Monday, April 29, 2013

4 Months!

Ola familia!

So this past week I completed 4 months on the mission. Only 14 more to go! haha. Last Monday after emailing, Sister Victorio, Sister Groneman, Sister Munger and I went to Plano which is downtown Brasilia and has all of the touristy places. When you Google ´Brasilia´ those places will probably show up. We went to the National Congress building and took a tour. Their government here seems to be pretty similar to ours. We also went to the Cathedral, Rodoviaria, and other places. I forgot to bring my memory card adapter today so I´ll have to send pics next Monday or the following Monday. There´s a slight chance I might have to go to the transfer meeting next Monday, either for me or Sister Victorio, so not sure if I´ll get a chance to email next week.

I went on an exchange last Wednesday to Thursday with Sister Tsukuda in Taguatinga Sul which is like 15 minutes away by Metro. She is so awesome!! People asked if we are twins because she´s half Japanese/half Brasilian. We look alike, I think. Again, I forgot my cord so I can´t send pics today but next week I will. Even though I was hesitant about the exchange I LOVED it. She was super nice and I got to ask her a ton of questions about Portuguese and Brasilian culture. It was great. Btw, I finally learned the word people use to describe my eyes..."olhos puxados" which literally means "pulled eyes" haha. 

Yesterday, Sister Victorio and I learned how to make brigadeiro and pao de queijo :) I am already planning the feast I am going to make for everyone when I get home. And I´m planning the buffet I would like waiting for me when I get home haha.

We have two new sisters staying with us for the week. Our little home was not made for 4 sisters! But, tudo bem. We had a zone activity this morning that was fun. I like my zone here. I´m sad transfers are next week. I don´t want anything to change. Guara II is great. I´m getting more comfortable with the language, but being the perfectionist I am I still worry if I´m conjugating the verb correctly, using the right tense, etc. Some day I will be fluent. 

Well, that´s a brief summary of the week. Hope everybody is doing well! Everyday I think to myself, "How did I get so lucky to have such great family and friends?" I am one of few missionaries who has the problem of..."Oh, no! I dont have enough to respond to everybody who wrote to me" It is a great problem to have :) Forgive me, I haven´t written letters in two weeks! I will get around to it in the next few weeks. 

Love you all VERY much.
Sister Kerr

Yesterday was quite a busy day. Jessika was baptized :) and we got phone calls about transfers. I stayed in Guara II! Sister Victorio was transferred. My new companion is named Sister Damaceno. She´s 21 and from Rio de Janeiro. I thought for sure I wouldn´t be senior companion yet, but I am. It will be a good learning experience. I keep telling myself that haha. 

Last week was busy. I had to go to the airport to take care of some visa stuff. I´m glad to say I´m officially allowed to stay in Brasil now. We didn´t get much work done because we kept having to leave the area. Not much to report this week. The baptism yesterday went well. Jessika´s parents, Antonio and Graca want to get married so they can be baptized. This transfer we´ll work with them. Antonio has changed SO much in the past month. It´s definitely a miracle. Here are some pics, as promised.
Sister Victorio, Sister Tanaka, Me and Sister Tsukuda

Zone activity last Monday

My last district - Elder Motta, Elder Tippets, Sister Victorio, Me, Elder Bell and Elder Spironeli

I promise she wanted to be baptized! Brasilians just don't like to smile. Haha

Random pic: Sister Muniz and I pretending to be elders

Monday, April 15, 2013

Arroz & Feijao

Oi familia! Tudo bem?

I wouldn´t be me if I didn´t take some time to comment on the food here. Before coming to Brazil everybody told me I would be eating rice and beans every day...they were right! Rice and beans sounds pretty dull but it is delicious!! The days I don´t have the opportunity to eat it I go to bed craving rice and beans haha. Yesterday the bishop´s wife had us over for lunch and made feijoado. So good!! I love the food here. On Saturday a fruit vendor gave me a free goiaba (guava) because I mentioned I had never tried one. It was amazing. Sister Victorio and I are going back sometime this week to buy some. Later that day I found a HUGE avocado in the street and took it home to eat :) There are a ton of avocado trees all throughout the city. Right now isn´t the season for avocados so every time I saw one that had fallen from the tree it was normally cracked and gross. But the one I found on Saturday was perfect. I had been craving an avocado sandwich since arriving in Brasil so it was an answer to my prayers. On the way home we passed by the drugstore which has a scale and we weighed it....2.5 lbs! 

The two most commonly used American words used here in terms of food are cookies and brownies. Everybody wants to try cookies and brownies. Last week Sister Victorio and I made cookies because she was craving them. We used a recipe from her previous American companion, but while she made them I did language study. After the first two batches came out a little less than perfect she asked me to help her. I didn´t know what was wrong so I chalked it up to be a bad recipe. After about 4 batches she asked me, ´How much is 3/4 cups?´ I showed her on the measuring cup (xícara in Portuguese) and she started laughing hysterically. She thought that meant 3-4 cups so she put 3 cups of each type of sugar. The cookie dough had 6 cups of sugar! No wonder they didn´t turn out right haha.

Aside from the food, the work in Guará II is going well. We had three days last week where members went out with us to our visits. It is always so awesome to have member involvement. I have noticed a lot of the sisters in the ward served missions. During testimony meeting yesterday at least 5 or 6 got up and bore their testimony about their mission. I have never been in a ward where so many people are eager to bear their testimony. There were no lulls.

The families that went to Conference are doing well. We had really great lessons with them last week. One of them came to church yesterday but the other one was sick so they weren´t able to. Gisa told us she wants to be baptized and she knows her son Davi will serve a mission someday, he´s 7 right now. She has really strong faith and is eager to join the Church. She said in all of her years attending church she always found one or two things in each congregation that she knew weren´t for her. The Lord totally prepared her to accept the gospel. 

The rain continues every day, but life is good. :) I hope everyone back home is doing well!!

Love you!!
Sister Kerr

Querida Sister Kerr,
Obrigada por sua simpatia e desejo de servir. Você é uma moça especial e nós a amamos.
Com carinho,
Sister Gaertner

Foto de Chegada de 26 de março de 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

Conferência Geral :)


This past week has been very busy. I got to spend some time with my zone last Tuesday for Zone Training Meeting and I really like all of them. They are great! Our house is looking of the members came over to fix the wiring in our bathroom and put in a new light. The mission president also gave us a shower rod and curtain so it feels like a real bathroom!...kinda. haha. I still never know if I will have cold or lukewarm water when I shower. One time I was lucky enough to have warm water the whole time!

It rains like you would not believe!! Every day we have to carry our umbrellas with us and we use them almost everyday. On Thursday it started raining out of nowhere and we had to walk home in it. It was ankle deep water for 20 minutes in the streets. For maybe 5 minutes we were able to use a sidewalk and not have our feet be completely wet. I would have been just as drenched if I jumped in a pool. The wind was blowing so our umbrellas were kind of useless because the rain was coming in sideways. Friday rained a ton, too, and we were trudging through sopping wet fields and semi flooded streets.

General Conference was awesome! They had an English transmission for all of the American missionaries which was great. It felt so good to have fluid conversations in English with the missioanries haha. I love Sister Victorio, but somedays I just want 5 minutes to say something in English and have her understand. I definitely got my fill of English this weekend :) We even had two families come to the Sunday morning session to watch Conference! They liked it.

Life is good. It is a bit difficult to adjust all over again to a new mission. I already went through this in San Fernando! haha. Mas, tudo bem. I like the ward, the area, my district, etc. 
Hope all of you are doing well! Love you!

Sister Kerr

Flying into Brasilia

Me and Sister Victorio between conference sessions on Sunday

Monday, April 1, 2013

Tudo Bem

Olá família!

I don´t know if the accents work, so I´m not going to do them just in case it doesn´t show up correctly. Man oh man do I have a ton to catch up on! As you probably noticed, I didn´t send an email last week...I was on my way to Brasil! Before I talk about Brasil I´m going to sum up my last week in NoHo.
For my last p-day in the states, we went to the LA Zoo with the Spanish missionaries. On the way there we drove by WB Studios and places like that. It was cool. Sister Ngalu and I were in a trio with Sister Stewart for the last week because Sister Bowden went back to the Temple Square mission. I thought I would hate being in a trio, but I LOVED it. Sister Stewart is awesome. Because we were in a trio we had to cover two areas - NoHo and Studio City. Saturday morning we went to an Easter thing for the Studio City ward because Sister Stewart had some investigators going. Guess who I met there...Napoleon Dynamite! Well, Jon Heder who plays the role of Napoleon Dynamite. He was super nice. Anyway, the last week was crazy busy trying to get ready to leave and balancing two areas, but it was so much fun. Like I said, I loved being in a trio!

Monday and Tuesday I spent all day traveling with Sisters Johnson and Hammon...the same two I traveled to San Fernando with. We left for the airport at 5 am on Monday morning to make a 8:40am flight out of LAX. In Atlanta we had a 4 hour layover and met up with some other missionaries who were on their way to Sao Paulo. One we met, Sister Clark, had been reassigned the week before us and was serving in Las Vegas. While we were walking back to the gate from getting food I saw two guys in suits and figured they must be elders. They was Elder Lant and Elder Anderson!! The two elders who were zone leaders when I was the coordinating sister in the MTC. They are serving in Brasilia, too. I was so excited to see them.

Thankfully on the long flight from Atlanta to Sao Paulo (9 hours) there was an open seat between me and the other girl in my row which was nice. I slept most of the time. When we got to Sao Paulo we had 8 hours to kill before our flight. We went to check in at 11 am and found out Elder Anderson didn´t have a ticket. The airline lost his reservation! We spent the next two hours trying to find the Delta office to figure out the problem. I was on a different flight than them to Brasilia so I ended up having to leave before it got resolved. When I landed in Brasilia the missionaries who were there to meet me asked me where the elders were. I told them they initially had a different flight and I didn´t know if they made it or not. They did, so everything was good haha.

The mission president and his wife are awesome! I loved President  Hall and Sister Hall from San Fernando and I love President and Sister Gaertner, too. The mission home is SO nice, of course. Flying into Brasilia I saw that like almost every house had a pool. Some of the homes were like mansions! Well, that´s only the super nice parts of the city, but I´ll get back to that later. We ate dinner at the mission home and then went to the church to meet my companion. Her name is Sister Victorio and she´s from Bolivia. She´s super nice and has been in the field for 9 months. She doesn´t speak any English so we resort to Spanish and Portuguese to communicate. There is also a lot of acting and gestures when we are trying to figure out a word haha. We serve in Guara II (Guara dois) which is outside Brasilia.

Even though the work is the same, serving in Brasil is way different than the states. For example, our house. Our bathroom doesn´t have a light, the only light that it has is whatever streams in around the door. Our shower doesn´t have a shower curtain or a ridge or anything to define it as a shower. The whole floor is tile so essentially there´s just a corner with a shower head and a drain and that part is the shower. The shower head is electric so if you touch it you´ll get electrocuted. We have ants everywhere...I am getting alive by ants and spiders. Earlier this week I counted 15 bites on just one part of my leg. That didn´t include the rest of my leg or my feet. My feet are covered!! It sucks, but oh well.

The ward is awesome! Everyone is really nice. There are a million things I want to talk about, but I have to get going. Life is good. The accent here is hard. They pronounce r´s in the middle of words as an h sometimes. I was hoping they wouldnt have that accent here haha. Well, just know I´m happy and relatively healthy. The water smells like dirt and we have bugs in a lot of our stuff so I don´t know exactly how healthy I am haha.

Anyway, tchau para voces!
Sister Kerr

This is where I live. Just the bottom floor with the two windows closest to the right. I'm blocking the door.

Mission president with his wife when they picked us up at the airport. Elder Lant on the left, Elder Anderson on the right.

My new comp