September 23, 2014

Mais uma semana em paraiso

                                                                                                                       September 21, 2014

Okay. Novidades da semana.

(1) I’ve officially forgotten how to speak English. The élderes think it’s really funny. So sorry if me email is short or switches back and forth.
(2) SISTER ACOSTA É ÓTIMA! Seriously. I love my companion. She was one of my best friends on the mission, and now we´re together 24/7! hahaha :D but seriously. We laugh a lot and work hard. She keeps me from getting too stressed.
The ward is great; we had a ton of investigators on Sunday because it was all the members that brought them!
OH! Jaqueline and Luiz are going to get married! Yayyyyyyy!!!!! We spent a good 3 weeks trying to teach them about the law of chastity and they really want to get baptized and they finally decided to get married officially. They don’t have money for a big party, but the irmãs na ala are already planning to make a big cake.
Anne got baptized! After so long! It was great :)


                                                                                                                       September 17, 2014

OK. Hold on. Time is flying way to fast here, it seems like yesterday I was sending the transfer news from 6 weeks ago.

I’m still here in Alecrim! We´re going on 4 months already péople! Luckily it’s a big city. Like, New York but not really. Basically all that means is that there are ALWAYS NEW PEOPLE. And lots of them.
My new comp is a good old friend, Sister Acosta!!!! Another gaucha (number 3!) [from rio grande do sul] and we actually lived together for a good amount of time in Caicó, without being companions. It’s gonna be a blast! I love her to death already. She is going home at the end of this transfer, so we´re going to have to push through, baptize, and throw that trunkiness in the trash where it belongs! Yeah!
I got to go on a neat pday getaway today for Parque das Dunas. Pictures to come. I learned the name of a praying mantis in Portuguese - Louva-a-Deus, which literally translates to Praise God. The bug named  Praise God. Also, I saw 2-headed snakes and coach roaches the size of my hand.

ANNE IS FINALLY GETTING BAPTIZED!!!!! After more than a month! She is so ready, we´re finishing up the plans with the YW president and her boyfriend is coming in from Forteleza to baptize her. It’s going to be so special. I feel so privileged to teach Anne, she is gonna go places. As a matter of fact, she is already planning to go to the temple first week in October: D

Lots of love! Please pray for Anne, Jaqueline e Luiz, e dinha!
-Sister Carroll

September 12, 2014

Trust in the Lord!

                                                                                                September 8, 2014

Helllloooo world!

We had a surprise visitor at Church yesterday - Elder Leal, of the 70! It was really neat to hear him bear his testimony about the plan of salvation and the Atonement. A real privilege :) Not sure if he is the official Autoridade Geral for our mission, but this is the 3rd or 4th time I’ve gotten to talk to him. He is a really Christ like man,

We´re still having some difficulty in our area helping people come to Church. Man, I don’t know what´s up, but things will look up soon. HOWEVER the Elders are teaching an INCREDIBLE family - mom and dad that finally decided to get married last month, and 5 kids ages 6 to 16. And they went to Church! And loved it! And are having fhe and reading the book of Mormon and the kids were so well behaved and president soares is helping the elders teach them and it’s just the sweetest thing to see the whole family sitting together during sacrament meeting. The cool part? Sister Baker and I found this family doing street contacts! We passed them to the elders to teach and we get to watch their progress from the outside :) So that was an awesome experience :)

we´ve been helping a member of the ward who has been going through a messy divorce the past few months and we felt inspired to visit her yesterday (even though we had A TON of other visits that we ´´needed´´ to make). We helped her straighten her hair and do her makeup to go to a devotional later, and shared a message with her and her less-active daughter. And she just starts crying and says, I will never forget you. You two are the only ones that have passed by and every time I’m feeling low, you just appear. I haven’t had any help these past months but you two are always here and I will never forget what you´ve done for my family.

Wow. I almost cried too. There is no feeling in the world like knowing that you were literally the answer to someone´s prayer.

Definition of trust: you will do anything that person asks you to do, without needing a proof or an explanation. You them.

So, do I really TRUST in the Lord?

Food for thought!
Love you all,
S. Carroll

Awesome Zone/things I have eaten

                                                                                                September 1, 2014

My awesome zone! And our new t-shirt!

Yes, we´re the only sisters. Its ridiculous(-ly awesome)

There in the middle is Presidente Morais, the stake pres here. he´s the missionary´s best friend in the field, in the ward counsel room, and on pdays - how he has so much time to help us, I have no idea but it´s AWESOME!
our awesome Natal zone!



Hey all!
Cool things that I´ve eaten in the last few weeks that I forgot to mention:

-alligator...tastes like fried chicken, just a little tough

-tereré - an herbal drink from the Sul de Brasil. You make a drink of bitter herbs and mix it with ice cold lemonade and use a special silver straw called a ´bomba´. It’s more a cultural, fire-side thing because there is just one cup and everyone passes it around. Also, chimarrão is the same thing but hot instead of cold with chamomile tea. SO GOOD

-picado. okay, so this wasn’t so great. it’s basically goat intestines. but when you put a lot of pepper sauce and farofa (flavored flour?) you can almost fool yourself that its beans, which is a staple food here kakakaka

Funny moment:
We´ve been teaching a less-active sister trying to help her come back to church, cause she has a super strong testimony, but she uses any and every excuse to not come to church. We invited her to an activity and she said, Í can’t come. Why? Ummm....umm..... I have only one finger nail painted....?
We looked at her skeptically and then everyone laughed. WEAK. weakest excuse I’ve heard to date. Man, I love her so much but it’s really quite sad that she has this barrier to get out of the house and get to a church meeting.

Moment that made my heart smile:
Vager! Our recent convert! He is 15 years old and soooo sweet. We saw him on the street the other day, eating Açai. (It’s kind of like ice cream but 10x better) We stopped to chat and then asked what we could do to help him. He looked at us and said - can you help me eat? I don’t want my acai anymore!!!
Well, we all know that is a lie but he was so sincere and gave us the puppy eyes look and I knew that if we refused, it would break his heart. so he just gave us açai and you know, that’s the real meaning of the widows mite. He gave all he had, and it was motivated by pure amor.

Favorite member moments:
Anne didn’t come to Church on Sunday :/ she was sick. BUT the YW President was so worried about her that we left the second hour with her to see if Anne was okay. And two YW had been sending messages to her on Saturday asking how midterms were going and if she would make it to Church on Sunday. Seriously, people, this is such a miracle!!!! Our ward is taking care of our investigators! And we didn’t ask them too! I just love Anne so much.
Pérola is the 8-year-old daughter of our Bishop. She´s friends with Alice, the 8-year-old girl of Dantas and family, the family we have been trying to reactivate. They didn’t go to church on Sunday and Pérola noticed before anyone else in the ward and she asked her Dad to go visit them after Church to see if they were okay and why they didn’t come. GO PÉROLA!

Favorite S. Baker moment:
She taught about the allegory of the olive tree for our message for almoço on Sunday and taught me something I never notice before. Every época in the story, when the Lord wants to burn his vineyard, the servant asks for a little more time, just a little more time. But the very last time, the last chance the servant asks for more servants. He doesn’t ask for more time, and the Master doesn’t give more time. Just take a look at the number of full-time missionaries serving today and you will know that this really is the last time, the last chance for the world before Christ comes. He´s asking for more servants. That’s why the prophet is asking the members to work with the missionaries - because in this last chance. We need everyone who has ever covenanted to take upon himself the name of Christ to rise to the call. The full-time missionaries aren’t enough this time.
Okay, so the last month and especially the last week have been really challenging and humbling for me. There have been a lot of difficulties with the area and the members and other missionaries and investigators that have left me wondering if anything I did made a difference. I think I haven’t ever in my life understood more fully the King Benjamin sermon that says even if we give everything we have and are, we will be unprofitable servants.

But. In my time teaching Anne, I’ve started to understand just a little bit more what it means to say that Christ takes away our sins.
We are never going to be able to pay the price for our own sins.
It just won’t happen.
And all our efforts aren’t going to change that.
We will never be able to earn Christ´s grace, we will always be in debt to Him.
But we just have to learn to trust Him enough to give Him our all and He makes up the rest. Its that simple. It’s because He loves us, and He will always be merciful towards us. It’s because of who He is that we are saved.

And our efforts should be less focused on trying to pay back the debt and more focused on appreciating the gift of the Atonement.
I know that Christ lives and loves us and I am so grateful for everything He has given to me. And now I can share this knowledge and testimony with others :)

-Sister Carroll

Good Week!

                                                                                                August 25, 2014

Last week´s email didn’t get sent so..... Here we go

Good week!

Erica was baptized! She has been coming to church for 2 months and has just been getting more and more excited every week! She is going to be such a beautiful YW :)

We met, to date, the most prepared investigator I have ever met! From the very first day we started to teach her, I had the strongest feeling that we knew her before this life. Anne is INCREDIBLE! Her bf is from Forteleza (8 hours away) and he is preparing to serve a mission. She started investigating the church on her own because she didn’t want to change religion just for him. We taught her the first lesson, returned and she said she read the chapter we marked in the book of Mormon 3 times, read in the bible to confirm it, prayed, GOT AN ANSWER, then asked all the members she knew about their experience with praying about the book of Mormon to see if her answer made sense with other answers.

We taught her about temples and she is already preparing family names to go to the temple!

We gave her a personal progress book and she´s already started!

She had questions about the law of chastity so she went to the YW President to clarify her doubts!

She showed up to church 8:30am right on the dot, got there before the other YW!

She already has a part in the youth program for this Saturday!


The Lord is truly preparing people, through angels in heaven and angels on earth, to hear the news of the restored gospel. And I am just so privileged to see His hand in the lives of other people.

So, please pray for Anne :)
-Sister Carroll

September 10, 2014

Tourist time

                                                                                    August 18, 2014

So our pday was AWESOME today (that’s why the email is a bit late)

Presidente Morias, the stake president, took us sight-seeing in downtown Natal on his lunch break. This man is definitely going to heaven. I´ve never met a man with more to do that still takes time to give referrals, teach with the missionaries, and help a couple of Americans see the sights! 

We went to historic Natal and visited a couple government buildings and Old Catholic churches and parks. it was a very Carroll-family type of visit. Reminded me of a freedom-trail Boston experience

Pillar directly from Rome Italy when mussoulini made a deal with the brasileiros

A park that is directly in the CENTER of Natal. how cool?

Folklore from the amazonas


Here we are in front of a really pretty catholic church

If you look carefully, you can see our pictures of the baptism of Jesus Christ

As sister baker (and the wife of president Hinckley) said - life is hard, you either have to cry your way through it or laugh your way through it. I choose to laugh, crying give me a headache 


batismo of Erica! Elder Torres, the missionary couple of the office, is her neighbor and got to baptize her. Really sweet experience :)

Sister baker with a Pepsi can that has the face of David Luiz, our favorite futbol player. World cup fever is still alive and well in brasil
at Historic Natal

super special baptism

Pepsi can with our favorite futbol player David Luiz

in front of a Historic Catholic church

in front of a Historic Catholic Church


in Historic Natal

we are scared...?


one year...?

August 6, 2014

So, this past week made ONE YEAR on the mission. I don’t know where the time has gone.
Transfers!!!!!! Drum roll please.....
I’m still here!
Sister Baker is still here!
Our beloved trainee, S. Carvalho got sent AWAY to Caicó!
Needless to say, I’m very very very very very sad. very. I really wanted to actually stay with her for the whole trainamento. But I’ve long since learned the lesson that the Lord knows better than me so I´ll be fine. It’s weirder than weird to just be me and S. Baker again, because we were together for 3 weeks, then trained together in trio for a transfer, and then she left and we´re back at the beginning! Go figure.

DANTAS AND FAMILY WENT TO CHURCH AGAIN - one month strong people! I am entirely convinced that this family is the most important work I will do in this ward. Allyson, their 15-year-old son, received the priesthood :) Next step is to help his dad prepare for the Melquisideque before the next stake conference. (....just like my little brother Benjamin. How did he get so old?)

We had the COOLEST activity Sunday night - The Night of the Missionary Plaque! The ward here has been a little the missionary fire department. I understand, after enough time of go-getters asking for references it gets a little old. So we planned up an activity to help them FEEL the joy that we have every day. Every returned missionary prepared a table with things from their mission - plaques, journals, old planners, fotos, ties, shoes, gifts from investigators and members, all sorts of things! And the rest of the ward walked around looking at the displays, hearing the missionary stories. At the end, we called all the RMs to the front, name tags on, and sang Called To Serve. Lots of happy tears :) It was so neat to see them remember how wonderful it was to be a missionary and we hope that we´ll work with the members a lot more this transfer.

I learned a lot about agency this week (wouldn’t you know, I learn so much more when I am TEACHING the lessons during the lessons than when I am studying. just one more reason to live what we know). We have been teaching a family for a REALLY long time and they haven’t really progressed in a while. We sat down with the mom to find out what it was and - SURPRISE - she never really read and prayed about the Book of Mormon. No wonder it wasn’t going well, if you don’t have a testimony of this than nothing we say makes a difference. She started giving lots of excuses and we asked her what the real problem is. She said...Well, I guess I don’t really want to read this book. If it’s true, God will touch my heart and make me want to read it and then I´ll know. But He hasn’t touched my heart yet, so I don’t really feel like reading it. If God wants it to happen, then it will happen.

Waiting on God to change our lives for us is a FALSE DOCTRINE.
Ensiando e pregado pelo diáblo.
God does not, and will not, control us. It doesn’t work like that. That was the key difference in the war in heaven- Lucifer wanted to control us, Christ wanted to preserve the free agency that we received from our Heavenly Father EVEN IF we would choose the wrong things sometimes. Testimony doesn’t come if we don’t seek after it. We don’t receive answers if all we do is ask. If we are sad and alone and don’t have work or friends or a family because all we do is sit on the couch all day, it’s not because God wants to see us like this and this was His plan. It’s because we never made the choice to ACT.

God wants us to learn. For this, He lets us make our own choices. So we learn! And grow! And become like Him!

Sometimes I wish that God would just make the choice for me. That He would force me on the path and take away my weaknesses and just make me get back to heaven. But that’s not what He does. He teaches me, and helps me learn to make the right choices. And I´m grateful and overwhelmed at the same time at the trust He has in me. And it is the deepest desire of my heart to always be worthy of this trust.

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