Thursday, March 28, 2013

March 25, 2013

Hello America,

"Hows everything going there? Everything is just great here."  This is what I remember as being the beginning of all the letters Dad wrote to his family on his mission. Thought I would pay tribute haha.  Anyways... seriously everything is going well here.  There's always something new every week.  There's always a new learning experience with Portuguese, culture, and just the gospel in general.  I don't know if I talked about Dagina in the last letter but she was the so called impossible-to-baptize.  We set a date to baptize her this week!  It was truly a miracle.  We really didn't do that much except to give her an invitation and try to teach her without success.  Her sister told us at the end of the last pday that Dagina got in a fight with her "husband" and wants to be baptized now, but she doesn't want anyone to know/come to the baptism so she can surprise all her member friends on Sunday what she gets confirmed a member in front of the whole ward.  We marked her for Wednesday but it didn't work out so now we're going to baptize her this Wednesday instead of last.  Miracles.  Also this week something unfortunate happened to me and my companion's bowels because of something we ate so we had to stay home for a whole day.  We missed a lot of opportunities to teach but eventually got them back.  Also, I tried to send ya'll a crab in a bottle from the market in San Jose but apparently I'm not allowed to send stuff like that.  haha. You'll just have to wait a couple years.

Another good thing that happened this week was that we finally got a hold of Eduardo and his wife Adriane. They're always busy and we were about to boot them because we went to their house every single day.  We began to think that they didn't want to receive us. But yesterday we taught them the first lesson.  It was cool because we brought one of the young men with us.  We taught 2 first lessons yesterday. The other was a reference from the member we built the guarda ropa for, Davi.  The guy was awesome.  He talked about the gospel like he was ready for baptism.  My Portuguese was flawless during the lesson and I felt really good about it. He said I was intelligent for learning Portuguese in 3 months.  It was just an awesome lesson. The young man that was still with us and he testified and talked about the Book of Mormon.  At the end I felt strongly impressed to challenge him to be baptized so I used the "when you know these things are true through prayer will you be baptized?"  The dude said, "yes!"  It was my first official non-casual baptismal invite and it was super legit.  Batismo!!!! haha. I was so pumped after; the only thing that went wrong was during the First Vision lesson because the soccer team here won and everyone in the town started flipping out.  It was a little frustrating but we got through it.

This week were planning on baptizing 5 people; Dagina, Henrique, Alessandra, Andreza, and Cristiane.  I think our companionship is currently baptizing more than anyone in the whole mission so that definitely feels good. My companion is a boss and is fearless. He just throws out Baptismal invites like candy and the people accept, but really these people have been ready for a while and would've been baptized eventually. BUT 5 IN THE SAME WEEK? Ridiculous. I thought we would would have to settle for 4 for a second there because it was hard to get the permission from Cristianes mom but, we got it!

There's this place outside our window that plays 90s hits from the U.S.  It's hilarious because I always know all the words and sing along while I'm studying. They're mostly ballads from Brian Mcknight and Seal and guys like that. Oh, and another thing, MY COMPANION IS TRUNKY OUT OF HIS MIND. He has a cd of songs about being trunky on the mission and he plays it ever pday. He's getting in my head. Felipe and him always watch movies till midnight and sometimes they wake me up and I have to yell at them. And I can in Portuguese!  It's satisfying, haha.  Every week we have to fill up our huge water tank with water from the clean fountain down the road.  It's funny because everyone gets their water from the same fountain or they just buy it. Oh and every Sunday Kelly and Fabiana's kids walk into the Sacrament meeting with flowers in their hands and give them to me. It's hilarious. I was just sitting there with a handful of flowers for the whole meeting. Sunday we also helped bring a handicapped sister to church. She lives in an appartment on the second floor with cement stairs that don't have a railing.  It always feels good to serve. Another thing I've noticed about the people here is they keep the model pictures in the picture frames, they have picture frames with pictures of Jessica Alba and families that aren't theirs. It's funny. The members here are amazing. There's always someone with a reference for us and this Sunday we met a 13 year old kid who came to church a couple times who already wants to be baptized so we're going to teach him and his family this week and baptize everyone!

All the leaders I talked to this week said I will train.  We had interviews with the President and he asked me if I'm ready to train. I answered yes but was thinking kind of, haha. There are a lot of Americans coming so there's a good chance I will train one of them.  How the heck am I going do that?? -Napolean Dynamite voice.. Seriously. If I train an American it will be the hardest thing I've ever had to do. But come what may right? That's what missions are for, challenges and growth and conversion.  I'll find out about that next week and let ya'll know, of course.

Well, I hope all is well on the other side and that things aren't too stressful with the wedding. Remember to pray and read your scriptures every day. God wants to bless you and is just waiting for you to ask him! -that was my
message for the members this week.

Love ya'll, have a good week!
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll


Monday, March 25, 2013


This is an additional little paragraph Dallin sent me last week to add to his letter....oops, I forgot to attach it. 

"Today we went to the biggest market in Pernambuco. It was sweet.  It reminded me of the Yellow Daisy Festival. There was one part with tons of produce, one part with tons of meat and another part with tons of crafts.  I looked really hard for a Nativity again for Mom but it just didn't work out.  I tried a fruit called Caqui that looks exactly like a tomato but tastes so sweet, it's ridiculous.  It was mushy but awesome.  I bought a leather satchel because my backpack makes my back sweat a ton.  I haggled with the guy.  He wanted 70r and I brought him down to 50r.  Foi massa!"

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Working Hard

March 18, 2013

Hello World,

This week was pretty normal.  We had some pretty cool teaching opportunities and a lot of effortless success.  I feel like God is blessing us a lot.  First off we started teaching this dude named Paulo and his wife Juliana.  They live right next to the church and are very legit.  He owns a bar and is from Rio de Janeiro.  I can't really understand him because he has a different accent and talks super fast.  He's pretty sincere about learning what the the truth is and he really wants to change.  He owns a bar across the street and wants to stop selling alcohol.  He said he would go to church to become spiritually boosted so that when he prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true he would recieve an answer from God.   It turns out he didn't go to church.  We were a little disappointed but had 5 more investigators come to church anyways. We will see what happens with him later.

The family we've been teaching for a long time now (with Kelly, Adriana, Mariana etc...) is just catching fire. Everyone wants to be baptized. They even have a friend who wants to be baptized.  It's awesome. They really love the joy that the church has brought them. Their kids get so excited when we come over and just want to play with us the whole time. Oh and they feed us every time. It's awesome. We kind of just sit with them and talk for half of the time and the other half we teach.  We always end up leaving with some kind of cake or fruit.

We had 2 baptisms this week! Adriana and Kelly. The whole family came to support them, even Adriana's mom who doesn't really like the church.  I made cookies again and everyone died even though they weren't amazing because the stoves here are gas and the ingredients are a little different.  But it was good.  Pretty much the whole ward was there because Saturday is when they have some meeting.  I never know, haha.  It was awesome and exciting.  I love baptizing people.  Something about a baptism just makes you forget about everything else that's going on.  I baptized Kelly.  She came into the water laughing because the water was cold.  It was spiritual and a really happy moment for her. At the end of the month we will baptize Adriana's sister, Andreza, and Kelly's kids, Henrique and Allessandra.  We're going to baptize another girl who goes to church with her friends but her mom doesn't like the church.  She really wants to be baptized and asked her mom.  Her mom said she would have to talk to us! Cool.

Our number of lessons this week was really low because we were helping a sister in the ward build a quarda ropa(It's closet-like cabinet with shelves).  It took us 2 days to build because it was huge and weird but, we got a legit reference out of it and I learned a lot of new words for building stuff.  It's always fun to learn some new vocabulary.

Awesome. This week went by way fast. The weeks here feel like days because every day is just jam packed with stuff to do.  I got so tired this week so it was harder to speak portuguese.  I just have to push through the tiredness and think as hard as I can to push it out. Oh, a funny thing happened this week.  We unlocked the church and the alarm went off.  It was super loud and we didn't know the code.  We tried to call the Bishop but we didn't have a signal!  I ran to the side of the church and called Painho and got the code and ran back and then tried to stop sweating.  It was hilarious. Oh and it turns out people in Brazil talk about the politics of America sometimes too.  They hate Bush and think Obama is nice. Good thing I don't know how to talk about politics in Portuguese.....
Well, I'm glad I'm here and know that the church is true.  I'm so grateful to have been born into this faith and to know the truth and to have the opportunity to share it with others.  It truly changes lives and gives people hope.  Christ lives.  Families are eternal. And the Church is true.

Love you family. You already know I pray for you every day! Hope everything is good on the other side!
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Work and Study

March 12, 2013

Hello all!

This week has been packed with a bunch of stuff but has flown by.  The time here just seems to not even exist.  I get up in the morning and go to bed at night and the in between is just fast and jam packed with new things; disappointments, wins, annoyances, excitement, all of the above.

For our Pday (preparation day) last week we painted the house of Painho.  It took so freaking long, but it was fun.  Everyone was singing songs in Portuguese that I couldn't understand but it's cool.  We also cleared the backyard out.  Basically we changed a yard of weeds into dirt.  I think I've had some experience with that in our ridiculous yard back home!  The paint they use here is just powder and water and they pretty much just slap it on the walls so we didn't have to worry about an even coat.  They have this dog that just loves me.  We'll be sitting and talking and it puts it's head under my hands forcing me to pet it.  I don't know what kind of dog it is, some kind of mut but it's behaivior reminds me of Charlie a lot. It just wants to play even though you don't.
This week I have been trying to get more excited about the work and to be fearless because when you have fear you don't have faith and when you don't have faith, you dont have the spirit.  Basically I'm just bucking up.  I've gotten way better at just not caring what people think.  I like to think I was that way before in English, but speaking portuguese makes it completely different.  I went on division with my district leader again.  He stayed at our place. We made this one contact that really hit me hard. It was this one lady who attends the assembly here. The first question we asked her was, "Do you believe that you will live with your family after this life?"  She said, "no."  Then we started talking about the ressurrection.  She said she believes that only the faithful will be ressurrected and that everyone will be men.  Huh? Oh, and we won't have bodies.  It hit me real hard.  How can you just accept the idea that you won't live with your family again and be perfectly content?  How can you believe all this and not want to search for something better?  She was almost passionate about it.  It just made me realize that there are people out there who are completely lost in life.  It made me more excited about the work and it made me realize that if we don't have the truth,then what is there?  What's the point? I'm glad I know that we can live with our families after this life if we just have faith, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end.  It's so simple. This is why I'm here.

My District Leader said that my Portuguese isn't normal for a new missionary and that he thinks I'll be a trainer.  If this is the case, I need to study my butt off and become independent of my trainer real fast. Istill feel like he does a lot more of the work than I do.  I'll get there. Faith!  It's just so hard to talk to people sometimes that I don't even want to talk and talking is our profession! Work, work, work. Study, study, study.  I think I'm ready for the challenge.
This week we marked Adriana and Kelly to be baptized officially. It's been a long time since we started teaching them. They basically would just pop in and out when we were teaching Mariana and Fabiana but, we decided to get serious with them and spend some real time teaching them after we baptized the other two.  Kelly is like 35 and has 3 kids. She talks way faster than I can even begin to understand.  She's been to church a few times and really loves it and the spirit she feels there.  She's pretty solid and wants to make sure she's ready for baptism.  Adriana is Kelly's niece.  She's 18 years old and has also decided to be baptized so we'll have two baptisms this weekend.  I've promised to make cookies again with the right sugar.  We're trying to get Kelly's children baptized too. They like us a lot but aren't ready yet. We will just have to keep teaching them.  There's another lady that we are trying to baptize who has been to church a billion times.  Her sister is Painho's wife.  She's afraid that she will separate from the church after she gets baptized.  The missionaries have taught her everything but she never said yes.  If we baptize her the Zone Leaders will buy us pizza for every Pday for a month. That's some insentive, plus we want to save her soul too!!!

.....Miscillaneous Stuff....
*No the picture of the house was not mine. It was the house of one of the members where we ate lunch.
*Yes, it's easy to sleep. We all have our own personal fans and I have mine blasting on my face the whole night so I'm good.  I usually wake up with some random bugbites too, even though I use bugspray.
*Yes, we take the bus everywhere.  I've memorized the routes already. Sometimes I want to take the bus instead of walking  to appointments but my companion doesnt so we just walk. I guess it's good excersise.

Today we went to Alto da sé. It was sweet. There are a bunch of old Catholic churches there and awesome views.  I'll try to send some pics.  I took so many.. my companion got kind of impatient but whatever!

Awesome. Hope this email makes up for the one last week. Thought it was kinda weak.
Love you all and I always pray for each member of the family every day! Till next week!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carrol

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Almost Fluent

March 4, 2013

Hello Family and friends.

This week has flown by. Things with the new companion are definitely an improvement. He talks more, and therefore, I talk more, which helps a lot with my Portuguese.  We were talking and I said,  "I'm hoping I'll be fluent in about 2 months" and he said that I was almost fluent.  That really surprised me because I still feel awkward when I speak Portuguese, maybe because my companion talks so fast.  I don't think I could even talk that fast in English!  I swear this guy could talk for days about anything and that's good.  I thought some things would change with the change of companions but, I still get really frustrated in the morning because my brain hasn't switched to Portuguese yet. I don't know why, it's weird.  It's just in the mornings.  My companion said that I will probably train next transfer.  He says I'm the type of missionary the President would choose. Throughout the day I'm fine.  Sometimes I feel really good about my Portuguese and other times it's like, what am I doing here?  I guess it just depends on the conversation and the vocabulary I have for a particular topic.  I understand every word on Sunday because everything is about the gospel, haha.  I've realized that I can have an intimate conversation with a person but when a bunch of people are talking about the same thing amongst each other it's almost impossible for me to just jump in. I've done it like twice, haha.
The Bishop here is so legit. We came home one night just dead and exhausted and he bought us pizzas and cokes and we ate them on his balcony.  He is our next door neighbor so we always say hi to him when we leave the apartment. Weird... the girl using the computer next to me just started staring at me and said my eyes are awesome.. haha thanks.

This Sunday was Stake Conference.  In this area it means that the whole ward(congregation) gets on a bus and goes to a different chapel in Rio Doce. I think there were 6 wards there.  It was cool.  We also got 3 of our investigators to come with us, the sister of Mariana and Fabiana and their niece.  We marked the niece and sister for baptism in 2 weeks.  They think it's just a goal at this point that may not be reachable, but we all know what's gonna happen... come on... Anyways it was cool.  I got to see some of the Elders in my Zone there. We already have inside jokes and everything. Our Zone is legit and everyone respects each other and are just good friends. The President has this new rule that the District Leader has to call us every night and ask how our day went.  It's super annoying because he takes forever even though it should only take like 5 minutes but, I think it's good practice for my Portuguese.  Our District Leader is American and sometimes tries to speak in English to me but I just talk right back in Portuguese.  I actually was told to slow down during one of our lessons by one of our investigators this week.  That's something new.

I'm having a hard time remembering this week. It seems like every week is the same!  So I've definitely gained some fat poundage, not much but it's there.  I grew out of my suit pants. I can't close them all the way so I just zip them and belt them.  I've made a goal for myself to lean out a bit.  I think its pretty impossible though because every meal is just carbs and meat and then dessert.  And the drink is always sugary. You won't be able to recognise me when I get back.  I found out I have a circuit timer on my G Shock so this morning I did a circuit workout with my jumprope, pushups, and abs. Here in Brazil you sweat and you don't stop, even after you take a cold shower.

Some advice for Kyler (Dallin's friend who just left on a mission for Bolivia): Get used to the MTC food. There's a reason they're serving it to you. They're conditioning you!  Oh, and talk to the natives as much as possible. Sit with them at lunch and find ways to talk with them between classes.

I'm always glad to hear from the whole family and receive pictures. I pray for y'all daily and think about you all the time!  Some of our investigators found me on facebook and said our family is beautiful.  I talk about the family all the time to the people here.  It's probably the biggest topic of discussion. Either that or sunscreen and white skin...

Cool.  I can't think of anything else so peace!
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll