Monday, February 25, 2013

The real world is tough!

Hi all!

So this email is coming right after a woman at the library came up to us, asked what organization we're with and then told us we're a bunch of idiots and we're stupid. Nice. She then commenced to ask us if we're gay and that's why we always have to be with somebody (aka our companion). Boy, do I miss the MTC.
Other than that, life is going well. I meant to email out some stuff last week but didn't have time. Some random facts from the MTC...last week there were 973 departing missionaries. 200 were going to California! How crazy is that? The CA San Fernando mission got 29 new missionaries, 13 of us are visa waiters. Only three of us for Brazil, the rest are for Mexico and Peru. There are so many Spanish speaking people here which I thought I would love because it means I can practice my Spanish. Turns out I don't know Spanish anymore. I tried talking with this woman and all that came out was this Spanish-Portuguese hybrid that was more Portuguese and less Spanish. She understood most of it, but it was ugly haha. The good news is I can still understand Spanish! I just can't respond that well. I need to get to Brazil and start speaking some Portuguese!!

Living in NoHo (North Hollywood) has been good. The members of the ward are really nice. The ward is super small! The Spanish ward that meets right after us has 8 missionaries (4 companionships), ours only has Sister Ngalu and I because that's all we need. We might be moving apartments next week because ours has been having some issues. The issue being cockroaches, and lots of them. Not gonna lie, it's disgusting. But I guess it's good practice for Brazil. Yesterday I sat down to study and saw a huge one crawling on my desk. Then I went to open a drawer an hour later and saw two big ones in my drawer. I hate bugs and these are gross. The mission president takes good care of us and has been looking for a new apartment.
I can see how easy it is to get fat on a mission!! Sister Ngalu has gained 55 lbs since coming on her mission. I'm hoping I max out at gaining 10 or so. Seriously. Her family sends her workout DVDs when she sends pictures home haha. How sad. The members are good about feeding us. If you normally don't sign up to feed the missionaries...stop doing that! Don't let the calendar pass you by. It is seriously so great when we are able to go interact with people and eat good food. Even if it's not good food, the company is much appreciated. It makes the BIGGEST difference.

Anyway, that's all for now. I've met a lot of nice people in NoHo. Even though I'm only 40 miles from home I might as well be on the other side of the country. It's like a new world up here.
Love you all!

Sister Kerr

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

California San Fernando Missionaries

Dear Parents of our Great Missionaries,

Wow! Twenty-eight missionaries arrived today in the Great California San Fernando Mission. We are so excited to have them here. As you can see from the picture, they are an amazing group. This is the largest group we have ever had arrive and we managed to get everyone and their luggage to where they needed to be.

We picked them up from two airports, three planes and a bus and will have one more arriving next week. We had a quick lunch of pizza, some paperwork and sent them out with some fantastic missionaries to go find people to teach. I am always so impressed by the experiences that they share from their first afternoon in the mission. After all that, we had dinner together at the mission home with our family and then sent them off to get a good night sleep at local missionary apartments/hotels.

Tomorrow morning we will have a Transfer Meeting, where every missionary who is getting a new companion will meet at a stake center and receive their new assignments. So tomorrow your missionary will meet his or her trainer and be on the way to the new area. President Hall has met with each new missionary and makes it a sincere matter of prayer of which trainer and which missionary will be together. We do ask that when you pray for your missionary, to also pray for their companion. We believe in miracles in this mission and we will take all the prayer we can get!

Some of our new missionaries are waiting for their visas before heading out to other missions. We can’t say enough good things about our visa waiters—we love them and hate to see them go. We will always count them as part of our mission family. We are so glad for the red-tape that sends them to us, even if it is just for a few weeks.
Thank you again for sending us your missionary!
Sister Hall

Wish You Were Here

Greetings from Southern California!

More specifically...greetings from North Hollywood! Not only have I been reassigned to a mission in California, I am currently serving in the southern most part of my mission. How close can I be to home without actually being home?!

This email is going to be super super quick. My trainer's name is Sister Ngalu. She is AWESOME! I have been getting so lucky with companions :) She's from Hawaii. The mission president is really nice. It's weird to be in southern California and not be with my family.

Here's my new address where you can send letters, packages, etc. The mission office address will work, too.

(Seriously, Google it and see how close I am haha)
Ok, that's it for now. I'll write more next week. Just know I'm happy and healthy :)


Sister Kerr

PS. I miss speaking Portuguese!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

California here I come ...

....right back where I started from!

Yes, yes, I received my reassignment this week and will be heading to the beautiful California San Fernando mission! I'd be lying if I said the first words out of my mouth weren't "The one state I didn't want!" But then I was happy to go wherever I'm meant to be. The only reason I didn't want to serve in California is because it's where I've lived almost my whole life and I wanted to live somewhere new. My mission goes from around the Calabasas area through Central California with cities like Lancaster, Bishop, Mt Whitney and all the way up to Mammoth. A good portion of the mission borders Nevada.

It's a sad day because Sister Ryan is going to the Washington Spokane mission! It's funny because out of the three companionships in our district who were reassigned we are the only companionship who was split up and we are the only one that wanted to stay together. Elders Stahura and Shepard are going to Spokane and Sisters Hammon and Johnson are heading to San Fernando with me. Other reassignments for the week were: SLC (the elder grew up there), Provo (he left this morning), Philadelphia (so close, Annalisa, so close!), and then the other district who was supposed to leave was pushed back a week and will get reassignments next week.

Thursday was a pretty big day for me for many reasons....
- Finished the Book of Mormon for the second time since being in the MTC
- In-Field Orientation all day
- It's the day Arizona became a state (so Sister Hunt claims; I have yet to verify this fact, but she was celebrating so I played along with her)
- Valentine's Day...obviously
- Got my official reassignment

Unfortunately, we didn't get our flight plans until yesterday so we had no idea how to start allocating our time. Thursday night before we went to bed I told Sister Ryan I had a feeling we were going to leave early Monday morning. Our original date to leave the MTC was Tuesday, but I just knew. Sure enough we went to get our travel plans our date to leave is 4 am. Well I leave at 4 am and she leaves at 5 am. So we spent yesterday and much of today packing and trying to take care of everything.
Yesterday was our last day with our was hard to say goodbye! It'll be even harder leaving the elders in our district. It's crazy that by the time they get to Portugal all of the reassigned missionaries from our district will have been in the field for 2 whole days already. Weird! I'm freaking out about teaching in English...I'd rather speak Portuguese!! I'm going to miss speaking so much Portuguese everyday...I love it!
Ok, well I gotta wrap this up. My bags aren't gonna pack themselves. Here's my new mission home address:

Sister Tarah Kerr

Love you all! Tchau!
Sister Kerr


Brazil :)

Me pointing at my two missions!

Sister Ryan swears she's Asian

Me, Sister Ryan, and our roomies Sister Wolfley and Sister Hunt pointing at our missions. Sister Ryan is a goofball.

Temple Walk our first Sunday in the MTC

Irmao of our first teachers.

Sister Ryan and I when we were twins.

Our district with Irmao Willardson...our other teacher.

And our district with Irmao Williams...the one in the middle. 

Our classroom

All the elders in my district.
All the mail I've received since being in the MTC!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!


Sister Ryan and I were talking a couple days ago and we cannot believe it's almost Valentine's Day!! Time flies. We've been here since before Christmas and now it's almost Valentine's Day??

So, I'm still sick but now it's just an annoying cough I can't seem to shake. Reassignments for the elders that left this week: Reno, Cleveland, Fresno, San Diego, and Utica, NY. Our district gets our reassignments in TWO days...woo hoo! As much as I want to be in Brazil I'm super excited to get reassigned. Any guesses on where I'm going? I told Sister Ryan we're going to Chicago, IL. I have my moments where I wonder why I still haven't received my visa, but then I decide my pity party has lasted long enough and I just remember wherever I go is where I'm meant to be. The elders in our district who are called to Portugal got their flight plans last Friday. It made it feel so real that we are actually leaving soon! They leave Monday morning so we all get another p-day on Saturday to start packing, go to the temple, etc. which means I won't have p-day next Tuesday. I am going to miss them SO much!

The demonstration Sister Ryan and I did last week was hard! The "investigators" were super difficult. One of the guys almost didn't even let us in the door. We had no idea how each investigator was going to be so we were shocked. Guess it's a taste of the "real world." Honestly, I am so grateful for Sister Ryan. At least once a day (normally more) we turn to each other and ask, "Have I ever told you I'm so glad you're my companion? Because I am." Leaving her is going to be difficult. I hope we are reassigned to the same place! Fingers crossed.

Our district is hosting again this week on Wednesday, but thankfully our branch isn't getting a new district so that frees up my Wednesday and Thursday nights. Irmao Williams asked me to tutor a sister in the branch who is struggling with the language so I started doing that on Sunday. It's only for 30 minutes a day and it will only be for a week, but I hope it helps.
It's been snowing for the past few days. The MTC is still more and more crowded each week, but life is good. :) I hope everyone is doing well! Can't wait to tell you where I'm reassigned!

Sister Kerr

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Happy February


So this week we have some elders leaving for the field, but their visas still have not come in. A group of 6 of them are reassigned to Des Moines, Iowa; one to Houston, Texas; and one to Seattle, Washington. One of the sisters in our branch, Sister Burt, got her visa on Friday so she left this morning for the Brazil MTC. She was here less than 3 weeks! Still no visa news for us. If we don't get them by next Tuesday we'll find out our reassignments late Wednesday night or Thursday.

This week is going to be busy busy busy! Sister Ryan and I were recommended by our teacher, Irmao Williams, to do a teaching demonstration for all of the new incoming missionaries this Wednesday night so we will have training that morning and then the actual demonstration that night. Our district was also selected to be hosts this Wednesday which means we have training that morning and then will spend a few hours in the afternoon waiting on the freezing cold curb to welcome new missionaries, help them with their bags, take them to their residence, classroom, etc. And if Wednesday doesn't seem busy enough I also have to do an orientation with the new district we'll be getting that night for our branch. We have 11 incoming missionaries - 6 elders and 5 sisters. With the addition of these 5 sisters our branch will have 16 sisters which is the most it's ever had. An average size branch at the MTC has 40-50 people, ours has 90! And just to help you realize how many people are at the MTC, they made the 62nd branch this past Sunday.
Despite the busy schedule (and the long, long lines!) I still love the MTC. Our elders had me laughing so hard this week I was in tears. Is it weird I'm like best friends with a bunch of 19 year olds? Maybe haha. Only 14 more days here...sad/exciting. It will be so weird to be in the "real world" once again. We are definitely sheltered here.

The weather on Sunday was so amazing! It was the first time I've felt the sunshine on my face in a while.
Sisters Ryan, Hunt, Wolfley and I were lucky this week because we didn't get an extra bunk bed added in our room. With all of the new sister missionaries coming in they are putting 6 girls in each room. Our room is smaller than all the others because it was never intended to be a bedroom. It used to be a lounge but they converted it a few months ago anticipating more sisters. At first we were bummed that our room was smaller, had lower ceilings, and 2 desks instead of 4, but we came to terms with it pretty quickly. Now we are so ecstatic our room is small because it means we don't have to cram 6 people into a room with only 4 closets. We each get to keep a closet to ourselves :)

I hope everyone is doing well!! Only a couple more weeks and I'll know where my next destination is whether it's Brasil or somewhere in the states!

Sister Kerr