Sunday, June 9, 2013

Just Grand Here


June 3, 2013

Hello to whom this may concern,
Everything is just grand here on the mission. This week just seemed to fly by.  I'll try to write a good letter but I don't really remember everything. 
So the past couple weeks we've been teaching this kid named Galileio. 21 years old. He's the drunk kid we met on the side of the road who wanted to improve his life. We taught him the first lesson and 4 commandments that are on the baptismal interview.  He says he doesn't have a problem with drinking and he's not addicted. We believed him at first and just kind of moved on and marked another appointment for him. So this week there was a holiday, the day of corn or something weird.  It's really called San Joao but on this day everyone just eats corn and gets drunk. Including Galileio.   We were coming home that night when everyone on our street started getting crazy with music and drinks and everything. We stopped in front of our door to watch this garbage truck run into the hanging roof of our building.  It was quite the spectacle.  All the drunk people were watching and yelling at the driver. The Bishop's wife has a hair salon below our apartment and a lot of women from the ward gather there and just talk. The bishop was there too.  It was just a fit of confusion and me and Elder Amaral couldn't help but laugh.  So during all this confusion Galileio comes out of nowhere, shirt off, Book of Mormon and pamphlets in hand, completely drunk.  At first I couldn't tell he was drunk because he kind of just grabbed my hand and started leading me somewhere.  I was like what the heck is going on. Then  the Bishop yelled at him and told him to let go of my hand.  He was basically dragging me and we were going towards the falling roof that the garbage man ran into.  It was a mess.  Bishop thought he was a random drunk kid being weird but we assured him that he was an investigator. Bishop left and we started talking to Galileio to see what he wanted. He said he wanted to stay with us and he wanted us to teach him. He wanted to go somewhere else. I don't know where he wanted to go, and I don't even think he knew where he wanted to go. That's what alcohol does to ya. You just get stupid. His speech was super slurred and I'm surprised I understood everything he said. He said he wanted to stay with us and chill. I asked him why he brought the Book of Mormon with him and he said the enemy is really strong and he wants to escape it. He asked if we wanted to go with him again and I said no we're going to stay right here and we won't be able to teach you because you'll just forget everything. He said alright and just walked away into the crowd. After that I got really disappointed and really sad for him.  We were progressing.  He said he was going to stop drinking but he didn't.  It also hit me really hard that these people need the elders more than we know.  He drank, felt bad, went to his house to get the Book of Mormon, and started walking down the street to come find us.  He doesn't even know where we live!  And he lives super far away from us. It was crazy. It made me realize that we are his only outlet to repentance. He felt bad so he came to us. He depends on us. It just really hit me. I just want to baptize him and change his life! We marked a date for him but it don't know if he's going to be ready for it.
We managed to mark another baptismal date with this 12 year old kid we met behind the church playing soccer. Sometimes we go there when we have nothing to do and just go fishing for Peter Pan's lost boys who need to be baptized.  We started talking to this kid and he asked what he needed to be baptized. So we got all excited and marked a day to start teaching him. So we went to his house and he wasn't there so we just started teaching his grandma. Teaching old people is hard because all they want to do is tell their life's story. So she would talk for 5 minutes and after we would talk for 1 and it kept trading off like that. Finally the 12 year old kid showed up and we got to teach him. We started the 1st lesson with Grandma but I figured it wouldn't hurt to start over with Caiu cause she wasn't really paying attention. His friends ended up showing up too so we got a really good lesson out of it. Kids are super easy to teach. You can just kind of mold their minds.. but adults already have their wrong opinions and you kind of have to pull teeth to get them to agree. So we marked a date with this kid and were going to visit his friends this week to baptize them too. Boom.
...So we've been teaching this guy who is legally married with kids. Baptism GOLD.  He's taking a while to convert but he's accepting more and more each time we teach him. We're in the being friends with him mode because he doesn't know if the church is true yet.  He hasn't taken the time to read and pray so we've got to take it slow until then. We taught him one half of the lesson, then the wife called us to the kitchen to eat.  We ate soup and chocolate cake.  They
just kept putting more soup in our bowls after we finished. I ate like 4 bowls.  We refused the soup after we got full but they just kept throwing soup in the bowl.  Elder Amaral is a little
guy and doesn't eat a lot.  After dinner, when we started the second
half of the lesson I taught the whole thing by myself because I could
tell that he was feeling sick.  I testified to our investigator and the spirit was really strong.  We left with a prayer and right when we got out the door I asked how Amaral was.  He said, the guy wouldn't stop putting soup in my bowl and I feel crapppppy.  haha it was funny. People here just like to feed us and think we are bottomless pits, but we're not.

The next day we taught this kid that we met at church on Sunday. He's 15 years old.   He came to the door and said his mom was drunk and that we couldn't go in and teach him right then, so I asked if we could just teach him in front of the house (in the road) so there were tons of cars but I managed to get the 1st lesson off quickly and concisely and he accepted baptism without a date.  It was sweet, but afterwards we had nothing to do cause it took like 15 minutes and we didn't have anything planned. The life of a missionary...
Something different about this week was the mission tour. We had an area seventy, Elder Leal come and speak to us.  It was really motivating and spiritual.  It made me want to be a better missionary. As missionaries, there is always something to improve on. For this meeting we went to Recife in the huge 5 floor chapel that we go to for transfers.  Half of the missionaries go one day and the rest go the next so there are two sessions.  I got lucky to be put in the same session with Elder Kennedy, my MTC companion.  We sat together and just cracked up at the dumbest things. He's lost a lot of weight which was funny to talk about.  Whatever.  I also got to talk to the Brazilians that were in the MTC with me.  It was weird to actually understand them and talk to them because 4 months ago there was no way to communicate, haha.  I'm really seeing a lot of improvement in who I am as a missionary.  I can give the first lesson in like 5 minutes no sweat and with perfect Portuguese. It's pretty fun. I can just talk now! Amazing haha. I was talking to Felipe last night and he says I've changed a lot.  He said I was super stingy and did a lot of things that bothered him at the beginning that all Americans do.  But he says now I'm Brazilian, haha.  I'm glad.  Dad always told me to become a Brazilian.  Done!
Well I guess I'll close this thing up.  I always surprise myself with these letters because at the beginning I can't think of anything to write and then I end up writing a novel. The church is true. Christ lives.  Everyone needs to be baptized.  Amen.
Love you family! Till next week!
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

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