Monday, May 19, 2014

Police on Strike and Other Adventures

May 19, 2014

So this week was interesting. We relaxed a ton. Let me tell you why...

The police in Recife went on strike. Do y'all remember the first Batman movie where in the end all police leave Gotham and the criminals just run wild in the streets wreaking havoc? That's pretty much how it was this whole week. Since we're Zone Leaders we were receiving tons of phone calls from the Assistants to pass security procedures to the other missionaries. It was pretty intense. It started on Wednesday and ended on Thursday night. On Wednesday it got ugly. There were people robbing everything. They went to all the electronics stores and just had a party. People putting washers and dryers on their shoulder and just walking out of the store. Marcia's (recent convert) brother went to the mall on Wednesday and as he was leaving the parking lot on his motorcycle there were 2 women with a baseball bat and a machete trying to assault him. Stuff just got real. We called the sisters when we received the notice during our lunch appointment that we would have to stay home the whole day and they said they were hearing gun shots on the other street. President wanted us to tell the members to put food in a Tupperware so that we could leave right away. It was intense. Good thing we were at the Bishop's house and he has a car. So Wednesday we stayed home the entire day and the rest of the week we had to go home when it got dark.  I finished the Book Of Mormon in Portuguese. Nothing happened to us so don't worry. Our area is pretty chill. I think there were a few little house robberies but that's it. This is why we live in an apartment on the 4th floor.

As far as missionary work goes, we were just knocking doors the whole week. We talked to a ton of people and found a few good ones. A girl named Dayse went to church. She's 19 and has a daughter who's 1. She also has a husband who works at Burger King at the mall. She seems really genuine and has a desire to follow Christ. I feel like with the time we've been on the mission, we are numb when we knock doors. We just go and go and go like it's nothing. We can read people really well and we know when someone has potential in like 2 seconds. We like teaching the people in their doorway and we don't take no for an answer.

We will baptize this week. Edinete/Flavios two daughters, Monalisa(10) and Katiuce(14) have been at church enough to be baptized. We marked them last night and President said we could baptize them this week. Elder Flemming was doubting that he would let us but it went through. I think President trusts us a lot.  It's good to be on his good side because when you're a missionary who's always on his bad side, your life as a missionary is rotten. But I think this is what Edinete and Flavio need to spark some more interest. They've put off the wedding until September, so we probably won't even be here. It's rough, but were hoping their daughter's baptisms speed up the process. They really have nothing to wait for. Let me tell you that I've never baptized a whole family. It's the grand prize as a missionary and it is worth all the work and effort.

Sunday I gave a talk. They called me up last minute and I talked about grace, and how Nephi used it when he broke the rope that his brothers tied him with. I talked about how we need to act to be able to receive God's grace as a support in our lives. The Atonement makes it possible for us to do things that we wouldn't be able to do without grace. I felt good about it and I think the congregation felt the spirit. Christ really is our Savior, in every sense of the word. In any circumstance, if our motives our righteous, Christ will give us strength, knowledge, or courage to do ANYTHING. He lives!

Love you all and hope y'all have a good week!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Normal and Boring

May 12, 2014

This week was normal and boring. But I'll try to excite things for y'all to make it more entertaining to read my letter.

So we don't have anyone to teach. We kicked everyone to the curb and started knocking doors. That means we have to stay excited and alert and full of the spirit. Oh and we have to be daring and not take no for an answer. So our usual contact is like this....(Landon, pay attention.)

"Hello friend... How are you doing?"
"Good, Thanks to God"
"Great! What's your name??"
"Pleased to meet you.. I'm Elder Carroll and this is my friend Elder W. Ferreira, and we're missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And we have a message about our Savior Jesus Christ which can help you and your family to be more happy and have more peace. So do you have time to receive our message??"
"I have time, you can start talking" (we give the lesson at the door)
"Great... Do you believe that that Bible is the word of God??"
"Cool, can I tell a story from the Bible to you?"
"yeah sure"
....(John 3:3-5/last chapter in Mathew where Jesus talks about preaching and baptizing people)......
"So as you can see... everyone has to be baptized to enter into God, and God calls his servants to baptize and preach to people. We are representatives of Jesus Christ and this is our purpose, Do you think God sent us here coincidentally??"

And then we go from there depending on their beliefs/religion/willingness to serve God/be baptized. Sometimes we ask these 3 questions too:

Do you believe in God?
Do you believe that he loves us?
What are you willing to do for God?

So from there we see how willing the person is to serve God and we basically get them to bear their testimony. It's a great tactic and it can be used right in the person's doorway.  It's great to use for women who are home alone and people who don't have that much time. But our objective is for sure to get in the house and start teaching the person whether it be in that moment, or another day.

Contacts are funny. The other day we were teaching a chick in her doorway/gate and the conversation was great. Smart girl with some great ideas and everyone was really focused on the subject that was being discussed. All of a sudden, a 10-inch lizard jumps from the top of the cement wall onto her head. And just chills there for a sec. The girl went nuts! She brushed it off and it jumped back on the wall and scurried away. We were laughing hysterically and she laughed too. The mission is interesting.

So transfers were today and wait for it.....drum rollllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll I'm staying here with my companion AGAIN. So we've been together for 4 months and it'll be like 5.5 when we're done with this transfer. A WHOLE NOTHER TRANSFER. Caramba, we're going to die here. When Elder Flemming(assistant) called passing the transfer information along I got surprised when he said we were going to stay and he was like "uhhh, you thought you were going to be transferred??"....."sim"....."Well we need you guys there so be happy! woooo!!"  Flemming always calls us with tons of excitement. we even took pics with friends telling them that someone was going to get transferred. hahah But it's good that we're staying.  We've had a lot of success here and the members really love us. We're just gonna have to make up some ways to meet new people(English class)... so this transfer isn't so stagnant. It'll be alright. We're just gonna get ready to baptize more people!

This is Christs' church and the restoration happened! Joseph Smith was a prophet and we have a prophet today! I'm grateful to know these things. I've seen a lot of appreciation for the Gospel here in Brasil, even more than in the United States. People testify that the Gospel changes lives and then use their own lives as a witness. A really Strong witness. You can see that it it weren't for the Gospel, the people would be different and wouldn't be as happy. It's a proven fact! Christ Lives!

Happy Mother's Day again Mom! I love you so much and am so grateful that you're my mom! You're the best mom in the world!  Thank you for everything you do to make us happy!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Just Another Rainy Week

May 5, 2014

This week was just water....

So I think that this is the worst possible area to be in during the rainy season. Usually in April it just pours about every day here in Recife. The roads don't have drains good enough to flush all the water out so the roads end up flooding and we end up taking forever to get to our appointments because we have to take the dry roads to get around the flooded ones. We knocked some doors while it was just pouring and everyone who answered the door just felt bad for us. I think it made them see that we are really dedicated and really take our mission seriously. Needless to say we didn't enter in any houses, but we just have to teach by example sometimes. Polishing our shoes is a daily task. But it's not just to make them look nice. We have a sweet polish that doesn't really let water in.... whatever we can do to keep our feet dry! Some days we went out when it was completely sunny without clouds and by the time we finished eating lunch, the clouds came and were just drowning our area. So we ended up getting super soaked and our scriptures swelled up with water. We went to a sister's house from our ward and her face was just priceless when we showed up just sopping wet without umbrellas. Her daughter just got back from Argentina so she understood. Mission moms are the best!

So we baptized a kid named Roberto yesterday.  It was awesome! He chose me to baptize him so that was sweet since it had been like 6 months that I didn't enter in the water.  It was special because Roberto doesn't really have a good family life.  His mom died and his dad got remarried.  His step mom doesn't like him so his Dad is always kicking him out of the house.  He pretty much lives with Adrian Lucas, one of the young men in the ward. It was hard to get the dad's signature but when we got it we just went. Everything I say he just laughs so we're good buds. I think he needed something just for himself for a day. Seemed like he was really happy and everyone in the ward was supporting him. Bishop Gustavo even invited him to a family night so he's got support from everybody.

Yesterday we went visiting people with Eminho(Emerson, the kid who wrote you on Face book mom) and Jéssica.  Jessica just got back from Argentina so she's got some good mission experience under her belt. We visited Edinete and Flavio, our family we've been visiting forever.  It's the couple that dad said would pay for their wedding.  So we were talking and joking around like we always do and the subject of marriage came up.  Edinete is dying to get baptized/married, but Flavio is trying to put it off for later.  I told them how I talked with you guys and how y'all wanted to know how our investigator are doing and what they need to get baptized.  I told them that we talk about them and how they just have to get married to be baptized.  I told them that Dad asked how much he would have to pay to get them married and how much the dress would be.  Edinete was almost in tears and Flavio said, "They really do want us to get married"... Then there was a pause and Flavio said that he wanted to get married in September.  DANG IT!  It got awkward and then Jessica said,  "The woman wants to get married now!"   "It was funny because he knows she wants to and knows that they have to get married to get baptized.  He kept saying,  "It's a lot of pressure!  It's soon!" because everyone was just giving him a hard time.  Edinete kept saying, "It's not too soon!  We've been waiting for 15 years!"....Yeah, she's kind of right... it's a good thing we are friends and can say stuff in a funny way with some seriousness backing it up. So they said they would think about it some more.

Well it was great to talk with y'all.  It was weird because I didn't get all emotional this time.  It was just like a normal conversation.  I think it's because Ashton and Landon weren't there and because we'll see each other in 5.5 months, which is super short.  I just wanna let y'all know how much I know that this gospel is true.  Christ is real.  He's not just a story we read in the scriptures.  He's real and needs to play a real part in our lives.  That's the only way we will find happiness.  REAL happiness. The atonement is perfect and covers everything.  His love is endless and matchless.  Sometimes I wish I could make the people accept the Gospel so that they can be really happy.  But it doesn't work that way. The Spirit has to touch the people's hearts.  Love you all and hope this week is great.  Happy Mother´s Day mom!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Couple of Baptisms

April 28, 2014

Well then, there goes another week..

This week was good. We baptized 2 young ladies by the names of Márcia and Weurilaine.

Márcia was pretty hard to baptize. First of all, she's 14 so she had to go to church for 3 months straight... and second of all, her parents are a little bit crazy... well mainly just her mom. Her mom was giving her a hard time because she is 14 and she makes little mistakes. Sometimes she goes out without asking... sometimes she wears things that her mom doesn't like... sometimes she wears a lot of makeup... So every time we went there she couldn't get baptized because she did little things that her mom didn't like. Her mom also said that baptism doesn't have a point if you don't change your attitude... We assured her that repentance exists and that Márcia would be OK. And that we have an interview with requirements that have to be met for the person to be baptized. We said we would prepare her for the interview and that if she passed she could get baptized... and that's what happened. Yes! It was really satisfying because she had been wanting to get baptized but never could because of the 15 years old rule.

Weurilaine(interesting name, I know)  Worisson´s sister who just turned 13. Worisson is 18 and his mom is an inactive member. She got baptized when she was 13 and went inactive some years after. She said that Weurilaine could only get baptized when she was 13 because that's when she was baptized. We had never met her nor seen her the whole time we've been in this area, but miraculously 2 days after her 13th birthday, we met her in the street. Coincidence? Nope. The Lord literally puts people in our paths. She had always wanted to be baptize but her mom never let her so she gave up. The first lesson we taught to her(with her mom) was really good. The Lord helped us out a lot with what we were saying to the mom and Weu. Her mom kept saying that she was done with church and that she was fine with her daughter getting baptized but she was just done with church. The Spirit didn't take no for an answer. We talked about eternal families and the temple and her being an example for her daughter and her son who is preparing to go on a mission. She acknowledged the fact that we were super right and agreed to go through with returning to church. Reactivation complete. During the week we even taught Weu with Bispo Gustavo and he set up an interview with the mom. Everything just fell into place with the whole family.

So basically our whole week was just knocking on doors(with zero results) and preparing our baptisms for Sunday. We taught them all the commandments and they were clean. The baptism was sweet. There were a lot of people there to support... including the girls families. Márcia's parents were there and liked church a lot. The mom said that it was well organized and peaceful. Weu´s mom was there and did her temple interview with Bispo right after the baptism. I sang "i need thee every hour". Baptizing is awesome. It's like winning a race or scoring a goal. Its the best thing ever on the mission cause you know you helped someone change their life for good. Our zone baptized 5 people this week and the mission baptized 32! We tripled our numbers from last week and we have 6 more people to baptize in the zone this week. We'll see if everything goes through. The Lord will help us out.

Some funny things this week:
So we taught some chicks from the Assembly and they weren't accepting anything we taught and were telling us how strict and great their church was so we left. As we were walking away we hear a girl's voice, ´´Delicia!!.... Gostoso!!´´(delicious...tasty) ..... So much for being super strict and being "Women of God"..
Then another time my comp said Goodnight to a lady in the street and she walked past and said, ´´boa noite meu amor..... delicia...´´ She walked away with an evil grin on her face. I swear the women are just out to get the missionaries here...

I've never eaten so much horrible fish in my life because of Easter.

Yesterday we went to teach a lady who is the mom of someone in the ward.  We taught her about the Book of Mormon, and there were 2 Catholic ladies there and an Assembly Pastor.  Everyone was talking about the 12 tribes of Israel when we got there. So we used it as a perfect opportunity to talk about the "other sheep not of this fold"... and the pastor ran away... but we were talking about the link between the Bible and the Book Of Mormon and everyone ended up arguing about random stuff. Out of nowhere one of the ladies asked if she could do something.... we said uhhh sure. She stood up and went behind us. I thought she was gonna get something but as we taught she put one hand on my back and one on Ferreira´s and Ferreira asks, "What are you doing???"..."I'm saying a prayer"...."you didn't say you were gonna say a prayer!"  hahaha she got up and sat back down... it was weird.... Then when we left her with the Book Of Mormon and testified she said she would read and pray. But afterward she said that God told her that she needed to hug me.... The Sister from the ward flipped and said "nooooo they can't hug women!"  It was bizarre but that's life as a missionary. Despite the fact that it was a weird moment, I felt the Spirit testifying strongly through me as I said things about the Book Of Mormon that I'd never said before. That we need to pray and read as if we don't know anything else. Then the Spirit can convert the person.

Well that's all folks.... So I'm planning on Skyping with Mom on Saturday so we'll talk in a few days! Christ lives!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll