March 25, 2014


 March 24, 2014

Wow. Where to begin?

This week has been CRAZY. Lots of life lessons learned, which is always a good thing, right?
We had a mission conference (fotos forthcoming) on Thursday which meant I got to see all my old friends from Mossoró! Spiritually feasting...and really good food also :) We had a really inspiring training about the importance to be obedient - how we need to be obedient to our purpose and to our law. Lots of missionaries, they have a desire to baptize and teach and they work with their whole heart but they don’t keep the little rules like getting up on time, studying, etc etc and they lose the spirit. They´re obedient to their purpose but not to the rules. Then there are lots of missionaries that are super nit-picky obedient to everything in the white handbook but they don’t have a real love for the people or the work and their focus is not on baptizing. They are obedient to the law but not the purpose. It’s rare to have a missionary that fulfills the law AND the purpose. I´ve been both types at different times on my mission, now it’s time to try and be both.
We baptized Gabriela!!! It was so wonderful to see how happy she was leaving the water. She just shines. She´s turning 12 in the next couple months, so we´re going to get the YW President involved right now instead of the Primary. I´m so excited to see where this girl goes. We are still teaching the rest of her family - please keep Matheus, Socorro, and Aucildes in your prayers this week! I just want this family to be sealed so badly!
And, due to some health complications, my beloved daughter, Sister F de Oliviera, was transferred today. We had a rough week with some scary nights and in the end, Presidente Soares decided that she needed to be closer to him and Sister Soares and needed more help than I could give. I miss her SO MUCH already but it will be better for everyone. I need to let someone else help her now.
BUT WAIT. Presidente Soares thinks that I need the experience to continue training, so I´m now serving with....Sister Arévelo!!!! Who is from ARGENTINA!!!! And has 1 month in the field! Hahaha. Looks like I’ll be learning some Spanish now (Ak? Rach? Dad? Elise?). I´ve gotten comfortable with Brasilian companions, so looks like I’ll be returning to fervently praying for the gift of tongues. Expect lots of stories with language-barrier hilarity to come :p
This month I´ve been struggling with the eternal debate - what is the difference between Serving with all your heart might mind and strength and Man should not run faster than he has strength. Seriously! The scriptures can be quite contradictory sometimes! My LZ recommended that i read the discurso de Presidente Uchtdorf from Janeiro´s Liahona - The Best Time to Plant a Tree. Here´s a quote that really stood out (I´m translating from Portuguese, so please forgive any errors):
With almost all certainty, we are going to fall short - at least for a little while. But instead of becoming discouraged, we can regain (?) our strength, for this understanding removes the pressure to be perfect right here and right now... Remember that even though we don’t reach our final destination immediately, we have progressed along the way that leads to it. This is what matters, and it matters a lot! Even though we don’t reach the finish line, the simple fact that we continued on the journey makes us better than we were before.
When I got here in Caicó, I was so ready to come in and be the best i could possibly be - be an amazing trainer, help get the ward excited about missionary work, teach English classes, teach piano classes, open a new area with lots of baptisms and investigators and just be a good missionary! All these are very worthy goals. But we´re human and we have limits. I got caught up in where I WANTED to be that I couldn’t see how much we had already accomplished.
So, I’m not perfect. I´m not even close. I´m not the missionary that I wish I was and I’m not the person that I have the potential to become. Yet. BUT I’m happy with who I am and what I’ve accomplished. We don’t make a goal, and then wake up the next day with the goal accomplished. We try and we fail and we get up again and try and little by little we become a little bit better. And every day, every week, I become a little bit more like the Savior. It will be a lifetime process but it’s worthwhile.
So - be happy. Look at what you´ve done! You are a child of God! And He loves you! And He´s helping you!
Lots of love,
Sister Carroll 

March 19, 2014

Spiritual Gifts

                                                                                                              March 17,2014

Hi all!
I have barely any time to write, so I’ll go through the highlights of the week

1- Its rained ALLLLL WEEK. Like, real rain. This is a huge blessing for the people here because we were running out of water in the city. I am completely convinced that my companion is the reason for all this rain, because she has more faith than anyone i know and she has prayed for rain every single day (she is from the south of Brasil, where it’s cold, so she wants rain). Last week she prayed that we could have rain every day as a sign to me that Heavenly Father answers prayers so I can have more faith. It’s rained every day haha. So, Heavenly Father answers the prayers of the faithful and I’m slowly but surely learning to have more faith.

 2- Terazinha, the old lady that we baptized last week, is SO SPIRITUAL. She’s a little old, but she understands the spirit. We stop by every day to visit her and she is always just sitting on the couch, listening to the Book of Mormon on CD. Her prayers are more and more sincere every night, and we are having a huge family home evening/birthday party for her this week with the whole ward! Her son, Lindenberg, is ready to be baptized but has a lot of self-confidence issues. So we are going to work more with him and hopefully she can be a good influence. It’s funny, because he´s 40 years old and she said, `Last night he tried to go to bed without saying his prayers and i came in and said Oi Lindenberg don’t forget what the girls taught you! You need to say your prayers!´Hahah. Moms will be moms.

3- Mateus (17)and his little sister Gabriela went to church this week! and a ward activity! They´re parents are still warming up to the Church but they are a lot more receptive now, and Mateus and Gabriela are working towards a baptismal date at the end of this month. He has already received his answer about the Book of Mormon so it’s all uphill from here! They left church a little early because Gabby (who is 11 years old) fell asleep on Mateus´s shoulder and started drooling towards the end of sacrament meeting...she isn’t used to waking up for 9:00 church :) But they came!!!

4- And this has been arguably the most challenging week on my mission to date. I´ve spent quite a lot of time pondering the Atonement, and grace, and the promise that we have that our burdens will be made light. I´ve thought a lot about the spiritual gifts that the scriptures talk about - the gift to heal, and the gift to be healed. I always questioned - what’s the difference? Why do we even need these gifts? It seems a little redundant to me! But I have looked at the scripture in a different light this week. The gift to heal - the gift to help other people accept the Atonement in their life. The gift to be healed - the gift to accept the Atonement in your own life. As a missionary, you need to have both gifts. Heavenly Father has spent a lot of time teaching me and helping me develop the gift to be healed in this area. I´m learning to rely on His strength and His grace, and accept the help He is always willing to give. It takes a lot of humility and a lot of faith, but I’m satisfied that even though I’m not perfect, i am a little better every day. Little by little the Lord is making me a better instrument for his work :)

Love always,
Sister Carroll

March 10, 2014

Feeding the Five Thousand

                                                                                                                              March 10, 2014

So, this week has been (once again) one of the most difficult and most rewarding weeks of my life. I feel like Caicó is just going to be a roller coaster ride for the entire transfer. Between training and the new area, we´ve had quite enough to keep our hands full. But this area is GOLDEN we already have a huge group of new investigators and lots of references from members. We are already planning weekly ward activities to help with integration and retention, and I will be giving piano lessons every Saturday so that when the inevitable transfer comes, someone will be able to play in sacrament meeting :D English classes will wait a bit, but I´ll probably start those up by the end of the month!

We were able to baptize two INCREDIBLE people this week :) Edvan has been taught by the missionaries for over a year, knows everything but somehow slipped through the cracks with changes in missionaries. We were visiting a less-active family in the ward, and he was there. I´ll be honest, we didn’t pay too much attention to him but at the end of the lesson we sang Families Can Be Together Forever. Edvan started to cry and asked us to come back and visit him in his house. So we stop by on Thursday night to see how he is doing. The Spirit was SO STRONG the whole lesson. He said he wanted to be baptized. We challenged him with a date, and he accepted. And then the Spirit very STRONGLY told me to challenge him to be baptized the next day. So...we asked him if he wanted to be baptized tomorrow. And he said YES!!!! We went over the interview questions (you would think he was already a member from his answers), set up an interview, and started calling everyone in the ward to come to the baptism! There was a great turn out, and Edvan was practically glowing the whole time. I´ve never seen someone so happy. So, in case you all had any doubts, miracles are REAL!

 Which brings me to Luke 9:12-17. The miracle of Christ feeding the 5 thousand.

The disciples only had 5 loaves and 2 fishes. Nothing more. There was no realistic way for them to get enough food to feed 5000 people - yet that was exactly what the Lord asked of them. So what do they do? They give all they had to the Lord, which was pitifully little in comparison to the task set before them, and He blessed it, brake, and multiplied until ´they did eat and were filled’ with 12 baskets left over.

 Sometimes the Lord asks us to do impossible tasks- that defy all laws of nature, what is normal, what is within our skill range. But He still asks. He asks us to perform miracles in His name. So what do we do? We give the Lord all that we have - even though all that we have doesn´t even compare to the task set before us. We are so laughably incapable, working alone. But the Lord accepts our sacrifice and takes what we have to give, weaknesses and all. And then He multiplies it and somehow or other, at the end of the day, we´ve performed the miracle. We´ve fed the 5 000 or passed that test or forgiven our neighbor. We´ve found the lost sheep and brought him back to the fold. We´ve healed a broken family.

The Lord takes all that we have and makes up for the rest. All He asks is all of our heart, might, mind, and strength and when that isn’t enough, He takes care of the rest. This is the power of the Atonement. I love you all and pray for you all! If you could keep in your prayers Lindenberg, Mateus, and my companion Sister F de Oliveira, it would help a lot!

-Sister Carroll
Alysha practicing after being called as ward pianist, instead of laurel president, because of her diligence she is now teaching piano to members in her small branch

Based on a photo Alysha sent us & Google earth, her dad was able to locate the apartment building she is currently living in - I love technology!

March 5, 2014

City of Miracles

                                                                                                                          March 3, 2014


So, it’s been 5 days in my new area and let me tell you, it has been five days of refining fire BUT the Lord never, never, NEVER gives commandments to His children without first preparing a way for them to accomplish what He has commanded :D This is a lesson that will remain ingrained in my heart for the rest of the mission. We showed up in the area with nothing - no investigators, didn’t know the members, didn’t know the streets and no map. And we ended up on Sunday with 3 investigators at church and 3 golden investigators who accepted baptism! Miracle? aAbsolutely!a We are teaching Damiana, who was taught a year ago but said that the missionaries stopped teaching her and she had no idea why. Her mom was really sick this weekend, so she couldn’t come to church, so we came by after Church with the Elders and they gave her mom a blessing. After the blessing, her mom said that she wanted to be baptized as well! Then we met Lindenberg on the street, and asked him to come to Church with us. He said that he went to the hospital on Friday night because he was really drunk and almost died! He told us that he needed help to get over his drinking addiction and wants to turn his life around. He hasn’t touched alcohol since Friday night and LOVED Church on Sunday. We´re going to meet with him every day to give support and his family is supporting him as well! Prayers on his behalf are welcome!

Its season of Carnival here in Rio Grande do Norte...which basically means that I´ve been living in Babylon the past few days. We´ll leave the details out. To give you a basic idea, I woke up today BEFORE 6:30 to fireworks. Who on earth sets off fireworks before missionaries wake up? President has given us permission to make visits for 2 hours right after lunch, and then we stay in the, writing in journals, updating our Area stuff :p But everything will be back to normal on Wednesday.

Sunday was very interesting! Our ward is ALMOST  a branch. Pretty small. Due to this holiday of Satan, we had 22 people in sacrament meeting yesterday. When you don’t count the missionaries and the investigators...17 people. But man, those 17 people are the faithful soldiers! I really really love this ward and the people here. We meet in a house, but they already have the land bought to build a chapel and we are just working on getting the membership up!

It’s the beginning of a crazy new transfer, but with a whole lot of faith, prayers, and fasting, it’s going to be the best transfer of my mission!

 -Sister Carroll
baptismal font


my new area Caico

Dengue, Tranfers, and my new daughter!

                                                                                                                        February 26, 2013

As you can tell from the title, the past week and a half has been one of the biggest rollarcoasters of my LIFE!

I came down with dengue last week. What does one do when one has a life-threatening disease straight from the amazon? Well, first you’re in denial for a bit. Then stubborn missionary leaders that love you call the wife of the president, who in turn gets royally ticked off at you for not calling earlier. And then you get sent home to sleep for ALLL DAYYYY. Seriously. So I spent quite a few days in the houses of the members, doing nothing but sleeping. Woke up every once and a while to eat some good old rice and beans. Me and my hammock are best friends now. Lost some weight that I had put on over the course of the first six months and got to learn more about the Christ like attribute of patience.

So, Monday arrives. I´m finally allowed to be out on the streets again, still a little tired but really excited to get to work. We´re eating lunch at the house of William, an AMAZING investigator who was finally baptized on Sunday after 2 years visiting the Church :) and then I get the phone call. Sister Carroll! Pack your bags, get to the bus stop, you are finally leaving Mossoró and you will train a new sister!!!

What. The. Heck.

So these past 48 hours have been a whirlwind. I was finally transferred out of Mossoró (after almost 6 months there, I kid you not) for CAICÓ! The only other city which is arguably hotter than Mossoró. It was an area of Elders, but the work was going so well here that they split their area in half and brought in the Sisters :D I don’t know anyone or anything, but the Elders have been living angels today, running around to help us buy everything for the house and showing us where the members live.

My new companion is Sister F. de Oliveira!!!! She is from Rio Grande do Sul (is possibly more white than I am), loves English and speaks pretty well, is completely dedicated to helping me lose my accent, and LOVES the mission. Just to give you an idea, our LD asked us how many baptisms we would have this month and she looked at him all serious and says, I think we are going to baptize 25 this month. Just 5 each week, starting this Sunday.

The best thing about Sister F. de Oliveira is that she really believes it. I have never met anyone more excited about the work, and more dedicated. She has so much faith. She has a testimony that is rare but powerful. She is constantly looking for people to teach, people in the street, people on the bus, and especially anyone who looks sad. She walks right up to them and says, you look sad. When you are baptized you won’t be sad anymore. Will you come to church and prepare to be baptized? AND THEY LISTEN TO EVERYTHING SHE SAYS! Every single person she has talked to has asked for us to come back! Miracles are real, but they only happen according to our faith. I am going to learn soooo much from her :)

 There is a story in the Old Testament that kind of sums up my mental state right now. The Israelites are preparing for battle with 22 000 soldiers and the Lord says, That’s too many. Send some home. So there are only 10 000 and the Lord says, That’s still too many. They will win and they will tell everyone that it was by the strength of their own hand instead of by my power. So the Lord sends them all home except 300 soldiers and says, Yes. That’s enough. You can go to battle with your 300 soldiers against 15 000 and you will win and you will know that it was through my grace and my power that you were saved.

I´m feeling a lot like the Lord has given me lots of challenges. So many that I’m feeling pretty small right now. I have no doubt that this is going to be the best transfer of my mission so far, but I also have no doubt that I will be relying on the Lord every step of the way. He´s taking care of me and when we do our part, He won’t let us down. And I’ll come out of everything knowing that it wasn’t my strength, but the grace and power of God.

Keep me and Sister F. de Oliveira in your prayers!

-Sister Carroll
Also, SHOUT OUT to my brother Benjamin who was accepted to BYU!!!!!! I´m so proud of you!!!



3 generations of sisters - my trainer, myself, & my trainee

new sisters & their trainers

Sister Oliveira, me, Presidente & Sister Soares


                                                                                                February 17,2014

Howdy all!

(Shudder. maybe Texas is rubbing off on me)

this has been a week of RAIN!!!!! After living in Mossoró for the past 6 months, arguably in the top 10 hottest cities in Brasil, the rain has been a nice break. Its only been light showers, but it’s still something! There was a legitimate down pour on Friday and Sister Souza and I ran out laughing into the storm to go teach and make contacts! Everyone thought we were crazy but I was so incredibly happy :D I feel like every missionary has to have the experience of trudging through the rain at some point in their missions. It’s like a mile-marker of sorts

Presidente Soares has asked all of the missionaries to refocus our personal study on the basic missionary lessons. Learn the basics really well, forget about the crazy deep doctrine and studying just to study. So I’ve detracted a bit from my Old Testament readings (my goal is still to finish all the standard works while I’m on my mission, but I’ll use other time than study time to do it!) to refocus on the restoration, the plan of salvation, and the doctrine of Christ. And its incredible!!!! Something so simple, but so profound at the same time.

I’ve been studying a lot about repentence recently. It really is the most beautiful part of the gospel. The message of hope that we have is that things can change. People can change. We don’t have to stay who we are right now, forever. If we have a weakness, if we are lacking in a certain Christ like attribute, if we have a bad habit - we can change! We don’t have to do it alone! We have the Atonement to help us!

I especially love to think that the Atonement isn’t just for the little, every day mistakes we make. We need to have a bigger view of what it can do. We can change our very nature. The most impatient person in the world can have the patience of a saint. A broken family can be sealed in the temple for time and all eternity. An immature sister with her own stubborn ideas and plans can become an instrument in the hands of the Lord. All it requires is a little humility.

I read something interesting the other day - the reason, the real motive, for true repentance is a desire to become more like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. We want to take away any part of us that detracts from our divine potential. We want to know them better by becoming like them.

Transfers are coming up next week! Time is flying! Love you all!

-Sister Carroll