Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I LOVE MY MISSION - Dec. 14 2009

hey everyone!
This week was so wonderful! I LOVE this season here at Temple Square. We work so hard all day every day and when I get home at night I just fall on my bed. It's great though! My companion thinks that I am funny because she says I am so "busy" I am always doing something like cleaning or cooking or writing in my journal, she said I should be resting when I have extra time, but there is not time for rest!
This week we had zone conference and it was wonderful. It was focused on the birth, life, and atonement of Jesus Christ. I felt the spirit so strongly during the entire meeting and once again was full of gratitude for his life and everything that he has done for us! I especially loved thinking about Mary and Joseph and their special roles as the father and mother of Jesus. When Mary heard of her calling she simply replied, be it according to thy will. She trusted in the Lord completely even with the knowledge that she could be stoned to death. Amazing right? During the Angels visitations to both of them, he told them to "fear not" even though they had all reason in the world to fear! But as we know, if they had fear, there could be no faith. Love it!
We met many amazing people this week. We took a tour with a man from California yesterday and he was so funny and great. He loved that we wanted to show him everything and teach him about the church. He had TONS of good honest questions and his insights on the Gospel and especially the New Testament were all really good. We could tell that he was moved and touched by the spirit but... he didn't refer at the end. We invited him to hear from missionaries in his area but he wouldn't take it. SO sad! Sister Kim and I just walked away with our heads down trying to think what we did or said that we could have done better. BUT then I realized that we did all that we could have done! The spirit was there, we taught testified and invited, but in the end these people have their own agency. So we pray that in the future he will do something about the spirit he felt while he was here!
I am not sure what our plans are for Christmas yet, but I do know that Presidant is planning something fun! The Square closes Christmas eve night at 6PM as well as on Christmas day. I do know that Christmas night we are doing a wonderful christmas program in the Joseph Smith Memorial building and I get to arrange some hymns to play at it! I don't really have time to practice, but I will make it work out. I hope that everyone is doing well.
Please please please don't let gifts and business distract you from the peace of this season! This is a wonderful time for us to spend with family and friends and share with them the love that we have for each other! There is war raging all across the world and there are many people without food or homes. So be grateful for what you have been given, especially the Gospel and the knowledge of the true meaning of Christmas. We are so extremely blessed to know what we know!
I LOVE MY MISSION! I never know what the next day is going to bring, but I study and prepare myself everyday so that the Lord can use me to bring about miracles here on Temple Square.
Merry almost Christmas!
With love- Sister Carly Jo Porter

Dec. 7th '09

Hi hi hi hi !!
Wow, even though it is freeeeeeeeeezing outside, I am so warm inside :) hah that sounds kind of cheesy, but it's true! Yesterday was an incredible day! I had the chance to listen to Music and the Spoken Word in the conference center in the morning, spend all day contacting in the tabernacle, and then go to the Christmas Devotional in the evening! So incredible! Thousands of people came to the square afterwards and everyone had been so spiritually uplifted, they were all so nice! We got a ton of referrals from them, it put a HUGE smile on my face :) THEN I got to go to the temple thismorning:) yay!
We visited with an amazing couple in the Tabernacle yesterday afternoon. The woman was from Japan and he was from California. They recently moved to Logan for a job, As we were visiting with them I mentioned about the temple and the wonderful blessing that our family can be together forever! She started crying and talking in Japanese:) They told us that they had come here about a month ago and they came back today because they wanted to feel that peace again! They want to learn all about the church, but they can't meet with the missionaries until they find a place to live. It was so incredible though, the spirit touched both of their hearts instantly.
I LOVE when guest's come here and recognize the spirit, it is something that they have never felt before... so amazing. About 5 minutes after this 4 people from England walked in. One woman was sincere and interested while her husband was making snide remarks and being rude. He was saying "oh I'm not religious at all! I'm surprised that lightening hasn't come through and struck me in this very spot". His heart was so closed while the woman's was so open! Sometimes.... I wish I could just kick people and tell them to open their eyes! It is difficult to have someone tell you straight in the face that this church is NOT true and that we are wasting our time. It is hard... but I just have to move on. I pray that someday those people will look back and remember that there is something different about this place. Then they can repent :)
Yesterday I bore my testimony in the Joseph Smith Memorial building where we have church every sunday with all of the sister's and couple's at Temple Square. The spirit was so powerful as sister's from different countries shared their unique experiences and struggles here on their missions. One sister just recieved a letter from her dad in Brazil who has made the decision to get the priesthood, when she goes home her family will be sealed together. Another sister has been praying for her family to atleast listen to the missionaries and they told her this last week that they are meeting with them now! Some really amazing stories! It is a blessing for me to be here and to be able to share my testimony everyday. I think about Heavenly Father and his perfect plan for each of his children. He knows exactly the path that we are on, no matter what path that is, he can always make it right! When we look to him in all things our hearts and minds will be changed, our lives will be made better! That is the blessing of the Gospel! I want to take this month of December to look at my own strengths and weaknesses and to figure out what it is I can do better. I know that I am far from perfect, but that's okay! If we have the desire to change, of course the Lord will help us out:)
The Christmas Devotional was so amazing! The spirit was so strong in that room and tears came to my eyes many times! I hope that we all came away with something we can do this Christmas season to helps others, and to come closed to Christ! Really... nothing else even matters! Presents come and they go, I never remember what I get anyway.. We always to remember though, the kind things that other's do for us. So find people to serve and love! I promise... it is like medicine, all problems and worries diminish as we love and serve others.I love you all... enjoy the warmth in Mesa or wherever you are!
with love- Sister Porter
scripture of the week! 2 Nephi 25:26

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thanksgiving week - Dec. 1st

Hi everyone!

I had another wonderful week! Temple Square is my new home and it is a great place to be for this Christmas season! There are so many people to talk to and the Christmas lights are incredible! Yesterday I had an assignment to be in the Tabernacle all day. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearsed for about 2 hours and I got to just sit and listen to them! What a blessing! I just started crying when they sang through Silent Night as I thought about the blessings that I have been given and the wonderful mission that I am on.

Thanksgiving day was so beautiful. We went to a wonderful reception hall and had a catered meal and everything. We also played games, watched a movie, (they watched UP:) and sang karaoke. It was so special to be with all of the sister's and senior couples and just enjoy our time together. I loved it and it was a great break to get away from the Square for an evening. President and Sister Holmes organized the whole thing. They are always planning fun activities for us and doing extra things. They served us our Thanksgiving meal and they didn't eat themselves until everyone else had eaten, so incredible. I know that the reason they are so Christlike is because of the way that they live the Gospel. When we live the Gospel to it's fullest it can change everything about us! We naturally become Christlike and want to serve others ... so beautiful.

So I am living in a new apartment. It is about a ten minute walk from Temple Square. Ok and the coolest thing is that there are 6 sisters and we are all from different countries! Netherlands, Hong Kong, Brazil, Indonesia, Korea, and America :) Isn't that incredible? So I have a lot of fun with them and I am learning a lot about all the different cultures.

My companion Sister Kim continues to amaze me! Even when the sister's around us forget their purpose as missionaries, we always continue to work hard! We know why we are here and we don't let silly things bother us. (Mom's note - as her mission pres. told us, when you get 200 girls together, there can be plenty of "silly" things.) Today is her birthday so we have had a good time! Hah she goes around telling everyone it's her birthday and she made sure some sister's got a cake to bring over tonight.... too funny!! she loves pancakes so I made her a HUGE one this morning and she just died laughing.

There are literally thousands of people here every night. I love it! So since there are so many members here at the Square what we are doing every night is talking with the members and then asking for their friends who are not members of the church. We then can call their friends from the Referral center and invite them to recieve a free movie from the church through the missionaries. It is a GREAT thing! It is hard to keep asking members, we have to be really creative and smart about it because they are not going to give us their numbers unless they trust us. But I really love talking with the members and always fulfilling my purpose which is to invite other's to come unto Christ, even if they are members there is always something I can share with them.

I hope that everyone is doing well at home! Christmas is such a blessing and a wonderful time to think about Christ. I hope that we all can take time during the season to find a way in our own lives to come closer to Christ. As member's of the church we have reason to rejoice! Christ lives and we can return to live with Heavenly Father... with our families! I challenge you all to share this message. Find people everywhere you go to help and serve. I know that as you pray to have these opportunities to come... that they will come! Heavenly Father is waiting and eager to bless us with opportunities to serve, IF we show him that we have the desire.

Tonight I am playing the piano in the South Visitor center for a little while! I'm so excited to perform and use my talents! I also had the chance to sing in Sacrament meeting yesterday :) I am so grateful for my talents and I hope that I can use them while on my mission as often as possible to bring the spirit into the lives of others. I didn't get much time to practice so hopefully it goes ok!

I love you all, thank you for being so incredible! You prayers and support help me every single day!

with love- Sister Carly Jo Porter

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wonderful Week! Nov. 23

(Mom's note - FYI - There are a few different zones in Carly's mission - the South Zone includes Temple Square - some of the areas are Humanitarian Center, Beehive House & Welfare Square)

First of all we had transfer meeting this morning! I am way excited because I get to stay with Sister Kim this next transfer! We are so excited to be in the South zone once again and especially during the Christmas Season! President told us this morning that we are anticipating close to 1 million visitors at the Square! They said we won't hardly have time to eat. HAH so we are very very excited to be busy.
Temple Square is WHITE right now. It snowed last night and it is so beautiful! You should all come here for Christmas! And you should find me!!!! :) te he. It was so good to see some members of LIGHT who came to Temple Square on Saturday and also one of my best friends Kayla who came. I learned so much this week... so much. I have been working on a good balance during our "tours" with guests. It's hard say how much history to share or how much to testify because it totally depends on the needs of the person. SO I have been learning to really listen to the spirit, it's hard because we get to know them so quickly and then right away start teaching. Something else I have learned is how good it feels at the end of the day to know that I did my very best. Resting in the Lord is so good! Every night when I pray and then go to sleep it feels so good because I finally get to rest and I know that the Lord is proud of me. That is something that I will continue for the rest of my life! Everyday we should be using our skills and talents to further the work of the Lord.
MIRACLES. Many many miracles this week. Just a few of my favorites though.. we took an ASU student around the Square on Thursday. He was so nice and said one of his best friends is Mormon. At first he was trying to memorize all the facts so that he could prove to his friend that he actually came here. But about halfway through he stopped and just said "wow, I never knew". We thought he was referring to the history but he was referring to what he was feeling. He was silent the rest of our time and at the end he was so excited to learn more from the missionaries in his area.
On saturday a group of 20 students walked in from a university in Southern Utah. They asked for a tour so we gladly took them around. They were all so interested and I especially enjoyed testifying to them in front of the Christus. Many of them were from other countries and had never heard of the church or of the Book of Mormon. So cool!
alright so I haven't written much about how much I LOVE the referral center! We call soooooo many people. Yesterday I made 160 outbound calls in about 3 hours. call call call. I had about 10 referrals which means that we are sending them the missionaries and a movie or the Book of Mormon. SO GREAT! This last week at Temple Square we had 2,465 referrals from our referral center. President got very emotional this morning talking about how incredible that is. So we pray that those missionaries will do their work!
This week I have really felt the tender mercies of the Lord. I have realized that I can't just automatically have the spirit with me when I'm talking to people, but I have to strive to carry it with me ALWAYS. I literally feel God's love all around me every day. Not only in the people that I meet, but in everything that I see and do. I am so blessed to have this Gospel in my life! So blessed!
On Saturday Emily and Cory got married and I was worried that I might be a little distracted thinking about them or sad that day. BUT it was amazing because I saw SO many people that I know on Saturday! I also was able to take a ton of tours and stay so busy. I know that the Lord was blessing me. Isn't it incredible that he even cares about our small needs, desires, and trials? His love truly is all encompassing! A general authority once said that if we were to feel all of God's love for us, we would be destroyed immediately. WOW.
I have also been thinking about about the incredible people that I met while in India. What a blessing it was for me to have that humbling opportunity to serve people who have nothing. I think about them and what a different life that they live. Their worlds are completely opposite from mine, but they were happy. Sometimes I don't know how to express to Heavenly Father how grateful I am for my blessings. I feel so inadequate to tell him "thank you" because I am so small and just don't know what to say! I have realized though that the best way to show our gratitute to Heavenly Father is by our behavior. He knows us exactly. The worse thing that we could do is take for granted the blessings that we have been given. SO many people have less than us, we must share with all of them!
King Benjamin teaches that principle well to his people, to serve others, to love them as Christ would love them! So I hope that you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving week! Remember that standing in front of our family and saying what we are thankful for is good, but is not enough. We need to show our families how thankful we are for them, by serving for them. Imagine if Christ was with us, how would he serve us? It can be overwhelming what a long ways we have to go to become like Christ, but that is why we have the Gospel in our lives! No matter where we are at right now, whatever path we are on, through our desire to change, the Lord will help us! I know that that is true! I LOVE you all so much. Thank you for your love, support, and prayers. I feel them everyday. Open your mouths and be an example of Christ to everyone that you are around!
With soooooooo much love-
Sister Carly Jo Porter

Monday, November 16, 2009

hi ya'll - Nov. 15th

Hey everyone!
So this week was so wonderful! What a week of inspiration. Everyday I felt like I was continuing to feel inspiration from the Lord from many sources.

One evening as I sat in the tabernacle listening to the Organist practice I was FILLED with an immediate JOY. I can't believe that I am really here serving my mission in the place where so many early church members sacrificed everything for the Gospel. It really is incredible! I had a few really neat experiences. We chatted with a man in front of the temple for about twenty minutes the other day who had so many sincere questions. We would answer his questions about the blessings and peace we feel in the temple and his response would be "wow, I just never knew". He had many misconceptions but at the end of our talk he told us that he thinks this church is true and he just seemed to be in a daze (the spirit ). We took another lady from scotland on a tour last Saturday walking through the blizzard that hit us. She listened intently to all of our historical facts and basic principals of the Gospel. I could just see it in her eyes how curious she was. At one point I testified to her that what she was feeling in her heart was the spirit, and that if she would follow the guidance of that spirit that she would be led to know that this is indeed a true church. She just looked at me and after about a minute smiled and agreed with me. She thanked us at the end of the tour (after referring) and told us that we were a spiritual upliftment to her on the snowy afternoon. She was a scientist so she had great questions.

Yesterday morning after the Music and the Spoken Word my companion and I took a Korean tour with 15 Koreans. They were so cute and listened so carefully to everything she was saying. I was just laughing inside because some would just stare at me while she was talking and I just had to smile back :) At the end all of them referred to see the missionaries... miracles are happening here every single day.

Every night when I return back to my apartment I am so exhausted. I love being tired at the end of the day and knowing that I did my absoulute BEST to proclaim the Gospel. I truly feel the promise in D&C 6 being fulfilled as I feel the Lord's presence with us as we teach all the guests about the Gospel. I love having ever hour of my day planned but not knowing exactly what the Lord has in store for us. We have a very strict schedule but it is always a mystery as to the type of people that we will be meeting each day.

So we have the opportunity to go to the temple once a week! We normally go to the Salt Lake temple obviously, but this week on Friday we are going to the Jordan River Temple! I can't wait! I LOVE the Temple with all my heart and it is amazing to be able to go inside after explaining about it's importance to many people every day. I have been thinking this week a lot about LOVE and CHARITY. My favorite scripture reference about love is in 1 John 4:7-21. As I studied this principle I decided to really focus on loving every guest that I have the opportunity of meeting. Yesterday I found myself so invested in the well being of each person. These people were strangers to me! But I wanted them so badly to feel the spirit and to know that this is the most important message that anyone on earth could tell them. I also have been thinking about our commission as missionaries that we recite each week, "I am called of God, my authority is above that of the Kings of the earth." So powerful! Last night I just cried as I thought of those who did not accept our message, it hurts my heart for them not to know of this truth. At the same time my sadness was turned into JOY as my companion and I prayed for those who did refer and are on the path towards the Savior. So beautiful!

So I am doing wonderful! Thank's so much to everyone for your letters of support and love. I LOVE ever letter I get and they always seem to come just at the right time. Thank you! This last saturday MCC's basketball team came to get a tour! Ha I saw Steven Rogers so that was exciting! Yesterday Burkley Jenson showed up out of no where! It was great to have a little taste of Mesa here at the Square. I guess I better get used to seeing people I know :)

Love you all.
1 Cor 13- I may have everything but without Charity I am Nothing.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Love T.S. - Nov. 9

Hi family!It was so good to hear from everyone this week! It sounds like life if beautiful and wonderful at home. I am glad that Denver and Camilla made it back safely and are as happy as ever! CONGRATS CONGRATS CONGRATS! Love you both so much! Ummm please send a picture of you two and the ring! I didn't even get a description or anything.. come on! :)

This last week on the Square was wonderful. I am continuing to learn many wonderful new things. I have been really practicing my FAITH. Sometimes in our schedule we will be assigned to one location alllll day long, like the Tabernacle. It is hard because we see people walking all over the square but we need to do our part and be obediant to our assignments. So we are learning to have faith that no matter what our schedule is, that the Lord's hand is in it.

Yesterday I was in the Tabernacle all day long. It was incredible. I talked with so many people. We invited around 75 guests and members. I LOVE using the history and the facts about the early members of the church to help people understand that we need that same dedication in our lives today. Everyone needs faith no matter back ground or circumstance. We all need something to work for and strive for. That is how we can grow and progress!

I love getting to know people and trying to discern through the spirit in my very short time with them, what it is I can help them with. I especially like talking with less active members. I think it is really challenging to figure out what to share with them, I love it.

Last Wednesday we had a mission meeting at 7 AM in front of the Christus. It was one of the most incredible meetings I have ever been to. We were able to listen to our Mission Presidency counsel us and help us better understand our purpose. We were all in tears as our mission president bore his testimony of the Savior and all that he suffered. He said that whenever we complain about being tired or hungry or sad that his response is... SO WHAT! Then he asked if the Savior complained when he was mocked? Or when he bled from every pore? Or when he was nailed to a cross? It really really hit me how serious that is. It breaks my heart when I testify this to people and they don't understand or feel that they need Christ in their life. But I KNOW that we need him in our lives. He should be the absolute center of everything, right?

I was studying yesterday about the reasons why many of the Prophets wrote the records. We all know that an overwhelming theme is that their intent was to "persuade others to come unto Christ". The Prophets all were commanded to write, so they wrote. They were commanded to testify, so they did so. It is the same today. As missionaries, or as members of the church, our intent and purpose to bring others unto Christ. In order to do so, we must resemble Christ ourselves. A lot to think about! We have to be like Christ in order to invite others to come unto him. I know I have a long ways to go, but I am going to strive with all my might to become like him! Not only while I am here on my mission, but for the rest of my life.I love you ALL and I hope that you are continuing to live your lives in accordance to the Gospel. Sometimes it can be hard of course! But if it wasn't hard, it wouldn't be worth it. Remember to LEARN from your trials and learn from your mistakes, they will only make you stronger. :)Loves- Sister Porter

WOW - Nov. 2nd

Wow!! that is so exciting that Denver and Camilla are engaged! CONGRATS!! I screamed with excitement here in the library, haha whoops. Really though Denver and Camilla I could not be more happy or excited for you! I am a little sad that I can't talk with you on the phone or be there to give you big hugs! I think about family every single day here on my mission, I miss you guys like crazy. I didn't realized before my mission how hard it would be for me to have so little contact with you guys. But know that I love you and pray for you every single day.
So how fun will this Christmas be for you all? Denver engaged and Drew married! I really cannot believe it! I never thought it would happen.... hah jk. Now I'm next I guess. hmm give me 2 years.. :)
So this last week was so wonderful once again. We are on the sqaure every day all day long, just walking around and inviting everyone we see to hear more about the Gospel. I finished reading the book Our Heritage yesterday and it was so amazing. Being a missionary is not easy at all, but as I read from this book every day I really came to understand the sacrifice that so many before me have gone through. We tell people every day about the faith and sacrifice of the Pioneers, it is so real! I can literally feel that amazing spirit of faith and hard work here at temple square.
Yesterday I was explaining to a family how strong their faith was. I told them that they did not walk over 1300 miles for no reason. They MUST have believed in this Gospel so strongly that their faith is what pulled them along.
This is a wonderful story. The story is of Nellie Puccell who was 10 years old. Both of her parents died on their way here to the valley. As the weather got colder her and her sister one day collapsed and thought to die right there. A man placed Nellie in the wagon and her sister Maggie walked along the side of it. When they arrived in the valley they removed Nellies shoes and stockings and her skin came off with them. They had to amputate both of her feet and she walked on her knees for the rest of her life. She lived to marry and have 6 children. Isn't that incredible? I love the stories of the pioneers. They really helped me this week!
It is starting to get really really cold here and it snowed a few times last week. Some times I didn't want to keep walking in the cold in circles around the square looking for people. But then these incredible stories would come to mind and I would realize that I have nothing to ever complain about! Many missionaries in these days serve in other countries with absoulutely nothing! They completely put their trust in the Lord, so that is what I will do also! I know that it is only through our extremities that we come to know the nature of God. We learn of his love for all his children and how ready he is to take us into his arms! I feel that the world fogs our eternal perspective constantly. There are many things in the world that offer to bring us happiness, but that happiness does not compare to that of our Heavenly Father's plan for us. Amid all our trials and hard times we find answers in the scriptures and in the words of our living prophet! I'm excited for this time on my mission to learn, change, and become something. The lord teaches us "line upon line, precept upon precept". No matter where we are in life right now, there is always more to learn! There is always something we can do better! I have met so many interesting people here every day. Actually almost every single day I have a group of adults come from Boston, crazy huh? Yesterday I gave three Book of Mormons to some friends from China! Yay!!
I also talked with a family who is of the Nazarrene faith, which I had never heard of before. They were very very nice but the father was kind of funny. He believes completely in God but has wierd beliefs. At the end of our time with them, he looked me boldly in the face and said, " there is no true church or one true church on the earth today, and that's that". He said it in a way that stirred my heart. I wish I could have proved to him somehow that there IS a true church! But I knew I could only look at him with a smile and share my belief that this is the true church. Only through sincere study and prayer can we know that for ourselves.
I also had wonderful experiences in the RC (referral center) today. It was really neat to talk with people all over the country with different and unique circumstances. I talked with an amazing woman today who ordered a Book of Mormon and now she is getting baptized in a few weeks! I spoke with a woman in Louisiana who was hillarious. She loves the missionaries and thinks they are young but that they know their stuff. She kept saying "baby girl you need to get yourself down here and we can talk about Jesus together" haha it just made my day!
So, life is wonderful! Sometimes it is hard at the Square to not get distracted. I have seen a few friends here and cute families that come here every day. It is impossible to not think of my family and friends and hope that everything is well back home. BUT I know that the Lord is watching out for you all and that I will be blessed for this sacrifice. The Church is true! Love you! -Sister Carly Jo Porter

