July 1, 2013
Hello people of the outside world.
This week was normal. (as my comp says about everything). It's the same word in Portuguese. You ask him how he is and he just says normal. How exciting.
We started off the week with some random pday fun. We were going to play volleyball with all the dudes from the ward but it was São João, the day of corn holiday and everyone went to the movies. Painho called everyone and set up a time everything. Oh well. I guess everyone just ditches the missionaries haha. So we stayed home and did pretty much nothing. Me and Felipe bought some fireworks across the street from our house and set them off behind the church. That wouldn't be acceptable in the US, but everyone in the city was setting them off so we just kind of blended in with our bombs going off haha. That's something people ALWAYS do when there's a holiday. There are always fireworks. And not the puny kind either. The ones that would be illegal in the US. After all our 5 reais of fireworks was gone, we went to Painhos to eat. It's always a party there. Everyone just yells and tells weird stories. We always eat cuscos over there. Its not the kind we eat in the US. It's super dry and yellow. You have to eat it with something moist. But it's good. I'll probably bring a ton home when I leave Brasil.
Tuesday we had zone meeting. Nothing special. We just went over our numbers and did a training and left. That day, our lunch from the members was money so we just ate in Olinda, the big city in our zone. Our area has two places to eat. This burger place, and this weird Chinese Brasilian place. So if we ever have a chance to eat outside our area we take it! We went to this buffet and ate a ton for like 4 bucks. Something I've learned to like while I've been here is coke. I really didn't like it before the mission, but everyone drinks it here so I've learned to like it! After, we went home and studied. We taught Galileo that night and he forgot everything we had ever taught him. It was disappointing but that's life as a missionary. Just got to be patient and go with the flow. We also went back to talk to the mom of the girls we baptized. We went with Mainha so that there wouldn't be any hard feelings or so that she could kind of smooth things over with the mom. And she did. Amazing what a woman can say to another woman to endear her to her. The mom, Luciene had looked up a bunch of stuff about Mormons on the Internet and said she didn't want to be baptized because of the things she found. Never look on the Internet! There are so many bad, false things about our religion on the Internet it's not even funny. We told her the church had always been persecuted, even since the times of Jesus Christ. We left her with the Book of Mormon prayer challenge again and invited her to church. She said she couldn't this Sunday but the next. I can't tell you how many times we've heard that phrase. "not this one but the next"....We'll see. We were going to baptize her other daughter yesterday but she didn't come to church. There's no way we can bring her, because we would have to bring her, and her 5 sisters under the age of 12. We were just going to have to rely on another miracle. We talked to her friend in the street and asked her if they were going to go and she said yeah she would bring them. But our baptism fell and the ZLs and DLs were on our backs. There was just nothing we could do but hope she went to church. So we went to our baptism's(Larisa) house after church, asked her why she didn't go, just to humor the DL, and she said her mom wouldn't let her because her mom had to go to work. There are some things as a missionary you just can't mess with.
Wednesday we did a ton of contacts with little success, and a couple really good lessons. One of the lessons was with Angelica. This is Valeria's sister. She has a strong testimony of the gospel, and has a really firm desire to seal her family in the temple one day. She lives with this dude who used to go to the assembly of god, so you know he's ready to argue. She keeps saying they plan to get married at the end of the year, and that he has some doubts about the way people act in the church. The assembly has some strong rules about clothing, and what you can and can't use. He got all weird cause he saw a guy in the chapel with gagues. She said that's the only doubt he has so far about the church. Well if this is really the case, this guy is going to get baptized in no time, haha. But there's always something more. As a missionary you have to be on your toes to respond to whatever people will say or do. People are super unpredictable, so you kind of get used to improvising. We talked with Valeria while we were there too. She missed her confirmation on Sunday on Saturday. We talked to the Bishop, and he said she could be confirmed no problem. So we confirmed her on Sunday and she felt super relieved. We did too.
Thursday we did some mad contacts too. You never know what you're going to get when you make a contact. It's like a box of chocolates. Sometimes it super good, and sometimes you just walk away laughing with your companion. Like this one time at Bandcamp. I mean this one contact we made was this house hidden in the trees. It was pretty creepy looking and I wanted to see what was inside so I clapped my hands and this super old, pale guy came out. Must've been 90 years old. He let us in and we began to teach. His wife came to listen and she was this tiny old lady with white hair. Really nice, too. We start the lesson, kind of , and the guy starts talking about EVERYTHING. Especially about the bad things that are happening in the world. He says there's no such thing as good, and that were kind of just here to do bad things. I won't go into detail. He was practically yelling and wasn't giving us a chance to speak. So I asked his wife what she believed and tried to tone it down a bit. She asked us what church we're from. We told her, started teaching her a bit and then she asked again; what church are we from? At this point Amaral and I are giving each other the signals to close it up and leave because these people are past the point of being conscious of what's going on around them. It was kind of sad but at the same time super hilarious. We really couldn't do anything but leave. We'll see them on the other side, haha.
We had a baptism interview on Friday. It was super disorganized on our part. When we talked to the mom on Tuesday about her daughter's baptism she said everything was good and that we could do the interview on Friday because she would be home. During the week we didn't call her to make sure everything was good for the district leader to come. The district leader came on Friday and Luciene and her daughter Larica had left to go to school. The dl was super mad and we had to ship the ZLs in later that day after the DLs left. Everything was good. The interview passed, and we didn't baptize on Sunday. I already said why in this letter. The same day we taught a less active, Joelma, hoping that her nonmember husband would be there. We brought the Together Forever DVD about eternal families and he wasn't there. Dang. So we just taught her and invited her to go to church. She served a mission and everything, and she said she didn't have the courage to go to church. I don't understand people like this. Do they just lose sight of what is important? She said she still knows without a doubt that the church is true. She has this next door neighbor that visited the church this Sunday. Prime for baptism. We were thinking that we could get Joelma involved in converting her and it would make Joelma more excited about the gospel. It's perfect. 2 in 1! Sunday there was a huge game. Brasil and Spain. The city shut down and we went to a member's house because we just couldn't teach. We watched the game, I will not lie. But I don't feel guilty. How often do you get to watch Brasilian soccer in Brasil? Never. It was sweet. Fireworks in the street for all 3 goals. It was unreal. Oh and we reached our monthly goal as a mission for 200 baptisms! It's been years since the mission has done that. History!
Well this was my week. I love being a missionary. It's the hardest thing ever but every happy moment is worth the bad ones that we have to pass through. The church is true and Christ lives!
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll