Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Whole Family Baptized and a New Companion

June 23, 2014

Alrighty then, I'm super pressed for time so I'm gonna write this one really quick. Sorry for not sending pics. All the good computer places were closed. Today is São João(holiday of corn roughly translated) and everyone in the street is going to get plastered today so we have to get home at 3:00.

Transfers happened to say and I'm sad to say that I had to say goodbye to my beloved companion, Elder W. Ferreira. We spent 6 months together and had a lot of success. A LOT. Now he's companions with Elder Pereira, my comp from Maurício de Nassau. It was cool because Bishop Gustavo called President Lanias last night saying that the work we've been doing is incredible and that he didn't want either one of us to leave.  It was great to hear that we're being a help to the Bishop and not a burden. My new companion is Elder Varela. He's from Curtitiba and has 2 transfers left. I had already met him and talked with him a lot in the mission office because we were both Zone Leaders.

The wedding was a success!!!! Everything went perfect even though beforehand it looked like everything was against us..... We had to find 4 witnesses and get all their information: SSS, profession, full name, everything. Then we had to make a document for them to sign which took forever to make because the wedding place is picky. Then we had to interview them but both of the District Leaders were busy so the Bishop had to do it. Then we had to put the chapel together and clean it up after church. It was just crazy. It felt like we were hurrying for 2 days straight. And it was rough because we had to talk to the missionaries from the Zone about their areas too. My brain was just fried. Everything was put together on Sunday right before the wedding. But it was organized. You can be sure of that. We were worried about how many people were going to show up. So during Sacrament meeting we invited everyone individually. I think there were like 70-80 people there. The wedding started at 5 but everyone showed up at like 5:20.  Flávio showed up first with the cake and had to wait about an hour for Edinete to get there. When she arrived it was sweet. Everyone was already there in the pews waiting and she entered with Maria Eduarda(her daughter). After the ceremony there were tons of photos. Everyone was super happy and proud. The couple made a lot of friends in the ward so it really was really special. After all the congratulating, We did the baptism. It was perfect. I baptized her and Ferreira baptized him. She wanted me to sing Come Follow Me, the same song I sang in their daughters´ baptism. The ceremony was a success and the night was a great victory. We finally completed the family. It was a sense of realization and satisfaction after the baptism that was just amazing. WE DID IT! It took 5 months to baptize the whole family. I think the Lord wanted us to work for this one, it was worth it and was something that we will never forget. The family was incredibly happy and Edinete was crying pretty much the whole time. It was great to see the ward get together to make something nice for a new family in the ward. I think it excited them a bit and the work will be smooth from here on out. The Gospel is really the only source of true happiness. It is the only thing that can truly unite the family.

Today President Lanius was transferred and he gave his last speech. He said the Gospel is the only constant thing he's ever found in this world. That's saying a lot because he's a very intelligent, successful man. But it's true, the gospel is perfect.

Sorry for not sending pictures. Next seek for sure. I love you all and hope this week is good!
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Working through the World Cup

 Dallin is with his mission President and wife

June 17, 2014

So as you all can imagine, this week was a little nuts because of the world cup. Let me tell you what it's like.

