

Well this week has been a little slower for missionary work again, so we are continually trying new things to help speed up the work. We have a lot of great potential investigators about to come our way and are excited about that!

Our investigator Susie, who just got baptized was confirmed yesterday! We are very happy about that. And the other day we were in the neighborhood so we visited our favorite old people the Seglers. They immediately commanded us to make a sandwich and sit down and eat, which was good, cause we had no dinner that night. They are great. She is super nice and he is really interesting and funny. He has lots of back problems so we go over and help them out with things all the time. Once we swept their porch, cleaned their windows, put together a table, and set up their Wii, Kindle Fire, and Ipad all in one day! So they love us for that! Its funny, we call ourselves the I.T. missionaries, cause we help all the old people work their tablet computers and ipads and put the scriptures on them (they ALL have em, and none know how to use them) and and we help people speed up and/or fix their computers like every day haha. its pretty fun and helpful, its gotten me into investigators houses before, good thing i know how to do that stuff!

I have one funny story. Last p-day we went to the Croshers for dinner. They are really awesome people and LOVE us. We went in jeans and normal clothes cause we were busy that day. Well, Charlene Crosher is the cutest girl in the ward, and of course was there for dinner. Not that i would  know that or anything - haha anyways, after dinner me, Elder Sundrud, Charlene, and her sister went out back and were jumping on the trampoline. Elder Sundrud and Charlene were teaching me how to do a front flips cause I'm uncoordinated. Well i figured it out! so i was jumping and came down to land one flip, and hear a big RIIIIIP! Did i rip my only jeans right down the butt seam in front of the cutest girl in the ward? Yep -Yep i did. Was i embarrassed? nope! in fact, i decided to keep practicing anyways lol, but then it ripped some more so i decided to stop lol. But it was extremely funny. As missionaries, we are bombarded with intensely awkward situations all day, every day. so, I'm awkward proof! It's great. Anyways that's my funny story of the week.
I love you all, have a great week!
Con Amor,
(My FAVORITE jeans have bit the DUST)

Letter from Carsten - April 9, 2012

April 9, 2012
The week I taught Primary

Well, i don't think i have too much to say this week unfortunately. It was one of those weeks where just about every appointment was cancelled, so we didn't go to hardly any set appointments! We spent most of our time contacting other people we needed to visit and stuff of that sort, so all in all, a pretty slow week. but that's okay, cause this week should be much faster!

Sunday we had a great time. Church was awesome. There were a LOT of people there and it was all good. We even taught a primary class. The only downer was that Suzy Hammond (who was just baptized) couldn't come so she wasn't confirmed yesterday. Hopefully we will be able to do that soon.

Sunday evening we went to The Hansen family and had a great Easter dinner! They had some family in town so we talked for hours, played a board game and watched some golf and had a good time. It was really fun.

That's all for this week. Until next week...
Love ya all, have a good week
Con Amor,

(Deeda & Pop - My favorite mission family EVER)

Letter from Carsten - April 2, 2012

April 2m 2012
The week of the apartment check

Well, i had an exciting week this week! Our investigator Susie Hammond got baptised on Sunday. The whole program was really well done and spiritual. We are very happy for her. The ward is really great! She already has a LOT of good friends in the ward, so we are really happy. We met with her every day of last week, and it was awesome. She will be confirmed this coming Sunday. Ain't that GREAT!

Other than that, things have been pretty normal! Yesterday for P-day we played football and ultimate frisbee for like 5 hours in the sun, and i got a really bad sunburn on my neck and forehead - lol. It hurts a bit, and my legs are crazy sore so no p-90x today! Our legs are shot. but that was a lot of fun!

We did a bunch of other stuff yesterday too and didn't have time to email, so we had to do it this morning. This morning we had our apartment checked by some guy from the mission. I'll have you know that we passed! Our place is pretty darn clean, minus the floors, they need vacuuming. but we passed, so that was cool.

