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

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