Monday, September 22, 2014

Meetings, Contacts, and Training

 September 22, 2014

I don't have much time to write because I wrote a ton to the President this week but I'll give you all the important stuff so don't cry.

So the transfer was interesting. I think I already wrote that I'm opening an area and training a new Zone Leader?

The week was packed full of meetings and getting to know the people and the area. We barely worked this week because we went back to Recife to have a leadership meeting with President. That means we had to leave here at night on Wednesday and come back Thursday night. Traveling drains us. First of all,,, we didn't know where the bus station was so we basically ran like a 5k to get there asking all the people for directions on the way. If we had missed the bus at 6, we would've had to catch a bus at 2 in the morning and stand up for about 4 hours. I wasn't about to miss the bus. We got there and went.
The meeting with President was sweet. Usually these meetings are for us to make a lot of changes in the mission, to fix something that isn't quite working out, but this time President just talked about, "how to be a Zone Leader."  It was funny because he asked us if we had received a training about this before. Everyone said no, including me and Elder W. Ferreira who have been Zone Leaders for about a year already. It's funny how things work out on the mission. We came out of the meeting enlightened and ready to go. President Bigelow is very inspired and has a scripture for every question we ask. I'ts pretty funny actually.

My companion is Elder Oliveira from Rio de Janeiro. He has a SUPER thick accent. The only thing I can compare it to in English for y'all to understand what I'm talking about is a really strong New York accent. It's cool. He asks me a lot of questions and respects my opinion a lot. It's cool. I feel like I'm training again. Maybe the Lord is giving me another chance to train, repent of all the things I didn't do with Elder Amaral when I was training him haha. President said that he wants me to make him the best Zone Leader that I can make him so he can be a great leader with I leave. He said he prayed a lot about the decision to put us in this area to open it up and help this ward split.

The week was full of fruitless contacts.

We ate with the Bishop this week and brainstormed some ideas to help the ward grow. We also went to a few ward council meetings to establish our ground and what we're trying to do here. Everyone was a little surprised when I said I only had 5 weeks left. They said, "Well let's take advantage of him before he leaves so we can do big things!"..... I gave a talk on Sunday about obedience and it was pretty good, but the chapel here is a house and there were a lot of people packed into one room and it was getting pretty rowdy. But I made the best of it. Bishop just called a ward mission leader to help us and 2 missionary couples to help out the converts. It will be good.

Well family,,, It's been real. I'm still working so don't worry about me getting all weird and trunky. EVERYTHING WILL BE OK. My testimony is still growing more and more every day and my mission has become something very precious to me. Christ lives and this is His church!

Love you all!
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Knocking doors and Another Transfer

 September 15, 2014

So family I don't have much time because I've been sending stuff to the members and reading the mission stuff for forever but I will try to compensate.

This week was interesting. Pday was a do-nothing-day and we need that.

So the first part of the week we just knocked on doors because our teaching group is super weak right now. We found some interesting people, but none were ready, nor willing to accept the restored gospel. 

An interesting story from contacts:

We got curious one day because from our balcony we can see basically the whole city and we kept seeing that our neighbors always had like 30 people going in and out of the house. We kept guessing what was going on in the house so we decided to knock the door. That's the beauty of being a missionary. You can get curious about what happens in a house and just knock the door to walk in and see what it is. So one night we knocked the door and this young guy let us in. When we walked in we found ourselves in a room with about 10 people and there were other rooms with more. We sat down and started talking with the people that were on the couch. Weird people. There was a less active dude living there who insisted that we show the restoration video. alrighty..... We showed it. In the middle, an older guy told us that we had to leave because it was a house of sales people and outsiders couldn't be there..... We left gladly.

This week Elder Ramos was sick so we stayed at home for a couple of days. So I read a lot and slept a little. I think it was good for my body to stay at home for a little bit. I feel invigorated and ready to go for one more transfer. The time that we had with him not being sick was spent with his recent converts and member friends. Ramos built a legacy here. Everybody loves him and got pretty attached to him. He baptized a family with his other companion that is super strong in the church. They cried when he left. They are amazing people and already have big testimonies and a lot of will to serve.(Carlos. Marly, Henrique, Eduardo, Micaela) I kept thinking about the people I left in my other areas, especially Flavio and Edinete. I just got off the phone with Elder Varela and he said they're still going strong and miss me. It's amazing to think about the influence that I have had on people's lives on my mission. I kind of get trunky to go back to my other areas just to visit the people 'Ive met and shared memories with. The mission is incredible.

So transfers were today and weird things happened. All of the companionships in the zone were affected so that means that Ramos as transferred too. I thought I was going to stay in my area but President wants to put me and my new companion, Elder Oliveira in an area called Barão de Nazaré to help the other two elders out there. So we split the ward in 2 areas with 4 Elders. It will be interesting. I'm staying in my house too so that means I have to walk across the city to get to my area every day until we find a house for 4 elders. My companion is from Rio de Janeiro and he just moved up to Zone Leader so President wants me to train him how to be an Zone Leader in the 6 weeks I have left here. It will be totally normal. This transfer was weird because we didn't go to Recife to get our companions. Instead, all the missionaries that were going to stay and all that were transferred went to Recife and the noobies are going to come back in their place. They've never even been to Garanhuns! haha poor guys. Ramos put me on the phone during the transfer so I heard everything that he assistant said. Elder José and Elder Varela are going home, 2 of my favorite companions. In six weeks it's my turn. Just keep swimming.............. hahaha I'm trunky I'm not going to lie, but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop working! This isn't my time so I have to do my best with it. That's my plan.

The Book Of Mormon is true... I know because I'm reading it again. My goal is to finish it before I get home.

Welp! Times up.... Love you all and hope this week is great for all. Tchau!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

Monday, September 8, 2014

What Is Normal?

September 8, 2014

Well my beloved family, I know that y'all always say that y'all are living the mundane life and I'm on the adventure but I have to say that this week was super normal... What is normal? Maybe I'm just used to the mission life and everything is just a routine, but no matter what, whatever I write is interesting to you guys. (so you say..)

We started off the week playing volleyball with the zone. So we got the ball and the people to play and went to the park and realized that there was no net on the volleyball court. So we got depressed and almost went home then I had the idea to tie all of our articles of clothing together to make a rope to tie onto the posts(we had gotten there in missionary clothes and changed into active clothes when we got there) So we did it. We made a rope out of our pants, ties, and belts. The net was super short but we were able to play. Needless to say, people looked at us weird. I'm sending a picture of it, haha.

We did an exchange with the Elders from Arco Verde(the furthest area in the mission. I stayed with Elder Wach in our area and we did a ton of contacts. We spoke English all day and had a good time messing around. He was in my Zone in Olinda when we both started our missions so we already knew each other. We discovered that both our dads served in Rosario in 82/83! Whattttttt. Lemme know if you knew an Elder Wach. Apparently he was the college wrestling National champ at BYU when y'all were there. Anyways, we had a great lesson that night with a lady named Paula(we knocked her door)... She was "Catholic" and wanted to know why there were so many churches. She said that if she visited a church and the people didn't know what they were talking about, she would just lose respect for them and leave. She also didn't think it was right to baptize babies.... duhhh. She was asking all the right questions and we were giving all the right answers. She was really interested and said that she would go to church(didn't).... But the Spirit was strong as we bore our testimonies and showed her that we knew what we were talking about and believed with all our hearts. We felt way good coming out of that lesson. 

I'm drinking chimarrão as we speak.

Also, our miracle boy, Jefferson was marked for the 14th of September. This kid is so good. He lives in the most humble, crowded, noisy, poorly behaved house you've ever seen, but despite his environment, he has a good spirit. We have felt it since the first time we taught him. We always teach him when he's at his house with like 10 other people. The mom is always hitting the kids, there's always someone watching something loudly, and there are always people butting in and making random comments, but despite the surroundings, we can teach with the spirit because he listens. Yesterday during fast and testimony meeting, he was one of the last people to get up(very rare for an investigator to get up and bear testimony) and it was like this....

Y'all are gonna have to translate it because I sent the story to President in Portuguese.

Caro Presidente,

Esta semana nós trabalhamos bastante e presenciamos um milagre. Um rapaz(Jefferson) que nós batemos a porta dele 3 semanas atrás foi para igreja pela terceira vez e subiu para prestar testemunho durante a sacramental. Ninguém esperava que ele subisse. Ele falou,´´Eu sei que essa igreja é verdadeira porque eu orei e recebi uma resposta. Eu também sei que O Livro de Mórmon é verdadeiro porque quando eu li, eu vi que era bom.´´ E foram só essas palavras que ele falou antes dele fechar seu testemunho em nome de nosso Salvador. Foi o testemunho mais simples, porém mais espiritual que eu já tinha ouvido. Os membros ficaram emocionados e surpresos, e o espirito estava reinando naquele momento. Na noite anterior, nós marcamos o batismo dele para o dia 14 de setembro. Estamos felizes pelos milagres que temos a oportunidade de ver na missão.

Esta semana a zona tem muitos batismos marcados, pois o senhor pode esperar que nós batamos nossa meta semanal. Os missionários da zona estão animados e com fome para batizar. Pode confiar nesta zona.

Obrigado por tudo Presidente.
Elder Carroll

Here's the google translation:

Dear President , 

This week we worked hard and we witnessed a miracle . A young man ( Jefferson ) we hit the door three weeks ago it was the third time for church and went up to testify during sacrament . Nobody expected him to rise . He spoke ''Eu know this church is true because I prayed and received an answer . I also know that the Book of Mormon is true because when I read it, I saw it was bom.'' And these were only words he spoke before he closed his testimony on behalf of our Savior . It was the simplest testimony , but more spiritual than I had ever heard. The members were thrilled and surprised , and the spirit was reigning at that time. The night before , we mark his baptism to September 14 . We are happy for the miracles we have the opportunity to see the mission . This week the area has many baptisms marked , as you can expect we hit our weekly goal . The missionaries in the area are excited and hungry to baptize . You can trust in this area . Thanks for everything President . 

Elder Carroll

Also, on the way to Jefferson's house one night we passed one of our investigator's houses(an old lady(Iraci) and her granddaughter(Roberta) and we saw through their window that they were reading the Book Of Mormon together. Roberta was reading out loud to Iraci while she was doing the dishes. It was great to see. They didn't go to church this week because it was raining but next week they promised they'd go.
I'm extremely grateful for my mission experience. Things happen that you don't even expect. The Lord really does put people in our paths for us to be able to bless them with the gospel, and they recognize it as the truth when they are prepared.

Hope y'all have a good week, and that all of you wildest dreams come true. Love you all!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

This is the view from the balcony of Dallin's apartment.  He says he likes to just sit up there and meditate and he hangs his laundry there too!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Tiring Week

September 1, 2014

This week was probably the most tiring week of my life.

So we started off the week by playing futebol again. President only wants us to play for an hour, but during that hour we basically kill ourselves in the hot sun. So we already start off the week without energy. Not the best idea, but soccer is fun so we put everything on the scale and decide that it's worth it. Tuesday we did an exchange with the Elders that live in our house. It's good that way because we don't have to sleep in a different house haha. I went out with Elder Johnson to see how things were going with his teaching skills and his techniques. We taught some of my investigators and did some contacts. I realized that he's just a little nervous and needed to calm down a bit haha. In my experience I have seen that there are some missionaries that don't really emit confidence... that's something that affects the peoples' learning, and the way they feel about the missionaries. We taught a couple of really good lessons and when we got home we did the feedback. He told me that he really liked working with me and he felt better about the way the lessons went while he was with me.He said he learned a lot. It was good to know that I could teach with my example as we taught. I gave him one piece of advice: RELAX. If we relax and think were the man, the Spirit is more likely to be with us as we teach and our language skills improve.

From Wednesday to Friday, President assigned us to go to a small city an hour away called Águas Belas to see if we could start a branch or a group there. There's a 70 who lives in Recife who has in-laws there that have been to church and could be baptized in the near future. His wife's parents are already members but all the kids aren't. We stayed at the parents house for 3 days and it was weird. I felt like I was a missionary, but I was part of a family at the same time because Irmã Lucy just cooked for us the whole time and we would sit at the table as a "family".... que trunkeza.... I think there are 6 kids and they're all married and have kids. Talk about a gold mine. President wanted us to just teach a lot to to see the quality of the people in the city. We thought about talking to people in the road to be able to talk with more people but we decided that it would be more efficient if we knocked doors. So we knocked and knocked and knocked and knocked. It was funny because the people had never seen the missionaries, let alone someone as white as me. Everybody stared and snickered and pointed. We found some really prepared people as we saw that the Lord was guiding our steps to the people who had been waiting for the restored gospel for a long time. We talked with a woman who had been praying to find a place to congregate that would bring peace to her soul. We found another woman who said that she was depressed and was Catholic but didn't believe in a lot of things there because it's obvious in the Bible that the Catholic church is false. She said the night we knocked on her door she was really down and didn't know what to do. The Restoration was perfect for her. After we talked about the church in Christ's time she asked us where that church went, and that the Lord would have to put everything back for us to enjoy all the blessings that he has in store. She's dying to go to church even though it's an hour away.

Something cool about Águas Belas is that the city is divided into two parts. One half is normal people and the other half is Native Americans. I don't really know why there's a division, but I think it might actually be an Indian reserve for the Fulnio tribe. We were knocking the doors on this one road when we came across a simple looking house with a beautiful white horse in the side yard. So we knocked it and this big, friendly looking guy came out. We started talking to him about the horse and then he mentioned that he was Indian. We got curious and asked a ton of questions since he was a pretty open guy. They have their own language but everyone speaks Portuguese. They believe in God as a creator and source of good but they aren't Christian. They believe that there is a spirit within everyone which persuades us to do good(the light of Christ) We also discovered that we were knocking on the dividing line of the city haha. But the guy was cool. Normal, jeans/tshirt/baseball cap. Also, the tribe takes 3 months out of the year, starting with September to separate the men and women to stay abstinent, and they let go of their addictions for 3 months. Ouricuri is the name of the 3 month festival. They have events too like beauty pageants(Indian style) prayer circles and dances I think. Anyone can enter the first night, but after it's just Indians. Nobody knows what goes on in there! haha. But we asked the guy if he knew where his ancestors were from. He said no. So naturally we whipped out the Book Of Mormon and explained everything. He was really interested and curious about the message. We gave it to him and he said he would read it with pleasure. I read him the passage about the Light of Christ in Moroni 7. We had always wanted to teach a Lamanite about the Book Of Mormon and we did! We told him how we were trying to put a church in the city and he said it would be a good idea to unite the people since the Book Of Mormon talks about Christ and Indians at the same time haha. The city is predominately Catholic and Indian so I guess his rational makes sense. We said a prayer to close it up and when we were about to start one of his friends showed up, saw us and said something to our friend in their language. I'm assuming he said, "what are they doing here??"  because our friend told him to chill and that were friends haha. We said the prayer and left. Good times.

From what we saw, a couple of missionaries could have success there because there are a lot of people with curiosity and a will to get to know the church. There are also some inactive members there who are willing to come back. There is potential there. We're going to call president about the trip today to see what he thinks.

We talked with Jeferson a couple times this week and he said he loved church and when we invited him to be baptized, he said YES. Boom. Even though we weren't able to make real progress with the people in Ágaus Belas, the Lord blessed us with indirect fruits of our labors. He lives with his mom in the sister's area but wants to live with his dad on the weekends just to go to church here. What do you know? He said the church here is closer to his dad's house than the church there is to his mom's house. We'll take it. But the sisters will have to teach him during  the week for us to baptize him here.... FREE BAPTISM haha. It looks like the kid has had a hard life and needs something good in his life. We're here to cater to his needs.

Well I'm out of time. Hope y'all have a good week and stay on the straight and narrow! Tcheau! Love you!

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll