As we started planning for a mission as a senior couple, we thought about leaving in January 2012. However, it became clear to us we should leave earlier. We submitted our papers, and we received the call to serve in the Washington, D.C. South Mission, starting in October 2012, several months earlier than we had planned.
When my husband Elder Carrier was set apart, he was told that there would be opportunities for him to teach the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ in French, a language he learned as a young missionary serving in France. He was also promised that he would have the ability to remember the language and be able to do all that the Lord required of him. We have witnessed that blessing being literally fulfilled many times over the past several months.
When we met with you to get our first assignment, you mentioned that common sense told dictated that we should serve in the Centreville Stake, because of its proximity to where we lived. However, the Spirit kept prompting you to send us to the single wards in Crystal City, even though it was a 60-mile roundtrip drive from where we were living. You followed the promptings of the Spirit, and we started working in the Colonial 1st and 2nd single wards in the Mount Vernon Virginia Stake.
The sister missionaries working in the stake soon discovered that Elder Carrier spoke French, and they immediately invited us to teach some investigators from Africa. Rostand, Seri, and Amao were three Taekwondo athletes sent by their countries, Benin and the Ivory Coast, to train for and hopefully qualify to participate in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England. Each of them was chosen to represent their countries, because of their discipline and strong athletic performance.
The stories of the African Takewando athletes started when the sister missionaries followed the Spirit and talked with Rostand on the street. As a result of several small decisions that soon became life-changing choices, three people were soon baptized and many more will be influenced in their native African countries. It became clear to us that the Lord’s hand is in our lives, and he knows and cares about each of us. When we act on the promptings of the Spirit, sometimes we are given the opportunity to understand why we felt the need to do certain things, illustrating the “tender mercies” of the Lord.
While Rostand was taking the lessons, he met a girl in the area. On their first date, he told her about what he was learning about the restored Church of Jesus Christ. She told him that she was already a member of the LDS Church. She shared her testimony with him as he learned about the Gospel, and they continued to date. They are now engaged to be married. The Lord had a definite plan for Rostand orchestrated by his coming to America. We know he will in turn be able to share the gospel with friends and family who live in Benin, thus strengthening the Church in that area of the world.
As Rostand’s testimony grew, he shared the gospel with his roommate Seri, another Taekwondo athlete, ranked fifth in the world. Seri spoke little English, which made it difficult for him to comprehend some principles. Elder Carrier was able help out as an interpreter during the lessons when needed. Seri was baptized on November 19, 2011 just prior to returning to the Ivory Coast, where he has introduced the Gospel to his family and continues to share his testimony.
While teaching Seri about the Plan of Salvation, his roommate Amao listened in from another room. Halfway through the discussion, we invited him to join us. Before we could teach much, he stopped us and pointing to the Book of Mormon said, “I want one of those books!” Once again, Elder Carrier supported the sister missionaries in teaching Amao by using his ability to speak French. As we watched Amao come to know and accept Jesus Christ, he began to make significant and difficult changes in his life. Amao said it best when he explained, “I have been changed. Before the gospel, I had lost my way, but now I am found.” He was baptized on December 31, 2011.
The Lord does indeed orchestrate His work on earth, and through His tender mercies and infinite wisdom, he allows us to be His hands on Earth. By following the promptings of the spirit, the sisters contacted a man they met on the street, and the mission president sent us across the entire mission to the area the Lord wanted us to serve in for a reason only he knew. Thus, the work of the Lord changed the lives of some of his children who were ready to accept the gospel. These experiences and tender mercies have provided experiences and developed relationships that we will never forget. We have felt his Spirit directing us in small and simple ways, and we are grateful for the opportunity we’ve had to be a small part in His missionary work that takes place all over the world.
Elder and Sister Carrier