Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Karee claims she is looking more and more like her mom.(note from mom: I used to have very big glasses like these when she was a baby)

I am sorry I guess I didn't take pictures this week. Enjoy this lovely one of me, to prove that I am becoming a little more like my mom each day!

To all the mothers, grandmothers and women all around the world, Happy Mother's day! http://www.lds.org/pages/mormon-messages?cid=HP000058A&lang=eng#to-every-mother 

I got to talk to my family! It was so fun! I loved hearing about all the exciting things that they are doing. They are all so talented and excelling in so much! 

Monday- we went to a park and enjoyed the wonderful weather. We played some ultimate frisbee and a little soccer. Later Sister Smith and I made some dinner to take to a family. The mom has been swamped with school, work and upcoming finals, not to mention that she is a mother. She is such a wonderful woman and I have really grown to love her a lot. She is also preparing to go to the temple to be sealed to her husband within the next month; we are excited not only for her as she prepares but also because she has agreed to help us teach about the importance of the temple. We are planning to go with her and Eridania to the temple grounds this coming week after she finished with the last of her finals.

Tuesday- We attempted to do a service project with the english sisters for a less active who we met while on splits last weekend. But it turns out that they had already finished spreading the mulch over the weekend. We were already dressed in our work clothes so we gave Eridania a call. We went to her house cleaned it. She was so happy and grateful. Her health conditions don't allow her to clean as often as she would like. Usually she pays someone to come and clean but she was happy to have some sisters come and help her out. Later we had an appointment with a less active and talked about the atonement. She just lost a grandson in Feburary which was really hard on her.  She is from Peru and agreed to make us some Peruvian food (tomorrow!) We also stopped by a past investigators house because she was in the area. While we were waiting for her to open the door for us I heard the clip on my backpack strap crack, but didn't think much of it.... just remember that. Rebecca is a 92 year old from Bolivia, but she is FULL of energy! She talks really fast and is always super excited. After a short visit with Rebecca (shorter than we expected because she already had some visiters there) we decided to make our way further down Washington to another less active's house. While we were waiting at a bus stop that clip on my strap snapped! Nice! There was a little confusion with the bus and we ended up going further than we wanted so we had to walk as much as we would have if we hadn't taken the bus. (fail). While we were waiting for this sister to open her door my other strap snapped... Whoops! (maybe I need a new backpack?) I tied both straps and now I have a super ghetto backpack, probably not very professional. We went to the Romero's for a delicious dinner, where I found out that Sister Romero is EXPECTING! I am super excited for that family! They are such a cute little family and now they are going to have another little one!

Wednesday - We had a lesson with Osvaldo about the Restoration. We watched the Restoration video with his little niece in Portuguese. Interesting how that is with a different language. 
Then we went to Eridania's where we talked about something.... I guess i didn't write that down. I believe we talked about the plan of salvation. There is someone in her life who has just been diagnosed with cancer so it was just a subject that came up.

Thursday- We didn't do much weekly planning like we are supposed to. We went and sang to Rebecca and talked a little about latter-day prophets. Then we went to a member's house and talked about her conversion story and the importance of the sacrament. Then we went to Copley square but we were too late to have a full lesson with Wilmer. He got a new job and so it will be harder to meet with him. But he did do the reading we had given him and he said that he would watch the Restoration video that we gave him. Then we went to the church to teach the english class. It was different! We had no idea what to expect or how to teach it. We ended up just pointing to random things and quizing on what they were over and over. 

Friday- We had district meeting and then we met up with our sister trainer and her companion for a split. It wasn't a full 24 hours because they had to be somewhere else the next day. With sister Callier, I went to a random person's house who was on the ward list. She welcomed us in (sister Callier doesn't speak spanish so it was all me) and I found that she isn't actually a member...not sure how that ends up working out but somehow it does. We have a return appointment for this week. 
Then we went to the Chapel to set up for a baby shower. There we met the mother-to-be's brother who is less-active. He was really open to what he thought about the Church and why he hadn't been going. He has a really strong testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel and he said he just has to work a few things out before he will feel comfortable coming back to church. But he told us that he would come on sunday... and he did!
After the babyshower festivities, we stopped by two members homes. One a less active from Argentina (different accent) and the other was the Relief Society president. We got an appointment to stop by the less active's house and she agreed that she would share more about her culture. The RS president was happy to see us. She talked and talked. She too is going to school and taking finals right now. It just seems to be a stressful time for everyone.
Saturday- The missionaries all met up at the church (us and the elders) along with other members from our group to clean the chapel. Hna. Smith and I got all the windows and doors. After the group leader, Hno. Gomez took the missionaries to Burgar King for lunch. 
We had a member present lesson with Osvaldo, which was really great because the member spoke Portuguese. It was really intimidating because Osvaldo decided to invite his family members to come sit in on the lesson about the plan of salvation. They were happy to hear and will probably start to listen to the lessons more. 
We then went to Eridania's house. She was happy to see us. I feel like she has been a lot happier lately. She says it is because she has been reading the Book of Mormon. I believe her! She shared her missionary experience that she had had the other day. (She is already doing missionary work and she isn't even a member!) A friend had told her that the mormons worshop Joseph Smith, she stuck up for us and explained that he is just a prophet and that we don't worship him. We shared the chapter in 2 Nephi about the prophecy of Joseph Smith and showed her how to use the footnotes. She was so excited and said she now has a lot to study because she knows how to. 
Sunday- We made cookies to take to a few mothers in the ward. Church was pretty good, but after church was better. I got to call my family! Actually skype. That hour could not have been any faster! I wish I could have been able to see them, but I am sure they really appreciated being able to see me.

I love you all! 
Hna. Brown

Ps. I heard that Mr. Wilber, a teacher at my high school, was actually running in the Boston Marathon. I wish I could have seen him, but I am so glad that he is doing ok and that he was not harmed. 

PSS please keep Sister Berkhiemer and her family in your prayers. She is in my ward back home and has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

May 6th, 2013

brightly colored houses in Boston

Some of the apartments here in Boston

Neat architecture


Guess what after wanting lasagna for so long... I got it twice in the same month! Funny how little things like that happen. A similar thing happened last night. So in the Hispanic culture they eat a lot of beans and rice, thus we get fed that a lot. Yesterday night we went over to a non-member's house for dinner and expected to have some kind of American food because they were English... guess what they had made... RICE and BEANS. Too funny! It was made differently and was delicious, but kind of funny.

This week we got a new investigator! His name is Osvaldo, he is from Cape Verd. So he speaks Portuguese. It really is amazing that we can still communicate. Definitely the gift of tongues! Pretty neat! He is very interested in the church. We gave him three copies of the Book of Mormon, spanish, portuguese, and english. We also took him on a Chapel tour, he went to church for the mother's day activity and then church on sunday as well. Eridania went to that same activity but spent yesterday with her son. We have a few potential investigators and success with our ward finding!

It's exciting the work that we are doing!

Love always,

Hna. Brown
dancing at a party at the church


Spanish dance
Karee and Eridania at a  spanish dance

Letter from mission president to all missionaries

May 6, 2013

This is the only picture I have of President Packard and his wife
Dear Elders and Sisters,

Moses Chapter 1 is one of those “must read” chapters in scripture. It is a chapter that keeps giving and giving. I studied this chapter carefully this week and was impressed with a host of things. I would like to share one of those impressions with you today.

When Moses was carried away onto a high mountain, he talked with God face to face. During that experience, his mind opened in a truly extraordinary way. The scripture says: “Moses cast his eyes and beheld the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the spirit of God. And he also beheld the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not, and he discerned them by the spirit of God.” (Moses 1: 27-28). Think about it! He not only saw the Glory of God, he was able to see things, at least briefly, like God sees them, and he actually developed God-like comprehension of the entire earth, every particle therein, and every person on the earth. He didn’t just see all of the earth – like we would see a panoramic picture or even a movie—he comprehended every particle of the things he saw. In other words, it was not just the scope of the knowledge that made Moses’ experience so impressive, it was the depth as well.

We can have the same experience, at least in kind if not in degree. When we comprehend things by the Spirit, we come to understand the height, width, breadth and depth of things. When we discern things by the Spirit of God, we don’t just learn more things, we learn them in a completely different way. Consequently, both the quantum and the quality of the knowledge are different. Understanding this process is critical. If we want to discern things by the Spirit, we can’t study the Gospel the way we study chemistry. We must pray, ponder, meditate and search within ourselves. We must also be patient because the things of the Spirit cannot be forced and cannot be placed on a schedule.

Sister Packard and I may not comprehend every particle of the earth, but we do comprehend love in a profoundly different way than we comprehend other things. This is because love is comprehended through the Spirit. Please know that we love you, and we pray for you every day. Have a great day!

President and Sister Packard

April 24, 2013

memorial for those in the bombing
It seems like forever ago that I wrote but it was actually a shorter time than normal.
Wednesday we went back downtown. There was an eary feeling knowing that the last time I had been down there something terrible had happened. They had cleaned it up really nicely and the people had set up a little memorial on the sidewalk. We ended up signing one of the signs with some words of strength and comfort. 
memorial to those involved in the bombing. Many runners tied their shoes in remembrance.

Karee and her companion signed this along with many others to show that Boston is strong

 Then we went to H&M so Hna. Hileman could find a few things. I don't know if it is just that I am not in the mindset to go shopping or if the mission is really getting to me, but I didn't find anything at that store that was appealing to me. It seemed totally different than any other H&M I had ever been to. We went in the middle of the day to go teach a lesson because sister Hileman had accidentally scheduled it for our p day. The woman "wasn't home" so we went to a nearby park and wrote letters. It was really nice outside and I tried to get some sun. It is really interesting how people can just tell that there is something different about us by looking at us. It might be taht we are dressed up and sitting in a not so nice part of town, but still, it's like we are lights showing in the world of darkness. We later went to a dinner at the Aneu family. They are an older couple from Guatamala. Hno has some kind of cancer so he doesn't come to church as offten but they are a super solid family. I love going over there because they uplift us. The wouldn't let us leave the house without two bags full of fruit to take home. I love how willing these people are to share all that they have even when they don't have a lot for themselves.
Thursday was to transfer meeting. I have been every time since getting here. Not very usual I guess. But it is neat to be able to go. I have sat in the same seat each time. It was nice to hear the testimonies of the missionaries who are going home and hear from the president and his wife. We were also blessed to hear from Sister Packard's parents who have been visiting. Then we went to walk around the temple. I took some pictures. Lunch at Chipotle and then off to teach. We taught at the Henriquez family about the commandments (from lesson 4) to the littlest girl who got baptized on Sunday.
Friday we had district meeting as a group of spanish missionaries... that is weird. Our district was reorganized as a hatian companionship left and we got a new set of spanish sisters. After we went to a lesson with Eridania where we talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She shared a really cool insight about how she has noticed a difference when she reads the scriptures. She told us that she has a condition that she has to take medicine for, but when she reads the scriptures her condition isn't as bad and she doesn't have to take as much of the perscription. How neat! The Book of Mormon blesses lives in so many different ways, but it blesses the lives of all who read it! We also got a mini missionary Friday night. We weren't expecting to, but sister wagner was still trying to get things all settled with her new companion and they didn't have as many appointments set up. So we adopted an english speaking mini missionary named Sister Porter.
pics of district meeting
Saturday we looked for baptismal suits at the church while the english sisters took our mini to do a community service. we had good intentions to do a visit with a member Sister Tome, but the trains were not running as they usually are so there was a bit of miscommunication and we ended up missing the less active we were going to go teach. Sad. But the day got so much better. We had a dinner with sister Allen! She is so amazing! She spent all morning preping for this wonderful dinner called Pupusas (sp?) Then she spent the rest of the day cleaning her house before we came. I love her because she is reaches out to all who are in need. Even when she doesn't know that they have any needs. She devotes her friday evenings to go around with the missionaries and is so good at teaching. So papusas are SO GOOD!!! you take some corn flour and make a dough like you are going to make corn tortillas, then you make them into a ball and then pat them around till they are flat, then you put in a little meat and veggie mix and then a little cheese mix (she used like 3 different kinds and then grated them together) then you close it back into a ball and then pat it back out. Then you put it on the grittle to cook like a tortilla. You eat them hot and put a pickled cabbage on top. That sounds weird but its SO DELICIOUS!!  I ate four!  She was so nice to let us learn how to make them. I love how she calls me Mami (it's a term of endearment between mother and child, it's like she has adopted me) Then we went and taught a lesson to Nora... who by the way has been coming to church. She told us that she has been reading in the Gospel Principles book. She also was at the church earlier that day to take an english class to see where she would be if she wanted to start with the BYU-I pathway classes. Which would be so great because she would be taking Book of Mormon classes!
Sunday was a wonderful, but slightly stressful day. We had a double baptism which was wonderful, but It was last minute so it was stressful trying to get everything ready. Eli is the 11 year old who comes from a part member family. We actually didn't know that she wasn't baptized until she told us one day taht she wanted to be baptized. The other is Andrea who is 8. She was waiting until her grandma could come from Venezuela. She ended up giving a talk and telling that it meant a whole lot because she was born under the covenant and she was the third generation. After the baptism there was a feast! Like really! Everyone got a plate full of food and later a huge slice of cake. There were a lot of people there from the english and spanish groups. It was way cool. Oh I spoke! All six missionaries spoke actually. We found out about it friday and I didn't really have any time to prepare. Which is always slightly frightening. I talked about how there are people in the ward who are not active, but who Heavenly Father has not forgotten about. How it was up to us to find them and help them come back. The goal for this month is 100% for both visiting and home teaching. We are going to be helping with that! After church and the baptism we went over to Caroline's house (a 10 year old who is the only member in her family. She is so funny.) we let the mini missionary take lead on that lesson. Later we went to the southern most part of boston, at the end of hyde park we took the bus to the end and then kept walking. We were looking for a less active, guess what... she doesn't live there. thats ok. It is part of leaving the 99 to go after the one!
Andrea and her grandma and friend

Andrea , her grandma and dad

Ellie, an eleven yr old, and her family, Karee, and Hrma Hileman
Tomorrow Sister Wagner and I might get to go to the temple with Christine (yea the one who was running in the marathon. who got baptized last weekend) I get to go because i taught her so we are going to try to go on splits in the morning. We have a very full schedule for the week so it should be really fun!
I love you all!

Writing letters in the park

pictures at the park while writing letters

Sweet smiles in the park

Review of month of April

April 18, 2013
Lately I've been thinking alot  about my childhood. Not too much. Only when I have free time to think. Like right now, during lunch. I fixed myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and eating tortilla chips. Not a very common combination, yet I distinctly remember eating them together. Don't worry, there are carrot sticks too. Totally something mom has fed me before. I think a lot about what my parents have taught me. The more I reflect the more I appreciate what they taught and did for me. I can see how it has shaped me into the person I am today. Also today during laguage study I came across 2 Nephi chapter 3. It's prophesying that Joseph Smith will come from Lehi's son Joseph, but the last verse screams to me, "remember the words which have been spoken of by your father." The longer I don't have the constant contact with my parents, the more I have found how much they have taught me. The gospel blesses families. This is true. But God, our Heavenly Father, blesses us with families. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He was and is fully aware of what we are doing when He sends us to the families that He does. He wants us to grow, learn and develop and become just like Him. He gave us... He gave me just who I needed to get started. And the best part about families is that they love you so much that they will always be there for you. And the better part is that they really can be with me forever!
  Right now they aren't sitting her finishing a bag of carrot sticks with me, but I do know that they are praying for me. I can feel their prayers. I tear up every time! I know that they are looking forward to Mother's day (next month) when they can hear my voice and I am looking forward to hearing theirs!

Karee with her family (minus Kamber)just before she left

April 19, 2013
Red Dotted
6:30am text received from the Brookline Elders,"One of the bombing suspects was killed in a gun fight near Watertown, the other one is around Watertown also so you guys need to avoid the city and stay near Roslindale. It's a giant man hunt! Stay safe." We were just getting ready to go running. We were stretching when we received another text saying,"We were all red dotted. That the public transportation had been shut down and we were to stay inside until further notice." After consulting with other sister missionaries in the area and what they had learned from the man hunt, we learned that police would be searching houses in the Watertown area. We aren't to answer unless we are sure it is the police because the people shouldn't be out anyways.
  I can hear the helicopter searching... Wow Heavenly Father knew I was going to need the atonement to take away the fear I was already having, but also the fear that would come from this. I have felt peace this whole time. Sadness, yes! But I know everything is going to be ok. I know Heavenly Father is looking after us as missionaries. He will keep us safe.

April 22, 2013
Something just clicked for me. District meeting is like the Sunday School class specific to missionaries.
 Church is on Sunday, but we aren't there for ourselves. We are there with our less actives or investigators. It's a day and a time we devote to them.
  We are there to answer questions and help them in any way that we can.
  District mtg is when we share our testimonies, where we receive guidance specific for us from our leader. Where we can learn from the scriptures on a level that is at our level.
  Sundays are to be fed(as members) by others and edified by sharing your testimony strengthening it as you go. Sundays are the day to be fed and edified, a jump start for the week.
  But as missionaries, we aren't supposed to expect as much on those days to receive all we need  to go through out the week. So we need district meeting.
  As missionaries we need to have the spirit with us more because we can't be successful without the spirit. That's why we study so much. That's why we have district meeting...fill our lamp with oil
Sis. Van Wagnen, Karee, Sis Smith, Elder Gonzales, Hrma Hileman, Sis Garcia, Elder Chatterton, Sis Wagner

The district