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