Monday, September 22, 2014

Barreiro: Week 70

Hey everyone!

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY dad today and Kristan on Saturday! :) I bet your favorite present will be seeing me, right? Haha. Hope you both have great birthdays!

Well, this week we did divisions for the last time.We went to Quinta de Conde. I went with Sister Harper who is from Virginia and is SO cute. I loved it. Ryan her brother lives close to DC and I was wondering if you know a Grant and Bethany Harper? That'd be cool if you did :)

We are cleaning out our Area Book really well and visiting everyone in there that was taught by other missionaries in the past. So as we went to find this man Paulo, he walked out of his house. He recognized us as missionaries and immediately stopped and talked to us. We taught him, and turns out he wants to be baptized!! He couldn't before because he moved to France. He came to a baptism and a devotional last night and loved it! Hopefully this Sunday we will have his baptism. :)

I am a little bit freaking out that I only have a week left, but let's be real it hasn't actually sunk in yet. I am going to miss this place a TON. More than I ever thought I would. But I am also excited to see you all! :) I feel like I'm going to have a heart attack when I see you all. I just wanted to write today about some of the few things I have learned on my mission. Hope that's okay. (Not in any specific order of importance haha)
  • Heavenly Father loves us, and knows us perfectly.
  • Jesus Christ is our Savior, our brother, and knows exactly how to help us because He passed through everything we ever have, are or will ever pass through.
  • Families are the most important thing on earth. They come before everything.
  • We must forgive everyone, including ourselves.
  • We don't have to know everything. We know enough to help now, but we need to continually learn more. (I still know nothing haha)
  • We are so blessed to have temples close by. (I'm going my first day back okay?)
  • Our trials strenghthen us and bring us closer to Heavenly Father. I learned more in my harder transfers than in my transfers that were easy.
  • Having the blessings we have means we have a lot of responsibility and work to do.
  • Love is the answer to everything. Really though. Charity never faileth you know? :)
  • America is truly the best place ever. We don't know how blessed we are. We have DRYERS! And CARPET! And AIR CONDITIONING! And CARS! I could go on and on.
  • This earth is AWESOME and beautiful. Take a look at the sky or mountains right now.
  • Portugal Lisbon Mission is the best in the world! :) No one can change my mind.
  • We can always be bettering ourselves and changing. ALWAYS.
  • School is super important. (Shocker coming from me, I know. :) )
  • Heavenly Father answers prayers. Seriously though He does. Every day.
  • What we read, listen to, and watch affects us a ton. It sticks in our heads forever.
  • Material things don't last. Yet, people pay way more attention to the latest clothes, house, cars, phones, and all that stuff they have than they do what really matters.
  • Obedience brings blessings, and we won't have a testimony of any commandment until we live it first. You can't expect the testimony before you try it out.
  • If we follow the prophet we won't need to worry. His words are our biggest blessings.
  • Miracles still happen every day. We just don't always recognize them as miracles.
  • We choose how we react to every situation.
  • Every sin starts with pride. Think about it.
  • This life is a tiny tiny tiny part of eternity. The Plan of Salvation is perfect and real.
Seriously I started writing a list this morning in personal study. I have 10 billion things I could share, but I decided to summarize and simplify it. If we do what Heavenly Father asks, we will seriously be so much happier. It's that simple. This might be the last time I get to email since next week there will be 40 of us at the mission office going home.

I will never regret the decision I made to serve a mission. I wouldn't take it back for 10 gillion gazillion dollars.I had some of the hardest moments of my life, but I also had the BEST experiences of my life. The things I learned here in the past 18 months are things I wouldn't have been able to learn anywhere else! I have met the most incredible people. I have seen them literally change their lives around. Flip them upside down. I have learned that true happiness only comes from living the gospel. It sounds so simple, but it's the putting it into action part that's hard. I have learned how much I still need to work on, and I hope that I can continually better myself forever. That's why we're here! I feel like I'm the same person in some ways, just my priorities have changed. I don't know how I would have gone through life without these things.

I'll miss these people so much. Their missing teeth, cigarette breath, beijinhos, soccer, pastries, public transport, talking to strangers, having people tell you everything about their lives in the first 5 minutes of knowing them, strange foods, people yelling when they talk, and the spirit I feel every day here. I love Portugal!

Thank you for all the support I have felt ever since I started praying about whether or not to come on a mission. I wouldn't be here in Portugal without you guys. I LOVE YOU! Have a great week and I will see you SO soon. :) 2 Timothy 4:7

Sister Carroll

Barreiro: Week 69

Hey! Hope everyone had a great week and didn't get flooded! We had a lot of rain here which makes me happy! :)
Hey so we got to see a couple of minutes of this Women's Broadcast for Europe. It was AWESOME! They had it in Frankfurt, Germany. Ry look and see if you recognize the chapel or the people. Anyway Elder Ballard and Elder Bednar spoke as well and Elder Kearon's wife (the Seventy that came here when I was in Madeira) and a bunch of other great speakers. So... everyone should look it up on :) It applies even though we're not European haha.
Yesterday José got confirmed. It was the most amazing confirmation I've heard because José has talked to us a lot about how he is concerned for his kids and grandkids. In the blessing it talked about how he is going to do a lot to help his family and be a great example to them. It told him to open up his mouth and that Heavenly Father will help him to bear his testimony to his family. We have tried to talk to them and they weren't interested and we feel now that they will be more accepting with the example of José. I know Heavenly Father told him those things to comfort and strengthen him. It told him too that he has a lot left to do in this world. :)
We had divisions in Seixal with Sister Briggs my old comp and Sister Lacey. She's in her 1st transfer. She's cute! She is from Apple Valley, CA. It was a fun day. We were soaked from the rain and just talked to people at bus stops all day haha. Good stuff :)
We went to Benfica so sister Austin could renew her residency here. I got to see some mission pals :) It's always fun to see people I know.
Okay to be honest I don't really have anything new to update you on. Life is good. We're traveling lots and really tired but that's the way we should feel every day. Tired. :) I can't wait to see you all! Have a great week
Sister Carroll
P.S. If I ever accidentally slip and give you "beijinhos" AKA kiss you on both cheeks I just apologie in advance. It shouldn't be legal but it's just a habit now when I greet people. AHHH

Barreiro: Week 68

Hey everyone! 

Hopefully you all had a wonderful week! :) It was a craaaazy busy one here but that's what I prefer. First of all though, HAPPY 20th Bday tomorrow Kelsey and HAPPY 23rd Bday Wednesday Aimee! :) I hope you guys have a wonderful birthday and know that I love you guys! 

Well, we traveled every single day this week. I already told you about Monday in Lisbon. Tuesday we went to Lisbon again for Mission Council. It was so fun! We got to see a ton of my mission friends! Including Elder Cluff who is the only missionary from my MTC district who I hadn't seen yet so I was excited. It was a great meeting too. Sister Brundage forced me into singing with her it was humiliating haha and then I had to bear my testimony since it's my last Mission Council. :( It was scary. I don't think it had really hit me until that. But yeah it was a good day though. Sister Sandholtz (from my MTC district) and Sister Hickey (My Miratejo comp) flew home that day too. So weird they're back! 

Wednesday we went to Setúbal for Zone Meeting. Sis Austin and I were in charge of a getting to know you game which was really fun, a fun practice thing, a musical number, and then again I had to bear my testimony. Haha they were probably sick of me at the end but oh well. Sister Caldwell was there and she started crying and I never have seen her cry so then it hit me oh crap this is it. My last Zone Meeting. That was tough haha. 

Thursday we went back to Setúbal for interviews with President Fluckiger and Sister Fluckiger. It was really good. I love talking to them. When we got back we went to meet with José, that man I met at the bus stop a couple of months ago. He's been going to church every week. That day he wasn't feeling well so the Elders gave him a blessing. The Elder started crying at the end and the member was feeling super worried and basically what they felt is that José needed to be baptized soon. So we taught him everything Saturday and got him interviewed. He was baptized yesterday! It was really great. He is a very nice man. He turns 80 next Monday! Haha 

That night we went to MIRATEJO!!! :) We slept over and then the next morning Sister Austin and Derrick left to go to Barreiro and I stayed with Sister Caldwell there. I called Castro and before I said who it was he goes, "OH! What is this a miracle?" We taught my recent convert Bela, Teresa a member worked with us the whole day, I spoke on the phone to the Mendes family, we taught one of the less actives I was working with Carlos Lisboa, I saw a recent convert Jessica, and walking in the street randomly I saw my recent convert Neidinha who just got back from EJS which is basically EFY for Young Single Adults and she loved it. We saw Carlos and Maria João Santos and they came to a ward activity to spend more time with me, and then at the activity Mayara my RC, Castro my RC, and Nuno a member were there! Oh my goodness it was the best day ever. It was good to be able to say goodbye to them. I was able to show Sis Caldwell where all my old investigators live so she can start teaching them again. It was so fun to spend the day with Sis Caldwell too! I love her.

Saturday we came home from Miratejo, did weekly planning and then helped a member Alda clean out her garage for a service project. She is a funny lady. Then of course there's Sunday with the baptism. Sis Austin made brownies and everyone freaked out. They don't have those here. haha. 

Okay literally this email is so scatter brained I don't know what else to tell you. Basically we're tired from all the traveling but we had a good week. :) This week we have to go to Lisbon to do our residency again and we're doing a division with SIster Briggs and Lacey in Seixal. It will be fun! :)

It's raining right now! WOOHOO! Love you all! :) Have a great week.

Oh and before I forget, there are 2 mormon messages I saw this week that are super good that everyone should watch. Well, they're all good but watch these at least. They're called "Origin" and "Leave the Party". They're SICK! Okay bye! 

Sister Carroll

Barreiro: Week 67

So hey!
Today for P day guess what we did? We went to an aquarium in Lisboa! :) It was so awesome. They have a temporary display of a specific sea animal whenever you go and this time it was SEA TURTLES!!! Seriously it was the best day of my life. They had 3 of the species that I worked with in C.R. I didn't get to touch them because it was in a big tank and yeah obviously but it was just fun to see them. :)
This week I did a division with Sister Camacho. She is from Texas but her parents are Mexican so her first lanugage is spanish. It was so fun learning about her culture! She is a great missionary it was fun. This week we have Mission Council in Lisbon (Tues), Zone Meeting in Setúbal (Wed), Interviews in Setúbal (Thurs), Divisions in Miratejo (Fri) WOOHOOOOOO! :) :) :) I get to see Castro!!!, and then a service project here at a member's house on Sat. It will be a busy week but it will be fun!
Today at the metro station I saw Elder Cluff (From my MTC district who is the only elder I hadn't seen yet), and Sister Brundage my roomy from Madeira! It was sooo fun to see them. I get to again tomorrow but still haha. We dropped off Elder Moore today to go home. He flies out Wednesday back to England. We are now in a 4 missionary district. Our DL is from Norway and the rest of us are Utards.
The work has been super slow this week. We're working with less actives and member references but we're trying to get a bigger teaching pool. Pray for us! Haha it's so much better when you have lots of people to teach.
Davinia went to FSY (since they no longer call it EFY here) this week and LOVED IT! She cried when she had to come home she had so much fun. I am really happy she went.
This week I studied a lot about how much we matter to Heavenly Father. There are 2 talks by President Uchtdorf I studied that are really popular so it's probably nothing new, but one is "You Matter to Him" and the other is "Forget Me Not". If you haven't read them, or even if you have, read them. It is really cool to know that even though we are nothing in comparison to the universe and the grand scheme of things, we are known to our Heavenly Father and He loves us more than the whole Universe. (Which He made just for us! :) )
Basically that's it. It's hot and we're sweaty, but life is good! Just realized I officially can say, "See you all this month!" WEIRD. Sorry my emails are so lame. Love you guys anyway! :) Have an excellent week!
Sister Carroll

Barreiro: Week 66

Olá gente!!! Tudo Bem?
Well, this week was fun. We got a new roommate on Thursday. She is brand spaking new in the mission too so it's fun. It's fun to remember that all the things here in Portugal and the missionary lifestyle weren't always normal to me. Now it feels like just life haha. Her name is Sister Larson she's from American Fork, Utah. We love her!
Before I forget to tell you, my companion is from Highland, Utah and she knows Alan Van! He was her singles ward bishop. She's met Dana and Shane and Morgan too haha and been to their house. Small world!
This week is EFY in Portugal. Since there aren't TONS of youth they only do one session in Porto. Davinia is going! :) She has been so excited she had her bags packed for a while and was asking questions every two seconds. They left this morning at 5am so we'll see how it was in a few days. Not going to lie I'm pretty jealous. Wish I could go too haha. I'm happy she went it will be way good for her.
We have a member who is Davinia's friend named Rafaela who is 14. She is giving us references like crazy! She introduced us to like 4 new friends yesterday that are AWESOME! Seriously. This girl named Angela already read 115 pages of the Book of Mormon in one day. She stayed up all night reading. The boys said a prayer with us and afterwards one said, "Woah. I feel really good and happy." We are going to talk to them again tomorrow. It was probably the funnest lesson I've had in my whole mission. We just all sat around and they were so interested and paid close attention. Love when that happens :)
The wedding we're in is probably going to be this weekend. It depends how fast they can do the paperwork in the city but I am so excited! They are the nicest people in the world.
Sister Austin is super funny. She is a genious seriously. She was home schooled so she graduated way fast and went to BYU when she was 15. Her brother went when he was 13. There are 9 kids in her family and they've all served missions so far. She has a memory like I've never seen. She can literally remember every detail of every book, movie, and song she's ever heard. Better than me. It's entertaining.
Oh I forgot! On Thursday it was Elder Moore's birthday slash this is his last week on the mission. So he told us once his dream was to have something thrown in his face like a cake. So while he was on his morning run we planned with the other elders so that we hid around a corner and threw yogurt in his face. It scared him really bad and he had yogurt in his ear for a while, but he was happy haha.
My trainer is officially home from her mission, and Sister Hickey and Sandholtz have one week left. It's started to get real, and I'm freaking out. I'm doing fine though don't worry. I think it's making me want to work harder because I know time is running out. I sometimes feel like they jipped me and cut my mission short haha it just doesn't feel like I could possibly be in my last transfer. But life goes on! I'm excited to see all of you :)
That's about it. :) We are working hard and having fun. Let me know if any of you want anything from here. I don't have much more shopping time. Love you!
Sister Carroll

Barreiro: Week 65

Hey gente!
Well, never thought I'd say this but today is officially the first day of my last transfer here on the mission. I am actually staying in Barreiro. Sister Caldwell left to serve in my old area Miratejo! I am serving with my roommate from last transfer Sister Austin. She is a great girl from Utah. She is super obedient she will be great! We are Sister Training Leaders together and I actually get to do a division in Miratejo I am excited!
This week was cool. We got asked by some of the Elders investigators (actually remember the 3 year old who calls me princess? His parents.) to be bridesmaids at their wedding. I am so excited! Haha. It should be in a couple more weeks. Woohoo! Also, the girl in the pictures I sent today, Diana, got engaged last week to an American she met on her mission. He is from Alaska, and because it's so far away they are getting married in Salt Lake. Neither of them live there or know anything so they asked me to help plan the wedding when I get back there. I am a little freaked out because I know nothing about this stuff haha. Hopefully everything works out. I need help!
On Thursday we played the best prank. The week before we called the Elders and told them it was Sister Austins birthday and we were going to do a surprise for her. So we set it all up and asked them to just bring a cake. We didn't tell the other sisters either. So then Thursday we are all waiting in the chapel for the surprise and when we sneak up behind them we all start singing with this cake. She turns around and right when they finish the song she just goes, "It's not my birthday! Sister Carroll and Caldwell which one of you did this?!" Hahaha oh my goodness everyone's faces were priceless. They looked so confused and we were just dying laughing. We ended up just eating the cake to "celebrate" one of the Elders who goes home today. It was a good day.
Yesterday in sacrament I look up right as they are announcing the speakers and the branch president just mouths to me, " I'm so sorry. You have to speak." Someone didn't show up or something so they literally gave me 10 seconds notice haha. I just turned to a random scripture and spoke about the Sabbath Day haha. It was not a good talk, but whatever. Life of a missionary.
Anyway, that is about it. We did divisions in Quinta de Conde this week. It was fun. We are in a trio for 3 days until the other sister gets here. It is going to be a good transfer! I'll miss Sister Caldwell but I love Sister Austin too.  Love you guys. Have a great week!
Sister Carroll