Sunday, August 18, 2013

July 22, 2013

Sis Miller, Sis Hobbs, and Karee on the subway after taking  Sis Buchanan to the airport
Note from MOM! Sometimes missionaries get sick and have to return home to get better. Sis Buchanan has been suffering from not sleeping and is returning home to get some medical treatment. Karee and Sis Miller took Sis Buchanan to the airport and got to stay in Boston for P-day.  This was a fun treat. They got some fun history touring in.
Sis Buchanan and Karee at the airport

Inline image 1
Dropping off Sis Buchanan at the airport

These are from the Holocaust memorial. I have been before but it was way to cold outside to really enjoy it. These glass towers have the numbers of the prisoners engraved along all sides. There are also quotes and short facts given by survivors. This reminded me of Mrs. Fraser (note: this was Karee's English teacher her senior year) because of some of the books we talked about. It also reminded me of the holocaust class that I took. Though the past is sometimes hard, it is important to learn from so that we don't repeat mistakes.

Sis Ragsdale! This one's for you!
We went on part of the Freedom Trail and saw a few of the old church buildings. There is so much history here in Boston. Our country was practically born here! We went to where the Boston Massacre happened. 
This is a picture of a memorial of the Irish immigrants who came here to escape percussion. But they ended up suffering her too.

The Boston Skyline

And a random Public Alley... Those are fun! 

We found the coast and bought hot dogs... I decided to get everything to get the full experience
. First hot dog purchased by me from a street vendor. To be honest.. J Dawgs is 100% better!

When we got home Wednesday evening we were surprised that there were no lights.. apparently we were in a good old city blackout. Weird. We luckily had some candles and our kind neighbor had some matches and an extra flashlight.
Because the trip staying in Boston was a last minute thing we didn't have clothes or anything with us. Luckily for us there are lots of extra clothes that past missionaries have left in the basement.

This is the sleeping outfit I ended up with.

Transfer meeting was in Boston. (note from mom: this is a mtg where missionaries get rides to their new areas) Sister Wagner was there! She took a picture and then we got one together.
Sis Wagner(she is from Branson, MO

This was Sis Garcia's last mtg. She is going home.
Sis Gomez


Sister Garcia went home.... that was a hard goodbye! We spent three transfers together in Boston as roommates and sister like figure while I have been here. She is such an amazing person. I am going to miss her! But she is going to be not too far from me when I am at school so we will be seeing each other more. 
Of course I had to get a picture with my sister Gomez!
We have always gone to Chipotle after transfer meeting but I never got a picture of the craziness.   I just got some chips and salsa and then ate the peanut butter, coconut and dried blueberry sandwich I had packed. It is actually a really good mix.

I Thought I Was Busy Last Week.....

August 5, 2013

Hello family and friends,

The work of the Lord is surely hastening. Sister Hobbs and I now are over both the first and the second wards here in Worcester. What does this mean??? Well it means we combine what we normally did between the two of us and then we add another few lessons to teach to people investigating the church, add a family history class, and some relief society classes. We have a bigger distance to cover so we will be making a lot of phone calls in the car. And even though it is going to be crazy for the next few weeks, I know that Heavenly Father is taking care of us. I know that He is going to allow us to get things done. Some days seem to just fly by, but at the end of the day we have things done. 

So much has happened it is hard to know where to even start. Tuesday was a day for Sister Miller to pack and say a few goodbyes. We were also able to meet with Brother Ferrin the Second ward mission leader. Since we now have access to the computer more often we have started a few google Docs to show the ward what we are doing throughout the week and who we are working with. This is really a neat experience and is really letting the ward get more involved in the work.
Sis Miller and Karee before she left for Boston.

Yesterday I had a very special humbling experience. President and Sister Packard came to both wards to visit. (It was also fast and testimony meeting I might add, which was a very special opportunity to hear the members of the Spanish group bear their testimonies in their native language). In between the two wards, President pulled us all aside and explained his vision of the Spanish group. He talked about how not everyone gets the opportunity to start a group from scratch/nothing. He talked about how he is really expecting this group to grow into a branch before he goes home. It is so humbling that the Lord would trust me to be involved in setting the foundation for this group.
Albanian sister and Karee. She read the Book of Mormon in less than a week!

Ivi and Karee. Ivi was baptized  a couple of months ago and her aunt got her a future missionary tag!
 I have been thinking of those who have gone before me how have been called of God to do His work. Moses who was asked to lead the Children of Israel out of Eygpt. I think of Enoch who felt so unqualified to be a leader and yet "whom the Lord calls He qualifies." I think of Samuel and Joseph Smith who were both called at young ages to be prophets and were able to do so much. I am not saying that I am expecting to do great things and to be a great person. I would much rather do my best now and then be forgotten by the members. I am not here to be remembered I am here to help these people come closer to their Heavenly Father.
Sis Hobbs learning how to make tortillas

Sis Rodriquez teaching us how to make tortillas. Mine just ripped!

More teaching

Sis Rodriquez and Karee with the finished product!

the finished tortilla!

I love you all!
Love sister Brown

One Tough Cookie!

July 29, 2013

Our first flat tire

I won't lie, this week was a tough one. Which is an interesting because when I hear tough I think about being drenched in sweat walking miles and miles in heat. That is not actually how this week went, not even close. It was hard because we are so emotionally invested in what we are doing, or at least I am trying to be. For me the reason that it was just so hard was because I feel like I try and I fail, so I try again and I fail. I am not talking about knocking on doors. We don't do that. I am talking about I try to plan a lesson and get stumped. We have been taught to teach as Jesus taught. Which means one on one and personal to each person.  When we plan lessons we think of that person's specific needs. Sometimes that is a whole lot harder than it sounds because we are trying to make the needs specific. Then we make a list of specific things that we can do for that person to meet those needs. I have been teaching these people and I should know them and should know what they need, but for some reason I/we hit a wall with most of the people and in planning most of the lessons. That is where it gets hard for me. Because I start thinking about how I should know how to help them. I start thinking about how I should be at a certain point, but for some reason I haven't been able to reach it.
I feel like this is something everyone seems to feel. None of us are perfect and at some point or another, we all seem to fall short of expectations. It doesn't matter if they are our own expectations or those of others, it still is really hard when we don't quite met expectations. We start to feel inadequate. But we shouldn't. We forget the truth that we all know. That we don't have to reach a certain point before the atonement of Jesus Christ can lift us and make up the difference. (Mom please try to find Brad wilcox talk about His Grace is Sufficient... that will better explain how I feel and what I learned)  Mom note: Here it is.

In the moment it is really hard, but looking back, it wasn't as bad as I was thinking. We were able to see a lot of people and meet people we probably would not have been able to meet if we had been able to keep all the plans we had made. 

You one of the best things is that I am able to know that my Heavenly Father is aware of each of His children. I don't know if we made an impact on any of the people at the Goodyear place, but He knew that the sister we were going to go see was going to feel sick. He knew that it would be better for us to find the flat tire when there was a tire shop close by. 
Napoleon Dynamite(hilarious movie)
 My companion sister miller is getting transferred. Guess I still hold strong to not having a companion for more two transfers. Just a week longer than all the rest. She is actually going to be going to my home, Boston. I am excited for her and excited for her to experience the people there. They are so great! And I will be here with Sister Hobbs (English speaking) over two wards and the newly forming Spanish branch. We are going to have a lot of work to do. I am excited! Sister Hobbs is from the small town in Idaho where Neapolian Dynamite is from. Yes, she was on the bus and was one of the girls screaming, though I am not sure what even happens in that part of the movie.
We did get a flat tire this week and it was a lot of fun. I was all ready to change it, and was actually in the process, but some lady came over from the neighboring oil changing place and took over. It was great because it gave us something to laugh about.

Sis Miller

Sis Miller carrying the spare

Love the attire in changing a flat tire

The job was a little greasy, but it's all good

Waiting for the tire repair
This week was pretty good though. I did find out that I can't eat mashed potatoes anymore... that was a bit painful. But now I know and I will avoid at all costs!
I love you all!
Love, Sister Brown

Sunday, August 4, 2013

We are almost all set!

July 22, 2013

Hola Familia y amigos,

A common phrase out here is "all set?" It means a few things: "I am alright," "No thank you" "are you finished?" "Are you ready to go?" But almost everyone here says it... at least the natives do. I guess that means you might say that the Spanish group here is all set! We had our first Sacrament meeting yesterday. To start out we are going to be having sacrament meeting in Spanish in the Relief Society room every first and third Sunday. We  have Sunday school as a small group in Spanish as well. But we will continue to meet together with the English ward for the third hour. There were 23 in attendance, (4 of them missionaries, 1 non-member, and two less-actives) Which is a good start. Sister Miller played the piano and I led the music. Later in Relief Society I assumed my position as the translator for Sister Mendez who doesn't speak any English. I am getting a little rusty. We speak too much English. I try my best to talk to Sister Miller in Spanish while we are driving and we listen to some Spanish Hymns, but we need more interaction with natives. Which we will be getting as we continue to work with the members to get the less-actives and their friends to come to the Spanish group. 

We have had a few really cool experiences. Do you remember O'Dell? She is from Liberia, we were teaching her when I first got here. She is really a golden investigator, but for some reason we lost contact with her. She wouldn't answer calls or texts and we couldn't catch her at home either. We had lost all contact with her and were leaving it up to her. Well she called us out of the blue Saturday night! We were both so excited. She told us that she missed our visits and that she wanted to see us Tuesday. 

We also met Judy this week. She is the daughter-in-law of a less-active woman in the ward. We were just finishing up a spiritual thought with Nita when Judy came in. We said a prayer and then started to talk to Judy. She has gone through a lot and is still going through some hard times. She had lots of questions about who we thing God is and where we came from. We answered questions and then challenged her to write down any more she might have for the next time we were there. We saw her yesterday and she hadn't had any. So we started to teach her about he Plan of Salvation. We are spirit children of a Heavenly Father (God). We wanted to have a physical body like Him. Because He loves us, He created a plan so that we would be able to obtain bodies. Her mother died not too long ago so we were able to testify that she will see her again. I know that Heavenly Father loves us! I know that He would not send us to earth to families without providing a way that we would be able to see them after this life. I know that He loves us and He wants us to live with Him again.

Also, Sister Bringhurst and I met an Albanian woman when we were on splits the other day. We were able to find her this week and give her a copy of the Book of Mormon in Albanian. We sat and talked to her for a while. It is really quite sad because she doesn't have any family here. She is all alone. I wonder how many other people there are like her here. No family not many friends and hardly any support.

lady from Albania and Karee

 They are just working to get by. I think about how there is barely any meaning in that let alone satisfaction. It is so different when you have the Gospel in your life. You know where you came from, why you are here on earth and where you want to go. You know that you can live with your family again after this life. You know what things you have to do to get there and you are able to see blessings that come from doing what Heavenly Father wants you to do. Hopefully we will be able to see her some more and try to bring her some happiness and peace by sharing what we know. 

We had a Chicken BBQ Saturday to celebrate Pioneer day. Most of the Young Women were dressed in their trek dresses aprons and bonnets. There were tons of people! It was a combined activity with the first ward and people brought friends. Nilsa was there, but had to leave because she ate too much food. The missionaries got called up to be the judges of the pie contest. I loved the key lime pie! I think that is grandpa Brown's favorite... this time it was mine too.

Pioneer day celebration BBQ

Thursday was a hard day, change and goodbyes. I am going to miss having Sister Garcia around, but I am happy for her. She is "all set" and has so much ahead of her.

Saying goodbye to Sis Garcia

getting a little tan line
Also in the news, Michel Savage is engaged! Can't wait to see those pictures. 

Happy Birthday to my Kamber, Lindsey, and Rory Haglund this week!

Love always, 
Hermana K. Brown

Ps I got my English name tags this week

Letter to President Packard July 8

July 8, 2013

Note from Karee's mom: Weekly Karee is asked to write to her mission president to let him know of their successes and happenings. This week was especially busy for her so she has asked that I share with all of you her letter to the mission president.

Dear President,

Sister Miller was really looking forward to seeing the fireworks and especially wanted to go to Boston to see them because she had heard that they are like nothing else. I thought it would be fun, but when we heard that we would not be able to go because we lived more than 15 miles from Boston I decided it would be better so that we could continue to work in our area. 

The problem became that we didn't have any appointments really set up to fill the full day. We found ourself with some free time around 2 in the afternoon and we really wanted to be productive. SIster Miller was sure that everyone would be either out of the house or busy with family. So we sat in the car and prayed to know where Heavenly Father would have us to go. While we were praying, the name of a woman in the ward came to mind. She is older and lives in government housing. I didn't think that she would be out doing anything and there were also a few other people that we could contact it that building. One was a woman who we have talked to before. She has apparently had some contact with the Church before and actually lived with some members. We also had two other people who had approached us at different times that we could stop by to see. I suggested this woman and Sister Miller agreed. It just felt right.

When we pulled up we saw Sue (the woman who isn't a member, but has had contact with the Church) walking her dog.  We called after her. She was so happy to see us and told us that she was sad because her mother and brother hadn't come to visit her yet. And later ended up teaching her the first lesson. She is a Jew and yet was very accepting of the story of the First Vision, actually she loved it!. We had just finished telling her the story when Ana (member who we actually came to visit) got out of a car and walked up to us. She asked if she could talk with us. We excused ourselves and followed her to her apartment. After we sat down, she started to explain why she wanted to talk to us. Through tears she explained that things between her children had gotten worse. She has three daughters, all of which seem to have rebelled against her. They leave their children with the grandma for days at a time. It has become really difficult on Ana. All of this was building up and then on this holiday the oldest had offered to take her to the lake. They went and were met with the two other sisters. All their kids played on the beach while Ana's daughters yelled at her for everything she was doing wrong. It was too much. She decided that the only way she could end this was to end her life. The whole ride home she was silent and planned how she was going to do it. She had made up her mind that she was going to overdose on her pills. Her heart was beating when she pulled up knowing what she was about to do. But when she saw us, her heart stopped pounding. Something in her mind clicked and she knew that Heavenly Father loved her and had sent us (the missionaries) to reminder her.  By the end of her story, all of us were crying. We were able to talk to her and then let the bishop know about the situation. We have had contact with her daily and she is doing much better.

I could not believe how everything had lined up so perfectly. I know that it was not me!

 Heavenly Father is so aware of each one of His children. He is aware of each of their needs, desires, pains and struggles. He allows us to go through hard things so that we can learn and grow. He will not give us things that we cannot handle. And when things get to hard, when we think we have to quit, He will provide a way. It may not be the way we expect and it may not be when we expect, but He always will. 

I feel so blessed that Heavenly Father was able to use us as missionaries to help Ana. It was actually a very humbling experience. Humbling to have the calling to serve as a missionary. I always thought that missions were more about saving souls. Helping them remember who they are and where they are going. And I only planned to be the instrument by which the Spirit could manifest this to the people. Now I know that this is so much more. Heavenly Father has a plan for each and every one of us. And when we don't think we can follow His plan by ourselves, He will send others. What a blessing it is to be a missionary. That I can see Heavenly Father's hand in my life and in the lives of others. I feel blessed that I could be able to see this special miracle.

lady in the ward teaching Sis Miller how to knit while Karee made handkerchiefs on the serger for a YW special activity

Sis Miller learning how to knit

4th of July evening with the sister missionaries

The patriotic sisters-Karee, Sis Buchanan, Sis Hobbs, and Sis Miller

Sis Miller and Karee

Sis Miller with Eunice and Jasmine eating special treat

Eating special treat-tortilla with peanut butter and melted chocolate chips

Love always,
Sister K. Brown