Saturday, March 22, 2014

Yet another great week in Tucuruvi! 3/22/14

So this week absolutely flew by. So fast. It was insane. Like one minute it was my preparation day then the next it was preparation day... again. Haha so that was interesting! I am just loving it here to be honest! It has definitely taken some time to get used to this new type of work, but I am loving the environment, the work, the area, the other missionaries, everything!! Also it is super stressful! Which I think is something I am already fairly accustomed to, so that has been good! This week I have continued to learn so much about the mission and the all the things that I now have to do. One day I was making payments for the energy and water bills for the various houses in the mission, then I realized what I was doing and saw how much these bills cost and I was kind of blown away and made grateful for this opportunity. We had a fairly normal week, we found out that this next week we are having transfers again!!!! The church is trying out a new program for missionaries who don't receive visas. These missionaries will go to the Provo MTC for 2 weeks like normal English speaking missionaries, then get reassigned, then when they get their visa they will go to the Brasil MTC for two more weeks and learn Portuguese and then go to the field again. So we had transfers two weeks ago, but we are now going to have mini transfers again and five Americans (I know 3 of them, 2 Sisters from my District from the MTC and 1 Elder from BYU!!!) are coming in this week as well! So that will be some craziness here getting ready for transfers again, but it will be really good.

Shoot. Haha I accidentally sent that before I was done. Sorry about that!!! Well so this week we also had to go to the mission home, which is still where it was, the office moved to our mission but the mission home did not because all the mission presidents and their families live in the same apartment complex because there is an English school there and their kids can go to school there. So it is like an hour ish by subway and two buses, but we (my comps and I) have to go there every time we have a transfer so that we can update and change the huge mission board that has all the areas and the missionaries and we can update their cards which say all the info about their transfers. It was super interesting and cool to do and see Sister and President Martins, I can tell that i will really love being able to get to know them better before they leave in July. Sister Martins was nice and gave us juice and ice cream, haha mom, I told her what you said about her and how much you like that she is always smiling. She was grateful to hear that, she is a super nice woman. Then we had to go and talk with some of the people at the Church Headquarters for the Brasil Area which is next to the temple, we work really closely with them, me with the financial department and Elder Irineu with the travel department. So that was good, then we finally were able to come back to the office and get some more work done. It has been so different working here, I am getting used to it, but part of me really misses normal missionary work! Haha but I am enjoying it and it will for sure be a wonderful experience for me to learn about the mission and grow as an individual.
We also had some GREAT appointments this week with our investigators! I´ll introduce you all to them! Emanoel, Heuza, Guilherme, and Breno, this awesome family that came to church for hte first time this last week! They are so solid. They read half way through 1 Nephi right after we gave them the Book of Mormon and then they watched the Prophet of the Restoration movie by themselves on youtube. Basically they are awesome. We really wanted to invite them to be baptized next weekend, but last night we found out that they aren't married legally, which is SUPER common here in Brasil. But after talking about it´s importance I invited them to be married legally so that one day they could have an eternal family. Haha it was kind of funny sounding to invite them to be married, but they said yes and that that had always been a desire of theirs!! Haha so woo hoo! Unfortunately here it takes about 30 days to be married, you have to mark your marriage with the government and the minimum wait is 30 days. But they are so solid and faithful and have such righteous desires to follow Christ.
We also have Allan, he is the husband of a member of the ward, he has been investigating for basically 10 years! Well they have been have a lot of marriage problems and it has made him super reflective on life an his marriage and everything. And he decided that what he wanted was to be sealed to his family. And to be baptized. So he came to us and told us of his desires (he already comes to church every week too) and we have been helping him these last two weeks get ready to be baptized! He already believes these things are true but has just been afraid to commit because he has felt he needs to know everything before baptism, something that just wont happen for anyone, even after baptism, and so now it has been so cool to see his faith grow and his desires to be with his family forever lead him to this decision. he is being interviewed tonight and hopefully baptized tomorrow!!!!
We also have two other couples that are great! Marcia and Flavio are awesome, she is like 52, and he is like 38... haha and they are way in love. It is an interesting couple for sure, but they are so great. He is a returning to church less active who served a mission and she had never known anything about the church. Well they too were not married but now they are going to get married April 5th and then she is going to get baptized April 12th!!! They are so great, unfortunately they work a ton (just like all Paulistas (people from São Paulo)), so we only get to meet them once a week, but they are great and she loves missionaries and wants to serve a mission with Flavio in the future.
The last couple are Thiago and Natalia, they also weren't married when the missionaries started teaching them but were married last fall! Thiago has a lot of doubts and questions, but he came to church two weeks ago (works every other Sunday) and loved it. He really felt the spirit which answered a lot of his doubts. Natalia is great. She already comes to church whenever possible and is calling this her church. They are really great and will be baptized soon as well hopefully!
I am loving this area so much. I love meeting so many different types of people and I truly have been able to already see the love the God has for these people. it is so humbling to me to see that these people are willing to make such big changes in their lives in order to follow our Savior. I love this Gospel. I love the commandments. Today during personal study I found a quote I really like in a Liahona. It is from President Packer from a talk he gave titled "Agency and Control" in the May 1983 Ensign. He says, "We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see." I love that so much. I have seen these people choose to be obedient to the commandments, not because they are ignorant or lack the understanding, but because their minds are being enlightened through the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ and through the Holy Ghost. These people choose to follow their Savior because they see that it will lead them to happiness eternally. I see that too in the lives of members of the church and missionaries. We are here on the mission because we are obedient and we can see that we receive so many blessings by serving. i can see that through serving I can help others as well. I love this Gospel so much!

Also Mom yes I did remember about the green tie, haha don't worry about that one, but thanks for reminding me, I was actually planning on wearing one on Monday since that is Morgan´s birthday, haha because here everyday I get to wear a tie, but I think I will wear one on Sunday as well, I have a couple green ties. Also we eat lunch with the members sometimes, but because there are 5 missionaries here in the same ward, it is hard for the members to feed us, so it only happens occasionally. Also sometimes we have so many things to do that there isn't really time to go to lunch, so we eat here. We will still get t go to the temple regularly with the mission, the next time is in May! And we get all the ensigns here in the office, so thank you but we already get them!!! Haha I think I answered all of them! Oh and we work in the office until 5 pm, then we get to work in our area until 9! I love those four hours!!!! Tell Marty and Katy and the babies hi for me!!!!! Love you all!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Transeferred!! Back in Sao Paulo 3/15/14

**Note from Mom- we received this email early Friday morning, unexpectedly!  **
Hey there family, well we had transfers this week and it turns out a little change occurred! I will now have P-Days on SATURDAYS. So not Mondays. So email me today or tonight, that would be wonderful as I will be emailing you all tomorrow morning! I got transferred to the mission office, I will tell you about it tomorrow. Love you!
Elder Carney

**Here's the Saturday morning one!**
Well this week started well, we had our last P-Day in Itapetininga, went really well, especially because we went to a churrascaria again, or a Brasilian BBQ, and as always it was fantastic. We had a seriously incredible last two weeks in Itapetininga, we worked so hard and made almost all of our goals and the standards of excellence for the mission, something that never happened before for me in Itape. Unfortunately we did not have a baptism, we had been praying SO SO hard to have one, we came close, we found people who are prepared to be baptized, but it just didn't happen. It was pretty disheartening at times, but we worked hard and were able to really feel a confirmation that our efforts were acceptable to the Lord and that he is pleased with our righteous desires. I really want that branch to grow, it has so many great people and really deserves to one day become a ward. Then I got the transfers call from our ZLs! 
I found out that our area closed!!! What in the world!?!?! Haha it was crazy, but closed here means actually whitewashed, meaning we both got transferred and two new missionaries came in! It actually has happened pretty often in Itapetininga, I don't know why, but it has already had this happen several times there, maybe it is just good to switch it up sometimes. I was pretty surprised because I thought I would be transferred and my comp would stay with a new trainer and that maybe i would go somewhere new and train again! Well we both got switched out, and Elder Noleto went to an are here in the capitol to finish his training with Elder MacArthur, an elder who I knew in Vila Sabrina and is super great! And I came here to the mission office! I am now the new Financial Secretary of the mission!!!!! 
But I am going to explain how that works because it is not really something very common in the US. So here in Brasil there are almost never senior couple missionaries, who usually work in the office making hte mission function, so here Elders are called to be the entire office staff. Here there are four secretaries, the Secretary of the Mission, Financial, of the Records, and Housing. Here the Secretary of the Mission is always Brasilian because he has to do a lot of official documents and letters and work with visas and everything, the Housing also is Brasilian because he works with housing contracts and just knows more about words and needs for houses that Americans wouldn't know, Records is Hispanic, and Financial is American because they have to communicate with Salt Lake in english. So yeah! I am here now! I am with Elder Barton, who is training me to be the secretary this transfer, and Elder Irineu, the Secretary of the Mission. We live in the same apartment with the other two secretaries, Elder Lima, and guess who... Elder Mussin!!!!!! He is the Secretary of the Records (all the baptismal records, things like that). It has been super great so far, I am really loving it although it has been a huge change. The Assistants also live beneath us and so we work out and cook and do everything with them as well. It has been good. We have regular studies everyday for two hours and then at 10 Am the office opens and we work here until 5 PM. Yep. So my day now is almost completely spent in the mission office. I had very mixed feelings about this, I really just want to work in the field. Haha a lot. But I know that this is where I need to be right now and it has already helped me grow so much. I am responsible for the missionary allowance for all the missionaries, I approve all the purchases made by the mission and President and Sister Martins, I do everything with the cell phones, I am responsible for their health plans, and lots of other fun things. Basically it is a lot and has been really overwhelming thus far! But i know that I can do it. And I am grateful for Elder Barton and Elder Irineu, they are seriously great.
At times I have been very worried about being able to do this. It just is so much stuff to do and I am constantly dealing with the money of the church, sacred funds given by faithful members. So I don't want to mess it up. I know that I will make mistakes but I want to be able to give my best. This also means that I will most likely be here for 4-7 transfers. Most like 6 or 7. Especially because I will be here when the new president arrives, so I will have to train him and help him with the financial side of the mission. So yeah, I will be here a while. We also have a great area, it just is hard because we only get to work in it for 4 hours a day and we are in the city with so many people around us so I want to be able to dedicate more time to them. But that is ok. Well that is basically it thus far, I am loving life, I got TWO packages this week, one from January, and then afterwards my package sent in November for Christmas!!! So thanks for that!!!! And now I will get letters much faster... so that would be awesome to get letters.... that is a hint. Haha just kidding, I have been very blessed in getting letters thus far. Well love you all,have a great week!
Elder Carney

Monday, March 10, 2014

Holy Transfer Batman! 3/10/14

Well this transfer has almost officially ended and my mind was just blown by that fact!! Haha it seriously flew by, so fast!!! We will find out about transfer tonight and so next week I will be able to tell you all if I was transferred or if I have a new companion or whatever! Haha no clue what is going to happen, we will definitely see! 
This week was super good, I was thinking about it and it felt like it was really long ago but it went by really fast. We were able to teach a ton of people again, we were proud to really kill it and have two really good weeks at the end of the transfer. We also are inviting so many peopel to be baptized, and it makes me so happy to see the righteous desires that these people have. One couple, Jose and Elisabete, are great, it is hard to see them because of how much she works, but we gave them the Book of Mormon and when Elder Noleto returned (we were on splits) she had left a letter with a summary of what she had read and understood and her views on it, all of which was that she agreed and that she needed to follow what it said but htat she also already has a church... haha so we need to get in contact with her and talk about what she read and the importance of the Book of Mormon. Luckily we have an appointment with her tonight! So woo hoo, we will see how it goes! 
Like I said we had splits this last week with the other elders here in Itape again, this time I left Elder Noleto in our area for a chance to be in charge and lead! It went really well, I was really praying it would go well, haha the first time you are left alone in your area with another elder who knows nothing about your area and you have to plan and lead everything can be alittle stressful but it went really well and he learned a lot. I was able to go to the other side of the tracks into the other part of Itape, which is actually a really nice, no hills, super well off area! Haha I didnt realize the good life they have there, but luckily I actually love hills, so joke´s on them! I was with Elder Ashford which was super fun since we came to Brasil together and it may have been the last time we will have a split together as well. We worked hard and I was able to help them out with some of the difficulties that they have ben having in their area. 
Yesterday we also went on a split with the Elders Quorum President and the YM President, just for two hours before Branch Council, and it was super great. I was with the Elder Quorum Pres, Julio, and he is super great. His family is seriously rock solid and help the branch in so many ways, we were able to contact some friends of his and it was great to see how excited he was to help and how powerful it is to have members actively seek to share the gospel with their friends. We also visited Marta and Alfonso, because Julio works with Alfonso and is friends with him. Unfortunately only Marta and her daugher were there because Alfonso is traveling, it looks like they might be splitting up. She really opened up and unfortunately they are having a ton of difficulties right now, it breaks my heart to see this family trying so hard but not making it, I told her that Mom had been praying for them and she just broke down crying and asked to please keep on praying for their family and how grateful she was for that, I told her I hadnt even asked you to pray for her and she was truly grateful.
Well it was a really good week, we also had lunch with (remember we eat lunch with members, not dinner) this family on tuesday, which happened to be the last lunch that their son had with them before he entered the MTC, it was awesome to see that and it just made me think of you guys, this family is going to be so blessed for the service of their son and I hope that you all are getting blessings as well ,I sure am!
Well love you all, have a great week!!!!!!!!! And Happy Birthday Marty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Elder Carney

Monday, March 3, 2014

Yet another week in the HUGE city of Itapetininga! 3/314

Haha so that subject line did have a little sarcasm, the missionaries here always talk about life here in the Grande Cidade de Itapetininga! Haha because it´s small... yep we are super funny. Anyways, it was a really really good week! We are just working our tails off here! And it is showing as well! We had more lessons this last week than I have had yet in Itapetininga and a lot of them were with members and some great ones with less active members of the church! We are also really working hard and being obedient in inviting people to be baptized as fast as possible, it is great because they know right away that our purpose there is not to just talk or hang out with them but to help them receive saving ordinances that they need to one day live for eternity with their families and our Heavenly Father. So it´s great because things go a lot more smoothly and our purpose is clear and we have more direction! We had some really great new families accept baptism this last week but now we have to return and really teach them, or rather, help the Spirit teach them! I am loving it here, there were some difficulties with the Elders here this last week, sometimes people get a little tired and cranky... haha but now it is all good! That family, Marta and Alfonso are doing well, the problem is they are so incredibly busy! Like they have zero time at all to even see each other, least of all be there together to meet with us. It is disappointing because they are just so busy that they don't have time for the Gospel, but we are going to see and keep on trying to meet with them, especially Matheus because of the huge desires he has to learn more. This weekend and today and tomorrow are also Carnival! My first Carnival in Brasil! Basically I have tried asking a bunch of people what the history or story behind Carnival is and all they have said is it is basically just a reason to party for four days straight! And there are some crazy costumes that these people use, I cant even imagine how crazy it is in parts of Rio and São Paulo. Haha here it is just in this huge plaza that is near the church building and so we just avoid going past that plaza for this weekend and the rest of the city is basically dead silent because everyone is either partying or traveling. It makes it hard to teach when people go on vacations, but that is ok, we were still able to find some people to teach! 
Oh funny story, we were walking past these two older ladies and we said good night to them and one of them said "é muito lindo quando os moços comprementar a gente. Coisa de Deus.", haha so she said "it is so beautiful when the young men greet us. Thing of God." I don't know why but I thought it was super funny. Also the other day someone on a bike yelled "Gigantão!!!" to get my attention, haha he said "really big giant!" The people here really aren't even very small, it is really mixed like the USA, so it was funny. 
Also yesterday we were able to give a blessing to this women who was having a ton of stomach pain and she just cried and we were so grateful to help her out. 
Basically this week was really good, of course always difficult, but really good! I hope that you all are doing well, mom no I don't need anything else, and no I haven't gotten the Jesus stickers box yet, maybe I will get it for next Christmas! Haha love you all! AND BOOBOO IS A STUD WHO GOT INTO BYU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!