More from Oct. 26th

This morning we had zone conference and actually went to Heritage park to do a service project :) My district got to shovel out animal poo all morning :) It was really fun! I used the wheel barrel to clean out the pens. It was fun to wear jeans for a change.
OH so a few days ago Sister Kim and I went to Gateway for dinner. I felt SOOOOOO WIERD! They were playing normal music and there were clothes everywhere. I just didn't feel like myself at all. It was a little bit distracting. My comp said that she felt the exact same way her first time getting out, but I guess I will get used to it? As soon as a stepped back onto the Square I felt like I was home. I feel like I am in the safest place in the whole world! Really!
So we are actually aloud to email friends in my mission. Strange huh?
We really work so hard here. I feel like I pass out every night as soon as my head hits the pillow because I am so exhausted. My companion is hillarious! Oh man, the other night I guess I woke up in the middle of the night sat up and started sleep talking. Sister Kim said I was inviting people to come on the tour and then I started trying to talk Korean? haha she was laughing so hard! So... I guess I am working hard to be sleep talking about tours.
Yesterday we had the chance to listen to Music and the Spoken word. It was so good. I LOVE the Mormon Tabernacle choir. We also got to go into the tunnels underneath the square. We saw the library where they keep all of the music and some other really neat things.

Dad thanks for the email! I love you so much! Thank you for being such an amazing dad. There was a women the other day who was really taken aback with the churches teaching that the father is to "preside" over the home. She thinks that women should play an equal role. So I simply described my family and how equally yoked my parents are but that YES my father does preside. I am so grateful for that! Families are wonderful!

Another week already! Oct. 26th

Hi family and friends!

This last week was wonderful of course. I am starting to get pretty cold but luckily I have a long jacket to keep me nice and warm. I need to buy some boots or something though because it is supposed to snow tomorrow!

I wanted to focus my letter on the Love of God that I have felt and seen this week. There are many different types of people come to Temple Square every day. The people I have noticed have either:

1) Never known God or about him

2) Have a desire to know of Him, or

3) Think that they know him pretty well already

But in ALL situations they can FEEL God's power and love in their lives. Isn't that amazing? It is true what the Apostle Paul teaches that, "the love of God is shed abroad in our heart's through the Holy Ghost". As we testify to the people here they can feel that love in their hearts. As members of the church we have this love of God in our hearts and because of this we have a surety and peace that others don't have. There is "no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear...we love him because he loved us first" (1Jn 4:18). I have been trying to understand how I can share this LOVE of God that I feel in my heart everyday, not just when I am at Temple Square.

We met a wonderful man this last week from Switzerland. He was in his 20's and was biking around the country. His face lit up as we shared with him the doctrine of the Gospel and he was spouting off funny questions. He was intrigued by my surety in testifying to him. He kept asking "how are your so sure? how do you know?" he thought it was amazing that at such a young age I could be so sure of something. He had never felt that sure about anything in his life! When people see this surety in us, it sparks a curiosity in their hearts because they feel God's love for them. Amaaaaaazing! When I am talking to others I always remember the promise found in D&C 100:5-8 that if we declare with meekness, "the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say". I strive to leave them with a feeling that no matter their circumstance, God loves and is aware of them. Hopefully it is something that they won't forget easily! I know that this principle applies to all of us in our lives. If we can truly feel and understand the pure love that Heavenly Father has for us, we will be filled with charity, love, humility, and a greater desire to serve those around us!

We taught a wonderful women this week, her name was Kim and she was here for a conference. She reminded me of an older female version of Jon Hopkins! haha every building we took her to she would just stare and say wow! amazing! she had tears in her eyes the whole tour and couldn't say enough good about it! She referred to everything as ... simply wonderful. That is like candy for us!

A question we get asked most often is, how do you elect your prophets? We also always get asked,.. if the temple is so important, why can't we go inside? It is tricky to answer these questions in a brief clear way, to bridge every funny question to something that relates to the Gospel is also difficult. It's fun though! I am so grateful that I have the foundation of Jesus Christ in my life. All of us are going through different trials, circumstances, and hardships. But we have one thing in common, and that is that we can all use the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We must use it in every aspect of our lives! I hope that we can let our trials root our faith and anchor our hope in Christ. Recognize the blessings of our trials, for do they not bring us close to Christ? We should not turn to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ only when all else fails, but recognize that they are ready and waiting with open arms!

I am doing well and am happy! I am so grateful for your support and prayers! I can feel them here every day on my mission. I hope that everyone is doing well at home and wherever you may be! Remember to always be missionary minded :) We have the most important message to offer the world, if they will only listen! Have a wonderful week!

oh funny story- A few days ago I was doing the pin drop in the tabernacle. The first thing that we do is welcome them and tell them our name and where we are from.. so I said "welcome to the Tabernacle! my name is carllll uhhh.... Sister Porter!" There were a lot of people in there it was so embarassing. My companion was cracking up. Ha I could barely get through the demonstration. Um ya.

Temple Square!!! - Oct. 19th


It is beautiful here at Temple Square! I couldnt have asked for a more perfect weekend! I am so happy and excited to be here! You won't believe it but my companion is KOREAN! She is an absoulute princess. Seriously, she is incredible. I feel sooooooo blessed to have her as my trainer. Not to mention that she is hillarious! She learned English 6 months ago in the MTC so she has a really strong accent, but she is so smart and has great English! Everyone loves her.

The main portion of my days here at Temple Square are spent contacting people both members and non-members at the Square and talking with them. We always invite everyone to recieve a free gift from the church with the missionaries and I have been so surprised at how many referrals we receive! I have already taken about 15 tours and I love it! It is so incredible to see the light come on in their eyes as we tell them of Gospel Principles and the things that we believe!

A few cool stories........ yesterday I gave my first motor coach tour. We had 42 Korean people on the tour. None of them spoke English so I stood by my companion and smiled while she explained each site and the history of the church. It was the cutest thing ever, they were taking TONS of pictures of us and clapping randomly and just loving it. We finished the tour and then had another one immediately afterwards with 30 more Koreans! Amazing! My companion works miracles, not kidding. We got 46 referrals!!!! No one believed it! She said it is usually so hard to get Koreans to refer, I guess they don't like giving out their information. It really was a wonderful miracle, we were so happy.

Another story... we had an adorable couple take a tour from Alabama. They were so funny and outspoken. They had a million questions for us and somehow we always found a way to bridge their questions to simple Gospel truths. In the middle of the tour, he said "Dang I need to get me one of em Book of Mormons" hah we were laughing so hard. We talked with them for about an hour and had so much fun. The spirit was so strong and clear. They were understanding and were so excited. Roxanne, the woman, gave each of us a huge hug at the end with tears in her eyes. What a neat experience!

My first few days here were a little bit difficult, we are standing and walking all day long so my feet hurt really bad. Those brief moments in between tours when we are contacting are the hardest, but the moment I start talking to people they don't hurt anymore. We take many people through the movie presentation of God's Plan for Families. No matter how many times I see it I always get emotional. It is amazing to see people watch this for the first time and they are so touched to know that their family can be together forever. Seriously, it is the best! I have never ever been so happy in my life! Even sometimes when they do not prefer to see the missionaries, I KNOW that they felt something and that is what is important. I know that my mission here at Temple Square is going to be incredible. I have already seen so many miracles in just a few days. The sisters here all have different accents and are from different countries, but we all have the same purpose to forget about ourselves, and to bring others unto Christ. It is very humbling. I hope I can give myself completely to the Lord and be an instrument in his hands. My mission is an opportunity to let the Lord build me into the type of woman that I could not become on my own.

What a blessing. I love you all! Thank you so much for your support and prayers. Our mission president told us to not pray for ourselves because there are plenty of people already doing that.. haha. He said the Lord WILL take care of us. He wants us to focus all our attention on those people who need to hear this message. It's true!!!! With Love

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thoughts from the "Mom" :)

Just wanted to add a couple of facts and experiences of my own!
(Sorry Carly - that's what happens when you turn your blog over to your mom!)

So - Last week Steve and I had the opportunity to travel to Utah for Conference weekend. We helped Mark Mabry set up his 2nd Reflections of Christ exhibit in the JSMB - AND it gave us a good excuse to go to conference AND to go and meet Pres. & Sis. Holmes - Carly's mission president. Ohhh - what fun!! Next to some amazing conference talks - It was definitely the highlight of my weekend. We just wanted to briefly introduce ourselves - but they insisted that we sit and visit with them. We are so grateful for the time they gave us - telling us all about the in's and the out's and the up's and the down's of the Temple Square mission - I thought I would share.
- Temple Square has between 4.5 and 5 million visitors a year
- 200 Sister's serve at the Temple Square mission which includes - the Beehive House, Welfare Square and the Humanitarian Center. About 30 Couple missionaries serve also but that is on the decline because the overall couple missionaries in the church is on a decline.
- The sister's on temple square are usually on their feet from 9am to 9pm everyday, and giving 15-16 tour's a day.
- T. S. has a very high security system with camera's and security guards always watching the Sister missionaries.
- T. S. Sister's will also serve an "outbound" mission about half way through their mission. It is treated like their first call - going through the church's missionary committee. They serve for 2-3 transfers and can get called to anywhere in the U.S.
Their call comes just like any other transfer, but instead of moving to a different apartment they pack their bags and head out. They find out on a Monday and leave on Wednesday.
That is a taste of the information we were so lucky to receive. Pres. Holmes told us that these girls work so so hard - and Sis. Holmes told us that they are treated like royalty and have so much fun!!!
It was so fun - and I know so rare for us to meet our missionaries Mission Pres. before our missionary did! :) Carly will absolutely LOVE the Holmes and I know that they will LOVE Carly Jo! How lucky for her!!!
While visiting with the Holmes we did commit to them that if we visit T.S. again in the next 18 months that it would strictly be to spy :) and no official greetings to our missionary! They were happy to hear that committment!

THANKS Mikki for joining us! It was a treat to have you there!

News from the MTC - no one is even allowed to shake hands anymore due to flu and cold season!!

Carly's update as of Oct. 9th, it was entitled - Happy, Happy, Joy Joy!

Happy -
Hey family!This week was incredible! I have been fighting a really stupid cough but that hasn't at all kept been from staying happy and learning like crazy! I get these random coughing fits at the worst times, like when teaching or in the middle of class, hah but it's been ok. I have been asked to sing at the Relief Society meeting for the MTC on Sunday so I am praying that it will go away by then!

Happy -
So was conference not the most incredible thing ever! The power that I felt while sitting in there with 2400 missionaries was beyond explanation! It was seriously so overwhelmingly great. The spirit just filled my heart with so much gladness. I just kept thinking how in the world have I deserved to be so blessed? I loved many of the talks but Richard G. Scott's, Elder Bednars, and of COURSE Elder Hollands I think were my favorites! I loved that the message of God's love for his people was emphasized over and over again! How can we show love for his children in our lives every day? I know that sometimes it is very hard to love people who may not be on our good side, but if we ask for the Lord to help us love others, we can totally receive help and strength!

Joy -
Alright so visitor center training started a few days ago. It has been a lot of fun so far! Hah well atleast I think it is a lot of fun. Some of the other girls are really stressing out trying to figure out how in the world they are going to memorize everything and become like the best tour guides ever! haha I just keep laughing and thinking that hello we must rely completely upon the Lord. It is going to be really difficult to understand everything right away. But just like learning a language it will take us months to get it down. I am SOOOOOOOOOO excited to go to temple square! We had a practice teaching appointment last night and got a feel for what it is going to be like. It was a little bit hard trying to identify the persons' needs and teach them a good lesson in only about 15-20 minutes. That is going to be our challenge at temple square. We have to meet their needs and send them away with something they can change or help in their lives. I cannot wait to share my testimony with people from all over the world. What an incredible blessing that will be! I have felt the spirit witness to me several times while here at the MTC that there are people being prepared for me RIGHT NOW, that I will soon have the opportunity to teach. What a blessing. I know that I must rely completely on the Lord. MY knowledge of the doctrine and of the scriptures is not what will touch their hearts, it will be my pure and simple testimony.

Joy -
The Atonement is and should be the center of our lives. It is through the atonement that we can learn to love others, repent of our sins, overcome sadness, get through any sort of trial, come to know our savior, feel the spirit, and return to live with our Heavenly Father! It literally is everything. I KNOW that our Savior knows us specifically. When we are going through a difficult trial we must trust him in knowing that the trial is absoulutely necessary for our growth and that through it we will only become closer to him. I hope that you all know that trials are blessings, not burdens. WE have to have trials to help us continue to progress. Alma 7:11-14 are scriptures I have been referring to a lot while teaching. It is through our Saviors Atonement that we can and will find happiness!

Missionary Life -
MTC life is great! I have loved every minute here. We are going to Temple Square tomorrow to get put with sisters and exeperience what it is going to be like. We are all so excited to go and meet our mission President and all the sister's! I leave for Temple Square on Wednesday! YAY! I really cannont wait to go. This month here has gone by so fast and I have learned so much. The most stressful thing has been trying to learn and remember all of these scriptures that I love. They are great teaching tools so I am studying so hard so that I can use them while teaching. The church is true! After listening to Elder Hollands talk I don't feel that anyone of us could deny the power of the Book of Mormon and of this Gospel! SHARE your testimony! We are members of the church not only to progress ourselves but to bring our light unto others! I know that as you pray for missionary opportunities they WILL come! The Lord would not keep that blessing from us if we are seeking for it!

Love you all! smiles- Sister Carly Jo Porter

p.s. live every day to the fullest. live in the now, right now. The future will happen, but today is already happening :)

Sis. Porter & Sis. Ketterfeld

This is Carly's letter from last week - Oct. 1st -
We were at conference when it came and I am finally getting around to post it along with some fun pictures she mailed us - enjoy!

Funny Story -
Hi Friends and family!Alright funny story. Yesterday a ton of new missionaries came into the MTC. I was walking back from lunch and saw a ton of Elder's with luggage in a big long line. I looked down the line and yelled "Welcome Elder's!" Really loudly.. they yelled back, "We have been here for like 9 weeks!!!" Hahaha turns out they were the hosts just carrying the luggage. Ya. embarassing!
Spiritual thought -
Spiritual thought of the day. Prayer. why do we need prayer? Nephi teaches us that we must "not perform anything unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ" (2 Nephi 32:8-9). I love this scripture. I have been learning how much our Heavenly Father wants us to pray to him and how we should pray to him. Our AM prayers must be full of gratitude and joy! We have to ask for the Holy Ghost to be with us, until we ask for him, he is on the sidelines just waiting. I am learning how to tell the Lord exactly what it is that I need and want for the day. He is willing to help me out, if I ask him! Then at at night, we must return and report to him in how our day went. We are able to counsel with the Lord and commit to doing even better the next day. 3 Nephi 19 is a great chapter on prayer. I encourage you all to read and study it, and of course to always carry a prayer in your heart!
Tight Schedule & Devotional -
So this is what my schedule is like everyday. 6-630 workout630-7 get ready7- study730 eat breakfast8- study9-12 teaching appointments and companionship studyLUNCHGYM TIME- woo hoo! 2:30-5 class with districtDinner6-9 MDT time. Teaching, referral center, Meetings, evaluations, and more class! 9 planning9:30-10:30 ready for bed, read, and write in journal.
So it varies everyday but they keep us crazy busy . I love it though! The days are just flying by, it is so great! Every night I struggle to have enough time to write out the experiences that I have been having. The devotional this last Tuesday was amazing! Stephan Nadauld and his wife came and spoke to us. I took tons of notes. He mostly spoke about losing ourselves in the work, being bold and forward, and testifying always! He emphasized always having the spirit with us when we teach. That is the only way this message can be carried into the hearts of those who we are teaching. It was so cool though.. while I was listening to the devotional I noticed that I was writing down a lot of things that were not being said. The Holy Ghost was helping me to understand the exact things that I needed to hear, what a blessing! If we are living worthy of it the Spirit will always give us revelation on things that we can change and fix. Where would I be without the direction? Who knows.. probably lost or something :)
Study Journal - getting organized - loving my companion!
I started a study journal that I LOVE! It's a cute little black binder with tabs. I separate them into sections for personal study, class, notes, meetings, and others. It is so nice though to have everything organized and actually be able to use my notes later on. It is so important to take notes always! I hope you all take notes in your church meetings! That is how the Lord can speak to us! When we are willing and ready to write impressions down, of course he will help us and give us council!
YES! My companion and I are doing well. Sometimes it is difficult because she is still going through a culture shock. Sometimes she uses words or terms that are bad here but okay in Austrailia. I try to tell her as kindly as possible that she should probably not say those things. Then she thinks that she has offended me or something. haha it is just funny. She is a complete control person and always in charge when teaching. It's hard for me to give some input sometimes, but I am for sure learning how to be submissive. Luckily she is a great teacher and knows a ton about the scriptures, so it is ok for me to just let her take control I guess. If I try to change things then I have to deal with moodiness. But as long as I am patient we do just fine together. She really is a great girl with a HUGE testimony. We have a lot of fun together. I am learning how to be more quiet, and just follow along :) funny.
Temple Square -
I am used to the crazy schedule and trying to take everything in that I can. We leave for Temple Square 2 weeks from yesterday. So we start visitor center training next week, so exciting! There are 35 sisters in the visitor center group, some of them though are going to the San Diego Temple mission. I met a sister going to TS yesterday from Cambodia and one from Uganda! They are just so beautiful and I can't wait to get to the know them better. Alright everyone I LOVE you all! Keep being reading your scriptures and trying to be missionaries yourselves. Preach my Gospel is for EVERY member of the church. I encourage you all to study it when you get the chance. FEAST upon the words of Christ and your EYES will be opened! I love this work and I am so excited to be a missionary at Temple Square! Being at the MTC is so spiritual in many ways but I must admit that I am excited to go to another wonderfully spiritual place. Temple Square! YAY! -

Sister Carly Jo Porter
p.s. I receive dearelder letters the same day if they are sent before noon. I love getting them and it is so good to hear news and good things from home! loves!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I love being here at the MTC!

