Monday, April 21, 2014

Teaching, Training, and Learning

Found this great photo of Dallin on Facebook!

April 21, 2014

Caramba this week was a tiring one.

So last week the mission baptized 10 people.... it's unacceptable. The weekly goal here is 50. So President is trying everything he can to reboot the mission. That means that the Zone Leaders have to do a ton of stuff too. So basically the whole week we were going to leadership meetings and having meetings with our own missionaries. Let's just say we have a lot of stuff to apply in our work. Tons of new(old) techniques that the missionaries need to learn. I think sometimes as leaders we forget there are some new missionaries who don't really know all the tricks because these things have just become who we are. I think with how much time we've been here we've probably taught over 1000 lessons, and knocked about a billion doors. So sometimes when we're training the missionaries we forget about the little things and the missionaries end up asking a ton of "what if" questions.

The main thing we're trying to change in the mission is the follow-up. President wants us to have a follow up that's more thorough so we know exactly what's going on with the investigators of all the areas in our zone. It's gonna be tough because there are 7 areas and usually an area has about 15-25 people in their teaching group. We also have to know who's been to church and if the people who went to church have been invited to be baptized. It's a real business-like deal we've got going on here and it's hard to check up on everything while we're trying to baptize and teach the people in our areas too. We have leadership meeting with President and all the Zone Leaders and talked about the issues going on. Then we had another meeting with the assistants, District Leaders, and Sisters Treinadoras (Sister Trainers) about the follow-up and problems going on in each area. I feel like as The Zone Leaders in this zone we have a good respect for the missionaries and they respect us too. We gave an awesome training this week and everyone got really excited and it reflected in the numbers from this week. In the zone we have 6 people marked to be baptized.

This week in our area was normal. Well not really. So remember Ricardo who busted his head open and could have been baptized 2 weeks ago at conference?? So we have been preparing him to be baptized for 3 weeks.  This whole week we were just checking up on him to see how he was doing since we 
since we had taught him everything. Every day we asked him, "You excited for your baptism on Sunday??" ..."Yeah I'm excited..."  So we were just super ready to baptize him and then we went to his house with Elder Quispe to do the interview on Saturday and he had left to go to his girlfriend's house in another town.. What?? We called him and he was just making excuses telling us that he wasn't going to church because he was gonna stay at his girl's house... We got pretty mad. His member neighbors said that every time they saw him after that he kind of hid. He's one of those super quiet kids who doesn't have the courage to say no so he just kind of ran away. We'll talk to him later but it doesn't look like he wants to get baptized after all. It happens. We can only hope that the people accept when we present the Gospel to them.. unfortunately there are a lot of people who waste the missionaries' time and run away at the last minute.

So in our area we have 3 people who can be baptized this week. Roberto, Welrilaine, and M├írcia. Roberto hangs out with the young men in the ward. On Good Friday we taught him when he was playing soccer at the church. We went to the church because on holidays everyone in the world is either drinking or traveling. We taught the Restoration and asked him if he doubted that this is the church of Christ. He said, "No because of the name of the church."  If only everyone could be that humble haha. So we challenged him to be baptized and marked him for this weekend. But one thing I've learned with quickly-marked baptisms is that something will happen that will make the baptism harder to get than usual. We'll see... haha.

Well people. It's been real. I hope y'all had a great Easter.. People celebrate Easter here pretty much the same way... except they have HUGE chocolate eggs here with stuff inside.... I mean huge. Maybe I'll get some and send them to you guys. They'll be on sale this week haha., .I hope you all remembered Christ more than usual this past Sunday. He is the Master and our Savior. Love you all. Have a good week!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

I found this picture on one of the Sister missionary's blog from a while back.  This was Dallin's district at Christmas time and they were all dressed in blue because they were performing a Christmas musical number at their Zone conference.  

Monday, April 14, 2014

Be Nice to Converts

 April 14, 2014

Alrighty then. This week was tiring and difficult but we had some miracles along the way so i guess you could say it was worth it.

We've literally drained our teaching group and are trying to find new people. It's hard because it feels like we've already knocked all the doors in this area because it's so small. So now we're looking for the little alley-ways that we haven't entered yet. Needless to say, we've found the majority of the alleys and have been rejected. Our main issue is people who don't really want to commit to anything because they're lazy. Also, the Assembly of God is a big obstacle. They're really hard to teach and even harder to enter their homes. We met one assembly lady this week who said "You can go to my house any time you want to debate... I mean to talk with my husband..." I think they find joy in arguing and debating the scriptures, something that I find to be unuseful and a waste of time. Too bad my companion likes to argue.. and is pretty good at it too. 
Something funny: So there are always groups of kids, whether it be boys or girls... doesn't matter. But when we're walking in the road they always ask me what time it is. Then they get all surprised when I speak Portuguese. I don't know how many times this has happened but it's funny as heck because I say, "See? I speak Portuguese too!" haha.

This week we had the opportunity to give someone a lot of hope through the Plan of Salvation. Neumas 'daughter-in-law, Rejane just lost her dad and was just torn up. We always go to Neumas' house to see how she's doing because she is a recent convert, and Rejane has always been there but never really wanted to listen. We whipped out the Plan Of Salvation to tell her where her dad is now and what she can do to see him again(baptism). She got pretty emotional during the lesson and almost accepted the baptism invite. She said that she would think about it. We just hope she doesn't forget about the spirit she felt during the lesson. WE have to follow up with her this week.

Lately we've been preparing a kid named Ricardo for baptism. We marked him for the week of conference but he busted his head open playing soccer so it fell through. It was a disappointment but he'll be baptized this week. He's a cool kid from the interior. So he's really shy but we've opened him up a bit. His neighbors are all members and he loves soccer so he'll fit in well at church. He's 20 so maybe he'll severe a mission. But we don't like to talk about missions with investigators because it endangers the baptism because they get scared.
Neuma, our recent convert is awesome. She is truly converted and very grateful for us and the gospel. She bore her testimony yesterday. She doesn't see very well so she was scared to get up there to talk. She didn't want to fall. But I told her I would lead her up there and tell her when it was her turn because she had already told us that she wanted to bear her testimony. She was amazed that there were seats up there haha she didn't know. But when she bore her testimony it was amazing. She talked about how she was feeling lonely and rejected by the churches she was going to and knew she wasn't on the right path. She was praying a lot for God to send someone to her house. Tons of people were going to her house and inviting her to "accept Christ" but it never felt right. Then we got there and we were teaching her sons' friend without teaching her. But she felt that we were the answer to her prayer and she really wanted to talk to us. So we stopped teaching the kid in her house and she thought we would never come back so she got sad. Then we came back and said that we wanted to talk to her! She got excited and accepted everything we invited her to do. She said that she's on the right path and that this is Christs' church and that it teaches the truth. The whole time everyone in the congregation was crying... including us. It's amazing to see someone you taught be super grateful for the gospel and the service you rendered. It makes our suffering and sacrificing worth it. Because the majority of the time the converts don't really stay super active. It's really hard here to retain the activation. But it's the best thing in the world when your convert bears a sincere testimony. Everyone is really supporting her too, and that makes her feel welcome.

So this week we have the possibility of baptizing 3 people. Ricardo, a member's sister, and a reference we got from the Assistants of a kid who lives here but was going to church in Recife. Oh and the kids' family is less-active so were just gonna set spiritual fire to their house.

Missions are freaking hard. But I can say that it's worth it. It's amazing to see the Atonement working in the people's lives. It strengthens our testimonies as missionaries. Christ lives and loves EVERYONE. Make sure you're all being nice to the recent converts because some missionary worked really hard to baptize that person. Love all of you and hope y'all have a good week.

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, April 7, 2014

Post Conference Week

 April 7, 2014

Happy post-conference day. I hope all of you have been spiritually enlightened and your testimonies have been strengthened as has mine.

Not that much happened this week teaching-wise so I'm going to just fill you in on some details on my day to day. By the way, this keyboard doesn't have a comma so don't judge. The Savior taught us not to.

My companion and I are pretty much best friends by now. The transfer is happening right this second in Solidade, Recife while we're here in the computer place. That means I will be with Elder W. Ferreira for more time than any other companion. Good thing we get along because 24 hours a day for 4 months is a little much if you ask me. I mean we're both men..... The members are super legit here. Way humble and totally willing to work with us. The roads we walk on are all just mud and sand. So our shoes by the end of the day are just encrusted. The young men in the ward really like us. We always find opportunities to joke around with them. Then when we ask for them to help us they just jump right on it. On Sundays it's complicated because there are two wards we have to deal with so sometimes we end up ditching each other to try to talk to all the people who need favors from the missionaries. And it's A LOT. Family Home Evenings.. People wanting me to translate documents to English.. new investigators... service projects... it's a mess but it's fun. My diet right now is pretty small and spaced out because we just don't have time to eat. Protein shake in the morning... rice/beans/chicken for lunch... a ham sandwich at like 9:00... That's how we do it in Pernambuco. My workout routine has stayed the same for pretty much my whole mission. Pushups and pullups one day... abs the next... But for the past 3 months I haven't had a bar so my back got weaker. I just bought one(sent a member to get it from the mall since we can't go there) so we're getting back in the rhythm of things. But instead of doing 30 per set.. I'm doing like 20. It's sad. 

I've been a leader of sisters for about 7 months now so I know more sisters than elders. I guess it's not that bad. Sisters are cool. One of the sisters that was transferred today told us that we were the best Zone Leader's she'd ever had... and she has had a lot in the US and here so that was a really sweet compliment. She said we treat them like missionaries instead of just little girls who are sweet and likable. That's what we we're trying to do.

Conference was sick. Superbowl conference weekend with the American missionaries in the English room. It's always a party. There were also a few Brasilians in there but I did a division with Elder Boss to watch the English session. The talks were awesome. Elder Christofferson's talk was rochedo. The doctrine on the resurrection was perfect. I liked when he said "only a God could come back to life... so Christ was a God... God can't lie... So the Doctrine of Christ is true." The conference was also great for the members who are struggling with being embarrassed or scared to be a member of the church.  "Truth will always be opposed".  That's something we have to teach our investigators every day because the Protestants here right books and talk bad about the  "Mormon cult" and some people are ignorant enough to believe it. I can't look at the scine of general conference and deny the truthfulness of the restored gospel. It's just too real and the fruits are just too good. Christ is the head of this church and we are his servants. Let's stop being slackers and just do his will.

Right after conference we ate dinner at Flavio and Edinete's house with the Bishop and his wife. They didn't go to conference but they're already friends with the judge of Israel from this ward. Bishop Gostavo teaches like a boss and they talked about eternal marriage. It's just a question of time with this family. Pray for them please.

Christ lives.
Love y'all.
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll