Monday, January 28, 2013

Pics, 2 from Katie's last day at MTC and her new nephew



Katie's Jan 28 email

Last week we didn't get an email because Katie traveled from the MTC to Santa Maria.  She was able to call and talk to me (mom) for a few minutes, which was priceless.  She sounded SO HAPPY and was really excited to be out in the mission field.  This is her first email from her area.

Oi familia!!! I am so so happy to finally be able to talk to you and tell you all about life here! Ive got a lot to tell you, not a whole lot of time, and a weird keyboard, so bear with me :)

I am here! It´s real life! I still am a little bit in shock!!

But FIRST! BABY IS HERE!!!!! HE´S BEAUTIFUL!!!! Congrats Kels and Joe!!!! Oh he looks so precious. I want to just hold him and kiss him and love him!! You guys look so happy. Thank you for all the details and stories about it :) I cant wait to meet him! Please give him lots of love from me, okay? Keep sending stories, updates, and pictures! Oh he´s so precious!!! I am so excited to meet him! Congrats again! So very happy for you :) Im so glad everyone is happy and well. My prayers are always coming your way!

Okay... I´ll just jump in because I gotta hurry!

So, I am here! Okay, so we arrived at the airport on Tuesday afternoon and the APs picked us up.. guess who? Ross Pagotto! So strange! Such a small world. Then that first night we met our President and his wife, they are wonderful! Then we met our trainers! Sister Nascimento is my companion :) She is darling. Smaller than me.. for the first time in my life I feel like a giant. She really is wonderful. So sweet. Such a hard worker. She is Brazilian, and does not speak English :) She has been in the mission for 15 months already.. she´s pretty sure this will be her last area. She leaves the week before Mother´s day I believe? She is from Joao Pessoa which is northeast. Side note... my companion in the CTM is going to Joao Pessoa and I´d always tease her because the accent from the northeast is so strange and so difficult to understand. So we were always talking about how difficult it was going to be to get used to that accent and that she was going to talk funny too..... and then I got a companion with that very accent :) Funny. At first it was so hard to understand her because it really is very differenet from the Sao Paulo accent which I was used to. But, now I can understand her better than any one else here! But Im going to talk so strange... Sao Paulo mixed with Northeast mixed with Gaucho.... ooorrr... probably I´ll just have an American accent :)

Anywho, she´s great. So patient. And works works works. Its so good for me. I know Im going to learn a lot from her.

Okay, we are here in Santa Maria. Not in the city itself, we´re 30 mins outside of the city. And, yes, we are opening the area. I don~t know exactly what the elders who were here did, but from what we can gather they didn~t work much. We were left with no direction, no investigators, no support from the ward, and a very very very messy house! (We spent the first two days here just cleaning. Then luckily the mission presidents wife came and saw and sent someone to clean it for us because it literally would have taken a week.. it was outrageous! But a huge blessing that we got help. Now its a great house! The biggest and nicest one in the mission in fact! Its great.) So anyway, we are starting from scratch here! Its going to take a lot of work to turn this place around and to find people, but were going to do it!

Its definitely not like I imagined it... But it´s beautiful! Very diverse... everything from rather rich to dirt poor. It´s been humbling.

The language.... Oh the language.... I thought I was getting by okay in the CTM..... Truth is, they just talk very very slow in the CTM and we only talked about gospel matters which is the only vocabulary I know.... So... that´s also been an adventure! I really can´t understand much of anything. Ever. My companion is a professional, and so personable and is great with the members and everyone we meet. I am doing my best to understand bits and pieces... It´s going to come. I know it will. But right now, it´s just a huge struggle to follow any conversation. I can communicate with my companion fine. But when we´re with other people and they´re just talk talk talking a million miles an hour... I´m completely lost. So I don´t say much then. But, it´s okay :) I´m pushing through it and know that the language will come with time. I just need to be patient!

I logged on to my email and their were a few emails from other missionaries that I read and were exactly what I needed... just about having an optimistic attitude, being humble, and having hope and faith that things will get better. And one about the Savior and everything that He endured during His mission, and when we put that into perspective we have nothing to be complaining about. And we were called to do what the Savior did, and we stand as His representatives, so we need to keep going, work hard, have faith, and serve with our whole hearts. So thats what I´m going to do! Everything will fall into place. One thing is for sure.. I have never prayed so much in my life :) And I have never been so sure that God lives. I am absolutely certain, with everything that I am, that God LIVES. That He is in the details of our lives. He is watching out for each of us at every moment of every day. He is guiding us and pouring out His love to us. I am certain of that. He loves us more than we can even begin to comprehend. He IS our Father in Heaven and we are His children. I have never been so sure of anything in my life than I am of that one fact. I love my Father in Heaven and am more grateful for the knowledge of His love than words can express.

Okay, time is up... I´ve got to go. But I love you with all my heart, cute family! I miss you! Know that I am well. That I have an excellent companion, and that I am in the Lord´s hands. And doing my very best to do the work I´ve been called to do. I pray for each of you every day! You are the greatest examples to me! Thank you for all your love and support!!! I LOVE YOU!!!

Sister Kane

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Katie's Jan 15 email

Oi familia!
How is everyone doing?! Is there a baby yet?!? I got some letters from Sunday that said not yet... I'm so anxious!!! He needs to come before I leave the MTC so I can get pictures the next day!!! Otherwise I'll have to wait a whole week or more! Tell him to get on it, will ya Kels? :)
How is work? School? Winter and snow? Everything else you've got happening there? I love to hear it all!
Okay I've got a lot to tell you, so I'm just going to jump right in!
First off... LAST P-DAY! Holy cow. Time has flown! I am SO excited and anxious to be leaving. A week from today I'll be sitting in the mission home in Santa Maria... Nossa. We're doing all the greatest things today before we go! We went to a churrascaria (spelling?) today.. it's like Rodizio's but real life. Real Brazilians. Real Gauchos. And much cheaper :) It was delicious! So. much. meat. And that's going to be everyday in the mission where I'm at... nossa.
Next, we got a new companion!!! She was the only one to get a Visa from ALL the people waiting in Provo. She had been there for 6 weeks already. So she was in the same week as us and now we are in a trio! It's been so great. She is awesome. So happy, so positive, so funny. It's been such a blessing to have her with us! Sister Christensen's the name. She's a keeper.
We had an awesome experience last Saturday. Every Saturday night we have a workshop with all the North Americans and it's usually in English. Which is refreshing to say the least :) It's a different workshop every week and we never know what we're going to be doing. So this week we were divided into groups and it happens that they always put the sisters together in their own group. Being that there's, well, three of us here, it was just my companions and I in a group. We had 4 different "investigators" that we were to teach. In English. It was a strange transition at first and we kept accidently saying things in Portuguese. Funny. But once we got into it it was SO neat to just be able to really express ourselves the way want to, to be able to say everything we want to, to not be stumbling over every other sentence, and to just TALK. I LOVE Portuguese, and love learning it, and love teaching in it.. don't get me wrong. But I just cannot yet express myself how I want to in Portuguese, so this was a refreshing night. We got to our last investigator and started talking to him. We went into every lesson blind and had to figure out what each person needed. So we started talking and found out that his wife had died not too long ago and he was struggling so much, searching for answers, for hope, anything, and was completely lost. As he talked to us and we started teaching about the hope of Jesus Christ and the gospel, and that he would be able to see his wife again, there were literally tears in everyone's eyes. We were able to express everything we wanted to, and understand every thing that he was saying which... doesn't always happen in Portuguese. Yet. But the Spirit was so strong and powerful. It was the neatest experience. I sat there thinking "WOW. This is why I'm here. This is why I am doing what I'm doing. To bring people hope! To give them something more in life! To tell them that they really do have a Father in Heaven who loves them and understands everything they're going through. To tell them they have a Savior who can make every wrong right. THIS is why I'm here." My companions and I walked out just in awe and so grateful for that experience. It gave me hope. I look forward to the day I can have that same kind of power in words in Portuguese :) One day... one day. It may have all been role playing, but it made me realize that there are people in Santa Maria who will have real pains like this, and that the message of the gospel will give them real hope like this. I'm SO happy to be here! And it's going to be REAL in just a week!!! :)

Also... it actually already became real yesterday! We went proselyting! We were not expecting to, because it normally happens on week 8 and 9. We're on week 7, but we are leaving on week 8. So we thought we were just going to get jipped and only have one day of proselyting. But they came up to our classroom after lunch and said we were going out in half an hour! We were given 4 copies of the Book of Mormon to give out, and were sent on our merry little way, out into the big scary world of Sao Paulo. It took my companion (only Sister Christensen and I went, because Sister Anderson isn't leaving a week early) and I a few minutes to really grasp that this was real. I felt a little like I was thrown in the hunger games arena where it's like real life but actually it's not and all the people were actually just members who we were going to practice with... okay hunger games is a really bad analogy. Scratch that. It didn't feel real. Better? :) But once we got up our courage and started talking to people it was awesome. Okay.. after the first creeper old man who tried to kiss us and said after we asked if he believed in Jesus Christ, "Oh yes, if two beautiful girls like you believe in Jesus Christ, then I definitely believe in Jesus Christ!" Good grief. So... after him, then it was great :) Also, about half way through the afternoon, the skies opened up and the rain came down! It went from nothing, to pouring in about two seconds. We literally ran back to the CTM and were SOAKED in just a few minutes. So, we changed, grabbed our umbrellas and headed back to slosh around in soaking shoes all afternoon. It was the best! Really, I loved every minute of being out yesterday and being a "real missionary" as we kept saying to ourselves. Also, I have the worst wardrobe and shoes in the world for Brazil. :)
Okay, I am out of time... I'm not sure if I'll be able to call when I am at the airport.. I'll try! Mom, will you send me a letter through mission ties giving me a few phone numbers in case you don't answer? I actually don't remember any of them... :)
I love you so very much!!! Thank you for all your support and love!! I miss you and pray for you everyday. Be happy, keep working hard :)
Ahh, next time we talk I'll be in Santa Maria!!! LOVE YOU!!! Tchau tchau :)

Sister Kane

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Katie's Jan 8 Email

Well hello out there!
Tudo bem?! How is my cute family doing? Thank you so much for the letters this week! It's always a pleasure to hear from you. Mom, you're my number one fan and I love every single letter :) My district always rolls their eyes at me during mail time, but I appreciate all the letters so THANK YOU :) Also, huge shout out to the sweet friends who have sent letters! It's SO nice to hear from you guys too!
I AM SO ANXIOUS TO HEAR ABOUT BABY BENTLEY!!! My poor companion is surely getting tired of hearing about it :) All morning I've just been so anxious to know if baby was born! But no luck this week, huh? Hang in there Kels :) I'm definitely expecting a mission ties letter or an email next week with pictures! If you don't have him by next week... I'm so so sorry! Ahhh I'm so excited!!!! And I'll get to meet him over skype in just a few months! So exciting. Please keep me updated :) Sending all my love your way! And lots of prayers that he won't hang out too much longer, Kels :) Oh, he's going to be the CUTEST!
Mom, LOVED hearing about all the things your doing as a family. It sounds like it's been such a good experience for you guys so far! Keep it up! That's so awesome. And so great to hear about the Jordan River temple renovation! I'm excited to hear about it. Are the kiddies back in school yet? Dad, how's work? Joe and Kels, are you ready?!? And so anxious? Joe, are you taking some time off work I hope?
Also, all your sweet Christmas letters came!!! The ones you sent through FedEx! It worked! She said the flat envelopes usually have a better chance of getting here. I was so happy! They were the sweetest letters. Thank you so much :) I am a very blessed girl. I appreciate your support and love more than I can say.
SO, I guess it's my turn? It's getting to the point where most every week is the same here! But I'll try to find some things to tell ya :)
Well, all our friends left this morning! Another huge group is gone. The north american numbers are dwindling fast. We are entering week 7 now, and we are still the "youngest" group here. We were the very last group to come in, 7 weeks ago. Because of visas, everyone has been going to Provo. We have gotten a few groups over the weeks that have come from Provo, but no one else has come straight from home. So next week we will officially be the oldest and the youngest group here. I hope the visas start coming through! But they also have said that starting soon they will not be transferring any missionaries from Provo. So if they start in Provo, they finish in Provo. Sad for them! This is a great place to be. But, in March they are scheduled to recieve over 100 SISTERS from North America! Sheesh!!! That's nuts. The most we've had is 10! It'll be a mad house here. I'm glad to be leaving before all of that :)
We got new roommates!!! Brazilians. So happy. They are darling. And so funny. And one of them is coming to Santa Maria with me :) And there's two other Brazilian sisters that came this week that are also going to Santa Maria. I am so happy! They are all great. One of them is Silvia's friend that she was telling me about! Will you tell her that for me? Also, tell her Sister Steadman works here and we talked one day for a long time all about her and her cute family :)
But.... here's the other thing. There is a small group coming from Provo tomorrow (I believe they'll be the last to transfer over), and one of them is a sister! She's in the same week as us, so guess what that means? TRIO. She'll be put with us, and we are going to lose our Brazilian roommates :(, but it'll be good. I'm excited. I think it'll be good for me and my companion. Definitely an adjustment, because Sister Anderson and I have the greatest friendship and we work so well together. So it'll be different, but I'm excited :) Aaand if it's a train wreck, then it's only a couple of weeks so it's okay :)
I am the only "advanced" pianist left here. Everyone else has left. So I am playing hymns and accompanying (I can't spell that) the choir twice a week or more. It's kind of overwhelming sometimes, because I'd rather study the language than go practice so sometimes I'm sight reading, but it's been good. My comp plays the flute, so most of the pieces we do together. It's fun. Also, we sang a quartet on Sunday for the fireside. That was definitely a first! I sang soprano... truth is, I'm an alto! It was neat though and we got a lot of really nice compliments. I think I'll stick to the piano though, I'm more comfortable there :)
You guys need to look up a video about the Brasil Manaus temple. It's on and it's called "Our Temple in The Amazon". It's so neat. You'll love it. Please watch it.
Okay a couple notes to my dear friends...
MISSION CALLS! I know several of you are waiting for them or have received them... please email me and tell me where you're going!!! And LIZZIE SPENCER! COSTA RICA!!! Heyo!! That's so cool. You're going to LOVE IT. You'll learn Spanish SO fast. When do you leave?? The rest of you, please tell me where you're headed! Also, if any other friends are engaged, I need to know that too :)
Also, there's a few of you leaving for the mission SOON! So, GOOD LUCK! My thoughts and prayers go with you! I am so excited for you!!! You will be incredible! And you will never regret it. Don't look back! Have faith, and GO :) The Lord is on your side, and I promise you'll be happier than you've ever been before. Trust me :)
ECUADOR: Karly, Kate, and Emily... will you please give me some updates on the babies? I've been thinking about them this week and would like to know how they're doing. Thanks :) Also, the above definitely applies to the three of you as well. Please tell me what's happenin!
Okay well, that's about it for life here in the CTM :) I get more and more excited every day to go to the field! Only a couple more weeks!!! My how time is flying.
Oh, we had our first full day "English fast" this week. Boy was that fun! I was SO EXHAUSTED by the end of the day. But it was really great. It's amazing how much we've learned here. Our next one is scheduled for Thursday!
We had mission conference this past Sunday. It was phenomenal. I am so grateful to be here. This place is amazing. The Spirit is nearly tangible. I am learning and growing so much. The mission is incredible. There is no place I'd rather be. I can't possibly imagine leaving this place right now. Brasil is incredible. I feel so blessed. This Gospel is true. I know it. I live it. I love it. I am so excited to share it.
The smiles, the laughter, and the Spirit never stop here. I am just happy. So very happy. Every day.
I love you all to the stars and back!!! Thank you so so much for your support. You mean the world to me, and I'm so very grateful to be sealed as a family for all eternity. Isn't that the most beautiful thing in the world? So wonderful. Count your blessings. Life is so beautiful.
Alright, until next week! Have the most wonderful week! Know that I am always praying for you.
All my love,
Sister Kane
PS: Kiss Baby Bentley a thousand times for me!!! Xoxo

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sister Kane's Jan 2 letter

Oi minha familia!
Another week has flown by here at the CTM. I can't believe how fast it's going. Wasn't I just emailing yesterday? Wasn't it just Christmas?! Sheesh.
Thank you so much for all the letters this week! Everything was backed up last week because of Christmas, so then I got a whole stack of letters when they started coming through again. Friends and family both. So thank you SO MUCH! I love hearing from all of you.
It's been such a wonderful week here. Probably my favorite yet, actually. I just love it here. I love being a missionary. We had a nice surprise on New Year's Eve.. we weren't planning on anything happening, just normal class until 9 and then bed. They came around around 5:30 and strictly informed us that we weren't going to have teachers tonight because they were all going home to celebrate, and that we were to stay in our rooms and study until 9:00. Okay okay, no big deal, we're used to that. Then just minutes later they came around and informed us the plans had changed! Instead of studying, we had an hour and a half of gym time to play volleyball or whatever we wanted, then we got to watch the Emma Smith movie which was phenomenal, then we watched a little short film about the Savior (I'll expound on that in a second) and then instead of the normal snack, we got ice cream and brownies. It was the BEST. We're spoiled here. I think it was even a little better than Christmas because we were totally not expecting it. But then we went to bed as normal at 10:30 (I felt no desire to stay up to ring in the new year... sleep is so precious here!). We were woken up several times through the night by all the fireworks which was fun. Fireworks are the thing here.. it's out of control! But it was a great new year's eve :) I can't believe it's a new year already! It went so fast. It's going to be a GREAT year though. I'm so excited. What are your new years resolutions? Sounds like you guys had a fun night :) 
Last night we had a fun surprise. My companion and I were sitting in our room talking, it was about 10:15, and all the sudden she stops and looks out the window for a second and says, "Serio?! De novo??" Fire alarm. Again. Yes, this has happened before. It's the funniest thing really. All of us just start flooding into the halls, into the stairwells, and before you know it there's 200 missionaries in pajamas standing on the track outside, no one has a clue what's happening. We just stand around for a while, make jokes, stand around some more, and when it goes off we flood back into the stairwells, into the halls, and back to our beds. Last time it was a bit more frantic because it was the first time. This time it was just funny. We still don't know what set it off. Last time it was an iron. Who knows! It'll probably happen again next week :)
So, big news. Great news. I think I'm leaving a week early....!!! I'm doing so well with the language that they decided to put me on the fast track and let me go a week early....... Okay tricked ya. I really am leaving a week early, but that's not why. Remember how I was supposed to report a week earlier than I did? Well, because of that they're expecting us in the mission on that original date, so there's a whole group of us that will be leaving after 8 weeks. It's not set in stone yet, but we're about 90% sure. I'm SO EXCITED! I just want to be out there, working, and walking, and helping real people. I love the MTC, but I'm so excited to go. So, plan on that :) It should be January 22. I'll confirm next week. Letters have been taking anywhere from 8-15 days to get here so you can probably send letters up until next week. Then I'd go ahead and send them to the mission home in Santa Maria. But don't stress too much, Sister Steadman will forward them to our mission if letters come and we're already gone. January 22.. that's the day! Three more weeks! Hoorah!
I don't have much else to say... it's been a great week. Oh quick note about the video we watched.. it was taken from a mission conference which means you can't find the talks anywhere (boo!) but it was words from Elder Eyring and Elder Holland about the Savior and it had the testaments video playing in the background. It was SO powerful. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. The thing that stuck out the most was when Elder Holland said, "Salvation isn't cheap. It isn't easy. It never was and it never will be." And so the mission won't be either. But it will be so worth it. Can't wait!
All is well, the language is great, got a lot more to learn, our teachers our awesome, our district is the coolest. I'm happier than I've ever been.
I pray for you all everyday. I love you so so much! I think of you often and hope you are all so well and so happy :) HAPPY BIRTHDAY BIG NA! I am sending a letter through email later today for you :)
Sister Kane
PS: Mom, our district will have our pizza party next week :) You're the BEST! Thank you so much! You've already won the hearts of all the elders :) xoxo!