Monday, April 28, 2014

Happy May!

Dearest family & friends,

It´s almost May!! This Friday Sister Timario (along with 21 other missionaries) will be going home! It´s crazy how quickly these months are passing. 
This past week was the "week of rejection" for Sister Nuñez and me, but that´s okay. We learned a lot along the way. Aside from the rejection we had in all forms - phone calls, in our face, people avoiding us like the plague - we had a lot of great moments. For one thing, Marçal got married! Hooray!! We are working with him to stop drinking coffee for him to be baptized. President and Sister Gaertner were also here on Thursday and Friday for interviews. It was the last time most missionaries will have an interview with President before his mission ends on June 30, but I will have one more interview before I go home :) I am so grateful for the inspired leaders we have in the church and especially here in the mission. President Gaertner said a lot of things I needed to hear. 

Picture from Easter I never sent. Sister Nuñez and I with the chocolate eggs we got from an investigator.
My studies have been suffering a bit with the exchanges we´ve been going on and with some other problems that came up during the week, but I try and take advantage of every moment I have when I do get to study. Reading the scriptures is so important as a missionary and as a member in general. We can´t take it for granted!! This week shouldn´t be as busy.

I played soccer this morning during our zone activity! Hooray for playing sports and sweating!! It was the first time I played soccer since October! We only played on a quad but it was a lot of fun. Next week we have transfers. I have no idea if I will be staying in Palmas 3 or going back down to Brasília. In my interview with President he made it seem like I will stay, but then he told my companion I will be transferred. I don´t know what to think! All I can say is, I am praying for a happy heart wherever the Lord sends me. I know He always has a purpose and plan. 
The half of our zone that went this morning. Our zone is really big and some areas are like 2-4 hours away by bus so not everybody was able to come.
Hope you are all happy & healthy! Happy May!!

Sister Kerr
Activity on Thursday night

Monday, April 21, 2014

Quick update :)

Dear Family & friends,

This past week was crazy busy! We got back to Palmas Wednesday morning and Sister Nuñez was sick so we didn´t work that day. By the time we actually got to working it was already Thursday! We only had four days to work but it went well. Wednesday was actually kind of nice because we went to the church building where they were having neonatal training for the local doctors and nurses. The neonatal training is part of the Church´s five initiatives throughout the world to help with humanitarian efforts; the other four are vision, wheelchairs, clean water and vaccinations. Elder and Sister Wilcox, two humanitarian missionaries from Utah, were here so I spent part of the day talking with Sister Wilcox. It was so hard to speak only English without being able to throw in the Portuguese words I couldn´t remember in English. With the American missionaries we normally speak Portuguese, but the times we do speak English we speak a mixture of English & Portuguese. That didn´t work for her haha. Get ready for when I come home because I have no idea how I will adjust! I don´t think it will take too long, but we´ll see. 

Mission Council last Tuesday was great...spiritual and inspiring like always :) Our fellowshipping night on Thursday went well. Easter was good. I really liked the talks in church. Oh and on Saturday I completed my Sweet 16! Well at least that´s what I dubbed my 1 year and 4 month mark in the mission haha.

Sorry this email is short. Not much to say. Hope you are all happy & healthy!! 

Sister Kerr

Monday, April 14, 2014

Happy Easter

Dearest family & friends,

Guess where I am today....Guará II! It´s been 9 months since I was serving in this area. Time flies on the mission! Sister Nuñez and I came down to Brasília today but instead of staying in Lago Norte like usual we are here in Guará II. It is weird coming back to an area after so long but at the same time it feels like I never left. The best part of being here? I will be staying with Sister Timario tonight because this is her new area. Hooray! A lot of things have changed since I served here. 

This past week was really busy but at the same time felt kind of empty like we had nothing to do. It´s hard to describe. I will sum up the weekly quickly.

Monday night we had an FHE and Karol gave the message. There were 30 people at the FHE because there is a group of families that get together every week to have FHE and they switch whose house it is at. Karol gave the message about repentance. The doctrine she taught, the experiences she shared and the testimony she bore made it seem like she has at least 8 years as a member instead of the 8 days she had since her confirmation. It was a very spiritual message that helped me a lot. She didn´t only talk about repentance in terms of us needing to repent to feel the relief and forgiveness that comes from it. She said we cannot deny that privilege to somebody else when they ask for our forgiveness. All of us at one time or another have said we forgive somebody without having really meant it. When we do this, we prevent them from feeling the happiness and relief that comes from taking such a hard step. Her message was super great and goes into a lot more depth than I explained here.
Wednesday we went to Miracema to go on exchanges with the sisters there. We took the ferry over to Tocantínia which is an Indian village that´s part of their area. They have real indigenous people that live there and speak another language. It was cool. Thursday night we had activity night in the chapel after seminary and it was a success! We are going to plan it as a fellowshipping night every week :) 
Activity night on Thursday :)
Yesterday in church, Elder Tripode, Elder Asenjo, Sister Nuñez and I sang in sacrament meeting with the two girls in the ward who have their mission calls. The first song we sang was "I Lived in Heaven" and the second was "When I am Baptized." We sang the first verse of I Lived in Heaven in Spanish, the second in English and the last in Portuguese. It turned out nicely :) 
Sister Nuñez, Elder Tripode and Elder Asenjo

Well that´s a quick summary of my week. Hope you are all happy & healthy and have a happy Easter!!

Sister Kerr
On the ferry with Sister Bojorquez

Monday, April 7, 2014

Happy April!!

Dearest family and friends,

Hooray for General Conference!! Hope everybody had a chance to watch Conference. It was soo great!! I had to watch the first session Saturday morning in Portuguese but after that it was all English :) I already know I will probably get carried away and write way too much in this email, but I will try to control myself. Before I get to talking about Conference, I´ll update on the novidades in Palmas 3.

My new companion is Sister Nuñez like I said last week. She is from Paraguay and has a little more than a year in the mission. Our new zone leaders, and therefore elders in our ward, are Elder Tripode and Elder Asenjo. Elder Tripode was one of the assistants and Elder Asenjo was my district leader last transfer. I think they will be great zone leaders for the group we have here in this zone. I´d be lying if I said I don´t miss Sister Timario like crazy but I am really liking being companions with Sister Nuñez too. 

On Friday morning we had a district meeting and I finally got some packages that were sent for Christmas!! haha. One was postmarked November 20th, the other November 27th and the last was December 19th. I don´t know when they actually arrived in the mission office, but they made it to my hands on April 4th, more than 4 months later. 

Ok, now on to Conference. I loved all of the talks, but there are always some that stand out more than others. I have a soft spot for President Uchtdorf and really like the message he shared about gratitude. In the mission that is one Christlike attribute I have been working hard to develop. We have so many challenges everyday that sometimes it is easy to only see what is going wrong instead of what is going right. I loved when he said that we should not be grateful for things, but be grateful in our circumstances whatever they may be. Even more than his message about gratitude, he talked about our general hesitance to accept endings in our lives. He explained that is because we are of an eternal nature; "endings are not our destiny." That was a comfort for me especially as my mission is coming to an end. I have been feeling somewhat sad knowing this part of my life will be over, but it is not the end of anything, just the beginning of the next phase. 

Richard G. Scott´s talk was cute the way he still admires his wife all these years later. I liked his message about being a significant, positive influence in the life of those around us. Elder Ballard talked a lot about missionary work which of course is a point close to my heart these days and hopefully forever. President Monson´s closing remark to "realize how close to us He is willing to come, how far He is willing to go for us, and how much He loves us" was a sweet statement. I always love hearing from the dear prophet. 

Another talk, from Elder Bednar, was an answer to my prayers. These past two weeks I have been looking for one of his talks I printed off several months ago called "The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality." I couldn´t find it even though I knew I had printed it off. I had been really wanting to read it, but ended up not being able to find it. Yesterday, his talk was very similar to the words that were said in the other talk I was looking for. It was a reminder that the Lord is mindful of me. An even greater reminder was when I found the talk this morning! haha. I had a thought come to mind to just read what I had written about it in my other journal. When I went to grab my other journal, I opened it up and saw the talk in the front cover :) 

Karol continues to be a miracle in my life. Man, I will have to update more about her next week, but just know she is amazingly wonderful. Life is great! I am immensely happy and loving how much I am learning on the mission. 

If you find time, write a little about your favorite talk or something that stood out to you from Conference and send it my way :) I love seeing the various ways one idea can have significance in our lives. 

Hope you are all happy & healthy!! Have a great week!

Sister Kerr