Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year !


I hope everybody had a great Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! Of course mine was great because I got to Skype with my family :) It is weird to think I will see all of them in 6 months. 

Christmas in Brasil was very different from Christmas in the states, as you would probably imagine. Here the Christmas celebration is more like New Year´s midnight they light fireworks and there is loud music playing all night. The real Christmas celebration takes place on the 24th with dinner, fireworks, opening presents at midnight, etc. So for Sister Barbosa and Sister Bojorquez they felt like Christmas was on the 24th and for Sister Jackson and I we felt like it was on the 25th. We didn´t do anything for the 24th. A member invited us over but we were all super tired and decided to stay in. All of the grocery stores had closed so we found an open bakery, bought a freezer pizza and salgados, went home and watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration for our Christmas celebration haha. 

The 25th was much better because we Skyped with our families!! Woo hoo. We ate lunch with Irmã Araceli and her family (they are a perfect family...they help us with everything we need!) and then Skyped at her sister´s house. It was so awesome to see my family and hear their voices. Of course 40 minutes when you´re talking to your family feels like only 10! It passed way too quickly. 

The rest of the week went well. Oh yeah, I finished the New Testament in Portuguese on Tuesday morning! I completed my goal of finishing the New Testament before Christmas :) That made me happy.

Next week we have transfers and I honestly don´t know if I will stay or go. I don´t know if I am really hoping for one thing or another either. I am happy here, but this transfer has been weird because of the holidays. A lot of members have been out of town so we haven´t really gotten too close with the ward. For the members that we are close with, they are wonderful. There are two families in particular that are such an example for me. When I have a family someday I hope to put in practice some of the things I have seen and learned here. 
Yesterday the stake president talked about goals and enduring to the end. He started his talk by saying, "Today is Sunday, December 29th and all of you are here in church.December 29, 2019 is also a Sunday. Where do you picture yourselves at 9amDecember 29, 2024 is also a Sunday. Where do you picture yourselves at 9am?" and he continued until after 2100. He said if we are imagining ourselves in church at 9am on those Sundays that is the first step in enduring to the end. Nobody makes a plan to fall away but sometimes it happens. He said we need to always have a goal to endure to the end and that happens daily.

All of the talks and lessons in church were about making goals. I need to make some goals for 2014. Reviewing my goals from 2013 I realized I got a lot better in some aspects and others might need to carry over to this next year. I hope all of you make goals and are able to take them one day at a time. In one year from now you can look back and re-evaluate. Don´t be discouraged if you didn´t complete everything you wanted in 2013. And don´t wait for January 1st each year to review and revise. We can change any day of the year, we can make goals for the better no matter what season it is. 

I hope all of you have a great start to 2014! Love and miss you all!

Sister Kerr 

All of us on Christmas Eve getting ready to watch the movie. We slept in the living room :)

Brasília has the prettiest sky you have ever seen

The best ward missionaries ever!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!


I can´t believe another Christmas is already here! I have so much to write today but don´t know if I will have enough time. To start off, we had Christmas Conference on Wednesday and it was wonderful!! We had the privilege of having Lex de Azevedo speak to us and then play  piano. I would be lying if I said I knew who he was before the conference, but he is a pretty famous pianist (Google his name). He is married to a Brazilian and currently living here in DF. His mission stories were so funny and when he played the piano he was hilarious. He decided we should sing Christmas hymns but then after playing two, changed his mind and decided we should sing Feliz Navidad and Jingle Bells. So there we were, 150 missionaries from various countries singing Feliz Navidad and Jingle Bells (in a Samba style) in English. That is a scene that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I was sitting on the stand, too, because I was in the choir so I got to see the faces of all the missionaries smiling, stumbling through the words, and laughing. To end his time, Lex played Silent Night (Noite Feliz because we sang in Portuguese) and it made me sad to realize this is the only Christmas conference I will have as a full-time missionary here in Brasília. I was grateful for the Spirit that we felt in the Conference and the messages we heard.

After the spiritual part of the mission conference we had lunch and then had a talent show. It was so funny to watch the missionaries still be missionaries but have the appearance of normal people. I hope that made sense haha. I got to see all of my former companions (only Sister Victorio was missing because she already went home) and missionaries from previous zones and districts. I also saw Elder Anderson and Elder Lant and took a picture with them because it had been almost exactly a year since we all met in the MTC! At the end of the Conference, our Christmas gift from President and Sister Gaertner was a box of Oreos. I haven´t had Oreos since the plane ride down to Brasil nine months ago. They were delicious (no, the whole box isn´t gone, yet).

The day after conference was my 1 year anniversary in the mission. It was a very bittersweet day because I realized I only have 6 more months to be a missionary. I was happy for the time I have spent in the mission but I felt this cloud hanging over me because the mission is now 2/3 of the way done. I am excited to go home and see my family, obviously, but to think about the day I have to hang up my tag and return to normal life is daunting. I am just going to do my best to appreciate these next 6 months! 

I read my journal that I started in the plane to the MTC and realized two things: 1. my English vocabulary is now significantly smaller and 2. I have changed a lot. Since Thursday I have been reflecting a lot about who I have become, what I have done, what´s changed, what´s stayed the same, and where I hope to be when I am back in a plane on my way home.

Sister Bojorquez, Sister Barbosa and I today in JK Shopping. We aren´t allowed to go into shopping malls but we got permission so we could take Sister Barbosa to McDonalds for her birthday today. We saw Santa there, too :)
Well, I think my time is running out. I wrote about half of what I wanted to say, but the most important thing is....MERRYCHRISTMAS! :) Love you all very much. Don´t forget the true meaning of Christmas (and don´t let that phrase just become another cliché in your life). 
Sister Kerr
Rain yesterday...the streets were flooding!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Conference

Dear family and friends,

I am short on time today but I wanted to give a quick summary of my week. The choir has gotten so much better!! I was amazed by our practice on Saturday and yesterday morning. We have improved dramatically in the past two weeks! I am excited for the songs we will be singing tomorrow. The best part is that through all of the practices I have memorized more songs in Portuguese :) I guess I am also happy to be learning how to sing, too!

We had zone conference last week with the Taguatinga zone which meant I got to see everybody. Woop woop! We also had a zone activity with them today. We had churrasco and then watched Despicable Me 2 in Portuguese. For Christmas, President normally lets us watch a film and the zone leaders chose this one. It was so cute!! I loved it.

Tomorrow we have our Christmas mission conference so I will get to see everybody! I hope everybody is having a good week getting ready for Christmas next week. Miss you all!!

Sister Kerr

PS Sorry I haven´t been sending pics. This internet house is weird and hard to send pics from

Monday, December 9, 2013

10 Days, 16 Days

Dearest family & friends,

So the title of this letter refers to how many days are left until the most important dates in this transfer: my one year mark and CHRISTMAS! This time last year I was buying things for the mission, trying to visit as many people as I could before leaving, enjoying the privilege of being able to work out in a gym and wondering what the mission would bring. Here I am one year later, using the same clothes I bought last year, almost 20 pounds heavier, missing everybody I haven´t seen in a year or more, and no longer wondering how the mission is. This year has flown by and dragged on at the same time.

Anyway, onto my week...

Friday I saw Sister Blair and Elder Redd after choir practice. It was almost a Taguatinga district reunion!...the only one missing was Elder Grisham. Man, last transfer was seriously so great. It has only been almost two weeks but it feels like it was so long ago. Choir practice for the mission conference has been going well. We aren´t that great but that´s ok because it´s fun.

Saturday we had our ward Christmas party which was a barbecue and white elephant gift exchange. It´s probably pretty safe to say this will be the only year I will celebrate Christmas with a barbecue during summertime. It doesn´t feel like Christmas for a lot of different reasons but the weather is definitely a big contributing factor. California doesn´t snow or get super cold, but I miss the crisp winter air we do get there. I miss wearing jeans, scarves, and sweaters! haha

Last week I also had a surprise call from Barbara from Taguatinga! It made me so happy. She called the mission office saying she had a referral to give so she could get my number. Well, they gave her the wrong number so she ended up calling the elders of Ceilândia 2 who in turn gave her the number of the other sisters in our ward who finally gave her the right number. Daniela also called me from Taguatinga, too. I have never had so much contact with a ward after leaving. It is great :) 

Our work here is going well. We found a lot of new investigators this past week and one of them, José Maria, went to church yesterday. Raimunda went to the activity on Saturday and liked it. Her son, Vinícius, who´s 11 always asks if he can say the closing prayer in the lessons. He is so cute and intelligent! He understands everything we say and can sum it up so succintly. 

Wednesday of this week we will have zone conference with our zone and zona Taguatinga. Reunion! :) haha. On May 24th we will have an apostle coming to the mission, they told us last week. Anyway, I think that´s all for now. I hope all of you have a wonderful week!! Love you and miss you.


Sister Kerr

*P-day next week will be on Tuesday, December 17th instead of Monday, December 16th. I probably won´t have a lot of time to email because we will be having a zone activity with two other zones so I imagine the day will be pretty busy.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy December!!

Dear family and friends,

I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving! We didn´t do anything Thanksgiving related, but we did have sisters training that morning which was good. As always, I was super happy to see Sister P. Gonçalves, Sister Muniz, and Sister Blair. Any chance to get together with the other missionaries is always great. I miss Sister Blair as my comp!

So to give some updates on my companion, her name is Sister Jackson and she is from Salt Lake City. She spent the last 7 months serving in the Reno Nevada mission and even trained while she was there. She is really sweet and has such a sincere desire to speak Portuguese and help everybody here. Like I said last week, we are living in a house with 2 other sisters which is a lot of fun. Sister Barbosa and Sister Bojorquez crack me up. They are really laid back and easy to get along with. Living in a house with four sisters can either be a really great thing or a less than ideal situation. Thankfully it´s working out for us :) 

It has been super rainy these past few days which kind of puts a damper on my motivation to go out just to get soaked and freeze the whole day, but the work must go on haha. Ceilândia 3 is a really great ward. I have never seen a ward that loves sister missionaries so much!! Of course I still miss Taguatinga, but I guess that´s how it always is when you leave an area. Sister Blair wrote me an email to say that Gilmar bore his testimony yesterday in sacrament meeting and that Daniela was confirmed. I am happy to know everybody is doing well there. 

Sister Jackson and I spent this past week trying to find investigators because we are starting from scratch. We went through the old area book and tried to visit some names, but we just have to keep working. We did have one investigator at church yesterday which was good. Her name is Raimunda. We actually met her on Saturday morning and then she went to church on Sunday. 

Anyway, I am kind of behind on pics so I am going to spend more time finding them and writing about them. Hope all of you have a great week! Love you and miss you!

Sister Kerr
Disgusting sink situation we had
Daniela´s baptism
My last Sunday in Taguatinga...Gilmar went in a tie and white shirt for the first time!

On the metro Thursday morning. It was so packed! The picture doesn´t even show how crazy it was.

Sisters' Training

Sister Barbosa, Sister Bojorquez, Diogo (ward mission leader), me, Sister Jackson