Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Katelyn's CTM address

Sister Katelyn Blaire Empey
Brazil Londrina Mission
Brazil Missionary Training Center
Rua Padre Antonio D'Angelo, 121
Casa Verde
02516-040 Sao Paulo - SP

Since we don't know how to do accents over the letters, here is an explanation.
There is a upside-down curve over the "o" in Antonio (like a rainbow); and the same over the captial "A" in Angelo; and the "a" in Sao has a squiggly line over the "a"
Hopefully this isn't confusing

First Hello from Brazil

Sister Empey's first letter from Brazil!! Sounds like she's right in her element, bossing all the other Elder's around .... :)

Hello family and friends! Happy Thanksgiving! I´ve forgotten that it´s this week! So hope it´s all an amazing weekend for you!
How is life! I can´t believe I made it Brazil in 1 piece! Haha jk. The flights were good. But I honestly didn´t like them at all because I was by myself (no other missionaries) the whole time. So that wasn´t exactly fun.
So this is what happened. We had to wait at the airport for pretty much ever...well ever for like 10 other missionaries to arrive and stuff. I´m not going to lie. That first day was not fun. It was stressful and overwhelming and I tried not to look at anyone because I was afraid they were going to try to talk to me and then I couldn´t say anything to them back!!! Haha so I just kinda looked down at my stuff...and then we get at the MTC and all the missionaries that saw us came and said welcome and stuff. And I got to see my old district. It´s funny because no one knows who is going to come until they show up. And then we are all really excited for them to be here. My old district was sooo excited to see me :)
And I was really excited because I thought I would be in their district again...nope guess again.
And then I went through some orientation things and we walked around the city for a little bit. Every P-Day we can leave the MTC and go walk around the city for a little bit and buy things. One of the first things I´m going to buy...food! Seriously...I get so hungry here. It´s probably because the last food of the day is at 4:45pm. Holy cow...do they really think that is a good idea to stop eating that early?! So I usually get hungry again about 8:30 and snack time isn´t usually until 9:30. So ya, we have snack time every night which is actually pretty cool. It´s usually chocolate milk and some kind of bread. Some of my elders´ favorites are chocolate chip bread. Anyways, that´s pretty cool actually.
Next crazy thing...I don´t have a companion! Crazy huh?! I can´t believe it but I am the only sister in my district. And I don´t think I´ll have one the whole time I am here because the only other sister to enter the MTC the same day as me was my comp back in Provo, and she hasn´t gotten her electronic visa yet...well as far as I know she hasn´t. But I´m honestly ok with it because my elders are really good at respecting me :) Probably because I kind of demand it, I´m sometimes the voice of reason among 8 19 year olds, and they have admitted a few of them are kind of scared of me. Hahaha I think that´s really funny but they have reason to. I´ve just had a diplomatic conversation with them about a couple of things, in the which I voiced my opinion and they couldn´t give their opinions because I wouldn´t stop expressing my point of view. Haha pretty much it has to deal with my elders FREAKING out about mail. Like mail is a HUGE HUGE thing at the MTC. Almost all of them have gfs and haha it´s funny because none of them get letters very often. But they hold out for this serious hope that they are going to get mail. I finally talked them into only checking the mail 1 time a day instead of 3 like before. And asked them to not complain or whine when they didn´t get a letter...as much. Haha so 2 days after I get here I get a letter. Thanks Grandma :) It was pretty funny because they got soo mad at me!
In any case, sister missionaries here are pretty much worshiped. There are only approx 15 of us here. We never have to wait in line, we always get to cut, the Brazilians love us, especially American sister missionaries, and we can go wherever we want.
So we have gym every day. And we have it with another district (which is my old district). So pretty much I play volleyball (volleyball mind you) with 18 other elders. Haha and I still kick their trash on a regular basis :) They are really good at including me, and they kind of follow me around sometimes which is pretty funny.
So I like it here a lot more than I did at first. For the first couple of days I missed the provo mtc soooo much. there is like no structure and it takes some serious self discipline for me to accomplish what I want to. And the devotionals and firesides arent as good here unfortunately...which is kind of sad :( I LOVEd the firesides in Provo. So I get kind of sad missing it sometimes. I dont think you can ever replace the feel of the Provo MTC. But here is good too. The last couple of days I´ve been really really thankful that I have been able to experience both. I mean there are some things that we can get here that we could never get in Provo and visa versa. I´ve been able to help my Elders out with some stuff which Im really glad I learned in Provo so I could help them. Because it´s so relaxed here, things that were stressed in Provo arent stressed here so I´m glad Ive been able to help out my elders. It´s all about becoming better together right?!
Um portuguese...is going ok. I´m slowly becoming a little braver with talking to the Brazilians here tho. Even if it is just saying hi. And they are really understanding and try to help us out. They actually don´t make us speak more portuguese then I expected. We always have a translater for firesides and things and my teachers speak English as well as Portuguese.
Um I miss American candy already! The food here is actually pretty good tho, other than the candy... The way they present the food is like awesome here. Its always so pretty. Like I said...the food is good. I have rice and beans every meal :) I actually like them mixed together :) They had fashwa yesterday (I have no idea how that is actually spelled). Its the meal where they put whatever they can in a pot (bones and everything) from an animal and then boil it and put it over rice. I just didnt think about it while I was eating it. But other than that...its pretty good.
Um what else can I tell you? I think thats a pretty good over view. Oh the weather is getting a little warm here but not that bad. Its been kind of reallly really nice since I´ve been here. I went to the temple today, the session was in English and the temple is beautiful! I went to the distribution center afterward and got a little mini hymn book.
So this is the deal to all of you...letters take approx 4-5 business days to get here (about) and I think about 10ish days to get back. So mail just takes a lot longer to get places.
So if you want to let me know something exciting that just happened or whatever, just send me a quick email. Youll know Ill get it Tuesdays at least!
Again, I really really really really appreciate all of your support. It´s kind of crazy being even more disconnected from the world but I´m praying for your success and safety.
Wish me luck going outside the MTC boundaries! Ahhhh...I´ll need it!
-Sister Empey

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sister Empey got her visa!

Friends and family,
We received an unexpected call from Katelyn this evening!! She called to tell us that she got her visa and she'll be leaving for the Brazil CTM on Tuesday!! We are very excited for her! She is quite nervous but also very excited. We will keep you updated as soon as we find out information.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tuesday 8 Nov 2011

I would say something in Portuguese but it takes too long to try to figure out how to type the specific letter. But if I could, I would let you know a couple words that I've figured out. I'm using so MANY flashcards its insane. My favorite word that i've learned is "chato"...which means "annoying" apparently haha. That words comes in handy some days, even multiple times during the day haha.
Ok so on Sunday, we had mission conference because it was fast sunday. Which means we got to sit in the most uncomfortable seats in the world I feel like for 2 hours. It was kind of a pain. But it was good. And then one of the speakers were talking about something or another and then asked us to look down at our feet. And said "aren't they beautiful?" I was to be honest a little weirded out by the comment. I tried to pay attention and see where he was coming from but all I could think of was, feet? beautiful? And then it made me think of Wendy :)
Also, the weeks sometimes blur together and I can't remember what I said or didn't say. Did I tell you last Sunday Sister Elaine Dalton came and spoke at our relief society? Now mind you, the relief society includes all of the sisters from all zones, districts etc. Ya I absolutely loved her talk :)
Um what else can I tell you? Oh geez, I don't even know. Nothing too exciting has happened. But I guess my Visa is coming what I hear from mom? So that's exciting...but actually really nerve racking too.

So today has been successful already. I got a package from Sara. I'm so excited to open it! And we have already done our laundry. And we went to the temple. Cool thought all of you. I was standing outside of the temple, my comp was doing something or another...like pondering about hymns to sing or something, and I saw the stadium. And it just made me think, again, how crazy it is that we are so removed from the things of the world, when my college life was spent sometimes in the very spot where I was standing. It was crazy because we were asking one of our teachers about byu football. And I completely forgot that you actually keep track of things like that! Haha.
I want to thank alll of you again for keeping me informed. Honestly, I have so much to do, I'm not homesick. Eventually, it will probably hit me. But right now...I have too much to do! So please, keep me informed. It really helps me grip onto reality and I LOVE hearing about everything in your lives. It's weird I can't send a text or call you and know about all of your lives! Also, yes I can get pictures so send them to me because I love to brag to my friends about the people I know and love!
I pray for you all constantly and I want to make sure blessings are coming your way because I know there are so many coming my direction. I can feel Heavenly Father's love and direction constantly. I am seeing little tender mercies every day. Heavenly Father is aware of me and knows me sooo well, he knows the little things in my day that help me get through...that put a smile on my face. Also...I have NOOOOO idea why...but this dang MTC...mission..whatever...is making me so more emotional and I don't like it all...whatever...hopefully I can put a stop to it...like tomorrow...
I love you all and I pray for you!
Sister Empey

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Katelyn's testimony

Katelyn's testimony (written 1 Nov 2011)
I am so excited to be on a mission right now. I am at the Provo MTC but hopefully soon, I will be heading down to the CTM in Brazil. I reported on October 19th and I was assigned to serve in the Brazil Londrina Mission. While I will miss home, the ward, and my family and friends, I am excited that I can serve the Lord and devote my life to him for the next 18 months!
I know this church is true. I felt the power and truthfulness even more while I've been in the MTC. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and atoned for us. I don't know what we would do without him. He has literally saved our lives. I love my Savior and I want to continue to serve him through my whole life. I know that this work that we are doing is true! And that it is Heavenly Father's work. And that while it may seem hard and tough sometimes, we are where we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to be doing. And if we have faith in him and believe in his help, he can and WILL help us accomplish what he needs us to do! I love the gospel and I know that it changes lives! In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.
Love you tons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1 Nov 2011

Hello Family and friends!
How are you all? Can I just say that I love my family and friends. My district has been a little annoyed with me because I have gotten so many letters and packages this week :) Everyone was a surpise and welcomed. All in one day I got 5 letters and 2 packages. Haha Carly...the apples were amazing! Did I tell you guys that all six of us in our room are going to Brazil? In any case, we have gotten pretty close the last couple of weeks. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing the apples with my roomies. No word on the visa yet, but it just have to be coming within a couple of weeks! So Mom, if you''re phone rings and there is a number you don''t recognize..it might be me...so pick up! 2 more Elders from our district got their visas and are gone.
Anyhow, I really appreciate all the letters and packages. My district keeps on thinking "who is this girl?!?!" so THANK YOU. I can feel you're prayers in my life!
I feel like this last week wasn''t near as excited as last week. Not a whole lot has been going on. We got a new teacher. So what happens in that we get an "investigator'' like the 2nd day we get here. We have to give all of our discussions/lessons in Portuguese. Ya, hard. So after about 5 lessons, he becomes your teacher! So now we have 2 teachers. This second teacher is awesome. I mean so is the first, but the second has only been off his mission for 3 months...so he still has that fire in his eyes. Anyway, they are a lot of fun. Some exciting news is that I can pray in Portuguese now without looking at anything in a book!. Now granted, it probably is at the level of a 6 year old right now, but I''m working on becoming better at being creative and saying what I want to say in Portuguese. Um I got to see Bryan''s dad on Sunday too! He was so excited to see me :) They asked if they could get me anything and I couldn''t refuse them. I had to say I needed lotion! Haha of all things. So they said they would meet up with me tonight after the devotional to give me lotion.
The language...is hard. But it''s going. I''m not progressing as fast as I would like to be progressing and I feel like I am farther behind then the rest of my district. But everyone keeps on saying that I can''t compare myself to everyone else, that everyone gets it at their own pace. It''s fun though to be able to know different words and things. Portuguese is REALLY similar to Spanish in writing, but it gets me every time when someone talks. Now I''m starting to understand more and recognize the intonations and everything else, which means I am converted to Portuguese...I think it sounds so awesome and I can''t wait to be able to be myself in Portuguese. I can be myself speaking English just fine, but when I speak Portuguese (mainly because I don''t have the vocab), I completely use all personality I feel like :) But I know that will come, I just have to act goofy and crazy in English when I get the chance!
So I am learning a lot. My goal this week is to make goals and to organize myself. I feel so good when I can check off boxes and look at a list and say "ya, I did that'' (Wendy, you know exactly what I am talking about ;). And last week I was constantly stressed. And so I decided since I''m so good at checking off boxes, I need to be organized and plan out my day with specific goals I want to accomplish. That way nothing important slips through the cracks.
Well everyone, I must go. Sorry, this is a little shorter than last week, but nothing really excited has happened yet? Haha I hope this letter finds you all well. I can''t express enough thanks for everyone and your letters and support (and packages!). I know me and I know that I won''t be able to reply back to all of your letters, but please please know how much I love you all and I really appreciate ALLLL of it. After a long hard day (we only get letters once a day, 9:30pm), it is awesome to be able to read from home or from friends. It''s such a nice break for my brain!
Again, I love you all and good luck with this week!
Sister Empey

First Letter! 25 Oct 2011

Here is Katelyn's first letter/email!

Hello Family!
How are you allll?! So surprise, it's my P-Day on Tuesdays! And I already love this day :) Favorite days at the MTC are Tuesdays and Sundays. It's been a crazy week, let me tell you all about it :)
So I got here Wednesday and it was insane. Our life is very scheduled. Which is fine, but when you can't even catch your breath the first day, with all emotions wrapped up inside of you, it's hard to sit. But I got my tags, my information, my room, met my district and my companion. Oh by the way, 3 of our elders from our district already got their visa, so they are flying to Brazil right now. Pretty cool! So hopefully not before too long I'm down there too. And then after we had about an hour lesson from an teacher who only spoke Portuguese to us, we had a new missionary meeting with all the new missionaries. It was cool to be all together. I figured out after the first day, my favorite part of the day is at 9:30 at night where we just relax and get out of our dresses. We can write in our journals, do whatever. Our room is full. It has 6 girls living it in. It's cool because all 6 of us are speaking Portuguese. 2 sisters have been here for almost 3 weeks, the other set has been here for almost 2, and then us, we have been in here 1! But it just happened like that. It's also really nice because all of us are really good at waking up on time. A couple of sisters wake up at like 6:15 every morning so we are all up definitely by 6:30. Also, family, don't worry. I've worn make up and fixed my hair every day :)
The food here is decent. I mean what can you expect with cafeteria food right? I'm finally figuring out the ropes around here. Like where everything is, all the rules, how best to use our time.
I'm sure you're all wondering about the language. Um...it's tough. It's really tough. I'm learning words, but I'm not able to coherently put together sentences. The 3rd day of class we had a "progressing investigator". Which means that a teacher (which we aren't supposed to know is a teacher) here at the MTC comes and we teach them like a regular investigator. Problem considering he only speaks Portuguese. Haha. So we had to use the books that we had, in Portuguese, to be able to get our points across. It's been really frustrating because we can't say what we want. Yesterday we had a tough lesson. It was hard because he started asking us questions that we could only partly understand. And once we finally figured out what he was asking, I couldn't find the right words in Portuguese to say. I didn't have an answer that I could find in my language book I had. The good thing is that I can almost pray without looking at the book in Portuguese.
People I've seen: I did not know there was so many people at the MTC that I know! I did see Stephanie. She knew where my classroom is so she stopped by to say hi. She isn't my teacher, but it was really good to see her. Elder Dane Eskilsen (sp?) is actually in my zone! So I see him all the time. He just got reassigned (his 9 weeks are up) to Tulsa, OK. But he's hoping (like the rest of us) that his visa is on his way. Also, as weird as this is, my friend Elder Snarr's classroom is down the hall from me. So I see him every day. On Sunday, I saw Bryan Brown's mom. Her husband is in a branch presidency at the MTC and it was SO nice to see her there. I love her a lot!
I found caffiene free Mountain Dew at the bookstore at the MTC. I'm too scared to try it. I think it would pretty much taste like water without caffiene.
We have a devotional tonight. Sunday and Tuesday nights, we have visitors come and give the whole MTC a devotional. Tuesday nights is a general authority, Sundays, it's different people. Last Sunday was awesome. To be honest, the first 4 days in the MTC were sooo much harder then I ever thought it would be. Sunday was so nice to take a break from trying to learn the gospel in Portuguese along with the other stuff we had to do. So we all go into the gym with seating for 2600 missionaries (about) and it was so cool to be able to be there with all of us. Strong and trying to do what's best. So this is the deal. All the elders have to wear the suit jackets at the firesides unless directed by the speaker. So the speaker (Stephen Allen I think, the marketing director for missionaries in SLC) as soon as he got up, said that all the elders could take off their jackets. So about 2000 missionaries stood up and took off their jackets. So when they sat down it was so much brighter. It was such a great visual for me to see all of us together, sitting. Strong missionaries together.
This is hard...really hard. But I know Heavenly Father is sustaining me and I know that there are a lot of prayers coming my way. I love you all and please keep writing! Carly and Wendy, I'll write you a little letter soon.
The gospel is true! Love you alllllll!