Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Week of this...What week is it? April 22

Karee sporting her new scarf and sleep mask from her sister Kamber's sunshine care package
Kamber's care package to Karee
more yellow fun to brighten Karee's day
Neon yellow socks to top it all off

How are you all!?! 

This past week was pretty crazy with the bombing and then with the fighting trying to catch the suspects. Apparently there was a huge man hunt where the whole city was shut down! Everyone was to stay inside the houses and no one went out for most of the day. We didn't go out for the whole day. It was a long day.. Both english sisters made cookies. We started off strong with a good three hour of personal study! I loved it! We ended up playing some prison break Uno, weekly planning, organizing, singing, cooking.... looking for mail without going outside. We got creative after a while.
Sis Garcia and I made this yummy enchilada casserole

We are working with a less active family now, the Henriques. It is a family of three girls (19, 14,11) the youngest isn't baptized and after a week of them going to church on sunday she decided to get baptized. How exciting! We are planning on the 28th. We went to their house on Tuesday for lunch. PIZZA! But Sister Hileman and Elder Gonzalez had some sort of flu so they weren't feeling very hungry. I guess there is a bad flu this year....? Is that right? After that we prepared to get our new sisters. We were splitting our area book and member book (well copying it and making sure we would both have families to work with.)

Wednesday came and so did our new missionaries. I happened to be looking out the window when I saw them. I automatically recognized Hna. Smith. She was in the North stake back home. Yea! She is from Missouri! How neat is that! She also went to BYU and lived in wyview so we saw each other a few times. She will be going to Argentina when she gets her visa. We didn't have any appointments so I planned to just take her around. While we were around just meeting members of the ward, a man came up to us and offered to pay for our dinner. He was a returned missionary of two years and was so happy to see us serving missions. He gave us some advise, handed us some money and wished us the best of luck, thanking us for the fourth or fifth time before leaving. Wow! When does that ever happen? Never. 
Sister Van Wagnen, Sister Hileman, Karee, and Sister Smith(also from Missouri/North Stake)
SIster Smith is so much like me! She is pretty quiet, but really has a strong desire to share and serve. She is the 8th of 11 children. She went to BYU and was doing pre-nursing but switched to neroscience. She is a really good singer and is wonderful. She is far more goal oriented than I am and is very driven. She has some really good spanish and is already doing more than I was when I first came out. She is excited to be here in Boston.
Thursday- weekly planning! Yay!
Friday-inside all day! Lots of studies and yummy homemade food! Mom you are going to love all these recipies I am coming up with.
Yummy soup made by yours truly
Saturday- fun times with the Gomez family. Their granddaughter was there and was later at Church! She is 6 and was so cute about asking questions.
Sunday-  Nora came to Church again! It was so neat to have her there. To have her interact with the ward and to let her know that she is loved. She also brought a non member friend! She is already doing missionary work of her own! The friend was so happy to be there and said that she could feel of the spirit.
Monday - We had family home evening with the Shortell family. They have two little girls, one of them is getting baptized this Sunday! We had a quick lesson and played a game of temple memory. We just took a bunch of temple picture cards and spread them out. The mom and the grandma were getting so into it. They were so competative and loved looking at the pictures of the temples.
Easter egg lipstick. You should try it, you'll love it!
Loved the sign
Tuesday- We had a few visits. But the highlight of my day was after Sister Hileman and I got back together (both of our companions needed to go to the Mission home to get the full training with all of the other new missionaries). We went to the Henriquez family to teach the girl about the Plan of Salvation. The lesson went great and she was able to fully explain it all back to us. THEN, Sister Henriquez asked if we were staying for dinner. We didn't have an appointment so we said we would. Guess what she had made!?!?! Lasagna!!! IT WAS SO GOOD!!! But I was full after my normal size peice. Then I was offered more, so I ate another normal sized peice. THEN, I was offered more, I was really full but Sister Henriquez had saved this peice for me. so I took it. When we were done the whole 9x13 pan was empty (isn't that normally how much the whole family eats?). There were only 5 of us eating it. Sister Hileman and I had each eaten 1/4 of the pan!! I had been craving Lasagna for my whole mission so far. The first peice hit the spot and I was all set. Now I am all set for my whole mission! Something that Sister Hileman pointed out after was that we get treated so nicely here! Members, active and less-active, always make sure we are eating off of the nicest and biggest plates and eating the best food. They make sure we are fed and taken care of. They are so willing to give of what they have for us. It's wierd to think that they do it all for someone like me. I am just a missionary, but they recognize me as a representative of Jesus Christ and they try to treat me the best that they can. I am so blessed to be in this area serving among such loving people.
I love you!
All my love,
Hermana Brown

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Alma 19:23

Karee was in the exact spot of the second bomb 2 hrs prior

I want all to know that I am safe. I was in the exact spot of the second bomb two hours before it went off. The marathon was definitely something I wasn't going to miss. We were able to fight our way through the crowds and were on the sidewalk of Boylston just a little from the corner of Ring rd. (across the street from the Starbucks coffee where the second one went off). It was so exciting to be there and it was so neat to see the people running and overcoming so much to simply keep pushing through for the last block or so of the race of their lives. I have been thinking a lot about different things. What does a bomb look like? How big of a deal was this? Is my family worried? Are the people ok? So far I think there are only 3 dead, but lots of people in critical condition in the hospitals. 
Sis. Wagoner, Karee, and Sis Garcia at the Boston Marathon before the bombing

I was at the race, finding joy and excitement in the race just as all of the people had. We decided to go to hearbreak hill to cheer on the people who were almost there and just had this last mountain to climb. My companion had been sick the day before and I was aware that she wasn't feeling well. While we were traveling with the other missionaries I realized that we should probably go home. I was really sad because I wanted so badly to be able to see the place where Sister Dalton talked about in her mormon message. But I knew that she needed to go rest. We went home. Not too long after we finished lunch I got a call informing us on what had just happened. We were "red dotted" meaning we had to stay inside for the rest of the day until further notice. All the missionaries are safe.

The reason I titled this email as Alma 19:23 is because it is a promise that Heavenly Father gives to Alma before he sends his sons off on missions. I found this during the week but think that it totally applies now. "I will spare [her], and it shall be unto [her] according to thy faith, therefore, [Eric and Julie] trusted [her] unto the Lord." I went a head and switched out her for him and put my parents names in, but this is applying the scriptures to myself. I know that my parents had to put their faith and trust in the Lord when they said that I could go on a mission. They didn't know where I was going to be sent. They didn't know who I was going to be teaching. They definitely didn't know that this bombing was going to happen, especially so close to me. But they did put their trust in the Lord and He is protecting me. 

I don't know if I have ever really realized how real satan's power really is. I suppose it has always been in the back of my mind that he is fully aware of our strengths and weaknesses and is able to attack us in our weaknesses. But I have been thinking a whole lot about what kind of person would actually think to be the cause of so much pain and suffering. I was reading in the end of Ether where the people are fighting everyday. Everyone, men, women and children are all dressed and armed with weapons. I could not even try to in vision how this looked and to think that they all knew that they or someone they knew and loved was going to die that day. How could they do this? "the Spirit of the Lord had ceased striving with them, and Satan had full power over the hearts of the people; for they were given up unto the hardness of their hearts, and the blindness of their minds that they might be destroyed; wherefore they went again to battle." Satan had full control of them and it took over even their minds. I cannot even imagine, but I guess someone that has had their mind taken over, would be willing to set bombs. It is super sad and is a bold reminder that we are living in the last days. Satan is stepping up his game. He knows that the missionaries here in this area are here for a reason and that they are going to do something great. 

There are and will be many stories of runners who escaped the tragedy. Natalie just told me that her friend's mom finished the race 20 minutes before the bomb. She is ok thankfully. I also saw a few of the runners who looked very exhausted on the train ride home, but they were safe.  One of them is Christine, who is planning to get baptized this Saturday. She was running in the race and was actually one of the reasons we went to hearbreak hill. She was planning to finish the race at 3 (ten minutes after the first bomb.). We didn't hear from her for a long time, but we just kept praying for her. We did find out that she had been a quarter of a mile away from the finish when the bomb went off. She saw an explosion but thought that it was fireworks, she didn't think much of it until the people started running towards her. She turned around (imagine she is exhausted from running her first marathon and then she has to run more...literally for her life!). They said they gathered all the runners and told them an accident had happened. She ended up jumping the fence and walking home because she was tired and wanted to go to bed. She could have been seriously hurt... Satan trying to delay the baptism? We could have easily been there! Because it was so much easier to stay where we were at and watch her finish the marathon. We should have been there. But we were and are being watched over. 

The security is going to be highered and our bags will get checked when we get onto the subways. That whole area around Boylston street is closed down for a crime scene. Helicopters have been flying overhead since it happened. It's hard not to hear or see things about this. I don't actually know how big it is in other states, but it shock up my world here in Boston.

I am doing great and the work is going on. We are soldiers fighting for the cause of truth. We are all united for the cause of truth.
Like a mighty army
Moves the Church of God;
Brothers, we are treading
Where the Saints have trod.
We are not divided;
All one body we:
One in hope and doctrine,
One in charity.
Let us press onward ever onward!

I love you all!
The megatron for everyone to see the runners coming in

This is the Lenox Hotel right by where the 2nd bomb went off

The map of where the bombs went off