Tuesday, December 14, 2010

brilliant I tell you, genius I say 12/14/10

Are you kidding me?! Temple Square has to be the most phenomenal mission in the entire world... I'm so serious right now. President Holmes is the most inspired man I have ever known or ever even heard of.. seriously. So I flew into Salt Lake on Wednesday morning and was greeted by two of my favorite sisters. They handed me a slip with my new assignment and I found out I was companions with Sister Doggett and that we are zone leaders together. So fun! I love Sister Doggett and I was roommates with her in the past. So the first few days were pretty much a blur. It was exciting to see all 26 sisters return from their own outbound assignments and to hear of their experiences during our outbound testimony meeting. Afterwards we promised not to talk about it anymore so that we would not distract other missionaries. No prob.
So the mission is completely different! There are around 52 new sisters that I don't even know yet.. craziness. There are now 8 zones when before there were only 5. Each zone is teaching which means that we can teach people who we find on Temple Square, Chat, or in the RC. The mission now has 60 motors (computer+phone unit) when before I left there were only around 30. So our time on the square has been cut in half. So we switch off days where one day we will be on motors from 10-3 and square from 3-9 and then the next day our schedules switch. This way there are always sisters finding on the square but also we are utilizing the motor stations. I am praising President and the assistants for this idea. We were trying so hard to come up with a way to make the best use of our time on and off of the square. We are happy also because now there are never too many sisters on the square which was a huge problem that we had last winter.
During our "motor time" we have chat time, rc time, and teaching time.
CHAT- I love chatting!! So on Mormon.org there is a link that says "chat with a missionary" and it comes either to the MTC or to our mission. We will be chatting with about 3-5 people pretty consistently during that time. We answer their questions the best we can, quickly bridge to the restoration, and invite them to have missionaries teach them more. Many many many many people try to waste our time, we call them "trollers" probably about 70% of those on chat are trollers.... lame people. But what is cool is that many times we soften their hearts and have a legit conversation with them. Yesterday a guy in Cape Town South Africa got online. We chatted with him for a while and we will be calling him on Friday to teach him a little bit more! He was so sincere and is really searching for truth. Amazing.
RC- Now when we call non-members on the phone in the referral center when they refer to meet missionaries we offer to call them back and to continue teaching them until missionaries come in contact with them in their local area. We call this an IRC (investigator referral confirmation). Our goal is to have these IRC's and help these people to get baptized!!! I cannot even describe how much this has changed the attitude and perspective of the mission. The sisters are so excited because now we find but we can also teach them! We have area book and everything to keep track of our progressing investigators. Just in a few days we have already found wonderful people to teach on the phone.
Temple Square- Teaching on the square has also changed quite a bit for the mission. Before we could only find people on certain parts of the square depending upon which zone you were in. Now we can find anywhere and take our guests anywhere. Huge change! We can also call and teach them on the phone after they refer at Temple Square. We met Chad a few days ago and took him on a tour. He was so amazing, recently moved here from Georgia just to get a new life and ended up moving one block away from BYU. So we taught him again yesterday on the phone!
I am sorry that this is all technical stuff but you can probably tell how excited I am. We had zone leader council yesterday morning and I was once again humbled by our mission President. He explained that this is the most important transfer in Temple Square history. He mentioned that this is one of President Monsons' top three interests right now, with over one hundred sisters teaching over the phone. He testified to us that this is exactly what the Lord has been preparing the work for, electronic missionary work. He talked to each one of the sisters in leadership and explained how we had each been prepared our whole missions for this defining transfer. I am very humbled and I hope I can carry out the work as Heavenly Father would have me do!
I love the Gospel. I know that it is true. The spirit is so strong here at Temple Square and I am happy to be back once again to testify on such holy ground.
Love- Sister Carly Jo Porter
p.s. The christmas lights are beautiful also! We have thousands of members every night and we love talking with them. If you come to the square make note that I am only on the square Mon,Wed,Fri, and Sun nights. The other nights I will be on the motors.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I heart Boston 12/6/10/10

How blessed am I? The Lord loves me so much that he sent me to my favorite city, during my mission! I have honestly loved being here in Boston! I can't believe that my time here is over! I learned so much here and cannot describe in words how much my love for this city has grown.
In many aspects this was the hardest time during my mission. Previous to my mission I learned that the singles wards here are among the best in the world. There are students here from around the country that are pursuing very rigorous degrees and are ambitious in so many ways. The ward helped me to work harder and to see my potential as a young adult, prior to my mission. I feel that coming here as a missionary multiplied that experience by 1,000. Trying to handle the identity crisis and akward peer interactions while being bold and humble about missionary work was incredibly difficult. I have never felt so stretched and pulled in my entire life. At times I would think, really Heavenly Father? You really want me here? It was hard to understand why I was here when I could have been sent to any mission in the country. There were many times when I felt that I something wasn't right or I could have handled situations very differently. So in short it was like the New York, New York roller coaster in Las Vegas. Awesome right? Heck yes! I recognize that being here was exactly what the Lord wanted for me to learn what I needed. I still know that I am learning and that I will never be a perfect missionary, but I am so grateful and feel so privileged that the Lord has given me such great trials. I tried my hardest to make the most of the experiences that were given to me. My love for the members in the wards here is incredible. I have visited with them on many occasions about the difficulties of missionary work in this city, and prayed with them for the courage to just do it! I have reflected upon my missionary experiences here before my mission, what I had done well, but mostly how I can achieve the work when I return.
My love for the Elders and Sisters in this mission grew also over time. You may remember my first few emails when I spoke of the disobedience that I had seen and ineffectiveness that really made me so sad. While there was no excuse there, I have also seen how wonderful and truly hardworking these missionaries are. They are working at their own pace on a schedule that the Lord has marked for them... not me :) Last Thursday I was able to participate in the departing testimony meeting for the Elders and Sisters leaving the mission. Sister Cheng and I were also asked to share our testimonies. The chapel was full of members and investigators who had come to love these Elders these last two years. I just observed in tears during the meeting as humble testimonies were born of their missionary experiences. It was kind of a pre-departure for me, since I still have 3 months left :) OH I was so overcome with the spirit to be a part of that meeting!!! Watching these elders say their farewells to people whom they have grown to love so much was so touching! We then went to the mission home for dinner and I reflected upon my own brother, Elder Denver Porter in this same home about 8 years ago also finishing his mission here in Boston. I imagined my parents coming to pick him up and what an incredible time that must have been for them. Oh so many thoughts that I am so grateful for.
There is so much that I could say about this experience!!! But I don't have enough time! Words cannot describe how I feel about missionary work and the love I have for my Savior Jesus Christ. I know that He lives. He is the center of all human history. The joy that came to my heart as I shared my simple testimony with countless people on the street, at school campuses, parking lots, trains and buses, in homes, and in church houses is beyond words! My eternal perspective also grew as I attended the temple with missionaries and felt the peace of Boston in a special way. I know that our lives may be empty without missionary work and our joy only momentary, but by making the Lord and his work a part of our everyday life, our joy will be full! We can follow Alma's example who watched his sons go forth to preach the word and he to "could not rest and he also went forth" (Alma 43:1) I hope we can all not just try to be better member missionaries, but just do it :)
I love this work and I love the Lord. I can't wait to be back at Temple Square in two days and continue the work there!
-Sister Carly Jo Porter

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bostoness 12/1/10

Hello once again!
It is coooooooold and rainy here in Boston :) Some are saying we might be getting some snow this weekend. Yay! We had a zone activity today at the chapel and played this insane version of dodge ball, I was scared for my life. The elders had no mercy!! It was fun even though my arm is way sore, I really can't throw very well.
This week was good! We have a few new potential investigators that we are super excited about. We were finally able to get in touch with a referral, this girl named Allie on Sunday. We went to her house and taught her the first lesson and she loved it. She told us of how she had really been searching and talking to a lot of people about religions she could go to. She saw some elders on her street a stopped them a few weeks ago, they gave her a Book of Mormon and she already had started reading it. She loved hearing about Joseph Smith and our belief in prophets. So we are teaching her again tomorrow and she really wants to come to church on Sunday! We taught another girl, Elaine from China on Monday night. She was soooooo sweet! She probably said thank you 1,000 times after our lesson. She was a referral from a member and she just LOVED our lesson. She works on Sunday- so kind of tricky, but we will make it work! Nikia was out of town for a whole week, but she would update us everyday while she was gone. We will be seeing her soon also. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and really wants to be baptized.
Tomorrow we have transfers. Sister Heywood is being transferred but I will still be with Sister Stevens for my last week here. We will most likely be getting another 3rd companion tomorrow, so we shall see who it is! It has been fun working with Sister Heywood. She is a sweetheart and I have really learned humility from her. Her family has been through a LOT and she is solid as rock. I will really miss her but I am excited for her to go to a new area since she has been in the singles wards her whole mission. Tomorrow I get to join the group of departing missionaries for a temple trip, dinner, and testimony meeting. It will be fun to be with these missionaries during their last day events. I feel very lucky! I am mostly excited to go to the temple, I have missed going every week!
So I have a week to go. I fly back to Temple Square on December 8th. I'm really trying not to think about it too much because it seems that this time went by wayyyyyy too fast. I am happy to serve where the Lord wants me to serve though. I have LOVED serving here and have been changed in many ways. More on that next week.
-Sister Carly Porter