Well it has once again been another week in paradise. I am absolutely loving it here, while also getting really antsy to leave and get out into the field. I am officially one of the oldest missionaries (in terms of being in the MTC) going to Brazil! We are the really old and wise (and really good looking) people that the first week people think are fluent in Portuguese... now I am acutely aware that that is a misinterpretation. Haha it is just crazy to me that I am going to be leaving this place so soon, it feels like I have SO much left to learn, and I definitely do, but it is also cool to see how much we have been able to progress and learn since we first got here. I love talking to the new missionaries, especially those I know, as it is so easy to relate to their feelings of overwhelmed and feeling inadequate, mainly because those feelings still exist, they just aren't as bad.
Some exciting news is that last week we got more visas than we have gotten since March! I think 20 visas in all came last week, which is really exciting and we were all super happy for those who got them. My district continues in our drought of not having received a single one, but that's ok, we all go through swings of really badly wanting our visas, but we all for the most part are really excited to get our reassignments and see another mission. I said goodbye to the district that came in a week before us today, the sisters in that district are going to Portugal and just left like an hour ago, Sister (Karyn) Christensen was in that district and our district always thought they were our favorite sisters because all four of them were so nice and kind to us, as well as super funny! Sister Kunz, the one that calls you Sally mom because she loves your cookies, was one of those sisters, and we are genuinely going to miss seeing them.
On Sunday we had Fast Sunday and that was super uplifting. We have dinner every day at 4:00 PM because all of the Brazilian missionaries aren't technically supposed to be here and so we are guests and have kind of the worst schedule, but on Fast Sundays we eat last so we don't eat until 5:45 PM. Let's just say I was a little bit hungry. Overall all though I have grown to love Fasting more here and feel closer to God after I have fasted for specific purposes that are important to me. On Fast Sundays we also have Mission Conference which is great, it's like Stake Conference and we get to hear from the entire MTC mission presidency as well as their wives. I loved it and felt really edified afterwards. One of the things that one of the speakers was talking about was faith, and said something along the lines of that our faith can be kindled or rekindled by those around us and I thought of our family and how many times I have felt my faith strengthened or rekindled by those in our family, whether that was hearing Mom or Dad bear their testimony in sacrament, or talking about spiritual experiences with Katy Kyle or Bradley. I just loved that thought and felt so grateful to have such a wonderful family that can strengthen and has strengthened me throughout my life.
Another cool thing on Sunday was the Sunday Night Devotional (we spend like 6 hours in meetings on Fast Sundays, it's really great, my legs just get super tight from sitting that long) and our speaker was Jenny Oaks Baker, the daugher of one the Apostles in our church, Elder Dallin H. Oaks. On top of her being a daughter of an Apostle, she also is one of the world's most renowed violinists. Like holy cow was she ridiculous. She played so many hymns on her violin that brought such a peace and calm spirit to me and those in the meeting, I really loved it. You should look up some of her stuff in your have time.
OH!!! Speaking of looking up stuff, you all (anyone who reads this) should look up the mormon message on Youtube called Lifting Burdens. It is a collection of testimonies of Jesus Christ by the Apostles and Prophet in our church and had a really profound effect on me this last week when I felt like I really needed it. I love Mormon Messages, they are really good.
We met our new teacher, Irmao Smith, this last week, and he is awesome! He is American but he got his master's in Portuguese syntax. This all means that he is super intense and has been really good for our district. Oh, he also made (jokingly) a negative comment about Colorado to me, and my brain REALLY pulled through for me in reprimanding him with some eloquent response, by sputtering unintelligently and my entire face going bright red like it likes to do... luckily I was able to soapbox a little later to my District about how amazing Colorado is so everything was made good in the end.
No races this week to tell you about which is a little sad, but I have been playing soccer basically everyday, and I am loving doing that, I hadn't realized how much I truly missed playing it. Oh and I am really missing running, but luckily I still get to play midfield in soccer so I get to run up and down the field like a madman a lot! I am so excited for Taylor to run her half marathon this weekend!!! PLEASE, let me know how it goes, I have been keeping her in my prayers and will continue to do so that she will have a good experience! Also...
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO THE BEST PARENTS IN THE WHOLE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Haha I hope that it is super fantastic and I am glad that you were able to celebrate it a little bit by going down and staying the Colorado Springs for a little trip! I love you both and I am so lucky to have parents that love each other and love the Gospel! So I hope it was fun going down there and I hope you have a good anniversary!
It is looking like we will find out what our reassignments are on Friday, and then we will leave whenever we are asked to, it could be as early as Saturday morning way early or next Wednesday, so I will just have to wait and see! But I am super excited to find out that way I can head out!
It was Sister Cotton's birthday on Sunday so we bought her some food and cotton balls (my idea, and yes, I do think I am funny) from the store here, and then decorated our classroom with sticky notes with messages or pictures for her all over the classroom and throughout her books and scriptures! It was really fun and I enjoyed helping her have a good birthday.
Oh, only my family knows about this, but a week ago today at our Tuesday Night Devotional, we had a FANTASTIC fireside that really was one of the highlights of my week. In the fireside, the speaker was so bold as to our purpose as missionaries, that is, inviting and helping others to come to Christ. It was so powerful, and in it they showed a part of a talk by Elder Holland, one of our Apostles, and he had so many great points. One of the points he said while talking about why we sometimes think that trials are so hard or unfair, or that missionary work is more hard than it should be. He said "Why should it be easy for me when it was never easy for Christ?" He also said in reference to missionary work being difficult, "missionary work is not easy, because salvation is not a cheap experience." Holy cow. It has been so hard here at the MTC. I have honestly felt more inadequate here than I have for most of my life, but I was talking to one of my friends (who got her visa the 2nd day she was here, not fair) Sister Madison Stolk, after she had just gotten here and told her that this has been one of the most tired I have been, but also one of the most happy I have ever been. It is hard because it is so worth it. Coming closer to Christ and becoming more fully converted is "not a cheap experience." I loved that and it helped me gain even more needed perspective as to why we go through difficult things in our life.
One Sunday Night we get to watch a movie or talk that they are showing and we went to Mountain of the Lord, which was a film about the building of the Salt Lake City Temple, which took 40 years, and the miracles, struggles, and hardships that happened in it's building and it made me so badly want to go to that temple! It was so cool learning more about it! Also, the Provo Temple opens next monday, so depending on when I leave for my reassignment, I might be able to go there once before i leave ( it has been closed the entire time I have been here because of rennovations)! So that is SUPER exciting!
Also, I hope you all are doing well, I fasted for you yesterday, and I really want to here more about how the missionary meeting went. Mom, thanks for all that have done, you are awesome and i have really appreciated you getting so much and doing so much for me! Love you!
I'd love to hear from anyone who has time, I absolutely love getting letters and hearing about what is happeneing. Oh, also, MC, thanks for telling me a really important world event in that Beyonce had her hair caught in a fan and kept singing during a concert. That was really necessary to my needs of hearing news... haha also, could you somehow get me Maddie Kincade's (bradley maybe) mailing address? Her letter had my address as the return address... haha so I thought it was nice but I can't respond right now!
Also, good luck to anyone going to school soon!!! Sounds super exciting... haha but seriously though I am sure it will be fun! Well I love you all, thanks for everything, I have to go Love you all!
Elder Danny Carney