Monday, May 12, 2014

Rainy Day!

May 12, 2014
Skyping with Family on Mother's Day(MOM NOTE: missionaries only get to call home on Mother's Day and Christmas)Klarie, Karee's sister had worn Karee's name tag to church and was showing Karee
Happy Mother's day! It was sure nice to talk to my mommy, dad, and my siblings even though we spent most of our time just making faces back and forth. I was super lucky that Emilia was willing to let us use her computer and that she was also able to arrange a time for a Skype session. It was a little funny that mom didn't recognize my voice at first. I could take that as a complement that I now have a Spanish accent, but I know that isn't true.
Quick story: Saturday morning was a little cloudy in the morning so we took raincoats and umbrellas. It did rain on our way to the activity in the morning for the Relief Society, but as the day progressed it cleared up. We ended up back home for just long enough to drop off our rain gear after the activity never expecting that more rain would be on it's way. Tricky Mass. weather. We took a bus to Watham and just before we stepped off the bus it began to sprinkle. There is no harm in a little water so we merrily went on our way. But then it started lightning and a down pour. Helpless without our rain gear we hurriedly made our way to a members home.
The member laughed when he opened the door and welcomed us in. We could wring the water from our clothes and I felt bad walking into their home. They were all laughing and told us that they had heard some "greengas" screaming and running down the street, but didn't know it would be us. Let me just say, that the screams were not ours', but a couple of boys on bikes. The family went to find us a towel, but came back with only a hand towel for us both to share. It didn't dry us very much, but we were grateful. As you can see in the pictures we were still soaked to the bone after making a puddle on the floor in the member's home.
We sure learned a lot that evening, but what can you learn from two soaking wet sister missionaries? There is a lot to be learned about preparedness and prejudging. But I want to share an insight in a different way. Some times in life we already have what we need. In this case, we had umbrellas and raincoats that would have protected us. We had prepared that morning for what was to come. In life, we are taught by mothers, fathers, leaders and teachers things that we are going to need for the rest of our lives. We take it into account but we sometimes decided to pick and choose when we want to live what we learn. We are not 100% obedient. Sometimes we feel like it what we learned and know doesn't apply to us in the particular situation or that we have grown out of our beliefs. Or we just choose not to listen and obey. In our case, we thought that we were in the clear. We thought that it wasn't going to rain anymore. We start to think that we know what is best. In these situations, we also seem to forget to ask the one who actually knows what is best.
Karee soaked in the rain!

Karee's new companion, Sister Loudie soaked from the rain!
No matter what the situation God, or Heavenly Father always knows the best. Sometimes we look at where we are in our life and it looks like smooth sailing. There are no clouds in the sky and the sun is shining. It is during these times, that we might let our guard down or we think that we don't need what we have been taught. Things seem to be fine, even though some clouds come, but we either don't notice or try to not pay attention. Then to our surprise we get caught in a storm. We fall down. We are caught without protection or guidance. We wander not knowing what to do or where to go. We might look in many different places to find that comfort and reassurance that someone cares. Sometimes we turn to things or people that cannot help us and actually make us feel worse. We might have found a temporary refuge of a tree only to find that the rain started to knock pollen on us and our situation got worse.
No matter how hard or strong the storm is it will not last forever. We will eventually find a place of refuge from the storm. We are protected from further damage of the storm, but we might find that it isn't what we expected. We were given only a hand towel to share. We may feel like we aren't getting the pity or resources that we deserve. We might ask, "why don't you understand that I already knew what I needed to do. I just slipped up and made a mistake?" We still felt wet and uncomfortable. We will continue to feel this way until we turn to the only true source of light and truth. 
Just as sure as disobedience (both sin of commission, or knowingly sin, and omission or sinning without fully knowing)  brings discomfort, loneliness and guilt, the light of Christ can bring warmth and comfort to us in these times. No matter how lost and forgotten, how uncomfortable and cold, Christ is there and He will help us if we let him. He has already paid the price for our sins. He can take away all of those feelings of sadness and guilt if we will just give them to Him. If we just repent and desire to change, trusting that through Him and by Him we can be changed and then doing our best to not repeat the sin. Then our lives will once again be filled with His light. Once again we will feel of God's love and we will have a desire to do what ever it is that God asks of us. We can not only become warm and dry, but we can become clean and pure. Better than we ever were before.
Hermana Garcia and Emilia

Karee and Emilia. Twins!
Playing garbage can basketball with Daniella

Why Missionaries Need Faith

May 5, 2014
Sister Jacobson and I - she was the "oldest" sister missionary meaning has been out the longest... but in a few days it will be me because even the sisters I came out with were not in the MTC when I started..

Sis Miller and I

Karee, Sis Miller, and Sis Jacobson

All the missionaries in Karee's zone
So much is happening in the Cambridge 3rd branch!! There is no doubt that I am going to finish this with a sprint!

Saturday evening Patricia got baptized and she was confirmed yesterday as a new member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She was just beaming all day yesterday. We went over to the Young women's president's house yesterday to discuss how we are going to get the young women more involved in the lessons. It is going to be so much fun!
Hermana Garica and Karee

Karee, Hermana Cruz, and Hermana Garcia
Sad news, Hermana Garcia is going to be leaving... She is getting transferred to Providence Rhode Island. I will be getting Hermana Loudie Wednesday evening.

This week was a week of faith. I have been thinking a lot about the people we are teaching and more about what they need. I feel like sometimes I know exactly what they need, but don't know how to help them find out for themselves that they really need it. 

The other day, I was studying in Alma about the Atonement and felt the need to look up the story about the father who took his son to Jesus to be healed (Mark 9) along with the commentary given by Elder Talmage in Jesus the Christ. I realized that I feel like sometimes I am the father bringing the people I teach to the Savior. I don't always know what they need nor how to help them, but I do know who can help them. The Savior! 

 He brought up a very interesting idea that the boy could not exercise his own faith because of the devil that was in him. Sometimes the people we are teaching don't know how to exercise their faith. In verse 22, it says that the father pleads with Jesus  "but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us." 
Elder Talmage mentions that when he says "us" he is showing that he has taken the case of his son and made it his own. His son's problems became the father's problems. That is how I feel sometimes. I worry about the things that the people I teach worry about. I take these problems to the Lord, fast and pray. I have received promptings and answers that I know are not my own. And lives are being changed.

 14 And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath aheard the prayers of his people, and also the bprayers of his servant, Alma,who is thy father; for he has cprayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the dknowledge of the truth;therefore, for this purpose have come to econvince thee of the power and authority of God, that the fprayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith.

I know that Heavenly Father has heard our prayers (both the missionaries and those learning). I know that He loves his children and He sends people to answer our prayers. How wonderful a blessing it is to be able to act on faith and take others to the Savior. I know that each of us can faithfully pray to know who may be lacking faith or is struggling and how we might be able to help them with our faith.

I challenge each of you that when you wake up in the morning to ask Heavenly Father who you might be able to help and how you can do it.
Boston Harbor

We went on a tour last week. There is SO MUCH HISTORY HERE! I really liked this place. The whole thing was a play and we were involved... I got to throw some tea off the boat.

Paul Revere

Stopped in the Bruin's Pro Shop. Didn't find much but had a few good pics

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Patricia, her mom, Sis Garcia, Karee, and 2 other sister missionaries

Boston Park
April 28, 2014
Last night we had a meeting called a charge meeting. I definitely feel "charged" in more ways than one. I am ready to Sprint. Heavenly Father really is hastening His work, but He is waiting for us to do the work so that He can hasten the work in us.
Throughout my mission I have tried to Sprint, but I feel like I was helplessly flailing my arms as my legs wildly criss-crossed. I feel like a lot of the time I was trying, but didn't quite know how to run. I was given challenges of training, opening areas, learning cultures, overcoming fears and trying a new language. One thing I have learned is Heavenly Father truly does qualify whom He calls. The truth is that we are each here now because Heavenly Father choose us to be here now.  I alone would never be able to do what is asked of me to do, but Christ makes the difference and some how He is able to work through me to get things done.

 I have worried about receiving revelation as to where to go and when. But looking back, there have been so many instances that I have been guided by the Spirit. I have gone through a series of these instances this past week. Starting on Friday of last week. We had just finished weekly planning and didn't have anything planned. I had the idea to go look for a few former investigators. We went and had no success with the first. After we arrived at the address of the second we found that we had been given an address but no apartment number. I for some reason felt like knocking on doors... an urgency to find her. So I told Sister Garcia that we were going to knock on doors until we found her. The first door was slightly depressing. We didn't get anywhere. There are four doors on every floor and three floors. Instead of knocking on another door on the first floor I felt like we should go upstairs. When we knocked we were surprised to find a woman who knew us (I think I told this story last week don't worry there is more!)

She asked us for a Bible and we happened to have one in our apartment. I marked Proverbs 31:10, which talks about the worth of a virtuous woman. When she read the verse she laughed and then said "well that's you two." Then we moved on to another topic. But she came back and asked why I had chosen the passage. I opened my mouth and words came out. Out of the mouth that has been struggling to speak Spanish. Words that were not my own because they were what she needed to hear.
Karee, Emilia, and Sis Garcia
Karee and Emilia

To make the story a little quicker, she went to church and the lessons were written specifically for her. She wants this in her life. She feels the power of the message. And so do I.

 Not only is He guiding my steps, or giving me the words to say, but He is also giving me a glimpse of how He sees His children. He loves them!

Camela is a cute little girl in our branch. I have wanted to get a picture with her for a while. She is just the cutest! Every time she sees me she casually says "hey Brown". I finally got a picture with her.
Boston Park
Little car.... I was super excited to see this car and HAD to get a picture with it... remember Mr. Beans?!?!?!

The 3rd of May!

April 22, 2014
May 3rd is the date Patricia chose to be baptized!

Karee and Sis Garcia

Can you believe the weather here? It snowed and was freezing cold and not even a week later it was perfect temperatures. I even got a little bit of a sunburn.

So exciting news! Patricia wants to get baptized!! We had been working with Patricia almost as long as we have been here. Starting of course with the inspiration to bake chocolate chip cookies with her. Since then she has really made progress and changed her attitude about a lot of things. She now spends more time downstairs with her mom and siblings. She is happier and smiles! She was talking with Sister Benitez one day and told her that she wanted to get baptized but didn't know what she needed to do. Sister Benitez said that she should talk to us... so she did! She choose the 3rd of May! (3 just happens to be my favorite number!) Since then she has been to church, met the branch president, started her personal progress (it just so happens that personal progress lines up well with the lessons), and met a few of the members.
Karee and Patricia

One day we were looking for someone that had previously visited the church and had even met with the missionaries. The record said that the woman had given them her address, but not the apartment number. We were determined to find her. So we started by knocking on a random door. No luck and the woman who answered was not interested, but suggested we knock on her neighbor's door. We went up the stairs and knocked on the first door. The woman who answered the door was a little surprised at first, but smiled and said, "sisters!" We weren't sure if she was a less-active member or had just had contact with missionaries before. We soon found that it was the latter. She is currently going through a hard time because her mom just passed away not too long ago. She invited us to come back to teach her son a lesson about the Savior. We weren't able to find the original woman that we were looking for, but Heavenly Father put someone in our way.

Easter Sunday just so happened to be stake conference. There were lovely musical preformances!

Painting Easter eggs

Daniella proud of her painted egg
There was a sense of excitement in Boston, as people from around the world gathered to show their support to the 37,000 (maybe more) runners. There were a few people that said that they were too afraid to go back to the finish line, but there were much more that were wanting to show their support. It was so much fun!
Fire hydrant that we saw along the way to the marathon.

Sister Garcia and I at the end of the whole thing. It is so amazing how these runners can last over 26 miles. I can't wait to do it!
Patricia and I standing in front of an empty road... the runners were going to run down the road, but we were at that part a little too early.
Karee has managed to teach all her companions how to fix their scarves this way. She saw a lady on the bus one time wearing like this.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Heart is in Boston!

April 14, 2014

Karee's heart in Boston!

This morning when we were driving beside the Charles river I looked across to see Boston. I love that the people here are so active. There are always people running along the river and people rowing in the river. I started to sketch out the skyline and forgot to take a picture to share. I love this city!
Karee's drawing of the Charles River

Something amazing is happening here. We have been getting referrals from the members! This really hasn't ever happened on my mission. So this past week we have gotten at least three referrals and have had contact with previous investigators. Four of them are named Maria. One the member got in contact with her by mistake over the phone. She went back to Peru because her son's burn treatment was over, but we had a good lesson with her. The other Maria didn't seem quite as interested but agreed to meet with us. Then there is Maria the previous investigator. We went through our phone calling all the numbers that we didn't know and got a hold of her. She is a sweet woman from El Salvador. We ended up going back to her house to teach a cute Easter lesson to her six year old son. She really loves Jesus and is excited for all the activities that the church has. Hopefully, she will be coming to Family home evening tonight.

Also, our branch hosted an international dinner where there were loads of members, less-active, non-members and investigators all celebrating the cultures of their native lands. One really extra ordinary story was of a semi-active woman who we have been working with, who met a man on the street that day who is from her country. He was excited to meet her and she invited him to come with her. He came! She also brought two less-actives with three non-members. I was able to get their phone numbers as well as talk to them about what we do as missionaries, a little about our church, and their religious beliefs. The member was very excited and kept whispering to me that the field is white. We are going to have work to do with these members to help them with what is next and we have a bunch of potentials that are really interested. Things are going great. 
Mesa del Salvador

Hna. Rodriguez from Columbia

Mesa de la republica dominicana (mi mesa)
Mexican rice/ flag

Dominican biscocho YUM

Sister Garcia and I with the Dominican flags. These people really know how to party!

Guatemalan. This is Sister Diaz. She is the oldest child in her family of 13, but you would never guess. She participated in a traditional Guatemalan dance along with two other generations from her family.

Peruvian- This is our favorite little Daniella. She was so cute and did a little traditional dance as well.

Traditional Guatemalan dress.

Peru- Sister Garcia with Sister Benitez

Columbian- Sister Garcia with Christian and Sister

Mexican- Sister Garcia with the Lopez family

Dominican dolls- they do not have faces because the people of the Dominican Republic are all so diverse that they normally don't give the decorative dolls. I hope you know I am planning to go to the Dominican Republic after my mission.

The weather is really nice. We are headed to the beach.. don't worry, only to play soccer at a park. Have a wonderful week!

Love always,
Hermana Brown