Thursday, January 30, 2014

Workin It Up!

January 27, 2014

Workin' it up!

This week was another week of hard work and baptisms. The area is becoming more familiar and were making friends with the members.

On Pday we went to Prazeres, which is like a commercial center where there are a bunch of shops and a small feira... kind of like the one in Caruarú. We went there to replace my camera and get a fan for our house(we get a reimbursement from the mission). We went back home and slept a bit.

On Tuesday we went to Pina´s district meeting. There are 2 Districts in our zone and Pina is the furthest one away from us, but they're struggling so we went there to give them a boost. Elder Boss, the district leader there is finishing the training of another American. They're not getting a long that well so we did a division to see what was going on, and to help out their area. We did some contacts almost on the beach(we're not allowed to touch the sand). And then we met the family of a kid who's preparing to go on a mission. We marked them all for baptism. 5 people. But we found out that they didn't go to church so we're going have to mark them for a later date. It was fun to work with an American. It's been a while. We spoke English the whole time so when I woke up the next morning my brain was all scrambled. The assistants decided to do a mini conference. They called the night I was in another area to tell us they were bringing together 3 zones to talk about some changes that would take place in the mission. It was cool because I saw some friends. But the whole thing was about authority and how we need to trust in our calling. Basically just about being a daring missionary and declaring our callings. When we do this, we'll be able to invite more people to be baptized and be able to let the people feel the spirit more. President has 4 assistants now because the mission is struggling with this new requirement for baptism. We're struggling a lot to get 200 baptisms now so President is just doing everything to bring it back up. Elder Ferreira and I had to a practice in front of everyone at the meeting to show how to get a reference from a member. It was interesting but it was good too. My companion is way spiritual and way eloquent. I'm learning a lot of new ways to speak with him. 

During the week we just we trying to chase people down that we had already met and if they weren't at home we would knock doors. It was tiring and hot but at the end of the week we were satisfied with our work and I think the Lord was too. We have a new goal to do 10 contacts a day. Easy. But there are a lot of missionaries who don't do it. We're also getting to know the members and earning their trust. It's not really hard to do here. You just have to be nice. One brother from the church gave us lunch on Sunday and wanted me to send to y'all that I'm eating well and that I'm eating mangos. "Very good. Beautiful, big, mangos."  Those are his own words... not mine haha. He knows very little English and was just stuffing us with food. One of those lunches where you just want to escape.

We baptized 2 people on Sunday. Yonada and João. Yonada is friends with the youth in the Piedade ward. She is a great young lady and I would so she is an elect. She knows what she wants in life and is super sincere about how she feels about situations. When we taught her she said she felt as if Christ was there. That was awesome. She was baptized by a young man in the ward, Otavo. Super good kid, and likes to help out the missionaries. João we found through one of the young men in the ward. I wrote about him last time. We taught him the restoration and he wanted to be baptized and change ever since. Super good kid. 18 years. He trusts in us a lot and you can tell there is a great love there. He said that after the baptism he felt all the bad things that he had done in the past wash away. It's great to hear things like that and to be part of it. Both of them thanked us a lot for teaching them and helping them. There's nothing better in the world! 

Oh and my couple in Maurírcio de Nassau got married and baptized. Elder Perreira just sent me the pics and I got really happy. It took a while to happen, and I got transferred, but I'm just glad that it happened. They're going to be great members and will stay active for sure. When y'all come and get me you can meet them!

Well.... I love being on this mission and am learning a ton every day; about the Atonement and about the love that Christ has for us. He is our Savior and Redeemer, and we owe him everything.

Love Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sunscreen, Sweat, and Jaca

January 20, 2013

Wow. This past week was a race and we got a ton of work done. New vibes, new people... even a new culture!

The transfer was sick (Note: Sick is a good thing, for the older generation). I don't know what I wrote to you all about it but I'm opening this area as a Zone Leader. We take care of two areas, so it gets pretty interesting. The two wards are pretty small so it's easy to go from one area to the other.  I wrote down a few things in my planner to let you all know what's going on.  It might feel like a list but it's all good.

My companion is Elder W. Ferreira.  He's super legit.  He's the humblest dude I've ever met and teaches with power.  He has a grand knowledge of the bible so he teaches really well.  He's from Londrina and was adopted by the President of his branch 6 months before the mission because his biological family doesn't support him. But the dude is awesome. He doesn't want to go home so he's helping me to take advantage of my mission and to make the best of it.

This ward is full of young men who are all best friends. They're cool and just about all of them are 16 years old so it lets us baptize their friends who are the same age(we can't baptize children anymore unless they've gone to church for 3 months). They like the Elders a lot and love to go on splits with us. Some of them got pretty sad when the others were transferred because they used to play soccer with them (something we can't do...) But they have a lot of friends who are just waiting for us to baptize them.

The members are really great here. Both wards are super strong and have about 120 members per ward. Right when we got here the young men were waiting to take us to our house. Then the next day we didn't have lunch and we were walking home to eat something and met some members in the street and they gave us lunch. I'm in Zion. Everywhere we go we meet members. There are a ton of people here who have been baptized but haven't been active for a while. We know that with inactives there is a mine of baptisms.

I bought jaca here after being in the cold interior for 6 months.  Click here for information about jaca

The weather is freaking hot here! The sun is strong here and I have to put sunscreen on every day/two times a day. I sweat a ton and our house is full of mosquitoes.  I bought a repellent machine so we're good now.  I started to get a heat rash after a couple of days. My skin is just not used to the heat, but it's getting under control now.

My Zone has sisters and 4 elders... just like the last 6 months in Caruaru... I like it, and we as leaders don't have to deal with the slackers. Sisters are good.

Since we are opening our area, the Assistants came and helped us out for a couple of days. I think we did 70 contacts and invited 17 people to be baptized. We marked 4 for baptism. I think we hurt our area a bit haha. It's fun to work with the assistants. I noticed that when I'm teaching with someone who teaches well, I teach way better. It just flows and is more interesting. When I was with our American assistant, Elder Flemming, I was inspired to work on my Portuguese more. I think I've gotten comfortable with it and stopped working on learning new words. People here think I'm from the south of Brasil. It's sweet.

Sunday we baptized a kid who was marked by the other Elders. Lago, 15 years old. The kid is gold and was super ready to get baptized. The young mens friend. He'll stay firm. It was great to see his friend from the ward baptize him, super spiritual, it reminded me of the baptism of Christ when he was baptized by his cousin , John.  It must have been a moment happier than what we think. The Bible doesn't give a lot of details.

Last night was the best. We were walking around with a couple of young men looking for someone to teach and they lead us to the the house of their friend, João. We taught him the Restoration and taught it well. The Spirit was there and João cried. So did one of the young men. We marked him for this Sunday. He was really happy to accept baptism and his friends were too. I'd forgotten how it is when someone really accepts the message and wants to change. My last area was hard but, the Lord is blessing us a lot in this area with a lot of help from members too. I think it's because we were both really obedient in our other areas even though we were in really hard areas. Ferreira came from an area that's just Assembly of God. Those people don't like us.

Well, I'm really happy and grateful to be in this area. I feel really humbled to be able to work here with these people. They really are helping us out... which is good because we are super lost! haha. I've also learned to trust in the spirit/my authority more and just invite people with boldness. It's working as of now, haha.

Well, love you all and I pray for you all individually. I don't think I've given more worth to my family than I am giving now that I'm on my mission. It's amazing. The restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ happened and the world needs to know!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Friday, January 17, 2014

Transferred Again

January 13, 2014

So I was transferred...

I was feeling it and I was wanting to leave but at the same time I wanted to stay to see the marriage of our investigators. It was good being in the interior. I think I forgot how to sweat.. haha. I was transferred back to Recife in Boa Viagem. I'm a Zone Leader and I'm opening an area. The zone has 18 missionaries and a lot of sisters too.(Nothing I'm not used to)... My companion's name is W. Ferreira. It's not the other Ferreira(my trainer). The transfer was funny. My companion was the first name to be called.  They said he was going open an area and I felt like I was going to be his companion and I was!  It was weird. The elders who were there did some type of fubecagem and the area closed and reopened with us. They left 6 baptisms for us too! Yes! Bishop Lucas was there from Aguas Compridas too. It was fun talking to him and finally understanding everything he was saying. And I was speaking like a pro. There were a lot of missionaries transferred from Caruaru so that zone will be different. I said goodbye to all the people who matter like Brainer, his mom, our couple we were going to marry.... it was fun in Caruaru and difficult but now I'm back in baptism territory.

This week as far as work goes was kind of bland. I think it was because we felt the transfer coming and it was just weird. We met some funny people, mainly just old guys who never stop talking. We talked to this one dude, Ramos, really old who wanted us to stop by to pay a visit. The dude talks a lot. We entered in his house and he just started telling a story without end. We were trying to teach him but it wasn't working out. He was just talking so much, so we were tag teaming him to try to keep our cool. We invited him to be baptized and he said he would go to church to find out. Didn't go.

The crack-head didn't want us to visit him anymore because he was "confused and didn't know what he was capable of doing."  We left it at that.

Also we found this guy named He-man(Edivaldo) who is an inactive member. His nickname is He-man because he's huge. We found him through one of our investigators. He had read the Book of Mormon four times and he moved to Caruaru from Recife and didn't like the people at church there so he went inactive. He is a cool guy and we talked about his past and I sang count your blessings because that is one of the hymns he remembered after years of inactivity. He liked it a lot and I think it reminded him of the blessings he's missing by not going to church with his family. He has 2 kids and a wife. The spirit was felt and he knows what he has to do.

We went and visited Cilene and Brainer for the last time.  She gave us stuff to eat and said she was going to miss me. I said I was going to come back with my parents. She said I could baptize her in November when you all are here so we'll see. It's an ongoing thing with her. 

The married couple is sad I'm leaving but they were expecting it too. It will be cool to see the photos of the wedding. I feel like I left that area better than I got it so that's good, didn't baptize anyone though. 

I love this gospel and will never abandon it. It's just not something that's deniable. Even though it's hard being a missionary sometimes, my testimony of the work doesn't shrink a bit when I'm having a hard time. Christ lives and is our Savior and through his grace we can do great things.

Love you family!
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year

January 6, 2014


This week was slow and steady and nobody was home.

Holidays are the same everywhere you go. Everyone travels.  We only had half of our investigators at home this week. I think it's because we have half rich and half poor people. The pobres just stay at home and we could teach them everyday if we wanted to. But there's no point to that now is there? We started off the week with a very interesting lesson. We went to visit this guy named Julio. We pulled his name from the area book. Short, squaty guy. Our Assistant to the President had already taught him and then went home after. The guy is good, but when we got there he was drinking and smoking with one of his idiot friends. They were watching a video about the iluminadi or however you spell it. Conspiracy theories about how the government is run by the devil. They were just amazed and believing in every word of it. Erasmo was with us and we were all just looking at each other. Erasmo sent me a message, "Let's go?????"  haha, yeah. Julio asked me if I believed in this mess and I said no. He said "yeah me neither..."  haha. We explained about the prophet and how this video was garbage. Erasmo got really impatient and burned the heck out of Julio's friend because he was trying to convince us that this video was real. It was just an awkward situation, and kind of funny at the same time. We left and he said he was sorry.

We tried to contact some references from the Christmas cards and found this old lady. She was alone so we sang at her doorstep. She liked it a lot and she was really nice. She was our only lesson that day because of New Years. Oh, and we walked a ton looking for an address in the middle of nowhere in the desert. We were obligated to be at home at 6. We got there, slept, woke up at 9 and waited for the fireworks. We live on the 2nd floor of this building and the floor above us is unfinished so at midnight we went up there and watched the fireworks in the city. It was cool and I got a video. Elder Pereira said.... "dude, we're going home this year!!"  We laughed. haha.

This week we taught a dude named Lenilson who used to be a crack addict. Brainer said he would pass by and ask for food at his house. He gave us his address and we visited. The dude is super humble and regrets what he did. He lives in a little house with nothing in it because he sold everything he had for drugs.We talked about the Restoration and the Book Of Mormon and he went to church. He said he won't go back without a long-sleeved shirt because he has tattoos. We said he didn't have to but he insisted. He's reading the Book Of Mormon slowly but surely.

Our soon to be married couple is as strong as an ox. They're super awesome and ready. Ezequiel stopped drinking when we started teaching them so the word of wisdom wasn't a problem. They had doubts about baptisms for the dead and a few other things but it's nothing that can't be cleared up fast. They have testimonies and anyone who comes up to them with something bad to say about the church they burn them. They're great. 25th of January! I'm hoping I won't be transferred this next week.

Also we got a reference from someone from Recife! This lady from the church in Recife called us giving all the details about her sister, Debora for us to visit her. It was cool. José told me we were going to receive this reference but it took a while. We visited Debora last night. She's young and pretty and was home alone so we couldn't enter in her house. But we marked for today with Erasmo so we're good. She seemed interested.

It seems like we have a pretty good relationship with the members here. It's great. We don't have to worry about not having anyone to talk to our visitors at church and stuff like that. There are a lot of members here who are wanting to go out with us and help us out with their family members and references. It's really nice. I don't want to leave this area. Even though we haven't baptized, we have some really good people lined up.

Well I guess that's it. I miss you all a ton, but I'm grateful I'm here. I'm having great experiences and learning a lot about myself and the gospel. I really do feel like I have grown closer to Christ and feel his love more in my life. He is our Savior and there is no other way to exaltation without him. My New Year's Resolution this year will be just to open my mouth more.  Sometimes fear gets the best of us and keeps us from having faith in ourselves and the Lord. It'll make me a better missionary for sure.

Well, I love you all and pray for you. Don't forget to be a member missionary!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Singing in Portuguese

Elder Carroll was able to call us (his family) on Christmas Day and talk to us.  We loved every minute of this time spent with him.  With the help of modern technology we Skyped and were able to see and talk with him.  I (his Mother) asked him to sing us a song because we just love hearing his voice so he sang, "Silent Night" in Portuguese.  It was so wonderful to hear his sweet voice and to listen to the beautiful Portuguese language that he has learned.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas in Brazil

December 30, 2013


This week was cool. Not literally but it was good.

Pday was funny. We went to Recife to pick up the Zone's packages without them knowing. We got our sleep in on the bus and got to see some of our friends from the other Zones in the interior. It was a party in the mission office because right when we got there a van arrived with a ton of Christmas packages. From what we saw, the secretaries don't really do anything but mess around. Must be relaxing haha.

Tuesday was our District meeting and we had tons of packages to take to the missionaries. I was taking a shower and I hear a banging on the bathroom door. Freaking Elder Bochi came to our apartment and ruined the surprise. We had sent him to contact a reference from our area that is closer to them than to us, and the guy could only receive people in the morning. So they went and he wasn't there so they paid a visit to our house. Good thing I like Elder Bochi, otherwise I would've got really angry. I guess it made it easier for us when we were late for the meeting and our District leader already knew about the surprise. When we got there late with all the packages the sisters didn't even look surprised. Then we explained that the boxes were for them and they got super excited. It was funny, kind of a delayed reaction. Then we did our secret Santa thing and I got toilet paper and 2 ties.

Christmas was trunky, I mean awesome. The 24th we went to a member's house from the other ward because nobody invited us from our ward... Ineubb´s In-laws. We ate regular Brasilian food, talked, and ate some cake. Just weird when it's not your family. On Christmas day I opened my package and it was awesome! The workout band is being used and the food is getting eaten. Thank you! We had lunch with a member and rushed to the capela(chapel) to talk with our families! It was the best day of my life. It was fun to see you all and actually hear your voices. (Dallin was able to Skype with his family on Christmas Day) Sorry for talking like a weirdo.(Dallin had trouble remembering some English words when he was talking) Haha, I tried. So that was basically the highlight of the last 6 months and there's one more call to make this Mother's Day and then I'm home. After the phone call we ate pizza with Erasmo...banana com brigadeiro. Yum.

This week was great for the work too. The couple who was wanting to get married and baptized, Kátia and Ezequiel are getting baptized/married the 25th. These people were well prepared by the Lord to receive the gospel. They don't have problems with anything. He stopped drinking right when we started teaching them so they're clean! They gave us white dress shirts(she makes them for a living) and love us. Thanks Dad for the marriage money. They are really grateful and very excited. We went to the Cartorio(marriage place) to get it all paid and set up. The Bishop and Stake President(leaders of the church congregations) are super excited. Just hope I don't get transferred!

We found another family these past 2 weeks. Brainer gave a reference of a family whose mom was baptized 25 years ago but is inactive. Her kids are super legit. Vinicius is 16 and Wiliane is 20(and a girl). Brainer is 25 so we keep joking around that when we baptize her she's his. Every time we go there we invite Brainer to go to his girlfriend's house with us to teach. Good times. They accepted the baptismal challenge and will get baptized when they receive answers to their prayers. It's in God's hands now. But they are some cool people, and will be great members. We joke around with them as if we've been friends for years.

Love you all!!! Happy New year!!! I love you and am always praying for our family!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll