August 29, 2013

Livro de Mormon!

Ola familhia!!!

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.

In other 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.

Another new 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 describe it. 

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 everything.

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.

Exact 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.

Good luck with early morning Seminary and all other challenges of life! i love you!

Always, sister Carroll


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!)


PPPS Benjamin - 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!


PPPPS Mike- 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, k?


I love you all so much!



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