Thursday, December 26, 2013

It was a very good Christmas!!

 A Very Merry Christmas for our family this year!!

Our family had a wonderful Christmas Day.  We were able to wake up in the morning and open gifts with our two children here at home.  Santa was very good to them once again this year.
We have two sister missionaries currently serving in our ward. One is from Idaho and the other is from Utah.  We were able to have them over to our house on Christmas morning so they could use our computers to Skype with their families.  They were each able to spend about an hour talking and visiting with their families. It was the first time their families had seen their daughters face or heard their voices in over six months and we were thrilled that we were able to help them have that time together.  We knew that our time would come later that day!!
Our beautiful daughter and handsome son on Christmas Eve
Picture perfect
All day long we anticipated the call from our missionaries.  We prayed that the Skype would work properly and that we would be able to connect with them.  It's such a blessing to have the technology that we have today where we actually get emails weekly instead of waiting weeks or even months for a letter to arrive in the mail.  We get to see their faces and hear their voices on the computer screen instead of going two years or 18 months without that blessing like many missionary families have done in the past.  This is truly an amazing age that we live in. 







Sis C's companion Sis. B hopped in the video for a few minutes so we could meet here and get a quick picture. Her companion is a native Filipino, but our daughter says she speaks very good English and the two of them get along really well.  We spent an hour talking with AJ. It was Christmas Day for us, but it was the day after Christmas for AJ since she is 16 hours ahead of us. She shared with us what life is like as a missionary in the Philippines.  She pretty much walks every where she goes. Sometimes if she and her companion need to get somewhere far away they will take a Jeepney, which is a small bus.  It cost more money to ride a Jeepney, but it's faster.  They also travel by Trike which is a motorcycle with a side car. She says those are real cheap to travel in, but also a lot slower and have less room.  As far as the housing, she lives in a 2 bedroom apartment. It's very small and she cooks on a range top. She has no microwave or oven and only a small Rev (refrigerator).  She eats mainly vegetables and rice, and noodles. She says she eats a lot of apples and hard boiled eggs.   She says the Philippines don't really have any regulations on building homes like we do in the USA so most of the homes in her area are built out of whatever materials the people can find.  Most homes are built out of bamboo with thatched or tin roofs and they have dirt floors. It's not uncommon for large families to live in a one room house.  The sanitation laws are non existant also. She didn't go into too much detail for us on this topic, ( I don't think she wanted us to be freak out), but did say that she takes two baths a day just to stay clean.  There are no public bathrooms, so she said that it's not uncommon to see people going to the bathroom in public.  That was shocking to her when she first got there in the "Pines', but now she says it's just the way it is.    The television stations don't censor news reports like they do in the USA, so during Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in November the news was reporting and showing all the destruction and casualties on t.v.  She said it was very sad to see all the bodies of men, women and children who had been killed by the storm.  When destruction like this happens she says the bodies of the deceased can lay in the streets until they are able to be collected and that can take days.     We asked what the population was of the area she was in, she didn't quite know but she said she was told that if you took all the islands of the Philippines ( there are 7,000) and put them together they wouldn't even be as large as the state of Arizona, and that for every 1 person in the state of Utah there are 3 Filipinos.   We didn't do the math, but we figured there was a lot of people in the Philippines and it's very crowded.   We asked our daughter if she was happy, and she said she was and that although the culture still seems very strange to her she loves the people of the Philippines.  They are a warm and loving people, always smiling and she is blessed to be there serving them.


Hermana Carr called us Christmas Day as well and we were able to spend an hour talking with her.  She called a few hours before her sister AJ.  Sarah is serving in Yucatan and it's only 2 hours ahead of California time. She was able to call us from a place called the House of Prayer.  It's the building where they meet for their church meetings.  Sarah is in a small town and she says the streets are mainly dirt or cobblestone and the houses are mostly cinder block. She has only been there a few months, but she absolutely loves it in Mexico.  Her companion is Hermana N. and she is from Southern Mexico, but lived in the United States for about 9 years so her English is very good.  Sarah says that Hermana N is very patient with her as she struggles to learn the language and communicate with the people.  Sometimes Sarah gets frustrated because she wishes she could understand more, but Hermana N. just tells her to be patient and the language will come.  Right now the weather is pretty good she says, but in a few months it will be blazing hot and the sunblock she has will be useless. She took SPF 30 with her, but says she'll need like SPF 1000..Haha!  We told her we would send her the strongest SPF we could find.   She is loving the food.  She says they eat a lot of tortillas and a soup made out of black beans and meat.  She adds a little chile and lime to it and it's delicious.  The people like to feed the missionaries and Sarah says they feed them A LOT of food. She feels bad, but sometimes she just has to tell them that she is full otherwise they would keep putting food in front of them.  She says the Mexican people are wonderful and have been so welcoming to her.  The area she is in right now has never really  had sister missionaries so right now she and Hermana N. are somewhat of a novelty.  Being a missionary is hard work. She is up at 6:00am goes about her days teaching and doing what she can to serve the people and like her big sister in the Philippines walks most every where she goes.  It's the hardest thing she's ever done, but she says it's the most amazing and wonderful experience she's had in her life so far.
We enjoyed our time talking with our missionaries and told them how much we loved them and how proud we were off them.  We tried very hard not to keep telling them how much we missed them, they know we do and we didn't want to make them too homesick.  Of course there were tears shed as we had to say good-bye, but before we let them go we had them bear their testimonies to us in their new languages.  It was wonderful to hear them speak in Tagalog and Spanish. AJ sounded like a pro and Sarah while she struggled a little bit sounded great to us. Her companion gave her a big thumbs up.  We recorded each of them speaking and will post it to the blog soon.  
We had a wonderful Christmas and continue to be so grateful for the many blessings given to our family by the Lord each and every day.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Week 27 in the "Pines" and Week 3 in "Mexico !!

The days are slow, but the weeks fly by!!

This is a saying that our daughter in the "Pines" told us one time in a letter.  We didn't really get what she meant then, but we do now.  Sister Carr has just passed her 6 month mark on her mission, and Hermana Carr just passed her 2 month. 
It still feels like both of them just left, and yet it feels like they've been gone forever. How can that be?
By this time next year we will be welcoming home Sister Carr from the Philippines and Hermana Carr will only have 4 months to go.   I know I probably shouldn't be counting the days already, but with Christmas approaching it's hard not to be a little sad without my whole family together.  I continue to be grateful that our girls are having this opportunity to go and serve the Lord and the people of the Philippines and Mexico, but look forward to the day when I will see their beautiful faces, hear their laughter and all my children are again under one roof.
Next week is Christmas and we will get to skype with both of them.  We are super excited!!!!
They both have been having wonderful experiences. Here are some excerpts from their lastest letters.


FROM THE PHILIPPINES

HELLO THERE MY BEAUTIFUL FAMILY!!!!!
  
BOY DO I MISS YOU GUYS. I AM STRUGGLING WITH HOMESICKNESS, I AM PRETTY SURE IT IS THE TIME OF THE YEAR. I KNOW IT WILL PASS. I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!!!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU SO SO SO SO SO MUCH FOR MY CHRISTMAS PACKAGE!!!! IT MADE ME CRY. HONESTLY, I JUST CRIED WHILE I OPENED IT. BUT I LOVE EVERYTHING IN IT!!!!! I LOVE MY JOURNAL!!!! IT IS SO CUTE AND OF COURSE MY CAMERA!! PLENTY OF PICTURES COMING YOUR WAY!!!! 

PLUS ALL THE FOOD YOU SENT ME.. OMG!!  THOSE JOES-JOES ARE LIKE CRACK!!!! I AM OBSESSED WITH THOSE. WE ARE SAVING THE CARR-MEL APPLES FOR CHRISTMAS EVE!! I AM EXCITED. PLUS WITH MY CHRISTMAS PJ'S!!!!!!! 

SO FOR CHRISTMAS SKYPE... I CAN SKYPE AFTER 10am  HERE SO I WILL BE ON BY 11:30am PINE TIME!!! YAYYYY  I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!

ANYWAY,  EVERYTHING IS GOING REALLY WELL.  MY AREA IS REALLY REALLY HARD. WE ARE REALLY STRUGGLING, BUT AT THE SAME TIME WE ARE REMAINING HOPEFUL. 


SISTER LANI WHO CAME TO CHURCH WITH US YESTERDAY.  SHE IS AN INVESTIGATOR WHO LIVES RIGHT NEXT TO US...LUCKY HER!!  SHE IS VERY NICE, VERY RECEPTIVE AND SHE SAID SHE HAD A REALLY GOOD EXPERIENCE AT CHURCH!!!

SO THE LANGUAGE IS COMING ALONG VERY WELL.  OF COURSE I STILL HAVE A LOT TO LEARN BUT I CAN EASILY HOLD A CONVERSATION WITH SOMEONE AND TEACH THEM THE FIRST LESSON.  I AM A PRO AT TEACHING THE FIRST LESSON!!! HAHA 

WELL NOT MUCH TO REPORT THIS WEEK.  JUST A LOT OF WALKING AND FINDING.   SISTER B.  AND I GET ALONG REALLY WELL AND HAVE A LOT OF FUN. 

TOMORROW IS OUR CHRISTMAS CONFERENCE AND SO NEXT WEEK I WILL SEND YOU PICTURES!!!! 

GPA...I LOVE YOU
MOM...I LOVE YOU
DAD...I LOVE YOU
SARAH...I LOVE YOU
KATE...I LOVE YOU
MATT...I LOVE YOU

HAVE A GREAT AND SAFE WEEK!!!! 

MAHAL KO KAYO!!

MAHAL,
 SISTER CARR
 
 
 
Sis. C ( 2nd row, 4th from left) with other sisters from her mission.  She looks so happy!  We are grateful for Sis. M for posting pictures on the mission blog.  Now that our daughter has a new camera we are hoping for more pictures to come our way soon!


 
 
FROM MEXICO

Hola mi familia bonita!
 
So, this week has been much much MUCH better! I am loving Hunucma! The people here are seriously so nice. The members are completely amazing and so enthusiastic about helping with missionary work! They contact less actives and help teach lessons, we just need to get more references. That´s a big challenge here. Another big challenge is getting the investigators to keep commitments. We have so many people that say they believe and agree to go to church and do all these things but nada...It´s tough. It´s really tough and we fast and pray that we will be able to know what we as missionaries can do to help them. But I am very blessed to be serving in such a humble area. There is a member here that reminds me of mommy!!! Her name is Hermana Elsy. She´s AMAZING! She has three daughters who are all very sweet and her husband, Hermano Diego, is awesome! We spend a lot of time at their house either teaching or eating! Haha. The people feed us A LOT here! So I might come back fat, haha! I´m gonna try really hard not to though! The food is actually very good! It´s a lot of chicken and fish and black beans and like a soup kinda thing. Honestly, most of the time I don´t know what we´re eating. I just put chile and lime on it and call it a day. Haha, oh and we eat a ton of tortillas! Tortillas for dayzzzz!!!! But I love them, so it´s great!
 
As far as the language goes, poco a poco (little by little). I am understanding a little bit more everyday. I am truly grateful for the gift of tongues! It´s real and I receive help every single day! I am more willing to talk in lessons too. Even if I can´t understand, I at least like to bear my testimony at the end. My testimony is still a powerful tool and I am very grateful to have it and share it. There have been times where I am understanding and Hermana N. will look at me and I can continue from where she left off! That´s the best, when I feel like I can contribute! I can´t do it everytime. There are times when I am completely lost and she looks at me and I just smile. I smile and wait for her to realize that I have no clue what´s going on or what we´re talking about. Haha, Hermana N. is very patient with me and I am blessed! She helps me so much and pushes me to do more everyday! 
 
 
Now SKYPE! I am soooooo excited to talk with you! I have an hour to talk with you all on the 25th! I don´t have a specific time so if you could do me a favor and find out what time I need to call so that I can call with AJ, that would be awesome! I would love to talk with her too! However, it might be too late because we need to be in the house by 9:30pm. And we don´t leave the house until 4:00pm on Christmas so if you could just keep skype open the whole time and look for my call, it would be much appreciated. Haha. I´m really sorry I don´t have more detail. We are still trying to find out whose laptop we can use, etc. Oh, and I don´t have an account, so if you could please make one for me and send me the info, that would be a huge help!
 
But yes, overall I am doing much better! Please tell the Lambriggers I say hi! And tell Randi I say HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!!!! I love you all so much! I don´t need much right now, but I am SO excited to get your package! We go to Merida on the 23rd so I´m hoping to get it then! Please know that I love you and I love my Heavenly Father! This is His work and I am so grateful for how He blesses me and all of you! I love you will all my heart!!!! Please stay safe and I´ll talk to you soon!!!!
 
Con Amor para siempre,
 
Hermana Carr

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Week 25 and Week 7

The Holidays are upon us!

 As our family celebrated Thanksgiving here at home, our two missionaries celebrated in their own way in their different countries.
This was the first time our family hasn't been together for the holidays. I have to admit it was very hard for me, but we invited the sister missionaries in our ward to share Thanksgiving dinner with us and it was wonderful to have them with us.
We received our weekly email from our daughters and was so happy to once again hear about their week.



ABA (OMG) another super fast week! Can't believe another transfer is over this week LOCO!!! Anyway this week was AYOS!!!!  

First, we celebrated Thanksgiving!! I made Chopsuey and Sunday potatoes and we had rice, we bought a roasted chicken and ice cream haha, it was a Filippino Thanksgiving!!! Doesn't beat being home pero we made it fun! 

Secondly, Sister Caunca and I found out that one of us will be transferring this week. So I will be getting a new companion and maybe a new area...we shall see! 

Thrice!!! We had 5 investigators attend church yesterday!!! It was awesome. Brother Melbert and his wife Janet( who is a less active) attended church with their kids!! Also last night, Sis Caunca and I extended a baptism date for Brother Melbert for Dec 21. He accepted and is a little sad he has to wait so long but that is the date the Lord picked for him. It's a little sad that one of us wont be able to see him get baptized pero we are just excited that it is happening!!! 

I loved the pictures you sent me Mom!! All of my girlies...including you mom, look so Maganda(beautiful) I miss them all so so much!!! please tell them I love them and miss them!!!

And GRABE  Dad your beard is FANTASTIC!!! This is the first time that I am really seeing it and I LOVE IT!!!! All of you look so great!!!!! Katie & Mom you look Gorgeous and Matt you are a stud!!!

I am glad to hear that everything worked out with my accident. I was a little worried.

Anyway...sorry not too much to report this week. 

I just want to encourage you all to keep strengthening your relationship with Heavenly Father!!  Alam ko na totoo yung ebanghelo na ito!!!

My family...I love you and miss you all so much. I think of you everyday and pray that you are always safe happy and healthy!!!!

Oh! so here is something that you can do for me...go to Jolibee and either have a mix-in (if thy have them there) or a chocolate sundae and think of me!! I eat one almost every week after zone studies!!! haha !

My beautiful family, thank you so much for your love and support. I am grateful for all of you and I love you so so so much!!!!!

Be safe in all that you do and have a great week!!! I love you I love you I love you!!

Mahal, 
 Sister Carr
 
 
And Hermana Carr writes....... her first full week in Mexico



Hola Familia!
 
I hope you all had a wonderful week! Thank you for sending the picture! I loved seeing you all so happy!
MATTHEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡FELIZ CUMPLEAƑOS!!!!!!!!!! Sixteen, that´s crazy! I hope you had the best day! I miss you and am so proud of you! You´re a priest now, that´s awesome!
 
Can you believe it´s December already? I can´t! That´s nuts! On the 16th of this month, I will have officially been out for two months! Wow! So this week has been good, a lot of learning! It´s been tough because I can´t understand much, but I want to talk. But it´s hard to do that, when I can´t understand what´s happening. Luckily all the members here are SO NICE! They understand I am learning and are so patient with me. I´m so grateful for that!
 
Guess what I did! I bore my testimony in Spanish yesterday during testimony meeting! It was short and simple and I was terrified, but I did it! And I´m so happy! The members are so supportive and willing to help us whenever we need it. They treat us like family and it´s making everything so much easier. It´s still a bit overwhelming. I miss being able to know what´s going on, but I know that will come with time.
 
It´s kinda cool, I am the first American sister missionary to be in Hunucma in a very long time! I feel like a pioneer a little bit. It´s kinda fun to know you are making a difference, but a little scary too. Me and Hermana N. laugh a lot because we get whistled at by the men, but they are harmless. They call me guera, which means white girl. It just makes me laugh because it´s true. I don´t mind. Everyone here is really nice. They have a tough time keeping commitments, but we´ll get them there, I know it! I invited some to baptism and he accepted! YAY! He is scheduled for the 4 of January! He needs to some make some changes before his baptism, but with the help of the Lord, we´ll do it!
 
Oh, by the way, Hermana N. has been out for about 5 months now. She left in July. And we get along great. She is teaching me a lot!
 
Just know that I am safe and working hard. I need a lot of help, and it´s been REALLY hard, but the Lord gives me strength. I know I have a mission to serve, and I´m going to serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength! Thank you so much for your e-mails and for your love and support! Katie, you crack me up with your e-mails, keep sending them please! Haha, I want to hear from all of you! I love you all SO MUCH! Please be safe and have a wonderful week!
 
Con todo mi amor siempre,
Sarahbeara 
 
Hermana Carr and her companion and some local children

Missionary apartment....it's VERY white.

Instead of a bed the missionaries sleep in hammocks. This is one thing that our daughter was very excited to experience.