Monday, February 18, 2013

Landing in Boston!

February 5th, 2013

Dear Family,
 I am minutes away from landing in Boston! My heart is pounding, but with excitement not fear. I have received many confirmations by the spirit (the feeling of calm being one of my confirmations) that I am where I am supposed to be right now. I don't know if I quite feel like I am a missionary just yet, but being on the airplane with 25 other young people with black tags sure caused a hum.
These are the black tags she is talking about. Every missionary has one

   I was able to tell one man that we are all called of God by a prophet. Then I was able to tell him about how we have a prophet today and a little about prophets and the restoration. I wasn't as bold as I was on my flight to Salt Lake because we were told that the airport isn't our proselyting area. But then again I am on a plane and it will be landing in my mission....does that count?
   I hope that the MTC has changed me. My companions and teachers and branch leaders say that it has. I did notice that I was all packed 3 WHOLE days before it was time to leave! (Mom note: Karee was packing right up until the night before she left.) That's an improvement right? Just kidding! I know I have. I have learned so much Spanish (I am starting to think in Spanish and have to translate to English) I have learned so much about what a missionary actually means.The divinity and seriousness of the call has humbled me time and time again. To think God would have called me her and now and that He has prepared people to hear and feel of my testimony. I pray that I can have the spirit with me always to guide my every action and my words because I know that He is the real teacher. I know that my Redeemer lives. That Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. That those who come to Him in faith, faith unto repentance and baptism, that they will feel of His love and His grace. That they can be healed of all and that He will save them. I know lives can be changed, families blessed and individuals lifted to become more like our Heavenly Father.
   One of my favorite phrases in spanish is llegar a ser= to become. Llegar actually means to be lifted up. Therefore it literally means "to be lifted to a better state of being" or at least that what I like to think. Thus through the atonement, Christ lifts us up to a new level of being so that we can be better on a whole new level.
  Also someone pointed out that Jesus Christ's name is under ours on our name tags only because He is lifting us up. That by being His servants He is only lifting us to become more like Him. What kind of master would do that? Only one! Jesus Christ!
  I am humbled that I could be called a amissionary. Given power to proclaim His gospel to all who will hrar. That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God! That He has restored His gospel in its fullness through a prophet Joseph Smith. That proper priesthood authority, the power to act in God's name, was restored again. That Joseph Smith translate the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ. That any man can draw closer to God through reading the Book of Mormon and learning for themselves that it is true through prayer. I know it is true! Because I have asked God in prayer and He answered me.
   I am excited (yet still a little uncertain that I am ready) to share the gospel.
   You are in my prayers! May God bless you till we meet again!

                                                          All my love, Hermana Brown
Mission President Packard, Karee, and Sister Packard(this couple is in charge of all the missionaries for the Boston mission)

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Storm Nemo....

February 11, 2013

Karee said the houses are all old fashioned and cute!

Here is what Storm Nemo left

I am safe and alive! The storm Nemo didn't keep me down... though I have some good pictures of my adventures!

It feels like it has been so long since I have written. I have so much to say and so much to share.. most of it I will have to save for later. But I have pictures!!

The last few days of classes at the MTC were tough. I didn't want to read. I didn't feel ready and I didn't want to leave the friends I had made. Plus no one from my district was going to be coming with me. I was feeling like I still had so much I could learn and so much I needed to grow before I could truly feel prepared to share the Gospel with people. One of the last activities that we did was teach a younger class. They had only been there for about 2-3 weeks. It was good for me to see how much I actually knew and how much I was able to help them. I could see that I've grown and that I have learned some Spanish. Thank you Teachers!! Also, the last day, we had a really good lesson with Hna. Haglund. We talked abut lesson plans (how to make them, what makes a good lesson. etc.) Her brother who would be leaving the next day too came with his companion and we all sang Joseph Smith's first prayer. We sang the 3 verse in spanish together and then he sang the last in Italian. He is so good! Then we went out contacting. We started practicing where Hna. Jarvis was in Spanish and I would translate to English to Hna. Haglund. Then we went around to a couple of spanish speaking missionaries. It is so hard to just jump in and then in a few short minutes teach a lesson. We read together in the Libro de Mormon and then she challenged us to think about who we are wanting to become by the end of your missions.

President and Sister Bowen-MTC branch president and Karee

Bro and Sister Hobson-(in the branch presidency) and Karee

Hermana Hales and Karee-a new close friend
Saying goodbye to Hermana Haglund-my teacher

Saying Goodbyes was probably the hardest part. MOm you'd be proud.. I was done packing way before time.

I left around 6 and on the bus we all sang hymns. The first was God be with you til we meet again. And then we sang my song, there is sunshine in my soul. FOr the next 45 mins we sang hymns and I got to sit and think about my time at the MTC and try to convince myself that I was ready.

I flew in with a group of 26 missionaries. I temporarily assigned myself to a Portuguese sister. There were 14 sisters and 12 elders. I was the only spanish of all, but it was ok. It was good to call home but it didn't feel like it had been that long since I heard your voices. I tried to call my teacher hna. Haglund but I ran out of minutes.

I made it to Boston and we were met by Sister Packard and her two daughters Natalie and Angelina. President was a little late but he had a good excuse. We snapped a bunch of pictures but I sadly didn't get any of those.

My new address is:Hermana Karee Brown
                              94 Sherwood St
                              Roslindale, MA

That is right, no apt #. The houses here are divided up into different apartments. We live in a house. It just has different doors to different apts.
Hermana Hildabrand and Karee (Her first companion in Boston)

Karee and her temporary companion(not sure what that means, maybe for the flight to Boston)
Hermana Gomez

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Welcome to Boston, Karee!

February 8, 2013

These are letters received  from Karee's mission president's wife

Good morning parents,
As you probably know, there is a major blizzard heading our way. We've asked all the missionaries to prepare for power outages and to stay inside today and tomorrow. We are particularly concerned about the missionaries who opened brand new areas yesterday.  We are contacting them individually to make sure they have the supplies necessary to weather the storm.  President Packard has also contacted local leaders in these 13 new areas to assist in the effort. 

February 8, 2013    11:30pm

Winter Storm Nemo has definitely arrived in the Massachusetts Boston Mission.  The winds are picking up now and the snow keeps coming and coming and coming.  I think we're in for quite a blizzard!   All of the missionaries are safe and well-prepared for any power outages. If a companionship loses power, they are instructed to text us immediately so we can follow their situation closely until power is restored.  The only missionaries without power tonight are:
Elders Williams & Gallagher in Cape Cod
Elders Starley & Thorn in Pawtucket
Elders Nielson & Burton in Central Falls
Elders Wood & Cooney in Plymouth
Elders Jensen & Johnson in Newport
All of these Elders are fine...plenty of food, water, flashlights, etc.  They are happy as can be.
We are expecting more power outages throughout the night as the blizzard intensifies.  Hopefully our missionaries will sleep through all of the excitement.  I'll send an update tomorrow after we've checked in with everyone.   
Have a great night!
Sister Packard
 (We are so glad Karee wasn't one of the ones without power.)Mom:)

February 9, 2013  4:30pm

Hi everyone,
The storm has moved out of most areas of the mission (only Cape Cod still getting hit).  Most missionaries are spending the afternoon shoveling snow...digging themselves out first and then the neighbors.  It's going to take a lot of digging!!  Most areas have over 2 feet of snow.  Connecticut has over 30 inches everywhere along the coast...38 inches in Bridgeport!  Many missionaries lost power last night but it is being restored quickly. I'll send out another update tonight to let you know who is still without power at bedtime.
I have to share one story with you before finishing this email.  I just checked on the missionaries who are shoveling snow up and down our street.  They moved into a new apartment this week and have been working long hours to help with mission transfers, arriving & departing missionaries, etc.  Even though they are exhausted, they have been out shoveling snow...out serving...out touching many hearts. One woman on our street was feeling overwhelmed because her husband is out of town (and obviously can't get back into town). She didn't know how she would be able to dig herself and her 2 kids out of the driveway.  (26 inches of snow is HEAVY.)  She was so grateful to have several Mormon missionaries show up unexpectedly at her house. It put her in tears. The Elders felt rejuvenated and moved on to the next house...and the next and the next.  I know these kinds of experiences are happening all over the mission right now.  Didn't I tell you we have the best missionaries in the church in the Massachusetts Boston Mission?
Sister Packard
(Now the missionary experiences start for Karee. We can't wait to hear from her and hear her first stories of being in Boston!)Mom:)

Last letter before leaving the Missionary Training Center

February 3, 2013

Dear Family,
   Friday, as you know, I got my travel plans. I leave Tuesday morning, February 5, at 6am to leave for the airport. I was feeling a little inadequate to be teaching real people. I asked for a blessing after class on Saturday and it really helped. (this letter is confusing, but she is reviewing the last week)
  Saturday we got another (pretend) investigator. His name is "Chui". He likes music. He is going to school to be a doctor. He's 22 and is from Honduras. He doesn't believe in organized religion, not sure why but it should be fun to teach him.
  Sunday was pretty great like always! We had Sister Linda Burton from the General Relief Society come speak. I don't have my notes so I can't remember what she talked about (sorry). After district mtg. Brother Hobson wanted to talk with me to check up on me and make sure I was feeling alright. I never had time to write my talk. And guess who got to speak? Yep, this hermana! President Bowen actually thought I had already spoken and wasn't planning on calling me up, but last minute felt prompted to.
I am actually really glad he did. I was able to exercise my faith that words would come. And my confidence was increased because it happened. Sister Hobson said I sounded like a native! I am not so sure of that. She is really sweet and knew I was having a bit of a rough day so she was being nice, but it sure felt good to hear. Also, the sisters all sang Be Still My Soul accapella. It was exactly how I was feeling. Amazing how that works right?
  I got a dearelder letter from Kamber (oldest sister) after dinner that said she gave some cookies to Grandma and Grandpa Brown to give to me but we hadn't see them.After lessons, we were walking in the halls and I happened to look out the doors and there was Grandma and Grandpa walking hand in hand (my companions think it is the cutest thing). I ran out after them and it was so nice to talk with them about their studies, about family, and I also got a cookie or 4 out of it.:)
  We ran into Hermana Haglund so I introduced them to her. Monday was probably one of my favorite days this week it was so fun to have family meet someone I really look up to!
  On Wednesday, Hermana Haglund and I had a coaching session. She got me excited for Boston at least the people. She was so very sincere and encouraging. She really makes an effort to help me which is why I am so lucky to have her as my teacher. I am really going to miss her.
  Friday-I started packing today! We are going to a later session at the temple so that we can eat at the cafeteria there.
  Courtney Hamilton did her papers! Yay! I want to hear how that goes!
  I think you can send dear elder letters but depending on the mission(karee's mission costs $.46).
  Well I don't have much time left. Thanks for your love and support!
                                          Love always,  Hermana Brown

God Loves Me!

Note from the publisher(the mom): Karee sends us emails and then handwritten letters also. She also sends exerpts from her journal.They are in the same week and so I am sharing some things from her journal that was written on January 19th.

Today was the first day I have had any homesickness. We sang Love One Another. I remember the Sunday when we sang Families Are Forever during Sacrament Meeting (at home in Springfield) and Klarie was on my lap. I started crying because Klarie believed we can be forever families and I know we can. (Primary songs get to me). So yesterday was a bit hard.
Guess who is speaking today in Relief Society(womens organization in church). Rosemary Wixom!!!(She is the General Primary President of the church)
God Loves Me! This wonderful woman is someone I look up to. I had Klarie(my little sister) write her while I was still living at home.She wrote Klarie back! Now she is here.
God is my Heavenly Father. He wants the best for me. He wants me to be happy. He inspired someone to ask Sister Wixom to come today before I knew yesterday would happen. He will do everything. He can to help me. He will answer my prayers before I pray them.
.(these are notes and so they are just bits of the talk) "Sisters, You are shazam!" You do have a way to love with your eyes!" Put your confidence in the Lord. He is standing right beside you! TRUST! Put this to the test! (this is exactly what I needed!) What do you like about Primary? Music-let's sing "I'm Glad They Called Me on a Mission" It is work! But you need to laugh as missionaries.You are beautiful!!! Don't believe you are not beautiful enough, not talented enough, not qualified enough. Stop it! Because you are! You are doing His work for His Glory! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! Don't let the adversary get to you! Remember the song "I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" (this is what it is all about!) Pray with all the energy of heart! You will be filled with His love! Look to the children-they adore you. They want to be like you. Set an example. Love the. They are noble and great!(from the the song"I Am a Child of God") Lead them, guide them, walk beside them. It doesn;t matter who you are, you are not the recipe for failure.
In closing, she said, "I will be praying for you, so will the primary children. With prayers like that how can you fail?"

Sister Wixom and Karee

Not Withstanding My Weaknesses

I have wanted to find a way to explain why my blog is called what it is called....Here's what I found.
Ether 12:25 (taken from the Book of Mormon)-
I have been given power in my words because I have been called as a missionary. "When [I] speak [I] behold [my] weaknesses, and stumble.....because of the language . I fear lest [the people] mock [or misunderstand me]."  (this is Karee's interpretation of Ether 12:25). But Christ's grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then I will make weak things become strong unto them. This is taken from Ether 12:27.(Book of Mormon)
It will take a miracle for my weaknesses to become strengths. "I am a God of miracles and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith." 2 Nephi 27:23(Book of Mormon). "Because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works." Alma 37:41(Book of Mormon) I know that because of the atonement of Christ, my weaknesses can be made into strengths. It is up to me to act in faith.