Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What Can I Do with 64 Days?

August 25, 2014


Well I hope y'all have had a good week where you're at. My week was normal, a lot of missionary work and little time to do anything else. The phrase 
'lose yourself in the work" is as much spiritual as it is literal. You don't have time to think about anything outside of the work of the Lord so you literally almost forget who you are and what you liked to do and how you even used to think. Sometimes I feel like I've changed a ton, and other times I feel like I am the same exact person as I was when I left. I think y'all will be the judges haha. 64 days..... what can I do with 64 days?.... Like dad wrote to me, there really isn't anything to do but work. I don't even understand why dudes get super trunky at the end and just stop working.... How can you be satisfied with yourself at the end of the day?  My goal is to not be able to regret anything when I get back. That doesn't mean that I'll be perfect, but it does mean that I have to repent every day and make sure my conscience is clean going into the next lesson or treinamento so the Spirit can do his thing. Elder Bednar said that we need to get out of the Spirits way so that he can do his job. That means that we don't need to put in all of our speculations into a lesson to show how good we are or how much we know. You'd be surprised at how many missionaries do that! I'm guilty too, I think. The interior is where you need to just teach the basics and hope the person understands because it's hard to see if the people are understanding here. They just nod their head and say yes when you ask them if they understood and when you tell them to say something in their own words, that's when you know if they know what the heck you're talking about. I've learned that we have to teach fast and concise, because these people get tired of thinking, just like children. You lose their interest and the lesson suffers. All the missionaries I've taught with or done divisions with have said that I need to break down the principles for the people to be able to chew and digest. They need milk, not meat.
We invited so many people to church this week and so many people said they would go. Saturday night when we were planning we were getting excited to have so many people at church. Saturday we followed up on like 6 people and they all said that it was confirmed. Then Sunday morning we tried talking to them to see if they were going but they all had excuses and didn't go.

 BUT, We had a little miracle this week. We were knocking doors in the small alleyways talking with all the interesting people in the abyss and we found this kid named Jefferson.! 16 years old and just looks like a good kid. We taught the Restoration to him and we could tell he was understanding everything, which is rare. His dad entered when we were about to talk about Joseph Smith and the Restoration and he just went off on a tangent that had nothing to do with anything. It's normal. We cut him off and said all the necessary things to Jeffereson and invited him to church thinking that his Dad had ruined everything. But Sunday morning when we went to church we saw him there sitting by himself in the Young Men's room.... I think we had taught the simplest lesson I had ever taught in my life and it touched him enough to get him out of bed to walk like a mile to the church. It was great. We can't underestimate the power of the spirit to move the people who recognize to voice of the Lord. Jefferson belongs to the sisters' area so well pass him to them when we talk to them on the phone tonight.

Last night my comp, Elder Ramos and I gave a training(I don't know what the heck it is in English alright?) to the ward missionaries. Lídio, the ward mission leader wanted us to talk about their roles as ward missionaries while he pulled up a list of people on the computer(which took forever). And we completely winged the whole thing and it was incredible. I think that's something that I've learned on my mission. How to wing things. We get put in so many situations where we have to improvise that we have to be good at thinking on our toes. Ramos has been here for about the same time that I have so between us we have a lot of experience and a lot of missionary ideas in our brains just ready for us to grab when we need them. The best part was that right after we gave the whole training, one of the ladies asked me where I was from in Brasil..... Do you realize what this means??? It means I can be super pasty white and still trip people up with my Brazilian accent! Even after speaking non-stop for about an hour...That was my goal when I got my call and we gotter done. Heavenly Father helped me out a lot.

Well that's about it folks. I love you all and hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Still Working Hard

August 24, 2014

Well family how was your week? Mine was great. We baptized again. Garanhuns is still a mystery to me but that's what makes it so wonderful. The mission is only an adventure when you're completely lost, following your companion through a city that you can't even navigate yourself through. But I've met some great people here. The members are great and really love the missionaries. We're like Gods here without speaking sac-religiously... this week was a little bit warmer. It would be as we know as "perfect fall weather" in Georgia. There are a lot of hills in our area so my legs feel like they're waking up from staying on flat ground for 7 months. My body is thanking me. I've also had to switch up my teaching style. I did an exchange with an elder in Bom Conhcelho(an area that's like an hour away from ours and is full of 18th generation Catholics.) and he used to be Zone Leader too. He said the people are so simple here that they barely understand anything we teach them. We just have to kind of hope they understand and go to church and feel the spirit, and THAT is how it's done (hot rod quote)... The Exchange was sweet. I made friends with a dude from Rio de Janeiro who likes the same types of music I like. Elder Conceição is super legit and knows how to talk with the people. I felt intimidated even as his leader. But we made a great team that day.

Oh and for Pday we played soccer with the district.. I realised how horribly out of shape I am. I ran for about 10 minutes and was dying. Also, here we are at high elevation so the air is pretty thin. Kind of like Utah. It was funny because it reminded me of church ball. There are usually a few kids who know how to play and a lot who don't. So even though everyone is Brasilian, there were a few who were just hacking at the ball the whole time. I wasn't terrible, but I wasn't that great either. We had fun and ended the day dead.

This week we did a service project at a small school. We helped to rebocar (put cement on) the brick walls and we leveled out the ground on the outside by putting hundreds of wheel-barrels of Georgia red clay on the ground around the school. It was a lot of work, but the result was great. The teachers of the school were making food for us the whole time without us even knowing. It was great. People here have to offer food or coffee to guests, if they don't they're being impolite. We worked with a member named Jorge who is from São Paulo, but served his mission here and married a girl he met here. He wasn't a fubeca, just to let y'all know. But he's like the missionaries' best friend. He said he's going to try to talk to all the teachers for us so that we can teach them all. For now we're preaching the Gospel by being charitable. It's great because we don't even have to open our mouths.

Our highlight this week was a girl named Fernanda. She's 16 and is the friend of a family that Elder Ramos just baptized in the area. The Elders already taught her family, but her mom doesn't want anything to do with us. But Fernanda got really excited about the gospel and received a real testimony right away. She had a rough past and the gospel brought hope to her for sure. She wanted to feel clean and pure and was looking for something true. We taught her about how we can literally be born again and God will forget all of our mistakes. It's amazing being a part of the introduction to the gospel in some one's life. We could see the light in her eyes every time we taught her about the truth. I could feel the gospel working to relieve her of all the heavy burdens she had in her life, weighing her down. This is the joy the gospel brings. We baptized her yesterday and her mom was there. The ward supported her and is ready to help her out. She has a strong desire to help people to know the truth too, so we think she will go on a mission.

So I'm in Recife right now.... again. I had a doctor's appointment. Dad knows why. But while we were in the mission office I got a package! Woo! Candy to share with the guys at home. Thanks mom, you're the best! Also, Elder Ramos and I were asked to talk with President about something important. He told us that he wanted us to go to a neighboring city by Garanhuns that doesn't have the church yet to see if we can start a group/branch there. There's an Area Seventy that lives there who will have us stay in his house for a few days to see if we can start something with the referrals he has for us, and see how the city reacts to the gospel in general. It will be an adventure for sure!

All in all, I can say this week that my faith in Christ has grown. Just like in all the weeks I've had on my mission. It's amazing to see where Christ can put you when you trust in him and give him your all. He's my Savior and helps me a lot with my imperfections and defects. This week I came to appreciate Moroni 7 more than I ever have. Anything that affects the work of the Lord negatively is not of God.

Now we will go to Garanhuns to take care of our little Peruvian missionary from the furthest away area who just got 4 wisdom teeth out.... Goodbye!

Love you all....
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, August 11, 2014

New Area, New Adventures

August 11, 2014

Alrighty well this week was...... interesting.

The transfer was sweet. I got sent to Garanhuns.... the furthest away zone on the mission. It's COLD here. Well it's not SUPER cold,,,, but it's pretty cold when you don't own a jacket... It basically was rainy and cold the whole week so it's safe to say that I will be buying a sweater today. The week was a rush with tons of things to do. The trip to here from Recife just drained me last week on pday and President had planned a leadership meeting for the Zone leaders on Thursday. That means that we had to follow up on the important investigators for a day and get the heck out of Garanhuns.

We followed up on a woman named Luciane who had been smoking for 16 years and was trying to quit because she and her son´s baptism was supposed to be Sunday. We gave her a pep-talk at her door because she was home alone. She had smoked 2 cigarettes that day and we told her she couldn't smoke anymore. I used the 1 Nephi scripture about when Nephi prayed for strength for him to be able to break the cords that his brothers tied him with. We talked about the atonement and the grace that we have the right to use as long as were doing something just. She got pumped and said she didn't know why something so small was controlling her life. We left her with the other elders for the time we were going to be gone(we share a ward with the elders we live with. The complete opposite of the area I just left. Weird)

We had to take the bus back to Recife and leave on Wednesday to be at the meeting in Recife on Thursday. It was terrible! haha. It was raining and cold the day we took the bus to Recife and we had to run to the bus station because my companion put us on the wrong bus haha. We had to get off and run in the rain to not miss the bus. We got there super wet and we got trapped in an air-conditioned bus for about 3 hours until we got to Recife. Thankfully we didn't catch a cold on the way and we stayed the night at some elders house in Recife. I think I went to bed at like 11:30.... way too late. We were DEAD. So we woke up after and had the meeting with President Bigelow. It was cool because there were less Zone Leaders there because there are less zones on the mission now! We got there and met with a few other dudes to rehearse a song to sing in the middle of the meeting. I forgot what the name of the hymn is but it was good. They wanted me to sing the alto part so I did my best in falsetto. It turned out good. The meeting was for us to establish a better way to follow up on the areas. Pres Lanius wanted us to get all the numbers from all the areas and it seemed like it was becoming a robotic thing with little use. It reached the point where it was writing anything down because there wasn't a reason for us to look back at the numbers. It was just to see if the areas were working and was making the leaders go to bed super late. We took 3 hours to figure out how the mission would be followed up on from here on out. We will just be seeing if the missionaries are hitting their daily goals and if they are having any problems with companions, area, people.... etc..... it's awesome. I get to bed earlier now! haha. President also talked about the change in the rules that he made. Needless to say we will be playing soccer today....woohoo!

Well my new area is good. I won't say that it's sweet yet because I've only worked about 3 days in my area. So we will have a better report next week. The members are legit and the ward seems to be strong.  I live with my companion from Chile, Elder Ramos and two more missionaries.  An American, Elder Johnson, and an Argentinian, Elder Resek. Resek is from Rosario dad! His dad was a mission president in Chile and they moved to Buenos Aires. I realized that I don't really like living with 2 more missionaries, but we'll deal with it. You have to be more careful not to offend people or use stuff for too long when you're with 4(washing machine... bathroom... etc.). It's just more complicated and annoying. My companion is awesome. Just a happy guy who always jokes around. It's easy to be happy with this dude. It's something I've noticed about the missionaries from Chile... they're always happy and joking around! He will go home when I do. He was supposed to go after this transfer but it didn't work out with the plane tickets and everything so he's going home with me. That means he'll probably be transferred out of here in 5 weeks and then someone will kill me.

Yesterday we baptized Luciana and her son, Eduardo! This week was great for them because she had the self control to stop smoking and that made it so Eduardo could be baptized tooo!(he's younger than 15) The members supported and it turned out really well. The water was super cold in the font but we got it done haha. Another proof that God's grace can help anyone leave an addiction!

Well family.... time to go. I love you all and hope this week it great! Christ loves us and is the way. Follow him! Love you!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


August 4, 2014

Hello family and friends.

I felt it coming so I was basically saying goodbye to everyone the whole week &7 months is a long time to be in an area and it was my time. I feel like I left a legacy there with the members and especially with our recent converts. But I liked my time with Elder Varela. He teaches well and doesn't like nonsense. That's good because I don't either. We did some good work there and became good friends. You know you have a good relationship with your companion when in the streets everyone looks at you weird. We laughed too much...

I don't have much time because we have to travel to my new area still. But this week we saw a great miracle. We had been teaching a lady named Ilza for 2 weeks and she had been smoking her pipe for 62 years. She's 69. So naturally we had a lot of doubt that she would be able to stop smoking, but she stopped!! In one week she stopped. It was a miracle because she said that all the missionaries from all the churches always passed in her house and tried to help her to stop smoking BUT THEY NEVER SUCCEEDED. She said that she always saw the missionaries pass by her house but they never talked to her(usually we don't like to talk to old people because they never understand the message.... But she understood and felt the spirit and authority that made her put the pipe down and become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ! Imagine that! 62 years is like three of my lives. It's crazy. So we took the pipe and Elder Varela is gonna take it home as a souvenir. She was desperate to change her life because she was in a rut, so when she went to church she loved it because the members received her really well. Her story testifies of the power and authority the missionaries of the church have to teach and call to repentance. We marked her to be baptized this Sunday. I will have to receive the pictures from Elder Varela through email.

Monara and Gloria didn't progress this week because they couldn't go to church, but we taught them just about everything there is to teach an investigator. They know the church is true, but they're afraid to jump in with both feet because they're "making a deal with God and it's not a joke".... I agree with this idea but when you know the truth there's no way to escape it. It's either the truth or nothing. They went to the temple with some members and loved it. They liked the prices of the DVD there. hahah. yeah... who wouldn't like those prices. Anyways, I'll get the pics of their baptisms too, when it happens. They're already good friends of ours so it'll be a huge victory.
ehhhhhh(uhhh in Portuguese)
So the area I'm going to is BOA VISTA, which is in GARANHUNS. All the missionaries say that it is the best zone and the best city in the whole mission. Ever since I got here I've always wanted to serve there and now I'm going! Cooler temperatures.... less noise..... 4 hour bus ride..... paradise. I'll take lots of pics. Oh and I'm Zone Leader still which is nice. Presidente made a lot of changes in the mission. There used to be 14 zones, and now there are 8. He made the zones huge and distributed all the good missionaries so that they could 1. Fix the fubecas (slackers), 2. Train the noobies that are arriving, and 3. to be Zone Leaders.... No more of this "let's make a fubeca a trainer so that his trainee fixes him"... doesn't really work out....  BTW, my trainer, Elder Ferreira went home today. I'm excited about the new President because we have a lot more freedom now. WE CAN PLAY FUTEBOL NOW! He was in a meeting with us last night and told us all about the transfer which is something that never happened with Lanius. It was cool.

Well family! Hope this next week is a good one. Remember that the Church is true. And when you forget.... remember again.

Love you all,
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

P.S. My new companion is Elder Ramos from Chile.. I've always wanted to be his companion because he's super legit. We're gonna kill it this transfer! He goes home in 6 weeks.
I found this photo on Facebook.....this is an old photo from Dallin's very first area.