On Thursday we had to stay at home the whole day because of the opening of the cup and the Brasil game. The roads are all decorated with streamers and Brasil flags are EVERYWHERE. Every clothing store is selling Brasil jerseys(from Paraguay because they're fake) but we are living in a world of yellow and green. We were walking in the street the other day(like we do every day) and a dude coming towards us grabbed the Brasil emblem on the jersey he was wearing, kissed it and pointed at us.... dude, you're awesome. People think that just because I'm white that I wont root for Brasil. Quite the contrary. Everyone is obsessed with Neymar(the star player for Brasil). EVERYONE. Especially the girls. We knocked on this one girls door and she said she couldn't talk to us because she was watching Neymar. Idolatry is a common practice here. People are painting their houses to make them look like Brasil flags. The roads are painted yellow and green and EVERYONE is always wearing the Brasil jersey. These people are maniacs! It's awesome. Usually on the street there are little stands where you can buy hot dogs and tapiocas,,, but now there are firework stands. When we were at home waiting for the Brasil game to pass, every time Brasil scored it sounded like there was a war going on outside. Everyone screaming, yelling, running around, chest bumping, shooting off fireworks (the big illegal ones, not the puny ones we use in Georgia)..... President wanted us to study during the Brasil games but we discovered that there was no way to even concentrate. I just grabbed my camera and filmed all the reactions to all the goals. There's a pavilion right outside our apartment where they put a huge TV for everyone to watch so we knew every time when Brasil scored. We have to plan around the Brasil games. Sometimes my companion forgets when he's trying to mark an appointment with someone and the investigator and I always say, "Nope, Brasil is playing that day...."  It's frustrating but what are you gonna do? How would we possibly talk to people during the game. We wouldn't!  The people are saying that there's no way that Brasil will win this cup. Everyone's saying that either Germany or Holland is going to take the cup.

Alrighty, let's talk about the work of the Lord. This week was relatively good. Do y'all remember that missionary Elder Ribeiro? The one who's box I lost? Well he was one of the elders who helped to close the area before we opened it back up again. There was supposed to be a wedding/baptism right when we got here but he lost the papers and the money for it so it was postponed. It's an old lady who's daughter is a member.... we got the feeling that they didn't want the missionaries to help out with stuff after the losing of the papers so we just let the case be. This week the wedding and the baptism happened.... so we baptized! Wooo! Let me tell you that it was the most organized thing I've ever seen(sarcasm) The wedding was at 7 and the people started showing up at 630..... The baptismal font was being filled up when we got there and after about an hour I noticed that the water wasn't rising. The pump was on! It was filling up and getting pumped at the same time. Then they came up to me before the wedding and said they forgot to plan music for when Josefa walked down the isle with her husband.... So I sang, Come Thou Fount again while they walked down the isle, haha. During the wedding we were running around the church looking for baptismal clothing because they didn't think that through either. I think I've developed a new motto/slogan.... "The missionaries have to be responsible because nobody else is".... I mean it's been a while since the daughter knew that Josefa was gonna get married/baptized and basically planned everything when they got to the church.... I don't understand...... What matters is that she's married and baptized now so everything is good.

This week is the wedding of our wonderful family. We're tying to make it really nice.  We've already warned all the organizations and leaders so everyone already has a role to play. We have to sit down with Bishop to see how the program is going to be since he's done this before. Edinete wants everyone to be there. We're worried about the wedding papers because apparently the place that does the wedding stuff is real picky about the birth certificates and identities.... has to be perfectly legible. The certificates we gave them were old but could be read and the identities were copied but the copies weren't that great. We gave them to a member who works there and speeds up the process for all the couples that the missionaries give him. We haven't gotten a phone call yet so pray that it works out.

Monday is transfers. We've been here together for about 6 months. There's really no way both of us are going to stay. I have mixed feelings about this area. The members and people are amazing but it seems like we've hit a dead end in the work. We literally have to look for doors to knock on and the members are asleep. The plan is before next transfer is to wake the members up. I gave a talk on Sunday about conversion and the what it has to do with our desire to do the Lord's work. It was a great talk and I feel like the members really felt it. Conversion is super important. If we're not converted, how will we have the desire to do what's right? How will we lose the desire to do what's wrong?? It's like a brick wall we have to break through. The conversion wall. The only way to break it is serving, scripture study, and prayer. That's the ONLY WAY. It's so simple but human laziness makes it way more complicated than it needs to be. Think of how lazy we are. Now think of this. Laziness is not a trait from God.... so the Saviour was the most engaged, least lazy person on the face of the planet. He was PERFECT. He was always serving, and never let laziness trip him up. It's amazing to think about our imperfections, and imagine a being who doesn't have them. Incredible.

