Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Never Give Up

October 28, 2013

Goood times.

This week was interesting. Started out with the transfer and having big things happen. I became Zone Leader and took on the load of a zone that hasn't reached the weekly goal of baptisms for a week, which is 4. We have 6 areas so it's very possible to get. It's just stupidly hard. Everyone is working very hard. All the companionships are teaching at least 30 lessons a week and doing a ton of contacts. Our numbers are huge but our baptisms are non-existent. It just kinda makes you mad when you work so hard and you don't get the prize you want and the Lord wants. Whenever I hit a hard week on my mission, I always remember the phrase Elder Holland said in one of his talks to the mission Presidents in the MTC.  "Salvation was never easy!"  Why would our job as missionaries, saving souls and helping people get closer to Christ be easy if the Son of the living God asked when he atoned for our sins,  "Is there any other way?"  Salvation is not a cheap experience and we shouldn't treat it as such. I'm happy to know that I am a servant of the Lord in this work. I know that the Savior shares my pain when his message is denied, and we end a week without baptizing anyone. But I also know that He is here to help us if we just trust in Him.

I came to this area teaching the most inconsistent, least interested people I've ever taught. We're gonna have to start over with this teaching group. CONTACTS.  I just spend a lot of time being frustrated in the lessons because the people are rude and like to talk over you. We tried to do some contacts in a richer neighborhood to find some more respectful people, but rich people have strong opinions and keep their doors shut. Now I know how it is to serve in the US. We're gonna have to stick to the poor area and pick out the wheat from the tares.  In spite of all this we managed to mark a 14 year old, Marcio for Baptism. He has cousins in the church and everything and we were confident it wouldn't fall through.

We did a couple of visits in the other areas. The Sisters who work in the center of the city had this old dude that has been going to church for a year but won't accept the baptism. We decided we were going to try him. He's 82 years old and is almost crazy. He's on the border-line. We went there and right away he asks what we want. We start with a prayer and talked forever about the baptism and reviewed the restoration. He says he's been going to 4 churches for the last couple of years and says every church is the church of Jesus Christ. He said they're all trying to baptize him and that he wants time. I read Matthew 5.. about how we need to take drastic actions/act quickly to follow Christ. I lost track of time and realized we had been there for about 2 hours because he's one of the dudes who just talks to hear himself. It was just really hard to keep the floor and say what we wanted to say. Finally I just interrupted him and asked him if I could make a deal with him. I almost yelled. But he said, "yes" and I grabbed his hand to keep his attention and looked him in the eyes.  "Say a prayer and ask God if this is the baptism is for you. We will check back on this prayer and right now your baptism is marked for November 3."  He accepted and finally we left. My brain was about to explode and it was just a relief to leave that house. It was good to call the sisters saying we did it. They got happy.

Another visit we made was for the Sisters that live 45 minutes anyway. They had this 10 year old boy who wanted to be baptized. On the way there the bus broke so we got there super late, like 8. They were having a primaria activity at the church that night and the kid was there to do the interview. When we got there the sisters were there and said he had just decided that he didn't want to be baptized because his Grandma said she would get mad if he did. The sisters looked super sad and worried and I just wanted to change this kids' mind. So we grabbed him from the activity and took him to a room in the church and taught him. José and I used everything we could to change his mind but it just didn't work. His heart was locked before we even got there and the spirit was just hitting the wall. Kid with a strong opinion. It was disappointing but people have free choice. He said he would think about it and tell the sisters later. We left there at 8:45 to get to the bus stop. We waited there for about 15 and while we were there there was this drunk guy harassing us. I was talking to Bochi(DL) on the phone giving him the lowdown on this kid and this drunk guy just followed us throughout the bus station. We kept switching seats and he would switch with us. We grabbed some seats where it was just  two and he got frustrated, poured his alcohol in a square around one of the floor tiles and said ´´vai com deus´´....(go with God). When I got off the phone with Bochi I realised what had just happened and just laughed. There are some weirdos out there. Gotta be careful. Got home super late that night and died in our beds.

Sunday was fun. We left early to go get investigators to go to church with us and found out something amazing had happened. Marcio didn't want to be baptized anymore. His cousin, Junior told us this. Happened within a period of 24 hours. He was super strong and really wanting to get baptized... even said a prayer for his parents to let him get baptized but then this happened. We went to his house to see what happened. We got there and his mom starts telling us why he doesn't want to get baptized and that it's his own choice, blah blah blah. She said the brothers from his old church had talked with him; She said it's better that he stays in his old church because it's closer to home and more easy. Then she said something that really got me. "At least he's still in the way of God right?..."I had so many thoughts going through my head at that moment and I was just fuming inside.  I asked him if that was what he wanted and he said, "yeah."  I went to church really angry and just annoyed. People always talk bad about the church saying it's a cult without even going there and seeing for themselves. We could have baptized another girl this Sunday but it didn't work out. Nadja. Look out for this name this week. She's going in the water. The Zone ended the week with zero baptisms.

We had some investigators in the chapel this week that are really just good people. I was excited and forgot about what had just happened. We'll chase these people this week and baptize them. This week was just full of learning experiences and disappointing moments but nothing is gonna put out my fire. Jesus is the Christ and there is only one way to get to him, and we have it. I love this gospel and this work and will never give up.

Love you family. Hope this week is a good one.

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Change in Leadership

October 21, 2013

Alright, so this week was a lot of work.  I don't even really remember what happened but I'll try to do my best.

Pday was normal and kinda just bleh. We ended it with a visit to a recent convert, Luzia. She's about 75/80 years old and is the biggest grandma ever. She gets super happy whenever we visit her and even stops us in the road to drink suco for a little bit. Sometimes we have to say no though because we're running around like chickens with our heads cut off. But she's great. Always makes way too much food and literally watches every move we make to see if we've tried everything on the table. I like to eat until I'm satisfied, but she's one of the ladies that insists that you eat literally everything on the table. It's cool I guess. She's just a nice lady and loves when we're around.

This week we've been working with Nenês family. We baptized him a week ago. His mom is really cool and his sister is too.  His mom is an older lady and his sister is 25 and is married with 3 kids. They like talking with us which is nice. And the sister likes to read on the bus. She actually read the Book Of Mormon! Do you believe that? Her kids are cool. She has a 7 year old and a 4 year old. The 4 year old literally flips out when we're there. He's crazy. Punching his brother. Yelling. But he's alright. It just makes it hard to teach. We found out that they have to move from their apartment because their Landlord told them they are too noisy and are bugging the neighbors. We said we'd help them find a house and move them too. We have to get as much trust as we can from these people. Nenê is doing great. I'm worried about his friends he hangs out with in the road because they are a bad influence and really just have big mouths. Just talk smack all the time about everything. Sometimes I think if I wasn't a missionary I would have a talk with these kids. They're 14 year olds who think they can talk bad about the church/elders/Nenê. Just really obnoxious. What's weird is half of them are baptized.  I'm glad Nenê is moving. He went to church alone this Sunday. We gave him a white shirt and tie. The first time he went to church he saw this dude wearing a red tie and said it was bonita. So we bought him one just like it and he loved it! It felt good. Now we just gotta get him some pants because he feels a little self conscious in jeans. He was the only young man at church but he's super firme! I didn't get to confirm him because I went to do an interview for the sisters in a city far away. On the way back we hitch-hiked and hitched a ghetto bus that stopped every minutes. Mission life is fancy.

This week was just a lot of contacts/door knocking. We had a big teaching group but it wasn't giving fruits so we started over and added 23 good people to our group this week.  I wish I could write about every contact but I just can't. We meet so many people and see so much weird stuff that it's crazy. We found this sweet family this week. I saw this little green house on the railroad tracks that was just begging to be knocked. So we knocked it. Out came 2 girls. 8 year old Emily and 14 year old Edilma. We taught them outside their house because they were alone at home. They turned out to be really smart. The 8 year old was probably one of the smartest people I've ever taught.  Really articulate. The other is really interested in the message. We told them to pray about Joseph smith and marked another day to talk with them and their family. The day we went back everybody was home. The house looked small from the outside but was super deep on the outside. And there were tons of people there. The girls' mom was there and she has I think 5 kids? yeah. And they were super excited to hear the message. We asked Edilma and Emily if they had said the prayer and they said the did. It was funny. They said they prayed together and afterwards Emily asked ,
Did you see the light?" she thought she was gonna see a light like Joseph Smith. Usually I like to teach about the feelings of the Spirit so the people recognize the response from God. We left that part out and she misunderstood. Gotta teach thoroughly and clearly! But they said they had felt a peace that they hadn't felt before. They. Will. Be. Baptized. I wanted to stay in that area to keep that family but it didn't work out.

Transfers happened like 6 hours ago and big things happened.  Last night we got the call while doing an exchange. Elder Vargas and I were trying to get 30 lessons before the week ended. Got 'em. The assistants said I was transferred, but not to take my stuff to the transfer. We already knew what that meant. Elder Bochi is the new District Leader and he got an American who doesn't speak well.  I went up to Zone Leader and Vargas got booted. My companion is Elder José. He's from Paraguay and looks pure Lamanite. He's cool. Maybe I'll pick up some Spanish with him! That'd be sweet. I've already gone on tons of exchanges with him and I used to live with him so I know how he is.  He's a great missionary and works hard. I don't even know why I went to the transfer haha. I stayed in the same city with another dude that stayed too. The area I'm in goes to the same church as my old area so I'll see all the people I knew before.  I'm a little nervous to be Zone Leader, but at the same time it's about the same thing as being a District Leader. Just a little higher up on the food chain. I have to fill some big shoes. Elder Vargas was great. Great at motivating, and great at thinking really fast. He always had a plan for everything and taught as if he had been doing it his whole life. I'll just have to train the heck out of myself to be the best I can be. It will all come.  I'm not worried. One thing I've learned is that the Lord strengthens people by breaking them . I'm ready to be broken! Working with tons of Sisters is not easy but it's possible. I saw Kennedy at the transfers, seems like I see him on a monthly basis.

Right now President Lanius is stressing the Spirit and keeping him with us. Sometimes I find myself with the Spirit more than other times. He talks about the things that separate us from the spirit and the things we can do to have him with us. This work is seriously driven by the spirit. You can talk all you want about what you know but if you don't have the Spirit with you, the message doesn't get the the hearts of the people. I feel great when the people I teach feel the Spirit. It's an indicator that I'm worthy to be a tool in the Lords hands. When we told Nenês mom about the first vision she said she felt a thing happening on her skin. It's real. The Spirit testifies of truth. All of us need to be worthy of the Spirit to be able to accelerate this work. I'm happy the Lord has chosen me to do this work so marvelous. This past transfer I've learned to work really hard.  I've learned that numbers are everything. No matter what anyone says, numbers and goals help us to reach more people and have more possibilities to baptize. And our goals show God what we want to do for him and our faith in him will help us reach our goals. He wants us to succeed. But, we have to want ourselves to succeed too. This is the Lord´s work. There is no other. The field is white and ready for the harvest! Love you all and hope it's a good week. I pray for y'all daily and feel your prayers too.

Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, October 21, 2013

Goals and Motivation

What's in your backpack???  This is what Elder Carroll carries around in his...

October 14, 2013

This week was sick.

Pday was a nothing pday. Nothing better. We got a call that kind of woke us up a bit. So this whole transfer our whole zone has only baptized 6 people, and naturally the President wasn't pleased. Elder Vargas(zone leader) got a call from Elder Howard(assistant) saying that the president isn't pleased and if something doesn't change soon he's going to change the whole zone. Take people out, move people in, the whole switcharoo. It kind of made me a little bit antsy.  Vargas was antsy and we had to create a training that would motivate the zone more.

Tuesday we had district meeting and we were ready to motivate. Vargas gave all the sisters the low down and said we need to improve. His training was on efficient planning, which apparently we were needing. We talked about how we had to set goals and actually work to get those goals. Not just set them to say we set them. Vargas is really a great zone leader... knows how to train people and motivate them at the same time. Everybody accepted the challenge of upping our goal numbers and actually sticking to it every day. We set the goal of 30 lessons for the week. ¨lessons a day to beat that goal. So the minimum per day would be 5. We would also have to have 20 new investigators. So we got to work . We did some mad contacts this week, and asked for references from all the people we were teaching. We have like 27 in our teaching group. At the beginning of the week we repented and set goals with the Lord. "If we get these goals, we want a baptism." We taught 5 lessons per day. 

We met a prophet this week,,,or apostle, or whatever he wants to call himself. I had already met this guy in the street with Elder Doyel but Elder Bochi had never seen him. We just happened to find his house and knock on his door. I knew from the minute I saw his face through the window on his door that there would be some bible bashage. I gave Bochi the wagging finger like "no we're not going in this house", but he didn't see it and entered. Darn. So we went in, sat on this dude's steps and he began to "teach" us. This guy looks like the preacher from the Other Side of Heaven (a movie)  Almost exactly the same. Every time he talked about God he would say "Eshwa" instead of God. Bochi asked him if he was Jewish. He said mais ou menos. Dude. You either are, or you're not. There's no in between. He began to tell us what he thought we believed in, and that we don't have the authority to do what we do. That our message is bs and that we are infants talking to an old man. He said he preaches to the people apostolically and that he's read the bible a lot of times. The bible doesn't give people authority, buddy. We came back at him and told him we were called to serve by a prophet of God and that we received our authority directly from him. He raised his voice and we raised ours. He pointed at me and said he knew me. I covered my name tag and said, "You don't know me! What's my name?!"  He said, "I know your church. You're American..."...I said, "Have you been in our church?? How can you say you know it??"   It was getting pretty bad and I was getting pretty fired up. I said some things I probably shouldn't have said, we called him to repentance and bounced. Crazy old kook... haha. He thinks he's an apostle.

Another day we were talking with Kaio in the street (the only teacher in the ward) and he had a friend there with him, Nenê. I asked Kaio if he's been taught by the missionaries yet, and he said no. Already then! We took Nenê to Kaio's house and taught him. Kecio and Emanuel (an inactive deacon) were there too. We began to teach and Kecio was being obnoxious. I was getting really impatient. I just was saying things that don't need to be said during the first visit/lesson. Nevertheless.. Nenê felt the spirit and wanted to get baptized. The spirit does great things and is more powerful than you know. Even when the teachers are impatient and angry, the students can still feel it. 

Friday the president came to do his rounds and interviews with the zone. Everyone was on their best behavior because we were already in probation. Our numbers were low and we were ready to get burned. President talked about how we need to renew everything. Our excitement, our commitment  our techniques. It was true. We got flat. But we had already renewed all these things because of Vargas' training  My interview was interesting with President. He said we need to work more with the members in the ward because of the talks in conference. That we have to be more direct with them and get TONS of references. I told him we were going to do an activity with the ward. He said that doesn't do anything. Idea burned. He said things need to change with these areas, and what we're doing is not enough. I agreed and said that I wasn't satisfied. It's not because we're not working. We're working hard. We just need to change things, because the things we're doing aren't working.
We left the meeting hyped and ready to find new people. We worked with Nenê
to get him baptized this Sunday. Usually we can't baptize the first Sunday that our investigators go but we got permission from President because he already has friends at church and has a testimony too. We talked with his mom and she's super legit. I think we found an elect family. It's about time. The only problem with her is that she smokes, but when we taught the first vision she got chills and told us she knows it really happened. What a great thing. We baptized Nenê Sunday night. It was sweet. His friends were there and there were people there supporting from the ward. We ended the week week with big numbers, but few people at church/marked for baptism. Gotta work on that. Transfers are coming up next week and I hope I stay here. I like my companion and were finally getting a hold of things. Bishop Janderson is even calling a new ward mission leader for us! Big things are happening. Well, I guess that's about it. Love you all. Love Jesus Christ, and know he lives and is accelerating his work. Don't forget about the references for the missionaries! They need them! Till next week...

Love Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Super Bowl Conference

October 7, 2013

Wooooo! One more week in the books. This was a long one with low numbers but we learned a lot as a companionship and set a bunch of new goals for our work.

Pday was cool I guess. We went to the center of the city to see the huge feira(it's a festival with tons of vendors selling everything you could possibly imagine). I bought 2 leather cowboy hats to send to the family. They're Brazilian styled hats. Round.. kinda like a helmet. But they're cool. And they were cheap! I tried to by something with my card and it didn't work. I was with Elder José. After that we figured out we didn't have a phone with us so it was impossible to find our actual companions, haha. We went to the bridge they would have to use to leave and waited for them to pass. haha, mission life. We ate some acai and left to watch the Restoration with Daiane and Daniela, the girls from the contact we made last week. When we got there they sat us down and told us they had talked with their pastor and didn't want to receive our message anymore. They did it in a weird way, like they didn't want us to stop teaching them. We tried to show them the restoration DVD but it didn't work so we ended up bearing testimony and leaving. We have a strong impression to go back and challenge them again because we didn't ask them what the pastor said to them. It caught us off guard. We went a lot this week to see if we could talk to them but they weren't home. One day.

Tuesday was district meeting. I set up a training about the spirit, and how we need it to keep us excited. If we lose the spirit, we lose our purpose for being here, and teaching from our own knowledge without the spirit won't do anything to convert the investigator. I asked everyone individually, "Do you know that this is the church of Christ? Then why don't you do more?" I learned this from Elder Moore, don't want to take the credit haha. Everyone takes the question like a punch in the face. It's great. Gets 'em motivated. After that we knocked a ton of doors with little success, and evaluated a service project we are going to do. This lady has a water tank on her house that wasn't properly supported. The concrete below is breaking and if the tank falls it will go through her whole house and then neighbor´s house will flood. This lady was a reference from Marivaldo, from the ward. She's a little bit crazy. She has a daughter with 11 years and her husband just ran out on her. Needs the gospel bad. While we were teaching her it was hard to talk. She's one of those people who will talk the whole day if you let them. Elder Bochi was trying to tell me in the lesson that we should just teach until the apostasy because she was just not learning. He wrote a note to me on his planner but I didn't see it so the lesson just dragged on, haha. Woops.

The next day we did a lot of contacts. We found this really super duper old guy. 97 years old and still walking and talking and thinking. Impressive. His son, Edilson was super cool. He's a mototaxista, Motorcycle taxi driver. He had some sweet questions about the bible I had never thought of. Like when Christ told the Apostles that John the Baptist was Elias. A prophet who had already died. It was cool. He told us he doesn't have religion because none of the ones he's visited have everything he's looking for. That's because he hasn't visited the Church of Jesus Christ. Super baptizable. It's been a while since we've baptized. It's getting annoying. There are just a lot of people here who just flake out after saying they'll commit to something. I guess it's normal. We've been trying to put a list together of incomplete families, and kids who were presented in the church but were not baptized. I'm hoping it'll be a baptism gold mine. Erasmo told us he did it on his missiona and he baptized a ton. We went to this guy from the bishopric's house, David, to try to get the list. When we got there he was installing a new oven with this worker guy. He didn't have the list but we got the worker guy's(Duda) address to teach him. He's David's wife's sister's husband.

So the next day we went to visit him. It took FOREVER to find the dudes house. I almost died in the sun looking for it. This area is turning into a desert cause summer is close. We found the dude's house after talking with a drunk guy who speaks with the devil. Duda is super legit. We just kind of introduced ourselves and talked for a bit. He told us that the day we met him, he was wanting to run out on his wife. He said he quit smoking, and drinking in one day so when he wants to do something he does it. But when we walked in and talked to him something told him to not run out. He said he would go to general conference so we took his word because he's very "opinionated". I did 2 a baptismal interviews that day for the zone leaders, a boy and a girl. They were super cool and super ready to be baptized. The little 8 year old girl chose me to baptize her which was cool. She was funny. Good for the zone leaders!! It had been 2 transfers that Elder Vargas did not baptize. Poor guy.


Conference is like the super bowl for missionaries. Full of new teaching material and it kinda just pumps you up. As well as calling you to repentance at the same time. I have to admit, I have some mad severe ADHD when it comes to listening to things in Portuguese but it was still super powerful and the speakers just hit all the right points. As a missionary, you realize that nobody is perfect, and everyone needs help with something. We all have to take the words from conference and apply them. And help other people apply them too! Between the sessions we baptized the two kids. It was great because there were tons of people in the church to support. When I practiced how the baptism is with the little girl(Emily) she cried. She knew what she was doing when she was baptized, which is rare to find even within adults. All the missionaries who were there sang i believe in Christ, and it was just a great, happy experience. We invited at least 10 people to go to conference and nobody showed up. Including Duda. It made me think of what people are missing when they don't go to conference. The prophet and the apostles of the Savior speak to us 2 times a year and the people just brush it off like it's nothing. We are truly blessed to be members of the church. I'll have to get the Liahona in English to understand everything so I can share all this new stuff! 80,000 missionaries for crying out loud! That's 30,000 more missionaries than we had last year. The Lord is truly hastening his work and were all part of it! Man. Conference is sick. As a missionary, there's really no way not to get super trunky when you're watching conference. They talk about family so much! Cause is so important. Love my family! Well I guess that's all for this week. Love you all and miss you. Christ lives.

Elder Dallin Carroll

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Happy Birthday in Brazil

September 30, 2013

Alrighty familia,
This week was a boatload of goodies. Pday was a bust. All we did was watch the movie about the man who found the Book of Mormon in the trash can without a cover. It's pretty great. He was a minister for another church and started preaching from it because he knew it was true but he didn't know what it was. He was kicked out of the church he was preaching in and eventually he found the missionaries and was baptized like 20 years later. It's a great example of how powerful the book is, even when you don't know what you are reading! The rest of the day I prepared my training for the district meeting. It was about acompanhamento. I really don't know what that word would be in English (to monitor) but it was about how we have to stay in contact with the investigators who are marked for baptism every day so that nothing can help trip them up. It was really important this week because the zone had a ton of marked baptisms and we've had terrible numbers for the past 2 weeks. On Tuesday when I gave the training it was pretty short and to the point. I used pmg (?) and kind of burned the missionaries a bit. But sometimes you have to burn to wake them up. I talked about how it is super easy to teach and to mark people for baptism, but when it comes to the baptism itself, Satan gets in the way. He waits until the very last second to trip people up and put little thoughts in their heads. He's evil! But that's what acompanhamento is for.

This week was full of just kicking people to the curb, the people that Elder Doyel and I gave too many chances and needed to let go since the start. There are just too many people who don't care about their lives. Idk (I don't know) , it's kind of hard for me to understand how people can believe in everything you're telling them, but don't do anything to gain the blessings. It sounds really good when they hear it but when it comes to acting and practicing real faith, they just fall. It's a real shame to let people go but we need to do it to give other people who will progress a chance. It's the missionary cycle of get and let go. So we've been doing a lot of contacts this week, lots of door knocking. We actually found a few good people.

Junior and Jean;

They're 2 young men who play soccer at their school. They both play goalie so it was fun to joke about that is better. They assured us that they have the same amount of time to play during the games. Caio went with us and made friends with them. The ward really needs young men. There's only one that prepares the sacrament every Sunday. That's Caio. He's a boss. We're trying to find him some friends. Jean and Junior both said that the Restoration totally makes sense and that when they receive their answer from God about the Book Of Mormon they will get baptized. Done, haha. They didn't go to church even though they said they would. We'll try to fix that this week.

Anderson and Ianca.

They are a married couple with a 2 year old daughter. On the first visit Anderson said that his family was in need of the Word of God, so we gave it to him. It was hard to get a hold of him after our first visit but we finally got to visit them again and his wife was there this time. We taught the restoration and challenged them to be baptized. They said yes but didn't go to church so we have to move their baptismal date back. During the lesson it was great. It just showed in their faces that they were understanding and a light kind of just went off in their brains, like they were finally relieved that they found the true church of Jesus Christ. The spirit was just really strong and you could just tell they were feeling it. It was awesome.

Daiane and Daniela

So this one night we were just really not excited at all because all of our appointments had fallen through and there was one more hour left in the night. We said a prayer in the middle of the road asking for help, and for something that would excite us. After the prayer I saw this dude walking by and felt the strong impression to follow him and try to teach him. We followed him for a bit but realized he was going too fast and that it would be weird if we just chased him down to make small talk about Jesus. But we stopped following him in a place where we had already felt the impression to knock this one door. So we knocked it and we found these 2 girls who were excited to learn about the gospel. We taught them and they had some really good questions. It showed that they were paying attention and that they were actually trying to learn. They said they would go to church and our English class, but they didn't go to either. But they're good to teach because they're sponges. They will soak up information and doctrine until they sink in the waters of baptism.

MY BIRTHDAY WAS COOL. We helped the sisters in their area with finding new people. I think we spend like 4 hours knocking doors for them. We actually found some pretty sweet people. This side of Pernambuco is actually really great for doing contacts. The people either say yes or no. And when it's yes, they're super receptive. Their area is like an hour away so I spent my Birthday sleeping on buses and knocking on doors. Pretty solid. When I got back some members had asked me to go to their house that night. When we went there they all started singing "para bems" and there was a huge cake! I never even told anyone it was my birthday but it all turned out being cool. They gave me a tshirt with a bunch of random Portuguese slang from Pernabuco and Erasmo gave me a light up yo-yo. Have I told you that all the little kids in the road just play with yo-yos all day? It's this weird phase and all the convenient stores are selling tons of yo-yos here. I had that one yo-yo phase in my childhood where I collected all the cool ones that I saw and tried to do tricks so it's kind of fun to make friends with the kids in the road and amaze them with my finely tuned yo-yo skills (sarcasm). Anyways, at that little party, they asked me to sing for them so I sang Abide with Me Tis Eventide. It's a sad hymn but they wanted it so I sang it. They filmed it and said they would put it on Facebook for my mom to see so look out for that mom!

Sunday we had one investigator in the chapel. It was disappointing because we always invite a ton. But after church we had Ward Council and brought up our ideas to integrate the investigators. We're going to start having an activity every Friday with cool stuff. Stay tuned on that. But the members are cool here. Everyone served missions so they know what it's like to clean out your teaching group, so they're helping us out. We want to put some soccer in there too for the young men we're teaching. It'll be sweet. Man this week went by fast. But it was packed with stuff! Being on a mission is great. I'm learning a lot about Christ and myself. What I lack to be what he wants me to be and what I need to be to be a better missionary/person. I love this gospel and my family. Just want to make ya'll proud! Love you.

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

This photo was taken in the MTC in Provo back in November 2013.