Carly writes: "It is so wonderful in so many ways. My first few days here were exhausting to say the least. We get up at 6 every morning and we don't get back to our rooms until 9:30 at night. But, being so busy and productive is my favorite thing ever, so I feel right at home! When I first got here a sister took me on a short tour, I went and got my nametag and my books, then I went to meet my companion and my district. I am with three other amazing sisters in my district. Sister Kinikini, Sister Brett, and my companion Sister Katterfeld who is from Austrailia! They are so wonderful and we get along really really well! They will all be going to the Temple Square mission with me. There are about 9 American girls going to temple square in my transfer and about 16 international sisters. I LOVE all of the sisters! They have already humbled and helped me to realize that I have a long ways to go and I still have so so so much to learn! The elders in our district are so fun! They just seem so young, a mission adds like 10 years to boys. Missions make them MEN! oh ya.

Everything about the MTC is uplifting. The firesides, devotionals, classes, prayers, hymns, personal study, companionship study, practice teaching time, everything! It seriously is like heavens little magic workshop on earth. I LOVE studying my scriptures so intently everyday for several hours. I am feasting upon the words of Christ and I still can't get enough. Luckily I will be doing this for the rest of my life! My companion and I memorize a scripture together every day so hopefully I can keep that up my whole mission. Our Sunday meetings were incredible. They broadcast music and the spoken word for us and then immediately afterwards we have Relief Society. Relief Society was amazing. A sister shared her incredible conversion story that had everyone there in tears by the end, she was so awesome. This last sunday our branch President had each of us write a talk on Charity and Love, then he called 3 elders randomly to come up and give their talks. I sang "Consider the Lillies" for the meeting. I am so grateful for my talents and that through them I can bring the spirit into the hearts of those listening! I am really looking forward to sharing my musical gift throughout my mission, what a blessing music is! On Sunday night at the Fireside we all stood and sang "Called to Serve" with all the Elders and Sisters. The spirit was so strong! I could barely sing as I felt a confirming witness to me that we are called of God and we have a strong purpose and mission to share the Gospel with the people all over the world. The Lord is constantly blessing me with confirmations that a mission is exactly where I need to be right now.

My companion is amazing! She says the funniest things all the time. She always says reckon, like all the time. It cracks me up! Yesterday she said, " I'm feeling so flat! I just want to Cark it!" She was really saying, I feel so tired I just want to pass out. Man, she is so adorable. We love each other so much and really feel that the Lord put us together for a reason!

I am learning the I must rely on the Lord every second of ever day. I have always felt that I need to rely on him, but now I know that it is absoulutely necessary. I wish I could tell you all about my different experiences that I have had this last week. I have found some incredible passages in the scriptures that have boomed my testimony. hah boomed, ya! It is easy to get distracted here or think about things from home, but then the Lord blesses me with more inspiration! Wow, I am so blessed!

I am so happy to be here on my mission. Every single night when I write in my journal I just feel so wonderful about how my day went and everything that I am learning. I hope that I can continue to give myself completely to the Lord. I know that as I try my hardest that he will continue to teach me amazing and wonderful things that I will use for the rest of my life! I am so happy! We are so freakin' blessed to have the Gospel in our lives! Please don't take it for granted even for one minute. The Lord will humble us if we don't express our gratitude to him every day, and seek opportunites to share the good news."

Carly also reports that she loves seeing people she know - MJ Roberts, Robert Skousen, Jaes Jones, Sis. Talbot and Sis. Sargent :)

She also gave us a reading assignment - Hebrews 11 - Carly says "It is truly incredible"

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Carly's first letter home -
"I made it!!! The MTC is wonderful and of course the spirit here is so strong! When I first got here a cute sister going to Latvia gave me a tour and showed me to my room. She then took me to meet my companion and district! My companions name is Sister Ketterfeld and she is from Australia. She is so cute and sweet. We are with 2 other sisters in our district who are from Washington & Hawaii. All 4 of us are going to Temple Square and we met around 10 other Sisters going to Temple Square, and 3 are from Hong Kong!!!! I kind of freaked out!
I'm super drained and a little overwhelmed! I don't have much time to write but I wanted to let you know I'm doing so well! I can tell that I am going to learn and grow so much in incredible ways! As I was reading through some scriptures in a meeting today, I had a very powerful witness that this is exactly what I need to be doing. WOO I'm a missionary!"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

. . . . and they're off!

Sis. Porter & Elder Roberts

And she's off!

So off she goes! We left this morning at 5:45 to take Carly to the airport. As you can imagine she was so so excited! I'm not sure she slept much. It was beautiful outside and smooth sailing on our way there. To our surprise (I'm not sure why we were surprised :) there were about 8-9 other Elder's hugging parents and siblings waiting and ready to walk past that line of security. Carly was the only Sister. Included in those Elder's was our very own M.J. Robert's one of Tara's best friends since Junior High! Carly and MJ planned on sitting next to each other on the plane which only made the trip that much more fun.
Carly's cute "China girls" as she calls them - picked her up at the airport in Salt Lake and had fun visiting with them before two of them drove her down to Provo, where she met up with her best friends ever - Emily Freeman and Clarissa (Ferrin) Ragar who had lunch with her and then did the curb drop-off at the MTC! I was pretty jealous that they got to be the ones - but what a fun day for Carly seeing all of those girls who she loves the most! I got word from Emily that she made it safely into the MTC with a smile plastered across her face! You are going to be an awesome missionary Carly!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sister Porter's Mission Blog!!

Welcome to my mission blog! I leave for my mission on Wednesday morning and I could not be more excited! While I am on my mission my mom is going to post on this blog my letters and some pictures. I think that this will be a great way for everyone to stay informed on how I am doing. My address will always be on here as well for those of you that would like to let me know how you are doing!