Tuesday, December 25, 2012

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

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