Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Halfway there (three weeks down three to go)

Well this week started out very interesting.  On Wednesday we got to class and three elders were missing.  There was a flu virus going around. The elders told us that when they walked out of their room and went to the bathroom. There were eight elders laying in a row next to the bathroom. How funny is that?! There were 40 something missionaries sick from the 24 hour flu virus. It was really grosssss....That day we had to clean the bathrooms in our hall......You can imagine how wonderful that was. It was odd though not having those three elders there that day. One of those Elders had been struggling with things and came and said he was going home for awhile,  but he would be back in a few months.  It was really sad. We will miss him a whole lot, but we are proud of him for being courageous enough to do that.  We are all praying for him and crossing our fingers for him. The next day two Elders in our district were sick.  But guess what? None of the sisters got it because girls run the world. Beyonce told me that:) haha We have been working really hard this week and we are trying our hardest.

Sunday was pretty amazing, huh? Want to know what else was amazing? We had only two sacrament meetings here (with all the missionaries) they served all of us the sacrament. Do you realize how amazing that was? I was impressed! Then the broadcast. Oh my gosh! So amazing! It was a long day of practicing and we weren't sure if we would get to sing because there was a limited amount of room, but luckily we did. It was so cool to sing with a huge group of missionaries for the General Authorities. my favorite part was that they walked in and immediately waved to all of us missionaries. I LOVED THAT! I wasn't shown but I could show you where I was.  Haha, I am near the top. No big deal "I am just the face of the church now!" Haha! It was so amazing to be in the same room as them and to hear them talk about us (missionaries). I wish the Prophet would have been there, But I heard he was sick. I heard he left the New Mission President meeting because he was sick. I hope he didn't get what we had here because it was nasty... It has been cool to be here at the MTC because there are New Mission Presidents everywhere. There is security everywhere too. I am pretty sure that I saw President Uchdorf walk up to the building. So half of campus has been shut off to missionaries and we have been eating in the gym, which I actually like better because there isn't a huge amount to choose from, and that is okay with me. I think I am finally losing weight, which makes me happy! 

For exercise we go outside to the field for 50 minutes a day.  How nice is that?! We also have two gyms! I usually go outside and either run/walk or play badmitten. Which is my favorite thing to do! I have fun during gym time and it pretty much saves my life.  I wish we had a little more time, but that's okay. We usually go back 10 minutes early so that we can shower because here we have literally 30 minutes to get ready. I don't think I have ever gotten ready in 30 minutes. I am becoming a speed racer!

The language is coming slowly. This week has been very interesting. I have been working really hard, but I feel I am stuck at one level. I am doing my best and am trying to move along, but it is so hard. I am working hard to add new vocab words to my vocabulary everyday. I will keep trucking along and learn more and more.

I haven't heard anything about my visa yet and don't expect to hear anything anytime soon. Which is totally OK with me...for now. We have been hearing that there is some stuff going on in Brazil right now. So I am glad to be right here for now.

My testimony has grown, but has also been tested a bit.  This last week we were teaching our lesson to our investigator and I bore my testimony about the Book of Mormon and how it has affected my life. I bore my soul out to him and asked hin to read it and he said "no." He flat out said "no." It was really hard for me to cope with that. I was pretty upset about that because it kind of broke my heart, but I guess that is how life is. You don't convert people, God does.

On a funny note. last week my companions and I realized that we have been washing our clothes in fabric softener....not detergent.....One of the Elders told us that.  He is 24  and so wise.  I call him Dad because he is so old. Well this place is getting better and better. Tomorrow will be my half way point and I am more than excited! Today the district leaders and the coordinating sisters that were here when we got here left for Portugal! How crazy is that? When we came here they were half way and now they are gone! It really happens! You really leave this place:)

"Missionary work is easy, It's like teaching primary to your best friend"- katies Teacher:)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Week Two in the MTC

I am still here in the land of ugly shoes and cute dresses.  Also the land where everyone whistles all the time...haha, because we have absolutely no music.  Even when we sing hymns in class we don't have music behind us! Crazy, huh?  Every morning I have a new song in my head like yesterday it was "I'm still Jenny from the block." J Lo was in my head all day! Haha and that is honestly how it is always!

Well this week has gone so much better! I have been able to really immerse myself in the work and have been getting a lot out of it personally and for others.  I have decided to just be happy with what I get and that is all I can ask for.  Well we had our last lesson with Edgar and it went alright our second to last lesson was better with him, but that's okay we are always improving.  Then the next day of class we went in and met our second teacher and guess who it was??? EDGAR! Kind of awkward because he like knows all our strengths and weaknesses...haha, but that will make his teaching more applicable to us. Well the leaders in our zone head out to Portugal next week so we got new leaders. Our district leader then became our Zone Leader which is awesome because he and his companion are awesome! They make me laugh so hard! One of them and I quote Hot Rod and Despicable Me two all the time.  I really love my district! The other two sisters work so hard and are doing so well. One is from Iowa and the other one is from Medford! They are both going to my mission. Actually only four people out of my district are going to different missions. Our new District Leaders are from Utah. My District is from all over the place. From Alaska to Mexico. We all get along really well and are helping each other out. Since we get along so well sometimes that isn't all that good, haha.

 Sundays here in the MTC are the best things ever! THE BEST THINGS EVER!!! We get to go to the largest Relief Society in the world and mom, I LOVE RELIEF SOCIETY. I no longer call it old ladies, but I call it RELIEF society.  I also love it because we get there at like 9:15 and watch the Spoken Word. I never thought I would be excited to watch the spoken word, but when you live in the land of no music you get excited about things way more often than you thought you would. This week our speaker was Neill F. Marriott the second counselor of the Young Women presidency! She is sooo awesome! She is from the deep south and I am sure that the young women will love her. She is the funniest person ever and is a convert. She told us her story and that was super awesome. Also on Sunday nights we get to watch movies! Don't get excited because they are church movies or talks which is kind of a let down but that's okay because they are still good. Tuesdays are great too because it is P-day.  We also get start the day with exercise which is great too, except Sundays!

It has been interesting having two companions rather than one.  We all have so many different ideas and ways of doing things. We are figuring out how to incorporate all our different ideas. We are doing better and better.  I love them both. I am now the senior companion. Which is fun! I just want to show everyone in my district that I may be the youngest sister in our district, but I am not weak. I am learning to teach by the spirit and it is getting better and better.

A cool thing happened yesterday while my companions and I were preparing our lesson outside. These two Elders came up to us and asked if they could share their testimonies with us because they were leaving tomorrow and wanted to know if we could understand their English.  One of them was from Colombia and the other one was from Micronesia (sp). When they came here they could not understand or speak English or in that case each others language. One of them was going to Guam and the other was going to Salt Lake. They bore the most beautiful testimony about Jesus Christ and about the Book of Mormon. It made me tear up. They were amazing. Even though their English was a little off sometimes I could understand them. That felt sooo good to me because they had only been in the MTC for 6 weeks and they really could speak the language they were learning. That brought me a lot of hope! They were amazing young men and I was so happy to meet them. They took our picture and left. They truly inspired me. Testimonies are amazing. If all you have is your testimony you can convert way more than if you know every word in Portuguese. Cool, right???

So, visa...we have not heard anything. There was a district that just left this week and all of them got reassigned stateside except for one. If they get their visa while stateside they can go. It was kind of cool though that they got reassigned. Some of them went to New York and California or anywhere. They were sent all around the world. Another cool thing about being reassigned is that you get to call home mom! How cool it that??? You get reassigned like the week before you depart the MTC which is cool. I wouldn't mind that for awhile. My language might suffer, but teaching in English would be cool for awhile. So I am not sad about it.

The MTC is a pretty cool place. It is cool to me that we have so many missionaries that we have to use the Marriott Center so that we can all fit. That is amazing to me! We are truly the Army of Helamen. Another cool thing that we do here is when we sing hymns for relief society or anything sometimes they change the words and then you automatically start crying. They make it more applicable to us. How amazing is that? I am liking is more and more here. It was hard at first but with a little attitude adjustment things get better and better. What made me change my attitude so much was what Mervyn B. Arnold said in his devotional to us the other night (he is Amazing by the way) and he said to read D&C 123:17. It says that if we remain happy no matter what we will be blessed! I have finally seen that in my life. Oh I forgot the other night while we were being taught by our teach he just split us up to teach the First Vision to another companionship in our district (Scareyyy) I was terrified at the beginning, but when I just gave in and made myself vulnerable I was able to say it. I went on and on and it was one of the most amazing moments of my life. God is so good and Jesus Christ is so amazing. I always say that to my companions.

Please keep deareldering me.  They really help even if they are short! I love you all!!
Love your favorite missionary,
Sister Siepert

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

First week at the MTC

Well I am here at the MTC and it has been quite an experience! The first day after I left you guys I was taken and got my missionary tag right away. It was so crazy to me that this was happening! I cried mom, I cried.....your welcome.  Haha, anyways then after that I was taken to the classroom I am literally in all day. ALL DAY. There I met my district and my companion!  I just want you to know that right when we walked in our teachers just spoke to us in Portuguese...it was terrifying...Then we had a lot to do that day with orientation and what not.  It was probably the longest day of my life.  At 9:30 we found that we were going to have another companion which is interesting!  Let me tell you about them, Well I have Sister Vance who is from Utah.  Yes, mom what I said actually came true. She is from a family of 16 kids.  16 KIDS! She is a really good missionary and not a lazy one.  She looks exactly like Keaton Spencer to me and it freaks me out.  Then the other companion is Sister Jones. She is from Missouri and comes from a family of 7. I really love her, We get along really well.

Then the second day we wake up at 6 and we eat breakfast at 6:30.  It is probably the worst thing ever. And lunch at 11 then dinner at 4, so I am greatly appreciative of the snacks you sent me! This will blow your mind. When I say blow I mean BBBBLLLLOOOWWWW!!!!!!! Well the second day we started to teach an investigator name Edgar.  We didn't just teach him, but we had to teach him in Portuguese. Hahahaha, it was like the hardest thing I have ever done.  We wrote everything down on a paper and read it to him, so it probably wasn't so spiritual...but we did it. But funny thing about that is we went to the door and said what we knew which was, "Ola Edgar! Como Vi?" and he responded with "tutu ban" (which means very good) and we just stood there in front of him because we had no idea how to get inside his "house". It was probably the most awkward moment of my life.  Hahaha, after that terrible lesson we laughed soooo hard because the awkwardness was just so awesome! Since then we have taught him 3 times and it still is really hard. We have been writing out everything we want to say to him still, but next lesson which is on like tomorrow? Maybe? We are trying to just write little notes so then we can try to get it out from our hearts. It has been quite the time with him and I think now we are starting to understand the saying "teach people, not lessons". The language is extremely hard. Harder than I ever imagined. I do know how to pray in Portuguese and bear a simple testimony, but I am learning. If you could specifically pray for that for me that would be so awesome.

My district is 8 boys and 5 girls. I mean 8 Elders and 5 Sisters.  I love all of them so much! We all get along super well and that is nice but bad sometimes because our focus is sometimes is not all that great. It is nice we all get along. Here at the MTC we study for about 8 hours a day and I am not exaggerating that. It has been the hardest days I have ever had.  That have been a few tears over the days, but I am trying to go by the rules the best I can. It just is hard to go from not having any plans to having every second of your day planned out. It also is a little hard to have Ryan live so near by sometimes. It just kind of kills me that we finally live so close, but never see each other.  That really hit me on Saturday night when I was going to bed at 10:30 and I was thinking that Ryan was just starting his night probably, haha. I kind of feel like I am in a cage everyday, but we try to go on walks around campus a lot.

Sundays are by far my favorite. We get to go to Relief Society with all the Sister Missionaries and it is incredible. This week they had all the sisters that came in when I came in stand up and it was more than half of them. It was overwhelming. I just love Relief Society now and mom you are probably extremely shocked I just said that. So am I! I think it's because it's no longer old ladies....Hahah. We also get to go to a ward that is all Portuguese. What?!? Crazy, Huh?  And get this we have to prepare talks every week because the Bishop picks random people each week.  So like a random person to say the prayer and speak. The first two weeks you are here you get to do it in English, but from then on you have to do it in Portuguese. How terrifying is that?!

Also we get to be part of a huge MTC choir that sings at the devotionals. Tonight it is going to be the first devotional at the Marriot center because we can't hold everyone here. Isn't that so awesome?! Also we get to do a choir thing for a special event that is coming up! We are singing at the Marriott Center and the General Presidency and the 12 are going to be there! It will also be online.  It is a training video about missionary work, so you should all check it out! I'm sure dad will be at it so look for me out of like half the MTC that is in the choir. How exciting is that?!

Did I say that all the sister and elders in my district are waiting for their visa's to? Well we all are and hoping to get them soon.  I honestly think though that being sent state side would be awesome. I would love to get to Brazil, but I would not be mad going state side.  I am actually a little jealous of the people going state side because 5 more weeks of this seems a little bit crazy.

On the morning of your P days you get to go to the temple. So this morning we went to the 6:50 session. It was good and it's crazy that you said those things about Bailey because I thought of her today while I was in the Temple. I had this thought that I am here going on a mission because I want families like hers to have what we have. How sad would it be to think that when we die it is the end. It made me cry a little bit.  We also get to do a temple walk on Sundays at like 2:30-3:30 which is where I took a lot of pictures. I am going to try to send them to you, but it might not work. I miss you guys a lot! Like more than I thought I would.  I keep hoping that I will see Ryan drive by, but I know he doesn't drive this way, haha. But you know we do have a temple walk on Sundays, so maybe, haha. I have been having kind of a hard time here, but I am making it.  The language is holding me back a little and it is making me wish I paid more attention in Spanish Class. My companions and I are having the worst time with it, but we are really trying.

I might be writing you during the week because it might keep me sane. I love you all so much and it kind of drives me nuts that I can't pick up the phone and call you. Keep the dearelder.com things coming because they really help when I have a rough long day of studying a language that makes no sense to me. I love you all!!

Friday, June 7, 2013

This was a note that Katie left on her bed:)  Funny thing is the last movie we watched as a family was the movie "UP."

Dropping Sister Siepert off at the MTC!

As keeper of Katie blog(Katie's mom) while she is away I thought I would share with you the "drop off experience" at the MTC.

June 5, 2013
12:30 pm
Provo Utah MTC

At 12:30 sharp we drove up the light by the MTC and were greeted with a long line of cars.  Once through the traffic light we were stopped by a greeter and asked what Mission Katie was reporting to.  Katie smiled and said the Brazil Sao Paulo Interlagos mission.  The man responded awesome.  You have a beautiful smile.  The will love you in Brazil.  He handed us a yellow post it note to put in our window.  How appropriate since that is her favorite color. He had three or four different colors of post it notes.  I guess yellow meant Foreign or Foreign Language.  We turned left as directed. Lined up on the right side of the car on the sidewalk were hundreds of missionaries smiling and waving at the brand new missionaries reporting.  We drove to the last groupings of stopping spots.  Katie hopped out and immediately this beautiful sister came up and gave Katie a hug and introduced herself to Katie and Kash and I.  katie was worried that two large  and one small suitcase was to much.  The missionary said "nope I had three too".  Katie was so relieved. This sister was heading to the San Francisco Mission in two weeks.  Then a warm hello from a group of young Elders standing about three feet away. They proceeded to ask where she was going to serve.  She told them and they hollered that is awesome!! They made her feel so comforted:)  katie then turned to her dad and gave her a big hug and turned to me and gave me a big hug.  I was crying uncontrollably by now. Not Katie she was so excited!!  Earlier she said she couldn't wait to put on the Black badge.  In fact she said she was going to sleep in it!!  She waved goodbye and off she went.  Not even looking back. We later found out that 963 missionaries reported that day.  The largest amount ever entering the MTC on one day.

 She will be missed terribly but she will bless so many lives!  Thanks Katie, your family loves you more than anything!  See you in 548 days or as Jessica Walker says two Novembers!  May the Lord bless you every single second, minute, hour, day, week, month and year!

Later that day I got an email from a dear friend Pat Gausnell who is also in the MTC with her husband preparing to leave soon to Australia for a mission. Senior couples can email anytime.  Much more freedom than the young missionaries.  Anyway she said she saw Katie at dinner that night. Made this mom very happy.

The next morning I opened my facebook and staring back at me was a picture of Katie and her two companions.  Pat had taken a picture after breakfast and sent it immediately to me.  So here is the Picture:
I don't know who the sister in the middle is but the one on the right is Sister Jones from Joplin Missouri.  I only know that because there is a closed group on facebook called moms of Sao Paulo missionaries.  We had connected through that and we became friends on facebook.  She immediately messaged me to tell me she was so happy to see her daughters face.  Evidently they had a rough day when she left.  Bad weather, two missed flights and a lot of stress.  She was so happy to see her smiling:)  What a blessing to live in such a wonderful time!