Monday, November 3, 2014

He's Home!!!

 After two years in Recife, Brazil,  Elder Carroll has arrived home!  We are so happy to welcome him home and have him back with his family again.  I am grateful that my son chose to serve a mission and to bless the people in Brazil with the gospel.  It was definitely a sacrifice, but one that Dallin willingly accepted.  After managing this blog for two years I officially post the last entry!  You may catch glimpses of Dallin on our family blog from time to time if you want to see what he's up to in the future....  And a special thanks to all of the wonderful people in Brazil who fed and took care of my son.  I am grateful to you!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ultimo Email

 October 20, 2014

Hello my beautiful family and friends. How wonderful it is to address you all on this fine sunny day where I found out that I will be studying at BYU and in one week I will be at home. Life is getting different, but I'm ready to go. Let me tell you all.... my body is soooo tired. I'm trying my best not to get down because of my tiredness. Everyone I live with is making me super trunky! ''Hey Elder, how many days do you have left??''... hahaha there's no way not to know. We walked and traveled a ton this week so I caught a cold when the weekend started because of all the waking up early and going to bed late. The week started out with an exchange we did with Arco Verde. I stayed with Elder Wach in my area. The dude is super legit and he goes home one transfer after me so we were getting trunky together and making plans to meet up after the mission. He's a big football player who could probably go to whatever school he wants to play football. But we had a good ol time knocking on doors and talking to random people. A guy in the ward sent us a referral of a guy that cuts hair. The dude didn't have time to just sit and talk but he had time to cut my hair for free because we're his friend's friend. Don't know why that made sense to him but we'll take it! So I taught the dude while he was cutting my hair for free. He cut pretty well... It took me two years to find a good hair cutter! I guess if there was a haircut that mattered it would be the last one right?? The dude was kind of crazy and doesn't have a lot of time to go to church/talk to the missionaries but it was a cool lesson. Wach stayed at our house that night and then we got out at 6 to go back to Arco Verde(2 hours away) to undo the exchange and we got back home just in time to go to our leadership meeting in Recife(3 hours the other way/back home after the meeting arriving at 10). It was a lot of traveling in 1 day and my health was just going down hill because we don't really eat that well when we're traveling all the time.

The leadership meeting was sick. Our President is a missionary master-mind with a whole bunch of tricks up his sleeves. He pretty much flipped the mission in another direction than it was going before. We all felt it coming but we didn't think it was going to be that drastic! He's a man that likes to use time wisely and he knows that if we do use our time wisely the mission will do way better. The members encourage the missionaries to waste time and when he discovered that he got ticked and jumped on it. It's just Brazilian culture... everyone just wants us to sit around and talk and eat! haha.

We had a sweet experience with Michael this week. We went to his house when I was doing an exchange with Elder Cordeiro(lives with me). We followed up on the Book Of Mormon and he hasn't received a response yet. His dad and cousin were there to listen in on the discussion and everyone had different ideas. So it started to get awkward and we marked a few things for Michael to read and then Cordeiro asked them to play something since there were like 4 guitars lying around their house. They started to play some sweet stuff and the mood got a bit lighter. Then they asked us to play something and we grabbed it and played what we knew. It was sweet. Then they played some songs I knew and I sang for them. We automatically made a quick friendship right there because of our love of music. It's incredible how you can endear people to you when you have the same interests. Everyone got super psyched to go to church after the jam-sesh. Michael's dad went with his ''wife'' and they loved it! Michael stayed at home because he got home at like 3 in the morning on Sunday.... But this is a family that needs the gospel. Michael and Manoel(dad) don't have a great relationship and they seem pretty lost in life. The want to learn more and are liking what they feel and see!

How am I feeling about the end... My body is tired and I feel like I'm in an area that makes it so I want to be home. This last transfer has been tough. We talk to a lot of people who don't want to receive us and we walk a lot to get to our area. I made the Bishop redo the division between the two areas of the ward so that we had better neighborhoods to work with. We'll see how that works this week. I feel like I needed to do this to get the ward and the stake to give this ward a jump start to get divided. I'm going to miss my companion too. We just joke around all day. It's kind of like my relationship with Landon... we wail on and insult each other at home but it's just laughs the whole time. We have tons of insiders too. I told him I'm going to stay at his house in Rio when the Olympics are there while his girlfriend makes us food.. HAHA. All the Rio missionaries I've met just make fun of people all the time so we pretty much have license to say whatever we want to each other. The Elders I live with are parceiros(partners) too. Good buds. Johnson has a year left and is going to BYU when he gets back so we're going to hit it up. Elder Cordeiro lives in Rio Grande do Sul so I'll see him one day(years from now) when I make a trip to see all my buds from the south of Brazil. I'm ready. I'm probably not going to baptize this week but I'm going to do my best to make something work out. I'm going to fill up the area book and leave the area better than I got it.
OH! While we were playing soccer we found out that a dude walked into the church and robbed us! We stopped to take a water break and while we were walking in we saw a random guy in the hall. I got there after but everyone said that he asked to play soccer with us while he was messing with his cellphone(hands shaking) and then he backed out and drove away. We later found out that he had taken 30 reais(roughly 17 bucks in American money) But left all our phones and cards and cameras.... I think that had something to do with when Elder Johnson entered in the church...''EI!! QUEM TÁ AQUI?!'' (HEY WHO'S THERE). He said that because the door was open when he went in. What a SAFADO!(dirtbag). Imagine If we had caught him in the act.... That would have been awkward for him cause there would've been 6 adrenalin-pumped dudes in front of him asking why...

Well fam I think that's it. To top It off I just want you all to know that I know that Christ lives, and that this is His church.

See you all in 8 days!
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, October 13, 2014

Coming to the End

October 13, 2014

This week was a mixture of emotions, hard work and spiritual enlightenment. As I reach the end of my mission here in Recife I cant help but to think about who I am now, who I used to be and who I want to be when I get back. I feel comfortable with the changes I've made in my conversion and I feel ready to take on normal life. But only after 2 weeks of hard work. My body is tired but I am willing to do what I need to do to help this area out with whatever I can do. I feel like I've established myself as a leader and an example to my zone and the mission. 

President wanted us to work closely with the Stake President so we can know what he wants to do with the ward and so the Stake can help it with what we say it needs. So what better way to do that than to do splits with him?? It started out a bit rough as I stayed with him and another Peruvian missionary named Elder Miranda looking for people to teach. Nobody was home! We went to about 3 houses before I remembered a lady we talked to in the street the other day. We rang the intercom and she answered and said the door was open and for us to enter. We kind of didn't know how to react so I rang it again and told her it was the missionaries. She thought we were her son! haha Imagine if we were a robber..... Anyways.... we had a great lesson with her and her son. We taught the restoration and they totally felt it. The Stake President said, "We need the members to feel this too! They need to know what this is like! If they knew, they would always help you guys out and you then the work would just hasten!".... That was really great for us and that's what we needed! So on Sunday he went to our ward and trained the priesthood as a whole so that they could get more excited about missionary work and actually want to help us. We weren't there but afterward, everyone seemed pretty pumped and ready to help us out. This is what we needed! Now we just have to mark with these men so they help us out with references and actually go out with us.

Another thing that happened this week was a Zone conference we had with President and the assistants. IT WAS GREAT. President talked a lot about the way we need to study to be able to teach our investigators better. It was really great and I actually think it was the best conference I have ever witnessed on the mission. I feel like things are starting to get good right as I'm leaving! haha bummer. But in the middle Me and Elder Oliveira trained our zone and another zone of like 25 missionaries about power and authority. It was great. I think it was the last one I will give on my mission. Thank goodness..... haha. After the meeting I had my last interview with President. It was all about the transition I'll go through when I get back. He warned me about a lot of things I can't do and some things that I have to do. Have to have a plan according to The last verse of Lucas 2. I have to study, work out, have a social life , and not go inactive. Like actively not go inactive. I have to keep learning and growing closer to God! I think all these things I already had planned in my head but it's good to put them on paper....

Alrighty so let's talk about investigators.

Michael is a kid we met in the street the week of conference. I think I forgot to write about him but he's awesome. We were walking in the street without anything to do and kind of depressed and Oliveira said that his brother Monce told him that when everything falls through that's because there's an elect waiting for you. That's what had happened. We found him going back to his house in Judo(sp?) We asked him if he had any time to talk to us and he said, "Yeah dude I love talking about religion!:  I actually did a theology class and I don't go to church because I have tons of doubts about the different doctrines".... So we talked to him on some steps in the sidewalk. It was awesome. It was a conversation, and not just another lesson. He was engaged and liking it. It feels good to find someone who's interested in what you have to say when you're having a bad day. He had already read the Book Of Mormon and decided to go to conference. He took notes the whole time. He went to one of the sessions only but the whole time he was taking notes. We found out he didn't go to the other sessions because his aunts' house caved in and she was in it! She's fine but after a week without talking to him we were able to refresh his memory about the restoration. We found him at his house finally. He's seventeen, huge, and his personality reminds me of all the Days combined. Plays a ton of instruments and likes to trade ideas. We talked about the Book Of Mormon and he had a lot of questions but understood plainly the purpose of the book. He said he would read it and pray. It was interesting because he was like, :yeah, all I have to do is read this and I'll be able to figure out if I'll be a Mormon or not.... who knows, maybe I'll be an Elder in the United States or something!"  haha It was sweet. But as we were closing up his cousin came out of the other room and started debating a bit. It was nothing serious because we were controlling the situation. His cousin had already talked to the missionaries and told us about his experience with them. He said he went to church for a bit but because of the persistence of the missionaries, he was scared away. We said sorry for that and said that's not the way we work but it's true! There are missionaries who scare people away with their excitement! He asked, ´´What would you do if someone showed up at your house presenting a book telling you to believe in it,,,, and if you believed you would have to follow??"....... I swear Satan uses people to get in the heads of the people who have the most potential to make the best change they've ever made in their life.... it happens all the time and he succeeds a lot of the times. But luckily Michael was playing his electric guitar quietly the whole time when his cousin was talking.... Sometimes the work is harder than it needs to be....

Then there's Mateus
He's our miracle boy who kinda of just fell off the face of the earth. We taught him outside his house and caught up with him. He had gone to another state for about 2 weeks. He goes to the universal church and they're giving him a bunch of responsibilities and trying to mark his baptism there too! And then the baptist church comes out of nowhere and tries to mark his baptism there too! GET THEE HENCE SATAN. But as we were talking with him about the Book Of Mormon and the ways the Spirit works he noticed that he HAD felt better in our church than any other one. And that was just an activity! He really is a special kid who knows how to deal with the things of God, and he KNOWS how he feels when God is trying to get him to do something. We told him to never forget that feeling and to beware of the ways that the adversary would try to knock him down. We read some pieces of Moroni 7 with him and talked about the difference between things of God and things from the other side. He got a good grasp on the concept so we'll be good until we talk to him on Tuesday. We marked his baptism for Oct 26... the day before I leave. LET'S GOOOOO.

Well family... it was nice to write the second to last email of my mish... Pray for me while I end so that I can end it puking. I don't want to let anyone down.... Christ lives.

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Conference, Referrals, and Success

 October 6, 2014

Conference week!!!!!

That means the whole week we were telling the people that Sunday would be a special day that we would be able to hear the prophet speak. It's interesting to see the reactions. Some people got really excited and said they would go to conference and others just kind of brushed the invitations off. Some hearts are just more open than others and that's normal. The spirit can only do so much.

The week was a success. We have the trust of the members in the ward and we're already receiving some referrals. The trick is to talk to the dudes who are return missionaries! They're usually willing to give the references because they know what it's like to knock on doors all day....NOT FUN. So we talked to two sweet guys in the ward that live on our half of the ward. Everson and Edson. Everson is 30 and has an English school and knows a ton of people because of the many students that come in and out. Youth, parents.... all types of people. Then we talked to Edson too, who just moved here from Caruarú with his wife and 9 month old son.. Yes I already met him when I was serving there and we're buds so it was cool to see him when I got here. He's also helping us out a lot because he has a car and we can use it to take people to church. 

Everson's reference was Diego. He's a young law student who works in a funeral home. He's a bright dude and has participated in a lot of religions so he said he doesn't have a set church that he goes to. We talked to him with Everson in a room full of fancy caskets and his 19 year old cousin just happened to be there too. We taught the Restoration and it was awesome. We testified like lions and they felt the spirit testifying of the Prophet Joseph Smith. They were way into it and said that God wanted us to be there at that moment to teach them. They didn't go to conference but they accepted the baptismal invite and looked like they were thinking a lot about what we were saying. SÓ ÁGUA!

Edson's reference is Carlo. He's a police guy who barely has time for anything. It was a miracle that we caught him at home. He likes to talk about everything. Middle aged guy who isn't married(but lives with his wife) and has a lot of kids in a lot of places. The whole week we were trying to talk with him but he was always leaving or about to do something. Finally, on a rainy day(everyone just stays home and sleeps on rainy days) we woke him up from a nap and talked to him and his wife about the restoration. Carlo is a smart guy with some good ideas but his wife is from the assembleia and thinks that all the people who believe in Christ ARE the church of Christ. NO. If I had a nickle for every time I've heard that I would be able to pay for all my schooling. But we just burn them with Efesions. They were mais ou menos during the lesson but we left the pray challenge and they accepted. Carlo more than his wife. Assembleians are really just brainwashed by the pastors and their heart is just padlocked so there's no way for a mighty change to happen.

Now we have to take care of our references so we can get more!

I had a cool experience while I was doing baptismal interview. The other elders from our ward were going to baptize a lady of her husband who got baptized like 4 months ago and has always wanted her to get baptized. Aparecida is her name.... roughly translated it means "looks like" in English. hahaha It's actually a very common name but when Elder Johnson pointed out the translation to me we just busted out laughing. Good times. So during the interview she didn't remember anything about the prophet. She didn't understand the concept of a prophet and didn't understand how the restoration happened.  I taught her about 4 times during the interview and she didn't even remember really what I said. I realized that she had a strong learning disability and I was trying to pull her testimony out of her but she really doesn't know how to express herself. She's probably the most simple-minded person I've ever met on my mission so I prayed for God to put a question in my head that would let me know she was ready. One popped into my head.....,"how long do you plan on going to this church?" She responded, "for the rest of my life"..."And what if you stop going?"......"uhhh it' a sin."  and if you go to another church?" ......"That's a sin too because this is the church of Christ." ......Well then, interview over! She passed! haha. Personal revelation is real! Her husband didn't know she was going to get baptized until she was right after the last session of conference. It was way cool. 

Conference was incredible. Elder Johnson and I were in the English room the whole time so we were able to share our ideas about the talks during conference and relax a little bit. All the talks were amazing. Elder Holland blew me away and Uchtdorf made me think a lot about my perception on my own life. Some people have a terrible relationship with themselves and never really take the time to evaluate their spiritual progression. I've learned a lot about that on my mission with other missionaries and investigators. I feel like people should feel more guilty about the things they do. Not to the point where they get depressed, but to the point where they want to do something to change. The Book of Mormon actually talks a lot about this. How are you ever going to experience a mighty change of heart if you don't perceive the need to change??

Oh! and it was also sick when that 70 spoke in Portuguese! I was amazed at how much I could feel and understand the message. I remember the last time I tried to watch conference in Portuguese like a year ago and it was kind of hard and now it's so natural. SO natural. I was talking to Johnson the whole day in English and left there talking to the members in English not noticing that I was speaking in English... woops hahaha. Sometimes when I watch conference I think..."how would this church not be true???" I've seen the other churches do what they do and it's just not correct. WE have a modern living prophet. WE have authority of God. WE receive modern day revelation.... And WE interpret the Bible correctly. I will challenge anyone who says otherwise.

Jesus is our Savior and guides His church.

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Para Bens

 September 29, 2014

Alright people time to give the weekly report. We worked super hard this week and are super dead so this pday is going to be a do nothing day.

I'm really enjoying these last few weeks. My companion is sweet. We have the same sense of humor so it keeps things interesting. I beat up on him a little bit at home so he knows who's boss. We're playing the slug-bug/mystery machine game where you whale on the other guys arm when you see one. If it were a competition I would say that I'm winning and his arm is getting destroyed. We're also having a good time getting to know the members and making friends in the ward. I think the ward was a sleeping giant but when we got here with the other missionaries in the ward things are starting to pick up. The leadership is helping us out a lot. We knocked a ton of doors this week and we changed our strategy. We figured that since the chapel is actually a run down house, we should probably focus on the more humble people to try to boost up the church attendance, so we're in the favelas again. There are some really interesting people in the poor parts of Brasil. It's an experience that is hard to describe. A lot of loud music, naked kids running around, old people sitting on their front steps, and horses eating out of trashcans. But these people's humility is amazing. They don't have hardly anything but have a strong faith in God and really seem to have a dependence on him. We invite people to go to church, they say they'll go, but they don't go. It's pretty depressing. The people here lack a lot of commitment though they have open hearts and a will to follow Christ. 

Some investigators for y'all to follow up on:

Ana Paula is a mom of four kids. One of her kids is a member and is 20. The father of the family just died and the family is suffering a lot with depression. Apparently she didn't even let the missionaries in the house when he was alive but now she is really open to us visiting her and helping understand the plan of salvation. We taught it to her the other day and she cried the whole time. We could tell that all her doubts about life and death were cleared up and she was really quite satisfied with the message. She thanked us a lot and at the end we taught her a little about the temple and the sealing power that Jesus gave to Peter. She's a little apprehensive about going to church still but we told her that we insist that she goes to church so she can seal herself to her husband with the power that can only be found in the temple. All of a sudden she got more interested and we marked to talk with her this Friday about the restoration.

Mateus is a kid we found in a dark alley at night knocking doors. He's an elect. We actually took him out of his house to teach him on a bench and another married couple showed up and we did a contact with them and included them in the lesson too! Everyone was listening closely and agreeing with everything. The Spirit was testifying of every word we said and their open hearts were receiving the message. Mateus was asking all the right questions and said that he believes that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. We invited all to be baptized and they all said yes. We marked Mateus for this weekend but he didn't go to church this week. We'll have to push it back another week.

We had an activity of integration on Saturday where all the youth went. There were some adults too. We took Mateus and showed him the chapel(house) as we waited for people to get there since we got there early. As we were waiting some young men showed up and pulled out the goals to play futebol in front of the house and Mateus jumped right in! We played too..... haha. I'm terrible at soccer. I just use my athletic instincts to do what I can haha. But consider Mateus.... integrated. The activity was about prophets and why we need them. Elder Cruz, one of the other elders who works in our ward gave the message and guided the game. The game was Noah's arc. Everyone received a piece of paper with an animal written on it. Everyone had to imitate their animal to find the other person with the animal they had. It was noisy as heck because we were in the "chapel" where there is a huge echo. Good times.....

Since we're opening this area up and the Stake Presidency here wants the ward to be able to divide, President said he wanted us to work closely with the Stake President, so we had a meeting with him and made some goals. Each family in the ward has to give 4 referrals, and we have to baptize 100 by the end of the year..... woah. I'm not going to be here but I'll help get it started!

The elections are happening in Brasil right now so that means tons of noise. TONS. They literally fill their car trunks up with speakers and blast the candidates music through the city. It's like an election drive-by ambush. When One passes while we're teaching we have to wait like 20 seconds for the car to pass so we can start teaching again. There was one night where the whole road was infested with honking, sounds of blasting cars advertising their candidate. I got a video don't worry! I'm pretty sure if the candidates did this in the states, nobody would vote for them. Would've been a good idea for Obama.... haha.

My Birthday was good! Full of door-knocking and teaching. What else would I do. The other Elders called us lying about a family night that we needed to be at. We showed up and it was actually a hot dog dinner with chocolate cake. They sang the last para bens I will receive on my mission. It was us and a sister from the ward. Woohoo! I liked it. Food is a missionary's best friend.

Thanks to everyone who sent me Birthday messages! I really appreciate it.

Even though I'm at the end I've realized that I still have a ton to learn. I'm learning new things about the gospel and the mission every day! I think that's why they call it eternal progression.... because your spiritual progression is never going to stop! Jesus is the Messiah and He is the way. Follow him with all your heart and you can't go wrong.

Love you all!
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, September 22, 2014

Meetings, Contacts, and Training

 September 22, 2014

I don't have much time to write because I wrote a ton to the President this week but I'll give you all the important stuff so don't cry.

So the transfer was interesting. I think I already wrote that I'm opening an area and training a new Zone Leader?

The week was packed full of meetings and getting to know the people and the area. We barely worked this week because we went back to Recife to have a leadership meeting with President. That means we had to leave here at night on Wednesday and come back Thursday night. Traveling drains us. First of all,,, we didn't know where the bus station was so we basically ran like a 5k to get there asking all the people for directions on the way. If we had missed the bus at 6, we would've had to catch a bus at 2 in the morning and stand up for about 4 hours. I wasn't about to miss the bus. We got there and went.
The meeting with President was sweet. Usually these meetings are for us to make a lot of changes in the mission, to fix something that isn't quite working out, but this time President just talked about, "how to be a Zone Leader."  It was funny because he asked us if we had received a training about this before. Everyone said no, including me and Elder W. Ferreira who have been Zone Leaders for about a year already. It's funny how things work out on the mission. We came out of the meeting enlightened and ready to go. President Bigelow is very inspired and has a scripture for every question we ask. I'ts pretty funny actually.

My companion is Elder Oliveira from Rio de Janeiro. He has a SUPER thick accent. The only thing I can compare it to in English for y'all to understand what I'm talking about is a really strong New York accent. It's cool. He asks me a lot of questions and respects my opinion a lot. It's cool. I feel like I'm training again. Maybe the Lord is giving me another chance to train, repent of all the things I didn't do with Elder Amaral when I was training him haha. President said that he wants me to make him the best Zone Leader that I can make him so he can be a great leader with I leave. He said he prayed a lot about the decision to put us in this area to open it up and help this ward split.

The week was full of fruitless contacts.

We ate with the Bishop this week and brainstormed some ideas to help the ward grow. We also went to a few ward council meetings to establish our ground and what we're trying to do here. Everyone was a little surprised when I said I only had 5 weeks left. They said, "Well let's take advantage of him before he leaves so we can do big things!"..... I gave a talk on Sunday about obedience and it was pretty good, but the chapel here is a house and there were a lot of people packed into one room and it was getting pretty rowdy. But I made the best of it. Bishop just called a ward mission leader to help us and 2 missionary couples to help out the converts. It will be good.

Well family,,, It's been real. I'm still working so don't worry about me getting all weird and trunky. EVERYTHING WILL BE OK. My testimony is still growing more and more every day and my mission has become something very precious to me. Christ lives and this is His church!

Love you all!
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Knocking doors and Another Transfer

 September 15, 2014

So family I don't have much time because I've been sending stuff to the members and reading the mission stuff for forever but I will try to compensate.

This week was interesting. Pday was a do-nothing-day and we need that.

So the first part of the week we just knocked on doors because our teaching group is super weak right now. We found some interesting people, but none were ready, nor willing to accept the restored gospel. 

An interesting story from contacts:

We got curious one day because from our balcony we can see basically the whole city and we kept seeing that our neighbors always had like 30 people going in and out of the house. We kept guessing what was going on in the house so we decided to knock the door. That's the beauty of being a missionary. You can get curious about what happens in a house and just knock the door to walk in and see what it is. So one night we knocked the door and this young guy let us in. When we walked in we found ourselves in a room with about 10 people and there were other rooms with more. We sat down and started talking with the people that were on the couch. Weird people. There was a less active dude living there who insisted that we show the restoration video. alrighty..... We showed it. In the middle, an older guy told us that we had to leave because it was a house of sales people and outsiders couldn't be there..... We left gladly.

This week Elder Ramos was sick so we stayed at home for a couple of days. So I read a lot and slept a little. I think it was good for my body to stay at home for a little bit. I feel invigorated and ready to go for one more transfer. The time that we had with him not being sick was spent with his recent converts and member friends. Ramos built a legacy here. Everybody loves him and got pretty attached to him. He baptized a family with his other companion that is super strong in the church. They cried when he left. They are amazing people and already have big testimonies and a lot of will to serve.(Carlos. Marly, Henrique, Eduardo, Micaela) I kept thinking about the people I left in my other areas, especially Flavio and Edinete. I just got off the phone with Elder Varela and he said they're still going strong and miss me. It's amazing to think about the influence that I have had on people's lives on my mission. I kind of get trunky to go back to my other areas just to visit the people 'Ive met and shared memories with. The mission is incredible.

So transfers were today and weird things happened. All of the companionships in the zone were affected so that means that Ramos as transferred too. I thought I was going to stay in my area but President wants to put me and my new companion, Elder Oliveira in an area called Barão de Nazaré to help the other two elders out there. So we split the ward in 2 areas with 4 Elders. It will be interesting. I'm staying in my house too so that means I have to walk across the city to get to my area every day until we find a house for 4 elders. My companion is from Rio de Janeiro and he just moved up to Zone Leader so President wants me to train him how to be an Zone Leader in the 6 weeks I have left here. It will be totally normal. This transfer was weird because we didn't go to Recife to get our companions. Instead, all the missionaries that were going to stay and all that were transferred went to Recife and the noobies are going to come back in their place. They've never even been to Garanhuns! haha poor guys. Ramos put me on the phone during the transfer so I heard everything that he assistant said. Elder José and Elder Varela are going home, 2 of my favorite companions. In six weeks it's my turn. Just keep swimming.............. hahaha I'm trunky I'm not going to lie, but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop working! This isn't my time so I have to do my best with it. That's my plan.

The Book Of Mormon is true... I know because I'm reading it again. My goal is to finish it before I get home.

Welp! Times up.... Love you all and hope this week is great for all. Tchau!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, September 8, 2014

What Is Normal?

September 8, 2014

Well my beloved family, I know that y'all always say that y'all are living the mundane life and I'm on the adventure but I have to say that this week was super normal... What is normal? Maybe I'm just used to the mission life and everything is just a routine, but no matter what, whatever I write is interesting to you guys. (so you say..)

We started off the week playing volleyball with the zone. So we got the ball and the people to play and went to the park and realized that there was no net on the volleyball court. So we got depressed and almost went home then I had the idea to tie all of our articles of clothing together to make a rope to tie onto the posts(we had gotten there in missionary clothes and changed into active clothes when we got there) So we did it. We made a rope out of our pants, ties, and belts. The net was super short but we were able to play. Needless to say, people looked at us weird. I'm sending a picture of it, haha.

We did an exchange with the Elders from Arco Verde(the furthest area in the mission. I stayed with Elder Wach in our area and we did a ton of contacts. We spoke English all day and had a good time messing around. He was in my Zone in Olinda when we both started our missions so we already knew each other. We discovered that both our dads served in Rosario in 82/83! Whattttttt. Lemme know if you knew an Elder Wach. Apparently he was the college wrestling National champ at BYU when y'all were there. Anyways, we had a great lesson that night with a lady named Paula(we knocked her door)... She was "Catholic" and wanted to know why there were so many churches. She said that if she visited a church and the people didn't know what they were talking about, she would just lose respect for them and leave. She also didn't think it was right to baptize babies.... duhhh. She was asking all the right questions and we were giving all the right answers. She was really interested and said that she would go to church(didn't).... But the Spirit was strong as we bore our testimonies and showed her that we knew what we were talking about and believed with all our hearts. We felt way good coming out of that lesson. 

I'm drinking chimarrão as we speak.

Also, our miracle boy, Jefferson was marked for the 14th of September. This kid is so good. He lives in the most humble, crowded, noisy, poorly behaved house you've ever seen, but despite his environment, he has a good spirit. We have felt it since the first time we taught him. We always teach him when he's at his house with like 10 other people. The mom is always hitting the kids, there's always someone watching something loudly, and there are always people butting in and making random comments, but despite the surroundings, we can teach with the spirit because he listens. Yesterday during fast and testimony meeting, he was one of the last people to get up(very rare for an investigator to get up and bear testimony) and it was like this....

Y'all are gonna have to translate it because I sent the story to President in Portuguese.

Caro Presidente,

Esta semana nós trabalhamos bastante e presenciamos um milagre. Um rapaz(Jefferson) que nós batemos a porta dele 3 semanas atrás foi para igreja pela terceira vez e subiu para prestar testemunho durante a sacramental. Ninguém esperava que ele subisse. Ele falou,´´Eu sei que essa igreja é verdadeira porque eu orei e recebi uma resposta. Eu também sei que O Livro de Mórmon é verdadeiro porque quando eu li, eu vi que era bom.´´ E foram só essas palavras que ele falou antes dele fechar seu testemunho em nome de nosso Salvador. Foi o testemunho mais simples, porém mais espiritual que eu já tinha ouvido. Os membros ficaram emocionados e surpresos, e o espirito estava reinando naquele momento. Na noite anterior, nós marcamos o batismo dele para o dia 14 de setembro. Estamos felizes pelos milagres que temos a oportunidade de ver na missão.

Esta semana a zona tem muitos batismos marcados, pois o senhor pode esperar que nós batamos nossa meta semanal. Os missionários da zona estão animados e com fome para batizar. Pode confiar nesta zona.

Obrigado por tudo Presidente.
Elder Carroll

Here's the google translation:

Dear President , 

This week we worked hard and we witnessed a miracle . A young man ( Jefferson ) we hit the door three weeks ago it was the third time for church and went up to testify during sacrament . Nobody expected him to rise . He spoke ''Eu know this church is true because I prayed and received an answer . I also know that the Book of Mormon is true because when I read it, I saw it was bom.'' And these were only words he spoke before he closed his testimony on behalf of our Savior . It was the simplest testimony , but more spiritual than I had ever heard. The members were thrilled and surprised , and the spirit was reigning at that time. The night before , we mark his baptism to September 14 . We are happy for the miracles we have the opportunity to see the mission . This week the area has many baptisms marked , as you can expect we hit our weekly goal . The missionaries in the area are excited and hungry to baptize . You can trust in this area . Thanks for everything President . 

Elder Carroll

Also, on the way to Jefferson's house one night we passed one of our investigator's houses(an old lady(Iraci) and her granddaughter(Roberta) and we saw through their window that they were reading the Book Of Mormon together. Roberta was reading out loud to Iraci while she was doing the dishes. It was great to see. They didn't go to church this week because it was raining but next week they promised they'd go.
I'm extremely grateful for my mission experience. Things happen that you don't even expect. The Lord really does put people in our paths for us to be able to bless them with the gospel, and they recognize it as the truth when they are prepared.

Hope y'all have a good week, and that all of you wildest dreams come true. Love you all!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

This is the view from the balcony of Dallin's apartment.  He says he likes to just sit up there and meditate and he hangs his laundry there too!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Tiring Week

September 1, 2014

This week was probably the most tiring week of my life.

So we started off the week by playing futebol again. President only wants us to play for an hour, but during that hour we basically kill ourselves in the hot sun. So we already start off the week without energy. Not the best idea, but soccer is fun so we put everything on the scale and decide that it's worth it. Tuesday we did an exchange with the Elders that live in our house. It's good that way because we don't have to sleep in a different house haha. I went out with Elder Johnson to see how things were going with his teaching skills and his techniques. We taught some of my investigators and did some contacts. I realized that he's just a little nervous and needed to calm down a bit haha. In my experience I have seen that there are some missionaries that don't really emit confidence... that's something that affects the peoples' learning, and the way they feel about the missionaries. We taught a couple of really good lessons and when we got home we did the feedback. He told me that he really liked working with me and he felt better about the way the lessons went while he was with me.He said he learned a lot. It was good to know that I could teach with my example as we taught. I gave him one piece of advice: RELAX. If we relax and think were the man, the Spirit is more likely to be with us as we teach and our language skills improve.

From Wednesday to Friday, President assigned us to go to a small city an hour away called Águas Belas to see if we could start a branch or a group there. There's a 70 who lives in Recife who has in-laws there that have been to church and could be baptized in the near future. His wife's parents are already members but all the kids aren't. We stayed at the parents house for 3 days and it was weird. I felt like I was a missionary, but I was part of a family at the same time because Irmã Lucy just cooked for us the whole time and we would sit at the table as a "family".... que trunkeza.... I think there are 6 kids and they're all married and have kids. Talk about a gold mine. President wanted us to just teach a lot to to see the quality of the people in the city. We thought about talking to people in the road to be able to talk with more people but we decided that it would be more efficient if we knocked doors. So we knocked and knocked and knocked and knocked. It was funny because the people had never seen the missionaries, let alone someone as white as me. Everybody stared and snickered and pointed. We found some really prepared people as we saw that the Lord was guiding our steps to the people who had been waiting for the restored gospel for a long time. We talked with a woman who had been praying to find a place to congregate that would bring peace to her soul. We found another woman who said that she was depressed and was Catholic but didn't believe in a lot of things there because it's obvious in the Bible that the Catholic church is false. She said the night we knocked on her door she was really down and didn't know what to do. The Restoration was perfect for her. After we talked about the church in Christ's time she asked us where that church went, and that the Lord would have to put everything back for us to enjoy all the blessings that he has in store. She's dying to go to church even though it's an hour away.

Something cool about Águas Belas is that the city is divided into two parts. One half is normal people and the other half is Native Americans. I don't really know why there's a division, but I think it might actually be an Indian reserve for the Fulnio tribe. We were knocking the doors on this one road when we came across a simple looking house with a beautiful white horse in the side yard. So we knocked it and this big, friendly looking guy came out. We started talking to him about the horse and then he mentioned that he was Indian. We got curious and asked a ton of questions since he was a pretty open guy. They have their own language but everyone speaks Portuguese. They believe in God as a creator and source of good but they aren't Christian. They believe that there is a spirit within everyone which persuades us to do good(the light of Christ) We also discovered that we were knocking on the dividing line of the city haha. But the guy was cool. Normal, jeans/tshirt/baseball cap. Also, the tribe takes 3 months out of the year, starting with September to separate the men and women to stay abstinent, and they let go of their addictions for 3 months. Ouricuri is the name of the 3 month festival. They have events too like beauty pageants(Indian style) prayer circles and dances I think. Anyone can enter the first night, but after it's just Indians. Nobody knows what goes on in there! haha. But we asked the guy if he knew where his ancestors were from. He said no. So naturally we whipped out the Book Of Mormon and explained everything. He was really interested and curious about the message. We gave it to him and he said he would read it with pleasure. I read him the passage about the Light of Christ in Moroni 7. We had always wanted to teach a Lamanite about the Book Of Mormon and we did! We told him how we were trying to put a church in the city and he said it would be a good idea to unite the people since the Book Of Mormon talks about Christ and Indians at the same time haha. The city is predominately Catholic and Indian so I guess his rational makes sense. We said a prayer to close it up and when we were about to start one of his friends showed up, saw us and said something to our friend in their language. I'm assuming he said, "what are they doing here??"  because our friend told him to chill and that were friends haha. We said the prayer and left. Good times.

From what we saw, a couple of missionaries could have success there because there are a lot of people with curiosity and a will to get to know the church. There are also some inactive members there who are willing to come back. There is potential there. We're going to call president about the trip today to see what he thinks.

We talked with Jeferson a couple times this week and he said he loved church and when we invited him to be baptized, he said YES. Boom. Even though we weren't able to make real progress with the people in Ágaus Belas, the Lord blessed us with indirect fruits of our labors. He lives with his mom in the sister's area but wants to live with his dad on the weekends just to go to church here. What do you know? He said the church here is closer to his dad's house than the church there is to his mom's house. We'll take it. But the sisters will have to teach him during  the week for us to baptize him here.... FREE BAPTISM haha. It looks like the kid has had a hard life and needs something good in his life. We're here to cater to his needs.

Well I'm out of time. Hope y'all have a good week and stay on the straight and narrow! Tcheau! Love you!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What Can I Do with 64 Days?

August 25, 2014


Well I hope y'all have had a good week where you're at. My week was normal, a lot of missionary work and little time to do anything else. The phrase 
'lose yourself in the work" is as much spiritual as it is literal. You don't have time to think about anything outside of the work of the Lord so you literally almost forget who you are and what you liked to do and how you even used to think. Sometimes I feel like I've changed a ton, and other times I feel like I am the same exact person as I was when I left. I think y'all will be the judges haha. 64 days..... what can I do with 64 days?.... Like dad wrote to me, there really isn't anything to do but work. I don't even understand why dudes get super trunky at the end and just stop working.... How can you be satisfied with yourself at the end of the day?  My goal is to not be able to regret anything when I get back. That doesn't mean that I'll be perfect, but it does mean that I have to repent every day and make sure my conscience is clean going into the next lesson or treinamento so the Spirit can do his thing. Elder Bednar said that we need to get out of the Spirits way so that he can do his job. That means that we don't need to put in all of our speculations into a lesson to show how good we are or how much we know. You'd be surprised at how many missionaries do that! I'm guilty too, I think. The interior is where you need to just teach the basics and hope the person understands because it's hard to see if the people are understanding here. They just nod their head and say yes when you ask them if they understood and when you tell them to say something in their own words, that's when you know if they know what the heck you're talking about. I've learned that we have to teach fast and concise, because these people get tired of thinking, just like children. You lose their interest and the lesson suffers. All the missionaries I've taught with or done divisions with have said that I need to break down the principles for the people to be able to chew and digest. They need milk, not meat.
We invited so many people to church this week and so many people said they would go. Saturday night when we were planning we were getting excited to have so many people at church. Saturday we followed up on like 6 people and they all said that it was confirmed. Then Sunday morning we tried talking to them to see if they were going but they all had excuses and didn't go.

 BUT, We had a little miracle this week. We were knocking doors in the small alleyways talking with all the interesting people in the abyss and we found this kid named Jefferson.! 16 years old and just looks like a good kid. We taught the Restoration to him and we could tell he was understanding everything, which is rare. His dad entered when we were about to talk about Joseph Smith and the Restoration and he just went off on a tangent that had nothing to do with anything. It's normal. We cut him off and said all the necessary things to Jeffereson and invited him to church thinking that his Dad had ruined everything. But Sunday morning when we went to church we saw him there sitting by himself in the Young Men's room.... I think we had taught the simplest lesson I had ever taught in my life and it touched him enough to get him out of bed to walk like a mile to the church. It was great. We can't underestimate the power of the spirit to move the people who recognize to voice of the Lord. Jefferson belongs to the sisters' area so well pass him to them when we talk to them on the phone tonight.

Last night my comp, Elder Ramos and I gave a training(I don't know what the heck it is in English alright?) to the ward missionaries. Lídio, the ward mission leader wanted us to talk about their roles as ward missionaries while he pulled up a list of people on the computer(which took forever). And we completely winged the whole thing and it was incredible. I think that's something that I've learned on my mission. How to wing things. We get put in so many situations where we have to improvise that we have to be good at thinking on our toes. Ramos has been here for about the same time that I have so between us we have a lot of experience and a lot of missionary ideas in our brains just ready for us to grab when we need them. The best part was that right after we gave the whole training, one of the ladies asked me where I was from in Brasil..... Do you realize what this means??? It means I can be super pasty white and still trip people up with my Brazilian accent! Even after speaking non-stop for about an hour...That was my goal when I got my call and we gotter done. Heavenly Father helped me out a lot.

Well that's about it folks. I love you all and hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Still Working Hard

August 24, 2014

Well family how was your week? Mine was great. We baptized again. Garanhuns is still a mystery to me but that's what makes it so wonderful. The mission is only an adventure when you're completely lost, following your companion through a city that you can't even navigate yourself through. But I've met some great people here. The members are great and really love the missionaries. We're like Gods here without speaking sac-religiously... this week was a little bit warmer. It would be as we know as "perfect fall weather" in Georgia. There are a lot of hills in our area so my legs feel like they're waking up from staying on flat ground for 7 months. My body is thanking me. I've also had to switch up my teaching style. I did an exchange with an elder in Bom Conhcelho(an area that's like an hour away from ours and is full of 18th generation Catholics.) and he used to be Zone Leader too. He said the people are so simple here that they barely understand anything we teach them. We just have to kind of hope they understand and go to church and feel the spirit, and THAT is how it's done (hot rod quote)... The Exchange was sweet. I made friends with a dude from Rio de Janeiro who likes the same types of music I like. Elder Conceição is super legit and knows how to talk with the people. I felt intimidated even as his leader. But we made a great team that day.

Oh and for Pday we played soccer with the district.. I realised how horribly out of shape I am. I ran for about 10 minutes and was dying. Also, here we are at high elevation so the air is pretty thin. Kind of like Utah. It was funny because it reminded me of church ball. There are usually a few kids who know how to play and a lot who don't. So even though everyone is Brasilian, there were a few who were just hacking at the ball the whole time. I wasn't terrible, but I wasn't that great either. We had fun and ended the day dead.

This week we did a service project at a small school. We helped to rebocar (put cement on) the brick walls and we leveled out the ground on the outside by putting hundreds of wheel-barrels of Georgia red clay on the ground around the school. It was a lot of work, but the result was great. The teachers of the school were making food for us the whole time without us even knowing. It was great. People here have to offer food or coffee to guests, if they don't they're being impolite. We worked with a member named Jorge who is from São Paulo, but served his mission here and married a girl he met here. He wasn't a fubeca, just to let y'all know. But he's like the missionaries' best friend. He said he's going to try to talk to all the teachers for us so that we can teach them all. For now we're preaching the Gospel by being charitable. It's great because we don't even have to open our mouths.

Our highlight this week was a girl named Fernanda. She's 16 and is the friend of a family that Elder Ramos just baptized in the area. The Elders already taught her family, but her mom doesn't want anything to do with us. But Fernanda got really excited about the gospel and received a real testimony right away. She had a rough past and the gospel brought hope to her for sure. She wanted to feel clean and pure and was looking for something true. We taught her about how we can literally be born again and God will forget all of our mistakes. It's amazing being a part of the introduction to the gospel in some one's life. We could see the light in her eyes every time we taught her about the truth. I could feel the gospel working to relieve her of all the heavy burdens she had in her life, weighing her down. This is the joy the gospel brings. We baptized her yesterday and her mom was there. The ward supported her and is ready to help her out. She has a strong desire to help people to know the truth too, so we think she will go on a mission.

So I'm in Recife right now.... again. I had a doctor's appointment. Dad knows why. But while we were in the mission office I got a package! Woo! Candy to share with the guys at home. Thanks mom, you're the best! Also, Elder Ramos and I were asked to talk with President about something important. He told us that he wanted us to go to a neighboring city by Garanhuns that doesn't have the church yet to see if we can start a group/branch there. There's an Area Seventy that lives there who will have us stay in his house for a few days to see if we can start something with the referrals he has for us, and see how the city reacts to the gospel in general. It will be an adventure for sure!

All in all, I can say this week that my faith in Christ has grown. Just like in all the weeks I've had on my mission. It's amazing to see where Christ can put you when you trust in him and give him your all. He's my Savior and helps me a lot with my imperfections and defects. This week I came to appreciate Moroni 7 more than I ever have. Anything that affects the work of the Lord negatively is not of God.

Now we will go to Garanhuns to take care of our little Peruvian missionary from the furthest away area who just got 4 wisdom teeth out.... Goodbye!

Love you all....
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, August 11, 2014

New Area, New Adventures

August 11, 2014

Alrighty well this week was...... interesting.

The transfer was sweet. I got sent to Garanhuns.... the furthest away zone on the mission. It's COLD here. Well it's not SUPER cold,,,, but it's pretty cold when you don't own a jacket... It basically was rainy and cold the whole week so it's safe to say that I will be buying a sweater today. The week was a rush with tons of things to do. The trip to here from Recife just drained me last week on pday and President had planned a leadership meeting for the Zone leaders on Thursday. That means that we had to follow up on the important investigators for a day and get the heck out of Garanhuns.

We followed up on a woman named Luciane who had been smoking for 16 years and was trying to quit because she and her son´s baptism was supposed to be Sunday. We gave her a pep-talk at her door because she was home alone. She had smoked 2 cigarettes that day and we told her she couldn't smoke anymore. I used the 1 Nephi scripture about when Nephi prayed for strength for him to be able to break the cords that his brothers tied him with. We talked about the atonement and the grace that we have the right to use as long as were doing something just. She got pumped and said she didn't know why something so small was controlling her life. We left her with the other elders for the time we were going to be gone(we share a ward with the elders we live with. The complete opposite of the area I just left. Weird)

We had to take the bus back to Recife and leave on Wednesday to be at the meeting in Recife on Thursday. It was terrible! haha. It was raining and cold the day we took the bus to Recife and we had to run to the bus station because my companion put us on the wrong bus haha. We had to get off and run in the rain to not miss the bus. We got there super wet and we got trapped in an air-conditioned bus for about 3 hours until we got to Recife. Thankfully we didn't catch a cold on the way and we stayed the night at some elders house in Recife. I think I went to bed at like 11:30.... way too late. We were DEAD. So we woke up after and had the meeting with President Bigelow. It was cool because there were less Zone Leaders there because there are less zones on the mission now! We got there and met with a few other dudes to rehearse a song to sing in the middle of the meeting. I forgot what the name of the hymn is but it was good. They wanted me to sing the alto part so I did my best in falsetto. It turned out good. The meeting was for us to establish a better way to follow up on the areas. Pres Lanius wanted us to get all the numbers from all the areas and it seemed like it was becoming a robotic thing with little use. It reached the point where it was writing anything down because there wasn't a reason for us to look back at the numbers. It was just to see if the areas were working and was making the leaders go to bed super late. We took 3 hours to figure out how the mission would be followed up on from here on out. We will just be seeing if the missionaries are hitting their daily goals and if they are having any problems with companions, area, people.... etc..... it's awesome. I get to bed earlier now! haha. President also talked about the change in the rules that he made. Needless to say we will be playing soccer today....woohoo!

Well my new area is good. I won't say that it's sweet yet because I've only worked about 3 days in my area. So we will have a better report next week. The members are legit and the ward seems to be strong.  I live with my companion from Chile, Elder Ramos and two more missionaries.  An American, Elder Johnson, and an Argentinian, Elder Resek. Resek is from Rosario dad! His dad was a mission president in Chile and they moved to Buenos Aires. I realized that I don't really like living with 2 more missionaries, but we'll deal with it. You have to be more careful not to offend people or use stuff for too long when you're with 4(washing machine... bathroom... etc.). It's just more complicated and annoying. My companion is awesome. Just a happy guy who always jokes around. It's easy to be happy with this dude. It's something I've noticed about the missionaries from Chile... they're always happy and joking around! He will go home when I do. He was supposed to go after this transfer but it didn't work out with the plane tickets and everything so he's going home with me. That means he'll probably be transferred out of here in 5 weeks and then someone will kill me.

Yesterday we baptized Luciana and her son, Eduardo! This week was great for them because she had the self control to stop smoking and that made it so Eduardo could be baptized tooo!(he's younger than 15) The members supported and it turned out really well. The water was super cold in the font but we got it done haha. Another proof that God's grace can help anyone leave an addiction!

Well family.... time to go. I love you all and hope this week it great! Christ loves us and is the way. Follow him! Love you!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


August 4, 2014

Hello family and friends.

I felt it coming so I was basically saying goodbye to everyone the whole week &7 months is a long time to be in an area and it was my time. I feel like I left a legacy there with the members and especially with our recent converts. But I liked my time with Elder Varela. He teaches well and doesn't like nonsense. That's good because I don't either. We did some good work there and became good friends. You know you have a good relationship with your companion when in the streets everyone looks at you weird. We laughed too much...

I don't have much time because we have to travel to my new area still. But this week we saw a great miracle. We had been teaching a lady named Ilza for 2 weeks and she had been smoking her pipe for 62 years. She's 69. So naturally we had a lot of doubt that she would be able to stop smoking, but she stopped!! In one week she stopped. It was a miracle because she said that all the missionaries from all the churches always passed in her house and tried to help her to stop smoking BUT THEY NEVER SUCCEEDED. She said that she always saw the missionaries pass by her house but they never talked to her(usually we don't like to talk to old people because they never understand the message.... But she understood and felt the spirit and authority that made her put the pipe down and become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ! Imagine that! 62 years is like three of my lives. It's crazy. So we took the pipe and Elder Varela is gonna take it home as a souvenir. She was desperate to change her life because she was in a rut, so when she went to church she loved it because the members received her really well. Her story testifies of the power and authority the missionaries of the church have to teach and call to repentance. We marked her to be baptized this Sunday. I will have to receive the pictures from Elder Varela through email.

Monara and Gloria didn't progress this week because they couldn't go to church, but we taught them just about everything there is to teach an investigator. They know the church is true, but they're afraid to jump in with both feet because they're "making a deal with God and it's not a joke".... I agree with this idea but when you know the truth there's no way to escape it. It's either the truth or nothing. They went to the temple with some members and loved it. They liked the prices of the DVD there. hahah. yeah... who wouldn't like those prices. Anyways, I'll get the pics of their baptisms too, when it happens. They're already good friends of ours so it'll be a huge victory.
ehhhhhh(uhhh in Portuguese)
So the area I'm going to is BOA VISTA, which is in GARANHUNS. All the missionaries say that it is the best zone and the best city in the whole mission. Ever since I got here I've always wanted to serve there and now I'm going! Cooler temperatures.... less noise..... 4 hour bus ride..... paradise. I'll take lots of pics. Oh and I'm Zone Leader still which is nice. Presidente made a lot of changes in the mission. There used to be 14 zones, and now there are 8. He made the zones huge and distributed all the good missionaries so that they could 1. Fix the fubecas (slackers), 2. Train the noobies that are arriving, and 3. to be Zone Leaders.... No more of this "let's make a fubeca a trainer so that his trainee fixes him"... doesn't really work out....  BTW, my trainer, Elder Ferreira went home today. I'm excited about the new President because we have a lot more freedom now. WE CAN PLAY FUTEBOL NOW! He was in a meeting with us last night and told us all about the transfer which is something that never happened with Lanius. It was cool.

Well family! Hope this next week is a good one. Remember that the Church is true. And when you forget.... remember again.

Love you all,
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

P.S. My new companion is Elder Ramos from Chile.. I've always wanted to be his companion because he's super legit. We're gonna kill it this transfer! He goes home in 6 weeks.
I found this photo on Facebook.....this is an old photo from Dallin's very first area.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

One More Weekly Letter

July 28, 2014

One more weekly letter....
My feelings about the mission are mixed at this point. I'm in the final stretch and I think that this is my last week in this area. Mixed emotions.... As much as everyone says, "don't think about home", at the end, it almost seems impossible. I find myself trying to squeeze every last drop out of my mission. Regret at this point is my worst enemy and it's crunch time. At this point, I'm happy with my progress as a missionary and even as a child of God.... I've mastered the language and the culture too. I've reached a point in this area where I feel really comfortable with the members and even with the work. We have some really good investigators and a few are progressing really well. The Spirit is like an energy that appears to put words in my mouth and thoughts in my head. It's incredible how the Lord enables us when we are helping him in his work.

Yesterday we had lunch with a dude who just got off his mission from Venezuela 3 weeks ago and he was telling us how weird it is when you get back. It makes me a little bit hesitant to go back. Here I feel like a different person. More elevated... more confident. We have a huge role in the lives of a lot of people. In the past 7 months, I've been able to help people to accept the true gospel and to get excited about it too!

Marcos and Yonara are on fire. This week they went out with us to teach people and they just got excited about the work. Yonara has been a member for 6 months and Marcos has been a member for 4 weeks, and both of them are daringly bearing testimony of the Gospel they love. They really enjoy going out with us and seeing how people are blessed by the gospel. Both of them want to go on missions, so a year from now they're going. How cool is that? Two recent converts who are just dying to get out there to preach what they believe in. Their testimonies are pure and without doubts, and really bring the spirit into the lesson. It's amazing because Yonara's family does not support her about the church and even ridicules her. She has a calling as an indexer in the ward and her mom doesn't let her do it at home, so she walks to the beach to do it on her phone. Marcos is just awesome, and all the members just got attached to him when he joined the church. He already has a ton of friends and we're teaching his mom. As soon as she stops smoking, she'll be baptized. 

In the Piedade ward everyone is pretty excited about the work because Bishop Gustavo just implemented an Family Home Evening program in the ward. There's a calendar where all the families that can, choose a night to receive the missionaries and investigators in their house to have a family night. It's something that's bringing a lot of success to the ward. We had two this week that were great and there were a lot of new people for us to teach. Graça, a lady in the ward did one in her house and we were the first ones to arrive. She said she had invited people but it took a while for people to show up. It turned out being a good deal. There were a lot of women there. One of them had just lost her husband and there was another who was asking about salvation. So what did what we do. We whipped out the Plan of Salvation and cleared up their doubts. We could tell there was some relief when we looked at the face of the woman who has lost her husband. 

A couple of nights after that, there was another FHE. We were in a lesson right before the FHE when the power went out in the whole city. Everyone screamed as usual and we began walking to the FHE in the dark. If Yonara and Marcos weren't there with their cellphone flashlights we wouldn't have been able to navigate our way through the muddy roads. Graças a Deus. The family we visited had invited their neighbors who had just moved in. Gloria and Nara. The dad, Manoel was afraid that it wouldn't be good because of the power outage so it almost didn't happen, but we insisted haha. It was great! Manoel had prepared a couple of activities that stretched our brains and were related to the scriptures too. Gloria and Nara liked it and went to church the next day.

Sunday was great, like always. We baptized an 11 year old girl named Efigenia who has been dying to be baptized for about 4 months now. It was hard to get her mom's permission, but we did it. She always goes to church with her neighbors who are members so she was set. I even think she's been to the Recife temple more times than I have! haha. She's from the Jardim Piedade ward which is great because it had been a long time since we baptized someone from there. There were a lot of people there to support and her parents were there too. Her step-dad surprised us with his excitement about the church. We taught her parents a long time ago but never again because they are super busy. But when we taught them, he didn't have a job and we prayed that he could find one. A week later he had a job and when we talked to him on Sunday he said, "the prayer worked! I have a job. Now every time I pray, I thank the Lord for the job he gave me..." Sometimes we underestimate the power of the prayers we say with the investigators, but they really help to strengthen their faith in Christ, even though they aren't members of the church.

Gloria and Nara went to church. Turns out they are aunt and niece. Gloria has a salon in her house and has two young kids. Nara is 18 and speaks English fluently because she was a foreign exchange student in New Zealand. They both loved church. When we visited them after church, we went with Marcos, Otavio, and Lucas and it was a party. These girls were prepared to hear the Gospel. They used to live in a city that doesn't have the church a month ago and then came here. Gloria said they left the Assembly of God because of the many apostasies that exist there. We usually try not to agree too much when this happens... we kind of just smile and nod, because there are really A LOT of apostasies in that church. The Book Of Mormon is super correct in saying that whatever church that isn't the church of Christ is the church of the devil. But the lesson was great there. The spirit was present because of the many testimonies we brought with us and we invited them to be baptized this weekend before I get transferred. They accepted but with one condition. They have to pray and be certain before they decide. Easy. Their hearts are super open so the spirit will just invade them with good vibes.

So Sunday we'll find out if I'm transferred or not. I've been here for almost 7 months and if I stay one more, then that means I will have to stay 2 more because Varela is going home on the next one. If I stay, he´ll go home and I'll have to show another guy the area before I go home. I HAVE 2 TRANSFERS LEFT. The recent converts and members are sad that I'll probably leave on this one,,,, it'll be hard to leave this area because I feel like I'm a member of the ward! It's getting weird, but my work ethic is not going to change. Gotta end it puking! (See the end of the letter for explanation)

On that note, I'd like to wish you all a good week. Remember who you are and what you stand for. You stand for CHRIST. And nobody else.

Love you all,
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

When Dallin was in high school he ran on the Cross Country team.  If a runner performs his absolute best during a race and puts every last ounce of energy he has into his run, sometimes he will end the race and puke as he crosses the finish line.  "Puking" was an indicator that the runner had ended his race, putting forth the best he had to offer and didn't hold back.  So "gotta end it puking" is a good thing for Dallin.  It means he's going to work hard and diligently until the very end of his mission, putting forth his best effort.
Some old pictures that popped up on Facebook!  Gotta love it when that happens!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

One More Week in the Book of Life

July 21, 2014

This week was interesting.

Pday was interesting because we went to the mission office so I could do my BYU interview with the President to get my ecclesiastical endorsement. He asked me two questions.... are you worthy to use a temple recommend and do you know and understand the honor code at BYU.... I said yes to both and he said, "Good, now I want you to teach me some things about the mission...." He started asking me about the things he should be worried about as mission President and what he should do to make his work effective in the mission. It was interesting talking to him because he is so different from President Lanius. President Lanius' interviews were short and sweet and kind of blunt and now we have a President who likes to know the ins and outs and likes to hear both sides of the story. I told him about the trouble spots in the mission and what to look out for. The man is spiritually charged and got here just ready to get stuff done. He sees the areas which need improvement and is willing to experiment and include the missionaries in the process to get it fixed. He said he always wanted a mentor in his life and decided to adopt one. He read EVERYTHING that President Packer has ever written and has a book of quotes which define him. I'm excited about the direction the mission is going in.

The work this week was relatively slow as we are recuperating after the world cup and chasing down investigators whose progress was delayed. It's a little bit annoying because we have two wards to keep track of and one is way stronger than the other one. The leaders from Jardim Piedade, the weaker one always ask us if we're working in their ward. We just tell them yes and they shrug their shoulders and walk away. We don't receive much help from the people in Jardim piedade, whereas in Piedade, the youth and the leaders are excited and always willing to help out with missionary work. We have to find a way to animate this ward, but I'm thinking I only have 2 weeks left in this area.

Remember Manoela, the lady with the 4 month old baby... Well we visited her and her husband this week and we found out they're from Ciará, another state and the husband, Jorge is just here to work. We taught them the Restoration and they both accepted baptism. Seemed like they were excited to hear the message and everything made sense to them. It was nice to teach 2 people who were really humble. They're from the interior of Ciará and are just open, humble people. What the scriptures say about the humble is true. That they are more teachable and more receptive to the whispers of the Spirit. After the lesson we were talking and they said that Manoela is going back to Ciará until December so there's no way to baptize her here. Jorge is staying so we'll see if we can pull something off with him. They traveled this week so neither of them went to church. We believe that she just came here to discover the gospel because she's only been here for a couple of years. Then when she found out about it she has to go away.....

Lately, it seems like we've been teaching a lot of people with addictions. I guess that's what happens when you're teaching group becomes more mature. We're teaching some parents of some youth that we baptized and with these new, adult investigators, we're meeting some challenges with addictions. It's either coffee or cigarettes and we have to analyze closely the problem of each person even though there are many people with the same addiction. It's interesting. Everyone has a unique personality and a unique way of dealing with the addiction. Some say it's super hard and isn't possible to quit and others have tons of faith that Christ can take the addiction away. If they don't have that faith, we have to find a way to help them to develop it. It's a great lesson for all of us. Addiction could signify our position or progress in life. If we don't have faith that Christ can help us to change our circumstances, then become stagnant. If we include him in our decisions and in our ambitions, his grace will reward our faith and we will be successful in anything we want to accomplish.

This week we also did an exchange with some elders in our district. It was marked for us to have a missionary activity in the chapel and it was the young men's responsibility to get it all organized, so we would just have to show up and participate. Turns out that the young men's president had to go to the hospital because one of his relatives was sick. So we had to improvise, something that missionaries are really good at. So we thought of some games we had played before and the ward mission leader improvised a spiritual thought. And guess what... it all turned out! One of the games was called "sou bobo", or,  "I'm silly´´ in English. It's a game of perception. Everyone gets in a circle and there is a broom that everyone has to sweep on the ground saying, "sou bobo".... then they wait for everyone else to tell them if they really are bobo or not. Then they pass the broom to the next person. The catch is that there are only 3 people who know when a person is bobo. The three people who know will clear their throats before sweeping and saying sou bobo, and then the people who know the secret say, ´´não é bobo´´ or,´´isnt silly´´.. hahaha so the people have to discover how to not be bobo. When people started to discover who it was, there were a ton of people clearing their throats loudly to help the people out who were bobos.... haha it was funny. We just died laughing because everyone was changing their voices and sweeping the broom in different ways to try to not be bobo.. You don't really have to do much to make people laugh here.. people just like to laugh!

Marcos blessed the Sacrament on Sunday. He repeated about 4 times but he was real happy about the opportunity he had to use his priesthood. He told us he was super nervous and just got lost in his words haha.  He's a good guy.

This week we also did an interview for a lady named Varela who was baptized on Sunday. I did the interview and I found out that her niece was the first baptism ever on my mission! Turns out that her family lives in Águas Compridas and me and the other Elder Ferreira helped her niece to get baptized about 1.5 years ago. It was a funny conversation. It's a small world when you're a member of the church.

Last night, we went out with a couple of the young men, Otavio and Lucas. They just kept telling us how great they thought the mission was and how excited they were to be getting ready to leave. They're both 18 and are getting their stuff together to leave. I think the only thing keeping them from sending their papers is the military release. All the missionaries from Brasil have to do this because it's kind of required for guys to enter into the army. Anyways we were walking in the street after we taught about the priesthood at Flávio/edinetes house, and as we passed an alleyway, we heard a guy yelling, ´´irmão,,,, irmão!!´´ We looked back and didn't think much of it because there are always a bunch of drunk dudes yelling at us Sunday night, but we looked back and saw a guy who was bleeding pretty bad. So we went to him and he had a bunch of gashes on his head and said he had just been hit... He had a lot of blood on his shirt and on his face. I called the ambulance and it was ridiculous. They put me on hold, then after like 5 minutes someone started asking me what his symptoms were and hung up. Didn't even tell me if they were coming or anything. We sat the dude on the sidewalk and called Otavios dad to come pick him up and drive him to the hospital. CRAZY. We think the dude was involved in some conflict because he didn't really tell us in details what had happened, other than the dude that hit him hit him with a plank.. Then again, he was shaking pretty bad and was almost going crazy. It seemed like the Lord put us in his path to help him out.

That really happens a lot on the mission. Whether the person is in need of spiritual, or physical help, the Lord puts us in their path so that we can rescue them. It's quite the privilege and is very gratifying when the person says thank you with a smile. Something about being in the right place at the right time is just satisfying. I know that we are representatives of Jesus Christ and I want the make the best of my mission while I have time left. IT'S A ONCE IN AN ETERNITY EXPERIENCE.

I love you all and hope this week is just dandy.
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll