Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Last week of the transfer 1/27/14

Holy Cow this transfer flew by! It was seriously so so fast! I think part of it is living with another companionship of missionaries as well as this being the last transfer of Elder Agnelli, so that has been just insane! He was the Secretary of the Mission when I arrived and it is insane to think that he is going home! Also, last week I had officially 4 months here in Brazil. It feels like a lot longer and also like I have only been here a week. But it is fun! I had a good week, it was unfortunately not the most productive week we had this transfer, mainly because it felt like seriously no one wanted to talk to us this last week! We were working so hard and trying so hard and inviting members to lessons - seriously everything - and it just felt like a ton of appointments were falling through. But we still had a good week, we are inviting more people to make commitments with God (President talks about that a lot, that these commitments aren´t with us, they are with our Heavenly Father and these people need to realize the importance of that) and we have seen success in that regard. I don’t know if I already told you that one of the Standards of Excellence and an Indicator that we give to the mission every week is how many new addresses we receive each week, the standard being 42 or 6 every day. Well we have been working our tails off to get that and we have been getting it! It also has been very overwhelming because all of a sudden we have the info for 42 or more people every week!! All of whom we tell that we will pass by sometime in the future and all of whom need this message! It makes you feel a little overwhelmed and you realize just how much responsibility you have for your area. This area has a ton of members, many of whom are less actives, but only two full time representatives of Jesus Christ. Only two. Me. And my companion. Haha it makes me want to work even harder because these people need these blessings and the chance to start progressing towards eternal life. So we have been working hard to spend our time contacting these new people and using the Area Book like maniacs, very very organized maniacs.
This last week we also had the opportunity to go to São Miguel Arcanjo, a little city of 35,000 people that is about an hour away by bus, which is also a part of our area. In short our area is massive. We never have gone there because it just didn’t make sense to go there when there aren’t members, it is so far away, and we have so many people to teach and that are progressing there. But Adriana, our recent convert lives there with her family who are now investigators of ours, and the branch told us about a less active family that used to be super strong in the Church that moved there and all the leaders of the branch have asked that we visit them. So Adriana had a day off, we planned well, and went out there for an afternoon to teach her family and somehow find this family. Unfortunately we only had the name of the street of this family, no number, no cell number, nothing. Only their last name and the street, haha we didn’t even have a map. But not because we didn’t try, haha we called seriously everyone and used our resources here to find it, but no one had any info more than the street name. But then Adriana blessed our lives and used the phone book and found their number and cell number and gave us a map of the city!! It was so great! A real answer to prayer. So we contacted them and now members are planning on going out there in the future to visit them and they are excited because we visited their! So it was good and then we returned to our little city of Itapê and worked hard here. Now to answer some questions from Mom:
Do you even need to ask this one!?!??!!?!?! Haha so good.

Are you taking vitamins/eating enough to stay healthy???
No on the vitamins, yes on eating enough. And when I say that I mean I eat a ton. Like all the time. And I eat healthy. I love how cheap vegetables and fruit are here, but I am eating a ton! But I will buy some vitamins or something, I actually was thinking about that the other day.

When are transfers (I think they're coming up soon)?  Will you stay in Itapetininga?
Transfers are this week!!!!! So we will see what happens! I am maybe going to stay here; since it is so far away and this is my first transfer here most likely I will continue here. And Elder F Oliveira already has three here and this is his first area so most likely he will be leaving. We will see what happens, haha I am loving it here and it is different for sure, but I will find out this afternoon or tonight! We´ll see! If I don’t email next Monday it´s because I got transferred to the Capitol and I will be at the temple. So there you go.

Tell us about your companion & roommates!!
My comp is from the State of Pernambuco, the city of Olinda (close to Recife where the temple is) and he is great! He is new like me, has a great accent which is fun to try out, and is really motivated to work. haha is super goofy, but very sincere. Also he is black, so that is awesome. Haha he wants to be the President of Brasil one day, but first the governor of Pernambuco, he has a lot of pride for his state. The other missionaries are Elder Ashford and Agnelli, I already told a little bit about both, I come to Brasil with Elder Ashford, and he is a nerd which makes me feel comfortable since I too am a huge nerd. Although he wants to be an engineer, so we aren’t really nerds in the same subject areas, but that´s ok, he is great, wants to work so so hard, and is going to keep on progressing really well. He graduated this last year and is from Austin Texas, after the mission he is going to BYU, and Elder Agnelli is from Paraná, the state next to são paulo, is a convert of about three years, and super great.

Did you ever get to email Joe Reynolds about that older lady in your branch?
Yep! I am emailing him and sending photos and fun things like that!


Well that´s it!! Love you all so much! Have a great week!

Elder Carney

Monday, January 20, 2014

Who's wearing his Orange & Blue TIE today! 1/20/14

Haha so I was hoping today I would be receiving good news in regards to the Sports world... and good news was received. So for just one moment I would like to say:

So there. Now I can continue on. In the grand scheme of things this really isn't that important. BUT. It is super fun to hear that the best team in the world is going to the Superbowl, so thanks for the updates.
I had a great week, it felt like we were getting so many blessings. We are working so hard here, basically I am always exhausted, but so so happy. We are working hard to meet the standards of excellence here and it is genuinely difficult, but they aren't the standards of mediocrity, they are the standards of excellence. So we are trying to be excellent. haha it is going well, we are talking to the entire city of Itapêtininga, and it is going great! We are still having a rough time finding new investigators, but we know that there are people here who are ready to change and enjoy the miracle of the Atonement in their lives. One really cool thing happened! I told you about that investigator who was an answer to prayer, came to church, and accepted a date for the 25th to be baptized. Well we talked with our District Leader and he asked why not see if she wanted to get baptized this weekend and not even have to wait! So we asked! She got interviewed, was super psyched about it and passed and said it actually was better for her this weekend than the 25th! So we prepared and it was awesome until we got a text from her saying her boss said she had to work all day Saturday and Sunday. It was the most horrible feeling! We called, tried to figure it all out, and it looked like it would have to wait. We said a prayer on the street and then a little bit after we got another text saying she could get one day off on Saturday. Well this was great news but it meant she could get baptized but not get confirmed for more than a week after... which is not so great. So we called again and asked if she could switch and work Saturday and not Sunday and get baptized before church on Sunday! She asked and it worked out!!! So she got baptized! There were other complications like the water not working and then it taking forever to fill up on Saturday and other things, but eventually it worked out!!!!!!!!!!! It was so cool to see, her face was just so filled with joy, and her mom and sister came to the baptism and church and really liked it! They aren't members so it was a good experience for them. So woo hoo!!!! I loved it, and so it was a really great ending to the week! 
Other than that I am just enjoying the missionary life. We are so blessed to be here. I love being a missionary, it is just the best thing in the world for me right now! We are working a lot with the members and OH! I forgot to tell you all this but guess who is the Branch Pianist.... THIS ELDER! Haha they don't have anyone who knows how to play the piano, so when I got here they immediately asked if I could. Well and I couldn't lie, even though I hate playing hymns because people have to sing with you and I get nervous and all sorts of things, so I said yes and I have been playing the hymns for sacrament every week. It has honestly been very stressful and I absolutely love it. I have found more appreciation for hymns, and I have seen how it can touch people´s hearts. One sister bore her testimony about the hymn we sung one week and it was ´Come, Come, Ye Saints´, which is also my favorite hymn, and it made me realize just how special music can be to touch the hearts of others. Oh, Mom, I had an idea! You should do a list of questions one week or something and I can just copy and paste them and just answer them! I always forget what you say and ask and so this would be easy and I love talking about Brazil so that could be fun! So you should do that! I think I could do that and if I don't finish I could continue the next week! Let me know! Also a member asked me about getting a triple scriptures in English for him, but I think he can just order them through LDS.org, so I will tell him that, because shipping them to me and then me not even being here by the time I might get them would be just crazy! Well I love you all, i love this work, I love the Broncos, and I love my Savior.
Elder Carney

MOM NOTE: Danny refer's to a BRANCH - this is just a small congregation of church members.  A larger congregation is called a Ward. So he is the pianist for his congregation apparently!! Those piano lessons payed off!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Jan 13, 2014 The Heaven's Open

Well this week was a very interesting one, as the title says, the Heavens are definitely open here!! Haha in multiple ways! The first way is rain, and lots of it. This last week we were enjoying a good day working in a part of our area about an hour walk from our house. It went really well, we talked to tons of people and enjoyed success with new and progressing investigators. Well it was about 7:30 and I saw some crazy huge dark clouds coming in and told my comp that i thought it was going to rain pretty hard and we should start back after our appointments since it is an hour away! We went to one more appointment which went great, then as we left it immediately started to pour. So hard, So so hard! And it had been clear skies and crazy hot so neither of us brought our umbrellas. And we were far from home and needed to get back and had no idea if the rain was going to stop. So we just kept walking. And were more soaked than I have ever been in my life! There was crazy rain, we couldn’t see a thing, we were running down the hills, and the lights were all going out on the streets! Finally we reached main street and there were some awnings to use as we walked, but it was so crazy!  And what were we doing as we were walking?? Singing Hymns of course!! Haha all in all it was a very memorable experience and eventually I dried out. It was really fun.
It rained like that a couple of times this week, including last night which woke us up because of how crazy the lightning and thunder were. Summer rain is just insane her! 
Now for the other part of the heavens opening! This week we had so many blessings! Our president just gave standards of excellence for the first time this last week and we were working so so hard to reach them and really push ourselves!! Which included talking with the world, teaching like mad men, and just being the best missionaries we can be! We also have been praying so hard about our investigators and baptism, we just really want to help these people and this branch grow, they haven’t had a baptism here in so long! So then Sunday comes around and almost none of our investigators came to church... except one! Who I hadn’t even met yet! Her name is Adriana and she lives in a city like 40 minutes away but is part of our area. She had gone to church like 4 times before with friends here in the branch and already said she wants to be baptized, but with the end of the year she couldn’t meet with us or go to church. So then out of the blue she showed up alone, had a great time, and later that day accepted baptism and the date of 25th of January!!!! It is seriously such a huge blessing. We are also working a ton with the members and just trying to use them to help our investigators see the miracle of the gospel in our lives and to help them get to church. It is good, we are seeing results! 
Another cool thing, we have this old lady here who got baptized in 1992 and is awesome! Unfortunately her health is bad so she can’t come to church without help from the members but we visited her and gave her a blessing when her hometeachers' couldn’t, and she told us about the missionary who baptized her and that he is from Colorado! That was exiting and then she said his name is Joseph Reynolds, I thought, that´s funny that name sounds familiar, but it is a common name so whatever! Then she showed us this book of all teh missionaries she has gotten to know here, and the first one was a Joseph Reynolds from Brandt Place, Littleton, CO, 80127!!!! WHAT!?! Haha so I am not sure because I wasn’t even born yet when she was baptized but I am pretty sure this is the Joe Reynolds son of the Reynolds in our ward!!!! Could you confirm this please??? This member would love to hear how he is doing. Let me know.
Also here is our new mailing address! The office moved, but we will still be getting anything that was mailed to the old one, but from now on use this address:
Missão Brasil São Paulo Norte
Avenida Nova Cantareira, 1146  fundos
São Paulo - SP - 02330-001 

So use that exactly! Especially the word fundos! Thanks! I love you all and I am going to send some pics really quickly!
Love you!
Elder Carney

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy New Year! Jan 6,2014

Well it is 2014!!! Which also means this is the only year in my life that will be completely spent as a full-time regular missionary of the Lord (I want to serve with my wife someday, hence the word regular). So that blew my mind. It literally (for Kyle and Taylor) exploded. Haha this last week was an interesting one for sure!
A ton of people were traveling this last week so that was a bit rough, but we were able to teach more lessons and more lessons with members than we have since I have been here in Itapêtininga. So that was exciting!  During the week it felt like nothing was happening because everyone was gone, but by the end we realized when we counted our lessons that it had actually been very productive. For New Years we worked regularly and then we had a HUGE dinner that we all made together after we planned and did the regular routine. So that was super nice and then I couldnt sleep at all because there was so much noise and fire works and everything, haha it was so crazy. The people here definitely love New Years, it was fun, so I got to lay there and listen to the constant sound of car horns and fireworks, it really was memorable! On New Years Day we had a different scene outside our house, a huge parade for the Catholic Church, seriosuly like the whole city was there, and we live on one of the main streets and so they walked past our house, they had all these statues and banners of different saints and things like that, it was certainly interesting to see, the Catholic church is really prevalent in the culture here.
I am just loving it here! We are working really hard and praying really hard, and at times it is really hard, but I can see so many great things happening around me, in my life and in the life of others. So that has been nice. One experience was really cool that happened, we were walking on Friday and seriously none of our appointments were happening. None of them. And none of our plan B´s or C´s. So I was just a little bummed and I started singing to myself the song "Worthy to Stand', and it just hit me. I really truly felt a witness that even though at times no one wants to listen, and it is really hard, it is His work, and I want to be worthy to stand in His presence in the end. I know that is true. I know that this work is the work of the Lord. I am doing all that I can and that is what counts, at times people don't accept the truth, but at times they do!! There are people here in this city who are waiting for the blessing of the Gospel in their lives. Angels are preparing them, and they aren't lost, God knows exactly where they are! We are the ones who are lost and trying to find them, thank goodness we have the help of the Spirit and that we are doing God´s work, His plan is perfect. He knows these people. And He knows me. I am very grateful to be here, even if at times it is a little rough!
Another interesting thing happened, we decided to work one day in a part of our area way far away because we had referrals there and the ward had asked us to visit some non members and part member families there, so we walked there, we were just entering the area when it started to sprinkle. My comp had forgotten his umbrella, and then BOOM!!!!!!!! Haha it started to rain so incredibly hard! Haha I dont know if I told you about when that had happened already the week of Christmas, and the road turned into a river, but here we were, standing under a tree and my little umbrella, completely soaked because it was raining in all directions! It was crazy! It took down some huge trees in the city too but luckily no one was hurt. It was just crazy! Then the area we worked in had all dirt roads that had turned into mud so that was an adventure. Luckily we found some great people who accepted our message and invites, it was great to see, one of whom we found while being stuck in a tunnel for shelter from the rain after we had moved there from our tree, it was cool to see how situations work out to find God´s children! Oh my gosh that truck is hilarious!!!!! I cant belive that Dad bought that! And then didn't even tell me about it in his email! Haha I died when I saw the picture! Love you all!! Keep me and my investigators in your prayers please, I am definitely praying for you all!
Elder Carney