Monday, November 25, 2013

209 Baptisms

November 25, 2013


This week was super normal, nothing that great to report. The mission reached the goal of 200 BAPTISMS for the month once again. 209 people were baptized! That's a lot of people. President Lanius is super happy with the mission and so is the Lord! The assistants said the President was dancing in the mission office, haha. The most serious man alive... dancing haha. Good times.

This week started off with a good pday in the Center(the city). We went to the huge fair that's there on Monday and bought some cool stuff. I bought the family some stuff for Christmas. Mom, I bought a nativity for you. It's better than the other one but it's still made of clay so I hope it makes it to Georgia. But it's authentic and smaller/better quality so it'll make it. I have faith.

This week we just taught the people we already found. It was a good week. We didn't have to run around with our heads cut off and we didn't have lolly gagging time either. We just went from investigator to investigator. We have some really great people we're teaching right now but all of them have problems they have to resolve before being baptized. 

It's normal but usually there's at least one person in your teaching group that has potential to be baptized the following week. We have none. I think my area is hard... just a thought. When everyone else around you baptizes and you're working your butt off trying to find people you begin to notice the differences in areas. In our area, it's hard for the people to get to church. The Church sits in the middle of a neighborhood of apartment buildings and that's where the rich stuck-up people live, so you know they won't go. Then you have the rest of our area.... which is favela and middle class neighborhoods where there's one bus that passes every 2 hours. And there are some places where the people have to get 2 buses to arrive at church. It's a miracle when we have people in the chapel even though we call and remind everyone about church and even go to some people's houses. You gotta have people in the chapel to have baptisms. It's great.

This week we re-met up with this family that we met during the week in the area. I thought José had kicked them to the curb. Apparently not. Fernando and Graca are another "married" couple. They are super awesome. We returned to their house after passing one month without going. When we got there we asked how was the Book Of Mormon?  And Graça said she had read the part we marked, prayed, and recieved an answer that the book was true. Wow! You gotta check up on your investigators! She said waited for us to return to tell us what had happened but we never went back. Fubecas! (slackers)  Fernando read but didn't pray.

But these people are awesome. They understand everything we say and believe! And they fed us too. That's when you know you've found some good people.  We're working with them. They would have gone to church but something happened to her mom at the last minute and she had to go visit her. They said they were ready and everything but they received the call at the last minute. Bummer. But we've already taught everything to them. They just have to get married and Fernando has to stop drinking and they're as good as baptized.

Their next door neighbors are good too, Nilson and his wife. They have to get married.  This dude has a band and is the singer. I sang a hymn for him and he really liked it.  It was "Brilha Meiga Luz"... I forgot the name in English. Plug it in your google translate.  He sang a song about his mom. It was cool I guess. The other day their 2 year old son set their mattress on fire and walked away and almost burned the house down so Nilson was super ready to hear "the word of God". We taught the last half of the Restoration to him and the apostasy and Joseph Smith totally made sense to him. Simple guy, doesn't complicate things like other people do. It's refreshing to teach them and have people that understand. He'll read the Book Of Mormon and get an answer from God that it's real.

We knocked this one door this week. It was this Catholic guy. Super haughty. From the start of our message he started talking about how all the churches are true and how God knew that the Apostasy would happen, and that's why he gave us our freedom of choice, because all the churches teach good things and whatever church we choose to follow has all the truth we need. He also tried to convert us to his way of thinking. He said that believing that one church is right is immature and that one day we'll think like him. I bore testimony and said I would never think like him. Think about it. 8 generations in the same faith in my family. Could it be a question of maturity? No. After the lesson I thought about my ancestors as pioneers who crossed the plains with handcarts and how much they sacrificed just to get to a place that was safe to be a member of the church. The dude doesn't know what he's talking about. We left a little bit bugged. 

The zone is just on a roll. We've hit our weekly goal 3 weeks in a row and we've got 4 marked people for next week. Already there! The Lord is blessing us for our efforts in finding tons of new people. Knocking tons of doors. It's just the way it works. When you work, the Lord works. We'll have a leadership meeting this week and I'm pretty sure Presidente is gonna be super happy with us. It'll be a good one. The last one he burned us. This time he'll congratulate us. I'm really grateful to be a missionary in this time. It's amazing to see how things are speeding up. Our Ward mission leader is awesome. He put together this thing for the members to give; a christmas dvd to their friends and a Book Of Mormon too. We're the guys that will give it to them and they'll also receive a message of the restoration. I don't think there is a better Christmas present. The talk Elder Ballard gave about taking someone to church before Christmas hasn't taken affect yet. We're hoping the members will remember, because we don't have a chance to remind them because we don't eat in their homes. We receive money. Well, it's been real. I hope everyone is doing well and that ya'll have a great week. The Church is true. God Bless.

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, November 18, 2013


November 18, 2013

Wow! I almost started typing in Portuguese because of the email heading I put. By the way, the heading translated means, "Now the critter's gonna get it." I thought it was a good slang thing to put up there because as a zone were killing the mission now. We have some really excited missionaries and almost all of us get along really well. Just kind of makes the work happen a lot smoother.

Pday was good.. Stayed at home and taught a lesson to this chick named Samia. She had gone to church that Sunday and we were visiting her to see how she was doing. It was hilarious at church. Her son is 4 and is a chubster. He took his shirt off during Sacrament meeting and started running around. So we don't really know if she payed attention, but she said she loved it because of the Primary program. Anyways, we got to her house and checked up on her about the Book Of Mormon. She had read everything we left with her but she didn't pray. Droga. She also turned into a super snake too
, a woman attracted to missionaries.  I was teaching the lesson and she and her friends kept laughing and I said, "What?"... "Nothing"....I kept teaching and the same thing happened again and I said, "What?  She said, It's just that you're so pretty... if you weren't a missionary..." I just looked in the other direction and said "dang it" in English. I tried to pass the lesson over to Elder José but he wouldn't take it. I was trapped and super ready to get the heck out of there. I taught her about the Holy Ghost and we bounced. Awkward.

This week we taught a kid named Moroni. Yup, Moroni. He is 20 and his dad was a member of the church but he didn't know that. We taught him the Restoration and the kid is just super smart. Kind of a smart alec but smart in a good way too. He understood everything and everything made sense to him. We got to the part were Joseph receives the priesthood and he got a call from his mom telling him to take some medicine to her so we had to cut the lesson short and asked him if he had any questions. "Yeah, I have one question that I've asked a ton of people but nobody knows the answer... what is the origin of my name?"  Yes! I wanted to tell him so bad but wanted to save the response for when we explained Moroni and the Book Of Mormon.  I showed the picture of Moroni and gave him the read and pray challenge. He said he likes to read and he's curious so he'll be fine. We visit him tonight. It'll be cool.

Elder José and I have come up with a pretty hilarious inside joke that we play on the people we meet. It's not horrible, don't worry. We ask them which Apostacy(church) they go to and the people answer straight up, Assembly of God, Baptist, Catholic...etc. It's just funny.

Since I'm serving in the neighboring area of my old area, naturally I've given some references to this area in the past. NONE OF THEM HAVE BEEN CONTACTED. I asked José what he did with the people I gave him and he said "I don't know."  Now we have to chase them down. Good thing there are only two. We tried calling one of them, Stefany, who I found with Elder Bochi. Super elect. She marked the whole Restoration pamphlet. But that they just let her mold away. She didn't answer the phone. But then she called back 2 days after and we couldn't respond because our phone was messed up. We'll get her. Then there's another one they didn't contact. It was the English teacher where I visited her class with Elder Vargas and talked with her students. She was super nice and accepted a visit. She never was visited. Good thing we saw her walking in the street the other day. We set up an appointment for tonight. It will be sweet. 

We started teaching this girl who had already been booted by Elder José and Elder Vargas because her "husband" was crazy and didn't let her progress. Well they split up and he went to São Paulo for good. We marked her baptism for this Saturday and made friends. She's cool but José said she drinks so we'll have to see how she's doing with that.

This week makes 1 whole year since I've been in this blessed country called Brasil. Looking back on everything, it's hard to believe how much I've grown. I've developed the language to where I can talk to someone about almost anything, I'm not really afraid to talk to anyone, and I don't really think about home that much. I think it's safe to say that I'm comfortable with where I am in my progression and if I keep up this rate of progress, I'll be awesome at the end of my mission. And all this growth is because of the Lord. How else would I learn a whole other language? Não tem como!  It's insane to look back on all my experiences thus far and times that by 2 and it'll be the end. The mission is awesome. And the experience of bringing people the Gospel is amazing. Even though there are few elects, it's worth all the trouble when we find one who is ready to hear the message of the Restoration of the Gospel. And LANDON (Dallin's brother) will have this opportunity in March!  When I saw the video I flipped out. He's gonna speak Spanish! How awesome is that?  And he's going to be in Basketball country. He'll like that. Wow. I'm a proud brother. I don't understand why he goes to Mexico instead of Provo but we'll take it! I'm excited for him and know he's excited too. And sounds like Easton's going to suffer a bit in Basketball with the grandes (tall players) but it'll only make him better. It'll be good for him.

This week our Zone baptized 4. We're on a roll and now we just have to maintain. It was awesome to do the interviews and see the beginning of an eternal family. This is why we're here. I think we walked about 10 miles to do those interviews but it was totally worth it when we died in our beds. Satisfied. I think that's the hardest thing to reach on the mission. Satisfaction. And the battle doesn't end after that. It only ends after 2 years.

This is the truth. The restoration is real. And the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real too. And only through the restored gospel can we use it to it's full purpose. Love you all! Have a good week.

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fantastic Week

November 11, 2013

Cool beans.

This week was fantastic!

Pday was a do nothing day. Presidente Lanius already prohibited everything so Pday is just a bust. Kind of just a sit around and relax day. Got nothing against it, but I would like to play soccer/volleyball or something.

In District meeting we talked about a lot of things we needed to improve, Baptismal invites and people at church. It was kind of just a numbers type of training so our part wasn't very exciting but Elder Bochi gave an excellent training. He talked about a quote from President Gordon B. Hinckley. Talks about how we shouldn't settle for just being good missionaries. Which we are, I'm not gonna lie. But in it he talks about how we should be the best missionaries we can be. There is always room for improvement. It was just good. Elder José thinks he'll be transferred this next time and Bochi will be moved up to Zone Leader with me. I wouldn't mind that. He was a great companion/friend and a great missionary too. We would do well together. We knew going into this week that there was a lot of potential for the Zone to baptize a lot of people, but we didn't have any marked baptisms. Just miracles. 

I'm going to just talk about the people we're teaching because this week just flew by. 

Arnedes and Letíca
They are awesome. The only problem is that they aren't married and Arndes has another wife somewhere and he has to divorce her. She has a kid with another dude and everything. He just has to get some money to pay a lawyer to fix everything up. He's in debt though and he has to work for a few more weeks to pay it off. It's complicated. But the dude is awesome. He loves the Book Of Mormon. As soon as he gets divorced/married it's in the water. We go to his house every other night to read something out of the Book Of Mormon and he just eats it up. He always says "amen brother". It's awesome. And people at his work talk bad about the Church all the time and he just defends the heck out of it. The other night he made us dinner. Chicken with macacheira(some type of root that tastes just like potato.) and lemon. With Goiaba juice. So simple but good. His house is very simple. One room with a mattress and a kitchen. He is the humblest guy ever but the coolest. Just ready to learn anything you say and is just excited. Its good to go to his house after a bad day of not teaching anybody who's interested. Just refreshing. Barely even have to talk because he talks the whole time and asks questions. But it has been a while since he's been to church. His back was hurting last week because he works with construction, and this week his boss was trying to pay him on Sunday so it got complicated with him moving the money around. He needs to go to church to maintain the excitement and receive the blessings. He'll be a leader in the church one day. Just gotta wait. It always seems like the best people have the hardest time getting baptized.

We taught this lady named Marilene. We only taught her like 2 times really fast because she's always in a hurry. But she accepted baptism and the next time we went back to check on her, her dad had said something to her that dissuaded her. She was baptized in the Catholic church and he said that this baptism would negate everything he had ever taught her. (She is 40 years old.) We taught her about the differences in the baptisms and how one is valid and the other is not. We testified and left her with the challenge to pray about it. She said she would and we could tell that she felt the spirit.

This week we found this family because of a brother in the ward who gave us a reference. The family is incomplete. The mom was baptized a long time ago but she doesn't go to church anymore and she didn't baptize her kids. We taught them and everyone seems pretty excited. The mom needs to divorce because she's in the same situation as Arnedes. The kids are cool. 10 year old boy and 21 year old girl. Then there are neighbors who are always there too. The house gets pretty rowdy and and there are interruptions but we're going baptize everyone and reactivate the mom. Her mom lives with her too and hasn't been baptized yet. It's a gold mine. José and I have to keep passing the message back and forth to keep our cool because the kids are just rowdy. It happens and you just have to deal with it and keep the spirit.

Edimilson and Simone got baptized in the Catholic this sunday. Edimilson still wants to know if the Book of Mormon is true "to know which of the churches is correct"... that's my boy.We haven't booted them yet. We will see this week.

So this week with the Zone we killed our goal (3 baptisms a week). We baptized 7 in the zone this week. The sisters received a reference from their bishop of a family. A family that lives pretty dang far from the chapel (50kilo) but these people have 4 kids who wanted to be baptized. Two sets of twins. Guys and girls. 13 and 14 years old. How does this happen? Only God knows. We set it up so we would have the Zone Leaders and the District Leaders in the same place to do the interviews fast (Sunday morning) so everyone could go to church and be confirmed after the baptisms. It was a great experience and these kids were really really excited and were just super ready to be baptized. Don't ask me why their parents waited for them to be baptized but it made for a great week for the missionaries. The sisters were dying of happiness. The others sisters in the Zone had 3 more. When the Assistants called and I told them we had 7 baptisms they said they had a festa in the mission office and everyone was yelling. It was funny. It's fun to pass 7 instead of 1 or 2. haha.

This week we will have to talk about maintenance to keep our excitement up. And we had a deal that we would have a "party" if we reached our goal. So tomorrow will be a good meeting. I'm going to print out the talk from Elder Ballard too so that our missionaries can burn the members with it at our lunches. Not burn,,,, but ,,, you know. We really need references from the members because doing the work alone doesn't really work in this zone.

Well the Lord blessed us this week. I knew there would be a light at the end of this baptismless tunnel. We worked super hard to earn this and will continue earning it too. Baptisms aren't free! And the power of fasting is real. Everyone fasted these past couple weeks and it came through. This Church is true. Christ lives. Amen.

Love you family. Excited to see where Landon gets called. (Brazil)
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, November 4, 2013


November 4, 2013

This week was an improvement.

It started out with a Pday (Preparation Day) of hiking up the hill Bom Jesus. It's a huge hill that sits literally in the middle of the city. It's pretty sweet. It has 400 steps you have to walk up to get to the top. My legs were super dead when we go to the top. From the top the view is sweet. You can see the whole city and the whole Zone. All the places where our missionaries work you can see. It's just cool.

Tuesday we had a leadership meeting with the President. So we woke up super early and got the bus from here to Recife. It's awesome working in the interior because you're far away from everything and you can sleep on the bus to Recife. When we got there all my old Zone Leaders were there. It was weird seeing them and being on the same level as them because when I got here and was being trained I really looked up to them. Elder Farrer, my first Zone Leader was there and this is his last last transfer. It's just weird. When I first got here he had just been made a Zone Leader. Now he's leaving and I'm a Zone Leader. Time just flies on the mission. President started the meeting talking about the rules people were breaking and what needed to be fixed. He's a strict President but he's good. Then He talked about the Atonement  He said something really cool that I liked a lot.  "If we understood the Atonement completely, then we wouldn't sin/break mission rules"  It's super true. And if the investigators understood it then the work would go much more smoothly and they would follow through with their commitments. So we have to understand it and teach it efficiently enough so that the people can understand it too. Then President called up all the ZLs who had hit their weekly baptism goals for the week to tell the rest about what they did to do it. We didn't hear anything we hadn't heard before. It's frustrating when you're doing the same things the other zones are doing but aren't having success. We're waiting for God to transform this weak Zone into a strong zone, because we're doing what we're supposed to be doing to deserve the help from above. After the meeting we ate Habib's in the cultural hall. It's a fast food Arabian restaurant that I don't think they have in the US. Mini pizzas. It's bomb!  (Bomb is a good thing for you older generation out there!)

I did a division with my old area. I stayed with Bochi's companion in Caruarú, Elder Marlow. He's a great guy, goofball/super chill. Doesn't speak very well so we spoke in English the whole time. Let me tell you, I'm more fluent in Portuguese than in English right now. I was tripping over my tongue and speaking Portuguese. It was funny. Just showed me what will happen when I talk to ya'll on Christmas in about a month and a half.  But we taught this 21 year old dude named Mishael with the Bishop's counselor.  The kid is a philosopher and is very intelligent  I was pulling all my big words out to talk to him, haha. He doesn't accept Christ as our savior and does not believe that we even need a Savior. He was getting all philosophical on us and trying to explain why it wouldn't work out. We explained that the gospel is way more simple than he thought it was. He was just complicating everything and we just taught everything to him very simply  Joseph Smith, Book Of Mormon, Prophets, the Atonement.  Freddy, the counselor of the Bishopric is very smart and was just destroying him. (Destroying is also a good thing.)He works with the kid in the local market. We just left him with the classic read and pray.

The next day we knocked tons of doors and found an amazing family (Simone, Edimilson, Emily). We got to the door as Edimilson got to the door. He just seemed like a really good guy. Humble. Hard working. He works as a mechanic. Before we even started teaching them he said he wanted to mark a Sunday to visit the church. Wow. It's not everyday that happens. We started teaching the restoration and the Spirit of God was just burning like a fire. Everything just made perfect sense to them and Edimilson was wiping his eyes. The amazing thing is that they're married and have a 7 year old girl. FAMILY. There's really nothing more exciting.  Simone even said the Padre at their church had said that there is no right religion, that wherever your heart wants you to go you should follow. Thanks buddy. You just signed this family off to eternal life. They didn't go to church this Sunday because they were busy with family but they'll go this week and we'll throw them in the water.

Henrique was supposed to be our baptism this week. 11 year old kid. The whole week he was just excited to be baptized and on Saturday out of nowhere his mom didn't let him. It was because he said that he has friends in the church and she thought he was just doing it for his friends. I don't know what difference that makes to her because she doesn't go to any church. And his sister kept asking, "Why is there such a short preparation period to be baptized in this church?  My church is different, blah blah blah." We explained that there was never a preparation period for the baptism in the times of Jesus Christ so why would there be one now? We tried to butter up the mom and teach everything to her but nothing worked. It was hopeless and I left that situation just livid.

So we entered onto the weekend with one baptism firm. Ours had fallen through and all the miracles had fallen through too. We were walking home at night just dead and discouraged and the sisters called saying that a miracle had happened and that they would baptize this woman this Sunday. They found the lady knocking doors, and it was one of those moments where the person was just prepared to hear the gospel. President gave the OK to baptize her on her first Domingo (Sunday). She said she was linked to the church in some way. We danced in the street and yelled a bit and got ready to do the interview in the morning. When we woke up we got a call from the sisters saying that the lady had called. Her name is Grace. She had called the sisters saying that she was begging on her knees for them not to come because her mom's pressure was high and just bologna. Sister Perez had said that her voice was different on the phone and that she sounded like she was being possessed. We got a little sketched out and all four of us Elders went to this lady's house. Only her mom was home and she said Grace had gone down the street. The sisters were a little stressed and frustrated. Needless to say the baptism didn't happen, but it will next week.

We ended the week with 1 baptism for the zone. It was a girl who had been taking a super long time to get baptized. It was awesome to interview her and actually see her face instead of just a name on our sheet of paper. And she was the first baptism of this Sister who has been on the mission for 7 months. It's definitely a win in the books.

Well, hope this letter was interesting. The time is running out. This week I renewed my testimony of the gospel. It's always a good thing to do. Just the classic read and pray. The spirit really is real. The atonement is real too.
Love you all.
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

This is a picture of the alcohol that was poured in a square by the drunk that was following Dallin and his companion in last week's letter.  Oh's always an adventure with them!