Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's crazy hot here!!! Nov. 18, 2013

Well as the subject says, it is getting crazy hot here!! Haha I am pretty much dying. But that´s ok! Because every once in a while it feels like we get rain and it is seriously the biggest blessing ever. Yesterday it was cloudy all day and rained a good part of the day as well, which was so incredibly nice! 
Last week was really good, it started off with me opening my birthday package from Mom right after emailing! And THANK YOU SO MUCH! Haha it was seriously the best thing ever, who would have thought that snickers, some church music, sour patch kids, swedish fish, and GOLDFISH, would be the best thing ever, but they were. I was smiling so big and my companion and I have had a party this last week eating some great American food! And I went all out and bought some peanut butter (the not as good, Brazilian version) as well! But thanks so much and I love the tie, it´s Broncos colors which makes me so happy! So thanks for that! I still have almost all the food because I am saving it and slowly eating it!
Last week we worked really hard, we are helping this woman get baptized who has been wanting to for 7 years but has never been able to quite smoking. So we visit here two to three times a day, only super quickly to say a prayer or give her a scripture to read, and since she lives in the center of the area we can do it easily without interfering with other investigators. Her two daughters are members and she wants so badly to stop smoking, she has just been doing it for so long and she doesnt work so it is hard for her to stop. But she passed the baptismal interview!! She is getting baptized this Saturday, along with another solid investigators who we found on the street, he came up and talked to us and we asked if we could visit him, he came to church, and it is going from there! 
Last thursday we had interviews with President Martins, we have them every three months, and it was certainly interesting! Why? Because he is seriously exactly like Mr Carpenter!!!! Haha except he's my mission president. But he blows your mind when you talk to him and you have to be very specific and careful with what you say which is hard because most of the time it is in Portuguese. Haha but I loved my interview and I learned so incredibly much from him, he truly is an inspired man. I am so grateful that I get this opportunity to learn from him! Right afterwords we had splits and I worked in my area with Elder Macarthur from Star Valley, WY! Haha it was so much fun!! He has only been in Brazil a week but he already understands a lot which is good!  He doesn't really speak at all, but he is a great missionary, and is a little taller than me with blond hair and blue eyes and so everyone (even random strangers on the street) asked if we were twins.  It was interesting! But I think he enjoyed the opportunity to speak english, we spoke mainly portuguese but by the end he was only speaking to me in english which was fine, it actually was pretty hard to do, I kept wanting to speak Portuguese! But splits ended, we road up to his area, usually a 40 minute bus ride which was and hour and a half because of traffic and the most people I have ever seen on an omnibus! Haha I felt very violated, but unfortunately that happens a lot on the buses because they cram people on them. 
We are working so hard and I am praying so hard!  We are having a lot of success in our area and district right now and it is interesting because this last week I have felt so weak! I feel like I am making the transition to understanding more and realizing how little I can say because I have felt so humbled, but as I have really prayed for help I have felt the Spirit so much more during lessons and I am so grateful for that. I love it here so much! I don't want to leave Vila Sabrina or Elder De Oliveira! It has been so good here and we are working really well here together. Yesterday we had 5 people at church and it was absolutely wonderful!!!  So we are working hard! Maybe in the future could you send me a jump rope?? I heard from my teammates that it is really good to stay fit for cardio! If not I think I can probably find one down here! But life here is so good! Elder De Oliveira is a little trunky, but it was so good, President asked if he was to which I told him not really and he said he would be! Haha he said that it is natural to feel trunky to have emotions and thoughts about the future, the key is to not let it interfere with the work. And he isn't letting it so it has been really good here! I was going to bring my camera to send pics but I forgot! Sorry!! But I love you all! Good luck at Nike Booboo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I hope you all have a great week!
Com Amor,
Elder Carney

Friday, November 15, 2013

VVVVila Sabrina! Again! (Nov 12)

Well I am officially in Vila Sabrina for another transfer! Which is wonderful!! But my companion is not, Elder Mussin went back to the Interior part of the mission, and my new companion is Elder De Oliveira!! He is seriously so great! He only has two more transfers left on the mission and already served here in Vila Sabrina and so he is psyched to be back and I am psyched to learn from such an experienced and good missionary. It has been super busy, which I love, this last week. We have been continuing teaching our investigators and visiting and teaching a ton of people that my companion new from before. So it has been great! We are teaching this woman right now who has been wanting to be baptized for 7 years, but never has quit smoking, and boy are we working hard to help her. She has been improving and has such faith right now to stop and be clean so she can be baptized, it has been so cool for me to see. 

The Portuguese is coming along! Haha I have been feeling pretty confident and a ton of people have been saying they think I have been out for a year already! But then of course I have A LOT of experiences that remind me just how dependent on the Lord I have to be. Haha I have ´humble´ days. Like yesterday. Haha these are days when I have no idea what is happening and I feel like I can’t say anything at all! Well yesterday we were teaching this young woman for a second time and when we asked her if she had prayed to confirm that this was the true church, she apparently said that she was not going to read the Book of Mormon and that nothing would change her from moving churches.  Well I heard that she wanted to visit our church before she read the Book of Mormon. So I responded accordingly and bore testimony and everything of the Book of Mormon, well then it got really awkward when right before leaving I asked when we could return to see how the reading and praying went... haha oh. my. gosh. Thank goodness I have a great companion, and that this doesn’t happen all the time. Haha I just laughed about it when I clarified what happened with my companion, but it was such a good reminder just how much I have to learn and how much I need to rely on the Lord.

This week I also have been really focusing on teaching with the Spirit, a renewed effort! I have been praying so hard, seriously constantly: in the house, while we are walking, during lessons, everything.  I pray that I can speak with the Spirit and help create an environment where the Spirit can testify to these people. It has been so helpful, I have felt many times when I have said things that I normally wouldn’t say, and when I know they felt the Spirit as well.

Last night we had a good lesson with a family of all women because their spouses died, and in the past they accepted baptism but last night they said they can’t say yes or no right now. Well I was super bummed but I was able to bear testimony to them that this gospel is not just this life. That we are talking about eternities here. That they have loved ones who want to be sealed to them forever and that I am so grateful that I know that I am part of an eternal family. It was so powerful to feel the Spirit and to know that families really can be together forever. Basically I am so grateful the Spirit can speak to these people, because so often I can’t!

My birthday was great!!! Haha I didn’t get your package mom before, but I got a ton of letters last week which was great! I actually have your package sitting on my lap right now, we haven’t gone back to the house yet today so I haven’t opened it, but thanks so incredibly much!!!!!!!! My birthday was so great. One of the best I have ever had. Why? I wrote this in my journal, but because it wasn’t about me at all!! We taught 9 lessons that day, which was truly a little miracle for our little area!! I absolutely loved it, it was crazy hot, we walked all over, and I was so tired by the end, but it was truly wonderful. I am so grateful for this opportunity to forget myself. It is just great. But, I did go all out and buy a Snickers bar and saved it for my birthday. So I ate that. And it was pure joy. Haha I took a picture of myself with the wrapper so I will send that in the future! 

On Sunday our Stake did splits with all the missionaries with the leaders of the Stake for like 2 hours, they had the conference issue of the Liahona, 5 pass along cards, and a ticket to a stake theater event thing soon for a family to go together, and we went on splits with the leaders and it was so great! Our stake is working so hard to motivate the members to be missionaries and to help in this work of salvation because that is what it is, salvation! And I love being a part of it! Today we got to go to the temple!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They even had some of the new changes that started in the US, it was so great. All in Portuguese too! But I understood a lot and felt the Spirit so strongly, and just an overwhelming sense of the love God has for me! And so grateful again that I have an eternal family! So it was great! 

Our Zone got totally changed! Now we have 2 companionships that are of older missionaries, and the other 6 are training, 2 with the second transfer of training (me and another American) and the rest are new missionaries! We even have one trio with the other American in the second part of training who has another new American too! Haha all the other new missionaries are Americans too except one from Cape Verde. So this Thursday I get to have splits with one of the new Americans and we are going to work in our area, I am so excited! His name is Elder Macarthur from Star Valley, WY. I am really excited to work with him and have a great day in our area!

For the package for Christmas... I don’t think I need anything! Haha maybe just food... I can’t think of anything else! And yes we can listen to church music of our choosing on Preparation Days now so I am excited for that!!! Love you all so much, I had a great week! Happy Birthday Dad!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you get my letter in time for your birthday! Love you all!

Elder Carney

CRAZINESS in Sao Paulo (Nov 4)

Haha so this last week was very very eventful. Very eventful. Haha it started last Monday, right after emails, we were working and noticed that people just seemed tense, but we kept on working, and as we were walking back to our apartment to get Elder Mussin’s planner that he had forgotten, this cop on a motorcycle was trying to get this man who was running back and forth trying to get away from him. Haha well there standing in the middle was... me. Haha it happened right as I was walking through the area on the side walk and then the guy ran away and the cop rode off after him.

So then we were walking up to the house and the Bishop, who lives in a house connected to ours, yelled at us to come into the house quickly. We went in and he told us there were riots going on in our area, not exactly in our immediate area where our house is, but really close in another part of our ward. Haha so we called our President and our entire zone had to stay in that night because apparently the police had killed a person in our area and the people were rioting. It was all very interesting because there were seriously like 5 helicopters in our area and apparently the people were lighting cars on fire and stuff like that, but not really in our area, more in the area where our zone leaders work. Haha it was interesting for sure! This made it pretty difficult to contact people for the next two days, unfortunately, because people just didn’t want to talk on the street to strangers, so we used it as an opportunity to contact less actives that we have on our ward list, and we contacted like madmen. Haha we walked everywhere, and we were really blessed with a couple new investigators we found while trying to find these members. Most of them moved and so now the ward can have more information for the list as well.

But another fun story is Tuesday we were leaving the house of a less active, walking on the sidewalk and walked past the entrance to a bar, well right then like 5 police officers got out of a car and with their guns up and aimed walked right at the bar to the people they wanted inside... haha with us in the middle. Basically I am not very lucky. But we were totally fine and just kept on walking and I truly do feel protected. Several times we felt it was better to not work in a certain area and it turned out things were happening there or something like that but we didn’t know! Elder Mussin keeps on joking if the police want to do something with us he is just going to yell that I am an American and that I did it! Haha but we were totally fine, seriously though mom, no need to worry, that was the most excitement we had and we were very much so safe! I almost didn’t say anything because I didn’t want you to worry, but it was just way too different and exciting to not tell about it!

But now it all is good here and we are working super hard. We prayed so so hard for these people we are teaching to come to church... and none of them came. It was so difficult, that is one of the most heartbreaking times when these people who you pray about so much, teach, and try to help don’t come to church. BUT! Heavenly Father truly is merciful because we had three other investigators come who we weren’t planning on and some of which we hadn’t really seen last week and that was truly a tender mercy from Heavenly Father. We are working hard, and it is heating up! Haha yesterday we walked so much in a really hilly area and I was feeling fit! Haha I think I could probably run pretty good still, although I feel pretty fat with all the rice and beans I eat everyday! 

Tonight we will find out about transfers which is exciting! I don’t really want to leave our area, especially because some of the people here are really progressing. But we will find out and then have transfers on Wednesday so you will have to wait until next week to find out unfortunately! Oh also, if I don’t email next Monday it is because I am still here in the capital area and we are going to the temple next Tuesday and that will be our preparation day!! Tão bom? Haha I am really excited to go and it will be a really good experience! Oh two of our recent converts went to the temple on Saturday!! They absolutely loved it and want to do family history work and go back. It was so cool to see them really have the fire and thoughts about helping their ancestors! I am loving the ward here, we are really gaining their trust and working a ton with them and the newly called ward missionaries! Also the Bishop is great and he talked with us a lot on Saturday and taught us some great things about the priesthood! I am loving it here, it is definitely hard work, and times can be disappointing, but it is so great and I am truly on the Lords Errand here.

Love you all, if I email Monday it means I got transferred to the interior, Tuesday still here in the capital!! Seriously loved the picture of the twins for Halloween, haha that was so great!!! Keeping you all in my prayers. Love you all!! Next week I will be 20!!!!!!!!

Oh and mom yeah probably best not to put up pics of the baptisms, but I will send more in the future not of baptisms that you can put up! Also that is way exciting about the kitchen and BooBoo, I am so stinking proud of you!! Haha I wrote that in my journal, of which I am writing in a ton, but that is so cool, I was fasting for you and that you would have a great experience! I just love you all, happy late Halloween, happy birthday to the greatest blessing in your lives... just kidding!!! And go Broncos!!!!

Love, Elder Carney