August 12, 2013
So this week went by way too fast. I don't even remember what happened really. I'll have nine months on the mission in three days so that's weird to think about. Time is flying and I don't want to take it for granted. The mission is really interesting. You learn things without even knowing that you're learning! We don't really have that much time to study but my knowledge has definitely tripled since I got here. I find myself having conversations in Portuguese with ease now. It's actually harder to have a conversation in English! My companion is cool. He likes to know the deep doctrine principles and he likes to share what he knows too. He also doesn't lose his excitement. He just doesn't. I find myself dying to go home at the end of the day without the disposition to talk to anyone. But he just keeps going! I'm learning a lot from him. My previous companions have seemed to put limits on what you can do to get new investigators, or how outgoing you can be, but this guy just goes for it. I feel like I'm being trained again sometimes because I'm learning a new way of doing things. So this is good.
So we've been teaching this dude named João. The elders before us made a contact with him. They saw that his motorcycle was in the front room of his house where he would have to drag the thing up a flight of stairs to get it there. They thought it was funny and knocked on the door to figure out how he got it up there. Turned out to be a 23/4 year old kid who's studying a bunch of English cause he wants to go to the US. Everyone here wants to go there. It's literally a dream that these people have. We're lucky to live there. So naturally he's excited to have an American show up at his door and speak English with him so he's all felizão (happy). He's super legit and believes everything we say but he hasn't read the BOM (Book of Mormon) so he's not progressing. Elder Doyel is all gung ho about him so we won't boot him yet.
One day we went to the Bishop's house to get a reference from him. The reference wasn't home so we just visited with the Bishop for a bit. He's a real happy guy who likes to joke around. I was tired so while we were talking I fell asleep sitting on his couch. He woke me up and said really fast "Did you know that you're going to speak in church on Sunday??" I didn't understand him because my brain was in English mode after I woke up real fast. He had to repeat real slowly for me to understand haha. This was on a Thursday. I thought he was joking but he wasn't. Talk about a rude wake up call.
Sunday I gave the talk that took me like 30 minutes to prepare. I thought it was way good and the faces of the congregation seemed to be pretty engaged. At first I was worried that I was going to mess up because I had never given a full blown talk in Portuguese before but it was really smooth. In fact, one of the councilors wrote on a piece of paper, "time is up elder!" I took up like 15 minutes and my talk wasn't even done yet! Bishop didn't even tell me how long I would have to take so I took my sweet time. So I hurried up and closed it up haha. Turns out I should've used 5 minutes only. I spoke about missionary work of course and how it's not only the missionaries duty to spread the gospel, but the duty of all the members too! I talked about how Jesus got tired but never gave up. What Christ did to save us wasn't easy so why would it be easy for us to do missionary work. Salvation was never easy. Talked about what happened when we baptized Davi(reference of member). It was good. As far as I know I didn't mess up. Oh and we also confirmed Saulo. Soul, secured. This lady that we're teaching, Aparecida came to church with her family. I don't know her that well because I've only taught her once but she's ready to be baptized and so is her grandson. She's like 70 years old and always has some type of problem on Sunday. Not just excuses, but problems. So we'll see what we can do to get her to church next Sunday.
Since my companion is the DL we have to do interviews for the other missionaries' baptisms. So Sunday we went to this area way far from our area. We took a bus and then we hitch hiked to the church in Gravatá. The Sisters were baptizing this supposedly crazy guy. In my mind I was thinking we'll see how crazy this guy really is kind of not believing that anyone could be as crazy as the people I taught in Águas compridas. Welp. This dude took the cake. He was super duper crazy. But not too crazy to be baptized. He kept saying that he was scared of me and Doyel and asking why God let's bad things happen to good people. We told him about Alma 14. It was really hard to keep his train of thought straight. He kept asking if he was going to go to hell if he sinned after his baptism. No. That's why we have the sacrament. He was super crazy/frustrated. It was a process to get this guy into his baptism clothes because he was somewhat attached to the sisters who had been teaching him. It was just a little strange but we got through it. His interview was fine, but it took a bit. He just kept saying that he's weak and that there will be temptations and he will eventually sin after his baptism. We assured him that we are all sinners. Eventually we baptized him, gave him hugs and left. WOW. It was intense but he's sinless now. We took a 2 hour charter bus on the way home and pronto.
So today is pday and we started the day with a hike up this huge hill called Bom Jesus which has a great view of the city. We didn't even eat before so I grabbed a coxinha in the street(fried tear-drop-shaped ball of chicken and cheese). I'll send a pic or two. My legs were super tired after. You would think I was out of shape or something. Oh well. Missionaries gotta pay their dues.
Well that's all folks. Hope you enjoyed it. I love you family! Miss you a lot. Christ lives!
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll