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