Friday, December 27, 2013


Its the final countdown! Doodoodoo doo...dooodoodoododo! :) haha

iBom dia amigos! Good Morning Friends!

Well, it is my last week at the Missionary Training Center and I am both excited to head to my new destination but also a little sad to leave here. Especially since I have gotten so close to my district. As you might have known, I have not received my visa yet, so I have been temporarily reassigned to the Pocatello Idaho mission! I will be there until I receive my visa, so please pray that I get my visa fast because Idaho is way too cold! I leave this Tuesday, December 31st  and I will give you my new address when I receive it. Even though I'm not excited for the extreme cold, I am extremely excited to serve the people in Idaho. I am scared, however, to speak in weird as that sounds. I love Portuguese so much and actually feel more comfortable (definitely not confident, but I am comfortable) talking to people in Portuguese than English. I know Idaho is where the Lord needs me and that I have been called to be a missionary to invite others unto Christ. It does not matter where I go because my purpose will always be the same. 

In case you didn't know, Christmas was this past week! Holy cow, time flies! And, lets just say I am SO glad I got to celebrate Christmas in the MTC! The highlights of the day were, waking up extremely early and opening up presents (My mom got my companion and I matching pink Elmo onesies), a fabulous talent show, and Elder Bednar came and spoke. 

One thing that really stuck out to me in Elder Bednars talk was something that I needed to hear this week. This past week I had a really hard day and at the end of the day as I was teaching a lesson (in Portuguese, of course) I just felt completely inadequate. I having a hard time saying what I wanted to say and I was just really down on myself. And, I just felt like crying. Well, two things.

First, I know that God watches over us and He hears our prayers. Because, when I was feeling so inadequate and depressed, I prayed to my Father in Heaven to help me through the  struggles I was going through. That night I received some unexpected letters from friends and they were EXACTLY what I needed to hear. "God does watch over us, but it is sometimes through another person that He meets our needs." I know this is true because I felt it at that moment and many times in my life. Don't hesitate to good for someone else, even if it is just a quick note because it could and will mean the world to that person.
Second, the first thing that Elder Bednar said was about feeling inadequate. He talked about how we are all agents that should act and not objects that are acted upon. Then, he said,(I am paraphrasing but I will put it in quotes because they are not my words) "You feel inadequate because you have some sense of what you do. You have been called to do such an important work. If you don't feel inadequate, you are doing something wrong. " Then he continued to talk about the atonement and how it is both cleansing power and an enabling power. That is exactly what I needed to hear, because I do feel inadequate but it is good to hear from an apostle of the Lord that that feeling is okay. The work I am doing IS so important and I am so thankful for the atonement of Jesus Christ that helps me through impossible things. ( My favorite scripture that talks about my purpose as a missionary is 3 Nephi 5:13) 

Couple highlights of this week:

1. I finished the Book of Mormon again! I started over again the first Sunday I arrived here and I finished last Sunday. So, for all of you math mathematicians, that is exactly 4 weeks! That is the fastest I have ever read it but I have never gotten so much out of it. I literally could not put it down.  

2. I gave a talk in Portuguese this past Sunday! Scared to death, but the missionaries in my branch said it was really good and they understood what I said! (I think they might just be saying that to be nice)

3. We had the opportunity to share a short message with a church member in Brazil via skype! Talk about the coolest experience ever! 

4. As I expected, I am the very last missionary to leave from my district and the only one going to my mission. The other missionaries are going to Raleigh, NC, Mesa, AZ, Everett, WA, and Atlanta, GA. But, all is well! Hurrah for Israel!

Have a most wonderful week! 

Sister Keeler
LOVE our matching elmo onesies!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

"The Will of God" - Elder Christofferson

MTC: Week 4 - God is the Author


So, this past Wednesday my district was asked to host the new missionaries entering the MTC. It was seriously so much fun! It basically means that we get a cool "host" sticker and then stand on the curb and smile as we wait for the new missionaries to arrive. We then take the new missionary through the whole first day check-in process and then take them to their residence and classroom. Then go back to the curb and do it all over again for another missionary! I also got the opportunity to host an international sister. And, she didn't speak ANY English! So cool! She was from Budapest.....or at least thats what I think she said.... hahah Even though we had a language barrier it was so fun to try to talk to her and help her out. 

While I was hosting, it finally hit me, that I'm a missionary!! It was the weirdest feeling in the world! But, I LOVE it! I LOVE being a missionary! And, today marks my one month anniversary! WOOHOO!!

One great thing about being a missionary is that you get a whole hour every day set apart just so you can read the Book of Mormon. My Branch President challenged us to restart the Book of Mormon and finish it before we leave the MTC. I have read the Book of Mormon many times but this time I am reading it in the perspective of someone who knows nothing in the church. It is amazing the things you get out because of the different perspectives you take.

During one of our district scripture study sessions we were talking about the word "publisher" and what it means. When you think of the word publish, you think of newspapers. To get a newspaper published you have to take action and it takes a lot of work. Just like "publishing" the word of God or being on a mission is a lot of work! An Elder brought up a great point. Who receives the credit for a story in the newspaper? The publisher? No, its the author. God is the "author" of the Gospel and we need to remember as publishers that all the credit goes to Him. 

We (my district) has had this theme the whole time we have been at the MTC and it has been spiritual gifts. Learning to recognize them and use them. (1 Corinthians 12, D&C 46, Moroni 10) And, The other night my district decided to go around one by one and tell each other what our gifts are. It was an amazing experience and so touching to have people that you love so much and spend all of your time with, tell what your gifts are and how they can and have blessed peoples lives. Afterwards we then watched the Mormon Message "The will of God" by Elder Christofferson. It was so good and is exactly what we needed to hear. 

I hope you have a splendid Christmas week! 

Sister Keeler
P.S.We watched an AMAZING talk by Elder Bednar, called (I think) "Spiritual Promptings" WATCH IT!!!!!!!!!!!! Elder Bednar reminds me of you dad :) haha


OUR TREE!! So festive!

The district!

Friday, December 13, 2013

MTC: Week 3 - Two words ... Sasquatch showers ...


My favorite quote of the week was from Sister Hawkins, "Its Tuesday, right?" "Sister, its Saturday...." Ha. Seriously all the days just smear together! Sometimes I wonder if the Elders will even notice if all of the Sisters wear the same outfit two days in a row!

Now, every Friday we have TRC.... which now that I think of it, I have absolutely no idea what it stands for.....Anyways, people (from outside the MTC) that are either from Brazil or served their mission there come and we just talk in Portuguese and share a short message. It is seriously the most fun thing. And, a perfect way to end P-days! 

Well, I have discovered that I have some hidden talents. Apparently I am extremely good at guessing peoples height/age/weight. So far, I have been extremely close, or exactly on the dot with everyone that has asked me to guess. Oh, the little things that you discover in the MTC. 

This past Wednesday my district had an "English Fast" which means we could only speak Portuguese the WHOLE day. Holy cow. I have never flipped through a dictionary so much in my life! It was seriously my best friend! Astonishingly, I was successful and I only spoke about 5 English words! But, by about 5pm I had a splitting headache..... I was surprised how much we were all able to say. It was a hard but amazing day. 

Thanks to a wonderful mother, EVERYONE in the ENTIRE (okay, maybe just the people in our building) MTC are jealous of our district! You want to know why?? Because we have CHRISTMAS LIGHTS IN OUR ROOM! Thats right! Natal spirit, baby! We seriously get so many compliments on them. Oh, and the tree is in my room and the stocking is hanging on my bed. I am SO excited for Christmas! And, thanks mom for making the.....somewhat ordinary MTC, into a Christmas wonderland! 

Sister Roberts left Tuesday morning and life is so weird without her. I always feel like we are missing someone. During our first lesson without her, I said something, Sister Koford said something then we both turned our heads to the right..... "Oh, yeah. Its my turn again." But, I got an email from her today and she is loving it down there! She says its really different but beautiful. (Obviously, because Brazil is Heaven!!!!) And, she is learning Portuguese a lot faster, which is great because she was really struggling here.  

Every week the Branch Presidency gives us a Christlike attribute to study and work on. What was this week? Patience. Yup, good o' patience. It truly was tested this week. Let me just say, I think Sasquatch showers are on the third floor. Oh my goodness, we had to clean those showers and I have seriously never seen so much hair in one place, other than on someones head. But, we cleaned it and now it shines :) 

Well, Have a most spectacular week! I hope you had a lucky Friday the 13th!

Sister Keeler

Saturday, December 7, 2013

MTC: Week 2 - Um, Dois, Três!

Hey family and friends!!

So, I have decided that all languages should only use the present tense for now on! Good plan?? Great! Oh. my. goodness. I finally know how to express myself in past and future tense but do you know how hard it is to actually remember to use those tenses? REALLY HARD! So, 98.7% of the time I usually just say everything in the present tense. Probably not the best idea.  

Two wonderful things happened this week! number um, my companion, Sister Roberts got her visa! So, she leaves to the Brazil MTC Tuesday morning bright and early! I am so excited for her! She is going to have a Brazilian Christmas in 90 degree weather! Which brings me to number dois! It snowed this Tuesday! Like ALL day! And, it has been super cold ever since. But, the nice thing is that we are inside most of the day so I just get to look at the beautiful snow coming down onto the mountains. Truly magical. 

We got two new districts in our zone on Wednesday and I decided to scare them by saying hi and only talking in Portuguese. It was truly successful :) I was very proud of myself. It's weird to think that I've been here for 2 1/2 weeks and now we are considered the "old" district. 

Yesterday was a day I seriously wish I remembered where I put my band aids. In class Sister Roberts finally understood what our teacher was saying so she fist bumped me really hard in fact, that my knuckle started bleeding.....right after, I got a really bad paper cut that wouldn't stop bleeding! Then, I didn't get any mail. Which is a first. Right before P-day too. But, I'm not complaining. Most of the elders hardly get any mail. ( but that's mainly because they don't write anyone.)

Well, this week we had a devotional by Bruce C. Hafen. (Elder Ballard was supposed to be there but couldn't because of the snow) It was an amazing devotional! He talked about missionary work, obviously. But, he also talked about the importance of the Temple (Kind of a bummer that the Provo temple is closed for cleaning the whole 6 weeks while I am here) and also about overcoming hardships on our mission. We will all have hard days but it is how we deal with them and our attitude that is life changing. We wear the name of Christ on our badge everyday but we need to live like Christ every single day, in everything we do, not only on our full time mission but throughout our life. He shared a quote by a pioneer that went something like this, "The price to pay to know Him was a privilege." We need to live our lives in that way. Coming closer to Christ doesn't mean that our life will get easier but the price we pay to come closer to Christ TRULY is a privilege. Being on a mission is a privilege and I know it will be hard. If it isn't, that means I'm not trying hard enough. But, I know that this is exactly where I am supposed to be. In a lesson yesterday, the question was asked 'what is my purpose for being on a mission.' I had him turn to 3 Nephi 5: 13. That is the exact reason I am here. I love being a missionary, this is truly the happiest work on earth! 

I hope you have a wonderful and safe week! 

Sister Keeler
That's where I'm going!!!

Brazilian Missionaries Represent!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

MTC: Week 1 - I'M ALIVE!

Hey family and friends!

You are probably wondering what in the world happened to Sister Keeler? Did she just fall off the face of the earth!? Well, I'M ALIVE!!! When I got here they told me my P-day was on friday, but not the first friday here. So, I had to wait 10 days.....10!!! Talk about not having anything to wear by the end of the week! 

Anyways, THANK YOU SO MUCH for the dearelder letters! They are like the best part of my day! (Especially the quotes mom! Love them! I put them on my desk :) 

In case you were wondering, I did cry when I hugged Chris and he was crying too. Then I was doing pretty good until they put on my name badge. Then I BAWLED like a baby! I have been waiting so long for this moment and just putting on the name badge was so overwhelming, because I am now a servant and representative of Christ. 

My district is amazing! I love them so much! But, the weird thing is, since we are the only Portuguese speaking district we aren't all going to the same mission! We have 11 missionaries in my District (group/class) [5 sisters and 6 elders] And, we represent 5 different missions! Its really cool but it's also sad that we won't see each other after the MTC. And, we are all from east of the Mississippi! Muito legal! ( really cool) 

I have 2 companions (because the other sister got her visa before the MTC). Their names are Sister Roberts (from Minnesota, I actually met her on FB) and Sister Koford (She is from Missouri). I love them so much! It makes being with them 24/7 very enjoyable :) 

Everyone said that the first three days would be horrible but I loved them! I LOVE THE MTC!!!!!! The second full day we had to give a lesson to a teacher ALL in Portuguese! Holy cow! It was amazing the things we can do with the Lords help! We had this detailed lesson but during the lesson we hardly said anything on the plan because we were actually talking in Portuguese! (We weren't very good but it was still Portuguese okay!) The second lesson was actually a surprise because our teacher that we were supposed to teach was in the hospital so 5 minutes before, we were told that we were teaching someone totally knew! OH MY GOODNESS! SCARIEST MOMENT OF MY LIFE! So, we prayed and after the prayer we decided to just follow the Spirit. Well, we definitely did! We didn't have ANY lesson planned but felt prompted to share the Restoration. We gave a 41 minute lesson. All. In. Portuguese. It was really rocky but we taught a whole lesson on our second full day here. "With exact obedience, Miracles happen!" It is so true! [The only bad thing about the lesson was I couldn't figure out what James was in Portuguese so it took me like 10 minutes to find James 1:5! Good thing I have companions! :) Afterwards, the teacher came in and wrote on the board "James=Tiago"]

Surprisingly, I am at the top of my class! Ever since the first day I understand about 90-95% of what my teacher or anyone else says in Portuguese and I talk most of the time during lessons. It is crazy! But, just like my blessing said when I got set apart. "The language will come easily if I diligently study it" So true......I slacked off a little on Monday and for some reason I was having the hardest time speaking and understanding! Which is hard because my companions rely on me  a lot! (Sister Roberts has never learned a second language and she is still trying to figure out what the word conjunction means :) haha 
Side note: The first day I lost my voice so my first 3 lessons I gave without a voice. It was really bad. Missionaries had a hard time understanding me when I spoke ENGLISH let alone Portuguese! I am feeling so much better now and got my voice back on Monday. (Yes, mom, I was using the onguard)

So, I now totally understand what people mean when they say the days are long and the weeks are fast. Holy cow. Yesterday wouldn't end! It was a wonderful Thanksgiving day but it was so long! We actually had a wonderful Thanksgiving meal! (Which is surprising because the food isn't the best here......)  

So, this season is definitely the best time to be in the MTC! We had a wonderful Thanksgiving devotional by Russell M. Nelson!!! (I was in the choir and they broadcast every devotional so you can check it out and see me!) And, we are getting more General Authority coming!
My teachers are amazing and I look up to them so much. One really amazing thing that one of my teachers said was, the time you spend here is not a coincidence. What did Christ do before he started his 3 year ministry to prepare? He fasted for 40 days. And, how long are we in the MTC preparing? about 40 days. And, we serve almost as much as He did. Its not a coincidence and we need to not take this time for granted. We are representatives of Christ and doing EXACTLY what He would be doing if He was on the earth right now. 

I am so thankful I am serving a mission. I know it has only been a week but I feel so much closer to my Heavenly Father. Everything we do is so selfless. We study the scriptures for our lessons, we study the language so we can teach our lessons, we do service,etc. This is an amazing work and its amazing to be a part of 83,000+ missionaries sharing the wonderful message of love :) 

I love you guys so much! Keep writing me! Dear is free! Use it! I LOVE letters!

Until next time!

Sister Keeler

Here are some Pics!

I am officially a missionary! 

The sisters!

My Companions(:
My District!