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 missionaries....it's always an adventure with them!