Monday, February 25, 2008

Baptisms & Parades

Hello to everyone, everything is going great. Fantastic news! This week we were able to baptize two people: a mother and her son. We were supposed to baptize the mother on the first Sunday of the transfer, but when we work hard, so does the adversary. A lot happened and we had to postpne the baptism in order to sort it all out so that she was ready. It took us six weeks, but we were able to do it. In the mean time, one of her sons turned 8, so they were both able to be baptized yesterday. It was very exciting! My companion did both baptisms and I will send some pictures soon. That was definitely the highlight of the transfer. Speaking of transfers, they happen this Thursday, and we don't find out until Wednesday night who stays and who goes. I think my companion and I will probably stay the same, but anything could happen.
The weather this week has been crazy! It has been in the high 90s almost every single day. Plus one of the other elders hurt his back, so we let them use the car for a week and we've been on bikes. I don't even want to know what the summer is going to be like.
A few days ago Hilary Clinton was in downtown Laredo. We were planning on going down there to do business and such, so we thought we might be able to catch a glimpse, but as we were walking there we saw a bunch of people with Hilary signs walking away. I guess we just missed her. Things here have been very festive lately. Apparently Laredo dedicates the whole month of February to celebrate Washington's birthday, so there were a bunch of parades and stuff throughout the week. One night we were walking around trying to find people to talk to and nobody was outside or in their house, which was very weird. We then wandered a few blocks over and found everyone was lined up along the street for one of the parades.
I will send more pictures and a video from my camera of us burning a tie for Elder Metcalf's six-month mark! Have a great week.

Friday, February 22, 2008

BBQ at a member's home

Green Milk

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Streets of Laredo

Avoiding Curses

Hello to everyone - Nothing too crazy happened this week. The one member who was losing family members to crime and murder and was thinking of going up to Houston decided not to go. Instead, his uncles are coming down to Laredo for a little while next month to decide if they are going to go back up there together or not. He's doing a lot better, and he wants us to teach his uncles when they come.
We were walking down the street one night and decided to knock on a few doors. This one family decided to let us in. When we were talking to them, the husband was saying how when he saw us he remembered the part in the Bible that says that Christ sent out his servants two by two to preach the gospel, and He instructed them to teach those that would receive them, and to dust off their feet and curse those that wouldn't receive them. So the man said, "I saw you guys and didn't want to be cursed!" They seem like a really nice family, and the husband is the manager of a band. Hopefully things will keep progressing with them.
Yesterday, on P-Day (preparation day) we had a Zone BBQ at one of the church buildings. It was super fun. We played soccer and ultimate frisbee. We ended up incinerating a pan full of grease because it caught on fire.
There are a bunch of train tracks that make a loop through Laredo and go into Mexico and every few hours trains will go through the city honking the whole way through. It is really annoying because the trains will also just park on the tracks and pretty much block off half of the city until they decide to move. We were over in an area that is surrounded by tracks and this really long train came ad boxed us in for about an hour. We looked into the train car doors, and found it was transporting a whole bunch of brand new automobiles.
Tell everyone I said hi, and it may take a week or two for me to respond to letters and such because we don't have much time for letter writing. I received Susan's card and Kami's package and your Valentine's Day box. Tell every thanks so much, I really appreciate it and look forward to mail every day.
Elder Carreon

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008

Dog Bite After Dark

I had a very interesting week! On Tuesday, we taught this older lady (early 60s) who we had contacted a few days earlier. When we first contacted her I got this weird feeling. At first I thought it was because she had a slightly quirky personality. When we first knocked on her door and she invited us inside, we asked if there was another man inside the house. (It's a mission rule to have at least three men present to go into a house when teaching a lesson to a lady). She said no, but she kept trying to get us to go inside. We set up a return appointment for Tuesday, and she said to come in, her husband was on his way home, but we kept telling her we couldn't. She agreed to hear the first lesson on her front porch. We set up an appointment to come back on Thursday, and that day we had splits, which means I switched with one of the missionaries in our apartment for the day. The other two missionaries were able to bring along a member to her house, so they were able to go inside. They said there was a Buddha and Hindu-type statues a well as Native American images and dreamcatchers all over the house, and everyone said they had the same "be on your guard" feeling while there. They said she talked about her husband constantly but it looked like she was living alone, with pictures of family and children but no husband. Then she said that her daughter reminded her that she was a member of the church already and she pulled out an old book of Mormon and first discussion pamphlet from about 3-4 years ago. She couldn't remember any church services, going to Relief Society or anything like that. They are going to see if they can find her in the church records to confirm her membership.
Last night, we went on splits again with the other two elders we live with. I was walking around with Elder Metcalf, and it was 7 p.m. or so. With the sun down, it was hard to see very far ahead. All of a sudden, this dog darts out from the back of this house, runs over to me, and bites me super hard on the left leg right above my ankle. I didn't even see it coming at all. Don't worry, I don't have rabies (I hope). It was swollen just a bit around the bite marks, but we put some neosporen and a band aid on it and it looks better today.
We have this one member who is about 18 or so. He is the only member of his family and was baptized about 10 months ago. The gospel really changed his life. His father was a drug dealer in Houston and he started using from the time he was 4 or so. Up until he met the missionaries, he was dealing drugs and doing some other bad stuff. After he started living the gospel, he changed and turned away from his old life. He moved away from Houston down to Laredo to live with his mom and get away from all the bad stuff the rest of his family was involved in. Recently, he had to deal with a lot of trials. HIs father and brothers were all gunned down in a drug deal gone bad, and the person that killed them all has started to kill other members of his family. He said he know who is doing this, too. Although he is safe in Laredo, losing his family one by one is, needless to say, taking a very big toll on him. We went over to see how he was doing and even though he didn't say anything, we could tell he was thinking about buying a gun and going to Houston to confront the man himself. We visited with him each day, reading from the scriptures and helping him understand that only through living the true gospel could he see his family again and live with them forever. Our labors seemed fruitless and he seemed to have his mind made up about what choice he was going to make, so this past Sunday, I fasted for him. He said he was going to Houston later today (Monday) so we decided to visit him Sunday. As representatives of Jesus Christ, we have the authority to promise him specific blessings in His name if he would try his best to obey the commandments. I was scared at first, but as I talked to him I felt the spirit testifying to me that what I was saying was true, and would come to pass for him if he was willing to try his best. I saw a change in his countenance, and I could see that he was second-guessing the bad decisions he was planning on making. We taught him again and hoped for the best. I will let you know how it turns out as I find out more.
We could be moving in a few weeks (landlord woes) so send all mail to the mission home (address is at the top right of the blog site). Tell everyone hi!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

President Miller, Elder Carreon, and Sister Miller

Bowling & a Tattoo

Everything is going great here! Today was 90 degrees. It's supposed to be in the 70s for the rest of the week. Today we went bowling with our whole Zone. It was pretty fun. We couldn't get away from the TV in the bowling alley, and wouldn't you know the Super Bowl highlights were on. What could we do but watch it. We were all very surprised at the outcome.
This week has been very interesting. On Saturday we went to President Hinckley's funeral (broadcast). I really enjoyed President Monson and President Eyring's talks. It was very sad though, especially the montage at the very end.
Another gun story: We were in our apartment the other night around 9:30 p.m. or so, and four of us were in one of the study rooms talking. All of a sudden, we heard screeching tires and a whole lot of gun shots. A few moments later, we heard a bunch of sirens and stuff. We went outside to see what was happening, but all the commotion was a few blocks down. I guess Texans really love to shoot their guns.
On Saturday we were teaching this guy from Honduras. He called the number on one of the church's pass-along cards and requested that we come over. He was really nice. About half way through the lesson, he was telling us about how he got thrown in jail in Dallas for drunk driving. While he was telling us the story, he started taking off his shirt. I was thinking, "What the heck is he doing?" He then proceeded to show us a tattoo of Jesus that he got while he was in prison. He seemed very interested in the church, though.
We have run into a lot of unusual religions and beliefs here. Most people are Catholic by tradition. Many don't really go to church or anything. There is this one religion, however, that is very noticeable. The people worship something called La Santisima Muerte, or Saint Death. Basically, they worship a grim reaper type statue because they believe that it will bring them certain blessings depending on which one they worship (green for luck, red for love, etc.) Apparently there are different temples for this across the border in Nuevo Laredo, and lots of people have stickers on their cars, bikes or other things like that. It is very different to say the least. Hello to all, and write soon.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Letter From Mission President

The following is an excerpt from a letter sent by Gary F. Miller, Mission President of the Texas McAllen Mission:

We had the privilege of meeting your son, Elder Carreon, when he arrived at the McAllen International Airport. He looked great and appears very anxious to go to work.
We are grateful to have Elder Carreon in the Texas McAllen Mission. Already he has impressed us as a well-prepared young man with a great spirit and a desire to serve the Lord. Your support from home will be of great value to him as he serves the remainder of his mission.
His first assignment area is in the Laredo Zone. HIs first companion is Elder Caywood, who is from Napa, CA He is an outstanding missionary and your son will receive excellent training under his direction.
We thank you for sharing your son with us. We are confident that he will bless the lives of many here in South Texas while serving as a missionary.