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