Monday, December 30, 2013

Contacting Referrals




December 23, 2013

This week went by super fast, don't really know what happened.

Pday (Preparation Day) was normal. We went to the center of the city as usual and did the usual dinking around. We got home and relaxed for a few hours, much needed. When we went out to work we were going to visit this eternal investigator(someone who will take forever to baptize) Josenildo. On the way there we were stopped by this lady. "You're the Elders from the Mormon church right??"  Uhhh yeah! ... "I've always wanted to visit that church but I was always too embarrassed to enter."  This woman was super excited to see us. She said she had stayed in this Bishop's house in Recife and Pereira just happened to serve in that ward. It was a "coincidence". So we talked and she wanted us to visit her at her house and meet her "husband"...they're not legally married but they were super cool. When we met the dude he was more shy and reserved but we got to talking and he opened up. They began to tell us about their lives. The husband(Eziquiel) built their house all by himself. He even made the bricks. He went and got the clay from some place close to his house, from the ground not from a store. The dude is a machine. They have a little girl who is one, and they are super humble, nice people. The first visit was really fast because we had an appointment, but later in the week we explained thoroughly about the restoration. It was great. They understood everything and were ready to accept it. They went to church and loved it. Ezquiel said it was like nothing had ever experienced before, and Cátia(wife) said she liked it a lot. They plan on going to church from now on. And get this... they actually want to get married. Imagine that! A couple who lives together who wants to get married. She said she wants to get married in the church. She even asked us how she could do a family night because she had participated in a few in Recife with the Bishop. These people will be baptized. We just have to get them married! Woo!

This week has been great for referrals. Remember how I said we got 40 from the members? That's all we've been doing, contacting referrals. We don't even knock doors! It's amazing! It takes a while to find some of the houses because the addresses in Brasil are cookoo, but when we find them it's usually well worth it. This area went from being a tracting area to an actual teaching area. We're finding a lot of great people. Of course there are those people who don't accept anything outside of their comfort zone, but about half of them thanked us for coming and said they would go to church. It's great because they already know their friends from church. We had some people cry when we sang to them the Christmas hymn, and we now have some people in our teaching group who have some actual potential.

This week we also did an exchange with Caruarú. Elder Bochi came to my area and we set out on an adventure of contacting referrals. We got lost and walked a ton but we ended up contacting two. Bochi was mainly there to talk to Cilene, Brainer's mom who is taking forever to baptized. She's so dang close it's not even funny. Right when we got there she began to talk about how something supernatural came over her when she was praying about the church and where she should go with her life. She said the feeling was just good. We got really excited but when she was talking she was talking as if she was scared of the feelings she felt. We told her that was her response. she said no it wasn't and she's trying to wait for something else. Brainer whipped a scripture out of nowhere in Doctrine and Covenants that was perfect. D&C 6:22 or something like that. It talks about how Oliver Cowdery was trying to get more responses from God than he already had, and God said that if he wants more answers/proofs, go back in your mind to that prayer you said and the feelings you felt when you asked for the truth. She got really quiet and we asked her what she was going to do from there. She said she would decide later. OFIGUVNRUWI. What more does she want?! There was a Christmas activity in the ward last night and Marcione(LMA) was joking around with her saying she was super close to being baptized. She said "Yeah, I was this close, but now I'm this close." (shrinking the space between her fingers). We'll get her.

Right now we're in Recife to get Christmas boxes/packages from the mission office for our zone. Our zone doesn't know we're here so were going show up with their presents at district meeting as a surprise. They weren't supposed to get them until the transfer but President let us come to Recife to do this surprise. It'll be great.


Well, Merry Christmas to all and this is the last Christmas away from home for me. It will be weird but good at the same time. Christ is the Lord and this is His season. I can't wait to talk to y'all in 2 days!!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, December 16, 2013

Spread the Gospel


 December 11, 2013

Sorry for being late. (Letter was received on Wednesday instead of the usual Monday)

We didn't even have a chance to get on the computer. Do you believe that? This past week and a half has been insane and awesome. It started out with the transfer. Sorry I didn't give y'all the name of my comp. Elder Pereira from Rio de Janeiro. He's cool and we get along. He was in the CTM in Sao Paulo when I was there and we arrived here in Pernambuco together. It's weird because I couldn't even talk to him there but now we talk like normal people. It's cool.

This past week has been great for the work because we received 40 references? How? That's a lot. Our ward mission leader is a boss and made this Christmas kit for the members to give to their friends. He got us 100 Christmas DVDs and gave the members cards for them to write names of friends to give to us. From there we get the names, go to the people's houses, leave the DVDs with them, sing a Christmas hymn, and talk about 
Christmas. Then we mark another visit. It's gold. These next couple weeks before Christmas we're going to contact all these people and baptize. Finally. It's interesting to contact these references because you always have a picture in your mind of what the person will be like but it never works out in the end. It's like a guessing game.

We've been trying to work with this one family this past week. They've been to church twice but don't want to get married. I don't understand this. They've lived in the same house for 6 years, have 3 kids, but don't want to get married. It gives me a headache listening to them talk about why they won't. Story after story after story. Problems. You would think we were psychologists. It gets pretty heavy.

We've also been trying to hunt down some less active members. We got a list of them and have found out that a ton have moved away. We found this one dude who was baptized when he was 17. He's 28 now and he was baptized in the Assembly. When we got there he was super excited to see us. The dude was crazy.  "My friends! Enter!" He gave us stinky hugs and we entered. The dude was crazy. I don't know why the elders at that time baptized him. He had no teeth and was just crazy. He told us stories about how he would walk around with the elders and got up and demonstrated how fast they walked and told us they went and bought Popsicles. We were just dying of laughter. We asked him why he was baptized again. He didn't know but he's going to church this Sunday. Success.

Another house we went to out came two guys saying the person didn't live there anymore. One was dressed as a woman. The other just had boxers on. It was interesting.

The counselor of the Bishopric gave us 10 names to chase down on his road. He has a nephew named Joseph who gave us 2. He loves the missionaries. His mom showed us that he was talking to the former president of the mission on facebook. He's just a funny kid. His dream is to be an elder. So we invited him to go with us to visit these people. He got so dang excited. We got to his house to pick him up and he was shirtless so we waited outside for him to get ready. 10 minutes later he comes out with a suit on and carrying a brief case. Hahaha. So we left and made some visits. One of the visits was super annoying because the people just wanted to know about the United States. I was afraid Joseph was getting bored so I asked him if he wanted to go and he said,  "No, this is awesome."   When we got to his house we sat on the porch for a bit just talking to the family. By the way, there are 3 huge families from the same family who are members on the same road so it's just a party there. We were talking and Joseph was inside and his mom told us that she asked him if it was good. He said "It wasn't good mom.... it was awesome."  I was surprised because it wasn't that good but the kid is awesome.

So why didn't I write to y'all sooner?  Because we went to the temple on Tuesday and it counted as a our pday. The temple is awesome. They have a full sized nativity there and they planted poinsettias so it's beautiful there in the garden.  And the new stuff in the temple is amazing. More emotional and spiritual. I liked it a lot. After the temple we stayed in Recife in a house of elders there. I knew them all so it was just a party there. Oh! And I saw my kid at the temple too!  He said my Portuguese is awesome and we talked about all our inside jokes.  It was great. I saw Claudemire from Aguas Comprodas too. It was a reunion. 

We had the Christmas mission conference. It was sweet. We had a 70 and his wife talk to us, Elder and Sister Granja. Super spiritual. Super motivating. Then each Zone sang a Christmas hymn. I'm not gonna brag or anything but ours was definitely the best. Sister Ramy(USA) got a piano arrangement of Silent Night from her mom and we sang the verses from the Hymn book. It was legit. I arranged the voice parts and the last verse me and another sister, Hicken(USA) sang a duet. It was awesome. We had people crying and the spirit was setting the chapel on fire. Saw all my buddies at the conference and had a good ole time eating tons of turkey. Then I got my package from the fam! It was perfect! So much candy. And the tree was awesome. Set it all up and everything. I'll send y'all pics next week.

But man. The church is true. Jesus is definitely our Savior. No doubt in my mind. We watched Finding Faith in Christ and I got a lot more out of it this time than other times I've watched it. The atonement is real, and everyone needs it. That's why we have to spread the gospel! Hows the challenge from Elder Ballard going? Brought anyone to church yet? Well, love you family, and miss you tons. Till Monday!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll


(Both pictures posted were old ones that Dallin's mom found on Facebook)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Loving the Mission

December 2, 2013

Wow, this week was fast. Today was transfers and I don't have much time to write to ya'll so I will try to get it all in the best I can. Elder José got transferred and I'm here now with my big black companion from Rio. He's really cool and we arrived on the mission on the same day. I heard that he doesn't like any leeway when it comes to mission rules. It'll be good for me. Even though I'm not disobedient, there's always room to improve. The transfer was super legit. A lot of missionaries I knew went home so it was weird to see all of them bear their testimonies and leave. But it was super spiritual and motivating at the same time.

This week we had the leadership meeting with President. He presented the new plan for all the missions in Brasil. The new rule for Baptisms is if the person is 15 years old or less we can't baptize them until they've been going to church for 3 months. Brasil has been baptizing a ton but hasn't been retaining the numbers so the Area presidency took drastic measures. Now we have to focus on families more(which should have always been the focus). The number of baptisms will go down a bit but we have to have faith that this new change will be for the better of the church and to help us have more priesthood/splittings of wards. It was weird looking back on my mission and remembering how many kids I've baptized. It's all good though.

This week we've been teaching our 3 married couples who aren't married. It's annoying but there's potential in these families. Nilson(the guy who has a band) went to church and brought his 3 kids with him. It was sweet. Arnedes and Leticia went to church too. The class on Sunday was about family history so it was kind of weird for someone who was getting to know the church. But it all worked out when we talked about baptisms for the dead in the new members class(Elder José and I taught it.) We taught the Plan of Salvation. It's always a good one.

Fast and testimony meeting was great. One of our investigators(Josenildo) got up and bore his testimony. It was amazing.  This guy was scooped off the street by Elder Vargas and José when he was just hammered drunk. They marked a day to go to his house. He quit drinking in 1 week. His life is changing a lot right now because he's getting right with God. He loves to go to church and counts the days until he can wear his white shirt and tie that were given to him by one of the members. He's the guy with the stash in the picture I sent to ya'll from last week. Just a good guy. He said that no other church could have done this for him. He's tried all of them. It's because this is the church of Jesus Christ and has the POWER to change people's lives for the better. I was smiling uncontrollably when he got up there. Arnedes wanted to go up too but the time ran out. It has been a long time since he went to church. It was a great Sunday for investigators.

I wish I could write to ya'll everything that happened but I don't have time. This week was a testimony builder. I know that this is the true church of our Savior Jesus Christ. No doubt in my mind. Doesn't matter what anybody says. I get sad sometimes that the people don't recognize the truth but the only thing we can do is present the gospel to them and hope they accept it. I love being on a mission. I love my family. I love the Savior.

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Dallin's mom found this old picture on Facebook
Another old picture of Dallin in his first area.

Monday, November 25, 2013

209 Baptisms


November 25, 2013

Alrighty,

This week was super normal, nothing that great to report. The mission reached the goal of 200 BAPTISMS for the month once again. 209 people were baptized! That's a lot of people. President Lanius is super happy with the mission and so is the Lord! The assistants said the President was dancing in the mission office, haha. The most serious man alive... dancing haha. Good times.

This week started off with a good pday in the Center(the city). We went to the huge fair that's there on Monday and bought some cool stuff. I bought the family some stuff for Christmas. Mom, I bought a nativity for you. It's better than the other one but it's still made of clay so I hope it makes it to Georgia. But it's authentic and smaller/better quality so it'll make it. I have faith.

This week we just taught the people we already found. It was a good week. We didn't have to run around with our heads cut off and we didn't have lolly gagging time either. We just went from investigator to investigator. We have some really great people we're teaching right now but all of them have problems they have to resolve before being baptized. 


It's normal but usually there's at least one person in your teaching group that has potential to be baptized the following week. We have none. I think my area is hard... just a thought. When everyone else around you baptizes and you're working your butt off trying to find people you begin to notice the differences in areas. In our area, it's hard for the people to get to church. The Church sits in the middle of a neighborhood of apartment buildings and that's where the rich stuck-up people live, so you know they won't go. Then you have the rest of our area.... which is favela and middle class neighborhoods where there's one bus that passes every 2 hours. And there are some places where the people have to get 2 buses to arrive at church. It's a miracle when we have people in the chapel even though we call and remind everyone about church and even go to some people's houses. You gotta have people in the chapel to have baptisms. It's great.

This week we re-met up with this family that we met during the week in the area. I thought José had kicked them to the curb. Apparently not. Fernando and Graca are another "married" couple. They are super awesome. We returned to their house after passing one month without going. When we got there we asked how was the Book Of Mormon?  And Graça said she had read the part we marked, prayed, and recieved an answer that the book was true. Wow! You gotta check up on your investigators! She said waited for us to return to tell us what had happened but we never went back. Fubecas! (slackers)  Fernando read but didn't pray.


But these people are awesome. They understand everything we say and believe! And they fed us too. That's when you know you've found some good people.  We're working with them. They would have gone to church but something happened to her mom at the last minute and she had to go visit her. They said they were ready and everything but they received the call at the last minute. Bummer. But we've already taught everything to them. They just have to get married and Fernando has to stop drinking and they're as good as baptized.

Their next door neighbors are good too, Nilson and his wife. They have to get married.  This dude has a band and is the singer. I sang a hymn for him and he really liked it.  It was "Brilha Meiga Luz"... I forgot the name in English. Plug it in your google translate.  He sang a song about his mom. It was cool I guess. The other day their 2 year old son set their mattress on fire and walked away and almost burned the house down so Nilson was super ready to hear "the word of God". We taught the last half of the Restoration to him and the apostasy and Joseph Smith totally made sense to him. Simple guy, doesn't complicate things like other people do. It's refreshing to teach them and have people that understand. He'll read the Book Of Mormon and get an answer from God that it's real.

We knocked this one door this week. It was this Catholic guy. Super haughty. From the start of our message he started talking about how all the churches are true and how God knew that the Apostasy would happen, and that's why he gave us our freedom of choice, because all the churches teach good things and whatever church we choose to follow has all the truth we need. He also tried to convert us to his way of thinking. He said that believing that one church is right is immature and that one day we'll think like him. I bore testimony and said I would never think like him. Think about it. 8 generations in the same faith in my family. Could it be a question of maturity? No. After the lesson I thought about my ancestors as pioneers who crossed the plains with handcarts and how much they sacrificed just to get to a place that was safe to be a member of the church. The dude doesn't know what he's talking about. We left a little bit bugged. 

The zone is just on a roll. We've hit our weekly goal 3 weeks in a row and we've got 4 marked people for next week. Already there! The Lord is blessing us for our efforts in finding tons of new people. Knocking tons of doors. It's just the way it works. When you work, the Lord works. We'll have a leadership meeting this week and I'm pretty sure Presidente is gonna be super happy with us. It'll be a good one. The last one he burned us. This time he'll congratulate us. I'm really grateful to be a missionary in this time. It's amazing to see how things are speeding up. Our Ward mission leader is awesome. He put together this thing for the members to give; a christmas dvd to their friends and a Book Of Mormon too. We're the guys that will give it to them and they'll also receive a message of the restoration. I don't think there is a better Christmas present. The talk Elder Ballard gave about taking someone to church before Christmas hasn't taken affect yet. We're hoping the members will remember, because we don't have a chance to remind them because we don't eat in their homes. We receive money. Well, it's been real. I hope everyone is doing well and that ya'll have a great week. The Church is true. God Bless.

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, November 18, 2013

AGORA O BICHO VAI PEGAR

November 18, 2013

Wow! I almost started typing in Portuguese because of the email heading I put. By the way, the heading translated means, "Now the critter's gonna get it." I thought it was a good slang thing to put up there because as a zone were killing the mission now. We have some really excited missionaries and almost all of us get along really well. Just kind of makes the work happen a lot smoother.

Pday was good.. Stayed at home and taught a lesson to this chick named Samia. She had gone to church that Sunday and we were visiting her to see how she was doing. It was hilarious at church. Her son is 4 and is a chubster. He took his shirt off during Sacrament meeting and started running around. So we don't really know if she payed attention, but she said she loved it because of the Primary program. Anyways, we got to her house and checked up on her about the Book Of Mormon. She had read everything we left with her but she didn't pray. Droga. She also turned into a super snake too
, a woman attracted to missionaries.  I was teaching the lesson and she and her friends kept laughing and I said, "What?"... "Nothing"....I kept teaching and the same thing happened again and I said, "What?  She said, It's just that you're so pretty... if you weren't a missionary..." I just looked in the other direction and said "dang it" in English. I tried to pass the lesson over to Elder José but he wouldn't take it. I was trapped and super ready to get the heck out of there. I taught her about the Holy Ghost and we bounced. Awkward.

This week we taught a kid named Moroni. Yup, Moroni. He is 20 and his dad was a member of the church but he didn't know that. We taught him the Restoration and the kid is just super smart. Kind of a smart alec but smart in a good way too. He understood everything and everything made sense to him. We got to the part were Joseph receives the priesthood and he got a call from his mom telling him to take some medicine to her so we had to cut the lesson short and asked him if he had any questions. "Yeah, I have one question that I've asked a ton of people but nobody knows the answer... what is the origin of my name?"  Yes! I wanted to tell him so bad but wanted to save the response for when we explained Moroni and the Book Of Mormon.  I showed the picture of Moroni and gave him the read and pray challenge. He said he likes to read and he's curious so he'll be fine. We visit him tonight. It'll be cool.

Elder José and I have come up with a pretty hilarious inside joke that we play on the people we meet. It's not horrible, don't worry. We ask them which Apostacy(church) they go to and the people answer straight up, Assembly of God, Baptist, Catholic...etc. It's just funny.

Since I'm serving in the neighboring area of my old area, naturally I've given some references to this area in the past. NONE OF THEM HAVE BEEN CONTACTED. I asked José what he did with the people I gave him and he said "I don't know."  Now we have to chase them down. Good thing there are only two. We tried calling one of them, Stefany, who I found with Elder Bochi. Super elect. She marked the whole Restoration pamphlet. But that they just let her mold away. She didn't answer the phone. But then she called back 2 days after and we couldn't respond because our phone was messed up. We'll get her. Then there's another one they didn't contact. It was the English teacher where I visited her class with Elder Vargas and talked with her students. She was super nice and accepted a visit. She never was visited. Good thing we saw her walking in the street the other day. We set up an appointment for tonight. It will be sweet. 


We started teaching this girl who had already been booted by Elder José and Elder Vargas because her "husband" was crazy and didn't let her progress. Well they split up and he went to São Paulo for good. We marked her baptism for this Saturday and made friends. She's cool but José said she drinks so we'll have to see how she's doing with that.

This week makes 1 whole year since I've been in this blessed country called Brasil. Looking back on everything, it's hard to believe how much I've grown. I've developed the language to where I can talk to someone about almost anything, I'm not really afraid to talk to anyone, and I don't really think about home that much. I think it's safe to say that I'm comfortable with where I am in my progression and if I keep up this rate of progress, I'll be awesome at the end of my mission. And all this growth is because of the Lord. How else would I learn a whole other language? Não tem como!  It's insane to look back on all my experiences thus far and times that by 2 and it'll be the end. The mission is awesome. And the experience of bringing people the Gospel is amazing. Even though there are few elects, it's worth all the trouble when we find one who is ready to hear the message of the Restoration of the Gospel. And LANDON (Dallin's brother) will have this opportunity in March!  When I saw the video I flipped out. He's gonna speak Spanish! How awesome is that?  And he's going to be in Basketball country. He'll like that. Wow. I'm a proud brother. I don't understand why he goes to Mexico instead of Provo but we'll take it! I'm excited for him and know he's excited too. And sounds like Easton's going to suffer a bit in Basketball with the grandes (tall players) but it'll only make him better. It'll be good for him.

This week our Zone baptized 4. We're on a roll and now we just have to maintain. It was awesome to do the interviews and see the beginning of an eternal family. This is why we're here. I think we walked about 10 miles to do those interviews but it was totally worth it when we died in our beds. Satisfied. I think that's the hardest thing to reach on the mission. Satisfaction. And the battle doesn't end after that. It only ends after 2 years.

This is the truth. The restoration is real. And the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real too. And only through the restored gospel can we use it to it's full purpose. Love you all! Have a good week.

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll




Monday, November 11, 2013

Fantastic Week

November 11, 2013

Cool beans.

This week was fantastic!

Pday was a do nothing day. Presidente Lanius already prohibited everything so Pday is just a bust. Kind of just a sit around and relax day. Got nothing against it, but I would like to play soccer/volleyball or something.

In District meeting we talked about a lot of things we needed to improve, Baptismal invites and people at church. It was kind of just a numbers type of training so our part wasn't very exciting but Elder Bochi gave an excellent training. He talked about a quote from President Gordon B. Hinckley. Talks about how we shouldn't settle for just being good missionaries. Which we are, I'm not gonna lie. But in it he talks about how we should be the best missionaries we can be. There is always room for improvement. It was just good. Elder José thinks he'll be transferred this next time and Bochi will be moved up to Zone Leader with me. I wouldn't mind that. He was a great companion/friend and a great missionary too. We would do well together. We knew going into this week that there was a lot of potential for the Zone to baptize a lot of people, but we didn't have any marked baptisms. Just miracles. 

I'm going to just talk about the people we're teaching because this week just flew by. 

Arnedes and Letíca
They are awesome. The only problem is that they aren't married and Arndes has another wife somewhere and he has to divorce her. She has a kid with another dude and everything. He just has to get some money to pay a lawyer to fix everything up. He's in debt though and he has to work for a few more weeks to pay it off. It's complicated. But the dude is awesome. He loves the Book Of Mormon. As soon as he gets divorced/married it's in the water. We go to his house every other night to read something out of the Book Of Mormon and he just eats it up. He always says "amen brother". It's awesome. And people at his work talk bad about the Church all the time and he just defends the heck out of it. The other night he made us dinner. Chicken with macacheira(some type of root that tastes just like potato.) and lemon. With Goiaba juice. So simple but good. His house is very simple. One room with a mattress and a kitchen. He is the humblest guy ever but the coolest. Just ready to learn anything you say and is just excited. Its good to go to his house after a bad day of not teaching anybody who's interested. Just refreshing. Barely even have to talk because he talks the whole time and asks questions. But it has been a while since he's been to church. His back was hurting last week because he works with construction, and this week his boss was trying to pay him on Sunday so it got complicated with him moving the money around. He needs to go to church to maintain the excitement and receive the blessings. He'll be a leader in the church one day. Just gotta wait. It always seems like the best people have the hardest time getting baptized.

We taught this lady named Marilene. We only taught her like 2 times really fast because she's always in a hurry. But she accepted baptism and the next time we went back to check on her, her dad had said something to her that dissuaded her. She was baptized in the Catholic church and he said that this baptism would negate everything he had ever taught her. (She is 40 years old.) We taught her about the differences in the baptisms and how one is valid and the other is not. We testified and left her with the challenge to pray about it. She said she would and we could tell that she felt the spirit.

This week we found this family because of a brother in the ward who gave us a reference. The family is incomplete. The mom was baptized a long time ago but she doesn't go to church anymore and she didn't baptize her kids. We taught them and everyone seems pretty excited. The mom needs to divorce because she's in the same situation as Arnedes. The kids are cool. 10 year old boy and 21 year old girl. Then there are neighbors who are always there too. The house gets pretty rowdy and and there are interruptions but we're going baptize everyone and reactivate the mom. Her mom lives with her too and hasn't been baptized yet. It's a gold mine. José and I have to keep passing the message back and forth to keep our cool because the kids are just rowdy. It happens and you just have to deal with it and keep the spirit.

Edimilson and Simone got baptized in the Catholic this sunday. Edimilson still wants to know if the Book of Mormon is true "to know which of the churches is correct"... that's my boy.We haven't booted them yet. We will see this week.

So this week with the Zone we killed our goal (3 baptisms a week). We baptized 7 in the zone this week. The sisters received a reference from their bishop of a family. A family that lives pretty dang far from the chapel (50kilo) but these people have 4 kids who wanted to be baptized. Two sets of twins. Guys and girls. 13 and 14 years old. How does this happen? Only God knows. We set it up so we would have the Zone Leaders and the District Leaders in the same place to do the interviews fast (Sunday morning) so everyone could go to church and be confirmed after the baptisms. It was a great experience and these kids were really really excited and were just super ready to be baptized. Don't ask me why their parents waited for them to be baptized but it made for a great week for the missionaries. The sisters were dying of happiness. The others sisters in the Zone had 3 more. When the Assistants called and I told them we had 7 baptisms they said they had a festa in the mission office and everyone was yelling. It was funny. It's fun to pass 7 instead of 1 or 2. haha.

This week we will have to talk about maintenance to keep our excitement up. And we had a deal that we would have a "party" if we reached our goal. So tomorrow will be a good meeting. I'm going to print out the talk from Elder Ballard too so that our missionaries can burn the members with it at our lunches. Not burn,,,, but ,,, you know. We really need references from the members because doing the work alone doesn't really work in this zone.

Well the Lord blessed us this week. I knew there would be a light at the end of this baptismless tunnel. We worked super hard to earn this and will continue earning it too. Baptisms aren't free! And the power of fasting is real. Everyone fasted these past couple weeks and it came through. This Church is true. Christ lives. Amen.

Love you family. Excited to see where Landon gets called. (Brazil)
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, November 4, 2013

Improvement


November 4, 2013

This week was an improvement.

It started out with a Pday (Preparation Day) of hiking up the hill Bom Jesus. It's a huge hill that sits literally in the middle of the city. It's pretty sweet. It has 400 steps you have to walk up to get to the top. My legs were super dead when we go to the top. From the top the view is sweet. You can see the whole city and the whole Zone. All the places where our missionaries work you can see. It's just cool.

Tuesday we had a leadership meeting with the President. So we woke up super early and got the bus from here to Recife. It's awesome working in the interior because you're far away from everything and you can sleep on the bus to Recife. When we got there all my old Zone Leaders were there. It was weird seeing them and being on the same level as them because when I got here and was being trained I really looked up to them. Elder Farrer, my first Zone Leader was there and this is his last last transfer. It's just weird. When I first got here he had just been made a Zone Leader. Now he's leaving and I'm a Zone Leader. Time just flies on the mission. President started the meeting talking about the rules people were breaking and what needed to be fixed. He's a strict President but he's good. Then He talked about the Atonement  He said something really cool that I liked a lot.  "If we understood the Atonement completely, then we wouldn't sin/break mission rules"  It's super true. And if the investigators understood it then the work would go much more smoothly and they would follow through with their commitments. So we have to understand it and teach it efficiently enough so that the people can understand it too. Then President called up all the ZLs who had hit their weekly baptism goals for the week to tell the rest about what they did to do it. We didn't hear anything we hadn't heard before. It's frustrating when you're doing the same things the other zones are doing but aren't having success. We're waiting for God to transform this weak Zone into a strong zone, because we're doing what we're supposed to be doing to deserve the help from above. After the meeting we ate Habib's in the cultural hall. It's a fast food Arabian restaurant that I don't think they have in the US. Mini pizzas. It's bomb!  (Bomb is a good thing for you older generation out there!)

I did a division with my old area. I stayed with Bochi's companion in Caruarú, Elder Marlow. He's a great guy, goofball/super chill. Doesn't speak very well so we spoke in English the whole time. Let me tell you, I'm more fluent in Portuguese than in English right now. I was tripping over my tongue and speaking Portuguese. It was funny. Just showed me what will happen when I talk to ya'll on Christmas in about a month and a half.  But we taught this 21 year old dude named Mishael with the Bishop's counselor.  The kid is a philosopher and is very intelligent  I was pulling all my big words out to talk to him, haha. He doesn't accept Christ as our savior and does not believe that we even need a Savior. He was getting all philosophical on us and trying to explain why it wouldn't work out. We explained that the gospel is way more simple than he thought it was. He was just complicating everything and we just taught everything to him very simply  Joseph Smith, Book Of Mormon, Prophets, the Atonement.  Freddy, the counselor of the Bishopric is very smart and was just destroying him. (Destroying is also a good thing.)He works with the kid in the local market. We just left him with the classic read and pray.

The next day we knocked tons of doors and found an amazing family (Simone, Edimilson, Emily). We got to the door as Edimilson got to the door. He just seemed like a really good guy. Humble. Hard working. He works as a mechanic. Before we even started teaching them he said he wanted to mark a Sunday to visit the church. Wow. It's not everyday that happens. We started teaching the restoration and the Spirit of God was just burning like a fire. Everything just made perfect sense to them and Edimilson was wiping his eyes. The amazing thing is that they're married and have a 7 year old girl. FAMILY. There's really nothing more exciting.  Simone even said the Padre at their church had said that there is no right religion, that wherever your heart wants you to go you should follow. Thanks buddy. You just signed this family off to eternal life. They didn't go to church this Sunday because they were busy with family but they'll go this week and we'll throw them in the water.

Henrique was supposed to be our baptism this week. 11 year old kid. The whole week he was just excited to be baptized and on Saturday out of nowhere his mom didn't let him. It was because he said that he has friends in the church and she thought he was just doing it for his friends. I don't know what difference that makes to her because she doesn't go to any church. And his sister kept asking, "Why is there such a short preparation period to be baptized in this church?  My church is different, blah blah blah." We explained that there was never a preparation period for the baptism in the times of Jesus Christ so why would there be one now? We tried to butter up the mom and teach everything to her but nothing worked. It was hopeless and I left that situation just livid.

So we entered onto the weekend with one baptism firm. Ours had fallen through and all the miracles had fallen through too. We were walking home at night just dead and discouraged and the sisters called saying that a miracle had happened and that they would baptize this woman this Sunday. They found the lady knocking doors, and it was one of those moments where the person was just prepared to hear the gospel. President gave the OK to baptize her on her first Domingo (Sunday). She said she was linked to the church in some way. We danced in the street and yelled a bit and got ready to do the interview in the morning. When we woke up we got a call from the sisters saying that the lady had called. Her name is Grace. She had called the sisters saying that she was begging on her knees for them not to come because her mom's pressure was high and just bologna. Sister Perez had said that her voice was different on the phone and that she sounded like she was being possessed. We got a little sketched out and all four of us Elders went to this lady's house. Only her mom was home and she said Grace had gone down the street. The sisters were a little stressed and frustrated. Needless to say the baptism didn't happen, but it will next week.

We ended the week with 1 baptism for the zone. It was a girl who had been taking a super long time to get baptized. It was awesome to interview her and actually see her face instead of just a name on our sheet of paper. And she was the first baptism of this Sister who has been on the mission for 7 months. It's definitely a win in the books.

Well, hope this letter was interesting. The time is running out. This week I renewed my testimony of the gospel. It's always a good thing to do. Just the classic read and pray. The spirit really is real. The atonement is real too.
Love you all.
Love
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

This is a picture of the alcohol that was poured in a square by the drunk that was following Dallin and his companion in last week's letter.  Oh missionaries....it's always an adventure with them!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Never Give Up

October 28, 2013

Goood times.

This week was interesting. Started out with the transfer and having big things happen. I became Zone Leader and took on the load of a zone that hasn't reached the weekly goal of baptisms for a week, which is 4. We have 6 areas so it's very possible to get. It's just stupidly hard. Everyone is working very hard. All the companionships are teaching at least 30 lessons a week and doing a ton of contacts. Our numbers are huge but our baptisms are non-existent. It just kinda makes you mad when you work so hard and you don't get the prize you want and the Lord wants. Whenever I hit a hard week on my mission, I always remember the phrase Elder Holland said in one of his talks to the mission Presidents in the MTC.  "Salvation was never easy!"  Why would our job as missionaries, saving souls and helping people get closer to Christ be easy if the Son of the living God asked when he atoned for our sins,  "Is there any other way?"  Salvation is not a cheap experience and we shouldn't treat it as such. I'm happy to know that I am a servant of the Lord in this work. I know that the Savior shares my pain when his message is denied, and we end a week without baptizing anyone. But I also know that He is here to help us if we just trust in Him.

I came to this area teaching the most inconsistent, least interested people I've ever taught. We're gonna have to start over with this teaching group. CONTACTS.  I just spend a lot of time being frustrated in the lessons because the people are rude and like to talk over you. We tried to do some contacts in a richer neighborhood to find some more respectful people, but rich people have strong opinions and keep their doors shut. Now I know how it is to serve in the US. We're gonna have to stick to the poor area and pick out the wheat from the tares.  In spite of all this we managed to mark a 14 year old, Marcio for Baptism. He has cousins in the church and everything and we were confident it wouldn't fall through.

We did a couple of visits in the other areas. The Sisters who work in the center of the city had this old dude that has been going to church for a year but won't accept the baptism. We decided we were going to try him. He's 82 years old and is almost crazy. He's on the border-line. We went there and right away he asks what we want. We start with a prayer and talked forever about the baptism and reviewed the restoration. He says he's been going to 4 churches for the last couple of years and says every church is the church of Jesus Christ. He said they're all trying to baptize him and that he wants time. I read Matthew 5.. about how we need to take drastic actions/act quickly to follow Christ. I lost track of time and realized we had been there for about 2 hours because he's one of the dudes who just talks to hear himself. It was just really hard to keep the floor and say what we wanted to say. Finally I just interrupted him and asked him if I could make a deal with him. I almost yelled. But he said, "yes" and I grabbed his hand to keep his attention and looked him in the eyes.  "Say a prayer and ask God if this is the baptism is for you. We will check back on this prayer and right now your baptism is marked for November 3."  He accepted and finally we left. My brain was about to explode and it was just a relief to leave that house. It was good to call the sisters saying we did it. They got happy.

Another visit we made was for the Sisters that live 45 minutes anyway. They had this 10 year old boy who wanted to be baptized. On the way there the bus broke so we got there super late, like 8. They were having a primaria activity at the church that night and the kid was there to do the interview. When we got there the sisters were there and said he had just decided that he didn't want to be baptized because his Grandma said she would get mad if he did. The sisters looked super sad and worried and I just wanted to change this kids' mind. So we grabbed him from the activity and took him to a room in the church and taught him. José and I used everything we could to change his mind but it just didn't work. His heart was locked before we even got there and the spirit was just hitting the wall. Kid with a strong opinion. It was disappointing but people have free choice. He said he would think about it and tell the sisters later. We left there at 8:45 to get to the bus stop. We waited there for about 15 and while we were there there was this drunk guy harassing us. I was talking to Bochi(DL) on the phone giving him the lowdown on this kid and this drunk guy just followed us throughout the bus station. We kept switching seats and he would switch with us. We grabbed some seats where it was just  two and he got frustrated, poured his alcohol in a square around one of the floor tiles and said ´´vai com deus´´....(go with God). When I got off the phone with Bochi I realised what had just happened and just laughed. There are some weirdos out there. Gotta be careful. Got home super late that night and died in our beds.

Sunday was fun. We left early to go get investigators to go to church with us and found out something amazing had happened. Marcio didn't want to be baptized anymore. His cousin, Junior told us this. Happened within a period of 24 hours. He was super strong and really wanting to get baptized... even said a prayer for his parents to let him get baptized but then this happened. We went to his house to see what happened. We got there and his mom starts telling us why he doesn't want to get baptized and that it's his own choice, blah blah blah. She said the brothers from his old church had talked with him; She said it's better that he stays in his old church because it's closer to home and more easy. Then she said something that really got me. "At least he's still in the way of God right?..."I had so many thoughts going through my head at that moment and I was just fuming inside.  I asked him if that was what he wanted and he said, "yeah."  I went to church really angry and just annoyed. People always talk bad about the church saying it's a cult without even going there and seeing for themselves. We could have baptized another girl this Sunday but it didn't work out. Nadja. Look out for this name this week. She's going in the water. The Zone ended the week with zero baptisms.

We had some investigators in the chapel this week that are really just good people. I was excited and forgot about what had just happened. We'll chase these people this week and baptize them. This week was just full of learning experiences and disappointing moments but nothing is gonna put out my fire. Jesus is the Christ and there is only one way to get to him, and we have it. I love this gospel and this work and will never give up.

Love you family. Hope this week is a good one.

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Change in Leadership

October 21, 2013

Alright, so this week was a lot of work.  I don't even really remember what happened but I'll try to do my best.

Pday was normal and kinda just bleh. We ended it with a visit to a recent convert, Luzia. She's about 75/80 years old and is the biggest grandma ever. She gets super happy whenever we visit her and even stops us in the road to drink suco for a little bit. Sometimes we have to say no though because we're running around like chickens with our heads cut off. But she's great. Always makes way too much food and literally watches every move we make to see if we've tried everything on the table. I like to eat until I'm satisfied, but she's one of the ladies that insists that you eat literally everything on the table. It's cool I guess. She's just a nice lady and loves when we're around.

This week we've been working with Nenês family. We baptized him a week ago. His mom is really cool and his sister is too.  His mom is an older lady and his sister is 25 and is married with 3 kids. They like talking with us which is nice. And the sister likes to read on the bus. She actually read the Book Of Mormon! Do you believe that? Her kids are cool. She has a 7 year old and a 4 year old. The 4 year old literally flips out when we're there. He's crazy. Punching his brother. Yelling. But he's alright. It just makes it hard to teach. We found out that they have to move from their apartment because their Landlord told them they are too noisy and are bugging the neighbors. We said we'd help them find a house and move them too. We have to get as much trust as we can from these people. Nenê is doing great. I'm worried about his friends he hangs out with in the road because they are a bad influence and really just have big mouths. Just talk smack all the time about everything. Sometimes I think if I wasn't a missionary I would have a talk with these kids. They're 14 year olds who think they can talk bad about the church/elders/Nenê. Just really obnoxious. What's weird is half of them are baptized.  I'm glad Nenê is moving. He went to church alone this Sunday. We gave him a white shirt and tie. The first time he went to church he saw this dude wearing a red tie and said it was bonita. So we bought him one just like it and he loved it! It felt good. Now we just gotta get him some pants because he feels a little self conscious in jeans. He was the only young man at church but he's super firme! I didn't get to confirm him because I went to do an interview for the sisters in a city far away. On the way back we hitch-hiked and hitched a ghetto bus that stopped every minutes. Mission life is fancy.

This week was just a lot of contacts/door knocking. We had a big teaching group but it wasn't giving fruits so we started over and added 23 good people to our group this week.  I wish I could write about every contact but I just can't. We meet so many people and see so much weird stuff that it's crazy. We found this sweet family this week. I saw this little green house on the railroad tracks that was just begging to be knocked. So we knocked it. Out came 2 girls. 8 year old Emily and 14 year old Edilma. We taught them outside their house because they were alone at home. They turned out to be really smart. The 8 year old was probably one of the smartest people I've ever taught.  Really articulate. The other is really interested in the message. We told them to pray about Joseph smith and marked another day to talk with them and their family. The day we went back everybody was home. The house looked small from the outside but was super deep on the outside. And there were tons of people there. The girls' mom was there and she has I think 5 kids? yeah. And they were super excited to hear the message. We asked Edilma and Emily if they had said the prayer and they said the did. It was funny. They said they prayed together and afterwards Emily asked ,
Did you see the light?" she thought she was gonna see a light like Joseph Smith. Usually I like to teach about the feelings of the Spirit so the people recognize the response from God. We left that part out and she misunderstood. Gotta teach thoroughly and clearly! But they said they had felt a peace that they hadn't felt before. They. Will. Be. Baptized. I wanted to stay in that area to keep that family but it didn't work out.

Transfers happened like 6 hours ago and big things happened.  Last night we got the call while doing an exchange. Elder Vargas and I were trying to get 30 lessons before the week ended. Got 'em. The assistants said I was transferred, but not to take my stuff to the transfer. We already knew what that meant. Elder Bochi is the new District Leader and he got an American who doesn't speak well.  I went up to Zone Leader and Vargas got booted. My companion is Elder José. He's from Paraguay and looks pure Lamanite. He's cool. Maybe I'll pick up some Spanish with him! That'd be sweet. I've already gone on tons of exchanges with him and I used to live with him so I know how he is.  He's a great missionary and works hard. I don't even know why I went to the transfer haha. I stayed in the same city with another dude that stayed too. The area I'm in goes to the same church as my old area so I'll see all the people I knew before.  I'm a little nervous to be Zone Leader, but at the same time it's about the same thing as being a District Leader. Just a little higher up on the food chain. I have to fill some big shoes. Elder Vargas was great. Great at motivating, and great at thinking really fast. He always had a plan for everything and taught as if he had been doing it his whole life. I'll just have to train the heck out of myself to be the best I can be. It will all come.  I'm not worried. One thing I've learned is that the Lord strengthens people by breaking them . I'm ready to be broken! Working with tons of Sisters is not easy but it's possible. I saw Kennedy at the transfers, seems like I see him on a monthly basis.

Right now President Lanius is stressing the Spirit and keeping him with us. Sometimes I find myself with the Spirit more than other times. He talks about the things that separate us from the spirit and the things we can do to have him with us. This work is seriously driven by the spirit. You can talk all you want about what you know but if you don't have the Spirit with you, the message doesn't get the the hearts of the people. I feel great when the people I teach feel the Spirit. It's an indicator that I'm worthy to be a tool in the Lords hands. When we told Nenês mom about the first vision she said she felt a thing happening on her skin. It's real. The Spirit testifies of truth. All of us need to be worthy of the Spirit to be able to accelerate this work. I'm happy the Lord has chosen me to do this work so marvelous. This past transfer I've learned to work really hard.  I've learned that numbers are everything. No matter what anyone says, numbers and goals help us to reach more people and have more possibilities to baptize. And our goals show God what we want to do for him and our faith in him will help us reach our goals. He wants us to succeed. But, we have to want ourselves to succeed too. This is the Lord´s work. There is no other. The field is white and ready for the harvest! Love you all and hope it's a good week. I pray for y'all daily and feel your prayers too.


Love,
Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, October 21, 2013

Goals and Motivation

What's in your backpack???  This is what Elder Carroll carries around in his...

October 14, 2013

This week was sick.

Pday was a nothing pday. Nothing better. We got a call that kind of woke us up a bit. So this whole transfer our whole zone has only baptized 6 people, and naturally the President wasn't pleased. Elder Vargas(zone leader) got a call from Elder Howard(assistant) saying that the president isn't pleased and if something doesn't change soon he's going to change the whole zone. Take people out, move people in, the whole switcharoo. It kind of made me a little bit antsy.  Vargas was antsy and we had to create a training that would motivate the zone more.

Tuesday we had district meeting and we were ready to motivate. Vargas gave all the sisters the low down and said we need to improve. His training was on efficient planning, which apparently we were needing. We talked about how we had to set goals and actually work to get those goals. Not just set them to say we set them. Vargas is really a great zone leader... knows how to train people and motivate them at the same time. Everybody accepted the challenge of upping our goal numbers and actually sticking to it every day. We set the goal of 30 lessons for the week. ¨lessons a day to beat that goal. So the minimum per day would be 5. We would also have to have 20 new investigators. So we got to work . We did some mad contacts this week, and asked for references from all the people we were teaching. We have like 27 in our teaching group. At the beginning of the week we repented and set goals with the Lord. "If we get these goals, we want a baptism." We taught 5 lessons per day. 


We met a prophet this week,,,or apostle, or whatever he wants to call himself. I had already met this guy in the street with Elder Doyel but Elder Bochi had never seen him. We just happened to find his house and knock on his door. I knew from the minute I saw his face through the window on his door that there would be some bible bashage. I gave Bochi the wagging finger like "no we're not going in this house", but he didn't see it and entered. Darn. So we went in, sat on this dude's steps and he began to "teach" us. This guy looks like the preacher from the Other Side of Heaven (a movie)  Almost exactly the same. Every time he talked about God he would say "Eshwa" instead of God. Bochi asked him if he was Jewish. He said mais ou menos. Dude. You either are, or you're not. There's no in between. He began to tell us what he thought we believed in, and that we don't have the authority to do what we do. That our message is bs and that we are infants talking to an old man. He said he preaches to the people apostolically and that he's read the bible a lot of times. The bible doesn't give people authority, buddy. We came back at him and told him we were called to serve by a prophet of God and that we received our authority directly from him. He raised his voice and we raised ours. He pointed at me and said he knew me. I covered my name tag and said, "You don't know me! What's my name?!"  He said, "I know your church. You're American..."...I said, "Have you been in our church?? How can you say you know it??"   It was getting pretty bad and I was getting pretty fired up. I said some things I probably shouldn't have said, we called him to repentance and bounced. Crazy old kook... haha. He thinks he's an apostle.


Another day we were talking with Kaio in the street (the only teacher in the ward) and he had a friend there with him, Nenê. I asked Kaio if he's been taught by the missionaries yet, and he said no. Already then! We took Nenê to Kaio's house and taught him. Kecio and Emanuel (an inactive deacon) were there too. We began to teach and Kecio was being obnoxious. I was getting really impatient. I just was saying things that don't need to be said during the first visit/lesson. Nevertheless.. Nenê felt the spirit and wanted to get baptized. The spirit does great things and is more powerful than you know. Even when the teachers are impatient and angry, the students can still feel it. 

Friday the president came to do his rounds and interviews with the zone. Everyone was on their best behavior because we were already in probation. Our numbers were low and we were ready to get burned. President talked about how we need to renew everything. Our excitement, our commitment  our techniques. It was true. We got flat. But we had already renewed all these things because of Vargas' training  My interview was interesting with President. He said we need to work more with the members in the ward because of the talks in conference. That we have to be more direct with them and get TONS of references. I told him we were going to do an activity with the ward. He said that doesn't do anything. Idea burned. He said things need to change with these areas, and what we're doing is not enough. I agreed and said that I wasn't satisfied. It's not because we're not working. We're working hard. We just need to change things, because the things we're doing aren't working.
We left the meeting hyped and ready to find new people. We worked with Nenê
to get him baptized this Sunday. Usually we can't baptize the first Sunday that our investigators go but we got permission from President because he already has friends at church and has a testimony too. We talked with his mom and she's super legit. I think we found an elect family. It's about time. The only problem with her is that she smokes, but when we taught the first vision she got chills and told us she knows it really happened. What a great thing. We baptized Nenê Sunday night. It was sweet. His friends were there and there were people there supporting from the ward. We ended the week week with big numbers, but few people at church/marked for baptism. Gotta work on that. Transfers are coming up next week and I hope I stay here. I like my companion and were finally getting a hold of things. Bishop Janderson is even calling a new ward mission leader for us! Big things are happening. Well, I guess that's about it. Love you all. Love Jesus Christ, and know he lives and is accelerating his work. Don't forget about the references for the missionaries! They need them! Till next week...

Love Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Super Bowl Conference

October 7, 2013

Wooooo! One more week in the books. This was a long one with low numbers but we learned a lot as a companionship and set a bunch of new goals for our work.

Pday was cool I guess. We went to the center of the city to see the huge feira(it's a festival with tons of vendors selling everything you could possibly imagine). I bought 2 leather cowboy hats to send to the family. They're Brazilian styled hats. Round.. kinda like a helmet. But they're cool. And they were cheap! I tried to by something with my card and it didn't work. I was with Elder José. After that we figured out we didn't have a phone with us so it was impossible to find our actual companions, haha. We went to the bridge they would have to use to leave and waited for them to pass. haha, mission life. We ate some acai and left to watch the Restoration with Daiane and Daniela, the girls from the contact we made last week. When we got there they sat us down and told us they had talked with their pastor and didn't want to receive our message anymore. They did it in a weird way, like they didn't want us to stop teaching them. We tried to show them the restoration DVD but it didn't work so we ended up bearing testimony and leaving. We have a strong impression to go back and challenge them again because we didn't ask them what the pastor said to them. It caught us off guard. We went a lot this week to see if we could talk to them but they weren't home. One day.

Tuesday was district meeting. I set up a training about the spirit, and how we need it to keep us excited. If we lose the spirit, we lose our purpose for being here, and teaching from our own knowledge without the spirit won't do anything to convert the investigator. I asked everyone individually, "Do you know that this is the church of Christ? Then why don't you do more?" I learned this from Elder Moore, don't want to take the credit haha. Everyone takes the question like a punch in the face. It's great. Gets 'em motivated. After that we knocked a ton of doors with little success, and evaluated a service project we are going to do. This lady has a water tank on her house that wasn't properly supported. The concrete below is breaking and if the tank falls it will go through her whole house and then neighbor´s house will flood. This lady was a reference from Marivaldo, from the ward. She's a little bit crazy. She has a daughter with 11 years and her husband just ran out on her. Needs the gospel bad. While we were teaching her it was hard to talk. She's one of those people who will talk the whole day if you let them. Elder Bochi was trying to tell me in the lesson that we should just teach until the apostasy because she was just not learning. He wrote a note to me on his planner but I didn't see it so the lesson just dragged on, haha. Woops.

The next day we did a lot of contacts. We found this really super duper old guy. 97 years old and still walking and talking and thinking. Impressive. His son, Edilson was super cool. He's a mototaxista, Motorcycle taxi driver. He had some sweet questions about the bible I had never thought of. Like when Christ told the Apostles that John the Baptist was Elias. A prophet who had already died. It was cool. He told us he doesn't have religion because none of the ones he's visited have everything he's looking for. That's because he hasn't visited the Church of Jesus Christ. Super baptizable. It's been a while since we've baptized. It's getting annoying. There are just a lot of people here who just flake out after saying they'll commit to something. I guess it's normal. We've been trying to put a list together of incomplete families, and kids who were presented in the church but were not baptized. I'm hoping it'll be a baptism gold mine. Erasmo told us he did it on his missiona and he baptized a ton. We went to this guy from the bishopric's house, David, to try to get the list. When we got there he was installing a new oven with this worker guy. He didn't have the list but we got the worker guy's(Duda) address to teach him. He's David's wife's sister's husband.

So the next day we went to visit him. It took FOREVER to find the dudes house. I almost died in the sun looking for it. This area is turning into a desert cause summer is close. We found the dude's house after talking with a drunk guy who speaks with the devil. Duda is super legit. We just kind of introduced ourselves and talked for a bit. He told us that the day we met him, he was wanting to run out on his wife. He said he quit smoking, and drinking in one day so when he wants to do something he does it. But when we walked in and talked to him something told him to not run out. He said he would go to general conference so we took his word because he's very "opinionated". I did 2 a baptismal interviews that day for the zone leaders, a boy and a girl. They were super cool and super ready to be baptized. The little 8 year old girl chose me to baptize her which was cool. She was funny. Good for the zone leaders!! It had been 2 transfers that Elder Vargas did not baptize. Poor guy.

CONFERENCE.

Conference is like the super bowl for missionaries. Full of new teaching material and it kinda just pumps you up. As well as calling you to repentance at the same time. I have to admit, I have some mad severe ADHD when it comes to listening to things in Portuguese but it was still super powerful and the speakers just hit all the right points. As a missionary, you realize that nobody is perfect, and everyone needs help with something. We all have to take the words from conference and apply them. And help other people apply them too! Between the sessions we baptized the two kids. It was great because there were tons of people in the church to support. When I practiced how the baptism is with the little girl(Emily) she cried. She knew what she was doing when she was baptized, which is rare to find even within adults. All the missionaries who were there sang i believe in Christ, and it was just a great, happy experience. We invited at least 10 people to go to conference and nobody showed up. Including Duda. It made me think of what people are missing when they don't go to conference. The prophet and the apostles of the Savior speak to us 2 times a year and the people just brush it off like it's nothing. We are truly blessed to be members of the church. I'll have to get the Liahona in English to understand everything so I can share all this new stuff! 80,000 missionaries for crying out loud! That's 30,000 more missionaries than we had last year. The Lord is truly hastening his work and were all part of it! Man. Conference is sick. As a missionary, there's really no way not to get super trunky when you're watching conference. They talk about family so much! Cause is so important. Love my family! Well I guess that's all for this week. Love you all and miss you. Christ lives.

Elder Dallin Carroll

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Happy Birthday in Brazil



September 30, 2013

Alrighty familia,
This week was a boatload of goodies. Pday was a bust. All we did was watch the movie about the man who found the Book of Mormon in the trash can without a cover. It's pretty great. He was a minister for another church and started preaching from it because he knew it was true but he didn't know what it was. He was kicked out of the church he was preaching in and eventually he found the missionaries and was baptized like 20 years later. It's a great example of how powerful the book is, even when you don't know what you are reading! The rest of the day I prepared my training for the district meeting. It was about acompanhamento. I really don't know what that word would be in English (to monitor) but it was about how we have to stay in contact with the investigators who are marked for baptism every day so that nothing can help trip them up. It was really important this week because the zone had a ton of marked baptisms and we've had terrible numbers for the past 2 weeks. On Tuesday when I gave the training it was pretty short and to the point. I used pmg (?) and kind of burned the missionaries a bit. But sometimes you have to burn to wake them up. I talked about how it is super easy to teach and to mark people for baptism, but when it comes to the baptism itself, Satan gets in the way. He waits until the very last second to trip people up and put little thoughts in their heads. He's evil! But that's what acompanhamento is for.

This week was full of just kicking people to the curb, the people that Elder Doyel and I gave too many chances and needed to let go since the start. There are just too many people who don't care about their lives. Idk (I don't know) , it's kind of hard for me to understand how people can believe in everything you're telling them, but don't do anything to gain the blessings. It sounds really good when they hear it but when it comes to acting and practicing real faith, they just fall. It's a real shame to let people go but we need to do it to give other people who will progress a chance. It's the missionary cycle of get and let go. So we've been doing a lot of contacts this week, lots of door knocking. We actually found a few good people.

Junior and Jean;

They're 2 young men who play soccer at their school. They both play goalie so it was fun to joke about that is better. They assured us that they have the same amount of time to play during the games. Caio went with us and made friends with them. The ward really needs young men. There's only one that prepares the sacrament every Sunday. That's Caio. He's a boss. We're trying to find him some friends. Jean and Junior both said that the Restoration totally makes sense and that when they receive their answer from God about the Book Of Mormon they will get baptized. Done, haha. They didn't go to church even though they said they would. We'll try to fix that this week.

Anderson and Ianca.

They are a married couple with a 2 year old daughter. On the first visit Anderson said that his family was in need of the Word of God, so we gave it to him. It was hard to get a hold of him after our first visit but we finally got to visit them again and his wife was there this time. We taught the restoration and challenged them to be baptized. They said yes but didn't go to church so we have to move their baptismal date back. During the lesson it was great. It just showed in their faces that they were understanding and a light kind of just went off in their brains, like they were finally relieved that they found the true church of Jesus Christ. The spirit was just really strong and you could just tell they were feeling it. It was awesome.

Daiane and Daniela

So this one night we were just really not excited at all because all of our appointments had fallen through and there was one more hour left in the night. We said a prayer in the middle of the road asking for help, and for something that would excite us. After the prayer I saw this dude walking by and felt the strong impression to follow him and try to teach him. We followed him for a bit but realized he was going too fast and that it would be weird if we just chased him down to make small talk about Jesus. But we stopped following him in a place where we had already felt the impression to knock this one door. So we knocked it and we found these 2 girls who were excited to learn about the gospel. We taught them and they had some really good questions. It showed that they were paying attention and that they were actually trying to learn. They said they would go to church and our English class, but they didn't go to either. But they're good to teach because they're sponges. They will soak up information and doctrine until they sink in the waters of baptism.

MY BIRTHDAY WAS COOL. We helped the sisters in their area with finding new people. I think we spend like 4 hours knocking doors for them. We actually found some pretty sweet people. This side of Pernambuco is actually really great for doing contacts. The people either say yes or no. And when it's yes, they're super receptive. Their area is like an hour away so I spent my Birthday sleeping on buses and knocking on doors. Pretty solid. When I got back some members had asked me to go to their house that night. When we went there they all started singing "para bems" and there was a huge cake! I never even told anyone it was my birthday but it all turned out being cool. They gave me a tshirt with a bunch of random Portuguese slang from Pernabuco and Erasmo gave me a light up yo-yo. Have I told you that all the little kids in the road just play with yo-yos all day? It's this weird phase and all the convenient stores are selling tons of yo-yos here. I had that one yo-yo phase in my childhood where I collected all the cool ones that I saw and tried to do tricks so it's kind of fun to make friends with the kids in the road and amaze them with my finely tuned yo-yo skills (sarcasm). Anyways, at that little party, they asked me to sing for them so I sang Abide with Me Tis Eventide. It's a sad hymn but they wanted it so I sang it. They filmed it and said they would put it on Facebook for my mom to see so look out for that mom!

Sunday we had one investigator in the chapel. It was disappointing because we always invite a ton. But after church we had Ward Council and brought up our ideas to integrate the investigators. We're going to start having an activity every Friday with cool stuff. Stay tuned on that. But the members are cool here. Everyone served missions so they know what it's like to clean out your teaching group, so they're helping us out. We want to put some soccer in there too for the young men we're teaching. It'll be sweet. Man this week went by fast. But it was packed with stuff! Being on a mission is great. I'm learning a lot about Christ and myself. What I lack to be what he wants me to be and what I need to be to be a better missionary/person. I love this gospel and my family. Just want to make ya'll proud! Love you.

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

This photo was taken in the MTC in Provo back in November 2013.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Learning

This picture was taken in Dallin's old area.  It's amazing what I find on Facebook!

September 23, 2013

This. week. was. interesting.

Monday was a regular pday despite the fact that we were going to go to the temple and to Zone conference over a two day period of time during the week. That's a lot of time taken from missionary work, and we were surprised that it was going to be like that. For Pday we moved the other elders out of our house and into a new beautiful, white house in their area. It was depressing to see their house in comparison to ours, haha. Ours is totally a missionary house and theirs is like a white porcelain piece of art. They aren't allowed to put stuff on the walls because it's so clean and new. We moved them with this mule drawn carriage which was pretty cool. I think I already wrote about this.... 

Anyway, we woke up on Tuesday completely whipped cause of the move and the stuff we did in the city so it was a good thing that we were going to take a bus ride that lasted for 1.5 hours. You can sleep and it's comfortable. A missionary's best friend is sleep. We met up with the sisters and we all went to Recife together. Me and Bochi almost missed the bus but we literally ran to pay for the ticket and then ran to the bus. We sweated. Then slept. Erasmo had sent us with a box to give to another missionary at the zone conference because he met up with a friend of this missionary's mom. So we left the box on the bus and were super stressed when we realized at the temple. Bochi was more stressed than I was because he had already been companions with this Elder. The Elder is from our group so we know him pretty well. At the temple we did a session which was great. There really is nothing like the temple. You can't feel that kind of peace anywhere else. After the temple we went to buy ice cream and we got fat in the annex. The sisters made brownies. I was really craving something healthy. After the temple we went to stay at some other elder's house in Recife. The bus on the way there was horrible, totally packed and sweaty. It was a relief when we got out. At this house there was this Elder from one of the African islands that speaks Portuguese. It was cool to hear his accent. So we got up in the morning and went to zone conference. A lot of my friends were there. Felipe, Kennedy, etc... we had a good time. Elder Kennedy is finally training. Good for him. His filho (companion) is from Chile so he doesn't even speak Portuguese. Good luck with that buddy.
The conference was sweet. The temple president was the one who was speaking to us and he has already been a Mission President so he knows his stuff. WE talked about how we need to be more efficient in our teaching and finding new people to teach. Stuff we've already heard but repetition is always good. There's always a huge lunch  in the middle of the meeting and there's more food than you could ever want. It's like a big missionary party. At lunch we got all of our mail, 3 packages for me!! ha ha best day ever. 2 from the family and one from Abby. It's always exciting to get mail. The rest of the conference was very spiritual, President Lanius is awesome. He's super tough but very spiritual. His voice is like the black dude from the Sand Lot, but the Portuguese version. 

On the way back we went to the mission office to get supplies. WE picked up this big heavy box of Books of Mormon. Suuuuper heavy. Keep in mind that we had my 3 packages too. It was super hard to carry everything in the bus because there were so many people. I wanted to die. We barely got the bus back to Caruaru. It was another one of those running to catch things moments, with a bunch of boxes. Once again we got back home completely whipped. And got a call from the assistants about the box we lost and how it had a wedding ring in it..(don't worry it didn't)...They were just burning us and not even trying to help the situation. WE called Ribeiro the next day to apologize. We spent some time going to the bus place to look for it. It was nowhere to be found. We failed. 

With the time we had left in the week we taught some random people because we were trying to grow our teaching group. WE had this girl, Mirele marked but she wasn't home Saturday or Sunday so we couldn't baptize her. Depressing... next week it will happen. I went on splits with Vargas and we found this kid, Beto who had already been marked and 8 people in his family had already been marked too. I don't know what happened but I want to baptize everyone! The zone was really struggling with baptisms this week and last week. WE had a miracle happen with the sisters who had one baptism for this week on Sunday. That's one baptism in 2 weeks for our zone. BAD.  So we did another division for Vargas to go there with my companion to do the interview. I was with Jose in the church, but we had split up to be in our separate wards. It was really strange being without my comp but I wasn't breaking rules ha ha. I sang in Church this Sunday. I sang "Come thou Fount" in English. Nobody understood but everyone said that they felt it. Even in strange languages we can feel the spirit through music. It's sweet! Church ended and we did weekly planning. We decided that we are super unorganized and we need to repent and change. I got a call from Erasmo and he was telling me about how we're good missionaries but also how we should love the people we teach more. He passed me a scripture... 2 Nephi 33:3... It got to me. We talked about how sometimes bad numbers bother us more than the fact that the person didn't want to get baptized or hear our message. It was a great eye opener. I owe him some peanut butter. Every day he has been asking me if my package has gotten here so I can give him some.  Funny. Peanut butter is impossible to find here. I also ended up talking to Elder Ribeiro about his lost box and all the things that were inside it. Apparently his girlfriend had gone to the US and bought him a bunch of stuff. He was cool about it and I'll give him some of my stuff. Me and Bochi messed up big time. Well this week was a great learning experience to be less careless and to love investigators.

We're going through a transition of kicking people out of our teaching group and getting some more people to teach. It's a cycle of trying to find the elects. Well family, I love you and miss you. And I was super excited to get my birthday box! It was perfect! The jump rope is better than the one I bought in Sao Paulo, and the pushup bars are making me sore. They let you have a wider range of motion. It's good. And my birthday cereal!! Can't have a birthday without Cracklin Oat Bran. Nobody understands why I pick it but whatever. Man.. gratitude... I love my family! and the Gospe and Jesus Christ.
Love,
Elder Carroll