Monday, February 24, 2014

Sweet Week

February 24, 2014


This week was flippin' sweet! We've got some great people we are teaching and everyone in our teaching group wants to be baptized. There are some who are firmer than others and some that just accepted the invite just to be nice. That's how the work goes in Brasil. You pick up people who know that they have to be baptized but they don't want to do anything to get there. I think the main factor here is laziness. But man I love the people we're teaching. I can honestly say that I get excited to teach them and to see how they're doing and to get them a little further along their way to baptism. I was thinking about the mission yesterday as a whole and I think my perspective has changed a lot. I no longer have the urge to go home and see people. I no longer get super anxious to get on the computer on pday. I no longer think about what life will be like after the mission. Quite the contrary. I'm scared to go home because I feel like I'll be super bored. I know it won't be like that but I can't imagine myself being normal at this point. The work is just getting too good. I've learned how to love the people and how to feel the Savior's love too. I'm still learning patience... I think that's a thing that everyone needs to work on...Like when your companion does something that bugs the heck out of you, or when you're teaching a lesson that isn't going anywhere. I think it's the Christlike attribute that I have to most develop. If you think about all the things you have to work on to be like Him, you realize just how perfect he is. It's incredible. I've learned a lot from my companion how to be patient. He's a super chill guy. Probably more chill than me. And that's saying something. It's amazing how he left everything to be a missionary. I can't even begin to describe what he sacrificed. It made me realize how blessed I am. But we get along perfectly and probably joke around way too much. I think sometimes the people in the streets look at us weird because we just laugh at everything!

Well, we're teaching this lady named Nilma. Remember Joseano who we were going to baptize but moved back to the interior because his mom had a stroke? Well, we were teaching him in Nilma's house because he's friends with her son. We started teaching her after he left because she would always come and go during the lessons but she never stayed so we thought we would give her a chance and see if she had potential. Turns out that she does. She told us that she was always wanting to talk to us but we were always teaching Joseano. We thought she wasn't interested because she always left during the lessons with him. But she said she was praying that the Lord would show her the right way to go and when we showed up she knew it was us. She thought we were going to stop visiting because Joseano went away. Nope... We're here to baptize you too! She's a cool lady. Likes to talk your ear off and is kinda crazy. I think she says about 500 words a mintue. So it's fun to joke around with her during the lessons. She cried when we talked about the commandments but we assured her that she's on the right path and that the Lord is happy with her. It looks like she was prepared to meet us because she used to abuse everything in the Word of wisdom. And she liked to party too but all of a sudden she just stopped. We marked her for this week. She really likes church and always tells us what she learned. We're really excited for her. Her son is inactive, so this will really help him out too.

We baptized our ex-atheist yesterday, His name is Victor and he's super legit. In his interview Elder Quispe "invited" him to take his earrings out and he said, "You're right...Christ wouldn't use earrings.".... He's freaking awesome! His baptism was super special and all of his friends from church were there. His mom went too. It was a great spiritual experience for everyone. It was just awesome to see someone who didn't believe in God get baptized into his kingdom. The Dark Side always loses. He used to have no friends but after the baptism we saw everyone hugging him and congratulating him and it was just awesome. His mom was crying. We visited her afterwards because we're teaching her too and she said she loved the church. She said it wasn't just a church, but a family, and she loves that her son always goes and participates. We're gonna throw her in the water too. We told Victor that we were going to baptize his Mother but not to tell her. She was right there and heard what we said. It was funny. She accepted baptism but needs to let a few things go first.

Transfers just happened today and we're staying here. There was an Assistant going home this week so our joke of the week was,  "Dude when you're Assistant...."  It was funny because neither of us wants to be the Assistant. But I'm glad to be in this area. Great people and great vibes.

Hey Landon... Have fun!

Love you family!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Sunday, February 23, 2014

It Happens

Dallin's Mom found this picture on another Elder's blog that is serving in Recife.  It's from almost a year ago.

February 17, 2014

Hello family and friends!

Not much happened this week so this letter is going to be a little shorter.

This week we started out with visiting the furthest district's district meeting because they were struggling last week. We got super lost on the way there. We left early from our house to get there on time. When we got to the bus stop we started asking the people how to get to the place we wanted to go. The sisters told us that we could take a few different buses to get there. They also told us to get off at a certain hospital.  Every time we would try to take a bus they recommended, the bus driver would say that it wouldn't pass the hospital.  We tried it with a ton of different buses and everyone said the same thing.  After about 40 minutes of this we grabbed a bus we thought would go there and asked if it would pass the hospital. They said yeah but we ended up passing the hospital by a long shot because the driver didn't warn us like he said he would. We had to walk a ton from there and we still had to find the chapel.  It took super long to find it. We ended up being an hour late. Talk about being an example for the other missionaries haha. I don't think it was our fault but the meeting was great. Seems like the missionaries are united. One companionship of sisters baptized three people this week, one marriage and a lady who was taking a long time to baptize because she wanted to make a white dress to be baptized in. We were the only Zone to reach the weekly baptism goal.

We knocked a ton of doors this week and didn't really find anyone worth teaching. It happens. We would try to mark another time with the people that were busy, mark, and then when we went back, they weren't home again. It happens. We also kicked a few people out of our teaching group. There was one guy who sent his brother to the door to tell us that he wasn't home. We believed him and left. We passed his house like 5 minutes after that and he was there in the front in his pajamas... which means he was definitely home. It happens.

Victor is going super strong. We are really hitting it hard on his baptismal preparation. He always has a ton of questions for us when we teach a commandment, or a new principle. It's super cool because he accepts everything. The prayers that he says are always super strong and have a ton of feeling. We are really proud of him and the progress he's made. He always thanks God for sending the Elders. It's great to hear that. This Sunday will be his baptism. We're teaching his mom too. She is really excited that Victor believes in God now and said that his behavior has changed a lot. She wants to get to know the Church before committing to anything. But she's pretty open to the newness of the message of the Restoration. Looks like there could be a problem with the word of wisdom with her. We can fix that.

We did a service project this week! There's a guy in the ward who is making his house bigger so we were working on the trails in the walls where the pipes/wires were going to go. Everything here is just bricks and cement so we literally had to chisel lines in the walls for the wipes and wires to go. I think my hand is still swollen from all the hammering. They paid us with coconuts. I think I've developed an addiction to coconut water. It's the best thing ever when we're walking and it's super hot.

Remember that lady that we reactivated? Well now we're trying to teach her mom. She had a family night at her house with the people who sent us there(without her knowing). They wanted me to sing so I did and then Ferreira gave a message about 3 Nephi 11. The Spirit was super strong and everyone was crying because he just has a way with his words. Then they wanted me to sing again. I sang "Assombro Me Causa"(translation I don't know). It was a great meeting, and it was very intimate too. I was thinking afterwards when we left how amazing it is that we can have a super spiritual experience in a tiny house with a ton of people, while the rest of the world is doing the things it's doing. It was just cool. There's no way that Christ is not our Savior.

Well I think that's it for this week. Next week is transfers so we'll see if I go or stay. We're thinking that we'll both stay, but you never know. That's crazy that Landon is leaving today... I was praying the whole week that he would have a great week in the CTM but he didn't even go. Hahaha. But the Provo MTC is sweet. You will have fun there because you can play basketball every day and there are more missionaries there. And you get to hear talks from General Authorities. So don't be bummed that you're not going to Mexico! Love you all and hope this week is a great one.

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, February 10, 2014

Tough But Great Week

 February 10, 2014

This week was tough but great.

Pday.... Nothing.

So our meeting on Tuesday was great.  Elder Ferreira and I prepared the training on pday and it took a while because we were trying to think of what we would talk about, what the zone needed, and what would help everyone.  We started to think about these things and realized that the zone could improve in a lot of different aspects, because everyone is different.  We looked in Preach My Gospel and were inspired to talk about the Attributes of Jesus Christ. Because if we have all these characteristics we will be perfect missionaries, and above everything else, perfect children of God.  In the meeting we talked about every topic, sharing personal experiences and things we could do to improve. We felt that everyone really liked it and that the zone was united. It was just something that was missing that needed to be fixed because the 2 Zone Leaders and 2 District Leaders went away and the excitement just died. I think the sisters have a hard time with adapting to new leadership.

We had a miracle happen this week that was just awesome. The young man that we baptized last week, Luan, brought his cousin to church to see his baptism. That Saturday his primo (cousin), Victor told us that he was atheist and didn't really like church stuff. Kind of a shy kid who doesn't have many friends. During sacrament we marked a visit with him and thought he wouldn't really progress. That Wednesday we marked a visit with him in the church. He arrived there with Luan and we grabbed a room to teach him in. Our plan was to teach the Restoration like always but right when we got in the room he started spilling all his feelings out. "I never believed in Deus (God) because I never got to know the word, and I really just have something to tell you guys. Right when I walked in the church I felt something different and grew to know that God exists, and I would like to learn more about him....".... WOW. At first we didn't know what to say. Super surprising and awesome. WE started out with a prayer and we taught him how the prayer words. How it doesn't have to be something recited or memorized. He was just eating up every word we said. Then after the prayer we started talking about who God is and what he means. We had no plans of teaching a certain lesson but the Plan of Salvation just screamed at us. We taught it and he said he felt way relieved after. He told us he was dying to talk to us from Sunday to Wednesday and just really wanted to learn and erase his doubts about God. Every time we gave a pause during the lesson he would say, "Nossa, é um sentimento incrível." (Wow! That's an incredible feeling!) Luan got really emotional too. It's great to see someone being taught by the spirit and learning the truth. This week has been great with him. Another day we taught him about the Restoration and told him he felt the Spirit because he was in the real Church of Jesus Christ. He got even more happy after he knew he was in the right place. Throughout the week he told us how happy his Mom is that he believes in God now and will get baptized on the 23rd. His disposition and way of talking to people completely changed and he's more open and has more light about him. The Bishop had a family night with all the recent converts(youth) and some youth. Talked about attributes of Christ. When we talked about love, V talked about the love that he felt from everyone in the church when he went. His baptism is gonna be sweet. We really like him. 
There's another kid we are teaching named Joseano. He just moved here from the interior to try to find work. He's 19 years old and is just an innocent short, little dude with a huge smile. His friend is the cousin of a member here and right when they arrived we got the referral. The cousin is a member. Joseano is progressing a lot. He really pays attention and does the stuff we leave him with. He knows it's true and is willing to change. He went to church and really liked it. He said there are good people there and it's really peaceful. We marked him for the 23rd too. He's got a thing with coffee but it's fixable. He's having a hard time with finding work and we promised him that if he followed God, that he would be blessed. He's one of the few people who have faith in this. He said that slowly but surely his dream is coming true.

This past week has started the rain season. It's been raining all day every day and the parking lot in front of our apartment is completely flooded. We had to use rain boots that were left in our house from other missionaries to just get out of the apartment complex.  It was an adventure and we went to church with huge rainboots on. The members laughed but thought it was very practical. Because it was!  President passed by our house to give us an iron and said right away that we should look for another house. He was worried about us. 

Well I think I'll close it up. I'll write a dedicatory paragraph for my bro who's about to leave (on a mission). Trust in the Lord. This week is gonna be the second hardest of your life.(Most difficult is the first week in the field.) But pray a lot and just go with the flow. Don't try too hard, cause if you do you'll explode. Just flow with the punches and LAUGH. If you don't laugh you're done for. But you're in for a bunch of changes in your behavior that you'll have to get used to. Just follow the rules and make friends with the other Elders. And even sisters! Sisters are cool. Pray all the time so you can have the Spirit with you helping you to learn. Love you Bro. Give them heaven.

Love you fam!
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, February 3, 2014

Tough Week of Miracles

February 3, 2014

This week has been tough but we witnessed a whole lot of miracles so it was worth it.

We started the week out with a nothing pday. Good times.

Tuesday we had our district meeting and did a division with the District Leader from Massangana, Elder Quispe. He's from Peru and is training Elder Vargas from São Paulo.  I stayed in my area with Vargas. It was a fun division. He's a good guy. Obedient, but he's still developing his confidence, which is super normal. You don't just arrive on the mission with the confidence you have like you do when you have been out for  over a year. We visited a few of our investigators and also did some contacts. We got in a bible bash with this girl from the Assembly of God. Normal. These people like to argue and say that the argument is "sharing ideas". Nope we were hard core arguing about the gift of tongues and she was absolutely convinced that it exists. I think I've walked by a 1000 churches with people yelling, babbling, mumbling loudly to feel the "spirit of God" ...its ridiculous. I used all the scriptures I had to prove her wrong but there was no way she was going to believe me. Bible-bashing doesn't work. It never has. But sometimes it's satisfying, not gonna lie. We won and left. At the end of the day, Vargas was telling me how he wanted to develop the confidence that I had when I was talking to the people.  It kind of shocked me because sometimes I don't feel confident. I just say things that I think I have to say to get the people to do the right thing.  I've learned here that with these people, you don't have to beat around the bush to get your point across. You can say what you want and the people either accept or reject the proposal. But they keep being friends with you no matter what you do. It's cool, and isn't something that really happens in our culture. People are super straight of with each other here. It makes missionary work much easier.

I don't know why this week was so tough for us. I think the Lord is giving us trials to make up for the easy work we had the first couple of weeks here. We discovered that a lot of our investigators aren't really as good as we thought they were. It's disappointing when this happens.

Last weekend we were given a referral from one of the families in the ward. It was of a guy, Edimilson, who had fallen from a roof while he was working on a house and he had broken 3 vertebrates. We went to his house and talked to him for a bit. He was on his bed without being able to turn over, not even able to talk a lot. He accepted the proposal of us giving him a blessing. It was an awesome experience. Very spiritual and his family was really happy that we passed by. We went back after a few days and left a message with him. He was sitting in his bed at this point. A few days after, we went to have a family home evening with them and the family from the ward. It was great and we really strengthened the friendship there. They gave us tons of food and let's just say that my stomach didn't want to keep it when I was sleeping. He was walking at this point during the family night.. After a few days we returned and taught everyone the Restoration. The spirit was so strong and they even were crying and feeling it. We taught them that God was telling them that everything was true and challenged them to be baptized. They said... "No. Who knows maybe one day we will,,, if god touches our hearts.."  You've got to be kidding me!  At this point the man was walking around and working on houses again. WHAT MORE DO THEY WANT?  We were super bummed and left that lesson just wondering what happened. This actually happens a lot. We did our best but it ends up being their choice in the end. Sometimes I just want to take people's freedom of choice. just kidding. But we gained a greater testimony of how true the priesthood is.

A miracle that we were a part of was the reactivation of this lady, 'E' who hadn't gone to church in like 5 years. A member gave us her name and address and we acted like we were just knocking doors when we found her. She was leaving but we marked with her for another day. We went back and she had decided that if we went to her house that night, she would return to church. We almost didn't go because we were super busy with preparing for the baptism but we went and it was great. She missed the temple and the hymns (we sang a few) and she was in church on Sunday. Woo! The blessings we get from fasting are great, especially when you double it by doing a service project at the same time.

We baptized again this Sunday. It was solid. Luan. Just turned 15 and we baptized him without restrictions from the age rule. Great baptism. I sang "Come Follow Me" and his friend, Otavio baptized him. His mom was there(non-member) and really liked it. We'll have to chase her down. haha. I'll send the pictures next week. This week my companion and I both bore our testimonies. The spirit was felt and everyone was crying. Ferreira talked about his life's story and how he had everything going against him when he came to the mission. It was great and the members really were touched. 

Well family. Glad to hear that you're all OK in spite of the snow disaster. Cool to see the pictures of snow,,, something that never existed here. I think that if it snowed here the people would just flip. haha.

The Church is true, and Christ lives and loves us. The atonement works... I promise.

Love you all!
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll