December 18, 2014

Sprint at the end of a Race

                                                                                                 December 17, 2014

Hi everyone!
Sorry I´ve been a slacker about email lately, the past few weeks have been a little busy (yay for today! it’s the first real pday I´ve had in 3? weeks!)
But what´s going on here in Sousa. We had transfers last week, and looks like I´m finishing up my last transfer here in Sousa with Sister Lawrence! Which is just fine by me ;) Seriously, this area has been an area of miracles every single week and my comp is THE BEST EVER. So I´m really quite happy.
Last week was a whirlwind of spiritual highs and lows! Mostly based on Nezinho, a sweet little old man that we have been teaching. He is so pure! We were helping him prepare for baptism. He was getting a little nervous towards the end of the week, but we had an INCREDIBLE lesson where we literally got to see the Spirit touch and change his heart. Nezinho was a little indecisive and wanted to go to the country this past weekend to help his brother-in-law build a house INSTEAD of going to church and getting baptized. Lame excuse. But we taught about the Plan of Salvation and eternal families and temple marriage. Nezinho´s wife passed away 6 years ago and when he finally understood that he could be with her again, after this life, he started to cry. I don´t know the last time I´ve seen a grown man cry, but then I started to cry too!  We read in the Book of Mormon, 3 Néfi 13:19-21
Don´t treausre up treasures on Earth, where moth and rust consume and thieves steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and thieves cannot steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Forgive the translation...I don’t speak English anymore....)
The Spirit literally used me to explain to Nezinho that he can choose to go to the country and help build the house, but one day this house is going to get old and fall apart. Or he can come to church and be baptized and take the first step in the journey towards creating an eternal family, something that is permanent, something that will last for all time. He began to cry again and promised that he would be baptized on Sunday :)
Unfortunately, due to circumstances out of all of our control, he wasn’t able to be at church on Sunday. It was .... a really hard day for us. We are trying to help him and work things out for him to be baptized this Sunday. Please, PLEASE remember Nezinho in your prayers!
In other news, as much as I would like to avoid it, I´m officially in my last transfer. Sometimes I forget about it, when I´m teaching and finding and everything, but sometimes I get really excited to see my family and eat my favorite foods, and a lot of times I just get really panicky about doing my very best and how hard it will be to leave. This time is truly sacred and every day and every night I am just so grateful for the chance I have to serve. One of my favorite passages in the Book of Mormon gives the best visual - Jacó 5:71-72. The Lord of the Vineyard, laboring side-by-side with his servants. It doesn’t matter the heat of the day, it doesn’t matter if I’m walking half a marathon every day, it doesn’t matter when the people don’t want to hear, or when they want to hear but the voice of the world is louder. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter because I spent my day working side-by-side with the Savior. I´m doing His work, because I love Him and His purpose has become my purpose.
I´m grateful for my mom and dad because every week when they send me an email they prove to me that service in the vineyard of the Lord doesn’t end with the mission. If we are looking for chances to serve and when we have the vision of our purpose here on Earth, the Lord will always give us the opportunity to help. And they help so so SO many people and I´m proud to be their daughter. Maybe someday I can be just as good as them :)
I love you all! Have a great week!
-Sister Carroll


A few other fun tidbits from her personal response email 
We give out 10 #sharethegift cards every day! its going great!
We (the 4 sisters) are going to sing Christmas carols to everyone in our apartment building next week and give out the heisthegift cards. It’s gonna be great! We (us and the elders in our ward) have started singing Christmas songs for our message at lunch. The members love it :)

December 6, 2014

Eyes to see Miracles

                                                                                                            November 17, 2014

Yesterday, an Elder told me that I have a gift - the eyes to see miracles. He told me that I have a gift that I´m able to see miracles that other people can´t, or won´t, recognize. I don´t know if that´s true, but this week really was a week of miracles!

Monday we went back to Natal (did you know that a bus ride from Souza to Natal is almost as long as the plane ride São Paulo to the US?) and Tuesday Sister Cabral and I had the afternoon free to do what we wanted. So what do we do? Go to the beach? Go Christmas shopping? Hang around the mission office? NO WAY! Visit our Recent Converts, of course :) It was the best afternoon ever! Granted, it’s only been 3-4 weeks that I´ve left Natal but it was neat to see the people I taught and baptized still going strong. The highlight of the night was seeing Lucas and Vagner, two YM of gold. I didn’t even have to go looking for them, they were just hanging around the Church waiting for a youth activity to start! Just a few short years and they´ll be on their missions :) also, Marceilda, a YW that was baptized in my first area, went to the temple this past week!!!! She sent me a letter and told me that she has a calling as a ward missionary, she is reading the Book of Mormon for the 3rd time, and she went to the temple <3 a="" bit="" cried="" got="" have="" her="" i="" letter....="" little="" may="" o:p="" when="">

All the traveling didn’t sit quite well with me so I got a little sick this week. The Lord definitely helped us, because we only had 3 days to work in our area and everything worked out in the end, even with the time I spend sleeping (almost 12 hours straight!) I have a renewed testimony of priesthood blessings - the Lord WANTS to heal us! It’s just our faith that is the deciding factor!

Dona Francisca was baptized on Sunday! She´s just the sweetest little old lady (74 years old!) with more backbone than any other investigator I know. Satan threw a bunch of complications our way, but it all worked out in the end. There is a huge drought here in Brasil, the situation is critical. We didn’t have any water to fill the baptismal font so we had to ask the firefighters to fill the font! (If you could pray for rain....we need it. if it doesn’t rain before January, the city will stop functioning). Then when we got to her house to walk with her to church, her family said that she had ALREADY LEFT!  it’s a 30-40 minute walk! In the hot sun! We were so worried about her, we just walked around the whole city trying to find her. Well, we calmed down a bit and stopped to say the most fervent prayer of my life....and then she appeared on the street corner! Ohhh Francisca :) God really hears and answers prayers.

Saturday night was a devotional to celebrate.....THE TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE CHURCH IN SOUZA!!!!! Wooooohhhh! The church is soooo new here. It brought me to tears to hear all the stories of the early efforts and see the sacrifices of the members here. Missionary work is their life - they spend the whole week visiting the members to help everyone get to church on Sunday! Most members have to walk 30-45 minutes in the hot sun to get to church! They really inspire me to be a better missionary. I feel like I´m part of something a lot bigger than me. We´re just all together, literally fighting for the life of Souza inch by inch. I feel like the early missionaries that served in England - it’s the best comparison there is. It was so interesting to hear the conversion stories, one sister of the ward said that it’s not the beautiful chapels but the way the members received the visitors that makes the difference. There wasn’t a church building when she started out, but the irmãs hugged and kissed her and made her feel at home. And that is simply how the church grows. The Presidente da Missão made a goal with the missionaries and church leaders last night that before June 2015, Souza will become a stake!!!!

So, it was a good week! Keep praying for my comp, she´s going home on Saturday and I don´t know what I’m going to do without Sister Cabral!

Please pray for Manual, Daniel, and Serverinho also!
 -Sister Carroll

When in a hurry write your email in Portuguase

                                                                                                   November 10, 2014

Translation of Portuguese email – some phrases didn’t come through quite so well

So .... Maybe I'll start sending emails in Portuguese. Father, mother, if that's too boring I'll stop but it is much easier to write in Portuguese.... and you have Google translate!

This week was WONDERFUL! One of the races of my mission, with a 3 day split with S. Garcia (S. Cabral went to Pombal, a town one hour from here), and then a change. Our old apartment was on the fourth floor, and moved for an apartment on the 3rd floor across town. Thank you for the elders, brothers, and the priesthood in general for help in changing! Sorry for the mission secretaries, arranging contracts is a HEADACHE! After all, ended the week well with the most important things: the Manuel baptisms, Daniel (2 brothers!) And Cícerio (the brother of a recent convert)! It was GORGEOUS and I love them all heart. Daniel wants to go on a mission, lack three years for him. Manuel stopped drinking during these weeks, and when we were on the way to the church for his baptism, one ''amigo'' called him to drink and he did not stop, only said, I do not drink more. He is an example for everyone! Remember Lord Cosmo, who was baptized my first week here? He and his wife made lunch for us yesterday! It was too good :)

A cool story - the spirit really guides us. I and S. Garcia were trying to find a house of a girl who was the reference member. We found the street but the house number simply WAS NOT anywhere! I felt an urgency to find this girl, and then pray there on the street to be guidada to his house. We went for a place on the street a little further away and made a prayer. When we finished, I looked up and saw that her house was literally across the street where we stopped to pray. Miracles have not ceased! Her name is Emmanuele, it is GREAT and your family too. She has accepted baptism and reading the Book of Mormon!

I learned this week a lot about that quote from Pres. Kimball- Every excuse, though it may be valid, weakens the character of the man. It is true! I was reading in Jesus Christ on Good Samaritan, and said that he, of all three who passed the injured man on the street side,''não had no excuse not wanting any desculpa.'' only create excuses when we do not want do something. For example, this week was difficult because I was not with my partner most of the time, and spent a lot of time setting things up for change on Saturday. Still, always had time to visit with ALL of our researchers (investigators – funny how google translated this) and prepare them for baptism. Had to run VERY 9:40 and slept all day, but had time to do all that was important. I''tinha'' many good excuses, but we fail to help these people. Why? Why did not want to apologize, for I LOVE Manuel and Daniel and Cicero. I love them! I wanted to be with them! It is love that motivates when we are busy or tired or a thousand other excuses. Think about that the next time you do not want to do home teaching and visiting teaching, and then sometimes to have that love for those people who are YOUR responsibility to love and care. They will become your best friends.

Love you! Please pray Francisca, Emmanueles, and Mary Solidade this week!
With love,
Sister Carroll