Well, hi there!
It has been raining buckets over the last few weeks. It alternates between flood status and hair dryer air status. Sometimes when we walk along the side of the roads, holding our skirts, cars splash us and I feel like a peasant from the Middle Ages, making way for the royal coaches.
Elder Russell M. Nelson spoke to our mission last Friday in a special conference with Elder Callister and Elder Pearson. It was an incredibly powerful spiritual experience. All the General Authorities and their wives had meaningful insight into the importance to not get swept away by the smell of flowers and ukulele music (amen) and to better understand how to heed the Spirit. When he entered we all had the opportunity to line up (orderly fashion) to shake his hand and I may or may not have been a little nervous about speaking to him... While I was in line I was thinking about the missionary lessons and when it came my turn to shake his hand, he asked me where I was from and I quote Soeur Carter, "The presence of God." He asked me again, I quickly said "Virginia", thanked him for his presence and quickly moved on down the line. Of all the things.
2. My newbie- Soeur Sommers. She is a pretty funny kid. I was crying tears of laughter the other night when we were going to sleep and she called a few people to repentance.
3. I'll just let this photo settle any concerns about whether or not I'm still cool after being out on a mission for a year.
I also want to take a moment and share how eternally grateful I am for this life-changing experience of a mission. I am in an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, yes people do wear flowers in their hair, and yes I have drunk out of a coconut several times, but I am not here to have a tourist experience. It is so much more than that. I am able to communicate in French and Tahitian the powerful truths of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and I will have these experiences to fortify me throughout the rest of my life. I know that the only true church on the earth today is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You don't have to believe me, pray and ask Heavenly Father and he will let you know. He knows if this is the true church or not. I have been placed in a very different environment and that has changed me. I take myself less seriously, I listen more carefully, and I love more powerfully. My love for my family has grown EXPONENTIALLY. That includes my extended family, you all are constantly in my prayers. I am still myself but a lot more spiritually-aware. Let the Gospel of Jesus Christ change you, talk to the LDS missionaries in your area. Go to www.lds.org and www.mormon.org to learn a little bit more. After that, experience the changes for yourself. I'm not selling anything and I'm not trying to convince you, all I want is that people can have the opportunity to know how much more there is to life than what we see in the media. We can do a lot by ourselves, but with Heavenly Father we can do SO much more. My life is proof of that. I LOVE this Church and the Godhead.
Local News: Soeur Johnson and I do this new thing on our running route where we stop (all sweaty and red-faced) to talk to at least one person every time we run. I highly recommend it for all of you missionaries. We have a few new ADLE (amis de l'eglise) and you know for sure that they're not just taking the lessons because they thought we were cute.
4. Our "ami de l'Eglise" Frere Salomon got baptized last Saturday!! We had 10 other missionaries come to support him. :)
5. Welcome to the Bike Shop aka the garage of 6 Sister Missionaries.
6. We celebrated Valentine's Day, single. We are married to our missions, actually, so we ended up being ok. :)
7. Mom, some pearls that I bought for you at a pearl market. I hand-chose the pearls myself, coordinated with the salespeople and after buying the studs at the craft store next-door, I ended up being a whopping 12 dollars for real pearl earrings! :) Everybody, place your orders.
8. Sleepover at The Castle (our huge house), the night after the Conference with Elder Russell M. Nelson.
Tip of the week: buy yourself a planner. You'll be amazed at how much more you can do in a single day. Ok, ua here roa au ia outou!!
love, Soeur Carter