Friday, May 24, 2013

Thumbs Up

 May 20, 2013


This week has been pretty tough. Training is way different because you have to talk a ton. It's made my Portuguese even better though so that's good! This letter isn't going to be super great because I didn't write down anything to write to y'all.  This week we were really just trying to find new people to teach because our teaching group has just been exhausted and we've already baptized everyone but, we are working a lot with the members to try to find new ones. We got some references last week and this week that we've been trying to contact and teach. We've almost contacted every one of them but haven't had many chances to teach because everyone is "busy".... 

We got a reference from Bondade, the other companionship that lives in our house.  They met him by doing contacts. They ran into this member on the street from Sao Paulo who just moved here and they asked him if he had anyone we could teach and he said, "Yeah, I'm living with this guy who would be interested."  He said he would get baptized for sure.  When we found this out we were pretty excited.  We went there and taught the dude. We taught the whole first lesson and there was even another guy there listening in. But when we got to the baptism part he said he had already been baptized.  So when that happened, the dude from Sao Paulo started interrupting and saying that this is the only church of Jesus Christ and just interrupting and speaking really loud and driving to spirit away.  I realized this guy was a little bit crazy and needed to be calmed down because he wasn't even letting the investigator say what he needed to say.  I kind of had to take the floor and level it out.  We ended up leaving the read and pray challenge and talked about the authority to baptize because once he knows that this church is true, he knows that the priesthood is needed to perform all ordinances and that he needs to get baptized again with the right authority. We'll see what happens with him.  It's in the hands of the Lord and the Holy Ghost. 

This week we've kinda just been walking around and trying to find people to teach. I started asking myself why aren't people ever home and why is it that when we make an appointment, it always falls through.  People just lack commitment here. We started tracting a little bit but seriously every time we went into someone's house, we either found out that they aren't married legally, or that they are an inactive member. Literally more often than not! Makes it hard to baptize to say the least.  My companion and I are fasting for new people to teach.  We did find some random people this week but the majority don't have that much interest or potential.  We went to get Acaii while we were discouraged and had nothing to do, and decided we should just teach a quick lesson to the lady at the counter.  She's not married legally, but has interest.  She said she would go to church, but she never did.  Another person we tried to teach was a little strange because when we talked about sin, she said she didn't sin and just lived a normal life.  I realized there was something wrong.  We taught her what sin was and everything.  She laughed randomly and she couldn't pay attention. I don't know, it just seemed like she was sick in the head so we stopped teaching her, because if you don't know wrong from right you can't be baptized.

OH! I just remembered something weird. One day we were coming back home to talk to the bishop to see if he had anyone we could teach, and he told us there was going to be a wedding in the church. We all walked there and waited for about an hour for the bride and groom to show up. They were supposed to be there when we got there. Turns out being late doesn't really matter here, even when it's your own wedding, haha.  They got there eventually and like 15 people showed up.  Get this... the wedding wasn't in the chapel... it was in the Bishop's office.  We crammed 15 people into that tiny room and held a wedding.  Elder Silva and I were sitting super close to the bride and groom.  I didn't even know them!!  The groom was sitting facing the Bishop's desk and I was sitting looking at the groom at a right angle.  I saw everything super up close and it was a little awkward. Just super different.  People were talking and joking during the wedding, and the Bishop even took the opportunity to invite everyone to the ward conference in the middle of it. It was cool.  He talked about eternal families and the family proclamation to the world and challenged them to be married in the temple. The groom isn't a member so he directed everything towards him and told him to meet with us. Then the bishop proceeded to name all the people in the audience who weren't married in the temple that needed to step up their game. Nothing is out of bounds here! You can say whatever you want without it being awkward! Man..funny stuff. The next day was different too. We usually have lunch in a member's house but the member we were going to eat with was going to the wedding lunch and she brought us with here. We don't even know the people who got married and we were dragged over there, haha.  I even gave a message at the end about eternal families, faith, and hope.  It was good. 

We went to a less active person's house to give a message and try to reactivate her.... My old companion, Ferreira and I used to always go to her house when I didn't understand anything and I would just sit there and try to not look like an idiot. We went back this week for the first time since then and I understood her!  Imagine that.  Progression.  It's hard to monitor language progression but it happens. I asked her to tell me her story since I can understand now. She said she served a mission and I got all surprised  She said she already told me this and I said I wasn't understanding her before. We kind of just laughed. Good to see how I've progressed through these 6 months. 

Well I can't think of anything super important or cool to write about now. But that's amazing how much it rained there! Papa said it was the worst storm he's ever seen. That's crazy because he's probably seen a lot of storms.  But it's starting to hit the rain season here for sure.  Every day seems like it pours for a couple hours. Creeks overflow and bridges get covered with water.  It's all over the news.  Sounds like we're all experiencing the same weather!

Well I will close this letter up now. Hope all is well. Crazy that y'all are ending school already and Landon's about to graduate.  Unreal. Time flies.  Love you all and have a good week!

Elder Dallin Carroll

The photos in this post were taken from various Facebook pages that I pulled from Dallin's Brazilian friends.  Thanks for taking pictures of my boy!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Training the Greenie...

May 13, 2013

Cool... Another week gone.
This week was a little weird. Pday was the transfer.  All the missionaries were in the big chapel in Recife that has 4 floors. During the transfer the APs (Assistants to the President) call your name and tell you who your companion is, usually another Elder in the room. I had already knew I was going to train the night before because of the Zone Leaders, so when I was told I would train, I wasn't surprised.  Everyone cheers and pats you on the back and cheers and everything moves on.  All the trainers go to each others houses because for the time being, nobody has their real companion yet.  I went to this Elder's house in my zone, stayed the night and went back to the same chapel in Recife in the afternoon.  All the trainers were there and we all waited for the greenies (new Elders) to show up.  They all walked in and everyone was already deciding in their heads who they wanted to train and who they didn't want to train... just by appearance.  Haha, first impressions... it went just like a regular transfer.  They call your name and tell you who you're training.  I was like 3rd and got my kid, greeted him, and sat him with me.  You can just tell that these elders are just nervous as heck. Everyone got their comps and started going to their areas. The bus is the first impression of the mission, not a very good one if you don't already live in a place where there are tons of packed buses driving around like maniacs, and a bunch of weird smells!  Everyone just throws their trash in the rivers here so whenever you pass a river it smells like a dump. Goood times.  I tried to do the best I could to make sure my Flho(trainee) wasn't feeling weird or uncomfortable, because I remember how that first night was for me. THE WORST ONE ONE OF MY LIFE. haha. This kid is from about the cleanest place in Brasil, Curitiba. Just culture shock a little bit for him, just like it was for me.  Those first couple of days were just teaching him how to teach the first lesson and taking him around town to introduce him. Let me describe him for ya. As tall as me, super skinny, big eyes, and Harry Potter hair. haha. He told my he has adhd and it definitely shows. He speaks so fast it's not even funny, so he'll get through a lesson topic in like 30 seconds and the investigator is like... what? We just gotta slow him down a bit. He's kinda like the energizer bunny.  He always wants to know what's going on.  My main thing I'm having to teach him right now is just for him to calm down and take it easy and really just not worry so much about every little thing or else he will go crazy. I know because that's how I was.  I worried about everythinggggg, just gotta take the mission one step at a time and just focus on your next thing. He always sites the handbook and has a ton of questions.  It's normal. Felipe got a new companion too. He received another Borges (his other comps name was Borges.) This new Borges likes a clean house.  When I got home from the trainer transfer the whole house was clean.  Then this morning I woke up, went to talk to Felipe in his room, came back and he was cleaning my room for me.  I didn't even have to pay him!  I just walked away and let him do his thing.  He's like one of those vacuum robots, just cleaning anything that isn't clean already.  I like him.
Let's talk about the miracle baptism.  We were talking to this 10 year old member and he said his family was all non members and they had already been to church.  I was like, lets go!  We went and talked to this family.  It's like 4 separate houses with a bunch of families and a staircase in between the houses.  Everyone just gathers on the stairs and talks.  That's kind of how Brasil works, everyone just sits around and talks on curbs, in front of stores, stairs.. anywhere there's a place to sit.  We just started talking to this family and taught them the first lesson.  It was super easy and they were pretty excited. When you're teaching families you can usually tell which ones are the ones who are going to progress. Some are always more ready than others to receive the gospel. When we were talking, we found out that this one little girl had been going to church with the cousin for a long time and had always wanted to be baptized. We taught her and baptized her.   Her mom was fine with it and came to the baptism and church the next day.  She said she liked it so we'll go back this week and teach her.
SUNDAY...Sunday was the best day of my life, you know why. O dia das mães!   (Mother's Day)  I got to talk to my family on Skype and see them live for the first time in 6 months!  It was highly anticipated this week and was well worth it.  I spoke with both sets of Grandparents and my immediate family and my Aunt Janelle and her family.  It was super special.  I feel like I could have sat there and talked all day, but it's not really allowed.  I don't know if i feel homesicker right now or just the same because I think as a missionary you're always at least a little home sick. Man...I talked to my family!  I bought a webcam the day before just for Mother's Day. I liked sharing my experiences and hearing all about life in the big GA.
This week was weird with the transfer but we've managed to pull through it and get a baptism. That makes 7 weeks straight of baptizing!  Wild.  The Lord is truly blessing us for our work.  Love you family.  I loved talking to you and seeing all your faces and hearing your voices.  Happy Mother's Day again!  I'm sending the Nativity tomorrow, so hopefully it makes it in one piece.  It'll be a late Mother's Day present.
Love ,
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Sunday May, 12, 2013

We had a great time talking to Dallin on Mother's Day.  He was able to Skype with us from the computer at his church building in Brasil.  It was great to see him laugh and share stories about the amazing things he is doing as a missionary.  I even got him to sing a song to me in Portuguese.  When I figure out how to download it off my phone I will post it!  Ashton and Brandon were able to get us doing a three-way conversation with them in Texas, our family in Georgia and Dallin in Brasil.  Technology is amazing!  At one point we had twelve people on at the same time including Janelle's family in Arizona, and Grandma and Grandpa in Utah.  The response time was a little slow with that many people, so eventually we ended up just talking with Dallin one on one.  He looks great and as his Mother, I couldn't be prouder of him!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Busy, busy, busy

May 6, 2013

Hello people of the non-mission world,
Hope everything is just going great!  I like that 'm still getting emails about the wedding.  It seems like it was kind of a big deal.  Glad to know that Ashton is happy with her eternal companion and every one's lives can get back to normal.  Huge family gatherings are the best. I can't really thing of anything better.  God really does love families and wants them to be strong, happy and loving.
I've got some news for this week. I'M GOING TO TRAIN! Not gonna lie... I'm getting pretty nervous. Partially because I don't know who my companion is going to be but that's normal and partially because I don't have any crutches to lean on.  I'll probably have to do everything by myself.  It's going to be tough so pray for me!  Right now I'm with another elder who is about train someone too, a temporary companion just until the noobies show up.  I'll be staying in his area until we leave to get our companions in Recife in the morning.  He's already trained.  He says that when you train you learn your identity as a missionary, and your way of teaching.  I feel like these past few months I've just been learning everything from other people and not really having my own way of doing this.  This will be my opportunity to establish myself and really grow.  I have a feeling that it's gonna be the second hardest thing I will have to do besides being super green and not knowing how to speak but, everything will be alright.  I always have the Lord on my side to help me and I know that he won't let me fail.  I'm really hoping the new guy will will be Brazilian so I can get even better at Portuguese. I still don't feel fluent mesmo, but I'm solid and can really say whatever I want.  I don't feel fluent but people tell me I am.  It's weird.  I don't know what to believe.  So my prediction for this transfer is that the Portuguese will come fast but the baptisms will come slower.
Another mission mile stone was that Elder Moore went home.  Here on the mission they call it killing someone when you have a companion that goes home.  Everyone jokes with me and calls me a killer cause I sent Barbosa home and now Moore.  Moore was a big help.  I learned a lot of technicalities of the mission from him because he was the Secretary.  I learned a lot of teaching techniques and mind games, I guess. Don't know if it's good to call it that but that's how it feels.  I hope he reads this when he gets home, haha. We had some good times and some bad times and we were really good friends. Still are!  I was really impressed with the way he handles dying though. Some missionaries literally lay over and die when they're about to leave but I felt like we kept working to the end.
This week we baptised two more girls. Patricia, 8 years old and Natalia, 20 years old. I don't know if I wrote about Patricia last week but I'm just gonna say that she was was super hard to baptize. Not because she didn't want to but because she was always just running around and being 8!  Her mom just lets her run around town so we were always trying to find her, teach her and bring her to church.  It took 2 weeks for us to get her into the water.  Who would have thought that baptizing an 8 year old girl would be so hard!  Her mom heard some things about the missionaries that were kind of bad... That we go after little girls and I don't even know what was happening but, she was hesitant on letting us baptize her.  But Elder Moore, being a boss smoothed the whole thing over and we got it. BUT,Only because of Natalha, our other baptism.  I'm going to tell her story and maybe these two stories will meet back up at this point. We'll try it.

Monday of this week we passed by Bishop's house to talk to him like we always do. He said he had a reference for us and that it would be a sure baptism.  And it was.  We taught her and she was just perfect. She had already been to tons of churches and this past Sunday she went to our church for the first time. She said she felt something that she couldn't explain. Just something true. We went to her door and she answered it practically saying that she wanted to be baptized, so that was cool!  We taught her and it was awesome.  The spirit was strong.  Mainha, the Relief Society Pres. was there one day while we were teaching her without even telling us.  I'm telling you the members in this ward are all about missionary work.  But it was great. She was a great testimony for the lesson. Natalia has 3 little boys already and shes 20. Crazy.  She's super nice and just loved us right off the bat.  She's going to be super firm in the church. She's one of those people that refuses to pray about the Book of Mormon because she already knows it's a true kind of thing.  She was super ready and we never had to worry about her.
I guess this is where the stories come together.  Sunday we were running around with our heads cut off again and just trying to get stuff set up for the baptism. Up until the last minute we were trying to find Patricia to bring her to the church and baptize her. She went to another town that day and we were worried she wouldn't get back in time but to our surprise she was in front of this house with her parents watching this huge Pernambuco soccer game with a ton of people.  We were there with Natalia on the way to the baptism. Patricia's parents couldn't care less about her, so they weren't even trying to get her to go or to stay but Patricia just didn't want to move. She's the shyest little girl I've ever met and she just wouldn't talk to us weird white men. But Natalia was there and she has 3 kids so she's super good with kids. She was super mom like and got Patricia to come with us. She was saying that she was getting baptized too and all this mom technique stuff. THIS IS WHY WE NEED SISTER MISSIONARIES.  We had the baptism and it was really nice. There was a lot of the ward there and the Bishop did a great job of making the new members feel welcome. After all, the 2 baptisms were his references, haha.
Man.. I can't really think of anything else to say. I bought mom a nativity.  I found a really cool one. It took a while to find but I got it.  It is made of clay and has this metallic lead looking finish.  That task is over, haha.
Love everyone. Good luck with the next week. They seriously just fly by.  I've already been out for 6 months!  A 4th of the way done. Carazy.  And Sunday is Mother's Day!  I get to talk to my Mommy for the first time in 6 months.  It'll be over Skype. We'll go to Mariana's house to do it or to the church.  We'll see. But keep your computers ready and send me your skype stuff!
Love from Brasil...
Elder Carroll

My Sister's Married!

April 29, 2013
So I guess my sister is married now... weird.

haha!  Awesome. It was fun just to open my email and find tons of pictures of my family all dressed nice. Everyone looks very happy. I was thinking about the wedding all week but don't worry, I was focusing on the work!  I thought Landon's quote was funny. haha Brandon she's all yours... you for real you can have her. Jk. But seriously. But wow. My sister is MARRIED? Hard to believe. Thought it would never happen. But then again when I was home, it felt like I was never going to get on the mission. It always just felt super far away. Funny how time works like that. Everyone's just going through the steps of life. The pictures are awesome. Ashton looks beautiful and happy.  I'm glad she made the decision to get married in the temple for time and all eternity. Heavenly father has a perfect plan for all of us, and it all revolves around the family.  Being here on the mission has reminded me how awesome family is. I guess it's the whole being away from family for a long time thing.   I don't think I could bear the thought of not being able to live with the people I love after this life. Two years is long enough but, I'm really enjoying my time here.  I'm learning a lot about myself, my strengths and my weaknesses. I still need to work on the whole air-head forget-stuff thing.. That's just how I've always been.  If you know me, you know that.  I'm learning I have way more tolerance than other people, trying to think of an example but I can't right now... Anyways. ..This week was good.  It's the second to the last week for Elder Moore here so we're just having fun and working hard.  We baptized 2 more kids this week, Paulos' kids, the guy that owns the bar.  It was great. Their mom came but their dad was asleep... because he owns a bar. But he doesn't drink so that's cool. This letter is going to be terrible because I didn't write anything down this week to write for y'all.
Elder Moore's birthday was this week, so naturally we ate tons of cake and got super fat.  But it's all good.  I planned a surprise party for him with a sister in the ward.  She's gotta be like 80 but, she's the coolest lady ever. She said just to stop by her house that night. So we did and there were tons of ward members there to celebrate Elder Moore's birthday. It was cool. We had hot dogs, cake, and some more cake I guess.  Everything here is cake.
One of the days of this week we went to another area in our zone to help them get more in their teaching group.  They have 7, not good. I'm pretty sure it's because the Elders who are there are both about to go home and are just dying. Happens too much if you ask me. But we went there with a little success, taught a lesson and came back. Oh yeah, so my comp is the District Leader now so there's a good chance that I will be DL + train next transfer.  It's going to be crazy but I feel ready for whatever is about to happen.  My Portuguese is solid but I am still learning every day.  My Brazilian roommates said that my pronunciation and rhythm is getting worse because I'm speaking in English too much. That woke me up so any chance I get I like to talk to them and I talk to myself in Portuguese.
Well. All is well here. It's starting to rain super hard every day. I guess it's reaching the rainy season. Glad Ashton is married now, and setting the example for the rest of the world on how to live in accordance with the principals of the gospel.  Families can be eternal if we just take advantage of the ordinances god has given us on this earth.
Love you all!
Elder Dallin Carroll

Work is Fun!

For those of you who are following Dallin's letters, I apologize for getting behind in posting.  Dallin's sister, Ashton got married a week ago and it has been very crazy in our house.  Things have finally settled down over here and I should be able to get Dallin's blog caught up soon.
April 22, 2013
This week was good, I think... Yeah, it was good.  Seriously, every day kind of feels the same and the weeks just fly by like you don't know what happened.  Usually I write things down so I can remember what happened during the week. This past pday we wrestled again. Less people came this time so it wasn't as fun but, it was still good. It was just me Elder Moore and Vitor, the small guy that beat me with an arm bar last time. We all took turns fighting each other and we all lost to one another at least one time.  I beat Vitor twice this time which made me feel good. I redeemed myself by getting him in a leg lock the first time and then I choked him out the second time.  It was fun but Elder Moore and I were super sore the next day so we decided that we aren't going to wrestle on pday again, haha.
The first half of the week was full of rejection and people just saying no after we had been teaching them for a couple weeks.  That was tough but there are always more people to teach. We ran out of things to do one of the days so we just started knocking doors (by clapping in the front yard).  We found these two ladies that had been baptized 20 years ago, a Mother and daughter.  One had converted to some spirit church and the mom had just stopped going to church.  It was kinda weird.  Elder Moore was talking to the daughter while I was talking to the mom, who was like 70 years old. The daughter, 30 years, didn't want to bend on her new religion, but the mom... well I kind of made her cry. I started reminding her of all the feelings she had felt when she was an active, faithful member. I guess it was just too much for her to handle. Unfortunately, neither of them went to church on Sunday but I feel like we planted a new seed. They said to come back whenever. They miss the presence of the Elders in their lives.
Another cool thing that happened when we were knocking doors was we found this kid, Jonatas, who had already been taught by the missionaries but I guess they just left him with the Book of Mormon and the first lesson and that was that. We reminded him about everything and he seems like a promising future baptism.  He's already been to church and left all the bad things he's done behind him, all we have to do is teach him and baptize.
After going to Jonatas' house we walked over this bridge that went over this trash river.  Literally, there was more trash than water in this thing. So Elder Moore wanted to take a picture.  I took one of him on the bridge and then this lady came up and started saying sarcastic stuff about how her country is so beautiful and how were talking pictures of the rotten river.  I just had Elder Moore talk to her because I wasn't about to take the heat for the picture that he wanted me to take, haha.  It was super awkward and I felt kind of bad.
In Brazil they have this stuff called Acai. It's a fruit that grows on this coconut looking tree. They grind it up and make it into a paste and make sort of an ice cream out of it.  It's super bomb.  We've been looking for a good place here that has it but it's kind of rare I guess but, we found one. They put granola, peanut powder, and bananas on it and it's super good, especially since it's so hot here.
My companion this transfer is super legit.  We're good friends and sometimes I laugh so hard that I can't breath because we joke around so much.  GOOD TIMES.  I found out that he stayed in Biddulph Hall at BYUI a year before me and that he knows one of the Elders from my district in the Provo MTC.  It's a small world when you're Mormon!  He also helps me with some Portuguese stuff, which is cool.  I feel like we speak way too much English though.  It's super hard not to when you can't express yourself as well in Portuguese.
We had some sweet successes on Sunday. Our investigator who went to church last week got baptized on Sunday. He reeeaaaally needed baptism. The Mission President passed him for baptism and everything was good for Sunday. We baptized him before church so he could be confirmed during Sacrament meeting.  I could just tell that he had been wanting repentance for a long time but just didn't know where to find it.  He was so sincere about changing, it was awesome. He left everything. His girlfriend, cigarettes, drinking... and his past!  Repentance is amazing and can only be done through Jesus Christ and his atonement.  This man was a reference from a member in the ward. THIS IS WHY WE NEED GOOD REFERENCES FROM THE MEMBERS! To save people who are ready to be saved! That was something our bishop really stressed in his talk this week. He challenged every person in the ward to give us 1 reference. It was awesome.  He told us to go to every class on Sunday and pick up references. So we did.  It was fun, but disappointingly we only got like 5. It's a start!
We had 5 investigators come to church this week and we finally got Isaias to come, Kelly's boyfriend. We want to baptize this guy so bad. He knows his bible so we get into some bashes with him sometimes but the discussions with him have gotten better. He liked church.
We also got Paulos' kids to come to church. I had to go get them with a member while Davi was getting confirmed. But Paulo (the guy that owns the bar) basically did our job for us when we were talking about baptism with his kids. We read Alma 7 and he just took the wheel and explained to them what baptism is. And he said, "You're both getting baptized".   Sweet. WE just show up and the work was done for us.  We left that discussion laughing haha.

Well I think I covered everything.... Love you all.  Love the church. Love being on a mission!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll