Monday, November 23, 2009

Welcome Home

Greeting Mom

Jace & Jonathan celebrate Cousin Ryan's arrival

Loads of cousins and other family were on-hand to greet Elder Carreon

Ryan returns home

Dear Friends and Family:

I returned home on Wednesday November 19th 2009. My mission was great! I was sad when I was released that night, but it was nice to be able to see my family again and to sleep in my own bed. When I arrived in the airport, my family was waiting at the wrong gate so I completely missed them. Luckily I found them when I was at the baggage claim. We drove home and I was released by my Uncle Matt, and we had some birthday cake. I can't believe how fast these past two years have gone by. I am excited to be home and to go back to school next year. Thanks to everyone who followed the Blog and supported me on my mission.

Brother Carreon

Monday, November 9, 2009

Another Baptism, Only One Blog Left

Hello to all. I can’t believe this is my last full week. Honestly, it doesn’t feel like I’m about to end my mission I don’t really know why. I guess it’s a good thing, though. This week has been pretty good. We have a family of three that we are teaching that have committed to be baptized in on the 25th. We were also able to find some cool new people to teach. It’s weird that I only have one more Sunday and one more email home. Well, I don’t really know what else to write except that I am excited to see you all next week, and I will be sending a few more things home this week.

Ryan

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Halloween

Dear Family & Friends:
It sounds like you all had a fun Halloween. That night, we just went to the other Elders’ apartment and watched some DVDs. One was about DNA evidence supporting the Book of Mormon, and the other one was about Dr. Hugh Nibley and Egyptology. They were both pretty cool. I got a letter from the Lands the other day (did I tell you that they moved to Houston?) James and Amber want me to take part in their wedding. They don’t know when they are going to get married, and I told them I would love to attend and to tell me asap.
We also had our interviews with President Miller this past week. I got my temple recommend renewed for 3 months. I can’t believe how fast time is going. I also bought a pair of black cowboy boots as a Texas souvenir! They look pretty cool. Everything else around here is pretty much the same. It has been cooling down a whole lot lately. We have had to wear our sweaters and stuff like that. It’s sad because it’s in the low 60s and I’m cold, and I have heard that it’s already snowing in Washington and other parts of the country.
Well, I only have two more emails left to send. It’s weird to say that and I know in my head that I only have 2 1/2 weeks left, but it still doesn’t feel all that real to me. I guess that’s a good thing! Anyways tell everybody hi and tell me when and if I am going to give a talk!

Ryan

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Conference With Elder Zwick

Dear Friends & Family:
This week was really good. We had Stake Conference and Elder Zwick from the Seventy was here. He even talked with one of our investigators! The conference was great, and I saw a lot of people I knew from when I was in Flour Bluff and Portland. They reorganized the Stake Presidency and released the Stake President. All in all it, was great.
This week was also homecoming here in Sinton. We were driving the other day and noticed that a bunch of the roads were blocked off, and so we got out and it turns out they were having their homecoming parade. It was pretty neat seeing as how Sinton is such a small town, and everybody was there and stuff like that. You don’t get that in LA.
I can’t believe it is almost November, these past few weeks have really gone by quickly. I know that it will all be over sooner than I can imagine. We keep having these missionaries from another church knock on our door. They have come by 3 times in the past 2 months of so. I don’t think they know that we are LDS missionaries, but I suspect that they keep coming back because were nice to them. I think they’ll be surprised one day when we knock on their door!
Things are going great here. We have an awesome investigator (the one that met Elder Zwick) Please pray for him. I think he can be baptized before I leave, which would be awesome, but if not I know he will in the future. Take care!

Ryan

Monday, October 19, 2009

Only 4 More Blogs Left

Dear Family & Friends:
This week was pretty good. We had Zone Conference on Wednesday. Sadly, it was my last Zone Confernce ever! It was one of the best that we have had though! We have Stake Confernce this upcoming weekend, and there will be some General Authorities there, although I'm not sure who. Somebody from the Seventy. We have been having a lot more success lately. We have found some amazing people that we are teaching. My companion, Elder Cardenas, is great We recently found out that somebody that Elder Bugg and I taught, Tiffany, was baptized over in New Mexico. She is one of Johnny's daughters and moved over there a few months ago.
We had an amazing experience this past week. We decided to go over to a less- active members house at about 1 p.m. Even though I have been here so long, I have never met her before. It turns out that her mother had died a few days earlier, and she had just attended the funeral. She was grateful that we came by. Ig uess nobody had visited her in a long time, and we were able to share some scriptures with her and help her feel more a ease. There are so many times on a mission where you just happen to be at the right place at the right time. It is amazing how the Spirit will guide you to those people who need the gospel.
I can't believe that I only have 1 month left. A few months ago somebody told me that the last 3 months of your mission are the slowest, and so far that has been the truth, but now it seems more real to me! Mom, the Mission Office is supposed to send you something this week. They called to verify our address, so look for something in the mail. I hope you all had a great week! Only 4 more letters to go! Love to all, Ryan

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A New Investigator and a Departing Testimony

Dear Family & Friends:
This week was great! I didn’t get transferred. My companion, Elder Kocherhans, went to Laredo, and I got a new companion, Elder Cardenas. He is from San Francisco area. He has been out about 15 months or so. He was companions with Elder Kocherhans before, and we have lots in common.
We found this new investigator, and when we talked to her, she said that she knows a member and even went to church a few years ago. She said that she felt great when she went. She was having some problems because her eye was swelling up really bad for no apparent reason, and she had to miss a lot of work, so we gave her a blessing. Two days later we came back and she was completely healed. She said that her eye swells up a lot and will usually last for a few weeks, but as soon as we gave her the blessing, she said the swelling went down!
I can't believe how fast time is going here. It seems like just yesterday that I arrived here, and now I only have a month or so left. We have Zone conference tomorrow, and I get to say my departing testimony! Also they should be sending you (mom) a letter from President Miller about my departure.
Well. I hope everything is well. Is it snowing up there yet? I am definitely acclimated to the heat. It got cold here for a few days; in the low 60s. I had to put on my sweater and turn on the heater and everything, so I am definitely not prepared for a cold winter. I don't even think I have any winter clothes. Love to all, Ryan

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ensign Magazine Features McAllen Mission

This week was great! General Conference is like Christmas for missionaries! Unfortunately the satellite gave out right before the Saturday afternoon session, and again before the Sunday afternoon session, but luckily we had a member who had the BYU channel and so we were able to watch it at their house, and didn't miss much. We have transfers on Wednesday. Please pray that I don’t leave Sinton! I really want to finish here, and this is my last possibility of getting transferred. I can’t believe that it’s already October. This week was pretty routine. We were really excited for conference, and so that was pretty much our whole focus this week. We recently had a sister move into the branch from Tijuana Mexico. She said that she went to the San Diego temple a lot, and we talked a lot about California. In this month’s Ensign there is a feature on member missionary work, and it features our mission. There are a lot of missionaries from the mission that were interviewed. I saw a copy that a member had and it looked really cool. I didn't even know that they had come and interviewed a bunch of people. Apparently they wrote the article about a year ago when I was in Brownsville. Things are going well here, and the weather is cooling off just a hair. Tell everybody that I say Hi.

Ryan

Monday, September 28, 2009

Elder Nielson's Visit

Dear Family & Friends:
This past week was great. We had Brent Nielson from the Seventy come and do a tour of the mission. He gave a great Zone Conference, and even let us ask him any questions we wanted for 30 minutes. He said that the Prophet and the Apostles are greater than he ever imagined! He said that he is going to speak in General Conference next weekend, too. That would be scary.
Since it has been raining a lot here lately, our grass has been growing super, super fast. We had neglected mowing it for a while and it was almost 3 feet tall. I tried to mow it last Monday and went to start the mower and broke off the rip cord! Our landlord came and fixed it and it took more than an hour to mow everything. It was super hard and there were mosquitos everywhere!
The branch is doing great! We have had some really good attendence lately and we have had a lot of less-active members start coming back. We also have a really good investigator. He is progressing very well. He was out of town this week, but he asked us for the addfress of the San Antonio Temple because he said he wanted to stop by on his way back. We are going to see him tomorrow.
I am super excited for General Conference this weekend. It's pretty much like Christmas for missionaries (as I have said before)! It is so amazing to hear so many wonderful speakers and to feel the spirit. I can't believe this will be my fourth General Conference on my mission.
Mom, I received a sheet that my dad sent me of some family history from his mother's side that I am going to copy and send to you. I'm pretty sure somebody on the other side is trying to give us a hint or something because I didn't even ask for it, my dad just sent it to me!
We have transfers coming up next week. I really really really hope that I stay in Sinton for my last transfer, I've already put so much into this area. Things here are going very well. Tell everyone that I say hi and to write to me, I love receiving mail from friends and family.
Ryan

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mosquitoes, Rain, & Lots of Great People

Dear Family & Friends:
This week has been great. It has been raining a whole lot here lately. Since it has been raining, the mosquitoes have been coming out a lot lately. I thought we were going to avoid them this year because of the drought, but I guess not. The front of our car is black because we drive through swarms of them at night. At first I thought it was raining because we kept hearing this pitter patter on the windshield, but then we realized what it was! We have been having a lot of attendance at the branch lately. A few months ago we had been averaging 20-30 per week. Yesterday we had 47! We have been in the 40s for the past few weeks. We have seen a lot of less-active families come back and start to attend more regularly. We have also had some investigators who have been attending regularly as well. We have one investigator who just got out of the marines. He’s such a great guy. His aunt is a member and has been sharing the gospel with him and now we are teaching him, too. He’s got a lot of crazy stories from when he was in Iraq. We have been working this little town called Edroy recently and have found some really cool people over there, too. We have been teaching this guy who said that he has been praying for years to find the true church. It was pretty much a miracle when we found him. We knocked on his door and his mom answered and said they weren’t interested, so we went down the street and ended up teaching somebody else. As we were walking back, we passed by the house again and he just happened to come outside, and so we started talking to him and ended up teaching him a little bit. We have taught him a couple of times and we’re going back tonight. Things have really been going great around here! Say hi to everyone!
Love, Elder Carreon

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A New Investigator and a Few Tornado Warnings

Dear Family & Friends:
We had a great week this week. We had a new investigator come to church this Sunday. He’s a super great guy. He has come to church before (his aunt in a member and brought him). He just got out of the Marines, and he is really interested in the gospel. He said he loves church, and will come again next week.
We had our interviews with Mission President Miller this past week as well. Mine went well. I only have one more interview before I go home. That’s crazy to think that once I finish this transfer I will only have one more to go!
I talked to this other missionary, Elder Hartner, who will be going to BYU in January also. He said that he could try and find us a place in Rexburg. He goes home this month, and Mom, I’ll give him your number and maybe you can figure stuff out before I get back.
It has been raining here like crazy all week long. We got hit with a few thunderstorms and even a few tornado warnings. It’s supposed to be a little bit clearer this week though. We have been working in this small town named Edroy lately. There are only a few hundred people there, but we have found some really nice families. We have been trying to branch out where we work since we have such a huge area, and we are trying to go to some of the places that we haven't been all that much.
Tell everybody hi for me and I appreciate hearing from them!

Ryan

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

One Judge, New Investigators, & More Rain

Dear Family & Friends:
This week was great! We have been having lots and lots of rain here lately. The other day we were coming back from Mathis, and all of the sudden this huge storm came out of nowhere. I literally could not see more than 5 feet in front of the car. Luckily, we were close to home by that point. We're supposed to have rain all this next week.
Earlier this week we decided to knock on this one door, and lo and behold, It was the judge who was at traffic court when I had to appear last month! She remembered me and we laughed about it. We also had an interesting experience. We had this guy we were teaching, but hadn't been able to see in a few weeks, and we decided that we should stop by. When we went to his house he said that he was having lots of problems lately and was hoping that we would come by. It was a great experience. He's got a lot of medical problems and was going to go in for some tests that next day.
Church was also really good this week. We had a part-member family show up and we went to their house afterward and started teaching the husband. They are really great. They were both truck drivers and said they got stuck in Portland last year when that huge snow storm blew in! Things are going well here. I can't believe that I only have a couple of months left. It will be sad to leave. I hope everything is well with you guys.
Elder Carreon

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Elder Nielson Will Tour Mission

Dear Family & Friends:
We had transfers this week, and I and my companion, Elder Kocherhans, are staying! I am excited because I was hoping to finish my mission here and it looks like that will probably happen. We have been getting more information on the General Authority that is coming this month. It will be Elder Brett Nielson from the Seventy. He will be touring the mission and coming to Zone Conference, and he will also be going on exchanges with some missionaries. That's a scary thought! Although it would be a neat experience to do missionary work with a General Authority! We have this family in our Branch that reminds me a lot of the j boys (Ryan's cousins). They too have 5 boys and they have 1 girl who is the baby. They invited us over for dinner this past week, and it was really fun. They live on a farm just outside of Sinton in a small town called St. Paul. They have a big piece of property, and so while we were waiting for the food we played football with the oldest boys. They are pretty crazy also, and they really add life to our Branch! Last week we remembered that we had this watermelon that had been in our freezer for a really long time, and we needed the freezer space so we were trying to figure out what to do with it. When I was with Elder Bugg, we had an investigator give us a sword. We didn't have much else to use, so we decided to use it to slice the watermelon open in our back yard. It was pretty fun! Things have been going pretty good here. We were struggling a little bit to find new people to teach, but things are improving. The Branch is doing way better now than when I first got transfered here, which is good. You can really see the hand of the Lord and feel the spirit working in this area. Hopefully we will steer clear of hurricanes this year!

Love to all, Elder Carreon
P.S. The letters and packages are great to receive! Thank you.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Exchanges and an engagement

Dear Friends and Family:
We have transfers this Wednesday! It's anyone's guess as to what happens. I really don't want to be transferred again, but who knows, it might happen. Church yesterday was great. We had the nephew of a member attend, and he is really interested in the gospel. He's really smart and participated a lot in Sunday School. We are going to start teaching him this week. The Stake President came and reorganized some of the branch leaders. They called a new Elders Quorum President, and a new counselor in the Branch Presidency.
We also helped one of the members of our Ward to paint his auto body shop. We used this air brush paint gun, and I was covered in speckles of paint! It looked like I was covered in dust or something.
I also went on exchanges with the Robstown Elders a few days ago. We found out that one of the missionaries in Elder Bugg's group is already engaged. He was writing this girl his whole mission and then came home and broke up with her and got engaged to somebody else!
All in all, this week has been great. It is even hotter than it was a few weeks ago. I don't think it will cool down very much by the time I finish my mission!
Love to all, Elder Carreon

Monday, August 17, 2009

Transfers Coming Soon

Hello to all,
This week was pretty good. We had our interviews with President Miller on Thursday. Somebody decided to put a sign that said "It's Miller Time" on his door while he was doing the interviews. It lasted about 5 interviews before he noticed it!
We also had a random guy show up at our house one night. Turns out he was a missionary in Sinton about 20 years ago. He told us all of these stories and even had a picture directory. It was fun to see what a bunch of the members of the Branch looked like 20 years ago! He said that Sinton is pretty much the same and when he was here, the Branch had about 30 attending and no piano player, which is the same as it is now! He served back when it was the Texas Corpus Christi Mission.
We had an awesome lesson this week with a new investigator. He lives near our Relief Society President, and is going through a really tough divorce. We had the Branch President with us and we were able to teach him the other day. He's a really humble guy and is very receptive.
We keep hearing that there are some tropical storms and some hurricanes that are forming. There is a prediction that one will hit us within the next 3 weeks. I guess we'll see what happens. We have transfers next Wednesday. Hopefully I'll stay, but I don't really know! Have a great week!
Elder Carreon

Monday, August 10, 2009

Flight Plans Home

Dear Family and Friends:
This week was pretty good. We found out yesterday that a General Authority is going to tour our mission next month. We don't know who it will be yet, but that's always exciting news I gave a talk yesterday in church. It went pretty well, but I was definitely nervous. You think I would be good at that seeing as all we do all day every day is talk to people! Friday was a crazy day. I got a letter from the Mission Office, and I was trying to figure out what it could be. It turned out to be my flight plans home! I wasn't expecting that! I guess they need 90 days notice if there are going to be any changes.
Then, as we were driving away from our house, we noticed that we had a flat tire! All the tire patching places were closed for some reason, so we just filled the tire up at a gas station and patched it Saturday morning. Other than that, things have been going very well around here as we find people to teach and share the gospel with.
This week we have our interviews with President Miller. I got the BYU form and I'll have him sign it and send it and everything. I promise that someday I'll send my memory card home, too!
Elder Carreon
P.S. I enjoy the packages and letters! Send more and say hello to everyone for me.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Frisbee and Hot Weather

Dear Family & Friends:
This week was pretty good. Today (P-Day)we're going to get together with the whole Zone and play ultimate Frisbee or something.
We had an investigators come to church yesterday. He really, really liked it. He’s a super cool guy and wants to be baptized. He’s doing great and hopefully he will continue to progress. We had a member family move in from Utah the other week. He was the branch president here years ago and they decided to move back. He owns a mechanic shop in Odem, and so we helped him paint it. His son is a returned missionary, and they are going to be a huge strength to the branch. The weather here is still super hot. It has not been out of the 90s for at least a month. We haven’t seen any serious rain here in a long, long time. Luckily there are no hurricanes forming right now, but if any do start to form they will most likely come here because we have the hottest temperatures in Texas right now. Our Branch President wants to organize everything as fast as we can so we can all be prepared. Apparently last year a lot of people were caught off guard and had no idea what to do. Luckily for this area anyway, the hurricane turned and went to Houston. Not so great for Houston, where it hit hard and did a lot of damage.
Transfers aren't until the end of this month, so I still have a while here. Tell everyone Hi!

Elder Carreon

Monday, July 27, 2009

Traffic Court and a Dead Battery

Dear Family & Friends:
Hello from Sinton, Texas! My traffic court appointment went well this week. I pleaded no contest and had to pay a fine. I had some emergency cash that I was able to use to pay it. I decided not to fight the ticket because I figured it would be a waste of time. The policeman was following me right before he pulled me over, and I supposedly didn't stop all the way for the stop sign, he then followed me 2 1/2 blocks and through another stop sign before he pulled me over and gave me the ticket. I thought that was kind of weird anyway. One of our members knows him and said that he was on probation with the police department for wrongfully placing somebody under arrest! Everything went fine though. There were a lot of people in court for a lot of funny things. One person was there for driving without a driver’s license twice. Luckily my court date was on P-day so we didn’t have to interrupt anything.
We had Zone Conference this week. It was awesome! Apparently our Mission President knows a bunch of people who are very high up in the Catholic Church and he told us a story of how he went to the Vatican a few years ago and had the opportunity to talk with the 3rd highest person in the Catholic Church. That must have been such an unforgettable experience.
On Tuesday our car battery died. Luckily, a member that just moved in is a mechanic and he saved us. We were able to get a new battery and he hooked it up for us and everything.
We had another unusual experience this week as well. We made a deal with a guy that we would go to his church if he came to ours, so on Wednesday night we went to his church. It was a Pentecostal church, and we were the only caucasian people there. The preacher opened the service by saying a 25-minute-long prayer. It was a really interesting experience and the people there were super nice to us.
All in all this week went pretty well and we continue to pray to find those who would hear His word. Please pray for us too! I hope all is well with you guys.
Love, Elder Carreon

Monday, July 20, 2009

Traffic Court & Vandalism

Dear Family:
Today is my court day for my “failure to stop” traffic situation. Hopefully I won’t get thrown in jail or something! I think everything will be fine.
We had transfers this past week and both my companion and I will be staying another transfer. I seriously don't want to leave Sinton!
I guess somebody broke into the chapel in Portland the other day. Some guy poured beer all over the carpet and into one of the pianos, tore up some hymnals and broke the microphone. He also left a bunch of chicken wings everywhere. The cops found him down the street with a brick in his hand and covered in blood. Apparently they think he killed one of the neighbor’s dogs!
We are still bracing ourselves for a hurricane this season. Apparently there are supposed to be 12 names storms, 6 of which are supposed to be hurricanes. The prediction is that at the end of August early September is when it’s going to hit.
Other than that, Sinton is still basically the same. It still continues to be in the high 90s every day and we have barely had any rain. Pretty much all of the crops are dried up and useless which is killing all of the farmers around here. Mom, I got your package and will try and send the memory card back asap
Thanks to everyone for your prayers and letters.
Elder Carreon

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Meet Ryan's newest cousin

Monday, July 13, 2009

A New Cousin, Transfers, & Fires

Dear Family & Friends:
So I have a new cousin? Aunt Kami & Uncle Brent have a new daughter? Tell me the details. I was bombarded by like 500 emails from everyone about it and am not exactly sure what’s going on.
We have transfers this Wednesday but I probably won’t be getting transfered seeing as how I have to appear in court next Monday for my ticket (wasn't that a crafty idea!) I don’t want to be transfered anyway; I love the Sinton people and area. At any rate, I’m going to politely “fight” the ticket for a bunch of reasons, so we'll see what happens.
Recently, we met this lady whose house almost caught on fire. There was a huge fire on July 5th that burned a bunch of fields and a few houses. It almost got her house, but right as it was heading toward her house it made a Y and totally missed her house and her garden and burned everything around it! We took a bunch of pictures of the fire and stuff, and as of yesterday some of the debris was still smoldering!
The other day we went on exchanges and ate at this hole-in-the-wall brisket place that claims to have the best brisket in the U.S. Apparently Regis and Kelly came and did a story on them and stuff. Of course, we had the brisket, and it was amazing! I think it actually is the best I've ever had!
Things are still going good here we have had some really good things happen. We were able to get some investigators to agree to get married so they can get baptized. The girl is a member, but her boyfriend isn't and she agreed to have an interview with the Branch President. They are great people. Please pray for them and us, too.
Life here in Texas is good, even though it’s really hot and the experts have predicted 12 storms this year and 6 hurricanes. So far we haven't gotten any, so that means we'll probably get some this next month. Everybody says it’s getting too hot too fast and so the big one is going to come!
Write soon and thanks for the mail.
Elder Carreon

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hurricanes and Tickets

Dear Friends & Family:
Happy July 4th!
This week was very interesting! We had our interviews with Mission President Miller on Thursday. Mom, he told me that BYU will send you a form for the ecclesiastical endorsement and that when you get it you should send it to me and I’ll have him sign it.
Apparently we are in super hurricane weather right now. There are 12 predicted storms this year, and a bunch of the long-time residents are saying that whenever there is a drought like we’ve been having and whenever there is record heat like we’ve been having, we get a hurricane. Needless to say, we’re all bracing ourselves!
The other day we were in Taft and this police officer was following us for quite a while and then pulled us over. He then gave me a ticket for not stopping all the way! I have to go to court and everything. How many missionaries can say they went to court on their missions! A member of the Branch Presidency is a sheriff and he gave me some advice and said he knows the guy who gave me the citation. Pray for me!
We also had a great experience the other day. We have been working with a less-active member and her boyfriend for a little while and we finally were able to get her to meet with the Branch President! It was great and they are going to start coming to church and hopefully get married next month. He said that he wants to be baptized, too. Everything is going great with them.
After church yesterday there was a huge column of smoke and so we decided to drive by it. Apparently some fireworks had caught some brush on fire and when we drove by, there was a full-out blaze. A bunch of houses were burned, but I don’t think anybody got hurt. The fire came really close to some members’ homes, but they were all okay. Other than that, our Fourth of July was pretty uneventful. Sounds like everyone had a fun time, and tell everybody that I say hi.

Elder Carreon

Monday, June 29, 2009

Birthday Parties

This week was pretty cool. We had one of the Assistants to the President come with us on Tuesday. It was pretty cool because he had started his mission in Sinton and so he recognized a lot of people and places. Thursday was pretty cool as well. We got invited to two birthday parties! The first one we only had enough time to pass by and wish them well and grab a little food, it was great. The second one was at James’s and Amber’s house and we got this life-sized Elmo piñata and filled it with candy and surprised them with it. It was really fun! We have been having some moderate success here lately. Things have been up and down. We have our interviews with President Miller this week. I hope I can stay in Sinton for the rest of my mission, I really love it here. The Branch here is amazing and I love all of the people. I will be really sad when I have to leave. The other day we had a less-active member pull us over and tell us that she wants to start coming back to church and that she wants her kids to be baptized as well! Hopefully everything works out with that! Everything is good here and Mom, in answer to your questions, I don’t really need any thing in particular. Tell everybody hi!

Ryan

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hot Weather Has Arrived

Dear Family & Friend:
This week has been hot hot hot along with the past few weeks. One day the temperature gauge was 97 and the heat index was 110! And it's only going to get worse...
We had Zone Conference this week on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Elder Valentine called and asked me to sing with him and another missionary. It went very well considering we only practiced the song twice before we actually performed it!
We were also teaching one of our investigators. She has tons of good questions, but it's hard to have the optimal spiritual environment at her house because her kids are fun and crazy. She was asking all these questions and we were answering them and her son came in the room and started squirting her with his squirt gun! It was pretty funny. She kept telling him to go shoot his toys or something, but he just kept shooting her!
Being the district leader is pretty different. I have to prepare an hour and a half training each week for the District and make sure that everyone is doing what they're supposed to. It's not really that hard because the missionaries in the District are all really motivated and we all get along great!
We finally are getting the new missionaries today. They were quarrantined at the MTC for 2 weeks and the will arrive today and get sent out tomorrow.
I hope all is well with all of you, and thanks for the letters and prayers.
Ryan

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Email from the Bugg Family

Here's a copy of an email from Elder Bugg's mom:

It was wonderful to pick up our son, Tommy, and also to meet your son Elder Carreon. Elder Carreon did a great job teaching the Gospel Principles class on Sunday where he taught a lesson on Prayer. There was an amazing spirit in church on Sunday in that little branch. They are doing wonderful work there, and the members love Elder Carreon and Bugg, and I’m sure they will learn to love the new Elder as well. I’m attaching a few pictures that I thought you would like.

I will continue to follow the Blog, as I’m sure Tommy will do.

Sincerely,
Cindy Bugg

Elder Bugg's Family

Elder Carreon & Elder Bugg

Elders Kocherhans, Carreon & Bugg

Monday, June 8, 2009

A New Companion Arrives

This week was pretty crazy. On Wednesday Elder Bugg went down to McAllen to meet with his parents. Later that day we had transfers and I met my new companion, Elder Kocherhans (Coker-hahns). He’s from Orem, Utah and has been out on his mission about six months. I am also the new District Leader for our district.
On Saturday, Elder Bugg and his family came with us to an investigator’s house for dinner. His parents are both super nice and said they love the Blog! The next day, they came to church, too. It was really fun meeting them and seeing Elder Bugg again.
The new missionaries from the MTC are delayed for a little while. I think they’re coming next week but I’m not 100% sure. Apparently they had some sort of a flu outbreak and were trying to get it under control before they let any missionaries out or in to the MTC in Provo.
This week we are working hard to find new people to teach, and things are still progressing well. Johnny (our newest member) bore his testimony in sacrament meeting yesterday. That was really cool to see! Hopefully we can find more people like him!
What things do I need to do for BYU-Idaho? Also if there is any way to send me a large-print quadruple combination of the scriptures, that would be awesome. I have someone in mind for a copy who doesn’t have his own scriptures, and there isn’t a distribution center anywhere in our area. Thanks a lot!

Ryan

Monday, June 1, 2009

Another look at Elder Bugg & Elder Carreon with James Land and Family - Congratulations to Elder Bugg for completing his mission

Fun Photo From Flour Bluff Area Earlier This Year

Thunderstorms and BBQs

This week has been pretty good. Yesterday Johnny got confirmed and received the priesthood. He is doing really great! My companion goes down to McAllen on Wednesday. We were supposed to have transfers then, but there is a delay with the new group of missionaries, so transfers won’t be until Friday. (Editor's note: According to a 6-01-09 press-release on LDS.org, three confirmed cases of swine flu at the Provo MTC have delayed all new missionaries a week to make sure they are flu-free before they travel.) We have had a lot of thunderstorms and stuff lately. Sadly, a lot of farmers tore up their crops because of the drought and now we are finally getting some rain!
The other day we were in Odem and we decided to go into this shop where we have some cards, and while we were in there this lady came up to us and asked if we had an extra copy of the Book of Mormon. Turns out she is a member, but hasn't been active for a long time. She said that she lived in Seattle for 20 years and was a bus driver up in Mill Creek! She was super nice but didn't want us to come over.
Almost all of the high schools around here had graduation this past week, and as a result we got invited to a lot of BBQs for people that graduated. On Saturday, we ate a lot of BBQ! This week I will send some pictures home. I enjoy everyone's letters, write soon.

Ryan

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Great Experience

Dear Family & Friends:

Our baptism on Sunday went great! It was very spiritual and there were lots of people that came. I was able to baptize Johnny, which was a great experience.
We also went fishing for Memorial Day, which was a ton of fun. My companion got super super sun burned and is bright red today! This week has been pretty awesome. We have been having lots and lots of thunderstorms lately. Last night we couldn't sleep it was so loud. It’s amazing how bad the drainage system in Texas is. There aren't even any gutters on the streets, so everything just floods like crazy!
We also received a phone call from some missionaries up in Illinois. They ran into one of our former investigators and she was excited that she was able to find the church up there and so they were calling for information on what we had taught her. It was great to be able to hear what had happened to her, because last we heard, she was moving to Portland and then the elders in Portland said she moved up north somewhere!
This is Elder Bugg’s last full week. He goes to McAllen next Wednesday and then will tour around the mission for a couple of days before going back to Iowa. It will be hard to see him go. We have had a lot of successes together. In my interview President Miller asked me if I was ready to get any companion that the Lord was going to send me. It will be interesting to see what happens next week at transfers! I'll try and send some pictures home this week sometime.

Love to all, Elder Carreon

Monday, May 18, 2009

More baptisms and lots of rain

Hello everyone
I hope that the funeral (in Salt Lake City on Tuesday) goes well for my grandfather (Dale Latimer). I’m sad that I couldn't be there.
This week has been pretty interesting. On Thursday, I went on exchanges in Robstown. There are a lot of really cool people there and it was a pretty fun and successful day. We went to Mathis on Saturday with one of the members of the Branch Presidency, Brother Clayton. It’s about a 25-30 minute drive, and he came and picked us up. While we were in Lake City, it started to rain like crazy, and it didn't really stop until the next day. It was nice because the crops around here really need it. Someone told us that most of the crops are pretty much lost because it’s been so dry lately. Someone else also told us that when there is a drought like this, Corpus usually gets a hurricane!
At church yesterday we had Branch conference, with the Stake Presidency. It was a really good meeting and I learned a lot. Next week Johnny is scheduled to be baptized after church, which is going to be super exciting. One of his daughters wants to be baptized too, so we're working with her. We also have this other family that we’re working with that came to church last week. The father was called into work yesterday because of the storm that came through, so they weren't able to go, but they are really looking good and hopefully everything will work out with them.
I'm really sad because this transfer is ending pretty soon and Elder Bugg will be going home. We have really seen some good things happen in the branch since we've been together, and it will be an adjustment with out him. I hope all is well and tell everyone hi.

Ryan

Monday, May 4, 2009

Another Baptism and a phone call on Mother's Day!

This week has been pretty awesome! I can't wait to call home this Sunday (Mother's Day).
We have an investigator who is the brother of James Land. He had been coming to church with his brother for a little while, and a few weeks ago we started to teach him. Since then he has made incredible progress in the gospel. This past week we went over to teach him, and he told us that he has been to our church a bunch of times and has even met with about 40 different missionaries throughout his life. He then told us that there was something different about my companion and me, and in his view, we are "humble and close to the Lord." That comment felt great because we are sure trying to be! He also told us that he really recognized the gospel truths at church and that has added to his desire to be baptized. He will be baptized on Saturday, May 16th. This is such great news.
Also, something funny happened this week when went to a member family's house to help them do service because they are going to move soon. They have a dog in the back yard that is still a puppy, but nearly full-grown. We were over there with one of the home teachers, and he was trying to repair the back door. The dog kept trying to jump on him and stuff, so he took off his hat and tried to shoo the dog away, but the dog grabbed his hat and ran away. He chased the dog all around the backyard yelling. It was pretty funny!
I can't wait to call home and to talk to everybody! I am also sending a package, so be on the look out.
I hope everyone is doing great!
Elder Carreon

Monday, April 27, 2009

South Texas, Sinton Area

Rattlesnakes and Eagle Scouts

Hey, this week has been great! We found a lot of cool new people to teach, and neither of us got transferred, so we were both super relieved! Elder Bugg goes home on the 4th of June.
The other day we talked to this guy who was holding a shotgun in his hand. I guess he was looking for a rattlesnake that he saw or something, so we were walking down the road with him. He was super nice, and as we were walking all of the sudden, "BOOM!" I’m pretty sure he pulled the trigger just to make us jump because he was laughing afterward.
We also went to an Eagle Scout Court of Honor yesterday (my companion had to play the piano). It was pretty cool to remember scouts and stuff. My companion and I are both Eagle Scouts, so we got to sit in the Eagle’s Nest with the other Eagle Scouts! Some guy afterward told us that no missionary that had made Eagle Scout has ever been sent home early from his mission. Tell (cousin) Connor congratulations for his Eagle Scout ceremony this past week in Wisconsin.
We also had a fish fry yesterday with the Lands family. They went to the lake and caught tons of fish that James said is a blessing because they paid their tithing.
We have been having a great time in Sinton. When I first got here, all of the farmer’s fields were just dirt as far as the eye could see. Now, everything is starting to sprout and turn green. We haven't had too much rain, but I guess it is enough to help the farmers out. Everyone here complains that we’ve been in a drought for a couple of years.
I hope everyone is well and I can’t wait to talk to you in two weeks! I will be sending something home probably next week, so be on the look out for a package soon.
(Editor’s note: Ryan will get to call his extremely happy Mom on Mother’s Day!)

Ryan

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

WhataBurger and WhataMission

Dear Family & Friends:
Wow, that's cool that someone else from Lynnwood, Washington Stake received a mission call to McAllen! Editor's Note: (A sister missionary is now in the Provo MTC learning Spanish and will be in South Texas in about six more weeks). I will write (her) a letter and give her a heads-up about the mission life!
Lately it has been stormy around here. We were on tornado watch a few days ago, but nothing really happened. Some days are rainy and other days are nice and hot.
This week has been pretty cool! There is this hamburger chain in South Texas called WhataAurger. There is one right across the street from our house, and the other day they had this big spinning wheel out in the parking lot. My companion (Elder Bugg) and I both took a spin. He won free tickets to a rodeo, and I won a free WhataBurger!
This week is also transfers. Elder Bugg only has one transfer left, so this is it for him before he goes home. We are hoping that we will stay together for this one more, but who knows!
Things have been going really great here. Two more relatives of James are are really enjoying church and are really receptive to the message. James made a joke a few weeks ago that by the time he was done, half of the branch would be Brother or Sister Land! So far he has been right! Yesterday he was able to baptize one of Amber's daughters, Athena, who is 8 years old. It has been great to see the changes that he and his family have made and how they are very committed to living the gospel!
Pray that I dont get transfered, I love the work right here! Write soon.
Elder Ryan Carreon

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Great Missionaries of South Texas

Elder Bugg, James, & Elder Carreon

An interesting advertisement on the side of the road

Easter Worship & Teaching Success in Sinton

This week has been great! I hope everyone's Easter celebration was fun. We had our interviews with Mission President Miller this past Thursday. It went really well. Somehow it seems like I am always the last one on the group to be interviewed. We also helped one of our investigators move. She's moving to Portland, TX, and I was able to call the Portland elders to tell them about her.
They caught me up on how everyone in the Portland Ward is doing. I guess this one guy that Elder Veater and I were working with ended up getting baptized!
On Saturday, we were able to teach Ashley and Johnny's parents, and Johnny Sr. wants to be baptized and his wife is considering it. We also decorated some Easter eggs and some Easter cookies.
We have also been successful in finding new people to teach. President Miller said that he was so close to closing the Sinton area, and felt like Elder Bugg and I should be together. Now he says he is definitely not going to close the area. He said that there must be some people that need the gospel, because the Lord obviously doesn't want him to take out the missionaries! I hope you all had a great Easter and hope to hear from everyone soon! Elder Ryan Carreon

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Elder Bugg, James, and Elder Carreon with Ashley & Johnny before their baptisms

Elders Carreon, Bugg, Pinedo & Davich

A great area of South Texas

One shoe polished, one to go

Two Wonderful Baptisms & two blogs

Dear Friends and Family:
This week was great! First of all on Wednesday, we had two baptisms! It was an amazing experience, and we had four investigators there. I baptized Ashley and James baptized his nephew, Johnny. It was a very spiritual baptism and a lot of people showed up.
We also had General Conference (held in Salt Lake City and broadcast around the world) this past weekend. It was amazing because a lot of our investigators have BYU TV as part of their cable package and were able to watch the conference broadcast sessions at home!
We also had one investigator family who recorded one of the sessions. All in all, this week was a very good week. We have been having lots of good things happen lately and more good things keep popping up out of the woodwork. We only have only three more weeks left in the transfer, and this week we have our interviews with Mission President Miller. Hope all is well with everyone and Happy Easter!
Elder Ryan Carreon
(Editor's Note: Last week's post was delayed and is being included with this post):
Hello to all!! We have a baptism this Wednesday, and so I will be taking pictures with that memory card and then send it. We have been having some crazy weather this week. One day we were in Taft, and this lighting storm came out of nowhere, so we ran back to the car and as soon as we got in it started to pour like crazy. It only lasted 15 minutes of so and then it was all clear the rest of the day. I think we qre supposed to get some more lightning this week.
On Saturday, we had a combined Corpus-Laredo Zone Conference. It was awesome because I got to talk to someone from every one of my previous areas, so they filled me in on what was going on with everybody. I even saw some members that I knew from Flour Bluff. Zone Conference was great. We were able to hear from D. Chad Richardson, an Area Seventy (church general authority). He had lots of really great things to say and gave us some great insights. Things are really starting to take off here and hopefully things will continue. We are also excited for General Conference this week and to be able to hear from the living Prophet and Apostles. It's pretty much like Christmas time for missionaries because for two days straight we hang out at the church. Luckily, it is broadcast to our building so we don't have to go super far or anything like that. I hope everyone is well and I enjoy the cards and letters.
Elder Carreon

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

General Authority Visits

Dear Family & Friends:
This week has been very, very good. Things are really taking off here. Our new member James (see previous post)recently went on a temple trip with the rest of the branch and really enjoyed it. We have also been teaching his niece and nephew, and they really love church and YM/YW (Young Mens'/Young Womens' youth groups), and are even coming to Seminary.
These past few days have been very rainy here. Luckily, we got our car back on Friday, so we only had to be in the rain one day. They really need the rain around here. A lot of people grow cotton, and the lack of rain has really hurt the crops. It's too bad for all the Spring Break people that are coming in, though. Hopefully it will be warmer this week.
We just barely had transfers this past week, and both Elder Bugg and I are staying. We figured that we would be together again. He goes home in June. We also just barely found out that we will be having another General Authority tour our mission next week. D. Chad Richardson will be here Friday and Saturday, and we will have a special Zone Conference where he will train us. We are super excited because we just barely had Elder Shumway of the Seventies here and it was amazing! We seem to have been very blessed with the amount of General Authorities that have come through recently.
Mom, I have not gotten the packages, but I will most likely get them at Zone Conference or something like that. You can just send eveything to the Mission Office as usual. I hope all is well with everyone and enjoy the letters.
Write soon.
Elder Carreon

Monday, March 16, 2009

An amazing story

Elder Bugg and James

Elder Carreon

Message From a New Member

(Editor's Note:I recently received the following email from James Land, a new member of the church in South Texas taught and baptized by Elder Carreon and Elder Bugg. It is amazingly to read, and James Land graciously gave permission for it to be posted on the blog.)

To the Families of Elders Bugg and Carreon,

I want to personally thank you for making your sons such great individuals. They have shown me so many things, with such drive, inspiration and knowledge concerning the gospel. My life was a waste, I was lost, no direction. Initially, I was introduced to the gospel by my fiance. I began my search for answers. Speaking with your sons, whose enthusiasm and love for the gospel, has inspired me to strive for what they have. To be so confident with oneself and be closer to our Heavenly Father. They have shown that I can be a real person; and still have a real love for Christ. They want to teach me, not preach at me. I am a complete person now. Your sons have been a very large part of this transformation. I do not know how to thank them enough, so I would like to thank you for inspiring your sons to be such great men and Priesthood holders.

I have attached some photos from my baptism and family discussions (and a photo of their neighbor's house). They are currently teaching the gospel to my nieces and nephew. I hope this may inspire someone close to them, (y'all) back home. I have gone from a lost soul to a Priesthood holder myself. I will be baptizing my daughter within the next few weeks. I have found two people I will always call a "true friend" and "bretheren".

Sincerely
James Land

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Elder Carreon & Elder Bugg in Sinton

Portland Elders

Sinton & Blessings

Dear Family & Friends:
This week was great! Our investigator got confirmed, and received the priesthood! His family was super happy. Next week the youth have a temple trip, and he will be going with them, too. I can already see the change in his life. He has also been bringing his niece and nephew to church , and we were able to teach them yesterday. They both want to be baptized as well! We also have another family that has been bringing somebody to church, and she wants to be baptized!
Things are going great up here, we have had some amazing blessings.
On another note, we had to put our car in the shop because it has a huge dent in the side, so we have been walking everywhere (my companion's bike is broken!) Yesterday as we were walking to church, we passed by the auto body place, and we saw our car sitting there untouched! Supposedly were going to have it back tomorrow, but who knows.
Tomorrow we also find out if anybody is getting moved. Were probably going to stay together. Mission President Miller said that in a few months, there is going to be a deficit of about 12 missionaries and so some areas are going to have to be closed, and that Sinton was on his short list, but ever since Elder Bugg and I have been here and things have started happening, he has decided to keep it open. He said that it must be the Lord trying to tell him to keep it open. Needless to say, things have really been happening here lately, and it has all come from blessings. Of course we are working, but the sucess that we have been seeing lately has helped us realize that this isn't our work, it's the Lord's and he will bless us for trying our best.
Tell everybody that I say hi!

Ryan

Monday, March 2, 2009

Hi to all from Cooper, Ryan's brother who is a big supporter of his mission

And hello from Ian, Ryan's other brother who was recently in the hospital

A baptism and another wonderful week

Hello to all:
Man, this week has been amazing! Yesterday we had a statewide broadcast from President Uchtdorf and Elder Cook, as well as some other General Authority church leaders. It was pretty awesome. They talked a lot about being an example and holding a current temple recommend, as well as putting a large focus on strengthening families. It was an awesome broadcast.
Afterwards was our new convert's baptism. I spoke and my companion baptized him (my companion won the coin toss!) It was amazing, and the spirit was really strong. He said that he felt like a weight was lifted from him. His family was very happy, too!
Things are really going well in this area. We recently received a referral from somebody who saw one of the church commercials and wanted us to come by. We got it on Wednesday and tried to contact them on Thursday, but we couldn't find them. On Friday morning we got a call from the mission office telling us that they had called again and said that we didn't come by fast enough! So we went over and were able to teach a lady there. She was amazing and said that she drove by the church almost every day and that she had been praying to be led to the true church and had even gone to a bunch of other churches, but never felt like they had the full truth. Then she saw one of the commercials like three or four times and decided to call. We were able to teach her yesterday and she said that she had prayed to find out if what we were teaching was true (an invitation that we give to everyone we teach) and that she felt great! She accepted a baptismal date for the 5th of April. There are some things she will have to overcome before then, but we know that she can make it!
We also had our interviews with Mission President Miller this past week. Mine went very well and he said that our area was doing very well! We have been very blessed these past few weeks!
P.S. Mom, I need some new pants. Mine are wearing out fast. Tell everyone hello and to keep writing me!
Ryan

Thursday, February 26, 2009

An Amazing Week

Hello to all:
This week was amazing! Things are really starting to take off here (in Sinton). Our investigator is doing great and will be baptized this Sunday after church. He is really excited and kind of disappointed that he had to wait 3 weeks! He has also been bringing his niece and nephew to church and they have really expressed some interest in taking the lessons, too. His niece really felt the spirit at church and the Branch is doing a great job fellowshipping everyone.
We also were able to find another guy whose girlfriend is a member. His cousin got baptized last year (and just got sealed in the temple too!) and he remembers a lot about what the missionaries taught. He has been really interested too, and his girlfriend wants to come back to church. We also have another part member family that wants us to come and teach their daughter this Thursday!
Somehow the planets aligned this week and we have been extremely blessed. Funny story: Yesterday, a member invited us over for dinner, but we couldn't come in because she's a single sister, so she set up a table on the back porch. They have this dog that is only a year old that they had to tie up on this tree. So they brought out the food and this dog was going nuts trying to escape and get at the food. About halfway through the meal the dog somehow slipped through its collar and comes charging at us and at the table, so I grabbed all of the food and kept it away from the dog while my companion was trying to catch the dog. The member was swinging a broom trying to keep the dog away from the food. It was quite the ordeal. Luckily, the dog didn't get to any of the food!
So far things are going great in this area. Tell everybody hi for me!

Ryan

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ian and Other Miracles

Hello everyone!
Mission President Miller called me yesterday and gave me an update on the situation with Ian (Editor's Note: Ian is Ryan's littlest brother, who has been in the hospital in Nashville with a serious lung condition) and even gave me permission to call and talk with my dad, so I had a nice conversation with him about everything. It sounds like Ian is going to be fine and that he will be out of the hospital on Wednesday. I'm so glad that he is feeling better and those missionaries from the Nashville area could go to the hospital to give him a blessing. Could everyone pray for his recovery?
This week was amazing. We had a crazy, crazy miracle happen this past Sunday. The Branch that we cover is relatively small (about 40 people), and on Sunday this new family with tons of kids walked in. After sacrament meeting they approached us, and the man said that he was not a member of the church and that his fiancé introduced him to the missionaries in North Carolina, and they had just recently moved down here to Sinton and he wants to be baptized asap! It was amazing, and he is scheduled to be baptized on March 1st! Of course we are going to teach him everything over again just so we can be sure that he understands everything. His fiancé and he are already talking about getting sealed in the temple! It is amazing to see how the Lord has blessed us.
This week was also one of the best weeks this area has had in a really long time. We were able to get a lot of things accomplished and things are really looking up for our area. My companion, Elder Bugg, is from Iowa. He grew up in Colorado and Pennsylvania, and a few years ago his family moved to Iowa. He and I get along great.
One quick funny story. Our Branch President used to be in charge of building maintenance for the San Antonio area, and in Eagle Pass, they kept complaining about how the pews were super uncomfortable. He suggested that they take them out and set up chairs, so they did. They didn't know what to do with the pews they took out, so they set them out on the lawn overnight. The next morning they came back and the pews were all gone and nobody knew what had happened to them. Later that week, the Pastor of the local Pentecostal church called the Bishop to thank him and his congregation for "donating all those pews." He has lots of funny stories.
Mom, how was Canada? I hope it's starting to warm up over there. It has been a bit rainy today and yesterday, but last week it was 75-80 almost every day! Tell everybody hi for me! Ryan

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sinton, Zone Conference, and the Branch

Hello to all:
Mom, funny you should mention the fact that you traded in my Jeep. At transfers last week, I got some mail, and one was a letter stating that I had traded in the Jeep, which was news to me! I then read the letter you sent in the package and it all made sense! I just thought it was funny because I totally wasn't expecting it. I'll send some pictures this week, too. This is a very interesting area, it takes about an hour to drive all the way across, and there is a whole lot of nothing in between the towns. My companion and I had to give talks on Sunday.
The Branch is super tiny (about 40 members) and so usually the missionaries speak and give lessons all the time! Sinton is a super old town and some of the buildings are 100 years old. the Main Street looks like something from the 1920s. On Wednesday we had Zone Conference in Corpus. It takes almost an hour to get there and we had to go through Portland. It was way good and I got to see how my old areas are doing. Before I was transferred to Sinton, the car was backed into, so on Wednesday we went to get an estimate, and they said it will be more than $2,000 to repair the damage. It doesn't really seem like that big of a dent. The lady that hit us doesn't have insurance either, so I guess we'll see what happens. I hope everything is going well for everyone, and I look forward to and appreciate all the cards and letters.

Ryan

Monday, February 2, 2009

Mission Area #5 - Sinton

Welcome to Sinton, Texas

Hello to all:
Well, I'm not in Portland anymore, I was transfered. Right now I'm in Sinton, Texas, which is even more north than before! I'm pretty much just making a huge circle around the mission I guess. Sinton is great, and the area actually borders Portland.
Our area is huge, probably the biggest in the whole mission. We cover a bunch of really small towns and in between the towns is a whole lot of nothing! We have 1,600 miles per month that we can use, and apparently it's just barely enough if we try to conserve (Editor's note: I am assuming Ryan is now using a car instead of a bike!)
We received the transfer calls last Tuesday night. Most people who got transfered stayed within the Corpus Christi area. I definitely went the farthest.
The Branch here is super tiny, with only about 35 people in regular attendence. We are also the only two missionaries in the whole Branch. It's so tiny that we are constantly called upon to give classes, and next week we have been assigned to give talks. The people here are the nicest people I've even met in my life. Most people will invite you back, or even if they aren't interested, they will chat with you. Hopefully we will be able to get some baptisms here.
Our Branch President is originally from Santa Barbara, Calif., and loves to surf! He has tons of surfboards and goes out to North Padre Island to surf all the time.
We (the missionaries) live in a house all by ourselves. It's a super cool place. It's pretty big for a missionary apartment, too. I'll also send the other memory card soon so everyone can see pictures.
I hope everything is going well. I heard the Super Bowl was really exciting, and Arizona almost won. Tons of people here pulled out their TVs and watched it outside while they BBQ'd!
Write soon. Prayers and cards and packages appreciated!
Elder Carreon

Monday, January 26, 2009

Good Times

South Texas

Dear Family & Friends,

This week was great! Yesterday we had an investigator who is Jewish attend Sacrament meeting with her kids!
We have transfers on Wednesday. It's really up in the air as to who will go or who will stay.
This past week was full of ups and downs. One of the former bishops of the ward passed away from cancer on Tuesday, and on Friday, services were held at the chapel. He was pretty young, only in his early 50s, but the funeral was very upbeat and the family seemed happy.
Yesterday we were at this apartment complex going to meet an investigator, and while we were waiting for her, there were these Cuban guys next door blasting some salsa music and BBQing and stuff. The one guy who lives there recognized us and BBQ'd us some food! I don't know how we scored that!
Mom, I got the package you sent with the journal and candy and stuff! Thanks!
The weather here has been great. Today (P-Day)we went frisbee golfing at this course in Ingleside. It was a super nice day and very scenic and we had a really really fun time. I'm hoping that I stay here at least one more transfer, because we have a lot of really good things going and I'm really starting to love it here. We'll see what happens,I guess.
I love to hear from everyone who writes, keep sending me letters, it's helpful. Pray for us to keep finding people to teach, too.
Elder Carreon (Ryan)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Missionary work in South Texas is great!

More of the Gulf

Beautiful View

A New U.S. President and a Prayer Request

Dear Family & Friends:
So today we have a new U.S. President! Even though I'm basically missing some of the historical stuff going on right now, (I don't watch TV) I know that I'm doing what the Lord wants me to do at this point in time.
This week was pretty cool. We had our interviews with Mission President Miller. Mine went very well! I also got a letter from our recent convert in Brownsville. She is doing amazingly well. Every letter I get from her is amazing. She just got called to be a Primary teacher for the 4-5 year olds and her mom is the Relief Society secretary. She keeps saying that she want to go on a mission, and in July she will be 21 and have one year in the church and be eligible to go!
This past Sunday I went with Elder Hartner to the Spanish Branch in Corpus because he had a Spanish investigator that wanted to attend. The Spanish guy had a lot of opposition to overcome just to get to church! That morning, he had four flat tires, and when he went to turn on his air compressor, it caught on fire! He didn't have much gas in his truck, so he had to syphon gas from something else (some kind of yard equipment, I think) to get enough gas to make it to Corpus and back. Thankfully, he was able to make it.
Apparently Portland is a very diverse place. So far we have met four people from Germany, two people from Korea, and people from Spain, Mexico, Poland, Sweden, France, and Japan! It'll be interesting to see who pops up next.
We have transfers next Wednesday. I think I'll probably stay and Elder Veater will go, but who knows. Elder Valentine from Elma, Washington said that his hometown was super flooded with all of the snow melt. Is Seattle flooding at all?
if you could all do me a huge favor and pray that a recent investigator comes to church Sunday and that her husband's heart is softened, we missionaries would appreciate it. Also, Elder Valentine and I are going to sing in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday, so pray that we'll do well!
I hope all is well. Thanks for the letters and packages. They are great to receive!
Elder Carreon

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Portland, Texas

City Across the Bay

Street Scenes

South Texas Humor

Winter Texans and Missionary Work

Dear Friends and Family:
Already I am facing transfers in two weeks, and we think that one of us will most likely go to a new area, but you never know until it happens! We got a new Ward Mission Leader yesterday. The old one is in the Navy and will be speniding the next six months in Bahrain and then will move with his family to San Diego. Unfortunately, that happens a lot in this Ward since it's pretty heavily attended by Navy people. The new guy looks like he's going to be awesome and do some great things for the work around here.
This week was really really cold. We keep having bi-polar weather. One day it will be 75, and the next day we get a cold front and it will be in the 40s. I'm also surprised at the number of winter Texans, people from other parts of the country that come to South Texas to spend the winter because it's a lot warmer here.
Every other Tuesday we usually try and go to this place called the "Big Fisherman," but lately it has been super super packed with the line around the corner because a lot of winter Texans have come into town.
The missionary work has been going pretty well. Although some people won't even give us the time of day, there are still a lot of really nice people. We are actually talking to this one Jewish lady that used to live in Arizona and knew a lot of LDS people. She said she is facing lots of persecution here in town. She had a lady tell her she was going to hell because she's Jewish, and the staff at the school that her kids attend wouldn't let her take her children out of school for a Jewish holiday because they "never heard of it." She said that she is willing to give our church a try. She also said that one day she decided that she was going to wear her Star of David necklace, and while she was at Wal-Mart, a member of the church came up to her and commented on it and that they had a really friendly conversation! Anyway, keep the missionary efforts in your prayers.
Thanks for the letters and such, I very much appreciate them.
Ryan

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Elders Clarke and Carreon

The Beautiful Gulf

The Bay

Texas State Aquarium and Bilingual Scriptures

Hello Everyone:
This week was great. Yesterday we went to the Texas State Aquarium! It was way awesome. They had a really cool dolphin show and some other cool exhibits. Our New Year's was pretty fun, too. We had to be in before 6 p.m. for saftey reasons and so we just sat around and talked and played cards and stuff for a few hours with some othet missionaries. New Year's was surprisingly quiet in Portland. Other than that, this week has been pretty normal. Yesterday we talked to this guy who had a dead pig hanging out of the back of his truck. I guess they had just killed and dressed it and were letting it air out or something like that. The weather here has been really weird lately. It was 80 the other day and then all of the sudden, this big blast of cold air came and it got super cold for the rest of the night. Someone once told us, "If you don't like South Texas weather, then just wait a minute!" It's a very true statement! I also got this really cool biligual Bible the other day when we were in Corpus. It has Spanish in one column and English in the other. It's a really nice addition because a lot of the time, we have to carry around both sets of scriptures because sometimes we teach in Spanish and sometimes we teach English. I hope you enjoy all of the pictures I sent. The other memory card never did turn up huh? Oh well keep hoping. I hope you all have a great week.
Elder Carreon

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Feliz Navidad

Elders of South Texas enjoy the Holidays

Asking Santa For People to Teach

Christmas Morning

A Brand New Year

Happy New Year. My companion and I both had to give talks in church on Sunday. We only had a few days notice, but there was hardly anybody there anyway because most people were out of town for the holidays. The ward is super tiny already, and plus with the holidays it wasn't very full. Never-the-less, we both felt it went pretty well and were grateful for the opportunity to speak.
We had Zone Conference this week on Tuesday. It was awesome. Santa came and we did a gift exchange. We also had a musical devotional and it was great to have the missionaries from the Corpus, Sinton, and Laredo Zones all together.
Christmas Eve a bunch of families from the ward got together and went caroling for a few hours. it was so much fun! Christmas Day we went over to the Dement Family's house. They have tons of kids, and so we played with them and helped them put together their Christmas stuff. They were all really excited to see what Santa had brought for them. We then went over to the retirement home down the street and went caroling and finished our day at another member's house for dinner. It was a very fun Christmas. Tell everyone thanks for the gifts they sent me! I hope that all is well and that everyone has a safe and fun new year!

Ryan