Well, that's really the highlights! its been a great and very busy week, until next week!
Con Amor,
(driving the streets of California)

Letter from Carsten - March 26, 2012

March 26, 2012
The week with the Hammon's
Well, its been a good week or two, we have had some good work to do. i don't remember what I've written about the Hammons, but they are awesome! Jim is a member who a few months ago decided to get reactivated in the church. He recently received the aaronic priesthood. and his wife Susie, who was raised catholic, has been coming to church and will be baptized on April 1st! its pretty awesome! She was a new investigator a week or two ago, and things have gone well. before we even taught the first lesson she asked us when she could get baptized and stuff. They have been working with the bishop a lot so he's gonna be baptizing her! she wants to be baptized quickly so that they can get sealed in the temple before their next anniversary. Talk about the best darn investigator ever right! We are teaching her daughter too. We are very excited, and will meet with her basically every day of this week to finish the lessons, but things are lookin good! and lots of people should come to it, since it was well announced, and we have a choir practice right before the baptism at 6. so, conference, and a baptism. Gonna be a good weekend!

On other news, i came up with a sweet idea with the help of our zone leader Elder Nielson. I hate writing things down, and have lots of letters to write which take priority over journal. so basically i don't write in my journal, which i know i will regret after the mission. so, i bought a 2 dollar microphone for my ipod nano watch, which i will use to keep basically a captains log of every day of my mission! and when i get home, ill figure out a way to convert that audio into written text on paper using moms ipad. so I'm pretty excited, and the microphone is super cool! I'm excited :)

We started up P90x again, so that's good. gonna help us be healthier and get started in the morning better! pretty excited.

Anyways, cant think of whatever else has happened this week, though I'm sure there is a lot.

love you all and have a great week!
Con Amor, Eldersworth

Letter from Carsten - March 19, 2012

March 19, 2012
The week of the Cherry CHIP Cake for my Birthday!

Well, im 20. pretty exciting right? i know, im not a teen anymore, which must mean im more mature now right?

Anyways, the weeks been pretty awesome. Most succesful week we have had all transfer, and i got 2 whole cherry chip cakes! for my birthday dinner we had my favorite, tortellini with chicken and squash, and cake and ice cream. the Harveys were awesome and gave me all my favorites. My birthday was on the busiest day we have every week, which is good for a missionary! so it was a good day.Am i a little homesick? no way. okay fine a little. i also got lots of awesome letters from family and friends, thanks to all of you! i, including my old ym/ yw group which i thought was cool.

As for the work around here, we have a new investigator! So this guy named Jim Hammond has been working with the bishop and us to reactivate himself, and things are going along extremely well!He just got a new job too which is good. Well his wife Susie is taking the lessons! At first when we came over she would just hide in a room or avoid us. but then she started coming to church with him and being there for our lessons, and has lots of very intelligent questions! and then we asked her if she was interested in taking the lessons to learn more about the church and she agreed, so we are pretty dang excited.

So, sorry my emails tend to be short. but i thought about it, and i could never focus on other missionaries emails cause they are always so stinking long! even now im bad at it lol, so i figure that my short and concise emails are more readable. hope you think the same! anyways, i love you all and have a great week :)
Con Amor,

Today is my BIRTHDAY!

Today I turned 20 years old!
Thank you so much for the presents and cards, I really appreciated it.

Letter from Carsten - March 12, 2012

March 12, 2012
The week I shook Tom Perry's hand

Well, guess who shook the hand of L.Tom Perry, Apostle of the Lord today!? I did, and it was awesome! He came to the mission so we all met together and shook his hand. He gave us a really awesome talk! it was really cool. Hes really tall, really funny and nice. I had a good time, and on top of it got to see a bunch of my really good missionary friends from my old zone and what not, so its been a good day so far.

As for the rest of my life, I'm about to turn TWENTY in a few days! it really hasn't yet hit me that I'm about to have a birthday. pretty cool.

As for missionary work, things are good! the area is a little slow in the form of investigators, but we have a lot of good things going on with less active members and normal members, which might turn into referrals. We started a family mission plan, so thins are going good!

Anyways, not much time today, so i love you all and i hope you have a great day :D

Letter from Carsten - March 6, 2012

March 6, 2012
The week of the Marshmellows
Hello! sorry i didn't write yesterday, we were too busy to get to email so we just got to do it today. Today was great tho! We got up early and chopped wood for Sister Seminario, they are the best family they LOVE missionaries. anyway we did that, i chopped wood and split stumps and stuff, and it was really fun! and then we had a lesson real quick, and then we did MORE service and helped brother Irvin pull out the tree in his yard. so that was fun, then we got panda. But me and elder Sundrud felt like city boys when we chopped wood, cause at first we didn't know what we were doing. but we got the hang of it and got a lot done.

Yesterday we went to this place called Charlie Browns, its this store with literally EVERYTHING you could ever imagine, lots of collectible stuff and ridiculous things. and its a restaurant too, so i got a hot dog. but you can get ostrich burgers and buffalo burgers, and cactus flavored smoothies. it was great. and then i bought a knife at another cool store, cause it was cool. I put it in my emergency preparedness sack.

Other than that, its been pretty normal round here. We teach a bunch of people. we were teaching Fran and Latora, they are the really old black ladies. Fran is the investigator and Latora is the member. We invite Fran to church and talk about why we go, and then we invite Latora, and she says many things that don't make sense, and basically says she doesn't have to go to church. Shes convinced she doesn't have to go. so that's always interesting. she usually says things that make it weird for teaching, or just confuse us all. but shes way nice, so whatever, it'll work out.
For district meeting we had a cool activity, which involved marshmallows, an egg, and my hand. its hard to explain tho so ill leave it at that and let you just guess lol. needless to say, it was messy.
Anyways, that's all i can think of that was interesting! have a good week and i love you all :)
Con Amor,

Letter from Carsten - February 27, 2012

February 27, 2012
The week we stated teaching Brother Carlon
Hey family!
So this week was pretty good, not much too interesting going on, other than hopefully we are going to go play ultimate frisbee today. Other than that, nothing out of the ordinary! Just missionary work and sleep!
We finally taught this guy named brother Carlon, who wants to be baptized so he can baptize his son. We set a date for the week of July 4th, cause that's symbolic for him of a year of being off alcohol and turning his life around. and he was at church with his whole family! so that's pretty sweet. But i might not be here when he gets baptized, which is a bummer.
We are also teaching this girl named Monica, her mom is in our ward but she lives with a lady in our ward. so we teach her a lot and have a lot of fun. That's all the important updates i got for you guys! hope i didn't bore you to death! haha :)
Love you all and have a good week!
Con Amor,

Letter from Carsten - February 13, 2012

February 13, 2012
The week of lots of member meals


Well, very little time today. We played dodgeball till  1 o clock so there wasn't much time for much else, and now it's just about dinner time! Which we have every day now! this ward is so great! we always get meals, and the members here are really nice and fun, and very helpful.

We get lots of referals, and lots of member support and help, i love it. It's so organized in this ward, so thats really nice.

And Elder Sundrud is fun, we are doing well. He sounds, acts, and talks just like Stephan, which is hilarious. literally the same sense of humor.

The investigators are good too, mostly really old ladies, but they actually remember when you ask them to do things like read and pray, so thats really nice.

My favorite investigator is Brother Carlson. He wants to baptize his son into the chucrh, but isnt a member. so first he is going to take the lessons from us and quit smoking, and then he will be good to go! its pretty cool! So overall, i love it here. its wayyyyy different, but way fun.

Anyways, love you all.
Have a good day :D
Con Amor,
Yes, even missionary's like to PLANK!

Letter from Carsten - February 6, 2012

February 6, 2012
The week of my Transfer to Lancaster

Elder Carsten Ellsworth
5021 W Ave L-14 #18
Lancaster, California 93536

Well, things are crazy busy today and i haven't got much time, but, i got transferred! Its to Leona Valley in Lancaster, and its English speaking! which is weird, i don't know what I'm gonna do - I've taught in English a few times and I'm horrible. i can only talk in Spanish about the gospel, so it'll be interesting.

My companion's name is Elder Sundrud, and hes a legit dude. He looks and acts like a Mormon Stephan! he is big into music and was a DJ for raves and stuff before, and hes a funny dude. The area is really cool too. I'm excited to be here, and ill say more when i have more time! love you all!

Con....wait...English work...
With love,

Letter from Carsten - January 30, 2012

January 30, 2012
The week of ups and downs

Well, another day in the life of crazy Van Nuys! its so crazy here. everyday we see ridiculous things that just make us question the sanity of the human race. Just silly things all the time hahaha. we have to shake our heads and laugh multiple times a day.

As for the work, its good! we had another kind of rough week, where 2 days this week we had just utter zero days. As in zero numbers, not taught anybody. its a real downer when that happens, cause it hard not having anything to do and having alllll your backups fail. But theres something to learn from it I'm sure.

The very few lessons that we taught, were really awesome! This guy Chris Ramirez, which is Hermana Lopez's husband, is taking the lessons really well. and The mother of a family that gives us food on Mondays is too, shes been catholic 70 years and i feel like shes taking the message well and understands that she needs to get her answers from god and not from the traditions of men. so were helping her with that, we taught her a really good lesson on the restoration, and tonight are gonna show her the restoration DVD. Its pretty cool.

We found this girl named Tania, shes a single mom, non-denom christian. But shes freaking quick, like we ask her questions and she doesn't miss a beat to answer it, with something very intelligent. I like quick people, they remember things and understand when they are feeling the spirit, because they remember the lessons we share about how to know what the spirit feels like. So I'm really excited. so far she agrees with everything we teach and really respects what we do. Shes a single mom.

Anyways, theres been lots of ups and downs. But that's the life, you just gotta take what you can and learn from it. I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Con Amor,

Letter from Carsten - Januray 23, 2012

January 23, 2012
The week of Zone basketball

Dear Family,
We seem to have less and less time every P-day. Today we have an appointment at 4pm.This weeks been really good - we've had a pretty successful week, and were starting to find lots of really solid awesome people that are actually prepared.
So were kinda prioritizing who we teach. We were teaching Rene, one of our best investigators, and right before we teach him and his wife this guy calls him and started making fun of him for listening to us and telling him he shouldn't. So theres always opposition, and its super annoying. Were hoping every things okay, but you never know how it goes.
We found this guy named Jose, and he is AWESOME! He opened up to us and told us all these awesome stories about how he became religious, and his thoughts, he's a really smart realllllllly humble guy, and he is always really appreciative of everything we do for him, its pretty cool. So he is awesome.
And lately when we go knocking, we've found some good people to teach, which is nice. usually its not very fruitful. so we are counting our blessings. We had a bunch of people at church! Two less active families that we've been working with forever, and Rene and his kids. that was really awesome, so things are really turning around for the better. 
The district is awesome, we are all super close. We have a lot of fun as a district all the time, and get along well. On Wednesday we had district meeting on the roof of the target parking garage. (see pictures below)
And today we all got together with some others from the zone to play basketball. It's raining outside! its awesome, I miss the rain. So overall, things are great!
Hope you all have a good week! love you,
Con Amor,
Carsten's California Mission ACTION shot
Carsten's District Missionary's
District Meeting on top the Target Building

Letter From Carsten - January 16, 2012

January 16, 2012
The week of the Apple Store

Hey family how are you?

This weeks been a good one - Today we played indoor soccer for the last time -  we had a really fun time. Our awesome investigator Rene came too! He was good.. He's older tho so he hurt his ankle  which sucks. But he'll be okay. We had a lot of fun.
I think the Apple Store doesn't want me on their computers much longer, so this will be quick lol.
This week we taught a miracle lesson with The Lopez family, it was awesome. He's never wanted anything to do with us but recently called us to schedule an appointment with us. And it went really well, he asked lots of questions and was really cool, he has lots of potential. and is really important to his family to learn.
We also found a really cool young family that kept talking about never having the opportunity to talk to the missionaries. so that was really cool too.
Other than that, not too much - just having a great time and excited for next week!
I love you guys, hope you all have a great week!
Con Amor,

Letter from Carsten - January 9, 2012

January 9, 2012
The week of Paster Bob and Paster Stephen

Dear Loved Ones,

How goes the life? Great I'm sure. I'm currently in an Apple store writing my emails. its freaking me out cause there's sooo much awesome technology, i don't know what to do in here! I like technology! Maybe the mission will get I-Pads soon. it would be extremely efficient, honestly. I wouldn't be surprised.
Today's been good, we played basketball for 2 hours, and then have been cruising the mall looking for hat stores, ate some really good burgers, its great. my district is awesome, we have a lot of fun. And soon we will go do some shopping.
(one of  their investigators during the holidays)

As for mission life, its been good. its a little tough lately cause we haven't been able to find ANY of our investigators, everyone is being really sketchy. So its tough to teach lessons when we spend the whole day driving from place to place. but nonetheless we have fun with it, and when we do get in its always a really super awesome lesson. so, its a little tough, but we have this plan to go reactivate all the less active members in our area (there are many) so that should be good and get us a lot of referrals.
I still love Elder Marçal, the man is great. We get along well, and we teach really well together. He brings some good new fresh ideas to the area, its been really nice. and he's a smart guy. I'm glad he's around, its good.
(Carsten's new companion Elder Marsal - yes we've told Carsten his tie is WAY to SHORT)
The other day we were walking to our car and some crazy raspy voice yells HEY ELDERS, GET OVER HERE RIGHT NOW so obviously, we immediately head over there to figure out who the heck knows we are elders. And its some (maybe homeless) bearded man, and his friend who was similar. He said their names were Pastor Bob and Pastor Stephen, although i highly doubt it. But they invited us to a homeless person lunch at their Lutheran church, which we didn't go. But they were crazy, and talked to us about some bible stuff. it was a pretty silly experience. They were super funny though. 
Later we went to an investigators house, and her roommate was there. He was trying so hard to bible bash with us, it was funny. When they bible bash they speak for a solid 3 minutes straight till the point where you forget the subject, and then when you return to what your talking about with a simple straight to the point answer, with bible references, they get all upset and go on talking for another 3 minutes, its hilarious. They just get so mad, its ridiculous how little people really know about the bible, but they still love to bash. We just answer the question, say something that will make them leave. Then we taught our investigator after a prayer to bring the spirit back. It was good tho, cause it showed her the difference. The spirit of contention is of the devil, but as soon as he was gone and we had prayer the spirit was strong, and everything taught actually made sense. so it was cool, she got to see the light and the difference between the truth, and bible bashing.
It is so ridiculous how true this church is, i love it. there is sooooooo much physical evidence, as well as tons of obvious evidence in the bible, but we don't teach anyone that. Cause if we did we would be like any other church. Instead we teach the simple truths, and ask them to have the faith to ask God themselves if this is the truth. Its as simple as that. And then when you know its true, its really fun to start and learn about all the concrete evidence of the truth and fullness of the church. its so fun to discover this stuff. But yeah, we've been having a lot of fun, and working real hard.
Other than that, i can't think of much more. Just living the life as always. It's always interesting here, and I'm having a good time.
I love you all, and i hope you have a good week!
Con Amor,