Sunday, July 27, 2014

One More Week in the Book of Life

July 21, 2014

This week was interesting.

Pday was interesting because we went to the mission office so I could do my BYU interview with the President to get my ecclesiastical endorsement. He asked me two questions.... are you worthy to use a temple recommend and do you know and understand the honor code at BYU.... I said yes to both and he said, "Good, now I want you to teach me some things about the mission...." He started asking me about the things he should be worried about as mission President and what he should do to make his work effective in the mission. It was interesting talking to him because he is so different from President Lanius. President Lanius' interviews were short and sweet and kind of blunt and now we have a President who likes to know the ins and outs and likes to hear both sides of the story. I told him about the trouble spots in the mission and what to look out for. The man is spiritually charged and got here just ready to get stuff done. He sees the areas which need improvement and is willing to experiment and include the missionaries in the process to get it fixed. He said he always wanted a mentor in his life and decided to adopt one. He read EVERYTHING that President Packer has ever written and has a book of quotes which define him. I'm excited about the direction the mission is going in.

The work this week was relatively slow as we are recuperating after the world cup and chasing down investigators whose progress was delayed. It's a little bit annoying because we have two wards to keep track of and one is way stronger than the other one. The leaders from Jardim Piedade, the weaker one always ask us if we're working in their ward. We just tell them yes and they shrug their shoulders and walk away. We don't receive much help from the people in Jardim piedade, whereas in Piedade, the youth and the leaders are excited and always willing to help out with missionary work. We have to find a way to animate this ward, but I'm thinking I only have 2 weeks left in this area.

Remember Manoela, the lady with the 4 month old baby... Well we visited her and her husband this week and we found out they're from Ciará, another state and the husband, Jorge is just here to work. We taught them the Restoration and they both accepted baptism. Seemed like they were excited to hear the message and everything made sense to them. It was nice to teach 2 people who were really humble. They're from the interior of Ciará and are just open, humble people. What the scriptures say about the humble is true. That they are more teachable and more receptive to the whispers of the Spirit. After the lesson we were talking and they said that Manoela is going back to Ciará until December so there's no way to baptize her here. Jorge is staying so we'll see if we can pull something off with him. They traveled this week so neither of them went to church. We believe that she just came here to discover the gospel because she's only been here for a couple of years. Then when she found out about it she has to go away.....

Lately, it seems like we've been teaching a lot of people with addictions. I guess that's what happens when you're teaching group becomes more mature. We're teaching some parents of some youth that we baptized and with these new, adult investigators, we're meeting some challenges with addictions. It's either coffee or cigarettes and we have to analyze closely the problem of each person even though there are many people with the same addiction. It's interesting. Everyone has a unique personality and a unique way of dealing with the addiction. Some say it's super hard and isn't possible to quit and others have tons of faith that Christ can take the addiction away. If they don't have that faith, we have to find a way to help them to develop it. It's a great lesson for all of us. Addiction could signify our position or progress in life. If we don't have faith that Christ can help us to change our circumstances, then become stagnant. If we include him in our decisions and in our ambitions, his grace will reward our faith and we will be successful in anything we want to accomplish.

This week we also did an exchange with some elders in our district. It was marked for us to have a missionary activity in the chapel and it was the young men's responsibility to get it all organized, so we would just have to show up and participate. Turns out that the young men's president had to go to the hospital because one of his relatives was sick. So we had to improvise, something that missionaries are really good at. So we thought of some games we had played before and the ward mission leader improvised a spiritual thought. And guess what... it all turned out! One of the games was called "sou bobo", or,  "I'm silly´´ in English. It's a game of perception. Everyone gets in a circle and there is a broom that everyone has to sweep on the ground saying, "sou bobo".... then they wait for everyone else to tell them if they really are bobo or not. Then they pass the broom to the next person. The catch is that there are only 3 people who know when a person is bobo. The three people who know will clear their throats before sweeping and saying sou bobo, and then the people who know the secret say, ´´não é bobo´´ or,´´isnt silly´´.. hahaha so the people have to discover how to not be bobo. When people started to discover who it was, there were a ton of people clearing their throats loudly to help the people out who were bobos.... haha it was funny. We just died laughing because everyone was changing their voices and sweeping the broom in different ways to try to not be bobo.. You don't really have to do much to make people laugh here.. people just like to laugh!

Marcos blessed the Sacrament on Sunday. He repeated about 4 times but he was real happy about the opportunity he had to use his priesthood. He told us he was super nervous and just got lost in his words haha.  He's a good guy.

This week we also did an interview for a lady named Varela who was baptized on Sunday. I did the interview and I found out that her niece was the first baptism ever on my mission! Turns out that her family lives in Águas Compridas and me and the other Elder Ferreira helped her niece to get baptized about 1.5 years ago. It was a funny conversation. It's a small world when you're a member of the church.

Last night, we went out with a couple of the young men, Otavio and Lucas. They just kept telling us how great they thought the mission was and how excited they were to be getting ready to leave. They're both 18 and are getting their stuff together to leave. I think the only thing keeping them from sending their papers is the military release. All the missionaries from Brasil have to do this because it's kind of required for guys to enter into the army. Anyways we were walking in the street after we taught about the priesthood at Flávio/edinetes house, and as we passed an alleyway, we heard a guy yelling, ´´irmão,,,, irmão!!´´ We looked back and didn't think much of it because there are always a bunch of drunk dudes yelling at us Sunday night, but we looked back and saw a guy who was bleeding pretty bad. So we went to him and he had a bunch of gashes on his head and said he had just been hit... He had a lot of blood on his shirt and on his face. I called the ambulance and it was ridiculous. They put me on hold, then after like 5 minutes someone started asking me what his symptoms were and hung up. Didn't even tell me if they were coming or anything. We sat the dude on the sidewalk and called Otavios dad to come pick him up and drive him to the hospital. CRAZY. We think the dude was involved in some conflict because he didn't really tell us in details what had happened, other than the dude that hit him hit him with a plank.. Then again, he was shaking pretty bad and was almost going crazy. It seemed like the Lord put us in his path to help him out.

That really happens a lot on the mission. Whether the person is in need of spiritual, or physical help, the Lord puts us in their path so that we can rescue them. It's quite the privilege and is very gratifying when the person says thank you with a smile. Something about being in the right place at the right time is just satisfying. I know that we are representatives of Jesus Christ and I want the make the best of my mission while I have time left. IT'S A ONCE IN AN ETERNITY EXPERIENCE.

I love you all and hope this week is just dandy.
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

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