Tuesday, December 31, 2013

First Missionary Christmas in Brazil!! Dec. 30, 2013

**Mom note:  We sent him a couple of Christmas packages and letters in the middle of November, but he didn't receive any of them!!  So this truly was a unique Christmas for him (and mom) but he had such a great attitude and truly focused on the true meaning of Christmas!

So this last week was just so good, very different and kind of strange, but so good. It was so good talking to all of you!! I felt so happy to see everyone´s faces, and I could hear you guys almost the whole time, sorry you couldn´t hear me! It seriously was such a blessing to me and I was so happy to hear your voices and see our house and everything! I love Christmas on the mission1 Why? Because we still get to work! Christmas Day not really because no one is on the streets and no one wants an appointment this day, but the entire time leading up to it was so great. Our President gave us a message to share with people, about Christmas from the Book of Mormon! So I didnt really talk at all with people about the story of Christ´s birth from the Bible, but it was so cool to share the story of his birth and what happened here, in the Americas. To share with people the faith that was needed for the believers as they waited for the sign of the coming of the Savior, even in the face of death. I loved this example and what it gave to me, I am just facing a lot of walking, heat, and people not wanting to hear this message, I need to have faith like those people who were facing difficulties much more significant and grave than mine. I loved sharing this message with people. 
Sorry that the skype call was so short and that it didnt really work very well! Our Branch president was waiting for so long and his family was at another house with their extended family. The other two elders talked to their families for like 3 and 1/2 hours... haha sorry about that! But I felt good about the time that we had and I knew that Mother´s Day we will get to talk more than 15 minutes!  After the skype call we went back to the house and cooked a Christmas feast with the other elders!! It was so so so good! Haha we were seriously so full, we had ribs and pork and potatoes and fruit of all kinds (they eat a lot of fruit on Christmas, and there is a cool market here that is really cheap for fruit so we went all out and bought a ton), and finished everything off with a super good chocolate cake! Oh, I like chocolate more since I have come on my mission, probably because it is food. And I like food more on the mission. 
On that note, dont worry mom, I am eating lots of food! The money we get from the mission is plenty to buy food, and they said that all the americans lose weight because we eat so much rice and beans and they dont really help you gain weight! So dont worry, I am eating!
It was a little hard the end of the week with so many people traveling, so that made it a little rough, but we still taught a ton and found some truly great new investigators. I have found myself praying more and more, I know that I need the Lord in this work, I dont know the area, I am a new missionary, and this area is a pretty difficult area in regards to finding people and getting them to church because of how large it is, and so I am relying on the Lord to guide me to those people who are ready to hear this gospel. 
In regards to the box, put religious stickers on it for sure! And maybe even write 'missionary supplies", I have seen some boxes with that and it seemed to work! The mission address still hasnt changed, but any box or letter recieved at the mission home after the change will probably be forwarded to our new address. As of now it hasnt changed, but I dont know when that will happen! 
Overall this week was really good, kind of rough not having people at church. We had three people on date for baptism this weekend, and none of them came to church. We had members pass by their houses to bring them, we did seriously so much to help them come, and none came. Which also means they arent going to be baptized this week. So that was rough. It is hard to see people use their agency for choices that arent the best ones. But that is ok, we are going to continue and we will help these people and find people who are ready to be baptized. 
I love you all so much! I truly love this work. Last week being on facebook when president gave us permission made me realize how grateful I am to be here. The things I saw on people´s posts and everything were good things, but this work is much more than a 'good thing". This is truly the work of salvation. God is the one in charge of this. I see miracles happen in my life and is the life of those around me. I am so grateful to have this small time to work here and be involved in the most important cause that exists. Love you all! And this week is the 6 month mark for me!!! AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! It is so crazy!! I cant believe it has already been that long. It seriously blows my mind. In some ways it feels like I started yesterday, in others like I have been doing this for years! Haha it´s great, I love it here! Have a happy new year!
Elder Carney

Transferred!! Dec. 23, 2013

In Mairipora, 

The Metro terminal

The Sao Paulo Temple

Danny ran into Aaron Jensen, who is from Littleton, CO and friends of our family!!!

Well I got transferred! Last Monday was pretty much just waiting around, trying to focus on relaxing and cleaning the house and everything, but really just waiting to find out about transfers! It was a bummer to find out I was going to leave Vila Sabrina and Elder de Oliveira, but that´s ok, because I know that everything has a purpose! I am now in Itapêtininga!!!! In a branch!! Haha it is way way way far away, only one other zone is farther than ours, and I am loving it so far! I was able to go around and say bye to some members and our recent converts and investigators which was hard, especially because maybe I won't see them again, but it was so cool to be able to see how strong these converts are and how focused they are on progressing in the gospel! I love it!!! I am going to miss Elder de Oliviera, haha he is a great missionary and he is going home this next transfer so it would have been fun to send him out, but that´s ok! I followed the advice President Mecham gave while I was in Montana, and I prayed about my new assignment and definitely felt a confirmation and peace that I need to be here with my companion at this time! My new comp is Elder... F. Oliveira!! Haha so it wasn't hard to change names! He actually got here in this mission the same time as me! I will go home before him since I served two transfers before him, but we are both new! Haha so that was a little overwhelming, I found out I was going to be the Senior companion, and I was just a little overwhelmed, but I also am excited to work with a new missionary, and boy am I grateful he has already been in this area and that he is a native who speaks fluently!  I also am now living in an apartment with two other elders, one who also came here with me on the plane from Salt Lake, Elder Ashford, he is really great, and one who is our District Leader, Elder Agnelli, who was the Mission Secretary when I got here and this is his last transfer in the mission! They are great and it is so much fun living with two other elders as well! We got here Wednesday afternoon and went right to work, didn't even unpack anything, and this area is way, way different! Haha it is a branch, there are only like 120,000 people in the city, our area is HUGE, and the members don't really have a huge spirit for missionary work right now, but I am so excited for this! I know there are people here waiting to hear the gospel and who are being prepared by angels and by the Lord to receive this message of happiness! Then the next day we had our Christmas Conference in Sorocaba, with all the areas in the Interior part of the mission, it was so much fun and we didn't get back to our area until like 8 at night, and we don't live in our area, it takes about thirty minutes to walk there, so we just planned and called it a night! But these last couple days we have been working so so hard! And I will write more later!!! Love you!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dia das Gracas! Dec 2, 2013

 One of Danny's favorite teachers from Dakota Ridge, Ms. Steffen, sent him REAL peanut butter, all of the way to Brazil!!  Even his mom won't do that for him!!!  She is soooo sweet!! He was absolutely thrilled!!!

Hello my wonderful family! This last week was truly insane. Haha one of the busiest that I have had on the mission so far, and one of the best! We started it out like champs and we are absolutely killing it in regards to lessons with members from the ward present and it was so great, we seriously taught so many people the first three days of last week! On Wednesday we had splits with the Zone Leaders, and I was working in our area with the American! Haha he wanted to talk in English most of the time because he hasn't spoken it in so long and so that was weird for me, we mainly switched on and off, it was fun though, he is from Salt Lake City, went to UofU and is a Jazz fan.... so it is a good thing that we are supposed to have charity, kindness, and patience, and other good attributes, because if otherwise I don't think we could have been friends. But it was good! I learned a lot from him, especially about contacting on the street!  We had a Multi-Zone Conference on Thursday (Happy Thanksgiving) and boy was I grateful to be there! It was such an uplifting experience, I learned so much from President and Sister Martins, they truly are inspired and I am grateful for the opportunity I had to be there. Also we learned our mission office will be moving in January, but dont have an address yet or anything so anything should still be sent to my address that I have currently! We also officially cannot use backpacks! Haha which is a big change because I use mine all the time since we walk everywhere, but that problem was solved today which I will talk about shortly! After the conference we had splits again so my companion could do baptismal interviews in their area, so I went with the other Zone Leader, who is a Brazilian and is awesome, we had a great time together and taught some great lessons. Then on Friday we went to Mairiporã, another area in our district for interviews, it was really good, I love the Elders there, one is from Star Valley, WY the other from Brazil and they are so great! We got a little lost trying to walk around and find the place where we were meeting them, but people are nice and give directions well (sometimes!)! Then on Saturday we had a baptism!! But it almost didnt happen! We got a call as we were filling up the font in the church from our ward mission leader who is a neighbor to the person, Antonio, who said that he had passed by and told him that he couldnt be baptized Saturday and needed to reschedule for next week! We were so bummed. So bummed. So we stopped the font, changed out of our suits, put up a sign on the church gate saying Baptism Cancelled, and went to Antonio´s house to see what happened! He is such a great investigator, seriously so awesome and had been progressing really well, we knew he was ready, but we went and talked about it and he was just really nervous and uncomfortable. SO we talked about it, bore testimony that this is the church of Jesus Christ and that through baptism he can have a new start in life, and then he agreed that he needed to be baptized that same day!!!! Haha we were so happy, we literally ran (I was happy about that opportunity, Bradley and I ran pretty hard the same day, but he ran faster), and filled up the font and changed and took down the sign and had a great baptism! He was really glad afterwards that he did! 
Then we went to the center of São Paulo for this huge expo that was going on and worked at the church´s booth! It was so cool, had people from all over the world and we worked telling people about the church´s Helping Hands and welfare programs! We even got our picture on the church´s webesite in Brazil, it was cool , my comp will send me the picture and I can forward it! Then we had this theater thing the stake was doing and had it involve around missionary work and inviting tons of non members, they asked all the missionaries to be there so we went to that! Then today we went to 24 de Marzo, one of the busiest streets in all of São Paulo, to buy a new backpack that has one strap and sits on the side and so is allowed and other things we needed. Haha it was so insane, there were so many people. More than I have seen in probably my entire life! It was fun and then we came back to our area, oh I had to call President to ask permission to go there (all the missionaries go there to shop because it has everything and is super cheap) and I actually understood him and spoke well! Haha I was nervous since it was Portuguese, but it went well! This week was so good, I was so grateful for the baptism and we are having such great progress with our investigators, I had a truly wonderful Thanksgiving being uplifted and edified by the Spirit. I am going to send some pics so sorry I cant say much more! Tchau!
Elder Carney     

Miracles - November 25

So this last week or so I have decided to be looking more and more for the miracles that are happening all around me! This is the Lord´s work and as we are obedient and have faith, miracles are for sure going to happen. As I have done this i have been truly humbled by the all of the great little miracles I have seen. Seriously, I have loved it and dont worry, have been writing in my journal all about them. I will share a couple! I also am going to send some pictures which takes some time so this wont be too long this week, sorry! We were going to an appointment last tuesday, when it fell through, we were way bummed as we had been really looking forward to it, but we kept walking and then we saw the old lady we were going to teach walking up the street. We had only taught her once and so we didnt know her very well but we went up and hesitantly said ´carmen?´, to which she said no, her name is Dirci! Haha but then we asked if we could share a message with her, to which she told us that very morning her friend at work was a Mormon and from another part of our stake, and had told her that she needed to talk with the missionaries, so she said she had been planning to come to church this Sunday to request a visit! We asked if we could mark a day to return, and she asked if we could talk right then in her home! Haha so we did, and she told us that her husband had died a year ago and her children lived far away and didnt have time to see her all the time and she just needed peace and a reason to keep on living. She was crying and it made us cry a bit and it was just way tender (dad word) to see this woman searching for purpose. We taught her the plan of salvation and when we told her that her husband has the opportunity to learn about teh Gospel now, she was so happy, saying he had never really been religious, and when we said she could live together with him forever this little old lady was crying and so happy. Seriously it made my week. I lef the appointment and was just so grateful to have been at the right place at exactly the right time. We had another appointment that week and then she came to church with her granddaughter who was visiting. It was so cool to see, seriously so grateful to have been a tool in teh hand of the Lord. Then on thursday we were trying this referral for the daughter in law of some members here, who lived in the same house as them, well no one was home, we had already tried our back up plans, and so I asked Elder De Oliviera if we would pray. A lot of missionaries here are hesitant to pray on the street, it was a lot easier in Montana with a car, but I love it! So we did, started walking, and then this lady stopped us and asked if we were looking for Elze and Nielson, the members who have the daughter in law, and it turns out it was her!! But because we hadbeen standing there praying in front of her house she knew we were looking for them and so stopped us and talked to us! We ended up teaching her right then and at the next appointment she had read and prayed and said that she needed to be baptized again in this church because Nephi had the power and authority to baptize and she knew that was important to have it with someone who had authority. Then she came to church too!! It was so great! Then that same day we were at another appointment which fell through and it was in a part of our area we dont work in a lot, and we decided we should wait five minutes to see if the person got home, well up walks a person who my companion recognized! It was his old next stoor neighbor from his home town, 8 hours away!! Haha he now lives in our area with his family of 3 kids and wife! We were in the exact right spot to find him, our area is big and is packed with tons of people, what were the chances that we would be there, with my companion who knew him, in a city of 30 million and have him live in our area? Haha I love miracles!! 
We also had a baptism this last saturday and I baptized her, Cristiana. She has been investigating for like 7 years, and we were so happy to see her finally join the church! It was a really cool experience and then at churhc we had 7 investigators there, almost all new ones who we found in the last week or two. I just am loving it!!!
This week is Dia das Graças, Thanksgiving, but here it really isnt a thing at all. Just another normal day, which is kind of a bummer, but that is ok! I am making my effort to be extra grateful and I think I am also going to make an A to Z list on Thanksgiving, gotta keep with the family tradition! 
We are working really hard with the members here, it is really great and I am loving it! We have 9 new ward missioanries, we hadnt had any, and some are really great, some are not really doing much, but that is ok! We are doing our best! It is really hot here, but also raining a ton! Either crazy hot or crazy rainy, yesterday I was soaked to the bone even with a big umbrella! Haha and one day we got caught up in the rain without umbrellas and it was just crazy!! definitely an adventure! I love you all so much and now it looks like I migth not get to send any pictures because of time, but I will next week! Tchau! Com Amor!
Elder Carney