February 12, 2014

The BEST day of my mission!

Hi there!                                                                                                   February 10, 2014

This has been an AWESOME pday, let me tell you . We got up a 5 AM to play volleyball and Frisbee before the sun got too hot, then I got to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich due to the amazing package my mom sent, and right after email we are going to make cookies!!! So, life is good :D

This week has been an emotional roller-coaster. The youth of this ward are amazing, Elders often try my patience, a 3-day visit to my old area with my old investigators/recent converts is a little bittersweet, MAIL CAME WITH MY PACKAGE, and...lots of stuff happened. BUT everything was just the lead up to what was arguably the best day of my mission so far :)

Saturday was the baptism of Jasmin! We met her Sunday at Church, found out that she was the neighbor/best friend of the daughters of the YW President and she had been taught by the missionaries before, asked her if she wanted to be baptized, and she accepted! Asked her if she wanted to be baptized that coming Saturday and she accepted!

We spent a lot of time with her this week, but she already knew all the lessons and was keeping all the commandments so there was really very little we had to do. It was just the miracle that we had the privilege to witness. She’s spent all week reading the Book of Mormon and praying every single night to prepare for her baptism. (She had already been to church a bunch of time, we just always thought she was already a member!)

Saturday already started off great because it rained! (for more than just 20 minutes). apparently this is the first time it’s happened in about 3 years. Either way, I definitely appreciated the cool air after five months in the hot sun of Mossoró).

So we are running around last minute trying to get everything settled for the baptism, when Elder Leal - a member of the 70!- comes up to us and says, Sisters you are so beautiful. But what’s even more beautiful than a Sister missionary is a Sister missionary carrying baptismal clothes in her arms. Thank you for your service. I almost cried right then and there. If there was ever a time to meet a member of the 70, I’m glad that I could be here on the mission, doing my part.

The baptism was incredible emotional for everyone. There were NINE YW in  attendance! (...2 weeks ago, there were only 4 attending Sunday meetings. I’d say that’s a big improvement). The only Laurel gave the message and it was really neat, because she is preparing for a mission as well so the fact that she helped one of her friends be baptized was amazing for her. One of the priests performed the baptism, and he is also preparing for a mission. It was his first ever baptism. As a missionary, the best baptismal services are when the ward is so involved that we get to sit back and watch it all happen. We had a full room of members there supporting Jasmin, and I am not worried in the least about what will happen to her after we are gone.

In addition to this wonderful ward, Presidente Soares (my mission presidente) was also able to attend the baptism. Huge deal, because he lives 4 1/2 hours away. Also, some members of my old ward were in the chapel at the same time, so they decided to come in and support as well. It was just a giant reunion of all the people I love at one place and one time, everyone participating and helping in this marvelous work. I have never been so happy in my life.


But the night doesn’t end there! We stuck around afterwards for a devotional. Elder Leal, of the 70, and Presidente Soares. My goodness, some of the most inspiring stuff I´ve ever heard. Presidente Soares basically taught the Restoration but WAYYYY DEEP.  (Shout out to you Dad, he talked about the Council of Nicene with the same disgusted tone of voice you use. I think you would be friends with my mission presidente). And then when he said the First Vision, you could have heard a pin drop. I have never felt the Spirit so strongly.

The entire premise of his talk was that this Church will always move forward. It always has, and it always will. The question he posed is, why? Why can this Church stand strong against the waves of wickedness and opposition and lies that are tearing apart society today? Why is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints one of the fastest-growing churches when all over the world, the trend towards atheism and disbelief is killing nations? He said, it is the force of the testimony of our members. It is our testimonies that keep this Church going. And just to prove to you how powerful a testimony can be, I would like to deviate a bit from my talk and invite Sister Carroll to come up and bear her testimony for you all. WHAT?!?!?! My heart stopped. Completely stopped. No, he did not mention this beforehand to me.

But I went up and I will forever be grateful for that opportunity to bear my testimony of the Savior I love to the people of Mossoró that I love. It was the Spirit speaking. The gift of tongues is real, I didn’t not stumble once over Portuguese. But the Spirit, the Spirit is what touches the hearts of the people. Like Alma, who wished for a voice like the trump of an angel to declare the gospel to the whole world, I had the chance to speak to this entire stake. The people in my area now, the people from my old area, and my recent converts and investigators from both areas. And I got to share the thing most dear to my heart, which is my testimony.

I know that Christ lives. I know this is the only true Church. I know that God and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that we can really get to know the Savior when we read it and pay attention to the Spirit. I know that Christ died for our sins, and He rose again so that we could live again. I know that the most joy we can get in this life is through service. I know that God loves every single person in this world, whether we think they deserve His love or not. He still loves them. I know that this Church is important because we have the sacrament, we have the scriptures, we have temples, we have the priesthood and all these things are just tools that we use to get to know the Savior more. We can come to know and understand and become like the Savior because of the truths taught in this Church. And life eternal is to know God and Jesus Christ. I testify that He lives, and He is an active participant in our daily lives and in the work of this Church. Christ lives.

I hope you can all take the time to bear your testimony to someone this week. It’s easy for missionaries, but for all those member missionaries out there, don’t forget that it is the power of your testimony that is keeping this Church going. Bear your testimony to your neighbor or friend. Bear your testimony to sister that you visit teach. Bear it to your children, or your spouse. Just share what you know. The Lord only entrusts testimonies to those few who will share it.

Love you all!

Sister Carroll

February 6, 2014

I Love the Youth!

Hi there!                                                                                                  February 3, 2014


This has been a crazy week of ups and downs and smiles and laughter and tears and açai and hammocks! Basically, business as usual here in Brasil :)

Can I just say , I LOVE THIS WARD!!!! Seriously, I can’t say it enough! The youth are the key in this ward. We are getting so many references of friends of members, and they are really just working so closely with them that it’s hard to keep up the pace! There are 15 active YM here, and the YW President asked us specifically to help her reach a goal of 15 active YW (currently we are at 4, but there were 9 on Sunday!). It’s just so nice when the missionaries and the ward counsel work together on the same page for the same goals.

We spent all week preparing two YW, Maria Rita and Darliane, to be baptized this past Sunday. They both decided at the last minute that they didn’t want to go through with it. So that was really hard for everyone, but definitely a learning experience. I was really sad (a lot of it has to do with lack of support at home) but they are both committed to continue coming to Church and reading the Book of Mormon. With a little more time, I’m sure they will find their own testimonies again.

BUT there was another YW at church who has been many times but I guess the missionaries just missed her? Don’t know. But, we went to visit her right after church and asked if she wanted to prepare to be baptized next Sunday (she already knows and lives all the Church standards! thanks to awesome members) and she said yes without hesitating! So keep Jasmin in your prayers for this week :)

We had a special devotional with the youth on Sunday all about how to invite friends to church without being weird or awkward about it. We did a bunch of practices, read some inspiration scriptures, and every youth in attendance committed to bringing a friend to church on Sunday! Now we just need to get the adults helping out too ;) It was such a wonderful feeling, to here all the YW there say that they wanted to serve missions and watching the group of them leave the chapel singing Called to Serve at the top of their lungs! Truly, this is the time for the Church in Brasil :)

In other news, we heard some sad news today about Sister Souza´s family. Her uncle passed away this past Tuesday, and another aunt passed away on Saturday. Same side of the family, but completely unrelated and unexpected. It’s been really hard on her, so if you could keep Sister Souza and her family in your prayers this week I would really appreciate it. We need all the help and love we can get right now.

Alma 7: 12 is the scripture of the week. Christ suffered all, so that He could know how best to help us in our time of need. If we ever feel scared or lonely or lost, or not up to the task. just remember that we don’t have to just rely on ourselves. He knows how best to help us, and sometimes we just forget to ask. The same applies to helping people around us. When the people we love suffer, we don’t have to only rely on what we know to help them. We can plead to our Heavenly Father on behalf of our loved ones, and we can receive revelation on how we can help. It is often through the hands of other people that Heavenly Father takes care of His children. Christ always know what to do, He always has a solution, and He is always waiting and willing to carry us through whatever trials or challenges come our way.


Keep smiling! Keep praying! Until next week :)

-Sister Carroll


Dear everyone,


I’m officially old. I can no longer get away with the ´I’m a greenie´ excuse with anything haha after 6 months in the field. I feel like I just got here yesterday and I am already mourning the fact that all i have left is one year. WHERE DID THE TIME GO?

Some of you may know, it was a really hard decision for me to go on a mission, for various reasons. One of the things I was holding on too was a promise that we received in our call that promises something along the lines of ` you will have more happiness than you have ever before experienced´. I was hanging on to that promise with a lot of faith when I left for Brazil.

I can happily report that I have NEVER been more happy in my life than the past 6 months! Missionary work is incredible. Being a missionary is the most rewarding thing in the world for so many reasons. You really learn to love people on a mission - companions, other missionaries, our own families, investigators, members, and people on the street. And it’s that love that makes everything, all the sacrifices worth it. There is nothing more satisfying than watching someone change their own lives for the better and knowing that I had some small role in helping them get to that point. I get a front-row seat to the miracle of the Atonement in the lives of other people.

The only way to understand Jesus Christ is to serve with all your heart, might, mind and strength. We don’t have to be on missions to do that. His work and glory is the eternal life of man, and He works tirelessly, without ceasing to bring to pass this purpose. As missionaries, we spend all of our time trying to help other people - studying for them, praying for them, talking and crying and laughing with them - all to help them have better lives. And as I have come to love them, I have come to understand the love that Christ has for me and it is truly a beautiful thing.


Sorry it’s short this week!

Love you all!

-Sister Carroll