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!
Okay, so it’s only been half a week since email so I’ll keep
it short - here are the highlights
So, the day after transfers we had ANOTHER crazy
transfer!!!! (Have I had time to breathe? No. between the world cup and
transfers we were on the street maybe 2 days this week ahhhhh)
Another sister in the mission broke her foot, so they sent
Sister Baker in her place to work and Sister Smith stayed in a kind-of trio
with us! She studied and slept with us, but spent the day with members. BUT now
she is in a trio with Presidente e Sister Soares, so it’s back to just me and
minha filinha for now :)
We totally got to watch Saturday´s game with Presidente and
Sister Soares at their house! Ahhhhh!!!! It was SUCH a nail biter but so much
fun :) The assistentes were there too, and I think I’ve heard every pun that
can be made about missionary work and soccer haha
Cristina and Eduardo (mom and son) were really excited to be
baptized on Sunday, but they decided not to at the last minute. Very sad. It’s
so hard to watch people you love make the wrong decisions. I love them so much
and only want the best, but they weren´t willing to raise their own moral
standards. Very sad.
BUT THE GOOD NEWS is that we will be spending 4th of July at
the WEDDING of Cintia and Jeorge!!!!! And Cintia will be baptized on Saturday!
Miracles never cease!!!! We´ve been teaching them since before I got here
(weddings require lots of paperwork), and its finally happening :) Jeorge is a
less active member that is coming back, and bringing his wife and family with
him. There are few things more beautiful than this :)
And the lesson of the week comes from Sister Carvalho. One
thing I really admire about her is that she ALWAYS ends her prayers saying,
Seja feita tua vontade Pai e não nossa (Thy will be done, not ours). Just this
little phrase has completely flipped the way I look at the work I´m doing. If I
sincerely pray with all my heart, might, mind, and strength that the will of
the Lord be done during that particular day, I know that He responds to the
prayers of His faithful servants! So when we give EVERYTHING and it still doesn’t
work out the way we planned or wanted, I have a strong conviction that what
happened was the will of the Lord and I can look for other opportunities to
teach other people and change my plans. It’s not always easy to accept His
will, but my plans are so wrong most of the time and I would rather just do
what He desires for my area. Our companionship isdeveloping a connection much stronger and
sweeter with the Lord as we sincerely seek to do His will.
I love the mission! I love life! I love soccer! I love my
I feel like I’m serving in England (so much rain)
Also, Glaydson was baptized the first week I got here! He
turned 12, and went to the temple last week!
Thanks for the birthday presents mom :)
the World Cup has taken over Brazil. Sister Carroll & the other missionaries in the office were able to watch the match between Brazil & Chile with their mission president on Saturday
Firstly - thank you for the birthday well-wishes! I’m sorry
if I don’t respond to all of you, or only a little bit, but I appreciate the
love! Everyone says that people back home forget about you after 6 months on
the mish but I almost at 1 year and still feel the love :) I got the happy
birthday song sung to me more than 6 times by various members, investigators,
and companions and it was a blast :) the highlight was a yummy cake and
birthday lunch with the Bishop and his family! also, the birthday package
helped too :) pics next week...I promise!
Scratch that, the highlight was definitely the spirit. I
felt like Heavenly Father gave me a greater portion of the spirit all day so
that the sacrament meant more, our lessons were more spiritual, I knew exactly
what scripture to share, and we found the addresses that the RS pres gave to us
with hardly any trouble. It was almost like Heavenly Father gave me a vision of
how missionary work SHOULD be, with the Spirit, so now I have an ideal to work
Also, for you Dad, Bishop asked me to say the opening prayer
in sacrament meeting. I laughed and remembered how when you were bishop you
always called people to say the prayer on their birthday. It was a little piece
of home :)
Secondly - BENJAMIN IT’S YOUR 18th BIRTHDAY!!! FREAK!!! When
did you get so old? Make the most of the next few days to be a child and do
silly things while you still can. Oh wait, I still act like a kid sometimes :p
your birthday present will get put in the mail today! I hope you are watching
the soccer games! Also, King Benjamin is like my new hero in the Book of
Mormon. I’ve been studying his life lately and there are very few people that
have a more noble heritage and noble name. Live up to it :)
Thirdly - TRANSFERENCIAS!!!!!!
After only 2-3 weeks in the area, I got a phone call that I
would get the chance to train again!!!! Yay!!!!! So awesome :) I’m nervous, but
I know the Lord trusts me so we´ll obviously be okay. My new companion is
Sister Carvalho, from Rio Grande do Sul (2 time!) and i’s learning LOTS of new
words. She has a super strong testimony, super strong desire, and is really in
tune with the spirit. Also, she’s like a boss with push-ups so I’m going to
actually get in shape this transfer haha.
But the REAL kicker came that night, dinner with Presidente.
I was lifting a fork to my mouth when he announces for the whole table -
Sister, you are being called as Sister Leader Trainadora. Also, Sister Baker is
being called as Sister Leader Trainadora. You will stay in trio, training
Sister Carvalho, and be the first companionship of sister leaders in the
mission! Good luck!
Um, hello!!!!!!!! Needless to say, i lost my appetite real
So. I was subconsciously asking the Lord to give me a chance
to do more this past week. Ask, and you will receive. I have no idea what I’m
doing BUT the Lord will teach us how to do His work in His way, and if we are
obedient and pray a lot then He will carry us through. I have little faith in
me, but A LOT of faith in Him and that’s really all that matters in the end,
Presidente showed us 2 scriptures - JSH 1: 26 (?) and
D&C 135:3 (?)
Basically, it’s about Joseph Smith. The first, he is
sorrowful and confused about all his weaknesses and sins. The second, says that
Joseph Smith did more for the salvation of men than any other man that walked
the face of this Earth, after Jesus Christ who is literally our Savior. Both
scriptures talk about the same man. Moral of the story, I don’t have to be
perfect in order to make a difference. And YOU don’t have to be perfect in
order to make a difference. Just try to help people! Share the gospel! Do something
good! It’s not perfect, but you can change lives. We have the power, we have
the opportunity, and we have the duty to do so.
My favorite scripture of the mission: Mosiah 8:18
Please pray for my companions, and for our investigators -
Cristina, Artur, Eduardo, and Ana Paula. They need your help and prayers more
than I do!
Okay, so the following is a bit from my journal. Sorry if it’s
a soap box, but I had a real change this week in the way I look at my
Who, in the scriptures, is given the title of Beloved?
You can look all you want, there are only 5 people.
John the Beloved
The 3 Nephites
The Beloved Son - Jesus Christ
What do these 5 people have in common? Obedience, faith,
love...etc. Yes. What more?
They each fulfilled their missions, then asked to do MORE.
John asked to stay on the Earth bringing souls to God, the
same as the 3 Nephites. Christ, after completing His mission and realizing the Atonement
went to the spirit world to continue to teach.
I read Doctrine and Covenants 7 this week, and it made me
rethink my life a bit. There are two types of missionaries, two types of
disciples. The Peter and the John.
Peter´s desire - return to the presence of Christ, happy and
John´s desire- bring everyone with him to the presence of
The Lord accepts both desires. He commends both Peter and
John for their righteous works. Both are good, righteous desires. But one is
´I say to thee, Peter, that this was a good desire; but my
beloved desires to do more.´
Everyone says that we, the modern-day army of Helaman, have
the same power and authority of all of our heroes in the Book of Mormon. The
only difference is that they have more faith. But I’m here to propose a
different theory: they had more DESIRE.
They cared more about the people they saved. They were more
anxious about the people they served. They literally couldn’t bear that any
human soul should perish. (Mosiah 28:3)
Greater desire = greater faith
When we are really, truly desperate for something -
especially something seemingly impossible - our faith gets stronger because God
is our only way out and there has to be a way out.
Think about it.
When an investigator begins to fall, we can think - oh next
week he´ll be better, oh, i was just here to plant a seed, oh, he isn’t who the
Lord wants in His kingdom, oh he wasn’t ready to accept it anyway.
Don’t judge, everyone has thought along the same lines at
But if we really, truly desired their salvation then none of
these excuses would mean a thing and we would work and pray with a faith so
great that our miracles would exceed that of Ammon, Aaron, Alma, Amulek.
So, who am I? Am I seeking to be more like my Savior and
longing to return to His presence?
Yes, yes I certainly am.
But what about my sincere desire to help these people?
Maybe it’s taken a backseat to my personal salvation.
I bear testimony that THE ONLY WAY to know our Savior is by
helping and serving other people. When we lose our self in love for others, the
Lord changes us and teaches us what we need to know to live with Him someday.
And we have the potential to do so much more than just return one day. We can
bring thousands with us. I pray that you can all seek for ways to help other
people along the gospel path. There is always something more for us to do.
...paved paradise to put up a parking lot! (okay I haven't heard this music in so long)
SO. Transferênica de emergênia!!!!
Basically, everything changed this week and my mind is still reeling!
Tuesday night, I got an unexpected phone call that said - Tomorrow morning you will leave Caicó and go to Natal! Your companion will be Sister Baker! Your new area is the area of the secretary of the missão!
Its a little bittersweet, because the Spirit spend all of Tuesday prompting me to be a little more grateful and I just kept pushing the thought away because Tuesday was one of those days when nothing went right. I thought, I´ll be grateful tomorrow let me wallow in a little bit of self-pity murmuring for today. But then...I was transferred.
Not gonna lie, it was a hard lesson to learn. Serve with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, and LOVE with all your heart might mind and strength. In thoroughness is satisfaction. I love everything about Caicó and its been a doubly hard adjustment because I know that I didn't appreciate it the way I should have.
The good news of the gospel is, no one is perfect and because we know about the Atonement, we don't have to suffer TOO HARD for our mistakes. We feel sorrow, and we repent. We change. Believe me, I will never make the same mistake again and I am very excited to throw my whole self into my new area :) The great hope of the gospel is that we can always be a better version of ourselves through the grace of Christ.
I think the straw that broke the camel´s back when I left was Bispo Armando, ala Seridó. He told me that I really made a difference, that I really changed the ward. It seems like a small thing, but I really feel like my work in Caicó was almost more with the members than with the investigators. I worked SO HARD for them! And a lot of times it didn't seem to bring results. But to hear the Bishop, who i LOVE, thank me for what I did there...well, maybe I cried a little bit haha
Okay. So my new area is Ala Alecrim Natal! Some fun facts:
We share the ward with the secretaries! And live 2 minutes from the heart of the mission! Its really a happening place!
We live in the Lucy Home, which is like a hostel for sister missionaries. The sisters spend their last night in the mission here, and the newbies spend their first night in the mission with us. Its gonna make transfers all that more interesting!
The Mission President and his wife are ALWAYS here. We´ll probably see them 2-3 times a week. I'm excited to get to know them better. They´ve offered to teach with us and invite our investigators to have FHE with them!
We also live, I kid you not 10 MINUTES from Stádio das Dunas - The stadium for the World Cup here in Natal! LET THE CRAZINESS BEGIN. Its such an exciting time to be here in Brasil! There are flags painted on the streets, on the cars, on the houses, balloons everywhere, decorations, the whole 9 yards! I´ll send pics next week
Sister Baker is going to be a GREAT companion!!!! She's my second American on the mission. Its a weird dynamic, because she actually entered the CTM the same day as me but she spent half of her mission stateside and only has about a transfer here! She has lots of different ideas about missionary work from her other mission - I will learn A LOT from her and I hope that I can help her adapt a bit more to the mission culture here too. We are both leader personalities, which always makes things interesting, but that also means that we have a lot of wonderful potential together :)
The investigators here are perfect! More about them next week, but real quick - Glaydson, a YM of almost 12 years old was baptized yesterday! And now we are teaching his whole family and his older brothers are preparing for baptism next week! Please pray for Artur and Eduardo!
Okay, I know this email is already super long but just a couple more things.
Our success on the mission (or in life) is directly connected to WHO we are, not just WHAT we do. When we make a specific effort to become more Christ like in who we are and our interactions with other people, the Lord blesses us in all the aspects of our life.
Its rare to put real effort into things. I can remember a handful of really sacred experiences when I prayed with REAL sincere heart, when I had REAL faith, when I literally gave my all to the Lord. And every time, a miracle followed. I want to build up a bit of consistency, so that its a part of who i am to serve with my whole self, and not hold anything back. Its scary, but it brings results!
Some weeks you have crazy roller coasters and crazy
spiritual experiences that change your entire mission. Some weeks you have
little moments that just make you really happy :) This week was about the
Oscar! Oh my goodness. He is such a miracle. Thank you for
your prayers and fasts on his behalf. This past Tuesday, he participated in
Mutual with the YM and we gave him his first tie!!! Yellow and blue, his
favorite colors. He looked so sharp and you would never know that its only
been...1 month? since he first came to Church. He even said a prayer in front
Members that help us!!!! So every Sunday we leave very early
to walk with our investigators and recent converts to church (and usually we
are waking them up too and helping them get ready). We started down the road to
Matheus, a WONDERFUL recent convert that is verrrrry less active to bring him
to Church and lo and behold - 2 members, in white shirts and ties, knocking on
his door do invite him to church. It made me SO HAPPY to see the members involved,
knowing that they are taking care of these people that I love and they will be
taken care of when I´m gone.
We taught Ávila, a YM that was baptized a couple weeks ago,
about the temple yesterday. The youth are all preparing to go to the temple at
the end of this month - which is a HUGEdeal because the nearest temple is 8 hours away and each youth has to pay
their own way. People here don’t have a lot to spare - it’s hard for couples to
go to the temple together here because they can only afford to pay for one
person. So all the youth are doing yard work, and selling things to try and
earn money to go. (I have been given the title of cake-maker for the yw to
sell) ANYWAY we taught Avila about the temple and he looked at me and said, I
think the worst feeling in the world will be Judgement Day if God says That
person isn’t saved because of something that you didn’t do. And then we read
D&C about How great shall be your joy in the kingdom of heaven if you save
many souls....And we explained how incredible it will be in the end for God to
look at him and say, This person is saved BECAUSE of something that you did :)
And now Avila is getting family names together to go to the temple :) I love
And Presidente Soares is going to let the missionaries watch
the World Cup!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOHHHHOOOOO!!!!!! Because literally NO ONE will
listen to us during the games....so it makes more sense to bond with the
members, watching soccer. :D heehee. Sister Arévalo is offended that we only
get to watch Brasil and not Argentina, but I´m sure they will play each other
at some point and then it will be a hot mess for this companionship haha. Jk. I
Also! Week-long division this week. I´m going to Ala Caico
(think the difference between Manchester and Bedford, but not in the same
chapel Mom). I’m in Manchester and going to Bedford. I think I’ll have to learn
a different style to work there. It’ll be reeeeeeally interesting. Wish me