Monday, March 26, 2012

26 March 2012

Hello everybody!

This week was a good one. One day it rained...
allllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll day. I was actually tired of holding my umbrella all day.

Lets see. This area is really good. And really huge! We are still learning how huge it actually is!

Oh we had 2 REALLY good family home evenings the last two days. The first was with less-active members and we talked about Alma 32:37-end of the chapter. Talking about the roots of our trees (ourselves) and how we need to use things in our lives that are essential to have strong roots. We talked about how the roots are family home evening, reading the book of mormon, praying, and going to church. And how we need to focus on the basics to have a strong "tree". It was really good because it really stuck with one of the families that was there. And then they came to church yesterday! We really want to focus our efforts on strengthening this family because the dad is a missionary. We learned this week that one sunday he brought 27 investigators to church! 27! Holy cow! So we need to make sure he is strong so we can help others at the same time :)

Also, the other family home evening was last night. It was with a recent-convert and his family. We talked about the plan of salvation. And the parents had A LOT of questions about the plan of salvation. Man, thank you Dad for always wanting to know more information and studying. Because of conversations that we have had as a family, I knew the answers (and of course my studying in the book of mormon ;)). Not all the answers mind you, but many of them.

So because of this area, we have been really trying hard to gain more references from our own efforts and other members. We dont have a whole lot of members on our side of the city (the city is split into 2 parts), so we are really looking to gain more members on our side and its soooo big, we have really been trying hard to focus our attention on a specific part. Man...2 weeks just flies by when you are learning about a new area. I hope I stay here for at least 2 transfers so I can actually get some productive work done!

Let me tell you what......Im having a big issue. Im getting attached to people in general. Let me explain......................

EVERY PERSON we talk to I cant help but I want to help them to get baptized because they would be PERFECT in the church! And they would awesome members for the rest of their lives! I mean almost every person...And Im loving everyone. Its the weirdest thing. I just want to talk to everyone and I want everyone to invite us in to their houses so that we can teach them and they can be converted! And even when theyre not progessing, I still want to come back to their house so that we can teach them more and help them more! My heart is always torn when families dont care to hear about the church and things like sad. Theres not enough of us in the city to keep visiting people that arent ready to hear the gospel.....

Anyways, thats about it for this week.

Ill send pictures now :)

Sister Empey

PS: Everyone have an awesome weekend! General Conference whoop whoop! Just think of Campo Mourão...listening to conference in Portuguese....understanding probably only half of conference and trying not to fall asleep haha :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

20 March 2012

Katelyn has a new mission rule. She cannot write or receive emails from non-family members. Please write her letters!!!

Hi family and friends!
Hope everything is going well for all of you! Im in my new area! But before I talk about my new area and such, a couple of rules have changed in our mission. One is that I can only receive emails from my family. If I receive emails from people other than my family (siblings, grandparents, and parents), I wont open them. So ya, just so you know. Cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, etc, I wont open them :( Sorry...but actual letters are always great!
So yes, Im in my new area. I like it a lot. And the branch seems awesome. Its actually a lot bigger of a city then I thought. And there is enough people in the city for 4 sets of missionaries and we only have 2 sets. We do A LOT of walking. If Im here for more than 3 transfers, Im afraid that my body will break because of all the walking haha. So we got here (all 4 of us are new to this area) Tuesday night. Our house was a little bit of a mess and we ended up cleaning for a LONG time because none of us wanted to sleep in a place like this. And our area book is kind of a mess too. SOOO the area book will be our project this transfer :) And we are opening this area again. And starting from scratch. We really didnt have a lot of references and investigators when we came so its kind of exciting. But we are trying to get a handle of things and the amount of space that we have. The city is cut into 2 parts, my companion (Sis Ayumi) and me have one half and our house mates have the other half. Im the only American in our house. Its kind of crazy but its good too. I love my companion. She is funny and shes really nice. And she wants to learn English! So Ive been teaching her some things and shes of course helping me learn Portuguese. But I want to help her. Because she really really wants to learn. So when I can, I try to help her. Honestly, if I can help her accomplish a goal of hers, then why not?! Shes from Fortaleza/Manaus. So she has a Northeastern Brazil accent which is kind of funny. The other 2 sisters are from Rio de Janeiro. One of them, this is her last transfer. She actually started her mission here so it was nice to have her there so she would know more or less where things are and stuff. The accent from Rio is actually kind of crazy. The s´s a lot of times are slurred. Its kind of the same accent as Portugual.
Lets see, what else. We are actually pretty close to the central part of the city. So we are close to shopping, post office, and the chapel. We are like 2 minutes from the chapel. So its pretty nice having the convenience of things. We do have a bit of farm land around us. Like the outer parts of the city are farm land. Its really pretty. But we spend most of our time closer in because more people, and members. But I hope that at least once we will go to the outskirts of the city to at least see the farm land. Like I said really pretty. Its kind of crazy because as soon as the city ends...its literally ALLL farm land and green and stuff. Kind of cool.
Probably the most frustrating part for us is trying to narrow down where we want to start working. Because our area is so huge, we cant very well travel the whole distant every day. This past week we were trying to get to know the members and we were tracking them down, but we spent a lot of time walking. So our task this week is trying to come up with an area that we want to focus on.
I do miss our ward in Londrina and miss Londrina. But this area is going to be good. Probably the most frustrating part of this whole thing is how much of a novelty I am. Ughh...seriously. A couple of times we had a lesson and the whole time Sis Ayumi or me were talking, the lady only looked and smiled at me. Because I was American. Seriously, they tell you in the missionary handbook that wear clothes that dont draw attention to you or be conservative in what you wear and your make up and stuff. That way we wont draw attention away from our message. Well when I talk...Im already drawing attention away from me. annoying! And just the way I look I draw attention away from people sometimes. One guy was a little drunk but he called us out and asked what church we were from. So we talked to him for a little bit. And then he asked me where I was from because of my accent. And then I told me United States and he like jumped out of his seat and proceeded to try to give me a kiss on the cheeek (dont worry, thats normal for brazil. People do that all the time) but ya I seriously revolted a lot haha. It was funny and creepy and annoying all at the same time. Im seriously a novelty and that really bugs me! Haha Im just try to do my job here... anyways its great. But I wish that people could pay attention to my message instead of me!!!
But ya...its all good. The area is good. We will see what this week brings :)
Love you all! Ill send pictures next week!
-Sister Empey

Monday, March 12, 2012

12 March 2012

Note: Bia (Ana Maria), Sister Empey asked us to forward you some pictures, but the email address she gave us isn't working. Please email Sister Empey's mom at and we'll forward them on to you:)

Hi family and friends!

So this is the deal. Im leaving Londrina. Im not going to lie, Im pretty bummed about it. Last night, we stopped by a members house and we told her and she said that she actually started crying yesterday during the day because she could feel that either Sis Checketts or myself would leave and she didnt want us to. And then she said shes going to miss me a lot and more or less that she knows we cant stay and there are other people in Brazil that need to be blessed by us. Anyways, I felt good about that one :) Haha.

Anyways. Dad you were right. Just when you are getting to know the members and getting to feel comfortable...time to leave! I actually said many times to myself...I could stay here for 6 months! I love this area! Ya bad idea. Maybe if I wouldnt of said that, Heavenly Father wouldnt have heard! Haha and Id still be here. Sis Checketts is staying here and training a new missionary again, like me :) Only she is a Brazilian we think. My new area is actually an area that Sis Checketts left before we came here to Londrina. Shes REALLLLLLY pumped for me to go there haha. I think Campo Mourão (my new area) is around 6 hours away. More south. So ya. Another area! Here we go!

This week was a good week. We did a lot of finding people and actually gave a lot of Book of Mormons away (more than normal). We had a lesson yesterday that was actually cool. She asked a lot of questions. And as she talked and asked questions, she brought up a subject with each of the lessons in preach my gospel. Like, she asked about Joseph Smith (first lesson) and talked about prophets (first lesson), and then she asked about baptism (third lesson), and then she asked if we believed in Heaven and Hell (second lesson), and then she asked about the 10 commandments (4th lesson), and she even asked about fasting (5th lesson). It was really kind of cool. And then I remembered a quote from Elder Holland in PMG. He said that he promises that if we listen to our investigators, every time we will hear at least one thing that the person will say that highlights a part of the gospel, and she did it many times.
Also, another experience was of a lady that we talked to at her gate. We talked about the first lesson a little, gave her a pamphlet, explained the BOM a little and then told her we would come back and give her one (because we were out) but we gave her a pamphlet of the first lesson. And then we went back yesterday to give the book of mormon to her. And she talked about how she didnt believe in a prophet and she didnt believe anything the pamphlet says and things like that. And then we just listened for a little bit and then we explained a little bit about the Book of Mormon. And it was the CRAZIEST thing. By the end of us explaining things, she was a COMPLETELY different person and she said she will visit the church and learn more about it. Because she was interested in the fact that we were the same church as the "mormons" (you know the Book of Mormon? ha). Anyways it was really cool to see how she changed and how she said she´ll read the book of mormon and stuff.

