Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Pictures in Sao Paulo

Arrival at Brazil MTC

Attending Sao Paulo Temple

Merry Christmas!

Oi familia! FELIZ NATAL! Oh how I wish I could see all your cute faces right now and talk to you on the phone! But this will have to do this year and that's okay :) [note from dad: Katie will get to call home (possibly skype) on Mother's day and Christmas, but not the first Christmas if they are in the MTC]
Thank you all for the happy wishes and Christmas notes! I love hearing from you. I can always feel your support and love and it makes each day go well, so thank you! :)
I have been thinking of you so much this week! I think of you making snowmen, watching Christmas movies, drinking all the hot cocoa in the world, eating fondue last night, and being together. I hope you are all enjoying this great Christmas!
THANK YOU so much for the cute gifts!! They were honestly the sweetest most thoughtful gifts and I could not be more grateful. Bec and Na (and whoever else was involved), the scarf you picked out is beautiful!!! You know how I love scarves :) I'm hoping for a rainy, cool day this week so I can wear it :) Also, thank you so so so much for the picture frame. I LOVE it. That was the greatest thing you could ever think of. I looked at all the pictures on there and for a moment felt like I was home with you and it made my little heart so happy :) I love you each SO much! I've been sending even more prayers up to Heaven this week for each of you, so I hope you can feel it and that your hearts are so happy this Christmas!
Christmas here has truly been wonderful. They have put so much work into making it special for us and it is definitely a time I will never forget.
One quick experience from this week that will be one of my favorite moments from this Christmas: On Saturday night my district and a few other districts went out in front of the MTC to sing Christmas songs for the passerbys (is that a word?). They've been doing this every weekend in December and I think it's such a neat thing. There was a small handful of people outside the gates listening to us sing with the biggest smiles on their faces and sometimes singing along.
There were two little girls (yes, my heart melted right when they walked up) who were just the prettiest little things and they were standing right at the gate just smiling and smiling. As we stood there singing I could not stop smiling right along with each of those beautiful Brazilians. We were singing the last song, Silent Night (Noite Feliz), and I was looking into the eyes of each of the people standing there and I suddenly felt this surge of love for them and this moment of, "WOW, I am really really here. I am in Brazil. These are the people that the Lord sent me here to teach and to share the joy of the gospel with. I want them all to know about the gospel and how HAPPY they can be with it in their lives!" And then, "Holy Cow. I am really a missionary. And I really get to share this with everyone. How cool." There's those moments once in a while where it all comes together and it's all real for a second. The Spirit was so strong, and I could see that those people were feeling it too. It was perfect.
Last night we had the most... memorable Christmas Eve dinner... some sort of attempt at tacos, but not really tacos.... I was definitely envying our fondue tradition at that moment :) But we had some great laughs over it.
The whole MTC put on a little concert outside the MTC on Sunday night. It was advertised around town and everything and there was actually a really good turn out. It was so fun to be able to share a little bit of Christmas with the people here. When we talked to them after, several had tears in their eyes and were just so loving and warm to us. It was wonderful. Also... if you want to see it... we made it onto Youtube :) So, search "Erguei-vos cantando coral do CTM Brasil" and you should be able to see us singing! I am to the left of the director.. two people over I believe.. I was wearing a grey skirt and a black top. Hope you can find it :)Brazil MTC Christmas Choir  [dad's note: here's the link]
Last night my companion and I were very innovative (is that a word?) (I don't know if I'm actually losing english already or if I just never knew it very well in the first place... I'm guessing the second), but we made a cute little Christmas tree out of her green skirt and our jewelry as ornaments. And a star cut out of paper on time. We put all our presents underneath it :)
We had a nice Christmas surprise last night. The CTM presidency and branch presidencies and their wives all came through our hallways with Santa hats and Christmas bells and gave us all a little gift :) It was so cute.
This morning we had the Area President, Elder Costa, come speak to us. It was SO GOOD. Muito muito bom. The Spirit was so strong. I wish I had more time to tell you about it. But it was the best way to start Christmas. This afternoon is games and service and all sorts of other lovely things. Tonight, we get to watch the First Presidency Christmas devotional. I'm very excited for that.
Before time runs out, I want to tell each of you how grateful I am for all your love and support. I can feel your prayers every day and they have helped keep my 
spirits high during this christmas time. I know that our Savior Jesus Christ lives. I am deeply grateful for His humble birth, for His perfect life and example, for His sacrifice in the Garden and on the cross for each of us individually. I love this gospel with all my heart and I have never felt happier than I do at this time because I get to go share people the message of Christ and help them find true and eternal happiness. It is a great privelege to be here at this time and it will be a Christmas I remember and cherish forever. Know that I am happy and well and we are being well taken care of for the holidays :) I love our Savior Jesus Christ and the wonderful time of year it is to be able to remember and reflect on His life. I know He lives. And nothing makes my heart happier than that knowledge.
I've got to go.. I love you with my whole heart, family!!! Have the MERRIEST of Christmases and remember why we are celebrating :)
Sending all my love to you from Brazil,
Sister Kane

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Katie will be in the Brazil MTC until about the 3rd week of January. She loves to get letters. Her address is:
 Sister Kathryn Kane  Box #4 District 48A Brazil MTC 
Santa Maria Mission  Rua Padre Antonio D'Angelo, 121
 Casa Verde, Sao Paulo, SP Brazil 02516-040

Sister Kane's Dec 18 email

Oi familia! I am so grateful it's P-day and I can write to you all! Thank you so so so much for all the emails and the many letters I've been receiving. You guys are truly the best!
I have a nice little outline I made this time so I hopefully won't forget anything and I can write a little faster... we'll see how it works :) 

Mom, I did get the giant delicious cookie and we just barely enjoyed the cinnamon roll :) You're the best! Thank you so so so much! Between my companion and I we have a lot of treats lined up for the next little while :)
Also, about the Christmas letters.. I'm sorry about the Fed ex thing :( Maybe a miracle will happen and they will come through. Either way, I love ya! I sent off Christmas cards for each of you last week. Hopefully they make it in time! But don't read them until Christmas if you get them before!
Okay, so as for my week...
RAIN. It's been raining ALL week and I LOVE it. It's so nice outside. Also, after a few good weeks with a broken air conditioner, it finally works again! But now all the men in suits are freezing us girls out. We'll take it over sweating though :) All the Brazilians have been wearing their winter coats this week.. ridiculous.
We lost so many people this week! The numbers here are about half of what they were when we got here. We had a huge group leave for the field last week and another huge group this morning. So sad. Most of our dearest friends here left this morning. That included our sweet roommates, Sister Aguiar and Sister Pereira, and our dearest friends across the hall, Sister Lima and Sister Campbell. It was so hard to say goodbye to them! I feel a little like a lost puppy without their beautiful smiling faces here. They were honestly the greatest girls and touched my heart deeply. I love them so much. I will definitely miss them (already do!) but they are on to bigger and better things and will change so many lives. I'm very excited for them. (Jeni Bowman.. my roommates are going to Florianopolis! Heyo!! They already know all about you :) )
The language is coming along well. I am learning, understanding, and speaking more each day. The biggest thing is talking to the Brazilians. It's going to be harder now because so many of our friends left, but we'll make new ones :) Last night we were talking to our roommates and they said, "How on earth are you guys learning the language so fast?" Easy. God. That's how. He's helping me so much everyday and I know I wouldn't be speaking like I am if it weren't for him. So grateful.
Look up the Brazil National Anthem. It's the best. Imagine me trying to sing it... it's a joke.
The other day we were doing language study on the computers and we can listen to church music while we're doing it. The computer I was on had Nashville Tribute Band on there. It was "The Work" CD. All about missionary work. It is SO GOOD. I sat there listening to it and couldn't stop smiling. Every song pinpointed exactly what life is like here. Listen to it. Mom, listen to the song called "Bless My Soul". I thought of you the whole time. I love you. Also there's a song on there that talks about the mission being " the hardest thing I've ever LOVED to do." Exactly.
It's going to be a quiet Christmas! The numbers are low here and we supposedly aren't getting any more North Americans until January. And there will be a few Brazilians and Hispanics this week but not many. It'll be different. But we get to do some fun things that day and I'm really looking forward to it actually. It'll be a unique, very special Christmas. Mom, they didn't give us a time that we'll be emailing :( Sorry! And they cut it back again to just half an hour. But you will be hearing from me on Christmas day and as always, my prayers will be coming your way :)
We had a fireside on Sunday night all about Joseph Smith. It was incredible. His birthday is coming up. So is Christ's. What a wonderful time of the year :) I'm so grateful to be here at this time!
It's wonderful here. It really really is. I go to bed after every long, exhausting day and think, "You know. I've never been happier than I am right now." It is truly a privilege to be here. I am so grateful I have this opportunity. Every day I get more anxious to go to Santa Maria and start sharing this glad message and see people's lives change because of it. I love this gospel with my whole heart. I know that it is true. I know that God lives and that He is in the details of our lives. I've never been so sure of anything in my life. I feel His hand in my life strengthening me and teaching me every day. The mission is SO GOOD. If you're wondering if you should come, you should. Come. It's the best.
I love you to the stars and back! I pray for you everyday. I feel your prayers and love. THANK YOU. I need them. 

Can't wait to email you on Christmas :) 

Have a wonderful week and a very Merry Christmas remembering our Savior and the beautiful life He leads!
All my love,
Sister Kane

Katie's Dec 11th letter

From: Kathryn Kane <kathryn.kane@myldsmail.net>
Date: Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 8:39 AM
Subject: Hello hello!

Hello my sweet family!
How are you all doing?! I love this day. I love to get to read all of your emails and to hear how everyone is doing. You all sound so wonderful.
I have received so many letters this week and I am so grateful!! They finally started coming through from DearElder (glad to know that works) and also from Mission Ties which is so wonderful. So thank you for all of them! I love hearing from you.
Things here are going great! Has it really only been 2 weeks? Feels like much much much longer!
Real quick before I forget:
1. Mom I spoke to the lady who deals with mail about the way you sent the Christmas letters. Fedex apparently is very unrealiable here. I don't know exactly how you sent them, if they were in an envelope or a box or what? A larger flat envelope is probably okay, if it's a box of any sort I'm guessing it's a no-go. She said there's a chance it will get here, but she's not sure. They discourage any use of Fed ex all together.
2. Don't stress about getting those clothes down here. It's so hot all the time. If you want to that's fine, but don't stress.
3. I got a real actual letter from you, Mom! The sweet one you sent on the 2nd or something? Not sure when, but I counted an it got here in 10 days. So that's good news! And thank you so much! It was the greatest letter.
4. I leave here on January 29th. So plan accordingly for that as far as letters go. Probably the 2nd week in January, I would start sending any letters straight to my mission. Also a reminder to friends and others reading this that NO packages are allowed to be sent here to the MTC. All packages should be sent to the mission home. BUT, letters are welcomed with open arms so feel free ;)
Mom your studies sound wonderful! I love hearing about everything you are learning. You have always been a great student of the gospel and you find so much through the scriptures! I love it. Keep it up. Can't wait to hear more of your knowledge :) Dad, glad to hear work is going well and that the project has gone well! That's awesome. And I still love all your "unsolicated advice" and refer to it often :) Brother! How did your certification test go?? I'm sure you did great! Are you loving the new job? Glad to hear baby Bentley is doing well :) I am so excited to see pictures! Bec, Na, Grace and Ty, Mom has kept me updated on your school and it sounds like you are all doing great :) Bec, sorry you're got a nutty art teacher!
I wish I had more time to write to each of you individually! Once we get in the field we have an hour to email so I'll be able to write a little more. Also, FYI we will not be calling on Christmas day, but we do have an hour of email time that day. Hopefully we'll find out exactly when so that you guys can get on at the same time? I'll keep you posted.
So.. the MTC! I have so much I could tell you about it, but I'll try to just give the hi lights (or the low lights in some cases ;) ).
It's so so so HOT. I go to bed sweating, I wake up sweating, I get out of the shower sweating, I sit in class sweating, I eat sweating. It's so so hot. Sorry to be so gross :)

I believe you've asked about the food? Well lucky for you the lunch today was actually very good! So I can't complain about today's :) But... it's uh... well cafeteria food. Brazilian style. We'll leave it at that for now. We do have snack time every night though.. best part of the day.
The temple here is gorgeous. Such a lovely place to be. Dad, they do the session in English for us American missionaries. But last week I did my part in Portuguese at the end which was a very cool experience.
The Brazilians are the most wonderful people. We have the greatest roommates and have met some of the neatest people. Their testimonies, and experiences, and conversion stories are incredible. And they are SO FUNNY. We literally laugh to tears almost every night. And we get to bed too late because they're so fun to talk to... We're working on that :)
My district is absolutely wonderful. We call ourselves a little family. They are the greatest group of Elders, and my companion is great. We all get along so well. One of the elders, Elder Stringer, reminds me exactly of Braiden Rasmussen. It's the funniest thing. I'm in tears and falling off my chair at least once a day because of some comment he mutters from the corner. So funny. But there is a great strength that we have found with each other and we have honestly become like a family. It's intersesting how close you get to people when you are going through all the same experiences together. There are the greatest! We have excellent teachers as well. One in the afternoon, Irmao Costa, and one in the evening, Irma Kikuchi.
The Portuguese is coming along... I'm speaking more and more with Brazilians and am understanding more each day. It's HARD. But I love it.
Word to those preparing for missions right now: START NOW. Study and prepare as much as you can. If you already have a call, start studying the language. It will be hard, but do it. I promise it'll help. Also, before you come, make absolutely sure that you have asked Heavenly Father if you are supposed to be serving and if you are serving where you are supposed to. You need to absolutely KNOW that before you come. Receive a witness of it. Know for sure. Write it down, and bring it with you. You will need it. That's coming from my experience, and from the experiences of many other missionaries I have talked to . It's hard, the mission. It's very hard. So come with that and KNOW so that you don't have to waste any time wondering. But be SO EXCITED :) It's honestly the greatest thing and you will be SO SO HAPPY. Happier than you even can understand right now. COME! Don't be scared. Be prepared. And COME :)
Time is up. I love you all so so much. Thank you for all your support and prayers and love! I can feel it and I'm so grateful for it.
I'll talk to you next week :)

Sister Kane

Katie's Dec 4th letter

From: Kathryn Kane <kathryn.kane@myldsmail.net>
Date: Tue, Dec 4, 2012 at 9:00 AM
Subject: Oi!
To: girlgrits@gmail.com

Oi family!!!!
I am so so happy to finally have the chance to write to you and tell you about everything here. I am already down to 12 minutes though because I had so many emails to read (which I LOVE, don't get me wrong) but it takes a while! So I am going to type with the speed of lightning and hopefully tell you as much as I can about life here in Brazil.
First off, know that I am safe, healthy, and so very happy.
Second, before I forget, DearElder doesn't work here. They all came through email, but they don't print them here. I'm not sure if they will mail them at some point, but I haven't received anything yet. So don't use DearElder because it comes through as if you just emailed me. However, there is a store across the street called Mr. Cheney's and they've set up what it is called Missionary Ties which does what DearElder does but for the MTC here. I'm going over there after this and they will be sending you some information about it and you can sign up for that, okay? So watch for that in your email and then you'll be able to go ahead and send letters to me as often as you want :)

Now... BRAZIL. Holy cow. I still have to pinch myself to remind myself that I am actually here in Brazil. That I really am a missionary and this black tag I wear everyday? That's real too. It's so strange.
I LOVE it here. It's great. It's busy and sometimes (okay, all the time) overwhelming, and there's SO much to learn, and I can't understand what people are saying to me over half the time (the other half is when the Americans are speaking to me. I understand that just fine!), but I am really genuinely happy here.
There is so much to take in and see and I just have SO much I want to tell you all! But this little timer up in the corner is really stressing me out....
Our days are busy. We're up at 6 to shower with 4 girls in the same room, breakfast at 7 (same exact thing every day...), Personal study for an hour, companion study for a half hour, gym time or service, back to the class to study on our own for a couple more hours or to use the lab to study Portuguese, lunch, class with an instructor from 1-4:30, dinner, back to study on our own for an hour, class with instructor #2 from 6-9:30, planning, SNACK (best part of the day), and then sleep... or in our case... stay up much later than we're supposed to talking to our Brazilian roommates because they are SO funny... and they mock our Portuguese. We love it :)
That's my day in a nut shell. It's busy. Have I said that enough times yet? I'm essentially out of time... I'm so sorry. I wish I could tell you more of everything. I have so much I WANT to tell you! I will try my best to get to more of your questions next week.
Thank you all so much for your support and all the kind words! I miss you and think about you every day. I pray for you every day and hope you are all smiling and happy :)
A few more things: My companion is great. Sister Anderson from Washington. We are the only two sisters in our district of wonderful Elders. They are the best. We laugh way too much. We study a little too though ;)

About the skirt, Mom, before I forget.. I forgot that and my blazer which I would like if I can get them. If Kyle happens to get his visa and has room, that would be awesome if he could bring them. But I know space is so tight to if he can't that's totally fine. You can send them to the mission home in Santa Maria if you want to, but don't feel like you have to. I can certainly survive without them.
I really do love it here. I have been astounded by how strong the Spirit is, how direct the line of communication is between missionaries and God, how many incredible young people there are here and what it's like to all be working together for the same thing.
I'm out of time... so so sorry. I have so much more I want to tell you. I will try to write it down and give you more details about everything next week. I hope to be getting letters coming through sometime soon... we always get a little disappointed when we check the mail :) It has only been 6 days though, so we're trying to be realistic and patient. Feels like we've been here much much longer than that though...
We're going out on the town in a few minutes! We get to walk around and see Sao Paulo. Have a mentioned are HUGE Sao Paulo is? HUGE. So so big. It makes Salt Lake look like a village. Seriously. Also, we went to the temple this morning which was so great. It was beautiful to come up on that beautiful white building in the middle of this massive city. It's a great place to be.
Okay I really have to go. Please know that I am sending all my love from Brazil to my sweet sweet family and friends back home. I love you all so so much!
The Gospel is true. I love it.
Have the most wonderful week, okay? I'll be praying for you.
Sister Kane.... (still not used to that...)