Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Week 3-A FOX not a Vulture!

Hello there my family (and friends via the blog),
This week has certainly been good, just interesting! It was a little difficult getting back from the surgery and my branch president and doctor kept on telling me to take more naps, most recently on Sunday during Branch Council. I LOVE naps as you know, but I don't want to have to take them because I want to be obedient you know? But I am listening to them and I am feeling much better. I ran for like 5 minutes last week which was nice and yesterday morning I played soccer for the first time which was way nice, although it was more frustrating than nice because I can't really exert myself and so it was difficult to keep myself from pushing too hard. It was also really crowded but it was nice to be able to run a little bit and work up a sweat. Right now there are a bunch of missionaries going to Russia in the lab that we are in and they are struggling to focus which is definitely preventing me from focusing as well, haha sorry about that! I love that Bradley had a great time at EFY and I would love to hear from him!! Also, once again, dear elder letters are like the best thing in the entire world... haha so I encourage all to write them. And yes, it is for an entirely selfish reason. Haha I also haven't had my follow up appointment yet, they didn't want me to come in until this week and the only day open was this Friday so I will be going then. I feel pretty good and my cuts are healing up. Portuguese is great, as always, and the other day we heard some elders speaking Spanish so we tried to say some things in Spanish and it sounded SO UGLY! Haha I am sorry father and Kyle but Portuguese truly sounds so much more beautiful to me right now! Yesterday we started our first day as a district from now on of having one meal each day only in Portuguese, it was super fun and tomorrow for the first half of the day we are only speaking Portuguese as well, which will be really good for our district. It is difficult but it surprises me every time we do it because you realize just how much you know, even if it means you have to say something in a roundabout way, or circumlocation. So Portuguese is going really well! Also, we had our first TRC, which is when we get to teach member volunteers who speak Portuguese and we teach them as themselves, not as roleplaying investigators. It was such an uplifting experience and I asked her to share her conversion story (she grew up in Mexico, but speaks Spanish, English, Portuguese, and Japanese) and it was so sweet to hear her simple experience of feeling the Holy Ghost and the comfort and peace that comes from receiving an answer to prayer. I loved it.

Also, speaking of district meetings, I am officially released as the DL! In the MTC we only serve for 3 weeks so that another individual can have the opportunity to lead as well, so I was released and Elder McLaughlin was called as the new one, he is going to do a really good job and I am really excited to have him as the DL because I can tell that he has a lot to contribute and bring that I don't have. So that's good, although it has taken some adjusting so far!

On Sunday we lucked out and were finally able to listen to a talk during the movie time (we get a choice each week of different movies like The Testament, Joseph Smith, and other talks from General Authorities) called Character of Christ, by Elder Bednar. I had been told that I NEEDED to see that talk during my time here and it is always super hard because the room it is in is full like an hour and a half before hand, but this time it was in the gym so it was great! It seriously was so powerful, it is a talk he gave to the missionaries here at the MTC on Christmas Day a couple years ago, and do your absolute best to find it, although I don't know if you can since it was an MTC devotional. I LOVED it. The spirit was so strong, and he talked about the character of Christ which is that when the natural man in all of us turns inward and is selfish, Christ always turns outward in service to others. Elder Bednar said that unless Christ had this character, the Atonement would not be able to exist, because when any other mortal being would give in, stop, be selfish, or turn inward, Christ turned outward countless times, climaxing at the Atonement when He took on everyone's sins, pains, trials, weaknesses, sadness, and hurt. I loved it, Elder Bednar challenged us to read through the scriptures and find examples of the character of Christ as well. He also described that only through the Atonement can we become more like Christ, and that we must continually work at repenting and having faith in the Atonement so that we can increasingly become like our Savior. He gave an incredibly powerful example, when he was Stake Pres, a woman called him and told him an accident had happened and three teenage girls were in it, two of which were being sent to a local hospital. The woman asked Elder Bednar to go to the hosp and help identify the girls so that their families could be told and more info could be found out. While she was talking on the phone to him, the woman found out that her daughter, her only child, had just been pronounced dead. Her first reaction was to ask Elder Bednar to contact the other families and help them in any way in providing for their daughters and helping info flow to them so that they knew of their condition. This woman was crushed by the news, in a way that I have no understanding, but her first reaction was to think of the families and their hurt and needs. Then she contacted Elder Bednar a couple days later to ask him if he and his wife would like to go to the funeral home to see their daughter after she had been fixed up to look like she did before the accident so that his only memory of her daughter would not be how she looked after the accident. Finally, she was relief society president and on the morning of her daughter's funeral, a woman in her ward called her and chewed her out because she had been sick that weekend and no one in the RS had contacted her and brought her food, being unaware of the accident. The woman did not tell her and instead brought a meal herself on the way to the funeral. As you can imagine this story had a very profound effect on those listening and on me. During district meeting we were talking bout the Atonement and the Holy Ghost and I had felt like I should share briefly the comfort and healing I felt from the Atonement via the Holy Ghost after the accident when I was 13, and then that night we listend to this talk. I found myself asking if I would have done the same in that woman's situation, and reflecting on the times when I turned inward during trials when I should or could have been thinking of others. I hope that I can become more like Christ as I teach others about Him. It was truly an inspiring talk and helped me have a strong desire to be more Christ-like.
Also, did dad and Katy get my letters yet? It is hard because we hear of people never getting letters sent so I really hope they got those! I am so glad that you were able to go up into the mountains, it sounds really fun, and I miss the Colorado mountains, but not too much! Haha yesterday we had our first culture lesson by our sub teacher who is a native Brazilian. I absolutely loved it and had a fantastic time hearing more about the culture and everything!! I learned so much and I wish I could share more of it with you! I don't have a lot of time as always, but I will have to write a letter talking about some more of it. I am singing in the choir again tonight but I have kind of a sore throat so hopefully I don't make anyone cringe too much! Please express my love for the rest of our family and my friends, I have loved hearing from all of them.
Oh also, our district is basically falling apart! Haha so I got my appendix out, my companion got a migraine for an entire day last week, Elder Turk had to get an MRI and a heart monitor for chest pain (he is fine now), Elder McLaughlin tore off his big toenail playing soccer, and Elder Wilson had this crazy cough so he had to get meds for that! All last week!!!! It was certainly interesting and difficult because each missionary contributes so much in class so it was hard to not have everyone there last week. But we are all doing better now and everyone loved your cookies mom! Haha they call you the District Mom because of how nice you were in sending letters and other gifts and snacks! Haha so thanks!!! Also, our district decided I look like a fox (I don't know if that was in reference to the animal or just my dashing good looks) and NOT A VULTURE! Haha so take that everyone back home, Elder Daniel Scott Carney is officially not a vulture, at least in these people's minds! Haha I thought it was pretty funny though. I am really enjoying life here and I feel so lifted up each day as I pray for help and assistance in everything that I do. I am keeping everyone in our family in my prayers and I am praying for a lot of my friends too, you really come to appreciate prayer even more out here. I love you all and have a FANTASTIC week!

Elder Danny Carney

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Back in action!! Week 2

Hello again!!
I am officially back at the MTC and loving it! For those of you who are not aware, I had an interesting week this last week which included a fun trip to the hospital to get my appendix removed. So that was exciting! On thursday of last week I was playing soccer and we were killing it but I just felt really out of it and attributed that to being dehyrdated or something. So the rest of that night I didn't feel too good but then that night I wasn't able to sleep at all and so in the morning I went to the health center here where I was able to see the doctor. He took some blood for testing and then told me to go take a nap. I was woken up by security knocking on my door and they told me to go to the health center immediately without eating any food! While i was waiting in the doctor's office by myself I was wondering what was going on and I looked around me and above my head on the wall was a framed scripture. It was Joshua 1:9 which is "Be strong and of a good courage, be not afraid neither be thou dismayed for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." That is one of ym all time favorite scriptures and it is also the scripture I chose as my mission scripture before I left. I knew that was not a coincidenec and also then that everything would work out for the best. I had a great feeling of peace come over me and I just knew that whatever happened, God was in it and would be with me. I was told by the doctor I had a high white blood cell count and be3cause the pain was where my appendix is they wante me to get a ct scan immediately. So my companion and I went on a field trip and I got a ct scan which was very interesting! Haha it is just a different procedure and i had to drink this contrast stuff which was NASTY, but then I waited for another half hour for the results and the doctor from the MTC called and told me I had appendicitis and would need surgery immediately. Haha so that was interesting!! They sent a shuttle to take me to the hospital here in Provo and I was in surgery a couple hours later. From this the MTC told me I could talk to my family and my brother Kyle and his wife Taylor were able to see me, as well as my Aunt Bonnie and my little brother Booboo (bradley) when he flew in the next morning for EFY! So I went into surgery and they got that little booger out without any problems and soon after that I was sipping on chicken broth (I hadn't eaten since breakfast so it tasted so good!) and just chillling in my new hospital room! It was great to see and talk with my family but it was also so weird because I feel so focused right now and didn't like the feeling of being normal or anything again! Haha but don't get me wrong it was nice to get into contact with everyone again! The next day I worked back up to normal food, got to walk around, and made friends with all my nurses (Ron and Megan were my favorites, they were my night nurses and were super nice and fun to talk to when they woke me up throughout the night for vitals). I was told if I was home I would have been able to leave the hospital the next day but because the MTC is so intense and bad for recovery I had to stay until Sunday Morning. So overall I had a nice little trip to the hospital, got to eat some good broth and eventually other foods, was able to talk to my family a bunch, and made friends with Ron and Megan. Haha that is about a nice summary of the experience. I have three nice little incisions now and i actually am hurting now more than before but I know that it is for the better! Also, I was told I could play soccer and run on Monday but I would have to go SUPER easy... which as most of you know is difficult for me to do, especially when our soccer team is undefeated. So on monday morning I instead walked a couple laps on the track (going insane in the process) and then got out in 4 square by a bunch of sisters beacuse my movement is really restricted right now (gym time was a humbling experience for me). Overall I am so glad to be back here and studying again and being abel to be in this atmosphere and with this district! I love the elders and sisters in my district and I am so grateful that I have them with me as we are all trying to learn the language. Oh also I don't htink I made it clear how AMAZING my family is and how kind and supportive they were as I was in the hospital, even my dear Aunt Bonnie was doing everything she possible could to make me comfortable! Also, I am wincing right now as I type because it is so hard not to correct myself, but once again there is limited time so I won't be goign back! Sorry!
Most of this alst week wasn't super interesting beacuse of my surgery so unfortunately I don't have a ton to write about so that kind of stinks but it definitely was good that I was here in Provo instead of at the MTC in Brazil for this whole experience. I heard the medical resources in Sao Paulo are fantastic and that I would have been totally fine if this happened there, but I know if anything it would hav been harder on my mom and family if I were there, because basically I am their everything... right? Haha no I am glad they caught it here and it shows yet another tender mercy in my life from God. I love being back here with the great atmosphere and already on Sunday night and yesterday I felt so lifted up by various talks and quotes. I have also come to have a greater testimony of prayer since I have come here. I have made it a goal to pray each night by name for each elder and sister in my district and it has brought so much more love and charity in my life for them. I love each of them dearly and I have done that for my friends and family as well. Many of you don't even know, but I have found so much power and peace in praying for those who I love and genuinely wanting blessings to come upon them. It has enabled me to feel slightly more what Heavenly Father and Christ feel for me and all of us, and their infinite love for us. It truly has been humbling to try to contemplate how much love they have for us, which makes you want to love everyone else all the more.
My brother shared a FANTASTIC quote with me while I was in the hospital, and it was from his mission president. It goes something like this: (Also, sorry Kyle if I butcher it slightly)
 "We do not go on missions to be the people we were when we left our hometowns, we go on missions to be the people we were when we left the presence of our Heavenly Father."
I'll let that sink in.
I absolutely LOVE that quote. I am here to become what my Heavenly Father wants me to be. I am here to become better, to become more Christ-like, and to be his servant. I loved that and it really helped lift me up while I was bored to death in the hospital room. I know that I am a son of God and that He loves me more than I can comprehend. I know that I lived with him as a spirit before this life and that He wants me to return to live with Him again. This truth is so helpful as we go through struggles, to realize and think that we are of divine nature and have God as the father of our spirits. I hope I can do a good job helping teach others in Brazil this.
Also, Portuguese is so awesome. I am growing to love it so much and i am picking it up a lot faster now. I still have complete blanks often, thanks Elder Thomas for saving me yesterday during our lesson, but I love being able to communicate in such a fascinating and beautiful language.
Also, I am doing choir again (we had practice on Sunda and I realized that my breathing capacity is a little limited right now that was probably painful/amusing for htose around me) but we are singing Nearer My God to Thee in the devotional tonight and it is so cool to be a part of that. I am singing tenor which is hard but there are seriously like 1,000 people in our choir so it is not too vital that I sing perfectly. Haha I lvoe it though and I love that song, if you have time you should look up the meanign of that song, it made it all the better for me as I had never heard that before.
Unfortunately, like I said, I don't have a ton of info right now, my appendix kind of took out a raelly large chunk from my week (and my abdomen... haha sorry, bad puns are a lot of the humor we get to have around here) and so I don't havbe a lot of new information.
OH!! Also, I have absolutely loved getting dear elders and letters and emails from you all!!!! It is so nice and it brings such an incredbile lift to my day!! Thank you to everyone who has done that so far, it has been so helpful!!! I am really bad at writing back, but I also don;'t have like any time, so I am working on it and I apologize for being so bad at that, just know it really is appreciated!!!! Also, feel free to email me on here that way I have your email, I basically don't have anyones, but I also don't have a lot of time to write anyways so if not I understand!
Well I love you all, thanks for being so great! Tchau!
Com Amor,
Elder Carney

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

ER Adventures

Well, it was an interesting weekend for our missionary!  We got a call from the MTC (missionary training center) that he was headed to the hospital with Appendicitis!  They let his brother & sister in law, Kyle & Taylor, go to the hospital to be with him, and his sweet Aunt Bonnie came & was the stand in Mom!!  Then, because he was in the hospital 2 days, Bradley was headed to EFY in Provo, and got to see him as well!  Unexpected bonus to a not so fun adventure!  Everything went smoothly and  Elder Carney is happy to be back at the MTC studying & working hard!  Thanks for all of your prayers on his behalf!

Danny's First Week!

Here are a couple of pictures at the airport of our cute missionary departing on his great adventure and his first email!!!

Family!!! I am going to do one letter for all of you because we don't get very much time here for emails. I have so deeply appreciated the emails and letters from all of you (literally all of you) and so many of my friends. It is hard to understand the ability a letter can have on lifting you up in the mission, they are basically the best things ever. Haha I also see that you all figured out That's good, because it is way easy.
I absolutely love it here!!! It is so incredbily hard, but even better than it is hard. I have experienced so much growth this first week and I am so grateful for this experience. The first couple days were some of the most difficult, trying, and long days of my life. They were super hard, I was feeling very inadequate (and still do most of the time), and Portuguese is VERY different from English. My teacher only speaks to us in Portuguese and from the beginning it has been an adventure trying to learn what he is saying. My teacher is Irmao (Brother) McGill, and he served right above my mission. My district is awesome, we have a lot of trouble focusing, which has been kind of hard on me beacuse I need all the help I can get, but I am learning patience and love for these elders and sisters. My companion is Elder Thomas, the missionary who was saying bye to his family in the Airport when we were! It was a crazy coincedence but I am loving having him as my companion. He has an incredible excitement and passion for the work and it has been great to have him with me at all times. That took some adjusting at first but now it feel unnaturall (also, spelling and grammar are thrown out in these emails because I don't have time and portuguese is already messing with me) to not be with him when I am in meetings or things like that. I got called as District Leader the first night by the Branch President, and so that was surprising and really overwhelming this last week. I didn't really receive any instruction until Sunday so those first couple days were realyl hard as I was trying my best to love my district while also staying focused on our tasks as missionaries. But I am getting the hang of it now. My schedule now (first couple days were different) is we wake up a little before 6 and eat at 6:30. The rest of the MTC eats later, but because there are so many missionaries here now (more than there have ever been) and the Brazilian missionaries are technically guests here since we were suppossed to go to Brazil first, we kind of get the not so good schedule and times. We eat at 6:30, 11:00 AM, and 4:00 PM. Haha so I am usually hungry by bed time but that is ok, usually I am so tired it doesn't even matter. We get gym time 4 times a week, and personal excersize time once a week where we can't go to the gym but we are supposed to do fitness excersizes. My first two gym times I ran, once around campus with my companheiro, and then around the indoor track (10 laps to a mile), both of which were boring but it felt so nice to just run!! Yesterday our gym time was at 7:20 am so we went and played soccer with the elders in our district, and we played another distric and totally dominated them. We are allowed to keep score but we destroyed them so it was really obvious. Haha that sounds arrogant but it was just so much fun to play real soccer and I got a Hattrick that was fun! The studying is constant here. I am trying to speak as much as I can in Portuguese and would speak it more in this email but there isn't a lot of time to think about it! Haha I love the language, I think it sounds way cooler than spanish, but now I am biased. We study probably upwards of 10 hours a day, no joke, it is seriously hard, but so rewarding. We study all day every day of the week, including Sunday. Sundays are a little differnt because I have meetings I have to go to with my Branch Presidency and the other District leaders all morning and then we have lessons, devotionals, and Sacrament for the rest of the day, but every minute we are not eating, at the gym, or at a devotional, we are etierh planning or studying. We taught our first lesson all in portuguese on Friday morning, so less than 36 hours since getting here. Our investigator is fake but he only speaks in Portuguese and is super nice, his name is Fernando, and he is a teacher here who we haven't met yet and is acting as one of his investigators he taught on his misison. We only know him as fernando and he keeps completely in character the entire time. We have taught him three times so far, and he is progressing really well, It hs been overwhelming trying to teach him, but it is really good for us and pushes us harder than otherwise we would. I know a lot more Portuguese since my first day and now I can understand most everything of what my teacher says by piecing together words and phrases, but I still have a LONG way to go. Like a VERY LONG way. Haha i love it though,. My first couple days were overwhelming like I said, but I also was able to be lifted up many times. I have felt the sustaining power of teh Atonement of Christ while I have been here. THere have been many times when a quote, a song, or something that another person said is EXACTLY what I needed to hear. I am not a cryer as you all know, but I have had tears brought to my eyes many times since I have gotten here as I have felt the love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for me and as I have felt lifted up by them. My prayers have become more sincere, and we pray before everything we do here. I have loved the Spirit, and there are times when I am so tired and it is hard to continue sutdying and going on like this, but I am lifted up and realize that I have God to strengthen me. The Spirit in this place is incredible, and it has made all the difference in me being able to stick through it. On my first day I was walking out of the first building where I got my name tag, but then I got tackled by none other than ELDER CHIPMAN!!! (Stephen Chipman)! I was so excited to see him and I have only seen him like three times since then but at dinner on Sunday we were able to talk for a little while and that was so nice. I have seen Elder (Russell) Fitzpatrick a couple times, Elder Peery (Aaron) right before he left for Fiji, and I see Sister Christensen (Karyn) literally like 20 times a day because we are in the same hall for classes and in the same Zone so we have the exact same schedule. I also got to see Sister Harper (Brooke!!) a couple times and got to take pictures with her and Sister Hill (Karina) at the temple on Sunday. It is so wonderful seeing people who I know while I am here and they are all going to be great missionaries. I heard Booboo is going to EFY this week, haha well we are seriously like less than half a mile from each other, I hope he has a wonderful time, I am keeping him in my prayers. I have been praying to hard for all of my family, as well as so many of my friends. I know that power of prayer is real and I have felt it so much while I have been here. Today is my first P-Day, and it is pretty nice to get a tiny break (although I still need to study today)
and it is nice being able to email. The food here is nice, just like the Cannon Center. On Sunday we had a devotional with George Durrant and Susan Easton Black. It was so nice, they are both some of teh most amazing speakers I have ever heard. The Spirit was so powerful and I felt my heart touched many times by different thoughts. One such time was when Sister Black talked about the song " I am a Child of God" and how powerufl that song can be. At the end she changed the word from Teach me all that I must do, to live with Him someday, to Teach me all that I must BE, to live with Him someday. I loved that and wwe closed by singing that song. It is one of the first times in my life that song has had such a profound efffect on me, adn I am so grateful for the reminder that I am a son of God, and that he loves me more than I can imagine. If I could teach some of my friends and others right now, it would be to tell them that God loves them and wants them to be happy. He wants to know us through prayer and wants us to follow Him so that we can experience real happiness.
I was so happy to hear from so many of you, I would love to continue to hear from everyone!! Also, would you be able to send me a pair of flipflops (like my dark brown ones or the ones with the plaid on the top), I am debating whether I want my nikes because I only have my running shoes and they aren't very comfortable to walk in for everything but running, I'll let you know about that! Also, would you look into a towel that is microfiber? I guess regular towels never dry down there and they suggested microfiber but I didn't see that! I love you so much!!! Luckily, they give us zero time to think about home here, and I am truly enjoying it! I am so tired all the time, but that is all right, and for the first time since I was like a 7th grader, 10 PM comes around and I am ready to crawl into bed, although we don't have lights out until 10:30. I am trying to think if there is anything else, haha this first email is a little crazy because there is so much to describe, but in the future I will be able to talk about more specifics. Oh, I took a bunch of pictures, but it is SUPER difficult to send pictures here so I will try to either later today, but most likely not until next week. Sorry, but I am taking them and I am writing in my journal!!! It has been such a great experience here and I love all of you! I’m keeping all of you in my pryaers. Also, say hello to my niece and nephew, Ijust love them so much!!!!! Also give my sister and Marty big hugs from me since I dind't get to see them right before I left. Dad, I loved your email, and it was so wonderful getting picked up by Kyloe and Taylor, I hope they are doing great and I am glad to hear they loved AZ! Well I hope bradley is loving EFY and I love yuou all!!! Thanks for your love and support and I will talk to you next tuesday!!!
Love, Elder Carney
Also, sorry no portuguese, like I said,  no time today!