April 28, 2014
April 27, 2014
Hola!So I have almost nothing of worth to write for this week, due to the fact that I spent most of the week sleeping. The common cold is rough but I got SLAMMED this week and my persistent companion, district leader, and zone leaders refused to let me out on the street until I felt better. But I´m finally back on my feet so that’s what matters :)
We had interviews with the Presidente da Missão! It was really neat. It’s kind of cool, because our Presidente started his mission right around the same time as me, and he´s changed a lot in the past few months as well. He really focused on how we need to work with the members if we actually want to see miracles in the mission field, because that’s what the profeta wants us to do!
We got two new sisters living with us! One of them, Sister Young, is from NASHUA STAKE!!!! That’s right! NH ftw! Mom, she’s like best friends with Parker Ayer. How cool is that? Sister Acosta is from Rio Grande do Sul and I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in my life. She´s incredible.
You know what’s the laziest, possibly the worst part of the week of a missionary? Sunday nights. You already feel like you´ve done everything there is to be done in the week. Sad, but true. So last night its 8:45 and we were SO CLOSE to our house with literally nothing to do for the last 15 minutes. But we said a prayer that we could find someone who needed us. Not going to lie, the week was a little rough so my faith was practically non-existent BUT then we met Oscar. He was sitting on the front steps of his house and was a little wary when we came up to talk to him, but then he started to open up. He said that he quit drinking, fez 8 months, but he lost his family, his jobs, and his friends because of his addiction. He just hurts so much. We explained that there is a way to take away all the feelings of guilt and sorrow that he has - truly repent, turn your life over to Christ, and be baptized for the remission of sins. I cried as we bore testimony of the miracle of the cleansing ordinance of baptism. He accepted! To prepare for a baptismal date next month! We read in the Book of Mormon with him and explained that it is the best source of peace we have, that it can help us feel closer to God and gave it to him. He was so grateful, promised to read it that very night. We marked to come back on Tuesday and he said he wanted to invite his brother who is struggling with an alcohol addiction to see if we can help him too.
Every single minute on the mission is precious. Never waste your time - there are ALWAYS people that need your help. Even at 8:45 on a Sunday night. It’s really when we give the last bit of effort we have that the miracles happen. Now, I am SO excited to teach Oscar! Please keep him in your prayers!
I love you all very much :)Sister Carroll
baptism of Damiao
couscous - Brazilian style
The Dream team - Elder Alonso, Sister Arevalo, eu, & Elder Alvarenga
World Cup Stadium - Natal (just for Benjamin)
sporting our Zone t-shirts - Os Batizadores (instead of The Avengers)
flooding - what happens when a place that doesn't usually get rain, gets allot of it, yeah for sandals
with Sister Arevalo
April 24, 2014
April 21, 2014
I have ZERO time left on the clockHere´s my spiritual thought of the week:
Pause to ponder the suffering Christ felt in the Garden of Gethsemane. In the awareness of your depth of gratitude for Him, you appreciate every opportunity to show your love for Him by diligently serving in His Church.
I decided last Sunday that I wanted to make Easter week special by working extra hard and going the extra mile to really show my love and gratitude for the Savior. The Lord heard my prayers and gave me MANY opportunities to serve and truly give all of myself this past week. I have never been so tired, I have never worked so hard, and I have never been so happy in my entire life :)
I was asked to lead a division with another group of sisters that have been having troubles the past 3 months, so I spent Tuesday until Saturday working in another area. We saw DAILY miracles, leading up to a wonderful baptismal service for Hugly yesterday. It is incredible how much love I was able to feel for investigators that I have never met and never taught. It was a real experience to serve just to serve - knowing that I will never see these people again, never be there to see them progress until baptism, but I was there to plant the seeds :)
It’s a uniquely special experience to bear testimony and teach about the power of the Atonement on the weekend of Easter Sunday, knowing that I am an authorized representative of Jesus Christ. I have never felt so close to Him, and I don't know if I ever will again. Even in the hard moments, I was so grateful for the opportunity to serve and teach and testify and proclaim the good news of our Savior :) I am earnestly looking forward to the day when I can touch the prints in His hand and feet, like the Nephites of old, and I can stand before Him and say - I celebrated my Easter bearing testimony of Thee.
He lives. He loves us. He gave His all for us, and expects us to follow His example and do the same. The only way to show our love for the Savior is by helping other people.
I love you all so much!-Sister Carroll
April 15, 2014
I feel like every week is just a flood of personal revelation where I learn so much more about the gospel and people and myself and then I get on email and there is SO MUCH that I just don’t know where to begin!
Right, with my investigators :)
So, Damião is our friend that was baptized last week, in between sessions of General Conference. He is the SWEETEST man I have ever met. Basically the literal definition of Mosias 5:2 - a mighty change of heart that leads to CHANGE. We contacted him on the street over a month ago. We invited him to be baptized right then and there and HE ACCEPTED! We taught him that he needs to stop drinking and smoking to follow Christ and he said, Okay. We marked to come back.
BUT he was never ever ever at home. Flash forward 2 weeks, we finally see him again and since that first meeting with us, he quit drinking and smoking. He just...stopped. He said that he felt so good when we said a prayer with him that he just remembered that feeling when he was tempted to drink or smoke.
Flash-forward to this morning. We were teaching in Damião´s neighborhood and a man stops us in the street and says, I want to know about your Church. You´ve been visiting Damião and he is a completely different person! What did you do?
Wowwwww. What a powerful experience. The gospel changes lives, in small ways but let’s not discount the incredible change that can happen in just one month :)
Stefany, Emily, and Vivane are all sisters that we´ve been teaching and meeting with. They are so pure and so happy and so SMART! Seriously. They came to church on Sunday and basically ran the whole youth class, they were participating, they already understand the gospel so well :) The YW President is in love with them haha we´re finally revamping the YW program here! We invited Stephany to prepare for baptism and she had some doubts because she was baptized in the Catholic Church. We taught about the importance of authority and following the example of Christ, and how the Holy Ghost will always tell us the right path. I asked her, What are you feeling right now? And she said, Hope. That this will really be the path that brings me closer to Christ.
AHHHHHHH. I am so in love with these girls :) We are preparing them for baptism in the coming weeks, so prayers would be appreciated :) I can’t WAIT to teach about temple work. The reason we are teaching them is because the missionaries taught their dad about a year ago. He was preparing for baptism and everything but passed away unexpectedly. Now, Stefany went looking for us to find out what the missionaries were teaching her dad before he passed away. I have no doubt that with her baptism; the doors will be open for a lot more missionary work on the other side of the veil :)
Running out of time, so really quickly.
This week is Easter. What does that mean for you? It’s Semana Santa, Holy Week, here and I feel especially blessed to serve a mission right now. I get to represent Jesus Christ, and celebrate and proclaim the glorious news of His Ressurreição to everyone, every day. It’s incredible.
I know that He lives. I know that He loves you, and loves me. I know that He loves to smile. He is a happy person! Remember His suffering on the cross, but remember more the promise of life that He gives. We will live again with our families forever. We can overcome our own weaknesses, every day. This gospel is a message of hope :)
Love always, Sister Carroll
April 10, 2014
Hi all! April 9, 2014
Mom! I love your email, I’m gonna write you a MEGA long letter today! Also, I got all your letters! Including the gigantic one from Benjamin! And the talks by Elder Bednar! Seriously, one of the best batches of mail yet. Thank you so much, I love you guys.
I only have 10 minutes so we´ll see what I can sum up about this awesome week
General conference, my favorite is a toss up between Elder Bednar and the load, and President Uchtdorf with gratitude. My new mission goal is to be happier, which basically means my new mission goal is to be brasilian because they are always smiling and happy and positive and joke even when things get hard. I hit the halfway mark on my mission this week and it makes me want to cry because (I love you mom) I never want to leave this life, a missionary in brasil. Damião was baptized on Sunday, and practically the whole ward was there - he has been working to stop smoking for a month and he is so sweet. grown man, but doesn’t know how to read. he really has such a desire to choose the right. Transfers happened but I’m staying put with Sister Arévalo :)
One of the biggest life lessons I´m learning on the mission is careful observation. You know what the scriptures are? A giant record of the personality of Jesus Christ. We have the Gospels and a bit in 3 Nephi that actually show us what He is like, and then we have all the rest of the stories of good, righteous people trying to be like Christ. The scriptures are just stories about people. If I can learn more about Christ by studying the story of Moses or Abraham or Nephi, then I can learn more about Christ if I pay careful attention to the people right next to me.
On the mission, I´m blessed to be in daily contact with what the scriptures call, The noble and great ones. And I’ve found that as I pay attention to other missionaries, the members, and just people we are teaching, I start to learn more about the character of Christ. What He would do if He were here. It’s the very essence of that scripture mastery, Let your light so shine before the world that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven. It’s the center of what Christ teaches in John, that the apostles saw Him, and therefore also saw the Father. Good, righteous people with Christ-like attributes help me understand more about my Savior. And I love this part about the mission. My only hope is that I can be that light for other people as well.
Elder Alvarenga, one of these incredible Christ-like people, is being transferred today and I am really quite sad because he has been an incredible leader, example, and teacher for our companionship this transfer. A real example of selfless service. I was really quite sad when I heard about the transfer, but another thought came to me - that this Elder was one way that the Lord showed His love for me. An instrument in the hands of the Lord, if you will. And I´m sad because he´s leaving BUT the love of the Lord is always there, is always constant. The Lord uses different people in different times of our lives to show this love. The people come and go, but the love of the Lord is ALWAYS there. For example - I love my mom. Sooooo much. She helped me understand how much the Lord loved me. Then I went to college, and she wasn't there anymore. But the Lord sent 5 incredible girls to live with me in Heritage Halls and I was able to feel the love of the Lord because of them :) Then things happen, we go our separate ways, and I´m here on a mission in Brasil. And the Lord still sends people my way to show His love for me - companions, other missionaries, members, investigators. Every time someone has to leave, the Lord finds another way to show His love.
So - the Lord loves you very much, whoever you are and where ever you are. If you are having a hard time seeing that love, just say a prayer asking for the eyes to see the tender mercies of the Lord in your life. And then look around and you will see the many different ways the Lord shows His unique and special love for you :)
April 2, 2014
March 31, 2014
Annnnnd howdy folks! I tried to speak Spanish there in the subject line, but I’m not entirely sure if it’s correct. I´m sure my Spanish-speaking friends will let me know ;P
This has been such a fun, crazy week of changes. It’s always an interesting adventure getting to know a new companion, and I LOVE Sister Arévalo :) She has only been in the field a month, but she already speaks Portuguese WAY better than me. We speak portg on the street and in lessons, but at home we have English days and Spanish days. She’s basically fluent in English as well as Portuguese and I’m...well, I’m learning a lot. slowly but surely :) it’s a real challenge keeping two languages straight - especially cause they are so similar!- but it’s really going to be a good transfer for both of us :D
Also, Sister Arévalo is basically the argentine version of me. She´s studying law, and preparing to work with international law. She loves politics. She spends any free moment reading. She has absolutely no filter and is ridiculously blunt, which is hilarious (She tells me like 5 times a day that I eat too much bread and that’s why I got fat on the mission. so true. oh well). We sing Disney songs all the time on the street. And she´s not afraid of ANYTHING!
So basically the next transfer is going to be a blast. Unfortunately, I think she is only going to stay with me enough to finish up training, but we´ll make the most of every minute :)
ALSO next week is transfers and apparently there is going to be another companionship of sisters living in the apartment with us. 4 sisters, 1 bathroom, no mirror.... I’m excited to see how it all plays out :)
And this has truly been a week of MIRACLES!!!!
Matheus was baptized yesterday :) A YM, 17 years old, but he´ll be moving up to Elders Quorum next months. We´ve been working with him and his family for a month now, and his little sister was baptized last week. He was introduced to the church because of his friend Adrion, so Adrion got to baptize him and it was really a special Sunday for everyone. Matheus has been sure that he wanted to be baptized from the very beginning, but was really dragging his feet about WHEN exactly. We had a really really spiritual lesson where I talked about how we receive answers to prayers - one step at a time. The Lord won´t ever show the whole path at once, just a little light here, and a little light there. A good feeling reading the Book of Mormon. A desire to know more. Feeling át home´when we come to Church. And little by little we start to understand that It is a good seed (Alma 32, anyone?) and we need to act on this knowledge. I asked Matheus, Why do you think God asks us to act in faith? And my heart nearly stopped when he said - Because if we wait for a complete knowledge to act, then it won’t be faith that guides us. It will be knowledge. And we need to act to show the faith that we have.
Pretty inspiring words. So Matheus acted on the light he has already received and was baptized and will continue to grow in the gospel :) Next step....helping the parents so this golden family can be sealed in the temple for time and all eternity!
Also, we had another miracle that is probably one of the sweetest experiences I’ve had on my mission to date. It was pouring rain and we were trying to take shelter in the chapel when all of the sudden, Damião and his friend José appear out of nowhere, at the chapel. Damião is a man that we contact 3 weeks ago and he accepted baptism but his work schedule is CRAZY and we haven’t been able to teach him. We stopped by his house EVERY DAY this week and he wasn’t home once! So i wasn’t really surprised when he didn’t come to church yesterday for the morning meetings. But then, at the exact moment we showed up at the church with the bishop, he showed up and said, I waited all day for you today and when you didn’t come, I got my friend and we walked to church to try and find you.
Heart-stopper. I felt so bad. And also, they have more faith than I have ever seen.
So we showed them around the church and had a little meeting, there in the chapel. Sang a hymn, said a prayer. Read the Book of Mormon. Neither one of them know how to read, but they understand the language of the Spirit. We talked a lot about Christ, how He is our Savior and example and the only way to be happy is to follow Him. We invited them to prepare to be baptized and they accepted!!! And they are really excited!!!
In other news, a living prophet is going to speak to us this weekend. So GO!!! and go PREPARED!!! With lots of questions!!!! Because I promise that if you are looking for something in your life right now, you will find the answers you need from the prophet who speaks for God.
Love you all!Sister Carroll