Thursday, August 1, 2013

Just another week in Paradise! July 30, 2012

Why hello there!
So this last week was definitely good, filled with a lot of ups and downs, but mainly ups! It's so hard trying to remember back to what happened a week ago because the days feel like years here and yet it also FLIES by! Tomorrow is my 1 month mark!!!!! Haha so that is super exciting, but also makes me sad because I have genuinely come to love it here at the MTC and I am going to miss the elders and sisters that I have been able to interact with. In regards to you all fasting for me this Sunday, I greatly appreciate that. I have come to understand a little better the power of prayer and fasting while I have been here the last couple of weeks and I am so grateful that you are keeping me in mind. Also, thanks for thinking of my visa as well! Honestly I am not very concerned at all about it! I am actually excited to go to a different mission and experience what it is like to see somewhere else stateside. The way it works is if the visa comes then they tell you immediately and usually send you straight down, but since I am so close to leaving here, they probably would just have me finish my time here rather than send me down to Brazil right away. Also, reassignments and travel plans come the Thursday or Friday before you leave the MTC and so I will know what I am doing in a little more than a week!!! It is also pretty cool to think that the reassignments come from the First Presidency and so they are divinely inspired. I just know that if I was really needed to be in Brazil right now, I would be there, and when I am needed, then God will provide a way and means for me to get there. So thanks for thinking of me, I really appreciate it, but I also have faith that whatever is meant to happen in that regard will happen!

This week was interesting as I felt myself getting more tired every day! Haha you hit around the 3 week mark and it becomes really difficult to focus all day everyday!!! I was talking with Sister Harper (who left this morning for Seoul) and was talking about all the focused studious missionaries all around us outside and how it makes us feel bad when we can't focus or our district can't, and she said that those are the english speakers who make us look bad because they only have to focus like that for a couple weeks! Haha it was mainly a joke, but it is pretty true that you hit a point here where you are just running on fumes and ready to get out into the field and do the work. I am so excited to get out and teach people about the Gospel!!

Lessons this week have been really good! My Portuguese is getting better and better and I am so excited to be able to speak with others about what I believe! This last Friday I had a really good reminder from Irmao Read (one of my teachers) about teaching the investigator, not the lesson. I have always tried to do this but I feel like for a couple days my companion and I had gotten into a little rut of focusing too much on our Portuguese and the lesson rather than what we are prompted to teach by the Spirit. That night we taught him as our progressing investigator (the teachers role play as investigators and members who they taught and knew on their missions) and we taught him about the Restoration and the First Vision. It was so powerful. The Spirit was present and we were able to bear simple testimony that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, that God's true church is on the earth today, and that through prayer, each of us can receive a witness for ourselves that God loves us, knows who we are, and wants us to be happy through the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was such a powerful lesson and I felt so happy throughout it. One thing that I have been continually taught and reminded of here is that one of the gifts of the Spirit is joy, and I have felt that joy in my life and seen it in the lives of those around me. It is so cool to be able to have these opportunities. Teaching is such a key part of my learning here, and it gives us a lot of ups and downs, but almost always ups. On Saturday we also taught other missionaries in our District and were taught by them. One of the lessons when we taught was really good and the spirit was present. During the lesson another Elder, who has been struggling with the language, bore a simple and (yes grammatically incorrect) but powerful testimony. He spoke from his heart and talked about his desires in the past to gain a testimony and the answers he received from God. I really liked it and it made the lesson for me.

So yesterday I had a fun experience!! I was studying outside and there were some elders running during the exercise time up and down the road next to our tables. Then a bunch of them decided to race and then I started getting really antsy as I saw all of them race! Haha next to me was an elder from another district who was a 400 runner for BYU this last year and we both were getting a little competitive. Then the elders around us decided that we should race them. Keep in mind that my friend and I were in our missionary clothes, tie, church shoes, everything. But we decided after a lot of persuasion by the other elders to go and do it for fun. I had ZERO expectations considering how I was dressed and the race was less than 100 meters, which in other words was WAY TOO SHORT for me. Haha so we went and raced them, well as the person was saying ready set go, he paused before the go and I leaned to go, stopped and leaned back briefly, then as I did that he said go. Haha so I lost at the beginning, but that's ok, like I said, I didn't have a lot of expectations, it just felt good to run a little bit! haha it was super funny though, I got totally owned by all of these random elders and mainly because I almost false started. So I think the morale of the story is that I am not a sprinter, and that I dishonored my ancestors by not even being able to start correctly. Talk about amateur hour. haha

This week we also had the opportunity to see several Mormon Messages. Oh man. I love those. I know that you showed me this once Mom but one is called Mountains to Climb, and it seriously gets me. I absolutely love that video and it is based on a talk of the same name by President Eyering. You should look it up.

Yes we did get your cinnamon rolls and everyone loved them!!! One of the sisters in the other district calls you Sally and wants to meet you because she likes your cookies and other food that you send so much! Also, I got the shoes and shorts and thank you so much, they are so comfortable and I have been using them!

I hope Booboo feels better!!!!! Holy cow it looks like that kid can't get a break! I have been keeping him (and all of you, including Taylor with her running and soon to be half marathon) in my prayers! I love you all so much and I hope that he gets better soon.

In regards to your mom radar, yes i am totally good! Just really, really tired!. My teacher said something that I really connected to. He said that he felt before his mission that once you get out you are just perfect! haha and then he got to the MTC and the field and that was the most aware of his flaws and mistakes in his life. He also said that through that you are made humble and even more so have to rely on God. I am very aware of my flaws here. So often I feel as if I am inadequate and I won't be of any use to Heavenly Father. Then as I turn to Him in prayer I am lifted up and made strong to do the things that I need to do. Even as I have prayed to ask Him to help me be more energized and awake just so I can teach a lesson better, I am given that energy for that task and I feel lifted up. It is seriously like this is some of the most tired I have been so far, and I know it will be like this and even more so for my mission, but I am also so incredibly happy! Haha tired does not mean sad. I am very tired, but it is because I am working so hard and doing a lot so that I can be a better missionary, and I have the examples of so many missionaries around me to help as well! If they can do it I can too right?

Also, if you want to just advice people to write to me on Mondays because I print off my emails in the morning on Tuesday, and then write at this time around noon. Also, you are totally fine writing me emails mom, I just print them off really quickly so that I can read them without having to use up my time and so that I can have them with me for the whole week!!

My doctor cleared me!!! Woo hoo! Haha I had been having some pain in my abdomen last week but by my appointment it had gone away and they said it was because I was just getting more active and that it was part of the healing process, so I am allowed to do whatever I want now, just to be careful for another week or two. So woo hoo!!!

I unfortunately have to wrap it up soon, and I am sorry that this letter hasn't been super crazy interesting and that nothing really exciting happened to me this week like getting surgery or my visa!! I am absolutely loving it here, and just as a quick wrap up, a quote I heard this week was really good and really helped me. "When it gets too hard to stand, kneel." I love that so much. I know that through prayer we are able to be lifted up by our Heavenly father. I know that this gospel is the gospel of Jesus Christ and that He is the head of this church. Eu sei que Joseph Smith era um profeta de Deus e Thomas S Monson e um profeta agora. Atraves oracao posso fallar com Pai Celestial e eu sou um filho de Deus. Eu sei que minha familia pode ser uma familia eterna. Eu sei que este evangelho e a verdade.
I wish you could here that spoken because Portuguese is so cool sounding, and i decided a long time ago that it is significantly more beautiful than Spanish, sorry Pai e Kyle!! Well I love you all so much and I wish I could write more! I'm keeping you in my prayers! Ate mais!

Elder Carney

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