Monday, November 25, 2013

Transferred :(

Dearest family and friends,
So believe it or not, I was transferred. I had high hopes that I would stay in Taguatinga Norte for one more transfer. It honestly made sense because Sister Blair and I were doing the training, Presidente Gaertner doesn´t normally like to split up companionships that are in training, and he usually leaves senior companions in the same area for 3 transfers. Until this point in my mission the only area I stayed for 3 was in Guará II, which you probably all remember how that area was for me. If there was one area that I wasn´t in love with it would have to be there. Not to say I didn´t learn a lot, because I definitely did, but it was a rough area.
Leaving Taguatinga Norte has been hard for me, even harder than when I left Guará I. I think I wanted to stay in Guará I for selfish reasons. It was a kind of small area so we didn´t have to plan as efficiently to get all the appointments in that we wanted, the ward was great, and I loved Sister P. Gonçalves (she is still there...poor thing). I was looking forward to helping the investigators like Tainá, Raimunda, Maria Eloisa, and everybody else, but I just feel like leaving there was a different feeling than leaving Taguatinga. This area was hard when I first got there but we worked so hard to get to know the members and truly help the investigators. I hate to pick a "favorite area" in the mission because in every area I have learned what I needed to learn, but Taguatinga Norte was a special area. The ward is great, the members are helpful, the recent converts are firm, and the work was going pretty well. There was definitely room for improvement, but we were getting there. I wanted to stay because I knew Sister Blair and I would be able to get a lot done and accelerate the work even more.
Last night we had Daniela´s baptism which went well. She has been wanting to get baptized for a while. She was practically begging us to baptize here which isn´t a situation I imagine I will find myself in often haha. We finally marked a date for November 24th and it all worked out :) The members came out to support, like always, and it was just a good night.

I honestly thought I would stay in Taguatinga....all logic pointed to a solid "yes" that I would. When we got the phone call that I would be leaving, I was sad but there´s nothing that can be done. Barbara, the bishop´s wife, called to tell me that the bishop sent a text message to President Gaertner last night to try and convince him to let me stay. That was super sweet :) I wish it would have worked! haha. The worst part is, I talked to one of the assistants today and jokingly asked him why he didn´t change the transfers and move my name so that I could have stayed in Taguatinga. He told me that originally I was supposed to stay but then at the last minute another sister had to be moved and it was my name that was chosen to switch with her. Just my luck.
So enough talk about Taguatinga. I guess I should tell you where my new area is: Ceilândia. The part of the city that I am in is known as Guariroba. I still don´t know who my companion is because she comes in tomorrow. There are three sisters arriving tomorrow - two Brazilians and one American who has been waiting for her visa. She has been serving in the states since April! Can you believe that? That is a long time to have been in a different mission. We will actually be opening this area in the sense that there was one companionship here and we will be a second. This is my third time in a row arriving in a new area with a new companion and kind of having to figure things out as we go along. Honestly, I like opening areas though so that´s ok with me.
My last week in Taguatinga was less than ideal. Our pipes were clogged because of the "caixa de gordura" that sits under the building and collects the fat, oil, grease and everything else from all of the apartments. Well it got too full and decided to start spilling out in our apartment, only ours. It was so gross. The smell was horrible and the landlord totally dragged his feet to do anything about it. We had already lost a lot of time during the week because of the zone trainings we had so this was just another thing we had to deal with that took us away from the work. We weren´t able to visit everybody like we wanted. Overall, it wasn´t a terrible week just very trying and tiring. But thankfully Sister Blair is an awesome companion and we were still able to make the best of it.
I don´t have my memory card reader otherwise I would send pictures. I am currently in Ceilândia with Sister Barbosa, Sister Bojorquez, Sister Azevedo and Sister Munger. Sister Azevedo, Sister Munger and I are in a trio tonight while we wait for our companions to get here tomorrow and then they will go to their areas. I will be living in a house with four sisters for the first time in the mission!! It only took a year to happen haha.
Well, sorry for this novel. I even left out a bunch of stuff because I didn´t want you to get too tired of reading. HAPPY THANKSGIVING this week!! I hope everybody enjoys the time with family :)
Love you all very much!
Sister Kerr

Monday, November 18, 2013

11 Months!

Dearest family and friends,

Tomorrow I will have 11 months in the mission! The next month marker will be 1 year. Whaaat! Time has been flying by. So right now I am wearing jeans because we had a zone activity and since soccer has been banned in the mission as of 2 weeks ago, we weren´t able to play today. It was banned because an elder was playing with his zone and then broke his foot. He had to have surgery and then go home to wait for it to heal. I have been enjoying this time in jeans, a v-neck and a cardigan...I feel like a real person! haha. Anyway, the last time I wore these jeans was in North Hollywood and they still have the smell of the apartment. It´s funny because I will get a whiff of the laundry detergent and all of the memories from NoHo come rushing back to my mind. Funny how smells can do that. I kind of didn´t want to wear these jeans today because I don´t want to have to wash them and lose the smell. 

Sister Blair and I are now pie experts after having baked two apple pies last week. It´s the holiday season and we feel like we are missing out on the holiday cooking from the states so we decided to bake an apple pie. It actually turned out really good! The second one was better than the first but I liked both of them. We gave two pieces to the American elders in our district for them to have a taste of home, too. One thing I am really looking forward to when I come home is having time to bake and cook again. 

Last week we planned to visit more members instead of planning as many lessons so that we can develop a better relationship with the members and gain their confidence. Choir on Sunday night was the first step and the rest of the week went really well. We still have a lot of work to do but we are getting around to it. We went to choir again last night and I loved it even more. I got to sing with the altos which made me happy. Why did I never do choir? Oh wait, I did it once and got stuck with bell duty (my mom and Annalisa probably remember that quite well haha). Barbara actually put everyone to sopranos and then only had Sister Blair, Lilian and me as the altos. We are practicing Christmas hymns to go singing door to door for some investigators :) 

Weird thing that happened a lot this past week: people kept telling Sister Blair and I that we look alike. I understand that our names sound alike, but us looking alike? No way. We just think it´s funny and wonder how anybody can come to that conclusion. It´s weird because it´s been more than one person who has said it. 

The work in Taguatinga Norte has gotten so much better since I first arrived. Maybe the only thing that changed was my attitude, but whatever it was, I have seen a lot of miracles happen here. I think back on my first week here and how I was so upset to have left Guará I, but now I love this area. News from Guará I - Raimunda got baptized on Saturday! She has been an investigator for over a year. The best part was that she wrote me an email to tell me about it. I felt special because she thought to send me an email and tell me about her baptism. The fruits of the mission are not few, just like it says in Alma 26:31. 

Well, this is the last week of this transfer. I am really hoping to stay here one more transfer! Whatever happens next Monday I know it will be for the best, but I can still hope that God´s will and my will line up one more time ;) 

Hope everybody has a great week! Love and miss you all!!

Sister Kerr 
Our first apple pie

Sister Blair and me in jeans today! Woo hoo! :)

The cuia, bomba and erva a member bought for me so I could make chimarrão
Random pic from the zone activity 

Another random pic
Picking amora (mulberry) from the trees :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veteran´s Day! Even though it´s not a holiday here I am thinking about it and remembering it today :)

So this last week was a good week. Gilmar was confirmed yesterday and was happy as could be :) I can´t even explain how much he has changed in these two months that I have known him. He is so awesome. 

Our week was kinda busy doing damage control in our house. On Wednesday we decided the worm problem in our shower was kind of gross so we called Sister Gaertner and asked what to do and she said to just put clorox in the shower. When we did that we saw that it was worse than we expected. A ton of them started to appear and come out of the little cracks. Don´t worry, though, we found out they weren´t worms...they were larva. Apparently because our shower head has been leaking the bathroom has been kind of wet and this type of bug likes to live there. Gross, right? We killed them and have been trying to be better about keeping it as dry as possible, but until we get our shower head fixed it has been a bit of a problem. We also have a ton of weird looking fly things. I don´t know, our apartment is starting to gross me out haha. 

The best part about being in Taguatinga is definitely having Sister Blair as my companion. This past week we had the urge to eat McDonald´s, which is weird for me because I don´t really eat fast food, but we went and ate a ton!! Halfway through the meal I wondered why I ordered so much but we pressed forward haha. We also decided to sing in the ward choir as a way for us to get to know more members and develop more of a relationship with them. Last night was the first time we went and I really liked it! I don´t sing very well and they put me with the sopranos which probably wasn´t the best idea but there were a ton of altos and only three sopranos. Since Sister Blair actually knows how to sing alto we left her there and sent me to the sopranos haha. On our own time, Sister Blair and I have already started memorizing Christmas hymns in Portuguese. Gotta get ready for Christmas! :) 

One funny thing is that in Portuguese my name and Sister Blair´s name rhyme which people love to comment on. In English they aren´t even close haha but with the pronunciation here they are almost the same. 

I normally make a list of things to write about in my email home but this week I am just trying to remember off the top of my head. Oh yeah, Thursday afternoon we helped a girl carry home some groceries because it looked like she was kind of overloaded. Her name is Amanda and we went back to visit her on Saturday. She said she wouldn´t be able to go to church on Sunday because she had to bake a cake for a friend for him to pick up Sunday afternoon (sounds like a fake excuse, right?) but we said we would bake it for her that night and then drop it off in the morning when we went to get her for church. She agreed so we baked Saturday night and gave it to her Sunday morning; she went to church with us and left the cake for her friend to pick up. Daniela, Célia and Thaís also went which was a nice surprise. Overall I had a pretty good week :) 

Hope everybody is happy and healthy and getting ready for the holiday season! I find myself a little more homesick with all the Christmas decorations going up, but that´s ok. Next holiday season I will be home :)

Sister Kerr 
Here is a picture of our zone this transfer. As you can see we acquired two new sisters in the zone.

Elder Sanders, Elder Pedroso, Sister Blair, me, Elder Redd, and Elder Grisham (Our district).

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sweet Novemeber

Dearest family & friends,

It´s November! Next month I will have been in the mission for a year. I am starting to freak out a little bit because after my one year mark comes Christmas, then New Years, and then there will only be six more months until I come home. That´s too soon! Ok, I am getting a little ahead of myself, November just started.

So I am still loving being Sister Blair´s companion. It is such a small world, too, because we discovered today that one of my friends from college is the daughter-in-law of one of her super good family friends. I hope you understood that haha. How funny, huh? 

Last week was really busy and passed by so quickly. On Halloween, Sister Blair and I dressed in orange and black in honor of the holiday we weren´t celebrating. That same day we also had the lock on our apartment door break and had to call a locksmith to change out the lock. Friday we helped the bishop and his wife do some food storage stuff for their house. We were putting beans into cleaned out Coca-Cola 2 liter bottles. Saturday night the ward had a talent show that was a success! So many people came out to watch and perform. Of course I had to miss the last act because we had to be home at 9:30pm and the show was running late. I was bummed but that´s ok. 

Yesterday, Gilmar was baptized! Like always, the ward was very supportive. A lot of people came out and brought refreshments and whatnot. To give a quick background on Gilmar, he has been an investigator since July. My first month in this area he stopped going to church even though he had been attending pretty regularly. Then, he called us one night to tell us he didn´t want to meet with us anymore because he was going to go back to his old church. Since Gilmar had met with the missionaries in July he had stopped smoking, drinking and had made a lot of changes in his life. That night we went to his house and met with him. We told him he needed to do his part, namely go to church and read the scriptures, to know what he really wanted to do. 

From that night on we started calling him every night to see if he had read that day. Sometimes we would call at 10pm and he would say he hadn´t read so we would tell him he had 25 minutes to read before we called back haha. Tough love (or just plain annoying), but it totally worked. Once he started reading daily he started coming to church and decided he wanted to be baptized. He was so happy yesterday after the baptism :) The best part was he had been a little unsure about getting baptized, but during church yesterday so many people as part of their testimony commented to him from the pulpit that getting baptized is the best thing he could do and he would never regret it. We hadn´t told anybody about his doubts but clearly the Spirit was working in them. It was awesome for him to get so many reassurances the day of his baptism. He even brought a friend to church and to his baptism! 

Fernanda is still doing great. We wanted to pass by her house to bring her to the baptism but we were running late so didn´t have time. When we got to the chapel she was already here practicing with the choir! She went to Institute on Saturday and is totally taking charge of her own fellowshipping. We don´t even sit by her in the classes or sacrament anymore because she already has a group of friends. Iolita, too, doesn´t sit with us anymore because she sits with another family.

Ok, I have more to write but this email turned out to be really long so I will leave it at this for now. Hope you are all happy and healthy! Oh yeah, you guys got to "fall back" an hour but two weeks ago we had to "spring ahead" here. Lame. So now I am 6 hours ahead of west coast time just as an FYI. Anyway, love you all very much!!

Sister Kerr 
Gilmar´s baptism :) (obviously)