So I think thats about it for the day. Ill spend the rest of the day packing up and! Oh and eating my food :) If I have to do this every 3 months...well then Ill get REALLY experienced with riding the bus! Haha.

But I love you all and hope things are going well for all of you! Have the bestest week ever! Until next week!

Love you all,

Sister Empey

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

5 March 2012

Katelyn discovering new fruit!

Hi family!

There honestly wasnt a whole lot going on this week. But we had a successful week in a different sense. We FINALLY finished our Area Book. It is really quite beautiful right now and really organized:)

We had to take medicine for parasites (everyone has to take this medicine). The first wasnt nasty. The 2nd...was horrible! Ugh I actually wanted to die! So to get the taste out of my mouth...we ate ice cream :) But in any case, because of this, the parasite medicine didnt sit well with Sis Checketts (this happens to a lot of people in the mission, just a little sick). So we stayed in the house for a day. Oh my gosh, I THOUGHT I was going to die! Its kind of how I was during my "nesting period" right before I left. I read like 5 general conference talks, read scriptures, watched Preach My Gospel DVDS, read preach my gospel. Ya...I was a little ready to get to work. Haha. Ya...when our job consists of talking to people and being out of the house...when we have to stay in doors...oh I cant handle it!

Anyways...what else happened this week? Oh my gosh. In Brazil...birthdays (and any holiday) are BIG deals! I told a lady in our ward that I had a birthday a couple of weeks ago...and I SWEAR she was actually mad at me. Haha so I think I learned my lesson. Next year, I will tell people about my birthday haha.

Oh. We had a cool experience. We recieved a referal from the ward. But we FINALLY got in contact with her. It was really cool. Her dad is a member of the church but she never wanted to be. He has a lot of friends in our area. He used to live in the ward boundaries. Anyways we talked to her for like 30min and then after we asked if we could come back to visit her and teach her. She said that we could. We didnt think it was that big of a deal and then later that night we talked to a member of the ward who then called the investigators dad and they all said that it was a miracle that she was willing to meet with us. So I think thats pretty cool.

Lets see...what else? Oh...2 people in Testimony meeting mentioned us! Haha I thought that was pretty funny. They talked about how we had really helped them and given them strength. And the other one talked about how we gave them a really spiritual message at lunch. It was pretty cool. So good thing the ward likes us right?!

We have a new ward mission leader. And hes awesome. He really wants to help us out. And he wants to teach with us at least once a day...during the evening. He wants to know about our plans and our goals for baptisms and stuff. Its really cool and it keeps us excited.

Welp, transfers are next week. I really dont know what to think. MAYBE we will have a change, maybe we wont. Ill let you all know next week. BUT you know what that means?! That I survived 2 transfers! Haha. Also, Im learning that I understand almost everything when talking about religious stuff. I still only get about HALF of the rest of the normal conversations. But least I understand what people are saying about the religious things :) So we are moving on!

Im sorry this email isnt that exciting...oh one more thing! I wanted to wait a little bit but I need to say SOMETHING exciting. We are getting visited by an apostle! We THINK, probably. The end of april. So we dont know details yet so its not completely set in Ill let you know when its for sure for sure.

Anyways, time to go! I love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good luck with this week!

-Sister Empey

Sister Empey with Sister Lopez that she met at the CTM.

Sister Empey with her district. She said they are holding what's most important to them. They are holding the Book of Mormon and she's holding her birthday cake. (All of Katelyn's sisters are rolling their eyes right now)

Snail Mail letter: Written 30 Jan 2012


Today’s letter is about customs and things about Brazil. I said I would write about
these things.

First of all, I talked about these things at Christmas time but…no one has
carpet. All buildings and houses have tile. I like this a lot. It makes it easier to
see creatures and clean. Some places in Centro have carpet because it’s a big
city…but that’s it. Everyone has their houses with walls and gates around them.
Hence the clapping because people can’t knock on anything. For the most part
people are really nice. Not all the time receptive…but a lot of times people like
talking about Christ and God so why not let us in their house

Also their houses! It’s the weirdest thing but they have a house which most of
the time goes front to back, not side to side. (I think because it’s less money
because they don’t have to buy more gates. Haha, that’s a Katelyn guess. But the
weird part is the house ends and most houses have like another half of a house
behind, with everything (rooms, tile, kitchen) and even weirder is there is no door
or wall. Let’s see…what else? Oh. Random. This is the thing. I’m on the edge
of Londrina, but I’m still in Londrina. They have horses. Like horses working and
pulling wagons. Like on the main streets. It’s the craziest thing! So Brazilians
are great. But they clean the weirdest things like, at least once a week they are
cleaning their part of the sidewalks and patios with soap and water. They will
scrub it clean with brushes – even where the car goes (if they have one). But
painted things…not really that big of a deal if the wall is painted or the gate. So

Also, they don’t believe in big trash cans or big thrash bags. Or Ziploc bags for
that matter. Food! Rice and beans always. Mostly pinto here. Some people
have black, but mostly pinto. Milk is in boxes and doesn’t need to be refrigerated
before opening (like soy milk). And other things are in boxes, not cans. Not a
lot of cans here. No good selection of soda. They have Coke and Guarana here
(like a mixture of Sprite, Cherry and Ginger Ale). Sometimes Fanta and on a rare
occasion, Sprite. They have like 4 options of cereal but they are pretty expensive.
And they’re in English which would explain the price. Bread for meals is only for
special occasions. The only time I’ve had bread here is at meetings with Sister
Tavares, or when we go to a bakery.

Salads are interesting here. You call it a salad if there is a vegetable mixed


with vinegar, oil and salt. I don’t think they have pepper here. And you don’t cut
up lettuce. You have leaf lettuce in pieces and sometimes they have different
vegetables but they never mix the vegetables like salads in the U.S. But always
have the vinegar, oil and salt. And Halls mints have different sweet flavors down
here that people treat like candy here.

Also money. The smallest coin is a 5 Centavo. But it doesn’t work when the
total is $21.12. And they REALLY like correct or close to correct change. Like
today, I tried giving two twenties to the guy for my food. And he didn’t know
what to do with it. So Sister Checketts had to give him ___ and $15 centavos and
then I kept my $20…and that was it. He didn’t give $3 centavos back because the
smallest is a $5 centavo. Kinda crazy!

Also it’s a rule. If there is a fruit tree and the tree is on the person’s yard but
some of the branches with fruit are hanging over the wall that fruit is for anyone
who wants it. As it passes the wall, it’s the person’s.

Oh! Also…people don’t walk into a house or past a gate without the owner
saying “pode entrar” meaning you can enter. So the person literally waits until
the owner says that they can come in, even just past the gate. Also if you want to
ask someone a question or stop someone on the street or walk past someone you
say, “com l’cenca” or “excuse me.”

And lastly I will talk about greetings. When we don’t know the person, do a
contact on the street or such, we shake hands. But when we meet a person and
we shake hands or hold right hands) as we give a little lean in and touch cheeks
and make a kissy noise. If we know the person beforehand, we also greet and
say bye with more of an embrace and kiss on the cheek. Members of the church
you’ve never met before, also the same thing (a little embrace and kiss). With
people that are your friends or you know well is a good hug and then a kiss if
you want. And then the men are pretty good at shaking hands. I haven’t had a
problem yet. Not saying I won’t, but for now…not a problem.

Oh another thing…eggs aren’t refrigerated…so I make sure to cook them and
not have any cookie dough when we cook cookies. Which brings up the next
point. People here think American cookies and pancakes are like “heaven-sent”. I
really don’t understand. I mean they’re good but people make good sweets here
too. And cookies aren’t found here. So when we make cookies, people LOVE

Also, sweetened condensed milk is literally used for almost anything. Frosting,
on pretty much anything, as a treat itself, on Jell-O, as filling for stuff, flan (which
is called “pudim” here. And ya, kind of funny, on bananas too. So ya, pretty

And that’s it for my customs and Brazil letter for this week.

I LOVE ALL OF YOU! Good luck with your week and such!

Love, Katelyn

PS: I haven’t had a Brazilian comp yet but I guess they shower like 5 times a day if
they can. haha