July 29, 2014

As Familias Poderao Ser Eternas

July 28, 2014

Twas a good week! Here are some highlights -

Dantas and family!!!! Ahhhh! 3 WEEKS STRAIGHT GOING TO CHURCH! And this time the WHOLE family was there again! And they stayed for all the meetings! Alice received the gift of the Holy Ghost and during the blessing me, Sister Carvalho and Sister Baker all had the distinct feeling that one day she would serve a mission. I can’t wait! Allyson had an interview with the Bishop to receive the priesthood and has been going to Seminary every day! Dantas is not only going to the regular Sunday meetings, but went to the devotional on Sunday night without any member or missionary help...he just paid attention to the announcements in sacrament meeting, and then went! Seriously, this family is so wonderful. (Continued prayers are welcome!)

Last Monday night, we taught them how to do a Family Home Evening. When we showed up, Alderiluce (the mom) had searched out and found all of the church material they had hidden in the house - RS manual, Liahonas, Principles of the Gospel, everything - laid out ready for the FHE! Everyone participated, singing and reading scriptures and when Allice said the prayer at the end, her dad got all emotional and gave her a kiss on the forehead. I had already lost it when we all sang Families Can Be Together Forever :)

We are teaching another wonderful family as well - Ricardo and Cristiane. They have 3 kids, including one with special needs, so they stopped going to church after the kids were born. Cristiane says that she knows it doesn’t matter to God if she is at Church with a screaming baby, but the people inside the churches don’t like it so she stopped going. It was quite touching to explain that God created the church to help families, not to exclude them. They are very excited to go to Church on Sunday and have a baptismal date for the end of the month!!!!! (Prayers welcomed as well).

Basically, Presidente Soares gave an incredible training about the need to find and teach whole families and prepare them to go to the temple. We had a wonderful district meeting that touched on this aspect and Sister Carvalho bore her testimony of her little niece that is 2 years old and already knows when it’s time to pray and who Jesus Christ is. Very emotional. We´ve spent the whole week finding and teaching families and it makes the work so much more satisfying.

The only way to bear any moving testimony of eternal families is when we learn to value our own families. The more love and appreciation we have for our families, the more power behind our words. The Spirit is strongest when we are speaking from personal experience. Dad, I’m grateful for your example and everything you taught me to always do my best. Never Settle. I value even more the letters you send me every week and value the chance to still learn from your example. Mom, I am so glad that you loved me enough to give up everything to stay at home and teach me. To be the only mom on the playground in Boston, with a huge group of nannies. To know that I will always have an email in my inbox and that after 1 year on the mission, my family is still just as faithful in supporting me as you were in the beginning. Benjamin, I’m grateful for your example of love and patience. I am inspired every week with the stories Mom sends and you are NOT a Sunday-only member of the Church. You love, and because you love, you serve and every week it is an inspiration to me.

I understand that we have to have an eternal family to reach the highest degree of exaltation because it is only in FAMILY that we can experience the greatest joys and blessings of eternity. God´s greatest joy comes from seeing His children succeed, so if we want to be like Him this will be our greatest joy and blessing here on Earth and in the heavens. ``All the Father hath´´ as promised to us in the scriptures doesn’t really consist of principalities and worldly power and great mansions. It’s the opportunity to see our families grow....forever. Forever! And what a wonderful blessing it is.

I know that my Redeemer lives and loves me. I stand all amazed at the love that He has, to die for me. But I am in awe of the love of a Father that gave His only Son to die for me. And I will try every day to be worthy of this great gift.

I love you all!
-Sister Carroll

Even the Little Things

Hi everyone!                                                                                    July 21, 2014

 So, this week was actually...normal? If normal weeks exist on the mission. We spent most of the week trying to find new investigators because our work right now has been with less-active families. Which is awesome but....there are definitely people waiting for us, and waiting for the message that only we can bring! It’s been an uphill climb, for sure.

We´ve been working a lot with Dantas and family! It’s been great! The Stake President has been helping us visit them and we taught an incredible lesson on the gift of the Holy Ghost. How much do I appreciate the gift of the Holy Ghost? Out of all the blessings the Lord could promise during the sacred ordinance of the sacrament, it’s the gift to always have his spirit to be with us. Not forgiveness, not health, not safety, not even eternal life - it’s that we can have his spirit for one more week. And when we choose, actively choose, to disobey EVEN THE LITTLE THINGS, especially the little things, we lose a little bit of the Spirit. Maybe it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it just shows the Lord how little we value the gift he has given us. Think on that.

 So Dantas and the whole family came to church for the SECOND TIME IN A ROW!!!! (....this is the first time in over 5 years. miracles!) And we are going to teach them tonight how to do a family home evening. It’s gonna be great.

Lots of love! Pray for our investigators!
I can just feel it, this next week is gonna be incredible. Stay tuned for more milagres :)

-Sister Carroll

July 14, 2014


Hi there!                                                                                  July 14, 2014

So this week was interesting, I KNOCKED DOORS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY MISSION. Let me explain
I spent the week with another sister, Sister de Oliveira, in what is probably the RICHEST area of the mission. Plus side: we got to go to the gym that’s part of their apartment complex to exercise in the morning. Also, all the members have cars. Down side: it’s really dang hard to find someone who wants to listen to our message.
So it was a really good growing experience for me. I don’t think I´ve been sufficiently grateful for my mission - Missão Brasil Natal. It really is heaven on earth here. In general, the people want to listen! We see miracles every day! We always have people to teach! I am so, SO grateful that the Lord has put me in a place where the people will listen to me. Most of my mission has been teaching, not finding people to teach, and this has made the experience that much sweeter. This past week was a rough wake up call to what the rest of the world is like, when people DONT want to hear and I have an even greater love and respect for the missionaries serving in different parts of the world.

But, live and learn, right? One thing my mission president loves to say is
Ser diligente é fazer tudo certo mesmo que tudo está dando errado. - To be diligent is to do everything right even when everything is going wrong. Words to live by. I’m still working on my diligence.
We are working with 2 WONDERFUL families right now that really, really need your prayers! Dantas and family are a mom, dad, and 4 children that are less-active and live NEXT DOOR to the Church. (Even still, they find excuses to not go to church...?) We have been teaching and preparing they´re youngest daughter, Alice, for baptism these past weeks and she was finally baptized yesterday!!! But the real work is helping the whole family come back. They are so close!!!!! They never went to the temple :( But that’s why we´re here. We taught the plan of salvation and asked Alice (8 years old) if she want to be with her family forever and she said, Yes of course! And the mom almost cried. They are so close, but we don’t know what is keeping them from returning! So....prayers. Please. I just want to get this family to the temple.

We are also teaching Tiago Fransisco and Cristiane, and their 3 sons. We had a really spiritual lesson last night and read John 3 together and asked what it means to be born again. The spirit was SO STRONG and at the end of the lesson it was so natural to invite them all to prepare to be baptized. It was the Spirit that taught everything, and they accepted to prepare for August 10th! We need to help them get married first, but that’s okay we have the Lord on our side. One more family to put on the path to the temple.

Close with a little spiritual thought-
As missionaries (and members) that have taken upon us the name of Christ, we often have a very good idea the weight and responsibilities that this name carries. At least, I never forget. I never forget the magnitude of what I have to do and who I represent. But don’t have the same understanding of all the blessings and saving grace that is the other side of these covenants. When we are sincerely, honestly striving to do our best and give everything the Lord will complete our efforts. Our best efforts won’t always be up to the task, but He has promised to never leave us alone. Never. Remember that covenants are a two-way promise, and the Lord has promised to do His part when we do ours.

I love you all! Until next week!
-Sister Carroll

(Also, I almost cried this week because of the World Cup. It’s just plain sad!!!!! )


July 9, 2014


July 7, 2014

I have not had time to THINK literally all week! Just running and doing and teaching and praying and time to sit and ponder just hasn’t happened so sorry if this email isn’t particularly inspiring. Here are the highlights.
(Also, I never want a civil wedding. just temple. I’m not trunky, but the wedding was so different than what I’ve always imagined for myself. temple wedding = priority. always)

And almost the whole ward counsel was there!!!! Members that go to convert baptisms are my favorite people ever. The Pres of the RS even introduced Cintia´s visiting teacher for her. Literally perfect!

A YM that received all the lessons with other sisters, but his parents never let him get baptized showed up at church and said, I want to be baptized today and my mom said I could. UM, MIRACLE?!?!?! He passed the baptismal interview with flying colors and we had a lovely baptismal service with lots of support from the members....the YM Pres is his neighbor :)

Right now I’m working on memorizing the national anthem during language study. Its reeaaallly hard, those of you with YouTube should go listen to it.

So, this month is my month of faith. I like to think that I have a lot of faith in Jesus Christ, but there are plenty of his teachings that I don’t quite have a testimony yet. I decided that I really wanted to gain a testimony of a LIVING PROPHET. And the best way to do that is....do what he teaches us! Put it in practice! And he has been teaching us for the past 2 YEARS PEOPLE that Now is the moment for members and missionaries to work together to bring souls to Christ. Work together :)

You know, sometimes it’s challenging to be a missionary. We love the members and we get sad and frustrated when it’s not only the people on the street that constantly reject us, but the very members of Christ´s church that reject our invitations as well. Invitations to act - to teach, to invite, to open their mouths. To pray. To help. So...after a while we stop asking. It appears easier to work alone. But this month, I’m not going to do that! I’m going to try my very, very best to follow what a prophet of God has taught us. I’m going to love the members, I’m going to serve them, and I am going to help them understand the same joy that I feel every day! The joy of feeling the Spirit touch other people through our righteous choices :)

You know how the prophets always ask for the members to pray specifically every day for missionary moments? Well, I’ve flipped the invitation this past week. I´ve been praying every day to have ´member moments´. Opportunities every single day to work with the members and help them get involved in our work and help them help their friends and family as well. And would you believe it? Every. Single. Day. I have taught a friend or family member of some brother or sister in the ward, with the member sitting at my side and testifying. I have seen the light of the missionary fire in their eyes and helped them remember how good it is to serve other people. And I LOVE to work with these wonderful brothers and sisters!

Please, if you have ever raised your hand to the square to sustain our prophet, please listen to what the Lord is asking us to do. Help the missionaries. Better yet, help your friends who don’t know the glorious news! And then after, invite the missionaries!

I love you all very much :)
-Sister Carroll