Hi! My name is Alysha Carroll, and from July 2013 to January 2015 I will be serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Natal, Brazil. This is my mission blog, filled with wonderful stories of faith, hope, and the gospel of Jesus Christ!
First off, I’m
going to apologize for all the really bad punctuation I’ve had in my emails. In
my defense, they have DIFFERENT KEYBOARDS in Brazil!!!! And yes, it’s
apparently taken me this long to realize that.
news, this past week has been some of the busiest, hardest, best times I’ve had
so far at the MTC! Yesterday, my whole district made a pact (highly influenced
by our teachers) that we would only speak in Portuguese from here on out. All
day, every day. Only read Portg scriptures, only pray in Portg, and only speak
Portg. It’s hard! But so rewarding so far. This is the most I’ve even thought
in English in the past 24 hours. We're allowed to take our personal study time
to read scriptures in our native language, but that’s all. After two weeks of
this (oh yeah- 2 more weeks and I’m in the field!) I will be so good at portg!
Just kidding. I still have a lot to learn. But it’s much more natural for me
now. I feel so blessed to be here in the CTM because I actually have the
opportunity to only speak in portg because EVERYONE speaks portg. Administrators,
janitors, cafeteria workers, doctor...Anyway, it’s just been a roller-coaster
but I am so excited and I am learning so much. Our teacher told me and Sister
Shirts yesterday that we were the second best companionship in our district
with the language. Which he totally shouldn't pick favorites, but that’s just
the way Irmao Allan is. Gotta love him haha (Oh, and this morning at the temple
Irmao Allan brought his wife, who is 8 months pregnant, because she wanted to
meet us! Isn't that cool? She gives really nice hugs. I miss hugs haha)
On Friday, we went out into the city to hand
out Book of Mormons! Isn't that cool? We walked about 30 minutes away from the
CTM, all the way into another neighborhood in Sao Paulo, and our teacher handed
us 4 LDM each and said - just stay on this street and a couple blocks to the
south, and come back in an hour and a half! So we walked another 45 minutes
down the road, just talking to people and introducing ourselves and bearing
testimony of the Book of Mormon. People are a lot less forgiving of bad \portg
once you get in the real world. There was an 8 year old boy that just laughed
and us and corrected our grammar under his breath....but I was laughing too
because we really must sound so funny! We gave away LDM to everyone we talked
to until we ran out. People are very very receptive in Brazil. Also, I learned
that if I tell people that I lived close to Boston, they get really really
excited and start talking about the red sox. It’s a great way to connect with
people. I’ve also started telling people that my younger brother plays futebol,
and then they REALLY get excited (speaking of - Benjamin, I know your all busy
with school and seminary and whatnot but you should drop me a couple lines in
an email now and again, k? love you!) I just want to briefly bear my testimony
of the Book of Mormon. It is such a wonderful book. It is true. I know this,
because every time \I read out of it the Spirit is instantly with me. And when
I read it during a lesson with my investigators, they feel different. This book
can answer any and all questions we have about God, life, or family. I love the
Book of Mormon with all my heart.
surprise - we have new investigators! We’re teaching each other! Okay, I’ll
explain. Every member of our district is taking the role of an investigator. We
choose someone from home that we are close to, that we know very well and care
about a lot, and try to portray how that person might react to the
missionaries. And then different companionships are assigned to teach other
companionships as "pesquisadores". It is the most challenging and
most wonderful experience I’ve had so far. It is so difficult to teach each
other, because we aren’t afraid to be hard on each other. I mean, we all
represent real people and if what I say as a missionary wouldn’t mean
anything to that person the other missionary is portraying, then the other
person won't react to my testimony. It’s hard. I’m learning more and more
about myself and about missionary work from the time that I spent as an
investigator. It’s the most surreal experience to put myself in someone else's
shoes, and it’s heartbreaking at the same time. I don't quite know how to
So, every day
I am teaching at least 2-3 lessons, plus 6 hours of class, plus spending
one lesson as an investigator. Throw in some Portuguese on top of
that haha. It’s demanding, but exhilarating because I am learning so much about
myself, missionary work, the scriptures, and the Atonement. The Atonement is
Next Tuesday my district is doing Mais Perto
Quero Estar (go translate it) in devotional, a capella because we can all
sing really well, and I’m playing along a bit on the violin. I missed playing
so much, this violin is beautiful! It’s such a blessing to be able to share my
testimony through song.
obedience brings miracles. Exact. I learned this on Monday, when my roommate and I made
a special effort to be to everything perfectly on time, even breakfast, and
follow with exactness the counsel of our teachers and leaders. Every single
lesson we taught that day (there were 3) was such an incredible experience. The
Spirit was truly with us. We were thinking the same things, we were working together,
we were pulling out the same scriptures without any previous planning, and we
connected with the people we were teaching. None of that was us. Obedience brings
blessings, but exact obedience brings miracles.
I love you
all so so much and I want you to know that I know that God lives, I know that
He loves us, and I know that He wants what is ultimately best for us. I trust
Him with all my heart to take me where I need to be. He gives me challenges so
I can learn to be like Him, and along with those challenges He has given us
help through the Atonement of His Son. And I love Him for this gift.
with early morning Seminary and all other challenges of life! i love you!
P.S. Mom - as
far as packages go, apparently you are only allowed to send less than 50
dollars worth of merchandise to brazil at one time or there is a ridiculous 60%
tax. You may want to check up on that. I’m doing good with pretty much everything,
if you want to send the notebook and maybe some of my powered makeup (I’m too
pale to find any my shade in brazil) that would be incredible. Thank you for
the notes! I love them and carry them with me!
PPS Dad- I
got your snail mail letter on
Monday! Apparently it only takes 8 days. Unless you send it
priority or something (Which means, Mike, that I am looking for your letter to
get here pretty dang soon. fingers crossed!)
- I love you dearly and can't believe that you’re a senior already! Gahhhh!
Live it up, don't skip Seminary, and just do the things that make you happy. I’m
so proud of you!
You should be starting school soon too, huh? Oh my good luck balancing your
awesome new job with all your awesome new classes. Don’t worry about a thing, you’re
the hardest-working person I know! Take time for yourself to breathe a little,
I LOVE YOU! I
feel the need to put this first, at the beginning of every letter. cause it’s
true, and I want to make sure you know that.
Okay I’m sending
you a really long letter through Mission Ties later today so forgive me for the
brevity of this email. i have 9 minutes haha. Yes, mission ties works mom THANK
YOU for the cinnamon roll. and also when you send a letter I get a free cookie
too. Mom, the letter that you sent on Friday got to me on Tuesday, so it’s a pretty quick turnaround. Dad, I got your
letter too! That one was through snail mail, right? I got it on
Monday and loved every bit of it. Congrats on the job stuff, keep me
posted, and finishing your archeology course!
A word about
re-reading the BoM. Yes!!!! Do it!!! All of you, not just dad! We've been
listening to some really amazing prerecorded devotionals, and Elder Bednar says
that you should reread the BoM and just mark it up based on whatever question
your trying to answer or principle you are trying to learn, and then review it
at the end to see what you’ve learned. He said if you do that every time you have
a question, you’ll have a bookshelf full of BoMs by the time you’re his age,
like a library tracking your progression in gospel knowledge
the baby!!!! And Michelle’s engaged!!! And Rachel’s married!!! Ahhh I leave for
3 weeks and everything happens. sheesh. Did Toni have her baby yet?
Sorry for all
the typos. The Brazilians have a different keyboard here, it’s just slightly
off but enough to really throw off my punctuation. I still haven discovered how
to make a smiley face
So I have new
roommates!!! Sister Shirts and I got two girls who only speak Spanish! One is
from Chile and one is from Peru. It makes communication very difficult, because
they know Spanish and we know English and we're both kind of learning \Portuguese
so that’s our only common language. it’s definitely a very interesting
experience. They are very sweet, we just have hard time talking to each other. But
Today was the
last day in the Campinas temple, were going to sao Paulo next week. Have you
been getting the pictures? Send them to Mike too! I p[promise to try and send
pictures next week. pinky swear.
has been recommitting ourselves to learning the language. We got a lot of
grammar thrown at us this week and it kind of sent us into a coma as far as Portuguese
was concerned. But we sang some hymns and recommitted ourselves and things have
picked up quite a bit. Today is my halfway mark in the CTM, so 3 more weeks and
I’ll be in the field! Everyone I’ve met that’s from Natal or has served in
Natal tells me, first thing, that the people there are soooo receptive to the
gospel. I cannot WAIT to be out there teaching!
The Book of
Mormon is so important. If you do anything, just read a little bit every day.
It will change everything for you.
I love you so
much! Sorry this is so short! Thank you for all the letters, i love getting
them and they make me so happy! I am wonderful, so don’t worry about me for a
moment! The Lord is definitely with me. I love what my MTC President said - I
know that there are angels with you missionaries, not because of faith, but
because of experience.
I’m off to
hang around the city and hopefully eat a Brazilian corn dog! Wish me luck!
Photo from last week at the Campinas Temple
lucky girl will get to visit 2 temples while she is in the MTC
How are you
doing? I loved getting the letter from mom, it was so nice to hear your
thoughts about my visa and about everything that’s going on right now. i am so
blessed to be a missionary that has the full support of my family back home,
and i feel your strength every day. we’ve been teaching our investigators (aka
our teachers, but they are very good actors) a lot about eternal families
recently and it has really brought my mind back home to my family and so much
more excited to start my own family one day.
i have to
tell you about choir practice! it’s incredible! Choir is mandatory here, every
Sunday and Tuesday. We all learn a musical number to
sing for...ourselves haha. The CTM doesn’t get visitors. But it’s a very moving
experience. The way its set up, we (all together, the whole CTM) sing a hymn -
one verse in \Portuguese, one verse in Spanish, and one verse in English.
Everyone learns everyone's language. It really unites us and brings a very
special spirit. I sat next to a sister who spoke Spanish, and we shared music.
it was so sweet, she was very concerned at being able to pronounce English
correctly and kept checking her pronunciation with mine. I believe it really
increases our respect for each other and each others cultures. There are really
no words to describe it. Also, this past week was the independence day of
Ecuador, so they invited the 4 Ecuadorian missionaries to come to the front of
the room and they played their national anthem. very cool.
loves singing, thank goodness! We sing every morning and night to start and
close the day, and then we sing for our teachers because they like listening to
us. Everyone picks out harmonies and it’s like a little a capella choir. My
teacher, Irmao Allan, says "Voces sao meus olgulhos! Meu proprosito
Tabernacle Choir!" (In case I didn’t\'t remember the translation
correctly, it means You are my pride! My own Tabernacle Choir!) Other
teachers come in during class and ask us to sing our national anthem; it’s
really very flattering and brings me a lot of joy as well. We’re going to sing
for a devotional in a couple weeks. also, sister Shirts (my companion) and I
are going to do a musical number soon. She plays flute really well, and I will
either play the piano or maybe try something on the violin (they don't have a
viola here unfortunately. I’m not all that surprised). it will be good,
whatever we do!
about Brazil culture - cough drops are candy! Our teachers have been telling us
off for bringing them to class (oh yeah, everyone has a cold here. I’m just
getting over it now. it wasn't fun, but if this is the worst sickness i get
from transitioning to Brazil \I’ll be grateful) because its "food".
Then we explained that it was medicine and they just laughed and laughed at us.
I still don't think they believe us. but now we offer cough drops to our
teachers and they’re really happy and go a little bit easier on us. Because its
Shirts and I have new roommates! We haven’t met them yet, but the odds are good
that they don't speak English. So it will be good for our Portuguese for sure.
Brazilian friend, Sister Rodrigues, left today to go to her mission field. It
was really quite sad, and amazing how close we've gotten despite not speaking
the same language. she wrote a list of Brazilian foods and drinks that we need
to try while were here. yes Mike, acai was on the list. She told me that my
Portuguese was so much better than when i first got here, and I’ve only been
here a week. This gives me hope! it’s encouraging to note that even the natives
have noticed a little bit of improvement in me. Granted, it was so bad when i
first got here that it’s impossible NOT to get better from that.
We got to go
to the temple this morning! Sooooo beautiful! The Sao \Paulo temple is closed
for cleaning, so we went to Campinas instead, just about an hour and a half
away. There were beautiful blue and purple stained glass windows everywhere,
and honestly I don't think I’ve seen a more beautiful temple. The Spirit was so
strong there and I just know that I\m where \i\m supposed to be. I was so
afraid to come here, but the Lord knows me better than I know myself and He
knew that I would want to have this experience. ||There are just little moments
every few days that say "Aha! That's why I’m here! So I could experience
that moment!" and today was definitely one of those days. It’s crazy, we
talked to some missionaries at lunch about temples. One girl from Argentina
said it took 10 hours to get to one, and an Elder from Columbia said it took 8
and they usually flew because it was cheaper. When I said that I could walk to
the temple while at BYU, they were absolutely astonished. I am too. I have so
much that I’ve taken for granted, so many blessings. Guys, go to the temple!!!
As much as you can! It’s a huge blessing, and you can only show gratitude by
taking advantage of the opportunity. Sister Shirts and I were thinking, ten
years ago it was almost the same in the States. I mean, it would take 8 hours
to drive from NH to the DC temple. But now there is one just an hour away.
Where we were 10 years ago, Brazil is right now. And \I am so excited to see
where things go in the next 10, 15, 20 years. Temples will be everywhere!
Everyone can go!
I know my
friends are too busy to read this, but \just a quick shout out to Rachel
Williams for her wedding this week! I love you!
I love you
all, they're telling me to get off, so keep smiling and remember the gospel is
true, the lord loves you, and everything works together for our good.
I got a
surprise p-day today because they felt bad that \I haven't had one yet, between
all the moving from continent to continent. So I got email time! Hopefully \I
can give you a better idea what my life has been like the last few weeks. Wednesday
will normally be my pday, so today is a happy exception. I still can\t do
smiley faces on Brazilian keyboards, sorry. I’m smiling for the record.
I tried to
send you an email earlier about Mission Ties, its a better, easier, and cheaper
way for me to get mail in Brazil. I'm not sure all the rules about it, but the
other English-speaking missionaries here (we aren't Americans now, because
there are some from Australia and Scotland and England too) say its very
helpful and useful if you want to pay for the subscription. You should go check
it out. There is a cookie store across the street that doubles as a
headquarters for missionary mail haha. Two very good things in one place!
little bit about the CTM. It’s pretty small, just one building, but its a very
very nice building. There are lots of palm trees and birds of paradise
everywhere. The view from my window is gorgeousssss (it’s the third floor, but
here its technically the second floor. they have a ground floor, then first
floor, then second, on and on. the center is 7 stories). There are only a few
hundred missionaries here. Like \I said in the last email, there aren’t very
many Americans so the fact that our visas came is a HUGE deal.
The dedication prayer for this building is on the wall, and in it says
"Bless that this country will keep its borders open to those who want to
come here" or something to that effect. You can definitely see that
blessing, especially this week. Because it’s so much smaller, we got a personal
meeting with the mission president and his wife. Everyone looks out for us
here. The best/worst part is that everyone speaks Portuguese! Try explaining
administration details in a foreign language! it’s very challenging haha. I am
learning so much here. My companion and I (her name is Sister Shirts and she is
absolutely incredible!) have a goal to sit with brasileiros for 10 meals
each week and we practice talking with them. We actually have friends now. It’s
difficult to communicate, but they are so patient with us and always smiling.
It is the most humbling experience in the world to be here. My Portuguese is so
broken and so difficult to understand, but everyone just smiles. They don\t get
annoyed when \I try to talk to them, they repeat things, and sometimes they try
and speak in English as well. Their English is much better than my \Portuguese.
I am ashamed to think of how rudely \I’ve treated people in the past who don't
speak my language. it is so difficult, and the fact that they are trying is
incredible. I think everyone should have an experience like this, to truly be
the outsider and the foreigner. I can't help but think that the people in
Brazil are a lot nicer to me than most people in America would be to
Brazilians. I am humbled and in awe of this beautiful people. My teacher is amazing,
Irmao Ramalho (pronounced Ha-Mal-Yo) tries so hard to communicate with us. It’s
very different from \Provo, where the teachers refuse to speak in English, than
here, where the teachers literally can't speak English. All and all, \I am
beyond grateful to be here. I am learning more outside of class than inside,
and I’m glad that \I can pick up the language here for a month before going out
into the mission field.
Where to begin! This city is HUGE. I don’t know if they make skyline pictures because
the skyscrapers are everywhere- they just sprawl out for miles and miles.
Flying in was incredible. Picture all the skyscrapers of NYC, but going out in
every direction, as far as the eye can see. There is really nothing quite like
it at all. In between clusters of skyscrapers, there are little pastel houses
and shops piled on top of each other. It’s indescribable. Also, we aren’t\t
allowed to bring our cameras outside the CTM, so here's a little trick Mike
taught me- type in my address to Google maps, then click street view. Then walk
around! Look at the streets three blocks out in any direction from the CTM! And
then you can almost experience what I got to see this morning. It’s beautiful.
My companion and I just went outside, all by ourselves, not knowing the
language, and walked around. So cool! We managed to buy cookies, shampoo, and
little shoes. We are supposed to wear shoes everywhere here, just to be safe
from...things. bacteria things. and we were sick of wearing our soaking wet
shower shoes around the apartment so we bought little black flats for 5 reias,
which is about 2.50 dollars. The store owner was very nice in helping us figure
out shoe sizes, apparently I’m a 39 here and have very large feet. I tried to
thank him for his patience with my broken \Portuguese, and I think I may have
told him that he is very passionate. oops. They have a lot of American brands
here, which is very nice for hair and skin care products. I don't know what
natal is like, but \I can get almost anything here in sao paulo! It was a
little embarrassing, because Sister Shirts and I had to walk around with our
little dictionaries to figure out what to say sometimes. But there is a post
office nearby, and a place that sells peanut butter, and a little kiosk where
we can get custom-made scripture cases by a member in the area. Definitely
getting one of those, \I think a small one for the mini book of Mormon and new
testament that you got me Mike. I\m trying to decide what to send home to you
all, I’m looking for an ornament but so far no luck! Dad, would you wear a
Brazil patch on your Scout uniform? Or is that even allowed? There is a woman
called Sonia who runs a kiosk for missionaries, sells ties and scripture cases
and pins and CTR rings and many other neat Brazilian-LDS things. Thankfully
most places take credit cards here.
I don’t want
to sound like all I am doing is shopping though! Far from it. Just walking
around the city was a wonderful experience. We said "bon dia" to
everyone, and almost everyone smiled and responded! They like missionaries
here. Everyone is friendly. I am already starting to love the people more and
more. Just getting a feel for the city and the culture is the best experience I
can have in the city. We're going out to lunch after email time with some other
The food here
at the CTM is incredible, rice and beans and meat and salad and lotssss of
fruit. My favorite is abacaxai- pineapple! I had goyaba today, which I think
means guava in English. Breakfast is my favorite, its a sweet milk-rice pudding
and I put bananas in it. We have meat at just about every meal, and lots of it!
The other missionaries in my district assure me that the food does actually get
old, but so far I love every bit of it. I'm one of the lucky ones, because I
really liked rice and beans before coming. Such is the meal plan of a poor
college student haha.
schedule goes something like this. Wake up each morning at 630, get ready
really quickly, and breakfast by 7 and class by 730. We have study time,
personal and companion, until 10am,
then gym for an hour. The gym is funny here, they have equipment that you might
find in an American gym but none of it works. like, the exercises bikes and elliptical
just are....there. and you can use them, but no resistance haha. The Elders are
teaching me how to lift weights as well, I want to be able to do a pull up by
the time I leave. We can also play volley ball and basketball, but no soccer because
Brazilians are very competitive when it comes to soccer. After gym we shower,
have lunch, and are back in class by 1. We do online language exercises, have
lessons in the afternoon until 430, then dinner til 5, then class the rest of
the evening. Most nights we teach an investigator, sometimes an actor and
sometimes real, in addition to class time. Bedroom by 940, lights out at 1030.
I barely have time to breath, and its wonderful! Needless to say, I spend a lot
of time in the classroom. There are 12 of us there, and we know each other
quite well at this point.
I am so
excited to teach these people about the gospel. We watched an eye-opening video
yesterday about the Atonement and it really reminded me why i am here. I am
here because Christ suffered and died for the sins of every one that has ever
lived, but only a few people know that He did and an even smaller number know
how to access this amazing gift. and I\m here to teach people about Him and His
life, and how these things are relevant to their life. I love my Savior, and I
will do anything - even move to a foreign country knowing no one and no words -
to honor Him.
k I have only
ten minutes right now because this is just to let you know that im safe so
hiiiiii im safe! made it to brazil, all is well. I love it here, it is so
different. our area is about 3 blocks square and we can wander around. my pday
is today, Wednesday,
so I missed it but I will be able to email longer next week! dearelder is
apparently not a thing out here, so email or snail mail is the way to go. mom,
no packages! though I do love you...ah this keyboard doesn't do smiley faces! i
absolutely adore my new companion, she flew out with me on the trip to brazil.
me and another elder sat next to a drunk guy the whole flight and he spilled
beer on Jesus the Christ. it was a very interesting night. however, he did give
us his email and address and said come find me and my wife in natal when you
get there and wed love to listen to you so I guess that counts as my fist
contact! huzzah! the food here is wonderful, we had meat and rice and beans and
guarana for lunch today. and Brazilian pizza for dinner. the lord is truly
working miracles, there are 33 of us that got our visas and that is the most
number of American missionaries they have gotten in one week in over a year. I
don't know what is happening, but the lord is definitely hastening his work! it
is a very different feel from the Provo mtc because it is so small, we
personally met with the mtc pres and his wife, multiple times. his wife
actually sat with us for a bit at dinner and they know all of us by name. i
have to go now but i love you so very much and I loveeeee brazil!
send to mike
tell mike congratulations on his new job I am so proud of him and excited that
he is seeing the blessings of sacrifice! And ask Benjamin how band camp is
I'm in the computer lab and I don't actually have access to my family email address. ooops! So I'm sending this to Mike and begging him to find a way, facebook email phone whatnot, to forward this to you ASAP. Mike dear? ASAP. Please Please Please if you could I would love you forever and I need your help right now.
So here it goes.
I got my visa!!!!!! About 3 hours ago. I am leaving the MTC at five tomorrow morning, getting on a flight at 9:30 and heading to the Sao Paulo MTC. I know this comes as a huge shock. Believe me, I freaked out. I mean, they gave me less than 24hrs notice! But one of the Elders in my district just gave me a blessing and I'm feeling a whole lot better. Seriously, I'm feeling wonderful :) He's a really sweet kid, just barely graduated high school. I'm 95% sure this is the first blessing he's ever given. Just goes to show that it doesn't matter who or how old, if you are worthy and ordained to hold the priesthood then the power is definitely there.
I don't know what to say so I'll just give you the best run down I possibly can. Oh! Minha familia! If you want to talk to me, I will be calling you tomorrow. Mom, be by your phone! I have a layover in Minneapolis (Mom, does that make it easier?) from 1:22PM to 3:35PM. I'll probably call then. You can figure out what time zone that's in. I'm going to pick up some last minute stuff at the MTC Bookstore today, including a phone, scripture cases and a couple more skirts - I'm paying for luggage too, so could you just keep an eye on my bank account? I think I'll be fine but I'm not entirely sure. The only thing that's kind of a bummer is that they sell Brazil T-shirts in the MTC (Mike knows what I'm talking about) but they've always been sold out when I've come :/ Everything is so crazy, I'm traveling with another Elder and hopefully a sister too. My information says if you have any questions, ask the travel leader. Guess who my designated travel leader is? That's right, Sister Alysha Carroll! Hahahaha. My goodness this is going to be crazy.
But honestly that's the way it is here. We take care of ourselves, we teach ourselves. Or rather, the Spirit teaches. The very first day (Thursday), no teacher showed up. We just spent 4 hours in this little classroom (there are 13 people in my district, and the classroom is tiny! We've all gotten very very close. Both literally and figuratively. They've been so wonderful, like my MTC family) and tried to figure out what we were supposed to do. I think we started memorizing our purpose and trying to learn the first lesson, because we were scheduled to teach a discussion (in Portuguese!) the very next day (Friday). We have an amazing teacher, and it amazes me how much he cares and helps us, and he's just barely older than I am - still struggling with school and dating and finances and a calling and every other problem BYU students have. But he teaches us every day for 3-4 hours and he is so invested in us and cares and it is absolutely incredible to me how selfless these teachers are. Anyway, I've learned that we do not learn from our teacher. Not the language, not the gospel. He is here to help us learn how to learn directly from God through the Spirit. He gives hints and tips and advice, but the work primarily rests on our own self-discipline and relationship with God. I've been extremely blessed, I have picked up the language very quickly. French helped. And a good teacher ;) From the very first day, I have been able to (mostly) understand everything the teacher says and express quite a lot in my lessons with the investigator. But I know that there is no way it is from me. I have been blessed, and the Spirit has helped teach me because there is no way that I would be able to know this much after less than a week with the language. Go back and reread 1 Nephi 11-15. Nephi wants to understand his father's vision, so he prays directly to God and is given a marvelous vision of his own with more knowledge than he could have even thought of. Laman and Lemuel are also confused about the vision, so they ask Nephi to explain it to them. Almost the exact same thing is taught in each chapter, but Nephi's account is so much richer and fuller. So it is with me. I can ask my teacher to help me and explain things to me, and he will do the best he can and I will understand. But if I pray directly for God for teaching and guidance, I get the same thing a teacher would give me but so much better. So much. It sticks in my heart, if that makes any sense at all.
Its hard for me to leave, because I got through the first 4 days (which are always the hardest) and then this morning I woke up so happy because I finally felt comfortable and had gotten my feet back on the ground and was feeling so good about being here. WHAM. I'll be in another country tomorrow. Heavenly Father has a wonderful sense of humor :) It just goes to show how much He trusts me. I got through one challenge, and as soon as that was over He gave me another one. In a way its very confidence-building, because I know that I will grow so much and since I just don't get a chance to breathe, I just get to keep growing more and more! And Heavenly Father trusts me with that. There are wonderful things in store for me in Brazil, and I cannot wait to start learning even more. I love this gospel. I love my mission. I am so humbled and grateful for the opportunity to wear the name of Jesus Christ over my heart and represent Him in all things and in all places. Please pray to give me the strength to become more worthy of this trust.
I love you all SO SO SO MUCH
PS - From Tanner - wow, what a difference 24 hours makes - it'll be posting another message once I hear from her so stay tuned for Sister Alysha Carroll's adventure into the mission field!