Friday, December 17, 2010

It's the Final Countdown

I know when you read that you immediately sing the song...
I do it too, don't worry ;)

You all should know by now that today is the day that MARK COMES HOME!!!

Can you believe it's been 2 years already? It has gone by so fast.

He arrives kind of late tonight...which means we have to sit around ALL day waiting.

This is going to be the longest day of my life.

I will post pics ASAP

T-Minus 13 hours until he gets home!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Last E-mail from our Missionary

This morning is Monday, as you all know..
Monday's are Mark's p-days
So, we usually write him Sunday nights.
I'm not going to lie, I haven't been the best sister.
I have forgotten to write a few being LAST NIGHT!
I feel horrible, because..It was his last p-day.
His last e-mail to us as a Missionary for
The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints

But it was so amazing that I wanted to share it with all of you

Grab some tissues because it's kind of a tear jerker

Good Morning Everybody!
Today is my last p-day. It is a wonderful opportunity to know that two years is up, I have accomplished my duty as a missionary and I will be coming home to continue on the journey.
This weekend in particular was one of the most spiritualexperiences of my mission. It was the final Zone Conference for theEthiopia Zone as well as Elder Watson, Davis and myself. On Saturday, we had a marvelous Spirit accompany the meeting. As missionaries, we get together, and things tend to get a bit rowdy. Speaking, laughing, and for a few of us, crying as well. This meetingwas a little different. Before Pres Jackson showed up, we prepared the meeting room, and for some reason we all decided to sit down and study from the scriptures. With this start, the Spirit was invited in through the reverence, and we began a meeting with soft voices, and cheerful hearts. The programs were passed out, and fortunately, I saw that once again, I would start the farewell testimonies of the departing missionaries. I spoke a little about it to Elder Davis and I asked him, "don't missionaries usually only give one farewell testimony?" He responded with a simple answer- President told me to. :) I began to prepare some thought about what I should say, especially to the new greenies that had just come onto the mission. Especially my second son, Elder Kyuvi (he had thoughts of going home this week) The meeting carried on, and the Spirit grew stronger. It reached about 6 o'clock and President called a break for dinner. He treated all 18 missionaries to a dinner buffet at the Hilton. Which by the way, was amazing! I had salmon sushi, barracuda, and morechocolate mousse than a man should have. Not to mention the usual fried Maryland chicken, with the occasional baked potato. I had my moneys worth. ;) By the end of everyone having there fill, it was almost 10 pm. We all thought we missed our chance... but he rescheduled for the afternoon on Sunday. Luckily, we had a district conference in the morning, we were all gathered together and we met immediately after the conference ended. With only two short trainings we thought that the meetingwould be over in time for us to be able to get back and have a dinner appointment. We were wrong once again. The first training was from the Assistants. One of them, Elder Steeb, gave a powerful commitment to us, and his statement of which he closed his training was, "Im not asking you to do something, I am asking you to change your life!" It really got me thinking again about my advise to those missionaries who were staying in the field.This is when I actually bowed my head in prayer, after 1 and a half very spiritual days, I was half asleep, and half in prayer. After about 10 minutes, I was 80 percent asleep and 20 percent coherent...President Jackson knowing my "status" called on me to participate, and luckily, I answered correctly. (phew) Then, like a faucet my mind was open, information began flowing advise for every single missionary individually as well as a group. I reflected upon my notes from the previous day, particularly Alma 5 again.. something about verse 7 made me begin to choke up a bit. It says: "Behold, he changed their hearts;yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God..."As I read this, I believed that, that is what my mission did for me. I started to bear my testimony by reading that scripture. I then stated that I have awoken unto God, and the importance of being obedient to the Lords commandments. I then said, through out my mission, as I did the work, I cant say I'm going home with any regrets, but I am going home with out asking myself, "What if...?" There were too many "I'll try's" and not enough "I will go and do." It was then, when I quoted Elder Steeb by saying, remember me for who I am now, not what I was then... Im not asking you to do something, I am asking you to change your life. I testified about the Atonement, the healing effect, and the power that it has to change lives. The power of the Priesthood, and the leadership and direction we receive from a living prophet, and overall the testimony which I feel most strongly about is of the Book of Mormon, information, and testimony of prophets old and new, blessing our lives hundreds of years down the line. I closed my testimony with tears in my eyes, and a heart beat, pounding through my chest, vibrating my tie, and shaking knees.. giving the statement that Christ said in the preexistence, "here I am, send me" Except mine was "here I am... you don't have to send me home" I began to cry as usual,but.. overall a sense of accomplishment and gratitude for the decisionI had made to come on a mission. Elder Watson followed, and in his first sentence stated, "that, (pointing at me) is a changed man."
Later after the conference ended with kneeling prayer, hugs all around and goodbyes from a few missionaries that I may never see again, three of which were my companions (Elders Andika, Omondi, and Kyuvi) The last person to hug me was President Jackson. As he did, He began to cry a bit, As we stepped back from one another, he said that was the second most powerful meeting he had been in since he had joined the church. I agreed that it will be something I will never forget... He stopped me and said, "you reminded me of how it would have been at the Pentecost, as you bore your testimony a glow of light surrounded your head and then flowed down until your body was surrounded with light... tears began to fall down my cheeks, then he just said, "you did it." We hugged again and I turned to Davis and Watson, we also hugged and the night began to come to a close.
President Jackson interviewed me very last, and it was at 11 o'clock at night. He kept it short and asked me if there was anything that I had to tell him, or anything that he could do for me. I asked for a blessing. In which, he said, "the Lord is pleased with the work you have done, as well as the sincere desire to be strengthened through Him" He also quoted my patriarchal blessing where in it states my opportunity to be in a "position to uplift and help others recognize who they are" [by opening up the scriptures unto them for comfort and hope]. He then closed his blessing through the name ofJesus Christ, after which, he lifted me up by the arm (I was kneeling) and said "well done, thou good and faithful servant" Hugging once more, and then leaving the room together. I am very thankful for all of you who have supported me while being here, through the trials, the sicknesses, and the worry. I am upset to be leaving a people that I love so much, but I am privileged to have a family that loves me as much as you all do. Iknow we are going to be together forever. I love you all very much,and I cant wait to see you on Friday. This is my last email as Elder Carter, but forever, I will be your son and brother.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen
Love- Elder Carter


I kind of feel bad for being so excited for him to come home, that I didn't think about the people of Africa and all the people he helped. That was his home for 2 years and I know he is going to miss it terribly, but I can't wait to see him.

I love you Mark.
You are amazing.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Just to let you know....


I can count that on one hand!!!


This pic is from the day he left.
It's not the best..
We just got done crying our eyes out


Then next family pic at the airport will be when he gets home!
I can't promise there won't be tears,
but this time around they will be happy tears!

We are soooooo excited!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Can you believe it?

To say things have been crazy around here would be an understatement.
I feel like my days blur together, we have been so busy.

The day after Thanksgiving we broke out all the Christmas decorations and the tree
we have a tradition in my family that each kid gets a new ornament every year
One that reflects something that we did that year or just something cute ;)
and then, when we get married we will have our own collection of ornaments to start out with.

While hanging up the ornaments I came across this one

It made me a little sad.
That's my sweet old Rudy doggy.
We got him when I was about 5 yrs old

we had to make the heart wrenching decision put him down in July of '09
It was a very sad day

My Grandma Carter gave us this ornament the following Christmas.
I miss that old boy!

We also celebrated my little sisters 17th birthday. I can't believe it. I remember when I was 17...and to be quite honest, I feel like it was just yesterday.

Man, I am getting old too fast.

We have been getting ready for some of our family to come to Tucson
Mark is coming home in
9 days!!


I am so excited that we actually already made the signs & everything for the airport.
I think not!!


the wedding planning

I don't know how people do this.
It's really not the funnest thing in the world.
It's quite stressful.

But on a good note

I have found a dress
I just can't gain ANY weight before the wedding or I might be in trouble lol

Things finally seem to be coming together
My mom and I have made a
huge dent this week.
It's definitely relieving
some stress
I feel like there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done

There are still a handful of things that need to be done all before Mark gets home.

All in good time though


Here are a few of our engagements

And here are a few pictures Mark sent home that I thought I would share

Man, I love that kid!!
I can't believe I will get to see him in almost a week!!
A week.


I can't promise I will have much time to blog within the next month, month in a half, but I will do my best.

...Until next time