Monday, December 30, 2013

Contacting Referrals

December 23, 2013

This week went by super fast, don't really know what happened.

Pday (Preparation Day) was normal. We went to the center of the city as usual and did the usual dinking around. We got home and relaxed for a few hours, much needed. When we went out to work we were going to visit this eternal investigator(someone who will take forever to baptize) Josenildo. On the way there we were stopped by this lady. "You're the Elders from the Mormon church right??"  Uhhh yeah! ... "I've always wanted to visit that church but I was always too embarrassed to enter."  This woman was super excited to see us. She said she had stayed in this Bishop's house in Recife and Pereira just happened to serve in that ward. It was a "coincidence". So we talked and she wanted us to visit her at her house and meet her "husband"...they're not legally married but they were super cool. When we met the dude he was more shy and reserved but we got to talking and he opened up. They began to tell us about their lives. The husband(Eziquiel) built their house all by himself. He even made the bricks. He went and got the clay from some place close to his house, from the ground not from a store. The dude is a machine. They have a little girl who is one, and they are super humble, nice people. The first visit was really fast because we had an appointment, but later in the week we explained thoroughly about the restoration. It was great. They understood everything and were ready to accept it. They went to church and loved it. Ezquiel said it was like nothing had ever experienced before, and Cátia(wife) said she liked it a lot. They plan on going to church from now on. And get this... they actually want to get married. Imagine that! A couple who lives together who wants to get married. She said she wants to get married in the church. She even asked us how she could do a family night because she had participated in a few in Recife with the Bishop. These people will be baptized. We just have to get them married! Woo!

This week has been great for referrals. Remember how I said we got 40 from the members? That's all we've been doing, contacting referrals. We don't even knock doors! It's amazing! It takes a while to find some of the houses because the addresses in Brasil are cookoo, but when we find them it's usually well worth it. This area went from being a tracting area to an actual teaching area. We're finding a lot of great people. Of course there are those people who don't accept anything outside of their comfort zone, but about half of them thanked us for coming and said they would go to church. It's great because they already know their friends from church. We had some people cry when we sang to them the Christmas hymn, and we now have some people in our teaching group who have some actual potential.

This week we also did an exchange with Caruarú. Elder Bochi came to my area and we set out on an adventure of contacting referrals. We got lost and walked a ton but we ended up contacting two. Bochi was mainly there to talk to Cilene, Brainer's mom who is taking forever to baptized. She's so dang close it's not even funny. Right when we got there she began to talk about how something supernatural came over her when she was praying about the church and where she should go with her life. She said the feeling was just good. We got really excited but when she was talking she was talking as if she was scared of the feelings she felt. We told her that was her response. she said no it wasn't and she's trying to wait for something else. Brainer whipped a scripture out of nowhere in Doctrine and Covenants that was perfect. D&C 6:22 or something like that. It talks about how Oliver Cowdery was trying to get more responses from God than he already had, and God said that if he wants more answers/proofs, go back in your mind to that prayer you said and the feelings you felt when you asked for the truth. She got really quiet and we asked her what she was going to do from there. She said she would decide later. OFIGUVNRUWI. What more does she want?! There was a Christmas activity in the ward last night and Marcione(LMA) was joking around with her saying she was super close to being baptized. She said "Yeah, I was this close, but now I'm this close." (shrinking the space between her fingers). We'll get her.

Right now we're in Recife to get Christmas boxes/packages from the mission office for our zone. Our zone doesn't know we're here so were going show up with their presents at district meeting as a surprise. They weren't supposed to get them until the transfer but President let us come to Recife to do this surprise. It'll be great.

Well, Merry Christmas to all and this is the last Christmas away from home for me. It will be weird but good at the same time. Christ is the Lord and this is His season. I can't wait to talk to y'all in 2 days!!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, December 16, 2013

Spread the Gospel

 December 11, 2013

Sorry for being late. (Letter was received on Wednesday instead of the usual Monday)

We didn't even have a chance to get on the computer. Do you believe that? This past week and a half has been insane and awesome. It started out with the transfer. Sorry I didn't give y'all the name of my comp. Elder Pereira from Rio de Janeiro. He's cool and we get along. He was in the CTM in Sao Paulo when I was there and we arrived here in Pernambuco together. It's weird because I couldn't even talk to him there but now we talk like normal people. It's cool.

This past week has been great for the work because we received 40 references? How? That's a lot. Our ward mission leader is a boss and made this Christmas kit for the members to give to their friends. He got us 100 Christmas DVDs and gave the members cards for them to write names of friends to give to us. From there we get the names, go to the people's houses, leave the DVDs with them, sing a Christmas hymn, and talk about 
Christmas. Then we mark another visit. It's gold. These next couple weeks before Christmas we're going to contact all these people and baptize. Finally. It's interesting to contact these references because you always have a picture in your mind of what the person will be like but it never works out in the end. It's like a guessing game.

We've been trying to work with this one family this past week. They've been to church twice but don't want to get married. I don't understand this. They've lived in the same house for 6 years, have 3 kids, but don't want to get married. It gives me a headache listening to them talk about why they won't. Story after story after story. Problems. You would think we were psychologists. It gets pretty heavy.

We've also been trying to hunt down some less active members. We got a list of them and have found out that a ton have moved away. We found this one dude who was baptized when he was 17. He's 28 now and he was baptized in the Assembly. When we got there he was super excited to see us. The dude was crazy.  "My friends! Enter!" He gave us stinky hugs and we entered. The dude was crazy. I don't know why the elders at that time baptized him. He had no teeth and was just crazy. He told us stories about how he would walk around with the elders and got up and demonstrated how fast they walked and told us they went and bought Popsicles. We were just dying of laughter. We asked him why he was baptized again. He didn't know but he's going to church this Sunday. Success.

Another house we went to out came two guys saying the person didn't live there anymore. One was dressed as a woman. The other just had boxers on. It was interesting.

The counselor of the Bishopric gave us 10 names to chase down on his road. He has a nephew named Joseph who gave us 2. He loves the missionaries. His mom showed us that he was talking to the former president of the mission on facebook. He's just a funny kid. His dream is to be an elder. So we invited him to go with us to visit these people. He got so dang excited. We got to his house to pick him up and he was shirtless so we waited outside for him to get ready. 10 minutes later he comes out with a suit on and carrying a brief case. Hahaha. So we left and made some visits. One of the visits was super annoying because the people just wanted to know about the United States. I was afraid Joseph was getting bored so I asked him if he wanted to go and he said,  "No, this is awesome."   When we got to his house we sat on the porch for a bit just talking to the family. By the way, there are 3 huge families from the same family who are members on the same road so it's just a party there. We were talking and Joseph was inside and his mom told us that she asked him if it was good. He said "It wasn't good mom.... it was awesome."  I was surprised because it wasn't that good but the kid is awesome.

So why didn't I write to y'all sooner?  Because we went to the temple on Tuesday and it counted as a our pday. The temple is awesome. They have a full sized nativity there and they planted poinsettias so it's beautiful there in the garden.  And the new stuff in the temple is amazing. More emotional and spiritual. I liked it a lot. After the temple we stayed in Recife in a house of elders there. I knew them all so it was just a party there. Oh! And I saw my kid at the temple too!  He said my Portuguese is awesome and we talked about all our inside jokes.  It was great. I saw Claudemire from Aguas Comprodas too. It was a reunion. 

We had the Christmas mission conference. It was sweet. We had a 70 and his wife talk to us, Elder and Sister Granja. Super spiritual. Super motivating. Then each Zone sang a Christmas hymn. I'm not gonna brag or anything but ours was definitely the best. Sister Ramy(USA) got a piano arrangement of Silent Night from her mom and we sang the verses from the Hymn book. It was legit. I arranged the voice parts and the last verse me and another sister, Hicken(USA) sang a duet. It was awesome. We had people crying and the spirit was setting the chapel on fire. Saw all my buddies at the conference and had a good ole time eating tons of turkey. Then I got my package from the fam! It was perfect! So much candy. And the tree was awesome. Set it all up and everything. I'll send y'all pics next week.

But man. The church is true. Jesus is definitely our Savior. No doubt in my mind. We watched Finding Faith in Christ and I got a lot more out of it this time than other times I've watched it. The atonement is real, and everyone needs it. That's why we have to spread the gospel! Hows the challenge from Elder Ballard going? Brought anyone to church yet? Well, love you family, and miss you tons. Till Monday!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

(Both pictures posted were old ones that Dallin's mom found on Facebook)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Loving the Mission

December 2, 2013

Wow, this week was fast. Today was transfers and I don't have much time to write to ya'll so I will try to get it all in the best I can. Elder José got transferred and I'm here now with my big black companion from Rio. He's really cool and we arrived on the mission on the same day. I heard that he doesn't like any leeway when it comes to mission rules. It'll be good for me. Even though I'm not disobedient, there's always room to improve. The transfer was super legit. A lot of missionaries I knew went home so it was weird to see all of them bear their testimonies and leave. But it was super spiritual and motivating at the same time.

This week we had the leadership meeting with President. He presented the new plan for all the missions in Brasil. The new rule for Baptisms is if the person is 15 years old or less we can't baptize them until they've been going to church for 3 months. Brasil has been baptizing a ton but hasn't been retaining the numbers so the Area presidency took drastic measures. Now we have to focus on families more(which should have always been the focus). The number of baptisms will go down a bit but we have to have faith that this new change will be for the better of the church and to help us have more priesthood/splittings of wards. It was weird looking back on my mission and remembering how many kids I've baptized. It's all good though.

This week we've been teaching our 3 married couples who aren't married. It's annoying but there's potential in these families. Nilson(the guy who has a band) went to church and brought his 3 kids with him. It was sweet. Arnedes and Leticia went to church too. The class on Sunday was about family history so it was kind of weird for someone who was getting to know the church. But it all worked out when we talked about baptisms for the dead in the new members class(Elder José and I taught it.) We taught the Plan of Salvation. It's always a good one.

Fast and testimony meeting was great. One of our investigators(Josenildo) got up and bore his testimony. It was amazing.  This guy was scooped off the street by Elder Vargas and José when he was just hammered drunk. They marked a day to go to his house. He quit drinking in 1 week. His life is changing a lot right now because he's getting right with God. He loves to go to church and counts the days until he can wear his white shirt and tie that were given to him by one of the members. He's the guy with the stash in the picture I sent to ya'll from last week. Just a good guy. He said that no other church could have done this for him. He's tried all of them. It's because this is the church of Jesus Christ and has the POWER to change people's lives for the better. I was smiling uncontrollably when he got up there. Arnedes wanted to go up too but the time ran out. It has been a long time since he went to church. It was a great Sunday for investigators.

I wish I could write to ya'll everything that happened but I don't have time. This week was a testimony builder. I know that this is the true church of our Savior Jesus Christ. No doubt in my mind. Doesn't matter what anybody says. I get sad sometimes that the people don't recognize the truth but the only thing we can do is present the gospel to them and hope they accept it. I love being on a mission. I love my family. I love the Savior.

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Dallin's mom found this old picture on Facebook
Another old picture of Dallin in his first area.