Well that's enough. I hope y'all are enjoying the World Cup, because we sure are enjoying the culture. Pray hard, and do work. 

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

PS I'll send more pictures of the streets next week, I promise!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Preparing for the World Cup

 June 10, 2014

Vamos la.

This week just flew by. I don't know if it's because I'm happy or because I'm just used to the mission life. I feel like we're just in a rhythm. It feels like each week is the same think, but really its not. This week was a little different. We had some pretty sweet spiritual experiences and some funny ones too.

We did tons of contacts this week. Somehow we keep finding more doors to knock. We're just finding little nooks and crannies now because we've just scanned all the big roads with the Lord´s work. The people we find in these little alleys are interesting. It's like the deeper we go into the abyss, the more interesting the people get..... Kind of like scuba diving. We knocked on this one door that lead us to like a mini neighborhood. We found this Assembly of God chick who was just trying to get us to visit her church. She just kept laughing, saying the same thing over and over again. The people from this church have their key phrases that they just keep repeating because they don't know what else to say....gloria halleluja. So I was getting impatient and quiet and my companion was just feeding her fire because he loves to talk. Then he brought up the gift of tongues and asked her if she had it. She said she was baptized by the spirit and had received the gift of tongues...(they think they speak in tongues because they babble like hobos in their churches) Elder Ferreira whispered in my ear, "Speak to her in English".....And that's when I got excited to talk with her. I said some random stuff in English that had to do with what we were talking about and she didn't know what to do. It was funny because I was speaking to her as if she understood but there was no way. She witnessed the gift of tongues first hand, Then we prayed with her and her friend. We stayed quiet and they both said separate prayers very loudly. Afterwards we thanked them and I said I felt the power............I know we really shouldn't do things like this on the mission but I just couldn't resist. As we were leaving my companion and I were just dying of laughter. Good times while in the abyss.

So President Lanius and his wife will be leaving us at the end of this transfer so we had a meeting with them with a few other zones. It was great. They gave us the opportunity to do musical numbers so me and Sister Remy took advantage. She plays piano and had a sick arrangement of "Come Thou Fount".  We practiced two times before the actual performance so we were scared it was going fall apart but it turned out being amazing. Everyone cried and the Spirit was felt strongly.  I discovered that I feel the Spirit stronger with music than with anything else. It's powerful. President and his wife said some great stuff too. Sister Lanius talked about how she dealt with being a member without her husband being a member, how she had to pray by herself and take her kids to church alone for about 25 years. She said it was rough and doesn't recommend that anyone does what she did. Then President spoke about his conversion story. He read the whole Bible and felt something telling him that he had to be baptized in his wife's church. He had never been taught by the missionaries, and all her brothers who had served missions "tried" to teach him. He's a stubborn guy and the only thing that got him to change his mind was the Spirit. He said it was a calling. Something he needed to do. He said it wasn't special, and it's not a pretty story. It was something he needed to do so he did it. The Mission president in Curitiba marked his baptism because he didn't want to be taught by missionaries. He already knew everything he needed to know to be baptized. He's really just a no-nonsense type of guy. Nobody even went to his baptism! haha. He was baptized on a Wednesday. He explained to us that it really is the Spirit who convinces people and converts them. Not missionaries. That's why he stresses obedience so much.

So it's been about 6 months since we opened this area up. I can honestly say that we've destroyed this area as far as contacting goes. The members also love us. I realized that I've become more affectionate. Remember my first few emails when I wrote that Brasilians just like to touch and hug each other and that I was just sick of it? I feel like I've slowly embraced the hugging/embracing culture and am OK with it! The members always think that American missionaries have hearts of lead and don't like to love people haha... i'ts true in a way. We like our personal space and being touched too much irritates us. It was a barrier that I had to break but the more we love and hug the people, the more they love us too. (Don't worry, I don't hug women....) We were at a family night last night at Celson's house(we go to his house every Saturday to build his house and dig a septic hole) and it was just awesome. Everyone there just seemed so happy and content with just being together. I felt a sweet spirit there. We invited recent converts and Flavio/edinetes family and everyone just got along and enjoyed it. Celson is awesome. He served in Rio and is the funniest, craziest Brasilian I've ever met. He talks up a storm and is just excited about everything. Every time we help him at his house he is super grateful. He always talks about how on his mission, all the Americans got mad because he always hugged them. It was a joke of his to hug the new American greenies to see the reactions on their faces. hahaha. So every time I see him I give him a big hug. He's amazed that I don't get embarrassed because when I arrived in this area apparently my face always turned red when he hugged me. It's a joke now and he likes to group-hug mob me with the young men at church. Good times haha.

Stake conference happened this week too. One of the speakers talked about how he was on an airplane that looked like it was going to crash and everyone was Yelling God's name and becoming Christian if they weren't already, He talked about those 45 seconds where he thought he was going to die. There would be no time to pay tithing... no time to confess things to the Bishop.... no time to fix family problems.... It's true. How would we feel if we were in the same situation?? There was another talk where the Brother said that in relation to the Gospel, we shouldn't be like the kid who wets his hair and tells his mom that he took a shower..... haha it was funny, buts it's a real principle. Sometimes we need to just stop being children haha.

So we have rules about the World cup. We will not be able to watch any games in member's houses. We will have to be home before, during, and after the Brazil games.... And we can't get close to the stadiums in the city even though the US will be playing. It's gonna be hard to work, and even harder to hear the cheering in the streets without being able to watch! Whatever... we'll be blessed for not being fubecas.  (slackers)

Well everyone... Love you, and hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, June 2, 2014

There's a Wedding to Plan

June 2, 2014

Hello my dear family and friends. 

As I sit here in this humble, dirty computer place, I am pleased to write to you all that WE WILL MARRY FLAVIO AND EDINETE THIS MONTH. June 22 will be the magical day with a wedding and two baptisms. Y'all have no idea how hard we've worked to just get Flavio to accept a date.  It was like pulling teeth over and over and over again.  Talk about a painful process.  Just to let y'all know how the process was, we visited them with a returned sister missionary (they have special powers), the Bishop and his wife, and I went with one of the Assistants (right after we had a huge heated bible bash with a Jehovahs Witness... so we needed to speak with someone nice), and our District Leader talked with them too! And every time it was just, "uhhh we'll talk about it later.." When we baptized their daughters last week is when we really started to see a change in Flavio.  He really just started to open up and become more bendable. When we went on a division with the Assistants I let Elder Gustavo take a whack at it with Flavio to see if he could pull something out of him.  We talked about eternal families and testified with power. We could tell that he was really thinking and really just putting everything together in his mind. We mentioned that maybe we wouldn't be here to see the wedding if we put it off any longer. We've really established a strong relationship with this family and they trust us a lot. Flavio wants the wedding to be organized and planned out and we told him that it would be. We told him that the people in the ward really care about them and will make the wedding really special for them. He said he would think about it.

A few days later on Sunday Flavio went to church after not going for about 3 months. It was a success and he looked really excited to be there. We just felt like everything was falling into place. We went to their house after church to just throw it down. Now was the time. We got there and were conversing and laughing and playing with their daughters so the atmosphere was perfect to bring up the subject.  I just asked straight up,  "So did y'all decide yet??"...."Uhhhh no, not yet, but we've been talking about it..."......"Alrighty then, let's plan it out!"  We just went to town.  We chose a date and Flavio agreed, YES. VICTORY!  Edinete was just dying of happiness. She wouldn't stop smiling. So we're gonna cut it close. We're going to baptize/marry them on the 22nd of June. And one of us will be transferred on the 23rd. At least that's what we think because the Assistants told us that President was thinking about letting us die/finish our missions here. And we said no, if we die here we will have passed 1 year in the same area. That's too much time. I think President thinks we've been on the mission for way longer than we have been. Anyways. We're going to have to chase everything down to make this marriage happen. If I have to spend a whole day in the Cartorio I'll do it. WE'RE GOING TO COMPLETE A FAMILY. AND THEY WANT TO GET SEALED IN THE TEMPLE. Do you realize what this means?????  Wow. I think I could end my mission right after the wedding and I would be satisfied. haha.  Just kidding. But seriously, this is BIG. We called the Bishop while we were at their house and he answered the call while he was in the ward council meeting.  It was perfect. Everybody found out right then about the wedding. 
Man. What a week. So I want you all to pray that everything runs smoothly with the wedding. Satan is out to get the good people who want to chose the right so they need all the heavenly power they can get. I want you all to know that this Gospel is the truth and y'all are in the right place. Christ lives and is ready to relieve us of our burdens when we come unto him.  His grace is enough to strengthen us in times of weakness.

Love you all!
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Serving Others is a Pleasure

This is an old picture that Dallin's Mom found on Facebook again.  I love those little surprises that pop up randomly when you're not expecting it

May 26, 2014

This week was cool.

The area is getting smaller and smaller as we knock on all the doors in sight. It's a little bit discouraging when you have to actually look for doors to knock on. But we do what we can and either way we try to talk to all of God's children whether they're polite or not(it's hard to find someone who is polite haha). It's really cool when we mark an appointment with someone and when we go back after a few days the people aren't home, or they have a "headache", or they just straight up don't want to hear about God.  We were a little disappointed one day because we were having little success and we saw this little old lady sitting on some steps in front of a house that wasn't hers.  It was a pitiful sight, but something normal that we always see here.  We kind of just ignored her and talked with a few people close by.  But I think we both felt an impression that we should ask her if she needed help with something(she had a bunch of grocery bags. Let me just tell you that she was super old.  My companion asked, "Is there anything the missionaries can do for you mam?"  And she just lit up.  "Ohhhhh my God.  My God is so good, he is so great. I was sitting here praying just waiting for someone to pass by to help me get to my house with this stuff. Ohhh God is so marvelous...Thank you so much!"  It was awesome. She was so thankful. We helped her to her house which was pretty far away. I held her hand to make sure she didn't fall in the mud(There is a ton here.) Even we trip over stuff in the street sometimes and I think I've fallen twice in this area haha. She was so grateful and said we were angels sent from the Lord.  It was a feeling I will never forget. We were smiling the whole time. It's a pleasure serving the children of God.

This week WE BAPTIZED. Monaliza and Katiuce who are Flavio and Edinete´s daughters. We really wanted the baptism to be special so that their parents could get more excited about the gospel. So we called all the leaders from the ward that would be involved with the baptism. Bishop. Primary president, Young Women President, and our LMA Nielson. We called a week in advance so that they could prepare everything for Sunday night. When Sunday rolled around the Bishop's counselor announced the baptism so everyone was aware. But when it was 6:00(time of the baptism) nobody showed up. Just Edinete and family. It was so awkward and we were super angry. We started calling people frantically and found out that everyone was at the Stake center singing in the Stake choir..... What the heck! So everyone showed up at like 6:40 and we were just scrambling to set everything up. It was frustrating but it happened. And the family had to wait.  It was terrible.  But we got it done and it turned out being a special baptism with music and talks and food.  I even sang a hymn and my companion and I gave a couple of talks.  The family cried and all the members were supporting them. They felt loved for sure.   Edinete thanked everyone openly for taking care of their daughters.  Flavio was touched too(which is hard to do).  Baptising someone you work really hard to get there is amazing.  It's the reward at the end of the effort that's put forth.  Now we just have to baptize the parents!  It will be an eternal family. We'll have to wait for September to baptize them after their wedding.  It'll be the grand prize.

Well I'm out of time.  Love y'all.  Love this work,  Love the Lord.

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll