Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dallin Likes Jaca

I did a little research on the fruit, Jaca and Acerola that Dallin described eating in one of his emails. The Jaca is a very large fruit that is not originally from Brazil, but it loved the climate of Brazil when it was brought from India. The word jackfruit comes from its Portuguese name, “jaca.” Jaca is a hefty fruit. A medium one is bigger than a watermelon, and heavier. It’s the largest cultivated fruit in the world. To eat jaca, you violently break that thick skin and eat the flesh with your fingers! It can be pretty messy, in a good way. It tastes vaguely like a banana, a strong, slightly sour, fragrant banana.

Acerola is a plant native to Southern and Central America. It produces small edible fruits which strongly resemble cherries.  They are sometimes called Barbados Cherry, Puerto Rican Cherry, and West Indies Cherry. The fruits are widely consumed in South America in fresh and preserved forms.



Teaching and Learning

January 28, 2013

Hello!
 
It's time to write the weekly email. It seems like I've been waiting for this moment for my whole life.  Haha, Just kidding!  This week was better.  Hopefully I didn't sound like a baby in the last email.  I'm growing accustomed to the culture here.  I'm getting used to being sweaty and hot and taking like 3 showers a day. 
 
We got two new families to listen to the first discussion and come to church all in the same week. It seems like these people have been prepared to hear the message of the Gospel. Even though I couldn't really understand them and when they asked me questions about myself I usually couldn't answer back, I know the spirit was felt and that it entered into their hearts. We had 12 of them come to church, six over the age of 8!  It was really cool.  I feel like they really trust us and consider us to be friends.  My companion abandoned me after Sacrament meeting so I was stuck talking to them and telling them what happens after the 1st meeting in church. Surprisingly, it went alright.  Their kids really like me.  The extent of our communication is a thumbs up and that's about it.  The girls we teach always laugh when I talk and just stare at me. It's quite distracting.  I stand out like a sore thumb here.  What better way to advertise the gospel than to be a super pastey white kid in a white shirt, walking through a field of native Brazilian dark people?!  
 
My language is getting better.  I still get pretty frustrated with myself... a lot  and I find myself to be wrong whenever I ask my companion, ├«sso faz sentido? That just leads me to study even more.  I study more here than I ever have in school.  It's ridiculous.  Every time I look at one of my grammar books I feel like there is an endless amount of knowledge to learn.  It's pretty overwhelming at times but I'm trying to take everything one step at a time.  My companion said it would take about 6 months to be very confident with the language.  I can't wait!   It seems unreachable at times, but other times I find myself communicating with people just fine.  My roommates say my Portuguese is really good for only being in the field for 2 weeks so that's good.
 
For Family Home Evening here the Ward members just gather together.  It's awesome.  There's so much food and shouting and just friendship.  I can't understand what they're saying but it seems like fun, haha.  I've never drunk more Coke in my life than I've drunk here.  It's pretty much like drinking tap water here, probably more than tap water because the water is dirty.  It's alright because I still work out every morning.   Also, the Suco here is so awesome. I tried Acerola and it's my favorite so far.  It's orange.  I don't know what the actual fruit looks like but it tastes awesome. One of our investigators gave us this fruit called Jaca.  It's a freaking huge spiny melon.  The inside is filled with these white sluglike golfball sized fruit segments with seeds in each individual one. They are so slimy.  At first I didn't like it but I kept eating it and I learned to love it. We put the contents in a bowl in the fridge for like a week. Eventually everything in the fridge smelled and tasted like Jaca.  We made Suco out of it. Freaking bomb!  It tasted like banana mixed with vanilla.
 
Things with my companion are a little, to no better. He's frustrated perpetually and never tells me anything about our investigators, whether they're members or not, never tells me where were going, when we're going, what we're doing, what things mean in Portuguese, etc... Im gonna have to sit him down and talk to him in the best Portuguese I can muster up. Sometimes I feel like the people here think I'm stupid because I don't speak Portuguese. I WENT TO COLLEGE.  It's funny, though. When people say, quero, which means I want, it sounds like they're saying my name. I try to respond and we just laugh because they weren't saying my name.
 
So apparently this is the hilliest area in the mission. I guess that's cool. We sweat a lot.  If you've seen Hulk,or Fast Five, or The Bourne Ultimatum, some of the places we walk around look exactly like those villas. It's like Favela in COD, Landon. The people here all love the show Walking Dead and How I Met Your Mother. They always flip out whenever I tell them the Walking Dead was filmed in my city.  It's awesome. All-in-all I'm still having a hard time adjusting and speaking the language but, whatever. I know I'm where I'm supposed to be.  I just make sure to read my Book of Mormon and pray everyday and study my butt off with the language.  I know it's not going to happen instantly so I'm trying to be patient.  One of the things I learned this week while reading was that if we are faithful and worthy and are doing everything God wants us to do, he will deliver us from hard times.  He will bless us when we obey.  If we are living unworthily, it is foolish to expect anything from him.  He gave us everything and just expects us to try our best to be like Christ.  I love you all and hope everything is going alright and that ya'll are being blessed!  I pray for our family every day!  Keep me updated with everything!  Love you!
 
-Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

First Week in Recife



January 21, 2013

Hello all who are reading!

I arrived in Recife on last Tuesday. It was so intense. The plane ride was like 4 hours. I had my CTM companion by my side so I felt pretty comfortable with the situation. At the airport I tried to call the family but the payphones were completely Brazilian. I tried! We landed in Recife and were met by the President and the Zone leaders/secretaries. They all started saying things in Portuguese that I couldn’t understand. Oh well, I’m trying to get used to that. I feel like an idiot, always. I must seem antisocial for our lunch appointments because I don’t say anything. I try to chime in whenever there’s something I know how to say but it usually ends up being a complete fail. Whatever, I’m learning.

My companion is Brazilian and speaks like 2 words of English. I guess that’s the best way to learn the language. I feel like he gets frustrated with me. The first few days have been pretty rough trying to adapt to the Brazilian culture. All of my roommates are Brazilians too so I’m the only North American for miles. It’s soooooo frustrating when I’m trying to express myself. I have zero real life vocabulary. I think I’m learning fast, though. My companion always takes about a week to answer me when I ask him anything about Portuguese. He must think I’m an idiot.

I’ve just been reading the scriptures, books from my missionary library and studying Portuguese. I just recently finished reading Our Search for Happiness. It was awesome. It covers virtually everything about Mormonism and what we are all about. It should be a prerequisite for nonmembers before they read the Book of Mormon.

People here love Bruno Mars, Coldplay and Adele. It’s awesome. When walking in the streets all you hear is Latino music everywhere you go. When I first got here it was a complete culture shock. I was in complete awe. We took the bus to our area and it was completely packed and I felt completely out of place. I was sweating my face off and we had to wheel both my huge bags (suitcases) through the city in the dark. I thought the wheels were going break off because the streets here aren’t exactly smooth. Everywhere I walk people stare at me and it’s not just because I’m wearing a shirt and tie because they don’t stare at my companion. It’s like they’ve never seen a blonde man before. All the little girls at the houses we visit want to touch my hair. It’s pretty funny. I try to wear sunscreen every time I go out. It’s super hot here and the sun is very intense because it’s only 8 degrees away from the equator. I just want to let dad know that the shoes he sent me are perfect. There’s nothing wrong with them at all. They’re just perfect for my abnormally wide feet.

The food here is all the same, beans, rice, noodles and usually fried chicken. There was this one time we had this meat called Figado and it was quite possibly the worst thing I’ve ever eaten. It was like gristly beef. Hopefully I will never eat that again. Usually the food is pretty good even though it’s pretty much the same thing every time. They change it up enough to where it’s not getting old yet. Every house you go to gives you Suco(sp?) It’s freaking bomb. I think it’s just ground up fruit in water although I’m not quite sure because whenever they try to tell me what it is, I don’t ever understand them. Try to make it mom.

The apartment we live in is pretty nice for being here. It’s filthy and there are bugs and stuff but I’m used to it. I like to sweep the floor every day just to keep myself sane. We have hot water and a toilet so that’s good. We can still use
missionties.com. I don’t want the family to use it though. I’d rather get emails from you all once a week instead of waiting for mail for forever, unless you want to send a package or something. The poverty here is like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life. Totally shocking! Everyone lives in small 2 room houses with cement floors, no air conditioning and bugs all over the place. They always find a way to give you something to eat, though. It’s going take some getting used to for me. Just don’t ever take advantage of the fact that you live in America and that you have pretty much everything you could possibly want!

I never knew how much I liked talking until I couldn’t talk. I feel like a mute. I do try to speak Portuguese but my vocabulary is so limited that if I want to say something but don’t know how I just keep my mouth shut. I’m not going lie, I feel pretty useless during lessons. I want to say stuff but I can’t. I have the gospel vocabulary but I can’t understand what people are saying so I don’t really know what they need. It’s the hardest, must frustrating thing ever but I know I’m here for a noble purpose and that the Lord will bless me if I just work and have faith in him. During lessons sometimes my body just wants to sleep so bad because I can’t understand anything. My mind just goes into idle mode and by body follows suit. I really do try to listen. It’s frustrating when the 3 year old in the room knows more Portuguese than you. Oh well, it will come. The two Americans in my district say it takes about 4 to 6 months to start being semi-fluent and understanding the majority of what people are saying. I’m getting there... I’m in it for the long haul. This first week has definitely been a very humbling experience for me. I’ve had to fall on my knees many times praying for comfort. I know it will be worth it. I’ve been reading so much that whenever I can speak to people I feel like I will just explode with knowledge and the people just won’t be able to handle it.

I’m very grateful to be here and I know it’s where I’m supposed to be even though it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s harder than any race or audition and any trial up to this point. I have a firm faith in Christ, that through him I can get to the light at the end of the tunnel and become a good missionary. I love you all and I can’t wait to hear from EVERYONE. I’m excited for the wedding even though I won’t be there. Glad to hear everything is just falling into place with the wedding plans. I want to hear all about it!

Things I need:

*Those scripture pictures that mom got me for Christmas so I can put them in my Portuguese scriptures and know what I’m talking about.

*Clearasil pads

*CD player with all sorts of church music. I’m sure Landon would have fun making me some cds: Eclipse, Motab, EFY, Acoustic hymns, the works!


I love you all. I hope everything is going as well as it sounds! Keep me updated on everything and I will do the same. I miss you all… Ate mais!


PS: I’m not being held captive in Mexico for drug trafficking. IDK what that’s all about but I hope the scumbags who did that will get caught and thrown in jail. You don’t mess with the Elders and their families!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Finally...He's in Recife!

 
 
January 15, 2013
 

Hello Dear Families!

We just want to inform that your missionaries arrived safely in the Brazil Recife Mission!
They are such great missionaries and we are excited to see their work.
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll
Elder Kiley Pierson Gross
Elder Eric Scott Kennedy
Sincerely,
___________________
Elder Venancio
Executive Secretary
Brazil Recife Mission
+55 (81) 3223-9262
+55 (81) 9186-6321
 
***And...in case you were wondering what the sign says on the wall:  "Make space in the baggage claim for a new experience. Coming soon, a new store."  (Thanks Brandon for the interpretation!)

Leaving the CTM

January 13, 2013

Dear missionary parents,
 
Today your missionaries' district had exit interviews before leaving this week for the field. Photos were allowed. I thought you would like to see your son (all dressed up) with his MTC district. (Elder Volk came later and is moving to a Brazilian district.)

Don't they look like they are ready to go and share the gospel? These are really wonderful elders. Thank you for sending them to Brazil. Elder Stephenson and I have enjoyed working with them at the MTC.

There are two photos. One of just the district and one of the district with the Branch Presidency.

Photo 1:
E. Mason Volk, E. Ian Frogley, E. Kiersten Gross, E. Joshua Scott, E. Kiley Gross, E. Erick Kennedy, E. Dallin Carroll, and E. Tyler Freshour

Photo 2:
Same missionaries with Elder Adams and Elder Stephenson on the left and Pres. and Sister Sugiyama near the middle.


Cookies and Pizza

 There is a cool little cookie shop across the street from the CTM called Mr. Cheney's cookies.  Anyone can go online and order cookies and milk, pizza, cinnamon rolls, pie, ice cream Sundaes and other awesome treats for their missionary.  The store contacts the Elders and schedules a time when they want to come in on their PDay to eat their treats.  While the Elder eats their goodies a picture is taken of them and emailed to the person who purchased the food. 
Dallin looks pretty happy with his warm pizza that was delivered from the Pizza Hut down the road.  I hope he shared with his companion!

We Love Pictures!

These are some random pictures that Dallin sent us while he was still in the CTM in Sao Paulo on January 8, 2013







Sorry, I couldnt get this picture to rotate! Just rotate your head and it will be a great picture for you.  I have to convert the photos that he sends me because they come in a different format.  It has been a little challenging.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Working Hard

January 8, 2013
 
Family and friends...
This week has been a little different. I've made a lot of progress with a lot of things. This week we were practicing placing Books of Mormon and street contacts because we got to proselyte around Sao Paulo yesterday. Each companionship got 4 Book of Mormons to place in 3 hours. I was pretty scared at first because when people are by themselves doing their thing, idk why, but they just look menacing... haha. But I dared myself to place the first one. It was so easy. It was this guy sitting in one of those little magazine stands. I went to buy some gum and after I bought it I gave it to him and gave him a brief overview. He seemed pretty excited and grateful for it so that broke the ice for the rest of the day. We ended up placing all of our 4 books in about 20 minutes. Easy as pie. People are really nice here and are probably just excited to get something for free, haha. We always told them what it could do for them, of course. There was this one lady in a store we talked to who knew some English and she said she had already been given a Portuguese Book of Mormon. Pretty much everyone within a mile radius of the CTM has been given about three... but we said we could give her an English one so she could compare and learn English. It was way cool. We're going back today to do that. Hopefully her wanting to learn English will drive here to want to read the book even more. People just don't know what they're missing. The gospel is for everyone. I don't know how I was so blessed to be born into it. That's one of the things Elder Holland said to us when he spoke on thanksgiving... He just doesn't know why we're so lucky either. So of course we had a lot of rejections because the whole city has been thoroughly scanned with missionaries but we ended up taking some Book of Mormons from one of our district members cause they couldn't give them away. So by the end of the day we placed 7 Books of Mormon. Pretty sweet. We had the record for the day.
Portuguese is coming along. I've been studying real world vocabulary for the past week because all I knew before that was gospel vocabulary. I figure I'll need to say stuff about food and stuff so I can survive when I get to Recife. My companion and I gave a 30 minute lesson to our district yesterday too. It was on the doctrine of Christ. That topic never gets old, and can always be refreshed. We found these sweet videos the church semi-recently put out about Christ. They're called Bible videos about Christ or something like that. They're way realistic and not cheesy at all so that's always good. They definitely brought the spirit into our lesson.
We got some Brazilian roommates this week. That's always fun. But not this time. One of them wakes up at 4 every single morning and goes to bed at 12 every night. I don't know how he's living. But if he keeps doing that, he's either gonna die from sleep deprivation or something else...
On another note... That's insane that Ashton is engaged! I thought it would never happen. Jk I saw it coming from a mile away. haha That's cool that is was in Sim's park. Lots of classic memories there. Great Suwanee spot. Glad she's happy.
Things I need.
More sunscreen... Its like 15 bucks here and I only have 2 and I got burnt proselyting.
Face wash and creme
2 in one Oldspice wash. They do not sell body wash here so I'll need like 3
Ties. As long as they don't have cartoons on them, they are considered to be conservative so send as many good ones as you can. Orange and red ones.
And some fun surprises I guess. I would like hand written letters from everyone. Sorry I can't respond to everyone's individual letters because I don't have time but ya know...
Maybe some candy?
I love you all. I love hearing from you every week and getting the updates and whatnot. I need some more sports updates, so Landon get on that! Ate proximo semana!
Love, Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Short, Medium, and Tall

Elder Carroll is pictured here with his two companions.  We don't know their names because he just refers to them as the "short one" and the "tall one".

Monday, January 7, 2013

A New Year

January 2, 2013
 
Hello family!
 
Things are going well here in Brazil. I hope your New Years was good. This past week was a little different. My companion broke our key into the doorknob of our room so we had to move all of our stuff into another room down the hall. My Brazilian roommates left for the field this week too. I'm kind of glad because all they wanted to do was trade stuff for all of my Nike stuff, so annoying. But, it was fun to try to talk to them in Portuguese. The same day we changed rooms, we got a new member of our district. He's from Utah but, he's half Brazilian so he already knew a little Portuguese before he got here.  He's not fluent so we're on the same level.  I only have one companion now because my other companion became companions with the new guy.
 
New Years here was crazy. As soon as midnight hit, the whole city went nuts. There were fireworks for miles and miles. It was like a war zone, people screaming and yelling and lazer pointers and stuff. I got a sweet video on my camera. We got some extra gym time that day. I think they wanted to tire us out so we wouldn't stay up. Yeah, right. We also watched the Emma Smith movie. It was good. I recieved the package you sent me through missionties.com. Thanks a lot. Pizza is hard to come by here and cookies are always amazing at Cheney's and milk is always way hard to get here.
 
Today we went to the temple. It was sweet. When we got back we went to a real Brazilian Rodigio Grill. It's pretty much like Tucano's but better. The meat here is amazing, even at the CTM. I ate like 5 chicken hearts. They just taste like a slimjim bouncy ball... weird description but, OK. I also got your letter from missionties Mom. It's always nice to be filled in on everything. Make sure you post the missionties.com information on facebook so friends and family can use it. I need Ashton's, Grandma's, and whoever else's emails you can think of. Tell Landon to check his email more often. And tell Ashton to email me.
 
My Portuguese is coming along but I feel like progression has slowed dramatically and I've kinda hit a plateau. I really want to be in the field right now. It sounds amazing especially since everyone says Recife is the best place. I've become addicted to Guarana, the drink. It's the best thing ever. Y'all need to go buy some at Costco or something.
 
Today I think I got one of my white shirts taken with our sheets by the laundry lady. Now I only have 2 of the good material shirts. The short sleeved ones that we got from Mister Mac are the best. The material doesn't rub my neck like the Izod ones do.  If you could send me some that would be awesome. I also ran out of Xout face wash and my creme and pills. Those are important here so that's another thing I desprately need. I found Haribos (gummy bears) at the grocery store here so that's all the candy I need to make me happy.
Over all I'm growing stronger in the gospel, strengthening my testimony, and improving my teaching skills. It's really amazing how much I've improved since the beginning but I know I still have a long ways to go.
Well, I love you all and pray for you daily. Can't wait to hear from everyone! Bye!
-Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Christmas Note

Dec. 25, 2012

Dad,

It's Christmas so I get extra email time! I'm gonna just tell you what's been going on lately since I just sent y'all a long email yesterday. Christmas is way different here.  As soon as the clock struck 12 the whole city went nuts. People were yelling in the streets and fireworks were going off for pretty much the whole night. I couldn't really fall asleep that well but that's okay because we got to sleep in this morning, 8:00 in the morning is when we got to wake up as opposed to 6:30 which was super awesome. They gave us so much chocolate it's ridiculous. I just wanna binge on it so I don't have to eat it ever again. It's impossible to eat healthy here but I figure it doesn't matter for 2 years.

An area seventy came and spoke to us this morning. Of course it had to be translated but it was great. He talked about how every day for a missionary is Christmas because we get to bring Christ into peoples lives. We got jipped of our pday this week because of Christmas so I don't get to send people letters and stuff but, as long as I get to email it's good! We had a great testimony meeting last night and it was a great spiritual experience. Its always good to get spiritually awakened.

The language is still improving I guess. It's hard to monitor growth in learning a language but now that I think about it I've learned so much since the first week. The other day we were talking about how Portuguese has double negatives and that doing it any other way besides that would be wrong. It blew our minds! HOW CAN YOU NOT HAVE NOTHING!! Hahaha. After talking about it for about an hour with deep philosophical conversation we finally came to terms with the fact that we would just have to accept it.

I feel so fat right now, it's not even funny. I know I'm not but they just give us so much chocolate! Something I'm trying to really strive to do right now is 100% obedience. It's kind of hard when there's a rule for anything you could do or are doing but I'm told I will be blessed for it so I'm gonna try hard to improve. It's weird that we only have 3 weeks left in the MTC and kind of nerve racking. People say that once we get out into the field that we will want to come back to the MTC. I don't see that happening. All the Brazilians say Recife is the best place ever. Two of the Elders in my district are going to Recife and we're just getting so excited.

It kind of sounds like the Hobbit wasn't that great. I guess if Landon likes it then I will. We've been listening to Lord of the Rings music so much here. It's one thing we all love. I mean who doesn't love Lord of the Rings! Brings back so many memories. If I'm allowed to listen to that in the mission field I will be asking you to send me a cd or something cause it's so epic.

Tell Ashton to send me an email please and set up the mission ties thing and post on facebook.

I'm really glad to be here even though it's hard to be away from home for the holidays. I've never had to experience that before but, hearing you're stories about your mission makes me so excited (Dallin's dad's stories). I feel like that dog story is going to happen to me here. There are so many dogs here I can just hear them at night freaking out at all the fireworks and stuff.  They use buses and taxis and they drive so crazy here. I just wanna stop talking about bringing people the gospel and just do it already! Its getting redundant and I just want to learn by doing. Having ADD doesn't help that much when you're in a classroom for 14 hours a day but, I feel like when I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, the Lord blesses me with focus that I would have never had before the mission. I'm definitely the one in my companionship who always has to keep us on task. It's hard to do sometimes when two people are opposing me but in the end they know what needs to be done and they go with it. Good to hear work went well this year and you won a bunch of stuff. That's impressive. Probably the only one at your high school reunion who looks even remotely like they did 30 years ago. Anyways I hope you all are having a good Christmas and that everyone's wishes came true. Let me know how it goes and answer today if you can cause I might be able to get on again today to reply! Thanks for the love Dad. Love you!

Elder Dallin Carroll