December 30, 2013

The best Christmas of my life!

The Best Christmas of my life!                                                           December 30, 2013

 Feliz Natal! Feliz Ano Novo! Seja feliz!

 So this past week was my first Christmas away from home. Mom, don’t cry when I say this, but it was honestly the best Christmas I have ever had! Seriously. The members in this area are absolutely incredible, and showered us with presents and chocolate and hugs! We had a zone Christmas dinner in the house of the Stake Presidente which was a BLAST! Then talking with my family!!!!!! And then, we got to go straight to work on Christmas. We ran around like little Santa elves to all of our recent converts from the past month, bringing them pictures of their baptisms and some really beautiful pictures of Christ in picture frames to stick up in their home. It was so special, to individually choose the Christ pictures for each person. A picture of Christ with the lamb for our lost sheep who is starting to feel loved again. A picture of Christ blessing the little children for the primary girl who got baptized. A picture of the Second Coming for the guy who loves talking about Julgamento Final and the Celestial Kingdom. And so on. Seriously, I will always remember that day. I just love these people so much! Finished off the day with a pizza party. It was great :)

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, however, This weekend was interesting because it was (1) dang hot - the hottest so far! and (2) we had no running water....yeah. It kind of felt like Girls Camp. Ya know, brushing teeth using a water bottle and so on and so forth. It got old pretty quickly BUT the water came back this morning in a giant explosion! Like, the tap broke and it was like Yellowstone! Made for an interesting start to the day.

Probably the highlight of everything was Antonio (yes, I realize I talk about him all the time but its cause he is AWESOME!) He got set apart as a counselor in the YMs presidency yesterday! Not gonna lie, I cried. No shame.Helping someone get baptized is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Watching them grow and help other people in the Church and staying strong and faithful - that is probably the best feeling in the world. I think of my life and what I’ve left behind, and then I look at the changes in my investigators and I am just filled with gratitude that the Lord has counted me worthy to be an instrument in His hands. What I have given up is so little in comparison to who I am helping, and how their lives have changed.

Basically, I love my life and (even though I miss my family a lot!) there is no where I would rather have been this past Christmas :)

Happy New Year! Don’t forget those goals!

 Love always,

Sister Carroll

Feliz Natal & Merry Christmas

Feliz Natal & Merry Christmas                                                              

December 23, 2013

Mundo Feliz, nasceu Jesus! Nasceu trazendo a luz! Trazendo salvação, trazendo a redençaõ, Louvemos ao Senhor!

That was Joy to the World, in portugues. Want to know something great about Brasilin Christmas carols? Pretty much every single one of them is so focused on Christ’s life mission and the Atonement. I love it. It’s the true Spirit of Christmas! I love thinking about the birth of Jesus Christ, but it means so much more when I think of WHY He was born and WHAT He came to do. And all the brasileiro Christmas hymns reflect these truths annnd i love it.

This past week has been nuts! We had our all-mission conference which was a BLAST! The 4 hour bus ride there was so much fun, with our entire zone just chilling in a coach bus they rented out. Also, did I mention that I’m in the zone of sisters? There are literally just enough Elders to be our District and Zone Leaders. And then there are 12 sisters. I feel bad for the Elders, they must be so overwhelmed. But its so much fun :) And then the theme of the Conference was the Atonement. There were lots of tears and wonderful talks given. I got to play a special musical number on the violin and it was so so beautiful. Music is so powerful in bringing the spirit.

Then Sister Christensen got sick and went to the hospital (it’s all better, just an allergic reaction) and then I got a NASTY cold and had to stay home, so all in all not a great week for finding and teaching BUT we still had a baptism on Sunday - Jessica, she is 11 and SO sweet! spunky as all get out, but adorable just the same. Plenty of Christmas miracles to go around :)

If you could pray and help us out, Sister Christensen and I are looking for a miracle family to teach. We just want to work with entire families so badly and it is so hard to find them, but with prayer, fasting, and your help i am certain that it will be a week of miracles :)

Mom, Dad,  Benjamin, I can’t WAIT to talk to you! Infelizemente, we are going to stick really close to the 40 minute limit as told in the missionary handbook but still, its Skype, so it will be wonderful all the same :) I will be online right around 4:00, Mossoró time. I think it’s just 2 hours off, though you might want to check on that. (it’s actually 3)

 I love you all!!!!! MERRRRRY CHRISTMAS!!! FELIZ NATAL!!!!

 It may be my first Christmas away from home, but it also is my first Christmas that I am literally set-apart as a representante of Jesus Cristo. And I am so humbled and honored by that privilege :)

 -Sister Carroll



Meus Queridos

Meus Queridos,                                                                       December 16, 2013

 ANNNNNND we will see what i can get out in less than 10 minutes.

 The lesson of this week has been serving with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. i think there are a lot of good missionaries who work really hard but still hold a bit back. We all have a line that we draw in the sand about what we won’t give up for the Lord. And sometimes its good things that we are hanging on to, but we need to reach for better things.

This week it was the first presidency Christmas devotional. I reeeeallly wanted to go, but because of stake conference we had spent a lot of time outside of our area this weekend (Yes Dad, we are keeping up the streak of someone in our family participating in every stake conference. 15 years running or something. I got to be the stake pianist!)

So i wanted to stay for the devotional, but my wise companion said that we had souls to save so...we walked an hour to get back to our area after stake conference, arrived at 8:00 and had just one hour to work. and we found the BEST gentleman in the world! We were praying for inspiration, and we just knocked on his door (not a lot of doors, just this ONE specific house) and he opened the door and we talked and he accepted baptism for the 29th of December!!!!! His name is Antonio :)

At first when we made the decision to leave, i was all laman and lemuel murmuring. I love the scripture - They murmured because they knew not the dealings of the God who created them. When we really understand the nature of our all-loving, all-powerful, all-knowing God we have no reason to complain.  Anyway, I felt that i had a RIGHT to watch the Christmas devotional and was feeling a little jipped, but we decided to sacrifice for the people in our area. And now we have Antonio and because of our little, really little sacrifice, his life will be changed forever. He has the gospel and he will be baptized and it’s just such a beautiful thing.

The Lord blesses us when we sacrifice. And a lot of times, especially as missionaries, it’s not just us that receive the blessings. We sacrifice, and other people receive the gospel! It’s as simple as that! I want to give my all for these people, and give my whole heart to the Lord.

In other news, it’s almost Christmas! Huzzah! Mom, Dad, I hope you are going Christmas caroling! Sister Christensen and I have something great planned, so never fear. The tradition won’t die :)


Love always,

 Sister Carroll

December 9, 2013

Livro De Mormon is awesome!

Hi all!                                                                                             December 9, 2013

 So it’s only been a few days since the last pday and not much has changed...the work is continuing! We baptized Wilkaely, the sweetest little 8 year old girl you’ve ever met! I’m the pianist/violinist for the stake choir! Rachael Davies is getting married soon and I really miss her! I got maybe-poison-ivy from this weird fruit tree! We are still trying to figure out that one. Ah well, life happens :) Oh, I also bought

Probably the coolest thing that’s happened was that I finished the Book of Mormon for the first time while on the mission! It was so wonderful. I went through and read it in English, highlighting any reference they made to baptism. If I’m going to be teaching and inviting people to make this sacred convent, I need to understand the doctrine. I learned SO MUCH over the past couple months about this sacred topic, had my own testimony strengthened, and really started to discover what exactly I’m doing here in Brasil. I decided to serve a mission because I love my Savior and wanted to do whatever He asked. But now I am truly doing the work for the PEOPLE here! They are amazing and incredible! I have been so blessed to have the gospel in my life. The chance to be born into the church is probably one of the most precious blessings that the Lord has given me. And now I get to serve and help and lead other people to Christ and it is the most wonderful feeling in the world :)

Have fun in your preparations for Christmas, and don’t forget the Savior!

Love always,
Sister Carroll



December 5, 2013

Feliz natal!

                                                                              December 4, 2013

Meus queridos,
What a week! Transfers are always nuts beyond belief, but this time everything stayed the way it was! Huzzah! I’m so happy to be staying in my area for Natal (Christmas) and with my same companion. The stake has so many wonderful activities planned, most of them involving music, so I’m ridiculously excited for this transfer :) It’s funny, because December is literally the HOTTEST month of the year here. Like, I’m dying. So it kind of feels like cheating to be singing Christmas songs. Like Christmas in July haha. Here goes my first Christmas without snow! That’s okay, there are lots of other wonderful blessings here to make up for it. Principally the amazing members in my amazing little ward here :)
We had an all-sisters conference this past week, in natal! The 4 hour bus ride was great, it was so fun to see the other sisters and oh my goodness I LOVE my Mission President! He is so wonderful! It was definitely a learning experience for me. Presidente Soares gave the same training that he gave at a zone conference my third week in the field. Same power point slides and everything. BUT. My reaction was soooo different. The first time, I was a punk and didn’t really agree with anything he was saying and was actually upset because...well, I just had a lot of pride to iron out, still do. But this time I was open and receptive and learned SO MUCH to improve my area and my focus and help my investigators. And it was the same training, just a different Sister Carroll. I love who the mission is helping me become. It’s definitely a furnace of fire to purge out the weak parts, but I truly can see how the Lord is changing my heart.

Testimony of the week-
I have been blessed with a wonderful testimony of the Atonement, even before I came into the mission field. However, it was principalmente based on my own experiences. I saw in my life how the atonement has changed and helped me. But you know what is even more powerful? Seeing the Atonement work in the lives of other people. I love being in this ward because I can see my recent converts - who they are now, and who they were when I first started teaching them. It is a beautiful thing. The gospel changes lives. The Atonement is real. And it is only through the grace of Christ that real change will ever happen.

I love you all!

-Sister Carroll


                                                                                                              November 25, 2013

Oi família!

This has been SUCH an incredible week. For starters, we had 3 baptisms yesterday! It was soooo incredible; each one of them has such a neat story. I love being here in Brasil, where the people are so receptive and we are blessed to baptize a lot of people - but each person is so special and so individual! Each baptism is such a miracle! The Lord truly has a hand in the salvation of his children.
 Bruno is 12 years old, and the first three times we tried to teach him he refused to talk to us because he is so dang shy. We were TERRIFIED for his baptismal interview, cause he just doesn’t talk, but Elder Lopez, our DL, was able to get him to open up in a matter of minutes! (Its cause they played a little bit of soccer together before the interview. Crazy brasileiros haha) 
Then there was Macielda. She has had a hard life, is 14 years old, and spend the majority of her childhood living on the street. But now she is with a family and baptized and reading the Book of Mormon and going to seminary and I am so grateful that she has the gospel in her life now! I love her so much.
Annnnd Calianne. Her whole family was baptized 9 years ago, but she wouldn’t do it. Wouldn’t even look at a Book of Mormon. And we were blessed to come to her family just at the right time to help her make these sacred covenants. She had a lot of stuff to work through in the past 2 weeks, but I can testify that the power of the Atonement is very real. It’s not just something nice we read in the scriptures, it’s truly a power that changes people. We have worked and studied and cried, and her family has been working and crying for her for almost 10 years, and she was finally baptized yesterday. Baptism is a remission of sins. It literally takes years of sorrow and guilt off a person’s shoulders. I feel so privileged to have been a witness to this miracle.

Fun moments of the week:
Sister Christensen and i are teaching our Ward Mission Leader some American slang. So far, he has learned YOLO, bubbler [FOR ALL YOU NH NATIVES, YOU'LL LOVE THIS ONE], and Haters gonna hate. It’s hilarious to hear him bring them up in everyday conversation now :)
We were helping a member move, and randomly found a macheté in her closet. Normally I’d be a little weirded out, but I guess that’s normal in Brasil haha.
Our old Bispo, Rubenei, had me watch the music video Carrie for the old 80s hair band, Europa. He sings that song to me all the time now because Carrie sounds like Carroll. Can I just say it’s so amusing to her brasileiros sing 80s pop when they don’t know the words?!?!? :D
The baptismal fonte wasn’t draining so Sister Christensen and I got to just empty it by hand, one bucketful at a time. Pictures are coming soon :)
Annnnnnnd lastly, there will be no Thanksgiving this week BUT I’ll try and make some mashed potatoes. Be grateful for all that you have! If you have a house, clothes to last you more than 3 days, food for more than one meal, and water that doesn’t make you sick, the ability to read, and a family that loves you and so many other things - you are more blessed than over half the people I am working with every day. Thank Heavenly Father for the simple things in life - even if it seems mundane, say a prayer of gratitude anyway.
I love you all! 
Sister Carroll
emptying the baptismal font with a bucket - what fun!
silly sister missionaries


Sister Alysha Carroll
Brazil Natal Mission
Av Interventor Mario Camara, 2066A
Dix - Sept Rosado
59062 - 600 Natal - RN

it should cost $1.10 to mail a letter from the states - thanks for all your love and support!

November 20, 2013


Meus Queridos,
Sorry mom about not sending an email yesterday.... Missão Natal was a bagunça! (Bagunça= hot mess). We had some crazy emergency transfers going down all over the mission - a group of americanos got their visas! Huzzah! But their transfers were two weeks off from us, so when they got here Presidente Soares had to change a bunch of things up really quickly. Luckily, me and Sister Christensen stayed put but Sister Ribeiro(who has been in the house with me since I go here) was called elsewhere. So we were so busy yesterday that there was no time to email.
Other than yesterday, which was loco, this week has been so so incredible! Sister Christensen and I have been working so hard and things are finally starting to come together in our area! We have 4 baptisms for this Sunday, so if you could keep Bruno, Marceilda, Calianne, e Renato in your prayers that would be wonderful :)
We had the Primary program on Sunday and it was SO DANG CUTE! Oh my goodness. I think the killer at the end was the little group of kids singing Chamados ao Servir (Called to Serve) at the top of their lungs. Everyone wants to be a missionary. Everyone is bringing their friends to Church. We are just here helping them along and pointing them in the right direction :) Also, I got to play piano which was AWESOME!
Saturday night was so fun and so incredible! We had an awesome FHE. Almost the entire stake went on a week-long temple trip this week, which is great BUT it meant that it was really difficult to get any members to help out with our pesquisadores and in lessons because everyone was gone. However, we had this incredible FHE with a less-active family, a bunch of recent converts, and some of our investigators and the spirit was SO STRONG! I really love working with the recent converts and less active members in missionary work because it gives them an opportunity to share their own testimony. And, everyone knows, when you share your testimony it grows stronger. I’ve been learning that a lot here in the field.
I mean, we can have a testimony about a lot of different things. The Book of Mormon. Thomas S Monson. The principle of tithing. But I’ve been working to gain a testimony of some of the smaller things - a testimony of the mission rules. A testimony of the counsel that my leaders give me that I don’t necessarily agree with. But, like Christ counsels, the only way to know His doctrine is to do His will. The only way to gain a testimony is by acting and then feeling the Spirit testify. I’ve been going out of my comfort zone a lot, trying to gain a testimony of different aspects of missionary work. And with all the sincerity of my heart, I can say the Lord will give a testimony to those who do their part! The Spirit is the best teacher, but the Spirit cannot act on us until we get out and get moving! I love this gospel, I love the Atonement. It’s a message of hope that we can all, every single one of us, change and improve everyday if we just take the first step.
Cheiros e beijos!
-Sister Carroll

November 12, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Hi there, family and friends!
Here in Brasil, there is no Thanksgiving to use as a starting point for Christmas madness. So, basically its like December already here in Mossoró :) I mean, its still like 90 degrees every day BUT everyone is singing Christmas hymns and all the members have little Christmas trees up in their house and it is VERY surreal to sing Silent Night when its so hot you could fry an egg on the pavement haha.
Another awesome thing about Nov-Dec in Brasil? Its mango season :D and we happen to have a lot of mango trees on our street!
But seriously, this week has been such a learning experience for me. My companion, Sister Christensen (who is incredible and I love her lots), is also the Sister Lìder Trainadora. Which is really cool, because I'm learning so much from her. But its also a little hard because she does divisions one day every week. And while she is off in another bairro (bye-ho, neighborhood) I've been feeling a lot of responsibility here in my area. The other sisters that go on splits with me are all even newer than I am! This week should be an adventure - I'm going out with a new missionary from Chile. Hopefully we both know enough Portugues to get by haha :)
But this past week was absolutely incredible, especially during our divisions. Sister Leonard and I were a little freaked out because we were a couple americanas with only a few months in Brasil (she arrived the same time as me) on our own for the day. However, we had a very real sense of our dependence on the Lord and this humility led to amazing miracles. We taught a family how to pray together. We invited another investigator to be baptized, and she started crying and accepted. We challenged someone to be baptized while making a street contact, and he accepted! Honestly, when we really have nowhere else to turn and truly recognize our dependence on God, He always comes to our rescue. We are here to help people, and when we do our part He will never let us down.
An Elder in my zone said something at transfers that really hit me this past week. The Lord wont let us fail. He wont let the work fail, because these people are important and the gospel is true. But he also wont let us fail individually, as missionaries, because He cares about us as well. I have a very strong testimony of this.
Sunday was wonderful!!! I gave my first talk in Church on an Elder Holland talk, The First Great Commandment. Its all about missionary work (big surprise!). We are having a missionary Sunday once a month in our ward where are the talks and all the hymns are about missionary work, to involve the members and get them more excited for this marvelous opportunity to share the gospel! We also had our first meeting with a ward mission leader. He is AWESOME! Seriously. It was great. We are working very closely with the ward counsel to help the members become involved. Each week, one organization( RS, EQ, YM, YW, YSA) has a fast for missionary work. Prayer brings blessings, but prayer AND fasting is just a power combination to really bring milagres.
Our mission leader asked each one of us what our favorite thing was about the mission. After a bit of thought, ive figured it out. I LOVE following up on the Book of Mormon challenge, to read and then pray if it is true. i love following up because everyone that truly reads and prays with real intent gets an answer. And I love to here my investigators describe the feelings of the Spirit. I love hearing them bear their own testimony that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. My testimony of the promise in Moroni is strengthen every day. I know that God hears and answers prayers, and that the Book of Mormon is the key to missionary work. It will bring the Spirit into the homes of our investigators even when we aren't there. I stand with Joseph Smith in declaring that man will get closer to God by abiding by the precepts taught in the Book of Mormon than through any other way.
I bear my testimony that the Savior lives, He is mindful of each of us. And as we strive to be missionaries, whether we have a nametag or not, we grow to understand Christ. When we suffer and struggle and cry for the salvation of our brothers and sisters, we begin to understand Christ and we grow to be more like Him. He loves us more than we will ever know.
Muito amor
Sister Carroll :)

so I (mom) don't know what to say about these pictures because they were sent to me by a sweet sister in Sister Carroll's Ward - yeah for technology! Enjoy!

November 4, 2013

Walking in His Footsteps

Dear Family,
Parabens Benjamin and Dad for the Thomas S Monson award! You'll have to tell me in more detail what exactly you had to do to earn this special scouting achievement, wish I was there :) And Mom, congrats on pulling off the roadshow! Your first one too! Its great to hear all about the Halloween escapades going on in the States.. its totally not a thing here in Brasil haha. The people that do know about it think that its the devils holiday, so especially members of the Church have really strong negative feelings against it. Its so interesting to see different points of view!
However, Dad, I was able to keep up the family tradition of spending Halloween in a cemetery! We had and INCREDIBLE missionary activity this past Saturday. It was a national holiday...basically Day of the Dead (so I guess kind of like Halloween) except its a time for people to pay their respects to those who have passed on. So EVERYONE (not just a handful, but seriously everyone) in Brasil goes to the cemetery to put flowers on tombstones and sit and reflect on their loved ones for an hour or so. There is such a strong connection to families here. So a member of our ward, Jutson, planned to have the whole zone come out

(side note. the way missionary work is organized in Brasil - each large city is a stake with a bunch of smaller branches and wards so that pretty much everyone in the city is within walking distance of a chapel. Walking distance being 30-50 minutes. So, its really easy to get our whole zone together because its just one stake which is just one city. And we all are able to work really well together AND with the stake leadership! Its like a giant member missionary powerhouse)

 Annnnyyyywayyy all the missionaries in our zone came out to the big cemetery in the center of town and go out in little groups with the members to teach about the Plan of Salvation! It was so incredible, (a) because when members and missionaries work together everything is so much better, (b) its always a blast to have the whole zone together and (c) the timing was just right to invite the Spirit! I felt a little strange at first, coming up to people who were mourning but then I stopped for a moment and thought, What would Christ do if He were here? He would lift up the broken-hearted. He would mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. He would cry with them too. He wouldn't just walk by for fear of offending them. So that's what we did. We stopped and talked and asked people, Who are you visiting? What were they like? How did you get through this difficult time? And then it is the perfect situation to bear testimony of the eternal truths that we know. That there is life after this life. That God has a place prepared for every one of us. That if God is taking someone away from us now, He has a way prepared to bring us comfort and solace until we can be reunited. Families are eternal. Like Néfi, I can say that I do not know the meaning of all things, but I know, with all my heart, that God loves His children and He takes care of His own.
Also, WE FINALLY GOT A WARD MISSION LEADER! Hallelujah :) They actually released the YM President so we could have a WML. He has only been back from his mission a year, so he is going to be a HUGE help for us :) He knows the work really well and is super excited to get started!
Antonio (our recent convert of about 2 weeks) received the priesthood yesterday! I almost cried. Its such an amazing feeling to see the miracles in the lives of these precious children of God. He is already all excited for family history work, is almost halfway through the gospel principles manual in his personal study, and is planning to go to the temple in December to do baptisms for the dead! Oh Antonio. He is so, so incredible :)
There is a scripture in the Bible that basically says, Do not be discouraged when they reject you, for they also rejected Christ... The servant is not greater than his Master. Well, this week has been one of those. All of our baptisms fell through, almost all of our appointments fell through, and almost all of our investigators had to be dropped. Its so so hard to know all the blessings of the gospel that are available and have people look you in the eye and say, You are wrong.Its so hard because my heart breaks for these people. They are so close to having so many blessings. All we are asking is that they pray and ask God if our message is true. But so many people just harden their hearts and turn away. Its hard because I love these people and I know that when they reject our message, they are turning their back on something that could change their lives. But at the end of the day, I know I have done my part. I have born my testimony, I have taught the truth, and I have preached repentance to all who will hear. Really and truly, this week has been a rough one. But I feel honored and privileged that Christ considers me worthy to go through a small portion of the same things He suffered. I feel like I understand the Savior more, and I feel very close to Him. And this deeper relationship with Him is worth any difficulties or disappointments.
I know that Christ lives. I know that He has a personal interest in each one of us, in our daily lives. I know that He died for our sins and He is begging us to come to Him and be healed. I know that He is the only path to return to live with our Father in heaven and our families forever. We cannot comprehend the joy that is in store for us. I know that He is the head of this church, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is truly the church of God on the Earth. We love Him, we serve Him, and we follow Him when we listen to the counsel of our prophets and leaders. This is my testimony, small but strong, that I will share with all who are willing to hear.
I love you all so much! Hugs and kisses and prayers!
-Sister Carroll
 in Mossoro

"my week summed up in one photo"
 sometimes in Brasil we sleep in hammocks, not as good as a bed
 but redes (pronounced hedgies) are still great at the end of a long day

October 29, 2013

1st transfers

Dear family and friends,
PHEW! What a week. My first transfer in the mission field was doida!!! (crazy) Serio, its practically unheard of to switch trainers in the middle of training, but Presidente Soares changed almost everyone in the mission, from what i can tell! We had two new areas open up in our zone, and every dupla (companionship) but one received a new comp. So its been nuts!  But in a good way :) Because of the HUGE influx of Sister missionaries (can I get an Amen?), practically everyone in the mission right now is training or being trained. I think there are only 3 sisters who are just jr comps. So, best guess is that all the newbies will be training next transfer and this is a way to give us a little more responsabilidades to prepare. Yes, you heard that right, yours truly will most likely be training in a few short six weeks! AHHHHHH :D still not sure how i feel about this
We are teaching a man right now that has a problem with coffeee. So, to prepare him for batismo, we are going over his house every morning, 6am, with a bottle of juice! YAYYYYY FOR EARLY MORNINGS! But oh man, you should have seen his face light up this morning when we got there. He has some self confidence problems and really just needs to feel important and he felt so special. We care about him enough to come every morning, quite early, just to help him out with juice and a scipture. This is what christ means when he leaves the 99 to find the 1.
We have lots of FHE nights planned with members and their friends this week, as well as a family history activity this saturday! the work truly moves forward when the ward is involved! I love you allll verrrryyyy much!
Sister Carroll

October 24, 2013

Batismos e Mundancas!

Querida Familia!

this week has been INSANE. Seriously.
So last week was nuts because of our 3 pesquisadores with baptisms scheduled for this past weekend. We visited and taught every single one, every single day, which was quite a challenge considering that they all live about a half hour walk away! Many days, we didn't have time to do much else but miracles are real and ALL THREE WERE BAPTIZED!!!! WOOOOOH! 3 baptisms, 2 confirmations, and a ward conference made for one exciting weekend.
Antônio is our golden investigator. I have never met anyone more humble or more repentant in my life. He is incredible, and an inspiration to me. We all cry together during all of our lessons. He has made some pretty bad choices in his life, and he has suffered the consequences tenfold BUT he is so penitent and so willing to change. He just wants to turn his life over to Christ and start over new. He completely quit smoking, IN UNDER A WEEK, right after we taught the world of wisdom. Talk about faith. He just believed us when we told him it was a commandment and starting living it right away. That is the miracle of the Atonement. He was baptized on Saturday, very small and simple with 12 people in attendance. The Bishop closed by saying, Right now, Antônio, you are more clean than anyone else in this room. And its absolutely true. I got chills hearing that. This man, with all his mistakes and faults, was completely washed clean. His sins are gone. He has been forgiven completely. This is the gift of baptism we are offering people, this is the blessing of the gospel. We are a church of second chances, and third chances, and fourth chances, and you get the picture. And because of the Atonement, I can pray for forgiveness constantly, and wake up every morning knowing that my faults are in the past and I can start over and try again today. We have been given the opportunity to change, to become more than we are, to reach our true potential. This is the message of hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
On Sunday, we baptized 2 children from less-active families. Teaching Lucas (age 8) and Iara (age 10) has really been an experience. Woooooh parenting is going to be hard. Mom, Dad, I am so grateful for everything you have done for me. It breaks my hard to see the way these children are sometimes neglected, especially spiritual negligence. We need families to learn the gospel, and I will be forever grateful for your example.
we had ward conference this past week as well!!! It was crazy, the Bishop got released! He has held that calling for 7 years, so I guess it was about time. I really love our new bispo, Bispo Pelé (oh yeah, everyone uses first names here. I couldn't tell you the last names of anyone in my ward). He kind of reminds me of Morgan Freeman, except he speaks portugues. His daughters are all around my age too and have been great help in going out with the missionaries. Things are going to be changing in this ward, and I'm excited to see where it goes!
Annnnnnnd transfers!!!!! Sister Oliveira was whisked away to Natal to be the new Sister Líder Trainadora!!!! ?Wooooo :) I really had an amazing mãe. (Mom, on the mission your trainer is called your mãe and your first district leader is your pai. I lost them both this transfer). Normally we are supposed to stay with the same trainer, but Presidente Soares is mixing things up and I'm pretty sure that EVERY new missionary is switching trainers half way through. It was a bit of a shock...and very hard. I'm still in recovery mode. But this will be really good, because I'm going to learn a lot more responsibility. I will receive a new trainer, but I'm the one who knows the area. (or, supposedly knows the area). I'm learning the hard way the importance of keeping good records, because I don't really have addresses or phone numbers. or even a map. So the next few weeks are going to be a little rough. However, fresh starts are always good, né? I have a feeling that I'm going to learn the true meaning of humility. Its knowing where your strength comes from. And right now, I do not have the capacity to do anything that is expected of me. But with Christ, all things are possible! The past few days have given new meaning to the hymn, I Need Thee Every Hour.
So, I'm a little scared right now. But my faith is much stronger than my fear. I cant do this alone, but I'm not alone. President Monson taught, When you are on the Lords errand, you are entitled to the Lords help. I believe in this promise with all my heart and am excited to see the Lord work through me to perform miracles for His other children in Mossoró.
Love you all! Até Segunda-feira!

October 15, 2013

infelizemente, nao tenho tempo por fotos

Oiiii minha família!

This past week has been WONDERFUL. Wanna know why? Because of Conferência Geral, that's why! Presidente Monson promised that the best blessings of conference would come after conference as we lived what we learned. When I heard that, I had a hard time believing it because conference was such a wonderful huge blessing and tender mercy from the Lord that I couldn't possibly imagine how it could get better. But the gospel is all about DOING. It doesn't matter if we study the scriptures every day if we don't start acting on what we read. Likewise with Conferência. And I saw so many miracles this week.

First off, I love my companion with all my heart and wouldn't trade her for the world. But we both have leader-complexes, which makes it tricky sometimes and we had been having more rough patches than usual in the past couple weeks. This week was so wonderful - we worked really well together, were able to laugh together when everything fell apart, and had really meaningful companionship study. I found out on Friday that we had both chosen (independently), to study and apply the talk from Saturday morning about the Christ like attribute of meekness. Coincidence? I don't think so :)

We've been working for over a month with a mother and a son. The son goes to church, but the mother (Aldeiza) goes to her mothers house on Sunday mornings and would never come to church. BIG problem! We've tried to teach her everything we can think of - the importance of Sabbath day worship, the importance of being an example to children, but nothing was working. Then, Saturday, I had the strongest impression to share the scripture that EVERYONE used on Sunday about the first great commandment and loving the Lord with all your heart. We taught this principle and I was soooo afraid that she was going to tell us to get out because, you know, its a little harsh to tell someone that they need to put the lord before their own mother. She sat there quietly for a minute and then said, Vou, Eu vou. (I will go). Ahhhh!!!! Aldeiza e Luis both came to church yesterday and had a really wonderful experience and it was so exciting to see them there. I cant wait to see where this family goes.

finally, MEMBER MISSIONARY WORK! Nossa, this is important. We've had so many lessons with members who sacrifice so much for our pesquisadores that they've never met. Its inspiring to me. In particular, we had a lesson with bispo and his wife with our investigator Antônio. There was the strongest spirit there, everyone was close to tears. When the missionaries and the members work together, miracles happen. This is the truth that the profeta of the Lord tried to teach us last week. This is what we need to do. I love my ward (Orick Graff Mom haha) and I am so excited to teach their friends and their family. We are going to change this city and this stake when we work together with the Lord.

Please, anyone reading this, call your missionaries RIGHT NOW! Make an appointment to go out with them. But that isn't nearly enough. Don't just teach with the missionaries, but bring new investigators to the missionaries. There are people within your circle of influence that are dying to hear the gospel. If you just open your mouth, the Lord will give you the words to say. It just takes a little bit of faith :) 

I love you all so much! We have 3 batismos this weekend - Lucas, Iara, e Antônio. Please pray for them as much as you pray for me, because I can feel your prayers and they bring me so much strength.
Sister Carroll 

October 8, 2013


ola!                                                                                                                  October 7, 2013


this week has been crazzzzzy doida but all good things. I’m not able to send any pictures this week but here’s a brief snapshot-


Receiving an awesome package and many wonderful letters! I will be responding to every single one!

Interviews with President Soares

Sister oliveiras 9 month mark on the mission

Sister oliverias 22 birthday


My first experience in a ward counsel meeting with the stake president



The package was soooo wonderful mom. The peanut butter was definitely the highlight, but I loved the clothes and take pride in the fact that I get to wear your skirt. The purple shirt was absolutely perfect, you did great! The pictures were so wonderful and I got 8 different letters. It was such a nice taste of home. 

Basically, it’s been a floating on air kind of week. especially this weekend, it was sister oliveiras birthday on Saturday and we had a grand total of 6 cakes for her during the day haha - I made one for breakfast, we had one during lunch with members, 3 from other missionaries in between sessions (it was kind of a party to have all the missionaries together so we like to celebrate. seriously, i love my district) and a surprise party after conference.

While all the sugar was enjoyable, it was nothing compared to the spiritual feasting that took place this weekend. Every talk seemed to be written specifically for me and I cannot wait to study them all again. President Monson~s was heart-wrenching, Elder Ballard was the BEST. Seriously, I hope the whole world starts getting more involved in member missionary work, it is so important for us to have the help of leaders and fellowshipping. Also, Elder Scott. And president Eyring. and Elder Christofferson. and alllll the talks by members of the 70 were extremely powerful, I feel guilty that I can’t remember all their names. Seriously, go back and rewatch!!!

One thing I learned during my time in big and important meetings (it still blows my mind to think that I get to participate in these. it’s incredibly humbling to have the power and authority from God to direct his work in my area) is the importance of Family Home Evenings. Little know secret, FHE is a powerful missionary tool! When the members invite a family of investigators over for FHE, they have a strong connection with the ward and the opportunity to see how exactly the gospel can bless a family. I truly believe that the prophets have been emphasizing this program for so long not only because of the importance of the family, but they way that it can help in furthering the gathering of Israel. do NOT underestimate the power of FHE

leiliannys baptism was so wonderful. we had 13 other baptisms that day in our zone, 9 together in the stake center in between sessions of conference, so it was a little chaotic (a lot chaotic!) more another day, 

i love you sooooo much!

-Sister Carroll 

baptisms on General Conference weekend

Sister missionaries at Zone Conference?

September 30, 2013

i have to stop with the pics

Dear family - I have many more pics, esp from the CTM, but Ill catch up on those another week and give you all a quick email of the work here in Mossoro

We are busy allllll the time! A lot of it is walking from place to place, we cover a relatively large area by foot. There are literally 5 people in our entire ward (about 100 active)  that own cars, if that gives you some sense of the area. Most everyone walks. It really is true, the people who are on the poorer end are really much more humble and receptive of the gospel. We tried to teach in a newer, richer area and not one person would listen. We will obviously keep trying to contact and find new pesquisadores there, but we are focusing our efforts on the people who are actually willing to listen.

We ALMOST had a baptism yesterday. Her name is Leilianny, 14 years old, and its been the most incredible experience to prepare her this past week. She received a personal witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon...and hearing her share her testimony brought tears to my eyes. Really, the Spirit does everything. The Spirit is the teacher in missionary work, and I have been blessed with the privilege to be up close and see the Spirit work in the lives of other people. I very much feel like Ammon, in the LDM - Of myself I am nothing, but I will boast in the strength of my God (or something like that). Sometimes, Sister Oliveira or I will share the perfect scripture at the perfect time to really touch the hearts of our investigators, and we can look back and realize that it was truly the Spirit speaking through us. Anyway, things didn't quite work out because her mother isn't entirely thrilled with the missionaries, but we are pretty sure that this weekend she will be baptized!!! 

Speaking  of this weekend, GENERAL CONFERENCE!!! I don't think I've ever been more excited!!! I literally bear my testimony of the reality of a living prophet every single day, so of course my testimony has only grown stronger and stronger. I know that Thomas S Monson is a prophet of God. He speaks with God, and he speaks for God. We have 12 Apostles, special witnesses of Christ. Our goal is to be more like the Savior, and we have the opportunity to listen to the words of someone who KNOWS what we specifically need to do and change to become like our Savior. God speaks to His people. I am so grateful for the opportunity to listen to GC (I get to listen in English thank goodness), but I am almost more excited for this coming week to be able to invite people to come!!! I get to just run around Brasil sharing the good news with everyone and I am SO EXCITED!!!! I want to invite each of you to do the same - tell your friends, family, neighbors! If Peter James and John were speaking this weekend, you would be sure to be there. And you would definitely tell the whole word, not worry about Well maybe they don't want to hear. Of course they want to hear! Its a profeta! And if they don't...well, that's their decision but you be sure to invite them and give them the choice.

Mom, thank you for the quotes from The Relief Society broadcast. No, we don't get to hear it but we do get to go to all the sessions this weekend. I haven't gotten my package yet but that's just because we haven't gotten mail. This Wednesday is reunião de zona, and I should get everything then! The capella that you found in Mossoro is probably the stake center, I don't think its mine. but I go there at least once a week too. 

I love you all SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!! 

PS Tell the girls that I cried about what you wrote. I'm not a hero. but if I help them want to go on missions, than that's perfectly ok with me.
Provo MTC District

with MTC Companion Sister Francis

Provo MTC map & Sister in her district, all going to Natal

Brazil MTC Map

Brazil MTC Courtyard

Elders Sprouse & Wilson (DL)

Sister Sperry & Wood with 32 milky way bars - CHOCOLATE FROM AMERICA

white elephant gift exchange on the bus ride to zone conference

my gift

learning how to make SUCO DE MANGA mango juice

more juice making

a watermelon in one hand & a Book of Mormon in the other

with Sisters Oliveria,,Do Carmo, & Rebeiro

a Brazilian Luau

Mossoro Stake Center - not her current chapel but one in her city

practicing to play for a wedding

Sister Oliveria, branch president & his wife, Elders Christiansen & Almeida

Elder Christiansen (DL)

September 17, 2013

First week

September 16, 2013

First week!
Phew! So much has been going on, my head is spinning. I think I’ve adjusted quite well to life in the mission field. Here’s a quick overview of my day- Because I’m new, and American, I have study from 8 til 12 every day. Which I’m totally fine with. Personal study is my favorite time of the day, there is so much contained in the scriptures! Then, we have lunch every day from 12 til 2:30. Almoço is the main meal here, so we have a lot of time for lunch because we don’t actually have dinner. Because I’m inside from 8 til 2:30, I miss the hottest part of the day which is reallllly nice. I haven’t burned yet! But I already have a watch tan, just after 5 days! We go out to proselyte from 2:30 til 9, then eat a quick snack at our apartment. It gets dark really early here, 5 or 6, which is also really nice because the night is so much cooler than the day. Mom, I think you would really like Brasil. Everyone is SUPER friendly here. People just sit outside in chairs and talk with their neighbors and family for hours. When we ask to share a message, they just run into the house and get more chairs for us to sit down and talk with them. It’s the most wonderful thing. There is such a strong sense of community and family here. 

K, I haven’t gotten your letter or package yet. We only get mail about once a month here, but tomorrow is zone conference so there is a chance i~ll get something. The address for letters is

Av. Interventor Mario Camara, 2066A
Dix-Sept Rosado, 59062-600
Natal - RN, Brasil

The mission home is actually a really nice apartment right on the beach, and we got to stay there the first night. I’m about a four hour drive from Natal, very far inland. Go to Mossoro, look around the Planalto and Liberdade neighborhoods. See if you can find the chapel!

I am the new ward pianist, big surprise. it was very very nice to be able to play on Sunday.

 Whew! I´ll have to send you a novel next week! 

Miracles happen literally every day here. Prayer is the most powerful tool we have. I’m doing very well, everyone in the ward thinks that I’ve already been out one transfer. It’s interesting dad, my companion (while reporting about me to the DL) said the exact same thing you did in the setting apart meeting. She says that I have no fear, that I~ll talk to everyone. That’s a lie, I have plenty of fear, but it’s not going to stop me from sharing the gospel. I love the fact that I can bear my testimony all the time. I don~t have much, but I have a knowledge of the truth and I can share that with everyone I meet. 

I love you all so much!
Sister Carroll 

Sister Carroll & her CTM district - so silly

Elder Wood & Irma Ferreira